The Revised Penal Code says:
Art. 267. Kidnapping and serious illegal detention. — Any private individual who shall kidnap or detain another, or in any other manner deprive him of his liberty, shall suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua to death:
1. If the kidnapping or detention shall have lasted more than five days.
2. If it shall have been committed simulating public authority.
3. If any serious physical injuries shall have been inflicted upon the person kidnapped or detained; or if threats to kill him shall have been made.
4. If the person kidnapped or detained shall be a minor, female or a public officer.
The penalty shall be death where the kidnapping or detention was committed for the purpose of extorting ransom from the victim or any other person, even if none of the circumstances above-mentioned were present in the commission of the offense.
This law is simple but this applies only to private persons. If it is a public officer (e.g., police, etc.) that deprives people of liberty, the crime is arbitrary detention.
If any, some or all of the five circumstance mentioned above are present in the deprivation of liberty (kidnapping), the penalty is serious: Reclusion Perpetua (this is not life imprisonment but only 40 years) to Death.
Why is this a better alternate charge against Sammy Ong?
The State will have better luck with this charge against Ong because of Section 3, Rule 114 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, which says:
Sec. 3. Bail, a matter of right; exception. – All persons in custody shall, before final conviction, be entitled to bail as a matter of right, except those charged with a capilal offense or one which, under the law at the time of its commission and at the time of the application for bail, is punishable by reclusion perpetua, when evidence of guilt is strong.
Hence with a finding from an investigating prosecutor that the evidence implicating Ong in the “kidnapping” of T/Sgt. Vidal Doble (an ISAFP agent and public officer) is strong, Ong can be detained for a non-bailable offense.
Bear in mind that a non-bailable offense does not mean that an accused cannot be granted bail. This simply means bail cannot be granted as a matter of right. The accused has to apply for bail and prove that the evidence of his guilt is not strong. By the way, this was what Sen. Jinggoy Estrada and Atty. Ed Serapio (my former teacher) used to post bail in their “non-bailable” plunder case.
See where this is going?