Did you know that the act of annoying someone is a crime? Yes, it is and we certainly are not pulling your leg. The act of annoying someone is called unjust vexation and considered a form of light coercion punishable under Article 287 of the Revised Penal Code, to wit:
“Art. 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 coercions or unjust vexations shall be punished by arresto menor or a fine ranging from 5 pesos to 200 pesos, or both.
However, don’t get us wrong. Having an annoying face or annoying demeanor is not a crime by itself. There must be a positive act on the part of the perpetrator. The Supreme Court has defined unjust vexation as any human conduct which, although not productive of some physical or material harm, would unjustly annoy or irritate an innocent person. The paramount question is whether the offender’s act causes annoyance, irritation, torment, distress or disturbance to the mind of the person to whom it is directed.
Consequently, unjust vexation is punishable by imprisonment ranging from 1 day to 30 days and/or a fine of P5 to P200. Yes, you read it right – an annoying person can be imprisoned or slapped with a fine insufficient to buy a pack of cigarettes.
Oh, and yes. You can sue that annoying neighbor who sings at the top of his lungs every night for unjust vexation.
This is how to sue an annoying person in the Philippines.
Nicolas & De Vega Law Offices is a Philippine law firm located at the 16th Flr., Suite 1607 AIC Burgundy Empire Tower, ADB Ave., Ortigas Center, 1605 Pasig City, Metro Manila, Philippines. You may also call us at +632 4706126, +632 4706130, +632 4016392.