Runaway Bride or Groom

Runaway Bride Groom
Photo courtesy of minq.com

LAW EACH WEEK

Is there such a crime as breach of promise to marry?

No. Breach of a promise to marry is not a crime under the Revised Penal Code nor is there a special law specifically punishing the same. However, one can file a complaint for damages against an ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend for calling off a wedding after all the preparations for the wedding have been made.

As a general rule, “a breach of promise to marry per se is not an actionable wrong” (Baksh v. Court of Appeals; G. R. No. 9733 6). Article 21 of the Civil Code of the Philippines, however, also provides that “any person who willfully 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.” Accordingly, acts, which are not contrary to law, cannot be perpetrated with impunity and may still give rise to a cause of action if it is in contravention of Article 21 of the law.

What if the promise to marry is the reason that two persons became lovers?

When a man’s promise to marry is the reason for the acceptance of his love by a woman and his representation to fulfill that promise thereafter becomes the proximate cause of the giving of herself unto him in a sexual congress and when in fact in reality he had no intention of marrying her then his acts could justify an award for damages.

In short, when the promise to marry was only a subtle scheme or deceptive device to entice or inveigle her to accept him and to obtain her consent to the sexual act, it could justify the award of damages pursuant to Article 21 not because of such promise to marry but because of the fraud and deceit behind it and the willful injury to her honor and reputation which followed thereafter. It is essential, however, that such injury should have been committed in a manner contrary to morals, good customs, or public policy.

What forms of damages can one get from filing a case under Article 21 for breach of a promise to marry?

The person to whom promise was made and who has spent for the wedding may be awarded actual, moral and exemplary damages under the purview of Article 2219 (10) and Article 2232 of the Civil Code.

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