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G.R.No.122191

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RepublicofthePhilippines
SUPREMECOURT
Manila
FIRSTDIVISION

G.R.No.122191October8,1998
SAUDIARABIANAIRLINES,petitioner,
vs.
COURTOFAPPEALS,MILAGROSP.MORADAandHON.RODOLFOA.ORTIZ,inhiscapacityasPresiding
JudgeofBranch89,RegionalTrialCourtofQuezonCity,respondents.

QUISUMBING,J.:
ThispetitionforcertioraripursuanttoRule45oftheRulesofCourtseekstoannulandsetasidetheResolution1

datedSeptember27,1995andtheDecision2datedApril10,1996oftheCourtofAppeals3
in CAG.R. SP No. 36533, 4 and the Orders 5 dated August 29, 1994 6 and February 2,
19957thatwereissuedbythetrialcourtinCivilCaseNo.Q9318394.8
Thepertinentantecedentfactswhichgaverisetotheinstantpetition,asstatedinthequestionedDecision

,are

asfollows:
OnJanuary21,1988defendantSAUDIAhiredplaintiffasaFlightAttendantforitsairlinesbasedin
Jeddah,SaudiArabia....
OnApril27,1990,whileonalayoverinJakarta,Indonesia,plaintiffwenttoadiscodancewithfellow
crew members Thamer AlGazzawi and Allah AlGazzawi, both Saudi nationals. Because it was
almost morning when they returned to their hotels, they agreed to have breakfast together at the
room of Thamer. When they were in te (sic) room, Allah left on some pretext. Shortly after he did,
Thamerattemptedtorapeplaintiff.Fortunately,aroomboyandseveralsecuritypersonnelheardher
criesforhelpandrescuedher.Later,theIndonesianpolicecameandarrestedThamerandAllahAl
Gazzawi,thelatterasanaccomplice.
When plaintiff returned to Jeddah a few days later, several SAUDIA officials interrogated her about
the Jakarta incident. They then requested her to go back to Jakarta to help arrange the release of
Thamer and Allah. In Jakarta, SAUDIA Legal Officer Sirah Akkad and base manager Baharini
negotiated with the police for the immediate release of the detained crew members but did not
succeed because plaintiff refused to cooperate. She was afraid that she might be tricked into
somethingshedidnotwantbecauseofherinabilitytounderstandthelocaldialect.Shealsodeclined
tosignablankpaperandadocumentwritteninthelocaldialect.Eventually,SAUDIAallowedplaintiff
toreturntoJeddahbutbarredherfromtheJakartaflights.
Plaintiff learned that, through the intercession of the Saudi Arabian government, the Indonesian
authorities agreed to deport Thamer and Allah after two weeks of detention. Eventually, they were
again put in service by defendant SAUDI (sic). In September 1990, defendant SAUDIA transferred
plaintifftoManila.
OnJanuary14,1992,justwhenplaintiffthoughtthattheJakartaincidentwasalreadybehindher,her
superiors requested her to see Mr. Ali Meniewy, Chief Legal Officer of SAUDIA, in Jeddah, Saudi
Arabia.Whenshesawhim,hebroughthertothepolicestationwherethepolicetookherpassport
andquestionedherabouttheJakartaincident.Miniewysimplystoodbyasthepoliceputpressureon
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hertomakeastatementdroppingthecaseagainstThamerandAllah.Notuntilsheagreedtodoso
didthepolicereturnherpassportandallowedhertocatchtheafternoonflightoutofJeddah.
One year and a half later or on lune 16, 1993, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, a few minutes before the
departureofherflighttoManila,plaintiffwasnotallowedtoboardtheplaneandinsteadorderedto
takealaterflighttoJeddahtoseeMr.Miniewy,theChiefLegalOfficerofSAUDIA.Whenshedid,a
certain Khalid of the SAUDIA office brought her to a Saudi court where she was asked to sign a
documentwritteninArabic.TheytoldherthatthiswasnecessarytoclosethecaseagainstThamer
and Allah. As it turned out, plaintiff signed a notice to her to appear before the court on June 27,
1993.PlaintiffthenreturnedtoManila.
Shortly afterwards, defendant SAUDIA summoned plaintiff to report to Jeddah once again and see
Miniewy on June 27, 1993 for further investigation. Plaintiff did so after receiving assurance from
SAUDIA'sManilamanager,AslamSaleemi,thattheinvestigationwasroutinaryandthatitposedno
dangertoher.
InJeddah,aSAUDIAlegalofficerbroughtplaintifftothesameSaudicourtonJune27,1993.Nothing
happened then but on June 28, 1993, a Saudi judge interrogated plaintiff through an interpreter
about the Jakarta incident. After one hour of interrogation, they let her go. At the airport, however,
justasherplanewasabouttotakeoff,aSAUDIAofficertoldherthattheairlinehadforbiddenherto
takeflight.AttheInflightServiceOfficewhereshewastoldtogo,thesecretaryofMr.YahyaSaddick
tookawayherpassportandtoldhertoremaininJeddah,atthecrewquarters,untilfurtherorders.
OnJuly3,1993aSAUDIAlegalofficeragainescortedplaintifftothesamecourtwherethejudge,to
herastonishmentandshock,renderedadecision,translatedtoherinEnglish,sentencinghertofive
monthsimprisonmentandto286lashes.OnlythendidsherealizethattheSaudicourthadtriedher,
togetherwithThamerandAllah,forwhathappenedinJakarta.Thecourtfoundplaintiffguiltyof(1)
adultery(2)goingtoadisco,dancingandlisteningtothemusicinviolationofIslamiclawsand(3)
socializingwiththemalecrew,incontraventionofIslamictradition.10
Facingconviction,privaterespondentsoughtthehelpofheremployer,petitionerSAUDIA.Unfortunately,shewas
deniedanyassistance.ShethenaskedthePhilippineEmbassyinJeddahtohelpherwhilehercaseisonappeal.
Meanwhile, to pay for her upkeep, she worked on the domestic flight of SAUDIA, while Thamer and Allah
continuedtoserveintheinternational
11
flights.
Becauseshewaswrongfullyconvicted,thePrinceofMakkahdismissedthecaseagainstherandallowedherto
12
leave Saudi Arabia. Shortly before her return to Manila, she was terminated from the service by

SAUDIA,withoutherbeinginformedofthecause.
On November 23, 1993, Morada filed a Complaint 13fordamagesagainstSAUDIA,andKhaledAl

Balawi("AlBalawi"),itscountrymanager.
On January 19, 1994, SAUDIA filed an Omnibus Motion To Dismiss 14

which raised the following


grounds, to wit: (1) that the Complaint states no cause of action against Saudia (2) that
defendantAlBalawiisnotarealpartyininterest(3)thattheclaimordemandsetforthin
theComplainthasbeenwaived,abandonedorotherwiseextinguishedand(4)thatthetrial
courthasnojurisdictiontotrythecase.
On February 10, 1994, Morada filed her Opposition (To Motion to Dismiss) 15. Saudia filed a reply 16

theretoonMarch3,1994.
On June 23, 1994, Morada filed an Amended Complaint 17wherein AlBalawi was dropped as party

defendant. On August 11, 1994, Saudia filed its Manifestation and Motion to Dismiss
AmendedComplaint18.
ThetrialcourtissuedanOrder

19

datedAugust29,1994denyingtheMotiontoDismissAmended

ComplaintfiledbySaudia.

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From the Order of respondent Judge 20

denying the Motion to Dismiss, SAUDIA filed on


September20,1994,itsMotionforReconsideration21oftheOrderdatedAugust29,1994.
It alleged that the trial court has no jurisdiction to hear and try the case on the basis of
Article 21 of the Civil Code, since the proper law applicable is the law of the Kingdom of
SaudiArabia.OnOctober14,1994,MoradafiledherOpposition22(ToDefendant'sMotion
forReconsideration).
In the Reply 23 filed with the trial court on October 24, 1994, SAUDIA alleged that since its

Motion for Reconsideration raised lack of jurisdiction as its cause of action, the Omnibus
Motion Rule does not apply, even if that ground is raised for the first time on appeal.
Additionally,SAUDIAallegedthatthePhilippinesdoesnothaveanysubstantialinterestin
theprosecutionoftheinstantcase,andhence,withoutjurisdictiontoadjudicatethesame.
RespondentJudgesubsequentlyissuedanotherOrder 24datedFebruary2,1995,denyingSAUDIA's

MotionforReconsideration.ThepertinentportionoftheassailedOrderreadsasfollows:
ActingontheMotionforReconsiderationofdefendantSaudiArabianAirlinesfiled,thrucounsel,on
September 20, 1994, and the Opposition thereto of the plaintiff filed, thru counsel, on October 14,
1994, as well as the Reply therewith of defendant Saudi Arabian Airlines filed, thru counsel, on
October 24, 1994, considering that a perusal of the plaintiffs Amended Complaint, which is one for
the recovery of actual, moral and exemplary damages plus attorney's fees, upon the basis of the
applicable Philippine law, Article 21 of the New Civil Code of the Philippines, is, clearly, within the
jurisdiction of this Court as regards the subject matter, and there being nothing new of substance
whichmightcausethereversalormodificationoftheordersoughttobereconsidered,themotionfor
reconsiderationofthedefendant,isDENIED.
SOORDERED.

25

Consequently, on February 20, 1995, SAUDIA filed its Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition with Prayer for
26
IssuanceofWritofPreliminaryInjunctionand/orTemporaryRestrainingOrder withtheCourtofAppeals.
RespondentCourtofAppealspromulgatedaResolutionwithTemporaryRestrainingOrder27datedFebruary

23,1995,prohibitingtherespondentJudgefromfurtherconductinganyproceeding,unless
otherwisedirected,intheinterim.
InanotherResolution28promulgatedonSeptember27,1995,nowassailed,theappellatecourt

denied SAUDIA's Petition for the Issuance of a Writ of Preliminary Injunction dated
February18,1995,towit:
ThePetitionfortheIssuanceofaWritofPreliminaryInjunctionisherebyDENIED,afterconsidering
the Answer, with Prayer to Deny Writ of Preliminary Injunction (Rollo, p. 135) the Reply and
Rejoinder, it appearing that herein petitioner is not clearly entitled thereto (Unciano Paramedical
College,et.Al.,v.CourtofAppeals,et.Al.,100335,April7,1993,SecondDivision).
SOORDERED.
OnOctober20,1995,SAUDIAfiledwiththisHonorableCourttheinstantPetition 29forReviewwithPrayer

forTemporaryRestrainingOrderdatedOctober13,1995.
However, during the pendency of the instant Petition, respondent Court of Appeals rendered the Decision 30

datedApril10,1996,nowalsoassailed.ItruledthatthePhilippinesisanappropriateforum
considering that the Amended Complaint's basis for recovery of damages is Article 21 of
theCivilCode,andthus,clearlywithinthejurisdictionofrespondentCourt.Itfurtherheld
thatcertiorariisnottheproperremedyinadenialofaMotiontoDismiss,inasmuchasthe
petitionershouldhaveproceededtotrial,andincaseofanadverseruling,findrecoursein
anappeal.
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OnMay7,1996,SAUDIAfileditsSupplementalPetitionforReviewwithPrayerforTemporaryRestrainingOrder
31

datedApril30,1996,givenduecoursebythisCourt.Afterbothpartiessubmittedtheir
Memoranda,32theinstantcaseisnowdeemedsubmittedfordecision.
PetitionerSAUDIAraisedthefollowingissues:
I
ThetrialcourthasnojurisdictiontohearandtryCivilCaseNo.Q9318394basedonArticle21of
the New Civil Code since the proper law applicable is the law of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
inasmuch as this case involves what is known in private international law as a "conflicts problem".
Otherwise,theRepublicofthePhilippineswillsitinjudgmentoftheactsdonebyanothersovereign
statewhichisabhorred.
II
Leaveofcourtbeforefilingasupplementalpleadingisnotajurisdictionalrequirement.Besides,the
matter as to absence of leave of court is now moot and academic when this Honorable Court
required the respondents to comment on petitioner's April 30, 1996 Supplemental Petition For
ReviewWithPrayerForATemporaryRestrainingOrderWithinTen(10)DaysFromNoticeThereof.
Further,theRevisedRulesofCourtshouldbeconstruedwithliberalitypursuanttoSection2,Rule1
thereof.
III
Petitioner received on April 22, 1996 the April 10, 1996 decision in CAG.R. SP NO. 36533 entitled
"Saudi Arabian Airlines v. Hon. Rodolfo A. Ortiz, et al." and filed its April 30, 1996 Supplemental
PetitionForReviewWithPrayerForATemporaryRestrainingOrderonMay7,1996at10:29a.m.or
withinthe15dayreglementaryperiodasprovidedforunderSection1,Rule45oftheRevisedRules
ofCourt.Therefore,thedecisioninCAG.R.SPNO.36533hasnotyetbecomefinalandexecutory
andthisHonorableCourtcantakecognizanceofthiscase.33
Fromtheforegoingfactualandproceduralantecedents,thefollowingissuesemergeforourresolution:
I.
WHETHERRESPONDENTAPPELLATECOURTERREDINHOLDINGTHATTHEREGIONALTRIAL
COURTOFQUEZONCITYHASJURISDICTIONTOHEARANDTRYCIVILCASENO.Q9318394
ENTITLED"MILAGROSP.MORADAV.SAUDIARABIANAIRLINES".
II.
WHETHER RESPONDENT APPELLATE COURT ERRED IN RULING THAT IN THIS CASE
PHILIPPINELAWSHOULDGOVERN.
Petitioner SAUDIA claims that before us is a conflict of laws that must be settled at the outset. It maintains that
privaterespondent'sclaimforallegedabuseofrightsoccurredintheKingdomofSaudiArabia.Itallegesthatthe
existence of a foreign element qualifies the instant case for the application of the law of the Kingdom of Saudi
Arabia,byvirtueofthelexlocidelicticommissirule.34
On the other hand, private respondent contends that since her Amended Complaint is based on Articles 19 35

and2136oftheCivilCode,thentheinstantcaseisproperlyamatterofdomesticlaw.37
Underthefactualantecedentsobtaininginthiscase,thereisnodisputethattheinterplayofeventsoccurredin
twostates,thePhilippinesandSaudiArabia.
AsstatedbyprivaterespondentinherAmendedComplaint38datedJune23,1994:
2.DefendantSAUDIARABIANAIRLINESorSAUDIAisaforeignairlinescorporationdoingbusiness
in the Philippines. It may be served with summons and other court processes at Travel Wide
Associated Sales (Phils.). Inc., 3rd Floor, Cougar Building, 114 Valero St., Salcedo Village, Makati,
MetroManila.
xxxxxxxxx
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6. Plaintiff learned that, through the intercession of the Saudi Arabian government, the Indonesian
authorities agreed to deport Thamer and Allah after two weeks of detention. Eventually, they were
again put in service by defendant SAUDIA. In September 1990, defendant SAUDIA transferred
plaintifftoManila.
7.OnJanuary14,1992,justwhenplaintiffthoughtthattheJakartaincidentwasalreadybehindher,
hersuperiorsreauestedhertoseeMR.AliMeniewy,ChiefLegalOfficerofSAUDIAinJeddah,Saudi
Arabia.Whenshesawhim,hebroughthertothepolicestationwherethepolicetookherpassport
andquestionedherabouttheJakartaincident.Miniewysimplystoodbyasthepoliceputpressureon
hertomakeastatementdroppingthecaseagainstThamerandAllah.Notuntilsheagreedtodoso
didthepolicereturnherpassportandallowedhertocatchtheafternoonflightoutofJeddah.
8.OneyearandahalflateroronJune16,1993,inRiyadh,SaudiArabia,afewminutesbeforethe
departureofherflighttoManila,plaintiffwasnotallowedtoboardtheplaneandinsteadorderedto
takealaterflighttoJeddahtoseeMr.Meniewy,theChiefLegalOfficerofSAUDIA.Whenshedid,a
certain Khalid of the SAUDIA office brought her to a Saudi court where she was asked to sigh a
documentwritteninArabic.TheytoldherthatthiswasnecessarytoclosethecaseagainstThamer
and Allah. As it turned out, plaintiff signed a notice to her to appear before the court on June 27,
1993.PlaintiffthenreturnedtoManila.
9.Shortlyafterwards,defendantSAUDIAsummonedplaintifftoreporttoJeddahonceagainandsee
Miniewy on June 27, 1993 for further investigation. Plaintiff did so after receiving assurance from
SAUDIA's Manila manger, Aslam Saleemi, that the investigation was routinary and that it posed no
dangertoher.
10. In Jeddah, a SAUDIA legal officer brought plaintiff to the same Saudi court on June 27, 1993.
Nothing happened then but on June 28, 1993, a Saudi judge interrogated plaintiff through an
interpreterabouttheJakartaincident.Afteronehourofinterrogation,theylethergo.Attheairport,
however, just as her plane was about to take off, a SAUDIA officer told her that the airline had
forbiddenhertotakethatflight.AttheInflightServiceOfficewhereshewastoldtogo,thesecretary
ofMr.YahyaSaddicktookawayherpassportandtoldhertoremaininJeddah,atthecrewquarters,
untilfurtherorders.
11.OnJuly3,1993aSAUDIAlegalofficeragainescortedplaintifftothesamecourtwherethejudge,
toherastonishmentandshock,renderedadecision,translatedtoherinEnglish,sentencingherto
fivemonthsimprisonmentandto286lashes.OnlythendidsherealizethattheSaudicourthadtried
her,togetherwithThamerandAllah,forwhathappenedinJakarta.Thecourtfoundplaintiffguiltyof
(1)adultery(2)goingtoadisco,dancing,andlisteningtothemusicinviolationofIslamiclaws(3)
socializingwiththemalecrew,incontraventionofIslamictradition.
12. Because SAUDIA refused to lend her a hand in the case, plaintiff sought the help of the
Philippines Embassy in Jeddah. The latter helped her pursue an appeal from the decision of the
court. To pay for her upkeep, she worked on the domestic flights of defendant SAUDIA while,
ironically,ThamerandAllahfreelyservedtheinternationalflights.39
Wherethefactualantecedentssatisfactorilyestablishtheexistenceofaforeignelement,weagreewithpetitioner
thattheproblemhereincouldpresenta"conflicts"case.
Afactualsituationthatcutsacrossterritoriallinesandisaffectedbythediverselawsoftwoormorestatesissaid
tocontaina"foreignelement".Thepresenceofaforeignelementisinevitablesincesocialandeconomicaffairs
ofindividualsandassociationsarerarelyconfinedtothegeographiclimitsoftheirbirthorconception.40
The forms in which this foreign element may appear are many. 41 The foreign element may simply

consistinthefactthatoneofthepartiestoacontractisanalienorhasaforeigndomicile,
or that a contract between nationals of one State involves properties situated in another
State.Inothercases,theforeignelementmayassumeacomplexform.42
In the instant case, the foreign element consisted in the fact that private respondent Morada is a resident
Philippinenational,andthatpetitionerSAUDIAisaresidentforeigncorporation.Also,byvirtueoftheemployment
of Morada with the petitioner Saudia as a flight stewardess, events did transpire during her many occasions of
travelacrossnationalborders,particularlyfromManila,PhilippinestoJeddah,SaudiArabia,andviceversa,that
causeda"conflicts"situationtoarise.

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We thus find private respondent's assertion that the case is purely domestic, imprecise. A conflicts problem
presentsitselfhere,andthequestionofjurisdiction43confrontsthecourtaquo.
After a careful study of the private respondent's Amended Complaint, 44andtheCommentthereon,we

notethatsheaptlypredicatedhercauseofactiononArticles19and21oftheNewCivil
Code.
Ononehand,Article19oftheNewCivilCodeprovides:
Art.19.Everypersonmust,intheexerciseofhisrightsandintheperformanceofhisduties,actwith
justicegiveeveryonehisdueandobservehonestyandgoodfaith.
Ontheotherhand,Article21oftheNewCivilCodeprovides:
Art. 21. Any person who willfully causes loss or injury to another in a manner that is contrary to
morals,goodcustomsorpublicpolicyshallcompensatethelatterfordamages.
Thus,inPhilippineNationalBank(PNB)vs.CourtofAppeals,45thisCourtheldthat:
The aforecited provisions on human relations were intended to expand the concept of torts in this
jurisdiction by granting adequate legal remedy for the untold number of moral wrongs which is
impossibleforhumanforesighttospecificallyprovideinthestatutes.
AlthoughArticle19merelydeclaresaprincipleoflaw,Article21givesfleshtoitsprovisions.Thus,weagreewith
private respondent's assertion that violations of Articles 19 and 21 are actionable, with judicially enforceable
remediesinthemunicipalforum.
Basedontheallegations46intheAmendedComplaint,readinthelightoftheRulesofCourton

jurisdiction 47 we find that the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Quezon City possesses
jurisdiction over the subject matter of the suit. 48 Its authority to try and hear the case is
providedforunderSection1ofRepublicActNo.7691,towit:
Sec. 1. Section 19 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, otherwise known as the "Judiciary Reorganization
Actof1980",isherebyamendedtoreadasfollows:
Sec.19.JurisdictioninCivilCases.RegionalTrialCourtsshallexerciseexclusivejurisdiction:
xxxxxxxxx
(8)Inallothercasesinwhichdemand,exclusiveofinterest,damagesofwhateverkind,
attorney'sfees,litigationexpenses,andcotsorthevalueofthepropertyincontroversy
exceedsOnehundredthousandpesos(P100,000.00)or,insuchothercasesinMetro
Manila, where the demand, exclusive of the abovementioned items exceeds Two
hundredThousandpesos(P200,000.00).(Emphasisours)
xxxxxxxxx
AndfollowingSection2(b),Rule4oftheRevisedRulesofCourtthevenue,QuezonCity,isappropriate:
Sec.2VenueinCourtsofFirstInstance.[NowRegionalTrialCourt]
(a)xxxxxxxxx
(b)Personalactions.Allotheractionsmaybecommencedandtriedwherethedefendantorany
ofthedefendantsresidesormaybefound,orwheretheplaintifforanyoftheplaintiffresides,atthe
electionoftheplaintiff.
Pragmaticconsiderations,includingtheconvenienceoftheparties,alsoweighheavilyinfavoroftheRTCQuezon
City assuming jurisdiction. Paramount is the private interest of the litigant. Enforceability of a judgment if one is
obtainedisquiteobvious.Relativeadvantagesandobstaclestoafairtrialareequallyimportant.Plaintiffmaynot,
by choice of an inconvenient forum, "vex", "harass", or "oppress" the defendant, e.g. by inflicting upon him
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needlessexpenseordisturbance.Butunlessthebalanceisstronglyinfavorofthedefendant,theplaintiffschoice
offorumshouldrarelybedisturbed.49
Weighingtherelativeclaimsoftheparties,thecourtaquofounditbesttohearthecaseinthePhilippines.Hadit
refused to take cognizance of the case, it would be forcing plaintiff (private respondent now) to seek remedial
action elsewhere, i.e. in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia where she no longer maintains substantial connections.
Thatwouldhavecausedafundamentalunfairnesstoher.
Moreover,byhearingthecaseinthePhilippinesnounnecessarydifficultiesandinconveniencehavebeenshown
byeitheroftheparties.Thechoiceofforumoftheplaintiff(nowprivaterespondent)shouldbeupheld.
Similarly,thetrialcourtalsopossessesjurisdictionoverthepersonsofthepartiesherein.ByfilingherComplaint
andAmendedComplaintwiththetrialcourt,privaterespondenthasvoluntarysubmittedherselftothejurisdiction
ofthecourt.
50

praying for the dismissal of


Morada's Amended Complaint. SAUDIA also filed an Answer In Ex Abundante Cautelam
dated February 20, 1995. What is very patent and explicit from the motions filed, is that
SAUDIA prayed for other reliefs under the premises. Undeniably, petitioner SAUDIA has
effectively submitted to the trial court's jurisdiction by praying for the dismissal of the
AmendedComplaintongroundsotherthanlackofjurisdiction.
The records show that petitioner SAUDIA has filed several motions

AsheldbythisCourtinRepublicvs.KerandCompany,Ltd.:51
WeobservethatthemotiontodismissfiledonApril14,1962,asidefromdisputingthelowercourt's
jurisdiction over defendant's person, prayed for dismissal of the complaint on the ground that
plaintiff'scauseofactionhasprescribed.Byinterposingsuchsecondgroundinitsmotiontodismiss,
KerandCo.,Ltd.availedofanaffirmativedefenseonthebasisofwhichitprayedthecourttoresolve
controversyinitsfavor.ForthecourttovalidlydecidethesaidpleaofdefendantKer&Co.,Ltd.,it
necessarily had to acquire jurisdiction upon the latter's person, who, being the proponent of the
affirmative defense, should be deemed to have abandoned its special appearance and voluntarily
submitteditselftothejurisdictionofthecourt.
Similarly,thecaseofDeMidgelyvs.Ferandos,heldthat
When the appearance is by motion for the purpose of objecting to the jurisdiction of the court over
theperson,itmustbeforthesoleandseparatepurposeofobjectingtothejurisdictionofthecourt.If
hismotionisforanyotherpurposethantoobjecttothejurisdictionofthecourtoverhisperson,he
therebysubmitshimselftothejurisdictionofthecourt.Aspecialappearancebymotionmadeforthe
purpose of objecting to the jurisdiction of the court over the person will be held to be a general
appearance,ifthepartyinsaidmotionshould,forexample,askforadismissaloftheactionuponthe
furthergroundthatthecourthadnojurisdictionoverthesubjectmatter.

52

Clearly,petitionerhadsubmittedtothejurisdictionoftheRegionalTrialCourtofQuezonCity.Thus,wefindthat
thetrialcourthasjurisdictionoverthecaseandthatitsexercisethereof,justified.
Astothechoiceofapplicablelaw,wenotethatchoiceoflawproblemsseektoanswertwoimportantquestions:
(1)Whatlegalsystemshouldcontrolagivensituationwheresomeofthesignificantfactsoccurredintwoormore
statesand(2)towhatextentshouldthechosenlegalsystemregulatethesituation.

53

Several theories have been propounded in order to identify the legal system that should ultimately control.
Although ideally, all choiceoflaw theories should intrinsically advance both notions of justice and predictability,
they do not always do so. The forum is then faced with the problem of deciding which of these two important
valuesshouldbestressed.54
Before a choice can be made, it is necessary for us to determine under what category a certain set of facts or
rules fall. This process is known as "characterization", or the "doctrine of qualification". It is the "process of
decidingwhetherornotthefactsrelatetothekindofquestionspecifiedinaconflictsrule."

55

Thepurposeof

56

"characterization"istoenabletheforumtoselecttheproperlaw.

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Ourstartingpointofanalysishereisnotalegalrelation,butafactualsituation,event,oroperativefact. 57An

essentialelementofconflictrulesistheindicationofa"test"or"connectingfactor"or"point
ofcontact".Choiceoflawrulesinvariablyconsistofafactualrelationship(suchasproperty
right, contract claim) and a connecting factor or point of contact, such as the situs of the
res,theplaceofcelebration,theplaceofperformance,ortheplaceofwrongdoing.58
Note that one or more circumstances may be present to serve as the possible test for the determination of the
applicable law. 59 These "test factors" or "points of contact" or "connecting factors" could be

anyofthefollowing:
(1)Thenationalityofaperson,hisdomicile,hisresidence,hisplaceofsojourn,orhisorigin
(2)theseatofalegalorjuridicalperson,suchasacorporation
(3)thesitusofathing,thatis,theplacewhereathingis,orisdeemedtobesituated.Inparticular,
thelexsitusisdecisivewhenrealrightsareinvolved
(4)theplacewhereanacthasbeendone,thelocusactus,suchastheplacewhereacontracthas
beenmade,amarriagecelebrated,awillsignedoratortcommitted.Thelexlociactusisparticularly
importantincontractsandtorts
(5) the place where an act is intended to come into effect, e.g., the place of performance of
contractualduties,ortheplacewhereapowerofattorneyistobeexercised
(6)theintentionofthecontractingpartiesastothelawthatshouldgoverntheiragreement,the lex
lociintentionis
(7)theplacewherejudicialoradministrativeproceedingsareinstitutedordone.Thelexfori the
lawoftheforumisparticularlyimportantbecause,aswehaveseenearlier,mattersof"procedure"
notgoingtothesubstanceoftheclaiminvolvedaregovernedbyitandbecausethelexforiapplies
wheneverthecontentoftheotherwiseapplicableforeignlawisexcludedfromapplicationinagiven
caseforthereasonthatitfallsunderoneoftheexceptionstotheapplicationsofforeignlawand
(8)theflagofaship,whichinmanycasesisdecisiveofpracticallyalllegalrelationshipsoftheship
and of its master or owner as such. It also covers contractual relationships particularly contracts of
affreightment.

60

(Emphasisours.)

Afteracarefulstudyofthepleadingsonrecord,includingallegationsintheAmendedComplaintdeemedadmitted
for purposes of the motion to dismiss, we are convinced that there is reasonable basis for private respondent's
assertionthatalthoughshewasalreadyworkinginManila,petitionerbroughthertoJeddahonthepretensethat
shewouldmerelytestifyinaninvestigationofthechargesshemadeagainstthetwoSAUDIAcrewmembersfor
theattackonherpersonwhiletheywereinJakarta.Asitturnedout,shewastheonemadetofacetrialforvery
seriouscharges,includingadulteryandviolationofIslamiclawsandtradition.
There is likewise logical basis on record for the claim that the "handing over" or "turning over" of the person of
private respondent to Jeddah officials, petitioner may have acted beyond its duties as employer. Petitioner's
purportedactcontributedtoandamplifiedorevenproximatelycausedadditionalhumiliation,miseryandsuffering
of private respondent. Petitioner thereby allegedly facilitated the arrest, detention and prosecution of private
respondent under the guise of petitioner's authority as employer, taking advantage of the trust, confidence and
faithshereposeduponit.AspurportedlyfoundbythePrinceofMakkah,theallegedconvictionandimprisonment
ofprivaterespondentwaswrongful.Butthesecappedtheinjuryorharmallegedlyinflicteduponherpersonand
reputation, for which petitioner could be liable as claimed, to provide compensation or redress for the wrongs
done,oncedulyproven.
Consideringthatthecomplaintinthecourtaquoisoneinvolvingtorts,the"connectingfactor"or"pointofcontact"
couldbetheplaceorplaceswherethetortiousconductorlexlociactusoccurred.Andapplyingthetortsprinciple
in a conflicts case, we find that the Philippines could be 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 allegedly deceived private
respondent, a Filipina residing and working here. According to her, she had honestly believed that petitioner
would,intheexerciseofitsrightsandintheperformanceofitsduties,"actwithjustice,giveherdueandobserve
honesty and good faith." Instead, petitioner failed to protect her, she claimed. That certain acts or parts of the
injuryallegedlyoccurredinanothercountryisofnomoment.Forinourviewwhatisimportanthereistheplace
wheretheoverallharmorthetotalityoftheallegedinjurytotheperson,reputation,socialstandingandhuman
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rights of complainant, had lodged, according to the plaintiff below (herein private respondent). All told, it is not
withoutbasistoidentifythePhilippinesasthesitusoftheallegedtort.
Moreover, with the widespread criticism of the traditional rule of lex loci delicti commissi, modern theories and
rules on tort liability 61havebeenadvancedtoofferfreshjudicialapproachestoarriveatjust

results. In keeping abreast with the modern theories on tort liability, we find here an
occasion to apply the "State of the most significant relationship" rule, which in our view
shouldbeappropriatetoapplynow,giventhefactualcontextofthiscase.
InapplyingsaidprincipletodeterminetheStatewhichhasthemostsignificantrelationship,thefollowingcontacts
are to be taken into account and evaluated according to their relative importance with respect to the particular
issue:(a)theplacewheretheinjuryoccurred(b)theplacewheretheconductcausingtheinjuryoccurred(c)the
domicile, residence, nationality, place of incorporation and place of business of the parties, and (d) the place
wheretherelationship,ifany,betweenthepartiesiscentered.

62

Asalreadydiscussed,thereisbasisfortheclaimthatoverallinjuryoccurredandlodgedinthePhilippines.There
is likewise no question that private respondent is a resident Filipina national, working with petitioner, a resident
foreign corporation engaged here in the business of international air carriage. Thus, the "relationship" between
the parties was centered here, although it should be stressed that this suit is not based on mere labor law
violations.Fromtherecord,theclaimthatthePhilippineshasthemostsignificantcontactwiththematterinthis
63

raised by private respondent as plaintiff below against defendant (herein


petitioner),inourview,hasbeenproperlyestablished.
dispute,

PrescindingfromthispremisethatthePhilippinesisthesitusofthetortcomplainedofandtheplace"havingthe
mostinterestintheproblem",wefind,bywayofrecapitulation,thatthePhilippinelawontortliabilityshouldhave
paramountapplicationtoandcontrolintheresolutionofthelegalissuesarisingoutofthiscase.Further,wehold
thattherespondentRegionalTrialCourthasjurisdictionoverthepartiesandthesubjectmatterofthecomplaint
theappropriatevenueisinQuezonCity,whichcouldproperlyapplyPhilippinelaw.Moreover,wefinduntenable
petitioner's insistence that "[s]ince private respondent instituted this suit, she has the burden of pleading and
64

Asaptlysaidbyprivaterespondent,shehas"no
obligation to plead and prove the law of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia since her cause of
actionisbasedonArticles19and21"oftheCivilCodeofthePhilippines.InherAmended
Complaintandsubsequentpleadings,sheneverallegedthatSaudilawshouldgovernthis
case. 65 And as correctly held by the respondent appellate court, "considering that it was
thepetitionerwhowasinvokingtheapplicabilityofthelawofSaudiArabia,thentheburden
wasonit[petitioner]topleadandtoestablishwhatthelawofSaudiArabiais".66
provingtheapplicableSaudilawonthematter."

Lastly, no error could be imputed to the respondent appellate court in upholding the trial court's denial of
defendant's(hereinpetitioner's)motiontodismissthecase.Notonlywasjurisdictioninorderandvenueproperly
laid,butappealaftertrialwasobviouslyavailable,andexpeditioustrialitselfindicatedbythenatureofthecaseat
hand.Indubitably,thePhilippinesisthestateintimatelyconcernedwiththeultimateoutcomeofthecasebelow,
notjustforthebenefitofallthelitigants,butalsoforthevindicationofthecountry'ssystemoflawandjusticeina
transnationalsetting.Withtheseguidelinesinmind,thetrialcourtmustproceedtotryandadjudgethecaseinthe
lightofrelevantPhilippinelaw,withdueconsiderationoftheforeignelementorelementsinvolved.Nothingsaid
herein,ofcourse,shouldbeconstruedasprejudgingtheresultsofthecaseinanymannerwhatsoever.
WHEREFORE, the instant petition for certiorari is hereby DISMISSED. Civil Case No. Q9318394 entitled
"Milagros P. Morada vs. Saudi Arabia Airlines" is hereby REMANDED to Regional Trial Court of Quezon City,
Branch89forfurtherproceedings.
SOORDERED.
Davide,Jr.,Bellosillo,VitugandPanganiban,JJ.,concur.
Footnotes
1Annex"A",PETITION,October13,1995rollo,p.36.
2Annex"A",SUPPLEMENTALPETITION,April30,1996rollo,pp.88102.
3PennedbyAssociateJusticeBernardoLl.Salas,andconcurredinbyAssociateJusticeJorgeS.
ImperialandAssociateJusticePacitaCaizaresNye.
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4Entitled"SaudiArabianAirlinesvs.Hon.JudgeRodolfoA.Ortiz,inhiscapacityasPresidingJudge
ofBranch89oftheRegionalTrialCourtofQuezonCityandMilagrosP.Morada".
5IssuedbyrespondentJudgeHon.RodolfoA.OrtizofBranch89,RegionalTrialCourtofQuezon
City.
6Annex"B",PETITION,October13,1995rollo,pp.3739.
7Annex"B",PETITION,October13,1995rollo,p.40.
8Entitled"MilagrosP.Moradavs.SaudiArabianAirlines".
9Supra,note2.
10Decision,pp.24seerollo,pp.8991.
11Privaterespondent'sCommentrollo,p.50.
12Ibid.,pp.5051.
13DatedNovember19,1993,anddocketedasCivilCaseNo.Q9318394,Branch89,Regional
TrialCourtofQuezonCity.
14DatedJanuary14,1994.
15DatedFebruary4,1994.
16ReplydatedMarch1,1994.
17Records,pp.6584.
18Rollo,p.65.
19Supra,note6.
20Hon.RodolfoA.Ortiz.
21DatedSeptember19,1994.
22Records,pp.108116.
23Records,pp.117128.
24Supra,note7.
25Ibid.
26DatedFebruary18,1995seesupra,note4.
27Supra,note7.
28Records,p.180.
29Rollo,pp.144.
30Supra,note2.
31Rollo,pp.8086.
32MemorandumforPetitionerdatedOctober9,1996,rollo,pp.149180andMemorandumfor
PrivateRespondent,October30,1996,rollo,pp.182210.
33Rollo,pp.157159.Allcapsintheoriginal.
34MemorandumforPetitioner,p.14,rollo,p.162.
35Art.19.Everypersonmust,intheexerciseofhisrightsandintheperformanceofhisduties,act
withjustice,giveeveryonehisdue,andobservehonestyandgoodfaith.

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36Art21.Anypersonwhowilfullycauseslossorinjurytoanotherinamannerthatiscontraryto
morals,goodcustomsorpublicpolicyshallcompensatethelatterforthedamages.
37MemorandumforPrivateRespondent,p.9,rollo,p.190.
38Records,pp.6571.
39Supra,note17,pp.6568.
40Salonga,PrivateInternationalLaw,1995edition,p.3.
41Ibid.,citingCheshireandNorth,PrivateInternationalLaw,p.5byP.M.NorthandJ.J.Faucett
(ButterworthsLondon,1992).
42Ibid.
43Paras,PhilippineConflictofLaws,sixthedition(1984),p.24,citingLeflar,TheLawofConflictof
Laws,pp.56.
44Supra,note17.
4583SCRA237,247.
46Supra,noteat17,atp.6.MoradapraysthatjudgmentberenderedagainstSaudia,orderingitto
pay:(1)notlessthanP250,000.00asactualdamages(2)P4millioninmoraldamages(3)
P500,000.00inexemplarydamages,and(4)P500,000.00inattorney'sfees.
47Baguiorov.Barrios,77Phil.120.
48Jurisdictionoverthesubjectmatterisconferredbylawandisdefinedastheauthorityofacourtto
hearanddecidecasesofthegeneralclasstowhichtheproceedingsinquestionbelong.(Reyesv.
Diaz,73Phil.484,487)
49Supra,note37,p.58,citingGulfOilCorporationv.Gilbert,350U.S.501,67Sup.Ct.839(1947).
50OmnibusMotiontoDismissdatedJanuary14,1994Reply(toPlaintiff'sOpposition)dated
February19,1994Comment(toPlaintiffsMotiontoAdmitAmendedComplaintdatedJune23,
1994)datedJuly20,1993ManifestationandMotiontoDismissAmendedComplaintdatedJune23,
1994underdateAugust11,1994andMotionforReconsiderationdatedSeptember19,1994.
5118SCRA207,213214.
5264SCRA23,31.
53CoquiaandPangalangan.ConflictofLaws,1995editionp.65,citingVonMehren,RecentTrends
inChoiceofLawMethodology,60CornellL.Rev.927(1975).
54Ibid.
55Supra,note40atp.94,citingFalconbridge,EssaysontheConflictofLaws,p.50.
56Ibid.
57Supra,note37,atp.136cf.Mussbaum,PrincipleofPrivateInternationalLaw,p.173andRabel,
TheConflictofLaws:AComparativeStudy,pp.5152.
58Supra,note37,p.137.
59Ibid.
60Supra,note37,atpp.138139.
61Includesthe(1)Germanruleofelectiveconcurrence(2)"Stateofthemostsignificant
relationship"rule(theSecondRestatementof1969)(3)Stateinterestanalysisand(4)Caver's
PrincipleofPreference.
62Supra,note37,p.396.
63Supra,note59,p.79,citingRubenv.IrvingTrustCo.,305N.Y.288,305,113N.E.2d424,431.
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64MemorandumforPetitioner,p.22rollo,p.170.
65MemorandumforPrivateRespondent,pp.2122rollo,pp.202203.
66CADecision,p.10rollo,p.97.

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