Appellant accused was arrested in a buy-bust operation and was charged of Violation of the Selling Dangerous Drugs. Appellant accused was also found to be and illegal alien staying in the Philippines and the car that he was using was reportedly stolen. The RTC ruled in favor of the prosecution and found the accused guilty and sentenced to suffer the Death Penalty. Hence the case was elevated to the SC for automatic review.
Initially, appellant, in this appeal, was represented by Atty. Eldorado Lim, who filed a brief for the defense. On 04 October 2002, Fernandez, Pacheco & Dizon Law Offices filed its entry of appearance as being the new counsel for appellant only to be substituted later by Guzman, Tanedo, & Acain Law Offices. On 10 June 2003, the Court noted and granted the request of the law firm to be furnished with copies of all motions, orders, resolutions and judgment in connection with the case. On 01 September 2003, appellant filed a motion to remand the case for new trial. In his motion, appellant would attempt to overturn his conviction or, at the very least, to be given a chance for a new trial, citing Section 14, Rule 121, of the Rules on Criminal Procedure, because of newly discovered evidence, i.e., his passport which would establish his true identity as Huang Xiao Wei, a Chinese National, and as having entered the Philippines as a tourist. Invoking his constitutional right to an effective counsel, appellant chides his former counsel for having failed to secure and present his travel documents.
Whether the passport of the accused may be considered newly discovered evidence which justifies his motion for a new trial?
No, The requisites of newly discovered evidence in order to justify a new trial are that – (a) the evidence is discovered after trial; (b) such evidence could not have been discovered and produced at the trial even with the exercise of reasonable diligence; and (c) the evidence is material, not merely cumulative, corroborative, or impeaching, and of such weight that, if admitted, would likely change the judgment.
Not one of the requisites mentioned is attendant. Appellant’s passport could have easily been presented and produced during the trial. Then, too, the presentation of appellant’s passport, would hardly be material to the outcome of the case. Appellant was positively identified by the prosecution witnesses as being the perpetrator of the crime. Most importantly, appellant even identified himself as Li Ka Kim at the trial and not as Huang Xiao Wei, that bolsters the conclusion that appellant deliberately concealed his true identity in the nefarious enterprise.