• ‘No Trespassing’ sign enough warning vs illegal entry

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    Persida Acosta

    Persida Acosta

    Dear PAO,
    What case can I file against the persons who entered my fenced vacant lot without my permission? I live in another town and I don’t have a caretaker in that lot so we just fenced it with barbed wire and placed a “No Trespassing” sign.
    Kim

    Dear Kim,
    The owner of a property is vested by law with certain rights over his property. He has the right to enjoy and dispose of the thing that he owns without other limitations than those established by law. To further protect the rights of the owners of pieces of property, the law makes it unlawful for any person to enter the premises or property of another without the consent or permission of the owner. Any person who violates the same may be held criminally liable for trespassing, which is defined and penalized under Article 281 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC). The form of trespass under this article has the following elements: 1) that the offender enters the closed premises or the fenced estate of another; 2) that the entrance is made while either of them is uninhabited; 3) that the prohibition be manifest; 4) that the trespasser has not secured the permission of the owner or the caretaker thereof. The word “premises” means a distinct and definite locality. It may mean a room, shop, building or definite area, but in either case, locality is fixed (Luis B. Reyes, The Revised Penal Code, Book Two, page 577).

    Your fenced vacant lot is considered uninhabited since no one is living therein. Your act in fencing your vacant lot with strands of barbed wire and placing a “No Trespassing” sign are more than enough manifestation of your prohibition to anyone from entering your premises. Hence, you may file a criminal complaint for other forms of trespass against the persons who entered your vacant lot without your consent. Your complaint may be filed before the Office of the Prosecutor of the place where your lot is situated. If you will be able to prove the guilt of the persons who unlawfully entered your fenced vacant lot beyond reasonable doubt, they may be imposed the penalty of arresto menor (imprisonment from one day to thirty days) or a fine not exceeding 200 pesos, or both (Article 281, Revised Penal Code).

    We hope that we were able to answer your queries. Please be reminded that this advice is based solely on the facts that 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 dearpao@manilatimes.net

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    1 Comment

    1. Atty. Roslee M. Formoso on

      Here in California vacant lot owners place placards with their name as owner of the lot.