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Presented to:


In partial fulfillment of the requirements in


Submitted by:












In our court visit, we were tasked to observe how a trial precedes in a real courtroom
vis--vis the provisions of the Rules of Court.

On September 20, 2017 at 8:30 in the morning in the Regional Trial Court Branch 12, the
trial began with Judge Ronald Tolentino as the presiding judge.

During the course of our court observation, we likewise noted that the rules of court in
criminal procedure interweaves with the 1987 Constitution in order to build a just and
humane society, under the rule of law and a regime of truth, justice, freedom, love,
equality, and peace.

Hence, a discussion of trial stage in criminal procedure would be incomplete without

revisiting the Bill of Rights. Although the rights of the accused were enumerated under
Rule 115, Sec. 1, it is relevant in this paper because it is within the perspective of
protection of the rights of the accused during trial.

Section 1, Article III of 1987 Constitution. No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or
property without due process of law, nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of the

Section 2, Article III of 1987 Constitution. The right of the people to be secure in their persons,
houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures of whatever nature and for
any purpose shall be inviolable, and no search warrant or warrant of arrest shall issue except
upon probable cause to be determined personally by the judge after examination under oath or
affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce, and particularly describing the
place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized.

Section 14 (1), Article III of 1987 Constitution. No person shall be held to answer for a criminal
offense without due process of law.

Section 14 (2), Article III of 1987 Constitution. In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall be
presumed innocent until the contrary is proved, and shall enjoy the right to be heard by himself
and counsel, to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him, to have a
speedy, impartial, and public trial, to meet the witnesses face to face, and to have compulsory
process to secure the attendance of witnesses and the production of evidence in his behalf.
However, after arraignment, trial may proceed notwithstanding the absence of the accused:
Provided, that he has been duly notified and his failure to appear is unjustifiable.

Section 16, Article III of 1987 Constitution. All persons shall have the right to a speedy
disposition of their cases before all judicial, quasi-judicial, or administrative bodies.

Section 17. No person shall be compelled to be a witness against himself.


In sum, the rights of the accused in trial includes:

(i.) Right to be presumed innocent;
(ii.) Right to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation;
(iii.) Right to be heard personally or by counsel;
(iv.) Right to speedy, impartial and public trial;
(v.) Right to confront witness;
(vi.) Right to compulsory process;
(vii) Right to discovery;
(viii) Right against self-incrimination.


Buhat vs. Court of Appeals G.R. No. 119601 December 17, 1996
Castillo vs. Sandiganbayan 328 SCRA 69, 76.
Lumanlaw vs Peralta GR No. 164953 February 13, 2006
People vs Dizon, 120 Phil. 953 (1964).
People vs. Estomaca y Garque G.R. Nos. 117485-86 April 22, 1996
People v. Hernandez G.R. No. 184804 June 18, 2009
People v. Zheng Bai Hui 393 Phil. 68, 135 2000


Order of Trial

The trial shall proceed in the following order:

(a) The prosecution shall present evidence to prove the charge and, in the proper case, the civil
(b) The accused may present evidence to prove his defense and damages, if any, arising, from the
issuance of a provisional remedy in the case.
(c) The prosecution and the defense may, in that order, present rebuttal and sur-rebuttal
evidence unless the court, in furtherance of justice, permits them to present additional evidence
bearing upon the main issue.
(d) Upon admission of evidence of the parties, the case shall be deemed submitted for decision
unless the court directs them to argue orally or to submit written memoranda.
(e) When the accused admits the act or omission charged in the complaint or information but
interposes a lawful defense, the order of trial may be modified.

Right to be heard personally or by counsel; Right to speedy, impartial and public trial

There were 10 docketed cases heard during our court visit. We observed that among 10
cases queued, Judge Tolentino expedited the hearing of criminal cases, specifically
where a custodian from the Philippine Crime Drug Laboratory was present to confirm
drug exhibits. Subsequently, the civil cases were heard.

The Commencement of Trial

The trial commenced with a Court Reporter/ Interpreter reading the case, including the
names of the petitioner and respondent, the case number, and the nature and cause of
the accusation.

CASE # 1

SECTION 7, 14 (1) RULE 110 and SECTION 1 (a) RULE 116

Section 7. Rule 110

Name of the accused.
The complaint or information must state the name and surname of the accused or any
appellation or nickname by which he has been or is known. If his name cannot be ascertained, he
must be described under a fictitious name with a statement that his true name is unknown.
If the true name of the accused is thereafter disclosed by him or appears in some other manner to
the court, such true name shall be inserted in the complaint or information and record.

Section 14. Rule 110

Amendment or substitution.
A complaint or information may be amended, in form or in substance, without leave of court, at
any time before the accused enters his plea. After the plea and during the trial, a formal
amendment may only be made with leave of court and when it can be done without causing
prejudice to the rights of the accused.

Section 1 (a) Rule 116

Arraignment and plea; how made.
(a) The accused must be arraigned before the court where the complaint or information was
filed or assigned for trial. The arraignment shall be made in open court by the judge or clerk by
furnishing the accused with a copy of the complaint or information, reading the same in the
language or dialect known to him, and asking him whether he pleads guilty or not guilty. The
prosecution may call at the trial witnesses other than those named in the complaint or

Case # 1
There are three (3) accused in this case.

At the intermission, the prosecution requested to summarily correct the name of the
accused. The prosecution was allowed by the court by correcting the name of "Omy"
Desierto contained in the information to Romel Santillan Desierto.

The accused, Romel Santillan Desierto, upon his arraign in the visayan dialect which he
can understand, pleaded not guilty to the crime charged in the amended information.

The case was set for a pre-trial conference on November 27 at 8:30 in the morning as
previously scheduled.

Both prosecution and defense were directed to submit a brief quoting the list of
stipulation, list of documentary exhibits and list of witnesses prior to the scheduled
pre-trial conference.

Right to due process and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation

Under Sec 7, Rule 110, the complaint must state the name and surname of the accused
or any appellation or nickname by which he has been or is known. In this case, the
information submitted to the court contained the name Omy Desierto which is the
nickname of the accused. The correction was done without leave of court, and before
the accused entered his plea. The said correction was a formal amendment that did not
violate any of the rights of the accused.

In the case of Buhat vs Court of Appeals, the Supreme Court held that the amendment
to change the name John Doe to the name of Renato Buhat is only a formal
amendment and one that does not prejudice any of the accused's rights. Such
amendment to insert in the information real name of the accused involves merely a
matter of form as it does not, in any way, deprive any of the accused of a fair
opportunity to present a defense; neither is the nature of the offense charged affected or
altered since the revelation of accused's real name does not change the theory of the
prosecution nor does it introduce any new and material fact.

Thus, the summary correction of the name of the accused to its real name which is
Romel Santillan Desierto was properly done in accordance to Sec 14, Rule 110 of the
Rules of Court.

During arraignment, the accused must be arraigned or made known of the nature of the
offense made in a language or dialect known to him. In People vs. Estomaca y Garque,
the judgment of court was set aside and remanded to the trial court. The Supreme Court
held that the trial judge should ascertain and be totally convinced that, for all intents
and purposes, the plea recorded has all the earmarks of a valid and acceptable
confession upon which an eventual judgment of conviction can stand. And it is its duty
to conduct the requisite searching inquiry in such a way as would indubitably show
that appellant had made not only a clear, definite and unconditional plea, but that he
did so with a well-informed understanding and full realization of the consequences
thereof. It cannot, therefore, hold a life forfeit, no matter how despicable the offender,
when effective protection for his basic rights was denied because of poverty or

Thus, the arraignment of the accused in the visayan language, a dialect that he well-
understands is a protection set by the rules of his right to be informed of the nature and
cause of the accusation against him.

CASE # 2
Right to due process and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; Right to
confront witness; Right to discovery; Right against self-incrimination

The Presentation of Prosecutors Evidence

In lieu of Section 11 of Rule 119, the prosecution first presented her evidence and/ or
witness. The first witness was an exhibit custodian from the Philippine Drug
Laboratory, who, during the direct examination, confirmed the D-735-16 specimen
taken from accused Ibrahim and Taladua last October 20, 2016. The evidence pouch
contained the following:
a. object of sale, weight of .0277 gram
b. B1 object of position (*possession), weight of 0.01287 gram
c. B2 object of position (*possession), weight 0.0438 gram
d. B3 object of position(*possession), weight 0.0591 gram

We observed that the markings in the exhibits B1, B2, B3 were not altered during trial
despite of its clerical errors to keep its authenticity and integrity as evidence.
Scope of Cross-Examination
During cross-examination, we observed that the matters raised by the opposing counsel
did not go beyond the subject matter of the direct examination and matters affecting the
witnesss credibility. The court only allowed inquiry into additional matters as if on
direct examination.

Leading Questions
We also observed that leading questions couldnt be used on direct examination except
as necessary to develop the witnesss testimony. Because ordinarily, the court allows
leading questions on cross-examination; and when a party calls a hostile witness, an
adverse party, or a witness identified with an adverse party. This was observed when
the counsel of the accused threw leading questions to her witness, and Judge Tolentino
immediately interrupted such attempt.
The Control by Court
It is important to take note also that the judges role is not only to control the traffic of
the objection and presentation of witnesses and evidences, but also to control the
conduct in the courtroom. The court should exercise reasonable control over the mode
and order of examining witnesses and presenting evidence so as to make those
procedures effective for determining the truth, and protect witnesses from harassment
or undue embarrassment.

Electronic Court
All throughout the that an electronic court expedites the issuance of the order of court.
Immediately after the hearing, the judge prints a copy of the order and gives it to both

CASE# 3:
SECTION 1, RULE 118 and SECTION 21 (4), RA 9165

Section 1. Rule 118

In all criminal cases cognizable by the Sandiganbayan, Regional Trial Court, Metropolitan Trial
Court, Municipal Trial Court in Cities, Municipal Trial Court and Municipal Circuit Trial
Court, the court shall after arraignment and within thirty (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, order a pre-trial conference to consider the
(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; and
(f) such other matters as will promote a fair and expeditious trial of the criminal and civil aspects
of the case.

Section 21 (4). RA 9165

Custody and Disposition of Confiscated, Seized, and/or Surrendered Dangerous
Drugs, Plant Sources of Dangerous Drugs, Controlled Precursors and Essential
Chemicals, Instruments/Paraphernalia and/or Laboratory Equipment.

After the filing of the criminal case, the Court shall, within seventy-two (72) hours, conduct an
ocular inspection of the confiscated, seized and/or surrendered dangerous drugs, plant sources of
dangerous drugs, and controlled precursors and essential chemicals, including the
instruments/paraphernalia and/or laboratory equipment

Case # 3:
This case involves the violation of RA 9165 or The Comprehensive Dangeous Drugs

The prosecution presented a police officer as witness. The said witness brought with her
the subject items for the drug cases. The prosecution further stated the testimony of the
witness is only for the purpose of ocular inspection, and that the witness will present
the drug items and documents under their custody. The documents were either issued
or received by their office.

During the ocular inspection, the drug items presented in court and shown to the
counsel for the accused. The counsel for the accused manifested that in one drug item,
only the name of one of the accused appeared and not the other accused. Thereafter, the
drug items were returned to the police officer for safekeeping who was then excused
from the witness stand. The presented evidences were marked.

The pre-trial conference together with other criminal cases was set on December 13, at
8:30 am.

A subpoena was issued to the exhibit custodian of Police Station 1 of Sta. Ana to bring
the buy bust money and non-drug item in court during the scheduled pre-trial

Right to compulsory process; Right to discovery

In violation of The Comprehensive Dangerous Drug Act (RA 9165) an inventory and
chain of custody procedure must be followed. The procedure on the chain of custody
should, ideally, be perfect and unbroken. The prosecution must properly identify the
drugs seized and each and every person who came into possession of the drugs should
take the witness stand.

In People vs Hernandez citing People vs Zeng Hua Dian, the non-presentation as

witnesses of other persons such as SPO1 Grafia, the evidence custodian, and PO3
Alamia, the officer on duty, is not a crucial point against the prosecution. The matter of
presentation of witnesses by the prosecution is not for the court to decide. The
prosecution has the discretion as to how to present its case and it has the right to choose
whom it wishes to present as witnesses.

In this case, only one police officer, who was in custody of the drug items, was
presented by the prosecution. Such matter is not detrimental to the prosecution of the

Under Sec 1 (c) , Rule 118, it provides that the marking of evidence of parties must be
made during the pre-trial conference. However, in this case, the marking of the drug
items was made even before the pre-trial conference since it was done in accordance

with the implementing rules of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act which
requires that an ocular inspection is to be made by the court within 72 hours from the
filing of the complaint.

CASE # 4


Section 9. Rule 119

Remedy where accused is not brought to trial within the time limit.
If the accused is not brought to trial within the time limit required by Section 1(g), Rule 116 and
Section 1, as extended by Section 6 of this rule, the information may be dismissed on motion of
the accused on the ground of denial of his right of speedy trial. The accused shall have the burden
of proving the motion but the prosecution shall have the burden of going forward with the
evidence to establish the exclusion of time under section 3 of this rule. The dismissal shall be
subject to the rules on double jeopardy.
Failure of the accused to move for dismissal prior to trial shall constitute a waiver of the right to
dismiss under this section.

Section 21. Rule 114

Forfeiture of bail
When the presence of the accused is required by the court or these Rules, his bondsmen shall be
notified to produce him before the court on a given date and time. If the accused fails to appear in
person as required, his bail shall be declared forfeited and the bondsmen given thirty (30) days
within which to produce their principal and to show cause why no judgment should be rendered
against them for the amount of their bail. Within the said period, the bondsmen must:
produce the body of their principal or give the reason for his non-production; and
explain why the accused did not appear before the court when first required to do so.
Failing in these two requisites, a judgment shall be rendered against the bondsmen, jointly and
severally, for the amount of the bail. The court shall not reduce or otherwise mitigate the liability
of the bondsmen, unless the accused has been surrendered or is acquitted.

Upon the reading of one case, Judge Tolentino mentioned that the accused has not
come to court for the 3rd time since judicial determination of probable cause. It was also
mentioned that the accused in under cash bond and that day was his scheduled
arraignment. Upon the motion of the Judge regarding his bail bond for temporary
liberty, it is now deemed forfeited in favor of the government. The Judge also ordered
that a warrant of arrest be issued against the accused. His arraignment was moved ad
rescheduled to December 13, 2017, at exactly 8:30 in the morning.

Right to be presumed innocent; Right to speedy, impartial and public trial

To properly determine whether the right of the accused to a speedy trial has been
violated, the delay must not be attributable to him. As mentioned in the case of
Lumanlaw vs Peralta, the Supreme Court ruled that arraignment is a vital stage in
criminal proceedings in which the accused is formally informed of the charges against
them.1 A perusal of the provision shows that arraignment is not a mere formality, but
an integral part of due process. Particularly, it implements the constitutional right of the
accused to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him and his
right to speedy trial. It the present case, it must be noted that the accused failed to come
to court for the 3rd time since the judicial determination of probable case. However,
following Section 9 Rule 119 of the Rules of Court, the reason thereof must be free from
any capricious delay on the part of the accused. The right to a speedy disposition, like
the right to a speedy trial, is deemed violated only when the proceeding is attended by
vexatious, capricious and oppressive delays. 2It can likewise be invoked when
unjustified postponements of the trial are asked for and secured, or when without cause
or justifiable motive a long period of time is allowed to elapse without the party having
his case tried.

Thus, it is just but right for the Judge to reschedule arraignment and forfeit his cash
bond in favor of the government.

As to the forfeiture of bail, the decision of the Judge is based on Sec 21, Rule 114 , Rules
of Court. In the present case, it is undisputed that the accused failed to appear in person
before the court and that the trial court declared his bail forfeited. An order of forfeiture
of the bail bond is conditional and interlocutory, there being something more to be done
such as the production of the accused within 30 days. This process is also called
confiscation of bond. In People v. Dizon,3 the court held that an order of forfeiture is
interlocutory and merely requires appellant to show cause why judgment should not be
rendered against it for the amount of the bond. Such order is different from a judgment
on the bond which is issued if the accused was not produced within the 30-day period.
The judgment on the bond is the one that ultimately determines the liability of the
surety, and when it becomes final, execution may issue at once.4

Lumanlaw vs Peralta, GR No. 164953, February 13, 2006.
Castillo vs. Sandiganbayan, 328 SCRA 69, 76.
People vs Dizon, 120 Phil. 953 (1964).


In conclusion, our observation in the Regional Trial Court Branch 12 was fruitful for we
were able to grasp the concept of criminal procedure in the real setting. We saw how
the counsels present their cases and how the judge weighs the scales of justice.
Procedure is not an easy thing for it needs to be in line with the rules set by law. The
judge was keen to the proper adherence to the said rules. He guided the flow of the
proceedings to ensure the proper administration of justice. Our day in court served as
an eye opener for us because we were able to see a procedure which was once part of
our imagination.