Case Brief: Briones v People of the Philippines

GR NO. 156009    June 5, 2009

BRIONES

v.

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES

Doctrine:

  1. An error or mistake committed by a counsel in the course of judicial proceedings is not a ground for new trial.
  2. Conditions for new trial to be granted on the ground of newly discovered evidence

Facts:

A criminal information was filed against Briones for crime of robbery. Briones allegedly took the service firearm of S/G Gual while the latter approached the group where the former is involved in a mauling. S/G Gual positively identified Briones. RTC found Briones guilty of the crime of simple theft (Art. 309 Par. 3 of RPC) after giving weight to prosecutions positive testimony as against the defenses of denial and alibi.

On his appeal, he raised the issue of self-defense. The Court of Appeals found Briones guilty of robbery under Article 293 in relation to par.5 of Article 294 of RPC and not of theft.

Issue: 

Whether or not a new trial may be granted on the ground of newly discovered evidence.

Held:

No. The for new trial to be granted on the ground of newly discovered evidence, the concurrence of the following conditions must obtain:

(a) the evidence must have been discovered after trial;

 (b) the evidence could not have been discovered at the trial even with the exercise of reasonable diligence;

(c) the evidence is material, not merely cumulative, corroborative, or impeaching; and

(d) the evidence must affect the merits of the case and produce a different result if admitted.

In this case, although the firearm surfaced after the trial, the other conditions were not established.

Evidence to be newly discovered, must be one that could not, by exercise of due diligence, have been discovered by the court below. Briones failed to show he had exerted reasonable diligence to locate the firearm.

The allegation the he told his brothers and sisters to search for the firearm, which yielded in negative result is purely self-serving. He now admits having taking the firearm and immediately disposed of it at a nearby house, adjacent to the place of the incident.

Hence, even before the case went to court, he already knew the location of the subject firearm, but did not do anything he did not even declare this knowledge at the trial below.

In petitions for new trial in a criminal proceeding where certain evidence was not presented, the defendant, in order to secure a new trial, must satisfy the court that; he has a good defense, and that the acquittal would in all probability follow the introduction of the omitted evidence. Briones change of defense from denial to alibi to self-defense or in defense of a relative will not change the outcome.

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