RULE 18 - HEARINGS
Section 1. Public Hearings. - Except as permitted by law or by order of the Commission, all hearings shall be public. The Commission or the presiding officer may, however, limit the number of spectators and participants to the extent that safety and good order require. The Commission or presiding officer may also eject or bar the admission of any person who disrupts or threatens to disrupt a public hearing.
Section 2. Venue. - All hearings shall be held in the Commission’s Central Office in Pasig City, unless a different place is designated in the notice.
Section 3. Consolidation. - The Commission, on its own initiative or upon motion by a party, may consolidate cases involving common questions of fact or law, or may conduct joint hearings thereon. However, upon motion of the interested party, a separate hearing may be held on issues peculiar only to the movant.
Section 4. Presiding Officer. - The hearing shall be conducted by the Commission or a presiding officer who shall be the Chair or a Commissioner or a Commission counsel. The presiding officer or the clerk of the Commission may administer oaths and affirmations. The presiding officer shall take full control of the proceedings and shall limit the presentation of evidence to matters relevant to the issues and necessary for a just and speedy disposition of the case. The presiding officer shall be authorized to make all decisions regarding the admission or exclusion of evidence or any other procedural matters which may arise in the course of the hearing.
Section 5. Order of Presentation. - The following order of presentation of evidence shall be followed:
(a) The party initiating the proceeding shall present its evidence by offering the affidavits and supporting documents of its witnesses and such additional evidences as it may wish to present. In consolidated proceedings, all parties initiating the consolidated proceeding shall first present their evidence;
(b) The witnesses shall be cross-examined by the respondent, opposing party or intervenors;
(c) The party initiating the proceeding may, if it deems necessary, ask questions on re-direct examination on matters covered during the cross-examination of its witness and the respondent; the opposing party or intervenors shall thereafter be allowed to conduct re-cross-examination on matters covered by the re-direct examination of the witness;
(d) After presentation of its witnesses, the party initiating the proceeding shall formally offer its exhibits;
(d) The respondent, opposing party or intervenors, as the case may be, shall then present their evidence in the same manner;
(e) Presentation of rebuttal or sur-rebuttal evidence may be allowed subject to the discretion of the Commission.
Section 6. Direct Testimony. - All direct testimony shall be presented in writing, unless otherwise allowed by the Commission or the presiding officer. Written testimony, when properly authenticated by the witness under oath, may be transcribed into the record or admitted as an exhibit. Direct testimony shall be pre-filed at the pre-trial conference, unless the Commission or the presiding officer allows the filing thereof at a later time.
Written testimony shall be prepared in question and answer form, numbering each line of text along the left-hand margin, if possible, and with the pages numbered consecutively; shall contain a statement of the qualifications of the witness; shall contain only matters of personal knowledge to the witness or matters on which the witness is an expert or otherwise competent to testify; shall be signed under oath; and shall be accompanied by any exhibits to which it relates. Such written testimony shall be subject to the same rules of admissibility and cross-examination of the witness as if it were presented orally.
Section 7. Cross-examination. - Cross-examination of the witness presenting such written testimony shall proceed and terminate at the hearing at which it is authenticated by the witness, unless the Commission or presiding officer for good cause shall otherwise direct. In the cross-examination of witnesses, only relevant, pertinent and material questions necessary to enlighten the Commission on the issues shall be allowed.
Section 8. Rebuttal and Sur-rebuttal Testimony. - All rebuttal and sur-rebuttal testimony shall be presented in writing and also in question and answer form, unless otherwise allowed by the Commission or the presiding officer. Written testimony, when properly authenticated by the witness under oath, may be transcribed into the record or admitted as an exhibit. Rebuttal testimony shall be served upon each party and pre-filed at least five (5) days prior to a scheduled hearing for reception of rebuttal and sur-rebuttal evidence, unless a shorter period is allowed by the Commission or presiding officer. Cross-examination of a witness presenting rebuttal or sur-rebuttal testimony shall proceed and terminate at the hearing at which it is authenticated, unless the Commission or presiding officer for good cause shall otherwise direct.
Section 9. Exhibits. - All exhibits shall, to the extent practicable, be marked for identification during the pre-trial conference or prior to commencement of the hearing. Except as allowed by the Commission or the presiding officer, no exhibit shall be marked for identification unless copies have been provided to all parties and to the Commission.
Section 10. Offer of Evidence. - As regards testimonial evidence, the offer must be made before the witness authenticates his or her written testimony. As regards documentary and object evidence, the offer must be made after the presentation of a party’s testimonial evidence.
Section 11. Objections. - When objections are made to the admission of evidence before the Commission, the grounds relied upon shall be stated briefly.
Section 12. Number of Witnesses. - The Commission or presiding officer may limit appropriately the number of witnesses that may be heard upon any issue.
Section 13. Further Evidence. - At any stage of the hearing, the Commission may call for further evidence upon any issue, and require such evidence to be presented by the party or parties concerned. The Commission may, if deemed advisable, authorize any participant to file specific documentary evidence as part of the record within a fixed time, before considering the case submitted for decision. If requested by a party, cross-examination of this material shall be permitted.
Section 14. Memorandum. - Unless waived by the parties with the consent of the Commission or the presiding officer, at the close of the hearing, or at such other time during the proceeding as the Commission shall deem appropriate, the Commission shall fix the time for the filing of memorandums, giving due regard to the nature of the proceeding, the magnitude of the record, and the complexity and importance of the issues involved. The memorandum shall contain:
(a) A concise statement of the case and the issues for resolution; and
(b) Proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law, together with the proof or exhibits relating thereto and the reasons therefor separately stated and discussed.
Section 15. Recording of Hearings. - Hearings shall be recorded through any available means, and a transcript of the hearing shall be a part of the record. Such transcripts shall include a verbatim report of the hearing; nothing shall be omitted therefrom except as is directed on the record by the Commission or the presiding officer; and shall be certified as true and correct by any of the Commission’s stenographers. For purposes of the preparation of the transcript, the Commission may require any of the parties to prepare and submit such transcript based on the official recording of the Commission, subject to verification and certification by the Commission’s stenographer that such transcript submitted faithfully reflects what are contained in the official recording.
Any person may record, with prior leave of the Commission, all or any portion of a hearing by way of camera, video, or voice recorder of any kind, subject to whatever conditions the Commission may impose.
Section 16. Close of Record. - The record in a proceeding shall close after the memorandums, if any, have been filed, or otherwise after the Commission orders the case submitted for decision, and thereafter, there shall not be received in evidence or considered as part of the record any document, letter or other evidence submitted except as provided in the succeeding section.
Section 17. Reopening of Proceedings. - Notwithstanding the provisions of Section 16, any party may file a motion for reopening of the proceedings for the purpose of taking additional evidence at any time after the presentation of evidence has been completed but before promulgation of a decision, order or resolution, if during that period there should occur or arise transactions, events or matters, whether factual or legal resulting in a changed situation of the parties. Copies of such motion shall be served upon all parties or their attorneys of record, and shall set forth clearly the facts claimed to constitute grounds requiring reopening of the proceedings, including material changes of fact or of law alleged to have occurred since the conclusion of the hearing. Within ten (10) days following the service of such motion, or such shorter or longer time as the Commission shall order, any other party to the proceedings may object to the motion.
The Commission may also motu proprio reopen the proceedings for reception of further evidence at any time prior to the issuance of its decision, order, or resolution, after notice to the parties and opportunity to be heard.