Quantcast
Latest Stories

Prosecutors oppose SC rule waiving witnesses’ appearance

By

State prosecutors have expressed their formal opposition to the Supreme Court’s judicial affidavit rule (JAR) that would allow witnesses to submit written testimonies instead of having to appear in court.

The JAR should be revoked, Prosecutor General Claro Arellano said in a May 23 letter to Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno, citing the inadequate number of prosecutors and the possible dismissal of cases due to technicalities.

“While the National Prosecution Service (NPS) is aware that case congestion and delays should be addressed to hasten the delivery of justice, the implementation of the JAR is not the solution to these problems,” Arellano said in his letter.

“On the contrary, the JAR will only add to these concerns. Not only will it unjustly burden the prosecutors, defense lawyers and private practitioners but criminal cases will be resolved not on the basis of the evidence brought forth by the parties but rather due to mere technicalities,” he said.

Arellano pointed out that prosecutors would have very limited time to prepare judicial affidavits since they are already burdened by heavy workloads, such as trial work, including criminal and special proceedings, the conduct of preliminary investigations and inquest proceedings.

Many prosecution offices are also inadequately staffed, Arellano said. He said that in 2012, the plantilla positions for prosecutors numbered 2,412 but only 1,850 were filled, equivalent to a vacancy rate of 23 percent.

In 2012, he said, the case load for preliminary investigations of the NPS was 352,523 with an average of 191 cases per prosecutor. On the other hand, the case load for trials in lower courts alone was 391 cases per prosecutor.

“The preparation of judicial affidavits consumes more time than the conduct of direct examinations. A single affidavit cannot be completed in two hours, particularly when the witness is a child. The JAR will result in numerous dismissals of cases due to technicalities. Judges also cannot observe the demeanor or credibility of witnesses,” he said.

The JAR was promulgated by the high court in September last year and was supposed to take effect on Jan. 2 this year. Its implementation was suspended, however, because of an objection from the Prosecutors’ League of the Philippines and the high court’s decision to defer it for one year under certain conditions.

Under the JAR, when a party, whether plaintiff or defendant, questions his own witness, he no longer would need to place the witness on the witness stand.

As a substitute, the party or his lawyer merely submits the written sworn statement of his witness in a question-and-answer format. It also requires each party to the case to attach all his documentary evidence to the judicial affidavit which, in turn, must be submitted at least five days before the pre-trial or preliminary conference in the case.

The JAR was said to be effective in reducing the time used for presenting the testimonies of witnesses by about two-thirds in a pilot program in the Quezon City courts.


Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno , judicial affidavit rule , prosecutor , Prosecutor General Claro Arellano , Supreme Court




Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
  1. Estrada: Gigi Reyes won’t testify vs JPE
  2. Cagayan mayor shot dead after flag-raising ceremony
  3. Obama, family cause a small stir at Easter service
  4. Santiago sees Palace hand in Gigi’s return
  5. ‘Malang’ next crocodile attraction after ‘Lolong’
  6. Gigi Reyes’ only option: tell all
  7. Malaysia Airlines jet turns back after tire burst
  8. Ancient enigmatic carvings in danger of disappearing
  9. New plant to boost supply of clean energy
  10. More bodies from ship; transcript reveals wavering
  1. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  2. Suspect in Vhong Navarro mauling tries to leave PH
  3. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  4. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  5. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  6. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  7. ‘Mom, I love you,’ says text from student on sinking ferry
  8. Massive infra spending set
  9. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  10. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  4. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  5. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  6. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  7. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  8. Police rule out foul play in Helena Belmonte’s death as boyfriend is ‘traumatized’
  9. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  10. Hammer-wielding robbers cause chaos at Philippines’ Mall of Asia
Advertisement

News

  • Bernice Lee arrested by NBI team
  • Group: Bataan cop killed to stop him from exposing colleagues linked to drug ring
  • Chemical Engineer licensure examination
  • Troubled history fuels Japan-China tension
  • Palace: Our concern is to ensure MRT runs smoothly
  • Sports

  • NLEX fights off Derulo Accelero to remain unbeaten
  • Mayweather diehard Bieber eats pride, poses with Pacquiao for photo op
  • Power Pinays rip Singapore to enter quarters in Asian volley tilt
  • PBA D-League: Waves edge skidding Superchargers
  • Ilad’s last-second basket lifts Gems over Bakers
  • Lifestyle

  • Miss America: Don’t suspend teen over prom invite
  • Transitions and resurrection in the performing arts
  • ‘Archaeology tour’ of Cebu’s heritage of faith
  • Historic Fort Bonifacio tunnel converted into a septic tank
  • ‘Imports’ from London, and play of the year
  • Entertainment

  • Arrest warrants out vs. Deniece Cornejo, Cedric Lee, et al over serious illegal detention
  • Lindsay Lohan says she had a miscarriage
  • Discovery network cancels Everest jump
  • ‘Captain America’ stays strong atop US box office
  • Easter musings
  • Business

  • Century Pacific Food sets IPO price at P13.75 per share
  • Oil prices down in quiet Asian trade
  • Asian shares mixed in holiday-thinned trade
  • BDO seen keen on bidding for Cocobank
  • Bataan freeport investment pledges up 1,302%
  • Technology

  • PH has slowest internet in Southeast Asia
  • Nintendo’s trailblazing Game Boy marks 25th anniversary
  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Opinion

  • Gigi’s home
  • Palace stonewalls on MRT inquiry
  • Couple of things too
  • There is plenty of water behind Wawa Dam
  • Triduum thoughts of a young boy
  • Global Nation

  • Balikatan could spoil peace talks, says militant group
  • DFA officers hold workshop on aiding human traffic victims
  • Canada in communication with PH on toxic wastes
  • Filipinos in Middle East urged not to panic amid MERS-CoV scare
  • Obama on mission to quiet Asia skeptics
  • Marketplace
    Advertisement