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Republic of the Philippines

G.R. No. 119190 January 16, 1997
CHI MING TSOI, petitioner,
Man has not invented a reliable compass by which to steer a marriage in its
journey over troubled waters. Laws are seemingly inadequate. Over time,
much reliance has been placed in the works of the unseen hand of Him who
created all things.
Who is to blame when a marriage fails?
This case was originally commenced by a distraught wife against her
uncaring husband in the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City (Branch 89)
which decreed the annulment of the marriage on the ground of psychological
incapacity. Petitioner appealed the decision of the trial court to respondent
Court of Appeals (CA-G.R. CV No. 42758) which affirmed the Trial Court's
decision November 29, 1994 and correspondingly denied the motion for
reconsideration in a resolution dated February 14, 1995.
The statement of the case and of the facts made by the trial court and
reproduced by the Court of Appeals 1 its decision are as follows:
From the evidence adduced, the following acts were preponderantly
Sometime on May 22, 1988, the plaintiff married the defendant at the
Manila Cathedral, . . . Intramuros Manila, as evidenced by their Marriage
Contract. (Exh. "A")
After the celebration of their marriage and wedding reception at the
South Villa, Makati, they went and proceeded to the house of defendant's

There, they slept together on the same bed in the same room for the first
night of their married life.
It is the version of the plaintiff, that contrary to her expectations, that as
newlyweds they were supposed to enjoy making love, or having sexual
intercourse, with each other, the defendant just went to bed, slept on one
side thereof, then turned his back and went to sleep . There was no sexual
intercourse between them during the first night. The same thing
happened on the second, third and fourth nights.
In an effort to have their honeymoon in a private place where they can
enjoy together during their first week as husband and wife, they went to
Baguio City. But, they did so together with her mother, an uncle, his
mother and his nephew. They were all invited by the defendant to join
them. [T]hey stayed in Baguio City for four (4) days. But, during this
period, there was no sexual intercourse between them, since the
defendant avoided her by taking a long walk during siesta time or by just
sleeping on a rocking chair located at the living room. They slept
together in the same room and on the same bed since May 22, 1988 until
March 15, 1989. But during this period, there was no attempt of sexual
intercourse between them. [S]he claims, that she did not: even see her
husband's private parts nor did he see hers.
Because of this, they submitted themselves for medical examinations to
Dr. Eufemio Macalalag, a urologist at the Chinese General Hospital, on
January 20, 1989.
The results of their physical examinations were that she is healthy,
normal and still a virgin, while that of her husband's examination was
kept confidential up to this time. While no medicine was prescribed for
her, the doctor prescribed medications for her husband which was also
kept confidential. No treatment was given to her. For her husband, he
was asked by the doctor to return but he never did.
The plaintiff claims, that the defendant is impotent, a closet homosexual
as he did not show his penis. She said, that she had observed the
defendant using an eyebrow pencil and sometimes the cleansing cream of
his mother. And that, according to her, the defendant married her, a
Filipino citizen, to acquire or maintain his residency status here in the
country and to publicly maintain the appearance of a normal man.

The plaintiff is not willing to reconcile with her husband.

On the other hand, it is the claim of the defendant that if their marriage
shall be annulled by reason of psychological incapacity, the fault lies
with his wife.
But, he said that he does not want his marriage with his wife annulled for
several reasons, viz: (1) that he loves her very much; (2) that he has no
defect on his part and he is physically and psychologically capable; and,
(3) since the relationship is still very young and if there is any differences
between the two of them, it can still be reconciled and that, according to
him, if either one of them has some incapabilities, there is no certainty
that this will not be cured. He further claims, that if there is any defect, it
can be cured by the intervention of medical technology or science.
The defendant admitted that since their marriage on May 22, 1988, until
their separation on March 15, 1989, there was no sexual contact between
them. But, the reason for this, according to the defendant, was that
everytime he wants to have sexual intercourse with his wife, she always
avoided him and whenever he caresses her private parts, she always
removed his hands. The defendant claims, that he forced his wife to have
sex with him only once but he did not continue because she was shaking
and she did not like it. So he stopped.
There are two (2) reasons, according to the defendant , why the plaintiff
filed this case against him, and these are: (1) that she is afraid that she
will be forced to return the pieces of jewelry of his mother, and, (2) that
her husband, the defendant, will consummate their marriage.
The defendant insisted that their marriage will remain valid because they
are still very young and there is still a chance to overcome their

whether or not he has an erection and he found out that from the original
size of two (2) inches, or five (5) centimeters, the penis of the defendant
lengthened by one (1) inch and one centimeter. Dr. Alteza said, that the
defendant had only a soft erection which is why his penis is not in its full
length. But, still is capable of further erection, in that with his soft
erection, the defendant is capable of having sexual intercourse with a
In open Court, the Trial Prosecutor manifested that there is no collusion
between the parties and that the evidence is not fabricated." 2
After trial, the court rendered judgment, the dispositive portion of which
ACCORDINGLY, judgment is hereby rendered declaring as VOID the
marriage entered into by the plaintiff with the defendant on May 22,
1988 at the Manila Cathedral, Basilica of the Immaculate Conception,
Intramuros, Manila, before the Rt. Rev. Msgr. Melencio de Vera. Without
costs. Let a copy of this decision be furnished the Local Civil Registrar
of Quezon City. Let another copy be furnished the Local Civil Registrar
of Manila.
On appeal, the Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court's decision.
Hence, the instant petition.
Petitioner alleges that the respondent Court of Appeals erred:
in affirming the conclusions of the lower court that there was no sexual
intercourse between the parties without making any findings of fact.

The defendant submitted himself to a physical examination. His penis

was examined by Dr. Sergio Alteza, Jr., for the purpose of finding out
whether he is impotent . As a result thereof, Dr. Alteza submitted his
Doctor's Medical Report. (Exh. "2"). It is stated there, that there is no
evidence of impotency (Exh. "2-B"), and he is capable of erection. (Exh.

in holding that the refusal of private respondent to have sexual

communion with petitioner is a psychological incapacity inasmuch as
proof thereof is totally absent.

The doctor said, that he asked the defendant to masturbate to find out

in holding that the alleged refusal of both the petitioner and the private


respondent to have sex with each other constitutes psychological

incapacity of both.
in affirming the annulment of the marriage between the parties decreed
by the lower court without fully satisfying itself that there was no
collusion between them.
We find the petition to be bereft of merit.
Petitioner contends that being the plaintiff in Civil Case No. Q-89-3141,
private respondent has the burden of proving the allegations in her complaint;
that since there was no independent evidence to prove the alleged non-coitus
between the parties, there remains no other basis for the court's conclusion
except the admission of petitioner; that public policy should aid acts intended
to validate marriage and should retard acts intended to invalidate them; that
the conclusion drawn by the trial court on the admissions and confessions of
the parties in their pleadings and in the course of the trial is misplaced since it
could have been a product of collusion; and that in actions for annulment of
marriage, the material facts alleged in the complaint shall always be proved. 3
Section 1, Rule 19 of the Rules of Court reads:
Section 1. Judgment on the pleadings. Where an answer fails to tender
an issue, or otherwise admits the material allegations of the adverse
party's pleading, the court may, on motion of that party, direct judgment
on such pleading. But in actions for annulment of marriage or for legal
separation the material facts alleged in the complaint shall always be
The foregoing provision pertains to a judgment on the pleadings. What said
provision seeks to prevent is annulment of marriage without trial. The
assailed decision was not based on such a judgment on the pleadings. When
private respondent testified under oath before the trial court and was crossexamined by oath before the trial court and was cross-examined by the
adverse party, she thereby presented evidence in form of a testimony. After
such evidence was presented, it be came incumbent upon petitioner to present
his side. He admitted that since their marriage on May 22, 1988, until their
separation on March 15, 1989, there was no sexual intercourse between them.
To prevent collusion between the parties is the reason why, as stated by the

petitioner, the Civil Code provides that no judgment annulling a marriage

shall be promulgated upon a stipulation of facts or by confession of judgment
(Arts. 88 and 101[par. 2]) and the Rules of Court prohibit such annulment
without trial (Sec. 1, Rule 19).
The case has reached this Court because petitioner does not want their
marriage to be annulled. This only shows that there is no collusion between
the parties. When petitioner admitted that he and his wife (private respondent)
have never had sexual contact with each other, he must have been only telling
the truth. We are reproducing the relevant portion of the challenged resolution
denying petitioner's Motion for Reconsideration, penned with magisterial
lucidity by Associate Justice Minerva Gonzaga-Reyes, viz:
The judgment of the trial court which was affirmed by this Court is not
based on a stipulation of facts. The issue of whether or not the appellant
is psychologically incapacitated to discharge a basic marital obligation
was resolved upon a review of both the documentary and testimonial
evidence on record. Appellant admitted that he did not have sexual
relations with his wife after almost ten months of cohabitation, and it
appears that he is not suffering from any physical disability. Such
abnormal reluctance or unwillingness to consummate his marriage is
strongly indicative of a serious personality disorder which to the mind of
this Court clearly demonstrates an 'utter insensitivity or inability to give
meaning and significance to the marriage' within the meaning of Article
36 of the Family Code (See Santos vs. Court of Appeals, G.R. No.
112019, January 4, 1995). 4
Petitioner further contends that respondent court erred in holding that the
alleged refusal of both the petitioner and the private respondent to have sex
with each other constitutes psychological incapacity of both. He points out as
error the failure of the trial court to make "a categorical finding about the
alleged psychological incapacity and an in-depth analysis of the reasons for
such refusal which may not be necessarily due to physchological disorders"
because there might have been other reasons, i.e., physical disorders, such
as aches, pains or other discomforts, why private respondent would not
want to have sexual intercourse from May 22, 1988 to March 15, 1989, in a
short span of 10 months.
First, it must be stated that neither the trial court nor the respondent court

made a finding on who between petitioner and private respondent refuses to

have sexual contact with the other. The fact remains, however, that there has
never been coitus between them. At any rate, since the action to declare the
marriage void may be filed by either party, i.e., even the psychologically
incapacitated, the question of who refuses to have sex with the other becomes
Petitioner claims that there is no independent evidence on record to show that
any of the parties is suffering from phychological incapacity. Petitioner also
claims that he wanted to have sex with private respondent; that the reason for
private respondent's refusal may not be psychological but physical disorder as
stated above.
We do not agree. Assuming it to be so, petitioner could have discussed with
private respondent or asked her what is ailing her, and why she balks and
avoids him everytime he wanted to have sexual intercourse with her. He
never did. At least, there is nothing in the record to show that he had tried to
find out or discover what the problem with his wife could be. What he
presented in evidence is his doctor's Medical Report that there is no evidence
of his impotency and he is capable of erection. 5 Since it is petitioner's claim
that the reason is not psychological but perhaps physical disorder on the part
of private respondent, it became incumbent upon him to prove such a claim.
If a spouse, although physically capable but simply refuses to perform
his or her essential marriage obligations, and the refusal is senseless and
constant, Catholic marriage tribunals attribute the causes to
psychological incapacity than to stubborn refusal. Senseless and
protracted refusal is equivalent to psychological incapacity. Thus, the
prolonged refusal of a spouse to have sexual intercourse with his or her
spouse is considered a sign of psychological incapacity. 6
Evidently, one of the essential marital obligations under the Family Code is
"To procreate children based on the universal principle that procreation of
children through sexual cooperation is the basic end of marriage." Constant
non- fulfillment of this obligation will finally destroy the integrity or
wholeness of the marriage. In the case at bar, the senseless and protracted
refusal of one of the parties to fulfill the above marital obligation is
equivalent to psychological incapacity.
As aptly stated by the respondent court,

An examination of the evidence convinces Us that the husband's plea that

the wife did not want carnal intercourse with him does not inspire belief.
Since he was not physically impotent, but he refrained from sexual
intercourse during the entire time (from May 22, 1988 to March 15,
1989) that he occupied the same bed with his wife, purely out of
symphaty for her feelings, he deserves to be doubted for not having
asserted his right seven though she balked (Tompkins vs. Tompkins, 111
Atl. 599, cited in I Paras, Civil Code, at p. 330). Besides, if it were true
that it is the wife was suffering from incapacity, the fact that defendant
did not go to court and seek the declaration of nullity weakens his claim.
This case was instituted by the wife whose normal expectations of her
marriage were frustrated by her husband's inadequacy. Considering the
innate modesty of the Filipino woman, it is hard to believe that she
would expose her private life to public scrutiny and fabricate testimony
against her husband if it were not necessary to put her life in order and
put to rest her marital status.
We are not impressed by defendant's claim that what the evidence proved
is the unwillingness or lack of intention to perform the sexual act, which
is not phychological incapacity, and which can be achieved "through
proper motivation." After almost ten months of cohabitation, the
admission that the husband is reluctant or unwilling to perform the sexual
act with his wife whom he professes to love very dearly, and who has not
posed any insurmountable resistance to his alleged approaches, is
indicative of a hopeless situation, and of a serious personality disorder
that constitutes psychological incapacity to discharge the basic marital
covenants within the contemplation of the Family Code. 7
While the law provides that the husband and the wife are obliged to live
together, observe mutual love, respect and fidelity (Art. 68, Family Code), the
sanction therefor is actually the "spontaneous, mutual affection between
husband and wife and not any legal mandate or court order" (Cuaderno vs.
Cuaderno 120 Phil. 1298). Love is useless unless it is shared with another.
Indeed, no man is an island, the cruelest act of a partner in marriage is to say
"I could not have cared less." This is so because an ungiven self is an
unfulfilled self. The egoist has nothing but himself. In the natural order, it is
sexual intimacy which brings spouses wholeness and oneness. Sexual
intimacy is a gift and a participation in the mystery of creation. It is a function

which enlivens the hope of procreation and ensures the continuation of family
It appears that there is absence of empathy between petitioner and private
respondent. That is a shared feeling which between husband and wife must
be experienced not only by having spontaneous sexual intimacy but a deep
sense of spiritual communion. Marital union is a two-way process. An
expressive interest in each other's feelings at a time it is needed by the other
can go a long way in deepening the marital relationship. Marriage is
definitely not for children but for two consenting adults who view the
relationship with love amor gignit amorem, respect, sacrifice and a continuing
commitment to compromise, conscious of its value as a sublime social
This Court, finding the gravity of the failed relationship in which the parties
found themselves trapped in its mire of unfulfilled vows and unconsummated
marital obligations, can do no less but sustain the studied judgment of
respondent appellate court.
IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING PREMISES , the assailed decision of the
Court of Appeals dated November 29, 1994 is hereby AFFIRMED in all
respects and the petition is hereby DENIED for lack of merit.

[G.R. No. 154259. February 28, 2005]
petitioners, vs. ROBERTO REYES, a.k.a. AMAY BISAYA,
In this petition for review on certiorari, petitioners Nikko Hotel
Manila Garden (Hotel Nikko)[1] and Ruby Lim assail the
Decision[2] of the Court of Appeals dated 26 November 2001
reversing the Decision[3] of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of

Quezon City, Branch 104, as well as the Resolution[4] of the

Court of Appeals dated 09 July 2002 which denied petitioners
motion for reconsideration.
The cause of action before the trial court was one for damages
brought under the human relations provisions of the New Civil
Code. Plaintiff thereat (respondent herein) Roberto Reyes, more
popularly known by the screen name Amay Bisaya, alleged that
at around 6:00 oclock in the evening of 13 October 1994, while
he was having coffee at the lobby of Hotel Nikko,[5] he was
spotted by his friend of several years, Dr. Violeta Filart, who
then approached him.[6] Mrs. Filart invited him to join her in a
party at the hotels penthouse in celebration of the natal day of
the hotels manager, Mr. Masakazu Tsuruoka.[7] Mr. Reyes asked
if she could vouch for him for which she replied: of course.[8]
Mr. Reyes then went up with the party of Dr. Filart carrying the
basket of fruits which was the latters present for the celebrant.[9]
At the penthouse, they first had their picture taken with the
celebrant after which Mr. Reyes sat with the party of Dr. Filart.
[10] After a couple of hours, when the buffet dinner was ready,
Mr. Reyes lined-up at the buffet table but, to his great shock,
shame and embarrassment, he was stopped by petitioner herein,
Ruby Lim, who claimed to speak for Hotel Nikko as Executive
Secretary thereof.[11] In a loud voice and within the presence
and hearing of the other guests who were making a queue at the
buffet table, Ruby Lim told him to leave the party (huwag ka
nang kumain, hindi ka imbitado, bumaba ka na lang).[12] Mr.
Reyes tried to explain that he was invited by Dr. Filart.[13] Dr.
Filart, who was within hearing distance, however, completely
ignored him thus adding to his shame and humiliation.[14] Not
long after, while he was still recovering from the traumatic

experience, a Makati policeman approached and asked him to

step out of the hotel.[15] Like a common criminal, he was
escorted out of the party by the policeman.[16] Claiming
damages, Mr. Reyes asked for One Million Pesos actual
damages, One Million Pesos moral and/or exemplary damages
and Two Hundred Thousand Pesos attorneys fees.[17]
Ruby Lim, for her part, admitted having asked Mr. Reyes to
leave the party but not under the ignominious circumstance
painted by the latter. Ms. Lim narrated that she was the Hotels
Executive Secretary for the past twenty (20) years.[18] One of
her functions included organizing the birthday party of the hotels
former General Manager, Mr. Tsuruoka.[19] The year 1994 was
no different. For Mr. Tsuruokas party, Ms. Lim generated an
exclusive guest list and extended invitations accordingly.[20]
The guest list was limited to approximately sixty (60) of Mr.
Tsuruokas closest friends and some hotel employees and that Mr.
Reyes was not one of those invited.[21] At the party, Ms. Lim
first noticed Mr. Reyes at the bar counter ordering a drink.[22]
Mindful of Mr. Tsuruokas wishes to keep the party intimate, Ms.
Lim approached Mr. Boy Miller, the captain waiter, to inquire as
to the presence of Mr. Reyes who was not invited.[23] Mr.
Miller replied that he saw Mr. Reyes with the group of Dr. Filart.
[24] As Dr. Filart was engaged in conversation with another
guest and as Ms. Lim did not want to interrupt, she inquired
instead from the sister of Dr. Filart, Ms. Zenaida Fruto, who told
her that Dr. Filart did not invite Mr. Reyes.[25] Ms. Lim then
requested Ms. Fruto to tell Mr. Reyes to leave the party as he
was not invited.[26] Mr. Reyes, however, lingered prompting
Ms. Lim to inquire from Ms. Fruto who said that Mr. Reyes did
not want to leave.[27] When Ms. Lim turned around, she saw

Mr. Reyes conversing with a Captain Batung whom she later

approached.[28] Believing that Captain Batung and Mr. Reyes
knew each other, Ms. Lim requested from him the same favor
from Ms. Fruto, i.e., for Captain Batung to tell Mr. Reyes to
leave the party as he was not invited.[29] Still, Mr. Reyes
lingered. When Ms. Lim spotted Mr. Reyes by the buffet table,
she decided to speak to him herself as there were no other guests
in the immediate vicinity.[30] However, as Mr. Reyes was
already helping himself to the food, she decided to wait.[31]
When Mr. Reyes went to a corner and started to eat, Ms. Lim
approached him and said: alam ninyo, hindo ho kayo dapat
nandito. Pero total nakakuha na ho kayo ng pagkain, ubusin na
lang ninyo at pagkatapos kung pwede lang po umalis na kayo.
[32] She then turned around trusting that Mr. Reyes would show
enough decency to leave, but to her surprise, he began screaming
and making a big scene, and even threatened to dump food on
Dr. Violeta Filart, the third defendant in the complaint before the
lower court, also gave her version of the story to the effect that
she never invited Mr. Reyes to the party.[34] According to her, it
was Mr. Reyes who volunteered to carry the basket of fruits
intended for the celebrant as he was likewise going to take the
elevator, not to the penthouse but to Altitude 49.[35] When they
reached the penthouse, she reminded Mr. Reyes to go down as
he was not properly dressed and was not invited.[36] All the
while, she thought that Mr. Reyes already left the place, but she
later saw him at the bar talking to Col. Batung.[37] Then there
was a commotion and she saw Mr. Reyes shouting.[38] She
ignored Mr. Reyes.[39] She was embarrassed and did not want
the celebrant to think that she invited him.[40]

After trial on the merits, the court a quo dismissed the

complaint,[41] giving more credence to the testimony of Ms.
Lim that she was discreet in asking Mr. Reyes to leave the party.
The trial court likewise ratiocinated that Mr. Reyes assumed the
risk of being thrown out of the party as he was uninvited:
Plaintiff had no business being at the party because he was not a
guest of Mr. Tsuruoka, the birthday celebrant. He assumed the
risk of being asked to leave for attending a party to which he
was not invited by the host. Damages are pecuniary
consequences which the law imposes for the breach of some
duty or the violation of some right. Thus, no recovery can be had
against defendants Nikko Hotel and Ruby Lim because he
himself was at fault (Garciano v. Court of Appeals, 212 SCRA
436). He knew that it was not the party of defendant Violeta
Filart even if she allowed him to join her and took responsibility
for his attendance at the party. His action against defendants
Nikko Hotel and Ruby Lim must therefore fail.[42]
On appeal, the Court of Appeals reversed the ruling of the trial
court as it found more commanding of belief the testimony of
Mr. Reyes that Ms. Lim ordered him to leave in a loud voice
within hearing distance of several guests:
In putting appellant in a very embarrassing situation, telling him
that he should not finish his food and to leave the place within
the hearing distance of other guests is an act which is contrary to
morals, good customs . . ., for which appellees should
compensate the appellant for the damage suffered by the latter as
a consequence therefore (Art. 21, New Civil Code). The liability
arises from the acts which are in themselves legal or not
prohibited, but contrary to morals or good customs. Conversely,
even in the exercise of a formal right, [one] cannot with

impunity intentionally cause damage to another in a manner

contrary to morals or good customs.[43]
The Court of Appeals likewise ruled that the actuation of Ms.
Lim in approaching several people to inquire into the presence
of Mr. Reyes exposed the latter to ridicule and was uncalled for
as she should have approached Dr. Filart first and both of them
should have talked to Mr. Reyes in private:
Said acts of appellee Lim are uncalled for. What should have
been done by appellee Lim was to approach appellee Mrs. Filart
and together they should have told appellant Reyes in private
that the latter should leave the party as the celebrant only wanted
close friends around. It is necessary that Mrs. Filart be the one to
approach appellant because it was she who invited appellant in
that occasion. Were it not for Mrs. Filarts invitation, appellant
could not have suffered such humiliation. For that, appellee
Filart is equally liable.
The acts of [appellee] Lim are causes of action which are
predicated upon mere rudeness or lack of consideration of one
person, which calls not only protection of human dignity but
respect of such dignity. Under Article 20 of the Civil Code,
every person who violates this duty becomes liable for damages,
especially if said acts were attended by malice or bad faith. Bad
faith does not simply connote bad judgment or simple
negligence. It imports a dishonest purpose or some moral
obliquity and conscious doing of a wrong, a breach of a known
duty to some motive or interest or ill-will that partakes of the
nature of fraud (Cojuangco, Jr. v. CA, et al., 309 SCRA 603).

Consequently, the Court of Appeals imposed upon Hotel Nikko,

Ruby Lim and Dr. Violeta Filart the solidary obligation to pay
Mr. Reyes (1) exemplary damages in the amount of Two
Hundred Thousand Pesos (P200,000); (2) moral damages in the
amount of Two Hundred Thousand Pesos (P200,000); and (3)
attorneys fees in the amount of Ten Thousand Pesos (P10,000).
[45] On motion for reconsideration, the Court of Appeals
affirmed its earlier decision as the argument raised in the motion
had been amply discussed and passed upon in the decision
sought to be reconsidered.[46]



Thus, the instant petition for review. Hotel Nikko and Ruby Lim
contend that the Court of Appeals seriously erred in

Petitioners Lim and Hotel Nikko contend that pursuant to the

doctrine of volenti non fit injuria, they cannot be made liable for
damages as respondent Reyes assumed the risk of being asked to
leave (and being embarrassed and humiliated in the process) as
he was a gate-crasher.



The doctrine of volenti non fit injuria (to which a person assents
is not esteemed in law as injury[47]) refers to self-inflicted
injury[48] or to the consent to injury[49] which precludes the
recovery of damages by one who has knowingly and voluntarily
exposed himself to danger, even if he is not negligent in doing
so.[50] As formulated by petitioners, however, this doctrine does
not find application to the case at bar because even if respondent
Reyes assumed the risk of being asked to leave the party,
petitioners, under Articles 19 and 21 of the New Civil Code,
were still under obligation to treat him fairly in order not to
expose him to unnecessary ridicule and shame.
Thus, the threshold issue is whether or not Ruby Lim acted
abusively in asking Roberto Reyes, a.k.a. Amay Bisaya, to leave
the party where he was not invited by the celebrant thereof
thereby becoming liable under Articles 19 and 21 of the Civil

Code. Parenthetically, and if Ruby Lim were so liable, whether

or not Hotel Nikko, as her employer, is solidarily liable with her.
As the trial court and the appellate court reached divergent and
irreconcilable conclusions concerning the same facts and
evidence of the case, this Court is left without choice but to use
its latent power to review such findings of facts. Indeed, the
general rule is that we are not a trier of facts as our jurisdiction is
limited to reviewing and revising errors of law.[51] One of the
exceptions to this general rule, however, obtains herein as the
findings of the Court of Appeals are contrary to those of the trial
court.[52] The lower court ruled that Ms. Lim did not abuse her
right to ask Mr. Reyes to leave the party as she talked to him
politely and discreetly. The appellate court, on the other hand,
held that Ms. Lim is liable for damages as she needlessly
embarrassed Mr. Reyes by telling him not to finish his food and
to leave the place within hearing distance of the other guests.
Both courts, however, were in agreement that it was Dr. Filarts
invitation that brought Mr. Reyes to the party.
The consequential question then is: Which version is credible?
From an in depth review of the evidence, we find more credible
the lower courts findings of fact.
First, let us put things in the proper perspective.
We are dealing with a formal party in a posh, five-star hotel,[53]
for-invitation-only, thrown for the hotels former Manager, a
Japanese national. Then came a person who was clearly
uninvited (by the celebrant)[54] and who could not just
disappear into the crowd as his face is known by many, being an
actor. While he was already spotted by the organizer of the party,
Ms. Lim, the very person who generated the guest list, it did not

yet appear that the celebrant was aware of his presence. Ms.
Lim, mindful of the celebrants instruction to keep the party
intimate, would naturally want to get rid of the gate-crasher in
the most hush-hush manner in order not to call attention to a
glitch in an otherwise seamless affair and, in the process, risk the
displeasure of the celebrant, her former boss. To unnecessarily
call attention to the presence of Mr. Reyes would certainly
reflect badly on Ms. Lims ability to follow the instructions of the
celebrant to invite only his close friends and some of the hotels
personnel. Mr. Reyes, upon whom the burden rests to prove that
indeed Ms. Lim loudly and rudely ordered him to leave, could
not offer any satisfactory explanation why Ms. Lim would do
that and risk ruining a formal and intimate affair. On the
contrary, Mr. Reyes, on cross-examination, had unwittingly
sealed his fate by admitting that when Ms. Lim talked to him,
she was very close. Close enough for him to kiss:
Q: And, Mr. Reyes, you testified that Miss Lim approached you
while you were at the buffet table? How close was she when she
approached you?
A: Very close because we nearly kissed each other.
Q: And yet, she shouted for you to go down? She was that close
and she shouted?
A: Yes. She said, wag kang kumain, hindi ka imbitado dito,
bumaba ka na lang.
Q: So, you are testifying that she did this in a loud voice?
A: Yes. If it is not loud, it will not be heard by many.[55]
In the absence of any proof of motive on the part of Ms. Lim to

humiliate Mr. Reyes and expose him to ridicule and shame, it is

highly unlikely that she would shout at him from a very close
distance. Ms. Lim having been in the hotel business for twenty
years wherein being polite and discreet are virtues to be
emulated, the testimony of Mr. Reyes that she acted to the
contrary does not inspire belief and is indeed incredible. Thus,
the lower court was correct in observing that
Considering the closeness of defendant Lim to plaintiff when the
request for the latter to leave the party was made such that they
nearly kissed each other, the request was meant to be heard by
him only and there could have been no intention on her part to
cause embarrassment to him. It was plaintiffs reaction to the
request that must have made the other guests aware of what
transpired between them. . .
Had plaintiff simply left the party as requested, there was no
need for the police to take him out.[56]
Moreover, another problem with Mr. Reyess version of the story
is that it is unsupported. It is a basic rule in civil cases that he
who alleges proves. Mr. Reyes, however, had not presented any
witness to back his story up. All his witnesses Danny Rodinas,
Pepito Guerrero and Alexander Silva - proved only that it was
Dr. Filart who invited him to the party.[57]
Ms. Lim, not having abused her right to ask Mr. Reyes to leave
the party to which he was not invited, cannot be made liable to
pay for damages under Articles 19 and 21 of the Civil Code.
Necessarily, neither can her employer, Hotel Nikko, be held
liable as its liability springs from that of its employee.[58]
Article 19, known to contain what is commonly referred to as
the principle of abuse of rights,[59] is not a panacea for all

human hurts and social grievances. Article 19 states:

Art. 19. Every person must, in the exercise of his rights and in
the performance of his duties, act with justice, give everyone his
due, and observe honesty and good faith.
Elsewhere, we explained that when a right is exercised in a
manner which does not conform with the norms enshrined in
Article 19 and results in damage to another, a legal wrong is
thereby committed for which the wrongdoer must be
responsible.[60] The object of this article, therefore, is to set
certain standards which must be observed not only in the
exercise of ones rights but also in the performance of ones
duties.[61] These standards are the following: act with justice,
give everyone his due and observe honesty and good faith.[62]
Its antithesis, necessarily, is any act evincing bad faith or intent
to injure. Its elements are the following: (1) There is a legal right
or duty; (2) which is exercised in bad faith; (3) for the sole intent
of prejudicing or injuring another.[63] When Article 19 is
violated, an action for damages is proper under Articles 20 or 21
of the Civil Code. Article 20 pertains to damages arising from a
violation of law[64] which does not obtain herein as Ms. Lim
was perfectly within her right to ask Mr. Reyes to leave. Article
21, on the other hand, states:
Art. 21. Any person who willfully causes loss or injury to
another in a manner that is contrary to morals, good customs or
public policy shall compensate the latter for the damage.
Article 21[65] refers to acts contra bonus mores and has the
following elements: (1) There is an act which is legal; (2) but
which is contrary to morals, good custom, public order, or public
policy; and (3) it is done with intent to injure.[66]

A common theme runs through Articles 19 and 21,[67] and that

is, the act complained of must be intentional.[68]

exemplary damages[72] especially for the reason stated by the

Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals held

As applied to herein case and as earlier discussed, Mr. Reyes has

not shown that Ms. Lim was driven by animosity against him.
These two people did not know each other personally before the
evening of 13 October 1994, thus, Mr. Reyes had nothing to
offer for an explanation for Ms. Lims alleged abusive conduct
except the statement that Ms. Lim, being single at 44 years old,
had a very strong bias and prejudice against (Mr. Reyes)
possibly influenced by her associates in her work at the hotel
with foreign businessmen.[69] The lameness of this argument
need not be belabored. Suffice it to say that a complaint based on
Articles 19 and 21 of the Civil Code must necessarily fail if it
has nothing to recommend it but innuendos and conjectures.

Not a few of the rich people treat the poor with contempt
because of the latters lowly station in life. This has to be limited
somewhere. In a democracy, such a limit must be established.
Social equality is not sought by the legal provisions under
consideration, but due regard for decency and propriety (Code
Commission, pp. 33-34). And by way of example or correction
for public good and to avert further commission of such acts,
exemplary damages should be imposed upon appellees.[73]

Parenthetically, the manner by which Ms. Lim asked Mr. Reyes

to leave was likewise acceptable and humane under the
circumstances. In this regard, we cannot put our imprimatur on
the appellate courts declaration that Ms. Lims act of personally
approaching Mr. Reyes (without first verifying from Mrs. Filart
if indeed she invited Mr. Reyes) gave rise to a cause of action
predicated upon mere rudeness or lack of consideration of one
person, which calls not only protection of human dignity but
respect of such dignity.[70] Without proof of any ill-motive on
her part, Ms. Lims act of by-passing Mrs. Filart cannot amount
to abusive conduct especially because she did inquire from Mrs.
Filarts companion who told her that Mrs. Filart did not invite
Mr. Reyes.[71] If at all, Ms. Lim is guilty only of bad judgment
which, if done with good intentions, cannot amount to bad faith.
Not being liable for both actual and moral damages, neither can
petitioners Lim and Hotel Nikko be made answerable for

The fundamental fallacy in the above-quoted findings is that it

runs counter with the very facts of the case and the evidence on
hand. It is not disputed that at the time of the incident in
question, Mr. Reyes was an actor of long standing; a co-host of a
radio program over DZRH; a Board Member of the Music
Singer Composer (MUSICO) chaired by popular singer Imelda
Papin; a showbiz Coordinator of Citizen Crime Watch; and 1992
official candidate of the KBL Party for Governor of Bohol; and
an awardee of a number of humanitarian organizations of the
Philippines.[74] During his direct examination on rebuttal, Mr.
Reyes stressed that he had income[75] and nowhere did he say
otherwise. On the other hand, the records are bereft of any
information as to the social and economic standing of petitioner
Ruby Lim. Consequently, the conclusion reached by the
appellate court cannot withstand scrutiny as it is without basis.
All told, and as far as Ms. Lim and Hotel Nikko are concerned,
any damage which Mr. Reyes might have suffered through Ms.
Lims exercise of a legitimate right done within the bounds of
propriety and good faith, must be his to bear alone.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition filed by Ruby

Lim and Nikko Hotel Manila Garden is GRANTED. The
Decision of the Court of Appeals dated 26 November 2001 and
its Resolution dated 09 July 2002 are hereby REVERSED and
SET ASIDE. The Decision of the Regional Trial Court of
Quezon City, Branch 104, dated 26 April 1999 is hereby
AFFIRMED. No costs.
Republic of the Philippines
G.R. No. 97336 February 19, 1993
Public Attorney's Office for petitioner.
Corleto R. Castro for private respondent.
This is an appeal by certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court seeking to
review and set aside the Decision 1 of the respondent Court of Appeals in CAG.R. CV No. 24256 which affirmed in toto the 16 October 1939 Decision of
Branch 38 (Lingayen) of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Pangasinan in
Civil Case No. 16503. Presented is the issue of whether or not damages may
be recovered for a breach of promise to marry on the basis of Article 21 of the
Civil Code of the Philippines.
The antecedents of this case are not complicated:
On 27 October 1987, private respondent, without the assistance of counsel,
filed with the aforesaid trial court a complaint 2 for damages against the

petitioner for the alleged violation of their agreement to get married. She
alleges in said complaint that: she is twenty-two (22) years old, single,
Filipino and a pretty lass of good moral character and reputation duly
respected in her community; petitioner, on the other hand, is an Iranian citizen
residing at the Lozano Apartments, Guilig, Dagupan City, and is an exchange
student taking a medical course at the Lyceum Northwestern Colleges in
Dagupan City; before 20 August 1987, the latter courted and proposed to
marry her; she accepted his love on the condition that they would get married;
they therefore agreed to get married after the end of the school semester,
which was in October of that year; petitioner then visited the private
respondent's parents in Baaga, Bugallon, Pangasinan to secure their approval
to the marriage; sometime in 20 August 1987, the petitioner forced her to live
with him in the Lozano Apartments; she was a virgin before she began living
with him; a week before the filing of the complaint, petitioner's attitude
towards her started to change; he maltreated and threatened to kill her; as a
result of such maltreatment, she sustained injuries; during a confrontation
with a representative of the barangay captain of Guilig a day before the filing
of the complaint, petitioner repudiated their marriage agreement and asked
her not to live with him anymore and; the petitioner is already married to
someone living in Bacolod City. Private respondent then prayed for judgment
ordering the petitioner to pay her damages in the amount of not less than
P45,000.00, reimbursement for actual expenses amounting to P600.00,
attorney's fees and costs, and granting her such other relief and remedies as
may be just and equitable. The complaint was docketed as Civil Case No.
In his Answer with Counterclaim, 3 petitioner admitted only the personal
circumstances of the parties as averred in the complaint and denied the rest of
the allegations either for lack of knowledge or information sufficient to form
a belief as to the truth thereof or because the true facts are those alleged as his
Special and Affirmative Defenses. He thus claimed that he never proposed
marriage to or agreed to be married with the private respondent; he neither
sought the consent and approval of her parents nor forced her to live in his
apartment; he did not maltreat her, but only told her to stop coming to his
place because he discovered that she had deceived him by stealing his money
and passport; and finally, no confrontation took place with a representative of
the barangay captain. Insisting, in his Counterclaim, that the complaint is
baseless and unfounded and that as a result thereof, he was unnecessarily

dragged into court and compelled to incur expenses, and has suffered mental
anxiety and a besmirched reputation, he prayed for an award of P5,000.00 for
miscellaneous expenses and P25,000.00 as moral damages.
After conducting a pre-trial on 25 January 1988, the trial court issued a PreTrial Order 4 embodying the stipulated facts which the parties had agreed
upon, to wit:
1. That the plaintiff is single and resident (sic) of Baaga, Bugallon,
Pangasinan, while the defendant is single, Iranian citizen and
resident (sic) of Lozano Apartment, Guilig, Dagupan City since
September 1, 1987 up to the present;
2. That the defendant is presently studying at Lyceum Northwestern,
Dagupan City, College of Medicine, second year medicine proper;
3. That the plaintiff is (sic) an employee at Mabuhay Luncheonette ,
Fernandez Avenue, Dagupan City since July, 1986 up to the present
and a (sic) high school graduate;
4. That the parties happened to know each other when the manager
of the Mabuhay Luncheonette, Johhny Rabino introduced the
defendant to the plaintiff on August 3, 1986.
After trial on the merits, the lower court, applying Article 21 of the Civil
Code, rendered on 16 October 1989 a decision 5 favoring the private
respondent. The petitioner was thus ordered to pay the latter damages and
attorney's fees; the dispositive portion of the decision reads:
IN THE LIGHT of the foregoing consideration, judgment is hereby
rendered in favor of the plaintiff and against the defendant.
1. Condemning (sic) the defendant to pay the plaintiff the sum of
twenty thousand (P20,000.00) pesos as moral damages.
2. Condemning further the defendant to play the plaintiff the sum of
three thousand (P3,000.00) pesos as atty's fees and two thousand
(P2,000.00) pesos at (sic) litigation expenses and to pay the costs.
3. All other claims are denied. 6
The decision is anchored on the trial court's findings and conclusions that (a)
petitioner and private respondent were lovers, (b) private respondent is not a

woman of loose morals or questionable virtue who readily submits to sexual

advances, (c) petitioner, through machinations, deceit and false pretenses,
promised to marry private respondent, d) because of his persuasive promise to
marry her, she allowed herself to be deflowered by him, (e) by reason of that
deceitful promise, private respondent and her parents in accordance with
Filipino customs and traditions made some preparations for the wedding
that was to be held at the end of October 1987 by looking for pigs and
chickens, inviting friends and relatives and contracting sponsors, (f) petitioner
did not fulfill his promise to marry her and (g) such acts of the petitioner, who
is a foreigner and who has abused Philippine hospitality, have offended our
sense of morality, good customs, culture and traditions. The trial court gave
full credit to the private respondent's testimony because, inter alia, she would
not have had the temerity and courage to come to court and expose her honor
and reputation to public scrutiny and ridicule if her claim was false. 7
The above findings and conclusions were culled from the detailed summary
of the evidence for the private respondent in the foregoing decision, digested
by the respondent Court as follows:
According to plaintiff, who claimed that she was a virgin at the time
and that she never had a boyfriend before, defendant started courting
her just a few days after they first met. He later proposed marriage to
her several times and she accepted his love as well as his proposal of
marriage on August 20, 1987, on which same day he went with her
to her hometown of Baaga, Bugallon, Pangasinan, as he wanted to
meet her parents and inform them of their relationship and their
intention to get married. The photographs Exhs. "A" to "E" (and
their submarkings) of defendant with members of plaintiff's family
or with plaintiff, were taken that day. Also on that occasion,
defendant told plaintiffs parents and brothers and sisters that he
intended to marry her during the semestral break in October, 1987,
and because plaintiff's parents thought he was good and trusted him,
they agreed to his proposal for him to marry their daughter, and they
likewise allowed him to stay in their house and sleep with plaintiff
during the few days that they were in Bugallon. When plaintiff and
defendant later returned to Dagupan City, they continued to live
together in defendant's apartment. However, in the early days of
October, 1987, defendant would tie plaintiff's hands and feet while

he went to school, and he even gave her medicine at 4 o'clock in the

morning that made her sleep the whole day and night until the
following day. As a result of this live-in relationship, plaintiff
became pregnant, but defendant gave her some medicine to abort the
fetus. Still plaintiff continued to live with defendant and kept
reminding him of his promise to marry her until he told her that he
could not do so because he was already married to a girl in Bacolod
City. That was the time plaintiff left defendant, went home to her
parents, and thereafter consulted a lawyer who accompanied her to
the barangay captain in Dagupan City. Plaintiff, her lawyer, her
godmother, and a barangay tanod sent by the barangay captain went
to talk to defendant to still convince him to marry plaintiff, but
defendant insisted that he could not do so because he was already
married to a girl in Bacolod City, although the truth, as stipulated by
the parties at the pre-trial, is that defendant is still single.
Plaintiff's father, a tricycle driver, also claimed that after defendant
had informed them of his desire to marry Marilou, he already looked
for sponsors for the wedding, started preparing for the reception by
looking for pigs and chickens, and even already invited many
relatives and friends to the forthcoming wedding. 8
Petitioner appealed the trial court's decision to the respondent Court of
Appeals which docketed the case as CA-G.R. CV No. 24256. In his Brief, 9 he
contended that the trial court erred (a) in not dismissing the case for lack of
factual and legal basis and (b) in ordering him to pay moral damages,
attorney's fees, litigation expenses and costs.
On 18 February 1991, respondent Court promulgated the challenged decision
affirming in toto the trial court's ruling of 16 October 1989. In sustaining
the trial court's findings of fact, respondent Court made the following
First of all, plaintiff, then only 21 years old when she met defendant
who was already 29 years old at the time, does not appear to be a girl
of loose morals. It is uncontradicted that she was a virgin prior to her
unfortunate experience with defendant and never had boyfriend. She
is, as described by the lower court, a barrio lass "not used and
accustomed to trend of modern urban life", and certainly would (sic)

not have allowed

"herself to be deflowered by the defendant if there was no persuasive
promise made by the defendant to marry her." In fact, we agree with
the lower court that plaintiff and defendant must have been
sweethearts or so the plaintiff must have thought because of the
deception of defendant, for otherwise, she would not have allowed
herself to be photographed with defendant in public in so (sic) loving
and tender poses as those depicted in the pictures Exhs. "D" and "E".
We cannot believe, therefore, defendant's pretense that plaintiff was
a nobody to him except a waitress at the restaurant where he usually
ate. Defendant in fact admitted that he went to plaintiff's hometown
of Baaga, Bugallon, Pangasinan, at least thrice; at (sic) the town
fiesta on February 27, 1987 (p. 54, tsn May 18, 1988), at (sic) a
beach party together with the manager and employees of the
Mabuhay Luncheonette on March 3, 1987 (p. 50, tsn id.), and on
April 1, 1987 when he allegedly talked to plaintiff's mother who told
him to marry her daughter (pp. 55-56, tsn id.). Would defendant have
left Dagupan City where he was involved in the serious study of
medicine to go to plaintiff's hometown in Baaga, Bugallon, unless
there was (sic) some kind of special relationship between them? And
this special relationship must indeed have led to defendant's
insincere proposal of marriage to plaintiff, communicated not only to
her but also to her parents, and (sic) Marites Rabino, the owner of
the restaurant where plaintiff was working and where defendant first
proposed marriage to her, also knew of this love affair and
defendant's proposal of marriage to plaintiff, which she declared was
the reason why plaintiff resigned from her job at the restaurant after
she had accepted defendant's proposal (pp. 6-7, tsn March 7, 1988).
Upon the other hand, appellant does not appear to be a man of good
moral character and must think so low and have so little respect and
regard for Filipino women that he openly admitted that when he
studied in Bacolod City for several years where he finished his B.S.
Biology before he came to Dagupan City to study medicine, he had a
common-law wife in Bacolod City. In other words, he also lived
with another woman in Bacolod City but did not marry that woman,
just like what he did to plaintiff. It is not surprising, then, that he felt
so little compunction or remorse in pretending to love and promising

to marry plaintiff, a young, innocent, trustful country girl, in order to

satisfy his lust on her. 11
and then concluded:
In sum, we are strongly convinced and so hold that it was defendantappellant's fraudulent and deceptive protestations of love for and
promise to marry plaintiff that made her surrender her virtue and
womanhood to him and to live with him on the honest and sincere
belief that he would keep said promise, and it was likewise these
(sic) fraud and deception on appellant's part that made plaintiff's
parents agree to their daughter's living-in with him preparatory to
their supposed marriage. And as these acts of appellant are palpably
and undoubtedly against morals, good customs, and public policy,
and are even gravely and deeply derogatory and insulting to our
women, coming as they do from a foreigner who has been enjoying
the hospitality of our people and taking advantage of the opportunity
to study in one of our institutions of learning, defendant-appellant
should indeed be made, under Art. 21 of the Civil Code of the
Philippines, to compensate for the moral damages and injury that he
had caused plaintiff, as the lower court ordered him to do in its
decision in this case. 12
Unfazed by his second defeat, petitioner filed the instant petition on 26 March
1991; he raises therein the single issue of whether or not Article 21 of the
Civil Code applies to the case at bar. 13
It is petitioner's thesis that said Article 21 is not applicable because he had not
committed any moral wrong or injury or violated any good custom or public
policy; he has not professed love or proposed marriage to the private
respondent; and he has never maltreated her. He criticizes the trial court for
liberally invoking Filipino customs, traditions and culture, and ignoring the
fact that since he is a foreigner, he is not conversant with such Filipino
customs, traditions and culture. As an Iranian Moslem, he is not familiar with
Catholic and Christian ways. He stresses that even if he had made a promise
to marry, the subsequent failure to fulfill the same is excusable or tolerable
because of his Moslem upbringing; he then alludes to the Muslim Code which
purportedly allows a Muslim to take four (4) wives and concludes that on the
basis thereof, the trial court erred in ruling that he does not posses good moral

character. Moreover, his controversial "common law life" is now his legal
wife as their marriage had been solemnized in civil ceremonies in the Iranian
Embassy. As to his unlawful cohabitation with the private respondent,
petitioner claims that even if responsibility could be pinned on him for the
live-in relationship, the private respondent should also be faulted for
consenting to an illicit arrangement. Finally, petitioner asseverates that even if
it was to be assumed arguendo that he had professed his love to the private
respondent and had also promised to marry her, such acts would not be
actionable in view of the special circumstances of the case. The mere breach
of promise is not actionable. 14
On 26 August 1991, after the private respondent had filed her Comment to the
petition and the petitioner had filed his Reply thereto, this Court gave due
course to the petition and required the parties to submit their respective
Memoranda, which they subsequently complied with.
As may be gleaned from the foregoing summation of the petitioner's
arguments in support of his thesis, it is clear that questions of fact, which boil
down to the issue of the credibility of witnesses, are also raised. It is the rule
in this jurisdiction that appellate courts will not disturb the trial court's
findings as to the credibility of witnesses, the latter court having heard the
witnesses and having had the opportunity to observe closely their deportment
and manner of testifying, unless the trial court had plainly overlooked facts of
substance or value which, if considered, might affect the result of the case. 15
Petitioner has miserably failed to convince Us that both the appellate and trial
courts had overlooked any fact of substance or values which could alter the
result of the case.
Equally settled is the rule that only questions of law may be raised in a
petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. It is not
the function of this Court to analyze or weigh all over again the evidence
introduced by the parties before the lower court. There are, however,
recognized exceptions to this rule. Thus, in Medina vs. Asistio, Jr., 16 this
Court took the time, again, to enumerate these exceptions:
xxx xxx xxx
(1) When the conclusion is a finding grounded entirely on
speculation, surmises or conjectures (Joaquin v. Navarro, 93 Phil.

257 [1953]); (2) When the inference made is manifestly mistaken,

absurb or impossible (Luna v. Linatok, 74 Phil. 15 [1942]); (3)
Where there is a grave abuse of discretion (Buyco v. People, 95 Phil.
453 [1955]); (4) When the judgment is based on a misapprehension
of facts (Cruz v. Sosing,
L-4875, Nov. 27, 1953); (5) When the findings of fact are conflicting
(Casica v. Villaseca, L-9590 Ap. 30, 1957; unrep.) (6) When the
Court of Appeals, in making its findings, went beyond the issues of
the case and the same is contrary to the admissions of both appellate
and appellee (Evangelista v. Alto Surety and Insurance Co., 103 Phil.
401 [1958]);
(7) The findings of the Court of Appeals are contrary to those of the
trial court (Garcia v. Court of Appeals, 33 SCRA 622 [1970]; Sacay
v. Sandiganbayan, 142 SCRA 593 [1986]); (8) When the findings of
fact are conclusions without citation of specific evidence on which
they are based (Ibid.,); (9) When the facts set forth in the petition as
well as in the petitioners main and reply briefs are not disputed by
the respondents (Ibid.,); and (10) The finding of fact of the Court of
Appeals is premised on the supposed absence of evidence and is
contradicted by the evidence on record (Salazar v. Gutierrez, 33
SCRA 242 [1970]).
Petitioner has not endeavored to joint out to Us the existence of any of the
above quoted exceptions in this case. Consequently, the factual findings of
the trial and appellate courts must be respected.
And now to the legal issue.
The existing rule is that a breach of promise to marry per se is not an
actionable wrong. 17 Congress deliberately eliminated from the draft of the
New Civil Code the provisions that would have made it so. The reason
therefor is set forth in the report of the Senate Committees on the Proposed
Civil Code, from which We quote:
The elimination of this chapter is proposed. That breach of promise
to marry is not actionable has been definitely decided in the case of
De Jesus vs. Syquia. 18 The history of breach of promise suits in the
United States and in England has shown that no other action lends
itself more readily to abuse by designing women and unscrupulous

men. It is this experience which has led to the abolition of rights of

action in the so-called Heart Balm suits in many of the American
states. . . . 19
This notwithstanding, the said Code contains a provision, Article 21, which is
designed to expand the concept of torts or quasi-delict in this jurisdiction by
granting adequate legal remedy for the untold number of moral wrongs which
is impossible for human foresight to specifically enumerate and punish in the
statute books. 20
As the Code Commission itself stated in its Report:
But the Code Commission had gone farther than the sphere of
wrongs defined or determined by positive law. Fully sensible that
there are countless gaps in the statutes, which leave so many victims
of moral wrongs helpless, even though they have actually suffered
material and moral injury, the Commission has deemed it necessary,
in the interest of justice, to incorporate in the proposed Civil Code
the following rule:
Art. 23. Any person who wilfully causes loss or injury to
another in a manner that is contrary to morals, good
customs or public policy shall compensate the latter for the
An example will illustrate the purview of the foregoing norm: "A"
seduces the nineteen-year old daughter of "X". A promise of
marriage either has not been made, or can not be proved. The girl
becomes pregnant. Under the present laws, there is no crime, as the
girl is above nineteen years of age. Neither can any civil action for
breach of promise of marriage be filed. Therefore, though the
grievous moral wrong has been committed, and though the girl and
family have suffered incalculable moral damage, she and her parents
cannot bring action for damages. But under the proposed article, she
and her parents would have such a right of action.
Thus at one stroke, the legislator, if the forgoing rule is approved,
would vouchsafe adequate legal remedy for that untold number of
moral wrongs which it is impossible for human foresight to provide
for specifically in the statutes. 21

Article 2176 of the Civil Code, which defines a quasi-delict thus:

Whoever by act or omission causes damage to another, there being
fault or negligence, is obliged to pay for the damage done. Such fault
or negligence, if there is no pre-existing contractual relation between
the parties, is called a quasi-delict and is governed by the provisions
of this Chapter.
is limited to negligent acts or omissions and excludes the notion of
willfulness or intent. Quasi-delict, known in Spanish legal treatises as
culpa aquiliana, is a civil law concept while torts is an Anglo-American
or common law concept. Torts is much broader than culpa aquiliana
because it includes not only negligence, but international criminal acts as
well such as assault and battery, false imprisonment and deceit. In the
general scheme of the Philippine legal system envisioned by the
Commission responsible for drafting the New Civil Code, intentional and
malicious acts, with certain exceptions, are to be governed by the
Revised Penal Code while negligent acts or omissions are to be covered
by Article 2176 of the Civil Code. 22 In between these opposite spectrums
are injurious acts which, in the absence of Article 21, would have been
beyond redress. Thus, Article 21 fills that vacuum. It is even postulated
that together with Articles 19 and 20 of the Civil Code, Article 21 has
greatly broadened the scope of the law on civil wrongs; it has become
much more supple and adaptable than the Anglo-American law on torts.

In the light of the above laudable purpose of Article 21, We are of the
opinion, and so hold, that where a man's promise to marry is in fact the
proximate cause of the acceptance of his love by a woman and his
representation to fulfill that promise thereafter becomes the proximate cause
of the giving of herself unto him in a sexual congress, proof that he had, in
reality, no intention of marrying her and that the promise was only a subtle
scheme or deceptive device to entice or inveigle her to accept him and to
obtain her consent to the sexual act, could justify the award of damages
pursuant to Article 21 not because of such promise to marry but because of
the fraud and deceit behind it and the willful injury to her honor and
reputation which followed thereafter. It is essential, however, that such injury
should have been committed in a manner contrary to morals, good customs or
public policy.

In the instant case, respondent Court found that it was the petitioner's
"fraudulent and deceptive protestations of love for and promise to marry
plaintiff that made her surrender her virtue and womanhood to him and to live
with him on the honest and sincere belief that he would keep said promise,
and it was likewise these fraud and deception on appellant's part that made
plaintiff's parents agree to their daughter's living-in with him preparatory to
their supposed marriage." 24 In short, the private respondent surrendered her
virginity, the cherished possession of every single Filipina, not because of lust
but because of moral seduction the kind illustrated by the Code
Commission in its example earlier adverted to. The petitioner could not be
held liable for criminal seduction punished under either Article 337 or Article
338 of the Revised Penal Code because the private respondent was above
eighteen (18) years of age at the time of the seduction.
Prior decisions of this Court clearly suggest that Article 21 may be applied in
a breach of promise to marry where the woman is a victim of moral
seduction. Thus, in Hermosisima vs. Court of Appeals, 25 this Court denied
recovery of damages to the woman because:
. . . we find ourselves unable to say that petitioner is morally guilty
of seduction, not only because he is approximately ten (10) years
younger than the complainant who was around thirty-six (36)
years of age, and as highly enlightened as a former high school
teacher and a life insurance agent are supposed to be when she
became intimate with petitioner, then a mere apprentice pilot, but,
also, because the court of first instance found that, complainant
"surrendered herself" to petitioner because, "overwhelmed by her
love" for him, she "wanted to bind" him by having a fruit of their
engagement even before they had the benefit of clergy.
In Tanjanco vs. Court of Appeals, 26 while this Court likewise hinted at
possible recovery if there had been moral seduction, recovery was eventually
denied because We were not convinced that such seduction existed. The
following enlightening disquisition and conclusion were made in the said
The Court of Appeals seem to have overlooked that the example set
forth in the Code Commission's memorandum refers to a tort upon a
minor who had been seduced. The essential feature is seduction, that

in law is more than mere sexual intercourse, or a breach of a promise

of marriage; it connotes essentially the idea of deceit, enticement,
superior power or abuse of confidence on the part of the seducer to
which the woman has yielded (U.S. vs. Buenaventura, 27 Phil. 121;
U.S. vs. Arlante, 9 Phil. 595).
It has been ruled in the Buenaventura case (supra) that
To constitute seduction there must in all cases be some
sufficient promise or inducement and the woman must yield
because of the promise or other inducement. If she consents
merely from carnal lust and the intercourse is from mutual
desire, there is no seduction (43 Cent. Dig. tit. Seduction,
par. 56) She must be induced to depart from the path of
virtue by the use of some species of arts, persuasions and
wiles, which are calculated to have and do have that effect,
and which result in her person to ultimately submitting her
person to the sexual embraces of her seducer (27 Phil. 123).
And in American Jurisprudence we find:
On the other hand, in an action by the woman, the
enticement, persuasion or deception is the essence of the
injury; and a mere proof of intercourse is insufficient to
warrant a recovery.
Accordingly it is not seduction where the willingness arises
out of sexual desire of curiosity of the female, and the
defendant merely affords her the needed opportunity for the
commission of the act. It has been emphasized that to allow
a recovery in all such cases would tend to the
demoralization of the female sex, and would be a reward
for unchastity by which a class of adventuresses would be
swift to profit. (47 Am. Jur. 662)
xxx xxx xxx
Over and above the partisan allegations, the fact stand out that for
one whole year, from 1958 to 1959, the plaintiff-appellee, a woman
of adult age, maintain intimate sexual relations with appellant, with
repeated acts of intercourse. Such conduct is incompatible with the

idea of seduction. Plainly there is here voluntariness and mutual

passion; for had the appellant been deceived, had she surrendered
exclusively because of the deceit, artful persuasions and wiles of the
defendant, she would not have again yielded to his embraces, much
less for one year, without exacting early fulfillment of the alleged
promises of marriage, and would have cut short all sexual relations
upon finding that defendant did not intend to fulfill his defendant did
not intend to fulfill his promise. Hence, we conclude that no case is
made under article 21 of the Civil Code, and no other cause of action
being alleged, no error was committed by the Court of First Instance
in dismissing the complaint. 27
In his annotations on the Civil Code, 28 Associate Justice Edgardo L. Paras,
who recently retired from this Court, opined that in a breach of promise to
marry where there had been carnal knowledge, moral damages may be
. . . if there be criminal or moral seduction, but not if the intercourse
was due to mutual lust. (Hermosisima vs. Court of Appeals,
L-14628, Sept. 30, 1960; Estopa vs. Piansay, Jr., L-14733, Sept. 30,
1960; Batarra vs. Marcos, 7 Phil. 56 (sic); Beatriz Galang vs. Court
of Appeals, et al., L-17248, Jan. 29, 1962). (In other words, if the
CAUSE be the promise to marry, and the EFFECT be the carnal
knowledge, there is a chance that there was criminal or moral
seduction, hence recovery of moral damages will prosper. If it be the
other way around, there can be no recovery of moral damages,
because here mutual lust has intervened). . . .
together with "ACTUAL damages, should there be any, such as the
expenses for the wedding presentations (See Domalagon v. Bolifer, 33
Phil. 471).
Senator Arturo M. Tolentino 29 is also of the same persuasion:
It is submitted that the rule in Batarra vs. Marcos, 30 still subsists,
notwithstanding the incorporation of the present article 31 in the
Code. The example given by the Code Commission is correct, if
there was seduction, not necessarily in the legal sense, but in the
vulgar sense of deception. But when the sexual act is accomplished
without any deceit or qualifying circumstance of abuse of authority

or influence, but the woman, already of age, has knowingly given

herself to a man, it cannot be said that there is an injury which can
be the basis for indemnity.
But so long as there is fraud, which is characterized by willfulness
(sic), the action lies. The court, however, must weigh the degree of
fraud, if it is sufficient to deceive the woman under the
circumstances, because an act which would deceive a girl sixteen
years of age may not constitute deceit as to an experienced woman
thirty years of age. But so long as there is a wrongful act and a
resulting injury, there should be civil liability, even if the act is not
punishable under the criminal law and there should have been an
acquittal or dismissal of the criminal case for that reason.
We are unable to agree with the petitioner's alternative proposition to the
effect that granting, for argument's sake, that he did promise to marry the
private respondent, the latter is nevertheless also at fault. According to him,
both parties are in pari delicto; hence, pursuant to Article 1412(1) of the Civil
Code and the doctrine laid down in Batarra vs. Marcos, 32 the private
respondent cannot recover damages from the petitioner. The latter even goes
as far as stating that if the private respondent had "sustained any injury or
damage in their relationship, it is primarily because of her own doing, 33 for:
. . . She is also interested in the petitioner as the latter will become a
doctor sooner or later. Take notice that she is a plain high school
graduate and a mere employee . . . (Annex "C") or a waitress (TSN,
p. 51, January 25, 1988) in a luncheonette and without doubt, is in
need of a man who can give her economic security. Her family is in
dire need of financial assistance. (TSN, pp. 51-53, May 18, 1988).
And this predicament prompted her to accept a proposition that may
have been offered by the petitioner. 34
These statements reveal the true character and motive of the petitioner. It is
clear that he harbors a condescending, if not sarcastic, regard for the private
respondent on account of the latter's ignoble birth, inferior educational
background, poverty and, as perceived by him, dishonorable employment.
Obviously then, from the very beginning, he was not at all moved by good
faith and an honest motive. Marrying with a woman so circumstances could
not have even remotely occurred to him. Thus, his profession of love and

promise to marry were empty words directly intended to fool, dupe, entice,
beguile and deceive the poor woman into believing that indeed, he loved her
and would want her to be his life's partner. His was nothing but pure lust
which he wanted satisfied by a Filipina who honestly believed that by
accepting his proffer of love and proposal of marriage, she would be able to
enjoy a life of ease and security. Petitioner clearly violated the Filipino's
concept of morality and brazenly defied the traditional respect Filipinos have
for their women. It can even be said that the petitioner committed such
deplorable acts in blatant disregard of Article 19 of the Civil Code which
directs every person to act with justice, give everyone his due and observe
honesty and good faith in the exercise of his rights and in the performance of
his obligations.
No foreigner must be allowed to make a mockery of our laws, customs and
The pari delicto rule does not apply in this case for while indeed, the private
respondent may not have been impelled by the purest of intentions, she
eventually submitted to the petitioner in sexual congress not out of lust, but
because of moral seduction. In fact, it is apparent that she had qualms of
conscience about the entire episode for as soon as she found out that the
petitioner was not going to marry her after all, she left him. She is not,
therefore, in pari delicto with the petitioner. Pari delicto means "in equal
fault; in a similar offense or crime; equal in guilt or in legal fault." 35 At most,
it could be conceded that she is merely in delicto.
Equity often interferes for the relief of the less guilty of the parties,
where his transgression has been brought about by the imposition of
undue influence of the party on whom the burden of the original
wrong principally rests, or where his consent to the transaction was
itself procured by
fraud. 36
In Mangayao vs. Lasud, 37 We declared:
Appellants likewise stress that both parties being at fault, there
should be no action by one against the other (Art. 1412, New Civil
Code). This rule, however, has been interpreted as applicable only
where the fault on both sides is, more or less, equivalent. It does not
apply where one party is literate or intelligent and the other one is

not. (c.f. Bough vs. Cantiveros, 40 Phil. 209).

We should stress, however, that while We find for the private respondent, let
it not be said that this Court condones the deplorable behavior of her parents
in letting her and the petitioner stay together in the same room in their house
after giving approval to their marriage. It is the solemn duty of parents to
protect the honor of their daughters and infuse upon them the higher values of
morality and dignity.
WHEREFORE, finding no reversible error in the challenged decision, the
instant petition is hereby DENIED, with costs against the petitioner.