In the Philippines, there is a law against causing unnecessary annoyance or deliberately disturbing another person, and it’s called unjust vexation. It has been dubbed by many as “the crime of annoying others.” If you didn’t know you could sue someone over disturbing your peace, it’s time you arm yourself with knowledge.
What is unjust vexation?
Bastos na customer, paglabag ba sa batas? Alamin! pic.twitter.com/nug2MGiWpk
— Chel Diokno (@ChelDiokno) January 18, 2023
Human rights lawyer Atty. Chel Diokno went on Tiktok to explain the Philippines’ law on unjust vexation in simple terms everyone could understand.
According to him, unjust vexation is “any human conduct that causes annoyance, irritation, torment, distress or disturbance” even without the involvement of physical or material harm. It’s deliberately annoying someone for no legitimate purpose.
Diokno went on to add that it could also be a “civil case for damages under the human relations provisions of the Civil Code.”
Under the Civil Code, Chapter 2 Article 21 on Human Relations reads:
“Any person who willfully causes loss or injury to another in a manner that is contrary to morals, good customs, or public policy shall compensate the latter for the damage.”
“Sa madaling salita, RESPETO,” adds Atty. Diokno. “Always treat others with respect. At huwag i-expose yung iba sa unnecessary ridicule, shame, at indignity.”
Can you file a criminal complaint for someone being annoying?
Lawyer and content creator Atty. Ralph Macalinao also stressed that unjust vexation or “the crime of annoying others” is when someone “deliberately or with malice keeps annoying you or disturbing you.” It isn’t the simple teasing friends do with each other. Atty. Macalinao stressed that it is intentional harassment.
For example, your neighbors bust out the karaoke every night until 3 AM despite you warning them of the disturbance. Or a rude customer who smears cake on your face while one of their friends films you for social media.
What are the penalties for the crime of annoying others?
Under the Revised Penal Code, the penalties include imprisonment ranging from one to 30 days and/or a fine ranging from P1,000 to P40,000.
Once a person has been charged with unjust vexation, that will reflect on their criminal record.
“Hindi lamang siya may civil liability kasi meron rin siyang criminal liability,” says Atty. Macalinao. “It’s a crime. It’s under the Revised Penal Code of the Philippines. So if nakasuhan kayo ng ganito, you’ll undergo a hearing and at the same time if makita na guilty kayo, magkakaron kayo ng criminal record.”
Atty. Macalinao goes on to explain that once you have a criminal record, it could affect your future employment since it reflects on your National Bureau of Investigation clearance.