I am indebted to a man who is in the business of lending money. I was not able to pay several monthly instalments, which rendered the whole amount I owed collectible as agreed upon. Because of this, the man barged into our house and started to forcibly take our appliances as payment for the money I owed him. Is this legal?
There is no question that that man who lent you money has the right to oblige you to pay, considering that the loan he extended to you is due and demandable. There are ways allowed by law on how this man can collect the loan from you. One is to demand payment in person or through a letter. Another is by bringing the matter before the Katarungang Pambarangay, in case both of you live in the same barangay (village), city or municipality. Lastly, he may file a collection case against you in court.
The method which he used in collecting the payment of the loan, however, is not in accordance with law. In fact, it is punishable under the Revised Penal Code of the Philippines, to wit:
“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.
Again, we find it necessary to mention that this opinion is solely based on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. The opinion may vary when the facts are changed or elaborated.
We hope that we were able to enlighten you on the matter.
Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org