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G.R. No.

L-22595 November 1, 1927 Therefore, the approval of the scheme of partition in this respect was not erroneous.
Testate Estate of Joseph G. Brimo, JUAN MICIANO, administrator, petitioner-appellee, In regard to the first assignment of error which deals with the exclusion of the herein appellant
vs. as a legatee, inasmuch as he is one of the persons designated as such in will, it must be taken
ANDRE BRIMO, opponent-appellant. into consideration that such exclusion is based on the last part of the second clause of the will,
Ross, Lawrence and Selph for appellant. which says:
Camus and Delgado for appellee. Second. I like desire to state that although by law, I am a Turkish citizen, this citizenship having
been conferred upon me by conquest and not by free choice, nor by nationality and, on the
ROMUALDEZ, J.: other hand, having resided for a considerable length of time in the Philippine Islands where I
The partition of the estate left by the deceased Joseph G. Brimo is in question in this case. succeeded in acquiring all of the property that I now possess, it is my wish that the distribution
The judicial administrator of this estate filed a scheme of partition. Andre Brimo, one of the of my property and everything in connection with this, my will, be made and disposed of in
brothers of the deceased, opposed it. The court, however, approved it. accordance with the laws in force in the Philippine islands, requesting all of my relatives to
The errors which the oppositor-appellant assigns are: respect this wish, otherwise, I annul and cancel beforehand whatever disposition found in this
(1) The approval of said scheme of partition; (2) denial of his participation in the inheritance; (3) will favorable to the person or persons who fail to comply with this request.
the denial of the motion for reconsideration of the order approving the partition; (4) the approval The institution of legatees in this will is conditional, and the condition is that the instituted
of the purchase made by the Pietro Lana of the deceased's business and the deed of transfer legatees must respect the testator's will to distribute his property, not in accordance with the
of said business; and (5) the declaration that the Turkish laws are impertinent to this cause, and laws of his nationality, but in accordance with the laws of the Philippines.
the failure not to postpone the approval of the scheme of partition and the delivery of the If this condition as it is expressed were legal and valid, any legatee who fails to comply with it,
deceased's business to Pietro Lanza until the receipt of the depositions requested in reference as the herein oppositor who, by his attitude in these proceedings has not respected the will of
to the Turkish laws. the testator, as expressed, is prevented from receiving his legacy.
The appellant's opposition is based on the fact that the partition in question puts into effect the The fact is, however, that the said condition is void, being contrary to law, for article 792 of the
provisions of Joseph G. Brimo's will which are not in accordance with the laws of his Turkish civil Code provides the following:
nationality, for which reason they are void as being in violation or article 10 of the Civil Code Impossible conditions and those contrary to law or good morals shall be considered as not
which, among other things, provides the following: imposed and shall not prejudice the heir or legatee in any manner whatsoever, even should the
Nevertheless, legal and testamentary successions, in respect to the order of succession as well testator otherwise provide.
as to the amount of the successional rights and the intrinsic validity of their provisions, shall be And said condition is contrary to law because it expressly ignores the testator's national law
regulated by the national law of the person whose succession is in question, whatever may be when, according to article 10 of the civil Code above quoted, such national law of the testator
the nature of the property or the country in which it may be situated. is the one to govern his testamentary dispositions.
But the fact is that the oppositor did not prove that said testimentary dispositions are not in Said condition then, in the light of the legal provisions above cited, is considered unwritten, and
accordance with the Turkish laws, inasmuch as he did not present any evidence showing what the institution of legatees in said will is unconditional and consequently valid and effective even
the Turkish laws are on the matter, and in the absence of evidence on such laws, they are as to the herein oppositor.
presumed to be the same as those of the Philippines. (Lim and Lim vs. Collector of Customs, It results from all this that the second clause of the will regarding the law which shall govern it,
36 Phil., 472.) and to the condition imposed upon the legatees, is null and void, being contrary to law.
It has not been proved in these proceedings what the Turkish laws are. He, himself, All of the remaining clauses of said will with all their dispositions and requests are perfectly valid
acknowledges it when he desires to be given an opportunity to present evidence on this point; and effective it not appearing that said clauses are contrary to the testator's national law.
so much so that he assigns as an error of the court in not having deferred the approval of the Therefore, the orders appealed from are modified and it is directed that the distribution of this
scheme of partition until the receipt of certain testimony requested regarding the Turkish laws estate be made in such a manner as to include the herein appellant Andre Brimo as one of the
on the matter. legatees, and the scheme of partition submitted by the judicial administrator is approved in all
The refusal to give the oppositor another opportunity to prove such laws does not constitute an other respects, without any pronouncement as to costs.
error. It is discretionary with the trial court, and, taking into consideration that the oppositor was So ordered.
granted ample opportunity to introduce competent evidence, we find no abuse of discretion on
the part of the court in this particular. There is, therefore, no evidence in the record that the
national law of the testator Joseph G. Brimo was violated in the testamentary dispositions in
question which, not being contrary to our laws in force, must be complied with and
executed. lawphil.net

1
G.R. No. L-37048 March 7, 1933 be enforced, and that she and the defendant deliver to the guardian ad litem the
MANUELA BARRETTO GONZALEZ, Plaintiff-Appellee, vs. AUGUSTO C. equivalent of what would have been due to their children as their legal portion from the
GONZALEZ,Defendant-Appellant. respective estates had their parents did intestate on November 28, 1927. It is also
AUGUSTO C. GONZALEZ, Jr., ET AL., intervenors-appellees. prayed that the community existing between plaintiff and defendant be declared
Quintin Paredes and Barrera and Reyes for appellant. dissolved and the defendant be ordered to render an accounting and to deliver to the
DeWitt, Perkins and Brady for plaintiff-appellee. plaintiff her share of the community property, that the defendant be ordered to pay the
Camus and Delgado for intervenors-appellees. plaintiff alimony at the rate of five hundred pesos (P500) per month, that the defendant
HULL, J.: be ordered to pay the plaintiff, as counsel fees, the sum of five thousand pesos
Plaintiff and defendant are citizens of the Philippine Islands and at present residents of (P5000), and that the defendant be ordered to pay plaintiff the expenses incurred in
the City of Manila. They were married in the City of Manila on January 19, 1919, and educating the three minor sons.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law
lived together as man and wife in the Philippine Islands until the spring of 1926. They library
voluntarily separated and since that time have not lived together as man and wife. Of A guardian ad litem was appointed for the minor children, and they appear as
this union four children were born who are now 11, 10, 8 and 6 years of age. intervenors and join their mother in these proceedings. The Court of First Instance,
Negotiations between the parties, both being represented by attorneys, continued for after hearing, found against the defendant and granted judgment as prayed for by the
several months, whereupon it was mutually agreed to allow the plaintiff for her support plaintiff and intervenors, with the exception of reducing attorneys fees to three
and that of her children, five hundred pesos (P500) monthly; this amount to be thousand, and also granted costs of the action against the defendant. From this
increased in case of illness or necessity, and the title of certain properties to be put in judgment defendant appeals and makes the following assignment of errors:
her name. Shortly after this agreement the husband left the Islands, betook himself to I. The lower court erred in not declaring that paragraph 2 of section 9 of the Philippine
Reno, Nevada, and secured in that jurisdiction an absolute divorce on the ground of Divorce Law, is unconstitutional, null and void.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles
desertion, which decree was dated November 28, 1927. Shortly thereafter the virtual law library
defendant moved to California and returned to these Islands in August 1928, where he II. The lower court erred in holding that section 9 of Act No. 2710 (Divorce Law) applies
has since remained. On the same date that he secured a divorce in Nevada he went to the Nevada decree of divorce issued in favor of appellant Augusto C. Gonzalez, said
through the forms of marriage with another citizen of these Islands and now has three decree being entitled to confirmation and
children as a result of that marriage. Defendant, after his departure from these Islands, recognition.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
reduced the amount he had agreed to pay monthly for the support of his wife and four III. The lower court erred in not dismissing the complaint in intervention for lack of cause
minor children and has not made the payments fixed in the Reno divorce as of action against appellant and appellee.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual
alimony.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library law library
Shortly after his return his wife brought action in the Court of First Instance of Manila IV. The lower court erred in not declaring the notice of lis pendens filed by intervenors
requesting that the courts of the Philippine Islands confirm and ratify the decree of to be null and void.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
divorce issued by the courts of the State of Nevada; that section 9 of Act No. 2710, V. The lower court erred in ordering the appellant to pay the sum of P500 per month
which reads as follows: for the support not only of his children but also of his ex-wife, appellee herein, Manuela
The decree of divorce shall dissolve the community of property as soon as such decree Barretto.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
becomes final, but shall not dissolve the bonds of matrimony until one year VI. The lower court erred in not holding that plaintiff- appellee, Manuela Barretto, is not
thereafter.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library entitled to support from her ex-husband, herein appellant, over and beyond the alimony
The bonds of matrimony shall not be considered as dissolved with regard to the spouse fixed by the divorce decree in Exhibit A.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual
who, having legitimate children, has not delivered to each of them or to the guardian law library
appointed by the court, within said period of one year, the equivalent of what would VII. The lower court erred in condemning defendant appellant to pay to plaintiff-
have been due to them as their legal portion if said spouse had died intestate appellee P3,000 attorney's fees.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law
immediately after the dissolution of the community of property. library
VIII. The lower court erred in denying appellant's motion for new trial.
2
While the parties in this action are in dispute over financial matters they are in unity in the subject of divorce may be. It is the duty of the courts to enforce the laws of divorce
trying to secure the courts of this jurisdiction to recognize and approve of the Reno as written by the Legislature if they are constitutional. Courts have no right to say that
divorce. On the record here presented this can not be done. The public policy in this such laws are too strict or too liberal.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law
jurisdiction on the question of divorce is clearly set forth in Act No. 2710, and the library
decisions of this court: Goitia vs. Campos Rueda (35 Phil., 252); Garcia Valdez vs. Litigants by mutual agreement can not compel the courts to approve of their own
Sotera�a Tuason(40 Phil., 943-952); Ramirez vs. Gmur (42 Phil., 855); Chereau vs. actions or permit the personal relations of the citizens of these Islands to be affected
Fuentebella (43 Phil., 216); Fernandez vs. De Castro (48 Phil., 123); Gorayeb vs. by decrees of foreign courts in a manner which our Government believes is contrary to
Hashim (50 Phil., 22);Francisco vs. Tayao (50 Phil., 42); Alkuino Lim Pang vs. Uy Pian public order and good morals. Holding the above views it becomes unnecessary to
Ng Shun and Lim Tingco(52 Phil., 571); and the late case of Cousins Hix vs. Fluemer, discuss the serious constitutional question presented by appellant in his first
decided March 21, 1931, and reported in 55 Phil., assignment of error.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
851.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library The judgment of the Court of First Instance of the City of Manila must therefore be
The entire conduct of the parties from the time of their separation until the case was reversed and defendant absolved from the demands made against him in this action.
submitted to this court, in which they all prayed that the Reno divorce be ratified and This, however, without prejudice to any right of maintenance that plaintiff and the
confirmed, clearly indicates a purpose to circumvent the laws of the Philippine Islands intervenors may have against defendant. No special pronouncement as to costs. So
regarding divorce and to secure for themselves a change of status for reasons and ordered.
under conditions not authorized by our law. At all times the matrimonial domicile of this
couple has been within the Philippine Islands and the residence acquired in the State
of Nevada by the husband of the purpose of securing a divorce was not a bona fide
residence and did not confer jurisdiction upon the Court of that State to dissolve the
bonds if matrimony in which he had entered in 1919. While the decisions of this court
heretofore in refusing to recognize the validity of foreign divorce has usually been
expressed in the negative and have been based upon lack of matrimonial domicile or
fraud or collusion, we have not overlooked the provisions of the Civil Code now in force
in these Islands. Article 9 thereof reads as follows:
The laws relating to family rights and duties, or to the status, condition and legal
capacity or persons, are binding upon Spaniards even though they reside in a foreign
country.
And article 11, the last part of which reads:
. . . the prohibitive laws concerning persons, their acts and their property, and those
intended to promote public order and good morals, shall nor be rendered without effect
by any foreign laws or judgments or by anything done or any agreements entered into
a foreign country.
It is therefore a serious question whether any foreign divorce relating to citizens of the
Philippine Islands, will be recognized in this jurisdiction, except it be for a cause, and
under conditions for which the courts of Philippine Islands would grant a divorce. The
lower court in granting relief as prayed for frankly stated that the securing of the divorce,
the contracting of another marriage and the bringing into the world of innocent children
brings about such a condition that the court must grant relief. The hardships of the
existing divorce laws of the Philippine Islands are well known to the members of the
Legislature. It is of no moment in this litigation what he personal views of the writer on
3
G.R. No. L-2935 March 23, 1909 Upon the issue thus presented, and after hearing the evidence adduced during the trial of the
THE GOVERNMENT OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS, plaintiff-appellee, cause, the lower court rendered a judgment against the defendant and in favor of the plaintiff
vs. for the sum of 265.90 dollars. The lower court found that at the time the defendant quit the
GEORGE I. FRANK, defendant-appellant. service of the plaintiff there was due him from the said plaintiff the sum of 3.33 dollars, leaving
Bishop and O'Brien for appellant. a balance due the plaintiff in the sum of 265.90 dollars. From this judgment the defendant
Attorney-General Wilfley for appellee. appealed and made the following assignments of error:
JOHNSON, J.: 1. The court erred in sustaining plaintiff's demurrer to defendant's special defenses.
Judgment was rendered in the lower court on the 5th day of September, 1905. The defendant 2. The court erred in rendering judgment against the defendant on the facts.
appealed. On the 12th day of October, 1905, the appellant filed his printed bill of exceptions With reference to the above assignments of error, it may be said that the mere fact that the
with the clerk of the Supreme Court. On the 5th day of December, 1905, the appellant filed his legislative department of the Government of the Philippine Islands had amended said Acts No.
brief with the clerk of the Supreme Court. On the 19th day of January, 1906, the Attorney- 80 and No. 224 by the Acts No. 643 and No. 1040 did not have the effect of changing the terms
General filed his brief in said cause. Nothing further was done in said cause until on or about of the contract made between the plaintiff and the defendant. The legislative department of the
the 30th day of January, 1909, when the respective parties were requested by this court to Government is expressly prohibited by section 5 of the Act of Congress of 1902 from altering or
prosecute the appeal under the penalty of having the same dismissed for failure so to do; changing the terms of the contract. The right which the defendant had acquired by virtue of Acts
whereupon the appellant, by petition, had the caused placed upon the calendar and the same No. 80 and No. 224 had not been changed in any respect by the fact that said laws had been
was heard on the 2d day of February, 1909. amended. These acts, constituting the terms of the contract, still constituted a part of said
The facts from the record appear to be as follows: contract and were enforceable in favor of the defendant.
First. That on or about the 17th day of April, 1903, in the city of Chicago, in the state of Illinois, The defendant alleged in his special defense that he was a minor and therefore the contract
in the United States, the defendant, through a respective of the Insular Government of the could not be enforced against him. The record discloses that, at the time the contract was
Philippine Islands, entered into a contract for a period of two years with the plaintiff, by which entered into in the State of Illinois, he was an adult under the laws of that State and had full
the defendant was to receive a salary of 1,200 dollars per year as a stenographer in the service authority to contract. The plaintiff [the defendant] claims that, by reason of the fact that, under
of the said plaintiff, and in addition thereto was to be paid in advance the expenses incurred in the laws of the Philippine Islands at the time the contract was made, male persons in said
traveling from the said city of Chicago to Manila, and one-half salary during said period of travel. Islands did not reach their majority until they had attained the age of 23 years, he was not liable
Second. Said contract contained a provision that in case of a violation of its terms on the part under said contract, contending that the laws of the Philippine Islands governed. It is not
of the defendant, he should become liable to the plaintiff for the amount expended by the disputed — upon the contrary the fact is admitted — that at the time and place of the making of
Government by way of expenses incurred in traveling from Chicago to Manila and one-half the contract in question the defendant had full capacity to make the same. No rule is better
salary paid during such period. settled in law than that matters bearing upon the execution, interpretation and validity of a
Third. The defendant entered upon the performance of his contract upon the 30th day of April, contract are determined by the law of the place where the contract is made. (Scudder vs. Union
1903, and was paid half-salary from that date until June 4, 1903, the date of his arrival in the National Bank, 91 U. S., 406.) Matters connected with its performance are regulated by the law
Philippine Islands. Fourth. That on the 11th day of February, 1904, the defendant left the service prevailing at the place of performance. Matters respecting a remedy, such as the bringing of
of the plaintiff and refused to make further compliance with the terms of the contract. suit, admissibility of evidence, and statutes of limitations, depend upon the law of the place
Fifth. On the 3d day of December, 1904, the plaintiff commenced an action in the Court of First where the suit is brought. (Idem.)
Instance of the city of Manila to recover from the defendant the sum of 269.23 dollars, which The defendant's claim that he was an adult when he left Chicago but was a minor when he
amount the plaintiff claimed had been paid to the defendant as expenses incurred in traveling arrived at Manila; that he was an adult at the time he made the contract but was a minor at the
from Chicago to Manila, and as half salary for the period consumed in travel. time the plaintiff attempted to enforce the contract, more than a year later, is not tenable.
Sixth. It was expressly agreed between the parties to said contract that Laws No. 80 and No. Our conclusions with reference to the first above assignment of error are, therefore:
224 should constitute a part of said contract. First. That the amendments to Acts No. 80 and No. 224 in no way affected the terms of the
To the complaint of the plaintiff the defendant filed a general denial and a special defense, contract in question; and Second. The plaintiff [defendant] being fully qualified to enter into the
alleging in his special defense that the Government of the Philippine Islands had amended Laws contract at the place and time the contract was made, he can not plead infancy as a defense at
No. 80 and No. 224 and had thereby materially altered the said contract, and also that he was the place where the contract is being enforced. We believe that the above conclusions also
a minor at the time the contract was entered into and was therefore not responsible under the dispose of the second assignment of error.
law. For the reasons above stated, the judgment of the lower court is affirmed, with costs.
To the special defense of the defendant the plaintiff filed a demurrer, which demurrer the court Arellano, C. J., Torres, Mapa, Carson, and Willard, JJ., concur.
sustained.

4
G.R. No. L-7487 December 29, 1913 the plaintiff, during all of the time referred to, in addition to dispossing of valuable property
CONSTANZA YAÑEZ DE BARNUEVO, plaintiff and appellant, belonging to her husband, possessed and still possesses property of her own, acquired by her,
vs. in greater amount than that owned by her husband; and that in any case the action has
GABRIEL FUSTER, defendant and appellant. prescribed by operation of law."(B. of E., pp. 7 and 8.) As to the divorce, he admits that he had
O'Brien & DeWitt for plaintiff. by the plaintiff two children that have died. He expressly denied the contents of paragraph 5 of
Chicote & Miranda for defendant. the complaint, relating to the charge of adultery and also those of paragraphs 6, 7, and 8,
concerning the possession of real and personal property of the conjugal partnership, the
JOHNSON, J.: statement of their amount, and their qualification as being all conjugal property. As a special
On the 7th of February, 1875, Gabriel Fuster and Constanza Yañez were joined in a Catholic defense, he alleged that prior to the year 1899 he conferred powers of attorney upon the plaintiff
or canonical marriage in the city of Malaga, Spain. In February of 1892, Gabriel Fuster came to to administer and collect property and credits pertaining to him to the value of about 200,000
the Philippine Islands, settled, and acquired real and personal property. Toward the middle of pesos; that the plaintiff accepted and exercised the said power of attorney, attached the property
1896, Constanza Yañez came to Manila, where her husband was residing, and here lived with and collected the credits without ever having rendered any account of them. As a special
him in conjugal relations until the month of April, 1899. On the 4th day of that month and year preferred defense, he alleged that neither the trial court nor any other court in the Philippine
they made an agreement, in a public document, by which they "resolved to separate and live Islands has jurisdiction over the subject matter of the complaint, because, as to the allowance
apart, both consenting to such separation, and by virtue thereof the husband authorized the for support, since neither the plaintiff nor the defendant are residents of Manila, or of any other
wife to move to Spain, there to reside in such place as the said lady pleases." (B. of E., p. 13.) place in the Philippine Islands, the agreement upon the subject was neither celebrated, nor was
In the same document, the husband undertook to send his wife the sum of 300 pesetas monthly it to be fulfilled, in the Philippine Islands; and as to the divorce, because the action therefore
for her support, payable in Madrid, Spain, from the month of June of the said year 1899. The ought to be tried by the ecclesiastical courts. In conclusion, he prayed that the court find: That
husband complied with this obligation until August, 1899, after which time he ceased to make the court was without jurisdiction over the two causes of action; that even if it had jurisdiction, it
further payments. could not order the payment of the sum claimed as arrears of alimony; that, after all, the action
In the beginning of March, 1909, the wife returned to the Philippines, but the husband had with regard to this cause of action has prescribed; and as to the prayer for a decree of divorce,
absented himself therefrom in the early days of February of the same year. On the 11th of the defendant should be acquitted, while on the other hand the plaintiff should be required to
March, 1909, the wife commenced divorce proceedings against her husband, alleging as cause render to the defendant an accounting, supported by proofs, of her operations as his attorney
of action the adultery committed by him in or about the year 1899 with a certain woman that she and administratrix of his property in Spain.
named in the complaint and with whom he had lived and cohabited and by whom he had had In deciding the case, the Court of First Instance of the city of Manila held itself to have
two children. She prayed that she be granted a decree of divorce; that the court order the jurisdiction, decreed the suspension of life in common between the plaintiff and defendant,
separation of the properties of the plaintiff and the defendant, to date from the date of the said ordered the latter to pay the former P5,010.17, directed that the communal property be divided
decree; that the conjugal society be therefore liquidated, and after the amount of the conjugal between the parties, with costs against the defendant, and in event that the parties could not
property had been determined, that one-half thereof be adjudicated to her; furthermore, as to agree to the division, it was to be effected by commissioners according to law.
the amount of pension owing for her support but not paid to her, that the defendant be ordered Both parties appealed from this judgment, but notwithstanding the appeal, the partition of the
to pay her the sum of 36,000 Spanish pesetas, that is, 7,220 Spanish dollars, which, reduced property, by means of commissioners, was proceeded with. These latter, after various
to Philippine currency at the rate of exchange on the date of the complaint, amounted to vicissitudes, rendered their report and account of the partition to the court, who then rendered
P12,959.90. final judgment, from which, also, both parties appealed.
The defendant denied that either he or his wife was a resident of the city of Manila, as they had I. DEFENDANT'S APPEAL.
their domicile in Barcelona, Spain, and he alleged that both of them were natives and subjects The first error assigned is the utter lack of jurisdiction of the trial court and of all other courts of
of Spain. He admitted that he was married to Constanza Yañez; he also admitted having the Islands to try the case, either with regard to the fulfillment of the contract to furnish alimony,
executed the document of the 4th of April, 1899, in which he had undertaken to make an or to decree a divorce or suspension of life in common between the spouses: lack of jurisdiction
allowance for the support of his wife in Madrid, but he denied the other paragraphs of the over the persons and over the subject matter of the litigation; and over the persons of the
complaint. As a special defense with regard to the allowance, he alleged: "That in or about the contending parties, because neither of the spouses was a resident of the Philippines on the
month of May, 1900, he wrote to his wife, the plaintiff, instructing her to return to Manila, with a date of the complaint.
view of joining her husband and being maintained by him in his own house; that the The lower court did not commit this error attributed to him. The defendant had not proved that
communication was ignored by the plaintiff, who against the will of the defendant, continued to he had elsewhere a legal domicile other than that which he manifestly had in the Philippines
live separately from him that from the year 1901, the defendant did not know her address; that during the seventeen years preceding the date of the complaint. On the contrary, it plainly
since 1900, the plaintiff has lived in comfort and has known where her husband resided; that appears, without proof to the contrary, that during this not inconsiderable period, extending from

5
the year 1892 until a month prior to the arrival of his wife in the Philippines in March, 1909, he and which is respected by the Civil Code. Even if this defense could be sustained herein,
had constantly resided in the said Islands, had kept open house, and had acquired in the city of paragraph 2 of article 15 of the said Civil Code would be applicable. It provides: "For the
Manila quite a little real property which is now the object of the division of the conjugal society. purposes of this article, residence (vecindad) will be acquired: By residence of ten years
It is also plainly shown, without proof to the contrary, that his wife resided in this city of Manila in common law provinces or territories, unless before the termination of that time he manifests
from the middle of 1896 until April, 1899, at which time she was permitted by him to change her his will to the contrary; or by a residence of two years, if the interested person declares this to
residence. It is affirmed by the defendant in point five of his answer to the complaint, that in be his will . . . In any case, the wife will follow the condition of her husband. . . ." On no occasion
May, 1900, he sent a letter instructing the plaintiff to return to Manila to live with her husband had the defendant manifested his will to the contrary, not even as he was leaving, after a
and to be supported by him in his house, but that the plaintiff, against the will of the defendant, residence of seventeen years, a month before the return of his wife to these Islands. On the
continued to live part from him. (B. of E., p. 7.) It is also affirmed in the said answer, that during contrary, when he inscribed himself in the Spanish consulate, he declared his intention of
all of the time referred to in the complaint, and especially since 1900, the plaintiff knew where continuing to reside in the Islands as a Spaniard and not as a Mallorquin, subject as such to the
her husband resided. (B. of E., p. 7.) It is also very evident that the contract, by virtue of which common law of Spain.
he authorized his wife to move to Spain and residethere in such place as was agreeable to her, In an endeavor to demonstrate the lack of jurisdiction of the courts of these Islands over the
was executed in these Islands, "in the city of Manila on the 4th of April, 1889," as is to be seen subject matter of the complaint that is to try an action for divorce between two Catholic
in the heading of the document. (B. of E., p. 12.) Finally, at page 11 of his brief, he says that the Spaniards, he alleges in his appeal: That both litigants are Spanish subjects and that they
record shows him to be a Spanish subject, inscribed in the consulate of his nation, and cities contracted a Catholic marriage; that in accordance with article 9 of the Civil Code of Spain (the
article 26 of the Civil Code, the Treaty of Paris and the Philippine Bill. same as that of these Islands) the laws relating to family rights and duties, or to the status,
Granting these facts, there can be no doubt that the defendant, although a Spanish subject, condition and legal capacity of persons, govern Spaniards although they reside in a foreign
was a resident of these Islands. Article 26 of the Civil Code that he cites itself provides that country; that, in consequence, "all questions of a civil nature, such as those dealing with the
"Spaniards who change their domicile to a foreign country, where they may be considered as validity or nullity of the matrimonial bond, the domicile of the husband and wife, their support,
natives without other conditions than that of residents therein, shall be required, in order to as between them, the separation of their properties, the rules governing property, marital
preserve the Spanish nationality, to state that such is their wish before the Spanish diplomatic authority, division of conjugal property, the classification of their property, legal causes for
or consular agent, who must record them in the registry of Spanish residents, as well as their divorce, the extent of the latter, the AUTHORITY to decree it, and, in general, the civil effects of
spouses, should they be married, and any children they may have." From this provision, which marriage and divorce upon the person and properties of the spouses, are questions that are
is the exclusive and irrefutable law governing the defendant, we are to conclude that the governed exclusively by the national law of the husband and wife, and, in our case, by the
domicile of the defendant and the plaintiff is fully proven, irrespective of the Treaty of Paris. Spanish law by virtue of article 9 as above set out." (Brief, p. 12.) The appellant and defendant
Without this supposition of having acquired his domicile and residence in these Islands, he continues his argument, saying: That by the express provision of article 80 of the Civil Code of
could not have required his wife to return to live with him therein because this requirement could Spain, "jurisdiction in actions for divorce and nullification of canonical marriages lies with
only be based on articles 58 of the Civil Code of Spain, according to which the wife is obliged ecclesiastical courts," while that of civil tribunals is limited to civil marriages; that this being so,
to follow her husband wherever he wishes to establish his residence, or on article 48 of chapter the action for divorce brought by the plaintiff in the cause does not fall within the jurisdiction of
5 of the Marriage Law in force in the Philippines, which imposes upon the wife the duty of the civil courts, according to his own law of persons, because these courts ought to apply the
obeying her husband, living in his company, or of following him to wherever he transfers his Spanish law in accordance with the said article 9 of the Civil Cod of Spain, and this Spanish law
domicile or residence. And just because he was absent for a month before his wife returned to grants the jurisdiction over the present cause to the ecclesiastical courts, in the place of which
the Philippines, he cannot be understood to have surrendered his habitual domicile of more no tribunal of these Islands con subrogate itself. Says this appellant: "If a law of a foreign country
than seventeen years, without having established any other afterwards, and without making any were of rigorous application in a given case, a North American tribunal would have no
declaration in legal form, before he absented himself, of it being his intention to change his jurisdiction upon an ecclesiastical court and therefore the North American tribunal in applying it
domicile, while at the same time he retains here his house, real property and all manner of would have to exercise a faculty which that law reserved to the ecclesiastical court." (Brief, pp.
means of subsistence. Section 377 of the Code of Civil Procedure leaves to the election of the 13, 14, and 15.)
plaintiff the bringing of a personal action like the one at bar either in the place where the Unless we take the question itself for granted, the foregoing reasoning cannot be upheld. The
defendant may reside or be found, or in that where the plaintiff resides. question is precisely whether the courts of the Philippines are competent or have jurisdiction to
The litigating spouses have gained not only domicile (domicilio) but also residence (vecindad) in decree the divorce now on appeal, and it is taken for granted that the power to decree it is one
Manila. In this litigation the defendant claims that, born as he says in Mallorca, in the Balearic of the rights included in the personal statute, but appellant does not prove by any law or legal
Islands, he is not subject, in his marriage, to the rules governing conjugal property, that are in doctrine whatever that the personal statute of a foreigner carries with it, to whether he transfers
force in the territories of Spain that are governed by the common law of Castillo (as the his domicile, the authority established by the law of his nation to decree his divorce, which was
Philippines in their day), because they are opposed to the Foral Law in force in the said Islands what he had to demonstrate.

6
The authority of jurisdictional power of courts to decree a divorce is not comprised within the The evidence relating to the foregoing not being sent up on appeal, we are unable to review it,
personal status of the husband and wife, simply because the whole theory of the statutes and so we accept the findings of the trial court.
of the rights which belong to everyone does not go beyond the sphere of private law, and the There is a point of law regarding the claim that the adultery, even though it were proven would
authority and jurisdiction of the courts are not a matter of the private law of persons, but of the not be a cause for divorce, because no public scandal resulted therefrom nor was there
public or political law of the nation. "The jurisdiction of courts and other questions relating to contempt displayed for the wife. (Appellant's brief, p. 26.) The facts must be accepted by this
procedure are considered to be of a public nature and consequently are generally submitted to tribunal as they were found by the trial court, since the evidence cannot be reviewed; moreover,
the territorial principle. . . . All persons that have to demand justice in a case in which foreigners the appellee affirms the contrary and maintains that it is a proven fact, public and notorious, an
intervene, since they can gain nothing by a simple declaration, should endeavor to apply to the assertion that the trial court must have found to be proven. (Appellee's brief, p. 5.) In law, it is
tribunales of the state which have coercive means (property situated in the territory) to enforce not necessary that adultery, to be a cause for divorce, should be accompanied by public scandal
any decision they may render. Otherwise, one would expose himself in the suit to making and contempt for the wife. There is no law that requires this. Law 2, title 9, of the Fourth Partida
useless expenditures which, although he won his case, would not contribute to secure his rights does not require it.
because of the court's lack of means to enforce them." (Torres Campos, "Elementos de Derecho The fifth and sixth assignments of error are directed against the finding of the trial court that
International Privado," p. 108.) "Justice," says the same professor, "is a principle superior to there exists conjugal property, a finding that the appellant maintains is without foundation, and
that of nations, and it should therefore be administered without taking into any account that which holds that the property in the hands of the receiver (that sought to be divided) is
whatsoever the state to which the litigants belong. . . . In order to foster their relations and conjugal property, a conclusion which the appellant claims to be contrary to the law which
develop their commerce, all civilized nations are interested in doing justice, not alone to their should be applied to the case and according to which, as alleged in the tenth assignment of
own people, but to those foreigners who contract within the country or outside of it juridical ties error, the whole of the property should be adjudicated to the defendant as being exclusively his.
which in some manner effect their sovereignty. (Ibid, p. 107.) Might its courts, in some cases, Facts: The appellant affirms that he is a native of Mallorca in the Balearic Islands and that is
in suits between foreigners residing in its territory, apply the personal law of the parties, but also the condition of his wife, the plaintiff. Law: That although the rule of the Civil Code is that
abdicate their jurisdiction, refrain from administering justice because the personal law of the which legally governs conjugal property, yet at the same time it admits, as an exception, the
foreigner gave the jurisdiction of the given case to some court that is not the territorial one of laws, usages, and customs of the Foral Law, according to which, as applied in the Balearic
the nation? This has never yet been claimed in any of the theories regarding the conflict of laws Islands, the law of the family is that of the division of property and that of conjugal property is
arising out of questions of nationality and domicile; it would be equivalent to recognizing not known; so that the property pertains exclusively to the spouse who, by whatever title, has
extraterritorial law in favor of private persons. The provisions of article 80 of the Civil Law of acquired it. In support of the facts, appellant cites pages 27 to 37 and 39 to 41 in the bill of
Spain is only binding within the dominions of Spain. It does not accompany the persons of the exceptions; and of the law, the doctrinal authority of Manresa, Gutierrez, and Alcubilla.
Spanish subject wherever he may go. He could not successfully invoke it if he resided in Japan, The citation from pages 39 to 41 of the bill of exceptions, the only pertinent one, is but an
in China, in Hongkong or in any other territory not subject to the dominion of Spain. Foreign affidavit filed by the defendant in which, under oath, he himself testifies as to the Foral Law in
Catholics domiciled in Spain, subject to the ecclesiastical courts in actions for divorce according the Balearic Islands. The adverse party says with regard to this: "This affidavit was never
to the said article 80 of the Civil Code, could not allege lack of jurisdiction by invoking, as the presented in proof, was never received by the trial judge, and cannot seriously be considered
law of their personal statute, a law of their nation which gives jurisdiction in such a case to as an effort to establish the law of a foreign jurisdiction. Sections 300, 301 and 302 of the Code
territorial courts, or to a certain court within or without the territory of their nation.1awphi1.net of Civil Procedure, now in force in these islands, indicate the method by which the law of a
It is a question that has already been settled in two decisions of the Supreme Court (Benedicto foreign country may be proved. We maintain that the affidavit of a person not versed in the law,
vs. De la Rama, 3 Phil. Rep., 34, and Ibañez vs. Ortiz, 5 Phil. Rep., 325). which was never submitted as proof, never received by the trial court, and which has never
In the present action for divorce the Court of First Instance of the city of Manila did not lack been subjected to any cross-examination, is not a means of proving a foreign law on which the
jurisdiction over the persons of the litigants, for, although Spanish Catholic subjects, they were defendant relies." (Brief, pp. 6 and 7.)
residents of this city and had their domicile herein. Furthermore, on the supposition that the defendant could invoke the Foral Law as the law of his
The Courts of First Instance of the Philippine Islands have the power and jurisdiction to try personal status in the matter of the regimen of his marriage, and that to allege this he be
actions for divorce. That of the city of Manila did not lack jurisdiction by reason of the subject considered as authorized by article 15 of the Civil Code, we have said before, in dealing with
matter of the litigation. his law of domicile, that paragraph 2 of this article 15 of the Civil Code would be entirely adverse
The second assignment of error is directed against the finding of the court that the defendant to his claim, and if it be advanced that there is a similar Foral Law in the Philippines by virtue of
had committed adultery with a certain woman in this city from the year 1899 until 1909; the third paragraph 1 of the said article 15, it might be said, though there is not at present any need to
was against the finding that the adultery was accompanied by public scandal and injured the say it, that it is not in force. The two findings attacked are in perfect accord with the law. All the
dignity of his wife; and the fourth for having decreed the divorce, suspension of the married life, property of the marriage, says article 1407 of the Civil Code, shall be considered as conjugal
and the separation of the properties of the parties.

7
property until it is proven that it belongs exclusively to the husband or to the wife. No proof has matter of the contract (in the present case an entirely voluntary one) and which govern judicial
been submitted to this effect. action.
As seventh assignment of error it is alleged that the court below erred in holding in the judgment An action arising out of a contract of this nature does not prescribe like all personal ones, but,
that the plaintiff had brought to the marriage a dowry of 30,000 Spanish dollars. But the by the provisions of article 1964 of the Civil Code, after fifteen years. But even though the
defendant himself adds that the court made no order or decree regarding the alleged dowry. On provisions of article 1966 were applicable, by which an action to compel the fulfillment of an
the other hand, the plaintiff, in her fourth assignment of errors, claimed that the court erred in agreement to pay alimony prescribes in five years, yet by section 50 of the Code of Civil
not confirming the report of the commissioners which gave to the said plaintiff the sum of 30,000 Procedure, "when payment has been made upon any demand founded upon contract . . . an
Spanish dollars. It is unnecessary to say anything further. action may be brought . . . after such payment. . . ." And the parties admit that on the 18th of
The eighth error consists in that the court below ordered the defendant to pay to the plaintiff August, 1908, the plaintiff secured the payment of 6,365.68 pesetas by virtue of the contract of
P56,010.17 Philippine currency, whereas the plaintiff had made no demand in her complaint April 4, 1899. So that from August, 1908, until March, 1909, the date of the complaint, the said
with respect to this sum; that no arrears of payment are owing for alimony, even though period of five years had not elapsed.
payments had been stipulated in the contract, unless they are claimed by the person who had The ninth assignment of error consists in that the court below erred in empowering the receiver
furnished the actual support, and that alimony is due only when it is necessary; so that, as the to proceed to the separation of the property and in appointing commissioners to make the
plaintiff has had no need of it for ten years, nor has she stated who has furnished it, there is no partition and distribution between the spouses, since the principal question in this action hinges
reason for awaring her the amount of the arrears for all that time; that as she has allowed ten upon the classification of the property; that it was erroneously classified as conjugal property,
years to elapse before claiming it, her action prescribed in 1904, that is to say, after five years. whereas all of it pertained to the husband alone and should be adjudicated to him for the reason
The plaintiff acknowledges that there is no petition or prayer in her complaint as to this cause that, as it reiterated in the tenth assignment of error, the conjugal partnership was not subject
of action, but she considers that in equity such an omission can be supplied. to the provisions of the law governing conjugal property, because such provision are totally
Paragraph 3 of section 89 (90) of the Code of Civil Procedure determines one of the requisites foreign to the Foral Law of the Balearic Islands.
of the complaint: "A demand for the relief which the plaintiff claims." The section goes on to say: The action of the trial court, by the terms of section 184 of the Code of Civil Procedure, was in
"If the recovery of money or damages is demanded, the amount demanded must be stated. If accordance with law. The only question before this court is the partition of real property. All that
special relief, such as an order for the special restitution of property, etc., the ground of referred to in the second decision appealed from, dated September 9, 1911, is urban real estate.
demanding such relief must be stated and the special relief prayed for. But there may be added Its classification as conjugal property is in accordance with law, as is shown in the foregoing
to the statement of the specific relief demanded a general prayer for such further or other relief reasoning, and that no consideration of the Foral Law enters into the question has also been
as shall be deemed equitable." demonstrated.
In the complaint of the case at bar the provisions of paragraph 2 of the said section 89 [90] are II. PLAINTIFF'S APPEAL.
complied with by setting forth in its paragraphs 4 and 5 the relation of the cause of action, that As the trial court rendered judgment ordering the defendant to pay to the plaintiff only P5,010.17,
is, the contract of the 4th of April, 1899, by which the defendant obligated himself to send to the the petitioner here prays that the judgment be reversed and that in its place this court order the
plaintiff in Spain a certain amount of money monthly, for her support, and the failure to comply defendant to pay to the plaintiff her claim of P12,959.90, plus the additional sum which the
with this obligation after the month of August, 1899. Paragraph 6, as a consequence of the alimony amounts to at the rate of P107.70 per month, dating from the 1st of August, 1909, until
promise established in 4 and 5, says as follows: "That the defendant Gabriel Fuster y Fuster the date of payment, with legal interest upon the said P12,959.90 from the date of the filing of
actually owes the plaintiff the sum of 36,100 Spanish pesetas, that is, 7,220 dollars, which, the complaint until the date of payment, and, furthermore, legal interest upon each of the
reduced at the present rate of exchange, amounts to the sum of P12,959.90, Philippine monthly payments due after the filing of the complaint, and which will continue to become due
currency." (B. of E., p. 2.) In the case of default on the part of the defendant "the court shall until the close of this litigation.
proceed to hear the plaintiff and his witnesses and assess the damages or determine the other The trial court made the following findings: First, that the total amount of the alimony owing to
relief to which the plaintiff may be entitled, including the costs of the action, and render final the plaintiff amounted to 34,200 pesetas; second, that of this sum the plaintiff had collected in
judgment for the plaintiff to recover such sum or to receive such other relief as the pleadings Madrid 6,365.68; third, that the remainder, that is, 27,834.32, was equivalent to $5,566.86
and the facts warrant." The pleadings, not the prayer of the complaint. Mexican currency; fourth, that the Mexican peso was worth 90 centavos Philippine currency;
This court has recently decided that the pleadings, not the prayer, exactly, are the essential part fifth, that therefore the sum of $5,566.86 Mexican currency was equivalent to P5,010 Philippine
of a complaint. currency; and finally, as there was no evidence as to the kind of pesetas agreed upon, it was to
It is not a question of alimony for the present, nor for the future, which constitutes the first cause be presumed that it was that current at the time and place where the agreement was made,
of action, but of certain sums stipulated in a contract. This contract is a law for the contracting which was Mexican pesetas.
parties, a law which rises superior to those general laws which regulate the nature of the subject In her appeal, the plaintiff contends that these findings are erroneous in that, firstly, the parties
had admitted that the pesetas referred to in the contract of the 4th of April, 1899, were Spanish,

8
and in view of this admission the court was not empowered to define them as being According to the last instructions of the court to the commissioners, this amount of
different from the kind admitted by the parties; secondly, if he were so empowered, his 30,000 dollars could not enter into the partition, and with reason. If, as was claimed, it
interpretation should be governed by the terms of the law. was inherited by the plaintiff from her uncle, it really constitutes paraphernal property
With regard to the first error, the plaintiff says that the statement is made in her under article 1381. "Paraphernal property is that which the wife brings to the marriage
complaint that the defendant had obligated himself to pay her a "monthly pension for without being included in the dowry and that she may acquire after the creation of the
her support of 300 Spanish pesetas, that is, 60 Spanish dollars, which, reduced to same without being added thereto." But it is a provision of article 1384 that "The wife
Philippine currency, amounts to P107.70;" that the defendant had admitted this in hi shall have the management of the paraphernal property unless she has delivered the
answer to the complaint, and that by his finding in a sense other than that accepted same to her husband, before a notary, in order that he may administer said property.
and not refuted in the answer of the defendant, the court violated the provisions of In such case the husband is obliged to create a mortgage for the value of the personal
section 94 of the Code of Civil Procedure. property he may receive, or to secure said property, in the manner established for the
The court has not incurred this error, because it does not appear that the defendant in dowry property." Not even was there offered in evidence the public deed of delivery,
his answer accepted the fact in the manner alleged in the complaint. The defendant nor the equally public mortgage deed that is required by law. So that, therefore, the
said that he admitted having made the agreement referred to in paragraph 4 of the necessary proof of the obligation to return paraphernal property as here demanded
complaint, and that he stood upon its contents. The contents of the document to which does not exist.lawphil.net
he refers is of the following tenor: "Mr. Fuster binds and obligates himself to pay to his The partition of property decreed in the judgment appealed from of the 9th of
said wife the sum of 300 pesetas, monthly, payable de su cuenta in the city and capital September, 1911, should be and is hereby confirmed.
of Madrid, for her support. . . ." He did not therefore admit the matter of the Spanish The two judgments appealed from are hereby affirmed, without special pronouncement
pesetas; that does not appear in the contents of the document — the only thing he of costs in this instance.
admitted in his answer.
As to the second error, the court did not commit it in applying the rule contained in
article 1287 of the Civil Code. "The usages or customs of the country shall be taken
into consideration in interpreting ambiguity in contracts. . . ." If in the contract the word
" pesetas," not being specific, was ambiguous, then it was in harmony with this precept
to interpret it as being the peseta then in use or current when and where the agreement
was made, Mexican being then the usual and current money in the Philippines.
Furthermore, the phrase de su cuenta clearly means that it was not "Spanish pesetas"
that the contracting parties had in mind, because if the agreement had been a specific
one to pay 300 Spanish pesetas in Madrid, everyone would of course understand that
the expense of following the fluctuations of change and of the differences in value
between the money current in the country, and the Spanish pesetas, would have to be
defrayed by the obligated party; whereas, if nothing more than pesetaswas mentioned,
it was necessary to decide which party should pay for the difference in value so that
the 300pesetas stipulated here should be 300 Spanish pesetas paid in Madrid. Against
the reasons of the court below for his decision this court can offer no legal grounds.
The rule of interpretation cited is the one applicable and it supports the reasoning of
the decision appealed from.
The appellant also alleges as error that the court did not adjudicate to her the 30,000
Spanish dollars which the commissioners proposed in their report. First she
characterizes this sum of 30,000 dollars as the dowry of the wife delivered to the
husband, then, later, as paraphernal property brought to the marriage.
9
G.R. No. L-12105 January 30, 1960 testator's brother, F.L. Bohanan, and his sister, Mrs. M. B. Galbraith, share and share
TESTATE ESTATE OF C. O. BOHANAN, deceased. PHILIPPINE TRUST alike. This consist in the same amount of cash and of shares of mining stock similar to
CO., executor-appellee, those given to testator's grandson; (3) legacies of P6,000 each to his (testator) son,
vs. Edward Gilbert Bohana, and his daughter, Mary Lydia Bohanan, to be paid in three
MAGDALENA C. BOHANAN, EDWARD C. BOHANAN, and MARY LYDIA yearly installments; (4) legacies to Clara Daen, in the amount of P10,000.00; Katherine
BOHANAN, oppositors-appellants. Woodward, P2,000; Beulah Fox, P4,000; and Elizabeth Hastings, P2,000;
Jose D. Cortes for appellants. It will be seen from the above that out of the total estate (after deducting administration
Ohnick, Velilla and Balonkita for appellee. expenses) of P211,639.33 in cash, the testator gave his grandson P90,819.67 and
LABRADOR, J.: one-half of all shares of stock of several mining companies and to his brother and sister
Appeal against an order of the Court of First Instance of Manila, Hon. Ramon San Jose, the same amount. To his children he gave a legacy of only P6,000 each, or a total of
presiding, dismissing the objections filed by Magdalena C. Bohanan, Mary Bohanan P12,000.
and Edward Bohanan to the project of partition submitted by the executor and The wife Magadalena C. Bohanan and her two children question the validity of the
approving the said project. testamentary provisions disposing of the estate in the manner above indicated,
On April 24, 195 0, the Court of First Instance of Manila, Hon. Rafael Amparo, claiming that they have been deprived of the legitimate that the laws of the form
presiding, admitted to probate a last will and testament of C. O. Bohanan, executed by concede to them.
him on April 23, 1944 in Manila. In the said order, the court made the following findings: The first question refers to the share that the wife of the testator, Magdalena C.
According to the evidence of the opponents the testator was born in Nebraska and Bohanan, should be entitled to received. The will has not given her any share in the
therefore a citizen of that state, or at least a citizen of California where some of his estate left by the testator. It is argued that it was error for the trial court to have
properties are located. This contention in untenable. Notwithstanding the long recognized the Reno divorce secured by the testator from his Filipino wife Magdalena
residence of the decedent in the Philippines, his stay here was merely temporary, and C. Bohanan, and that said divorce should be declared a nullity in this jurisdiction, citing
he continued and remained to be a citizen of the United States and of the state of his the case of Querubin vs.Querubin, 87 Phil., 124, 47 Off. Gaz., (Sup, 12) 315, Cousins
pertinent residence to spend the rest of his days in that state. His permanent residence Hiz vs. Fluemer, 55 Phil., 852, Ramirez vs. Gmur, 42 Phil., 855 and
or domicile in the United States depended upon his personal intent or desire, and he Gorayeb vs. Hashim, 50 Phil., 22. The court below refused to recognize the claim of
selected Nevada as his homicide and therefore at the time of his death, he was a citizen the widow on the ground that the laws of Nevada, of which the deceased was a citizen,
of that state. Nobody can choose his domicile or permanent residence for him. That is allow him to dispose of all of his properties without requiring him to leave any portion
his exclusive personal right. of his estate to his wife. Section 9905 of Nevada Compiled Laws of 1925 provides:
Wherefore, the court finds that the testator C. O. Bohanan was at the time of his death Every person over the age of eighteen years, of sound mind, may, by last will, dispose
a citizen of the United States and of the State of Nevada and declares that his will and of all his or her estate, real and personal, the same being chargeable with the payment
testament, Exhibit A, is fully in accordance with the laws of the state of Nevada and of the testator's debts.
admits the same to probate. Accordingly, the Philippine Trust Company, named as the Besides, the right of the former wife of the testator, Magdalena C. Bohanan, to a share
executor of the will, is hereby appointed to such executor and upon the filing of a bond in the testator's estafa had already been passed upon adversely against her in an order
in the sum of P10,000.00, let letters testamentary be issued and after taking the dated June 19, 1955, (pp. 155-159, Vol II Records, Court of First Instance), which had
prescribed oath, it may enter upon the execution and performance of its trust. (pp. 26- become final, as Magdalena C. Bohanan does not appear to have appealed therefrom
27, R.O.A.). to question its validity. On December 16, 1953, the said former wife filed a motion to
It does not appear that the order granting probate was ever questions on appeal. The withdraw the sum of P20,000 from the funds of the estate, chargeable against her share
executor filed a project of partition dated January 24, 1956, making, in accordance with in the conjugal property, (See pp. 294-297, Vol. I, Record, Court of First Instance), and
the provisions of the will, the following adjudications: (1) one-half of the residuary the court in its said error found that there exists no community property owned by the
estate, to the Farmers and Merchants National Bank of Los Angeles, California, U.S.A. decedent and his former wife at the time the decree of divorce was issued. As already
in trust only for the benefit of testator's grandson Edward George Bohanan, which and Magdalena C. Bohanan may no longer question the fact contained therein, i.e. that
consists of several mining companies; (2) the other half of the residuary estate to the
10
there was no community property acquired by the testator and Magdalena C. Bohanan accompanied, if the record is not kept in the Philippines, with a certificate that such
during their converture. officer has the custody. . . . (Rule 123).
Moreover, the court below had found that the testator and Magdalena C. Bohanan were We have, however, consulted the records of the case in the court below and we have
married on January 30, 1909, and that divorce was granted to him on May 20, 1922; found that during the hearing on October 4, 1954 of the motion of Magdalena C.
that sometime in 1925, Magdalena C. Bohanan married Carl Aaron and this marriage Bohanan for withdrawal of P20,000 as her share, the foreign law, especially Section
was subsisting at the time of the death of the testator. Since no right to share in the 9905, Compiled Nevada Laws. was introduced in evidence by appellant's (herein)
inheritance in favor of a divorced wife exists in the State of Nevada and since the court counsel as Exhibits "2" (See pp. 77-79, VOL. II, and t.s.n. pp. 24-44, Records, Court of
below had already found that there was no conjugal property between the testator and First Instance). Again said laws presented by the counsel for the executor and admitted
Magdalena C. Bohanan, the latter can now have no longer claim to pay portion of the by the Court as Exhibit "B" during the hearing of the case on January 23, 1950 before
estate left by the testator. Judge Rafael Amparo (se Records, Court of First Instance, Vol. 1).
The most important issue is the claim of the testator's children, Edward and Mary Lydia, In addition, the other appellants, children of the testator, do not dispute the above-
who had received legacies in the amount of P6,000 each only, and, therefore, have not quoted provision of the laws of the State of Nevada. Under all the above circumstances,
been given their shares in the estate which, in accordance with the laws of the forum, we are constrained to hold that the pertinent law of Nevada, especially Section 9905
should be two-thirds of the estate left by the testator. Is the failure old the testator to of the Compiled Nevada Laws of 1925, can be taken judicial notice of by us, without
give his children two-thirds of the estate left by him at the time of his death, in proof of such law having been offered at the hearing of the project of partition.
accordance with the laws of the forum valid? As in accordance with Article 10 of the old Civil Code, the validity of testamentary
The old Civil Code, which is applicable to this case because the testator died in 1944, dispositions are to be governed by the national law of the testator, and as it has been
expressly provides that successional rights to personal property are to be earned by decided and it is not disputed that the national law of the testator is that of the State of
the national law of the person whose succession is in question. Says the law on this Nevada, already indicated above, which allows a testator to dispose of all his property
point: according to his will, as in the case at bar, the order of the court approving the project
Nevertheless, legal and testamentary successions, in respect to the order of of partition made in accordance with the testamentary provisions, must be, as it is
succession as well as to the extent of the successional rights and the intrinsic validity hereby affirmed, with costs against appellants.
of their provisions, shall be regulated by the national law of the person whose
succession is in question, whatever may be the nature of the property and the country
in which it is found. (par. 2, Art. 10, old Civil Code, which is the same as par. 2 Art. 16,
new Civil Code.)
In the proceedings for the probate of the will, it was found out and it was decided that
the testator was a citizen of the State of Nevada because he had selected this as his
domicile and his permanent residence. (See Decision dated April 24, 1950, supra). So
the question at issue is whether the estementary dispositions, especially hose for the
children which are short of the legitime given them by the Civil Code of the Philippines,
are valid. It is not disputed that the laws of Nevada allow a testator to dispose of all his
properties by will (Sec. 9905, Complied Nevada Laws of 1925, supra). It does not
appear that at time of the hearing of the project of partition, the above-quoted provision
was introduced in evidence, as it was the executor's duly to do. The law of Nevada,
being a foreign law can only be proved in our courts in the form and manner provided
for by our Rules, which are as follows:
SEC. 41. Proof of public or official record. — An official record or an entry therein, when
admissible for any purpose, may be evidenced by an official publication thereof or by
a copy tested by the officer having the legal custody of he record, or by his deputy, and
11
Subsequently, or on July 8, 1958, Amos G. Bellis died a resident of San Antonio,
G.R. No. L-23678 June 6, 1967 Texas, U.S.A. His will was admitted to probate in the Court of First Instance of
TESTATE ESTATE OF AMOS G. BELLIS, deceased. Manila on September 15, 1958.
PEOPLE'S BANK and TRUST COMPANY, executor. The People's Bank and Trust Company, as executor of the will, paid all the
MARIA CRISTINA BELLIS and MIRIAM PALMA BELLIS, oppositors- bequests therein including the amount of $240,000.00 in the form of shares of
appellants, stock to Mary E. Mallen and to the three (3) illegitimate children, Amos Bellis,
vs. Jr., Maria Cristina Bellis and Miriam Palma Bellis, various amounts totalling
EDWARD A. BELLIS, ET AL., heirs-appellees. P40,000.00 each in satisfaction of their respective legacies, or a total of
Vicente R. Macasaet and Jose D. Villena for oppositors appellants. P120,000.00, which it released from time to time according as the lower court
Paredes, Poblador, Cruz and Nazareno for heirs-appellees E. A. Bellis, et al. approved and allowed the various motions or petitions filed by the latter three
Quijano and Arroyo for heirs-appellees W. S. Bellis, et al. requesting partial advances on account of their respective legacies.
J. R. Balonkita for appellee People's Bank & Trust Company. On January 8, 1964, preparatory to closing its administration, the executor
Ozaeta, Gibbs and Ozaeta for appellee A. B. Allsman. submitted and filed its "Executor's Final Account, Report of Administration and
BENGZON, J.P., J.: Project of Partition" wherein it reported, inter alia, the satisfaction of the legacy
This is a direct appeal to Us, upon a question purely of law, from an order of the of Mary E. Mallen by the delivery to her of shares of stock amounting to
Court of First Instance of Manila dated April 30, 1964, approving the project of $240,000.00, and the legacies of Amos Bellis, Jr., Maria Cristina Bellis and
partition filed by the executor in Civil Case No. 37089 therein.1äwphï1.ñët Miriam Palma Bellis in the amount of P40,000.00 each or a total of P120,000.00.
The facts of the case are as follows: In the project of partition, the executor — pursuant to the "Twelfth" clause of the
Amos G. Bellis, born in Texas, was "a citizen of the State of Texas and of the testator's Last Will and Testament — divided the residuary estate into seven
United States." By his first wife, Mary E. Mallen, whom he divorced, he had five equal portions for the benefit of the testator's seven legitimate children by his
legitimate children: Edward A. Bellis, George Bellis (who pre-deceased him in first and second marriages.
infancy), Henry A. Bellis, Alexander Bellis and Anna Bellis Allsman; by his On January 17, 1964, Maria Cristina Bellis and Miriam Palma Bellis filed their
second wife, Violet Kennedy, who survived him, he had three legitimate respective oppositions to the project of partition on the ground that they were
children: Edwin G. Bellis, Walter S. Bellis and Dorothy Bellis; and finally, he had deprived of their legitimes as illegitimate children and, therefore, compulsory
three illegitimate children: Amos Bellis, Jr., Maria Cristina Bellis and Miriam heirs of the deceased.
Palma Bellis. Amos Bellis, Jr. interposed no opposition despite notice to him, proof of service
On August 5, 1952, Amos G. Bellis executed a will in the Philippines, in which of which is evidenced by the registry receipt submitted on April 27, 1964 by the
he directed that after all taxes, obligations, and expenses of administration are executor.1
paid for, his distributable estate should be divided, in trust, in the following order After the parties filed their respective memoranda and other pertinent pleadings,
and manner: (a) $240,000.00 to his first wife, Mary E. Mallen; (b) P120,000.00 the lower court, on April 30, 1964, issued an order overruling the oppositions
to his three illegitimate children, Amos Bellis, Jr., Maria Cristina Bellis, Miriam and approving the executor's final account, report and administration and
Palma Bellis, or P40,000.00 each and (c) after the foregoing two items have project of partition. Relying upon Art. 16 of the Civil Code, it applied the national
been satisfied, the remainder shall go to his seven surviving children by his first law of the decedent, which in this case is Texas law, which did not provide for
and second wives, namely: Edward A. Bellis, Henry A. Bellis, Alexander Bellis legitimes.
and Anna Bellis Allsman, Edwin G. Bellis, Walter S. Bellis, and Dorothy E. Bellis, Their respective motions for reconsideration having been denied by the lower
in equal shares.1äwphï1.ñët court on June 11, 1964, oppositors-appellants appealed to this Court to raise
the issue of which law must apply — Texas law or Philippine law.
12
In this regard, the parties do not submit the case on, nor even discuss, the rendered ineffective by laws or judgments promulgated, or by determinations or
doctrine of renvoi, applied by this Court in Aznar v. Christensen Garcia, L- conventions agreed upon in a foreign country.
16749, January 31, 1963. Said doctrine is usually pertinent where the decedent prevails as the exception to Art. 16, par. 2 of the Civil Code afore-quoted. This
is a national of one country, and a domicile of another. In the present case, it is is not correct. Precisely, Congressdeleted the phrase, "notwithstanding the
not disputed that the decedent was both a national of Texas and a domicile provisions of this and the next preceding article" when they incorporated Art. 11
thereof at the time of his death.2 So that even assuming Texas has a conflict of of the old Civil Code as Art. 17 of the new Civil Code, while reproducing without
law rule providing that the domiciliary system (law of the domicile) should substantial change the second paragraph of Art. 10 of the old Civil Code as Art.
govern, the same would not result in a reference back (renvoi) to Philippine law, 16 in the new. It must have been their purpose to make the second paragraph
but would still refer to Texas law. Nonetheless, if Texas has a conflicts rule of Art. 16 a specific provision in itself which must be applied in testate and
adopting the situs theory (lex rei sitae) calling for the application of the law of intestate succession. As further indication of this legislative intent, Congress
the place where the properties are situated, renvoi would arise, since the added a new provision, under Art. 1039, which decrees that capacity to succeed
properties here involved are found in the Philippines. In the absence, however, is to be governed by the national law of the decedent.
of proof as to the conflict of law rule of Texas, it should not be presumed different It is therefore evident that whatever public policy or good customs may be
from ours.3 Appellants' position is therefore not rested on the doctrine of renvoi. involved in our System of legitimes, Congress has not intended to extend the
As stated, they never invoked nor even mentioned it in their arguments. Rather, same to the succession of foreign nationals. For it has specifically chosen to
they argue that their case falls under the circumstances mentioned in the third leave, inter alia, the amount of successional rights, to the decedent's national
paragraph of Article 17 in relation to Article 16 of the Civil Code. law. Specific provisions must prevail over general ones.
Article 16, par. 2, and Art. 1039 of the Civil Code, render applicable the national Appellants would also point out that the decedent executed two wills — one to
law of the decedent, in intestate or testamentary successions, with regard to govern his Texas estate and the other his Philippine estate — arguing from this
four items: (a) the order of succession; (b) the amount of successional rights; that he intended Philippine law to govern his Philippine estate. Assuming that
(e) the intrinsic validity of the provisions of the will; and (d) the capacity to such was the decedent's intention in executing a separate Philippine will, it
succeed. They provide that — would not alter the law, for as this Court ruled in Miciano v. Brimo, 50 Phil. 867,
ART. 16. Real property as well as personal property is subject to the law of the 870, a provision in a foreigner's will to the effect that his properties shall be
country where it is situated. distributed in accordance with Philippine law and not with his national law, is
However, intestate and testamentary successions, both with respect to the illegal and void, for his national law cannot be ignored in regard to those matters
order of succession and to the amount of successional rights and to the intrinsic that Article 10 — now Article 16 — of the Civil Code states said national law
validity of testamentary provisions, shall be regulated by the national law of the should govern.
person whose succession is under consideration, whatever may he the nature The parties admit that the decedent, Amos G. Bellis, was a citizen of the State
of the property and regardless of the country wherein said property may be of Texas, U.S.A., and that under the laws of Texas, there are no forced heirs or
found. legitimes. Accordingly, since the intrinsic validity of the provision of the will and
ART. 1039. Capacity to succeed is governed by the law of the nation of the the amount of successional rights are to be determined under Texas law, the
decedent. Philippine law on legitimes cannot be applied to the testacy of Amos G. Bellis.
Appellants would however counter that Art. 17, paragraph three, of the Civil
Code, stating that —
Prohibitive laws concerning persons, their acts or property, and those which
have for their object public order, public policy and good customs shall not be

13
G.R. No. L-16749 January 31, 1963 aforesaid at No. 665 Rodger Young Village, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A., all the
IN THE MATTER OF THE TESTATE ESTATE OF EDWARD E. CHRISTENSEN, income from the rest, remainder, and residue of my property and estate, real, personal
DECEASED. and/or mixed, of whatsoever kind or character, and wheresoever situated, of which I
ADOLFO C. AZNAR, Executor and LUCY CHRISTENSEN, Heir of the may be possessed at my death and which may have come to me from any source
deceased, Executor and Heir-appellees, whatsoever, during her lifetime: ....
vs. It is in accordance with the above-quoted provisions that the executor in his final
HELEN CHRISTENSEN GARCIA, oppositor-appellant. account and project of partition ratified the payment of only P3,600 to Helen
M. R. Sotelo for executor and heir-appellees. Christensen Garcia and proposed that the residue of the estate be transferred to his
Leopoldo M. Abellera and Jovito Salonga for oppositor-appellant. daughter, Maria Lucy Christensen.
LABRADOR, J.: Opposition to the approval of the project of partition was filed by Helen Christensen
This is an appeal from a decision of the Court of First Instance of Davao, Hon. Vicente Garcia, insofar as it deprives her (Helen) of her legitime as an acknowledged natural
N. Cusi, Jr., presiding, in Special Proceeding No. 622 of said court, dated September child, she having been declared by Us in G.R. Nos. L-11483-84 an acknowledged
14, 1949, approving among things the final accounts of the executor, directing the natural child of the deceased Edward E. Christensen. The legal grounds of opposition
executor to reimburse Maria Lucy Christensen the amount of P3,600 paid by her to are (a) that the distribution should be governed by the laws of the Philippines, and (b)
Helen Christensen Garcia as her legacy, and declaring Maria Lucy Christensen entitled that said order of distribution is contrary thereto insofar as it denies to Helen
to the residue of the property to be enjoyed during her lifetime, and in case of death Christensen, one of two acknowledged natural children, one-half of the estate in full
without issue, one-half of said residue to be payable to Mrs. Carrie Louise C. Borton, ownership. In amplification of the above grounds it was alleged that the law that should
etc., in accordance with the provisions of the will of the testator Edward E. Christensen. govern the estate of the deceased Christensen should not be the internal law of
The will was executed in Manila on March 5, 1951 and contains the following California alone, but the entire law thereof because several foreign elements are
provisions: involved, that the forum is the Philippines and even if the case were decided in
3. I declare ... that I have but ONE (1) child, named MARIA LUCY CHRISTENSEN California, Section 946 of the California Civil Code, which requires that the domicile of
(now Mrs. Bernard Daney), who was born in the Philippines about twenty-eight years the decedent should apply, should be applicable. It was also alleged that Maria Helen
ago, and who is now residing at No. 665 Rodger Young Village, Los Angeles, Christensen having been declared an acknowledged natural child of the decedent, she
California, U.S.A. is deemed for all purposes legitimate from the time of her birth.
4. I further declare that I now have no living ascendants, and no descendants except The court below ruled that as Edward E. Christensen was a citizen of the United States
my above named daughter, MARIA LUCY CHRISTENSEN DANEY. and of the State of California at the time of his death, the successional rights and
xxx xxx xxx intrinsic validity of the provisions in his will are to be governed by the law of California,
7. I give, devise and bequeath unto MARIA HELEN CHRISTENSEN, now married to in accordance with which a testator has the right to dispose of his property in the way
Eduardo Garcia, about eighteen years of age and who, notwithstanding the fact that he desires, because the right of absolute dominion over his property is sacred and
she was baptized Christensen, is not in any way related to me, nor has she been at inviolable (In re McDaniel's Estate, 77 Cal. Appl. 2d 877, 176 P. 2d 952, and In re
any time adopted by me, and who, from all information I have now resides in Egpit, Kaufman, 117 Cal. 286, 49 Pac. 192, cited in page 179, Record on Appeal). Oppositor
Digos, Davao, Philippines, the sum of THREE THOUSAND SIX HUNDRED PESOS Maria Helen Christensen, through counsel, filed various motions for reconsideration,
(P3,600.00), Philippine Currency the same to be deposited in trust for the said Maria but these were denied. Hence, this appeal.
Helen Christensen with the Davao Branch of the Philippine National Bank, and paid to The most important assignments of error are as follows:
her at the rate of One Hundred Pesos (P100.00), Philippine Currency per month until I
the principal thereof as well as any interest which may have accrued thereon, is THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN IGNORING THE DECISION OF THE HONORABLE
exhausted.. SUPREME COURT THAT HELEN IS THE ACKNOWLEDGED NATURAL CHILD OF
xxx xxx xxx EDWARD E. CHRISTENSEN AND, CONSEQUENTLY, IN DEPRIVING HER OF HER
12. I hereby give, devise and bequeath, unto my well-beloved daughter, the said JUST SHARE IN THE INHERITANCE.
MARIA LUCY CHRISTENSEN DANEY (Mrs. Bernard Daney), now residing as II
14
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN ENTIRELY IGNORING AND/OR FAILING TO the United States but returned to the Philippines in December, 1945. Appellees
RECOGNIZE THE EXISTENCE OF SEVERAL FACTORS, ELEMENTS AND Collective Exhibits "6", CFI Davao, Sp. Proc. 622, as Exhibits "AA", "BB" and "CC-
CIRCUMSTANCES CALLING FOR THE APPLICATION OF INTERNAL LAW. Daney"; Exhs. "MM", "MM-l", "MM-2-Daney" and p. 473, t.s.n., July 21, 1953.)
III In April, 1951, Edward E. Christensen returned once more to California shortly after the
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN FAILING TO RECOGNIZE THAT UNDER making of his last will and testament (now in question herein) which he executed at his
INTERNATIONAL LAW, PARTICULARLY UNDER THE RENVOI DOCTRINE, THE lawyers' offices in Manila on March 5, 1951. He died at the St. Luke's Hospital in the
INTRINSIC VALIDITY OF THE TESTAMENTARY DISPOSITION OF THE City of Manila on April 30, 1953. (pp. 2-3)
DISTRIBUTION OF THE ESTATE OF THE DECEASED EDWARD E. CHRISTENSEN In arriving at the conclusion that the domicile of the deceased is the Philippines, we are
SHOULD BE GOVERNED BY THE LAWS OF THE PHILIPPINES. persuaded by the fact that he was born in New York, migrated to California and resided
IV there for nine years, and since he came to the Philippines in 1913 he returned to
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN NOT DECLARING THAT THE SCHEDULE OF California very rarely and only for short visits (perhaps to relatives), and considering
DISTRIBUTION SUBMITTED BY THE EXECUTOR IS CONTRARY TO THE that he appears never to have owned or acquired a home or properties in that state,
PHILIPPINE LAWS. which would indicate that he would ultimately abandon the Philippines and make home
V in the State of California.
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN NOT DECLARING THAT UNDER THE PHILIPPINE Sec. 16. Residence is a term used with many shades of meaning from mere temporary
LAWS HELEN CHRISTENSEN GARCIA IS ENTITLED TO ONE-HALF (1/2) OF THE presence to the most permanent abode. Generally, however, it is used to denote
ESTATE IN FULL OWNERSHIP. something more than mere physical presence. (Goodrich on Conflict of Laws, p. 29)
There is no question that Edward E. Christensen was a citizen of the United States and As to his citizenship, however, We find that the citizenship that he acquired in California
of the State of California at the time of his death. But there is also no question that at when he resided in Sacramento, California from 1904 to 1913, was never lost by his
the time of his death he was domiciled in the Philippines, as witness the following facts stay in the Philippines, for the latter was a territory of the United States (not a state)
admitted by the executor himself in appellee's brief: until 1946 and the deceased appears to have considered himself as a citizen of
In the proceedings for admission of the will to probate, the facts of record show that the California by the fact that when he executed his will in 1951 he declared that he was a
deceased Edward E. Christensen was born on November 29, 1875 in New York City, citizen of that State; so that he appears never to have intended to abandon his
N.Y., U.S.A.; his first arrival in the Philippines, as an appointed school teacher, was on California citizenship by acquiring another. This conclusion is in accordance with the
July 1, 1901, on board the U.S. Army Transport "Sheridan" with Port of Embarkation following principle expounded by Goodrich in his Conflict of Laws.
as the City of San Francisco, in the State of California, U.S.A. He stayed in the The terms "'residence" and "domicile" might well be taken to mean the same thing, a
Philippines until 1904. place of permanent abode. But domicile, as has been shown, has acquired a technical
In December, 1904, Mr. Christensen returned to the United States and stayed there for meaning. Thus one may be domiciled in a place where he has never been. And he may
the following nine years until 1913, during which time he resided in, and was teaching reside in a place where he has no domicile. The man with two homes, between which
school in Sacramento, California. he divides his time, certainly resides in each one, while living in it. But if he went on
Mr. Christensen's next arrival in the Philippines was in July of the year 1913. However, business which would require his presence for several weeks or months, he might
in 1928, he again departed the Philippines for the United States and came back here properly be said to have sufficient connection with the place to be called a resident. It
the following year, 1929. Some nine years later, in 1938, he again returned to his own is clear, however, that, if he treated his settlement as continuing only for the particular
country, and came back to the Philippines the following year, 1939. business in hand, not giving up his former "home," he could not be a domiciled New
Wherefore, the parties respectfully pray that the foregoing stipulation of facts be Yorker. Acquisition of a domicile of choice requires the exercise of intention as well as
admitted and approved by this Honorable Court, without prejudice to the parties physical presence. "Residence simply requires bodily presence of an inhabitant in a
adducing other evidence to prove their case not covered by this stipulation of given place, while domicile requires bodily presence in that place and also an intention
facts. 1äwphï1.ñët to make it one's domicile." Residence, however, is a term used with many shades of
Being an American citizen, Mr. Christensen was interned by the Japanese Military meaning, from the merest temporary presence to the most permanent abode, and it is
Forces in the Philippines during World War II. Upon liberation, in April 1945, he left for not safe to insist that any one use et the only proper one. (Goodrich, p. 29)
15
The law that governs the validity of his testamentary dispositions is defined in Article rules of law of the foreign system; i.e., to the totality of the foreign law minus its Conflict
16 of the Civil Code of the Philippines, which is as follows: of Laws rules?"
ART. 16. Real property as well as personal property is subject to the law of the country On logic, the solution is not an easy one. The Michigan court chose to accept the
where it is situated. renvoi, that is, applied the Conflict of Laws rule of Illinois which referred the matter back
However, intestate and testamentary successions, both with respect to the order of to Michigan law. But once having determined the the Conflict of Laws principle is the
succession and to the amount of successional rights and to the intrinsic validity of rule looked to, it is difficult to see why the reference back should not have been to
testamentary provisions, shall be regulated by the national law of the person whose Michigan Conflict of Laws. This would have resulted in the "endless chain of
succession is under consideration, whatever may be the nature of the property and references" which has so often been criticized be legal writers. The opponents of the
regardless of the country where said property may be found. renvoi would have looked merely to the internal law of Illinois, thus rejecting the renvoi
The application of this article in the case at bar requires the determination of the or the reference back. Yet there seems no compelling logical reason why the original
meaning of the term "national law" is used therein. reference should be the internal law rather than to the Conflict of Laws rule. It is true
There is no single American law governing the validity of testamentary provisions in that such a solution avoids going on a merry-go-round, but those who have accepted
the United States, each state of the Union having its own private law applicable to its the renvoitheory avoid this inextricabilis circulas by getting off at the second reference
citizens only and in force only within the state. The "national law" indicated in Article 16 and at that point applying internal law. Perhaps the opponents of the renvoi are a bit
of the Civil Code above quoted can not, therefore, possibly mean or apply to any more consistent for they look always to internal law as the rule of reference.
general American law. So it can refer to no other than the private law of the State of Strangely enough, both the advocates for and the objectors to the renvoi plead that
California. greater uniformity will result from adoption of their respective views. And still more
The next question is: What is the law in California governing the disposition of personal strange is the fact that the only way to achieve uniformity in this choice-of-law problem
property? The decision of the court below, sustains the contention of the executor- is if in the dispute the two states whose laws form the legal basis of the litigation
appellee that under the California Probate Code, a testator may dispose of his property disagree as to whether the renvoi should be accepted. If both reject, or both accept the
by will in the form and manner he desires, citing the case of Estate of McDaniel, 77 doctrine, the result of the litigation will vary with the choice of the forum. In the case
Cal. Appl. 2d 877, 176 P. 2d 952. But appellant invokes the provisions of Article 946 of stated above, had the Michigan court rejected the renvoi, judgment would have been
the Civil Code of California, which is as follows: against the woman; if the suit had been brought in the Illinois courts, and they too
If there is no law to the contrary, in the place where personal property is situated, it is rejected the renvoi, judgment would be for the woman. The same result would happen,
deemed to follow the person of its owner, and is governed by the law of his domicile. though the courts would switch with respect to which would hold liability, if both courts
The existence of this provision is alleged in appellant's opposition and is not denied. accepted the renvoi.
We have checked it in the California Civil Code and it is there. Appellee, on the other The Restatement accepts the renvoi theory in two instances: where the title to land is
hand, relies on the case cited in the decision and testified to by a witness. (Only the in question, and where the validity of a decree of divorce is challenged. In these cases
case of Kaufman is correctly cited.) It is argued on executor's behalf that as the the Conflict of Laws rule of the situs of the land, or the domicile of the parties in the
deceased Christensen was a citizen of the State of California, the internal law thereof, divorce case, is applied by the forum, but any further reference goes only to the internal
which is that given in the abovecited case, should govern the determination of the law. Thus, a person's title to land, recognized by the situs, will be recognized by every
validity of the testamentary provisions of Christensen's will, such law being in force in court; and every divorce, valid by the domicile of the parties, will be valid everywhere.
the State of California of which Christensen was a citizen. Appellant, on the other hand, (Goodrich, Conflict of Laws, Sec. 7, pp. 13-14.)
insists that Article 946 should be applicable, and in accordance therewith and following X, a citizen of Massachusetts, dies intestate, domiciled in France, leaving movable
the doctrine of therenvoi, the question of the validity of the testamentary provision in property in Massachusetts, England, and France. The question arises as to how this
question should be referred back to the law of the decedent's domicile, which is the property is to be distributed among X's next of kin.
Philippines. Assume (1) that this question arises in a Massachusetts court. There the rule of the
The theory of doctrine of renvoi has been defined by various authors, thus: conflict of laws as to intestate succession to movables calls for an application of the
The problem has been stated in this way: "When the Conflict of Laws rule of the forum law of the deceased's last domicile. Since by hypothesis X's last domicile was France,
refers a jural matter to a foreign law for decision, is the reference to the purely internal the natural thing for the Massachusetts court to do would be to turn to French statute
16
of distributions, or whatever corresponds thereto in French law, and decree a Von Bar presented his views at the meeting of the Institute of International Law, at
distribution accordingly. An examination of French law, however, would show that if a Neuchatel, in 1900, in the form of the following theses:
French court were called upon to determine how this property should be distributed, it (1) Every court shall observe the law of its country as regards the application of foreign
would refer the distribution to the national law of the deceased, thus applying the laws.
Massachusetts statute of distributions. So on the surface of things the Massachusetts (2) Provided that no express provision to the contrary exists, the court shall respect:
court has open to it alternative course of action: (a) either to apply the French law is to (a) The provisions of a foreign law which disclaims the right to bind its nationals abroad
intestate succession, or (b) to resolve itself into a French court and apply the as regards their personal statute, and desires that said personal statute shall be
Massachusetts statute of distributions, on the assumption that this is what a French determined by the law of the domicile, or even by the law of the place where the act in
court would do. If it accepts the so-called renvoidoctrine, it will follow the latter course, question occurred.
thus applying its own law. (b) The decision of two or more foreign systems of law, provided it be certain that one
This is one type of renvoi. A jural matter is presented which the conflict-of-laws rule of of them is necessarily competent, which agree in attributing the determination of a
the forum refers to a foreign law, the conflict-of-laws rule of which, in turn, refers the question to the same system of law.
matter back again to the law of the forum. This is renvoi in the narrower sense. The xxx xxx xxx
German term for this judicial process is 'Ruckverweisung.'" (Harvard Law Review, Vol. If, for example, the English law directs its judge to distribute the personal estate of an
31, pp. 523-571.) Englishman who has died domiciled in Belgium in accordance with the law of his
After a decision has been arrived at that a foreign law is to be resorted to as governing domicile, he must first inquire whether the law of Belgium would distribute personal
a particular case, the further question may arise: Are the rules as to the conflict of laws property upon death in accordance with the law of domicile, and if he finds that the
contained in such foreign law also to be resorted to? This is a question which, while it Belgian law would make the distribution in accordance with the law of nationality —
has been considered by the courts in but a few instances, has been the subject of that is the English law — he must accept this reference back to his own law.
frequent discussion by textwriters and essayists; and the doctrine involved has been We note that Article 946 of the California Civil Code is its conflict of laws rule, while the
descriptively designated by them as the "Renvoyer" to send back, or the rule applied in In re Kaufman, Supra, its internal law. If the law on succession and the
"Ruchversweisung", or the "Weiterverweisung", since an affirmative answer to the conflict of laws rules of California are to be enforced jointly, each in its own intended
question postulated and the operation of the adoption of the foreign law in toto would and appropriate sphere, the principle cited In re Kaufman should apply to citizens living
in many cases result in returning the main controversy to be decided according to the in the State, but Article 946 should apply to such of its citizens as are not domiciled in
law of the forum. ... (16 C.J.S. 872.) California but in other jurisdictions. The rule laid down of resorting to the law of the
Another theory, known as the "doctrine of renvoi", has been advanced. The theory of domicile in the determination of matters with foreign element involved is in accord with
the doctrine of renvoiis that the court of the forum, in determining the question before the general principle of American law that the domiciliary law should govern in most
it, must take into account the whole law of the other jurisdiction, but also its rules as to matters or rights which follow the person of the owner.
conflict of laws, and then apply the law to the actual question which the rules of the When a man dies leaving personal property in one or more states, and leaves a will
other jurisdiction prescribe. This may be the law of the forum. The doctrine of directing the manner of distribution of the property, the law of the state where he was
therenvoi has generally been repudiated by the American authorities. (2 Am. Jur. 296) domiciled at the time of his death will be looked to in deciding legal questions about the
The scope of the theory of renvoi has also been defined and the reasons for its will, almost as completely as the law of situs is consulted in questions about the devise
application in a country explained by Prof. Lorenzen in an article in the Yale Law of land. It is logical that, since the domiciliary rules control devolution of the personal
Journal, Vol. 27, 1917-1918, pp. 529-531. The pertinent parts of the article are quoted estate in case of intestate succession, the same rules should determine the validity of
herein below: an attempted testamentary dispostion of the property. Here, also, it is not that the
The recognition of the renvoi theory implies that the rules of the conflict of laws are to domiciliary has effect beyond the borders of the domiciliary state. The rules of the
be understood as incorporating not only the ordinary or internal law of the foreign state domicile are recognized as controlling by the Conflict of Laws rules at the situs property,
or country, but its rules of the conflict of laws as well. According to this theory 'the law and the reason for the recognition as in the case of intestate succession, is the general
of a country' means the whole of its law. convenience of the doctrine. The New York court has said on the point: 'The general
xxx xxx xxx principle that a dispostiton of a personal property, valid at the domicile of the owner, is
17
valid anywhere, is one of the universal application. It had its origin in that international in the state of which the subject is a citizen, a law similar to or identical with Art. 946 of
comity which was one of the first fruits of civilization, and it this age, when business the California Civil Code.
intercourse and the process of accumulating property take but little notice of boundary We therefore find that as the domicile of the deceased Christensen, a citizen of
lines, the practical wisdom and justice of the rule is more apparent than ever. California, is the Philippines, the validity of the provisions of his will depriving his
(Goodrich, Conflict of Laws, Sec. 164, pp. 442-443.) acknowledged natural child, the appellant, should be governed by the Philippine Law,
Appellees argue that what Article 16 of the Civil Code of the Philippines pointed out as the domicile, pursuant to Art. 946 of the Civil Code of California, not by the internal law
the national law is the internal law of California. But as above explained the laws of of California..
California have prescribed two sets of laws for its citizens, one for residents therein and WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is hereby reversed and the case returned
another for those domiciled in other jurisdictions. Reason demands that We should to the lower court with instructions that the partition be made as the Philippine law on
enforce the California internal law prescribed for its citizens residing therein, and succession provides. Judgment reversed, with costs against appellees.
enforce the conflict of laws rules for the citizens domiciled abroad. If we must enforce
the law of California as in comity we are bound to go, as so declared in Article 16 of
our Civil Code, then we must enforce the law of California in accordance with the
express mandate thereof and as above explained, i.e., apply the internal law for
residents therein, and its conflict-of-laws rule for those domiciled abroad.
It is argued on appellees' behalf that the clause "if there is no law to the contrary in the
place where the property is situated" in Sec. 946 of the California Civil Code refers to
Article 16 of the Civil Code of the Philippines and that the law to the contrary in the
Philippines is the provision in said Article 16 that the national law of the deceased
should govern. This contention can not be sustained. As explained in the various
authorities cited above the national law mentioned in Article 16 of our Civil Code is the
law on conflict of laws in the California Civil Code, i.e., Article 946, which authorizes
the reference or return of the question to the law of the testator's domicile. The conflict
of laws rule in California, Article 946, Civil Code, precisely refers back the case, when
a decedent is not domiciled in California, to the law of his domicile, the Philippines in
the case at bar. The court of the domicile can not and should not refer the case back
to California; such action would leave the issue incapable of determination because
the case will then be like a football, tossed back and forth between the two states,
between the country of which the decedent was a citizen and the country of his
domicile. The Philippine court must apply its own law as directed in the conflict of laws
rule of the state of the decedent, if the question has to be decided, especially as the
application of the internal law of California provides no legitime for children while the
Philippine law, Arts. 887(4) and 894, Civil Code of the Philippines, makes natural
children legally acknowledged forced heirs of the parent recognizing them.
The Philippine cases (In re Estate of Johnson, 39 Phil. 156; Riera vs. Palmaroli, 40
Phil. 105; Miciano vs. Brimo, 50 Phil. 867; Babcock Templeton vs. Rider Babcock, 52
Phil. 130; and Gibbs vs. Government, 59 Phil. 293.) cited by appellees to support the
decision can not possibly apply in the case at bar, for two important reasons, i.e., the
subject in each case does not appear to be a citizen of a state in the United States but
with domicile in the Philippines, and it does not appear in each case that there exists
18
G.R. No. L-12105 January 30, 1960 testator's brother, F.L. Bohanan, and his sister, Mrs. M. B. Galbraith, share and share
TESTATE ESTATE OF C. O. BOHANAN, deceased. PHILIPPINE TRUST alike. This consist in the same amount of cash and of shares of mining stock similar to
CO., executor-appellee, those given to testator's grandson; (3) legacies of P6,000 each to his (testator) son,
vs. Edward Gilbert Bohana, and his daughter, Mary Lydia Bohanan, to be paid in three
MAGDALENA C. BOHANAN, EDWARD C. BOHANAN, and MARY LYDIA yearly installments; (4) legacies to Clara Daen, in the amount of P10,000.00; Katherine
BOHANAN, oppositors-appellants. Woodward, P2,000; Beulah Fox, P4,000; and Elizabeth Hastings, P2,000;
Jose D. Cortes for appellants. It will be seen from the above that out of the total estate (after deducting administration
Ohnick, Velilla and Balonkita for appellee. expenses) of P211,639.33 in cash, the testator gave his grandson P90,819.67 and
LABRADOR, J.: one-half of all shares of stock of several mining companies and to his brother and sister
Appeal against an order of the Court of First Instance of Manila, Hon. Ramon San Jose, the same amount. To his children he gave a legacy of only P6,000 each, or a total of
presiding, dismissing the objections filed by Magdalena C. Bohanan, Mary Bohanan P12,000.
and Edward Bohanan to the project of partition submitted by the executor and The wife Magadalena C. Bohanan and her two children question the validity of the
approving the said project. testamentary provisions disposing of the estate in the manner above indicated,
On April 24, 195 0, the Court of First Instance of Manila, Hon. Rafael Amparo, claiming that they have been deprived of the legitimate that the laws of the form
presiding, admitted to probate a last will and testament of C. O. Bohanan, executed by concede to them.
him on April 23, 1944 in Manila. In the said order, the court made the following findings: The first question refers to the share that the wife of the testator, Magdalena C.
According to the evidence of the opponents the testator was born in Nebraska and Bohanan, should be entitled to received. The will has not given her any share in the
therefore a citizen of that state, or at least a citizen of California where some of his estate left by the testator. It is argued that it was error for the trial court to have
properties are located. This contention in untenable. Notwithstanding the long recognized the Reno divorce secured by the testator from his Filipino wife Magdalena
residence of the decedent in the Philippines, his stay here was merely temporary, and C. Bohanan, and that said divorce should be declared a nullity in this jurisdiction, citing
he continued and remained to be a citizen of the United States and of the state of his the case of Querubin vs.Querubin, 87 Phil., 124, 47 Off. Gaz., (Sup, 12) 315, Cousins
pertinent residence to spend the rest of his days in that state. His permanent residence Hiz vs. Fluemer, 55 Phil., 852, Ramirez vs. Gmur, 42 Phil., 855 and
or domicile in the United States depended upon his personal intent or desire, and he Gorayeb vs. Hashim, 50 Phil., 22. The court below refused to recognize the claim of
selected Nevada as his homicide and therefore at the time of his death, he was a citizen the widow on the ground that the laws of Nevada, of which the deceased was a citizen,
of that state. Nobody can choose his domicile or permanent residence for him. That is allow him to dispose of all of his properties without requiring him to leave any portion
his exclusive personal right. of his estate to his wife. Section 9905 of Nevada Compiled Laws of 1925 provides:
Wherefore, the court finds that the testator C. O. Bohanan was at the time of his death Every person over the age of eighteen years, of sound mind, may, by last will, dispose
a citizen of the United States and of the State of Nevada and declares that his will and of all his or her estate, real and personal, the same being chargeable with the payment
testament, Exhibit A, is fully in accordance with the laws of the state of Nevada and of the testator's debts.
admits the same to probate. Accordingly, the Philippine Trust Company, named as the Besides, the right of the former wife of the testator, Magdalena C. Bohanan, to a share
executor of the will, is hereby appointed to such executor and upon the filing of a bond in the testator's estafa had already been passed upon adversely against her in an order
in the sum of P10,000.00, let letters testamentary be issued and after taking the dated June 19, 1955, (pp. 155-159, Vol II Records, Court of First Instance), which had
prescribed oath, it may enter upon the execution and performance of its trust. (pp. 26- become final, as Magdalena C. Bohanan does not appear to have appealed therefrom
27, R.O.A.). to question its validity. On December 16, 1953, the said former wife filed a motion to
It does not appear that the order granting probate was ever questions on appeal. The withdraw the sum of P20,000 from the funds of the estate, chargeable against her share
executor filed a project of partition dated January 24, 1956, making, in accordance with in the conjugal property, (See pp. 294-297, Vol. I, Record, Court of First Instance), and
the provisions of the will, the following adjudications: (1) one-half of the residuary the court in its said error found that there exists no community property owned by the
estate, to the Farmers and Merchants National Bank of Los Angeles, California, U.S.A. decedent and his former wife at the time the decree of divorce was issued. As already
in trust only for the benefit of testator's grandson Edward George Bohanan, which and Magdalena C. Bohanan may no longer question the fact contained therein, i.e. that
consists of several mining companies; (2) the other half of the residuary estate to the
19
there was no community property acquired by the testator and Magdalena C. Bohanan accompanied, if the record is not kept in the Philippines, with a certificate that such
during their converture. officer has the custody. . . . (Rule 123).
Moreover, the court below had found that the testator and Magdalena C. Bohanan were We have, however, consulted the records of the case in the court below and we have
married on January 30, 1909, and that divorce was granted to him on May 20, 1922; found that during the hearing on October 4, 1954 of the motion of Magdalena C.
that sometime in 1925, Magdalena C. Bohanan married Carl Aaron and this marriage Bohanan for withdrawal of P20,000 as her share, the foreign law, especially Section
was subsisting at the time of the death of the testator. Since no right to share in the 9905, Compiled Nevada Laws. was introduced in evidence by appellant's (herein)
inheritance in favor of a divorced wife exists in the State of Nevada and since the court counsel as Exhibits "2" (See pp. 77-79, VOL. II, and t.s.n. pp. 24-44, Records, Court of
below had already found that there was no conjugal property between the testator and First Instance). Again said laws presented by the counsel for the executor and admitted
Magdalena C. Bohanan, the latter can now have no longer claim to pay portion of the by the Court as Exhibit "B" during the hearing of the case on January 23, 1950 before
estate left by the testator. Judge Rafael Amparo (se Records, Court of First Instance, Vol. 1).
The most important issue is the claim of the testator's children, Edward and Mary Lydia, In addition, the other appellants, children of the testator, do not dispute the above-
who had received legacies in the amount of P6,000 each only, and, therefore, have not quoted provision of the laws of the State of Nevada. Under all the above circumstances,
been given their shares in the estate which, in accordance with the laws of the forum, we are constrained to hold that the pertinent law of Nevada, especially Section 9905
should be two-thirds of the estate left by the testator. Is the failure old the testator to of the Compiled Nevada Laws of 1925, can be taken judicial notice of by us, without
give his children two-thirds of the estate left by him at the time of his death, in proof of such law having been offered at the hearing of the project of partition.
accordance with the laws of the forum valid? As in accordance with Article 10 of the old Civil Code, the validity of testamentary
The old Civil Code, which is applicable to this case because the testator died in 1944, dispositions are to be governed by the national law of the testator, and as it has been
expressly provides that successional rights to personal property are to be earned by decided and it is not disputed that the national law of the testator is that of the State of
the national law of the person whose succession is in question. Says the law on this Nevada, already indicated above, which allows a testator to dispose of all his property
point: according to his will, as in the case at bar, the order of the court approving the project
Nevertheless, legal and testamentary successions, in respect to the order of of partition made in accordance with the testamentary provisions, must be, as it is
succession as well as to the extent of the successional rights and the intrinsic validity hereby affirmed, with costs against appellants.
of their provisions, shall be regulated by the national law of the person whose
succession is in question, whatever may be the nature of the property and the country
in which it is found. (par. 2, Art. 10, old Civil Code, which is the same as par. 2 Art. 16,
new Civil Code.)
In the proceedings for the probate of the will, it was found out and it was decided that
the testator was a citizen of the State of Nevada because he had selected this as his
domicile and his permanent residence. (See Decision dated April 24, 1950, supra). So
the question at issue is whether the estementary dispositions, especially hose for the
children which are short of the legitime given them by the Civil Code of the Philippines,
are valid. It is not disputed that the laws of Nevada allow a testator to dispose of all his
properties by will (Sec. 9905, Complied Nevada Laws of 1925, supra). It does not
appear that at time of the hearing of the project of partition, the above-quoted provision
was introduced in evidence, as it was the executor's duly to do. The law of Nevada,
being a foreign law can only be proved in our courts in the form and manner provided
for by our Rules, which are as follows:
SEC. 41. Proof of public or official record. — An official record or an entry therein, when
admissible for any purpose, may be evidenced by an official publication thereof or by
a copy tested by the officer having the legal custody of he record, or by his deputy, and
20
G.R. No. 142820 June 20, 2003 is granted to the father.
WOLFGANG O. ROEHR, petitioner, The litigation expenses shall be assumed by the Parties.9
vs. In view of said decree, petitioner filed a Second Motion to Dismiss on May 20, 1999 on
MARIA CARMEN D. RODRIGUEZ, HON. JUDGE JOSEFINA GUEVARA- the ground that the trial court had no jurisdiction over the subject matter of the action
SALONGA, Presiding Judge of Makati RTC, Branch 149, respondents. or suit as a decree of divorce had already been promulgated dissolving the marriage
QUISUMBING, J.: of petitioner and private respondent.
At the core of the present controversy are issues of (a) grave abuse of discretion On July 14, 1999, Judge Guevara-Salonga issued an order granting petitioner’s motion
allegedly committed by public respondent and (b) lack of jurisdiction of the regional trial to dismiss. Private respondent filed a Motion for Partial Reconsideration, with a prayer
court, in matters that spring from a divorce decree obtained abroad by petitioner. that the case proceed for the purpose of determining the issues of custody of children
In this special civil action for certiorari, petitioner assails (a) the order1 dated September and the distribution of the properties between petitioner and private respondent.
30, 1999 of public respondent Judge Josefina Guevara-Salonga, Presiding Judge of On August 18, 1999, an Opposition to the Motion for Partial Reconsideration was filed
Makati Regional Trial Court,2 Branch 149, in Civil Case No. 96-1389 for declaration of by the petitioner on the ground that there is nothing to be done anymore in the instant
nullity of marriage, and (b) the order3 dated March 31, 2000 denying his motion for case as the marital tie between petitioner Wolfgang Roehr and respondent Ma. Carmen
reconsideration. The assailed orders partially set aside the trial court’s order dismissing D. Rodriguez had already been severed by the decree of divorce promulgated by the
Civil Case No. 96-1389, for the purpose of resolving issues relating to the property Court of First Instance of Hamburg, Germany on December 16, 1997 and in view of
settlement of the spouses and the custody of their children. the fact that said decree of divorce had already been recognized by the RTC in its order
Petitioner Wolfgang O. Roehr, a German citizen and resident of Germany, married of July 14, 1999, through the implementation of the mandate of Article 26 of the Family
private respondent Carmen Rodriguez, a Filipina, on December 11, 1980 in Hamburg, Code,10 endowing the petitioner with the capacity to remarry under the Philippine law.
Germany. Their marriage was subsequently ratified on February 14, 1981 in Tayasan, On September 30, 1999, respondent judge issued the assailed order partially setting
Negros Oriental.4 Out of their union were born Carolynne and Alexandra Kristine on aside her order dated July 14, 1999 for the purpose of tackling the issues of property
November 18, 1981 and October 25, 1987, respectively. relations of the spouses as well as support and custody of their children. The pertinent
On August 28, 1996, private respondent filed a petition5 for declaration of nullity of portion of said order provides:
marriage before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Makati City. On February 6, 1997, Acting on the Motion for Partial Reconsideration of the Order dated July 14, 1999 filed
petitioner filed a motion to dismiss,6 but it was denied by the trial court in its order7 dated by petitioner thru counsel which was opposed by respondent and considering that the
May 28, 1997. second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code was included as an amendment
On June 5, 1997, petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration, but was also denied in thru Executive Order 227, to avoid the absurd situation of a Filipino as being still
an order8 dated August 13, 1997. On September 5, 1997, petitioner filed a petition for married to his or her alien spouse though the latter is no longer married to the Filipino
certiorari with the Court of Appeals. On November 27, 1998, the appellate court denied spouse because he/she had obtained a divorce abroad which is recognized by his/her
the petition and remanded the case to the RTC. national law, and considering further the effects of the termination of the marriage
Meanwhile, petitioner obtained a decree of divorce from the Court of First Instance of under Article 43 in relation to Article 50 and 52 of the same Code, which include the
Hamburg-Blankenese, promulgated on December 16, 1997. dissolution of the property relations of the spouses, and the support and custody of
The decree provides in part: their children, the Order dismissing this case is partially set aside with respect to these
[T]he Court of First Instance, Hamburg-Blankenese, Branch 513, has ruled through matters which may be ventilated in this Court.
Judge van Buiren of the Court of First Instance on the basis of the oral proceedings SO ORDERED.11 (Emphasis supplied.)
held on 4 Nov. 1997: Petitioner filed a timely motion for reconsideration on October 19, 1999, which was
The marriage of the Parties contracted on 11 December 1980 before the Civil Registrar denied by respondent judge in an order dated March 31, 2000.12
of Hamburg-Altona is hereby dissolved. Petitioner ascribes lack of jurisdiction of the trial court and grave abuse of discretion on
The parental custody for the children the part of respondent judge. He cites as grounds for his petition the following:
Carolynne Roehr, born 18 November 1981 1. Partially setting aside the order dated July 14, 1999 dismissing the instant case is
Alexandra Kristine Roehr, born on 25 October 1987 not allowed by 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure.13
21
2. Respondent Maria Carmen Rodriguez by her motion for Partial Reconsideration had It is clear from the foregoing rules that a judge can order a partial reconsideration of a
recognized and admitted the Divorce Decision obtained by her ex-husband in case that has not yet attained finality. Considering that private respondent filed a motion
Hamburg, Germany.14 for reconsideration within the reglementary period, the trial court's decision of July 14,
3. There is nothing left to be tackled by the Honorable Court as there are no conjugal 1999 can still be modified. Moreover, in Sañado v. Court of Appeals,16we held that the
assets alleged in the Petition for Annulment of Marriage and in the Divorce petition, court could modify or alter a judgment even after the same has become executory
and the custody of the children had already been awarded to Petitioner Wolfgang whenever circumstances transpire rendering its decision unjust and inequitable, as
Roehr.15 where certain facts and circumstances justifying or requiring such modification or
Pertinent in this case before us are the following issues: alteration transpired after the judgment has become final and executory17 and when it
1. Whether or not respondent judge gravely abused her discretion in issuing her order becomes imperative in the higher interest of justice or when supervening events
dated September 30, 1999, which partially modified her order dated July 14, 1999; and warrant it.18 In our view, there are even more compelling reasons to do so when, as in
2. Whether or not respondent judge gravely abused her discretion when she assumed this case, judgment has not yet attained finality.
and retained jurisdiction over the present case despite the fact that petitioner has Anent the second issue, petitioner claims that respondent judge committed grave
already obtained a divorce decree from a German court. abuse of discretion when she partially set aside her order dated July 14, 1999, despite
On the first issue, petitioner asserts that the assailed order of respondent judge is the fact that petitioner has already obtained a divorce decree from the Court of First
completely inconsistent with her previous order and is contrary to Section 3, Rule 16, Instance of Hamburg, Germany.
Rules of Civil Procedure, which provides: In Garcia v. Recio,19 Van Dorn v. Romillo, Jr.,20 and Llorente v. Court of Appeals,21 we
Sec. 3. Resolution of motion - After the hearing, the court may dismiss the action or consistently held that a divorce obtained abroad by an alien may be recognized in our
claim, deny the motion, or order the amendment of the pleading. jurisdiction, provided such decree is valid according to the national law of the foreigner.
The court shall not defer the resolution of the motion for the reason that the ground Relevant to the present case is Pilapil v. Ibay-Somera,22 where this Court specifically
relied upon is not indubitable. recognized the validity of a divorce obtained by a German citizen in his country, the
In every case, the resolution shall state clearly and distinctly the reasons therefor. Federal Republic of Germany. We held in Pilapil that a foreign divorce and its legal
(Emphasis supplied.) effects may be recognized in the Philippines insofar as respondent is concerned in view
Petitioner avers that a court’s action on a motion is limited to dismissing the action or of the nationality principle in our civil law on the status of persons.
claim, denying the motion, or ordering the amendment of the pleading. In this case, the divorce decree issued by the German court dated December 16, 1997
Private respondent, on her part, argues that the RTC can validly reconsider its order has not been challenged by either of the parties. In fact, save for the issue of parental
dated July 14, 1999 because it had not yet attained finality, given the timely filing of custody, even the trial court recognized said decree to be valid and binding, thereby
respondent’s motion for reconsideration. endowing private respondent the capacity to remarry. Thus, the present controversy
Pertinent to this issue is Section 3 in relation to Section 7, Rule 37 of the 1997 Rules mainly relates to the award of the custody of their two children, Carolynne and
of Civil Procedure, which provides: Alexandra Kristine, to petitioner.
Sec. 3. Action upon motion for new trial or reconsideration.—The trial court may set As a general rule, divorce decrees obtained by foreigners in other countries are
aside the judgment or final order and grant a new trial, upon such terms as may be just, recognizable in our jurisdiction, but the legal effects thereof, e.g. on custody, care and
or may deny the motion. If the court finds that excessive damages have been support of the children, must still be determined by our courts.23 Before our courts can
awarded or that the judgment or final order is contrary to the evidence or law, it may give the effect of res judicata to a foreign judgment, such as the award of custody to
amend such judgment or final order accordingly. petitioner by the German court, it must be shown that the parties opposed to the
Sec. 7. Partial new trial or reconsideration.—If the grounds for a motion under this Rule judgment had been given ample opportunity to do so on grounds allowed under Rule
appear to the court to affect the issues as to only a part, or less than all of the matters 39, Section 50 of the Rules of Court (now Rule 39, Section 48, 1997 Rules of Civil
in controversy, or only one, or less than all, of the parties to it, the court may order a Procedure), to wit:
new trial or grant reconsideration as to such issues if severable without interfering with SEC. 50. Effect of foreign judgments. - The effect of a judgment of a tribunal of a foreign
the judgment or final order upon the rest. (Emphasis supplied.) country, having jurisdiction to pronounce the judgment is as follows:

22
(a) In case of a judgment upon a specific thing, the judgment is conclusive upon the is no property to be accounted for, respondent judge has no basis to assert jurisdiction
title to the thing; in this case to resolve a matter no longer deemed in controversy.
(b) In case of a judgment against a person, the judgment is presumptive evidence of a In sum, we find that respondent judge may proceed to determine the issue regarding
right as between the parties and their successors in interest by a subsequent title; but the custody of the two children born of the union between petitioner and private
the judgment may be repelled by evidence of a want of jurisdiction, want of notice to respondent. Private respondent erred, however, in claiming cognizance to settle the
the party, collusion, fraud, or clear mistake of law or fact. matter of property relations of the parties, which is not at issue.
It is essential that there should be an opportunity to challenge the foreign judgment, in WHEREFORE, the orders of the Regional Trial Court of Makati, Branch 149, issued on
order for the court in this jurisdiction to properly determine its efficacy. In this September 30, 1999 and March 31, 2000 are AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION. We
jurisdiction, our Rules of Court clearly provide that with respect to actions in personam, hereby declare that the trial court has jurisdiction over the issue between the parties as
as distinguished from actions in rem, a foreign judgment merely constitutes prima to who has parental custody, including the care, support and education of the children,
facie evidence of the justness of the claim of a party and, as such, is subject to proof namely Carolynne and Alexandra Kristine Roehr. Let the records of this case be
to the contrary.24 remanded promptly to the trial court for continuation of appropriate proceedings. No
In the present case, it cannot be said that private respondent was given the opportunity pronouncement as to costs.
to challenge the judgment of the German court so that there is basis for declaring that SO ORDERED.
judgment as res judicata with regard to the rights of petitioner to have parental custody
of their two children. The proceedings in the German court were summary. As to what
was the extent of private respondent’s participation in the proceedings in the German
court, the records remain unclear. The divorce decree itself states that neither has she
commented on the proceedings25 nor has she given her opinion to the Social Services
Office.26 Unlike petitioner who was represented by two lawyers, private respondent had
no counsel to assist her in said proceedings.27 More importantly, the divorce judgment
was issued to petitioner by virtue of the German Civil Code provision to the effect that
when a couple lived separately for three years, the marriage is deemed irrefutably
dissolved. The decree did not touch on the issue as to who the offending spouse was.
Absent any finding that private respondent is unfit to obtain custody of the children, the
trial court was correct in setting the issue for hearing to determine the issue of parental
custody, care, support and education mindful of the best interests of the children. This
is in consonance with the provision in the Child and Youth Welfare Code that the child’s
welfare is always the paramount consideration in all questions concerning his care and
custody. 28
On the matter of property relations, petitioner asserts that public respondent exceeded
the bounds of her jurisdiction when she claimed cognizance of the issue concerning
property relations between petitioner and private respondent. Private respondent
herself has admitted in Par. 14 of her petition for declaration of nullity of marriage dated
August 26, 1996 filed with the RTC of Makati, subject of this case, that: "[p]etitioner
and respondent have not acquired any conjugal or community property nor have they
incurred any debts during their marriage."29 Herein petitioner did not contest this
averment. Basic is the rule that a court shall grant relief warranted by the allegations
and the proof.30 Given the factual admission by the parties in their pleadings that there

23
G.R. No. 85140 May 17, 1990 The respondent court in an order dated 28 September 1988 issued the writ of habeas
TOMAS EUGENIO, SR., petitioner, corpus, but the writ was returned unsatisfied. Petitioner refused to surrender the body
vs. of Vitaliana (who had died on 28 August 1988) to the respondent sheriff, reasoning that
HON. ALEJANDRO M. VELEZ, Presiding Judge, Regional Trial Court, Branch 20, a corpse cannot be the subject of habeas corpus proceedings; besides, according to
Cagayan de Oro City, DEPUTY SHERIFF JOHNSON TAN, JR., Deputy Sheriff of petitioner, he had already obtained a burial permit from the Undersecretary of the
Branch 20, Regional Trial Court, Cagayan de Oro City, and the Private Department of Health, authorizing the burial at the palace quadrangle of the Philippine
Respondents, the petitioners in Sp. Proc. No. 88-55, for "Habeas Corpus", Benevolent Christian Missionary, Inc. (PBCM), a registered religious sect, of which he
namely: CRISANTA VARGAS-SANCHEZ, SANTOS and NARCISA VARGAS- (petitioner) is the Supreme President and Founder.
BENTULAN, respondents. Petitioner also alleged that Vitaliana died of heart failure due to toxemia of pregnancy
G.R. No. 86470 May 17, 1990. in his residence on 28 August 1988. As her common law husband, petitioner claimed
TOMAS EUGENIO, petitioner-appellant, legal custody of her body. These reasons were incorporated in an explanation filed
vs. before the respondent court. Two (2) orders dated 29 and 30 September 1988 were
HON. ALEJANDRO M. VELEZ, Presiding Judge, Regional Trial Court, Branch 20, then issued by respondent court, directing delivery of the deceased's body to a funeral
Cagayan de Oro City, CRISANTA VARGAS-SANCHEZ, FELIX VARGAS, parlor in Cagayan de Oro City and its autopsy.
ERNESTO VARGAS, NATIVIDAD VARGAS-CAGAPE, NENITA VARGAS- Petitioner (as respondent in the habeas corpus proceedings) filed an urgent motion to
CADENAS, LUDIVINA VARGAS-DE LOS SANTOS and NARCISA VARGAS- dismiss the petition therein, claiming lack of jurisdiction of the court over the nature of
BENTULAN,respondents-appellees. the action under sec. 1(b) of Rule 16 in relation to sec. 2, Rule 72 of the Rules of
Maximo G. Rodriguez for petitioner. Court. 1 A special proceeding for habeas corpus, petitioner argued, is not applicable to
Erasmo B. Damasing and Oliver Asis Improso for respondents. a dead person but extends only to all cases of illegal confinement or detention of a live
person.
PADILLA, J.: Before resolving the motion to dismiss, private respondents (as petitioners below) were
On 5 October 1988, petitioner came to this Court with a petition for certiorari and granted leave to amend their petition. 2 Claiming to have knowledge of the death of
prohibition with application for restraining order and/or injunction (docketed as G.R. No. Vitaliana only on 28 September 1988 (or after the filing of thehabeas corpus petition),
85140) seeking to enjoin respondent Judge from proceeding with the Habeas private respondents (Vargases') alleged that petitioner Tomas Eugenia who is not in
Corpus case (Sp. Proc. No. 88- 55, RTC, Branch 20, Cagayan de Oro City), * the any way related to Vitaliana was wrongfully interfering with their (Vargases') duty to
respondent Sheriff from enforcing and implementing the writ and orders of the bury her. Invoking Arts. 305 and 308 of the Civil Code, 3 the Vargases contended that,
respondent Judge dated 28, 29, and 30 September 1988, and to declare said writ and as the next of kin in the Philippines, they are the legal custodians of the dead body of
orders as null and void. In a resolution issued on 11 October 1988, this Court required their sister Vitaliana. An exchange of pleadings followed. The motion to dismiss was
comment from the respondents on the petition but denied the application for a finally submitted for resolution on 21 October 1988.
temporary restraining order. In the absence of a restraining order from this Court, proceedings continued before the
The records disclose the following: respondent court; the body was placed in a coffin, transferred to the Greenhills
Unaware of the death on 28 August 1988 of (Vitaliana Vargas Vitaliana for brevity), her Memorial Homes in Cagayan de Oro City, viewed by the presiding Judge of respondent
full blood brothers and sisters, herein private respondents (Vargases', for brevity) filed court, and examined by a duly authorized government pathologist. 4
on 27 September 1988, a petition for habeas corpus before the RTC of Misamis Denying the motion to dismiss filed by petitioner, the court a quo held in an
Oriental (Branch 20, Cagayan de Oro City) alleging that Vitaliana was forcibly taken order, 5 dated 17 November 1988, that:
from her residence sometime in 1987 and confined by herein petitioner in his palacial It should be noted from the original petition, to the first amended petition, up to the
residence in Jasaan, Misamis Oriental. Despite her desire to escape, Vitaliana was second amended petition that the ultimate facts show that if the person of Vitaliana
allegedly deprived of her liberty without any legal authority. At the time the petition was Vargas turns out to be dead then this Court is being prayed to declare the petitioners
filed, it was alleged that Vitaliana was 25 years of age, single, and living with petitioner as the persons entitled to the custody, interment and/or burial of the body of said
Tomas Eugenio. deceased. The Court, considering the circumstance that Vitaliana Vargas was already
24
dead on August 28, 1988 but only revealed to the Court on September 29, 1988 by preference to give support under Art. 294 was used as the basis of the award. Since
respondent's counsel, did not lose jurisdiction over the nature and subject matter of this there was no surviving spouse, ascendants or descendants, the brothers and sisters
case because it may entertain this case thru the allegations in the body of the petition were preferred over petitioner who was merely a common law spouse, the latter being
on the determination as to who is entitled to the custody of the dead body of the late himself legally married to another woman. 11
Vitaliana Vargas as well as the burial or interment thereof, for the reason that under On 23 January 1989, a new petition for review with application for a temporary
the provisions of Sec. 19 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, which reads as follows: restraining order and/or preliminary injunction was filed with this Court (G.R. No.
Sec. 19. Jurisdiction in civil cases. — Regional Trial Courts shall exercise exclusive 86470). Raised therein were pure questions of law, basically Identical to those raised
original jurisdiction: in the earlier petition (G.R. No. 85140); hence, the consolidation of both cases.12 On 7
(1) In all civil actions in which the subject of the litigation is incapable of pecuniary February 1989, petitioner filed an urgent motion for the issuance of an injunction to
estimation; maintain status quo pending appeal, which this Court denied in a resolution dated 23
xxx xxx xxx February 1989 stating that "Tomas Eugenio has so far failed to sufficiently establish a
(5) In all actions involving the contract of marriage and marital relations; clear legal right to the custody of the dead body of Vitaliana Vargas, which now needs
(6) In all cases not within the exclusive jurisdiction of any court, tribunal, person or body a decent burial." The petitions were then submitted for decision without further
exercising judicial or quasi-judicial functions: pleadings.
xxx xxx xxx Between the two (2) consolidated petitions, the following issues are raised:
it so provides that the Regional Trial Court has exclusive original jurisdiction to try this 1. propriety of a habeas corpus proceeding under Rule 102 of the Rules of Court to
case. The authority to try the issue of custody and burial of a dead person is within the recover custody of the dead body of a 25 year old female, single, whose nearest
lawful jurisdiction of this Court because of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129 and because of surviving claimants are full blood brothers and sisters and a common law husband.
the allegations of the pleadings in this case, which are enumerated in Sec. 19, pars. 1, 2. jurisdiction of the RTC over such proceedings and/or its authority to treat the action
5 and 6 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129. as one for custody/possession/authority to bury the deceased/recovery of the dead.
Thereafter, the court a quo proceeded as in or civil cases and, in due course, rendered 3. interpretation of par. 1, Art. 294 of the Civil Code (Art. 199 of the new Family Code)
a decision on 17 January 1989, 6 resolving the main issue of whether or not said court which states:
acquired jurisdiction over the case by treating it as an action for custody of a dead Art. 294. The claim for support, when proper and two or more persons are obliged to
body, without the petitioners having to file a separate civil action for such relief, and give it, shall be made in the following order:
without the Court first dismissing the original petition for habeas corpus. (1) From the spouse;
Citing Sections 19 and 20 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129 (the Judiciary Reorganization xxx xxx xxx
Act of 1981), 7 Sections 5 and 6 of Rule 135 of the Rules of Court 8 Articles 305 and Section 19, Batas Pambansa Blg. 129 provides for the exclusive original jurisdiction of
308 in relation to Article 294 of the Civil Code and Section 1104 of the Revised the Regional Trial Courts over civil cases. Under Sec. 2, Rule 102 of the Rules of Court,
Administrative Code, 9 the decision stated: the writ of habeas corpus may be granted by a Court of First Instance (now Regional
. . . . By a mere reading of the petition the court observed that the allegations in the Trial Court). It is an elementary rule of procedure that what controls is not the caption
original petition as well as in the two amended petitions show that Vitaliana Vargas has of the complaint or petition; but the allegations therein determine the nature of the
been restrained of her liberty and if she were dead then relief was prayed for the action, and even without the prayer for a specific remedy, proper relief may
custody and burial of said dead person. The amendments to the petition were but nevertheless be granted by the court if the facts alleged in the complaint and the
elaborations but the ultimate facts remained the same, hence, this court strongly finds evidence introduced so warrant. 13
that this court has ample jurisdiction to entertain and sit on this case as an action for When the petition for habeas corpus was filed before the court a quo, it was not certain
custody and burial of the dead body because the body of the petition controls and is whether Vitaliana was dead or alive. While habeas corpus is a writ of right, it will not
binding and since this case was raffled to this court to the exclusion of all other courts, issue as a matter of course or as a mere perfimetory operation on the filing of the
it is the primary duty of this court to decide and dispose of this case. . . . . 10 petition. Judicial discretion is exercised in its issuance, and such facts must be made
Satisfied with its jurisdiction, the respondent court then proceeded to the matter of to appear to the judge to whom the petition is presented as, in his judgment, prima
rightful custody over the dead body, (for purposes of burial thereof). The order of facie entitle the petitioner to the writ. 14 While the court may refuse to grant the writ if
25
the petition is insufficient in form and substance, the writ should issue if the petition may be considered legally mauled in common law jurisdictions but not in the
complies with the legal requirements and its averments make a prima facie case for Philippines. 19
relief. However, a judge who is asked to issue a writ of habeas corpus need not be very While it is true that our laws do not just brush aside the fact that such relationships are
critical in looking into the petition for very clear grounds for the exercise of this present in our society, and that they produce a community of properties and interests
jurisdiction. The latter's power to make full inquiry into the cause of commitment or which is governed by law, 20 authority exists in case law to the effect that such form of
detention will enable him to correct any errors or defects in the petition. 15 co-ownership requires that the man and woman living together must not in any way be
In Macazo and Nunez vs. Nunez, 16 the Court frowned upon the dismissal of a habeas incapacitated to contract marriage. 21 In any case, herein petitioner has a subsisting
corpus petition filed by a brother to obtain custody of a minor sister, stating: marriage with another woman, a legal impediment which disqualified him from even
All these circumstances notwithstanding, we believe that the case should not have legally marrying Vitaliana. In Santero vs. CFI of Cavite, 22 ,the Court, thru Mr. Justice
been dismissed. The court below should not have overlooked that by dismissing the Paras, interpreting Art. 188 of the Civil Code (Support of Surviving Spouse and Children
petition, it was virtually sanctioning the continuance of an adulterous and scandalous During Liquidation of Inventoried Property) stated: "Be it noted however that with
relation between the minor and her married employer, respondent Benildo Nunez respect to 'spouse', the same must be the legitimate 'spouse' (not common-law
against all principles of law and morality. It is no excuse that the minor has expressed spouses)."
preference for remaining with said respondent, because the minor may not chose to There is a view that under Article 332 of the Revised Penal Code, the term "spouse"
continue an illicit relation that morals and law repudiate. embraces common law relation for purposes of exemption from criminal liability in
xxx xxx xxx cases of theft, swindling and malicious mischief committed or caused mutually by
The minor's welfare being the paramount consideration, the court below should not spouses. The Penal Code article, it is said, makes no distinction between a couple
allow the technicality, that Teofilo Macazo was not originally made a party, to stand in whose cohabitation is sanctioned by a sacrament or legal tie and another who are
the way of its giving the child full protection. Even in a habeas corpus proceeding the husband and wife de facto. 23 But this view cannot even apply to the facts of the case
court had power to award temporary custody to the petitioner herein, or some other at bar. We hold that the provisions of the Civil Code, unless expressly providing to the
suitable person, after summoning and hearing all parties concerned. What matters is contrary as in Article 144, when referring to a "spouse" contemplate a lawfully wedded
that the immoral situation disclosed by the records be not allowed to continue. 17 spouse. Petitioner vis-a-vis Vitaliana was not a lawfully-wedded spouse to her; in fact,
After the fact of Vitaliana's death was made known to the petitioners in the habeas he was not legally capacitated to marry her in her lifetime.
corpus proceedings,amendment of the petition for habeas corpus, not dismissal, was Custody of the dead body of Vitaliana was correctly awarded to her surviving brothers
proper to avoid multiplicity of suits. Amendments to pleadings are generally favored and sisters (the Vargases). Section 1103 of the Revised Administrative Code provides:
and should be liberally allowed in furtherance of justice in order that every case may Sec. 1103. Persons charged with duty of burial. — The immediate duty of burying the
so far as possible be determined on its real facts and in order to expedite the trial of body of a deceased person, regardless of the ultimate liability for the expense thereof,
cases or prevent circuity of action and unnecessary expense, unless there are shall devolve upon the persons hereinbelow specified:
circumstances such as inexcusable delay or the taking of the adverse party by surprise xxx xxx xxx
or the like, which justify a refusal of permission to amend. 18 As correctly alleged by (b) If the deceased was an unmarried man or woman, or a child, and left any kin, the
respondents, the writ of habeas corpus as a remedy became moot and academic due duty of burial shall devolve upon the nearest of kin of the deceased, if they be adults
to the death of the person allegedly restrained of liberty, but the issue of custody and within the Philippines and in possession of sufficient means to defray the
remained, which the court a quo had to resolve. necessary expenses.
Petitioner claims he is the spouse contemplated under Art. 294 of the Civil Code, the WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is AFFIRMED. Both petitions are hereby
term spouse used therein not being preceded by any qualification; hence, in the DISMISSED. No Costs.
absence of such qualification, he is the rightful custodian of Vitaliana's body. Vitaliana's SO ORDERED.
brothers and sisters contend otherwise. Indeed, Philippine Law does not recognize
common law marriages. A man and woman not legally married who cohabit for many
years as husband and wife, who represent themselves to the public as husband and
wife, and who are reputed to be husband and wife in the community where they live
26
G.R. No. 17958 February 27, 1922 THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINE the case. Pirates are in law hostes humani generis. Piracy is a crime not against any
ISLANDS, plaintiff-appellee, vs. LOL-LO and SARAW, defendants-appellants. particular state but against all mankind. It may be punished in the competent tribunal
The days when pirates roamed the seas, when picturesque buccaneers like Captain of any country where the offender may be found or into which he may be carried. The
Avery and Captain Kidd and Bartholomew Roberts gripped the imagination, when jurisdiction of piracy unlike all other crimes has no territorial limits. As it is against all so
grostesque brutes like Blackbeard flourished, seem far away in the pages of history may it be punished by all. Nor does it matter that the crime was committed within the
and romance. Nevertheless, the record before us tells a tale of twentieth century piracy jurisdictional 3-mile limit of a foreign state, "for those limits, though neutral to war, are
in the south seas, but stripped of all touches of chivalry or of generosity, so as to not neutral to crimes." (U.S. vs. Furlong [1820], 5 Wheat., 184.)
present a horrible case of rapine and near murder. On or about June 30, 1920, two The most serious question which is squarely presented to this court for decision for the
boats left matuta, a Dutch possession, for Peta, another Dutch possession. In one of first time is whether or not the provisions of the Penal Code dealing with the crime of
the boats was one individual, a Dutch subject, and in the other boat eleven men, piracy are still in force. Article 153 to 156 of the Penal Code reads as follows:
women, and children, likewise subjects of Holland. After a number of days of ART. 153. The crime of piracy committed against Spaniards, or the subjects of another
navigation, at about 7 o'clock in the evening, the second boat arrived between the nation not at war with Spain, shall be punished with a penalty ranging from cadena
Islands of Buang and Bukid in the Dutch East Indies. There the boat was surrounded temporal to cadena perpetua. If the crime be committed against nonbelligerent
by six vintas manned by twenty-four Moros all armed. The Moros first asked for food, subjects of another nation at war with Spain, it shall be punished with the penalty
but once on the Dutch boat, too for themselves all of the cargo, attacked some of the of presidio mayor. ART. 154. Those who commit the crimes referred to in the first
men, and brutally violated two of the women by methods too horrible to the described. paragraph of the next preceding article shall suffer the penalty of cadena perpetua or
All of the persons on the Dutch boat, with the exception of the two young women, were death, and those who commit the crimes referred to in the second paragraph of the
again placed on it and holes were made in it, the idea that it would submerge, although same article, from cadena temporal to cadena perpetua:
as a matter of fact, these people, after eleven days of hardship and privation, were 1. Whenever they have seized some vessel by boarding or firing upon the same.
succored violating them, the Moros finally arrived at Maruro, a Dutch possession. Two 2. Whenever the crime is accompanied by murder, homicide, or by any of the physical
of the Moro marauder were Lol-lo, who also raped one of the women, and Saraw. At injuries specified in articles four hundred and fourteen and four hundred and fifteen and
Maruro the two women were able to escape. Lol-lo and Saraw later returned to their in paragraphs one and two of article four hundred and sixteen.
home in South Ubian, Tawi-Tawi, Sulu, Philippine Islands. There they were arrested 3. Whenever it is accompanied by any of the offenses against chastity specified in
and were charged in the Court of First Instance of Sulu with the crime of piracy. A Chapter II, Title IX, of this book.
demurrer was interposed by counsel de officio for the Moros, based on the grounds 4. Whenever the pirates have abandoned any persons without means of saving
that the offense charged was not within the jurisdiction of the Court of First Instance, themselves.
nor of any court of the Philippine Islands, and that the facts did not constitute a public 5. In every case, the captain or skipper of the pirates.
offense, under the laws in force in the Philippine Islands. After the demurrer was ART. 155. With respect to the provisions of this title, as well as all others of this code,
overruled by the trial judge, trial was had, and a judgment was rendered finding the two when Spain is mentioned it shall be understood as including any part of the national
defendants guilty and sentencing each of them to life imprisonment (cadena perpetua), territory. ART. 156. For the purpose of applying the provisions of this code, every
to return together with Kinawalang and Maulanis, defendants in another case, to the person, who, according to the Constitution of the Monarchy, has the status of a
offended parties, the thirty-nine sacks of copras which had been robbed, or to indemnify Spaniard shall be considered as such. The general rules of public law recognized and
them in the amount of 924 rupees, and to pay a one-half part of the costs. A very acted on by the United States relating to the effect of a transfer of territory from another
learned and exhaustive brief has been filed in this court by the attorney de officio. By a State to the United States are well-known. The political law of the former sovereignty
process of elimination, however, certain questions can be quickly disposed of. The is necessarily changed. The municipal law in so far as it is consistent with the
proven facts are not disputed. All of the elements of the crime of piracy are present. Constitution, the laws of the United States, or the characteristics and institutions of the
Piracy is robbery or forcible depredation on the high seas, without lawful authority and government, remains in force. As a corollary to the main rules, laws subsisting at the
done animo furandi, and in the spirit and intention of universal hostility. time of transfer, designed to secure good order and peace in the community, which are
It cannot be contended with any degree of force as was done in the lover court and as strictly of a municipal character, continue until by direct action of the new government
is again done in this court, that the Court of First Instance was without jurisdiction of they are altered or repealed. (Chicago, Rock Islands, etc., R. Co. vs. McGlinn [1885],
27
114 U.S., 542.) These principles of the public law were given specific application to the limited meaning, which would no longer comprehend all religious, military, and civil
Philippines by the Instructions of President McKinley of May 19, 1898, to General officers, but only public officers in the Government of the Philippine Islands. Under the
Wesley Meritt, the Commanding General of the Army of Occupation in the Philippines, construction above indicated, article 153 of the Penal Code would read as follows: The
when he said: Though the powers of the military occupant are absolute and supreme, crime of piracy committed against citizens of the United States and citizens of the
and immediately operate upon the political condition of the inhabitants, the municipal Philippine Islands, or the subjects of another nation not at war with the United States,
laws of the conquered territory, such as affect private rights of person and property, and shall be punished with a penalty ranging from cadena temporal to cadena perpetua. If
provide for the punishment of crime, are considered as continuing in force, so far as the crime be committed against nonbelligerent subjects of another nation at war with
they are compatible with the new order of things, until they are suspended or the United States, it shall be punished with the penalty of presidio mayor. We hold
superseded by the occupying belligerent; and practice they are not usually abrogated, those provisions of the Penal code dealing with the crime of piracy, notably articles 153
but are allowed to remain in force, and to be administered by the ordinary tribunals, and 154, to be still in force in the Philippines. The crime falls under the first paragraph
substantially as they were before the occupations. This enlightened practice is so far of article 153 of the Penal Code in relation to article 154. There are present at least two
as possible, to be adhered to on the present occasion. (Official Gazette, Preliminary of the circumstances named in the last cited article as authorizing either cadena
Number, Jan. 1, 1903, p. 1. See also General Merritt Proclamation of August 14, 1898.) perpetua or death. The crime of piracy was accompanied by (1) an offense against
It cannot admit of doubt that the articles of the Spanish Penal Code dealing with piracy chastity and (2) the abandonment of persons without apparent means of saving
were meant to include the Philippine Islands. Article 156 of the Penal Code in relation themselves. It is, therefore, only necessary for us to determine as to whether the
to article 1 of the Constitution of the Spanish Monarchy, would also make the provisions penalty of cadena perpetua or death should be imposed. In this connection, the trial
of the Code applicable not only to Spaniards but to Filipinos. The opinion of Grotius court, finding present the one aggravating circumstance of nocturnity, and
was that piracy by the law of nations is the same thing as piracy by the civil law, and compensating the same by the one mitigating circumstance of lack of instruction
he has never been disputed. The specific provisions of the Penal Code are similar in provided by article 11, as amended, of the Penal Code, sentenced the accused to life
tenor to statutory provisions elsewhere and to the concepts of the public law. This must imprisonment. At least three aggravating circumstances, that the wrong done in the
necessarily be so, considering that the Penal Code finds its inspiration in this respect commission of the crime was deliberately augmented by causing other wrongs not
in the Novelas, the Partidas, and the Novisima Recopilacion. The Constitution of the necessary for its commission, that advantage was taken of superior strength, and that
United States declares that the Congress shall have the power to define and punish means were employed which added ignominy to the natural effects of the act, must
piracies and felonies committed on the high seas, and offenses against the law of also be taken into consideration in fixing the penalty. Considering, therefore, the
nations. (U.S. Const. Art. I, sec. 8, cl. 10.) The Congress, in putting on the statute books number and importance of the qualifying and aggravating circumstances here present,
the necessary ancillary legislation, provided that whoever, on the high seas, commits which cannot be offset by the sole mitigating circumstance of lack of instruction, and
the crime of piracy as defined by the law of nations, and is afterwards brought into or the horrible nature of the crime committed, it becomes our duty to impose capital
found in the United States, shall be imprisoned for life. (U.S. Crim. Code, sec. 290; punishment. The vote upon the sentence is unanimous with regard to the propriety of
penalty formerly death: U.S. Rev. Stat., sec. 5368.) The framers of the Constitution and the imposition of the death penalty upon the defendant and appellant Lo-lo (the
the members of Congress were content to let a definition of piracy rest on its universal accused who raped on of the women), but is not unanimous with regard to the court,
conception under the law of nations. It is evident that the provisions of the Penal Code Mr. Justice Romualdez, registers his nonconformity. In accordance with provisions of
now in force in the Philippines relating to piracy are not inconsistent with the Act No. 2726, it results, therefore, that the judgment of the trial court as to the defendant
corresponding provisions in force in the United States. By the Treaty of Paris, Spain and appellant Saraw is affirmed, and is reversed as to the defendant and appellant Lol-
ceded the Philippine Islands to the United States. A logical construction of articles of lo, who is found guilty of the crime of piracy and is sentenced therefor to be hung until
the Penal Code, like the articles dealing with the crime of piracy, would be that dead, at such time and place as shall be fixed by the judge of first instance of the
wherever "Spain" is mentioned, it should be substituted by the words "United States" Twenty-sixth Judicial District. The two appellants together with Kinawalang and
and wherever "Spaniards" are mentioned, the word should be substituted by the Maulanis, defendants in another case, shall indemnify jointly and severally the offended
expression "citizens of the United States and citizens of the Philippine Islands." parties in the equivalent of 924 rupees, and shall pay a one-half part of the costs of
somewhat similar reasoning led this court in the case of United States vs. Smith both instances. So ordered.
([1919], 39 Phil., 533) to give to the word "authority" as found in the Penal Code a
28