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Qualified trespass to dwelling, A280 Revised Penal Code

1. Concept

Qualified trespass to dwelling – under the Revised Penal Code, refers to the crime of entering another’s dwelling against the latter’s will.

a. Legal basis

Art. 280. Qualified trespass to dwelling. – Any private person who shall enter the dwelling of another against the latter’s will shall be punished by arresto mayor and a fine not exceeding Two hundred thousand pesos (P200,000).
If the offense be committed by means of violence or intimidation, the penalty shall be prisión correccional in its medium and maximum periods and a fine not exceeding Two hundred thousand pesos (P200,000).
The provisions of this article shall not be applicable to any person who shall enter another’s dwelling for the purpose of preventing some serious harm to himself, the occupants of the dwelling or a third person, nor shall it be applicable to any person who shall enter a dwelling for the purpose of rendering some service to humanity or justice, nor to anyone who shall enter cafes, taverns, inns and other public houses, while the same are open. (As amended by R.A. 10951)

(Revised Penal Code)

2. Modes of commission

The following are the modes of committing the offense:

1) By entering the dwelling of another against the latter’s will

a. Mode 1: Entering another’s dwelling

Elements of the crime of qualified trespass:

1) That the offender is a private person;

2) That he enters the dwelling of another; and

3) That such entrance is against the latter’s will. (Marzalado, Jr. v. People, G.R. No. 152997, November 10, 2004, Per Quisumbing, J.)

Exact date of trespass, not an element

The exact date when the alleged trespass occurred is not an essential element of the offense of trespass. It is sufficient that the Complaint or Information states that the crime has been committed at any time as near as possible to the date of its actual commission.13 Rule 110, Section 11 of the Rules of Court provides that it is not necessary to state in the complaint or information the precise time the offense was committed except when time is a material ingredient of the offense, but the act may be alleged to have been committed at any time as near to the actual date at which the offense was committed as the information or complaint will permit. A variance between the time set out in the indictment and that established by the evidence during trial does not constitute an error so serious as to warrant reversal of a conviction solely on that score. (Marzalado, Jr. v. People [2004], supra.)

1) Element 1: Private person

For the 1st element, the offender is a private person.

NB: The offender is specified, namely: a private person.

Thus, this offense will not apply to public officers/employees, who may be liable for a different offense.

2) Element 2: Another’s dwelling

For the 2nd element, the offender enters the dwelling of another.

Dwelling – refers to “a shelter (such as a house) in which people live.” (Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary)

In the prosecution for trespass, the material fact or circumstance to be considered is the occurrence of the trespass. The gravamen of the crime is violation of possession or the fact of having caused injury to the right of the possession. (Marzalado, Jr. v. People [2004], supra.)

Natividad v. People, En Banc, G.R. No. L-6730, October 15, 1954, Per Reyes, A. , J. :

• This is an appeal from a judgment of the Court of Appeals, convicting the appellants Pedro Gabriel and Avelino Natividad of simple trespass to dwelling on facts found by the said court to be as follows:

. . . Sherman Jones and his wife, Josefina Jones, were occupying the house No. 9-B, M.H. del Pilar St., Malabon, Rizal, having as neighbor their comadre Mariquita Beltran. The electric meter of the premises was installed on a wall in a balcony, and visible from the porch of the house… At about 7:00 o’clock in the evening of April 19, 1949, accused Pedro Gabriel, Avelino Natividad and Miguel Evangelista arrived at the house, presented themselves as Meralco light inspectors to Mrs. Jones who was them on the stairs of the house with Mariquita and inquired from the ladies for Sherman Jones. Mrs. Jones told them to wait on the porch; she entered the living room, closed the door behind her and went to the family bedroom where Sherman was then in the act of changing his clothes. While Mrs. Jones was inside the bedroom and informing her husband of the presence of Meralco inspectors, accused Gabriel inspected the electric meter and then shouted to his co-accused Natividad: “Naty, atras ang contador.” Natividad rushed into the living room and then entered the bedroom where Sherman and his wife were talking. Natividad pushed the door of the bedroom with such force that the said door brushed aside Mrs. Jones who was then leaving behind it. Accused Gabriel followed Natividad to the bedroom and, with the help of the flashlights, both searched for a gadget which they suspected Sherman used in order to steal electric fluid. Notwithstanding Sherman’s protest of their institution, the two accused continued their search. Finding that Sherman meant business, the intruders left the bedroom hastily, boarded their jeep and went away with the other accused Evangelista to Sangandaan Street where they met policeman Pablo Malosido of Caloocan. The trio requested the policeman accompany them to tension to do him any arm. The policeman accompanied them, but upon noticing the presence of several Americans in the house, they left. They noticed latter that a truck commonly known as 6 X 6 started from Sherman’s house and followed them. They were able to hide and later went to the municipal building of Caloocan, at which Sherman and his companions subsequently arrived to complain. Sherman’s complaint, however, was referred to the police authorities of Malabon who had jurisdiction over the case.

• In asking for the reversal of the judgment below counsel for appellants argue that inasmuch as the original entry was with the permission of the occupant of the house and therefore lawful, nothing that happened afterwards could “convert the original lawful entry into a unlawful one.” The argument assumes that appellants entered a dwelling with the consent of the householder. But the assumption is gratuitous and unwarranted, the Court of Appeals having found “that the entry was against the will of the spouses.” That will was, we think, clearly manifested by the lady of the house when she told appellants to wait on the porch and closed the door behind her as she entered the drawing room. She did not, it is true, in so many words tell the appellants not to enter. But when she made them wait outside and shut the door to the interior of the house, her action spoke louder than words. The porch is an open part of the house, and being allowed to wait there under the circumstances mentioned can in no sense be taken as entry to a dwelling with the consent of the dweller.

• Counsel cite the case of U.S. vs. Dionisio and Del Rosario, 12 Phil., 283; U.S. vs. Flemister, 1 Phil., 354; and People vs. De Peralta, 42 Phil., 69. But those cases were decided upon facts different from those of the present case.

• In the case first cited, U.S vs. Dionisio and Del Rosario, the defendants found the principal door of a house half-open. Entering without opposition from the occupant of lower part of the house, who was, present, they proceed to the upper story, also without opposition, and there conversed with one of the inmates, who invited them to sit down and allowed them to stay for about two hours. Then trouble arose when defendants, posing as detectives, started doing something illegal. In declaring defendants not guilty of the crime of trespass to dwelling, this court were held that the fact and circumstances from which, in a given case, the opposition of the occupant may be inferred, must have been in existence prior to or at the time of the entry, and in no event can facts arising after an entry has been secured with the expenses of tacit consent of the occupant change the character of the entry from one with the assent of the occupant to one contrary thereto. That the case is to be distinguished from the one before us in that there the defendants entered a half-opened door and went inside the house without opposition, express or implied, from any of the occupants. Here, on the other hand, the lady of the house clearly — be it only impliedly — manifested her opposition to appellants’ entry by telling them to wait on the porch and closing the door behind her as she left them there.

• In the second case, U.S. vs. Flemister, the defendant, an American, went to a ball uninvited, danced with somebody and then left. Returning a short time thereafter, he was met near the door by the host, who took him by the hand and asked him if he had come to dance and even invited him to be seated, but tried to prevent him from entering the sala where there was a guest, another American, with whom he had a quarrel pending. The defendant, however, rudely brushed the host aside, proceeded to the sala and quarreled with the other American. “It seems clear to us,” said this Court in declaring the defendant not guilty of trespass to dwelling, “that the purpose of the owner of the house was to prohibit the defendant not from entering his house but from entering the sala in order to avoid a quarrel between the two Americans. His taking the defendant by the hand, asking him if he came to dance, and requesting him to be seated, are inconsistent with the idea that he was attempting to keep the defendant from entering the house.” Again, unlike the appellants in the present case, the defendant in the case cited was not prohibited from entering the house; on the contrary, it would appear that he was not welcomed into it.

• In the third case, People vs. De Peralta, the accused, the new president of the Philippine Marine Union, called at the door of a room which his predecessor in office was allowed to occupy as his dwelling in a house rented by the union, pushed the said door and without the permission of the occupant entered the room to take away a desk glass which he believed was union property. These was no evidence that the occupant “has expressed his will in the sense of prohibiting (the accused) from entering his room,” and it was to be supposed, this Court said, “that the members of the Philippine Marine Union, among them the accused, had some familiarity which warrants entrance into the room occupied by the president of the association, particularly when we consider the hour at which the act in question happened (between half pat ten and eleven in the morning), the fact that the door of the room was not barricaded or locked with a key, and the circumstance that the room in question was part of the house rented to said association.” Upon those facts, this Court acquitted the accused of the charge of trespass to dwelling, following the uniform doctrine here and in Spain that “this crime is committed when a person enters another’s dwelling against the will of the occupant, but not when the entrance is effected without his knowledge or opposition.” It is to be noted that the entry in that case was effected without express or implied opposition from the occupant of the room and under circumstances warranting an entrance without previous leave. In the present case, the entry was, as already noted, against the will of the lady of the house, who, by her action if not by direct words, made it plain to the appellants that they were not to enter her dwelling.

• Lastly, counsel contend that appellants are exempt from criminal liability under the third paragraph of article 280 of the Revised Penal Code, because “they rendered a service to justice” when, as Meralco line inspectors, they “followed Mrs. Sherman Jones to the bedroom” and there found her husband “hiding a transformer in an “aparador””. Here again, counsel assume something which was not believed by the Court of Appeals, that is, that appellants saw Jones in the act of hiding a transformer used by him “in stealing electricity,” this claim being characterized by the court as nothing but a “vain effort on the part of the appellants to fit the facts of the case to the provisions of the Revised Penal code to the effect that a person who enters a dwelling for the purpose of rendering service to justice, is not guilty of trespass.” In other words, the Court of Appeals believed that appellants merely suspected that there was a transformer in the house. That alone did not give them the right to enter the house against the will of its owner, unarmed as they were with a search warrant.

• It appearing that the judgment appealed from is in accordance with law and the facts as found by the Court of Appeals, the same is hereby affirmed

3) Element 3: Against another’s will

For the 3rd element, such entrance is against the latter’s will.

People v. Almeda, En Banc, G.R. No. L-507, November 19, 1945, Per Paras, J.:

• This is an appeal from a judgement of the Court of First Instance of Laguna, convicting the appellant, Anacleto Uy Almeda, of the offense of qualified trespass to dwelling…

• On the morning of November 13, 1940, the appellant, in company with other persons, arrived at the house of Honorata Limpo in the municipality of Biñan, Province of Laguna. The latter was thereupon informed by appellant’s companion, Potenciano Villano, that they were going to demolish and repair her house, to which Honorata Limpo objected, specially in view of the absence of her husband at the time. Unheeding this opposition, and upon express orders of the appellant, his companions Potenciano Villano and Antonio Dysionglo proceeded to gain entry into the house by means of two ladders which they placed against the front wall and to remove some boards and iron sheets that served to cover the front side. Appellant’s designs were put to a stop, however, only by the arrival of Honorata’s son named Francisco, who called a policemen to the scene.

• It appears that the house in question was built on a lot inclosed by a stone fence having an iron grill gate. On the same lot the appellant had a warehouse; and as he had freely used said gate in going to his property, it is now contended that his entry into the yard of Honorata Limpo, which was a part of her “dwelling,” could not have been unauthorized or against her will, so as to warrant his conviction under article 280 of the Revised Penal Code. Appellant’s argument would require some injury if the lot on which Honorata’s house was erected were exclusively hers and the appellant had not admittedly used its gate in common with Honorata, and if said argument would not further lead to a plainly unacceptable, nay undesirable, result that simply because he had free entry into and passage on the common lot, he could have the same right as regards Honorata’s house.

• Another defense pressed in this appeal is that the opposition registered by Honorata Limpo was directed against the demolition or repair of her house and not against the original entry of the appellant and his companions into the yard of premises of her dwelling, and that although the removal of some boards and iron sheets, done by the appellant through his companions after their lawful entry, may constitute an independent offense, the said subsequent act cannot be trespass defined and penalized by article 280 of the Revised Penal Code. This contention is of course partly disposed of in the proceeding paragraph. It is only necessary to add that Honorata could not have consented to the appellant’s intrusion into the house, which made him a trespasser, for the very purpose already objected to by her. Moreover, the method employed by appellant’s men in effecting entry suggests prior refusal on the part of Honorata to admit them through its stairs. Neither is there any point in appellant’s pretense that, one week before the occasion in question, he had notified Honorata about the intended repairs, because said notice did and could not mean her subsequent conformity.

• The appellant next tries to exculpate himself by maintaining that there is absolutely no proof as to his criminal intent in entering the yard or even the house of Honorata. Indeed, it is insisted that he merely wanted to repair said house over which he was claiming ownership. Appellant thus pretended to have bought the house for P70 from the estranged wife of Honorata’s son against whose father he subsequently filed a suit to recover the premises. This case was however, decided against him. We are of the opinion that the alleged ownership is immaterial, for even supposing that the house belonged to the appellant, that fact alone did not authorize him to do anything with or enter the house against the will of its actual occupant. He could have invoked the aid of the court for the exercise or protection of his alleged proprietary rights. What is intended to be protected and preserved by the law is the privacy of one’s dwelling, and, except in those cases enumerated in the third paragraph of article 280 of the Revised Penal Code, criminal intent inheres in the unwelcome visit of a trespasser.

• The judgement appealed from is affirmed…

b) When relations are so unfriendly

Balde v. CA, G.R. No. L-46980, May 29, 1987, Per Narvasa, J.:

• [The Accused] does not deny the essential fact of his having entered the dwelling of the complaining witness, Leonida Achacon, without her permission, but he argues that this does not make him guilty of the felony charged the gravamen of which is entrance against the will of the complainant, or against the latter’s presumed or express prohibition.

• [T]he record shows no reversible error in the factual conclusions of the Court of Appeals to the effect that (1) that the relations between Balde and Leonida his cousin, were of so unfriendly a character as to give “sufficient warning upon ** (appellant Balde) that his entry into (Leonida’s) house ** was unwarranted and objectionable,” i.e. unwelcome and prohibited; (2) that Leonida’s housemaid, Felicitas, had not really given Balde permission to come into the house; (3) that these circumstances, and the actuality of Balde’s having laid hands on Leonida after intruding into her dwelling, are adequately proven by the evidence given by the prosecution witnesses who were deemed to be more credible and trustworthy than the defense witnesses…

3. Things to note

The following are some additional things to note about this offense.

a. Defenses

1) Entry is justified

Art. 280. Qualified trespass to dwelling. X x x
The provisions of this article shall not be applicable to any person who shall enter another’s dwelling for the purpose of preventing some serious harm to himself, the occupants of the dwelling or a third person, nor shall it be applicable to any person who shall enter a dwelling for the purpose of rendering some service to humanity or justice, nor to anyone who shall enter cafes, taverns, inns and other public houses, while the same are open. (As amended by R.A. 10951)

Marzalado, Jr. v. People, G.R. No. 152997, November 10, 2004, Per Quisumbing, J.:

• To prove trespass, the prosecution presented as witness Narciso Raniedo who testified that he saw petitioner enter the unit at around 4:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. on November 2 and take out Albano’s belongings. No other eyewitness corroborated Raniedo’s testimony. However, by her own account, Albano declared that she discovered the trespass in the evening of November 3,18 the same day the barangay certified Marzalado, Jr.’s entry. This obviously does not discount the fact that although the exact date of entry varied as between petitioner and respondent, they both were referring to the same entry.

• What remains now is the issue of whether the entry of petitioner Marzalado, Jr., was legally justified. We rule that it is, based on the circumstances of this case.

• As certified by Barangay Lupon Secretary Romulo E. Ragaya, the unit rented by Albano was “forcibly opened by the owner because of the strong water pressure coming out of the faucet…”19 As Albano herself admitted, she and her children already left the unit when the electricity supply was cut off in the month of September. Hence, nobody was left to attend to the unit, except during some nights when Albano’s maid slept in the unit. Clearly, Marzalado, Jr., acted for the justified purpose of avoiding further flooding and damage to his mother’s property caused by the open faucet. No criminal intent could be clearly imputed to petitioner for the remedial action he had taken. There was an exigency that had to be addressed to avoid damage to the leased unit. There is nothing culpable concerning Marzalado, Jr.’s judgment call to enter the unit and turn off the faucet instead of closing the inlet valve as suggested by the OSG.

References

Title IX – Crimes Against Personal Liberty and Security, Act No. 3815, Revised Penal Code, as amended

/Updated: November 23, 2023

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