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PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v.

JULIO HERIDA
GR No. 127158
March 05, 2001
Procedural Due Process
FACTS:
On May 14, 1995, the residents of Purok 4-B, Luzon Avenue, Barangay Culiat,
Quezon City celebrated their fiesta. The incident started at about 6:30PM when several
gunshots were heard at Nonito Jamila, Jr.s house. Appellant Herida and Nonito claim that
they were talking when suddenly, Delara arrived, brandishing a revolver and shouting that he
was going to kill appellant. He did not see Delara fire his gun, but they heard five (5)
gunshots. Nonito then pulled Herida inside the house while Delara ran away as he was
pursued by Edmund Tracilla and Edmunds brother-in-law Rene.
Thereafter, prosecution witness Tomas Baniquid peeped from his window and saw
three armed men ganging up on a person already prostate on the ground. He recognized the
three attackers as Edmund, Rene and appellant Julio Herida, alias Jun Tagay. After the shirt
that covered the face of the victim was removed, he recognized it to be Herlito Delara. Delara
was brought to a hospital, but eventually died as a result of the wounds he sustained.
Appellant claims that he had no quarrel with Delara at the time of the incident, but
Delara was angry at him because of a previous quarrel. Delara had previously hired appellant
to do carpentry work on his house but did not finish the task and had another carpenter do it
but he botched the job. He insists that they had amicably settled before the incident.
ISSUES:
Whether the lower court seriously erred when it denied the accused-appellant with his
constitutional right to due process of law by acting with obvious bias and prejudice during the
trial of the case.
HELD:
NO. Supreme Court affirms the findings of the trial court that murder was committed.
Appellant claims that the trial court judge exhibited bias or prejudice against him due to the
fact that over seventy percent (70%) of the testimonies of the prosecutions material
witnesses were elicited by the judge, while the cross-examination of the defense witnesses
was to a large extent conducted by the judge himself. Because of these, his right to a fair and
impartial trial was violated.
Records show that the trial court did intensively question the witnesses. 43% of the total
questions asked of prosecution eyewitness Tomas Baniquid came from the judge. However,
the judge also intensively questioned witnesses of the defense. When appellant Herida took
the stand, approximately 43% of the questions were asked by the judge.
This intensive questioning, however, is necessary. Judges have as much interest as counsel in
the orderly and expeditious presentation of evidence and have the duty to ask questions that
would elicit the facts on the issues involved, clarify ambiguous remarks by witnesses, and
address the points that are overlooked by counsel.
The judges behavior under this circumstance cannot be considered biased or prejudiced.

Prepared by: Alyssa Mae G. Cayaba