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The crime of trespass to dwelling

What is it and how to prove?


The provisions of Act 3815, otherwise known as the "Revised Penal Code of the Philippines," as amended. Succinctly, Article 280 of the said law reads:


"Article 280. Qualified trespass to dwelling. – Any private person who shall enter the dwelling of another against the latter's will, shall be punished by arresto mayor and a fine not exceeding P200,000.


"If the offense be committed by means of violence or intimidation, the penalty shall be prison correctional in its medium and maximum periods and a fine not exceeding P200,000.


"The provisions of this article shall not be applicable to any person who shall enter another's dwelling for the purpose of preventing some serious harm to himself, the occupants of the dwelling or third person, nor shall it be applicable to any person who shall enter a dwelling for the purpose of rendering some service to humanity or justice, nor to anyone who shall enter cafes, taverns, inns and other public houses, while the same are open.".


In the case of Marzalado, Jr. v. People (GR 152997, Nov. 10, 2004) penned by Associate Justice Leonardo Quisumbing, the crux and the elements of the crime of trespass to dwelling were reiterated, viz:


"In trespass to dwelling, the elements are: (1) the offender is a private person; (2) that he enters the dwelling of another; and (3) such entrance is against the latter's will.


"In the prosecution for trespass, the material fact or circumstance to be considered is the occurrence of the trespass. The gravamen of the crime is violation of possession or the fact of having caused injury to the right of the possession."


In line with the foregoing, the crime of trespass to dwelling finds its legal anchor in our penal code. Moreover, in order to establish the same, it is indispensable to prove the following: first, the offender must be a private person; second, that the offender enters the dwelling of another; and third, that such entrance is against the will of the latter.


Source: Manila times

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