I am an OFW who is scheduled to return to work abroad sometime this year. While staying here in our country, I filed a criminal case against my neighbor for serious physical injuries. I was told that the court proceedings in my case may take several months. I am worried now because I may have to leave the country for my work abroad before I can get to testify in court. Because of this, I would like to know if my mother can represent me for my criminal complaint and testify on my behalf since I already told her everything about the incident. Can she just relay to the court the things that I will testify about during my absence?
We hope for your advice. Thank you!
In the event that you will be out of the country for your work, you can authorize your mother to represent you in the criminal complaint you filed by executing a power of attorney so that your mother may be legally authorized to act on your behalf in your criminal complaint. A power of attorney is a legal instrument by virtue of which authority is given to a person to act in the place of another as that person’s attorney-in-fact (Philippine Law Dictionary, 3rd edition, p. 719). By executing a power of attorney, you appoint your mother as your agent and you confer upon her a legally binding authorization to represent you for some specific act, which in this case is to represent you as the private complainant in the criminal complaint you filed.
However, while your mother may represent you in your criminal complaint, this does not mean that she can testify on your behalf for matters that you have a personal knowledge of. It is important to realize that your mother is not competent to testify on matters involving details coming from your personal knowledge and experiences in relation to your criminal complaint. Rule 130 of the Rules of Court provides that:
“Section 36. Testimony generally confined to personal knowledge; hearsay excluded. – A witness can testify only to those facts which he knows of his personal knowledge; that is, which are derived from his own perception, except as otherwise provided in these rules.”
Considering the above cited law, while your mother may testify on matters involving her personal knowledge connected to your case, she cannot testify on matters that were merely relayed to her by you or any other person. She may not take the witness stand to testify on your behalf on matters over which only you have personal knowledge. It is important that the testimonies given in court are first-hand knowledge of the person testifying and not just information related by another person. Such kind of testimony is generally inadmissible into evidence and is categorized as mere hearsay which will not be allowed in court.
Therefore, while you may authorize your mother to represent you in your case and have her sign and/or receive documents for you and even settle and/or compromise the civil aspect of the case on your behalf, she still cannot testify in your stead on matters pertaining to your personal knowledge and experiences.
Again, we find it necessary to mention that this opinion is solely based on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. The opinion may vary when the facts are changed or elaborated.
We hope that we were able to enlighten you on the matter.
Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org