Unjust vexation – under the Revised Penal Code, refers to the crime of causing cause annoyance, irritation, torment, distress, or disturbance to the mind of the person to whom it was directed.
[U]njust vexation [is] a form of light coercion, under Article 287 of the Revised Penal Code. (Baleros, Jr. v. People, G.R. No. 138033, February 22, 2006, Per Garcia, J.)
Any other coercions or unjust vexations shall be punished by arresto menor or a fine ranging from One thousand pesos (P1,000) to not more than Forty thousand pesos (P40,000) or both
(Revised Penal Code)
The purpose of the crime of unjust vexation is to cause annoyance, irritation, torment, distress, or disturbance to the mind of the person to whom it was directed. (De Vera v. People, G.R. No. 246231, January 20, 2021, Per Delos Santos, J.)
The main purpose of the law penalizing coercion and unjust vexation is precisely to enforce the principle that no person may take the law into his hands and that our government is one of law, not of men. It is unlawful for any person to take into his own hands the administration of justice. (Maderazo v. People , supra.)
The second paragraph of the Article is broad enough to include any human conduct which, although not productive of some physical or material harm, could unjustifiably annoy or vex an innocent person. (Maderazo v. People, G.R. No. 165065, September 26, 2006, Per Callejo, Sr., J.)
The following are the modes of committing the offense:
1) By causing annoyance, irritation, torment, distress, or disturbance to the mind of the person to whom it was directed
Elements of the crime of unjust vexation:
1) That the offender causes annoyance, irritation, torment, distress, or disturbance to the mind of the person to whom it was directed; and
2) That it was done with dolo or malice. (De Vera v. People , supra.; Maderazo v. People , supra.)
For the 1st element, the offender causes annoyance, irritation, torment, distress, or disturbance to the mind of the person to whom it was directed.
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 is directed. (Maderazo v. People , supra.)
People v. Sumingwai, G.R. No. 183619, October 13, 2009, Per Nachura, J.:
• Appellant’s acts of embracing, dragging and kissing AAA in front of her friend annoyed AAA. The filing of the case against appellant proved that AAA was disturbed, if not distressed by the acts of appellant.
Ong Chiu Kwan v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 113006, November 23, 2000, Per Pardo, J.:
• Petitioner admitted having ordered the cutting of the electric, water and telephone lines of complainant’s business establishment because these lines crossed his property line. He failed, however, to show evidence that he had the necessary permit or authorization to relocate the lines. Also, he timed the interruption of electric, water and telephone services during peak hours of the operation of business of the complainant. Thus, petitioner’s act unjustly annoyed or vexed the complainant. Consequently, petitioner Ong Chiu Kwan is liable for unjust vexation.
[U]unjust vexation exists even without the element of restraint or compulsion for the reason that this term is broad enough to include 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. (Rait v. People, G.R. No. 180425, July 31, 2008, Per Nachura, J.)
For the 2nd element, it was done with dolo or malice.
[I]n unjust vexation, being a felony by dolo, malice is an inherent element of the crime. (Maderazo v. People , supra.)
Maderazo v. People, G.R. No. 165065, September 26, 2006, Per Callejo, Sr., J.:
• The Sandiganbayan convicted the petitioners of unjust vexation on its findings that petitioner Mayor Melchor Maderazo had the stall of Verutiao padlocked and had it reopened, and had the contents of the stall inventoried and taken to the police station. However, the padlocking of the stall of Verutiao by petitioner Melchor Maderazo took place on January 21, 1997 and not on January 27, 1997. Petitioners were charged with grave coercion, but were convicted of unjust vexation for the eviction of Verutiao on January 27, 1997 and not on January 21, 1997 following the inventory of the contents of the stall and the transportation thereof to the police station. The only events that took place on January 27, 1997 were the unlocking of the padlock of the stall, the inventory of its contents by petitioner Victor Maderazo on order of petitioner Melchor Maderazo, and the transportation of the goods to the police station where it was stored. Petitioners Victor Maderazo, Jr. and Seniforo Perido were not present when the stall was padlocked on January 21, 1997.
• We agree with respondent’s contention that based on the evidence on record, the overt acts of petitioners Mayor Melchor Maderazo and Victor Maderazo, Jr., on January 27, 1997, annoyed, irritated and caused embarrassment to her. It was petitioner Melchor Maderazo who ordered petitioner Victor Maderazo, Jr. to have the stall reopened, to conduct an inventory of the contents thereof, and to effect the transportation of the goods to the police station. Petitioner Victor Maderazo, who was a Sangguniang Bayan member, obeyed the order of the Mayor.
• Although Verutiao was not at her stall when it was unlocked, and the contents thereof taken from the stall and brought to the police station, the crime of unjust vexation was nevertheless committed. For the crime to exist, it is not necessary that the offended party be present when the crime was committed by said petitioners. It is enough that the private complainant was embarrassed, annoyed, irritated or disturbed when she learned of the overt acts of the petitioners. Indeed, by their collective acts, petitioners evicted Verutiao from her stall and prevented her from selling therein, hence, losing income from the business. Verutiao was deprived of her possession of the stall from January 21, 1997.
• Petitioners Mayor Melchor Maderazo and Sangguniang Bayan member Victor Maderazo, Jr., had no right, without judicial intervention, to oust Verutiao from the stall, and had her merchandise transported to the police station, thereby preventing her from doing business therein and selling her merchandize. Petitioner Mayor Maderazo had no right to take the law into his own hands and deprive Verutiao of her possession of the stall and her means of livelihood.
The following are some additional things to note about this offense.
Good faith is a good defense to a charge for unjust vexation because good faith negates malice. (Maderazo v. People , supra.)
This offense is distinguished from other offenses or crimes below.
|Factors||Offense 1||Offense 2|
|Offended Party||Any person||Any person|
|Offender||Any person||Any person|
|Overt Acts||Offender causes annoyance, irritation, torment, distress, or disturbance to the mind of the person to whom it was directed.||Offender attempted to have sexual intercourse with the offended party or to commit acts of penetration in relation to sexual intercourse, without the latter’s consent|
People v. Tayaba, En Banc, G.R. No. L-43137, December 7, 1935, Per Recto, J.:
• It is likewise contended by the defense that the series of acts committed by the accused do not determine attempted rape, and constitute, at most, unjust vexation. This contention implies the confusion of two juridical situations essentially distinct from each other, to wit, unjust vexation, which is a consummated crime, and attempted rape which, as the name itself indicates, is merely an attempted one. In one case, the acts performed constitute the very end pursued by the actor; in the other, they merely constitute the means to an end which the actor seeks to attain. In the former, nothing is left for the actor to do; in the latter, he continues to advance through the adequate processes of action to attain his final objective, but fails to realize it not because of his own voluntary desistance but by reason of the intervention of an extraneous cause. Had the accused in this case abandoned his design after performing the acts committed by him, according to the evidence and the appealed judgment, the crime committed would be unjust vexation. But he persisted in his purpose, which could not have been to vex the offended party because this objective was already attained, but to ravish her through force and intimidation, inasmuch as his acts under the circumstances of the case could not lead to any other end. His attempt, however, was defeated by the timely arrival of a neighbor who came to the rescue of the offended party upon hearing her cries for help. From all the foregoing, we must conclude that the acts of the accused transcended the limits of unjust vexation and arrived, in the continued process of the action, at the filed of attempted rape, stopping therein by reason of cause independent of his will. That the intention of the accused was to rape the offended party also appears from the fact that when Pedro Martinez arrived, finding him in his under-garments, and asked what happened, and the offended Party answered that the accused wanted to rape. her, the accused remained silent and hastily left the house. The accused should have protested against such imputation, if it were not true, but he did not do so, and his silence warrants the conclusion, taking into consideration the acts theretofore committed by him, that he evidently intended to ravish the offended party. In fact, if such was not his intention, what was he trying to accomplish by means of his acts which were in the course of execution when the neighbor, Pedro Martinez, arrived at the scene and prevented their consummation?
• The facts of this case are similar to those of United States vs. Garcia (9 Phil., 434), where the accused was also convicted of attempted rape. In said case, the facts were:
… the accused, without being in any way connected with Maria Amparo, a married woman, entered her house at a late hour of night at a time when her husband was absent, and forcibly tried to outrage her while asleep, against her will, using violence on her person; and notwithstanding the resistance made by the woman and in spite of her cries to her mother-in-law, who was asleep a short distance from her in the same house, refused abandon his criminal purpose. It is an unquestionable fact that the accused was stretched over the offended woman and that when the latter managed to raise herself, the accused endeavored to throw her down and that from the beginning when she woke up she noticed that her skirt had been raised to the knee; it can not be denied that the accused had begun the commission of his criminal intent to forcibly outrage the offended party, and if he did not perform all of the acts necessary to consummate the crime it was owing to the stubborn resistance offered by the woman and to assistance rendered by her mother-in-law, Maria Manalo.
• Considering that it is an essential condition of an attempted crime that the overt acts constituting the same lead directly, with constant intent, to the commission of another act punishable by law (decision of the Supreme Court of Spain of October 7, 1890), and that the overt acts committed by the accused with regard to the attainment of his ultimate purpose, which was to ravish the offended party intimidation and force, are of the said nature and extent, we are of the opinion and so hold that the appealed judgment is in accordance with law and should be affirmed.
Baleros, Jr. v. People, G.R. No. 138033, February 22, 2006, Per Garcia, J.:
• There is absolutely no dispute about the absence of sexual intercourse or carnal knowledge in the present case. The next question that thus comes to the fore is whether or not the act of the petitioner, i.e., the pressing of a chemical-soaked cloth while on top of Malou, constitutes an overt act of rape.
• Overt or external act has been defined as some physical activity or deed, indicating the intention to commit a particular crime, more than a mere planning or preparation, which if carried out to its complete termination following its natural course, without being frustrated by external obstacles nor by the voluntary desistance of the perpetrator, will logically and necessarily ripen into a concrete offense.
• Harmonizing the above definition to the facts of this case, it would be too strained to construe petitioner’s act of pressing a chemical-soaked cloth in the mouth of Malou which would induce her to sleep as an overt act that will logically and necessarily ripen into rape. As it were, petitioner did not commence at all the performance of any act indicative of an intent or attempt to rape Malou. It cannot be overemphasized that petitioner was fully clothed and that there was no attempt on his part to undress Malou, let alone touch her private part. For what reason petitioner wanted the complainant unconscious, if that was really his immediate intention, is anybody’s guess. The CA maintained that if the petitioner had no intention to rape, he would not have lain on top of the complainant. Plodding on, the appellate court even anticipated the next step that the petitioner would have taken if the victim had been rendered unconscious.
• At bottom then, the appellate court indulges in plain speculation, a practice disfavored under the rule on evidence in criminal cases. For, mere speculations and probabilities cannot substitute for proof required to establish the guilt of an accused beyond reasonable doubt.
• Lest it be misunderstood, the Court is not saying that petitioner is innocent, under the premises, of any wrongdoing whatsoever. The information filed against petitioner contained an allegation that he forcefully covered the face of Malou with a piece of cloth soaked in chemical. And during the trial, Malou testified about the pressing against her face of the chemical-soaked cloth and having struggled after petitioner held her tightly and pinned her down. Verily, while the series of acts committed by the petitioner do not determine attempted rape, as earlier discussed, they constitute unjust vexation punishable as light coercion under the second paragraph of Article 287 of the Revised Penal Code… That Malou, after the incident in question, cried while relating to her classmates what she perceived to be a sexual attack and the fact that she filed a case for attempted rape proved beyond cavil that she was disturbed, if not distressed by the acts of petitioner.
|Factors||Offense 1||Offense 2|
|Offended Party||Any person||Any person|
|Offender||Any person||Any person|
|Overt Acts||Offender causes annoyance, irritation, torment, distress, or disturbance to the mind of the person to whom it was directed.||Without the consent of the offended party, the offender commits acts of lasciviousness or lewdness (without going so far as to commit acts of penetration in relation to sexual intercourse)|
The crime of unjust vexation, while concededly different from the crime of acts of lasciviousness, is embraced by the latter and prosecution for this crime will suspend the period of prescription for the former crime. A common characteristic of the two offenses is molestation of the offended party. Where it is not shown that this was accompanied by lewd designs, the accused may not be convicted of acts of lasciviousness but may nevertheless be held guilty of unjust vexation, as the lesser offense. (People v. Maravilla, G.R. No. L-47646m September 19, 1988, Per Cruz, J.)
PO3 Sombilon, Jr. v. People, G.R. No. 175528, September 30, 2009, Per Leonardo-De Castro, J.:
• Petitioner contends that the CA erred in affirming his conviction for acts of lasciviousness. Even as he admits having merely touched the victim, petitioner argues that the act of touching did not constitute lewdness. At most, he could only be convicted of unjust vexation. Petitioner likewise asserts that while the victim was being touched, the latter tried to cover her body with her arms. Lastly petitioner posits that the police station does not favor the perpetration of the crime of acts of lasciviousness.
• Petitioner’s contention deserves scant consideration.
• Undoubtedly, petitioner committed acts which fall within the above described lascivious conduct. It cannot be viewed as mere unjust vexation as petitioner would have the Court do. The intention of petitioner was intended neither to merely annoy or irritate the victim nor to force her to confess the theft. He could have easily achieved that when he electrocuted the latter. Petitioner intended to gratify his sexual desires.
• As found by the RTC and affirmed by the CA, petitioner’s acts of kissing the victim, fondling her breasts and touching her private parts constitute lascivious conduct intended to quench his salacious desire. Petitioner’s lewd intent was betrayed when he asked AAA, “Dalaga ka na ba?” as a prelude to his lustful advances on the victim, and thereafter conveyed to her that “I am single too.”
The following are some procedural matters.
[M]alice, compulsion or restraint need not be alleged in an Information for unjust vexation. Unjust vexation exists even without the element of restraint or compulsion for the reason that the term is broad enough to include any human conduct which, although not productive of some physical or material harm, would unjustly annoy or irritate an innocent person. (Baleros, Jr. v. People, G.R. No. 138033, January 30, 2007, Per Garcia, J.)
Compulsion or restraint need not be alleged in the Information, for the crime of unjust vexation may exist without compulsion or restraint. (Maderazo v. People , supra.)
[C]onviction or acquittal of either offense (unjust vexation or acts of lasciviousness) should bar prosecution for the other offense under the rule on double jeopardy. (People v. Maravilla , supra.)
There can be no question that the crime of “unjust vexation” (Art. 287 , Revised Penal Code) is a light offense (Art. 9, id.) and, therefore, prescribes in 2 months (Art. 90, id.). (People v. Abuy, En Banc, G.R. No. L-17616, May 30, 1962, Per Barrera, J.)
People v. Abuy, En Banc, G.R. No. L-17616, May 30, 1962, Per Barrera, J.:
• Now, the information dated November 13, 1959 charging appellee Abuy with said offense, expressly alleges that he committed it “on February 21, 1959” on the person of “Nicolasa (Michaela) B. de Magadia.” According to Article 91 of the Revised Penal Code, the period of prescription of an offense “shall commence to run upon the day on which the crime was discovered by the offended party, the authorities or their agents”. From February 21, 1959 to November 13, 1959 (date of filing of the information) is 6 months and 20 days, far beyond the 2-month prescriptive period of said offense. In the circumstances, appellee Abuy correctly moved to quash said information, and the Municipal Court properly granted the same. The Court of First Instance, on its part, committed no reversible error in dismissing the prosecution’s appeal from said quashal by the Municipal Court, for being “unmeritorious and unfounded”.
• Title IX – Crimes Against Personal Liberty and Security, Act No. 3815, Revised Penal Code, as amended
/Updated: November 22, 2023