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Charlie L.

Loquez LLB-1

MEMORANDUM
TO: FROM: DATE: September 22, 2012 RE: Judicial Affidavit Rule, A.M. No. 12-8-8-SC

ISSUE Whether or not Judicial Affidavit Rule, A.M. No. 12-8-8-SC violates the due process of law.

BRIEF ANSWER No, the Judicial Affidavit Rule, A.M. No. 12-8-8-SC does not violate the due process of law. It is clear and unequivocal that the Rule pertains to only making the legal system practically more efficient in the light of seeking truth and justice prevails. There was no way in the rule that procedures are abridged to warrant the violation. Conclusively, it is more of enhanced modification to make the procedures more fitted in the call of time.

FACTS In order to expedite court proceedings, the Supreme Court (SC) has finally decided to do away with old-school litigation by crafting the Judicial Affidavit Rule (A.M. 12-8-8-SC). Effective January 1, 2013, all direct examinations should be in the form of a judicial affidavit. Judicial affidavits are sworn statements containing the witness' testimony in question-and-answer form. They are usually used in place of the traditional direct testimony to expedite the presentation of evidence. 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 The rule will apply to all actions, proceedings and incidents requiring the presentation of evidence in appellate and lower courts, as well as in quasi-judicial bodies. It will apply to criminal cases under three circumstances: when the maximum
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penalty does not exceed six years, the accused agrees to the use of judicial affidavit irrespective of the penalty involved and in the civil aspects of criminal actions regardless of penalty.

DISCUSSION In construing the non-violation of the due process of law by the Judicial Affidavit Rule, it is beneficial to well define the formers ambit and scope. Verily, to what would be the scope of due process of law lies the boundaries as to settle whether its been vitiated in the foretasted Rule. Cited in the case of George F. Salonga and Solid Intertain Corporation vs. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 111478, the Court made it clear that the Constitution mandates "(n)o person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law . . . ." The "essence of due process is to be found in the reasonable opportunity to be heard and submit any evidence one may have in support of one's defense. 'To be heard' does not mean only verbal arguments in court; one may be heard also through pleadings. Where opportunity to be heard, either through oral arguments or pleadings, is accorded, there is no denial of procedural due process." Moreover, as long as the parties are given the opportunity to be heard before judgment is rendered; the demands of due process are sufficiently met (Umali vs. Guingona, Jr., 305 SCRA 533). The constitution, which guarantees due process of law, invested both parties with the fundamental right to be notified and heard in accordance with the established rules of procedure before judgment could be validly rendered Azurin vs. Quitoriano, G.R. No. L-1065). In the case at instant, there was no clear depravation of this right of the witnesses. It was only that the direct examination of the witnesses has been removed in the fulfillment of another equally valued duty of the Court which is the speedy trial and rendition of justice. Where the fact reveals that direct examination of a witness usually takes several hearing dates to complete because it is usually long and tedious; this makes the trial process cumbersome not only to the witness who is discouraged by the pressure and tension of answering questions on the spot, but also to the court who has to listen to the witness and rule at the motions and objections of opposing counsels, at the same time. It follows that this paramount innovation to the legal system is not contravening to the cardinal provision of our Bill of Rights. Stated otherwise, it is more beneficial since the faster the cases are resolved, the more people will believe that the judiciary can deliver an efficient and speedy administration of justice. After all, the potency of the due process clause has still to depend on judicial refinement, to allow for the crystallization
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of its abstract ideals into a set of standards, from which a deliberate determination can be had whether the provision bears operative effect following a given set of fact (Romualdez vs. Commission on Elections, G.R. No. 167011). Seeing the rationale behind the nuisance, it can be traced back that whatever the legal proceeding may be, as long as it is in furtherance of the general public good, which regards and preserves the principles of liberty and justice, as such will remain valid and fair in the view of fair square due process of law (Hurtado vs. California, 110 U. S., 516; 28 Law. ed., 232; Roowan vs. State 30 Wis., 129).

CONCLUSION In the laid principle above, it can be as translucently clear that the Constitution per se does not give a clear distinction to whether what manner how due process of law should be levied and practiced. This therefore gives leeway to Courts or any quasijudicial bodies to interpret the provision liberally as long as for the greater welfare of the public. Practically, the Judicial Affidavit Rule does not violate the principle of due process of law.

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