Amount of ransom immaterial in kidnapping case
"My aunt told me about her neighbor’s problem. His daughter was taken from him by their former neighbor. The latter asked for P5,000 in exchange for his daughter’s freedom. Their family had no money as he is merely a balut vendor. However, he took several loans to raise the amount, eventually paid and got his daughter back. Even if they were still very much traumatized of the incident, they reported it to the police and they were told that they may be able to file a case for kidnapping for ransom. When their former neighbor learned about the report made, he went to their house and offered to return the money. He explained that he just needed the money at the time and mentioned that if they will pursue the case, it will just be dismissed because the amount is too small. Is this true? They are really intending to file the case but are worried that, like what their former neighbor said, it might just get dismissed because the amount is too small. Please advise me.
As enlightened by our Supreme Court in the case of People of the Philippines vs. Parba-Rural and Almohan-Daza (GR 231884, June 27, 2018, Ponente: Associate Justice Diosdado M. Peralta):“Under Article 267 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Republic Act (RA) 7659, thus:
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 three 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, 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 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.
When the victim is killed or dies as a consequence of the detention or is raped, or is subjected to torture or dehumanizing acts, the maximum penalty shall be imposed.In prosecuting a case involving the crime of kidnapping for ransom, the following elements must be established: (i) the accused was a private person (ii) he kidnapped or detained, or in any manner deprived another of his or her liberty (iii) the kidnapping or detention was illegal and (iv) the victim was kidnapped or detained for ransom. Ransom means money, price or consideration paid or demanded for the redemption of a captured person that will release him from captivity. No specific form of ransom is required to consummate the felony of kidnapping for ransom as long as the ransom is intended as a bargaining chip in exchange for the victim’s freedom. The amount of, and purpose for, the ransom is immaterial.”Taking these into consideration, we submit that they may pursue the case and should not be discouraged as long as they can establish the existence of the aforementioned elements of the crime of kidnapping for ransom. If they are able to convince the Office of the Prosecutor that there is probable cause to indict their former neighbor of kidnapping his daughter with a demand for ransom, then their complaint will not be dismissed. Rather, an information will be filed in court. Once the criminal case is before the court, it is essential for the prosecution to establish beyond reasonable doubt that the elements of said crime in fact exist.We hope that we were able to answer your queries. This advice is based solely on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. Our opinion may vary when other facts are changed or elaborated.Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to "
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"Amount of ransom immaterial in kidnapping case"
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and updated on 14 September 2021