8/11/2017 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED VOLUME 020

358 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
Bellis vs. Bellis

No. L-23678. June 6, 1967.

TESTATE ESTATE OF AMOS G. BELLIS, deceased.
PEOPLE'S BANK & TRUST COMPANY, executor. MARIA
CRISTINA BELLIS and MIRIAM PALMA BELLIS,
oppositors-appellants, vs. EDWARD A. BELLIS, ET AL.,
heirs-appellees.

Wills; Succession; Conflict of laws; Renvoi doctrine.—The
doctrine of renvoi is usually pertinent where the decedent is a
national of one country and is domiciled in another. It does not
apply to a case where the decedent was a citizen of Texas and was
domiciled therein at the time of his death. So that, even assuming
that Texas has a conflicts rule providing that the domiciliary law
should govern successional rights, the same would not result in a
reference back (renvoi) to Philippine law, but it would still refer to
Texas law. Nonetheless, if Texas has a conflicts rule, adopting the
rule of lex rei sitae, which calls for the application of the law of the
place where the properties are situated, renvoi would arise, where
the properties involved are found in the Philippines.
Same; Foreign laws.—In the absence of proof as to the
conflicts rule of Texas, it would be presumed to be the same as our
local conflicts rule.
Same; Applicability of national law to succession; Capacity to
succeed—The decedent's national law governs the order of
succession, the amount of successional rights, the intrinsic
validity of the provisions of the will and capacity to succeed.
Same; Third paragraph of article 17 of New Civil Code does
not modify article 16.—The third paragraph of article 17 of the
New Civil Code is not an exception to the second paragraph of
article 16. Precisely, Congress deleted the phrase,
"notwithstanding the provisions of this and the next preceding
article," when it incorporated article 11 of the old Civil Code as
article 17, while reproducing without substantial change the
second paragraph of article 10 of the old Civil Code, as article 16.
The legislative intent must have been to make the second
paragraph of article 176 a specific provision in itself which must
http://central.com.ph/sfsreader/session/0000015dd0771420695bb736003600fb002c009e/t/?o=False 1/8

. 20. Same. Specific provisions must prevail over general ones. BENGZON. Same. 1967 359 Bellis vs. Gibbs & Ozaeta for appellee A. Vicente R. R. Macasaet and Jose D. J. S. 359 VOL. As a further indication of this legislative intent. which decrees that capacity to succeed is governed by the decedent's national law. A. Congress added a new provision.— Whatever public policy and good customs may be involved in our system of legitimes. Ozaeta. It has specifically chosen the decedent's national law to govern.ph/sfsreader/session/0000015dd0771420695bb736003600fb002c009e/t/?o=False 2/8 .8/11/2017 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED VOLUME 020 be applied in testate and intestate succession. Balonkita for appellee People's Bank & Trust Company. Paredes. Bellis.—A provision in a foreigner's will that his properties should be distributed in accordance with Philippine law and not in accordance with his national law is void. APPEAL from an order of the Court of First Instance of Manila. The facts are stated in the opinion of the Court. Bellis the amount of successional rights. B. et al. under article 1039. Same. Congres has not intended to extend the same to the succession of foreign nationals. Quijano and Arroyo for heirs-appellees W.: http://central. System of legitimes does not apply to estate of a citizen of Texas. Cruz & Nazareno for heirs-appellees E. Allsman. Villena for oppositorsappellants.com. Testamentary provision that successional right to decedent's estate would be governed by law other than his national law is void. inter alia.—Where the decedent was a citizen of Texas and under Texas laws there are no forced heirs. Statutes. Bellis. et al. being contrary to article 16 of the New Civil Code. J. JUNE 6. the system of legitimes in Philippine law cannot be applied to the succession to the decedent's testate because the intrinsic validity of the provisions of the decedent's will and the amount of successional rights are to be determined under Texas law. Poblador. J. Special and general provisions.P. Legitimes.

and expenses of administration are paid f or. from an order of the Court of First Instance of Manila dated April 30.ph/sfsreader/session/0000015dd0771420695bb736003600fb002c009e/t/?o=False 3/8 . and finally. 1958. Amos Bellis.00 each and (c) after the foregoing two items have been satisfied. Bellis.00.S. and Anna Bellis Allsman. Jr. and Dorothy E. U.com. 1964." By his first wife. Bellis. Mary E. which it released from time to time accordingly as the lower court approved and allowed the various motions or petitions filed http://central. Bellis and Dorothy Bellis. various amounts totalling P40. facts of the case are as follows: Amos G. approving the project of partition f iled by the executor in 'Civil Case No. whom he divorced. Mary E. upon a question purely of law. Amos G. Mallen.000. His will was admitted to probate in the Court of First Instance of Manila on September 15. Henry A. (b) P120. Subsequently. in trust. Bellis. Bellis.00 to his three illegitimate children. Texas. was "a citizen of the State of Texas and of the United States. Alexander Bellis and Anna Bellis Allsman.00 each in satisfaction of their respective legacies. he had three legitimate children: Edwin G. 1952.8/11/2017 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED VOLUME 020 This is a direct appeal to Us. Bellis.. Violet Kennedy. George Bellis (who pre- deceased him in infancy).000. Jr. by his second wife.A. Bellis. Jr. 360 360 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED Bellis vs. his distributable estate should be divided. he had five legitimate children: Edward A. or on July 8.000.00 in the form of shares of stock to Mary E. Walter S.. Amos G. born in Texas. who survived him. Maria Cristina Bellis and Miriam Palma Bellis. The People's Bank and Trust Company. he had three illegitimate children: Amos Bellis. Bellis. namely: Edward A.000. or a total of P120. in the following order and manner: (a) $240.00 to his first wife. Bellis. Edwin G. in which he directed that after all taxes. Alexander Bellis. obligations.000. Amos Bellis. 1958. The.. Maria Cristina Bellis and Miriam Palma Bellis. in equal shares. Mallen. a resident of San Antonio. Henry A. Bellis. Bellis executed a will in the Philippines. Mallen and to the three (3) illegitimate children.000. Maria Cristina Bellis and Miriam Palma Bellis. the remainder shall go to his seven surviving children by his first and second wives. or P40. paid all the bequests therein including the amount of $240. Bellis died. Bellis On August 5. Walter S. as executor of the will. 37089 therein.

it is not disputed that the decedent was both a national of Texas and a domicile thereof at the time of his 2 death. 1964. issued an order overruling the oppositions and approving the executor's final account. 1964. 16 of the Civil Code. Amos Bellis.00.ph/sfsreader/session/0000015dd0771420695bb736003600fb002c009e/t/?o=False of law 4/8 . After the parties filed their respective memoranda and other pertinent pleadings. In the present case. Jr. 361 VOL. Said doctrine is usually pertinent where the decedent is a national of one country. On January 8. Maria Cristina Bellis and Miriam Palma Bellis filed their respective oppositions to the project of partition on the ground that they were deprived of their legitimes as illegitimate children and. the doctrine of renvoi. on April 30.000. nor even discuss. Mallen by the delivery to her of shares of stock amounting to $240. Christensen Garcia. L-16749.com. 1963. Bellis On January 17. and the legacies of Amos Bellis.00. Relying upon Art. interposed no opposition despite notice to him. which did not provide for legitimes. applied by this Court in Aznar v. 1964. 1964 by the executor. 1964. and a domicile of another. the executor submitted and filed its "Executor's Final Account. the satisfaction of the legacy of Mary E. 20. In the project of partition.00 each or a total of ?120. proof of service of which is evidenced by the registry 1 receipt submitted on April 27. inter alia. which in this case is Texas law. it applied the national law of the decedent. report and administration and project of partition. January 31. oppositorsappellants appealed to this Court to raise the issue of which law must apply—Texas law or Philippine law.8/11/2017 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED VOLUME 020 by the latter three requesting partial advances on account of their respective legacies.000. preparatory to closing its administration. the lower court.000.. So that even assuming Texas has a conflict http://central. Their respective motions for reconsideration having been denied by the lower court on June 11. 1967 361 Bellis vs. In this regard. Maria Cristina Bellis and Miriam Palma Bellis in the amount of P40. therefore. the parties do not submit the case on. Report of Administration and Project of Partition" wherein it reported. Jr. JUNE 6. the executor —pursuant to the "Twelfth" clause of the testator's Last Will and Testament—divided the residuary estate into seven equal portions for the benefit of the testator's seven legitimate children by his first and second marriages. compulsory heirs of the deceased.

but would still refer to Texas law. render applicable the national law of the decedent. par.ph/sfsreader/session/0000015dd0771420695bb736003600fb002c009e/t/?o=False 5/8 . they argue that their case falls under the circumstances mentioned in the third paragraph of Article 17 in relation to Article 16 of the Civil Code. if Texas has a conflicts rule adopting the situs theory (lex ________________ 1 He later filed a motion praying that as a legal heir he be included in this case as one of the oppositors-appellants. Article 16. (b) the amount of successional rights. of proof as to the conflict of law rule 3of Texas. intestate and testamentary successions. 2 San Antonio. since the properties here involved are found in the Philippines. however. or to allow him to adopt the briefs filed by his sisters—but this Court resolved to deny the motion. They provide that— "ART. Real property as well as personal property is subject to the law of the country where it is situated. Bellis where the properties are situated. to file or adopt the opposition of his sisters to the project of partition. 16. Texas was his legal residence. 1039 of the Civil Code. Appellants' position is therefore not rested on the doctrine of renvoi. the same would not result in a reference back (renvoi) to Philippine law. with regard to four items: (a) the order of succession. it should not be presumed different from ours. they never invoked nor even mentioned it in their arguments. So that even assuming Texas has a conflict of law rule providing that the domiciliary system (law of the domicile) should govern. As stated. both with respect to the order of succession and to the amount of successional rights and to the intrinsic validity of testamentary provisions. 2. In the absence. (c) the intrinsic validity of the provisions of the will. Nonetheless. and Art. renvoi would arise. 362 362 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED Bellis vs.8/11/2017 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED VOLUME 020 2 death." http://central. in intestate or testamentary successions.com. whatever may be the nature of the property and regardless of the country wherein said property may be found. and (d) the capacity to succeed. Rather. shall be regulated by the national law of the person whose succession is under consideration. "However. to submit his brief after paying his proportionate share in the expenses incurred in the printing of the record on appeal.

inter. to the decedent's national law. Appellants would also point out that the decedent executed two wills—one to govern his Texas estate and the other his Philippine estate—arguing from this that he intended Philippine law to govern his Philippine estate. public policy and good customs shall not be rendered ineffective by laws or judgments promulgated. 16. 10 of the old Civil Code as Art. In re Testate Estate of Suntay. "notwithstanding the provisions of this and the next preceding article" when they incorporated Art. It must have been their purpose to make the second paragraph of Art. Assuming that such was the decedent's intention in executing a separate Philippine will. which decrees that capacity to succeed is to be governed by the national law of the decedent. For it has specifically chosen to leave.8/11/2017 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED VOLUME 020 "ART. Specific provisions must prevail over general ones. or by determinations or conventions agreed upon in a foreign country. stating that— "Prohibitive laws concerning persons. Congress deleted the phrase. _______________ 3 Lim vs. 11 of the old Civil Code as Art. 500. it would not alter the http://central. JUNE 6. 17. Precisely. 16 in the new. 1039. alia. 1967 363 Bellis vs. and those which have for their object public order. As further indication of this legislative intent. 2 of the Civil Code afore-quoted.com. Collector. 472. 20. paragraph three. their acts or property. 16 a specific provision in itself which must be applied in testate and intestate succes-sions. This is not correct. the amount of successional rights. par. Congress added a new provision. 95 Phil.ph/sfsreader/session/0000015dd0771420695bb736003600fb002c009e/t/?o=False 6/8 . 363 VOL. of the Civil Code." prevails as the exception to Art. 1039. under Art. 17 of the new Civil Code. Congress has not intended to extend the same to the succession of foreign nationals. Bellis while reproducing without substantial change the second paragraph of Art." Appellants would however counter that Art. It is therefore evident that whatever public policy or good customs may be involved in our system of legitimes. 36 Phil. Capacity to succeed is governed by the law of the nation of the decedent.

Reyes. 61 O. it was held that the validity of the provisions of the will of a citizen of Nevada should be governed by his national law.B. the order of the probate court is hereby affirmed in toto.. there are no forced heirs or legitimes. 867. Regala. Zaldivar.ph/sfsreader/session/0000015dd0771420695bb736003600fb002c009e/t/?o=False 7/8 . for his national law cannot be ignored in regard to those matters that Article 10—now Article 16—of the Civil Code states said national law should govern. the Philippine law on legitimes cannot be applied to the testacy of Amos G. and not by the internal law of California. 7302. Since the Nevada law allows a citizen of Nevada to dispose of all his property according to his will.L.. a provision in a foreigner's will to the effect that his properties shall be distributed in accordance with Philippine law and not with his national law.A. since the intrinsic validity of the provision of the will and the amount of successional rights are to be determined under Texas law. U.—In Philippine Trust Company vs. it was held that. Court of Industrial Relations Concepcion. Brimo. the testamentary provisions therein.. The parties admit that the decedent. Judgment affirmed. depriving his wife and children of what should be their legitimes under Philippine law should be respected and the project of partition made in accordance with. was a citizen of the State of Texas. 364 364 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED Allied Workers' Association of the Philippines vs. the law of Nevada. Bellis. his will should be approved.com. Christensen Garcia. 60 O. JJ. 50 Phil. concur.. Accordingly. J. Bellis. and that under the laws of Texas. pursuant to article 946 of the California Civil Code. with costs against appellants. Notes. Bohanan. the validity of the provisions of his will should be governed by Philippine law. In Aznar vs. is illegal and void.G. So ordered.8/11/2017 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED VOLUME 020 law. 870. where the deceased citizen of California was domiciled in the Philippines. for as this Court ruled in Miciano v.J.S. Wherefore. Makalintal. 4615.G. C. Sanchez and Castro. Dizon. ____________ http://central. Amos G.

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