SSgt. Edgardo Osorio and Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan were charged with two counts of kidnapping committed against the persons of Karen Empeño and Sherlyn Cadapan which allegedly happened in 2006. The RTC issued ordered the arrest of Osorio and Palparan. Osorio was arrested. Osorio later filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus on the ground that the RTC has no jurisdiction voer him because he is an active military personnel and that the accusation against him was service-related. He invoked R.A. 7055 which provides that military courts have jurisdiction over military personnel if they are charged with service-related offenses.
ISSUE: Whether or not the petition for writ of habeas corpus should prosper.
HELD: No. Osorio’s petition has no merit. Kidnapping is not part of the functions of a soldier. Even if a public officer has the legal duty to detain a person, the public officer must be able to show the existence of legal grounds for the detention. Without these legal grounds, the public officer is deemed to have acted in a private capacity and is considered a “private individual.” The public officer becomes liable for kidnapping and serious illegal detention. Hence, the RTC validly took cognizance of the case and the arrest warrants subsequently issued are valid.
A writ of habeas corpus may not be issued if the person allegedly deprived of liberty is restrained under a lawful process or order of the court.