Is it really a crime to annoy someone in the Philippines?

September 10, 2017

I saw this article which says “it is a crime to annoy someone in the Philippines”. And they say it is hilarious. I think I know where they are coming from because of the definition or elements of this crime. The nomenclature a.k.a the name of this crime under the Philippine Revised Penal Code is “Unjust Vexation”. But nope, this crime does not only mean “plain/mere annoyance” of somebody that will make one liable of “unjust vexation”. 

The law says:

Article 287. Light coercions. 

Any person who, by means of violence, shall seize anything belonging to his debtor for the purpose of applying the same to the payment of the debt, shall suffer the penalty of arresto mayor in its minimum period and a fine equivalent to the value of the thing, but in no case less than 75 pesos.

Any other coercion or unjust vexation shall be punished by arresto menor or a fine ranging from 5 to 200 pesos, or both.

The crime of unjust vexation was explained in the case of People of the Philippines vs. Salvino Sumingwa, (GR No. 183619, October 13, 2009), to wit:

“The second paragraph of this provision is broad enough to include any human conduct that, although not productive of some physical or material harm, could unjustifiably annoy or vex an innocent person. The paramount question to be considered is whether the offender’s act caused annoyance, irritation, torment, distress, or disturbance to the mind of the person to whom it was directed.”

There must be absence of violence. Otherwise, it could be “grave or light coercions”. 

To be continued…

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