JUDICIAL AFFIDAVIT RULE
Whereas, case congestionand delays plague most courts in cities, given the huge volume of cases filedeach year and the slow and cumbersome adversarial syste1n that the judiciaryhas in place;
Whereas , about 40% ofcriminal cases are dismissed annually owing to the fact that complainantssimply give up con1ing to court after repeated postponements;
Whereas , few foreignbusinessmen make long-term investments in the Philippines because its courtsare unable to provide ample and speedy protection to their investments, keepingits people poor;
Whereas , in order toreduce the time needed for completing the testimonies of witnesses in casesunder litigation, on February 21, 2012 the Supreme Court approved for pilotingby trial courts in Quezon City the compulsory use of judicial affidavits inplace of the direct testimonies of witnesses;
Whereas , it is reportedthat such piloting has quickly resulted in reducing by about two-thirds thetime used for presenting the testimonies of witnesses, thus speeding up thehearing and adjudication of cases;
Whereas , the SupremeCourt Committee on the Revision of the Rules of Court, headed by SeniorAssociate Justice Antonio T. Carpio, and the Sub-Committee on the Revision ofthe Rules on Civil Procedure, headed by Associate Justice Roberto A. Abad, haverecommended for adoption a Judicial Affidavit Rule that will replicatenationwide the success of the Quezon City experience in the use of judicialaffidavits; and
Whereas , the SupremeCourt En Banc finds merit in therecommendation;
NOW, THEREFORE, theSupreme Court En Banc hereby issuesand promulgates the following:
SEC. 1. Scope. - (a) This Rule shall apply to all actions, proceedings, andincidents requiring the reception of evidence before:
1) TheMetropolitan Trial Courts, the Municipal Trial Courts in Cities, the MunicipalTrial Courts, the Municipal Circuit Trial Courts, and the Shari' a CircuitCourts but shall not apply to small claims cases under A.M. 08-8-7-SC;
2) TheRegional Trial Courts and the Shari'a District Courts;
3) TheSandiganbayan, the Court of Tax Appeals, the Court of Appeals, and the Shari'aAppellate Courts;
4) Theinvestigating officers and bodies authorized by the Supreme Court to receiveevidence, including the Integrated Bar of the Philippine (IBP); and
5) Thespecial courts and quasi-judicial bodies, whose rules of procedure are subjectto disapproval of the Supreme Court, insofar as their existing rules ofprocedure contravene the provisions of this Rule.
(b) For the purpose of brevity, the above courts,quasi-judicial bodies, or investigating officers shall be uniformly referred tohere as the "court."
SEC. 2. Submission of Judicial Affidavits and Exhibits in lieu of directtestimonies. - (a) The parties shall file with the court and serve on theadverse party, personally or by licensed courier service, not later than fivedays before pre-trial or preliminary conference or the scheduled hearing withrespect to motions and incidents, the following:
1) Thejudicial affidavits of their witnesses, which shall take the place of suchwitnesses' direct testimonies; and
2) Theparties' docun1entary or object evidence, if any, which shall be attached tothe judicial affidavits and marked as Exhibits A, B, C, and so on in the caseof the complainant or the plaintiff, and as Exhibits 1, 2, 3, and so on in thecase of the respondent or the defendant.
(b) Should a party or a witness desire to keepthe original document or object evidence in his possession, he may, after thesame has been identified, marked as exhibit, and authenticated, warrant in hisjudicial affidavit that the copy or reproduction attached to such affidavit isa faithful copy or reproduction of that original. In addition, the party orwitness shall bring the original document or object evidence for comparisonduring the preliminary conference with the attached copy, reproduction, orpictures, failing which the latter shall not be admitted.
This is without prejudice to the introduction ofsecondary evidence in place of the original when allowed by existing rules.
SEC. 3. Contents of judicial Affidavit. - A judicial affidavit shall be preparedin the language known to the witness and, if not in English or Filipino,accompanied by a translation in English or Filipino, and shall contain thefollowing:
a) Thename, age, residence or business address, and occupation of the witness;
b) Thename and address of the lawyer who conducts or supervises the examination ofthe witness and the place where the examination is being held;
c) Astatement that the witness is answering the questions asked of him, fullyconscious that he does so under oath, and that he may face criminal liabilityfor false testimony or perjury;
d) Questionsasked of the witness and his corresponding answers, consecutively numbered,that:
1) Showthe circumstances under which the witness acquired the facts upon which hetestifies;
2) Elicitfrom him those facts which are relevant to the issues that the case presents;and
3) Identifythe attached documentary and object evidence and establish their authenticityin accordance with the Rules of Court;
e) Thesignature of the witness over his printed name; and
f) Ajurat with the signature of the notary public who administers the oath or anofficer who is authorized by law to administer the same.
SEC. 4. Sworn attestation of the lawyer. - (a) The judicial affidavit shallcontain a sworn attestation at the end, executed by the lawyer who conducted orsupervised the examination of the witness, to the effect that:
1) Hefaithfully recorded or caused to be recorded the questions he asked and thecorresponding answers that the witness gave; and
2) Neitherhe nor any other person then present or assisting him coached the witnessregarding the latter's answers.
(b) A false attestation shall subject the lawyermentioned to disciplinary action, including disbarment.
SEC. 5. Subpoena. - If the government employee or official, or the requestedwitness, who is neither the witness of the adverse party nor a hostile witness,unjustifiably declines to execute a judicial affidavit or refuses without justcause to make the relevant books, documents, or other things under his controlavailable for copying, authentication, and eventual production in court, therequesting party may avail himself of the issuance of a subpoena adtestificandum or duces tecum under Rule 21 of the Rules of Court.The rules governing the issuance of a subpoena to the witness in this caseshall be the same as when taking his deposition except that the taking of ajudicial affidavit shal1 be understood to be ex parte .
SEC. 6. Offer of and objections to testimony in judicial affidavit. - The partypresenting the judicial affidavit of his witness in place of direct testimonyshall state the purpose of such testimony at the start of the presentation ofthe witness. The adverse party may move to disqualify the witness or to strikeout his affidavit or any of the answers found in it on ground ofinadmissibility. The court shall promptly rule on the motion and, if granted,shall cause the marking of any excluded answer by placing it in brackets underthe initials of an authorized court personnel, without prejudice to a tender ofexcluded evidence under Section 40 of Rule 132 of the Rules of Court.
SEC. 7. Examination of the witness on his judicial affidavit. - The adverseparty shall have the right to cross-examine the witness on his judicialaffidavit and on the exhibits attached to the same. The party who presents thewitness may also examine him as on re-direct. In every case, the court shalltake active part in examining the witness to determine his credibility as wellas the truth of his testimony and to elicit the answers that it needs forresolving the issues.
SEC. 8. Oral offer of and objections to exhibits. - (a) Upon the termination ofthe testimony of his last witness, a party shall immediately make an oral offerof evidence of his documentary or object exhibits, piece by piece, in theirchronological order, stating the purpose or purposes for which he offers theparticular exhibit.
(b) After each piece of exhibitis offered, the adverse party shall state the legal ground for his objection,if any, to its admission, and the court shall immediately make its rulingrespecting that exhibit.
(c) Since the documentary orobject exhibits form part of the judicial affidavits that describe andauthenticate them, it is sufficient that such exhibits are simply cited bytheir markings during the offers, the objections, and the rulings, dispensingwith the description of each exhibit.
SEC. 9. Application of rule to criminal actions. - (a) This rule shall apply toall criminal actions:
(1) Where the maximum of theimposable penalty does not exceed six years;
(2) Where the accused agrees tothe use of judicial affidavits, irrespective of the penalty involved; or
(3) With respect to the civil aspectof the actions, whatever the penalties involved are.
(b) The prosecution shall submitthe judicial affidavits of its witnesses not later than five days before thepre-trial, serving copies if the same upon the accused. The complainant orpublic prosecutor shall attach to the affidavits such documentary or objectevidence as he may have, marking them as Exhibits A, B, C, and so on. Nofurther judicial affidavit, documentary, or object evidence shall be admittedat the trial.
(c) If the accused desires to beheard on his defense after receipt of the judicial affidavits of theprosecution, he shall have the option to submit his judicial affidavit as wellas those of his witnesses to the court within ten days from receipt of suchaffidavits and serve a copy of each on the public and private prosecutor,including his documentary and object evidence previously marked as Exhibits 1,2, 3, and so on. These affidavits shall serve as direct testimonies of theaccused and his witnesses when they appear before the court to testify.
SEC. 10. Effect of non-compliance with the judicial Affidavit Rule. - (a) A partywho fails to submit the required judicial affidavits and exhibits on time shallbe deemed to have waived their submission. The court may, however, allow onlyonce the late submission of the same provided, the delay is for a valid reason,would not unduly prejudice the opposing party, and the defaulting party pays afine of not less than P 1,000.00 nor more than P 5,000.00 at the discretion ofthe court.
(b) The court shall not considerthe affidavit of any witness who fails to appear at the scheduled hearing ofthe case as required. Counsel who fails to appear without valid cause despitenotice shall be deemed to have waived his client's right to confront by cross-examinationthe witnesses there present.
(c) The court shall not admit asevidence judicial affidavits that do not conform to the content requirements ofSection 3 and the attestation requirement of Section 4 above. The court may,however, allow only once the subsequent submission of the compliant replacementaffidavits before the hearing or trial provided the delay is for a valid reasonand would not unduly prejudice the opposing party and provided further, thatpublic or private counsel responsible for their preparation and submission paysa fine of not less than P 1,000.00 nor more than P 5,000.00, at the discretionof the court.
SEC. 11. Repeal or modification of inconsistent rules. - The provisions of theRules of Court and the rules of procedure governing investigating officers andbodies authorized by the Supreme Court to receive evidence are repealed ormodified insofar as these are inconsistent with the provisions of this Rule.
The rules of procedure governing quasi-judicial bodies inconsistent herewith are hereby disapproved.
SEC. 12. Effectivity. - This rule shall take effect on January 1, 2013 followingits publication in two newspapers of general circulation not later thanSeptember 15, 2012. It shall also apply to existing cases.