SC set to implement rule on affidavit to speed up court cases

LAOAG CITY, Nov. 27 (PIA) — Beginning January next year, all courts and quasi-judicial bodies will now be required to observe the submission of affidavits in lieu of oral direct testimonies aimed at speedy resolution of cases.

The new guideline, known as the judicial affidavit rule, is one of the judicial reforms that Supreme Court Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno approved last September to address court congestion and delays arising from the mounting cases lodged with the courts.

The rule was presented during the three-day convention of trial judges around the country at the Fort Ilocandia Resort here from November 22-24.

Deputy Court Administrator Raul Villanueva, of the Supreme Court, said the judicial affidavit rule was pilot-tested at the Quezon City Regional Trial Court last April.

The new rule requires parties to file with the court and serve on the adverse party, not later than five days before the pre-trial or preliminary conference the judicial affidavits of their witnesses. The affidavit shall take the place of direct testimonies.

The judicial affidavit shall also have a sworn attestation at the end by the lawyer who conducted or supervised the examination of the witness. The lawyer will attest that he recorded the question and answer and that nobody coached the witness regarding the latter’s answers.

Villanueva said the rule would apply to all actions, proceedings and incidents requiring the reception of evidence in all courts and quasi-judicial bodies.

He said parties in a litigation are required to submit the judicial affidavits not later than five days before pretrial or a preliminary conference or prior to scheduled hearings of motions and hearings.

The affidavit contains the name of the witness, the name of the lawyer who took the evidence and statement that the witness is answering questions and that he is conscious that he is under oath and may be held criminally liable for false testimony or perjury.

Villanueva warned lawyers that without the affidavit, a judge can deny the presentation of a witness or his testimony.

β€œThe court will not also accept a judicial affidavit that was filed out of time or failed to comply with the required form,” he said. (Ma. Cristina C. Arzadon, PIA 1 Ilocos Norte)