What is Grave Coercion?


The penalty of arresto mayor and a fine not exceeding 500 pesos shall be imposed upon any person who, without authority of law, shall, by means of violence, prevent another from doing something not prohibited by law, or compel him to do something against his will, whether it be right or wrong.

If the coercion be committed for the purpose of compelling another to perform any religious act or to prevent him from so doing, the penalty next higher in degree shall be imposed.

1. That a person...
a. prevented another from doing something not prohibited by law or
b. compel him to do something against his will, be it right or wrong
2. Violence, threats or intimidation, either material force or such display of force as would produce intimidation and control of the will.
3. Without authority of law

Aggravating circumstances:
1. Violation of the exercise of the right of suffrage
2. Compelling another to perform a religious act or
3. preventing another from exercising such right or from doing such act (as amended by RA. 7890)

The crime is not grave coercion when the violence is employed to seize anything belonging to the debtor of the offender. It is light coercion under Art. 287.

Any person who shall use force or intimidation to prevent any member of Congress from attending the meetings thereof, expressing his opinions, or casting his vote is liable under Art. 145.

Any person who, by force, prevents the meeting of a legislative body is liable under Art. 143.

A public officer who shall prevent by means of violence or threats the ceremonies or manifestations of any religion is guilty of interruption of religious worship (Art. 132).

In case of grave coercion where the offended party is being compelled to do something against his will, whether it be wrong or not, the crime of grave coercion is committed if violence or intimidation is employed in order to compel him to do the act.

If a person prohibits another to do an act because the act is a crime, even though some sort of violence or intimidation is employed, it would not give rise to grave coercion. It may only give rise to threats or physical injuries if some injuries are inflicted.

Arises only if the act which the offender prevented another to do is not prohibited by law or ordinance.

Purpose Of The Law: To enforce the principle that no person may take the law into his hands, and that our government is one of law, not of

The thing prevented from execution must not be prohibited by law. Otherwise, there will be no coercion.

Lee v. CA, 201 SCRA 405
Neither the crime of threats nor coercion is committed although the accused, a branch manager of a bank made the complainant sign a withdrawal slip for the amount needed to pay the spurious dollar check she had encashed, and also made her execute an affidavit regarding the return of the amount against her better sense and judgment.

The complainant may have acted reluctantly and with hesitation, but still, it was voluntary.

Bar Exam Question (1998)

Grave Coercion Meaning  (1998)

Isagani lost his gold necklace bearing his initials. He saw Roy wearing the said necklace. Isagani asked Roy to return to him the necklace as it belongs to him, but Roy refused. Isagani then drew his gun and told Roy, "If you will not give back the necklace to me, I will kill you!" Out of fear for his life and against his will, Roy gave the necklace to Isagani, What offense did Isagani commit? 

Suggested Answer:

Isagani committed the crime of grave coercion (Art. 286, RPC) for compelling Roy, by means of serious threats or intimidation, to do something against the latter's will, whether it be right or wrong. Serious threats or intimidation approximating violence constitute grave coercion, not grave threats. Such is the nature of the threat in this case because it was committed with a gun, which is a deadly weapon. The crime is not robbery because intent to gain, which is an essential element of robbery, is absent since the necklace belongs to Isagani.

Bar Exam Question (1999)

Illegal Detention vs. Grave Coercion (1999)

Distinguish coercion from illegal detention. (3%)

Suggested Answer:

Coercion may be distinguished from illegal detention as follows: in coercion, the basis of criminal liability is the employment of violence or serious intimidation approximating violence, without authority of law, to prevent a person from doing something not prohibited by law or to compel him to do something against his will, whether it be right or wrong; while in Illegal detention, the basis of liability is the actual restraint or locking up of a person, thereby depriving him of his liberty without authority of law. If there was no intent to lock up or detain the offended party unlawfully, the crime of illegal detention is not committed.