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Volume 44 (December 2013)





Is Justice Lost in the Translation? Court Interpreting in the Philippines​

Isabel Pefianco Martin


In the Philippines, legal proceedings have been conducted and continue to be carried out predominantly in English, a language that is not accessible to many Filipinos, especially in its form as a legal register. The Philippine judicial system has always been known to be anti-poor. Its weaknesses, which involve more than language issues, are further reinforced by the continued dominance of a language that makes justice elusive to the needy. Recognizing that English may represent a language barrier in the court rooms, and in its desire to expedite the handling of cases by eliminating translations and interpretations, the Supreme Court directed trial courts in Bulacan to conduct proceedings in Filipino, the national language. This move, which is known as the 2007 Bulacan Experiment, may be considered to have failed in that only one trial court persisted in the practice of delivering justice in Filipino, a language known to its stakeholders. All other trial courts continue to conduct hearings in English and thus, rely heavily on translations and interpretations. This paper looks into the practice of court interpreting in the Philippines. In particular, the paper hopes to describe and analyze the practice of court interpreting practices, as well as identify the challenges Filipino interpreters face in the courtroom. In the end, I hope to draw implications for a more appropriate language policy for legal proceedings in the Philippines.


Language and Rape Myths in the South: A Feminist Critical Discourse Analysis

Venus Papilota-Diaz​


This essay adopts a Feminist Critical Discourse Analytic approach to the discourse of rape trials as it attempts to locate the relationship between power and gender in courtroom interrogations of witnesses. Seventy four (74) transcripts of stenographic notes of seven (7) selected resolved rape cases serve as texts for analysis. Results show that features of discourse such as repetition, reformulation, agency, and presuppositions in questions function as discursive practices/ strategies of lawyers and judges to exercise discursive control over witnesses. These discursive practices are packaged with gendered ideological frames or rape myths (e.g., tenacious resistance is required, normal conduct of a reasonable person) that turn claims of violence to sexual consent. The rape myths persist despite the efforts of the Supreme Court in correcting them, and claims of their existence are evidenced through the interdisciplinary lens of language and gender studies where workings of power are revealed, negotiated, and sustained.



The Interrogator and the Interrogated: The Questioning Process in Philippine Courtroom Discourse

Marilu Rañosa-Madrunio


Courtroom interaction in judicial settings differs from ordinary conversational discourse in that it is based on institutional modes of talk. As such, it is the lawyer that controls the topic and decides who can talk and when the question and answer exchange may commence and end. This paper investigates the questioning process in Philippine courtrooms, specifically the typology and structure of the lawyers‟ questions and the turn-taking system between the interrogator and the interrogated that show how power is enacted and legitimated in the discourse genre of direct and cross-examinations. Selected court proceedings served as corpus of the study. Most of the materials were sourced from RTC Branch 80 in Malolos City in the Philippine province of Bulacan, which is classified as a Special Court for Drug Cases. The court was included in a pilot project conducted by the Committee on Linguistic Concerns of the Supreme Court of the Philippines in 2008 which directed the use of Filipino in courtroom proceedings.


The Medium of Instruction for K1-Grade3 in the Private Schools in Cebu City: Revelations of Language Preference, Usage, Exposure, and Views of Students, School, Administrators and Parents in Relation to L1

Charity T. Turano and Mary Ann P. Malimas


This study determined the medium of instruction employed by the selected private schools in Cebu City; identified the reasons for the preferred medium of instruction; noted what language the students consider as their first language (L1); and verified if the medium of instruction used by the schools matches the L1 of the students. The study was conducted in the (1) University of San Carlos (USC)-South Campus (2) University of San Carlos- Montessory Academy (3) Sacred Heart- Hijas (4) Sacred Heart School – Ateneo de Cebu and (5) Philippine Christian Gospel School. The participants were four (4) school administrators; thirty six (36) teachers; Three hundred seventy six (376) from all levels (K1-Gr.3); and two hundred and sixty (260) parents. Results revealed that English is the most preferred medium of instruction by students and their parents, the faculty and administrators of the schools. Secondly, the reasons for preferring English are: the established status of English as a language spoken by many countries of the globe in terms of business transactions and other international communications and perception and observations that fluency in the language means better job offers...




ISSN 0048-3796