The Disadvantages of JAR in Criminal Cases
By Judge Eliza B. Yu, LLM, DCL
Excerpts from the Letters dated September 5, 2012, January 8, 2013, and January 14, 2014 to the Office of the Chief Justice
This pertains to the Judicial Affidavit Rule (JAR) in Criminal cases published by the media to take effect on January 1, 2013. Please take note of these incomplete commentaries of its disadvantages:
1. If it will apply to victimless crimes or other crimes involving pauper complainants, poor accused and detention prisoners, this rule will unduly burden the public prosecutor and their witnesses as well as the public attorney and their witnesses because it would require much time from the parties in the litigation to make it and it will consume much of the government meager resources in making judicial affidavits similar to expensive depositions. For example, a public prosecutor or a public attorney has one (1) secretary and one (1) computer for fifty (50) litigants in one (1) month, how can they accommodate them well to follow this rule in their first meeting? Imagine the risks attached in going to jail to take the judicial affidavits of the detention prisoners? In the National Capital Region, a first level court has a calendared case of twenty (20) to fifty (50) criminal cases per hearing day, this translates to more than twenty (20) to fifty (50) judicial affidavits to be made by the government's prosecutors and attorneys, this shows the high level of difficulty in achieving the purpose of this rule;
2. The poor complainants and the poor accused will be compelled to spend money for the judicial affidavit In this situation; they can be exploited to give money for the making of the judicial affidavit when they already have executed their affidavits prior to the arraignment of the cases; 3. It will encourage perjury among the parties because the judicial affidavit is a couched one that can be used as a tool to suppress the truth in criminal proceedings; 4. The judicial affidavit can be altered as a court’s record; 5. The submission of judicial affidavit encourages delay of criminal cases considering the time and monetary constraints; 6. This rule is crude because its application is generalized; 7. The judicial affidavit may speed up the resolution of criminal cases in the first level courts yet the effect of this is that more cases are filed for appeal at the Regional Trial Court, Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court. Therefore, the implementation of this rule should include a “stopper" of appeals similar in concept to a flood stopper to prevent the deluge of appeals as if there is a flood of criminal cases in the Supreme Court, which in the long run will be adverse and unfavorable to the Office of the Chief Justice because of the very long delay of resolution during the appeal of the criminal cases in the Supreme Court. Ultimately the Office of the Chief Justice will be blamed for this procedural trap that is similar in nature to a placebo pill by the public. Failure of this rule will depict the Supreme Court in bad light so the need to be cautious; 8. The proliferation of the scripted direct testimony in JAR in Criminal Cases because the answers to the questions in the judicial affidavit are usually suggested ones unlike the affidavits adopted in Summary Procedure that are generally free-flowing and unrehearsed. There is nothing in JAR that will discourage anyone from coaching the witness executing the judicial affidavit which is different from affidavit submitted before the prosecutors' offices or before the courts because it is already the full blown substitute for direct examination. There is either doubt in the contents of the judicial affidavit of the complainant that entitles the accused with an acquittal despite the fact that the charge is truthful or there is assurance of conviction of the accused because of the well-made contents of the judicial affidavit of the complainant despite the fact that the...
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