G.R. No. L-17396, 30 May 1962
Defendant, Alfonso Pe was a married man and an agent of the La Perla Cigar and Cigarette Factory, carried an illicit affair with Lolita Pe, who was unmarried. The defendant was adopted by PeBeco, a collateral relative of Lolita’s father. Given that the defendant had the same last name with Lolita made them close and frequented her house to teach her how to pray the rosary. Eventually both of them fell in love and conducted the clandestine trysts which eventually reached the ears of the Lolita’s parents. Defendant, a Chinese national was filed with deportation by plaintiffs (Lolita’s parents and siblings) but the affair continued nonetheless. Lolita disappeared but found a note with the defendant’s handwriting.
Plaintiffs filed damages for causing injury in a manner contrary to morals, good customs and public policy. The trial court considered their complaint not actionable for the reason that they failed to prove that defendant deliberately and in bad faith tried to win Lolita’s affection, thus was dismissed. Plaintiffs then appealed.
Whether or not defendant is liable to Lolita’s family on the ground of moral, good custom and public policy due to their illicit affair?
Yes, the defendant is liable. Alfonso committed an injury to Lolita’s family in a manner contrary to morals, good customs and public policy contemplated in Article 21 of the Civil Code. The defendant took advantage of the trust of Cecilio and even used the praying of rosary as a reason to get close with Lolita. The wrong caused by Alfonso is immeasurable considering the fact that he is a married man.
Art. 21. “Any person who willfully causes loss or injury to another in manner that is contrary to morals, good customs or public policy shall compensate the latter for the damage.”
In the case at bar, Article 21 deals with 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; 3) and it is done with intent to injure. Thus, under any of these three (3) provisions of law, an act which causes injury to another may be made the basis for an award of damages. The decision appealed from is reversed. Defendant is hereby sentenced to pay the plaintiffs the sum of P5,000.00 as damages and P2,000.00 as attorney’s fees and expenses of litigations. Costs against appellee.
* Case digest by Daisy Mae O. Tambolero, LLB-1, Andres Bonifacio Law School, SY 2017-2018