Posted by: Elmer Brabante | September 1, 2009

Wassmer vs. Velez


BEATRIZ WASSMER vs. FRANCISCO VELEZ

No. L-20089

December 26, 1964 

FACTS:

                Respondent Francisco Velez and petitioner Beatriz Wassmer were lovers who set their marriage for Sept. 4, 1954.  On Sept. 2, however, Francisco left for Cagayan de Oro, leaving Beatriz with a note that his mother was approved to the marriage.  A day before the supposed wedding, on Sept. 3, Francisco telegrammed Beatriz that nothing changed and that he assured her of his return and love.  Francisco did not appear after all nor words were heard from him again; despite the fact that preparations were all made.  They applied for a marriage license on Aug. 23, and was issued thereof; invitations were printed and distributed to friends and relatives; dresses and other apparel were already bought; the two bought a matrimonial bed; bridal showers were given and gifts received. 

                Beatriz then filed damages for breach of promise to marry. 

ISSUE:

                Whether or not breach of promise to marry is an actionable wrong. 

HELD:

                Mere breach of promise to marry is not an actionable wrong.  But to formally set a wedding and go through all the preparations and publicity, and to walk out of it when the matrimony is about to be solemnized, is quite different.  This is palpably and unjustifiably contrary to customs for which Francisco must be held answerable for damages in accordance with Art. 21 of the Civil Code. 

                Under Art. 2232 of the Civil Code, the conditions precedent is that the defendant acted in a wanton, fraudulent, reckless, oppressive or malevolent manner. 

                When a breach of promise to marry is actionable under Article 21, moral damages may be awarded under Art. 2219 (10) of the Civil Code.  Exemplary damages may also be awarded under Art. 2232 of the Code where it is proven that the defendant clearly acted in wanton, reckless and oppressive manner. 

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