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FACTS:

Vivencio Lascano, 19 y/o, started courting appellant, Maria Norma Hernandez and after months
of courtship, appellant finally accepted Vivencio. On the same date, she asked him to bring his
parents over her home so that they could talk about their marriage.

When Vivencio and his parents went to her house, they brought chickens and goats and they
agreed to buy a wedding dress, 2 vestidas, shoes, P20 for the sponsors and to repair the uncles
roof.

While the celebration was going on, appellant was nowhere to be found. Vivencio and his
parents waited but she never showed up thus causing them great shame and humiliation.

Norma Hernandez averred that Vivencio was really courting her but that she wasnt really in
love with him. Her parents tried to persuade her to accept the proposal and that she only
accepted it out of obedience to her parents and the uncles insistence.

Before Vivencios parents came to their home, she already counselled them not to bring the
chickens and that they should not regret whatever may happen later.

Appellant said she felt torture because she wasnt honestly in love with Vivencio and so she
decided to leave home as last recourse to prevent the marriage.

Appellants parents also corroborated her testimony.

RTC convicted her of serious slander by deed because she purposely and deliberately fled to
prevent celebration of marriage. Thus, she appealed.

HELD:

Court reversed the RTC judgment and acquitted the appellant.

RATIO:

Malice, one of the essential requisites of slander hasnt been proven. There is no malice in the
act of the appellant changing her mind. She was merely exercising her right not to give her
consent the marriage after mature consideration.

Furthermore, there were no strained relations existing between the complainant & appellant
before the incident. There always existed good relations between them for they were
neighbours so it cannot be sustained that appellant was motivated by spite or ill-will in
deliberately frustrating the marriage.

Appellant has the privilege to reconsider her previous commitment to marry and it would be
utterly inconsistent to convict her for slander by deed simply because she desisted in continuing
with the marriage. If she would be liable then that would be tantamount to compelling her to
go into a marriage without her free consent.

Appellant had the right to avoid to herself the evil of going through a loveless marriage. (Art. 11
par.4, RPC)