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Rule 118 Pre-Trial

Purpose of pre-trial

1. To simplify the issues of the case
2. To shape up the testimonies and documents to be presented at trial
3. To generally clear and organize the desk of the parties for the trial

Section 1. Pre-Trial; mandatory in criminal cases

Courts in which pre-trial is mandatory
In all criminal cases, pre-trial is mandatory in the following courts:
a. Sandiganbayan
b. Regional Trial Court,
c. Metropolitan Trial Court, Municipal Trial Court in Cities, Municipal Trial Court, Municipal
Circuit Trial Court

Matters to be considered during pre-trial
a. Plea bargaining
b. Stipulation of facts
c. Marking for identification of evidence of the parties
d. Waiver of objections to admissibility of evidence
e. Modification of the order of trial if the accused admits the charge but interposes a
lawful defense
f. And such matters as will promote a fair and expeditious trial of the criminal and civil
aspects of the case

Plea Bargaining is the process whereby the accused, the offended party and the prosecution
work out a mutually satisfactory disposition of the case subject to court approval.
Example: Defendant pleading guilty to a lesser offense or to only one or some of the
counts of a multi count indictment in return for a lighter sentence

Plea bargaining is to be encouraged (Speedy Trail Act of 1998) except on cases of violation of
the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act (Sec. 23 RA 9165) regardless of the imposable penalty
shall NOT be allowed to avail of the provision on plea bargaining

When pre-trial shall be held
Pre-trial shall be held after arraignment and within 30 days from the date the court
acquires jurisdiction over the person of the accused, unless a shorter period is provided for in
special laws or circulars of the Supreme Court

Section 2 Pre- Trial Agreement
All agreements or admissions made or entered into during the pre-trial conference shall be
a. reduced in writing, and
b. signed by the accused and counsel
Note: The agreements covering the matters referred to in section 1 of this
Rule shall be approved by the court.
Effect of non-compliance on above mentioned requisites, such admission cannot be used
against the accused (A.M. No. 03-1-09-SC, July 13,2004)

Asking questions during pre-trial
During the pre-trial, the judge shall be the one to ask the questions on issues raised therein and
all questions must be directed to him to avoid hostilities between the parties(A.M. No. 03-1-09-

Section 3. Non- Appearance at pre-trial conference
Where counsel for the accused or the prosecutor does not appear at the pre-trial conference
and does not offer an acceptable excuse for his lack of cooperation, the pre-trial justice or
judge may impose proper sanctions or penalties in the form of reprimand, fine or

Section 4. Pre-trial Order

Within 10 days after the termination of the pre-trial, the trial judge shall issue a Pre-Trial
Oder setting forth the actions taken during the pre-trial conference, the facts stipulated, the
admissions made, the evidence marked, the number of witnesses to be presented and the
schedule of the trial.

1. Bind the parties
2. Limit the trial to matters not disposed of, and
3. Control the course of the action during the trial, unless modified by the court to prevent
manifest injustice.

Note: Where a plea of not guilty is entered, the accused shall have at least 15 days to prepare
for trial which shall commence within 30 days from receipt of the pre-trial order (Sec. 6, SC
Circular No. 38-98)