SC extends modified Judicial Affidavit Rule | Inquirer News

SC extends modified Judicial Affidavit Rule

/ 04:50 PM January 02, 2014

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MANILA, Philippines—The Supreme Court has granted the request of public prosecutors to extend the modified implementation of the Judicial Affidavit Rule (JAR) on criminal cases.

In a one-page resolution made public Thursday, the high court said that the extension will be up to Dec. 31, 2014. The modified implementation of the JAR was supposed to end last Dec. 31, 2013.

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The JAR, which was approved by the high court in September 2012, provides that “when a party (whether plaintiff or defendant) questions his own witness, he no longer needs 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.

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

But the public prosecutors said it was effective in Quezon City because there is a large number of prosecutors in the area but in most areas, lack of manpower is a problem.

“Lack of manpower is one of the reasons why we requested for extension of suspension of JAR,” Prosecutor General Claro Arellano said Thursday.

“The Court resolves to extend for another year, ending on 31 December 20014, the modified public prosecutors’ compliance with the provision of the JAR insofar as the prosecution of criminal cases is concerned,” the high court said.

The high court also ordered the National Prosecution Service of the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Prosecutors’ League of the Philippines to work closely with the high court’s sub-committee on the Revision of the Rules of Criminal Procedure headed by Associate Justice Diosdado Peralta “in developing comprehensive and truly meaningful changes that will minimize the problem of delay in the criminal justice system.”

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