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Slight illegal detention, A268 Revised Penal Code

1. Concept

Slight illegal detention – under the Revised Penal Code, refers to the offense of illegally depriving another of their liberty without the attendant circumstances enumerated in Article 267 of the Revised Penal Code.

a. Legal basis

Art. 268. Slight illegal detention. – The penalty of reclusion temporal shall be imposed upon any private individual who shall commit the crimes described in the next preceding article without the attendance of any of the circumstances enumerated therein.
The same penalty shall be incurred by anyone who shall furnish the place for the perpetration of the crime.
If the offender shall voluntarily release the person so kidnapped or detained within three (3) days from the commencement of the detention, without having attained the purpose intended, and before the institution of criminal proceedings against him, the penalty shall be prisión mayor in its minimum and medium periods and a fine not exceeding One hundred thousand pesos (₱100,000). (As amended by R.A. 10951)

(Revised Penal Code)

2. Modes of commission

The following are the modes of committing the offense:

1) By depriving another of their liberty without being covered by Article 267 of the Revised Penal Code on kidnapping and serious illegal detention.

a. Mode 1: Deprivation of liberty not covered by Article 267

Elements of the crime of slight illegal detention:

1. That the offender is a private individual.

2. That he kidnaps or detains another, or in any other manner deprives him of his liberty.

3. That the act of kidnapping or detention is illegal.

4. That the crime is committed without the attendance of any of the circumstances enumerated in Art. 267. (People v. Pagalasan, En Banc, G.R. Nos. 131926 & 138991, June 18, 2003, Per Callejo, Sr., J.)

1) Element 1: Private individual

For the 1st element, it is important to note that the offender is a private individual.

For offenses that have as an element a private individual, it is because there is another offense if it were committed by a public officer.

In this case, if the offender is a public officer, the offense may be arbitrary detention or another offense.

2) Element 2: Deprivation of liberty

For the 2nd element, the offender kidnaps or detains another, or in any other manner deprives the latter of their liberty.

The key to remember here is that there is some form of deprivation of liberty. As with similar offenses such as kidnapping, the deprivation of liberty may not always be in the concept of physical restraint. Even if the victims are not under restraint but are not able to leave, then there is deprivation of liberty. Further, even if the victims may physically leave but are unable to do so due to serious threats of bodily harm, then it is still a deprivation of liberty.

3) Element 3: Illegal kidnapping or detention

For the 3rd element, the act of kidnapping or detention is illegal.

This means that the offender did not have the consent of the offender. Where the offender consented to the kidnapping or detention (e.g. to avoid harming others, a prank is being committed against another, etc.), then the act is not illegal as the offender agreed to beforehand to what was going to happen. It goes without saying that the agreement should be clear between the parties and should be carried out to the extent of what was stipulated.

In the alternative, the offender was not authorized by law to forcibly take or detain another. This does not apply to law enforcers who are making an arrest for offenders who are caught in the fact (in flagrante delicto) or officers implementing a warrant of arrest. In these cases, they are lawfully authorized to do so.

4) Element 4: Not attended by circumstances enumerated in Article 267 of the RPC

For the 4th element, the illegal kidnapping, detention, or deprivation of liberty must not be attended by any of the circumstances enumerated in Article 267 of the RPC on kidnapping and serious illegal detention.

Evidently, if the crime was committed with any of the circumstances enumerated in Article 267, then the offense would be kidnapping and serious illegal detention, and not slight illegal detention.

3. Things to note

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

a. “A day”

“A day,” in the last paragraph of Article 268 of the Revised Penal Code, should be understood as twenty-four hours, to be counted from the deprivation of the liberty of the victim until the cessation thereof. (People v. Pagalasan, En Banc, G.R. Nos. 131926 & 138991, June 18, 2003, Per Callejo, Sr., J.)

b. Rescue or escape

The rescue or escape of the victim within three days from his kidnapping and detention is not an exempting circumstance. (Ibid.)

c. Voluntary release

The voluntary release by the offender of the victim within three days from his detention, without the offender having attained his purpose and before the institution of criminal proceedings against him for slight illegal detention, is not an exempting circumstance; it merely serves to reduce the penalty to prision mayor in its maximum and medium periods and a fine not exceeding ₱700. (Ibid.)

4. Distinguish from other offenses

This offense is distinguished from other offenses or crimes below.

a. Slight illegal detention vs Kidnapping

FactorsSlight illegal detentionKidnapping and serious illegal detention
Offended PartyAny personAny person
OffenderPrivate individualAny person
Overt ActsOffender is a private individual who illegally kidnaps or detains another, or in any other manner deprives the latter of their liberty, and it is done without the attendance of any of the circumstances enumerated in Art. 267 of the RPC.Offender is a private individual who illegally kidnaps or detains another or in any other manner deprives the latter of his liberty; and, 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.)
Other CommentsN/AN/A

People v. Pagalasan, En Banc, G.R. Nos. 131926 & 138991, June 18, 2003, Per Callejo, Sr., J.:

• In this case, [the Accused] is a private individual. George had been kidnapped and detained illegally by [the Accused] and his cohorts, but only for less than a day. George regained his freedom after [the Accused] had been arrested at the intersection of the national highway and Espina Road. There is no evidence that [the Accused] and his cohorts kidnapped George for the purpose of extorting ransom for his release. There is likewise no evidence that they inflicted any serious physical injuries on George, or simulated public authority, or threatened to kill him. Furthermore, there is no evidence that [the Accused] and his cohorts intended to detain the victim for more than three days.

• Although [the Accused] and his co-conspirators kidnapped George and Christopher on the same occasion and from the same situs, [the Accused] is guilty of two separate crimes: kidnapping under Article 267 of the Revised Penal Code, and slight illegal detention under Article 268 of the Revised Penal Code. [The Accused] and his co-conspirators were animated by two sets of separate criminal intents and criminal resolutions in kidnapping and illegally detaining the two victims. The criminal intent in kidnapping Christopher was separate from and independent of the criminal intent and resolution in kidnapping and detaining George for less than three days. In the mind and conscience of [the Accused], he had committed two separate felonies; hence, should be meted two separate penalties for the said crimes: one for kidnapping under Article 267 of the Revised Penal Code and another for slight illegal detention under Article 268 of the same code. The felony of slight illegal detention is necessarily included in the crime of kidnapping for ransom; thus, [the Accused] may be convicted of the former crime under an Information for kidnapping for ransom.

5. Procedural

The following are some procedural matters.

a. Absorbed in kidnapping

People v. Llaguno, G.R. No. 91262 January 28, 1998, Per Panganiban, J.:

• Since the information charged the complex crime of kidnapping with murder, the acts constituting slight illegal detention were necessarily included in the information, and may thus be validly taken into account in the resolution of the present appeal. Manifestly, [the Accused] was fairly apprised of the nature of the crime of slight illegal detention and granted a fair opportunity to defend himself.

References

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

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