Beatriz P. Wassmer v. Francisco X. Velez Case Digest – GR No. 20089, December 26, 1954

Wassmer v Velez Case Digest. GR No. 20089, December 26, 1954.

BENGZON, J.P., J.:


This is the true story of Francisco and Beatriz. Somehow, proving that promises are made to be broken.

Facts of the story.

Francisco Velez and Beatriz Wassmer decided to get married on September 4, 1954, as a result of their mutual promise of love. Beatriz prepared for the wedding including making and sending of invitations and other wedding necessities.

However, two days before the wedding, on September 2, 1954, Francisco left a note for his bride-to-be. That his mom opposed the said wedding and he’s not able to attend their wedding.

Dear Bea,

Will have to postpone the wedding — My mother opposes it. I’m leaving on Convair today. Please do not ask too many people about the reason why. That would only create a scandal.

-Paquing

In addition, a day before the wedding, Beatriz received another letter through a telegram.

Dear Bea,

Nothing changed. Rest assured (I’ll be) returning very soon. Apologize Mama, Papa.

-Paquing

Then, Velez did not appear and was not heard from again. 

Wassmer sued Velez for damages. On April 29, 1955, the Court rendered its judgment, ordering the defendant to pay the plaintiff for actual damages, moral damages, attorney’s fees and costs.

Issue

In the present case, whether or not a Breach of Promise to Marry is an actionable wrong.

Ruling

This is not a case of mere breach of promise to marry. As stated, mere breach of promise to marry is not an actionable wrong. 

But to formally set a wedding and go through all the preparation and publicity, only to walk out of it when the matrimony is about to be solemnized, is quite different. 

This is palpably and unjustifiably contrary to good customs for which the defendant must be held answerable in damages in accordance with Article 21 of the Philippine Civil Code which provides in part 

any person who wilfully causes loss or injury to another in a manner that is contrary to morals, good customs or public policy shall compensate the latter for the damage.

And under the law, any violation of Article 21 entitles the injured party to receive an award for moral damages as properly awarded by the lower court in this case. 

Further, the award of exemplary damages is also proper. Here, the circumstances of this case show that Velez, in breaching his promise to Wassmer, acted in wanton, reckless, and oppressive manner — this warrants the imposition of exemplary damages against him.


Wassmer v Velez Case Digest. GR No. 20089, December 26, 1954.

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