January 12, 2012
Senate adopts measures to ensure orderly conduct, media coverage
The Senate has adopted a number of measures to ensure the orderly conduct and media coverage of the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona starting Monday, Jan. 16.
Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile has instructed Senate Secretary Emma-Lirio Reyes to see to it that measures are adopted to ensure that the media coverage would not get in the way of the conduct of an orderly, open and transparent impeachment trial.
According to Lirio-Reyes, the Senate will strictly enforce a 'No ID, No Entry' policy during the impeachment trial. Only those bearing official impeachment identification cards will be allowed inside the Plenary Hall, she added. "On account of the limited space in the Plenary Hall, we can only accommodate a total of 175 guests from the general public," Reyes said. "Thus, the Office of the Senate Sergeant-At-Arms (OSSAA) will issue 150 passes to the public and 25 passes to senior citizens daily on a first-come, first-served basis, at 11 a.m. at the covered walk in the Senate grounds. Only one pass will be issued for every individual," she said.
Impeachment Court Spokesperson and Senate Legal Officer Valentina Cruz said that the existing Senate Dress Code will be strictly enforced on those who wish to watch the proceedings as well as on the members of media who will cover the event.
Senate Public Relations and Information Bureau (PRIB) Director Raymundo Corro said due to space constraints Media Coverage Guidelines were issued mandating for a pool coverage by print, radio, television and online media of the impeachment proceedings.
PRIB Print Media Director Sammy Santos said that only accredited reporters with impeachment IDs will be allowed inside the Senate Building during the trial. Due to the limited seats at the Plenary Hall, Santos said PRIB will be issuing seat stubs on a first-come, first-served basis to 40 reporters. If necessary, a lottery of the seat slots will be undertaken daily, Santos explained.
In order to accommodate the more 1,000 media personnel who applied for accreditation, Santos said PRIB had converted the Recto and Laurel Committee Rooms into a media working lounge that will include a press briefing area and television/radio mini-studios. Santos said Enrile has given specific instructions that no media reporting or interviews will be allowed inside the Plenary Hall and on the Second Floor hallway so as not to disrupt the proceedings. Reporters and TV/radio crew members who violate the media guidelines face immediate revocation of their accreditation, he added.
PRIB staffers will be on hand to assist reporters in the coverage of the impeachment trial and will coordinate with reporters on who should be interviewed during press briefings, Santos added.
PRIB Broadcast Media Director Liza Godoy said PRIB, together with the five pooled TV networks, will provide audio-video live feed to all other TV networks.
"Only the cameras of PRIB and the five pooled television networks will be allowed inside the Plenary Hall due to limited space. Other television networks will be allowed to hook up with distribution amplifiers at the Media rooms for their individual coverage," Godoy said.
OSSAA Security Enforcement Service Director Manuel Parlade assured the public that security will be tight during the trial, with OSAA personnel being posted in strategic areas like the Plenary Hall, designated rooms for the defense panel, prosecutors and media, as well as the parking ground and areas surrounding the Senate.
"OSSAA personnel will secure the building while the police unit detailed at the Senate will man the parking lot and the areas outside the Senate. About 40 anti-riot policemen will be posted near the Film Center of the Philippines to defuse possible demonstrations," Parlade revealed.
"Guests wearing sleeveless shirts and slippers will not be allowed inside the Hall. The public is encouraged to wear shirts or blouses with collars to be able to enter the Plenary Hall. Propaganda shirts, pins, IDs or other propaganda paraphernalia will strictly not be allowed inside the building," Anthony Samonte, OSSAA Security Support Service Director, said.
"Guests will also be restricted to designated areas and will not be allowed to roam around. Those in the Plenary Hall will also not be allowed to take pictures or videos of the proceedings so as not to disrupt the trial. All cellular phones, beepers or other communication devices must be turned off once the guests enter the Plenary Hall," Samonte added. Parlade also said that K-9 sniffing dogs from the Philippine Air Force will be used to check for explosives. "CCTV cameras will be installed in strategic locations such as the police outposts near the Senate, the parking lots in front of and inside the building. A paging system for vehicles parked outside the Senate premises will also be installed," Parlade added.
According to Parlade, OSSAA will provide 10 slots for parking for the accredited television networks covering the impeachment trial. He said the left portion of the parking space near the flagpole can be utilized by the television networks for their Outside Broadcast (OB) vans and generator sets.
Parlade said members of the defense and prosecution panels can park their vehicles on the right side of the flag pole, opposite the slots reserved for the five television networks.
"We will strictly implement a 'No sticker, No Parking' policy. We would also like to clarify that even with the car passes, parking spaces at the Senate quadrangle will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. Even if you have a sticker but there is no more space in the parking lot, you will have to park your vehicle outside the Senate grounds. There are areas where you can park outside," Parlade explained.
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