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Wildvalley v. CA Buena, J.

Petitioner: Wildvalley Shipping Co., Ltd.


Respondent: Court of Appeals and Phil. President
Lines Inc.
Concept: Proof of law
Digest by Kat
Brief Facts: A vessel owned by Phil. President Lines
was in the Orinoco River in Venezuela when it ran
aground. Because of that, a vessel owned by
Wildvalley could not sail out. Wildvalley filed a suit
with the RTC of Manila, where it won, but the CA
reversed the judgment.
Doctrine: Foreign laws do not prove themselves in
our jurisdiction and our courts are not authorized to
take judicial notice of them. They must be alleged
and proved according to the Rules of Court.
ISSUES:
1. Is Venezuelan law applicable to the case?
(YES)
2. Was there negligence on the part of PPL that
would warrant damages? (NO)
RATIO:
1. Foreign laws do not prove themselves in our
jurisdiction and our courts are not authorized to take
judicial notice of them. They must be alleged and
proved.
2. Proving a written law falls under Rule 132, Sec.
241. An unwritten law may be proved through the
oral testimony of expert witnesses, printed and
published books of reports of decisions of the courts
of the country if proved to be commonly admitted in
such courts.
3. The court has interpreted Sec. 24 to include
competent evidence like the testimony of a witness
to prove the existence of a written foreign law.
4. Williamette Iron & Steel Works v. Muzzal: The
foreign law is a matter of fact. You ask the witness
what the law is; he may, from his recollection, or on
producing and referring to books, say what it is.

pilots for maneuvering and navigating the Orinoco


River. He is also in charge of the documents in the
office of the harbor masters. His competency in
testifying on the existence of the Reglamento
General de la Ley de Pilotaje (pilotage law of
Venezuela) and the Reglamento Para la Zona de
Pilotaje No 1 del Orinoco (rules governing the
navigation of the Orinoco River) is not disputed.
6. However, the written laws were not proven in the
manner provided by Sec. 24.
7. The Reglamento General de la Ley de Pilotaje was
published in the Gaceta Oficial and the Reglamento
Para la Zona de Pilotaje No 1 del Orinoco published
in a book issued by the
Ministerio de
Comunicaciones, but only photocopies were
presented. Both are considered public documents.
8. For a copy of a foreign public document to be
admissible:
a. It must be attested by the officer having
legal custody of the records or by his deputy.
b. It must be accompanied by a certificate
by a secretary of the embassy or legation, consul
general, consul, vice
consular or consular agent
or foreign service officer, and with the seal of his
office.
The latter requisite is intended to justify the giving
of full faith and credit to the genuineness of a
document in a foreign country.
9. Capt. Monzon, who attested the documents,
should be the officer who had legal custody of those
records. No such certificate could be found.
10. With respect to proof of written laws, parol proof
is objectionable. Written law itself is the best
evidence a duly authenticated copy of the statute.
11. The Venezuelan law was not pleaded before the
lower court according to the complaint. A foreign law
is considered to be pleaded if there is an allegation
in the pleading about the existence of the foreign
law, its import and legal consequence on the event
or transaction in issue.
DISPOSITIVE: Petition denied. CA decision affirmed.

5. Capt. Oscar Leon Monzon, Assistant Harbor


Master and Chief of Pilots at Puerto Ordaz has held
said posts for 8 years and is in charge of designating

Sec. 24. Proof of official record. -- The record of public


documents referred to in paragraph (a) of Section 19, when
admissible for any purpose, may be evidenced by an official
publication thereof or by a copy attested by the officer having
the legal custody of the record, or by his deputy, and
accompanied, if the record is not kept in the Philippines, with a
certificate that such officer has the custody. If the office in which
the record is kept is in a foreign country, the certificate may be
made by a secretary of the embassy or legation, consul
general, consul, vice consul, or consular agent or by any officer
in the foreign service of the Philippines stationed in the foreign
country in which the record is kept, and authenticated by the
seal of his office.