the Provisions of Republic Act No. 8493, Entitled "An Act to Ensure a
Trial of All Criminal Cases Before the Sandiganbayan, Regional
Court, Metropolitan Trial Court, Municipal Trial Court in Cities,
Trial Court and Municipal Circuit Trial Court, Appropriating Funds
Purpose of Circular. - This Circular is promulgated for
of implementing the provisions of Republic Act No. 8493, otherwise
as the "Speedy Trial Act of 1998", as directed in Section 15
SEC. 2. Time Limit
for Arraignment and Pre-Trial. - The arraignment and the pre-trial
if the accused pleads not guilty to the crime charged, shall be held
thirty (30) days from the date the court acquires jurisdiction over the
person of the accused. The period of the pendency of a motion to
quash, or for a bill of particulars, or other causes justifying
of arraignment shall be excluded.
SEC. 3. Mandatory
Pre-Trial in Criminal Cases. - In all criminal cases cognizable by
the Sandiganbayan, Regional Trial Court, Metropolitan Trial
Municipal Trial Court in Cities, Municipal Trial Court and Municipal
Trial Court, the court shall, after arraignment, order a pre-trial
to consider the following:
for identification of evidence of the parties;
of objections to admissibility of evidence; and
matters as will promote a fair and expeditious trial of the criminal
of the case.
If the accused has pleaded
not guilty to the crime charged, he may state whether he interposes a
or affirmative defense. A negative defense shall require the
to prove the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt, while an
defense may modify the order of trial and require the accused to prove
such defense by clear and convincing evidence.
SEC. 4. Pre-Trial
Agreement. - All agreements or admissions made or entered into
the pre-trial conference shall be reduced to writing and signed by the
accused and counsel, otherwise the same shall not be used against the
The agreements in relation to matters referred to in Section 3 hereof
subject to the approval of the court: Provided, That the
on the plea of the accused should be to a lesser offense necessarily
in the offense charged.
SEC. 5. Non-appearance
at Pre-Trial Conference. - Where counsel for the accused or the
does not appear at the pre-trial conference and does not offer an
excuse for his lack of cooperation, the court may impose proper
SEC. 6. Pre-Trial
Order. - After the pre-trial conference, the court shall issue an
reciting the actions taken, the facts stipulated, and the evidence
Such order shall bind the parties, limit the trial to matters not
of and control the course of action during the trial, unless modified
the court to prevent manifest injustice.
a plea of not guilty is entered, the accused shall have at least
(15) days to prepare for trial which shall commence within thirty (30)
days from receipt of the pre-trial order.
SEC. 7. Extended
Time Limit. - Notwithstanding the provisions of the preceding
2 and 6 for the first twelve-calendar-month period following its
the time limit with respect to the period from arraignment to trial
by said provision shall be one hundred eighty (180) days. For the
second twelve-month period, the time limit shall be one hundred twenty
(120) days, and for the third twelve-month period, the time limit shall
be eighty (80) days.
SEC. 8. Time Limit
for Trial. - In criminal cases involving persons charged with a
except those subject to the Rule on Summary Procedure, or where the
prescribed by law does not exceed six (6) months imprisonment, or a
of one thousand pesos (P1,000.00) or both, irrespective of other
penalties, the court shall, after consultation with the public
and the counsel for the accused, set the case for continuous trial on a
weekly or other short-term trial calendar at the earliest possible time
so as to ensure speedy trial. In no case shall the entire trial
exceed one hundred eighty (180) days from the first day of trial,
as otherwise authorized by the Court Administrator pursuant to Section
2, Rule 30 of the Rules of Court.
SEC. 9. Exclusions.
- The following periods of delay shall be excluded in
time within which trial must commence:
of delay resulting from other proceedings concerning the accused,
but not limited to the following:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
resulting from an examination of the physical and mental
from proceedings with respect to other criminal charges against
from extraordinary remedies against interlocutory orders;
from pre-trial proceedings: Provided, that the delay does not
thirty (30) days;
from orders on inhibition or proceedings relating to change of
of cases or transfer from other courts;
from a finding of the existence of a valid prejudicial question;
attributable to any period, not to exceed thirty (30) days, during
which any proceeding concerning the accused is actually under
of delay resulting from the absence or unavailability of an essential
this subparagraph, an essential witness shall be considered absent when
his whereabouts are unknown or his whereabouts cannot be determined by
due diligence. An essential witness shall be considered
whenever his whereabouts are known but his presence for trial cannot be
obtained by due diligence.
of delay resulting from the fact that the accused is mentally
physically unable to stand trial.
information is dismissed upon motion of the prosecution and thereafter
a charge is
filed against the accused for the same offense, any period of delay
the date the
charge was dismissed to the date the time limitation would commence to
run as to
the subsequent charge had there been previous charge.
period of delay when the accused is joined for trial with a co-accused
whom the court has not acquired jurisdiction, or as to whom the time
trial has not run
and no motion for separate trial has been granted.
of delay resulting from a continuance granted by any court motu
on motion of either the accused or his counsel or the prosecution, if
such continuance on the basis of his findings set forth in the order
the ends of justice
served by taking such action outweigh the best interest of the public
the accused in
a speedy trial.
SEC. 10. Factors
for Granting Continuance. - The following factors, among others,
be considered by a court in determining whether to grant a continuance
under subparagraph (f) of Section 9 hereof:
or not the failure to grant a continuance in the proceeding would be
a continuation of such proceeding impossible, or result in a
of justice; and
or not the case taken as a whole is so novel, unusual and complex, due
number of accused or the nature of the prosecution or otherwise, that
to expect adequate preparation within the periods of time established
subparagraph (f) of Section 9 hereof shall be granted because of
of the court's calendar, or lack of diligent preparation or failure to
obtain available witnesses on the part of the public prosecutor.
SEC. 11. Time Limit
Following on Order for New Trial. - If the accused is to be tried
pursuant to an order of a court for a new trial, the trial shall
within thirty (30) days from notice of that order, except that the
retrying the case may extend such period but not to exceed one hundred
eighty (180) days from notice of said order for a new trial if
of witnesses or other factors make trial within thirty (30) days
SEC. 12. Public
Attorney's Duties Where Accused is Imprisoned. - If the public
assigned to defend a person charged with a crime knows that the latter
is preventively detained, either because he is charged with a bailable
crime and has no means to post bail, or is charged with a non-bailable
crime, or is serving a term of imprisonment in any penal
attorney shall promptly undertake to obtain the presence of the
or cause a notice to be served on the person having custody of the
such person to so advise the prisoner of his right to demand trial.
of that notice, the person having custody of the prisoner shall
the prisoner of the charge and of his right to demand trial. If
anytime thereafter the
prisoner informs his custodian that he demands such trial, the latter
cause notice to
that effect to be sent promptly to the public attorney.
of such notice, the public attorney shall promptly seek to obtain the
of the prisoner for trial.
person having custody of the prisoner receives from the public attorney
properly supported request for the availability of the prisoner for
of the trial,
the prisoner shall be made available accordingly.
SEC. 13. Sanctions.
- In any case in which private counsel for the accused, the
attorney or the prosecutor:
allows the case to be set for trial without disclosing the fact that a
witness would be unavailable for trial;
a motion solely for the purpose of delay which he knows is totally
a statement for the purpose of obtaining continuance which he knows to
and which is material to the granting of a continuance; or
willfully fails to proceed to trial without justification consistent
hereof, the court may punish any such counsel, attorney or prosecutor,
case of a counsel privately retained in connection with the defense of
accused, by imposing a fine not exceeding twenty thousand pesos
on any appointed counsel de oficio, public attorney or public
a fine not exceeding five thousand pesos (P5,000.00); and
any defense counsel or public prosecutor the right to practice
the court considering the case for a period not exceeding thirty (30)
punish provided for by this section shall be without prejudice to any
criminal action or any other sanction authorized under the Rules of
SEC. 14. Remedy Where
Accused is not Brought to Trial Within the Time Limit. - If
accused is not brought to trial within the time limit required by
Sections 2 and 6 hereof, as extended by Section 7, the information may
be dismissed on motion of the accused on the ground of denial of his
to speedy trial. The accused shall have the burden of proving
motion but the prosecution shall have the burden of going forward with
the evidence in connection with the exclusion of time under Section 9
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
to dismiss under this section.
SEC. 15. Republic
Act No. 8493 Not a Bar to Provision on Speedy Trial in the
- No provision of Republic Act No. 8493 shall be
as a bar to any charge of denial of speedy trial as provided by Article
III, Section 14(2), of the 1987 Constitution.
SEC. 16. Effectivity.
- This Circular shall be published in two (2)
newspapers of general
circulation and shall take effect on September 15, 1998.
August 11, 1998.