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On 22 January 1993, after due publication and notice, the mortgaged

Bank of America, NT & SA vs. American Realty Corporation 321 real properties were sold at public auction in an extrajudicial
SCRA 659 , December 29, 1999 foreclosure sale, with Integrated Credit and Corporation Services Co.
(ICCS) as the highest bidder for the sum of Twenty Four Million
Facts Pesos (P24,000,000.00).[7]
Petitioner Bank of America NT & SA (BANTSA) is an international On 12 February 1993, private respondent filed before the Pasig
banking and financing institution duly licensed to do business in the Regional Trial Court, Branch 159, an action for damages[8] against
Philippines, organized and existing under and by virtue of the laws of the petitioner, for the latters act of foreclosing extrajudicially the real
the State of California, United States of America while private estate mortgages despite the pendency of civil suits before foreign
respondent American Realty Corporation (ARC) is a domestic courts for the collection of the principal loan.
corporation.
In its answer[9] petitioner alleged that the rule prohibiting the
Bank of America International Limited (BAIL), on the other hand, is a mortgagee from foreclosing the mortgage after an ordinary suit for
limited liability company organized and existing under the laws of collection has been filed, is not applicable in the present case,
England. claiming that:
As borne by the records, BANTSA and BAIL on several occasions a) The plaintiff, being a mere third party mortgagor and not a party to
granted three major multi-million United States (US) Dollar loans to the principal restructuring agreements, was never made a party
the following corporate borrowers: (1) Liberian Transport Navigation, defendant in the civil cases filed in Hongkong and England;
S.A.; (2) El Challenger S.A. and (3) Eshley Compania Naviera S.A.
(hereinafter collectively referred to as borrowers), all of which are b) There is actually no civil suit for sum of money filed in the
existing under and by virtue of the laws of the Republic of Panama Philippines since the civil actions were filed in Hongkong and
and are foreign affiliates of private respondent.[3] England. As such, any decisions (sic) which may be rendered in the
abovementioned courts are not (sic) enforceable in the Philippines
Due to the default in the payment of the loan amortizations, BANTSA unless a separate action to enforce the foreign judgments is first filed
and the corporate borrowers signed and entered into restructuring in the Philippines, pursuant to Rule 39, Section 50 of the Revised
agreements. As additional security for the restructured loans, private Rules of Court.
respondent ARC as third party mortgagor executed two real estate
mortgages,[4] dated 17 February 1983 and 20 July 1984, over its c) Under English Law, which is the governing law under the principal
parcels of land including improvements thereon, located at Barrio agreements, the mortgagee does not lose its security interest by
Sto. Cristo, San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan, and which are covered by filing civil actions for sums of money.
Transfer Certificate of Title Nos. T-78759, T-78760, T-78761, T-
78762 and T-78763. On 14 December 1993, private respondent filed a motion for
suspension[10] of the redemption period on the ground that it cannot
Eventually, the corporate borrowers defaulted in the payment of the exercise said right of redemption without at the same time waiving or
restructured loans prompting petitioner BANTSA to file civil contradicting its contentions in the case that the foreclosure of the
actions[5] before foreign courts for the collection of the principal loan, mortgage on its properties is legally improper and therefore invalid.
to wit:
In an order[11] dated 28 January 1994, the trial court granted the
a) In England, in its High Court of Justice, Queens Bench Division, private respondents motion for suspension after which a copy of said
Commercial Court (1992-Folio No. 2098) against Liberian Transport order was duly received by the Register of Deeds of Meycauayan,
Navigation S.A., Eshley Compania Naviera S.A., El Challenger S.A., Bulacan.
Espriona Shipping Company S.A., Eddie Navigation Corp., S.A.,
Eduardo Katipunan Litonjua and Aurelio Katipunan Litonjua on June On 07 February 1994, ICCS, the purchaser of the mortgaged
17, 1992. properties at the foreclosure sale, consolidated its ownership over
the real properties, resulting to the issuance of Transfer Certificate of
b) In England, in its High Court of Justice, Queens Bench Division, Title Nos. T-18627, T-186272, T-186273, T-16471 and T-16472 in its
Commercial Court (1992-Folio No. 2245) against El Challenger S.A., name.
Espriona Shipping Company S.A., Eduardo Katipuan Litonjua &
Aurelio Katipunan Litonjua on July 2, 1992; On 18 March 1994, after the consolidation of ownership in its favor,
ICCS sold the real properties to Stateland Investment Corporation for
c) In Hongkong, in the Supreme Court of Hongkong High Court the amount of Thirty Nine Million Pesos
(Action No. 4039 of 1992) against Eshley Compania Naviera S.A., El (P39,000,000.00).[12]Accordingly, Transfer Certificate of Title Nos. T-
Challenger S.A., Espriona Shipping Company S.A. Pacific Navigators 187781(m), T-187782(m), T-187783(m), T-16653P(m) and T-
Corporation, Eddie Navigation Corporation S.A., Litonjua Chartering 16652P(m) were issued in the latters name.
(Edyship) Co., Inc., Aurelio Katipunan Litonjua, Jr. and Eduardo
Katipunan Litonjua on November 19, 1992; and After trial, the lower court rendered a decision[13] in favor of private
respondent ARC
d) In Hongkong, in the Supreme Court of Hongkong High Court
(Action No. 4040 of 1992) against Eshley Compania Naviera S.A., El On appeal, the Court of Appeals affirmed the assailed decision of the
Challenger S.A., Espriona Shipping Company, S.A., Pacific lower court prompting petitioner to file a motion for reconsideration
Navigators Corporation, Eddie Navigation Corporation S.A., Litonjua which the appellate court denied.
Chartering (Edyship) Co., Jr. and Eduardo Katipunan Litonjua on Ruling
November 21, 1992.
Same; Conflict of Laws; In a long line of decisions, the Court adopted
In the civil suits instituted before the foreign courts, private the well-imbedded principle in our jurisdiction that there is no judicial
respondent ARC, being a third party mortgagor, was not impleaded notice of any foreign law; A foreign law must be properly pleaded and
as party-defendant. proved as a fact.—BANTSA alleges that under English Law, which
On 16 December 1992, petitioner BANTSA filed before the Office of according to petitioner is the governing law with regard to the
the Provincial Sheriff of Bulacan, Philippines, an application for principal agreements, the mortgagee does not lose its security
extrajudicial foreclosure[6] of real estate mortgage. interest by simply filing civil actions for sums of money. We rule in the
negative. This argument shows desperation on the part of petitioner
to rivet its crumbling cause. In the case at bench, Philippine law shall Arabia. When she saw him, he brought her to the police station
apply notwithstanding the evidence presented by petitioner to prove where the police took her passport and questioned her about the
the English law on the matter. In a long line of decisions, this Court Jakarta incident. Miniewy simply stood by as the police put pressure
adopted the well-imbedded principle in our jurisdiction that there is no on her to make a statement dropping the case against Thamer and
judicial notice of any foreign law. A foreign law must be properly Allah. Not until she agreed to do so did the police return her passport
pleaded and proved as a fact. Thus, if the Bank of America foreign and allowed her to catch the afternoon flight out of Jeddah.
law involved is not properly pleaded and proved, our courts will
presume that the foreign law is the same as our local or domestic or One year and a half later or on lune 16, 1993, in Riyadh, Saudi
internal law. This is what we refer to as the doctrine of processual Arabia, a few minutes before the departure of her flight to Manila,
presumption. plaintiff was not allowed to board the plane and instead ordered to
take a later flight to Jeddah to see Mr. Miniewy, the Chief Legal
Same; Same; When the foreign law, judgment or contract is contrary Officer of SAUDIA. When she did, a certain Khalid of the SAUDIA
to a sound and established public policy of the forum, the said foreign office brought her to a Saudi court where she was asked to sign a
law, judgment or order shall not be applied.—In the instant case, document written in Arabic. They told her that this was necessary to
assuming arguendo that the English Law on the matter were properly close the case against Thamer and Allah. As it turned out, plaintiff
pleaded and proved in accordance with Section 24, Rule 132 of the signed a notice to her to appear before the court on June 27, 1993.
Rules of Court and the jurisprudence laid down in Yao Kee, et al. vs. Plaintiff then returned to Manila.
Sy-Gonzales, said foreign law would still not find applicability. Thus,
when the foreign law, judgment or contract is contrary to a sound and Shortly afterwards, defendant SAUDIA summoned plaintiff to report
established public policy of the forum, the said foreign law, judgment to Jeddah once again and see Miniewy on June 27, 1993 for further
or order shall not be applied. Additionally, prohibitive laws concerning investigation. Plaintiff did so after receiving assurance from
persons, their acts or property, and those which have for their object SAUDIA's Manila manager, Aslam Saleemi, that the investigation
public order, public policy and good customs shall not be rendered was routinary and that it posed no danger to her.
ineffective by laws or judgments promulgated, or by determinations In Jeddah, a SAUDIA legal officer brought plaintiff to the same Saudi
or conventions agreed upon in a foreign country. The public policy court on June 27, 1993. Nothing happened then but on June 28,
sought to be protected in the instant case is the principle imbedded in 1993, a Saudi judge interrogated plaintiff through an interpreter about
our jurisdiction proscribing the splitting up of a single cause of action. the Jakarta incident. After one hour of interrogation, they let her go.
Bank of America, NT & SA vs. American Realty Corporation, 321 At the airport, however, just as her plane was about to take off, a
SCRA 659, G.R. No. 133876 December 29, 1999 SAUDIA officer told her that the airline had forbidden her to take
flight. At the Inflight Service Office where she was told to go, the
Saudi Arabian Airlines vs. Court of Appeals 297 SCRA 469 , secretary of Mr. Yahya Saddick took away her passport and told her
October 08, 1998 to remain in Jeddah, at the crew quarters, until further orders.

Facts On July 3, 1993 a SAUDIA legal officer again escorted plaintiff to the
same court where the judge, to her astonishment and shock,
On January 21, 1988 defendant SAUDIA hired plaintiff as a Flight rendered a decision, translated to her in English, sentencing her to
Attendant for its airlines based in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. . . . five months imprisonment and to 286 lashes. Only then did she
realize that the Saudi court had tried her, together with Thamer and
On April 27, 1990, while on a lay-over in Jakarta, Indonesia, plaintiff Allah, for what happened in Jakarta. The court found plaintiff guilty of
went to a disco dance with fellow crew members Thamer Al-Gazzawi (1) adultery; (2) going to a disco, dancing and listening to the music
and Allah Al-Gazzawi, both Saudi nationals. Because it was almost in violation of Islamic laws; and (3) socializing with the male crew, in
morning when they returned to their hotels, they agreed to have contravention of Islamic tradition. 10
breakfast together at the room of Thamer. When they were in te (sic)
room, Allah left on some pretext. Shortly after he did, Thamer Facing conviction, private respondent sought the help of her
attempted to rape plaintiff. Fortunately, a roomboy and several employer, petitioner SAUDIA. Unfortunately, she was denied any
security personnel heard her cries for help and rescued her. Later, assistance. She then asked the Philippine Embassy in Jeddah to
the Indonesian police came and arrested Thamer and Allah Al- help her while her case is on appeal. Meanwhile, to pay for her
Gazzawi, the latter as an accomplice. upkeep, she worked on the domestic flight of SAUDIA, while Thamer
and Allah continued to serve in the international
When plaintiff returned to Jeddah a few days later, several SAUDIA flights. 11
officials interrogated her about the Jakarta incident. They then
requested her to go back to Jakarta to help arrange the release of Because she was wrongfully convicted, the Prince of Makkah
Thamer and Allah. In Jakarta, SAUDIA Legal Officer Sirah Akkad and dismissed the case against her and allowed her to leave Saudi
base manager Baharini negotiated with the police for the immediate Arabia. Shortly before her return to Manila, 12 she was terminated
release of the detained crew members but did not succeed because from the service by SAUDIA, without her being informed of the
plaintiff refused to cooperate. She was afraid that she might be cause.
tricked into something she did not want because of her inability to
understand the local dialect. She also declined to sign a blank paper On November 23, 1993, Morada filed a Complaint 13 for damages
and a document written in the local dialect. Eventually, SAUDIA against SAUDIA, and Khaled Al-Balawi ("Al-Balawi"), its country
allowed plaintiff to return to Jeddah but barred her from the Jakarta manager.
flights. On January 19, 1994, SAUDIA filed an Omnibus Motion To
Plaintiff learned that, through the intercession of the Saudi Arabian Dismiss 14 which raised the following grounds, to wit: (1) that the
government, the Indonesian authorities agreed to deport Thamer and Complaint states no cause of action against Saudia; (2) that
Allah after two weeks of detention. Eventually, they were again put in defendant Al-Balawi is not a real party in interest; (3) that the claim or
service by defendant SAUDI (sic). In September 1990, defendant demand set forth in the Complaint has been waived, abandoned or
SAUDIA transferred plaintiff to Manila. otherwise extinguished; and (4) that the trial court has no jurisdiction
to try the case.
On January 14, 1992, just when plaintiff thought that the Jakarta
incident was already behind her, her superiors requested her to see On February 10, 1994, Morada filed her Opposition (To Motion to
Mr. Ali Meniewy, Chief Legal Officer of SAUDIA, in Jeddah, Saudi Dismiss) 15. Saudia filed a reply 16 thereto on March 3, 1994.
On June 23, 1994, Morada filed an Amended Complaint 17 wherein However, during the pendency of the instant Petition, respondent
Al-Balawi was dropped as party defendant. On August 11, 1994, Court of Appeals rendered the Decision 30dated April 10, 1996, now
Saudia filed its Manifestation and Motion to Dismiss Amended also assailed. It ruled that the Philippines is an appropriate forum
Complaint 18. considering that the Amended Complaint's basis for recovery of
damages is Article 21 of the Civil Code, and thus, clearly within the
The trial court issued an Order 19 dated August 29, 1994 denying the jurisdiction of respondent Court. It further held that certiorari is not
Motion to Dismiss Amended Complaint filed by Saudia. the proper remedy in a denial of a Motion to Dismiss, inasmuch as
From the Order of respondent Judge 20 denying the Motion to the petitioner should have proceeded to trial, and in case of an
Dismiss, SAUDIA filed on September 20, 1994, its Motion for adverse ruling, find recourse in an appeal.
Reconsideration 21 of the Order dated August 29, 1994. It alleged On May 7, 1996, SAUDIA filed its Supplemental Petition for Review
that the trial court has no jurisdiction to hear and try the case on the with Prayer for Temporary Restraining Order 31 dated April 30, 1996,
basis of Article 21 of the Civil Code, since the proper law applicable given due course by this Court. After both parties submitted their
is the law of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. On October 14, 1994, Memoranda, 32 the instant case is now deemed submitted for
Morada filed her Opposition 22(To Defendant's Motion for decision.
Reconsideration).
Ruling
In the Reply 23 filed with the trial court on October 24, 1994, SAUDIA
alleged that since its Motion for Reconsideration raised lack of Conflict of Laws; Actions; Where the factual antecedents
jurisdiction as its cause of action, the Omnibus Motion Rule does not satisfactorily establish the existence of a foreign element, the
apply, even if that ground is raised for the first time on appeal. problem could present a “conflicts” case.—Where the factual
Additionally, SAUDIA alleged that the Philippines does not have any antecedents satisfactorily establish the existence of a foreign
substantial interest in the prosecution of the instant case, and hence, element, we agree with petitioner that the problem herein could
without jurisdiction to adjudicate the same. present a “conflicts” case. A factual situation that cuts across
territorial lines and is affected by the diverse laws of two or more
Respondent Judge subsequently issued another Order 24 dated states is said to contain a “foreign element.” The presence of a
February 2, 1995, denying SAUDIA's Motion for Reconsideration. foreign element is inevitable since social and economic affairs of
The pertinent portion of the assailed Order reads as follows: individuals and associations are rarely confined to the geographic
Acting on the Motion for Reconsideration of defendant Saudi Arabian limits of their birth or conception.
Airlines filed, thru counsel, on September 20, 1994, and the Same; Same; The forms in which a foreign element may appear are
Opposition thereto of the plaintiff filed, thru counsel, on October 14, many, such as the fact that one party is a resident Philippine
1994, as well as the Reply therewith of defendant Saudi Arabian national, and that the other is a resident foreign corporation.—The
Airlines filed, thru counsel, on October 24, 1994, considering that a forms in which this foreign element may appear are many. The
perusal of the plaintiffs Amended Complaint, which is one for the foreign element may simply consist in the fact that one of the parties
recovery of actual, moral and exemplary damages plus attorney's to a contract is an alien or has a foreign domicile, or that a contract
fees, upon the basis of the applicable Philippine law, Article 21 of the between nationals of one State involves properties situated in
New Civil Code of the Philippines, is, clearly, within the jurisdiction of another State. In other cases, the foreign element may assume a
this Court as regards the subject matter, and there being nothing new complex form. In the instant case, the foreign element consisted in
of substance which might cause the reversal or modification of the the fact that private respondent Morada is a resident Philippine
order sought to be reconsidered, the motion for reconsideration of national, and that petitioner SAUDIA is a resident foreign corporation.
the defendant, is DENIED. Also, by virtue of the employment of Morada with the petitioner
SO ORDERED. 25 SAUDIA as a flight stewardess, events did transpire during her many
occasions of travel across national borders, particularly from Manila,
Consequently, on February 20, 1995, SAUDIA filed its Petition Philippines to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and vice versa, that caused a
for Certiorari and Prohibition with Prayer for Issuance of Writ of “conflicts” situation to arise. Saudi Arabian Airlines vs. Court of
Preliminary Injunction and/or Temporary Restraining Order 26 with the Appeals, 297 SCRA 469, G.R. No. 122191, G.R. No. 122494
Court of Appeals. October 8, 1998
Respondent Court of Appeals promulgated a Resolution with Same; Same; Damages; While Article 19 of the Civil Code merely
Temporary Restraining Order 27 dated February 23, 1995, prohibiting declares a principle of law, Article 21 gives flesh to its provisions;
the respondent Judge from further conducting any proceeding, Violations of Articles 19 and 21 are actionable, with judicially
unless otherwise directed, in the interim. enforceable remedies in the municipal forum.—Although Article 19
merely declares a principle of law, Article 21 gives flesh to its
In another Resolution 28 promulgated on September 27, 1995, now
provisions. Thus, we agree with private respondent’s assertion that
assailed, the appellate court denied SAUDIA's Petition for the
violations of Articles 19 and 21 are actionable, with judicially
Issuance of a Writ of Preliminary Injunction dated February 18, 1995,
enforceable remedies in the municipal forum. Based on the
to wit:
allegations in the Amended Complaint, read in the light of the Rules
The Petition for the Issuance of a Writ of Preliminary Injunction is of Court on jurisdiction we find that the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of
hereby DENIED, after considering the Answer, with Prayer to Deny Quezon City possesses jurisdiction over the subject matter of the
Writ of Preliminary Injunction (Rollo, p. 135) the Reply and Rejoinder, suit. Its authority to try and hear the case is provided for under
it appearing that herein petitioner is not clearly entitled thereto Section 1 of Republic Act No. 7691. Saudi Arabian Airlines vs. Court
(Unciano Paramedical College, et. Al., v. Court of Appeals, of Appeals, 297 SCRA 469, G.R. No. 122191, G.R. No. 122494
et. Al., 100335, April 7, 1993, Second Division). October 8, 1998

SO ORDERED. Same; Same; Forum Non Conveniens; Forum Shopping; Plaintiff


may not, by choice of an inconvenient forum, ‘vex,’ ‘harass,’ or
On October 20, 1995, SAUDIA filed with this Honorable Court the ‘oppress’ the defendant, e.g. by inflicting upon him needless expense
instant Petition 29 for Review with Prayer for Temporary Restraining or disturbance, but unless the balance is strongly in favor of the
Order dated October 13, 1995. defendant, the plaintiff’s choice of forum should rarely be
disturbed.—Pragmatic considerations, including the convenience of
the parties, also weigh heavily in favor of the RTC Quezon City contact, such as the situs of the res, the place of celebration, the
assuming jurisdiction. Paramount is the private interest of the litigant. place of performance, or the place of wrongdoing.
Enforceability of a judgment if one is obtained is quite obvious.
Relative advantages and obstacles to a fair trial are equally Same; Same; “Test Factors” or “Points of Contact” or “Connecting
important. Plaintiff may not, by choice of an inconvenient forum, ‘vex,’ Factors.”—Note that one or more circumstances may be present to
‘harass,’ or ‘oppress’ the defendant, e.g. by inflicting upon him serve as the possible test for the determination of the applicable law.
needless expense or disturbance. But unless the balance is strongly These “test factors” or “points of contact” or “connecting factors”
in favor of the defendant, the plaintiff’s choice of forum should rarely could be any of the following: “(1) the nationality of a person, his
be disturbed. domicile, his residence, his place of sojourn, or his origin; (2) the seat
of a legal or juridical person, such as a corporation; (3) the situs of a
Same; Same; Forcing a party to seek remedial action in a place thing, that is, the place where a thing is, or is deemed to be situated.
where she no longer maintains substantial connections would cause In particular, the lex situs is decisive when real rights are involved;
a fundamental unfairness to her.—Weighing the relative claims of the (4) the place where an act has been done, the locus actus, such as
parties, the court a quo found it best to hear the case in the the place where a contract has been made, a marriage celebrated, a
Philippines. Had it refused to take cognizance of the case, it would will signed or a tort committed. The lex loci actus is particularly
be forcing plaintiff (private respondent now) to seek remedial action important in contracts and torts; (5) the place where an act is
elsewhere, i.e. in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia where she no longer intended to come into effect, e.g., the place of performance of
maintains substantial connections. That would have caused a contractual duties, or the place where a power of attorney is to be
fundamental unfairness to her. exercised; (6) the intention of the contracting parties as to the law
that should govern their agreement, the lex loci intentionis; (7) the
Same; Same; A party effectively submits to the trial court’s place where judicial or administrative proceedings are instituted or
jurisdiction by praying for the dismissal of the complaint on grounds done. The lex fori—the law of the forum—is particularly important
other than lack of jurisdiction.—The records show that petitioner because, as we have seen earlier, matters of ‘procedure’ not going to
SAUDIA has filed several motions praying for the dismissal of the substance of the claim involved are governed by it; and because
Morada’s Amended Complaint. SAUDIA also filed an Answer In Ex the lex fori applies whenever the content of the otherwise applicable
Abundante Cautelam dated February 20, 1995. What is very patent foreign law is excluded from application in a given case for the
and explicit from the motions filed, is that SAUDIA prayed for other reason that it falls under one of the exceptions to the applications of
reliefs under the premises. Undeniably, petitioner SAUDIA has foreign law; and (8) the flag of a ship, which in many cases is
effectively submitted to the trial court’s jurisdiction by praying for the decisive of practically all legal relationships of the ship and of its
dismissal of the Amended Complaint on grounds other than lack of master or owner as such. It also covers contractual relationships
jurisdiction. particularly contracts of affreightment.” (Italics ours.) Saudi Arabian
Same; Choice-of-law problems seek to answer two important Airlines vs. Court of Appeals, 297 SCRA 469, G.R. No. 122191, G.R.
questions: (1) What legal system should control a given situation No. 122494 October 8, 1998
where some of the significant facts occurred in two or more states; Same; Same; Same; Torts; Where the action is one involving torts,
and (2) to what extent should the chosen legal system regulate the the “connecting factor” or “point of contact” could be the place or
situation.—As to the choice of applicable law, we note that choice-of- places where the tortious conduct or lex loci actus occurred; The
law problems seek to answer two important questions: (1) What legal Philippines is the situs of the tort where it is in the Philippines where
system should control a given situation where some of the significant the defendant allegedly deceived the plaintiff, a citizen residing and
facts occurred in two or more states; and (2) to what extent should working here, and the fact that certain acts or parts of the injury
the chosen legal system regulate the situation. occurred in another country is of no moment, for what is important is
Same; Although ideally, all choice-of-law theories should intrinsically the place where the over-all harm or the totality of the injury to the
advance both notions of justice and predictability, they do not always person, reputation, social standing and human rights of the plaintiff
do so, in which case the forum is then faced with the problem of had lodged.—Considering that the complaint in the court a quo is one
deciding which of these two important values should be stressed.— involving torts, the “connecting factor” or “point of contact” could be
Several theories have been propounded in order to identify the legal the place or places where the tortious conduct or lex loci actus
system that should ultimately control. Although ideally, all choice-of- occurred. And applying the torts principle in a conflicts case, we find
law theories should intrinsically advance both notions of justice and that the Philippines could be said as a situs of the tort (the place
predictability, they do not always do so. The forum is then faced with where the alleged tortious conduct took place). This is because it is
the problem of deciding which of these two important values should in the Philippines where petitioner allegedly deceived private
be stressed. respondent, a Filipina residing and working here. According to her,
she had honestly believed that petitioner would, in the exercise of its
Same; Characterization or Doctrine of Qualification; Words and rights and in the performance of its duties, “act with justice, give her
Phrases; Characterization is the “process of deciding whether or not her due and observe honesty and good faith.” Instead, petitioner
the facts relate to the kind of question specified in a conflicts rule.”— failed to protect her, she claimed. That certain acts or parts of the
Before a choice can be made, it is necessary for us to determine injury allegedly occurred in another country is of no moment. For in
under what category a certain set of facts or rules fall. This process is our view what is important here is the place where the over-all harm
known as “characterization,” or the “doctrine of qualification.” It is the or the totality of the alleged injury to the person, reputation, social
“process of deciding whether or not the facts relate to the kind of standing and human rights of complainant, had lodged, according to
question specified in a conflicts rule.” The purpose of the plaintiff below (herein private respondent). All told, it is not
“characterization” is to enable the forum to select the proper law. without basis to identify the Philippines as the situs of the alleged
tort.
Same; Same; An essential element of conflict rules is the indication
of a “test” or “connecting factor” or “point of contact.”—Our starting Same; Same; Same; Same; “State of the Most Significant
point of analysis here is not a legal relation, but a factual situation, Relationship” Rule; The “State of the most significant relationship”
event, or operative fact. An essential element of conflict rules is the rule is the appropriate modern theory on tort liability to apply in the
indication of a “test” or “connecting factor” or “point of contact.” instant case.—With the widespread criticism of the traditional rule of
Choice-of-law rules invariably consist of a factual relation ship (such lex loci delicti commissi, modern theories and rules on tort liability
as property right, contract claim) and a connecting factor or point of have been advanced to offer fresh judicial approaches to arrive at
just results. In keeping abreast with the modern theories on tort
liability, we find here an occasion to apply the “State of the most the U.S. The Court's decision in this case will clarify the reach of the
significant relationship” rule, which in our view should be appropriate U.S. federal courts' jurisdiction over certain extraterritorial tort
to apply now, given the factual context of this case. In applying said claims.
principle to determine the State which has the most significant
relationship, the following contacts are to be taken into account and Questions as Framed for the Court by the Parties
evaluated according to their relative importance with respect to the Whether the issue of corporate civil tort liability under the Alien Tort
particular issue: (a) the place where the injury occurred; (b) the place Statute ("ATS"), 28 U.S.C. § 1350, is a merits question, as it has
where the conduct causing the injury occurred; (c) the domicile, been treated by all courts prior to the decision below, or an issue of
residence, nationality, place of incorporation and place of business of subject matter jurisdiction, as the court of appeals held for the first
the parties; and (d) the place where the relationship, if any, between time.
the parties is centered.
Issue(s)
Same; Same; Same; Same; Same; Where the Philippines is the situs
of the tort complained of and the place “having the most interest in Whether an American federal court can hear a claim under the Alien
the problem,” the Philippine law on tort liability should have Tort statute, when that claim arose out of conduct in a foreign
paramount application to and control in the resolution of the legal country.
issues arising therein.—As already discussed, there is basis for the
Facts
claim that over-all injury occurred and lodged in the Philippines.
There is likewise no question that private respondent is a resident Esther Kiobel represents a class of citizens from the Ogoni region
Filipina national, working with petitioner, a resident foreign in Nigeria who filed a class action suit against the respondents Royal
corporation engaged here in the business of international air Dutch Petroleum, Shell Transport and Trading Company and Shell
carriage. Thus, the “relationship” between the parties was centered Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (“Royal Dutch
here, although it should be stressed that this suit is not based on Petroleum”) in the United States District Court for the Southern
mere labor law violations. From the record, the claim that the District of New York in 2002. Respondent corporations are
Philippines has the most significant contact with the matter in this incorporated in the Netherlands, United Kingdom, and Nigeria,
dispute, raised by private respondent as plaintiff below against respectively. Respondents are companies that have been engaged in
defendant (herein petitioner), in our view, has been properly oil exploration and production in the Ogoni region of Nigeria since
established. Prescinding from this premise that the Philippines is the 1958. In response to Royal Dutch Petroleum’s exploration efforts, a
situs of the tort complained of and the place “having the most interest group of Ogoni citizens formed the “Movement for the Survival of
in the problem,” we find, by way of recapitulation, that the Philippine Ogoni People” which protested the detrimental environmental effects
law on tort liability should have paramount application to and control that Royal Dutch’s oil exploration has on the region.
in the resolution of the legal issues arising out of this case. Further,
we hold that the respondent Regional Trial Court has jurisdiction over Petitioners in this case (“Kiobel”) allege that Royal Dutch Petroleum
the parties and the subject matter of the complaint; the appropriate partnered with the Nigerian government in 1993 to stop the Ogoni
venue is in Quezon City, which could properly apply Philippine law. from protesting the oil exploration projects. Petitioners allege that
Nigerian military forces committed atrocities against the Ogoni
Same; Pleadings and Practice; Evidence; A party whose cause of people including raping, murdering, beating, and making unlawful
action is based on a Philippine law has no obligation to plead and arrests to further the government’s efforts to stop the protesting,
prove the law of another State.—We find untenable petitioner’s which would allow Royal Dutch to continue oil exploration in the
insistence that “[s]ince private respondent instituted this suit, she has region. Petitioners claim that Royal Dutch Petroleum provided the
the burden of pleading and proving the applicable Saudi law on the Nigerian soldiers with transportation, food, compensation and staging
matter.” As aptly said by private respondent, she has “no obligation areas for carrying out attacks against the Ogoni.
to plead and prove the law of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia since her
cause of action is based on Articles 19 and 21” of the Civil Code of Kiobel brings the claim under the Alien Tort Statute (“ATS”), which
the Philippines. In her Amended Complaint and subsequent allows foreign citizens to bring suits in U.S. federal courts for certain
pleadings, she never alleged that Saudi law should govern this case. violations of the law of nations. Kiobel brought suit arguing that Royal
And as correctly held by the respondent appellate court, “considering Dutch Petroleum had aided and abetted the Nigerian government, or
that it was the petitioner who was invoking the applicability of the law was otherwise complicit, in the atrocities committed against the
of Saudi Arabia, then the burden was on it [petitioner] to plead and to people. In 2006, the District Court dismissed some of the claims of
establish what the law of Saudi Arabia is.” aiding and abetting but allowed claims of aiding and abetting arbitrary
arrest and detention; crimes against humanity; and torture or cruel,
Kiobel vs. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co. inhuman, and degrading treatment to stand. The District Court
recognized the importance of interpreting the law properly and thus
Facts
certified the whole case for interlocutory appeal by the United States
Petitioner Esther Kiobel, representing a group of individuals from the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. The Second Circuit ruled
Ogoni region in Nigeria, filed a class action lawsuit against that the ATS had never served as a basis for liability on the part of
Respondents, the Royal Dutch Petroleum Co., Shell Transport and corporations. The court dismissed all of Kiobel’s claims for lack
Trading Company PLC, and Shell Petroleum Development Company of subject matter jurisdiction. This case was the first time that the
of Nigeria, LTD (“Royal Dutch”) under the Alien Tort Statute (“ATS”). Second Circuit directly addressed whether its jurisdiction under ATS
The ATS grants jurisdiction to some federal courts for certain extends to civil actions involving corporations.
violations of international law. Petitioners allege that Royal Dutch
The Supreme Court heard oral arguments for the case on February
aided the Nigerian government in committing various acts of violence
28, 2012 and on March 5, 2012 ordered re-arguments. The re-
against protestors of the oil exploration projects in the Ogoni
arguments will be on the question of under what circumstances the
region. Petitioners claim that they have standing to sue under the
Alien Tort Statute allows American courts to litigate tort claims that
ATS because the history, text, and purpose of the statute support the
are based on actions that did not occur within the territory of the
application of the ATS to actions in foreign countries. Petitioner also
United States.
contends that previous court decisions interpreted the ATS to extend
beyond U.S. territory. In response, Royal Dutch argues that the ATS
is not an exception to the presumption that U.S. law does not apply
extraterritorially, and should not be applicable to actions outside of
Discussion create an inability to support a family or make a livelihood. Pillay also
states that often there are no avenues in the domestic judicial
Petitioners argue that the text, history, and purpose of the Alien Tort systems to recover for human rights violations and if Petitioners are
Statute (“ATS”) support their contention that the ATS was applicable unsuccessful in this instance, a potential avenue for recovery will be
in foreign nations. However, Respondents argue that the ATS is not lost to victims of human rights violations. Petitioners also state that
an exception to the presumption that U.S. law does not apply the need for a forum to hear the human rights violations far
extraterritorially, and should not be applicable to actions outside of outweighs any infraction on the sovereignty of a nation.
the U.S.
Analysis
Business Implications
Application of Sosa v. Alvarez-Machain to International Torts
BP America and others (“BP America”) point out that the U.S
corporations often have contacts with foreign military and Petitioner argues that the seminal case, Sosa v. Alvarez-
government entities when the corporations conduct foreign Machain, already resolved the question of whether the ATS allows
business. BP America maintains that if ATS liability for aiding and U.S. courts to recognize a cause of action for international
abetting is extended in this case, many corporations conducting law violations that occur outside the United States. Petitioner
business in developing countries will be at risk of billion-dollar claims contends that Sosa, a case in which plaintiffs sued the defendants for
based solely on their incidental contacts with the governing regimes kidnapping under the ATS, held that ATS jurisdiction extends to a
in these countries. The Chamber of Commerce further argues that if small subset of common law tort cases derived from international
ATS is extended to cases involving U.S. corporations’ conduct in law. Petitioner points out that the Sosa court held that the plaintiffs
foreign countries, the ATS could effectively act as embargos or were not entitled to damages under the ATS, since the ATS was a
international sanctions. Moreover, the Chamber of Commerce jurisdictional statute that was intended to regulate common law
contends that the ATS will impose additional risks to corporations causes of actions for a small number of international law violations,
and discourage corporations from investing overseas. Furthermore, including crimes against ambassadors, breaches of safe conducts,
the Chamber of Commerce argues that the decrease in investment in and piracy. Petitioner argues that Sosa authorized ATS jurisdiction to
developing nations will not only harm corporations but also the include human rights violations by foreign nationals in its discussion
developing nations themselves, as well as negatively affect U.S. of remedies. Petitioner further argues that international law prohibits
foreign policy. The Chamber of Commerce also contends that the any government from committing human rights violations against
United States has often encouraged investment in developing their citizens, especially within their own sovereignty. Moreover,
nations to further political policies, and the ATS will serve as a barrier Petitioner states that no court since Sosa has held that ATS
to those policies. jurisdiction is limited to conduct occurring within the U.S. or on
the high seas.
Ambassador David J. Scheffer (“Scheffer”) contends that if the ATS
has extraterritorial reach, it will enforce the global trend that is Respondent argues that Sosa stands for the proposition that to apply
moving towards applying more civil liability for corporations that the ATS and federal common law is to recognize U.S. law in a
violate international human rights, and as a permanent member of foreign country. Respondent asserts that, under the ATS, courts
the United Nations Security Council, the. U.S. should support the apply federal common law to a violation of an international law
trend and hold corporations accountable for their human rights “norm,” therefore applying U.S. law to foreign nations. Thus,
violations. Scheffer also argues that if the ATS has foreign reach, it respondent argues, that while these causes of action do look partially
will signal to other countries America’s commitment to justice, and to international law for substantive content, because it is based on a
promote international justice. The members of the Parliament of the violation of an international law custom, it is nonetheless an
Federal Republic of Germany (“German Parliament”) also maintain application of U.S. federal common law. Respondent argues that to
that the ATS would support notions of international justice, and find otherwise would likely be a violation of international law, which
provide a remedy to victims of human rights violations. The German prohibits universal civil jurisdiction. Respondent further argues that
Parliament contends that the ATS does not act as a barrier to even if it would not be a clear violation of international law, it would
international corporations, since the number of human rights claims be an arguable violation. In support of this, Respondent cites Sosa ,
that are brought against multinational corporations are very small due which lists the potential violation of international law as a
to the high cost of bringing a class action lawsuit. Petitioners further consideration a court should use when determining whether or not to
state that the settlements in these types of human rights cases are extend jurisdiction to international tort cases under the
so minor for large corporations that they will not greatly hamper ATS. Respondent further contends that there is no acceptable
income so drastically as to prevent a corporation from considering circumstance where it would be appropriate for the U.S. to apply its
foreign investment. own laws to a case such as this one.

Sovereign Power vs. Protection of Human Rights Presumption Against Extraterritoriality

The Cato Institute states that a sovereign should limit its punishment Petitioner argues that the presumption against extraterritoriality is not
of crimes to those crimes that occur within the sovereign’s applicable to the ATS because it is a jurisdictional statute and that
jurisdiction, independent of the nature of the crime. The Cato Institute the presumption against extraterritoriality does not apply to
argues that allowing the Petitioners to continue to litigate the case jurisdictional statutes. Petitioner also asserts that the ATS does not
would greatly expand the boundaries of the reach of American courts have any geographic limitations on the scope of its
in cases dealing with international law. The Cato Institute maintains jurisdiction.Moreover, Petitioner compares the ATS to U.S.
that this will create an overreach of U.S. power, which will undermine adjudication of international tort claims (also known as Transitory
U.S. foreign policy by allowing U.S. courts to decide disputes in Tort claims), where both parties are based outside of the United
foreign countries. The Federal Republic of Germany believes that if States. Petitioner states that international tort claims may
the Court finds for Petitioners, the sovereign judicial powers of be adjudicated in the U.S. regardless of where the cause of
foreign nations will be reduced even though they have stronger action arose, so long as the plaintiffs can satisfy personal
interests in cases that concern their own corporations. jurisdiction requirements. Petitioner argues that both the ATS and the
Transitory Tort doctrine derive their power from customary
Navi Pillay, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights international law and not the substantive law of any particular
(“Pillay”), believes that victims of human rights violations are entitled nation. Petitioner notes that although the ATS uses some federal
to compensation for the atrocities committed against them and this common law to provide rules, this is consistent with international law
compensation is necessary because often human rights violations
principles, which dictate that each state may enforce international law foreign tort cases litigated in U.S. federal courts. Petitioner also notes
through their own legal system. Thus, petitioner contends that that adjudication of foreign violations does not violate the prohibition
adjudication of this case would not apply U.S. law extraterritoriality. on universal civil jurisdiction because there are restrictions on ATS
jurisdiction, such as where defendant is not sufficiently connected to
Respondent contends that the ATS and federal common law should the forum nation to satisfy due process requirements. Petitioner
not be interpreted to apply to conduct on foreign soil because U.S. concludes that these jurisdictional limitations are sufficient to prevent
law is presumed not to apply extraterritorially. Respondent thus U.S. courts from unilaterally exercising universal civil jurisdiction.
argues that, by extending ATS and federal common law to suits
involving foreign territories and parties, the Court would extend U.S. Respondent responds first by pointing to the fact that the case before
law outside of its borders. Respondent contends that this the Court is especially sensitive because it involves passing
presumption against extraterritoriality applies to the ATS despite the judgment on the commercial conduct of a foreign government, not
fact that it is a jurisdictional statute. In support of this claim, just a non-government actor. Respondent additionally argues that the
Respondent cites the Sosadecision, in which the Court determined ATS was enacted as a means of preventing international conflict and
that the decision to create a private right of action is usually best left was not intended to include violations committed by alien actors in
to the legislature. Respondent continues by stating that the Court foreign nations. Respondent states that the alleged conduct occurred
intended for the extraterritoriality presumption to also apply to the entirely in Nigeria and Nigeria objects to U.S. adjudication of the
ATS. Respondent argues that, although several lower courts have matter because they believe it will jeopardize their ability to reconcile
permitted suits arising from incidents in foreign nations, the Court the country with the Ogoni people. Respondent argues that foreign
should explicitly foreclose such suits because they cause nations often object to the application of laws outside the construct of
international friction. In response to Petitioner’s comparison of their own sovereignty because they choose their own means of
international tort cases and ATS claims, Respondent replies that ATS dealing with internal conflict. Respondent points to South Africa as an
cases and international tort claims require entirely different example of a country that took an alternative route—by creating
procedural rules: while international tort cases are adjudicated in a the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (“TRC”)—to address the
U.S. forum, the law of wherever the violation occurred supplies the disputes that arose in the aftermath of apartheid. Respondent argues
choice of law. Respondent argues that in contrast, ATS cases require that this as an example of a situation where imposition of foreign
application of U.S. federal common law—meaning the law of the jurisdiction would have been a serious disruption of South Africa’s
nation where the incident occurred has no impact. autonomy.

History, Text, and Purpose of the ATS Conclusion

Petitioner contends that maintaining federal jurisdiction over these The re-arguments in this case will focus on the interpretation of the
types of alien tort cases is appropriate and has been assumed since Alien Tort Statute as it relates to the ability for an American court to
the formation of the United States. Petitioner argues that the ATS have jurisdiction on civil cases that would otherwise be outside their
was enacted to adjudicate treaty violations and therefore reach. The Court’s decision will greatly affect corporate investment in
extends territorial jurisdiction everywhere international emerging markets and international human rights law. Petitioners will
law reaches. Moreover, Petitioner argues that even if the argue that they must be allowed to bring their claim in a United
presumption against extraterritoriality does apply, it is rebutted by the States court in order to allow for justice for human rights cases, while
text, history, and purpose of the statute. Petitioner states that the Respondents will urge to the Court that there is no jurisdiction on the
ATS has long been understood to include violations committed in part of the United States and the case would be better served in a
foreign nations by foreign actors. In support of this, Petitioner points jurisdiction that has greater ties to the underlying action.
to the fact that Congress has long supported international human
rights compliance and accountability and that, by restricting the St. Aviation Services Co., Pte., Ltd. vs. Grand International
jurisdiction of ATS claims, U.S. foreign policy would be Airways, Inc. 505 SCRA 30 , October 23, 2006
compromised. Petitioner additionally argues that the founders did not Facts
apply a territorial limitation to the scope of the ATS.
St. Aviation Services Co., Pte., Ltd., petitioner, is a foreign
Respondent supports its ATS interpretation by claiming that, where corporation based in Singapore. It is engaged in the manufacture,
Congress has intended for an Act to include violations that occur on repair, and maintenance of airplanes and aircrafts. Grand
foreign soil, it has explicitly said so. Respondent cites the Torture International Airways, Inc., respondent, is a domestic corporation
Victim Protection Act(“TVPA”) as an example of this. The TVPA engaged in airline operations.
explicitly extends jurisdiction to acts occurring in foreign nations
regardless of the actors. Respondent further contends that Sometime in January 1996, petitioner and respondent executed an
application of the ATS has historically involved incidents occurring on Agreement for the Maintenance and Modification of Airbus A 300 B4-
U.S. soil. Respondent thus concludes that only Congress may outline 103 Aircraft Registration No. RP-C8882 (First Agreement). Under this
territorial jurisdiction of the ATS and, if it intends for jurisdiction to stipulation, petitioner agreed to undertake maintenance and
include acts committed on foreign soil by foreign nations, it must modification works on respondents aircraft. The parties agreed on
explicitly say so. Respondent argues that to conclude otherwise the mode and manner of payment by respondent of the contract
would be to establish absolute U.S. jurisdiction over all international price, including interest in case of default. They also agreed that the
matters. construction, validity and performance thereof shall be governed by
the laws of Singapore. They further agreed to submit any suit arising
Application of U.S. Law to International Claims from their agreement to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of
Petitioner argues that U.S. law is not applied here because the ATS the Singapore courts.
and federal common law call for the application of international law to At about the same time, or on January 12, 1996, the parties verbally
any disputes filed under the statute. Petitioner states that these laws agreed that petitioner will repair and undertake maintenance works
are utilized worldwide and are easily applied by the federal courts to on respondents other aircraft, Aircraft No. RP-C8881; and that the
ATS disputes. In this way, Petitioner argues that it is not U.S. law that works shall be based on a General Terms of Agreement (GTA). The
applies extraterritorially but rather international law that applies GTA terms are similar to those of their First Agreement.
universally. Petitioner argues that the history of the ATS
demonstrates that Congress intended it to provide federal courts with Petitioner undertook the contracted works and thereafter promptly
extraterritorial reach, a prospect shown by the many delivered the aircrafts to respondent. During the period from March
1996 to October 1997, petitioner billed respondent in the total
amount of US$303,731.67 or S$452,560.18. But despite petitioners a usage among civilized states by which final judgments of foreign
repeated demands, respondent failed to pay, in violation of the terms courts of competent jurisdiction are reciprocally respected and
agreed upon. rendered efficacious under certain conditions that may vary in
different countries.—In the absence of a special contract, no
On December 12, 1997, petitioner filed with the High Court of sovereign is bound to give effect within its dominion to a judgment
the Republic of Singapore an action for the sum of S$452,560.18, rendered by a tribunal of another country; however, under the rules
including interest and costs, against respondent, docketed as Suit of comity, utility and convenience, nations have established a usage
No. 2101. Upon petitioners motion, the court issued a Writ of among civilized states by which final judgments of foreign courts of
Summons to be served extraterritorially or outside Singapore upon competent jurisdiction are reciprocally respected and rendered
respondent. The court sought the assistance of the sheriff efficacious under certain conditions that may vary in different
of Pasay City to effect service of the summons upon countries. Certainly, the Philippine legal system has long ago
respondent. However, despite receipt of summons, respondent failed accepted into its jurisprudence and procedural rules the viability of an
to answer the claim. action for enforcement of foreign judgment, as well as the requisites
On February 17, 1998, on motion of petitioner, the Singapore High for such valid enforcement, as derived from internationally accepted
Court rendered a judgment by default against respondent. doctrines.

On August 4, 1998, petitioner filed with the RTC, Branch Same; Same; Parties; A foreign judgment or order against a person
117, Pasay City, a Petition for Enforcement of Judgment, docketed is merely presumptive evidence of a right as between the parties. It
as Civil Case No. 98-1389. may be repelled, among others, by want of jurisdiction of the issuing
authority or by want of notice to the party against whom it is
Respondent filed a Motion to Dismiss the Petition on two grounds: (1) enforced. The party attacking a foreign judgment has the burden of
the Singapore High Court did not acquire jurisdiction over its person; overcoming the presumption of its validity.—A foreign judgment or
and (2) the foreign judgment sought to be enforced is void for having order against a person is merely presumptive evidence of a right as
been rendered in violation of its right to due process. between the parties. It may be repelled, among others, by want of
jurisdiction of the issuing authority or by want of notice to the party
On October 30, 1998, the RTC denied respondents motion to
against whom it is enforced. The party attacking a foreign judgment
dismiss, holding that neither one of the two grounds (of Grand) is has the burden of overcoming the presumption of its validity.
among the grounds for a motion to dismiss under Rule 16 of the
1997 Rules of Civil Procedure. Summons; Pleadings and Practice; Matters of remedy and procedure
such as those relating to the service of process upon a defendant are
Respondent filed a motion for reconsideration but was denied by the
governed by the lex fori or the internal law of the forum, which in this
RTC in its Order dated December 16, 1998.
case is the law of Singapore.—Matters of remedy and procedure
On February 15, 1999, respondent filed with the Court of Appeals a such as those relating to the service of process upon a defendant are
Petition for Certiorari assailing the RTC Order denying its motion to governed by the lex fori or the internal law of the forum, which in this
dismiss. Respondent alleged that the extraterritorial service of case is the law of Singapore. Here, petitioner moved for leave of
summons on its office in the Philippines is defective and that court to serve a copy of the Writ of Summons outside Singapore. In
the Singapore court did not acquire jurisdiction over its person. Thus, an Order dated December 24, 1997, the Singapore High Court
its judgment sought to be enforced is void. Petitioner, in its comment, granted “leave to serve a copy of the Writ of Summons on the
moved to dismiss the petition for being unmeritorious. Defendant by a method of service authorized by the law of the
Philippines for service of any originating process issued by the
On July 30, 1999, the Court of Appeals issued its Decision granting Philippines at ground floor, APMC Building, 136 Amorsolo corner
the petition and setting aside the Orders dated October 30, Gamboa Street, 1229 Makati City, or elsewhere in the Philippines.”
1998 and December 16, 1998 of the RTC without prejudice to the
right of private respondent to initiate another proceeding before the Same; Same; Jurisdictions; Jurisdiction over a party is acquired by
proper court to enforce its claim. It found: service of summons by the sheriff, his deputy or other proper court
officer either personally by handing a copy thereof to the defendant
In the case at bar, the complaint does not involve the personal status or by substituted service.—In the Philippines, jurisdiction over a party
of plaintiff, nor any property in which the defendant has a claim or is acquired by service of summons by the sheriff, his deputy or other
interest, or which the private respondent has attached but purely an proper court officer either personally by handing a copy thereof to the
action for collection of debt. It is a personal action as well as an defendant or by substituted service.
action in personam, not an action in rem or quasi in rem. As a
personal action, the service of summons should be personal or Same; Same; Same; Considering that the Writ of Summons was
substituted, not extraterritorial, in order to confer jurisdiction on the served upon respondent in accordance with our Rules, jurisdiction
court. was acquired by the Singapore High Court over its person.—
Considering that the Writ of Summons was served upon respondent
Petitioner seasonably filed a motion for reconsideration but it was in accordance with our Rules, jurisdiction was acquired by the
denied on September 29, 1999. Singapore High Court over its person. Clearly, the judgment of
default rendered by that court against respondent is valid. St.
Issues
Aviation Services Co., Pte., Ltd. vs. Grand International Airways, Inc.,
1) whether the Singapore High Court has acquired jurisdiction over 505 SCRA 30, G.R. No. 140288 October 23, 2006
the person of respondent by the service of summons upon its office
in the Philippines; and
Fujiki vs. Marinay 700 SCRA 69 , June 26, 2013
(2) whether the judgment by default in Suit No. 2101 by the
Facts
Singapore High Court is enforceable in the Philippines.
Petitioner Minoru Fujiki (Fujiki) is a Japanese national who married
Ruling
respondent Maria Paz Galela Marinay (Marinay) in the
Judgments; Jurisdictions; Contracts; In the absence of a special Philippines2 on 23 January 2004. The marriage did not sit well with
contract, no sovereign is bound to give effect within its dominion to a petitioner’s parents. Thus, Fujiki could not bring his wife to Japan
judgment rendered by a tribunal of another country; however, under where he resides. Eventually, they lost contact with each other.
the rules of comity, utility and convenience, nations have established
In 2008, Marinay met another Japanese, Shinichi Maekara know the foreign laws under which the foreign judgment was
(Maekara). Without the first marriage being dissolved, Marinay and rendered. They cannot substitute their judgment on the status,
Maekara were married on 15 May 2008 in Quezon City, Philippines. condition and legal capacity of the foreign citizen who is under the
Maekara brought Marinay to Japan. However, Marinay allegedly jurisdiction of another state. Thus, Philippine courts can only
suffered physical abuse from Maekara. She left Maekara and started recognize the foreign judgment as a fact according to the rules of
to contact Fujiki.3 evidence.

Fujiki and Marinay met in Japan and they were able to reestablish Same; Same; Same; Same; Once a foreign judgment is admitted and
their relationship. In 2010, Fujiki helped Marinay obtain a judgment proven in a Philippine court, it can only be repelled on grounds
from a family court in Japan which declared the marriage between external to its merits, i.e., “want of jurisdiction, want of notice to the
Marinay and Maekara void on the ground of bigamy.4 On 14 January party, collusion, fraud, or clear mistake of law or fact.”—Section
2011, Fujiki filed a petition in the RTC entitled: "Judicial Recognition 48(b), Rule 39 of the Rules of Court provides that a foreign judgment
of Foreign Judgment (or Decree of Absolute Nullity of Marriage)." or final order against a person creates a “presumptive evidence of a
Fujiki prayed that (1) the Japanese Family Court judgment be right as between the parties and their successors in interest by a
recognized; (2) that the bigamous marriage between Marinay and subsequent title.” Moreover, Section 48 of the Rules of Court states
Maekara be declared void ab initiounder Articles 35(4) and 41 of the that “the judgment or final order may be repelled by evidence of a
Family Code of the Philippines;5 and (3) for the RTC to direct the want of jurisdiction, want of notice to the party, collusion, fraud, or
Local Civil Registrar of Quezon City to annotate the Japanese Family clear mistake of law or fact.” Thus, Philippine courts exercise limited
Court judgment on the Certificate of Marriage between Marinay and review on foreign judgments. Courts are not allowed to delve into the
Maekara and to endorse such annotation to the Office of the merits of a foreign judgment. Once a foreign judgment is admitted
Administrator and Civil Registrar General in the National Statistics and proven in a Philippine court, it can only be repelled on grounds
Office (NSO).6 external to its merits, i.e., “want of jurisdiction, want of notice to the
party, collusion, fraud, or clear mistake of law or fact.” The rule on
Ruling limited review embodies the policy of efficiency and the protection of
Remedial Law; Civil Procedure; Foreign Judgments; Conflict of Law; party expectations, as well as respecting the jurisdiction of other
For Philippine courts to recognize a foreign judgment relating to the states.
status of a marriage where one of the parties is a citizen of a foreign Same; Same; Same; Same; Civil Law; Divorce; While the Philippines
country, the petitioner only needs to prove the foreign judgment as a does not have a divorce law, Philippine courts may, however,
fact under the Rules of Court.—For Philippine courts to recognize a recognize a foreign divorce decree under the second paragraph of
foreign judgment relating to the status of a marriage where one of the Article 26 of the Family Code, to capacitate a Filipino citizen to
parties is a citizen of a foreign country, the petitioner only needs to remarry when his or her foreign spouse obtained a divorce decree
prove the foreign judgment as a fact under the Rules of Court. To be abroad.—Since 1922 in Adong v. Cheong Seng Gee, 43 Phil. 43
more specific, a copy of the foreign judgment may be admitted in (1922), Philippine courts have recognized foreign divorce decrees
evidence and proven as a fact under Rule 132, Sections 24 and 25, between a Filipino and a foreign citizen if they are successfully
in relation to Rule 39, Section 48(b) of the Rules of Court. Petitioner proven under the rules of evidence. Divorce involves the dissolution
may prove the Japanese Family Court judgment through (1) an of a marriage, but the recognition of a foreign divorce decree does
official publication or (2) a certification or copy attested by the officer not involve the extended procedure under A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC or
who has custody of the judgment. If the office which has custody is in the rules of ordinary trial. While the Philippines does not have a
a foreign country such as Japan, the certification may be made by divorce law, Philippine courts may, however, recognize a foreign
the proper diplomatic or consular officer of the Philippine foreign divorce decree under the second paragraph of Article 26 of the
service in Japan and authenticated by the seal of office. Family Code, to capacitate a Filipino citizen to remarry when his or
Same; Same; Same; Same; A foreign judgment relating to the status her foreign spouse obtained a divorce decree abroad.
of a marriage affects the civil status, condition and legal capacity of Same; Same; Same; Same; Since the recognition of a foreign
its parties. However, the effect of a foreign judgment is not automatic. judgment only requires proof of fact of the judgment, it may be made
To extend the effect of a foreign judgment in the Philippines, in a special proceeding for cancellation or correction of entries in the
Philippine courts must determine if the foreign judgment is consistent civil registry under Rule 108 of the Rules of Court. Rule 1, Section 3
with domestic public policy and other mandatory laws.—A foreign of the Rules of Court provides that “[a] special proceeding is a
judgment relating to the status of a marriage affects the civil status, remedy by which a party seeks to establish a status, a right, or a
condition and legal capacity of its parties. However, the effect of a particular fact.”—Since the recognition of a foreign judgment only
foreign judgment is not automatic. To extend the effect of a foreign requires proof of fact of the judgment, it may be made in a special
judgment in the Philippines, Philippine courts must determine if the proceeding for cancellation or correction of entries in the civil registry
foreign judgment is consistent with domestic public policy and other under Rule 108 of the Rules of Court. Rule 1, Section 3 of the Rules
mandatory laws. Article 15 of the Civil Code provides that “[l]aws of Court provides that “[a] special proceeding is a remedy by which a
relating to family rights and duties, or to the status, condition and party seeks to establish a status, a right, or a particular fact.” Rule
legal capacity of persons are binding upon citizens of the Philippines, 108 creates a remedy to rectify facts of a person’s life which are
even though living abroad.” This is the rule of lex nationalii in private recorded by the State pursuant to the Civil Register Law or Act No.
international law. Thus, the Philippine State may require, for 3753. These are facts of public consequence such as birth, death or
effectivity in the Philippines, recognition by Philippine courts of a marriage, which the State has an interest in recording. As noted by
foreign judgment affecting its citizen, over whom it exercises the Solicitor General, in Corpuz v. Sto. Tomas, 628 SCRA 266
personal jurisdiction relating to the status, condition and legal (2010), this Court declared that “[t]he recognition of the foreign
capacity of such citizen. divorce decree may be made in a Rule 108 proceeding itself, as the
Same; Same; Same; Same; A petition to recognize a foreign object of special proceedings (such as that in Rule 108 of the Rules
judgment declaring a marriage void does not require relitigation of Court) is precisely to establish the status or right of a party or a
under a Philippine court of the case as if it were a new petition for particular fact.”
declaration of nullity of marriage.—A petition to recognize a foreign Civil Law; Marriages; Parties; When Section 2(a) states that “[a]
judgment declaring a marriage void does not require relitigation petition for declaration of absolute nullity of void marriage may be
under a Philippine court of the case as if it were a new petition for filed solely by the husband or the wife” — it refers to the husband or
declaration of nullity of marriage. Philippine courts cannot presume to the wife of the subsisting marriage; The husband or the wife of the
prior subsisting marriage is the one who has the personality to file a neither inconsistency with public policy nor adequate proof to repel
petition for declaration of absolute nullity of void marriage under the judgment, Philippine courts should, by default, recognize the
Section 2(a) of A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC.—Section 2(a) of A.M. No. 02- foreign judgment as part of the comity of nations. Section 48(b), Rule
11-10-SC does not preclude a spouse of a subsisting marriage to 39 of the Rules of Court states that the foreign judgment is already
question the validity of a subsequent marriage on the ground of “presumptive evidence of a right between the parties.” Upon
bigamy. On the contrary, when Section 2(a) states that “[a] petition recognition of the foreign judgment, this right becomes conclusive
for declaration of absolute nullity of void marriage may be filed solely and the judgment serves as the basis for the correction or
by the husband or the wife” — it refers to the husband or the wife of cancellation of entry in the civil registry. The recognition of the foreign
the subsisting marriage. Under Article 35(4) of the Family Code, judgment nullifying a bigamous marriage is a subsequent event that
bigamous marriages are void from the beginning. Thus, the parties in establishes a new status, right and fact that needs to be reflected in
a bigamous marriage are neither the husband nor the wife under the the civil registry. Otherwise, there will be an inconsistency between
law. The husband or the wife of the prior subsisting marriage is the the recognition of the effectivity of the foreign judgment and the
one who has the personality to file a petition for declaration of public records in the Philippines. Fujiki vs. Marinay, 700 SCRA 69,
absolute nullity of void marriage under Section 2(a) of A.M. No. 02- G.R. No. 196049 June 26, 2013
11-10-SC.
PHILIPPINE ALUMINUM WHEELS, INC., petitioner, vs. FASGI
Civil Law; Conflict of Law; Marriages; Annulment of Marriage; ENTERPRISES, INC., respondent. [G.R. No. 137378. October 12,
Foreign Judgments; Divorce; Article 26 of the Family Code confers 2000]
jurisdiction on Philippine courts to extend the effect of a foreign
divorce decree to a Filipino spouse without undergoing trial to Facts
determine the validity of the dissolution of the marriage.—Article 26 In 1978, FASGI Enterprises Inc. (FASGI), a foreign corporation
of the Family Code confers jurisdiction on Philippine courts to extend organized under the laws of California, USA, entered into a contract
the effect of a foreign divorce decree to a Filipino spouse without with Philippine Aluminum Wheels, Inc. (PAWI), a Philippine
undergoing trial to determine the validity of the dissolution of the corporation, whereby the latter agrees to deliver 8,594 wheels to
marriage. The second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code FASGI. FASGI received the wheels and so it paid PAWI
provides that “[w]here a marriage between a Filipino citizen and a $216,444.30. Later however, FASGI found out that the wheels are
foreigner is validly celebrated and a divorce is thereafter validly defective and did not comply with certain US standards. So in 1979,
obtained abroad by the alien spouse capacitating him or her to FASGI sued PAWI in a California court. In 1980, a settlement was
remarry, the Filipino spouse shall have capacity to remarry under reached but PAWI failed to comply with the terms of the agreement.
Philippine law.” In Republic v. Orbecido, 472 SCRA 114 (2005), this A second agreement was made but PAWI was again remiss in its
Court recognized the legislative intent of the second paragraph of obligation. The agreement basically provides that PAWI shall return
Article 26 which is “to avoid the absurd situation where the Filipino the purchase price in installment and conversely, FASGI shall return
spouse remains married to the alien spouse who, after obtaining a the wheel in installment. PAWI was only able to make two
divorce, is no longer married to the Filipino spouse” under the laws of installments (which were actually made beyond the scheduled date).
his or her country. The second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family FASGI also returned the corresponding number of wheels.
Code only authorizes Philippine courts to adopt the effects of a Eventually in 1982, FASGI sought the enforcement of the agreement
foreign divorce decree precisely because the Philippines does not and it received a favorable judgment from the California court. PAWI
allow divorce. Philippine courts cannot try the case on the merits is then ordered to pay an equivalent of P252k plus damages but
because it is tantamount to trying a case for divorce. FASGI was not ordered to return the remaining wheels. PAWI was
Same; Same; Marriages; Annulment of Marriage; Divorce; Foreign not able to comply with the court order in the US. So in 1983, FASGI
Judgments; The principle in Article 26 of the Family Code applies in a filed a complaint for the enforcement of a foreign judgment with RTC-
marriage between a Filipino and a foreign citizen who obtains a Makati. Hearings were made and in 1990, the trial judge ruled
foreign judgment nullifying the marriage on the ground of bigamy; If against FASGI on the ground that the foreign judgment is tainted
the foreign judgment is not recognized in the Philippines, the Filipino with fraud because FASGI was not ordered to return the remaining
spouse will be discriminated — the foreign spouse can remarry while wheels (unjust enrichment) and that PAWI’s American lawyer
the Filipino spouse cannot remarry.—The principle in Article 26 of the entered into the agreements without the consent of PAWI. On
Family Code applies in a marriage between a Filipino and a foreign appeal, the Court of Appeals reversed the trial court.
citizen who obtains a foreign judgment nullifying the marriage on the ISSUE: Whether or not the foreign judgment may be enforced here in
ground of bigamy. The Filipino spouse may file a petition abroad to the Philippines.
declare the marriage void on the ground of bigamy. The principle in
the second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code applies HELD: YES
because the foreign spouse, after the foreign judgment nullifying the
Conflict of Laws; Judgments; Enforcement of Foreign Judgments;
marriage, is capacitated to remarry under the laws of his or her
Comity; The rules of comity, utility and convenience of nations have
country. If the foreign judgment is not recognized in the Philippines,
established a usage among civilized states by which final judgments
the Filipino spouse will be discriminated — the foreign spouse can
of foreign courts of competent jurisdiction are reciprocally respected
remarry while the Filipino spouse cannot remarry. Fujiki vs. Marinay,
and rendered efficacious.—Generally, in the absence of a special
700 SCRA 69, G.R. No. 196049 June 26, 2013
compact, no sovereign is bound to give effect within its dominion to a
Remedial Law; Civil Procedure; Courts; Conflict of Law; Philippine judgment rendered by a tribunal of another country; however, the
courts will only determine (1) whether the foreign judgment is rules of comity, utility and convenience of nations have established a
inconsistent with an overriding public policy in the Philippines; and (2) usage among civilized states by which final judgments of foreign
whether any alleging party is able to prove an extrinsic ground to courts of competent jurisdiction are reciprocally respected and
repel the foreign judgment, i.e. want of jurisdiction, want of notice to rendered efficacious under certain conditions that may vary in
the party, collusion, fraud, or clear mistake of law or fact.—Philippine different countries. In this jurisdiction, a valid judgment rendered by a
courts will only determine (1) whether the foreign judgment is foreign tribunal may be recognized insofar as the immediate parties
inconsistent with an overriding public policy in the Philippines; and (2) and the underlying cause of action are concerned so long as it is
whether any alleging party is able to prove an extrinsic ground to convincingly shown that there has been an opportunity for a full and
repel the foreign judgment, i.e. want of jurisdiction, want of notice to fair hearing before a court of competent jurisdiction; that trial upon
the party, collusion, fraud, or clear mistake of law or fact. If there is regular proceedings has been conducted, following due citation or
voluntary appearance of the defendant and under a system of nationality principle is controlling NOT lex loci celebracionis. The
jurisprudence likely to secure an impartial administration of justice; lower court is however correct in ruling that Rayray’s evidence is not
and that there is nothing to indicate either a prejudice in court and in sufficient to render his marriage with Lee null and void. Rayray said
the system of laws under which it is sitting or fraud in procuring the that the police clearance secured by Lee is meant to allow her to
judgment. A foreign judgment is presumed to be valid and binding in marry after her subsequent cohabitation/s with the other men – which
the country from which it comes, until a contrary showing, on the is considered bigamous in Philippine law. The SC ruled that the
basis of a presumption of regularity of proceedings and the giving of police clearance is wanting for it lacks the signature of the person
due notice in the foreign forum. Philippine Aluminum Wheels, Inc. vs. who prepared it and there is no competent document to establish the
FASGI Enterprises, Inc., 342 SCRA 722, G.R. No. 137378 October identity of the same. Also, through Rayray himself, Lee averred that it
12, 2000 is ok in Korea for a person who cohabited with other men before to
marry another man. This is an indication that Lee herself is aware
Conflict of Laws; Judgments; Comity; There is a principle of that if it were a previous marriage that is concerned then that could
international comity that a court of another jurisdiction should refrain, be a legal impediment to any subsequent marriage. Rayray cannot
as a matter of propriety and fairness, from so assuming the power of be given credence in claiming that his consent could have been
passing judgment on the correctness of the application of law and the otherwise altered had he known all these facts prior to the marriage
evaluation of the facts of the judgment issued by another tribunal.— because he would lie to every opportunity given him by the Court so
PAWI assailed not only Mr. Ready’s authority to sign on its behalf the as to suit his case.
Supplemental Settlement Agreement but denounced likewise his
authority to enter into a stipulation for judgment before the California Courts; Marriage, Jurisdiction to annul marriage.—An action for
court on 06 August 1982 on the ground that it had by then already annulment of marriage is within the jurisdiction of our Courts of First
terminated the former’s services. For his part, Mr. Ready admitted Instance, and, in Manila, of its Court of Juvenile and Domestic
that while he did receive a request from Manuel Singson of PAWI to Relations. Jurisdiction over the plaintiff is acquired by his submission
withdraw from the motion of judgment, the request unfortunately thereto in consequence of the 'f iling of the complaint. Jurisdiction
came too late. In an explanatory telex, Mr. Ready told Mr. Singson over a defendant, whose whereabouts are unknown, is acquired
that under American Judicial Procedures when a motion for judgment upon summons by publication. Rayray vs. Chae Kyung Lee, 18
had already been filed a counsel would not be permitted to withdraw SCRA 450, No. L-18176 October 26, 1966
unilaterally without a court order. From the time the stipulation for
judgment was entered into on 26 April 1982 until the certificate of Actions; Marriage; Nature of action to annul marriage.— Annulment
finality of judgment was issued by the California court on 07 of marriage is an action in rem, for it concerns the status of the
September 1982, no notification was issued by PAWI to FASGI parties, and status affects or binds the whole world. The res is the
regarding its termination of Mr. Ready’s services. If PAWI were relation between said parties, or their marriage tie. Jurisdiction over
indeed hoodwinked by Mr. Ready who purportedly acted in collusion the same depends upon the nationality or domicile of the parties, not
with FASGI, it should have aptly raised the issue before the forum the place of celebration of marriage, or the locus celebrationis.
which issued the judgment in line with the principle of international Same; When court has jurisdiction over the res.—Marriage is one of
comity that a court of another jurisdiction should refrain, as a matter the cases of double status, in that the status therein involves and
of propriety and fairness, from so assuming the power of passing affects two persons. One is married, never in abstract or in a
judgment on the correctness of the application of law and the vacuum, but, always to somebody else. Hence, a judicial decree on
evaluation of the facts of the judgment issued by another tribunal. the marriage status of a person necessarily reflects upon the status
Philippine Aluminum Wheels, Inc. vs. FASGI Enterprises, Inc., 342 of another and the relation between them. The prevailing rule is,
SCRA 722, G.R. No. 137378 October 12, 2000 accordingly, that a court has jurisdiction over the res, in an action for
annulment of marriage, provided, at least, one of the parties is
Rayray vs. Chae Kyung Lee 18 SCRA 450 , October 26, 1966 domiciled in, or a national of, the forum. Where the plaintiff, a Filipino,
is domiciled in the Philippines, the lower court had jurisdiction to
Facts annul his marriage to a Korean girl contracted by him in Korea.

Rayray married Lee in 1952 in Pusan, Korea. Before the marriage, Marriage; Conflict of laws; Where action for annulment was
Lee was able to secure a marriage license which is a requirement in dismissed because prior marriage of defendant was not proven.—
Korea prior to marrying. They lived together until 1955. Rayray The presumption is that the Korea law, like the lex fori, or the
however later found out that Lee had previously lived with 2 Philippine Law, does not permit bigamy. Where there was no
Americans and a Korean. Lee answered by saying that it is not competent proof that the defendant was married to another person
unusual in Korea for a woman to have more than one partner and prior to her marriage to the plaintiff, there can be no doubt as to the
that it is legally permissive for them to do so and that there is no legal validity of the marriage between the plaintiff and the defendant.
impediment to her marriage with Rayray. Eventually they pursued Plaintiff's action for annulment on the ground of the supposed prior
their separate ways. Rayray later filed before lower court of Manila marriage of the defendant must be dismissed. Rayray vs. Chae
for an action to annul his marriage with Lee because Lee’s Kyung Lee, 18 SCRA 450, No. L-18176 October 26, 1966
whereabouts cannot be determined and that his consent in marrying
Lee would have not been for the marriage had he known prior that
Lee had been living with other men. His action for annulment had Raytheon International, Inc. vs. Rouzie, Jr. 546 SCRA 555 ,
been duly published and summons were made known to Lee but due February 26, 2008
to her absence Rayray moved to have Lee be declared in default. Facts
The lower court denied Rayray’s action stating that since the
marriage was celebrated in Korea the court cannot take cognizance Sometime in 1990, Brand Marine Services, Inc. (BMSI), a corporation
of the case and that the facts presented by Rayray is not sufficient to duly organized and existing under the laws of the State of
debunk his marriage with Lee. Connecticut, United States of America, and respondent Stockton W.
Rouzie, Jr., an American citizen, entered into a contract whereby
ISSUE: Whether or not Rayray’s marriage with Lee is null and void. BMSI hired respondent as its representative to negotiate the sale of
Ruling services in several government projects in the Philippines for an
agreed remuneration of 10% of the gross receipts. On 11 March
The lower court erred in ruling that Philippine courts do not have 1992, respondent secured a service contract with the Republic of the
jurisdiction over the case. As far as marriage status is concerned, the
Philippines on behalf of BMSI for the dredging of rivers affected by The appellate court held that although the trial court should not have
the Mt. Pinatubo eruption and mudflows.3 confined itself to the allegations in the complaint and should have
also considered evidence aliunde in resolving petitioner’s omnibus
On 16 July 1994, respondent filed before the Arbitration Branch of motion, it found the evidence presented by petitioner, that is, the
the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) a suit against deposition of Walter Browning, insufficient for purposes of
BMSI and Rust International, Inc. (RUST), Rodney C. Gilbert and determining whether the complaint failed to state a cause of action.
Walter G. Browning for alleged nonpayment of commissions, illegal The appellate court also stated that it could not rule one way or the
termination and breach of employment contract.4 On 28 September other on the issue of whether the corporations, including petitioner,
1995, Labor Arbiter Pablo C. Espiritu, Jr. rendered judgment ordering named as defendants in the case had indeed merged together based
BMSI and RUST to pay respondent’s money claims.5 Upon appeal by solely on the evidence presented by respondent. Thus, it held that
BMSI, the NLRC reversed the decision of the Labor Arbiter and the issue should be threshed out during trial.23 Moreover, the
dismissed respondent’s complaint on the ground of lack of appellate court deferred to the discretion of the trial court when the
jurisdiction.6 Respondent elevated the case to this Court but was latter decided not to desist from assuming jurisdiction on the ground
dismissed in a Resolution dated 26 November 1997. The Resolution of the inapplicability of the principle of forum non conveniens.
became final and executory on 09 November 1998.
Ruling
On 8 January 1999, respondent, then a resident of La Union,
instituted an action for damages before the Regional Trial Court Conflict of Laws; Phases in Judicial Resolution of Conflict-of-Laws
(RTC) of Bauang, La Union. The Complaint,7 docketed as Civil Case Problems.—Recently in Hasegawa v. Kitamura, 538 SCRA 261
No. 1192-BG, named as defendants herein petitioner Raytheon (2007), the Court outlined three consecutive phases involved in
International, Inc. as well as BMSI and RUST, the two corporations judicial resolution of conflicts-of-laws problems, namely: jurisdiction,
impleaded in the earlier labor case. The complaint essentially choice of law, and recognition and enforcement of judgments. Thus,
reiterated the allegations in the labor case that BMSI verbally in the instances where the Court held that the local judicial machinery
employed respondent to negotiate the sale of services in government was adequate to resolve controversies with a foreign element, the
projects and that respondent was not paid the commissions due him following requisites had to be proved: (1) that the Philippine Court is
from the Pinatubo dredging project which he secured on behalf of one to which the parties may conveniently resort; (2) that the
BMSI. The complaint also averred that BMSI and RUST as well as Philippine Court is in a position to make an intelligent decision as to
petitioner itself had combined and functioned as one company. the law and the facts; and (3) that the Philippine Court has or is likely
to have the power to enforce its decision. Raytheon International, Inc.
In its Answer,8 petitioner alleged that contrary to respondent’s claim, vs. Rouzie, Jr., 546 SCRA 555, G.R. No. 162894 February 26, 2008
it was a foreign corporation duly licensed to do business in the
Philippines and denied entering into any arrangement with Same; Jurisdictions; Pleadings and Practice; Where the case is filed
respondent or paying the latter any sum of money. Petitioner also in a Philippine court and where the court has jurisdiction over the
denied combining with BMSI and RUST for the purpose of assuming subject matter, the parties and the res, it may or can proceed to try
the alleged obligation of the said companies.9 Petitioner also referred the case even if the rules of conflict-of-laws or the convenience of the
to the NLRC decision which disclosed that per the written agreement parties point to a foreign forum; Jurisdiction over the nature and
between respondent and BMSI and RUST, denominated as "Special subject matter of an action is conferred by the Constitution and the
Sales Representative Agreement," the rights and obligations of the law and by the material allegations in the complaint, irrespective of
parties shall be governed by the laws of the State of whether or not the plaintiff is entitled to recover all or some of the
Connecticut.10 Petitioner sought the dismissal of the complaint on claims or reliefs sought therein.—On the matter of jurisdiction over a
grounds of failure to state a cause of action and forum non conflicts-of-laws problem where the case is filed in a Philippine court
conveniens and prayed for damages by way of compulsory and where the court has jurisdiction over the subject matter, the
counterclaim.11 parties and the res, it may or can proceed to try the case even if the
rules of conflict-of-laws or the convenience of the parties point to a
On 18 May 1999, petitioner filed an Omnibus Motion for Preliminary foreign forum. This is an exercise of sovereign prerogative of the
Hearing Based on Affirmative Defenses and for Summary country where the case is filed. Jurisdiction over the nature and
Judgment12 seeking the dismissal of the complaint on grounds subject matter of an action is conferred by the Constitution and the
of forum non conveniens and failure to state a cause of action. law and by the material allegations in the complaint, irrespective of
Respondent opposed the same. Pending the resolution of the whether or not the plaintiff is entitled to recover all or some of the
omnibus motion, the deposition of Walter Browning was taken before claims or reliefs sought therein. Civil Case No. 1192-BG is an action
the Philippine Consulate General in Chicago.13 for damages arising from an alleged breach of contract. Undoubtedly,
In an Order14 dated 13 September 2000, the RTC denied petitioner’s the nature of the action and the amount of damages prayed are
omnibus motion. The trial court held that the factual allegations in the within the jurisdiction of the RTC.
complaint, assuming the same to be admitted, were sufficient for the Same; Same; Choice of Law; Words and Phrases; While jurisdiction
trial court to render a valid judgment thereon. It also ruled that the considers whether it is fair to cause a defendant to travel to this state,
principle of forum non conveniens was inapplicable because the trial choice of law asks the further question whether the application of a
court could enforce judgment on petitioner, it being a foreign substantive law which will determine the merits of the case is fair to
corporation licensed to do business in the Philippines.15 both parties—the choice of law stipulation will become relevant only
Petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration16 of the order, which when the substantive issues develop, that is, after hearing on the
motion was opposed by respondent.17 In an Order dated 31 July merits proceeds before the trial court.—That the subject contract
2001,18 the trial court denied petitioner’s motion. Thus, it filed a Rule included a stipulation that the same shall be governed by the laws of
65 Petition19 with the Court of Appeals praying for the issuance of a the State of Connecticut does not suggest that the Philippine courts,
writ of certiorari and a writ of injunction to set aside the twin orders of or any other foreign tribunal for that matter, are precluded from
the trial court dated 13 September 2000 and 31 July 2001 and to hearing the civil action. Jurisdiction and choice of law are two distinct
enjoin the trial court from conducting further proceedings.20 concepts. Jurisdiction considers whether it is fair to cause a
defendant to travel to this state; choice of law asks the further
On 28 August 2003, the Court of Appeals rendered the assailed question whether the application of a substantive law which will
Decision21 denying the petition for certiorari for lack of merit. It also determine the merits of the case is fair to both parties. The choice of
denied petitioner’s motion for reconsideration in the assailed law stipulation will become relevant only when the substantive issues
Resolution issued on 10 March 2004.22
of the instant case develop, that is, after hearing on the merits The Supreme Court also emphasized that the contention that
proceeds before the trial court. Japanese laws should apply is premature. In conflicts cases, there
are three phases and each next phase commences when one is
Same; Same; Forum Non Conveniens; The propriety of dismissing a settled, to wit:
case based on the principle of forum non conveniens requires a
factual determination—it is more properly considered as a matter of 1. Jurisdiction – Where should litigation be initiated? Court
defense.—Under the doctrine of forum non conveniens, a court, in must have jurisdiction over the subject matter, the parties,
conflicts-of-laws cases, may refuse impositions on its jurisdiction the issues, the property, the res. Also considers, whether it
where it is not the most “convenient” or available forum and the is fair to cause a defendant to travel to this state; choice of
parties are not precluded from seeking remedies elsewhere. law asks the further question whether the application of a
Petitioner’s averments of the foreign elements in the instant case are substantive law which will determine the merits of the case
not sufficient to oust the trial court of its jurisdiction over Civil Case is fair to both parties.
No. No. 1192-BG and the parties involved. Moreover, the propriety of
dismissing a case based on the principle of forum non conveniens 2. Choice of Law – Which law will the court apply? Once a
requires a factual determination; hence, it is more properly local court takes cognizance, it does not mean that the
considered as a matter of defense. While it is within the discretion of local laws must automatically apply. The court must
the trial court to abstain from assuming jurisdiction on this ground, it determine which substantive law when applied to the
should do so only after vital facts are established, to determine merits will be fair to both parties.
whether special circumstances require the court’s desistance. 3. Recognition and Enforcement of Judgment – Where
Raytheon International, Inc. vs. Rouzie, Jr., 546 SCRA 555, G.R. No. can the resulting judgment be enforced?
162894 February 26, 2008
This case is not yet in the second phase because upon the RTC’s
taking cognizance of the case, Hasegawa immediately filed a motion
Hasegawa vs. Kitamura 538 SCRA 261 , November 23, 2007 to dismiss, which was denied. He filed a motion for reconsideration,
Facts which was also denied. Then he bypassed the proper procedure by
immediately filing a petition for certiorari. The question of which law
In March 1999, Nippon Engineering Consultants Co., Ltd, a should be applied should have been settled in the trial court had
Japanese firm, was contracted by the Department of Public Works Hasegawa not improperly appealed the interlocutory order denying
and Highways (DPWH) to supervise the construction of the Southern his MFR.
Tagalog Access Road. In April 1999, Nippon entered into an
independent contractor agreement (ICA) with Minoru Kitamura for the Civil Law; Conflict of Laws; In the judicial resolution of conflicts
latter to head the said project. The ICA was entered into in Japan problems, three consecutive phases are involved: jurisdiction, choice
and is effective for a period of 1 year (so until April 2000). In January of law, and recognition and enforcement of judgments.—To
2000, DPWH awarded the Bongabon-Baler Road project to Nippon. elucidate, in the judicial resolution of conflicts problems, three
Nippon subsequently assigned Kitamura to head the road project. consecutive phases are involved: jurisdiction, choice of law, and
But in February 2000, Kazuhiro Hasegawa, the general manager of recognition and enforcement of judgments. Corresponding to these
Nippon informed Kitamura that they are pre-terminating his contract. phases are the following questions: (1) Where can or should litigation
Kitamura sought Nippon to reconsider but Nippon refused to be initiated? (2) Which law will the court apply? and (3) Where can
negotiate. Kitamura then filed a complaint for specific performance the resulting judgment be enforced?
and damages against Nippon in the RTC of Lipa. Same; Same; Jurisdictions; Jurisdiction and choice of law are two
Hasegawa filed a motion to dismiss on the ground that the contract distinct concepts—jurisdiction considers whether it is fair to cause a
was entered in Japan hence, applying the principle of lex loci defendant to travel to this state, choice of law asks the further
celebracionis, cases arising from the contract should be cognizable question whether the application of a substantive law which will
only by Japanese courts. The trial court denied the motion. determine the merits of the case is fair to both parties—the power to
Eventually, Nippon filed a petition for certiorari with the Supreme exercise jurisdiction does not automatically give a state constitutional
Court. authority to apply forum law.—Analytically, jurisdiction and choice of
law are two distinct concepts. Jurisdiction considers whether it is fair
Hasegawa, on appeal significantly changed its theory, this time to cause a defendant to travel to this state; choice of law asks the
invoking forum non conveniens; that the RTC is an inconvenient further question whether the application of a substantive law which
forum because the parties are Japanese nationals who entered into a will determine the merits of the case is fair to both parties. The power
contract in Japan. Kitamura on the other hand invokes the trial to exercise jurisdiction does not automatically give a state
court’s ruling which states that matters connected with the constitutional authority to apply forum law. While jurisdiction and the
performance of contracts are regulated by the law prevailing at the choice of the lex fori will often coincide, the “minimum contacts” for
place of performance, so since the obligations in the ICA are one do not always provide the necessary “significant contacts” for the
executed in the Philippines, courts here have jurisdiction. other. The question of whether the law of a state can be applied to a
transaction is different from the question of whether the courts of that
ISSUE: Whether or not the complaint against Nippon should be state have jurisdiction to enter a judgment.
dismissed.
Same; Same; Same; It should be noted that when a conflicts case,
Ruling one involving a foreign element, is brought before a court or
In the first place, the case filed by Kitamura is a complaint for specific administrative agency, there are three alternatives open to the latter
performance and damages. Such case is incapable of pecuniary in disposing it: (1) dismiss the case, either for lack of jurisdiction or
estimation; such cases are within the jurisdiction of the regional trial refusal to assume jurisdiction over the case; (2) assume jurisdiction
court. over the case and apply the internal law of the forum; (3) assume
jurisdiction over the case and take into account or apply the law of
Hasegawa filed his motion to dismiss on the ground of forum non some other State or States.—It should be noted that when a conflicts
conveniens. However, such ground is not one of those provided for case, one involving a foreign element, is brought before a court or
by the Rules as a ground for dismissing a civil case. administrative agency, there are three alternatives open to the latter
in disposing of it: (1) dismiss the case, either because of lack of
jurisdiction or refusal to assume jurisdiction over the case; (2)
assume jurisdiction over the case and apply the internal law of the document—a written official act of an Australian family court.
forum; or (3) assume jurisdiction over the case and take into account Therefore, it requires no further proof of its authenticity and due
or apply the law of some other State or States. The court’s power to execution. Respondent is getting ahead of himself. Before a foreign
hear cases and controversies is derived from the Constitution and judgment is given presumptive evidentiary value, the document must
the laws. While it may choose to recognize laws of foreign nations, first be presented and admitted in evidence. A divorce obtained
the court is not limited by foreign sovereign law short of treaties or abroad is proven by the divorce decree itself. Indeed the best
other formal agreements, even in matters regarding rights provided evidence of a judgment is the judgment itself. The decree purports to
by foreign sovereigns. Hasegawa vs. Kitamura, 538 SCRA 261, G.R. be a written act or record of an act of an official body or tribunal of a
No. 149177 November 23, 2007 foreign country.

Same; Same; Same; Same; Same; Proof of Foreign Public or Official


Garcia vs. Recio 366 SCRA 437 , October 02, 2001 Records; Requisites.—Under Sections 24 and 25 of Rule 132, on the
other hand, a writing or document may be proven as a public or
Facts official record of a foreign country by either (1) an official publication,
The respondent, a Filipino was married to Editha Samson, an or (2) a copy thereof attested by the officer having legal custody of
Australian citizen, in Rizal in 1987. They lived together as husband the document. If the record is not kept in the Philippines, such copy
and wife in Australia. In 1989, the Australian family court issued a must be (a) accompanied by a certificate issued by the proper
decree of divorce supposedly dissolving the marriage. In 1992, diplomatic or consular officer in the Philippine foreign service
respondent acquired Australian citizenship. In 1994, he married stationed in the foreign country in which the record is kept, and (b)
Grace Garcia, a Filipina, herein petitioner, in Cabanatuan City. In authenticated by the seal of his office. The divorce decree between
their application for marriage license, respondent was declared as respondent and Editha Samson appears to be an authentic one
“single” and “Filipino”. Since October 1995, they lived separately; and issued by an Australian family court. However, appearance is not
in 1996 while in Autralia, their conjugal assets were divided. In 1998, sufficient; compliance with the aforementioned rules on evidence
petitioner filed Complaint for Declaration of Nullity of Marriage on the must be demonstrated.
ground of bigamy, claiming that she learned of the respondent’s Same; Same; Same; Same; Same; A party’s failure to object properly
former marriage only in November. On the other hand, respondent renders a foreign divorce decree admissible as a written act of the
claims that he told petitioner of his prior marriage in 1993, before court of another State.—Fortunately for respondent’s cause, when
they were married. Respondent also contended that his first marriage the divorce decree of May 18, 1989 was submitted in evidence,
was dissolved by a divorce decree obtained in Australia in 1989 and counsel for petitioner objected, not to its admissibility, but only to the
hence, he was legally capacitated to marry petitioner in 1994. The fact that it had not been registered in the Local Civil Registry of
trial court declared that the first marriage was dissolved on the Cabanatuan City. The trial court ruled that it was admissible, subject
ground of the divorce issued in Australia as valid and recognized in to petitioner’s qualification. Hence, it was admitted in evidence and
the Philippines. Hence, this petition was forwarded before the accorded weight by the judge. Indeed, petitioner’s failure to object
Supreme Court. properly rendered the divorce decree admissible as a written act of
Ruling the Family Court of Sydney, Australia.

Marriages; Husband and Wife; Divorce; Conflict of Laws; Philippine Same; Same; Same; Same; Same; Citizenship; A former Filipino is
law does not provide for absolute divorce, hence, our courts cannot no longer bound by Philippine personal laws after he acquires
grant it, and a marriage between two Filipinos cannot be dissolved another State’s citizenship.—Compliance with the quoted articles
even by a divorce obtained abroad.—At the outset, we lay the (11, 13 and 52) of the Family Code is not necessary, respondent was
following basic legal principles as the take-off points for our no longer bound by Philippine personal laws after he acquired
discussion. Philippine law does not provide for absolute divorce; Australian citizenship in 1992. Naturalization is the legal act of
hence, our courts cannot grant it. A marriage between two Filipinos adopting an alien and clothing him with the political and civil rights
cannot be dissolved even by a divorce obtained abroad, because of belonging to a citizen. Naturalized citizens, freed from the protective
Articles 15 and 17 of the Civil Code. In mixed marriages involving a cloak of their former states, don the attires of their adoptive countries.
Filipino and a foreigner, Article 26 of the Family Code allows the By becoming an Australian, respondent severed his allegiance to the
former to contract a subsequent marriage in case the divorce is Philippines and the vinculum juris that had tied him to Philippine
“validly obtained abroad by the alien spouse capacitating him or her personal laws.
to remarry.” A divorce obtained abroad by a couple, who are both Same; Same; Same; Same; Same; The burden of proof lies with the
aliens, may be recognized in the Philippines, provided it is consistent party who alleges the existence of a fact or thing necessary in the
with their respective national laws. prosecution or defense of an action; Where a divorce decree is a
Same; Same; Same; Same; Evidence; Before a foreign divorce defense raised by a party, the burden of proving the pertinent foreign
decree can be recognized, the party pleading it must prove the law validating it falls squarely upon him.—The burden of proof lies
divorce as a fact and demonstrate its conformity to the foreign law with “the party who alleges the existence of a fact or thing necessary
allowing it.—A comparison between marriage and divorce, as far as in the prosecution or defense of an action.” In civil cases, plaintiffs
pleading and proof are concerned, can be made. Van Dorn v. have the burden of proving the material allegations of the complaint
Romillo, Jr. decrees that “aliens may obtain divorces abroad, which when those are denied by the answer; and defendants have the
may be recognized in the Philippines, provided they are valid burden of proving the material allegations in their answer when they
according to their national law.” Therefore, before a foreign divorce introduce new matters. Since the divorce was a defense raised by
decree can be recognized by our courts, the party pleading it must respondent, the burden of proving the pertinent Australian law
prove the divorce as a fact and demonstrate its conformity to the validating it falls squarely upon him.
foreign law allowing it. Presentation solely of the divorce decree is Same; Same; Same; Same; Same; Judicial Notice; Our courts do not
insufficient. Garcia vs. Recio, 366 SCRA 437, G.R. No. 138322 take judicial notice of foreign laws—like any other facts, they must be
October 2, 2001 alleged and proved.—It is well-settled in our jurisdiction that our
Same; Same; Same; Same; Same; Before a foreign judgment is courts cannot take judicial notice of foreign laws. Like any other facts,
given presumptive evidentiary value, the document must first be they must be alleged and proved. Australian marital laws are not
presented and admitted in evidence.—Respondent, on the other among those matters that judges are supposed to know by reason of
hand, argues that the Australian divorce decree is a public their judicial function. The power of judicial notice must be exercised
with caution, and every reasonable doubt upon the subject should be Philippines Annotated, 1990 ed., p. 42; Melencio Sta. Maria, Jr.,
resolved in the negative. Persons and Family Relations Law, 1999 ed., p. 146.).

Same; Same; Same; Same; Words and Phrases; In its strict legal Same; Same; Same; Same; A divorce decree does not ipso facto
sense, divorce means the legal dissolution of a lawful union for a clothed a divorcee with the legal capacity to remarry—he must still
cause arising after marriage; A decree nisi or an interlocutory order— adduce sufficient evidence to show the foreign State’s personal law
a conditional or provisional judgment of divorce—is in effect the governing his status, or at the very least, he should still prove his
same as a separation from bed and board, although an absolute legal capacity to contract the second marriage.—Based on the above
divorce may follow after the lapse of the prescribed period during records, we cannot conclude that respondent, who was then a
which no reconciliation is effected.—Respondent’s contention is naturalized Australian citizen, was legally capacitated to marry
untenable. In its strict legal sense, divorce means the legal petitioner on January 12, 1994. We agree with petitioner’s contention
dissolution of a lawful union for a cause arising after marriage. But that the court a quo erred in finding that the divorce decree ipso facto
divorces are of different types. The two basic ones are (1) absolute clothed respondent with the legal capacity to remarry without
divorce or a vinculo matrimonii, and (2) limited divorce or a mensa et requiring him to adduce sufficient evidence to show the Australian
thoro. The first kind terminates the marriage, while the second personal law governing his status; or at the very least, to prove his
suspends it and leaves the bond in full force. There is no showing in legal capacity to contract the second marriage.
the case at bar which type of divorce was procured by respondent.
Respondent presented a decree nisi or an interlocutory decree—a Same; Same; Same; Same; The Court may not declare the second
conditional or provisional judgment of divorce. It is in effect the same marriage of a divorcee null and void on the ground of bigamy where
as a separation from bed and board, although an absolute divorce there is a possibility that, under the foreign law, the divorcee was
may follow after the lapse of the prescribed period during which no really capacitated to remarry as a result of the divorce decree—the
reconciliation is effected. Even after the divorce becomes absolute, most judicious course is to remand the case to the trial court to
the court may under some foreign statutes and practices, still restrict receive evidence, if any, which show the divorcee’s legal capacity to
remarriage. Under some other jurisdictions, remarriage may be remarry.—Neither can we grant petitioner’s prayer to declare her
limited by statute; thus, the guilty party in a divorce which was marriage to respondent null and void on the ground of bigamy. After
granted on the ground of adultery may be prohibited from marrying all, it may turn out that under Australian law, he was really
again. The court may allow a remarriage only after proof of good capacitated to marry petitioner as a direct result of the divorce
behavior. decree. Hence, we believe that the most judicious course is to
remand this case to the trial court to receive evidence, if any, which
Same; Same; Same; Same; Presumptions; A divorce decree does show petitioner’s legal capacity to marry petitioner. Failing in that,
not raise a disputable presumption or presumptive evidence as to the then the court a quo may declare a nullity of the parties’ marriage on
civil status of the person presenting it where no proof has been the ground of bigamy, there being already in evidence two existing
presented on the legal effects of the divorce decree obtained under marriage certificates, which were both obtained in the Philippines,
the foreign law.—We also reject the claim of respondent that the one in Malabon, Metro Manila dated March 1, 1987 and the other, in
divorce decree raises a disputable presumption or presumptive Cabanatuan City dated January 12, 1994. Garcia vs. Recio, 366
evidence as to his civil status based on Section 48, Rule 39 of the SCRA 437, G.R. No. 138322 October 2, 2001
Rules of Court, for the simple reason that no proof has been
presented on the legal effects of the divorce decree obtained under
Australian laws. Republic vs. Orbecido III 472 SCRA 114 , October 05, 2005

Same; Same; Same; Same; Certificate of Legal Capacity; The legal Facts
capacity to contract marriage is determined by the national law of the On May 24, 1981, Cipriano Orbecido III married Lady Myros M.
party concerned; The certificate of legal capacity mentioned in Article Villanueva at the United Church of Christ in the Philippines in Lam-
21 of the Family Code is sufficient to establish the legal capacity of a an, Ozamis City. Their marriage was blessed with a son and a
foreign national—a duly authenticated and admitted certificate is daughter, Kristoffer Simbortriz V. Orbecido and Lady Kimberly V.
prima facie evidence of legal capacity to marry on the part of the Orbecido.
alien applicant for a marriage license.—Petitioner argues that the
certificate of legal capacity required by Article 21 of the Family Code In 1986, Ciprianos wife left for the United States bringing along their
was not submitted together with the application for a marriage son Kristoffer. A few years later, Cipriano discovered that his wife
license. According to her, its absence is proof that respondent did not had been naturalized as an American citizen.
have legal capacity to remarry. We clarify. To repeat, the legal
Sometime in 2000, Cipriano learned from his son that his wife had
capacity to contract marriage is determined by the national law of the
obtained a divorce decree and then married a certain Innocent
party concerned. The certificate mentioned in Article 21 of the Family
Stanley. She, Stanley and her child by him currently live at 5566 A.
Code would have been sufficient to establish the legal capacity of
Walnut Grove Avenue, San Gabriel, California.
respondent, had he duly presented it in court. A duly authenticated
and admitted certificate is prima facie evidence of legal capacity to Cipriano thereafter filed with the trial court a petition for authority to
marry on the part of the alien applicant for a marriage license. remarry invoking Paragraph 2 of Article 26 of the Family Code. No
opposition was filed. Finding merit in the petition, the court granted
Same; Same; Same; Same; Same; The absence of a certificate of
the same. The Republic, herein petitioner, through the Office of the
legal capacity is merely an irregularity in complying with the formal
Solicitor General (OSG), sought reconsideration but it was denied.
requirements for procuring a marriage license, an irregularity which
will not affect the validity of a marriage celebrated on the basis of a Ruling
marriage license issued without that certificate.—In passing, we note
that the absence of the said certificate is merely an irregularity in Family Code; Marriages; Divorce; The Supreme Court holds that
complying with the formal requirement for procuring a marriage paragraph 2 of Article 26 should be interpreted to include cases
license. Under Article 4 of the Family Code, an irregularity will not involving parties who, at the time of the celebration of the marriage
affect the validity of a marriage celebrated on the basis of a marriage were Filipino citizens, but later on, one of them becomes naturalized
license issued without that certificate. (Vitug, Compendium, pp. 120- as a foreign citizen and obtains a divorce decree.—This case
126; Sempio-Diy, Handbook on the Family Code of the Philippines, concerns the applicability of Paragraph 2 of Article 26 to a marriage
1997 reprint, p. 17; Rufus Rodriguez, The Family Code of the between two Filipino citizens where one later acquired alien
citizenship, obtained a divorce decree, and remarried while in the
U.S.A. The interests of the parties are also adverse, as petitioner ISSUE:
representing the State asserts its duty to protect the institution of
marriage while respondent, a private citizen, insists on a declaration WHETHER OR NOT UNDER ARTICLE 26 OF THE FAMILY CODE
of his capacity to remarry. Respondent, praying for relief, has legal OF THE PHILIPPINES A FILIPINO CITIZEN HAS THE CAPACITY T
interest in the controversy. The issue raised is also ripe for judicial O REMARRYAFTER INITIATING A DIVORCE PROCEEDING
determination inasmuch as when respondent remarries, litigation ABROAD AND OBTAINING AFAVORABLE JUDGMENT AGAINST
ensues and puts into question the validity of his second marriage. x x HIS OR HER ALIEN SPOUSE.
x We hold that Paragraph 2 of Article 26 should be interpreted to Ruling
include cases involving parties who, at the time of the celebration of
the marriage were Filipino citizens, but later on, one of them Yes, the filipina spouse who initiated the divorce and has
becomes naturalized as a foreign citizen and obtains a divorce successfully obtained divorce decree against an alien spouse may
decree. The Filipino spouse should likewise be allowed to remarry as remarry under Art. 26 of the Family Code of the Philippines.
if the other party were a foreigner at the time of the solemnization of
Laws should be construed as not to defeat but to carry out its intent
the marriage. To rule otherwise would be to sanction absurdity and
and purposes
injustice. Where the interpretation of a statute according to its exact
and literal import would lead to mischievous results or contravene the The Purpose of Article 26 (2) of the Family code of the Philippines is
clear purpose of the legislature, it should be construed according to to avoid the absurd situation where the Filipino spouse remains
its spirit and reason, disregarding as far as necessary the letter of the married to the alien spouse who, after a foreign divorce decree that is
law. A statute may therefore be extended to cases not within the effective in the country where it was rendered is no longer married to
literal meaning of its terms, so long as they come within its spirit or the Filipino spouse. Even if the word obtained should be interpreted
intent. to mean that the divorce proceeding must be actually initiated by the
alien spouse, still the court will not follow the letter of the statute
Same; Same; Same; The Supreme Court is unanimous in holding
when to do so would depart from the true intent of the legislature or
that paragraph 2 of Article 26 of the Family Code (E.O. No. 209, as
would otherwise yield conclusions inconsistent with the general
amended by E.O. No. 227), should be interpreted to allow a Filipino
purpose of the act. Indeed, where the interpretation of a statute
citizen, who has been divorced by a spouse who had acquired
according to its exact and literal import would lead to mischievous
foreign citizenship and remarried, also to remarry.—We are
results or contravene the clear purpose of the legislature, it should be
unanimous in our holding that Paragraph 2 of Article 26 of the Family
construed according to the spirit and reason, disregarding as far as
Code (E.O. No. 209, as amended by E.O. No. 227), should be
necessary the letter of the law. A statute may, therefore be extended
interpreted to allow a Filipino citizen, who has been divorced by a
to cases not within the literal meaning of its terms, so long as they
spouse who had acquired foreign citizenship and remarried, also to
remarry. come within its spirt or intent. Whether the filipino spouse initiated the
foreign divorce proceeding or not, a favorable decree dissolving the
Same; Same; Same; The reckoning point is not the citizenship of the marriage bond and capacitating his orher alien spouse to remarry
parties at the time of the celebration of the marriage, but their will have the same result. Therefore, the subject provision shall not
citizenship at the time a valid divorce is obtained abroad by the alien make a distinction.
spouse capacitating the latter to remarry.—We state the twin
The Nationality Principle is not absolute and unbending rule
elements for the application of Paragraph 2 of Article 26 as follows:
1. There is a valid marriage that has been celebrated between a The existence of Article 26 (2) of the Family Code of the
Filipino citizen and a foreigner; and 2. A valid divorce is obtained Philippines is a testament that the state may provide for an exception
abroad by the alien spouse capacitating him or her to remarry. The thereto. Moreover, blind adherence to the nationality principle must
reckoning point is not the citizenship of the parties at the time of the be disallowed if it would cause unjust discrimination and oppression
celebration of the marriage, but their citizenship at the time a valid to certain classes of individuals whose rights are equally protected by
divorce is obtained abroad by the alien spouse capacitating the latter law. The courts have the duty to enforce th elaws of divorce as
to remarry. In this case, when Cipriano’s wife was naturalized as an written by the Legislature only if they are constitutional.
American citizen, there was still a valid marriage that has been
celebrated between her and Cipriano. As fate would have it, the Article 26(2) of the Family Code violates one of the essential
naturalized alien wife subsequently obtained a valid divorce requisites of the equal protection
capacitating her to remarry. Clearly, the twin requisites for the
The limitation of the provision only to a foreign divorce decree
application of Paragraph 2 of Article 26 are both present in this case.
initiated by the alien spouse is unreasonable as it is based on
Thus Cipriano, the “divorced” Filipino spouse, should be allowed to
superficial, arbitrary and whimsical
remarry. Republic vs. Orbecido III, 472 SCRA 114, G.R. No. 154380
classification. There is no real and substantial difference between a fi
October 5, 2005
lipino whoinitiated a foreign divorce proceedings and a filipino who
obtained a divorce decree upon the instance of his or her alien
Republic of the Philippines Vs. Marelyn Tanedo Manalo spouse. To make a distinction between them based merely on
G.R. No. 221029. April 24, 2018 superficial difference of whether they initiated the divorce
proceedings or not is utterly unfair. Indeed, the treatment gives
Facts undue favor to one and unjustly discriminate against the other.
Further, the differentiation is arbitrary. There is inequality in treatment
Marelyn Tanedo Manalo was previously married in the Philippines to
because a foreign divorce decree that was initiated and obtained by
a Japanese national named Yoshino Minoro. A case for divorce
a filipino citizen against his or her alien spouse would not be
was filed by the petitioner Manalo in Japan and after
recognized even if based on grounds similar to Articles 35,36, 37 and
due proceedings, a divorce decree dated December 6, 2011 was
38 of the family court.
rendered by the Japanese Court.
A prohibited view of Article 26(2) would do more harm than good
Manalo filed a petition for cancellation of entry of marriage in the civil
registry of San Juan, Metro Manila, by virtue of a judgment of divorce The state cannot effectively enforce its obligation to protect and
rendered by a Japanese court and that she be allowed to return and defend among others the right of the children from all forms of
use her maiden surname, Manalo. neglect, abuse,
cruelty,exploitation and other conditi ons prejudicial to their developm
ent if thecourt will limit the application of the subject provision only to allegation of petitioners in their respective counterclaims in Civil
those foreign divorce initiated by the alien spouse. Moreover, the Action No. H-86-440 of the United States District Court of Southern
court must not lose sight of the constitutional mandate to value the Texas that private respondents committed fraud by selling the
dignity of every human person, guarantee full respect for human property at a price 400 percent more than its true value of
rights and ensure the fundamental equality before the law of women US$800,000.00. Petitioners claimed that, as a result of private
and men. respondents fraudulent misrepresentations, ATHONA, PHILSEC,
and AYALA were induced to enter into the Agreement and to
purchase the Houston property. Petitioners prayed that private
Philsec Investment Corporation vs. Court of Appeals 274 SCRA respondents be ordered to return to ATHONA the excess payment of
102 , June 19, 1997 US$1,700,000.00 and to pay damages. On April 20, 1987, the trial
Facts court issued a writ of preliminary attachment against the real and
personal properties of private respondents.[2]
On January 15, 1983, private respondent Ventura O. Ducat obtained
separate loans from petitioners Ayala International Finance Limited Private respondent Ducat moved to dismiss Civil Case No. 16563 on
(hereafter called AYALA)[1] and Philsec Investment Corporation the grounds of (1) litis pendentia, vis-a-vis Civil Action No. H-86-440
(hereafter called PHILSEC) in the sum of US$2,500,000.00, secured filed by 1488, Inc. and Daic in the U.S., (2) forum non
by shares of stock owned by Ducat with a market value conveniens, and (3) failure of petitioners PHILSEC and BPI-IFL to
of P14,088,995.00. In order to facilitate the payment of the loans, state a cause of action. Ducat contended that the alleged overpricing
private respondent 1488, Inc., through its president, private of the property prejudiced only petitioner ATHONA, as buyer, but not
respondent Drago Daic, assumed Ducats obligation under an PHILSEC and BPI-IFL which were not parties to the sale and whose
Agreement, dated January 27, 1983, whereby 1488, Inc. executed a only participation was to extend financial accommodation to
Warranty Deed with Vendors Lien by which it sold to petitioner ATHONA under a separate loan agreement. On the other hand,
Athona Holdings, N.V. (hereafter called ATHONA) a parcel of land in private respondents 1488, Inc. and its president Daic filed a joint
Harris County, Texas, U.S.A., for US$2,807,209.02, while PHILSEC Special Appearance and Qualified Motion to Dismiss, contending that
and AYALA extended a loan to ATHONA in the amount of the action being in personam, extraterritorial service of summons by
US$2,500,000.00 as initial payment of the purchase price. The publication was ineffectual and did not vest the court with jurisdiction
balance of US$307,209.02 was to be paid by means of a promissory over 1488, Inc., which is a non-resident foreign corporation, and
note executed by ATHONA in favor of 1488, Inc. Subsequently, upon Daic, who is a non-resident alien.
their receipt of the US$2,500,000.00 from 1488, Inc., PHILSEC and On January 26, 1988, the trial court granted Ducats motion to
AYALA released Ducat from his indebtedness and delivered to 1488, dismiss, stating that the evidentiary requirements of the controversy
Inc. all the shares of stock in their possession belonging to Ducat. may be more suitably tried before the forum of the litis pendentia in
As ATHONA failed to pay the interest on the balance of the U.S., under the principle in private international law of forum non
US$307,209.02, the entire amount covered by the note became due conveniens, even as it noted that Ducat was not a party in the U.S.
and demandable. Accordingly, on October 17, 1985, private case.
respondent 1488, Inc. sued petitioners PHILSEC, AYALA, and A separate hearing was held with regard to 1488, Inc. and Daics
ATHONA in the United States for payment of the balance of motion to dismiss. On March 9, 1988, the trial court[3] granted the
US$307,209.02 and for damages for breach of contract and for fraud motion to dismiss filed by 1488, Inc. and Daic on the ground of litis
allegedly perpetrated by petitioners in misrepresenting the pendentia considering that the main factual element of the cause of
marketability of the shares of stock delivered to 1488, Inc. under the action in this case which is the validity of the sale of real property in
Agreement. Originally instituted in the United States District Court of the United States between defendant 1488 and plaintiff ATHONA is
Texas, 165th Judicial District, where it was docketed as Case No. 85- the subject matter of the pending case in the United States District
57746, the venue of the action was later transferred to the United Court which, under the doctrine of forum non conveniens, is the
States District Court for the Southern District of Texas, where 1488, better (if not exclusive) forum to litigate matters needed to determine
Inc. filed an amended complaint, reiterating its allegations in the the assessment and/or fluctuations of the fair market value of real
original complaint. ATHONA filed an answer with counterclaim, estate situated in Houston, Texas, U.S.A. from the date of the
impleading private respondents herein as counterdefendants, for transaction in 1983 up to the present and verily, . . . (emphasis by
allegedly conspiring in selling the property at a price over its market trial court)
value. Private respondent Perlas, who had allegedly appraised the
property, was later dropped as counterdefendant. ATHONA sought The trial court also held itself without jurisdiction over 1488, Inc. and
the recovery of damages and excess payment allegedly made to Daic because they were non-residents and the action was not an
1488, Inc. and, in the alternative, the rescission of sale of the action in rem or quasi in rem, so that extraterritorial service of
property. For their part, PHILSEC and AYALA filed a motion to summons was ineffective. The trial court subsequently lifted the writ
dismiss on the ground of lack of jurisdiction over their person, but, as of attachment it had earlier issued against the shares of stocks of
their motion was denied, they later filed a joint answer with 1488, Inc. and Daic.
counterclaim against private respondents and Edgardo V. Guevarra,
PHILSECs own former president, for the rescission of the sale on the Petitioners appealed to the Court of Appeals, arguing that the trial
ground that the property had been overvalued. On March 13, 1990, court erred in applying the principle of litis pendentia and forum non
the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas conveniens and in ruling that it had no jurisdiction over the
dismissed the counterclaim against Edgardo V. Guevarra on the defendants, despite the previous attachment of shares of stocks
ground that it was frivolous and [was] brought against him simply to belonging to 1488, Inc. and Daic.
humiliate and embarrass him. For this reason, the U.S. court On January 6, 1992, the Court of Appeals[4] affirmed the dismissal of
imposed so-called Rule 11 sanctions on PHILSEC and AYALA and Civil Case No. 16563 against Ducat, 1488, Inc., and Daic on the
ordered them to pay damages to Guevarra. ground of litis pendentia. The Court of Appeals also held that Civil
On April 10, 1987, while Civil Case No. H-86-440 was pending in the Case No. 16563 was an action in personam for the recovery of a
United States, petitioners filed a complaint For Sum of Money with sum of money for alleged tortious acts, so that service of summons
Damages and Writ of Preliminary Attachment against private by publication did not vest the trial court with jurisdiction over 1488,
respondents in the Regional Trial Court of Makati, where it was Inc. and Drago Daic. The dismissal of Civil Case No. 16563 on the
docketed as Civil Case No. 16563. The complaint reiterated the ground of forum non conveniens was likewise affirmed by the Court
of Appeals on the ground that the case can be better tried and invoke for claiming conclusive effect for the foreign judgment in their
decided by the U.S. court favor, the foreign judgment was considered res judicata because this
Court found from the evidence as well as from appellants own
Issue: pleadings[11] that the foreign court did not make a clear mistake of law
1. WON THE DOCTRINE OF PENDENCY OF ANOTHER ACTION or fact or that its judgment was void for want of jurisdiction or
BETWEEN THE SAME PARTIES FOR THE SAME CAUSE (LITIS because of fraud or collusion by the defendants. Trial had been
PENDENTIA) RELIED UPON BY THE COURT OF APPEALS IN previously held in the lower court and only afterward was a decision
AFFIRMING THE TRIAL COURTS DISMISSAL OF THE CIVIL rendered, declaring the judgment of the Supreme Court of the State
ACTION IS NOT APPLICABLE. of Washington to have the effect of res judicata in the case before
the lower court. In the same vein, in Philippine International Shipping
2. WON THE PRINCIPLE OF FORUM NON CONVENIENS ALSO Corp. v. Court of Appeals,[12] this Court held that the foreign judgment
RELIED UPON BY THE COURT OF APPEALS IN AFFIRMING THE was valid and enforceable in the Philippines there being no showing
DISMISSAL BY THE TRIAL COURT OF THE CIVIL ACTION IS that it was vitiated by want of notice to the party, collusion, fraud or
LIKEWISE NOT APPLICABLE. clear mistake of law or fact. The prima facie presumption under the
Rule had not been rebutted.
3. AS A COROLLARY TO THE FIRST TWO GROUNDS, THE
COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT HOLDING THAT In the case at bar, it cannot be said that petitioners were given the
PHILIPPINE PUBLIC POLICY REQUIRED THE ASSUMPTION, NOT opportunity to challenge the judgment of the U.S. court as basis for
THE RELINQUISHMENT, BY THE TRIAL COURT OF ITS declaring it res judicata or conclusive of the rights of private
RIGHTFUL JURISDICTION IN THE CIVIL ACTION FOR THERE IS respondents. The proceedings in the trial court were
EVERY REASON TO PROTECT AND VINDICATE PETITIONERS summary. Neither the trial court nor the appellate court was even
RIGHTS FOR TORTIOUS OR WRONGFUL ACTS OR CONDUCT furnished copies of the pleadings in the U.S. court or apprised of the
PRIVATE RESPONDENTS (WHO ARE MOSTLY NON-RESIDENT evidence presented thereat, to assure a proper determination of
ALIENS) INFLICTED UPON THEM HERE IN THE PHILIPPINES. whether the issues then being litigated in the U.S. court were exactly
the issues raised in this case such that the judgment that might be
Ruling
rendered would constitute res judicata. As the trial court stated in its
First. It is important to note in connection with the first point that while disputed order dated March 9, 1988:
the present case was pending in the Court of Appeals, the United
On the plaintiffs claim in its Opposition that the causes of action of
States District Court for the Southern District of Texas rendered
this case and the pending case in the United States are not
judgment[5] in the case before it. The judgment, which was in favor of
identical, precisely the Order of January 26, 1988 never found that
private respondents, was affirmed on appeal by the Circuit Court of
the causes of action of this case and the case pending before the
Appeals.[6] Thus, the principal issue to be resolved in this case is
USA Court, were identical. (emphasis added)
whether Civil Case No. 16536 is barred by the judgment of the U.S.
court. It was error therefore for the Court of Appeals to summarily rule that
petitioners action is barred by the principle of res judicata. Petitioners
Private respondents contend that for a foreign judgment to be
in fact questioned the jurisdiction of the U.S. court over their persons,
pleaded as res judicata, a judgment admitting the foreign decision is
but their claim was brushed aside by both the trial court and the
not necessary. On the other hand, petitioners argue that the foreign
Court of Appeals.[13]
judgment cannot be given the effect of res judicata without giving
them an opportunity to impeach it on grounds stated in Rule 39, 50 of Moreover, the Court notes that on April 22, 1992, 1488, Inc. and Daic
the Rules of Court, to wit: want of jurisdiction, want of notice to the filed a petition for the enforcement of judgment in the Regional Trial
party, collusion, fraud, or clear mistake of law or fact. Court of Makati, where it was docketed as Civil Case No. 92-1070
and assigned to Branch 134, although the proceedings were
Petitioners contention is meritorious. While this Court has given the
suspended because of the pendency of this case. To sustain the
effect of res judicata to foreign judgments in several cases,[7] it was
appellate courts ruling that the foreign judgment constitutes res
after the parties opposed to the judgment had been given ample
judicata and is a bar to the claim of petitioners would effectively
opportunity to repel them on grounds allowed under the law. [8] It is
preclude petitioners from repelling the judgment in the case for
not necessary for this purpose to initiate a separate action or
enforcement. An absurdity could then arise: a foreign judgment is not
proceeding for enforcement of the foreign judgment. What is
subject to challenge by the plaintiff against whom it is invoked, if it is
essential is that there is opportunity to challenge the foreign
pleaded to resist a claim as in this case, but it may be opposed by
judgment, in order for the court to properly determine its
the defendant if the foreign judgment is sought to be enforced
efficacy. This is because in this jurisdiction, with respect to actions in
against him in a separate proceeding. This is plainly untenable. It has
personam, as distinguished from actions in rem, a foreign judgment
been held therefore that:
merely constitutes prima facie evidence of the justness of the claim
of a party and, as such, is subject to proof to the contrary.[9] Rule 39, [A] foreign judgment may not be enforced if it is not recognized in the
50 provides: jurisdiction where affirmative relief is being sought. Hence, in the
interest of justice, the complaint should be considered as a petition
SEC. 50. Effect of foreign judgments. - The effect of a judgment of a
for the recognition of the Hongkong judgment under Section 50 (b),
tribunal of a foreign country, having jurisdiction to pronounce the
Rule 39 of the Rules of Court in order that the defendant, private
judgment is as follows:
respondent herein, may present evidence of lack of jurisdiction,
(a) In case of a judgment upon a specific thing, the judgment is notice, collusion, fraud or clear mistake of fact and law, if
conclusive upon the title to the thing; applicable.[14]

(b) In case of a judgment against a person, the judgment is Accordingly, to insure the orderly administration of justice, this case
presumptive evidence of a right as between the parties and their and Civil Case No. 92-1070 should be consolidated.[15] After all, the
successors in interest by a subsequent title; but the judgment may be two have been filed in the Regional Trial Court of Makati, albeit in
repelled by evidence of a want of jurisdiction, want of notice to the different salas, this case being assigned to Branch 56 (Judge
party, collusion, fraud, or clear mistake of law or fact. Fernando V. Gorospe), while Civil Case No. 92-1070 is pending in
Branch 134 of Judge Ignacio Capulong.In such proceedings,
Thus, in the case of General Corporation of the Philippines v. Union petitioners should have the burden of impeaching the foreign
Insurance Society of Canton, Ltd.,[10] which private respondents
judgment and only in the event they succeed in doing so may they On October 24, 2004, Tung Ho filed an action against Ting Guan for
proceed with their action against private respondents. the recognition and enforcement of the arbitral award before the
Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Makati, Branch 145. Ting Guan moved
Second. Nor is the trial courts refusal to take cognizance of the case to dismiss the case based on Tung Ho’s lack of capacity to sue and
justifiable under the principle of forum non conveniens. First, a for prematurity. Ting Guan subsequently filed a supplemental motion
motion to dismiss is limited to the grounds under Rule 16, 1, which to dismiss based on improper venue. Ting Guan argued that the
does not include forum non conveniens.[16] The propriety of complaint should have been filed in Cebu where its principal place of
dismissing a case based on this principle requires a factual business was located.8
determination, hence, it is more properly considered a matter of
defense. Second, while it is within the discretion of the trial court to Issues
abstain from assuming jurisdiction on this ground, it should do so
only after vital facts are established, to determine whether special 1) Whether the present petition is barred by res judicata; and
circumstances require the courts desistance.[17] 2) Whether the trial court acquired jurisdiction over the person of Ting
In this case, the trial court abstained from taking jurisdiction solely on Guan, specifically:
the basis of the pleadings filed by private respondents in connection a) Whether Tejero was the proper person to receive the summons;
with the motion to dismiss. It failed to consider that one of the and
plaintiffs (PHILSEC) is a domestic corporation and one of the
defendants (Ventura Ducat) is a Filipino, and that it was the b) Whether Ting Guan made a voluntary appearance before the trial
extinguishment of the latters debt which was the object of the court.
transaction under litigation. The trial court arbitrarily dismissed the
Ruling
case even after finding that Ducat was not a party in the U.S. case.
I. The Court is not precluded from ruling on the jurisdictional issue
Third. It was error we think for the Court of Appeals and the trial court
raised in the petition
to hold that jurisdiction over 1488, Inc. and Daic could not be
obtained because this is an action in personam and summons were A. The petition is not barred by res judicata
served by extraterritorial service. Rule 14, 17 on extraterritorial
service provides that service of summons on a non-resident Res judicata refers to the rule that a final judgment or decree on the
defendant may be effected out of the Philippines by leave of Court merits by a court of competent jurisdiction is conclusive on the rights
where, among others, the property of the defendant has been of the parties or their privies in all later suits on all points and matters
attached within the Philippines.[18] It is not disputed that the determined in the former suit.19 For res judicata to apply, the final
properties, real and personal, of the private respondents had been judgment must be on the merits of the case which means that the
attached prior to service of summons under the Order of the trial court has unequivocally determined the parties’ rights and obligations
court dated April 20, 1987.[19] with respect to the causes of action and the subject matter of the
case.20
Fourth. As for the temporary restraining order issued by the Court on
June 29, 1994, to suspend the proceedings in Civil Case No. 92- Contrary to Ting Guan’s position, our ruling in G.R. No. 176110 does
1445 filed by Edgardo V. Guevarra to enforce so-called Rule 11 not operate as res judicata on Tung Ho’s appeal; G.R. No. 176110
sanctions imposed on the petitioners by the U.S. court, the Court did not conclusively rule on all issues raised by the parties in this
finds that the judgment sought to be enforced is severable from the case so that this Court would now be barred from taking cognizance
main judgment under consideration in Civil Case No. 16563. The of Tung Ho’s petition. Our disposition in G.R. No. 176110 only dwelt
separability of Guevarras claim is not only admitted by on technical or collateral aspects of the case, and not on its merits.
petitioners,[20] it appears from the pleadings that petitioners only Specifically, we did not rule on whether Tung Ho may enforce the
belatedly impleaded Guevarra as defendant in Civil Case No. foreign arbitral award against Ting Guan in that case.
16563.[21] Hence, the TRO should be lifted and Civil Case No. 92-
B. The appellate court cannot be ousted of jurisdiction until it finally
1445 allowed to proceed.
disposes of the case
G.R. No. 182153 April 7, 2014
The court’s jurisdiction, once attached, cannot be ousted until it
TUNG HO STEEL ENTERPRISES CORPORATION, Petitioner, finally disposes of the case. When a court has already obtained and
vs. is exercising jurisdiction over a controversy, its jurisdiction to proceed
TING GUAN TRADING CORPORATION, Respondent. to the final determination of the case is retained.21 A judge is
competent to act on the case while its incidents remain pending for
Facts his disposition.
Tung Ho is a foreign corporation organized under the laws of Taiwan, The CA was not ousted of its jurisdiction with the promulgation of
Republic of China.4 On the other hand, respondent Ting Guan G.R. No. 176110. The July 5, 2006 decision has not yet become final
Trading Corp. (Ting Guan) is a domestic corporation organized under and executory for the reason that there remained a pending incident
the laws of the Philippines.5 before the CA – the resolution of Tung Ho’s motion for
reconsideration – when this Court promulgated G.R. No. 176110. In
On January 9, 2002, Ting Guan obligated itself under a contract of
this latter case, on the other hand, we only resolved procedural
sale to deliver heavy metal scrap iron and steel to Tung Ho.
issues that are divorced from the present jurisdictional question
Subsequently, Tung Ho filed a request for arbitration before the ICC
before us. Thus, what became immutable in G.R. No. 176110 was
International Court of Arbitration (ICC) in Singapore after Ting Guan
the ruling that Tung Ho’s complaint is not dismissible on grounds of
failed to deliver the full quantity of the promised heavy metal scrap
prematurity, nullity of the foreign arbitral award, improper venue, and
iron and steel.6
the foreign arbitral award’s repugnance to local public policy. This
The ICC ruled in favor of Tung Ho on June 18, 2004 and ordered leads us to the conclusion that in the absence of any ruling on the
Ting Guan to pay Tung Ho the following: (1) actual damages in the merits on the issue of jurisdiction, res judicata on this point could not
amount of US$ 659,646.15 with interest of 6% per annum from have set in.
December 4, 2002 until final payment; (2) cost of arbitration in the
amount of US $ 47,000.00; and (3) legal costs and expenses in the
amount of NT $ 761,448.00 and US $ 34,552.83.7
C. Tung Ho’s timely filing of a motion for reconsideration and of a jurisdiction over the person of the defendant30 or over the subject
petition for review on certiorari prevented the July 5, 2006 decision matter.31
from attaining finality
We cannot allow and simply passively look at Ting Guan’s blatant
Furthermore, under Section 2, Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, Tung disregard of the rules of procedure in the present case. The Rules of
Ho may file a petition for review on certiorari before the Court within Court only allows the filing of a motion to dismiss once.32 Ting Guan’s
(15) days from the denial of its motion for reconsideration filed in due filing of successive motions to dismiss, under the guise of
time after notice of the judgment. Tung Ho’s timely filing of a motion "supplemental motion to dismiss" or "motion for reconsideration", is
for reconsideration before the CA and of a Rule 45 petition before not only improper but also dilatory.33 Ting Guan’s belated reliance on
this Court prevented the July 5, 2006 CA decision from attaining the improper service of summons was a mere afterthought, if not a
finality. For this Court to deny Tung Ho’s petition would result in an bad faith ploy to avoid the foreign arbitral award’s enforcement which
anomalous situation where a party litigant is penalized and deprived is still at its preliminary stage after the lapse of almost a decade since
of his fair opportunity to appeal the case by faithfully complying with the filing of the complaint.
the Rules of Court.
Furthermore, Ting Guan’s failure to raise the alleged lack of
II. The trial court acquired jurisdiction over the person of Ting Guan jurisdiction over its person in the first motion to dismiss is fatal to its
cause. Ting Guan voluntarily appeared before the RTC when it filed a
A. Tejero was not the proper person to receive the summons motion to dismiss and a "supplemental motion to dismiss" without
Nonetheless, we see no reason to disturb the lower courts’ finding raising the RTC’s lack of jurisdiction over its person. In Anunciacion
that Tejero was not a corporate secretary and, therefore, was not the v. Bocanegra,34 we categorically stated that the defendant should
proper person to receive the summons under Section 11, Rule 14 of raise the affirmative defense of lack of jurisdiction over his person in
the Rules of Court. This Court is not a trier of facts; we cannot re- the very first motion to dismiss. Failure to raise the issue of improper
examine, review or re-evaluate the evidence and the factual review service of summons in the first motion to dismiss is a waiver of this
made by the lower courts. In the absence of compelling reasons, we defense and cannot be belatedly raised in succeeding motions and
will not deviate from the rule that factual findings of the lower courts pleadings.
are final and binding on this Court.22 Even assuming that Ting Guan did not voluntarily appear before the
B. Ting Guan voluntarily appeared before the trial court RTC, the CA should have ordered the RTC to issue an alias
summons instead. In Lingner & Fisher GMBH vs. Intermediate
However, we cannot agree with the legal conclusion that the Appellate Court35, we enunciated the policy that the courts should not
appellate court reached, given the established facts.23To our mind, dismiss a case simply because there was an improper service of
Ting Guan voluntarily appeared before the trial court in view of the summons. The lower courts should be cautious in haphazardly
procedural recourse that it took before that court. Its voluntary dismissing complaints on this ground alone considering that the trial
appearance is equivalent to service of summons.24 court can cure this defect and order the issuance of alias summons
on the proper person in the interest of substantial justice and to
As a basic principle, courts look with disfavor on piecemeal
expedite the proceedings.
arguments in motions filed by the parties. Under the omnibus motion
rule, a motion attacking a pleading, order, judgment, or proceeding III. A Final Note
shall include all objections then available.25 The purpose of this rule
is to obviate multiplicity of motions and to discourage dilatory motions As a final note, we are not unaware that the present case has been
and pleadings. Party litigants should not be allowed to reiterate complicated by its unique development. The complication arose
identical motions, speculating on the possible change of opinion of when the CA, instead of resolving the parties’ separate partial
the courts or of the judges thereof. motions for reconsideration in one resolution, proceeded to first
resolve and to deny Ting Guan’s partial motion. Ting Guan,
In this respect, Section 1, Rule 16 of the Rules of Court requires the therefore, went to this Court via a petition for review on certiorari
defendant to file a motion to dismiss within the time for, but before while Tung Ho’s partial motion for reconsideration was still
filing the answer to the complaint or pleading asserting a claim. unresolved.
Section 1, Rule 11 of the Rules of Court, on the other hand,
commands the defendant to file his answer within fifteen (15) days Expectedly, Ting Guan did not question the portions of the CA
after service of summons, unless a different period is fixed by the trial decision favorable to it when it filed its petition with this Court.
court. Once the trial court denies the motion, the defendant should Instead, Ting Guan reiterated that the CA should have included
file his answer within the balance of fifteen (15) days to which he was additional grounds to justify the dismissal of Tung Ho’s complaint
entitled at the time of serving his motion, but the remaining period with the RTC. The Court denied Ting Guan’s petition, leading to the
cannot be less than five (5) days computed from his receipt of the entry of judgment that improvidently followed. Later, the CA denied
notice of the denial.26 Tung Ho’s partial motion for reconsideration, prompting Tung Ho’s
own petition with this Court, which is the present G.R. No. 182153.
Instead of filing an answer, the defendant may opt to file a motion for
reconsideration. Only after the trial court shall have denied the Under the Rules of Court, entry of judgment may only be made if no
motion for reconsideration does the defendant become bound to file appeal or motion for reconsideration was timely filed.36 In the
his answer.27 If the defendant fails to file an answer within the proceedings before the CA, if a motion for reconsideration (including
reglementary period, the plaintiff may file a motion to declare the a partial motion for reconsideration37) is timely filed by the proper
defendant in default. This motion shall be with notice to the party, execution of the CA’s judgment or final resolution shall be
defendant and shall be supported by proof of the failure.28 stayed.38 This rule is applicable even to proceedings before the
Supreme Court, as provided in Section 4, Rule 56 of the Rules of
The trial court’s denial of the motion to dismiss is not a license for the Court.39
defendant to file a Rule 65 petition before the CA. An order denying a
motion to dismiss cannot be the subject of a petition for certiorari as In the present case, Tung Ho timely filed its motion for
the defendant still has an adequate remedy before the trial court – reconsideration with the CA and seasonably appealed the CA’s
i.e., to file an answer and to subsequently appeal the case if he loses rulings with the Court through the present petition (G.R. No. 182153).
the case.29 As exceptions, the defendant may avail of a petition for To now recognize the finality of the Resolution of Ting Guan petition
certiorari if the ground raised in the motion to dismiss is lack of (G.R. No. 176110) based on its entry of judgment and to allow it to
foreclose the present meritorious petition of Tung Ho, would of
course cause unfair and unjustified injury to Tung Ho. First, as COURT OF APPEALS and C.F. SHARP & COMPANY
previously mentioned, the Ting Guan petition did not question or INC., respondents.
assail the full merits of the CA decision. It was Tung Ho, the party
aggrieved by the CA decision, who substantially questioned the Facts
merits of the CA decision in its petition; this petition showed that the  Northwest Airlines (Northwest) and C.F. Sharp & Company
CA indeed committed error and Tung Ho’s complaint before the RTC (C.F.), through its Japan branch, entered into an
should properly proceed. Second, the present case is for the International Passenger Sales Agency Agreement,
enforcement of an arbitral award involving millions of pesos. Tung Ho whereby the Northwest authorized the C.F. to sell its air
already won in the foreign arbitration and the present case is simply transportation tickets
for the enforcement of this arbitral award in our jurisdiction. Third,
and most importantly, Tung Ho properly and timely availed of the  March 25, 1980: Unable to remit the proceeds of the ticket
remedies available to it under the Rules of Court, which provide that sales, Northwest sued C.F. in Tokyo, Japan, for collection
filing and pendency of a motion for reconsideration stays the of the unremitted proceeds of the ticket sales, with claim for
execution of the CA judgment. Therefore, at the time of the entry of damages
judgment in G.R. No. 176110 in the Supreme Court on January 8,
 April 11, 1980: writ of summons was issued by the 36th
2008, the CA decision which the Court affirmed was effectively not
Civil Department, Tokyo District Court of Japan
yet be final.
 The attempt to serve the summons was
Significantly, the rule that a timely motion for reconsideration stays
unsuccessful because Mr. Dinozo was in Manila
the execution of the assailed judgment is in accordance with Rule 51,
and would be back on April 24, 1980
Section 10 (Rules governing the CA proceedings) which provides
that "entry of judgments may only be had if there is no appeal or  April 24, 1980: Mr. Dinozo returned to C.F. Office to serve
motion for reconsideration timely filed. The date when the judgment the summons but he refused to receive claiming that he no
or final resolution becomes executory shall be deemed as the date of longer an employee
its entry." Incidentally, this procedure also governs before Supreme
Court proceedings.40 Following these rules, therefore, the pendency  After the 2 attempts of service were
of Tung Ho’s MR with the CA made the entry of the judgment of the unsuccessful, Supreme Court of Japan sent the summons
Court in the Ting Guan petition premature and inefficacious for not together with the other legal documents to the Ministry of
being final and executory. Foreign Affairs of Japan> Japanese Embassy in
Manila>Ministry (now Department) of Foreign Affairs of the
Based on the above considerations, the Court would not be in error if Philippines>Executive Judge of the Court of First Instance
it applies its ruling in the case of Realty Sales Enterprises, Inc. and (now Regional Trial Court) of Manila who ordered Deputy
Macondray Farms, Inc. v. Intermediate Appellate Court, et Sheriff Rolando Balingit>C.F. Main Office
al.41 where the Court, in a per curiam resolution, ruled that an entry of
judgment may be recalled or lifted motu proprio when it is clear that  August 28, 1980: C.F. received from Deputy Sheriff
the decision assailed of has not yet become final under the rules: Rolando Balingit the writ of summons but failed to appear
at the scheduled hearing.
The March 6, 1985 resolution denying reconsideration of the January
30, 1985 resolution was, to repeat, not served on the petitioners until  January 29, 1981: Tokyo Court rendered judgment
March 20, 1985 - and therefore the Jan. 30, 1985 resolution could ordering the C.F. to pay 83,158,195 Yen and damages for
not be deemed final and executory until one (1) full day (March 21) delay at the rate of 6% per annum from August 28, 1980 up
had elapsed, or on March 22, 1985 (assuming inaction on petitioners' to and until payment is completed
part.) The entry of judgment relative to the January 30, 1985
 March 24, 1981: C.F. received from Deputy Sheriff Balingit
resolution, made on March 18, 1985, was therefore premature and
copy of the judgment. C.F. did not appeal so it became
inefficacious. An entry of judgment does not make the judgment so
final and executory
entered final and execution when it is not so in truth. An entry of
judgment merely records the fact that a judgment, order or resolution  May 20, 1983: Northwest filed a suit for enforcement of the
has become final and executory; but it is not the operative act that judgment a RTC
make the judgment, order or resolution final and executory. In the
case at bar, the entry of judgment on March 18, 1985 did not make  July 16, 1983: C.F. averred that the Japanese Court sought
the January 30, 1985 resolution subject of the entry, final and to be enforced is null and void and unenforceable in this
executory, As of the date of entry, March 18, 1985, notice of the jurisdiction having been rendered without due and proper
resolution denying reconsideration of the January 30, 1985 resolution notice and/or with collusion or fraud and/or upon a clear
had not yet been served on the petitioners or any of the parties, since mistake of law and fact. The foreign judgment in the
March 18, 1985 was also the date of the notice (and release) of the Japanese Court sought in this action is null and void for
March 6, 1985 resolution denying reconsideration.1âwphi1 want of jurisdiction over the person of the defendant
considering that this is an action in personam. The
According to this ruling, the motu proprio recall or setting aside of the process of the Court in Japan sent to the Philippines which
entry of final judgment was proper and "entirely consistent with the is outside Japanese jurisdiction cannot confer jurisdiction
inherent power of every court inter alia to amend and control its over the defendant in the case before the Japanese Court
process and orders so as to make them conformable to law and of the case at bar
justice [Sec. 5(g), Rule 135, Rules of Court,]. That the recall has in
fact served to achieve a verdict consistent with law and justice is  CA sustained RTC: Court agrees that if the C.F. in a
clear from the judgment subsequently rendered on the merits." This foreign court is a resident in the court of that foreign court
course of action is effectively what the Court undertook today, such court could acquire jurisdiction over the person
adapted of course to the circumstances of the present case. of C.F. but it must be served in the territorial jurisdiction of
the foreign court
G.R. No. 112573 February 9, 1995

NORTHWEST ORIENT AIRLINES, INC. petitioner,


vs. Issue: W/N the Japanese Court has jurisdiction over C.F. Sharp &
Company. YES
Ruling doing business in Japan through its four duly registered branches at
the time the collection suit against it was filed, then in the light of the
Courts; Judgments; Jurisdiction; A foreign judgment is presumed to processual presumption, SHARP may be deemed a resident of
be valid and binding in the country from which it comes, until the Japan, and, as such, was amenable to the jurisdiction of the courts
contrary is shown.—A foreign judgment is presumed to be valid and therein and may be deemed to have assented to the said courts'
binding in the country from which it comes, until the contrary is lawful methods of serving process. Accordingly, the extraterritorial
shown. It is also proper to presume the regularity of the proceedings service of summons on it by the Japanese Court was valid not only
and the giving of due notice therein. under the processual presumption but also because of the
Same; Same; Same; A court, whether of the Philippines or presumption of regularity of performance of official duty. Northwest
elsewhere, enjoys the presumption that it was acting in the lawful Orient Airlines, Inc. vs. Court of Appeals, 241 SCRA 192, G.R. No.
exercise of jurisdiction and has regularly performed its official duty.— 112573 February 9, 1995
Under Section 50, Rule 39 of the Rules of Court, a judgment in an Hang Lung Bank, Ltd. vs. Saulog 201 SCRA 137 , August 26,
action in personam of a tribunal of a foreign country having 1991
jurisdiction to pronounce the same is presumptive evidence of a right
as between the parties and their successors-in-interest by a Facts
subsequent title. The judgment may, however, be assailed by
evidence of want of jurisdiction, want of notice to the party, collusion, on July 18, 1979, petitioner Hang Lung Bank, Ltd., which was not
fraud, or clear mistake of law or fact. Also, under Section 3 of Rule doing business in the Philippines, entered into two (2) continuing
131, a court, whether of the Philippines or elsewhere, enjoys the guarantee agreements with Cordova Chin San in Hongkong whereby
presumption that it was acting in the lawful exercise of jurisdiction the latter agreed to pay on demand all sums of money which may be
and has regularly performed its official duty. due the bank from Worlder Enterprises to the extent of the total
amount of two hundred fifty thousand Hongkong dollars (HK
Same; Same; Same; The party attacking a foreign judgment has the $250,000).1
burden of overcoming the presumption of its validity.—Consequently,
the party attacking a foreign judgment has the burden of overcoming Worlder Enterprises having defaulted in its payment, petitioner filed
the presumption of its validity. Being the party challenging the in the Supreme Court of Hongkong a collection suit against Worlder
judgment rendered by the Japanese court, SHARP had the duty to Enterprises and Chin San. Summonses were allegedly served upon
demonstrate the invalidity of such judgment. In an attempt to Worlder Enterprises and Chin San at their addresses in Hongkong
discharge that burden, it contends that the extraterritorial service of but they failed to respond thereto. Consequently, the Supreme Court
summons effected at its home office in the Philippines was not only of Hongkong issued the following:
ineffectual but also void, and the Japanese Court did not, therefore, JUDGMENT
acquire jurisdiction over it.
THE 14th DAY OF JUNE, 1984
Same; Same; Same; It is settled that matters of remedy and
procedure such as those relating to the service of process upon a No notice of intention to defend having been given by the 1st and
defendant are governed by the lex fori or the internal law of the 2nd Defendants herein, IT IS THIS DAY ADJUDGED that: —
forum.—It is settled that matters of remedy and procedure such as
(1) the 1st Defendant (Ko Ching Chong Trading otherwise known as
those relating to the service of process upon a defendant are
the Worlder Enterprises) do pay the Plaintiff the sum of
governed by the lex fori or the internal law of the forum. In this case,
HK$1,117,968.36 together with interest on the respective principal
it is the procedural law of Japan where the judgment was rendered
sums of HK$196,591.38, HK$200,216.29, HK$526,557.63,
that determines the validity of the extraterritorial service of process
HK$49,350.00 and HK$3,965.50 at the rates of 1.7% per month (or
on SHARP.
HK$111.40 per day), 18.5% per annum (or HK$101.48 per day),
Same; Same; Same; It was then incumbent upon SHARP to present 1.85% per month (or HK$324.71 per day), 1.55% per month (or
evidence as to what that Japanese procedural law is and to show HK$25.50 per day) and 1.7% per month (or HK$2.25 per day)
that under it, the assailed extraterritorial service is invalid.—As to respectively from 4th May 1984 up to the date of payment; and
what this law is is a question of fact, not of law. It may not be taken
(2) the 2nd Defendant (Cordova Chin San) do pay the Plaintiff the
judicial notice of and must be pleaded and proved like any other fact.
sum of HK$279,325.00 together with interest on the principal sum of
Sections 24 and 25, Rule 132 of the Rules of Court provide that it
HK$250,000.00 at the rate of 1.7% per month (or HK$141.67 per
may be evidenced by an official publication or by a duly attested or
day) from 4th May 1984 up to the date of payment.
authenticated copy thereof. It was then incumbent upon SHARP to
present evidence as to what that Japanese procedural law is and to AND IT IS ADJUDGED that the 1st and 2nd Defendants do pay the
show that under it, the assailed extraterritorial service is invalid. It did Plaintiff the sum of HK$970.00 fixed costs.
not. Accordingly, the presumption of validity and regularity of the
service of summons and the decision thereafter rendered by the N.J. BARNETT
Japanese court must stand. Registrar

Same; Same; Same; In the light of the absence of proof regarding Thereafter, petitioner through counsel sent a demand letter to Chin
Japanese law, the presumption of identity or similarity or the so- San at his Philippine address but again, no response was made
called processual presumption may be invoked.—Alternatively, in the thereto. Hence, on October 18, 1984, petitioner instituted in the court
light of the absence of proof regarding Japanese law, the below an action seeking "the enforcement of its just and valid claims
presumption of identity or similarity or the so-called processual against private respondent, who is a local resident, for a sum of
presumption may be invoked. Applying it, the Japanese law on the money based on a transaction which was perfected, executed and
matter is presumed to be similar with the Philippine law on service of consummated abroad."2
summons on a private foreign corporation doing business in the
In his answer to the complaint, Chin San raised as affirmative
Philippines.
defenses: lack of cause of action, incapacity to sue and improper
Same; Same; Same; The extraterritorial service of summons on it by venue.3
the Japanese Court was valid not only under the processual
Pre-trial of the case was set for June 17, 1985 but it was postponed
presumption but also because of the presumption of regularity of
to July 12, 1985. However, a day before the latter pre-trial date, Chin
performance of official duty.—Inasmuch as SHARP was admittedly
San filed a motion to dismiss the case and to set the same for without taking the steps necessary to render it amenable to suit in the
hearing the next day. The motion to dismiss was based on the local courts. The implication of the law is that it was never the
grounds that petitioner had no legal capacity to sue and that venue purpose of the Legislature to exclude a foreign corporation which
was improperly laid. happens to obtain an isolated order for business from the Philippines
from securing redress from Philippine courts, and thus, in effect, to
Acting on said motion to dismiss, on December 20, 1985, the lower permit persons to avoid their contract made with such foreign
court4 issued the following order: corporation. The effect of the statute preventing foreign corporations
On defendant Chin San Cordova's motion to dismiss, dated July 10, from doing business and from bringing actions in the local courts,
1985; plaintiff's opposition, dated July 12, 1985; defendant's reply, except on compliance with elaborate requirements, must not be
dated July 22, 1985; plaintiff's supplemental opposition, dated unduly extended or improperly applied. It should not be construed to
September 13, 1985, and defendant's rejoinder filed on September extend beyond the plain meaning of its terms, considered in
23, 1985, said motion to dismiss is granted. connection with its object, and in connection with the spirit of the
entire law.
Petitioner filed a motion for the reconsideration of said order but it
was denied for lack of merit.6 Hence, the instant petition The fairly recent case of Universal Shipping Lines vs. Intermediate
for certiorari seeking the reversal of said orders "so as to allow Appellate Court,10 although dealing with the amended version of
petitioner to enforce through the court below its claims against Section 69 of the old Corporation Law, Section 133 of the
private respondent as recognized by the Supreme Court of Corporation Code (Batas Pambansa Blg. 68), but which is
Hongkong." nonetheless apropos, states the rule succinctly: "it is not the lack of
the prescribed license (to do business in the Philippines) but doing
Issue: WON petitioner foreign Banking Corporation has the capacity business without license, which bars a foreign corporation from
to file the action below. YES access to our courts."
Ruling Thus, we have ruled that a foreign corporation not licensed to do
business in the Philippines may file a suit in this country due to the
Private respondent correctly contends that since petitioner is a bank,
collision of two vessels at the harbor of Manila11 and for the loss of
its capacity to file an action in this jurisdiction is governed by the
goods bound for Hongkong but erroneously discharged in Manila.12
General Banking Act (Republic Act No. 337), particularly Section 14
thereof which provides: Indeed, the phraseologies of Section 14 of the General Banking Act
and its almost identical counterpart Section 69 of the old Corporation
SEC. 14. No foreign bank or banking corporation formed, organized
Law are misleading in that they seem to require a foreign
or existing under any laws other than those of the Republic of the
corporation, including a foreign bank or banking corporation, not
Philippines shall be permitted to transact business in the Philippines,
licensed to do business and not doing business in the Philippines to
or maintain by itself or assignee any suit for the recovery of any debt,
secure a license from the Securities and Exchange Commission
claims, or demand whatsoever, until after it shall have obtained, upon
before it can bring or maintain an action in Philippine courts. To avert
order of the Monetary Board, a license for that purpose from the
such misimpression, Section 133 of the Corporation Code is now
Securities and Exchange Commissioner. Any officer, director or
more plainly worded thus:
agent of any such corporation who transacts business in the
Philippines without the said license shall be punished by No foreign corporation transacting business in the Philippines without
imprisonment for not less than one year nor more than ten years and a license, or its successors or assigns, shall be permitted to maintain
by a fine of not less than one thousand pesos nor more than ten or intervene in any action, suit or proceeding in any court or
thousand pesos. (45 O.G. No. 4, 1647, 1649-1650) administrative agency of the Philippines.
In construing this provision, we adhere to the interpretation given by Under this provision, we have ruled that a foreign corporation may
this Court to the almost identical Section 69 of the old Corporation sue in this jurisdiction for infringement of trademark and unfair
Law (Act No. 1459) which reads: competition although it is not doing business in the
Philippines13 because the Philippines was a party to the Convention
SEC. 69. No foreign corporation or corporation formed, organized, or
of the Union of Paris for the Protection of IndustrialProperty.14
existing under any laws other than those of the Philippines shall be
permitted to transact business in the Philippines or maintain by itself We even went further to say that a foreign corporation not licensed to
or assignee any suit for the recovery of any debt, claim, or demand do business in the Philippines may not be denied the right to file an
whatever, unless it shall have the license prescribed in the section action in our courts for an isolated transaction in this country.15
immediately preceding. Any officer, director or agent of the
corporation or any person transacting business for any foreign Since petitioner foreign banking corporation was not doing business
corporation not having the license prescribed shall be punished by in the Philippines, it may not be denied the privilege of pursuing its
imprisonment for not less than six months nor more than two years or claims against private respondent for a contract which was entered
by a fine of not less than two hundred pesos nor more than one into and consummated outside the Philippines. Otherwise we will be
thousand pesos, or by both such imprisonment and fine, in the hampering the growth and development of business relations
discretion of the Court. between Filipino citizens and foreign nationals. Worse, we will be
allowing the law to serve as a protective shield for unscrupulous
In a long line of cases, this Court has interpreted this last quoted Filipino citizens who have business relationships abroad.
provision as not altogether prohibiting a foreign corporation not
licensed to do business in the Philippines from suing or maintaining In its pleadings before the court, petitioner appears to be in a
an action in Philippine courts.9What it seeks to prevent is a foreign quandary as to whether the suit below is one for enforcement or
corporation doing business in the Philippines without a license from recognition of the Hongkong judgment. Its complaint states:
gaining access to Philippine courts. As elucidated in Marshall-Wells COMES NOW Plaintiff, by undersigned counsel, and to this
Co. vs. Elser & Co., 46 Phil. 70: Honorable Court, most respectfully alleges that:
The object of the statute was to subject the foreign corporation doing 1. Plaintiff is a corporation duly organized and existing under and by
business in the Philippines to the jurisdiction of its courts. The object virtue of the laws of Hongkong with business and postal address at
of the statute was not to prevent it from performing single acts but to the 3rd Floor, United Centre, 95 Queensway, Hongkong, not doing
prevent it from acquiring a domicile for the purpose of business business in the Philippines, but is suing for this isolated transaction,
but for purposes of this complaint may be served with summons and sought.1âwphi1 Hence, in the interest of justice, the complaint should
legal processes of this Honorable Court, at the 6th Floor, Cibeles be considered as a petition for the recognition of the Hongkong
Building, 6780 Ayala Avenue, Makati, Metro Manila, while defendant judgment under Section 50 (b), Rule 39 of the Rules of Court in order
Cordova Chin San, may be served with summons and other legal that the defendant, private respondent herein, may present evidence
processes of this Honorable Court at the Municipality of Moncada, of lack of jurisdiction, notice, collusion, fraud or clear mistake of fact
Province of Tarlac, Philippines; and law, if applicable.

2. On July 18, 1979 and July 25, 1980, the defendant executed WHEREFORE, the questioned orders of the lower court are hereby
Continuing Guarantees, in consideration of plaintiff's from time to set aside. Civil Case No. 8762 is reinstated and the lower court is
time making advances, or coming to liability or discounting bills or directed to proceed with dispatch in the disposition of said case. This
otherwise giving credit or granting banking facilities from time to time decision is immediately executory. No costs.
to, or on account of the Wolder Enterprises (sic), photocopies of the
Contract of Continuing Guarantees are hereto attached as Annexes G.R. No. L-23678, June 6, 1967
"A" and "B", respectively, and made parts hereof; TESTATE ESTATE OF AMOS G. BELLIS, deceased. PEOPLE’S
3. In June 1984, a complaint was filed by plaintiff against the Wolder BANK and TRUST COMPANY, executor. MARIA CRISTINA
Enterprises (sic) and defendant Cordova Chin San, in The Supreme BELLIS and MIRIAM PALMA BELLIS, oppositors-appellants, vs.
Court of Hongkong, under Case No. 3176, and pursuant to which EDWARD A. BELLIS, ET AL., heirs-appellees.
complaint, a judgment dated 14th day of July, 1984 was rendered by Facts
The Supreme Court of Hongkong ordering to (sic) defendant
Cordova Chin San to pay the plaintiff the sum of HK$279,325.00 Amos G. Bellis, born in Texas, was “a citizen of the State of Texas
together with interest on the principal sum of HK$250,000.00 at the and of the United States.” By his first wife, Mary E. Mallen, whom he
rate of HK$1.7% per month or (HK$141.67) per day from 4th May, divorced, he had five legitimate children, by his second wife, Violet
1984 up to the date the said amount is paid in full, and to pay the Kennedy, who survived him, he had three legitimate children, and
sum of HK$970.00 as fixed cost, a photocopy of the Judgment finally, he had three illegitimate children.
rendered by The Supreme Court of Hongkong is hereto attached as
On August 5, 1952, Amos G. Bellis executed a will in the Philippines,
Annex "C" and made an integral part hereof.
in which he directed that after all taxes, obligations, and expenses of
4. Plaintiff has made demands upon the defendant in this case to pay administration are paid for, his distributable estate should be divided,
the aforesaid amount the last of which is by letter dated July 16, 1984 in trust, in the following order and manner: (a) $240,000.00 to his first
sent by undersigned counsel, a photocopy of the letter of demand is wife, Mary E. Mallen; (b) P120,000.00 to his three illegitimate
hereto attached as Annex "D" and the Registry Return Card hereto children or P40,000.00 each and (c) after the foregoing two items
attached as Annex "E", respectively, and made parts hereof. have been satisfied, the remainder shall go to his seven surviving
However, this notwithstanding, defendant failed and refused and still children by his first and second wives in equal shares.
continue to fail and refuse to make any payment to plaintiff on the
Subsequently, or on July 8, 1958, Amos G. Bellis died a resident of
aforesaid amount of HK$279,325.00 plus interest on the principal
San Antonio, Texas, U.S.A. His will was admitted to probate in the
sum of HK$250,000.00 at the rate of (HK$141.67) per day from May
Court of First Instance of Manila on September 15, 1958.
4, 1984 up to the date of payment;
The People’s Bank and Trust Company, as executor of the will, paid
5. In order to protect and safeguard the rights and interests of herein
all the bequests therein including the amount of $240,000.00 in the
plaintiff, it has engaged the services of undersigned counsel, to file
form of shares of stock to Mary E. Mallen and to the three (3)
the suit at bar, and for whose services it has agreed to pay an
illegitimate children, various amounts totaling P40,000.00 each in
amount equivalent to 25% of the total amount due and owing, as of
satisfaction of their respective legacies, or a total of P120,000.00,
and by way of attorney's fees plus costs of suit.
which it released from time to time according as the lower court
WHEREFORE, premises considered, it is most respectfully prayed of approved and allowed the various motions or petitions filed by the
this Honorable Court that judgment be rendered ordering the latter three requesting partial advances on account of their respective
defendant: legacies.

a) To pay plaintiff the sum of HK$279,325.00 together with interest On January 8, 1964, preparatory to closing its administration, the
on the principal sum of HK$260,000.00 at the rate of HK$1.7% (sic) executor submitted and filed its “Executor’s Final Account, Report of
per month (or HK$141.67 per day) from May 4, 1984 until the Administration and Project of Partition” wherein it reported, inter alia,
aforesaid amount is paid in full; the satisfaction of the legacy of Mary E. Mallen by the delivery to her
of shares of stock amounting to $240,000.00, and the legacies of
b) To pay an amount equivalent to 25% of the total amount due and Amos Bellis, Jr., Maria Cristina Bellis and Miriam Palma Bellis in the
demandable as of and by way of attorney's fees; and amount of P40,000.00 each or a total of P120,000.00. In the project
c) To pay costs of suit, and of partition, the executor — pursuant to the “Twelfth” clause of the
testator’s Last Will and Testament — divided the residuary estate
Plaintiff prays for such other and further reliefs, to which it may by into seven equal portions for the benefit of the testator’s seven
law and equity, be entitled.16 legitimate children by his first and second marriages.

The complaint therefore appears to be one of the enforcement of the On January 17, 1964, Maria Cristina Bellis and Miriam Palma Bellis
Hongkong judgment because it prays for the grant of the affirmative filed their respective oppositions to the project of partition on the
relief given by said foreign judgment.17 Although petitioner asserts ground that they were deprived of their legitimes as illegitimate
that it is merely seeking the recognition of its claims based on the children and, therefore, compulsory heirs of the deceased.
contract sued upon and not the enforcement of the Hongkong
judgment18it should be noted that in the prayer of the complaint, Amos Bellis, Jr. interposed no opposition despite notice to him, proof
petitioner simply copied the Hongkong judgment with respect to of service of which is evidenced by the registry receipt submitted on
private respondent's liability. April 27, 1964 by the executor.1

However, a foreign judgment may not be enforced if it is not After the parties filed their respective memoranda and other pertinent
recognized in the jurisdiction where affirmative relief is being pleadings, the lower court, on April 30, 1964, issued an order
overruling the oppositions and approving the executor’s final account,
report and administration and project of partition. Relying upon Art. intent, Congress added a new provision, under Art. 1039, which
16 of the Civil Code, it applied the national law of the decedent, decrees that capacity to succeed is to be governed by the national
which in this case is Texas law, which did not provide for legitimes. law of the decedent.

Their respective motions for reconsideration having been denied by It is therefore evident that whatever public policy or good customs
the lower court on June 11, 1964, oppositors-appellants appealed to may be involved in our System of legitimes, Congress has not
this Court to raise the issue of which law must apply — Texas law or intended to extend the same to the succession of foreign nationals.
Philippine law. For it has specifically chosen to leave, inter alia, the amount of
successional rights, to the decedent's national law. Specific
Issue: Whether or not the national law of the deceased should provisions must prevail over general ones.
determine the successional rights of the illegitimate children. NO
Appellants would also point out that the decedent executed two wills
Ruling — one to govern his Texas estate and the other his Philippine estate
In this regard, the parties do not submit the case on, nor even — arguing from this that he intended Philippine law to govern his
discuss, the doctrine of renvoi, applied by this Court in Aznar v. Philippine estate. Assuming that such was the decedent's intention in
Christensen Garcia, L-16749, January 31, 1963. Said doctrine is executing a separate Philippine will, it would not alter the law, for as
usually pertinent where the decedent is a national of one country, this Court ruled in Miciano v. Brimo, 50 Phil. 867, 870, a provision in
and a domicile of another. In the present case, it is not disputed that a foreigner's will to the effect that his properties shall be distributed in
the decedent was both a national of Texas and a domicile thereof at accordance with Philippine law and not with his national law, is illegal
the time of his death.2 So that even assuming Texas has a conflict of and void, for his national law cannot be ignored in regard to those
law rule providing that the domiciliary system (law of the domicile) matters that Article 10 — now Article 16 — of the Civil Code states
should govern, the same would not result in a reference back (renvoi) said national law should govern.
to Philippine law, but would still refer to Texas law. Nonetheless, if The parties admit that the decedent, Amos G. Bellis, was a citizen of
Texas has a conflicts rule adopting the situs theory (lex rei sitae) the State of Texas, U.S.A., and that under the laws of Texas, there
calling for the application of the law of the place where the properties are no forced heirs or legitimes. Accordingly, since the intrinsic
are situated, renvoi would arise, since the properties here involved validity of the provision of the will and the amount of successional
are found in the Philippines. In the absence, however, of proof as to rights are to be determined under Texas law, the Philippine law on
the conflict of law rule of Texas, it should not be presumed different legitimes cannot be applied to the testacy of Amos G. Bellis.
from ours.3 Appellants' position is therefore not rested on the doctrine
of renvoi. As stated, they never invoked nor even mentioned it in their Miciano vs. Brimo 50 Phil. 867 , November 01, 1924
arguments. Rather, they argue that their case falls under the
circumstances mentioned in the third paragraph of Article 17 in The partition of the estate left by the deceased Joseph G. Brimo is in
relation to Article 16 of the Civil Code. question in this case.

Article 16, par. 2, and Art. 1039 of the Civil Code, render applicable The judicial administrator of this estate filed a scheme of partition.
the national law of the decedent, in intestate or testamentary Andre Brimo, one of the brothers of the deceased, opposed it. The
successions, with regard to four items: (a) the order of succession; court, however, approved it.
(b) the amount of successional rights; (e) the intrinsic validity of the The errors which the oppositor-appellant assigns are:
provisions of the will; and (d) the capacity to succeed. They provide
that — (1) The approval of said scheme of partition; (2) denial of his
participation in the inheritance; (3) the denial of the motion for
ART. 16. Real property as well as personal property is subject to the reconsideration of the order approving the partition; (4) the approval
law of the country where it is situated. of the purchase made by the Pietro Lana of the deceased's business
However, intestate and testamentary successions, both with respect and the deed of transfer of said business; and (5) the declaration that
to the order of succession and to the amount of successional rights the Turkish laws are impertinent to this cause, and the failure not to
and to the intrinsic validity of testamentary provisions, shall be postpone the approval of the scheme of partition and the delivery of
regulated by the national law of the person whose succession is the deceased's business to Pietro Lanza until the receipt of the
under consideration, whatever may he the nature of the property and depositions requested in reference to the Turkish laws.
regardless of the country wherein said property may be found. The appellant's opposition is based on the fact that the partition in
ART. 1039. Capacity to succeed is governed by the law of the nation question puts into effect the provisions of Joseph G. Brimo's will
of the decedent. 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
Appellants would however counter that Art. 17, paragraph three, of Civil Code which, among other things, provides the following:
the Civil Code, stating that —
Nevertheless, legal and testamentary successions, in respect to the
Prohibitive laws concerning persons, their acts or property, and those order of succession as well as to the amount of the successional
which have for their object public order, public policy and good rights and the intrinsic validity of their provisions, shall be regulated
customs shall not be rendered ineffective by laws or judgments by the national law of the person whose succession is in question,
promulgated, or by determinations or conventions agreed upon in a whatever may be the nature of the property or the country in which it
foreign country. may be situated.

prevails as the exception to Art. 16, par. 2 of the Civil Code afore- But the fact is that the oppositor did not prove that said testimentary
quoted. This is not correct. Precisely, Congress deleted the phrase, dispositions are not in accordance with the Turkish laws, inasmuch
"notwithstanding the provisions of this and the next preceding article" as he did not present any evidence showing what the Turkish laws
when they incorporated Art. 11 of the old Civil Code as Art. 17 of the are on the matter, and in the absence of evidence on such laws, they
new Civil Code, while reproducing without substantial change the are presumed to be the same as those of the Philippines. (Lim and
second paragraph of Art. 10 of the old Civil Code as Art. 16 in the Lim vs. Collector of Customs, 36 Phil., 472.)
new. It must have been their purpose to make the second paragraph
of Art. 16 a specific provision in itself which must be applied in testate It has not been proved in these proceedings what the Turkish laws
and intestate succession. As further indication of this legislative 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 include the herein appellant Andre Brimo as one of the legatees, and
the scheme of partition until the receipt of certain testimony the scheme of partition submitted by the judicial administrator is
requested regarding the Turkish laws on the matter. approved in all other respects, without any pronouncement as to
costs. So ordered.
The refusal to give the oppositor another opportunity to prove such
laws does not constitute an error. It is discretionary with the trial Aznar vs. Garcia 7 SCRA 95 , January 31, 1963
court, and, taking into consideration that the oppositor was granted
ample opportunity to introduce competent evidence, we find no Facts
abuse of discretion on the part of the court in this particular. There is, Edward Christensen was born in New York but he migrated to
therefore, no evidence in the record that the national law of the California where he resided for a period of 9 years. In 1913, he came
testator Joseph G. Brimo was violated in the testamentary to the Philippines where he became a domiciliary until his death. In
dispositions in question which, not being contrary to our laws in force, his will, he instituted an acknowledged natural daughter, Maria Lucy
must be complied with and executed. lawphil.net Christensen (legitimate), as his only heir, but left a legacy sum of
Therefore, the approval of the scheme of partition in this respect was money in favor of Helen Christensen Garcia (illegitimate). Adolfo
not erroneous. Aznar was the executor of the estate. Counsel for Helen claims that
under Article 16, paragraph 2 of the Civil Code, California law should
In regard to the first assignment of error which deals with the be applied; that under California law, the matter is referred back to
exclusion of the herein appellant as a legatee, inasmuch as he is one the law of the domicile. On the other hand, counsel for Maria, averred
of the persons designated as such in will, it must be taken into that the national law of the deceased must apply, illegitimate children
consideration that such exclusion is based on the last part of the not being entitled to anything under California law.
second clause of the will, which says:
Issue Whether or not the national law of the deceased should be
Second. I like desire to state that although by law, I am a Turkish applied in determining the successional rights of his heirs.
citizen, this citizenship having been conferred upon me by conquest
and not by free choice, nor by nationality and, on the other hand, Ruling
having resided for a considerable length of time in the Philippine Private International Law; Determination of citizenship; U.S.
Islands where I succeeded in acquiring all of the property that I now citizenship not lost by stay in Philippines before independence.—The
possess, it is my wish that the distribution of my property and citizenship that the deceased acquired in California when he resided
everything in connection with this, my will, be made and disposed of there from 1904 to 1913 was never lost by his stay in the Philippines,
in accordance with the laws in force in the Philippine islands, for the latter was a territory of the United States until 1946, and the
requesting all of my relatives to respect this wish, otherwise, I annul deceased appears to have considered himself as a citizen of
and cancel beforehand whatever disposition found in this will California by the fact that when he executed his will in 1951 he
favorable to the person or persons who fail to comply with this declared that he was a citizen of that State; so that he appears never
request. to have intended to abandon his California citizenship by acquiring
The institution of legatees in this will is conditional, and the condition another.
is that the instituted legatees must respect the testator's will to Same; Validity of testamentary provisions; Meaning of “national law”
distribute his property, not in accordance with the laws of his in Article 16, Civil Code; Conflict of law rules in California to be
nationality, but in accordance with the laws of the Philippines. applied in case at bar.—The “national law” indicated in Article 16 of
If this condition as it is expressed were legal and valid, any legatee the Civil Code cannot possibly apply to any general American Law,
who fails to comply with it, as the herein oppositor who, by his because there is no such law governing the validity of testamentary
attitude in these proceedings has not respected the will of the provisions in the United States, each state of the union having its
testator, as expressed, is prevented from receiving his legacy. own private law applicable to its citizens only and in force only within
the state. It can therefore refer to no other than the private law of the
The fact is, however, that the said condition is void, being contrary to state of which the decedent was a citizen. In the case at bar, the
law, for article 792 of the civil Code provides the following: State of California prescribes two sets of laws for its citizens, an
internal law for its citizens residing therein and a conflict of law rules
Impossible conditions and those contrary to law or good morals shall for its citizens domiciled in other jurisdictions. Hence, reason
be considered as not imposed and shall not prejudice the heir or demands that the California con-flict of law rules should be applied in
legatee in any manner whatsoever, even should the testator this jurisdiction in the case at bar. Aznar vs. Garcia, 7 SCRA 95, No.
otherwise provide. L-16749 January 31, 1963
And said condition is contrary to law because it expressly ignores the Same; Same; Domicile; Factors considered in determining aliens’
testator's national law when, according to article 10 of the civil Code domicile in the Philippines.—An American citizen who was born in
above quoted, such national law of the testator is the one to govern New York, migrated to California, resided there for nine years, came
his testamentary dispositions. to the Philippines in 1913, and very rarely re-turned to California and
Said condition then, in the light of the legal provisions above cited, is only for short visits, and who appears to have never owned or
considered unwritten, and the institution of legatees in said will is acquired a home or properties in that state, shall be considered to
unconditional and consequently valid and effective even as to the have his domicile in the Philip-pines.
herein oppositor. Same; Same; Same; Rule of resorting to the law of the domicile in
It results from all this that the second clause of the will regarding the determining matters with foreign element involved.—The rule laid
law which shall govern it, and to the condition imposed upon the down of resorting to the law of the domicile in the determination of
legatees, is null and void, being contrary to law. matters with foreign element involved is in accord with the general
principle of American law that the domiciliary law should govern in
All of the remaining clauses of said will with all their dispositions and most matters or rights which follow the person of the owner.
requests are perfectly valid and effective it not appearing that said
clauses are contrary to the testator's national law. Same; Same; Same; Same; Court of domicile bound to ap-ply its
own law as directed in the conflict of law rule of dece-dents state;
Therefore, the orders appealed from are modified and it is directed Application of the renvoi doctrine.—The conflict of law rule in
that the distribution of this estate be made in such a manner as to California, Article 946 Civil Code, refers back the case, when a
decedent is not domiciled in California, to the law of his domicile, the It will be seen from the above that out of the total estate (after
Philippines in the case at bar. The court of domicile can not and deducting administration expenses) of P211,639.33 in cash, the
should not refer the case back to California, as such action would testator gave his grandson P90,819.67 and one-half of all shares of
leave the issue incapable of determination, because the case will stock of several mining companies and to his brother and sister the
then be tossed back and forth between the two states. If the question same amount. To his children he gave a legacy of only P6,000 each,
has to be decided, the Philippine court must apply its own law as the or a total of P12,000.
Philippines was the domicile of the decedent, as directed in the
conflict of law rule of the state of the decedent, California, and The wife Magadalena C. Bohanan and her two children question the
especially because the internal law of California provides no legitime validity of the testamentary provisions disposing of the estate in the
for natural children, while the Philippine law (Articles 887(4) and 894, manner above indicated, claiming that they have been deprived of
Civil Code of the Philippines makes natural children legally the legitimate that the laws of the form concede to them.
acknowledged forced heirs of the parent recog-nizing them). The first question refers to the share that the wife of the testator,
Same; Same; Same; Same; Same; Same; Philippine law to be Magdalena C. Bohanan, should be entitled to received. The will has
applied in case at bar.—As the domicile of the deceased, who was a not given her any share in the estate left by the testator. It is argued
citizen of California, was the Philippines, the validity of the provisions that it was error for the trial court to have recognized the Reno
of his will depriving his acknowledged natural child of the latter’s divorce secured by the testator from his Filipino wife Magdalena C.
legacy, should be governed by the Philippine law, pursuant to Article Bohanan, and that said divorce should be declared a nullity in this
946 of the Civil Code of California, not by the internal law of jurisdiction, citing the case of Querubin vs.Querubin, 87 Phil., 124, 47
California. Aznar vs. Garcia, 7 SCRA 95, No. L-16749 January 31, Off. Gaz., (Sup, 12) 315, Cousins Hiz vs. Fluemer, 55 Phil., 852,
1963 Ramirez vs. Gmur, 42 Phil., 855 and Gorayeb vs. Hashim, 50 Phil.,
22. The court below refused to recognize the claim of the widow on
Testate Estate of Bohanan vs. Bohanan, et al. 106 Phil. 997 , the ground that the laws of Nevada, of which the deceased was a
January 30, 1960 citizen, allow him to dispose of all of his properties without requiring
him to leave any portion of his estate to his wife. Section 9905 of
On April 24, 195 0, the Court of First Instance of Manila, Hon. Rafael Nevada Compiled Laws of 1925 provides:
Amparo, presiding, admitted to probate a last will and testament of C.
O. Bohanan, executed by him on April 23, 1944 in Manila. In the said Every person over the age of eighteen years, of sound mind, may, by
order, the court made the following findings: last will, dispose of all his or her estate, real and personal, the same
being chargeable with the payment of the testator's debts.
According to the evidence of the opponents the testator was born in
Nebraska and therefore a citizen of that state, or at least a citizen of Besides, the right of the former wife of the testator, Magdalena C.
California where some of his properties are located. This contention Bohanan, to a share in the testator's estafa had already been passed
in untenable. Notwithstanding the long residence of the decedent in upon adversely against her in an order dated June 19, 1955, (pp.
the Philippines, his stay here was merely temporary, and he 155-159, Vol II Records, Court of First Instance), which had become
continued and remained to be a citizen of the United States and of final, as Magdalena C. Bohanan does not appear to have appealed
the state of his pertinent residence to spend the rest of his days in therefrom to question its validity. On December 16, 1953, the said
that state. His permanent residence or domicile in the United States former wife filed a motion to withdraw the sum of P20,000 from the
depended upon his personal intent or desire, and he selected funds of the estate, chargeable against her share in the conjugal
Nevada as his homicide and therefore at the time of his death, he property, (See pp. 294-297, Vol. I, Record, Court of First Instance),
was a citizen of that state. Nobody can choose his domicile or and the court in its said error found that there exists no community
permanent residence for him. That is his exclusive personal right. property owned by the decedent and his former wife at the time the
decree of divorce was issued. As already and Magdalena C.
Wherefore, the court finds that the testator C. O. Bohanan was at the Bohanan may no longer question the fact contained therein, i.e. that
time of his death a citizen of the United States and of the State of there was no community property acquired by the testator and
Nevada and declares that his will and testament, Exhibit A, is fully in Magdalena C. Bohanan during their converture.
accordance with the laws of the state of Nevada and admits the
same to probate. Accordingly, the Philippine Trust Company, named Moreover, the court below had found that the testator and Magdalena
as the executor of the will, is hereby appointed to such executor and C. Bohanan were married on January 30, 1909, and that divorce was
upon the filing of a bond in the sum of P10,000.00, let letters granted to him on May 20, 1922; that sometime in 1925, Magdalena
testamentary be issued and after taking the prescribed oath, it may C. Bohanan married Carl Aaron and this marriage was subsisting at
enter upon the execution and performance of its trust. (pp. 26-27, the time of the death of the testator. Since no right to share in the
R.O.A.). inheritance in favor of a divorced wife exists in the State of Nevada
and since the court below had already found that there was no
It does not appear that the order granting probate was ever questions conjugal property between the testator and Magdalena C. Bohanan,
on appeal. The executor filed a project of partition dated January 24, the latter can now have no longer claim to pay portion of the estate
1956, making, in accordance with the provisions of the will, the left by the testator.
following adjudications: (1) one-half of the residuary estate, to the
Farmers and Merchants National Bank of Los Angeles, California, The most important issue is the claim of the testator's children,
U.S.A. in trust only for the benefit of testator's grandson Edward Edward and Mary Lydia, who had received legacies in the amount of
George Bohanan, which consists of several mining companies; (2) P6,000 each only, and, therefore, have not been given their shares in
the other half of the residuary estate to the testator's brother, F.L. the estate which, in accordance with the laws of the forum, should be
Bohanan, and his sister, Mrs. M. B. Galbraith, share and share alike. two-thirds of the estate left by the testator. Is the failure old the
This consist in the same amount of cash and of shares of mining testator to give his children two-thirds of the estate left by him at the
stock similar to those given to testator's grandson; (3) legacies of time of his death, in accordance with the laws of the forum valid?
P6,000 each to his (testator) son, Edward Gilbert Bohana, and his
daughter, Mary Lydia Bohanan, to be paid in three yearly The old Civil Code, which is applicable to this case because the
installments; (4) legacies to Clara Daen, in the amount of testator died in 1944, expressly provides that successional rights to
P10,000.00; Katherine Woodward, P2,000; Beulah Fox, P4,000; and personal property are to be earned by the national law of the person
Elizabeth Hastings, P2,000; whose succession is in question. Says the law on this point:
Nevertheless, legal and testamentary successions, in respect to the INTERNATIONAL, INC (BRI) which is a foreign corporation with
order of succession as well as to the extent of the successional rights headquarters in Houston, Texas, and is engaged in construction;
and the intrinsic validity of their provisions, shall be regulated by the while AIBC is a domestic corporation licensed as a service contractor
national law of the person whose succession is in question, whatever to recruit, mobilize and deploy Filipino workers for overseas
may be the nature of the property and the country in which it is found. employment on behalf of its foreign principals.
(par. 2, Art. 10, old Civil Code, which is the same as par. 2 Art. 16,
new Civil Code.) The amended complaint sought the payment of the unexpired portion
of the employment contracts, which was terminated prematurely, and
In the proceedings for the probate of the will, it was found out and it secondarily, the payment of the interest of the earnings of the Travel
was decided that the testator was a citizen of the State of Nevada and Reserved Fund; interest on all the unpaid benefits; area wage
because he had selected this as his domicile and his permanent and salary differential pay; fringe benefits; reimbursement of SSS
residence. (See Decision dated April 24, 1950, supra). So the and premium not remitted to the SSS; refund of withholding tax not
question at issue is whether the estementary dispositions, especially remitted to the BIR; penalties for committing prohibited practices; as
hose for the children which are short of the legitime given them by well as the suspension of the license of AIBC and the accreditation of
the Civil Code of the Philippines, are valid. It is not disputed that the BRII
laws of Nevada allow a testator to dispose of all his properties by will
(Sec. 9905, Complied Nevada Laws of 1925, supra). It does not On October 2, 1984, the POEA Administrator denied the “Motion to
appear that at time of the hearing of the project of partition, the Strike Out of the Records” filed by AIBC but required the claimants to
above-quoted provision was introduced in evidence, as it was the correct the deficiencies in the complaint pointed out.
executor's duly to do. The law of Nevada, being a foreign law can AIB and BRII kept on filing Motion for Extension of Time to file their
only be proved in our courts in the form and manner provided for by answer. The POEA kept on granting such motions.
our Rules, which are as follows:
On November 14, 1984, claimants filed an opposition to the motions
SEC. 41. Proof of public or official record. — An official record or an for extension of time and asked that AIBC and BRII declared in
entry therein, when admissible for any purpose, may be evidenced default for failure to file their answers.
by an official publication thereof or by a copy tested by the officer
having the legal custody of he record, or by his deputy, and On December 27, 1984, the POEA Administrator issued an order
accompanied, if the record is not kept in the Philippines, with a directing AIBC and BRII to file their answers within ten days from
certificate that such officer has the custody. . . . (Rule 123). receipt of the order.

We have, however, consulted the records of the case in the court (at madami pang motions ang na-file, new complainants joined the
below and we have found that during the hearing on October 4, 1954 case, ang daming inavail na remedies ng both parties)
of the motion of Magdalena C. Bohanan for withdrawal of P20,000 as On June 19, 1987, AIBC finally submitted its answer to the complaint.
her share, the foreign law, especially Section 9905, Compiled At the same hearing, the parties were given a period of 15 days from
Nevada Laws. was introduced in evidence by appellant's (herein) said date within which to submit their respective position papers. On
counsel as Exhibits "2" (See pp. 77-79, VOL. II, and t.s.n. pp. 24-44, February 24, 1988, AIBC and BRII submitted position paper. On
Records, Court of First Instance). Again said laws presented by the October 27, 1988, AIBC and BRII filed a “Consolidated Reply,” POEA
counsel for the executor and admitted by the Court as Exhibit "B" Adminitartor rendered his decision which awarded the amount of
during the hearing of the case on January 23, 1950 before Judge $824, 652.44 in favor of only 324 complainants. Claimants submitted
Rafael Amparo (se Records, Court of First Instance, Vol. 1). their “Appeal Memorandum For Partial Appeal” from the decision of
the POEA. AIBC also filed its MR and/or appeal in addition to the
In addition, the other appellants, children of the testator, do not “Notice of Appeal” filed earlier.
dispute the above-quoted provision of the laws of the State of
Nevada. Under all the above circumstances, we are constrained to NLRC promulgated its Resolution, modifying the decision of the
hold that the pertinent law of Nevada, especially Section 9905 of the POEA. The resolution removed some of the benefits awarded in
Compiled Nevada Laws of 1925, can be taken judicial notice of by favor of the claimants. NLRC denied all the MRs. Hence, these
us, without proof of such law having been offered at the hearing of petitions filed by the claimants and by AlBC and BRII.
the project of partition.
The case rooted from the Labor Law enacted by Bahrain where most
As in accordance with Article 10 of the old Civil Code, the validity of of the complainants were deployed. His Majesty Ise Bin Selman Al
testamentary dispositions are to be governed by the national law of Kaifa, Amir of Bahrain, issued his Amiri Decree No. 23 on June 16,
the testator, and as it has been decided and it is not disputed that the 1176, otherwise known re the Labour Law for the Private Sector.
national law of the testator is that of the State of Nevada, already Some of the provision of Amiri Decree No. 23 that are relevant to the
indicated above, which allows a testator to dispose of all his property claims of the complainants-appellants are as follows:
according to his will, as in the case at bar, the order of the court
“Art. 79: x x x A worker shall receive payment for each extra hour
approving the project of partition made in accordance with the
equivalent to his wage entitlement increased by a minimum of
testamentary provisions, must be, as it is hereby affirmed, with costs
twenty-rive per centurn thereof for hours worked during the day; and
against appellants.
by a minimum off fifty per centurn thereof for hours worked during the
night which shall be deemed to being from seven o’clock in the
Cadalin vs. POEA's Administrator 238 SCRA 721 , December 05, evening until seven o’clock in the morning .”
1994
Art. 80: Friday shall be deemed to be a weekly day of rest on full pay.
Facts If employee worked, 150% of his normal wage shall be paid to him x
x x.”
This is a consolidation of 3 cases of SPECIAL CIVIL ACTIONS in the
Supreme Court for Certiorari. Art. 81; x x x When conditions of work require the worker to work on
any official holiday, he shall be paid an additional sum equivalent to
On June 6, 1984, Cadalin, Amul and Evangelista, in their own behalf 150% of his normal wage.”
and on behalf of 728 other OCWs instituted a class suit by filing an
“Amended Complaint” with the POEA for money claims arising from Art. 84: Every worker who has completed one year’s continuous
their recruitment by ASIA INTERNATIONAL BUILDERS service with his employer shall be entitled to Laos on full pay for a
CORPORATION (AIBC) and employment by BROWN & ROOT
period of not less than 21 days for each year increased to a period of Civil Procedure as to which were inconsistent with it. There is no
not less than 28 days after five continuous years of service.” provision in the Civil Code of the Philippines, which is inconsistent
with or contradictory to Section 48 of the Code of Civil Procedure
A worker shall be entitled to such leave upon a quantum meruit in (Paras, Philippine Conflict of Laws, 104 [7th ed.]). Cadalin vs.
respect of the proportion of his service in that year.” POEA's Administrator, 238 SCRA 721, G.R. No. 104776, G.R. Nos.
Art. 107: A contract of employment made for a period of indefinite 104911-14, G.R. Nos. 105029-32 December 5, 1994
duration may be terminated by either party thereto after giving the Same; Same; Labor Law; The courts of the forum will not enforce
other party prior notice before such termination, in writing, in respect any foreign claim obnoxious to the forum’s public policy.—In the light
of monthly paid workers and fifteen days’ notice in respect of other of the 1987 Constitution, however, Section 48 cannot be enforced ex
workers. The party terminating a contract without the required notice proprio vigore insofar as it ordains the application in this jurisdiction
shall pay to the other party compensation equivalent to the amount of of Section 156 of the Amiri Decree No. 23 of 1976. The courts of the
wages payable to the worker for the period of such notice or the forum will not enforce any foreign claim obnoxious to the forum’s
unexpired portion thereof.” public policy (Canadian Northern Railway Co. v. Eggen, 252 U.S.
Art. Ill: x x x the employer concerned shall pay to such worker, upon 553, 40 S. Ct. 402, 64 L. ed. 713 [1920]). To enforce the one-year
termination of employment, a leaving indemnity for the period of his prescriptive period of the Amiri Decree No. 23 of 1976 as regards the
employment calculated on the basis of fifteen days’ wages for each claims in question would contravene the public policy on the
year of the first three years of service and of one month’s wages for protection to labor.
each year of service thereafter. Such worker shall be entitled to Evidence; Conflict of Laws; Administrative Law; An official document
payment of leaving indemnity upon a quantum meruit in proportion to from a foreign government can be admitted in evidence in
the period of his service completed within a year.” proceedings before an administrative body even without observing
Ruling the rule provided in Section 24, Rule 132 of the 1989 Revised Rules
on Evidence.—Claimants presented a Memorandum of the Ministry
Conflict of Laws; As a general rule, a foreign procedural law will not of Labor of Bahrain dated April 16, 1983. While said document was
be applied in the forum.—As a general rule, a foreign procedural law presented to the POEA without observing the rule on presenting
will not be applied in the forum. Procedural matters, such as service official documents of a foreign government as provided in Section 24,
of process, joinder of actions, period and requisites for appeal, and Rule 132 of the 1989 Revised Rules on Evidence, it can be admitted
so forth, are governed by the laws of the forum. This is true even if in evidence in proceedings before an administrative body. The
the action is based upon a foreign substantive law (Restatement of opposing parties have a copy of the said memorandum, and they
the Conflict of Laws, Sec. 685; Salonga, Private International Law, could easily verify its authenticity and accuracy. Cadalin vs. POEA's
131 [1979]). Administrator, 238 SCRA 721, G.R. No. 104776, G.R. Nos. 104911-
14, G.R. Nos. 105029-32 December 5, 1994
Same; Prescription; A law on prescription of actions is sui generis in
Conflict of Laws.—A law on prescription of actions is sui generis in Same; Conflict of Laws; Parties to a contract may select the law by
Conflict of Laws in the sense that it may be viewed either as which it is to be governed, and instead of adopting the entire mass of
procedural or substantive, depending on the characterization given the foreign law, the parties may just agree that specific provisions of
such a law. Thus in Bournias v. Atlantic Maritime Company, supra, a foreign statute shall be deemed incorporated into their contract “as
the American court applied the statute of limitations of New York, a set of terms.”—The parties to a contract may select the law by
instead of the Panamanian law, after finding that there was no which it is to be governed (Cheshire, Private International Law, 187
showing that the Panamanian law on prescription was intended to be [7th ed.]). In such a case, the foreign law is adopted as a “system” to
substantive. Being considered merely a procedural law even in regulate the relations of the parties, including questions of their
Panama, it has to give way to the law of the forum on prescription of capacity to enter into the contract, the formalities to be observed by
actions. Cadalin vs. POEA's Administrator, 238 SCRA 721, G.R. No. them, matters of performance, and so forth (16 Am Jur 2d, 150-161).
104776, G.R. Nos. 104911-14, G.R. Nos. 105029-32 December 5, Instead of adopting the entire mass of the foreign law, the parties
1994 may just agree that specific provisions of a foreign statute shall be
deemed incorporated into their contract “as a set of terms.” By such
Same; Same; Actions; Words and Phrases; “Borrowing Statute,”
reference to the provisions of the foreign law, the contract does not
Explained; One form of “borrowing statutes” provides that an action
become a foreign contract to be governed by the foreign law. The
barred by the laws of the place where it accrued, will not be enforced
said law does not operate as a statute but as a set of contractual
in the forum even though the local statute has not run against it.—
terms deemed written in the contract (Anton, Private International
However, the characterization of a statute into a procedural or
Law, 197 [1967]; Dicey and Morris, The Conflict of Laws, 702-703,
substantive law becomes irrelevant when the country of the forum [8th ed.]).
has a “borrowing statute.” Said statute has the practical effect of
treating the foreign statute of limitation as one of substance Same; Same; The choice of law must, however, bear some
(Goodrich, Conflict of Laws 152-153 [1938]). A “borrowing statute” relationship to the parties or their transaction.—A basic policy of
directs the state of the forum to apply the foreign statute of limitations contract is to protect the expectation of the parties (Reese, Choice of
to the pending claims based on a foreign law (Siegel, Conflicts 183 Law in Torts and Contracts, 16 Columbia Journal of Transnational
[1975]). While there are several kinds of “borrowing statutes,” one Law 1, 21 [1977]). Such party expectation is protected by giving
form provides that an action barred by the laws of the place where it effect to the parties’ own choice of the applicable law (Fricke v.
accrued, will not be enforced in the forum even though the local Isbrandtsen Co. Inc., 151 F. Supp. 465, 467 [1957]). The choice of
statute has not run against it (Goodrich and Scoles, Conflict of Laws, law must, however, bear some relationship to the parties or their
152-153 [1938]). Section 48 of our Code of Civil Procedure is of this transaction (Scoles and Hayes, Conflict of Law, 644-647 [1982]).
kind. Said Section provides: “If by the laws of the state or country There is no question that the contracts sought to be enforced by
where the cause of action arose, the action is barred, it is also barred claimants have a direct connection with the Bahrain law because the
in the Philippine Islands.” services were rendered in that country. Cadalin vs. POEA's
Administrator, 238 SCRA 721, G.R. No. 104776, G.R. Nos. 104911-
Same; Same; Same; Section 48 of the Code of Civil Procedure has
14, G.R. Nos. 105029-32 December 5, 1994
not been repealed or amended by the Civil Code.—Section 48 has
not been repealed or amended by the Civil Code of the Philippines.
Article 2270 of said Code repealed only those provisions of the Code
Dacasin vs. Dacasin 611 SCRA 657 , February 05, 2010 stipulation in the Agreement, these and other ancillary Philippine
substantive law serve as default parameters to test the validity of the
Facts Agreements joint child custody stipulations.[14]
Petitioner Herald Dacasin (petitioner), American, and respondent At the time the parties executed the Agreement on 28 January 2002,
Sharon Del Mundo Dacasin (respondent), Filipino, were married in two facts are undisputed: (1) Stephanie was under seven years old
Manila in April 1994. They have one daughter, Stephanie, born on 21 (having been born on 21 September 1995); and (2) petitioner and
September 1995. In June 1999, respondent sought and obtained respondent were no longer married under the laws of the United
from the Circuit Court, 19th Judicial Circuit, Lake County, Illinois States because of the divorce decree. The relevant Philippine law on
(Illinois court) a divorce decree against petitioner.[3] In its ruling, the child custody for spouses separated in fact or in law[15] (under the
Illinois court dissolved the marriage of petitioner and respondent, second paragraph of Article 213 of the Family Code) is also
awarded to respondent sole custody of Stephanie and retained undisputed: no child under seven years of age shall be separated
jurisdiction over the case for enforcement purposes. from the mother x x x.[16] (This statutory awarding of sole parental
On 28 January 2002, petitioner and respondent executed in Manila a custody[17]to the mother is mandatory,[18]grounded on sound policy
contract (Agreement[4]) for the joint custody of Stephanie. The parties consideration,[19]subject only to a narrow exception not alleged to
chose Philippine courts as exclusive forum to adjudicate disputes obtain here.[20]) Clearly then, the Agreements object to establish a
arising from the Agreement. Respondent undertook to obtain from post-divorce joint custody regime between respondent and petitioner
the Illinois court an order relinquishing jurisdiction to Philippine over their child under seven years old contravenes Philippine law.
courts. The Agreement is not only void ab initio for being contrary to law, it
In 2004, petitioner sued respondent in the Regional Trial Court of has also been repudiated by the mother when she refused to allow
Makati City, Branch 60 (trial court) to enforce the Agreement. joint custody by the father. The Agreement would be valid if the
Petitioner alleged that in violation of the Agreement, respondent spouses have not divorced or separated because the law provides
exercised sole custody over Stephanie. for joint parental authority when spouses live together.[21]However,
upon separation of the spouses, the mother takes sole custody under
Respondent sought the dismissal of the complaint for, among others, the law if the child is below seven years old and any agreement to
lack of jurisdiction because of the Illinois courts retention of the contrary is void. Thus, the law suspends the joint custody regime
jurisdiction to enforce the divorce decree. for (1) children under seven of (2) separated or divorced spouses.
Simply put, for a child within this age bracket (and for
Issue: WON the trial court has jurisdiction to take cognizance of
commonsensical reasons), the law decides for the separated or
petitioners suit and enforce the Agreement on the joint custody of the
divorced parents how best to take care of the child and that is to give
parties child.
custody to the separated mother. Indeed, the separated parents
Ruling cannot contract away the provision in the Family Code on the
maternal custody of children below seven years anymore than they
he trial court has jurisdiction to entertain petitioners suit but not to can privately agree that a mother who is unemployed, immoral,
enforce the Agreement which is void. However, factual and equity habitually drunk, drug addict, insane or afflicted with a communicable
considerations militate against the dismissal of petitioners suit and disease will have sole custody of a child under seven as these are
call for the remand of the case to settle the question of Stephanies reasons deemed compelling to precludethe application of the
custody. exclusive maternal custody regime under the second paragraph of
Article 213.[22]
Regional Trial Courts Vested With Jurisdiction
It will not do to argue that the second paragraph of Article 213 of the
to Enforce Contracts
Family Code applies only to judicial custodial agreements based on
Subject matter jurisdiction is conferred by law. At the time petitioner its text that No child under seven years of age shall be separated
filed his suit in the trial court, statutory law vests on Regional Trial from the mother, unless the court finds compelling reasons to order
Courts exclusive original jurisdiction over civil actions incapable of otherwise. To limit this provisions enforceability to court sanctioned
pecuniary estimation.[9]An action for specific performance, such as agreements while placing private agreements beyond its reach is to
petitioners suit to enforce the Agreement on joint child custody, sanction a double standard in custody regulation of children under
belongs to this species of actions.[10]Thus, jurisdiction-wise, petitioner seven years old of separated parents. This effectively empowers
went to the right court. separated parents, by the simple expedient of avoiding the courts, to
subvert a legislative policy vesting to the separated mother sole
Indeed, the trial courts refusal to entertain petitioners suit was custody of her children under seven years of age to avoid a tragedy
grounded not on its lack of power to do so but on its thinking that the where a mother has seen her baby torn away from her.[23]This
Illinois courts divorce decree stripped it of jurisdiction. This ignores the legislative basis that [n]o man can sound the deep
conclusion is unfounded. What the Illinois court retained was sorrows of a mother who is deprived of her child of tender age.[24]
jurisdiction x x x for the purpose of enforcing all and sundry the
various provisions of [its] Judgment for Dissolution.[11]Petitioners It could very well be that Article 213s bias favoring one separated
suit seeks the enforcement not of the various provisions of the parent (mother) over the other (father) encourages paternal neglect,
divorce decree but of the post-divorce Agreement on joint child presumes incapacity for joint parental custody, robs the parents of
custody. Thus, the action lies beyond the zone of the Illinois courts custodial options, or hijacks decision-making between the separated
so-called retained jurisdiction. parents.[25]However, these are objections which question the laws
wisdom not its validity or uniform enforceability. The forum to air and
Petitioners Suit Lacks Cause of Action remedy these grievances is the legislature, not this Court. At any
rate, the rules seeming harshness or undesirability is tempered by
The foregoing notwithstanding, the trial court cannot enforce the
ancillary agreements the separated parents may wish to enter such
Agreement which is contrary to law.
as granting the father visitation and other privileges. These
In this jurisdiction, parties to a contract are free to stipulate the terms arrangements are not inconsistent with the regime of sole maternal
of agreement subject to the minimum ban on stipulations contrary to custody under the second paragraph of Article 213 which merely
law, morals, good customs, public order, or public grants to the mother final authority on the care and custody of the
policy.[12]Otherwise, the contract is denied legal existence, deemed minor under seven years of age, in case of disagreements.
inexistent and void from the beginning.[13]For lack of relevant
Further, the imposed custodial regime under the second paragraph mandatory maternal custody regime under Article 213 and bringing it
of Article 213 is limited in duration, lasting only until the childs within coverage of the default standard on child custody proceedings
seventh year. From the eighth year until the childs emancipation, the the best interest of the child.[30]As the question of custody is already
law gives the separated parents freedom, subject to the usual before the trial court and the childs parents, by executing the
contractual limitations, to agree on custody regimes they see fit to Agreement, initially showed inclination to share custody, it is in the
adopt. Lastly, even supposing that petitioner and respondent are not interest of swift and efficient rendition of justice to allow the parties to
barred from entering into the Agreement for the joint custody of take advantage of the courts jurisdiction, submit evidence on the
Stephanie, respondent repudiated the Agreement by asserting sole custodial arrangement best serving Stephanies interest, and let the
custody over Stephanie. Respondents act effectively brought the trial court render judgment. This disposition is consistent with the
parties back to ambit of the default custodial regime in the second settled doctrine that in child custody proceedings, equity may be
paragraph of Article 213 of the Family Code vesting on respondent invoked to serve the childs best interest.[31]
sole custody of Stephanie.
WHEREFORE, we REVERSE the Orders dated 1 March 2005 and
Nor can petitioner rely on the divorce decrees alleged invalidity - not 23 June 2005 of the Regional Trial Court of Makati City, Branch 60.
because the Illinois court lacked jurisdiction or that the divorce The case is REMANDED for further proceedings consistent with this
decree violated Illinois law, but because the divorce was obtained by ruling.
his Filipino spouse[26]- to support the Agreements enforceability. The
argument that foreigners in this jurisdiction are not bound by foreign WILD VALLEY SHIPPING CO. vs. CA 342 SCRA 213 October 6,
divorce decrees is hardly novel. Van Dorn v. Romillo[27]settled the 2000
matter by holding that an alien spouse of a Filipino is bound by a Facts
divorce decree obtained abroad.[28]There, we dismissed the alien
divorcees Philippine suit for accounting of alleged post-divorce Sometime in February 1988, the Philippine Roxas, a vessel owned
conjugal property and rejected his submission that the foreign by Philippine President Lines, Inc., private respondent herein, arrived
divorce (obtained by the Filipino spouse) is not valid in this in Puerto Ordaz, Venezuela, to load iron ore.Upon the completion of
jurisdiction in this wise: the loading and when the vessel was ready to leave port, Mr. Ezzar
del Valle Solarzano Vasquez, an official pilot of Venezuela, was
There can be no question as to the validity of that Nevada designated by the harbour authorities in Puerto Ordaz to navigate the
divorce in any of the States of the United States. The decree is Philippine Roxas through the Orinoco River.[1] He was asked to pilot
binding on private respondent as an American citizen. For the said vessel on February 11, 1988[2] boarding it that night at 11:00
instance, private respondent cannot sue petitioner, as her husband, p.m.[3]
in any State of the Union. What he is contending in this case is
that the divorce is not valid and binding in this jurisdiction, the The master (captain) of the Philippine Roxas, Captain Nicandro
same being contrary to local law and public policy. Colon, was at the bridge together with the pilot (Vasquez), the
vessel's third mate (then the officer on watch), and a helmsman when
It is true that owing to the nationality principle embodied in Article 15 the vessel left the port[4] at 1:40 a.m. on February 12, 1988.[5] Captain
of the Civil Code, only Philippine nationals are covered by the policy Colon left the bridge when the vessel was under way.[6]
against absolute divorces the same being considered contrary to our
concept of public policy and morality. However, aliens may obtain The Philippine Roxas experienced some vibrations when it entered
divorces abroad, which may be recognized in the Philippines, the San Roque Channel at mile 172.[7] The vessel proceeded on its
provided they are valid according to their national law. In this way, with the pilot assuring the watch officer that the vibration was a
case, the divorce in Nevada released private respondent from result of the shallowness of the channel.[8]
the marriage from the standards of American law, under which
divorce dissolves the marriage. Between mile 158 and 157, the vessel again experienced some
vibrations.[9] These occurred at 4:12 a.m.[10] It was then that the
xxxx watch officer called the master to the bridge.[11]

Thus, pursuant to his national law, private respondent is no longer The master (captain) checked the position of the vessel [12] and
the husband of petitioner. He would have no standing to sue in the verified that it was in the centre of the channel.[13] He then went to
case below as petitioners husband entitled to exercise control over confirm, or set down, the position of the vessel on the chart.[14] He
conjugal assets. As he is bound by the Decision of his own countrys ordered Simplicio A. Monis, Chief Officer of the President Roxas, to
Court, which validly exercised jurisdiction over him, and whose check all the double bottom tanks.[15]
decision he does not repudiate, he is estopped by his own
At around 4:35 a.m., the Philippine Roxas ran aground in the Orinoco
representation before said Court from asserting his right over the
River,[16] thus obstructing the ingress and egress of vessels.
alleged conjugal property. (Emphasis supplied)
As a result of the blockage, the Malandrinon, a vessel owned by
We reiterated Van Dorn in Pilapil v. Ibay-Somera[29]to dismiss
herein petitioner Wildvalley Shipping Company, Ltd., was unable to
criminal complaints for adultery filed by the alien divorcee (who
sail out of Puerto Ordaz on that day.
obtained the foreign divorce decree) against his former Filipino
spouse because he no longer qualified as offended spouse entitled Subsequently, Wildvalley Shipping Company, Ltd. filed a suit with the
to file the complaints under Philippine procedural rules. Thus, it Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch III against Philippine President
should be clear by now that a foreign divorce decree carries as much Lines, Inc. and Pioneer Insurance Company (the underwriter/insurer
validity against the alien divorcee in this jurisdiction as it does in the of Philippine Roxas) for damages in the form of unearned profits, and
jurisdiction of the aliens nationality, irrespective of who obtained the interest thereon amounting to US $400,000.00 plus attorney's fees,
divorce. costs, and expenses of litigation. The complaint against Pioneer
Insurance Company was dismissed in an Order dated November 7,
The Facts of the Case and Nature of Proceeding
1988.
Justify Remand
The trial court rendered its decision on October 16, 1991 in favor of
Instead of ordering the dismissal of petitioners suit, the logical end to the petitioner, Wildvalley Shipping Co., Ltd.
its lack of cause of action, we remand the case for the trial court to
settle the question of Stephanies custody. Stephanie is now nearly
15 years old, thus removing the case outside of the ambit of the
Issue: whether or not Venezuelan law is applicable to the case at giving of full faith and credit to the genuineness of a document in a
bar. foreign country.[36]

Ruling It is not enough that the Gaceta Oficial, or a book published by


the Ministerio de Comunicaciones of Venezuela, was presented as
It is well-settled that foreign laws do not prove themselves in our evidence with Captain Monzon attesting it. It is also required by
jurisdiction and our courts are not authorized to take judicial notice of Section 24 of Rule 132 of the Rules of Court that a certificate that
them. Like any other fact, they must be alleged and proved.[24] Captain Monzon, who attested the documents, is the officer who had
A distinction is to be made as to the manner of proving a written and legal custody of those records made by a secretary of the embassy
an unwritten law. The former falls under Section 24, Rule 132 of the or legation, consul general, consul, vice consul or consular agent or
Rules of Court, as amended, the entire provision of which is quoted by any officer in the foreign service of the Philippines stationed in
hereunder. Where the foreign law sought to be proved is "unwritten," Venezuela, and authenticated by the seal of his office accompanying
the oral testimony of expert witnesses is admissible, as are printed the copy of the public document. No such certificate could be found
and published books of reports of decisions of the courts of the in the records of the case.
country concerned if proved to be commonly admitted in such With respect to proof of written laws, parol proof is objectionable, for
courts.[25] the written law itself is the best evidence. According to the weight of
Section 24 of Rule 132 of the Rules of Court, as amended, provides: authority, when a foreign statute is involved, the best evidence rule
requires that it be proved by a duly authenticated copy of the
"Sec. 24. Proof of official record. -- The record of public documents statute.[37]
referred to in paragraph (a) of Section 19, when admissible for any
purpose, may be evidenced by an official publication thereof or by a At this juncture, we have to point out that the Venezuelan law was
copy attested by the officer having the legal custody of the record, or not pleaded before the lower court.
by his deputy, and accompanied, if the record is not kept in the A foreign law is considered to be pleaded if there is an allegation in
Philippines, with a certificate that such officer has the custody. If the pleading about the existence of the foreign law, its import and
the office in which the record is kept is in a foreign country, the legal consequence on the event or transaction in issue.[38]
certificate may be made by a secretary of the embassy or legation,
consul general, consul, vice consul, or consular agent or by any A review of the Complaint[39] revealed that it was never alleged or
officer in the foreign service of the Philippines stationed in the foreign invoked despite the fact that the grounding of the M/V Philippine
country in which the record is kept, and authenticated by the seal of Roxas occurred within the territorial jurisdiction of Venezuela.
his office." (Underscoring supplied)
We reiterate that under the rules of private international law, a foreign
The court has interpreted Section 25 (now Section 24) to include law must be properly pleaded and proved as a fact. In the absence of
competent evidence like the testimony of a witness to prove the pleading and proof, the laws of a foreign country, or state, will be
existence of a written foreign law. presumed to be the same as our own local or domestic law and this
is known as processual presumption.
We do not dispute the competency of Capt. Oscar Leon Monzon, the
Assistant Harbor Master and Chief of Pilots at Puerto Ordaz, Manufacturers Hanover Trust Co. vs. Guerrero G.R. No.
Venezuela,[28] to testify on the existence of the Reglamento General 136804. February 19, 2003
de la Ley de Pilotaje (pilotage law of Venezuela)[29] and
the Reglamento Para la Zona de Pilotaje No 1 del Orinoco (rules Facts
governing the navigation of the Orinoco River). Captain Monzon has On May 17, 1994, respondent Rafael Ma. Guerrero (Guerrero for
held the aforementioned posts for eight years.[30] As such he is in brevity) filed a complaint for damages against petitioner
charge of designating the pilots for maneuvering and navigating the Manufacturers Hanover Trust Co. and/or Chemical Bank (the Bank
Orinoco River. He is also in charge of the documents that come into for brevity) with the Regional Trial Court of Manila (RTC for
the office of the harbour masters.[31] brevity). Guerrero sought payment of damages allegedly for (1)
Nevertheless, we take note that these written laws were not proven illegally withheld taxes charged against interests on his checking
in the manner provided by Section 24 of Rule 132 of the Rules of account with the Bank; (2) a returned check worth US$18,000.00 due
Court. to signature verification problems; and (3) unauthorized conversion of
his account. Guerrero amended his complaint on April 18, 1995.
The Reglamento General de la Ley de Pilotaje was published in
the Gaceta Oficial[32]of the Republic of Venezuela. A photocopy of On September 1, 1995, the Bank filed its Answer alleging, inter
the Gaceta Oficial was presented in evidence as an official alia, that by stipulation Guerreros account is governed by New York
publication of the Republic of Venezuela. law and this law does not permit any of Guerreros claims except
actual damages. Subsequently, the Bank filed a Motion for Partial
The Reglamento Para la Zona de Pilotaje No 1 del Orinoco is Summary Judgment seeking the dismissal of Guerreros claims for
published in a book issued by the Ministerio de Comunicaciones of consequential, nominal, temperate, moral and exemplary damages
Venezuela.[33] Only a photocopy of the said rules was likewise as well as attorneys fees on the same ground alleged in its Answer.
presented as evidence. The Bank contended that the trial should be limited to the issue of
actual damages.Guerrero opposed the motion.
Both of these documents are considered in Philippine jurisprudence
to be public documents for they are the written official acts, or The affidavit of Alyssa Walden, a New York attorney, supported the
records of the official acts of the sovereign authority, official bodies Banks Motion for Partial Summary Judgment. Alyssa Waldens
and tribunals, and public officers of Venezuela.[34] affidavit (Walden affidavit for brevity) stated that Guerreros New York
bank account stipulated that the governing law is New York law and
For a copy of a foreign public document to be admissible, the that this law bars all of Guerreros claims except actual damages. The
following requisites are mandatory: (1) It must be attested by the Philippine Consular Office in New York authenticated the Walden
officer having legal custody of the records or by his deputy; and (2) It affidavit.
must be accompanied by a certificate by a secretary of the embassy
or legation, consul general, consul, vice consular or consular agent The RTC denied the Banks Motion for Partial Summary Judgment
or foreign service officer, and with the seal of his office. [35] The latter and its motion for reconsideration on March 6, 1996 and July 17,
requirement is not a mere technicality but is intended to justify the 1996, respectively. The Bank filed a petition for certiorari and
prohibition with the Court of Appeals assailing the RTC Orders. In its There can be no summary judgment where questions of fact are in
Decision dated August 24, 1998, the Court of Appeals dismissed the issue or where material allegations of the pleadings are in
petition. On December 14, 1998, the Court of Appeals denied the dispute.[7] The resolution of whether a foreign law allows only the
Banks motion for reconsideration. recovery of actual damages is a question of fact as far as the trial
court is concerned since foreign laws do not prove themselves in our
Hence, the instant petition. courts.[8] Foreign laws are not a matter of judicial notice.[9] Like any
Issue other fact, they must be alleged and proven. Certainly, the conflicting
allegations as to whether New York law or Philippine law applies to
The Bank contends that the Court of Appeals committed reversible Guerreros claims present a clear dispute on material allegations
error in - which can be resolved only by a trial on the merits.
x x x HOLDING THAT [THE BANKS] PROOF OF FACTS TO Under Section 24 of Rule 132, the record of public documents of a
SUPPORT ITS MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT MAY NOT sovereign authority or tribunal may be proved by (1) an official
BE GIVEN BY AFFIDAVIT; publication thereof or (2) a copy attested by the officer having
the legal custody thereof. Such official publication or copy must be
x x x HOLDING THAT [THE BANKS] AFFIDAVIT, WHICH PROVES
accompanied, if the record is not kept in the Philippines, with a
FOREIGN LAW AS A FACT, IS HEARSAY AND THEREBY
certificate that the attesting officer has the legal custody thereof. The
CANNOT SERVE AS PROOF OF THE NEW YORK LAW RELIED
certificate may be issued by any of the authorized Philippine
UPON BY PETITIONERS IN THEIR MOTION FOR SUMMARY
embassy or consular officials stationed in the foreign country in which
JUDGMENT x x x.[3]
the record is kept, and authenticated by the seal of his office. The
Ruling attestation must state, in substance, that the copy is a correct copy of
the original, or a specific part thereof, as the case may be, and must
The petition is devoid of merit. be under the official seal of the attesting officer.
The Bank filed its motion for partial summary judgment pursuant to Certain exceptions to this rule were recognized in Asiavest Limited
Section 2, Rule 34 of the old Rules of Court which reads: v. Court of Appeals[10] which held that:
Section 2. Summary judgment for defending party. A party against x x x:
whom a claim, counterclaim, or cross-claim is asserted or a
declaratory relief is sought may, at any time, move with supporting Although it is desirable that foreign law be proved in accordance with
affidavits for a summary judgment in his favor as to all or any part the above rule, however, the Supreme Court held in the case
thereof. of Willamette Iron and Steel Works v. Muzzal, that Section 41, Rule
123 (Section 25, Rule 132 of the Revised Rules of Court) does not
A court may grant a summary judgment to settle expeditiously a case exclude the presentation of other competent evidence to prove the
if, on motion of either party, there appears from the pleadings, existence of a foreign law. In that case, the Supreme Court
depositions, admissions, and affidavits that no important issues of considered the testimony under oath of an attorney-at-law of San
fact are involved, except the amount of damages. In such event, the Francisco, California, who quoted verbatim a section of California
moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law.[4] Civil Code and who stated that the same was in force at the time the
obligations were contracted, as sufficient evidence to establish the
In a motion for summary judgment, the crucial question is: are the
existence of said law. Accordingly, in line with this view, the Supreme
issues raised in the pleadings genuine, sham or fictitious, as
Court in the Collector of Internal Revenue v. Fisher et al., upheld the
shown by affidavits, depositions or admissions accompanying the
Tax Court in considering the pertinent law of California as proved by
motion?[5]
the respondents witness. In that case, the counsel for respondent
A genuine issue means an issue of fact which calls for the testified that as an active member of the California Bar since 1951,
presentation of evidence as distinguished from an issue which he is familiar with the revenue and taxation laws of the State of
is fictitious or contrived so as not to constitute a genuine issue for California. When asked by the lower court to state the pertinent
trial.[6] California law as regards exemption of intangible personal properties,
the witness cited Article 4, Sec. 13851 (a) & (b) of the California
A perusal of the parties respective pleadings would show that there Internal and Revenue Code as published in Derrings California Code,
are genuine issues of fact that necessitate formal trial. Guerreros a publication of Bancroft-Whitney Co., Inc. And as part of his
complaint before the RTC contains a statement of the ultimate facts testimony, a full quotation of the cited section was offered in
on which he relies for his claim for damages. He is seeking damages evidence by respondents. Likewise, in several naturalization cases, it
for what he asserts as illegally withheld taxes charged against was held by the Court that evidence of the law of a foreign country on
interests on his checking account with the Bank, a returned check reciprocity regarding the acquisition of citizenship, although not
worth US$18,000.00 due to signature verification problems, and meeting the prescribed rule of practice, may be allowed and used as
unauthorized conversion of his account. In its Answer, the Bank set basis for favorable action, if, in the light of all the circumstances, the
up its defense that the agreed foreign law to govern their contractual Court is satisfied of the authenticity of the written proof offered. Thus,
relation bars the recovery of damages other than actual. Apparently, in a number of decisions, mere authentication of the Chinese
facts are asserted in Guerreros complaint while specific denials and Naturalization Law by the Chinese Consulate General of Manila was
affirmative defenses are set out in the Banks answer. held to be competent proof of that law. (Emphasis supplied)
True, the court can determine whether there are genuine issues in a The Bank, however, cannot rely on Willamette Iron and
case based merely on the affidavits or counter-affidavits submitted by Steel Works v. Muzzal or Collector of Internal Revenue v.
the parties to the court. However, as correctly ruled by the Court of Fisher to support its cause. These cases involved attorneys
Appeals, the Banks motion for partial summary judgment as testifying in open court during the trial in the Philippines and quoting
supported by the Walden affidavit does not demonstrate that the particular foreign laws sought to be established. On the other
Guerreros claims are sham, fictitious or contrived. On the contrary, hand, the Walden affidavit was taken abroad ex parteand the affiant
the Walden affidavit shows that the facts and material allegations as never testified in open court. The Walden affidavit cannot be
pleaded by the parties are disputed and there are substantial triable considered as proof of New York law on damages not only because it
issues necessitating a formal trial. is self-serving but also because it does not state the specific New
York law on damages.
The Walden affidavit states conclusions from the affiants personal Edi-Staff builders International vs. NLRC G.R. No. 145587
interpretation and opinion of the facts of the case vis a vis the alleged October 26, 2007
laws and jurisprudence without citing any law in particular. The
citations in the Walden affidavit of various U.S. court decisions do not Facts
constitute proof of the official records or decisions of the U.S. Petitioner EDI is a corporation engaged in recruitment and placement
courts. While the Bank attached copies of some of the U.S. court of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs).5 ESI is another recruitment
decisions cited in the Walden affidavit, these copies do not comply agency which collaborated with EDI to process the documentation
with Section 24 of Rule 132 on proof of official records or decisions of and deployment of private respondent to Saudi Arabia.
foreign courts.
Private respondent Gran was an OFW recruited by EDI, and
The Banks intention in presenting the Walden affidavit is to prove deployed by ESI to work for OAB, in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi
New York law and jurisprudence. However, because of the failure to Arabia.6
comply with Section 24 of Rule 132 on how to prove a foreign law
and decisions of foreign courts, the Walden affidavit did not prove the It appears that OAB asked EDI through its October 3, 1993 letter
current state of New York law and jurisprudence. Thus, the Bank has for curricula vitae of qualified applicants for the position of "Computer
only alleged, but has not proved, what New York law and Specialist."7 In a facsimile transmission dated November 29, 1993,
jurisprudence are on the matters at issue. OAB informed EDI that, from the applicants' curricula vitae submitted
to it for evaluation, it selected Gran for the position of "Computer
Next, the Bank makes much of Guerreros failure to submit an Specialist." The faxed letter also stated that if Gran agrees to the
opposing affidavit to the Walden affidavit. However, the pertinent terms and conditions of employment contained in it, one of which
provision of Section 3, Rule 35 of the old Rules of Court did not make was a monthly salary of SR (Saudi Riyal) 2,250.00 (USD 600.00),
the submission of an opposing affidavit mandatory, thus: EDI may arrange for Gran's immediate dispatch.8
SEC. 3. Motion and proceedings thereon. The motion shall be served After accepting OAB's offer of employment, Gran signed an
at least ten (10) days before the time specified for the hearing. The employment contract9 that granted him a monthly salary of USD
adverse party prior to the day of hearing may serve opposing 850.00 for a period of two years. Gran was then deployed to Riyadh,
affidavits. After the hearing, the judgment sought shall be rendered Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on February 7, 1994.
forthwith if the pleadings, depositions and admissions on file,
together with the affidavits, show that, except as to the amount of Upon arrival in Riyadh, Gran questioned the discrepancy in his
damages, there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that monthly salary—his employment contract stated USD 850.00; while
the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of his Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA) Information
law. (Emphasis supplied) Sheet indicated USD 600.00 only. However, through the assistance
of the EDI office in Riyadh, OAB agreed to pay Gran USD 850.00 a
It is axiomatic that the term may as used in remedial law, is only month.10
permissive and not mandatory.[13]
After Gran had been working for about five months for OAB, his
Guerrero cannot be said to have admitted the averments in the employment was terminated through OAB's July 9, 1994 letter,11 on
Banks motion for partial summary judgment and the Walden affidavit the following grounds:
just because he failed to file an opposing affidavit.Guerrero opposed
the motion for partial summary judgment, although he did not present 1. Non-compliance to contract requirements by the recruitment
an opposing affidavit. Guerrero may not have presented an opposing agency primarily on your salary and contract duration.
affidavit, as there was no need for one, because the Walden affidavit
2. Non-compliance to pre-qualification requirements by the
did not establish what the Bank intended to prove. Certainly,
recruitment agency[,] vide OAB letter ref. F-5751-93, dated October
Guerrero did not admit, expressly or impliedly, the veracity of the
3, 1993.12
statements in the Walden affidavit. The Bank still had the burden of
proving New York law and jurisprudence even if Guerrero did not 3. Insubordination or disobedience to Top Management Order and/or
present an opposing affidavit. As the party moving for summary instructions (non-submittal of daily activity reports despite several
judgment, the Bank has the burden of clearly demonstrating the instructions).
absence of any genuine issue of fact and that any doubt as to the
existence of such issue is resolved against the movant.[14] On July 11, 1994, Gran received from OAB the total amount of SR
2,948.00 representing his final pay, and on the same day, he
Moreover, it would have been redundant and pointless for Guerrero executed a Declaration13 releasing OAB from any financial obligation
to submit an opposing affidavit considering that what the Bank seeks or otherwise, towards him.
to be opposed is the very subject matter of the complaint. Guerrero
need not file an opposing affidavit to the Walden affidavit because his After his arrival in the Philippines, Gran instituted a complaint, on July
complaint itself controverts the matters set forth in the Banks motion 21, 1994, against ESI/EDI, OAB, Country Bankers Insurance
and the Walden affidavit. A party should not be made to deny matters Corporation, and Western Guaranty Corporation with the NLRC,
already averred in his complaint. National Capital Region, Quezon City, which was docketed as POEA
ADJ (L) 94-06-2194 for underpayment of wages/salaries and illegal
There being substantial triable issues between the parties, the dismissal.
courts a quo correctly denied the Banks motion for partial summary
judgment. There is a need to determine by presentation of evidence Issue WHETHER THE FAILURE OF GRAN TO FURNISH A COPY
in a regular trial if the Bank is guilty of any wrongdoing and if it is OF HIS APPEAL MEMORANDUM TO PETITIONER EDI WOULD
liable for damages under the applicable laws. CONSTITUTE A JURISDICTIONAL DEFECT AND A DEPRIVATION
OF PETITIONER EDI'S RIGHT TO DUE PROCESS AS WOULD
This case has been delayed long enough by the Banks resort to a JUSTIFY THE DISMISSAL OF GRAN'S APPEAL.
motion for partial summary judgment. Ironically, the Bank has
successfully defeated the very purpose for which summary Ruling
judgments were devised in our rules, which is, to aid parties in
The petition lacks merit except with respect to Gran's failure to
avoiding the expense and loss of time involved in a trial.
furnish EDI with his Appeal Memorandum filed with the NLRC.
Petitioner EDI claims that Gran's failure to furnish it a copy of the days from the date of first notice of the postmaster, service shall take
Appeal Memorandum constitutes a jurisdictional defect and a effect after such time. (Emphasis supplied.)
deprivation of due process that would warrant a rejection of the
appeal. Hence, if the service is done through registered mail, it is only
deemed complete when the addressee or his agent received the mail
This position is devoid of merit. or after five (5) days from the date of first notice of the postmaster.
However, the NLRC Rules do not state what would constitute proper
In a catena of cases, it was ruled that failure of appellant to furnish proof of service.
a copy of the appeal to the adverse party is not fatal to the
appeal. Sec. 13, Rule 13 of the Rules of Court, provides for proofs of service:

In Estrada v. National Labor Relations Commission,24 this Court set Section 13. Proof of service.—Proof of personal service shall consist
aside the order of the NLRC which dismissed an appeal on the sole of a written admission of the party served or the official return of the
ground that the appellant did not furnish the appellee a memorandum server, or the affidavit of the party serving, containing a full statement
of appeal contrary to the requirements of Article 223 of the New of the date, place and manner of service. If the service is by ordinary
Labor Code and Section 9, Rule XIII of its Implementing Rules and mail, proof thereof shall consist of an affidavit of the person mailing of
Regulations. facts showing compliance with section 7 of this Rule. If service is
made by registered mail, proof shall be made by such affidavit
Also, in J.D. Magpayo Customs Brokerage Corp. v. NLRC, the order and registry receipt issued by the mailing office. The registry
of dismissal of an appeal to the NLRC based on the ground that return card shall be filed immediately upon its receipt by the
"there is no showing whatsoever that a copy of the appeal was sender, or in lieu thereof the unclaimed letter together with the
served by the appellant on the appellee"25was annulled. The Court certified or sworn copy of the notice given by the postmaster to
ratiocinated as follows: the addressee (emphasis supplied).
The failure to give a copy of the appeal to the adverse party was a Based on the foregoing provision, it is obvious that the list submitted
mere formal lapse, an excusable neglect. Time and again We have by Gran is not conclusive proof that he had served a copy of his
acted on petitions to review decisions of the Court of Appeals even in appeal memorandum to EDI, nor is it conclusive proof that EDI
the absence of proof of service of a copy thereof to the Court of received its copy of the Appeal Memorandum. He should have
Appeals as required by Section 1 of Rule 45, Rules of Court. We act submitted an affidavit proving that he mailed the Appeal
on the petitions and simply require the petitioners to comply Memorandum together with the registry receipt issued by the post
with the rule.26 (Emphasis supplied.) office; afterwards, Gran should have immediately filed the registry
The J.D. Magpayo ruling was reiterated in Carnation Philippines return card.
Employees Labor Union-FFW v. National Labor Relations Hence, after seeing that Gran failed to attach the proof of service, the
Commission,27 Pagdonsalan v. NLRC,28 and in Sunrise Manning NLRC should not have simply accepted the post office's list of mail
Agency, Inc. v. NLRC.29 and parcels sent; but it should have required Gran to properly
Thus, the doctrine that evolved from these cases is that failure to furnish the opposing parties with copies of his Appeal
furnish the adverse party with a copy of the appeal is treated only as Memorandum as prescribed in J.D. Magpayo and the other
a formal lapse, an excusable neglect, and hence, not a jurisdictional cases. The NLRC should not have proceeded with the adjudication
defect. Accordingly, in such a situation, the appeal should not be of the case, as this constitutes grave abuse of discretion.
dismissed; however, it should not be given due course either. As The glaring failure of NLRC to ensure that Gran should have
enunciated in J.D. Magpayo, the duty that is imposed on the furnished petitioner EDI a copy of the Appeal Memorandum before
NLRC, in such a case, is to require the appellant to comply with rendering judgment reversing the dismissal of Gran's complaint
the rule that the opposing party should be provided with a copy constitutes an evasion of the pertinent NLRC Rules and established
of the appeal memorandum. jurisprudence. Worse, this failure deprived EDI of procedural due
While Gran's failure to furnish EDI with a copy of the Appeal process guaranteed by the Constitution which can serve as basis for
Memorandum is excusable, the abject failure of the NLRC to order the nullification of proceedings in the appeal before the NLRC. One
Gran to furnish EDI with the Appeal Memorandum constitutes grave can only surmise the shock and dismay that OAB, EDI, and ESI
abuse of discretion. experienced when they thought that the dismissal of Gran's
complaint became final, only to receive a copy of Gran's Motion for
The records reveal that the NLRC discovered that Gran failed to Execution of Judgment which also informed them that Gran had
furnish EDI a copy of the Appeal Memorandum. The NLRC then obtained a favorable NLRC Decision. This is not level playing field
ordered Gran to present proof of service. In compliance with the and absolutely unfair and discriminatory against the employer and
order, Gran submitted a copy of Camp Crame Post Office's list of the job recruiters. The rights of the employers to procedural due
mail/parcels sent on April 7, 1998.30 The post office's list shows that process cannot be cavalierly disregarded for they too have rights
private respondent Gran sent two pieces of mail on the same date: assured under the Constitution.
one addressed to a certain Dan O. de Guzman of Legaspi Village,
Makati; and the other appears to be addressed to Neil B. Garcia (or However, instead of annulling the dispositions of the NLRC and
Gran),31 of Ermita, Manila—both of whom are not connected with remanding the case for further proceedings we will resolve the
petitioner. petition based on the records before us to avoid a protracted
litigation.33
This mailing list, however, is not a conclusive proof that EDI indeed
received a copy of the Appeal Memorandum.
Norse Management Co. (PTE) vs. National Seamen Board 117
Sec. 5 of the NLRC Rules of Procedure (1990) provides for the proof SCRA 486 , September 30, 1982
and completeness of service in proceedings before the NLRC:
Napoleon B. Abordo, the deceased husband of private respondent
Section 5.32 Proof and completeness of service.—The return is prima Restituta C. Abordo, was the Second Engineer of M.T. "Cherry Earl"
facie proof of the facts indicated therein. Service by registered mail when he died from an apoplectic stroke in the course of his
is complete upon receipt by the addressee or his agent; but if the employment with petitioner NORSE MANAGEMENT COMPANY
addressee fails to claim his mail from the post office within five (5) (PTE). The M.T. "Cherry Earl" is a vessel of Singaporean Registry.
The late Napoleon B. Abordo at the time of his death was receiving a of which this Board, being merely a quasi-judicial body, is not strict
monthly salary of US$850.00 (Petition, page 5). about.

In her complaint for "death compensation benefits, accrued leave pay It is true that the law of Singapore was not alleged and proved in the
and time-off allowances, funeral expenses, attorney's fees and other course of the hearing. And following Supreme Court decisions in a
benefits and reliefs available in connection with the death of long line of cases that a foreign law, being a matter of evidence, must
Napoleon B. Abordo," filed before the National Seamen Board, be alleged and proved, the law of Singapore ought not to be
Restituta C. Abordo alleged that the amount of compensation due recognized in this case. But it is our considered opinion that the
her from petitioners Norse Management Co. (PTE) and Pacific jurisprudence on this matter was never meant to apply to cases
Seamen Services, Inc., principal and agent, respectively, should be before administrative or quasi-judicial bodies such as the National
based on the law where the vessel is registered. On the other hand, Seamen Board. For well-settled also is the rule that administrative
petitioners contend that the law of Singapore should not be applied in and quasi-judicial bodies are not bound strictly by technical rules. It
this case because the National Seamen Board cannot take judicial has always been the policy of this Board, as enunciated in a long line
notice of the Workmen's Insurance Law of Singapore. As an of cases, that in cases of valid claims for benefits on account of injury
alternative, they offered to pay private respondent Restituta C. or death while in the course of employment, the law of the country in
Abordo the sum of P30,000.00 as death benefits based on the which the vessel is registered shall be considered. We see no reason
Board's Memorandum Circular No. 25 which they claim should apply to deviate from this well-considered policy. Certainly not on technical
in this case. grounds as movants herein would like us to.

The Hearing Officer III, Rebene C. Carrera of the Ministry of Labor WHEREFORE, the motion for reconsideration is hereby denied and
and Employment, after hearing the case, rendered judgment on June the Order of tills Board dated 20 June 1979 affirmed. Let execution
20, 1979, ordering herein petitioners "to pay jointly and severally the issue immediately.
following:
In Section 5(B) of the "Employment Agreement" between Norse
I. US$30,600 (the 36-month salary of the decreased)) or its Management Co. (PTE) and the late Napoleon B. Abordo, which is
equivalent in Philippine currency as death compensation benefits; Annex "C" of the Supplemental Complaint, it was stipulated that:

II. US$500.00 or its equivalent in Philippine currency as funeral In the event of illness or injury to Employee arising out of and in the
expenses; course of his employment and not due to his own willful misconduct
and occurring whilst on board any vessel to which he may be
III. US$3,110 or 10% of the total amount recovered as attorney's assigned, but not any other time, the EMPLOYER win provide
fees. employee with free medical attention, including hospital treatment,
It is also ordered that payment must be made thru the National also essential medical treatment in the course of repatriation and
Seamen Board within ten (10) days from receipt of this decision. until EMPLOYEE's arrival at his point of origin. If such illness or injury
incapacitates the EMPLOYEE to the extent the EMPLOYEE's
Petitioners appealed to the Ministry of Labor. On December 11, services must be terminated as determined by a qualified physician
1979, the Ministry rendered its decision in this case as follows: designated by the EMPLOYER and provided such illness or injury
was not due in part or whole to his willful act, neglect or
Motion for reconsideration filed by respondents from the Order of this
misconduct compensation shall be paid to employee in accordance
Board dated 20 June 1979 requiring them to pay complainant, jointly
with and subject to the limitations of the Workmen's Compensation
and severally, the amount of Thirty-four thousand and two hundred
Act of the Republic of the Philippines or the Workmen's Insurance
ten dollars ($34,210.00) representing death benefits, funeral
Law of registry of the vessel whichever is greater. (Emphasis
expenses and attorney's fees.
supplied)
The facts in the main are not disputed. The deceased, husband of
In the aforementioned "Employment Agreement" between petitioners
complainant herein, was employed as a Second Engineer by
and the late Napoleon B. Abordo, it is clear that compensation shall
respondents and served as such in the vessel "M.T. Cherry Earl" until
be paid under Philippine Law or the law of registry of petitioners'
that fatal day in May 1978 when, while at sea, he suffered an
vessel, whichever is greater. Since private respondent Restituta C.
apoplectic stroke and died four days later or on 29 May 1978. In her
Abordo was offered P30,000.00 only by the petitioners, Singapore
complaint filed before this Board, Abordo argued that the amount of
law was properly applied in this case.
compensation due her should be based on the law where the vessel
is registered, which is Singapore law. Agreeing with said argument, The "Employment Agreement" is attached to the Supplemental
this Board issued the questioned Order. Hence this Motion for Complaint of Restituta C. Abordo and, therefore, it forms part thereof.
Reconsideration. As it is familiar with Singapore Law, the National Seamen Board is
justified in taking judicial notice of and in applying that law. In the
In their motion for reconsideration, respondents strongly argue that
case of VirJen Shipping and Marine Services, Inc. vs. National
the law of Singapore should not be applied in the case considering
Seamen Board, et al (L41297), the respondent Board promulgated a
that their responsibility was not alleged in the complaint that no proof
decision, as follows:
of the existence of the Workmen's Insurance Law of Singapore was
ever presented and that the Board cannot take judicial notice of the The facts established and/or admitted by the parties are the
Workmen's Insurance Law of Singapore. As an alternative, they following: that the late Remigio Roldan was hired by the respondent
offered to pay complainant the amount of Thirty Thousand Pesos as Ordinary Seamen on board the M/V "Singapura Pertama," a
(P30,000.00) as death benefits based on this Board's Memorandum vessel of Singapore Registry; that on September 27, 1973, the
Circular No. 25 which, they maintained, should apply in this case. deceased Remigio Roldan met an accident resulting in his death
while on board the said M/V "Singapura Pertama" during the
The only issue we are called upon to rule is whether or not the law of
performance of his duties; that on December 3, 1973, the respondent
Singapore ought to be applied in this case.
Virjen Shipping and Marine Services, Inc. paid the complainant
After an exhaustive study of jurisprudence on the matter. we rule in Natividad Roldan the amount of P6,000.00 representing Workmen's
the affirmative. Respondents came out with a well-prepared motion Compensation benefits and donations of the company; that the
which, to our mind, is more appropriate and perhaps acceptable in amount of P4,870 was spent by the respondent company as burial
the regular court of justice. Nothing is raised in their motion but expenses of the deceased Remegio Roldan.
question of evidence. But evidence is usually a matter of procedure
The only issue therefore remaining to be resolved by the Board in jointly and severally, on demand all sums owed by Eastern to HSBC
connection with the particular case, is whether or not under the under the aforestated overdraft facility.
existing laws (Philippine and foreign), the complainant Natividad
Roldan is entitled to additional benefits other than those mentioned The Joint and Several Guarantee provides that: “This guarantee and
earlier. The Board takes judicial notice, (as a matter of fact, the all rights, obligations and liabilities arising hereunder shall be
respondent having admitted in its memorandum) of the fact that construed and determined under and may be enforced in accordance
"Singapura Pertama" is a foreign vessel of Singapore Registry and it with the laws of the Republic of Singapore. We hereby agree that the
is the policy of this Board that in case of award of benefits to seamen Courts of Singapore shall have jurisdiction over all disputes arising
who were either injured in the performance of its duties or who died under this guarantee.”
while in the course of employment is to consider the benefits allowed Eastern failed to pay its obligation. Thus, HSBC demanded payment
by the country where the vessel is registered. Likewise, the Board of the obligation from Sherman & Reloj, conformably w/ the
takes notice that Singapore maritime laws relating to workmen's provisions of the Joint and Several Guarantee. Inasmuch as
compensation benefits are similar to that of the Hongkong maritime Sherman & Reloj still failed to pay, HSBC filed a complaint for
laws which provides that in case of death, the heirs of the deceased collection of a sum of money against them. Sherman & Reloj filed a
seaman should receive the equivalent of 36 months wages of the motion to dismiss on the grounds that (1) the court has no jurisdiction
deceased seaman; in other words, 36 months multiplied by the basic over the subject matter of the complaint, and (2) the court has no
monthly wages. In the employment contract submitted with this jurisdiction over the person of the defendants.
Board, the terms of which have never been at issue, is shown that
the monthly salary of the deceased Remigio Roldan at the time of his Issue W/N Philippine courts should have jurisdiction over the suit.
death was US$80.00; such that, 36 months multiplied by $80 would YES
come up to US$2,880 and at the rate of P7.00 to $1.00, the benefits
Ruling
due the claimant would be P20,160. However, since there was
voluntary payment made in the amount of P6,000 and funeral Remedial Law; Jurisdiction; A state does not have jurisdiction in the
expenses which under the Workmen's Compensation Law had a absence of some reasonable basis for exercising it whether the
maximum of P200.00, the amount of P6,200.00 should be deducted proceedings are in rem, quasi in rem or in personam.—While it is
from P20,160 and the difference would be P13,960.00. true that “the transaction took place in Singaporean setting” and that
the Joint and Several Guarantee contains a choice-of-forum clause,
WHEREFORE, the Board orders the respondent Virjen Shipping and
the very essence of due process dictates that the stipulation that
Marine Services, Inc. to pay the complainant Natividad Roldan the
“[t]his guarantee and all rights, obligations and liabilities arising
amount of P13,960.00 within ten (10) days from receipt of this
hereunder shall be construed and determined under and may be
Decision. The Board also orders the respondent that payment should
be made through the National Seamen Board. enforced in accordance with the laws of the Republic of Singapore.
We hereby agree that the Courts in Singapore shall have jurisdiction
The foregoing decision was assailed as null and void for allegedly over all disputes arising under this guarantee” be liberally construed.
having been rendered without jurisdiction and for awarding One basic principle underlies all rules of jurisdiction in International
compensation benefits beyond the maximum allowable and on the Law: a State does not have jurisdiction in the absence of some
ground of res judicata. This Court in its resolution dated October 27, reasonable basis for exercising it, whether the proceedings are in
1975 and December 12, 1975, respectively dismissed for lack of rem, quasi in rem or in personam. To be reasonable, the jurisdiction
merit the petition as well as the motion for reconsideration in said must be based on some minimum contacts that will not offend
G.R. No. L- 41297. traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice.

Furthermore, Article 20, Labor Code of the Philippines, provides that Same; Same; Same; Defense of private respondents that the
the National Seamen Board has original and exclusive jurisdiction complaint should have been filed in Singapore is based merely on
over all matters or cases including money claims, involving employer- technicality.—The defense of private respondents that the complaint
employee relations, arising out of or by virtue of any law or contracts should have been filed in Singapore is based merely on technicality.
involving Filipino seamen for overseas employment. Thus, it is safe They did not even claim, much less prove, that the filing of the action
to assume that the Board is familiar with pertinent Singapore here will cause them any unnecessary trouble, damage, or expense.
maritime laws relative to workmen's compensation. Moreover, the On the other hand, there is no showing that petitioner BANK filed the
Board may apply the rule on judicial notice and, "in administrative action here just to harass private respondents.
proceedings, the technical rules of procedure — particularly of
Same; Same; Venue; A stipulation that the parties agree to sue and
evidence — applied in judicial trials, do not strictly apply." (Oromeca
be sued in the courts of Manila does not preclude the filing of suits in
Lumber Co. Inc. vs. Social Security Commission, 4 SCRA 1188).
the residence of plaintiff or defendant.—In the case of Polytrade
Finally, Article IV of the Labor Code provides that "all doubts in the Corporation vs. Blanco, G.R. No. L-27033, October 31, 1969, 30
implementation and interpretation of the provisions of this code, SCRA 187, it was ruled: “x x x. An accurate reading, however, of the
including its implementing rules and resolved in favor of labor. stipulation, ‘The parties agree to sue and be sued in the Courts of
Manila,’ does not preclude the filing of suits in the residence of
HSBC vs SHERMAN G.R. No. 72494 August 11, 1989 plaintiff or defendant. The plain meaning is that the parties merely
Facts consented to be sued in Manila. Qualifying or restrictive words which
would indicate that Manila and Manila alone is the venue are totally
In 1981, Eastern Book Supply Service PTE, Ltd., (Eastern) a absent therefrom. We cannot read into that clause that plaintiff and
company incorporated in Singapore applied w/, & was granted by the defendant bound themselves to file suits with respect to the last two
Singapore branch of HSBC an overdraft facility in the max amount of transactions in question only or exclusively in Manila. For, that
Singapore $200,000 (w/c amount was subsequently increased to agreement did not change or transfer venue. It simply is permissive.
Singapore $375,000) w/ interest at 3% over HSBC prime rate, The parties solely agreed to add the courts of Manila sa tribunals to
payable monthly, on amounts due under said overdraft facility. As a which they may resort. They did not waive their right to pursue
security for the repayment by Eastern of sums advanced by HSBC to remedy in the courts specifically mentioned in Section 2(b) of Rule 4.
it through the aforesaid overdraft facility, in 1982, Jack Sherman, Renuntiatio non praesumitur.”
Dodato Reloj, and a Robin de Clive Lowe, all of whom were directors
of Eastern at such time, executed a Joint and Several Guarantee in
favor of HSBC whereby Sherman, Reloj and Lowe agreed to pay,
Same; Same; Same; Same; In the case at bar, the parties did not Id. at 407 U. S. 17. That statement was made in the context of a
stipulate that only the courts of Singapore to the exclusion of all the hypothetical "agreement between two Americans to resolve their
rest has jurisdiction; Jurisdiction defined.—Applying the foregoing to essentially local disputes in a remote alien forum." Ibid. Here, in
the case at bar, the parties did not thereby stipulate that only the contrast, Florida is not such a forum, nor -- given the location of Mrs.
courts of Singapore, to the exclusion of all the rest, has jurisdiction. Shute's accident -- is this dispute an essentially local one inherently
Neither did the clause in question operate to divest Philippine courts more suited to resolution in Washington than in Florida. In light of
of jurisdiction. In International Law, jurisdiction is often defined as the these distinctions, and because the Shutes do not claim lack of
right of a State to exercise authority over persons and things within notice of the forum clause, they have not satisfied the "heavy burden
its boundaries subject to certain exceptions. Hongkong Shanghai of proof," ibid. required to set aside the clause on grounds of
Banking Corporation vs. Sherman, 176 SCRA 331, G.R. No. 72494 inconvenience. Pp. 499 U. S. 594-595.
August 11, 1989
(c) Although forum selection clauses contained in form passage
Carnival Cruise Lines, Inc. v. Shute, 499 U.S. 585 (1991) contracts are subject to judicial scrutiny for fundamental fairness,
there is no indication that petitioner selected Florida to discourage
Syllabus cruise passengers from pursuing legitimate claims or obtained the
After the respondents Shute, a Washington State couple, purchased Shutes' accession to the forum clause by fraud or overreaching.
passage on a ship owned by petitioner, a Florida-based cruise line, P. 499 U. S. 595.
petitioner sent them tickets containing a clause designating courts in (d) By its plain language, the forum selection clause at issue does
Florida as the agreed-upon fora for the resolution of disputes. The not violate 46 U.S.C. App. § 183c, which, inter alia, prohibits a vessel
Shutes boarded the ship in Los Angeles, and, while in international owner from inserting in any contract a provision depriving a claimant
waters off the Mexican coast, Mrs. Shute suffered injuries when she of a trial "by court of competent jurisdiction" for loss of life or personal
slipped on a deck mat. The Shutes filed suit in a Washington Federal injury resulting from negligence. Pp. 499 U. S. 595-597.
District Court, which granted summary judgment for petitioner. The
Court of Appeals reversed, holding, inter alia, that the forum- SMALL V. UNITED STATES (03-750) 544 U.S. 385 (2005)
selection clause should not be enforced under The Bremen v. Zapata
Off-Shore Co., 407 U. S. 1, because it was not "freely bargained for," Petitioner Small was convicted in a Japanese Court of trying to
and because its enforcement would operate to deprive the Shutes of smuggle firearms and ammunition into that country. He served five
their day in court in light of evidence indicating that they were years in prison and then returned to the United States, where he
physically and financially incapable of pursuing the litigation in bought a gun. Federal authorities subsequently charged Small
Florida. under 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1), which forbids “any person …convicted
in any court … of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term
Held: The Court of Appeals erred in refusing to enforce the forum- exceeding one year … to … possess … any firearm.” (Emphasis
selection clause. Pp. 499 U. S. 590-597. added.) Small pleaded guilty while reserving the right to challenge his
conviction on the ground that his earlier conviction, being foreign, fell
(a) The Bremen Court's statement that a freely negotiated forum- outside §922(g)(1)’s scope. The Federal District Court and the Third
selection clause, such as the one there at issue, should be given full Circuit rejected this argument.
effect, 407 U.S. at 407 U. S. 12-13, does not support the Court of
Appeals' determination that a nonnegotiated forum clause in a Held: Section 922(g)(1)’s phrase “convicted in any court”
passage contract is never enforceable simply because it is not the encompasses only domestic, not foreign, convictions. Pp. 2—9.
subject of bargaining. Whereas it was entirely reasonable for The
Bremen Court to have expected the parties to have negotiated with (a) In considering the scope of the phrase “convicted in any court”
care in selecting a forum for the resolution of disputes arising from it is appropriate to assume that Congress had domestic concerns in
their complicated international agreement, it would be entirely mind. This assumption is similar to the legal presumption that
unreasonable to assume that a cruise passenger would or could Congress ordinarily intends its statutes to have domestic, not
negotiate the terms of a forum clause in a routine commercial cruise extraterritorial, application, see, e.g., Foley Bros., Inc. v. Filardo, 336
ticket form. Nevertheless, including a reasonable forum clause in U.S. 281, 285. The phrase “convicted in any court” describes one
such a form contract well may be permissible for several reasons. necessary portion of the “gun possession” activity that is prohibited
Because it is not unlikely that a mishap in a cruise could subject a as a matter of domestic law. Moreover, because foreign convictions
cruise line to litigation in several different fora, the line has a special may include convictions for conduct that domestic laws would
interest in limiting such fora. Moreover, a clause establishing ex permit, e.g., for engaging in economic conduct that our society might
ante the dispute resolution forum has the salutary effect of dispelling encourage, convictions from a legal system that are inconsistent with
confusion as to where suits may be brought and defended, thereby American understanding of fairness, and convictions for conduct that
sparing litigants time and expense and conserving judicial resources. domestic law punishes far less severely, the key statutory phrase
Furthermore, it is likely that passengers purchasing tickets “convicted in any court of, a crime punishable by imprisonment for a
term exceeding one year” somewhat less reliably identifies
Page 499 U. S. 586 dangerous individuals for the purposes of U.S. law where foreign
convictions, rather than domestic convictions, are at issue. In
containing a forum clause like the one here at issue benefit in the addition, it is difficult to read the statute as asking judges or
form of reduced fares reflecting the savings that the cruise line prosecutors to refine its definitional distinctions where foreign
enjoys by limiting the fora in which it may be sued. Pp. 499 U. S. convictions are at issue. To somehow weed out inappropriate foreign
590-594. convictions that meet the statutory definition is not consistent with the
(b) The Court of Appeals' conclusion that the clause here at issue statute’s language; it is not easy for those not versed in foreign laws
should not be enforced because the Shutes are incapable of to accomplish; and it would leave those previously convicted in a
pursuing this litigation in Florida is not justified by The foreign court (say of economic crimes) uncertain about their legal
Bremen Court's statement that obligations. These considerations provide a convincing basis for
applying the ordinary assumption about the reach of domestically
"the serious inconvenience of the contractual forum to one or both of oriented statutes here. Thus, the Court assumes a congressional
the parties might carry greater weight in determining the intent that the phrase “convicted in any court” applies domestically,
reasonableness of the forum clause." not extraterritorially, unless the statutory language, context, history,
or purpose shows the contrary. Pp. 2—5.
(b) There is no convincing indication to the contrary here. The Philippines insofar as respondent is concerned in view of the
statute’s language suggests no intent to reach beyond domestic nationality principle in our civil law on the status of persons.
convictions. To the contrary, if read to include foreign convictions, the
statute’s language creates anomalies. For example, in creating an In this case, the divorce decree issued by the German court dated
exception allowing gun possession despite a conviction for an December 16, 1997 has not been challenged by either of the parties.
antitrust or business regulatory crime, §921(a)(20)(A) speaks of In fact, save for the issue of parental custody, even the trial court
“Federal or State” antitrust or regulatory offenses. If the phrase recognized said decree to be valid and binding, thereby endowing
“convicted in any court” generally refers only to domestic convictions, private respondent the capacity to remarry. Thus, the present
this language causes no problem. But if the phrase includes foreign controversy mainly relates to the award of the custody of their two
convictions, the words “Federal or State” prevent the exception from children, Carolynne and Alexandra Kristine, to petitioner.
applying where a foreign antitrust or regulatory conviction is at issue. As a general rule, divorce decrees obtained by foreigners in other
Such illustrative examples suggest that Congress did not consider countries are recognizable in our jurisdiction, but the legal effects
whether the generic phrase “convicted in any court” applies to foreign thereof, e.g. on custody, care and support of the children, must still
convictions. Moreover, the statute’s legislative history indicates no be determined by our courts.23Before our courts can give the effect of
intent to reach beyond domestic convictions. Although the statutory res judicata to a foreign judgment, such as the award of custody to
purpose of keeping guns from those likely to become a threat to petitioner by the German court, it must be shown that the parties
society does offer some support for reading §922(g)(1) to include opposed to the judgment had been given ample opportunity to do so
foreign convictions, the likelihood that Congress, at best, paid no on grounds allowed under Rule 39, Section 50 of the Rules of Court
attention to the matter is reinforced by the empirical fact that, (now Rule 39, Section 48, 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure), to wit:
according to the Government, since 1968, there have fewer than a
dozen instances in which such a foreign conviction has served as a SEC. 50. Effect of foreign judgments. - The effect of a judgment of a
predicate for a felon-in-possession prosecution. Pp. 5—8. tribunal of a foreign country, having jurisdiction to pronounce the
judgment is as follows:
WOLFGANG O. ROEHR, petitioner, vs. MARIA CARMEN D.
RODRIGUEZ, HON. JUDGE JOSEFINA GUEVARA-SALONGA, (a) In case of a judgment upon a specific thing, the judgment is
Presiding Judge of Makati RTC, Branch 149, respondents. conclusive upon the title to the thing;
G.R. No. 142820, June 20, 2003
(b) In case of a judgment against a person, the judgment is
Facts presumptive evidence of a right as between the parties and their
successors in interest by a subsequent title; but the judgment may be
Petitioner Wolfgang O. Roehr, a German citizen, married private repelled by evidence of a want of jurisdiction, want of notice to the
respondent Carmen Rodriguez, a Filipina, on December 11, 1980 in party, collusion, fraud, or clear mistake of law or fact.
Germany. Their marriage was subsequently ratified on February 14,
1981 in Tayasan, Negros Oriental. Out of their union were born It is essential that there should be an opportunity to challenge the
Carolynne and Alexandra Kristine. foreign judgment, in order for the court in this jurisdiction to properly
determine its efficacy. In this jurisdiction, our Rules of Court clearly
Carmen filed a petition for declaration of nullity of marriage before the provide that with respect to actions in personam, as distinguished
Makati Regional Trial Court (RTC). Wolfgang filed a motion to from actions in rem, a foreign judgment merely constitutes prima
dismiss, but it was denied. facieevidence of the justness of the claim of a party and, as such, is
subject to proof to the contrary.24
Meanwhile, Wolfgang obtained a decree of divorce from the Court of
In the present case, it cannot be said that private respondent was
First Instance of Hamburg-Blankenese. Said decree also provides
given the opportunity to challenge the judgment of the German court
that the parental custody of the children should be vested to
so that there is basis for declaring that judgment as res judicata with
Wolfgang.
regard to the rights of petitioner to have parental custody of their two
children. The proceedings in the German court were summary. As to
Wolfgang filed another motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction as a
what was the extent of private respondent’s participation in the
divorce decree had already been promulgated, and said motion was
proceedings in the German court, the records remain unclear. The
granted by Public Respondent RTC Judge Salonga.
divorce decree itself states that neither has she commented on the
proceedings25 nor has she given her opinion to the Social Services
Carmen filed a Motion for Partial Reconsideration, with a prayer that
Office.26 Unlike petitioner who was represented by two lawyers,
the case proceed for the purpose of determining the issues of
private respondent had no counsel to assist her in said
custody of children and the distribution of the properties between her
proceedings.27 More importantly, the divorce judgment was issued to
and Wolfgang. Judge Salonga partially set aside her previous order
petitioner by virtue of the German Civil Code provision to the effect
for the purpose of tackling the issues of support and custody of their
that when a couple lived separately for three years, the marriage is
children.
deemed irrefutably dissolved. The decree did not touch on the issue
Issue Whether or not respondent judge gravely abused her as to who the offending spouse was. Absent any finding that private
discretion when she assumed and retained jurisdiction over the respondent is unfit to obtain custody of the children, the trial court
present case despite the fact that petitioner has already obtained a was correct in setting the issue for hearing to determine the issue of
divorce decree from a German court. parental custody, care, support and education mindful of the best
interests of the children. This is in consonance with the provision in
Ruling the Child and Youth Welfare Code that the child’s welfare is always
In Garcia v. Recio,19 Van Dorn v. Romillo, Jr.,20 and Llorente v. Court the paramount consideration in all questions concerning his care and
of Appeals,21 we consistently held that a divorce obtained abroad by custody. 28
an alien may be recognized in our jurisdiction, provided such decree
is valid according to the national law of the foreigner. Relevant to the
present case is Pilapil v. Ibay-Somera,22 where this Court specifically
recognized the validity of a divorce obtained by a German citizen in
his country, the Federal Republic of Germany. We held in Pilapil that
a foreign divorce and its legal effects may be recognized in the