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SC stops JAR for entire 2014

(Supreme Court of the Philippines}

(Supreme Court of the Philippines}

MANILA (Mabuhay) — The Supreme Court (SC) has stopped for another year the modified public prosecutors’ compliance with the Judicial Affidavit Rule (JAR).

In an en banc resolution signed by Clerk of Court Atty. Enriqueta E. Vidal, the SC resolved “to extend for another year, ending on 31 December 2014, [the prosecutors’ compliance with the provisions of the JAR] insofar as the prosecution of criminal cases is concerned.”

The SC’s latest resolution was in response to the recommendation of the chairman of the Chief Justice Committee to address case congestion and delays.

The JAR has been pushed to address case congestion and delays plague most courts in cities, given the huge volume of cases filed each year and the slow and cumbersome adversarial system that the Judiciary has in place.

The SC cited that about 40 percent of criminal cases are dismissed annually owing to the fact that complainants simply give up coming to court after repeated postponements.

It stressed that few foreign businessmen make long-term investments in the Philippines because its courts are unable to provide ample and speedy protection to their investments, keeping its people poor.

Made to reduce the time needed for completing the testimonies of witnesses in cases under litigation, the SC on Feb. 21, 2012 approved for piloting by trial courts in Quezon City the compulsory use of the JAR in place of the direct testimonies of witnesses.

It was reported that such piloting had quickly resulted in reducing by about two-thirds the time used for presenting the testimonies of witnesses, thus speeding up the hearing and adjudication of cases.

The SC in January 2013 modified some provisions in the implementation of the new rule requiring the submission of judicial affidavits in lieu of direct testimony of witnesses in criminal cases.

“In such cases, the attending public prosecutor shall, when presenting witnesses, require him or her to affirm the truth of what the sworn statement contains and ask the witness only those additional direct examination questions that have not been amply covered by the sworn statement,” the SC earlier ruled.

The full compliance with the provisions of the new rules is expected to be observed beginning Jan. 1, 2014.

However, the SC extended its modified compliance.

“The Court enjoins the National Prosecution Service of the Department of Justice and the Prosecutors’ League of the Philippines to work closely with the Supreme Court sub-committee on the Revision of the Rules of Criminal Procedure, headed by Associate Justice Diosdado M. Peralta, in developing comprehensive and truly meaningful changes that will minimize the problems of delay in the criminal justice system,” the Dec. 10, 2013 SC resolution said.(MNS)

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