Liabilities for infidelity in the custody of prisoners

With the controversy surrounding the arrest of Antonio Leviste after he left the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City without a pass and the resulting investigation by the Department of Justice (DOJ), the next issue, among others, is determining the liability of the jail officers involved.

The difficulty faced by the responsible jail officers is that in addition to administrative liability, infidelity in the custody of prisoners is a criminal offense punishable with imprisonment. Both willful acts and negligence are punished. Article 223 of the Revised Penal Code penalizes the responsible officer for conniving with or consenting to evasion of the prisoner, while Article 224 covers evasion through negligence (see Infidelity of prisoners for the elements of these crimes). Which provision applies would depend on the result of the existing DOJ investigation. Let’s wait and see.

Conniving with or consenting to evasion

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