Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Speeding up criminal IP trials in Philippines

One of the reasons for the inordinately slow pace of Philippines IPR criminal cases is that every witness is called to multiple hearings for examination, cross and re-examination. It has been in theory possible to provide affidavit evidence to replace examination in chief, but defendants frequently object, usually with no purpose ( e.g. even about incontrovertible evidence such as where the raid took place, or the storage of the goods seized).
New Judicial Affidavit Rules (A.M. No. 12-8-8-SC) took effect on 1 January 2013. The new rules aim to reduce the time completing testimonies of witnesses in cases under litigation by requiring the submission of judicial affidavits in lieu of direct testimoniy. At least it removes evidence in chief hearings, which can often take a full year to complete.  But on 2 January 2013, the Prosecutors' League of the Philippines (PLP) requested the deferment of the rule for at least one (1) year. The Supreme Court will address this request for deferment by the PLP in a hearing on 8 January 2013.

The legal system's prediction for delay and over-reliance on technicalities over substance is the source of the problem. Hopefully the Supreme Court will see the sense of speedier trials.





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  2. The Supreme pourt modified compliance by Public Prosecutors with Judicial Affidavit Rule in response to the request of the public prosecutors to defer the implementation of the Judicial Affidavit Rule. The SC draft resolution of 8 January 2013 allows them to use instead the sworn statements submitted by the complainant in initiating the criminal action. The compliance of private prosecutors to the Judicial Affidavit Rule remains unchanged.