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UNIVERSITY OF CEBU – BANILAD

CEBU CITY, PHILIPPINES


COLLEGE OF LAW

LAW ON EVIDENCE
COURT VISIT
REACTION PAPER

Submitted to:
Atty. Joel M. Famador
Law on Evidence Professor

Submitted by:
Mantos, John Dexter B.
JD 3
On our court visit to the Regional Trial Courts in the Quimunda Building, I was able
to observe criminal proceedings in which evidences were being offered during the trial.
From the onset, I noticed from most of the cases that majority of the evidence presented
were testimonial in nature. In one case, the arresting officer was called to the stand to
testify on matters regarding the circumstances surrounding the arrest of the accused. The
judge in this instance inquired as to the purpose of why the officer’s testimony was being
offered into evidence, after that the officer was made to identify the judicial affidavit he
executed. I observed that the judicial affidavit was used in lieu of a direct examination,
which I believe is pursuant to the new Judicial Affidavit Rule. As for the cross-examination,
the defense counsel merely gave few questions to the officer without any clear purpose
as to what he was trying to establish. Perhaps this was because of the known unspoken
rule that lawyers prefer to not give police officers a hard time as much as practicable in
order to stay on their good side, I can only guess. After the short cross-examination, the
prosecutor did not do a re-direct examination and the case was scheduled for another
hearing date for presentation of a different witness.

In another case, which involved violation of the Dangerous Drugs Act, specifically
the possession of prohibited drugs, the defense presented their evidence. The defense
counsel presented the accused himself for questioning of the circumstances of his arrest
and prior facts and events thereto, establishing the veracity of facts contained in the
judicial affidavit submitted thereto. As I have learned in class and pursuant to the Rules,
the language to be used during court proceedings should either be English or Filipino
(Tagalog), but in Cebu, Bisaya is the prevalent language. During the cross-examination,
the prosecutor would question the accused in English then the interpreter would translate
it to Bisaya for the accused, and the latter’s answer would again be translated to English.
Understandably this is done for the purpose of the stenographic notes. However, the
process seemed very inefficient and tedious since, most of the time, the questions
propounded by the defense counsel or the prosecutor would not be translated properly by
the interpreter and the real intent of the question would then not be conveyed correctly to
the witness. From my observation, the whole situation really took a considerable amount
of the courts time, but I feel that this process may be improved in order to promote the
expediency of cases.
During the cross-examination, the prosecutor was noticeably using eloquent words
in questioning the accused. From what I observed, it would seem that the prosecutor
sought to take advantage of the accused’s lesser educational status, perhaps to confuse
him into making a mistake or an admission. Luckily, the counsel for the accused was very
vigilant in defending him, making objections to the prosecutor’s questions that were
improperly propounded. Generally, the objections made by the defense were grounded
on the premise that the questions were either being misleading or self-incriminatory.
Although this was the situation, the counsels were still able to maintain their
professionalism towards each other and towards the court, and they would at time give
jokes to make the situation lighter and not create unnecessary tension between the
parties.

Actual court proceedings are quite different than that of the court proceedings in
theory that we learn in school. Although the proceedings still follow the necessary
procedures, real life case trials are slightly less formal and are a bit more conversational.
This to me is a positive thing, since the law is already serious enough. If the courts can
find ways to alleviate some of the anxiety created by judicial processes, the better, so long
as the situation would also allow it. That being said, there is still more to learn, and I believe
the best teacher would be when we become lawyers in actual practice in court.