RULES OF COURT CRIMINAL PROCEDURE
RULE 118 Pre-Trial
Section 1. Pre-trial; mandatory in criminal cases.
In all criminal cases cognizable by the Sandiganbayan, Regional Trial Court, Metropolitan Trial Court, Municipal Trial Court in Cities, Municipal Trial Court and Municipal Circuit Trial Court, the court shall after arraignment and within thirty (30) days from the date the court acquires jurisdiction over the person of the accused, unless a shorter period is provided for in special laws or circulars of the Supreme Court, order a pre-trial conference to consider the following:
(a) plea bargaining;
(b) stipulation of facts;
(c) marking for identification of evidence of the parties;
(d) waiver of objections to admissibility of evidence;
(e) modification of the order of trial if the accused admits the charge but interposes a lawful defense; and
(f) such other matters as will promote a fair and expeditious trial of the criminal and civil aspects of the case. (secs. 2 and 3, cir. 38-98)
Section 2. Pre-trial agreement.
All agreements or admissions made or entered during the pre-trial conference shall be reduced in writing and signed by the accused and counsel, otherwise, they cannot be used against the accused. The agreements covering the matters referred to in section 1 of this Rule shall be approved by the court. (sec. 4, cir. 38-98)
Section 3. Non-appearance at pre-trial conference.
If the counsel for the accused or the prosecutor does not appear at the pre-trial conference and does not offer an acceptable excuse for his lack of cooperation, the court may impose proper sanctions or penalties. (se. 5, cir. 38-98)
Section 4. Pre-trial order.
After the pre-trial conference, the court shall issue an order reciting the actions taken, the facts stipulated, and evidence marked. Such order shall bind the parties, limit the trial to matters not disposed of, and control the course of the action during the trial, unless modified by the court to prevent manifest injustice.