Consti 032017 - Provisions.docx - A.M NO 004-07-SC RULE ON...

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A.M. NO. 004-07-SC November 21, 2000 RULE ON EXAMINATION OF A CHILD WITNESS Section 1. Applicability of the Rule . - Unless otherwise provided, this Rule shall govern the examination of child witnesses who are victims of crime, accused of a crime, and witnesses to crime. It shall apply in all criminal proceedings and non-criminal proceedings involving child witnesses. Section 2. Objectives . - The objectives of this Rule are to create and maintain an environment that will allow children to give reliable and complete evidence, minimize trauma to children, encourage children to testify in legal proceedings, and facilitate the ascertainment of truth. Section 3. Construction of the Rule . - This Rule shall be liberally construed to uphold the best interests of the child and to promote maximum accommodation of child witnesses without prejudice to the constitutional rights of the accused. Section 4. Definitions . - (a) A "child witness" is any person who at the time of giving testimony is below the age of eighteen (18) years. In child abuse cases, a child includes one over eighteen (18) years but is found by the court as unable to fully take care of himself or protect himself from abuse, neglect, cruelty, exploitation, or discrimination because of a physical or mental disability or condition. (b) "Child abuse" means physical, psychological, or sexual abuse, and criminal neglect as defined in Republic Act No. 7610 and other related laws. (c) "Facilitator" means a person appointed by the court to pose questions to a child. (d) "Record regarding a child" or "record" means any photograph, videotape, audiotape, film, handwriting, typewriting, printing, electronic recording, computer data or printout, or other memorialization, including any court document, pleading, or any copy or reproduction of any of the foregoing, that contains the name, description, address, school, or any other personal identifying information about a child or his family and that is produced or maintained by a public agency, private agency, or individual. (e) A "guardian ad litem" is a person appointed by the court where the case is pending for a child who is a victim of, accused of, or a witness to a crime to protect the best interests of the said child. (f) A "support person" is a person chosen by the child to accompany him to testify at or attend a judicial proceeding or deposition to provide emotional support for him. (g) "Best interests of the child" means the totality of the circumstances and conditions as are most congenial to the survival, protection, and feelings of security of the child and most encouraging to his physical, psychological, and emotional development. It also means the least detrimental available alternative for safeguarding the growth and development of the child. (h) "Developmental level" refers to the specific growth phase in which most individuals are expected to behave and function in relation to the advancement of their physical, socio-emotional, cognitive, and moral abilities.
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