Case Brief: Lumanog v People; Fortuna v People

LENIDO LUMANOG and AUGUSTO SANTOS

vs.

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES;

CESAR FORTUNA

vs.

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES;

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES

vs.

CESAR FORTUNA, ET AL.

FACTS:

These cases were consolidated. The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Court of Appeals convicting Lumanog, Santos, Fortuna and De Jesus of the crime of murder for the death of Col. Rolando Abadilla. Lumanog and Santos separately filed their motions for reconsideration seeking the reversal of their conviction. They assailed the weight and credence accorded to the identification of the accused by the lone eyewitness presented by the prosecution, security guard Freddie Alejo.

Fortuna submitted an Affidavit executed by a certain Orencio Jurado, Jr. who claimed to be one of the police officers initially assigned to investigate the case. Fortuna contended that said belated statement would certainly cast doubt on the procedures undertaken by the police authorities in the apprehension of the likely perpetrators.

ISSUE:

Whether or not introduction of additional evidence after the trial is valid to justify new trial

HELD:

No. Introduction of additional evidence after the trial is not valid to justify new trial.

Evidently, Fortuna seeks the introduction of additional evidence to support the defense argument that there was no positive identification of Abadilla’s killers. To justify a new trial or setting aside of the judgment of conviction on the basis of such evidence, it must be shown that the evidence was “newly discovered” pursuant to Section 2, Rule 121 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, as amended. Evidence, to be considered newly discovered, must be one that could not, by the exercise of due diligence, have been discovered before the trial in the court below.

Movant failed to show that the defense exerted efforts during the trial to secure testimonies from police officers like Jurado, or other persons involved in the investigation, who questioned or objected to the apprehension of the accused in this case. Hence, the belatedly executed affidavit of Jurado does not qualify as newly discovered evidence that will justify re-opening of the trial and/or vacating the judgment. In any case, we have ruled that whatever flaw that may have initially attended the out-of-court identification of the accused, the same was cured when all the accused-appellants were positively identified by the prosecution eyewitness during the trial.

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