Actionable? Promise to marry coaxes girl to have sex

In the light of Article 21 of the Civil Code of the Philippines, on February 19, 1993, the Supreme Court has promulgated the opinion that, where a man's promise to marry is in fact the proximate cause of 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, proof that he had, in reality, no intention of marrying her and that the promise 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, 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.

In that case of Baksh v. CA and Gonzales, the Court of Appeals found that it was Baksh's [the man/the promisor's] "fraudulent and deceptive protestations of love for and promise to marry plaintiff that made her surrender her virtue and womanhood to him and to live with him on the honest and sincere belief that he would keep said promise, and it was likewise these fraud and deception on appellant's part that made plaintiff's parents agree to their daughter's living-in with him preparatory to their supposed marriage." In short, Marilou [the woman/the promisee] surrendered her virginity, the cherished possession of every single Filipina, not because of lust but because of moral seduction — the kind illustrated by the Code Commission in its example earlier adverted to. Baksh could not be held liable for criminal seduction punished under either Article 337 or Article 338 of the Revised Penal Code because Marilou was above eighteen (18) years of age at the time of the seduction.

The Supreme Court was also unable to agree with Baksh's alternative proposition to the effect that granting, for argument's sake, that he did promise to marry Marilou, the latter is nevertheless also at fault. According to him, both parties are in pari delicto; hence, pursuant to Article 1412(1) of the Civil Code and the doctrine laid down in Batarra vs. Marcos, the private respondent cannot recover damages from the petitioner. The latter even goes as far as stating that if the private respondent had "sustained any injury or damage in their relationship, it is primarily because of her own doing, for:

. . . She is also interested in the petitioner as the latter will become a doctor sooner or later. Take notice that she is a plain high school graduate and a mere employee . . . (Annex "C") or a waitress (TSN, p. 51, January 25, 1988) in a luncheonette and without doubt, is in need of a man who can give her economic security. Her family is in dire need of financial assistance. (TSN, pp. 51-53, May 18, 1988). And this predicament prompted her to accept a proposition that may have been offered by the petitioner.

These statements reveal the true character and motive of the Baksh. It is clear that he harbors a condescending, if not sarcastic, regard for Marilou on account of the latter's ignoble birth, inferior educational background, poverty and, as perceived by him, dishonorable employment. Obviously then, from the very beginning, he was not at all moved by good faith and an honest motive. Marrying with a woman so circumstances could not have even remotely occurred to him. Thus, his profession of love and promise to marry were empty words directly intended to fool, dupe, entice, beguile and deceive the poor woman into believing that indeed, he loved her and would want her to be his life's partner. His was nothing but pure lust which he wanted satisfied by a Filipina who honestly believed that by accepting his proffer of love and proposal of marriage, she would be able to enjoy a life of ease and security. Petitioner clearly violated the Filipino's concept of morality and brazenly defied the traditional respect Filipinos have for their women. It can even be said that the petitioner committed such deplorable acts in blatant disregard of Article 19 of the Civil Code which directs every person to act with justice, give everyone his due and observe honesty and good faith in the exercise of his rights and in the performance of his obligations. (G.R. No. 97336. February 19, 1993)