Serious illegal detention

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By Kelvin Lee

Question of Law

Thursday, May 8, 2014


BY NOW you would have heard about a movie actor who was supposedly the victim of “serious illegal detention” by a model and her friends. This was because the movie actor supposedly tried to rape the model, whom I hear was quite a beauty.

This begs the question as to what is serious illegal detention.

Under Article 267 of the Revised Penal Code, Kidnapping and serious illegal detention are heavily punished. The said article provides that the crime is committed when a private individual, not any of the parents of the victim, unlawfully kidnaps or detains another, or in any manner depriving the latter of his liberty, and that any of the following circumstances is present:

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* That the kidnapping or detention lasts for more than 3 days; or

* That it is committed simulating public authority; or

* That any serious physical injuries are inflicted upon the victim or threats to kill him are made; or

* That the victim is a minor, female or a public officer.

The important thing about this particular crime is that the victim must have been “deprived of liberty.” There must be actual confinement or restriction of the movements of the victim. (See People v. Crisostomo, 46 Phil, 776). This means that the victim couldn’t leave even if he wanted to. Examples of this would be that the victim is tied up, or being held forcibly by the perpetrators.

In one case, a two year old boy was tied up and held to a wooden post until his brother returned (the said brother was a servant of those accused of the crime). This was held to be illegal detention precisely because the employee was tied up and deprived of liberty. (See U.S. v. Peralta, 8 Phil. 200).

Now, if the victim had freedom to leave the premises where he or she was confined, the crime of illegal detention cannot arise because he or she was not deprived of liberty. * U.S. v. Cabanag, 8 Phil 64).

In the case of the movie actor, it can be argued that the victim was deprived of liberty since news reports indicate that he was tied up by the perpetrators.

Furthermore, still on the case of the movie actor, it can be argued that the detention was illegal because it was not ordered by competent authority nor was it permitted by law. In fact, there was one old case a boy was apprehended and “detained for over eight hours, with his hands and feet bound to a post, without just cause, on suspicion that he was an incendiarist, has been held to constitute illegal detention. (U.S. v. Mendoza, 8 Phil. 468).

If in that case of an incendiarist (which I believe was an old term used to refer to someone who would put things on fire), it was already considered illegal to detain someone without cause or legal authority, what more in the case of someone who supposedly raped another, and was then detained and beaten up quite severely?

Another thing to remember about serious illegal detention is that it is non-bailable. Under the law, bail is usually a matter of right unless provided otherwise for particular crimes, and if the evidence of guilt is strong.

In short, serious illegal detention is quite a serious crime. I am sure by now, the model and her friends are realizing just how serious a crime it is.

*****

The opinions expressed herein are solely of Atty. Lee. This column does not constitute legal advice nor does it create a lawyer-client relationship with any party. You can reach Atty. Lee at lvlawoffices@gmail.com

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on May 08, 2014.

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