You are on page 1of 1

Tenchavez v.

Escano
Facts:
February 24, 1948, Vicente Escano, 2
nd
yr student of commerce, from a well-to-do and prominent
family in Cebu, married petitioner Pastor Tenchavez, an engineer, without the knowledge of her
parents.
o Their marriage was the culmination of a love affair, and was duly registered with the local
civil register.
Their plan to elope was disrupted by her mother who took her home, where she admitted the
marriage. Her parents were surprised and disgusted.
A letter was handed to Mamerto Escano which discloses an amorous relationship between
Tenchavez and Pacita Noel, their friend. Thereafter, the couple became estranged.
June 24, 1950, without informing her husband, Escano applied for a passport for which she indicated
that she was single, and after approval, she left for the US.
In the District Court of Nevada, she filed for divorce, which was eventually granted, on the ground
of extreme cruelty, entirely mental in character.
Sep.13, 1954, Escano married an American, Russel Leo Moran, in Nevada, with whom she had
children. She acquired US citizenship.
July 30 1955, Tenchavez initiated the proceedings at bar by a complaint on the annulment of the
marriage, and asked for legal separation and damages.
But Escano claimed that her divorce was valid, and so is her marriage to her present husband.

Issue: Whether or not the divorce was valid

Held: No. It is not valid.

Ratio:
Tenchavez and Escano were validly married to each other, under the civil law.
o age of majority, valid consent, Catholic priest
The valid marriage between Tenchavez and Escano remained subsisting and undissolved under
Philippine law, notwithstanding the divorce obtained from the Court of Nevada.
At the time the divorce was issued, Escano, like her husband, was still a Filipino citizen.
o Thus, she was then subject to Philippine law.
Art. 15 of the Civil Code (Nationality rule):
Laws relating to family rights and duties or to the status, condition and legal capacity of
persons are binding upon the citizens of the Philppines, even though living abroad.
The Civil code of the Philippines does not allow absolute divorce. It only allows legal separation.
The Philippine courts cannot recognize a foreign decree of absolute divorce. Art. 17 of Civil Code:
Prohibitive laws concerning persons, their acts or property, and those which have for
their object public order, policy and good customs, shall not be rendered ineffective by
laws or judgments promulgated or by determinations or conventions agreed upon in a
foreign country.
The policy of our law cannot be nullified by acts of private parties, hence Escanos divorce and
second marriage are not entitled to recognition as valid.
Her marriage and cohabitation with Russell Leo Moran is technically intercourse with a person not
her husband from the standpoint of Philippine law, and entitles plaintiff Tenchavez to a decree of
legal separation under our law, on the basis of adultery.