January 13, 2012
Trillanes clarifies 'gag rule'
Senator Antonio "Sonny" F. Trillanes IV on Wednesday said that only parties directly involved in the impeachment case are covered by Section 18 of the Rules of Procedure on Impeachment Trials.
"It should be clarified that only those enumerated in the rules, namely senator-judges, prosecutors, the person impeached and his counsel and the witnesses, are asked to refrain from commenting and disclosing information pertaining to the merits of the impeachment case, Trillanes said.
Trillanes added that "spokespersons, as long as they are not part of the prosecution or defense panels, the media and everyone else should be allowed to discuss and present to the public pertinent information and updates regarding the impeachment trial so our citizens can remain abreast with the developments on this very important matter."
"In fact, we should encourage public discourse and discussion of the issues relating to this historic event as long as it complies with the impeachment rules," he said.
Section 18 of Senate Resolution 39, which contains the rules on the impeachment trial, enjoins prosecutors, senator-judges, the person impeached, their counsel and witnesses to refrain from "making any comments and disclosures in public pertaining to the merits of a pending impeachment trial."
"As representatives of the people, we are supposed to perform our functions according to the will of the people. Thus, it is important that we always remain transparent in the impeachment proceedings," Trillanes explained.
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