DOJ to hold Forum on Judicial Affidavit Rule

12 November 2012

The Department of Justice ("DOJ") will be holding a Forum on the Judicial Affidavit Rule on 15 November 2012, 9:ooam-n:3oam, at the Leyte-Samar Function Rooms of the Sofltel Philippine Plaza in Pasay City.

The Judicial Affidavit Rule is a reform measure recently promulgated by the Supreme Court and will be implemented in all courts starting 01 January 2013. It aims to significantly reduce the amount of time spent in litigation by mandating the submission of written affidavits of witnesses in lieu of their being subjected to direct examination on the witness stand.

This new procedure in the conduct of trials addresses the perennial problem of postponements due to unavailability of witnesses or the lack of time to take their testimonies in full due to the large number of cases that need to be heard in one court session. The Judicial Affidavit Rule was previously tested during a pilot run in the courts of Quezon City. It was found that it reduced by about two-thirds the time it usually takes for one party to finish the presentation of witnesses.

As with other innovative reform measures, however, it is imperative for all stakeholders to familiarize themselves with the new rule and thresh out other implementation issues even before it takes effect.

"Trial prosecutors are on the front lines of the criminal litigation process", Secretary Leila M . De Lima said. "They therefore have the duty to ensure that the Supreme Court's reform initiative will be implemented according to its objectives". The Forum on the Judicial Affidavit Rule provides an opportunity for more than fifty (50) trial prosecutors from
prosecution offices in Metro Manila to raise their concerns and discuss other potential implementation issues with Supreme Court Associate Justice Roberto Abad, who spearheaded the crafting of the rule.

Aside from the Judicial Affidavit Rule, a preview of other justice reform initiatives currently being tackled will be given by Deputy Court Administrator Raul B. Villanueva, the Supreme Court's designated resource person for judicial reforms, and Assistant Secretary Geronimo L. Sy, the Chair of the DOJ's Criminal Code Committee.

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