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Van Dorn vs Romillo (G.R. No.

Petitioner Alice Reyes is a citizen of the Philippines while private
respondent is a citizen of the United States; they were married in
Hongkong. Thereafter, they established their residence in the
Philippines and begot two children. Subsequently, they were
divorced in Nevada, United States, and that petitioner has remarried also in Nevada, this time to Theodore Van Dorn.

Thus, pursuant to his national law, private respondent is no longer

the husband petitioner. He would have no standing to sue in the
case below as petitioners husband entitled to exercise control
over conjugal assets. As he is bound by the decision of his own
countrys court, which validly exercised jurisdiction over him, and
whose decision he does not repudiate, he is stopped by his own
representation before said court from asserting his right over the
alleged conjugal property.
Aznar vs. Garcia, G.R. No. L-16749, Jan. 3, 1963

Private respondent filed suit against petitioner, stating that

petitioners business in Manila is their conjugal property; that
petitioner he ordered to render accounting of the business and
that private respondent be declared to manage the conjugal
property. Petitioner moved to dismiss the case contending that
the cause of action is barred by the judgment in the divorce
proceedings before the Nevada Court. The denial now is the
subject of the certiorari proceeding.

FACTS: Edward Christensen, who at his death was a US citizen but

domiciled in the Philippines, left a will, devising unto Maria Helen
a certain amount of money and giving the rest of his estate to
Maria Lucy. Helen opposed the partition on the ground that she is
deprived of her legitime. Her contention is that the law of
California directs that the law of the domicile (Philippines) should
govern the will.


ISSUE: Whether or not the national law or the domiciliary law

should apply

Whether or not the divorce obtained by the parties is binding only

to the alien spouse.
Is it true that owing to the nationality principle embodied in
Article 15 of the Civil Code, only Philippine nationals are covered
by the policy against absolute divorces the same being
considered contrary to our concept of public policy and morality.
However, aliens may obtain divorces abroad, which may be
recognized in the Philippines, provided they are valid according to
their national law. In this case, the divorce in Nevada released
private respondent from the marriage from the standards of
American Law, under which divorce dissolves the marriage.

HELD: The intrinsic validity of wills is governed by the national law

of the decedent. In the present case, the national law of Edward is
the laws of California. However, there were two conflicting
California laws regarding succession.
One is enunciated in In Re Kaufman (which does not provide for
legitimes) and another is Art. 946 of the California Civil Code
(which provides that the law of the domicile applies). SC held that
the national law is Art. 946, which is the conflict of laws rule of
The reason is that In Re Kaufman applies only to residents while
Art. 946 is specific to non-residents. Thus, since Art. 946 contains
a refer-back to Philippine laws (the law of the domicile), then
Maria Helen is entitled to her legitime.





SAUDIA denied her the assistance she requested, But because she was


wrongfully convicted, Prince of Makkah dismissed the case against her

ORTIZ, in his capacity as Presiding Judge of Branch 89,

and allowed her to leave Saudi Arabia. Shortly before her return to


Manila, she was terminated from the service by SAUDIA, without her







G.R. No. 122191 October 8, 1998

being informed of the cause.

FACTS: Petitioner SAUDIA hired private respondent MORADA as a

On November 23, 1993, Morada filed a Complaint for damages against

flight attendant in 1988, based in Jeddah. On 1990, while on a lay-over

SAUDIA, and Khaled Al-Balawi (Al-Balawi), its country manager.

in Jakarta, Indonesia, she went to party with 2 male attendants, and on

SAUDIA ALLEGES: Private respondents claim for alleged abuse of

the following morning in their hotel, one of the male attendants

rights occurred in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It alleges that the

attempted to rape her. She was rescued by hotel attendants who heard

existence of a foreign element qualifies the instant case for the

her cry for help. The Indonesian police arrested the 2.

application of the law of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, by virtue of the

lex loci delicti commissi rule.

MORADA returned to Jeddah, but was asked by the company to go back

to Jakarta and help arrange the release of the 2 male attendants.

MORADA ALLEGES: Since her Amended Complaint is based on

MORADA did not cooperate when she got to Jakarta.

Articles 19 and 21 of the Civil Code, then the instant case is properly a
matter of domestic law.

What followed was a series of interrogations from the Saudi Courts

which she did not understand as this was in their language. In 1993, she

ISSUE: WON the Philippine courts have jurisdiction to try the case

was surprised, upon being ordered by SAUDIA to go to the Saudi court,

that she was being convicted of (1) adultery; (2) going to a disco,
dancing and listening to the music in violation of Islamic laws; and (3)
socializing with the male crew, in contravention of Islamic tradition,
sentencing her to five months imprisonment and to 286 lashes. Only
then did she realize that the Saudi court had tried her, together with the
2, for what happened in Jakarta.

On the presence of a Foreign Element in the case: A factual situation
that cuts across territorial lines and is affected by the diverse laws of two
or more states is said to contain a foreign element. The presence of a
foreign element is inevitable since social and economic affairs of
individuals and associations are rarely confined to the geographic limits
of their birth or conception. The forms in which this foreign element

may appear are many. The foreign element may simply consist in the






fact that one of the parties to a contract is an alien or has a foreign


domicile, or that a contract between nationals of one State involves

Section 2 (b), Rule 4 of the Revised Rules of Court the venue, Quezon

properties situated in another State. In other cases, the foreign element


may assume a complex form.

Sec. 2 Venue in Courts of First Instance. [Now Regional Trial Court]









In the instant case, the foreign element consisted in the fact that private

(b) Personal actions. All other actions may be commenced and tried

respondent Morada is a resident Philippine national, and that petitioner

where the defendant or any of the defendants resides or may be found,

SAUDIA is a resident foreign corporation. Also, by virtue of the

or where the plaintiff or any of the plaintiff resides, at the election of the

employment of Morada with the petitioner Saudia as a flight stewardess,


events did transpire during her many occasions of travel across national
borders, particularly from Manila, Philippines to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia,

Weighing the relative claims of the parties, the court a quo found it best

and vice versa, that caused a conflicts situation to arise.

to hear the case in the Philippines. Had it refused to take cognizance of

the case, it would be forcing plaintiff (private respondent now) to seek

COURT disagrees with MORADA that his is purely a domestic case.

remedial action elsewhere, i.e. in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia where

However, the court finds that the RTC of Quezon City possesses

she no longer maintains substantial connections. That would have

jurisdiction over the subject matter of the suit. Its authority to try and


hear the case is provided for under Section 1 of Republic Act No. 7691,

Moreover, by hearing the case in the Philippines no unnecessary

to wit:

difficulties and inconvenience have been shown by either of the parties.

BP129 Sec. 19. Jurisdiction in Civil Cases. Regional Trial Courts shall







The choice of forum of the plaintiff (now private respondent) should be



The trial court also acquired jurisdiction over the parties. MORADA

(8) In all other cases in which demand, exclusive of interest, damages of

through her act of filing, and SAUDIA by praying for the dismissal of the

whatever kind, attorney`ys fees, litigation expenses, and cots or the

Amended Complaint on grounds other than lack of jurisdiction.

value of the property in controversy exceeds One hundred thousand

pesos (P100,000.00) or, in such other cases in Metro Manila, where the

As to the choice of applicable law, we note that choice-of-law problems

demand, exclusive of the above-mentioned items exceeds Two hundred







(1) What legal system should control a given situation where some of the

In applying State of the most significant relationship rule, to


determine the State which has the most significant relationship, the









(2) to what extent should the chosen legal system regulate the situation.

following contacts are to be taken into account and evaluated according

to their relative importance with respect to the particular issue: (a) the

Considering that the complaint in the court a quo is one involving torts,

place where the injury occurred; (b) the place where the conduct

the connecting factor or point of contact could be the place or places

causing the injury occurred; (c) the domicile, residence, nationality,

where the tortious conduct or lex loci actus occurred. And applying the

place of incorporation and place of business of the parties, and (d) the

torts principle in a conflicts case, we find that the Philippines could be

place where the relationship, if any, between the parties is centered.

said as a situs of the tort (the place where the alleged tortious conduct
took place). This is because it is in the Philippines where petitioner

As already discussed, there is basis for the claim that over-all injury

allegedly deceived private respondent, a Filipina residing and working

occurred and lodged in the Philippines. There is likewise no question

here. According to her, she had honestly believed that petitioner would,

that private respondent is a resident Filipina national, working with

in the exercise of its rights and in the performance of its duties, act with

petitioner, a resident foreign corporation engaged here in the business

justice, give her due and observe honesty and good faith. Instead,

of international air carriage. Thus, the relationship between the

petitioner failed to protect her, she claimed. That certain acts or parts of

parties was centered here, although it should be stressed that this suit is

the injury allegedly occurred in another country is of no moment. For in

not based on mere labor law violations. From the record, the claim that

our view what is important here is the place where the over-all harm or

the Philippines has the most significant contact with the matter in this

the totality of the alleged injury to the person, reputation, social

dispute, raised by private respondent as plaintiff below against

standing and human rights of complainant, had lodged, according to the

defendant (herein petitioner), in our view, has been properly

plaintiff below (herein private respondent). All told, it is not without


basis to identify the Philippines as the situs of the alleged tort.