Dear PAO,

My wife has been charged with unjust vexation by her officemate. What is the crime of unjust vexation?


Dear Patrick,

The crime of unjust vexation is explained by the Supreme Court in the case of Melchor G. Maderazo, et al. vs. People of the Philippines (GR 165065, Sept. 26, 2006), through Associate Justice Romeo Callejo, Sr., viz:

"The second paragraph of Article 287 is broad enough to include any human conduct which, although not productive of some physical or material harm, could unjustifiably annoy or vex an innocent person. xxx

In unjust vexation, being a felony by dolo, malice is an inherent element of the crime. Good faith is a good defense to a charge for unjust vexation because good faith negates malice.

The paramount question to be considered is whether the offender's act caused annoyance, irritation, torment, distress or disturbance to the mind of the person to whom it is directed. xxx" (Emphases supplied).

Applying the jurisprudence in your question, the crime of unjust vexation is committed when a person's actions, although not productive of some physical or material injury, annoys or vexes an innocent person. Clearly, the prosecution must adduce evidence that your wife's actions have caused annoyance, irritation, torment or disturbance to the mind of her officemate.

We hope that we were able to answer your queries. This advice is based solely on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. Our opinion may vary when other facts are changed or elaborated.

Editor's note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney's Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to [email protected]