Part 3: Actual transcript

 Posted By: je froilan m. clerigo
03-Jun-2008

 

(... continued)

ATTY. OPENA TO THE WITNESS:

Q:     And after your son was slumped, what did you do?
A:     I went to my son and carried him to take him to the hospital.
Q:     How many shots did you hear?
A:     Five shots.
Q:     That was prior to helping your son?
A:     Yes, sir.
Q:     And how many times was your son hit?
 
ATTY. VARGAS:
Objection, your honor. It was already answered. Because according to her it was five shots.
 
I don’t get it: the defense objects because it was “already answered.” In the same breath, however, he provides the answer: 5 shots. Why object at all?
 
COURT:
It does not follow that the victim was hit. So, the witness may answer.
WITNESS:
Twice, Two shots hit my son, two shots on the sofa and one shot on the cement.
COURT:
How about the other one?
A:    Doon po sa semento.
 
Again, the diagram could have proved useful here by pointing to where the bullets hit. It wouldn’t also have hurt if more details are elicited so that the testimony is mined the more: Q: Can you describe the gun as you saw it? Please demonstrate the position of the gun and your son when you heard the shots (then make of record how the witness demonstrated the scene).
 
ATTY. OPENA TO WITNESS:
Q:     And who fired these shots?
A:     Noel Lee.
Q:     That Noel Lee that you are referring to, will you please point at him if he is around?
A:     (Witness going down the witness stand and pointing to accused Noel Lee).
Q:     How do you know that it was Noel Lee who shot your son?

 

As earlier noted, we think that there could have been more impact if the identification was made earlier.

Since Noel Lee was already identified here, the examiner could have used either the name or the label “the accused” when referring to Lee.
 
A:     Kitang kita ko po. Magkatapat po kami.
Q:     Will you please describe to us?
A:     Maliwanag po kasi ang ilaw. Maliwanag din po sa labas, may nananahi doon. Nandoon po kaming dalawa ng anak ko nanonood ng television. (Witness sobbing in tears). Napakasakit sa akin. Hindi ko man lang naipagtanggol and anak ko.

 The testimony can be mined more by asking about what the witness was thinking when she saw Noel Lee’s gun pointed at her son, when the son was shot, when she saw him slumped on the sofa. Because it involves state of mind, not to mention her emotions at the time, the testimony would add more action and drama, making the testimony more memorable to the judge.

 
COURT:
She was emotionally upset.
ATTY. OPENA:
I’ll just make it on record that the witness was emotionally upset. May I ask if she can still testify?
x x x                       x x x                               x x x
WITNESS:
Masakit lang po sa loob ko ang pagkawala ng anak ko.
ATTY. OPENA TO WITNESS:
Q:     You saw that the light was bright. Where were those lights coming from?
A:     Maliwanag po sa loob ng bahay namin dahil may fluorescent na bilog. Saka sa labas may nananahi po doon sa alley katapat ng bahay namin. At saka po doon sa kabila, tindahan po tapat po namin, kaya maliwanag ang ilaw.
Q:     After trying to help your son, what happened?
A:     I was able to hold on to my son up to the door. Upon reaching the door, I asked the help of my kumpare.
Q:     Meanwhile, what did the accused do after shooting five times?
A:     He ran to the alley to go home.
Q:     Now you said he ran to an alley towards the direction of their house. Do you know where his house is located?
A:     Yes, sir. 142 M. de Castro Street, Bagong Barrio, Caloocan City.
Q:     How far is that from your residence?
A:     More or less 150 to 200 meters.
Q:     Where did you finally bring your son?
A:     MCU.
Q:     When you say MCU, are you referring to MCU Hospital?
A:     Yes, sir. MCU Hospital. At MCU, life-saving devices were attached to my son. Later, after reaching 11:00, he died.
COURT:
11:00 P.M.?
A:     Yes, ma’am.
Q:     Same day?

A:     Yes, ma’am.

x x x                        x x x                             x x x.”

Not to be callous but there could have been added persuasive impact if the examiner also brought out the emotions in the testimony. This could be the perfect ending for the testimony, and they could be justified because they are the basis for moral damages. “Q: What were you thinking while your son was being revived in the hospital? Q: How did you feel when you received the news that your son is already dead? Q: What were you  feeling during her son’s wake? Q: During the burial? Q: How do you feel about Noel Lee, your son’s killer, as you now sit on that stand?”

As can be seen, it's always a good idea to get hold of the transcript of our examination (particularly on cross-exams!), evaluate what we've done wrong and see what can be done about it next time. Or, if we think we did right, what else can be done to make it better. The key is always to look for ways to learn and improve - and then learn and improve at our next trial date.