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5th batch 5. TENCHAVEZ VS.

ESCAO Case Digest


TENCHAVEZ VS. ESCAO FACTS: In February 1948, Tenchavez and Escao secretly married each other and of course without the knowledge of Escaos parents who were of prominent social status. The marriage was celebrated by a military chaplain. When Escaos parents learned of this, they insisted a church wedding to be held but Escao withdrew from having a recelebration because she heard that Tenchavez was having an affair with another woman. Eventually, their relationship went sour; 2 years later, Escao went to the US where she acquired a decree of absolute divorce and she subsequently became an American citizen and also married an American. In 1955, Tenchavez initiated a case for legal separation and further alleged that Escaos parents dissuaded their daughter to go abroad and causing her to be estranged from him hence hes asking for damages in the amount of P1,000,000.00. The lower court did not grant the legal separation being sought for and at the same time awarded a P45,000.00 worth of counter-claim by the Escaos. ISSUE: Whether or not damages should be awarded to either party in the case at bar. Whether or not the divorce and the second marriage of Escao were valid. Whether or not sexual infidelity of Escao may beinvoked by Tenchavez as a ground for legal separation. HELD: Yes. On the part of Tenchavez: His marriage with Escao was a secret one and the failure of said marriage did not result to public humiliation; that they never lived together and he even consented to annulling the marriage earlier (because Escao filed for annulment before she left for the US but the same was dismissed due to her non-appearance in court); that he failed to prove that Escaos parents dissuaded their daughter to leave Tenchavez and as such his P1,000,000.00 claim cannot be awarded. HOWEVER, by reason of the fact that Escao left without the knowledge of Tenchavez and being able to acquire a divorce decree; and Tenchavez being unable to remarry, the SC awarded P25,000.00 only by way of moral damages and attorneys fees to be paid by Escao and not her parents. On the part of Escaos parents: It is true that the P1,000,000.00 for damages suit by Tenchavez against the Escaos is unfounded and the same must have wounded their feelings and caused them anxiety, the same could in no way have seriously injured their reputation, or otherwise prejudiced them, lawsuits having become a common occurrence in present society. What is important, and has

been correctly established in the decision of the court below, is that they were not guilty of any improper conduct in the whole deplorable affair. The SC reduced the damages awarded from P45,000.00 to P5,000.00 only. The Supreme Court held that the divorce is notvalid, making the second marriage void since marriageties of Escao and Tenchaves is existing.Tenchavez can file a petition for legal separationbecause Escao committed sexual infidelity because ofthe fact that she had children with the American.Sexual infidelity of a spouse is one of thegrounds for legal separation. >>THERE WAS A VALID MARRIAGE between Vicenta and Tenchaves: With regard to jurisdiction over Escano, the court states that when against the nonresident defendant affects the personal status of the plaintiff, as, for instance, an action for separation or for annulment of marriage, ..., Philippine courts may validly try and decide the case, because, then, they have jurisdiction over the matter , and in that event their jurisdiction over the person of the non-resident defendant is not essential. The point is the personal status of the plaintiff domiciled in the Philippines. Divorce, although successfully obtained in another country, cannot be applied in the Philippines since it is contrary to public policy. The principle is wellestablished, in private international law, that foreign decrees cannot be enforced or recognized if they contravene public policy. Furthermore, Vicentas refusal to perform her wifely duties, and her denial of consortium and her desertion of husband constitute in law a wrong caused through her fault, for which the husband is entitled to damages (2176). When, however, the action against the non-resident defendant affects the personal status of the plaintiff, as, for instance, an action for separation or for annulment of marriage, ..., Philippine courts may validly try and decide the case, because, then, they have jurisdiction over the res, and in that event their jurisdiction over the person of the non-resident defendant is not essential. The res is the personal status of the plaintiff domiciled in the Philippines, 45,000 damages awarded to parents deemed excessive: filing of suit nay have wounded their feelings and caused anxiety but this has not seriously injured their reputation or otherwise prejudiced them, lawsuits having become a common occurrence in present society.