The Supreme Court (SC) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) have come up yesterday with a proposal to revise the rules of court to resolve the problems of case congestion.
In a press conference, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said she had a closed-door meeting with Justice Roberto Abad, chair of the SC sub-committee, where they agreed to a proposal “to combine the adversarial and inquisitorial system” in the criminal justice procedures.”
The Adversarial system of the Americans is premised on the existence of the Jurist system which the Philippines don’t have.
“In adopting the adversarial system, we have also forgotten to adopt the jurist system,” she added.
In the Jurist system, the judge is just an arbiter to make sure that only admittable and competent evidence are being presented. The judgment will be handed over to the jurors, composed of ordinary men and women of the country.
The proposal was after the submission of evidences and after the judge has went over them, there will be two hearings: the preliminary hearing, where the parties will agree on factual issues; and adjudication hearing, where the judge will directly ask questions to the parties.
“But the lawyers will also be given the chance to ask questions. But the judge will be able to control the proceedings and would be able to get answers directly from the witness,” she explained.
The SC, for its part, sought the help of the DOJ to elevate the standard of the rules of court from probable cause to prima facie.
“Probable cause is just a low standard,” De Lima said.
Prima Facie refers to a lawsuit or criminal prosecution in which the evidence before trial is sufficient to prove the case unless there is substantial contradictory evidence presented at trial (dictionary.law.com).
“According to the Supreme Justice Roberto Abad, ‘if the standard will be restored to prima facie or even higher, it will achieve the increase of the conviction rate,’” de Lima said.
There will also be a reorientation of judges, prosecutors and investigators. This will also require the Philippine National Police and the National Bureau of Investigation to properly complete the evidences during the preliminary investigation stage.
The meeting was attended by Justice Secretary De Lima, accompanied by Senior Deputy State Pros. Richard Fadullion and Senior Asst. State Pros. Aileen Gutierrez, SC Justice Abad, Atty. Jose Midas Marquez and others.