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Arbitrary detention: Function of ‘habeas corpus’...

Arbitrary detention: Function of ‘habeas corpus’
"I would like to ask what action or actions need to be taken against the barangay (village) law enforcers who detained my husband, and for his immediate release. The incident happened one afternoon in October 2017. My husband went to a public market near our place when suddenly a riot erupted. The barangay law enforcers immediately went to settle the commotion and immediately arrested and detained the people involved in the riot.Unfortunately, my husband was one of those arrested and detained at the barangay headquarters. My husband said that he did not take part in the riot, as he was merely a passer-by during the incident. I even asked the officer-in-charge about the status of my husband’s arrest, grounds, basis or reason/s for the arrest but such inquiry was futile since I was not given a concrete answer regarding the matter. Can you please advise me on this? RamonaDear Ramona, You may file a criminal action against the barangay law enforcers for the crime of arbitrary detention. The commission of arbitrary detention is explicitly worded in Article 124 of the Revised Penal Code, to wit:“Article 124. Arbitrary Detention - Any public officer or employee who, without legal grounds, detains a person, shall suffer The penalty of arresto mayor in its maximum period to prision correccional in its minimum period, if the detention has not exceeded three daysThe penalty of prision correccional in its medium and maximum periods, if the detention has continued more than three but not more than fifteen daysThe penalty of prision mayor, if the detention has continued for more than fifteen days but not more than six months andThat of reclusion temporal, if the detention shall have exceeded six months. The commission of a crime, or violent insanity or any other ailment requiring the compulsory confinement of the patient in a hospital, shall be considered legal grounds for the detention of any person.”This was bolstered in a Supreme Court decision in the case of Benito Astorga vs. People of the Philippines (G.R. No. 154130, October 1, 2003 ponente, former Associate Justice Consuelo Ynares-Santiago), where it enumerated the elements for the commission of arbitrary detention, to wit:“The elements of the crime are:That the offender is a public officer or employee.That he detains a person.That the detention is without legal grounds.”Based on the foregoing, it is clearly apparent that the barangay law enforcers detained your husband without any legal grounds for his detention. As such, these law enforcers committed the crime of arbitrary detention. On the other hand, with regard to the immediate release of your husband, it is better for you to file a petition for habeas corpus. Section 1, Rule 102 of the Rules of Court provides for the extent of habeas corpus cases, to wit:“Section 1. To what habeas corpus extends.—Except as otherwise expressly provided by law, the writ of habeas corpus shall extend to all cases of illegal confinement or detention by which any person is deprived of his liberty, or by which the rightful custody of any person is withheld from the person entitled thereto.”Moreover, the Supreme Court explained in the case of Nurhida Juhuri Ampatuan vs. Judge Virgilio V. Macaraeg, et al. (G.R. No. 182497, June 29, 2010 ponente, former Associate Jose Perez) that “the function of habeas corpus is to determine the legality of one’s detention, meaning, if there is sufficient cause for deprivation or confinement and if there is none to discharge him at once. For habeas corpus to be issued, the restraint of liberty must be in the nature of illegal and involuntary deprivation of freedom which must be actual and effective, not nominal or moral.” Plainly stated, the writ obtains immediate relief for those who have been illegally confined or imprisoned without sufficient cause.Thus, considering that the officer-in-charge of the barangay, where your husband is detained, cannot give a concrete reason or legal ground for his arrest and subsequent detention, seeking such relief is deemed proper to determine before the court, whether your husband is being restrained illegally of his liberty.We find it necessary to mention that this opinion is solely based on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. The opinion may vary when the facts are changed or elaborated. We hope that we were able to enlighten you on the matter.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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"Arbitrary detention: Function of ‘habeas corpus’" was written by Mary under the Legal Advice category. It has been read 139 times and generated 0 comments. The article was created on and updated on 14 September 2021.
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