Practice Relating to Rule 100. Fair Trial Guarantees
Section G. Examination of witnesses
The Philippine Army Soldier’s Handbook on Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (2006) provides:
While not in combat:
8. Inform the troops that a child taken in custody by government forces in an area of armed conflict should be informed of his/her constitutional rights and shall be treated humanely.
Some of [these] basic rights are “the right to remain silent”, “the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty”, “the right to be notified of the charge,” “right to counsel”, “right to presence of parents or guardian”, and the “right to confront and cross examine witnesses.”
[emphasis in original]
The Philippines’ Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure (2000), in the rule dealing with the rights of the accused at trial, states:
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall be entitled to the following rights:
(d) To testify as a witness in his own behalf but subject to cross-examination on matters covered by direct examination. His silence shall not in any manner prejudice him.
(f) To confront and cross-examine the witnesses against him at the trial. Either party may utilize as part of its evidence the testimony of a witness who is deceased, out of or can not with due diligence be found in the Philippines, unavailable, or otherwise unable to testify, given in another case or proceeding, judicial or administrative, involving the same parties and subject matter, the adverse party having the opportunity to cross-examine him.
(g) To have compulsory process issued to secure the attendance of witnesses and production of other evidence in his behalf.
The Philippines’ Rule on Juveniles in Conflict with the Law (2002) states:
Sec. 26. Duty of the Family Court to Protect the Rights of the Juvenile. – In all criminal proceedings in the Family Court, the judge shall ensure the protection of the following rights of the juvenile in conflict with the law:
e) To testify as a witness in his own behalf and subject to cross-examination only on matters covered by direct examination, provided that the Rule on the Examination of a Child Witness shall be observed whenever convenient and practicable.
The juvenile shall not be compelled to be a witness against himself and his silence shall not in any manner prejudice him;
f) To confront and cross-examine the witnesses against him;
g) To have compulsory process issued to secure the attendance of witnesses and production of other evidence in his behalf.
In its judgment in the Valencia case in 1991, the Supreme Court of the Philippines stated:
Procedural due process demands that [a] respondent lawyer should be given an opportunity to cross-examine the witnesses against him. He enjoys the legal presumption that he is innocent of the charges against him until the contrary is proved.
In its judgment in the Hernandez case
in 1996, the Supreme Court of the Philippines stated: “It is true that the rights of an accused during trial are given paramount importance in our laws on criminal procedure. Among the fundamental rights of the accused is the right to confront and cross-examine the witnesses against him.”
In its judgment in the Genosa case in 2000, the Supreme Court of the Philippines stated:
The prosecution has likewise the right to a fair trial, which includes the opportunity to cross-examine the defense witnesses and to refute the expert opinion given. Thus, consistent with the principle of due process, a partial reopening of the case is apropos, so as to allow the defense the opportunity to present expert evidence consistent with our foregoing disquisition, as well as the prosecution the opportunity to cross examine and refute the same.
In its judgment in the Monje case in 2002, the Supreme Court of the Philippines stated:
It bears stressing that the cross-examination of a witness is an absolute right, not a mere privilege, of the party against whom he is called. With regard to the accused, it is a right guaranteed by the fundamental law as part of due process. Article III, Sec. 14, par. (2), of the 1987 Constitution specifically mandates that “the accused shall enjoy the right to meet the witnesses face to face,” and Rule 115, Sec. 1, par. (f), of the 2000 Rules of Criminal Procedure enjoins that in all criminal prosecutions the accused shall be entitled to confront and cross-examine the witnesses against him at the trial. Cross-examination serves as a safeguard to combat unreliable testimony, providing means for discrediting a witness’ testimony, and is in the nature of an attack on the truth and accuracy of his testimony. The purpose of cross-examination, however, is not limited to bringing out a falsehood, since it is also a leading and searching inquiry of the witness for further disclosure touching the particular matters detailed by him in his direct examination, and it serves to sift, modify, or explain what has been said, in order to develop new or old facts in a view favorable to the cross-examiner. The object of cross-examination therefore is to weaken or disprove the case of one’s adversary, and break down his testimony in chief, test the recollection, veracity, accuracy, honesty and bias or prejudice of the witness, his source of information, his motives, interest and memory, and exhibit the improbabilities of his testimony.
We discussed at length in Seneris
the effects of the absence or the incomplete cross-examination of a witness on the admissibility in evidence of his testimony on direct examination. The basic rule is that the testimony of a witness given on direct examination should be stricken off the record where there was no adequate opportunity for cross-examination. Of course, there are notable modifications to the basic rule which make its application essentially on a case-to-case basis. Thus, where a party had the opportunity to cross-examine a witness but failed to avail himself of it, he necessarily forfeits his right to cross-examine and the testimony given by the witness on direct examination will be allowed to remain on record. But when the cross-examination is not or cannot be done or completed due to causes attributable to the party offering the witness, or to the witness himself, the uncompleted testimony is thereby rendered incompetent and inadmissible in evidence. The direct testimony of a witness who dies before the conclusion of the cross-examination can be stricken only insofar as not covered by the cross-examination, and the absence of a witness is not enough to warrant striking of his testimony for failure to appear for further cross-examination where the witness has already been sufficiently cross-examined
, which is not true in the present case, or that the matter on which further cross-examination is sought is not in controversy.
[emphasis in original]