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Tenchavez v.

Facts: February 24, 1948, Vicenta Escano, married petitioner Pastor Tenchavez an ex- army
officer, before Catholic chaplain without the knowledge of her parents.
Their marriage was duly registered with the local civil register.
They were planning to elope but this did not materialize because Vicenta went back to her
college. When she confessed her marriage to her parents, her parents were angered.
When Escaos parents learned of this, they insisted a church wedding to be held but Escao
withdrew from having a re-celebration because 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.
Esacanos parents filed a petition with Archbishop of Cebu to annul their daughters
marriage to Pastor.
Sep.13, 1954, Escano married an American, Russel Leo Moran, in Nevada, with whom she
had children. She acquired US citizenship.
In May 1956, filed a complaint in the Court of First Instance of Cebu, 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
Vicenta claimed that she had a valid divorce and validly married to her current husband. She
also claimed that she was under the undue influence of Pacita Noel whom she charged in
conspiracy with Tenchavez.
Whether or not the divorce was valid
No. It is not valid. Tenchavez and Escano were validly married to each other, under the civil
law. The valid marriage between Tenchavez and Escano remained subsisting and
undissolved under Philippine law, notwithstanding the divorce obtained from the Court of
At the time the divorce was issued, Escano, like her husband, was still a Filipino citizen.
Thus, she was then subject to Philippine law.

The Civil code of the Philippines does not allow absolute divorce. It only allows legal
The Philippine courts cannot recognize a foreign decree of absolute divorce. 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.
Tenchavez failed to prove that Escaos parents dissuaded their daughter to leave
Tenchavez and as such his P1,000,000.00 claim cannot be awarded. HOWEVER, by reason of
the fact that Escao left without the knowledge of Tenchavez and being able to acquire a
divorce decree; and Tenchavez being unable to remarry, the SC awarded P25,000.00 only by
way of moral damages and attorneys fees to be paid by Escao and not her parents.
The court also sentenced appellant Pastor Tenchavez to pay the appellee, Mamerto Escao
and the estate of his wife, the deceased Mena Escao, P5,000 by way of damages and
attorneys' fees.

Ty vs CA
Respondent Reyes married Anna Maria Villanueva in a civil ceremony on March 1977, in
Manila. Then they had a church wedding on August 1977. However, on August 4, 1980, the
Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court of Quezon City declared their marriage void ab initio
for lack of a valid marriage license. The church wedding was also declared void for lack of
consent of the parties. Even before the decree was issued nullifying his marriage to
Villanueva, Reyes wed Ofelia P. Ty, herein petitioner, thru civil rites on April 4, 1979 in Pasay.
Three years after, on April 4, 1982, they also had a church wedding in Makati.
On January 1991, Edgardo filed a case with the RTC of Pasig, praying that his marriage to
Ofelia Ty be declared null and void because they allegedly had no marriage license when
they got married. He also averred that at the time he married petitioner, he was still
married to Anna Maria. The decree of nullity of his marriage to Anna Maria was rendered
only on August 4, 1980, while his civil marriage to petitioner took place on April 4, 1979.
Ofelia, in defending her marriage to private respondent, submitted their Marriage License
which was issued in Cavite on April 3, 1979. He did not question this document when it was
submitted in evidence. However, the fact that the civil marriage of Edgardo and Ofelia took
place on April 4, 1979, before the judgment declaring his prior marriage as null and void is
undisputed. It also appears indisputable that petitioner and respondent had a church
wedding ceremony on April 4, 1982.
The Pasig RTC ruled in favor of Edgardo Reyes and declared his marriage to Ofelia Ty null
and void ab initio. Both parties appealed to the CA, which subsequently affirmed the trial
courts decision. It ruled that a judicial declaration of nullity of the first marriage (to Anna
Maria) must first be secured before a subsequent marriage could be validly contracted.

1) Is a decree of nullity of the first marriage required before a subsequent marriage can be
entered into validly?
2) May the Family Code be given retroactive effect to the instant case?
3) What is the effect of re-using for a church wedding the marriage license that was 1st used
in a civil wedding 3 years ago?
4) Is petitioner entitled to moral damages as indemnity for her husbands filing of a baseless
1) and 2) NO.
The first marriage of private respondent being void for lack of license and consent, there was
no need for judicial declaration of its nullity before he could contract a second marriage
because it was governed by the Civil Code. In this case, therefore, we conclude that private
respondents second marriage to petitioner is valid.
Moreover, we find that the provisions of the Family Code cannot be retroactively applied to
the present case, for to do so would prejudice the vested rights of petitioner and of her
children. As held in Jison v. Court of Appeals, the Family Code has retroactive
effect unless there be impairment of vested rights. In the present case, that impairment of
vested rights of petitioner and the children is patent.
3) Coming now to the civil effects of the church ceremony wherein petitioner married private
respondent using the marriage license used three years earlier in the civil ceremony, we find
that petitioner now has raised this matter properly. Obviously, the church ceremony was
confirmatory of their civil marriage. As petitioner contends, the CA erred when it refused to
recognize the validity and salutary effects of said canonical marriage on a technicality, i.e.
that petitioner had failed to raise this matter as affirmative defense during trial. She argues
that such failure does not prevent the appellate court from giving her
defense due consideration and weight. She adds that the interest of the State in protecting
the inviolability of marriage, as a legal and social institution, outweighs such technicality.
In our view, petitioner and private respondent had complied with all the essential and formal
requisites for a valid marriage, including the requirement of a valid license in the first of the
two ceremonies. That this license was used legally in the celebration of the civil ceremony
does not detract from the ceremonial use thereof in the church wedding of the same parties
to the marriage, for we hold that the latter rites served not only to ratify but also to fortify
the first.
4) No damages should be awarded in the present case. Petitioner wants her marriage to
private respondent held valid and subsisting. She is suing to maintain her status as
legitimate wife. In the same breath, she asks for damages from her husband for filing a
baseless complaint for annulment of their marriage which caused her mental anguish,
anxiety, besmirched reputation, social humiliation and alienation from her parents. Should
we grant her prayer, we would have a situation where the husband pays the wife damages

from conjugal or common funds. To do so, would make the application of the law
absurd. Logic, if not common sense, militates against such incongruity. Moreover, our laws
do not comprehend an action for damages between husband and wife merely because of
breach of a marital obligation. There are other remedies (legal separation, or prosecution for
adultery or concubinage).