Crimes against Personal Liberty and Security

Crimes Against Liberty

 

KIDNAPPING AND SERIOUS ILLEGAL DETENTION

 

The elements are:

 

1. That a person has been deprived of his liberty.

2. That the offender be a private individual.

3. That the detention be unlawful.

 

The circumstances that make illegal detention serious are:

 

1. If the kidnapping or detention shall have lasted more than 3 days.

2. It shall have been committed simulating public authority.

3. If any serious physical injuries shall have been inflicted upon the person kidnapped or detained; of if threats to kill him shall have been made.

4. If the person kidnapped or detained shall be a minor, except when the accused is any of the parents, female or a public officer.

 

The penalty shall be death where the kidnapping or detention was committed for the purpose of ransom from the victim or any other person, even if none of the circumstances above-mentioned were present in the commission of the offense.

 

When the victim is killed or dies as a consequence of the detention or is raped, or is subject to torture or dehumanizing acts, the maximum penalty shall be imposed. (Art. 267, as amended by RA 7659) (Q15, 1997 Bar)

 

If the offended party was compelled to work in the house of the offender as a servant and during the time of her stay she had the freedom of the house and could leave it at time to visit her mother, coercion is committed and not illegal detention as there is no restraint of her liberty. (US v. Herrera, 3 Phil. 515)

 

As long as the element of restraint is present, there is kidnapping and this need not be permanent. (US v. Peralta, 8 Phil. 200)  There is no kidnapping where the detention of the victim was merely incidental to the purpose of the accused in killing him which is not to detain him for any length of time or obtain ransom for his release. (People v. Ong, 62 SCRA 174)  Some cases held that if the purpose of the accused in kidnapping the victim was to deprive him of his liberty and although he was subsequently killed, the crime would be kidnapping only. (People v. Suarez, 82 Phil. 484)

 

Where the woman was carried by the accused to a distance of 3 meters from the place where she was grabbed, but left her because of her screams, the crime committed is not frustrated serious illegal detention but grave coercion. (People v. Marasigan, 55 OG 8297)

 

Where the victim was actually restrained or deprived of her freedom by the accused to force her to produce her sister, the common-law-wife of the accused, the crime is not grave coercion but serious illegal detention.

 

SLIGHT ILLEGAL DETENTION

 

Any private individual who shall commit the crimes described in the next preceding article without the attendance of any of the circumstances enumerated therein. (Art. 268)

 

The penalty is lowered:

 

1. The offended party is voluntarily released within 3 days.

2. Without attaining the purpose, and

3. Before the institution of the criminal action.

 

UNLAWFUL ARREST

 

Any person who, in any case other than those authorized by law, or without reasonable ground therefor, shall arrest or detain another for the purpose of delivering him to the proper authorities. (Art. 269)

 

If the person arrested is not delivered to the authorities, the private individual making the arrest incurs criminal liability for illegal detention. (Art. 267-268)  This felony may also be committed by public officers.

 

KIDNAPPING AND FAILURE TO RETURN A MINOR

 

Any person who, being entrusted with the custody of a minor person, shall deliberately fail to restore the latter to his parents or guardians. (Art. 270)

 

The refusal must be deliberate and persistent to oblige the parents or the guardian to seek the aid of the courts to obtain the custody of the minor. (Cuello Calon, II, p. 701)

 

SLAVERY

 

Anyone who shall purchase, sell, kidnap or detain a human being for the purpose of enslaving him.  If the crime be committed for the purpose of assigning the offended party to some immoral traffic, the penalty shall be imposed in its maximum period. (Art. 272)

 

Obliging a person to render service to one to whom he is indebted without remuneration and to remain there as long as the debt is not paid constitutes slavery. (Reyes v. Alojando, 16 Phil. 499)

 

Crimes Against Security

 

ABANDONMENT OF PERSON IN DANGER

 

Acts Punished:

 

1. The failure to render assistance to any person found wounded or dying in an uninhabited place.

2. The failure to help or render assistance to one’s own victim.

3. Having found an abandoned child under 7 years of age, the failure to deliver said child to the authorities or to his family, or to take him to a safe place. (Art. 275)

 

The second act will not apply if the injury is inflicted by the offender intentionally.

 

QUALIFIED TRESPASS TO DWELLING

 

Any private person who shall enter the dwelling of another against the latter’s will. (Art. 280)

 

Dwelling is the place that a person inhabits.  It includes the dependencies which have interior communication with the house.  It is not necessary that it be the permanent dwelling of a person.  So, the room in a hotel may be considered a dwelling. (Cuello Calon, II, p. 359)  Against the will means that the entrance is either expressly or impliedly prohibited or the prohibition is presumed. (People v. Peralta, 42 Phil. 69)  When the lady of the house told the accused to wait in the porch and thereafter closed the door behind her as she entered the drawing room, there is an express prohibition by her action, to enter the dwelling. (Gabriel v. CA, 6730, Oct. 15, 1954)

 

Trespass may be committed by the owner of the house.  And if the owner of the house, regardless of purpose, enters the room without the knowledge and consent and against the will of the occupant, he violates the privacy of abode of the latter which is an act that constitutes trespass to dwelling. (People v. Armecin, 22436, Sept. 26, 1961)

 

If the offender enters with permission but refuses to leave despite the demands of the owner, Groizard believes that trespass is committed. (V, p. 768)

 

Cases in which said article does not apply:

 

1. When the purpose of the entrance is to prevent serious harm to himself, the occupant, or third persons.

2. When the purpose of the entrance is to render some service to humanity or justice.

3. Anyone who shall enter cafes, taverns, inns and other public houses, while they are open. (Art. 280, 3rd par.)

 

GRAVE THREATS

 

Any person who shall threaten another with the infliction upon the person, honor, or property of the latter, his family of any wrong amounting to a crime. (Art. 282)

 

Threat is a declaration of an intention or determination to injure another by the commission upon his person, honor or property or upon that of his family of some wrong which may or may not amount to a crime.  When the wrong threatened to be inflicted amounts to a crime, the case fall under Article 282; if it does not amount to a crime, the case falls under Article 283 and is punished as light threats.

 

The threat must refer to a future wrong and is committed by acts or words of such efficacy to inspire terror or fear upon another.  It is not essential that the person threatened be present. (Dec. Sup. Ct. of Spain, Oct. 29, 1885)  If the threats be made in writing, it may consists in symbols as an illustration of a skull with crossed bones.

 

If the main objective was to threaten to kill the offended party, the accompanying physical assault upon the person of the offended party, is a mere incident and forms a part of the grave threats. (People v. Deveraturada, 14 CA Reports 774)

 

If physical violence or moral pressure is exerted upon a person in a manner that is determined and constant until the unlawful purpose is realized, coercion is committed and not threats, for the latter crime refers to an intimidation that is either conditional or future.  Thus, if a person is compelled to sign a document without intent to gain at the point of a gun, the crime committed is coercion and not threats.

 

As distinguished from robbery, in both cases, there is intimidation against person. The purpose which is to obtain money is likewise identical. The differences are:

 

Threats Robbery
1. Intimidation is conditional or future. 1. Intimidation is actual and immediate.
2. Intimidation is thru an intermediary. 2. Intimidation is personal.
3. Threats may refer to the person, honor or property. 3. Refers to personal property.

 

LIGHT THREATS

 

A threat to commit a wrong not constituting a crime, made in the manner of demanding money or imposing any other condition, even though not unlawful. (Art. 283)

 

Blackmail is punished under this article if money is demanded under threats of exposure.  Also, a threat to file disbarnment proceeding by a client to his lawyer unless given P 1,000 by the latter is light threats. (Batolawon v. Leorente, 8 SCRA 787)

 

OTHER LIGHT THREATS

 

Acts Punished:

 

1. Threatening another with a weapon or drawing such weapons during a quarrel, except in lawful self-defense.

2. Orally threatening another in the heat of anger with some harm constituting a crime and who by subsequent acts shows that he did not persist in the idea involved in the threat, provided the circumstances do not fall within the provision of Article 282.

3. Orally threatening another with any harm not constituting a felony. (Art. 285)

 

GRAVE COERCION

 

Any person who, without authority of law, shall, by means of violence, prevent another from doing something not prohibited by law, or compel him to do something against his will, whether it be right or wrong. (Art. 286)

 

Violence is not exclusively physical force but also includes moral pressure or intimidation. (Cuello Calon, II, p. 752)  The violence, however, must be immediate, actual or imminent. (People v. Romero, 44 OG  4424)  The essence of coercion is an attack on individual liberty. (VI, Viada, 55th Ed., p. 80)  The purpose of the law is to enforce the rule of law. (People v. Mangosing, 1104, April 29, 1948)

 

If the act of carrying away the woman is not with lewd designs, it is coercion; otherwise, it is forcible abduction.  Where the accused employed intimidation and violence upon the offended party to take her for a ride without molesting her, coercion is committed. (People v. Cruz, 50 OG 3720)

 

Ejecting forcibly a person from his possession of a parcel of land, even though the offender be the owner, is grave coercion, for no person may take the law in his own hands. (People v. Nebreja, 76 Phil. 119)  If the suspect was forcibly brought to the police headquarters to make him admit the crime and tortured to make him confess to such crime, but later released because the agents failed to draw such confession, the crime is grave coercion because of the violence employed to compel such confession without the offended party being confined in jail. (US v. Cusi, 10 Phil. 143)

 

The elements of grave coercion are:

 

1. That a person be prevented by another from doing something not prohibited by law, or compelled to do something against his will, be it right or wrong.

2. That the prevention or compulsion be effected by violence or such display of it as would produce intimidation and control of the will of the offended party.

3. That the person who restrained the will and liberty of another had no right to do so, or in other words, that the restraint was not made under authority of law or the exercise of a lawful right. (Timoner v. People, 125 SCRA 830)

 

In coercion, the basis of criminal liability is the employment of violence or serious intimidation approximating violence, without authority of law, to prevent a person from doing something not prohibited by law or to compel him to do something against his will, whether it be right or wrong; while in illegal detention, the basis of liability is the actual restraint or locking up of a person, thereby depriving him of his liberty without authority of law. (Q3, 1999 Bar)

 

LIGHT COERCION

 

Any person who, by means of violence, shall seize anything belonging to his debtor for the purpose of applying the same to the payment of the debt.  Any other coercions or unjust vexations shall be punished by arresto menor or a fine, or both. (Art. 287)

 

Unjust vexation is any act committed without violence but which unjustifiably annoys or vexes an innocent person.  It should include any human conduct which, although not productive of some physical or material harm would, however, unjustifiably annoy or vex an innocent person. (People v. Cayason, 04787, April 10, 1965)  Kissing a former fiancee in a fit of anger or where security guard was rude in carrying out the inspection of packages leaving the compound by refusing to return the handbag of complainant after it had already been inspected, and by shouting at her (People v. Culobong, 23089, Feb. 24, 1960), have been held to constitute unjust vexation.

 

The acts of embracing, kissing of a woman arising either out of passion or other motive and the touching of her breast as a mere incident of the embrace without lewd design constitutes merely unjust vexation. (People v. Ignacio, 5119, Sept. 30, 1950)  Otherwise, it is acts of lasciviousness. (Q1, 1994 Bar) In P.V. Maravilla, 47646, Sept. 19, 1988, and accused was convicted of unjust vexation for the act of grabbing the left breast of the complainant against her will. In another case, Kwan v. CA, 113006, Nov. 23, 2000, the act of abruptly cutting off the electric, water pipe and telephone lines of a business establishment causing interruptions during peak hours was held as unjust vexation.

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