Llorente vs.

Court of Appeals 345 SCRA 592, November 23, 2000 Fact of the Case: On November 1943, Llorenzo Llorente acquired citizenship and Certificate of Naturalization on the United States District Court. In 1945, Lorenzo visited his wife in the Philippines. He discovered that his wife Paula was pregnant and was having an adulterous relationship with his brother. Refusing to forgive her, Lorenzo and Paula drew an agreement that they would separate from each, suspend marital obligation and made separate agreement regarding their conjugal property. In return, Lorenzo would not prosecute her adulterous act and agreed to separate peacefully. When Lorenzo returned to the United State he filed for divorce, which decree became final on December 4, 1952. On January 1958 he came back to the Philippines, he married Alicia Fortuno and begot three children. Prior to his death on June 11, 1985, Lorenzo made a will in favor of his wife Alicia and their children. However, on September 1985, Paula the ex wife filed a petition to the court that she was deprived of her legitime as the legal wife. The Regional Trial Court held that Paula contentions are correct. Declaring the marriage between Alicia and Llorenzo and the testamentary provision void. Stripping Alicia and her children except the youngest as beneficiary of Llorenzo’s estate in favor to Paula. Thus, Alicia filed with the trial Court a motion for reconsideration for the RTC’s decision. Issue: (1) Whether or not the marriage between Alicia and Llorente void. (2) Whether or not the will executed in accordance with the formalities required is answered by referring to Philippine Law. Held: (1) No. The marriage was not void. Lorenzo Llorente became an America citizen long before his divorce to Paula and second marriage to Alicia. Article 15 of the civil code relating to family rights and duties, or to the status, condition and legal capacity of person are binding only upon citizens of the Philippines. In lieu thereof, the Court reverses the decision of the Regional Trial Court and recognizes as valid the decree of divorce granted to Llorente by the Superior Court of the State of California. (2) No. Whatever public policy or good custom may be involved in our system of legitimes, Congress did not intend to extend the same to the succession of foreign national. The Court remands the case to the court of origin for determination of the intrinsic validity of the Llorente’s will and determination of the parties’ successional rights allowing proof of foreign law with instructions that the trial court shall proceed with all deliberate dispatch to settle the estate of the deceased with the framework of the Rules of Court.

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