Pres. Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the re-arrest of the suspect in the Cristene Lee Silawan murder case. In his speech before the PDP-Laban political rally in South Cotabato last night, the President revealed that he called the City Prosecutor of Lapu-Lapu City and gave verbal order to effect the re-arrest of the 17 year-old prime suspect.
“Tinawagan ko siya pagka umaga, this is just between us but if you want it publish fine with me, sabi ko, i-recall mo yang ano mo, order ninyo of dismissal and have that guy re-arrested,” Duterte said in his speech at the Koronadal City Sports Complex.
The President reasoned that being a former prosecutor himself, he said that the boy’s arrest was valid saying the Revised Penal Code (Act No. 3815) where hot pursuit is based is obsolete as it was enacted during the Spanish era. “A hot pursuit is based on the principles of Codigo Penal because our penal laws, the Penal Code, is Spanish era pa yan.
Yang sabi mo na pati sa Supreme Court right after the commission of the crime, there is hot pursuit, ibig sabihin habulan kayo. Yang habulan na yan continuing yan, continous rather, continous yan hanggang mahuli mo then you file the case.” The RPC however which was enacted on December 1930 is silent on the element of hot pursuit arrest but the Rules on Criminal Procedure Rule 113 Sec. 5 is very specific on what constitutes the lawful arrest without a warrant to wit; Sec. 5.
Arrest without warrant; when lawful. – A peace officer or a private person may, without a warrant, arrest a person; (a) When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to commit an offense; (b) When an offense has just been committed and he has probable cause to believe based on personal knowledge of facts or circumstances that the person to be arrested has committed it; and (c) When the person to be arrested is a prisoner who has escaped from a penal establishment or place where he is serving final judgment or is temporarily confined while his case is pending, or has escaped while being transferred from one confinement to another.
The President however reasoned than in modern times the law has to be dynamic. “Sabihin ko sa korte ngayon, sabihin mo sa mga judges, how do you solve the problem? Eh di talagang makasibat ang criminal na yun, it doesn’t fit in the reality.” Lapu-Lapu City Prosecutor Ruso Zaragoza still has to make a comment on the President’s verbal order.
The suspect was released after his counsel, Atty. Vincent Isles, filed an Omnibus Motion for Release in the office of Zaragoza on the grounds that the arrest of his client was invalid as it did not does fall under a hot pursuit. The boy is now being kept in a safehouse while awaiting for the resolution of the murder case which the NBI has earlier filed.
Christine Lee’s flayed body was discovered last March 11 in a vacant lot. She sustained 30 stab wounds and was half naked down to her waist. Her face was skinned to the bone and some of her body parts were missing.