SC modifies implementation of judicial affidavit rule

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MANILA, Philippines—Refusing to suspend the implementation of the Judicial Affidavit Rule (JAR), the Supreme Court has instead modified its implementation, requiring public prosecutors in criminal cases to use, in lieu of judicial affidavit, the sworn statements executed by complainants and their witnesses.

The new rule, which took effect last Jan. 1, requires the submission of judicial affidavits in lieu of direct testimony of witnesses in criminal cases where the maximum imposable penalty does not exceed six years.

In its two-page resolution, the SC requires the attending public prosecutor, when presenting the witness, to “affirm the truth of what the sworn statement contains and ask the witness only those additional direct examination questions that have not been amply covered by the sworn statement.”

The modified compliance shall be for one year only and on Jan. 1, 2014, the JAR shall be in full effect in criminal cases, the SC said.
The high court also said it “expects the public prosecutors in both the first and second-level courts to take steps during the one-year modified compliance period (1) to seek the needed augmentation of their ranks; and (2) to develop methods and systems that would enable them to fully comply with the requirements of the Judicial Affidavit Rule when the modified compliance period ends.”

The JAR covers criminal cases where the maximum imposable penalty does not exceed six years.

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