SECTION 31. Prosecution of criminal cases. – The primary duty of a public prosecutor is not to convict but to see that justice is done.
Suppressing facts, concealing of, tampering with or destroying evidence, coaching a witness, or offering false testimony is cause for disciplinary action.
The obligations of a public prosecutor shall also be imposed upon lawyers in the private practice who are authorized to prosecute under the direct supervision and control of the public prosecutor. (2023 Code of Professional Responsibility and Accountability or CPRA)
Under this section, the primary duty of a public prosecutor is not to convict but to see that justice is done.
Thus, the following may be a cause for disciplinary action:
1) Suppressing facts,
2) Concealing of, tampering with or destroying evidence,
3) Coaching a witness, or
4) Offering false testimony.
Private prosecutors – refer to “lawyers in the private sector who are authorized to prosecute under the direct supervision and control of the public prosecutor.” (See: CPRA, Paragraph 3, Section 31, Canon II)
Under this section, private prosecutors are under the same obligation as a public prosecutor. Thus, a private prosecutor’s primary duty is to see that justice is done, and not necessarily to convict. They should also refrain from committing any of the above-mentioned grounds for disciplinary action as the same applies to them.