My cousin was arrested without warrant last January for alleged grave scandal he committed in a city somewhere in Metro Manila. Since then, no criminal charge has been filed against him. We asked for the immediate release of my cousin from the custody of the police officers who arrested him but to no avail. The police officers argued that my cousin was arrested for violation of the law and must be penalized.
Is it proper to detain my cousin despite the fact that no criminal charge has been filed as of yet? Can I file a criminal case against the law enforement officers who arrested my cousin?
My sincerest gratitude,
It is not proper for law enforcement officers to detain your cousin beyond the time limit provided by law without filing any criminal complaint.
Article 125 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC) provides that a public officer may be held criminally liable should he fail to deliver the person arrested to the proper judicial authorities. Also, this article provides a time limit within which a person arrested may be detained, to wit:
“Article 125. Delay in the delivery of detained persons to the proper judicial authorities.—The penalties provided in the next preceding article shall be imposed upon the public officer or employee who shall detain any person for some legal ground and shall fail to deliver such person to the proper judicial authorities within the period of; twelve (12) hours, for crimes or offenses punishable by light penalties, or their equivalent; eighteen (18) hours, for crimes or offenses punishable by correctional penalties, or their equivalent; and thirty-six (36) hours, for crimes or offenses punishable by afflictive or capital penalties, or their equivalent. In every case, the person detained shall be informed of the cause of his detention and shall be allowed upon his request, to communicate and confer at any time with his attorney or counsel. (As amended by Executive Orders 59 and 272, November 7, 1986 and July 25, 1987, respectively).” (Emphasis supplied)
Considering that your cousin was arrested for alleged grave scandal, the penalty of which is within the scale of correctional penalties, as provided under Article 200 in relation to Article 25 of the RPC, he may be detained only for a period of eighteen (18) hours unless the person arrested has been delivered to the proper judicial authorities.
These provisions of the RPC are quoted below, to wit:
“Article 200. Grave scandal.—The penalties of arresto mayor and public censure shall be imposed upon any person who shall offend against decency or good customs by any highly scandalous conduct not expressly falling within any other article of this code.”
“Article 25. Penalties which may be imposed.—The penalties which may be imposed according to this code, and their different classes, are those included in the following: Scale, Principal Penalties, Capital punishment: Death.
Afflictive penalties: Reclusion perpetua, Reclusion temporal, Perpetual or temporary absolute disqualification, Perpetual or temporary special disqualification, Prision mayor.
Correctional penalties: Prision correccional, Arresto mayor, Suspension, Destierro. xxx”(Emphasis supplied)
Based on the foregoing, your cousin who was arrested for alleged grave scandal was detained for more than the time limit provided by law within which he may be detained. Thus, your cousin’s imprisonment is not valid, and the law enforcement officers who arrested your cousin may be held liable under Article 125 of the Revised Penal Code.
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.