Living In The Philippines — Unjust Vexation

Well, it is true, it is illegal to irritate or annoy someone living in the Philippines. Now of course there are conditions that have to be met.  One problem though, there is no clear definition in the law what those conditions are.

I had forgotten this term, “unjust vexation” in the law of the Philippines. I ran across it not long after I arrived.

One might say it is a catch-all for someone “acting a fool.”

Here is a more formal definition of what unjust vexation is.

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.

I found a bill in congress that increases the sentence to arresto mayor and the fine from 500 to 5000 peso. I don’t know if that bill ever became law.

Here are some example of how it was used in important cases that defined the law:

  • Offending Religious Feelings  — Andal v. People of the Philippines, G.R. No. L-29814, March 28, 1969
  • Improper Seizing of Property Due to Default on Debt — People v. Reyes, 98 Phil. 646, March 23, 1956
  • Compelling someone to do something against their will — People v. Yanga, 100 Phil. 385, November 28, 1956
  • Taking hold of someones wrist — In People v. Abuy, G.R. No. L-17616, May 30, 1962
  • Threats — In People v. Carreon, G.R. No. L-17920, May 30, 1962
  • Interfering with Business — Kwan v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 113006, November 23, 2000

Not So Unusual

Looking at these I can see parallels to US law.  An unwelcome touch is an assault.  Holding someone against their will is falseDon't Tread On Me -- If You're Living In The Philippines imprisonment. I’m not so sure about the offending someone’s religious practices. That would likely be protected under the first amendment in the USA.   It would seem though that good old fashioned common sense that I’ve seen before in Philippine law is at play here.  Since I’ve been living in the Philippines, I’ve noted a good deal of common sense is applied in the law.

This idea of threatening tone though, now that’s something that could get us rebellious natured American’s in trouble. American’s have a culture of many words where Filipino speak fewer words. I’m going to write a story about that. This subtle difference is a source of misunderstanding between the Philippines and Western cultures.

American’s are quick to express their views where Filipino, I think, are more likely to keep them to themselves and do what they want to do regardless of what you think. Sometimes this gives rise to allegations of deceit. More on that in another topic.

When living in the Philippines,  mind your own business and don’t be rude. One often hears that just raising your voice to a Filipino is grounds for deportation. Perhaps this is the law that give the Bureau of Immigration justification for doing that.  If you want to keep living in the Philippines don’t unjustly vexate.  Is that a word?  Its a Rustism.

How could a Southern man, like myself, not take note of this term vexation. That just sounds so southern to me. Ha Ha

There have been more recent cases of unjust vexation in the courts.

While researching this article, I noted a couple of lawyers that had issues with the law. Their objections seem to focus on the loose definition of how one commits unjust vexation. In fact, there seems to be no definition at all. But the common denominator is a simple one. That is annoyance or irritation of another.

When living in the Philippines, be respectful and watch your temper.

Tagged with:

Filed under: Filipino CultureLiving In The PhilippinesPhilippines Law

Like this post? Subscribe to my RSS feed and get loads more!