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.

1. Offender must be a creditor;
2. He seizes anything belonging to his debtor:
3. The seizure of the thing be accomplished by means of violence or a display of material force producing intimidation;
4. The purpose of the offender is to apply the same to the payment of the debt.

Any other coercion or unjust vexation

Paragraph 2 of Art. 287 covers unjust vexation. It includes any human conduct which, although not productive of some physical or material harm would, however, unjustly annoy or vex an innocent person.

Light coercion under the 1st paragraph of this article will only be unjust vexation if the 3rd element (employing violence or intimidation) is absent.

Unjust Vexation is distinguished from grave coercion by the absence of violence.

Bar Exam Question (1994)

Unjust Vexation vs Acts of Lasciviousness (1994)

When is embracing, kissing, and touching a girl's breast considered only unjust vexation instead of acts of lasciviousness?

Suggested Answer:

The acts of embracing, kissing of a woman arising either out of passion or other motive and the touching of her breast as a mere incident of the embrace without lewd design constitute merely unjust vexation (People vs, Ignacio. CA GRNo. 5119-R, September 30, 1950). However, where the kissing, embracing and the touching of the breast of a woman are done with lewd design, the same constitute acts of lasciviousness (People vs. Percival Gilo, 10 SCRA 753).

Bar Exam Question (2006)

Unjust Vexation vs. Act of Lasciviousness (2006)

Eduardo Quintos, a widower for the past 10 years, felt that his retirement at the age of 70 gave him the opportunity to
engage in his favorite pastime — voyeurism. If not using his high-powered binoculars to peep at his neighbor's homes and domestic activities, his second choice was to follow sweet young girls. One day, he trailed a teenage girl up to the LRT station at EDSA-Buendia. While ascending the stairs, he stayed one step behind her and in a moment of bravado, placed his hand on her left hip and gently massaged it. She screamed and shouted for help. Eduardo was arrested and charged with acts of lasciviousness. Is the designation of the crime correct? 

Alternative Answe:

The designation of the crime as acts of lasciviousness is not correct. There is no lewd design exhibited by Eduardo when he placed his hand on the left hip of the victim and gently massaging it. The act does not clearly show an exclusively sexual motivation. The crime he committed is only unjust vexation for causing annoyance, irritation or disturbance to the victim (Art. 287, Revised Penal Code), not acts of lasciviousness (Art. 336, Revised Penal Code).

Alternative Answer:

The crime should be Other Acts of Child Abuse under Section 10 of RA. 7610, par. b of Section 3 that refers to child abuse committed by any act, deeds or words which debases, degrades or demeans the intrinsic worth and dignity of a child as a human being. In relation thereto, Section 10 provides criminal liability for other acts of child abuse, cruelty or exploitation, or for other conditions prejudicial to the child's development. The reaction of the victim, screaming for help upon the occurrence of the touching indicates that she perceived her dignity was being debased or violated.