BOHANAN, and MARY LYDIA BOHANAN, oppositors-appellants. G.R. No. L-12105 January 30, 1960 PRELIMINARIES: The oppositors, Magadalena C. Bohanan and her two children, question the validity of the executor/testator C.O. Bohanan’s last will and testament, claiming that they have been deprived of the legitimate that the laws of the form concede to them. Another, is the claim of the testator's children, Edward and Mary Lydia Bohanan, who had received legacies in the amount of PHP 6,000 each only, and, therefore, have not been given their shares in the estate which, in accordance with the laws, should be two-thirds of the estate left by the testator. FACTS: C.O. Bohanan was born in Nebraska and therefore a citizen of that state.Notwithstanding his long residence in the Philippines, he continued and remained to be a citizen of the United States and of the state of his pertinent residence to spend therest of his days in that state. His permanent residence or domicile in the United States depended upon his personal intent or desire, and he selected Nevada as his domicile and therefore at the time of his death, he was a citizen of that state. ISSUE: Whether or not Philippine Law should govern? HELD: The first issue refers to the share that the wife of the testator, Magdalena C. Bohanan,should be entitled to receive. The will has not given her any share in the estate left by the testator. It is argued that it was error for the trial court to have recognized the Renodivorce secured by the testator from his Filipino wife Magdalena C. Bohanan, and that said divorce should be declared a nullity in this jurisdiction. The court refused to recognize the claim of the widow on the ground that the laws of Nevada, of which the deceased was a citizen, allow him to dispose of all of his properties without requiring him to leave any portion of his estate to his former (or divorced) wife. No right to share in the inheritance in favor of a divorced wife exists in the State of Nevada, thus the oppositor can no longer claim portion of the estate left by the testator. With regards the second issue, the old Civil Code, which is applicable to this case because the testator died in 1944, expressly provides that successional rights to personal property are to be earned by the national law of the person whose succession is in question, thus the two-third rule is not enforceable Wherefore, the court finds that the testator C. O. Bohanan was at the time of his death a citizen of the United States and of the State of Nevada and declares that his will and testament is fully in accordance with the laws of the state of Nevada and admits the same to probate. As in accordance with Article 10 of the old Civil Code, the validity of testamentary dispositions are to be governed by the national law of the testator, and as it has been decided and it is not disputed that the national law of the testator is that of the State of Nevada which allows a testator to dispose of all his property according to his will, as in the case at bar, the order of the court approving the project of partition made in accordance with the testamentary provisions, must be, as it is hereby affirmed, with costs against appellants. 2. IN THE MATTER OF THE TESTATE ESTATE OF EDWARD E. CHRISTENSEN, DECEASED. ADOLFO C. AZNAR, Executor and LUCY CHRISTENSEN, Heir of the deceased, Executor and Heir-appellees, vs. HELEN CHRISTENSEN GARCIA, oppositor-appellant. G.R. No. L-16749 January 31, 1963 FACTS: EDWARD Christensen died testate. The estate was distributed by Executioner Aznar according to the will, which provides that: Php 3,600 be given to HELEN Christensen as her legacy, and the rest of his estate to his daughter LUCY Christensen, as pronounced by CFI Davao. Opposition to the approval of the project of partition was filed by Helen, insofar as it deprives her of her legitime as an acknowledged natural child, she having been declared by Us an acknowledged natural child of the deceased Edward in an earlier case.


As to his citizenship, we find that the citizenship that he acquired in California when he resided in Sacramento from 1904 to 1913, was never lost by his stay in the Philippines, and the deceased appears to have considered himself as a citizen of California by the fact that when he executed his will he declared that he was a citizen of that State; so that he appears never to have intended to abandon his California citizenship by acquiring another. But at the time of his death, he was domiciled in the Philippines. ISSUE: Whether or not the Philippine Law should govern? HELD: WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is hereby reversed and the case returned to the lower court with instructions that the partition be made as the Philippine law on succession provides. The law that governs the validity of his testamentary dispositions is defined in Article 16 of the Civil Code of the Philippines, which is as follows: ART. 16. Real property as well as personal property is subject to the law of the country where it is situated. However, intestate and testamentary successions, both with respect to the order of succession and to the amount of successional rights and to the intrinsic validity of testamentary provisions, shall be regulated by the national law of the person whose succession is under consideration, whatever may be the nature of the property and regardless of the country where said property may be found. The application of this article in the case at bar requires the determination of the meaning of the term “national law” is used therein. The next question is: What is the law in California governing the disposition of personal property? The decision of CFI Davao, sustains the contention of the executor-appellee that under the California Probate Code, a testator may dispose of his property by will in the form and manner he desires. But HELEN invokes the provisions of Article 946 of the Civil Code of California, which is as follows: If there is no law to the contrary, in the place where personal property is situated, it is deemed to follow the person of its owner, and is governed by the law of his domicile. It is argued on executor’s behalf that as the deceased Christensen was a citizen of the State of California, the internal law thereof, which is that given in the Kaufman case, should govern the determination of the validity of the testamentary provisions of Christensen’s will, such law being in force in the State of California of which Christensen was a citizen. Appellant, on the other hand, insists that Article 946 should be applicable, and in accordance therewith and following the doctrine of the renvoi, the question of the validity of the testamentary provision in question should be referred back to the law of the decedent’s domicile, which is the Philippines. We note that Article 946 of the California Civil Code is its conflict of laws rule, while the rule applied in In re Kaufman, its internal law. If the law on succession and the conflict of laws rules of California are to be enforced jointly, each in its own intended and appropriate sphere, the principle cited In re Kaufman should apply to citizens living in the State, but Article 946 should apply to such of its citizens as are not domiciled in California but in other jurisdictions. The rule laid down of resorting to the law of the domicile in the determination of matters with foreign element involved is in accord with the general principle of American law that the domiciliary law should govern in most matters or rights which follow the person of the owner. Appellees argue that what Article 16 of the Civil Code of the Philippines pointed out as the national law is the internal law of California. But as above explained the laws of California have prescribed two sets of laws for its citizens, one for residents therein and another for those domiciled in other jurisdictions. It is argued on appellees’ (Aznar and LUCY) 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. We therefore find that as the domicile of the deceased Edward, a citizen of California, is the Philippines, the validity of the provisions of his will depriving his acknowledged natural child, the appellant HELEN, should be governed by the Philippine Law, the domicile, pursuant to Art. 946 of the Civil Code of California, not by the internal law of California. NOTES: There is no single American law governing the validity of testamentary provisions in the United States, each state of the Union having its own private law applicable to its citizens only and in force only within the state. The “national law” indicated in Article 16 of the Civil Code above quoted can not, therefore, possibly mean or apply to any general American law. So it can refer to no other than the private law of the State of California. 3. TESTATE ESTATE OF JOSEPH G. BRIMO, JUAN MICIANO, Administrator, petitioner-appellee, vs. ANDRE BRIMO, opponent-appellant 50 Phil. 867 November 01, 1927 ROMUALDEZ, J.: FACTS: The partition of the estate left by the deceased Joseph G. Brimo is in question in this case. The judicial administrator of this estate filed a scheme of partition. Andre Brimo, one of the brothers of the deceased, opposed it. The court, however, approved it. The errors which the oppositor-appellant assigns are: (1) The approval of said scheme of partition; (2) denial of his participation in the inheritance; (3) the denial of the motion for reconsideration of the order approving the partition; (4) the approval of the purchase made by the Pietro Lana of the deceased's business and the deed of transfer of said business; and (5) the declaration that the Turkish laws are impertinent to this cause, and the failure not to postpone the approval of the scheme of partition and the delivery of the deceased's business to Pietro Lanza until the receipt of the depositions requested in reference to the Turkish laws. The appellant's opposition is based on the fact that the partition in question puts into effect the provisions of Joseph G. Brimo's will which are not in accordance with the laws of his Turkish nationality, for which reason they are void as being in violation or article 10 of the Civil Code which, among other things, provides the following: Nevertheless, legal and testamentary successions, in respect to the order of succession as well as to the amount of the successional rights and the intrinsic validity 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 or the country in which it may be situated. But the fact is that the oppositor did not prove that said testimentary dispositions are not in accordance with the Turkish laws, inasmuch as he did not present any evidence showing what the Turkish laws are on the matter, and in the absence of evidence on such laws, they are presumed to be the same as those of the Philippines. (Lim and Lim vs. Collector of Customs, 36 Phil., 472.) It has not been proved in these proceedings what the Turkish laws are. He, himself, acknowledges it when he desires to be given an opportunity to present evidence on this point; so much so that he assigns as an error of the court in not having deferred the approval of the scheme of partition until the receipt of certain testimony requested regarding the Turkish laws on the matter. The refusal to give the oppositor another opportunity to prove such laws does not constitute an error. It is discretionary with the trial court, and, taking into consideration that the oppositor was 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 Therefore, the approval of the scheme of partition in this respect was not erroneous. In regard to the first assignment of error which deals with the exclusion of the herein appellant as a legatee, inasmuch as he is one of the persons designated as such in will, it must be taken into consideration that such exclusion is based on the last part of the second clause of the will, which says: 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 other hand, having resided for a considerable length of time in the Philippine Islands where I succeeded in acquiring all of the property that I now possess, it is my wish that the distribution of my property and everything in connection with this, my will, be made and disposed of in accordance with the laws in force in the Philippine islands, requesting all of my relatives to respect this wish, otherwise, I annul and cancel beforehand whatever disposition found in this will favorable to the person or persons who fail to comply with this request. The institution of legatees in this will is conditional, and the condition is that the instituted legatees must respect the testator's will to distribute his property, not in accordance with the laws of his nationality, but in accordance with the laws of the Philippines. If this condition as it is expressed were legal and valid, any legatee who fails to comply with it, as the herein oppositor who, by his attitude in these proceedings has not respected the will of the testator, as expressed, is prevented from receiving his legacy. ISSUE: Whether or not Philippine laws shall be applied on the estate of Joseph Brimo, a Turkish citizen who have resided for a considerable length of time in the Philippines? HELD: The fact is, however, that the said condition is void, being contrary to law, for article 792 of the civil Code provides the following: Impossible conditions and those contrary to law or good morals shall be considered as not imposed and shall not prejudice the heir or legatee in any manner whatsoever, even should the testator otherwise provide. And said condition is contrary to law because it expressly ignores the testator's national law when, according to article 10 of the civil Code above quoted, such national law of the testator is the one to govern his testamentary dispositions. Said condition then, in the light of the legal provisions above cited, is considered unwritten, and the institution of legatees in said will is unconditional and consequently valid and effective even as to the herein oppositor. It results from all this that the second clause of the will regarding the law which shall govern it, and to the condition imposed upon the legatees, is null and void, being contrary to law. All of the remaining clauses of said will with all their dispositions and requests are perfectly valid and effective it not appearing that said clauses are contrary to the testator's national law. Therefore, the orders appealed from are modified and it is directed that the distribution of this estate be made in such a manner as to include the herein appellant Andre Brimo as one of the legatees, and the scheme of partition submitted by the judicial administrator is approved in all other respects, without any pronouncement as to costs.



CHAPTER 1 Effect and Application of Laws Article 14. Penal laws and those of public security and safety shall be obligatory upon all who live or sojourn in the Philippine territory, subject to the principles of public international law and to treaty stipulations. (8a) Article 15. Laws relating to family rights and duties, or to the status, condition and legal capacity of persons are binding upon citizens of the Philippines, even though living abroad. (9a) Article 16. Real property as well as personal property is subject to the law of the country where it is stipulated. However, intestate and testamentary successions, both with respect to the order of succession and to the amount of successional rights and to the intrinsic validity of testamentary provisions, shall be regulated by the national law of the person whose succession is under consideration, whatever may be the nature of the property and regardless of the country wherein said property may be found. (10a) Article 17. The forms and solemnities of contracts, wills, and other public instruments shall be governed by the laws of the country in which they are executed. When the acts referred to are executed before the diplomatic or consular officials of the Republic of the Philippines in a foreign country, the solemnities established by Philippine laws shall be observed in their execution. 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 rendered ineffective by laws or judgments promulgated, or by determinations or conventions agreed upon in a foreign country. (11a) Article 18. In matters which are governed by the Code of Commerce and special laws, their deficiency shall be supplied by the provisions of this Code. (16a)

G.R. No. L-11622

January 28, 1961

THE COLLECTOR OF INTERNAL REVENUE, petitioner, vs. DOUGLAS FISHER AND BETTINA FISHER, and the COURT OF TAX APPEALS, respondents. FACTS: This case relates to the determination and settlement of the hereditary estate left by the deceased Walter G. Stevenson, and the laws applicable thereto. Walter G. Stevenson (born in the Philippines on August 9, 1874 of British parents and married in the City of Manila on January 23, 1909 to Beatrice Mauricia Stevenson another British subject) died on February 22, 1951 in San Francisco, California, U.S.A. whereto he and his wife moved and established their permanent residence since May 10, 1945. In his will executed in San Francisco on May 22, 1947, and which was duly probated in the Superior Court of California on April 11, 1951, Stevenson instituted his wife Beatrice as his sole heiress to the real and personal properties acquired by the spouses while residing in the Philippines. On May 22, 1951, ancillary administration proceedings were instituted in the Court of First Instance of Manila for the settlement of the estate in the Philippines. In due time Stevenson's will was duly admitted to probate by our court and Ian Murray Statt was appointed ancillary administrator of the estate, who on July 11, 1951, filed a preliminary estate and inheritance tax return with the reservation of having the properties declared therein finally appraised at their values six months after the death of Stevenson. Preliminary return was made by the ancillary administrator in order to secure the waiver of the Collector of Internal Revenue on the inheritance tax due on the 210,000 shares of stock in the Mindanao Mother Lode Mines Inc. which the estate then desired to dispose in the United States. Acting upon said return, the Collector of Internal Revenue accepted the valuation of the personal properties declared therein, but increased the appraisal of the two parcels of land located in Baguio City by fixing their fair market value in the amount of P52.200.00, instead of P43,500.00. After allowing the deductions claimed by the ancillary administrator for funeral expenses in the amount of P2,000.00 and for judicial and administration expenses in the sum of P5,500.00, the Collector assessed the state the amount of P5,147.98 for estate tax and P10,875,26 or inheritance tax, or a total of P16,023.23. Both of these assessments were paid by the estate on June 6, 1952.


On September 27, 1952, the ancillary administrator filed in amended estate and inheritance tax return in pursuance f his reservation made at the time of filing of the preliminary return and for the purpose of availing of the right granted by section 91 of the National Internal Revenue Code. In the meantime, on December 1, 1952, Beatrice Mauricia Stevenson assigned all her rights and interests in the estate to the spouses, Douglas and Bettina Fisher, respondents herein. ISSUE: Whether or not, in determining the taxable net estate of the decedent, one-half (½) of the net estate should be deducted therefrom as the share of tile surviving spouse in accordance with our law on conjugal partnership and in relation to section 89 (c) of the National Internal revenue Code? HELD: In deciding the first issue, the lower court applied a well-known doctrine in our civil law that in the absence of any antenuptial agreement, the contracting parties are presumed to have adopted the system of conjugal partnership as to the properties acquired during their marriage. The application of this doctrine to the instant case is being disputed, however, by petitioner Collector of Internal Revenue, who contends that pursuant to Article 124 of the New Civil Code, the property relation of the spouses Stevensons ought not to be determined by the Philippine law, but by the national law of the decedent husband, in this case, the law of England. It is alleged by petitioner that English laws do not recognize legal partnership between spouses, and that what obtains in that jurisdiction is another regime of property relation, wherein all properties acquired during the marriage pertain and belong Exclusively to the husband. In further support of his stand, petitioner cites Article 16 of the New Civil Code (Art. 10 of the old) to the effect that in testate and intestate proceedings, the amount of successional rights, among others, is to be determined by the national law of the decedent. In this connection, let it be noted that since the mariage of the Stevensons in the Philippines took place in 1909, the applicable law is Article 1325 of the old Civil Code and not Article 124 of the New Civil Code which became effective only in 1950. It is true that both articles adhere to the so-called nationality theory of determining the property relation of spouses where one of them is a foreigner and they have made no prior agreement as to the administration disposition, and ownership of their conjugal properties. In such a case, the national law of the husband becomes the dominant law in determining the property relation of the spouses. There is, however, a difference between the two articles in that Article 1241 of the new Civil Code expressly provides that it shall be applicable regardless of whether the marriage was celebrated in the Philippines or abroad while Article 13252 of the old Civil Code is limited to marriages contracted in a foreign land. It must be noted, however, that what has just been said refers to mixed marriages between a Filipino citizen and a foreigner. In the instant case, both spouses are foreigners who married in the Philippines. If we adopt the view of Manresa, the law determinative of the property relation of the Stevensons, married in 1909, would be the English law even if the marriage was celebrated in the Philippines, both of them being foreigners. But, as correctly observed by the Tax Court, the pertinent English law that allegedly vests in the decedent husband full ownership of the properties acquired during the marriage has not been proven by petitioner. Except for a mere allegation in his answer, which is not sufficient, the record is bereft of any evidence as to what English law says on the matter. In the absence of proof, the Court is justified, therefore, in indulging in what Wharton calls "processual presumption," in presuming that the law of England on this matter is the same as our law.4 Nor do we believe petitioner can make use of Article 16 of the New Civil Code (art. 10, old Civil Code) to bolster his stand. A reading of Article 10 of the old Civil Code, which incidentally is the one applicable, shows that it does not encompass or contemplate to govern the question of property relation between spouses. Said article distinctly speaks of amount of successional rights and this term, in speaks in our opinion, properly refers to the extent or amount of property that each heir is legally entitled to inherit from the estate available for distribution. It needs to be pointed out that the property relation of spouses, as distinguished from their successional rights, is governed differently by the specific and express provisions of Title VI, Chapter I of our new Civil Code (Title III, Chapter I of the old Civil Code.) We, therefore, find that the lower court correctly deducted the half of the conjugal property in determining the hereditary estate left by the deceased Stevenson.