Você está na página 1de 10

dfheyteyeyery for review on certiorari under Rule 45, assailing the Decision dated July 30, 2010 of the

Court of Appeals
(CA), dismissing the petition for certiorari filed by petitioner Atty. Marietta D. Zamoranos (Zamoranos), thus, affirming the
Order of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Lanao del Norte for Bigamy filed by petitioner Samson R. Pacasum, Sr.
On May 3, 1982, Zamoranos wed Jesus de Guzman, a Muslim convert, in Islamic rites. Prior thereto, Zamoranos was a
Roman Catholic who had converted to Islam on April 28, 1982. Subsequently, on July 30, 1982, the two wed again, this
time, in civil rites before Judge Perfecto Laguio (Laguio) of the RTC, Quezon City.
A little after a year, on December 18, 1983, Zamoranos and De Guzman obtained a divorce by talaq. The court held that
after evaluating the testimonies of the parties, it is fully convinced that both the complainant and the respondent have
been duly converted to the faith of Islam prior to their Muslim wedding and finding that there is no more possibility of
reconciliation by and between them, hereby issues this decree of divorce. Consequently, the marriage between Marietta
(Mariam) D. Zamoranos de Guzman and Jesus (Mohamad) de Guzman was dissolved by the Sharia Circuit District Court
in Isabela, Basilan.
Zamoranos married anew on December 20, 1989. As she had previously done in her first nuptial to De Guzman,
Zamoranos wed Samson Pacasum, Sr. (Pacasum), her subordinate at the Bureau of Customs where she worked, under
Islamic rites and in order to strengthen the ties of their marriage, Zamoranos and Pacasum renewed their marriage vows
in a civil ceremony.
Zamoranos and Pacasum were then de facto separated. Pacasum filed cases for the annulment of their marriage,
criminal case for bigamy and an administrative case for disbarment against Zamoranos. Pacasum contracted a second
marriage. The prosecutor found prima facie evidence to hold Zamoranos liable for Bigamy but the same was thereafter
dismissed upon a motion for reconsideration filed by Zamboranos.
Pacasum filed a Petition for Review before the Office of the Secretary of Justice assailing the dismissal of the complaint
for bigamy. The DOJ Secretary granted the petition and reversed the dismissal. Zamoranos immediately filed an
Omnibus Motion and Supplement to the Urgent Omnibus Motion: (1) for Reconsideration; (2) to Hold in Abeyance Filing of
the Instant Case; and (3) to Hold in Abeyance or Quash Warrant of Arrest before the Secretary of Justice. Unfortunately
for Zamoranos, her twin motions were denied by the Secretary of Justice in a resolution. Zamoranos second motion for
reconsideration, as with her previous motions, was likewise denied.
On the other civil litigation front on the Declaration of a Void Marriage, the lower court rendered a decision in favor of
Zamoranos, dismissing the petition of Pacasum for lack of jurisdiction. The court found that Zamoranos and De Guzman
are Muslims, and were such at the time of their marriage, whose marital relationship was governed by Presidential Decree
(P.D.) No. 1083, otherwise known as the Code of Muslim Personal Laws of the Philippines, which provides that the
Sharia Circuit Courts shall have exclusive original jurisdiction over the same. And any divorce proceeding undertaken
before the Shari[a] Court is valid, recognized, binding and sufficient divorce proceedings.
The court held that the affirmative defenses which are in the nature of motion to dismiss is hereby granted. The CA and
the SC affirmed the dismissal and the same became final and executory and was recorded in the Book of Entries of
Judgments.
The RTC of Iligan, upon motion of Pacasum, issued an Order reinstating criminal case for Bigamy against Zamoranos.
Zamoranos filed a Motion to Quash the Information, arguing that the RTC had no jurisdiction over her person and over the
offense charged. Zamoranos asseverated, in the main, that the decision of the RTC categorically declared her and
Pacasum as Muslims, resulting in the mootness and the inapplicability of the RPC provision on Bigamy to her marriage to
Pacasum and prayed for the dismissal of the case.
The motion to quash and motion for reconsideration filed by Zamoranos was denied. She then filed a petition for certiorari
for the nullification and reversal of the order of the RTC. The CA dismissed Zamoranos petition. The CA dwelt on the
propriety of a petition for certiorari to assail the denial of a Motion to Quash the Information. She now comes to the SC in
a petition for certiorari alleging grave abuse of discretion.
Issue:
Whether or not an appeal is a legally permissible remedy in an order denying a motion to quash.
Held:
No. The Court granted the petition for certiorari and granted the motion to quash filed by Zamoranos. The denial of a
motion to quash, as in the case at bar, is not appealable. It is an interlocutory order which cannot be the subject of an
appeal.
Moreover, it is settled that a special civil action for certiorari and prohibition is not the proper remedy to assail the denial of
a motion to quash an information. The established rule is that, when such an adverse interlocutory order is rendered, the
remedy is not to resort forthwith to certiorari or prohibition, but to continue with the case in due course and, when an
unfavorable verdict is handed down, to take an appeal in the manner authorized by law.
However, on a number of occasions, we have recognized that in certain situations, certiorari is considered an appropriate
remedy to assail an interlocutory order, specifically the denial of a motion to quash. We have recognized the propriety of
the following exceptions: (a) when the court issued the order without or in excess of jurisdiction or with grave abuse of
discretion; (b) when the interlocutory order is patently erroneous and the remedy of appeal would not afford adequate and
expeditious relief; (c) in the interest of a "more enlightened and substantial justice"; (d) to promote public welfare and
public policy;

and (e) when the cases "have attracted nationwide attention, making it essential to proceed with dispatch in
the consideration thereof." The first four of the foregoing exceptions occur in this instance.
Contrary to the asseverations of the CA, the RTC, Branch 6, Iligan City, committed an error of jurisdiction, not simply an
error of judgment, in denying Zamoranos motion to quash.
As a rule, certiorari lies when: (1) a tribunal, board, or officer exercises judicial or quasi-judicial functions; (2) the tribunal,
board, or officer has acted without or in excess of its or his jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack
or excess of jurisdiction; and (3) there is no appeal, or any plain, speedy, and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of
law.
The writ of certiorari serves to keep an inferior court within the bounds of its jurisdiction or to prevent it from committing
such a grave abuse of discretion amounting to excess or lack of jurisdiction, or to relieve parties from arbitrary acts of
courtsacts which courts have no power or authority in law to perform.
True, the Sharia Circuit Court is not vested with jurisdiction over offenses penalized under the RPC. Certainly, the RTC,
Branch 6, Iligan City, is correct when it declared that:
The Regional Trial Courts are vested the exclusive and original jurisdiction in all criminal cases not within the exclusive
original jurisdiction of any court, tribunal, or body. [Sec. 20 (b), BP Blg. 129] The Code of Muslim Personal Laws (PD
1083) created the Sharia District Courts and Sharia Circuit Courts with limited jurisdiction. Neither court was vested
jurisdiction over criminal prosecution of violations of the Revised Penal Code. There is nothing in PD 1083 that divested
the Regional Trial Courts of its jurisdiction to try and decide cases of bigamy. Hence, this Court has jurisdiction over this
case.
Nonetheless, it must be pointed out that even in criminal cases, the trial court must have jurisdiction over the subject
matter of the offense. In this case, the charge of Bigamy hinges on Pacasums claim that Zamoranos is not a Muslim, and
her marriage to De Guzman was governed by civil law. This is obviously far from the truth, and the fact of Zamoranos
Muslim status should have been apparent to both lower courts, the RTC, Branch 6, Iligan City, and the CA.
The subject matter of the offense of Bigamy dwells on the accused contracting a second marriage while a prior valid one
still subsists and has yet to be dissolved. At the very least, the RTC, Branch 6, Iligan City, should have suspended the
proceedings until Pacasum had litigated the validity of Zamoranos and De Guzmans marriage before the Sharia Circuit
Court and had successfully shown that it had not been dissolved despite the divorce by talaq entered into by Zamoranos
and De Guzman.
Zamoranos was correct in filing the petition for certiorari before the CA when her liberty was already in jeopardy with the
continuation of the criminal proceedings against her.
In a pluralist society such as that which exists in the Philippines, P.D. No. 1083, or the Code of Muslim Personal Laws,
was enacted to "promote the advancement and effective participation of the National Cultural Communities x x x, [and] the
State shall consider their customs, traditions, beliefs and interests in the formulation and implementation of its policies."
Trying Zamoranos for Bigamy simply because the regular criminal courts have jurisdiction over the offense defeats the
purpose for the enactment of the Code of Muslim Personal Laws and the equal recognition bestowed by the State on
Muslim Filipinos.
If both parties are Muslims, there is a presumption that the Muslim Code or Muslim law is complied with. If together with it
or in addition to it, the marriage is likewise solemnized in accordance with the Civil Code of the Philippines, in a so-called
combined Muslim-Civil marriage rites whichever comes first is the validating rite and the second rite is merely ceremonial
one. But, in this case, as long as both parties are Muslims, this Muslim Code will apply. In effect, two situations will arise,
in the application of this Muslim Code or Muslim law, that is, when both parties are Muslims and when the male party is a
Muslim and the marriage is solemnized in accordance with Muslim Code or Muslim law. A third situation occur[s] when the
Civil Code of the Philippines will govern the marriage and divorce of the parties, if the male party is a Muslim and the
marriage is solemnized in accordance with the Civil Code.
One of the effects of irrevocable talaq, as well as other kinds of divorce, refers to severance of matrimonial bond, entitling
one to remarry.

It stands to reason therefore that Zamoranos divorce from De Guzman, as confirmed by an Ustadz and
Judge Jainul of the Sharia Circuit Court, and attested to by Judge Usman, was valid, and, thus, entitled her to remarry
Pacasum in 1989. Consequently, the RTC, Branch 6, Iligan City, is without jurisdiction to try Zamoranos for the crime of
Bigamy.
DUMEZ COMPANY and TRANS-ORIENT ENGINEERS, INC., petitioners,
vs. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION and VERONICO
EBILANE,respondents.
D E C I S I O N
HERMOSISIMA, JR., J .:
Before us is a petition for certiorari assailing the Decision
[1]
of the National Labor
Relations Commission (hereafter, NLRC)
[2]
in an illegal dismissal case
[3]
involving an
overseas contract worker who contracted a debilitating illness while rendering services
under a subsisting job contract in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The assailed Decision affirmed
the award
[4]
by the Workers' Assistance and Adjudication Office of the Philippine Overseas
Employment Administration (hereafter POEA) in favor of private respondent in the amount
of U.S.$1,110.00 or its peso equivalent as and for his medical compensation benefits.
The facts of the case are not in dispute:
On May 21, 1982, petitioner Dumez Company, a French company, through petitioner
Trans-Orient Engineers, Inc., a corporation organized and existing under the laws of the
Philippines, engaged the services of private respondent Veronico Ebilane as carpenter for
one of its projects in the Middle East, with Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, as his place of actual
employment. The parties executed and signed a one-year overseas employment
agreement embodying the terms and conditions of private respondent's employment.
Private respondent commenced performance of said contract on July 3, 1982. On
August 31, 1982, while at the job site, private respondent was suddenly seized by
abdominal pain and rushed to the Riyadh Central Hospital were appendectomy was
performed on him. During his confinement, he developed right-sided weakness and
numbness and difficulty of speaking which was found to have been caused by Atrial
Fibrillation and CVA embolism.
In a letter dated September 22, 1982, petitioners formally terminated private
respondent's employment effective September 29, 1982, up to which time petitioners paid
private respondent his salaries under his employment contract. Thereafter, on October
13, 1982, private respondent was repatriated to Manila.
On November 23, 1982, private respondent filed a complaint for illegal dismissal
against petitioners. Such complaint was filed with the Workers' Assistance and
Adjudication Office of the POEA.
Private respondent asseverates that he bad been terminated pursuant to the provision
of Section 1 (d) of the employment agreement which refers to termination of an employee
who is unqualified. He maintains that such ground for termination did not exist in his case
and, thus, his dismissal was without cause.
[5]

On January 24, 1984, the POEA Administrator rendered the assailed Decision
ordering petitioners to pay private respondent medical compensation benefits in the
amount of U.S.$1,110.00 or its peso equivalent. Notwithstanding an explicit finding made
in the assailed Decision that "there can be no dispute that complainant could be
terminated for medical reasons," still petitioners were found to have failed to perform its
obligation to give private respondent his "daily allowance for each day of work disability,
including holidays."
[6]

Believing that the POEA Administrator erred in finding them liable for private
respondent's medical compensation benefits, petitioners appealed to the NLRC. In a
Resolution
[7]
promulgated on March 25, 1986, the NLRC affirmed in toto the assailed
Decision and dismissed the appeal for lack of merit.
Petitioners thus came to this Court on a petition for certiorari
[8]
seeking the voiding of
the Resolution of the NLRC. In the meantime, petitioners prayed that a temporary
restraining order be issued to enjoin the POEA from enforcing the assailed Resolution.
As prayed for, we issued a temporary restraining order enjoining the POEA and the
NLRC from enforcing the assailed Resolution.
[9]

On November 17, 1986, the Solicitor General filed a Comment "as his own,
considering that he is unable to agree with the position adopted by public respondent
National Labor Relations Commission."
[10]
The Solicitor General does not dispute private
complainant's entitlement, under Saudi Arabia law, to medical benefits corresponding to
the period of his physical incapacity. It is his position, however, that while payment of said
medical benefits is explicitly mandated by the Social Insurance Law of Saudi Arabia,
x x x the same law x x x is equally explicit that the liability decreed therein devolves at the
General Organization's expense, and not on the employer of the private respondent.
[11]

Significantly, neither the private nor the public respondent has filed any pleading to
refute the aforementioned postulate of the Solicitor General.
Understandably, the sole error attributed to the NLRC and the POEA is that there is no
legal basis to require petitioners to pay private respondent medical compensation benefits
equal to 75% of his salaries for four (4) months.
Petitioners are correct.
The POEA Administrator, in finding petitioners liable to private respondent for medical
benefits accruing to the latter under the Social Insurance Law of Saudi Arabia, took
judicial notice of the said law. To this extent, the POEA Administrator's actuations are
legally defensible. We have earlier ruled in Norse Management Co. (PTE) vs. National
Seamen Board
[12]
that evidence is usually a matter of procedure of which a mere quasi-
judicial body is not strict about. Although in a long line of cases, we have ruled that a
foreign law, being a matter of evidence must be alleged and proved, in order to be
recognized and applied in a particular controversy involving conflicts of laws,
jurisprudence on this matter was not meant to apply to cases before administrative or
quasi-judicial bodies in the light of the well-settled rule that administrative and quasi-
judicial bodies are not bound strictly by technical rules.
[13]
Nonetheless, only to this extent
were the acts of the POEA Administrator amply supported by the law. Her actual
application thereof, however, is starkly erroneous.
Section 6(a) of the Overseas Employment Agreement entered into and signed by the
private parties herein, provides that "Workmen's Compensation insurance benefits will be
provided within the limits of the compensation law of the host country."
[14]
That
compensation for disability was to be provided in accordance with the law of the host
country, Saudi Arabia, is a necessary consequence of the compulsory coverage under the
General Organization for Social Insurance Law of Saudi Arabia (hereafter, GOSI Law of
Saudi Arabia), upon all workers, regardless of nationality, sex or age, who render their
services within the territory of Saudi Arabia by virtue of a labor contract.
Article 49 of the GOSI Law of Saudi Arabia provides that the General Organization
shall pay to the beneficiaries the insurance compensation, the employer being under no
obligation to pay any allowance to the insured or to his heirs unless the injury has been
intentionally caused by the employer or the injury has occurred by reason of the latter's
gross error or failure to abide by the GOSI Law or the rules relating to occupational health
and safety.
[15]

Under the GOSI Law of Saudi Arabia as pleaded by petitioners clearly the obligation to
pay medical benefits as compensation for work-related injury or illness, devolves upon the
General Organization and not upon petitioners. Furthermore, after taking judicial notice of
the GOSI Law of Saudi Arabia, the POEA Administrator considered the said law as one of
a similar nature as that of our own compensation laws. Thus, in awarding the medical
benefits to private respondent, she rationalized the same by quoting Article 166 of the
Labor Code of the Philippines which provides that "the State shall promote and develop a
tax-exempt employees' compensation program whereby employees x x x in the event of
work-connected disability or death, may promptly secure adequate income benefit and
medical or related benefits." Indeed, we may postulate further that the policies underlying
our compensation laws and the GOSI Law of Saudi Arabia being similar, the nature
thereof could not be so dissimilar. Suffice it to say that our own compensation program
imposes on the employer nothing more than the obligation to remit monthly premiums to
the State Insurance Fund and it is the latter, not the employer, on which is laid the burden
of compensating the employee for any disability; in fact, once the employer pays his share
to the fund, all obligation on his part to his employees is ended.
[16]
No showing at all has
there been that petitioners had failed to comply with its obligations as employer under the
GOSI Law of Saudi Arabia.
WHEREFORE, the petition for certiorari is GRANTED. The decisions of the POEA
Administrator and of the NLRC are hereby ANNULLED and SET ASIDE. No
pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED.



In 1993, EDI-Staffbuilders, Inc. (EDI), upon request of Omar Ahmed Ali Bin Bechr Est. (OAB), a company in Saudi
Arabia, sent to OAB resumes from which OAB can choose a computer specialist. Eleazar Gran was selected. It was
agreed that his monthly salary shall be $850.00. But five months into his service in Saudi Arabia, Gran received a
termination letter and right there and then was removed from his post. The termination letter states that he was
incompetent because he does not know the ACAD system which is required in his line of work; that he failed to
enrich his knowledge during his 5 month stay to prove his competence; that he is disobedient because he failed to
submit the required daily reports to OAB. Gran then signed a quitclaim whereby he declared that he is releasing
OAB from any liability in exchange of 2,948.00 Riyal.
When Gran returned, he filed a labor case for illegal dismissal against EDI and OAB. EDI in its defense averred that
the dismissal is valid because when Gran and OAB signed the employment contract, both parties agreed that Saudi
labor laws shall govern all matters relating to the termination of Grans employment; that under Saudi labor laws,
Grans termination due to incompetence and insubordination is valid; that Grans insubordination and incompetence
is outlined in the termination letter Gran received. The labor arbiter dismissed the labor case but on appeal, the
National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) reversed the decision of the arbiter. The Court of Appeals likewise
affirmed the NLRC.
ISSUE: Whether or not the Saudi labor laws should be applied.
HELD: No. The specific Saudi labor laws were not proven in court. EDI did not present proof as to the existence and
the specific provisions of such foreign law. Hence, processual presumption applies and Philippine labor laws shall
be used. Under our laws, an employee like Gran shall only be terminated upon just cause. The allegations against
him, at worst, shall only merit a suspension not a dismissal. His incompetence is not proven because prior to being
sent to Saudi Arabia, he underwent the required trade test to prove his competence. The presumption therefore is
that he is competent and that it is upon OAB and EDI to prove otherwise. No proof of his incompetence was ever
adduced in court. His alleged insubordination is likewise not proven. It was not proven that the submission of daily
track records is part of his job as a computer specialist. There was also a lack of due process. Under our laws, Gran
is entitled to the two notice rule whereby prior to termination he should receive two notices. In the case at bar, he
only received one and he was immediately terminated on the same day he received the notice.
Lastly, the quitclaim may not also release OAB from liability. Philippine laws is again applied here sans proof of
Saudi laws. Under Philippine Laws, a quitclaim is generally frowned upon and are strictly examined. In this case,
based on the circumstances, Gran at that time has no option but to sign the quitclaim. The quitclaim is also void
because his separation pay was merely 2,948 Riyal which is lower than the $850.00 monthly salary (3,190 Riyal).


G.R. No. 168785 February 5, 2010
HERALD BLACK DACASIN, Petitioner,
vs.
SHARON DEL MUNDO DACASIN, Respondent.
D E C I S I O N
CARPIO, J .:
The Case
For review
1
is a dismissal
2
of a suit to enforce a post-foreign divorce child custody agreement for lack of jurisdiction.
The Facts
Petitioner Herald Dacasin (petitioner), American, and respondent Sharon Del Mundo Dacasin (respondent), Filipino, were
married in Manila in April 1994. They have one daughter, Stephanie, born on 21 September 1995. In June 1999,
respondent sought and obtained from the Circuit Court, 19th Judicial Circuit, Lake County, Illinois (Illinois court) a divorce
decree against petitioner.
3
In its ruling, the Illinois court dissolved the marriage of petitioner and respondent, awarded to
respondent sole custody of Stephanie and retained jurisdiction over the case for enforcement purposes.
On 28 January 2002, petitioner and respondent executed in Manila a contract (Agreement
4
) for the joint custody of
Stephanie. The parties chose Philippine courts as exclusive forum to adjudicate disputes arising from the Agreement.
Respondent undertook to obtain from the Illinois court an order "relinquishing" jurisdiction to Philippine courts.
In 2004, petitioner sued respondent in the Regional Trial Court of Makati City, Branch 60 (trial court) to enforce the
Agreement. Petitioner alleged that in violation of the Agreement, respondent exercised sole custody over Stephanie.
Respondent sought the dismissal of the complaint for, among others, lack of jurisdiction because of the Illinois courts
retention of jurisdiction to enforce the divorce decree.
The Ruling of the Trial Court
In its Order dated 1 March 2005, the trial court sustained respondents motion and dismissed the case for lack of
jurisdiction. The trial court held that: (1) it is precluded from taking cognizance over the suit considering the Illinois courts
retention of jurisdiction to enforce its divorce decree, including its order awarding sole custody of Stephanie to respondent;
(2) the divorce decree is binding on petitioner following the "nationality rule" prevailing in this jurisdiction;
5
and (3) the
Agreement is void for contravening Article 2035, paragraph 5 of the Civil Code
6
prohibiting compromise agreements on
jurisdiction.
7

Petitioner sought reconsideration, raising the new argument that the divorce decree obtained by respondent is void. Thus,
the divorce decree is no bar to the trial courts exercise of jurisdiction over the case.
In its Order dated 23 June 2005, the trial court denied reconsideration, holding that unlike in the case of respondent, the
divorce decree is binding on petitioner under the laws of his nationality.
Hence, this petition.
Petitioner submits the following alternative theories for the validity of the Agreement to justify its enforcement by the trial
court: (1) the Agreement novated the valid divorce decree, modifying the terms of child custody from sole (maternal) to
joint;
8
or (2) the Agreement is independent of the divorce decree obtained by respondent.
The Issue
The question is whether the trial court has jurisdiction to take cognizance of petitioners suit and enforce the Agreement
on the joint custody of the parties child.
The Ruling of the Court
The trial court has jurisdiction to entertain petitioners suit but not to enforce the Agreement which is void. However,
factual and equity considerations militate against the dismissal of petitioners suit and call for the remand of the case to
settle the question of Stephanies custody.
Regional Trial Courts Vested With Jurisdiction
to Enforce Contracts
Subject matter jurisdiction is conferred by law. At the time petitioner filed his suit in the trial court, statutory law vests on
Regional Trial Courts exclusive original jurisdiction over civil actions incapable of pecuniary estimation.
9
An action for
specific performance, such as petitioners suit to enforce the Agreement on joint child custody, belongs to this species of
actions.
10
Thus, jurisdiction-wise, petitioner went to the right court.
Indeed, the trial courts refusal to entertain petitioners suit was grounded not on its lack of power to do so but on its
thinking that the Illinois courts divorce decree stripped it of jurisdiction. This conclusion is unfounded. What the Illinois
court retained was "jurisdiction x x x for the purpose of enforcing all and sundry the various provisions of [its] Judgment for
Dissolution."
11
Petitioners suit seeks the enforcement not of the "various provisions" of the divorce decree but of the post-
divorce Agreement on joint child custody. Thus, the action lies beyond the zone of the Illinois courts so-called "retained
jurisdiction."
Petitioners Suit Lacks Cause of Action
The foregoing notwithstanding, the trial court cannot enforce the Agreement which is contrary to law.
In this jurisdiction, parties to a contract are free to stipulate the terms of agreement subject to the minimum ban on
stipulations contrary to law, morals, good customs, public order, or public policy.
12
Otherwise, the contract is denied legal
existence, deemed "inexistent and void from the beginning."
13
For lack of relevant stipulation in the Agreement, these and
other ancillary Philippine substantive law serve as default parameters to test the validity of the Agreements joint child
custody stipulations.
14

At the time the parties executed the Agreement on 28 January 2002, two facts are undisputed: (1) Stephanie was under
seven years old (having been born on 21 September 1995); and (2) petitioner and respondent were no longer married
under the laws of the United States because of the divorce decree. The relevant Philippine law on child custody for
spouses separated in fact or in law
15
(under the second paragraph of Article 213 of the Family Code) is also undisputed:
"no child under seven years of age shall be separated from the mother x x x."
16
(This statutory awarding of sole parental
custody
17
to the mother is mandatory,
18
grounded on sound policy consideration,
19
subject only to a narrow exception not
alleged to obtain here.
20
) Clearly then, the Agreements object to establish a post-divorce joint custody regime between
respondent and petitioner over their child under seven years old contravenes Philippine law.
The Agreement is not only void ab initio for being contrary to law, it has also been repudiated by the mother when she
refused to allow joint custody by the father. The Agreement would be valid if the spouses have not divorced or separated
because the law provides for joint parental authority when spouses live together.
21
However, upon separation of the
spouses, the mother takes sole custody under the law if the child is below seven years old and any agreement to the
contrary is void. Thus, the law suspends the joint custody regime for (1) children under seven of (2) separated or divorced
spouses. Simply put, for a child within this age bracket (and for commonsensical reasons), the law decides for the
separated or divorced parents how best to take care of the child and that is to give custody to the separated mother.
Indeed, the separated parents cannot contract away the provision in the Family Code on the maternal custody of children
below seven years anymore than they can privately agree that a mother who is unemployed, immoral, habitually drunk,
drug addict, insane or afflicted with a communicable disease will have sole custody of a child under seven as these are
reasons deemed compelling to preclude the application of the exclusive maternal custody regime under the second
paragraph of Article 213.
22

It will not do to argue that the second paragraph of Article 213 of the Family Code applies only to judicial custodial
agreements based on its text that "No child under seven years of age shall be separated from the mother, unless the court
finds compelling reasons to order otherwise." To limit this provisions enforceability to court sanctioned agreements while
placing private agreements beyond its reach is to sanction a double standard in custody regulation of children under
seven years old of separated parents. This effectively empowers separated parents, by the simple expedient of avoiding
the courts, to subvert a legislative policy vesting to the separated mother sole custody of her children under seven years
of age "to avoid a tragedy where a mother has seen her baby torn away from her."
23
This ignores the legislative basis that
"[n]o man can sound the deep sorrows of a mother who is deprived of her child of tender age."
24

It could very well be that Article 213s bias favoring one separated parent (mother) over the other (father) encourages
paternal neglect, presumes incapacity for joint parental custody, robs the parents of custodial options, or hijacks decision-
making between the separated parents.
25
However, these are objections which question the laws wisdom not its validity or
uniform enforceability. The forum to air and remedy these grievances is the legislature, not this Court. At any rate, the
rules seeming harshness or undesirability is tempered by ancillary agreements the separated parents may wish to enter
such as granting the father visitation and other privileges. These arrangements are not inconsistent with the regime of
sole maternal custody under the second paragraph of Article 213 which merely grants to the mother final authority on the
care and custody of the minor under seven years of age, in case of disagreements.1avvphi1
Further, the imposed custodial regime under the second paragraph of Article 213 is limited in duration, lasting only until
the childs seventh year. From the eighth year until the childs emancipation, the law gives the separated parents freedom,
subject to the usual contractual limitations, to agree on custody regimes they see fit to adopt. Lastly, even supposing that
petitioner and respondent are not barred from entering into the Agreement for the joint custody of Stephanie, respondent
repudiated the Agreement by asserting sole custody over Stephanie. Respondents act effectively brought the parties
back to ambit of the default custodial regime in the second paragraph of Article 213 of the Family Code vesting on
respondent sole custody of Stephanie.
Nor can petitioner rely on the divorce decrees alleged invalidity - not because the Illinois court lacked jurisdiction or that
the divorce decree violated Illinois law, but because the divorce was obtained by his Filipino spouse
26
- to support the
Agreements enforceability. The argument that foreigners in this jurisdiction are not bound by foreign divorce decrees is
hardly novel. Van Dorn v. Romillo
27
settled the matter by holding that an alien spouse of a Filipino is bound by a divorce
decree obtained abroad.
28
There, we dismissed the alien divorcees Philippine suit for accounting of alleged post-divorce
conjugal property and rejected his submission that the foreign divorce (obtained by the Filipino spouse) is not valid in this
jurisdiction in this wise:
There can be no question as to the validity of that Nevada divorce in any of the States of the United States. The decree is
binding on private respondent as an American citizen. For instance, private respondent cannot sue petitioner, as her
husband, in any State of the Union. What he is contending in this case is that the divorce is not valid and binding in this
jurisdiction, the same being contrary to local law and public policy.
It is true that owing to the nationality principle embodied in Article 15 of the Civil Code, only Philippine nationals are
covered by the policy against absolute divorces the same being considered contrary to our concept of public policy and
morality. However, aliens may obtain divorces abroad, which may be recognized in the Philippines, provided they are
valid according to their national law. In this case, the divorce in Nevada released private respondent from the marriage
from the standards of American law, under which divorce dissolves the marriage.
x x x x
Thus, pursuant to his national law, private respondent is no longer the husband of petitioner. He would have no standing
to sue in the case below as petitioners husband entitled to exercise control over conjugal assets. As he is bound by the
Decision of his own countrys Court, which validly exercised jurisdiction over him, and whose decision he does not
repudiate, he is estopped by his own representation before said Court from asserting his right over the alleged conjugal
property. (Emphasis supplied)
We reiterated Van Dorn in Pilapil v. Ibay-Somera
29
to dismiss criminal complaints for adultery filed by the alien divorcee
(who obtained the foreign divorce decree) against his former Filipino spouse because he no longer qualified as "offended
spouse" entitled to file the complaints under Philippine procedural rules. Thus, it should be clear by now that a foreign
divorce decree carries as much validity against the alien divorcee in this jurisdiction as it does in the jurisdiction of the
aliens nationality, irrespective of who obtained the divorce.
The Facts of the Case and Nature of Proceeding
Justify Remand
Instead of ordering the dismissal of petitioners suit, the logical end to its lack of cause of action, we remand the case for
the trial court to settle the question of Stephanies custody. Stephanie is now nearly 15 years old, thus removing the case
outside of the ambit of the mandatory maternal custody regime under Article 213 and bringing it within coverage of the
default standard on child custody proceedings the best interest of the child.
30
As the question of custody is already
before the trial court and the childs parents, by executing the Agreement, initially showed inclination to share custody, it is
in the interest of swift and efficient rendition of justice to allow the parties to take advantage of the courts jurisdiction,
submit evidence on the custodial arrangement best serving Stephanies interest, and let the trial court render judgment.
This disposition is consistent with the settled doctrine that in child custody proceedings, equity may be invoked to serve
the childs best interest.
31

WHEREFORE, we REVERSE the Orders dated 1 March 2005 and 23 June 2005 of the Regional Trial Court of Makati
City, Branch 60. The case is REMANDED for further proceedings consistent with this ruling.
SO ORDERED.





CRESCENT PETROLEUM, LTD., Petitioner, vs.
M/V "LOK MAHESHWARI," THE SHIPPING
CORPORATION OF INDIA, and PORTSERV
LIMITED
G.R. No. 155014 November 11, 2005
FACTS:
Respondent M/V "Lok Maheshwari" (Vessel) is an oceangoing vessel of Indian registry
that is owned by respondent Shipping Corporation of India (SCI), a corporation organized and
existing under the laws of India and principally owned by the Government of India. It was time-
chartered by respondent SCI to Halla Merchant Marine Co. Ltd. (Halla), a South Korean
company. Halla, in turn, sub-chartered the Vessel through a time charter to Transmar
Shipping, Inc. (Transmar). Transmar further sub-chartered the Vessel to Portserv Limited
(Portserv). Both Transmar and Portserv are corporations organized and existing under the
laws of Canada.
On or about November 1, 1995, Portserv requested petitioner Crescent Petroleum, Ltd.
(Crescent), a corporation organized and existing under the laws of Canada that is engaged in
the business of selling petroleum and oil products for the use and operation of oceangoing
vessels, to deliver marine fuel oils (bunker fuels) to the Vessel. Petitioner Crescent granted
and confirmed the request through an advice via facsimile dated November 2, 1995. As
security for the payment of the bunker fuels and related services, petitioner Crescent received
two (2) checks in the amounts of US$100,000.00 and US$200,000.00. Thus, petitioner Crescent
contracted with its supplier, Marine Petrobulk Limited (Marine Petrobulk), another Canadian
corporation, for the physical delivery of the bunker fuels to the Vessel.
On or about November 4, 1995, Marine Petrobulk delivered the bunker fuels amounting
to US$103,544 inclusive of barging and demurrage charges to the Vessel at the port of Pioneer
Grain, Vancouver, Canada. The Chief Engineer Officer of the Vessel duly acknowledged and
received the delivery receipt. Marine Petrobulk issued an invoice to petitioner Crescent for the
US$101,400.00 worth of the bunker fuels. Petitioner Crescent issued a check for the same
amount in favor of Marine Petrobulk, which check was duly encashed.
Having paid Marine Petrobulk, petitioner Crescent issued a revised invoice dated
November 21, 1995 to "Portserv Limited, and/or the Master, and/or Owners, and/or Operators,
and/or Charterers of M/V Lok Maheshwari" in the amount of US$103,544.00 with instruction to
remit the amount on or before December 1, 1995. The period lapsed and several demands
were made but no payment was received. Also, the checks issued to petitioner Crescent as
security for the payment of the bunker fuels were dishonored for insufficiency of funds. As a
consequence, petitioner Crescent incurred additional expenses of US$8,572.61 for interest,
tracking fees, and legal fees.
On May 2, 1996, while the Vessel was docked at the port of Cebu City, petitioner
Crescent instituted before the RTC of Cebu City an action "for a sum of money with prayer for
temporary restraining order and writ of preliminary attachment" against respondents Vessel
and SCI, Portserv and/or Transmar.
On May 3, 1996, the trial court issued a writ of attachment against the Vessel with bond
at P2,710,000.00. Petitioner Crescent withdrew its prayer for a temporary restraining order and
posted the required bond.
On May 18, 1996, summonses were served to respondents Vessel and SCI, and Portserv
and/or Transmar through the Master of the Vessel. On May 28, 1996, respondents Vessel and
SCI, through Pioneer Insurance and Surety Corporation (Pioneer), filed an urgent ex-parte
motion to approve Pioneers letter of undertaking, to consider it as counter-bond and to
discharge the attachment. On May 29, 1996, the trial court granted the motion; thus, the letter
of undertaking was approved as counter-bond to discharge the attachment.
ISSUE:
Whether the Philippine court has or will exercise jurisdiction and entitled to maritime lien
under our laws on foreign vessel docked on Philippine port and supplies furnished to a vessel
in a foreign port?
RULING:
In a suit to establish and enforce a maritime lien for supplies furnished to a vessel in a
foreign port, whether such lien exists, or whether the court has or will exercise jurisdiction,
depends on the law of the country where the supplies were furnished, which must be pleaded
and proved.
The Lauritzen-Romero-Rhoditis trilogy of cases, which replaced such single-factor
methodologies as the law of the place of supply. The multiple-contact test to determine, in the
absence of a specific Congressional directive as to the statutes reach, which jurisdictions
law should be applied. The following factors were considered: (1) place of the wrongful act; (2)
law of the flag; (3) allegiance or domicile of the injured; (4) allegiance of the defendant
shipowner; (5) place of contract; (6) inaccessibility of foreign forum; and (7) law of the forum.
This is applicable not only to personal injury claims arising under the Jones Act but to all
matters arising under maritime law in general
The Court cannot sustain petitioner Crescents insistence on the application of P.D. No.
1521 or the Ship Mortgage Decree of 1978 and hold that a maritime lien exists. Out of the
seven basic factors listed in the case of Lauritzen, Philippine law only falls under one the
law of the forum. All other elements are foreign Canada is the place of the wrongful act, of
the allegiance or domicile of the injured and the place of contract; India is the law of the flag
and the allegiance of the defendant shipowner. Applying P.D. No. 1521,a maritime lien exists
would not promote the public policy behind the enactment of the law to develop the domestic
shipping industry. Opening up our courts to foreign suppliers by granting them a maritime
lien under our laws even if they are not entitled to a maritime lien under their laws will
encourage forum shopping. In light of the interests of the various foreign elements involved, it
is clear that Canada has the most significant interest in this dispute. The injured party is a
Canadian corporation, the sub-charterer which placed the orders for the supplies is also
Canadian, the entity which physically delivered the bunker fuels is in Canada, the place of
contracting and negotiation is in Canada, and the supplies were delivered in Canada.
538 SCRA 261 Conflict of Laws Private International Law Jurisdiction Lex Loci Celebrationis Lex Loci
Solutionis State of the Most Significant Relationship Forum Non Conveniens
In March 1999, Nippon Engineering Consultants Co., Ltd, a Japanese firm, was contracted by the Department of
Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to supervise the construction of the Southern Tagalog Access Road. In April
1999, Nippon entered into an independent contractor agreement (ICA) with Minoru Kitamura for the latter to head
the said project. The ICA was entered into in Japan and is effective for a period of 1 year (so until April 2000). In
January 2000, DPWH awarded the Bongabon-Baler Road project to Nippon. Nippon subsequently assigned
Kitamura to head the road project. But in February 2000, Kazuhiro Hasegawa, the general manager of Nippon
informed Kitamura that they are pre-terminating his contract. Kitamura sought Nippon to reconsider but Nippon
refused to negotiate. Kitamura then filed a complaint for specific performance and damages against Nippon in the
RTC of Lipa.
Hasegawa filed a motion to dismiss on the ground that the contract was entered in Japan hence, applying the
principle of lex loci celebracionis, cases arising from the contract should be cognizable only by Japanese courts.
The trial court denied the motion. Eventually, Nippon filed a petition for certiorari with the Supreme Court.
Hasegawa, on appeal significantly changed its theory, this time invoking forum non conveniens; that the RTC is an
inconvenient forum because the parties are Japanese nationals who entered into a contract in Japan. Kitamura on
the other hand invokes the trial courts ruling which states that matters connected with the performance of contracts
are regulated by the law prevailing at the place of performance, so since the obligations in the ICA are executed in
the Philippines, courts here have jurisdiction.
ISSUE: Whether or not the complaint against Nippon should be dismissed.
HELD: No. The trial court did the proper thing in taking cognizance of it.
In the first place, the case filed by Kitamura is a complaint for specific performance and damages. Such case is
incapable of pecuniary estimation; such cases are within the jurisdiction of the regional trial court.
Hasegawa filed his motion to dismiss on the ground of forum non conveniens. However, such ground is not one of
those provided for by the Rules as a ground for dismissing a civil case.
The Supreme Court also emphasized that the contention that Japanese laws should apply is premature. In conflicts
cases, there are three phases and each next phase commences when one is settled, to wit:
1. Jurisdiction Where should litigation be initiated? Court must have jurisdiction over the subject matter, the parties, the
issues, the property, the res. Also considers, whether it is fair to cause a defendant to travel to this state; choice of law
asks the further question whether the application of a substantive law which will determine the merits of the case is fair to
both parties.
2. Choice of Law Which law will the court apply? Once a local court takes cognizance, it does not mean that the local
laws must automatically apply. The court must determine which substantive law when applied to the merits will be fair to
both parties.
3. Recognition and Enforcement of Judgment Where can the resulting judgment be enforced?
This case is not yet in the second phase because upon the RTCs taking cognizance of the case, Hasegawa
immediately filed a motion to dismiss, which was denied. He filed a motion for reconsideration, which was also
denied. Then he bypassed the proper procedure by immediately filing a petition for certiorari. The question of which
law should be applied should have been settled in the trial court had Hasegawa not improperly appealed the
interlocutory order denying his MFR.