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ON THE ARREST AND ARBITRARY DETENTION OF INNOCENT there are only three (3) instances when a police may

hen a police may arrest


CIVILIANS BY THE POLICE FOR PURPOSE OF EXTORTION a person without a warrant, as follows:

(CHR A2011 - 001) (a) When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has
committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to
The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) expresses its alarm commit an offense;
over the incidents of arrest and arbitrary detention of
innocent civilians by the police for purpose of extortion. When an offense has just been committed, and
he has probable cause to believe based on
The case of Joy Reyes y Lagman is an example. personal knowledge of facts or circumstances
that the person to be arrested has committed it;
and
Based on the Resolution of the Department of Justice
(DOJ) in I.S. No. XV-07-INQ-09D-03624 promulgated on
October 13, 2010 , Joy Reyes was picked up by SPO1 When the person to be arrested is a prisoner who
Gerardo Rivera and PO2 Jason Magbitang between 12:00 has escaped from a penal establishment or place
noon and 12:30 p.m. on April 22, 2009 in the area of Guido where he is serving final judgment or is temporarily
I, Tondo, Manila ; after which Rivera and Magbitang confined while his case is pending, or has
attempted to extort money from her in the amount of fifty escaped while being transferred from one
thousand pesos (P50,000.00). Unsuccessful, the two police confinement to another.
brought Joy Reyes to the Tayuman Police Station around
7:00 p.m. that same day. Reyes claims that she was not It is crystal clear that the case of Joy Reyes does not fall
committing any crime at the time of her arrest, but that she under any of the abovementioned circumstances that
was only looking for her nephew. The entry in the police would justify a warrantless arrest. As such, policemen
blotter does not indicate why Joy Reyes was brought in Rivera and Magbitang should not have arrested her
the police station. without a warrant. Thus, the Department of Justice found
Joy Reyes to be a victim of human rights violation, as
It was only on April 24, 2009 about 8:40 p.m. that Reyes was stated in the aforesaid DOJ Resolution, to wit:
brought to the Manila City Prosecutors Office for inquest.
By then, she was already in detention for more than forty- The records show that the arresting policemen, SPO1
eight (48) hours. Gerardo Rivera and PO2 Jason Magbitang, concocted a
story to justify the 'arrest' and detention of the hapless Joy
A criminal complaint for violation of Sections 5 and 11 of L. Reyes. Joy L. Reyes is a victim here, not the drug dealer
R.A. No. 9165 was filed against Joy Reyes. However, the that the arresting policemen had pictured her to be...
City Prosecutor of Manila issued a Resolution dismissing the
complaint against Joy Reyes. xxx

On automatic review, the Department of Justice (DOJ), in This is evidently not a case of an illegal arrest or even one
I.S. XV-07-INQ-09D-03624, affirmed the aforesaid Resolution of illegal search and seizure, but a fake arrest.
of the City Prosecutor of Manila.
It is not enough, therefore, that we sustain the dismissal of
The Department of Justice did not believe the claim of the sham complaint against Joy Reyes y Lagman. For what
Rivera and Magbitang that Joy Reyes was arrested only on has happened to Joy Reyes, as well as her family, is a
April 23, 2009 about 3:45 p.m. This is manifest in the DOJ tragedy and a farce that cry out for vindication and
Resolution, to wit: rectification.

The claim of Joy Reyes y Lagman that SPO1 Rivera and Thus, the Department of Justice ordered the City
PO2 Magbitang arrested her on April 22, 2009 (and not on Prosecutor of Manila to cause the immediate release from
April 23, 2009, as claimed by the two police officers) is detention of Joy Reyes. The DOJ also ordered the City
supported by this entry in the police blotter of the Tayuman Prosecutor of Manila to send the records of the case to the
PCP: 22 April 2009 (Wed), 7:00 P.M., BROUGHT IN THE Office of the Ombudsman as basis for its administrative
PERSON OF JOY REYES Y LAGMAN AND TERESA HERNANDEZ investigation of Rivera and Magbitang.
Y REYES BY PO2 JAYSON MAGBITANG OF PS # 7.
The acts of policemen Rivera and Magbitang contravene
XXX the obligation of the Philippine Government to respect the
human rights of Joy Reyes under Article 9, paragraph 1 of
Magbitang and Rivera lied under oath when they the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights,
declared in their Joint Affidavit of Arrest that the 'arrest' of which provides that:
Joy Reyes occurred at 3:45 p.m. of April 23, 2009 .
Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person.
It must be stressed that the arrest on the person of Joy No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention.
Reyes was effected without a warrant of arrest. Under Rule No one shall be deprived of his liberty except on such
113, Section 5 of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure,
grounds and in accordance with such procedure as are ART. 125. Delay in the delivery of detained persons to the
established by law. proper judicial authorities. - The penalties provided in the
next preceding articles shall be imposed upon the public
Joy Reyes, without legal grounds, was arbitrarily detained officer or employee who shall detain any person for some
in jail for approximately sixteen (16) months. The suffering legal ground and shall fail to deliver such person to the
of innocent persons who are put behind bars is beyond proper judicial authorities within the period of: twelve (12)
imagination. While under detention, Joy had been hours, for crimes or offenses punishable by light penalties,
deprived not only of the time to be together with her loved or their equivalent; eighteen (18) hours, for crimes or
ones, but also opportunities in life, and the right to develop offenses punishable by correctional penalties, or their
as a person. In all probability, many other persons may equivalent; and thirty-six (36) hours, for crimes or offenses
have experienced, or are experiencing, the human rights punishable by afflictive or capital penalties, or their
violations suffered by Joy Reyes. equivalent

Article 9 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights This is not to deny the Office of the President of the power
states that: No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, to automatically review dismissal resolutions in drug cases;
detention or exile. The Commission on Human Rights but the detainee should be released while the case is on
condemns acts of fake arrest and arbitrary detention as automatic review, without prejudice to re-incarceration if
gross violation of human rights. Fake arrests and arbitrary the dismissal of the complaint is reversed later on.
detention of innocent civilians by the police must, at once,
be abated, for it is the policy of the State, as provided Therefore, the Commission on Human Rights is calling on
under Article II Section 11 of the Constitution to value the the members of the Philippine National Police to desist
dignity of every human person and guarantee full respect from committing fake arrests and arbitrary detention, and
for human rights. be the guardians and protectors of human rights of the
Filipino people.
It is also imperative for the Philippine National Police to
observe the UN Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement The Commission on Human Rights is also calling for the
Officials, Article 2 of which states that: release of detainees whose drug cases had already been
dismissed by the prosecutor.
In the performance of their duty, law enforcement
officials shall respect and protect human dignity and Issued on 13th day of May 2011, in Quezon City, Philippines.
maintain and uphold the human rights of all persons.

The Commission on Human Rights likewise raises its concern


that the Resolution of the prosecutor dismissing the criminal
complaint in drug cases is subject to automatic review by
the Office of the President. During the time that the case is
undergoing automatic review, the detainee is
incarcerated. This is what Joy Reyes had experienced.

This is the same issue voiced out by the detainees at the


PDEA Detention Center in Butuan City when the
Commission on Human Rights conducted a jail visitation in
the said detention facility last November 27, 2010. The
detainees complained that they are still being held in
detention despite the prosecutors dismissal of the criminal
complaints for Violation of R.A. 9165 filed against them.

The CHR sees this as a violation of human rights a


deprivation of the right to liberty of a person - for if the
Office of the President would later on affirm the dismissal
of the complaint, which may take a year or more, the
detainee had languished long enough in jail. This practice
is counterproductive, as it results to congestion of the
detention facilities, aside from burdening the Government
with unnecessary expense for the upkeep of the
detainees, which may reach hundreds of thousands of
pesos, if not million.

Moreover, this practice is in violation of Article 125 of the


Revised Penal Code, which provides that: