So you decided to speak with the media to “give your side of the story” about an instance or situation or fact, but you are wondering whether this media mileage may or may not hunt you later on.
Among others, according to the Philippine Rules of Court and related jurisprudence, these are some of the things to keep in mind;
- Take note that your statements to the media as to a relevant fact may be given in evidence against you [Rule 130, Sec. 26, Rules of Court].
- Also remember the rule that “silence means yes”. The rules provide that “An act or declaration made in the presence and within the hearing or observation of a party who does or says nothing when the act or declaration is such as naturally to call for action or comment if not true, and when proper and possible for him to do so, may be given in evidence against him” [Rule 130, Sec. 32].
- If you are presented as a witness in court later on, be mindful of your former statement because you may be discredited if your past statement will be inconsistent with your would-be court testimony [Rule 132, Sec. 11] although there are certain preconditions before you can be discredited.
- Note that in a criminal case, the accused as a general rule has the right to have a court order issued to compel and secure your attendance as witness for such statement that maybe used in his defense [Rule 115, Sec. 1(g)].
Of course, if you are a lawyer you know that you are not to make public statements in the media regarding a pending case tending to arouse public opinion for or against a party [Rule 13.02, Canon].
Importantly, be mindful that nowadays minors have easy access to read, listen, or watch media publications.