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Saturnino Silva, an American citizen and US Army officer, was married to
one Priscilla Isabel of Australia. While deployed in the Philippines, Saturnino
married appellee Esther which was allegedly executed since no documents
for the purpose of marriage were prepared. The said marriage produced a
child. While in the US for medical treatment, Saturnino divorced therein
Priscilla and contracted another marriage now with appellant Elenita
Ledesma. Upon Saturninos return to the Philippines, Esther demanded
support for the child and upon his refusal, instituted a suit. Thereupon,
Elenita moved to enjoin Esther from representing herself as wife of Saturnino
and prayed for the award of moral damages for the humiliation and distress
she suffered upon learning his husband had a child. Esther filed a
counterclaim for actual damages and fees due to the harassment and moral
damages caused by Saturninos marital relation with Elenita and his
subsequent refusal to acknowledge their offspring. The trial court found for
Esther. Appellant spouses now prays for reconsideration of the decision
alleging the award of the pecuniary damages is unwarranted by law.
Whether or not appellee Esther Peralta is entitled to damages because of
Saturninos affair and abandonment.
Ruling: YES.
The damages awarded to appellee are a natural and direct consequence of
Silvas deceitful maneuvers in making love to appellee, and inducing her to
yield to his advances and live with him as his wife (when Silva knew all the
time that he could not marry Esther Peralta because of his undissolved
marriage to an Australian woman, a prior wedlock that he concealed from
appellee). It is clear that Esther Peralta would not have consented to the
liaison had there been no concealment of Silvas previous marriage, or that
the birth of the child was a direct result of this connection. That Esther had to
support the child because Silva abandoned her before it was born is likewise
patent upon the record, and we cannot see how said appellant can be excused
from liability therefor.
Silvas seduction and subsequent abandonment of appellee and his
illegitimate child were likewise the direct cause for the filling of the support
case in Manila, and in order to prosecute the same, appellee had to quit her
employment in Davao. While the case could have been filed in Davao, we do
not believe that this error in selecting a more favorable venue (due to her
unfamiliarity with the technicalities of the law) should be allowed to
neutralized the appellant Silvas responsibility as the primary causative factor
of the prejudice and damage suffered by appellee.