news, Philippines, politics, public affairs, television

SerenoSerye Over: Sereno’s Ouster as Chief Justice Now Final

Consider it final, official and irrevocable.

Over a month after Supreme Court justices voted in favor of ousting erstwhile Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno via quo warranto, the court decided to formally vacate the position of Chief Justice after rejecting Sereno’s motion for reconsideration to reverse the ruling. President Rodrigo Duterte will now have 90 days to pick a new Chief Justice.

The saga surrounding Sereno had been well-documented for the past several months. It began in August when Atty. Larry Gadon filed articles of impeachment to Congress that questioned Sereno’s missing assets, liabilities and net worth.

A lengthy series of hearings followed at the Batasan Pambansa that ran from September 2017 to February 2018. Throughout the course of the hearings, Supreme court justices and staff testified in front of the House Committee of Justice and they added further detail to Sereno’s misdeeds in the years prior to becoming Chief Justice.

In March, the Justice Committee overwhelmingly approved the articles of impeachment filed against Sereno. But just as the impeachment process began to roll along, Solicitor General Jose Calida filed a quo warranto petition that seeks to invalidate Sereno’s appointment.

Last May, the Supreme Court voted 8-6 in favor of the quo warranto, removing Sereno from the Chief Justice post. Later that month, Sereno filed a motion for reconsideration that sought to reverse the court’s original ruling, which was then quashed by another 8-6 vote Tuesday afternoon.

With the court’s ruling now final, Atty. Gadon’s impeachment complaint is now deemed ‘moot’ and ‘academic’ by the House of Representatives, and is expected to be terminated. It also means that the possible third Senate impeachment trial of the current millennium will no longer materialize.

Had the quo warranto not been filed and approved, viewers would have had a field day watching the proceedings at the Senate. But as it stands now, there will not be a repeat of what happened in the impeachment trials of former President Joseph Estrada and former Chief Justice Renato Corona, in which high drama and tension filled the Senate.

Now that Maria Lourdes Sereno is no longer the Chief Justice, the so-called “SerenoSerye” is officially over. It was a long and exhaustive procedure to say the least, but for the many people involved in the drama, it was worth telling.

Advertisements
Standard
news, Philippines, politics, public affairs, television

Final Thoughts on The House Hearings of the Sereno Impeachment Case

Facing the music: The fate of the impeachment case against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno will be decided at the House of Representatives later this week. (Photo credit: GMA News Online)

It was a sigh of relief, for now.

Last week, the House Justice Committee officially wrapped up its hearings on the impeachment case against Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno. The hearings, which began in September 2017, focused on the complaints filed by Atty. Larry Gadon against Sereno, particularly the latter’s statement of assets and liabilities that were deemed questionable.

Throughout the proceedings, fellow Supreme Court justices, staff and other witnesses testified in front of House Justice Committee chairman, Rep. Reynaldo Umali, and the other members of the committee. In total, 14 hearings took place that lasted around 12 hours each.

At first, the country’s top news outlets like ANC, GMA News TV, CNN Philippines and even Rappler were present to broadcast the proceedings in various platforms. However, it became clear that other important events and the overall length of each hearing took its toll on each network’s coverage, and by the final day the hearings were all but forgotten.

It also didn’t help that the hearings got in the way of important news programs. ANC, for example, has cut its coverage short at times in favor of live newscasts.

But for whatever shortcomings television and radio has, social media can take care of it. Viewers who were faithfully following the Sereno impeachment hearings from day one can thank the Facebook pages of each of the media outlets (particularly ABS-CBN News and Rappler) for providing uninterrupted and no-holds-barred action of the event.

Such is the complicated nature of the Sereno impeachment hearings. Those 12 hours spent at the Batasan Pambansa were at times draining for media personnel, who were tasked to digest whatever words the witnesses, Rep. Umali and his fellow congressmen said.

Still, the hearings were only the beginning. While Chief Justice Sereno goes on indefinite leave, the House Justice Committee commences its vote on the matter, and if they approve it, the Senate will now take care of business by virtue of an impeachment trial.

But in a late-breaking story, Solicitor General Jose Calida sought the Supreme Court for the nullification of Sereno’s appointment, citing the same complaint Atty. Gadon filed against her. This could get complicated because in the event that Sereno is removed from her post, the potential impeachment trial might be thrown into chaos.

Regardless, media outlets should brace for the inevitable. The next few months could be crucial, so good luck with that.

Standard
news, Philippines, politics, television

In 100 Words: Busy News Day at Senate and House

The Senate hearing on the Dengvaxia vaccine begins today at 10:00 a.m. even as the House of Representatives continues its deliberations on the Sereno impeachment case. (Photo credit: Philippine Daily Inquirer)

It will be a very busy day for journalists inside the Senate and the House of Representatives.

While the House Committee on Justice will continue its ongoing impeachment hearings against Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee will begin deliberations on the controversial Dengvaxia vaccine. With two news-worthy events running at almost the same time, it will be very hard for viewers to keep up.

The same can be said for the media who will cover the two hearings today. To the folks at ABS-CBN News, GMA News, CNN Philippines and Rappler, good luck in making the most out of the two live events.

If not, there is always live streaming to cover all the interruptions and mistakes.

Standard
news, Philippines, politics, television

Thoughts on Sereno Impeachment Hearings

The central character: Atty. Larry Gadon looks on during one of the latest episodes of the impeachment hearing against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno. (Photo credit: Manila Bulletin)

It is officially Week 3 of the so-called ‘Serenoserye’.

At 9:30 a.m. today, the sixth episode of the impeachment hearings against Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno will commence at the Batasan Pambansa. And based on the first five episodes of the ongoing series, all of the people involved have exhausted all the time and effort to reveal everything that is to know.

On average, each episode of the impeachment hearings last for seven to nine hours. Because of the severe length of the hearings, the media networks that are tasked to cover the event had a hard time keeping up, thanks in large part to other concurrent events that affect the country.

More often than not, live coverage of the impeachment hearings were rudely interrupted by a live appearance and address from either President Rodrigo Duterte or any of his staff (namely spokesperson Harry Roque). The President and his men’s constant interruptions have often made the hearings irrelevant at best.

It is always mandatory for news networks to cut from an ongoing Senate or House hearing to President Duterte once he begins to speak in public. After all, the executive branch is always a priority over all other branches of government.

But what baffles many is the treatment in which media outlets approach the hearings. On the good side, GMA News and Rappler provide an uninterrupted live stream of the impeachment hearings on YouTube, with GMA News using one that is exclusive online and not on traditional media.

However, the same cannot be said for ABS-CBN News and CNN Philippines. ABS-CBN News, in particular, provides viewers the feed from the ABS-CBN News Channel (ANC) and not one that is an independent online feed.

News5? Consider them extinct and moribund at this point.

With the impeachment hearings to continue until January 2018 at the latest, news outlets must find a way to maximize its coverage. There is no excuse for getting interrupted by another concurrent live event; someone should look at other manners with which the impeachment hearings are utilized.

If not, let’s just hope that Congressman Reynaldo Umali and the Justice Committee end each episode at the soonest possible time. Nine hours is just too exhausting to be honest.

Standard
news, Philippines, politics, public affairs, television

FTT Bonus Edition: Joint Session on Martial Law at Batasan

The weekend is normally a light day for journalists.

But on Saturday, July 22, the House of Representatives and the Senate conducted a joint session to decide the fate of Martial Law in Mindanao. The unexpected event forced a select number of news organizations to go to work in the most unusual of circumstances.

While CNN Philippines, DZMM TeleRadyo and the ABS-CBN News Channel were able to allocate several hours’ worth of coverage, the same cannot be said for GMA News TV and PTV-4. Neither network came out prepared for this special event, and remained in true weekend mode with regular programming and a minimalist workforce.

As for News5, they opted to air the joint session online instead of traditional media. Finally, on the AM radio side, only DZBB, DZMM and DZXL covered this special occasion.

It is possible that the lack of participation of a few networks is due to their intensive preparations leading up to Monday’s SONA. After all, the latter event is by far the most important as far as they are concerned.

Still, Saturday’s joint session is just as important, because the decision regarding Martial Law could either make or break Mindanao. Too bad only a few networks were serious enough to comprehend.

Standard
news, Philippines, politics, public affairs, television

Thoughts on Prioritizing Executive Branch Over Legislative Branch in Live News Coverage

The executive branch (in this case President Rodrigo Duterte) will always be the top priority of news networks when it comes to live coverage. (Photo credit: The Philippine Star)

The executive branch (in this case President Rodrigo Duterte) will always be the top priority of news networks when it comes to live coverage. (Photo credit: The Philippine Star)

It is never easy to cover live news events in the Philippines.

For outlets such as People’s Television Network, CNN Philippines, GMA News TV, DZMM TeleRadyo and ABS-CBN News Channel, following a live broadcast of a news event takes sacrifice and dedication. With that, they sometimes preempt ongoing programs just to get into the meat of the action.

But what if there are two news events that take place at the same time? Like for example, an ongoing Senate or House hearing taking place alongside either a press briefing at Malacañang or a speech of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Obviously, the priority of the news networks is the executive branch, who always has the final say in political matters. That said, it is mandatory to cut away from a live Senate or House hearing just to move over to either the Palace or President Duterte himself.

But for some, cutting another live event short in favor of either Malacañang or the President can be rude at times. For them, not all headlines involve President Duterte and the Palace, and on occasion, the Senate or House hearing could be the top story of the day.

Unfortunately, there is nothing that they can do. Focusing the executive branch over the legislative branch in live news broadcasts is a long-standing tradition, one that news networks always abide.

For those who want to get the news straight, there is YouTube to take care of. Radio Television Malacañang (RTVM), the Senate of the Philippines and the House of Representatives have their own YouTube channels that focus on their respective branches, and they live stream important events that are also seen on news channels in the country.

But for those who don’t have the patience to watch, just wait for the evening newscasts to summarize them all. After all, live news coverage is only for the most informed citizen.

In the end, news coverage will always be a complicated process. But at least there are alternatives to get the necessary facts to the viewer.

Standard