The judicial affidavit shall contain the following:
1. The name, age, residence or business address, and occupation of the witness;
2. The name and address of the lawyer who conducts or supervises the examination of the witness and the place where the examination is being held;
3. A statement that the witness is answering the questions asked of him, fully conscious that he does so under oath, and that he may face criminal liability for false testimony or perjury;
4. Questions asked of the witness and his corresponding answers, consecutively numbered, that:
(i) Show the circumstances under which the witness acquired the facts upon which he testifies;
(ii) Elicit from him those facts which are relevant to the issues that the case presents; and
(iii) Identify the attached documentary and object evidence and establish their authenticity in accordance with the Rules of Court;
5. The signature of the witness over his printed name;
6. A jurat with the signature of the notary public who administers the oath or an officer who is authorized by law to administer the same.
7. Attestation of the lawyer.
What is a jurat?
A jurat, which is different from an “acknowledgment” as defined under the Rules on Notarial Practice, refers to an act in which an individual on a single occasion: (a) appears in person before the notary public and presents an instrument or document; (b) is personally known to the notary public or identified by the notary public through competent evidence of identity as defined by these Rules; (c) signs the instrument or document in the presence of the notary; and (d) takes an oath or affirmation before the notary public as to such instrument or document. (Rule 2, Sec. 6 of the 2004 Rules on Notarial Practice, A.M. No. 02-8-13-SC)
It is important to note the strict requirement that, in the execution of the jurat, the requisite competent evidence of identity must include at least one current identification document issued by an official agency bearing the photograph and signature of the individual.
For purposes of comparison, “acknowledgment” refers to an act in which an individual on a single occasion: (a) appears in person before the notary public and presents an integrally complete instrument or document; (b) is attested to be personally known to the notary public or identified by the notary public through competent evidence of identity as defined by the notarial rules; and (c) represents to the notary public that the signature on the instrument or document was voluntarily affixed by him for the purposes stated in the instrument or document, declares that he has executed the instrument or document as his free and voluntary act and deed, and, if he acts in a particular representative capacity, that he has the authority to sign in that capacity.
What is the sworn attestation of the lawyer?
One of the problems with the Rule is the fact that judges only have limited opportunity to observe the demeanor of the witnesses.
Moreover, even if lawyers briefed the witness, the oral answer given by the witness during direct examination is almost wholly dependent on the witness. This is no longer true under this Rule because the lawyer prepares the judicial affidavit which takes the place of the direct testimony.
Thus, it is now required that the judicial affidavit shall contain a sworn attestation at the end, executed by the lawyer who conducted or supervised the examination of the witness, to the effect that:
1. He faithfully recorded or caused to be recorded the questions he asked and the corresponding answers that the witness gave; and
2. Neither he nor any other person then present or assisting him coached the witness regarding the latter’s answers.
To put teeth to this prohibition, the Rule provides that a false attestation shall subject the lawyer mentioned to disciplinary action, including disbarment. There is no requirement that the lawyer who prepared the judicial affidavit must be the one to present the witness in court.
What language should be used in the affidavit?
A judicial affidavit shall be prepared in the language known to the witness and, if not in English or Filipino, accompanied by a translation in English or Filipino.
Also read and discuss the following:
5. Required contents of a judicial affidavit under the Judicial Affidavit Rule