Is a child qualified to be a witness?

The most important task of the State in the successful prosecution of the accused is his credible and competent identification as the perpetrator of the crime.

The witness being a child cannot be the sole reason for disqualification. The dismissiveness with which the testimonies of child witnesses were treated in the past has long been erased. Under the Rule on Examination of a Child Witness (A.M. No. 004-07-SC 15 December 2000), every child is now presumed qualified to be a witness. To rebut this presumption, the burden of proof lies on the party challenging the child's competency. Only when substantial doubt exists regarding the ability of the child to perceive, remember, communicate, distinguish truth from falsehood, or appreciate the duty to tell the truth in court will the court, motu proprio or on motion of a party, conduct a competency examination of a child.[1]

[1] People v. Hermosa, G.R. No. 131805, September 07, 2001

Popular Posts