1. Concept and legal basis
“Kidnapping” – refers to the act of forcible transportation or abduction of individuals against their will.
“Serious illegal detention” – The essence of serious illegal detention is the actual deprivation of the victim’s liberty, coupled with the indubitable proof of intent of the accused to effect such deprivation-it is enough that the victim is restrained from going home. It contemplates situations where the victim is restricted or impeded in one’s liberty to move. (People v. Ali, G.R. No. 222965, 06 December 2017)
a. Legal basis
|Article 267. Kidnapping and serious illegal detention. – Any private individual who shall kidnap or detain another, or in any other manner deprive him of his liberty, shall suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua to death:|
|1. If the kidnapping or detention shall have lasted more than five days.|
|2. If it shall have been committed simulating public authority.|
|3. If any serious physical injuries shall have been inflicted upon the person kidnapped or detained; or if threats to kill him shall have been made.|
|4. If the person kidnapped or detained shall be a minor, female or a public officer.|
|The penalty shall be death where the kidnapping or detention was committed for the purpose of extorting ransom from the victim or any other person, even if none of the circumstances above-mentioned were present in the commission of the offense. (Act 3815, Revised Penal Code)|
2. Elements of the offense
a. 1st Mode
Elements of the offense:
1) The offender is a private individual;
2) He kidnaps or detains another or in any other manner deprives the latter of his liberty;
3) The act of detention or kidnapping must be illegal; and,
4) In the commission of the offense, any of the following circumstances is present:
(a) The kidnapping or detention lasts for more than three (3) days; or,
b) It is committed by simulating public authority; or,
(c) Serious physical injuries are inflicted upon the person kidnapped or detained or threats to kill him are made; or,
d) The person kidnapped or detained is a minor, female, or a public officer. (If the victim of kidnapping and serious illegal detention is a minor, the duration of his detention is immaterial.) (People v. Fabro, G.R. No. 208441, 17 July 2017)
1) Offender: Private individual
As law specifies, the offender must be a private individual. This means that the person should not be a public officer or employee.
If the offender is a public officer or employee, it will be a different offense/crime under Crimes Title 6 on Crimes Committed by Public Officers of the Revised Penal Code
1) A public officer (such as policeman) who has a duty under the law to detain a person but detains a person without legal ground is liable for arbitrary detention defined and penalized under Article 124 of the Revised Penal Code. Thus, a public officer who has no legal duty to detain a person may be prosecuted for illegal detention and kidnapping. (Footnote 8 in People v. Mamantak, En Banc, G.R. No. 174659, 28 July 2008)
2) Kidnaps, detains, deprives liberty
In kidnapping and serious illegal detention, it is necessary that there be indubitable proof that the accused actually intended to deprive the witness of his or her liberty. The accused must have had a purposeful or knowing action to forcibly restrain the victim. (People v. Carreon, G.R. No. 229086, 15 January 2020)
a) Intent, duly proven
In a prosecution for kidnapping, the intent of the accused to deprive the victim of the latter’s liberty needs to be established by indubitable proof. (People v. Fajardo, G.R. No. 105954-55, 28 September 1999)
b) Actual restraint, unnecessary
[T]he curtailment of the victim’s liberty need not involve any physical restraint upon the victim’s person. For kidnapping to exist, it is not necessary that the offender kept the victim in an enclosure or treated him harshly. (People v. Fabro, G.R. No. 208441, 17 July 2017)
PEOPLE v. ALI, G.R. No. 222965, 06 December 2017
• Evidence for the Prosecution
• The prosecution presented six (6) witnesses, namely: Senior Police Officer 2 [S. Arcillas], Police Inspector [J. Belarga], private complainant [C. Oliz] (Oliz), Police Inspector [J. Gucela], [M. Agarte], Police Officer 3 [B. Bayot]. Their combined testimonies tended to establish the following:
• On 14 December 1998, at around 7:30 P.M., [A. Lim] (Antonio), [M. Lim] (Mary), and [C. Lim] (Cherry) left their family-owned grocery and were on their way to their house in Pasonanca, Zamboanga City, on board a Nissan vehicle. With them were their driver [R. Igno] (Jgno) and Oliz, their helper.
• When they were near Edwin Andrews Airbase (EAAB) along Sta. Maria Road, Igno stopped the car to avoid bumping into a motorcycle with three persons on board. The three men, later identified as [the accused] Ali, Hassan, and Amat, approached the Nissan vehicle and told the passengers that they were policemen. They ordered Antonio and Igno to transfer to the back of the vehicle and sit with Oliz, Mary, and Cherry. The passengers were told that they would be brought to the police station on a tip that they were transporting contraband goods. Thereafter, the three armed men boarded the Nissan vehicle with Amat in the driver’s seat, Ali beside him, and Hassan at the back with the other passengers. Once inside, Ali instructed Hassan to handcuff Igno and Antonio.7
• Amat did not stop when they reached the Sta. Maria police station but kept on driving. Due to the buildup of traffic at the intersection after the Sta. Maria police station, Mary was able to escape her captors by jumping out of the vehicle.
• Amat continued to drive towards Pitogo and then veered towards the beach. There, the occupants were ordered to alight from the vehicle. Oliz was able to escape when she saw a woman walking nearby because only Antonio, Cherry, and Igno were guarded. She then told the woman that her employer was being kidnapped.
Oliz was then accompanied to a nearby house where they contacted the authorities. Before the police arrived, Oliz heard a commotion outside and saw bystanders mauling Ali. Oliz told the people around that he was their abductor. When the police arrived, Ali was turned over to the authorities who brought him to the police station together with Oliz.
• Evidence for the Defense
• The defense presented four (4) witnesses, namely: Ali’s sister [N. Ali] (Nauda), Ali’s wife [R. Saulan] (Rahima), Ali’s cousin [S. Abubakar] (Siddik), and the accused himself. Their testimonies sought to prove the following:
• On 14 December 1998, Ali, Rahima, and Nauda left Manalipa to proceed to Sinunuc and stay in Siddik’s house before going home to Pagadian City. On their way to Sinunuc, they parted ways in Zamboanga City because Ali wanted to pray at the Sta. Barbara Mosque; Rahima and Nauda went ahead to Siddik’s place.
• At around 7:00 P.M., while Ali was waiting outside the Mosque for a ride to Sinunuc, he met Hassan, who was riding a motorcycle with Amat. Hassan told him to ride with them as they would be going somewhere in Recodo. When they were near the EAAB, Hassan overtook a motor vehicle and almost collided with it. Amat approached the driver of the motor vehicle while Hassan went to the other side. Amat and Hassan eventually boarded the vehicle with the latter forcing Ali to do the same. Hassan pushed Ali inside while he was holding a gun and told him to follow or he would be in trouble. Meanwhile, Hassan ordered a certain Jun12 to ride the motorcycle and follow them.
• As Amat was driving, Ali asked what they were doing but was told to stop talking and just follow. Upon reaching Sinunuc, Ali asked Amat to stop the vehicle so he could get off but he was ignored. Eventually, they stopped at the seashore of Pitogo.
• There, all the occupants alighted with Hassan and Amat escorting and guarding Antonio, Cherry, Igno, and Oliz further down the seashore. Ali remained by the vehicle. Later, Jun arrived on Hassan’s motorcycle. After sensing something suspicious with his companions, Ali decided to walk away and proceed to the main road to catch a ride to Sinunuc. While he was waiting for transportation, several persons suddenly held him and beat him up, accusing him of being a thief. Ali was eventually brought to a house where the beatings continued.
• After a few minutes, policemen arrived at the house where Ali was held. He was made to board the police vehicle where he was blindfolded and beaten again. Ali was detained at the police station where he was forced to admit to the kidnapping.
• [After the RTC found the accused guilty, the case was appealed.]
• [The accused] argues that he could not be guilty of the crime of Serious Illegal Detention because the alleged deprivation of liberty did not last for more than three (3) days as the incident only lasted for about an hour or two. In order for the accused to be guilty of serious illegal detention, the following elements must concur: (a) the offender is a private individual; (b) he or she kidnaps or detains another, or in any manner deprives the latter of his liberty; (c) the act of detention or kidnapping must be illegal; and (d) in the commission of the offense any of the following circumstances is present: (1) the kidnapping or detention lasts for more than three days; (2) it is committed by simulating public authority; (3) any serious physical injuries are inflicted upon the person kidnapped or detained or threats to kill the victim are made; or (4) the person kidnapped or detained is a minor, female, or a public officer.
• In other words, deprivation of liberty is qualified to serious illegal detention if at least one of the following circumstances exists: (a) detention lasts for more than three (3) days; (b) accused simulated public authority; (c) victim suffers serious physical injuries or is threatened to be killed; or (d) the victim is a minor, female or public officer.
• In the case at bar, the elements of serious illegal detention were duly proven by the prosecution. First, [the accused] and his cohorts were clearly private individuals. Second, they deprived Oliz of her liberty. This was manifested by the fact that they forcibly boarded the vehicle and placed Igno and Antonio in handcuffs evincing their intent to detain the occupants of the motor vehicle. Third, Oliz was a female victim. The CA was correct in ruling that the period of detention became immaterial in view of the victim’s circumstances. If, during the deprivation of liberty, any of the circumstances under Article 267(4) of the RPC occurs, i.e, the victim was a female, the crime of serious illegal detention is consummated.
3) Detention or kidnapping is illegal
The detention or kidnapping is illegal. Meaning, it is not lawful nor authorized by law.
There are instances when a person may be detained or taken against his will/consent, such as:
1) Service and enforcement of an arrest warrant;
2) Commitment of a person to psychiatric ward or mental institution;
3) Minors being grounded by their parents or those who have parental authority;
4) Schools detaining students during school hours for the latter’s safety; and
5) Analogous thereto.
4) Attended by circumstances
In the commission of the offense, any of the following circumstances is present:
1) The kidnapping or detention lasts for more than three (3) days; or,
2) It is committed by simulating public authority; or,
3) Serious physical injuries are inflicted upon the person kidnapped or detained or threats to kill him are made; or
4) The person kidnapped or detained is a minor, female, or a public officer. (People v. Fabro, G.R. No. 208441, 17 July 2017)
If the victim of kidnapping and serious illegal detention is a minor, the duration of his detention is immaterial. (Ibid.)
If not attended to by any of the above circumstances, then there is no kidnapping. However, there may be a separate but different offense or crime.
a) Lasts for more than 3 days
If the victim of kidnapping and serious illegal detention is a minor, the duration of his detention is immaterial. (People v. Fabro, supra.)
PEOPLE v. FAJARDO, G.R. No. 105954-55, 28 September 1999)
• In this case, we find that detention was established by the fact that one month after the abduction, the victim Wakaoji was seen by Palig and Lasam being transferred, blindfolded, with his hands tied, from [B.] Lumbres’ house to a waiting white car.
• While the trial court erroneously relied on the testimony of [E.] Escobar that “the Japanese paid the kidnappers $3,000,000.00 ransom money for the release of the victim which was delivered by Luis Santillan at the designated drop point somewhere in a cemetery in Angeles City,” the crime is still qualified as “serious illegal detention” since the transfer of Wakaoji was witnessed a month after the abduction, and there is testimony that Wakaoji was released only after four months. Here, there is proof that the kidnapping or detention definitely lasted for more than five days.
b) Simulating public authority
Simulating public authority refers to the act of falsely making it appear that the act of forcible transportation was done by public authorities or law enforcers. Otherwise stated, the offenders falsely held themselves out as public authority figures when they abducted the victim.
c) Serious physical injuries, threats to kill him
Serious physical injuries are bodily harm or wounds inflicted on the victim that would constitute the offense/crime of serious physical injuries.
See: Serious physical injuries
d) Minor, female, or a public officer
When it comes to a victim who is a minor, the prevailing jurisprudence on illegal detention is that the curtailment of the victim’s liberty need not involve any physical restraint upon the victim’s person. Leaving a minor in a place from which she or he did not know the way home, even if she or he had the freedom to roam around the place of detention, would still amount to deprivation of liberty. Under such a situation, the minor’s freedom remains at the mercy and control of the abductor. (People v. Carreon, G.R. No. 229086, 15 January 2020)
In kidnapping, the specific intent is to deprive the victim of his/her liberty.47 If the victim is a child, it also includes the intention of the accused to deprive the parents with the custody of the child. (People v. Fabro, supra.)
b. 2nd Mode
Kidnapping for ransom – elements:
1) Intent on the part of the accused to deprive the victim of his liberty;
2) Actual deprivation of the victim of his liberty; and
3) Motive of the accused, which is extorting ransom for the release of the victim. (People v. Pepino, En Banc, G.R. No. 183479 29 June 2010)
2. Contrasted with other crimes
a. Kidnapping w/ rape v. Forcible abduction w/ rape
The difference between kidnapping with rate versus forcible abduction with rape.
|Factors||Kidnapping w/ Rape||Forcible abduction w/ Rape|
|Intention||No lewd designs||With lewd designs|
|Special / Complex||A special complex crime||A compex crime under (via Article 48)|
|Attempted||Attempted rape is a separatee crime||Attempted rape not separated but part of lewd designs|
|Multiple rapes||1 special complex crime regardess of multiple rapes||1 complex crime for 1 rape; others are separate crimes|
3. Special complex crime
Where the person kidnapped is killed in the course of the detention, regardless of whether the killing was purposely sought or was merely an afterthought, the kidnapping and murder or homicide can no longer be complexed under Art. 48, nor be treated as separate crimes, but shall be punished as a special complex crime under the last paragraph of Art. 267, as amended by RA No. 7659. (People v. Ramos, G.R. No. 118570, 12 October 1998)
a. Kidnapping for ransom with homicide
[I]f the victim was detained for the purpose of extorting ransom and the victim dies during detention, then the crime committed shall be the special complex crime of Kidnapping for Ransom with Homicide. (People v. Gurro, G.R. Nos. 224562 18 September 2019)
4. Notable jurisprudence
1) People v. Bisda: The Court upheld the conviction of kidnapping for ransom even though the abducted five-year old child was, during her detention, free to roam around the place of detention, to practice on her drawing and to watch television, and was regularly fed and bathed. The Court stated that “to accept a child’s desire for food, comfort as the type of will or consent contemplated in the context of kidnapping would render the concept meaningless.” Should the child even want to escape, said the Court, she could not do so all by herself given her age; she was under the control of her abductors and was merely waiting and hoping that she would be brought home or that her parents would fetch her. (Cited in People v. Fabro, supra.)
⦁ Title 9 – Crimes Against Personal Liberty, Book 2, Revised Penal Code
/Updated: January 18, 2023