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TENCHAVEZ VS ESCAO G.R. No.

L-19671 (November 29, 1965)

Facts:

Vicenta Escao, 27, exchanged marriage vows with Pastor Tenchavez, 32, on February 24,
1948, before a Catholic chaplain. The marriage was duly registered with the local civil registrar.
However, the two were unable to live together after the marriage and as of June 1948, they
were already estranged. Vicenta left for the United Stated in 1950. On the same year she filed a
verified complaint for divorce against Tenchavez in the State of Nevada on the ground of
Extreme cruelty, entirely mental in character. A decree of divorce, final and absolute was
issued in open court by the said tribunal. She married an American, lived with him in California,
had several children with him and, on 1958, acquired American Citizenship.
On 30 July 1955, Tenchavez filed a complaint in the Court of First Instance of Cebu, and
amended on 31 May 1956, against Vicenta F. Escao, her parents, Mamerto and Mena Escao
whom he charged with having dissuaded and discouraged Vicenta from joining her husband,
and alienating her affections, and against the Roman Catholic Church, for having, through its
Diocesan Tribunal, decreed the annulment of the marriage, and asked for legal separation and
one million pesos in damages. Vicentas parents denied that they had in any way influenced
their daughters acts, and counterclaimed for moral damages.

Issue:

1. Whether or not the divorce sought by Vicenta Escao is valid and binding upon courts of
the Philippines.
2. Whether or not the charges against Vicenta Escaos parents were sufficient in form.

Held:

1. No. Vicenta Escao and Pastor Tenchavez marriage remain existent and undissolved
under the Philippine Law. Escaos divorce and second marriage cannot be deemed valid
under the Philippine Law to which Escao was bound since in the time the divorce decree was
issued, Escao, like her husband, was still a Filipino citizen. The acts of the wife in not
complying with her wifely duties, deserting her husband without any justifiable cause, leaving for
the United States in order to secure a decree of absolute divorce, and finally getting married
again are acts which constitute a willful infliction of injury upon the husbands feelings in a
manner contrary to morals, good customs or public policy, thus entitling Tenchavez to a decree
of legal separation under our law on the basis of adultery.

2. No. Tenchavez charge against Vicentas parents are not supported by credible evidence.
The testimony of Tenchavez about the Escaos animosity toward him strikes the court to be
merely conjecture and exaggeration, and were belied by Tenchavez own letters written before
the suit had begun. An action for alienation of affections against the parents of one consort does
not lie in the absence of proof of malice or unworthy motives on their part.
Plaintiff Tenchavez, in falsely charging Vicenta's aged parents with racial or social discrimination
and with having exerted efforts and pressured her to seek annulment and divorce,
unquestionably caused them unrest and anxiety, entitling them to recover damages.