• The paramount consideration in the crime of trespass to dwelling

    Persida Acosta

    Persida Acosta

    Dear PAO,
    My husband and I are already separated and we are now living with our respective partners. During our marriage, we were able to buy appliances and my husband and his live-in partner are currently using these. I went to my husband’s house to get some of our appliances but his live-in partner and I had an argument regarding our appliances. I was not able to get any of the appliances and I was even threatened of complaint for trespassing. Is it possible for me to be held liable for trespassing?

    Dear Crystal,
    Article 280 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC), punishing qualified trespass to dwelling, provides that “any person who shall enter the dwelling of another against the latter’s will, shall be punished by arresto mayor and a fine not exceeding 1,000 pesos.” However, it is stated under the law that, there is no crime of trespass to dwelling if a person: (1) shall enter another’s dwelling for the purpose of preventing some serious harm to himself, the occupants of the dwelling, or a third person; (2) who shall enter a dwelling for the purpose of rendering some service to humanity or justice; (3) nor to anyone who shall enter cafes, taverns, inn, and other public houses, while the same are open.

    Based on your narration, we cannot determine if you have committed the crime of trespass to dwelling when you entered the house where your husband and his live-in partner are residing. The paramount consideration in the crime of trespass to dwelling is the nature of entry of the offender in another’s dwelling. Thus, where the owner of the house, upon meeting the accused at the door, took the accused by the hand and requested him to be seated, it is clear that there was no trespass to dwelling, because there was no opposition on the part of the owner of the house to the entry of the accused (The Revised Penal Code, Book Two, 18th Ed, Luis B. Reyes, page 611 citing U.S. v. Flemister, 1 Phil. 355 and U.S. v. Dionision, et.al. 12 Phil. 283).
    Hence, if you have entered the house of your husband and his live-in partner with the consent of either your husband or his partner then there is no case of trespass to dwelling even if the said person has later requested you to leave after you have an argument with the live-in partner regarding the taking of some of the appliances which you bought during your cohabitation with your husband.

    We hope that we have answered your query. Our legal opinion may vary if other facts are stated 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 dearpao@manilatimes.net


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    1 Comment

    1. Since the ex-husband had entered his ex-wife slimy hole of paradise with out taking anything but just deposit milky juice. The ex-wife can not be charge with trespass if she entered the ex-husband house with out taking anything but just leave behind saliva of curses. Trespass for trespass none shall be charge will trespass for both are trespasser.