Understanding the crime of grave coercion
"My father has been charged with grave coercion. The complainant refuses to settle amicably with my father. What is the crime of grave coercion? What is the imposable penalty for the crime?Ciara
Dear Ciara,The crime of grave coercion is expounded by the Supreme Court in the case of Joseph Anthony M. Alejandro, et al. vs. Atty. Jose A. Bernas, et al. (GR 179243, Sept. 7, 2011), through Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta, to wit:
“For grave coercion to lie, the following elements must be present:“1. that a person is prevented by another from doing something not prohibited by law, or compelled to do something against his will, be it right or wrong
“2. that the prevention or compulsion is effected by violence, threats or intimidation and“3. that the person who restrains the will and liberty of another has no right to do so, or in other words, that the restraint is not made under authority of law or in the exercise of any lawful right.
“xxx There is intimidation when one of the parties is compelled by a reasonable and well-grounded fear of an imminent and grave evil upon his person or property, or upon the person or property of his spouse, descendants or ascendants, to give his consent. Material violence is not indispensable for there to be intimidation. Intense fear produced in the mind of the victim which restricts or hinders the exercise of the will is sufficient. xxx“xxx In the crime of grave coercion, violence through material force or such a display of it as would produce intimidation and, consequently, control over the will of the offended party is an essential ingredient. xxx” (Emphases supplied)Applying the jurisprudence in your query, the prosecution must adduce evidence that your father prevented the complainant from doing something which is not prohibited by law or compelled the latter to do something against his will, be it right or wrong, by means of violence, intimidation or threats, and that your father has no right to do such restraint or not made under authority of any law.To answer your question on penalty, we shall refer to Section 1 of Republic Act 7890 (“An Act Amending Article 286, Section Three, Chapter Two, Title Nine of Act No. 3815, As Amended, Otherwise Known As The Revised Penal Code as Amended”). The said provision states that:
“Section 1. Article 286, Sec. Three, Chapter Two, Title Nine of Act No. 3815, as amended, is hereby further amended to read as follows:“Art. 286. Grave Coercion. — The penalty of prision correccional and a fine not exceeding Six thousand pesos shall be imposed upon any person who, without any authority of law, shall, by means of violence, threats or intimidation, prevent another from doing something not prohibited by law, or compel him to do something against his will, whether it be right or wrong.“If the coercion be committed in violation of the exercise of the right of suffrage, or for the purpose of compelling another to perform any religious act, to prevent him from exercising such right or from so doing such act, the penalty next higher in degree shall be imposed.” (Emphases supplied)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@example.com"
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"Understanding the crime of grave coercion"
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and updated on 15 September 2021