news, Philippines, politics, public affairs, television

Senate Hearing on Kian Delos Santos Killing Begins Today

A long afternoon and perhaps evening awaits news organizations in the Philippines.

At around 2:00 p.m. today, the Senate will conduct a hearing in relation to the death of Kian Delos Santos and all other drug-related killings. Expected to cover the hearings live on television will be CNN Philippines, GMA News TV (unless they break character and go with regular programming), DZMM TeleRadyo and the ABS-CBN News Channel (ANC).

News5, which has notoriously shunned any live broadcast of various news events on television and radio, will air the said hearing on their Facebook page and the News5Everywhere platform. And in case of unexpected interruptions by the aforementioned news networks (e.g. President Rodrigo Duterte’s live speeches), the live and uninterrupted broadcast of the hearing will be provided by the Senate’s official YouTube page.

It can be recalled that on Wednesday, August 16, 17-year-old Kian Delos Santos was shot dead by policemen during an anti-drug operation in Caloocan. Upon reexamination of Delos Santos’ corpse, it was revealed that a pair of gunshot wounds in the head and another in the back killed the youngster.

For the first of possibly many hearings conducted by the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs, the following were invited to attend the probe:

  • Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Ronald dela Rosa
  • Various representatives of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Department of Justice (DOJ) and the PNP Internal Affairs Service (PNP-IAS)
  • Saldy delos Santos, father of Kian
  • Caloocan policemen who were allegedly involved in the killing
  • Three witnesses under the custody of Sen. Risa Hontiveros

Today’s hearing will mark the third time that the Senate conducted a probe regarding the spate of drug-related killings in the country. The first took place during September and October 2016, and a second hearing (infamous for the testimony of Arturo Lascañas) took place in March and April 2017.

Expect another marathon of a coverage later this afternoon as the Senate begins an intense and lengthy look at the death of Kian Delos Santos. Good luck.

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news, Philippines, politics, television

GMA News TV on a Rebound with Increased Live Coverage

Yesterday's final House hearing on the Bilibid drug trade was just one of several recent events that GMA News TV was able to air live, a surprise show of commitment to the oft-criticized network. (Screenshot courtesy of Dailymotion and GMA News TV)

Yesterday’s final House hearing on the Bilibid drug trade was just one of several recent events that GMA News TV was able to air live, a surprise show of commitment to the oft-criticized network. (Screenshot courtesy of Dailymotion and GMA News TV)

The most highly criticized news network in the country is gaining some relevance of late.

GMA News TV saw its stock rise in recent months, as it covered the Senate hearings on extrajudicial killings and the House hearings on the New Bilibid Prisons drug trade. Although their coverage is not as extensive as that of, for example PTV-4 or ABS-CBN News Channel, it was good to see the network finally step up the right way.

In addition to the events at the House of Representatives and the Senate, GMA News TV also committed themselves to air every live address of President Rodrigo Duterte wherever he goes. Of course, as the president is always a priority for live coverage, there have been times that the Senate and House hearings were forced to give way for Duterte.

Such renewed commitment to live coverage was in sharp contrast to the News TV shown during the tenure of President Benigno Aquino III. During his presidency, GMA News TV seemed to be ignorant of his live appearances on a majority of occasions, and this earned the ire of many viewers who wanted a lot more from the said network.

Most House and Senate hearings during Aquino’s tenure were also ignored by News TV. And to make matters worse, the recent visit of Pope Francis and President Aquino’s State of the Nation Addresses were also shunned by News TV as if they were not important events.

That said, it was a surprise to see GMA News TV become all the more committed to show live coverage during the presidency of Rodrigo Duterte. With recent events becoming more important than ever, News TV has no choice but to follow every movement as it happens, and this should regain the trust that they lost in the past few years.

Despite this increased devotion to live coverage, GMA News TV still has a lot of holes to address. What will they do with the Koreanovelas, movies, reruns of old news programs and home shopping blocks that have infiltrated their network?

These problems should be the responsibility of Nessa Valdellon, the channel’s head honcho. Let’s just hope that she will follow the footsteps of ABS-CBN News’ Ging Reyes and CNN Philippines’ Armie Jarin-Bennett, and not of News5’s Luchi Cruz-Valdes, in restoring some sense to GMA News TV.

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News5 a Non-Factor in Live House, Senate Hearings Last Week

Star witness Edgar Matobato was the center of attention in last Thursday's Senate hearings on extrajudicial killings. Live coverage on TV and radio was provided by a majority of outlets, save for News5. (Photo credit: The Philippine Star)

Star witness Edgar Matobato was the center of attention in last Thursday’s Senate hearings on extrajudicial killings. Live coverage on TV and radio was provided by a majority of outlets, save for News5. (Photo credit: The Philippine Star)

It was a busy three days for the Philippines’ top news outfits.

On September 20 and 21, the House of Representative conducted a nine-to-ten hour hearing regarding the drug trade inside the New Bilibid Prisons. Then on September 22, the Senate conducted two hearings, one involving the use of emergency powers to combat traffic, and the other the continuation of the hearings on extrajudicial killings.

In between, President Rodrigo Duterte appeared on live television to address his own concerns regarding the presence of American troops in Mindanao, and the United Nations’ continued intervention in his war against drugs. The President gave his speech in front of the country’s hard-working soldiers in Mindanao.

Then there is the urgent coverage of an apparent hijack inside a Saudia Airlines place at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, which turned out to be a false alarm. Finally, a press conference involving Lt. Col. Ferdinand Marcelino was also aired live.

In those three days, the usual suspects were there to cover them all: the ABS-CBN News Channel, DZMM TeleRadyo, CNN Philippines, and the government-owned PTV-4. Surprisingly, the oft-criticized GMA News TV, infamous for their apparent unwillingness to cover various live events, joined in the act as well, alongside DZBB.

The same cannot be said for News5, however. Although they managed to broadcast the live feed of the said events online, TV coverage proved to be mostly non-existent.

Though AksyonTV, now more known for sports coverage than news, covered the first day of the NBP probe, they failed to do so on the second day, in large part to their own sports programming. The network also failed to air the live coverage of the two Senate hearings as well, also for the love of sports.

Which leads to the worst culprit of them all: Radyo5 92.3 News FM. While a majority of the AM radio stations covered the three-day live-a-thon, Radyo5 chose to air their regular programming instead of following the action (Wednesday’s events was excusable because of the PBA).

This act of reprehensible proportions only served to add insult to injury to News5. If losing some of their top personalities is not enough, what more is their increasing unwillingness to cover important live events as it happens.

As it stands now, it is clear that the ship TV5 is steering continues to sink further and further. There is nothing more to say about this, other than the hope that they can start over anew.

To Luchi Cruz-Valdes and Gladys Lana-Lucas, perhaps it’s time for an explanation. This has gone too far, and Kapatid followers deserve better than this.

The House and Senate hearings are expected to continue this week. Still, it remains to be seen whether or not News5 can finally commit themselves to a multi-platform broadcast of these events.

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