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5. The Llantinos filed their complaint to quiet title with damages before
alias JUAN MOLINA the Court of First Instance of Catanduanes
G.R. No. L-29663 August 20, 1990
6. The trial court rendered a Decision finding the contract of lease
Facts: entered into between the plaintiffs and the defendant on October 5,
1954, valid and in accordance with law and the complaint is
1. Plaintiffs aver that they owned a commercial-residential land in dismissed with costs against the plaintiffs.
Virac, Catanduanes, which sometime in 1954 they leased to the
defendant who was then a Chinese national and went by the name 7. Petitioners contend that when the contract which is sought to be
of Co Liong Chong. The lease was for a period of 13 years, for the declared void was entered into by and between the parties, private
sum of P6,150.00 for the whole period. respondent was still a Chinese national. However, they do not
dispute the right of private respondent to hold the landholding in
2. The defendant was placed in possession of the property but knowing dispute under a contract of lease but they cannot fathom how
that the period of the least would end with the year 1967, Congress could have thought of a lease contract which shall be for
petitioners requested private respondent for a conference but the an indefinite period and yet say that the period to be valid should
latter did not honor the request and instead he informed the not exceed 99 years.
petitioners that he had already constructed a commercial building
on the land worth P50,000.00; that the lease contract was for a 8. Private respondent argued that even though he was still an alien
period of sixty (60) years, counted from 1954; and that he has when he entered into the contract of lease, he was not prohibited
become a naturalized Filipino citizen in 1961 and that his name is no by law to do so. In fact, prior to his becoming a naturalized Filipino
longer Co Liong Chong but Juan Molina. citizen in 1961, the appellants did not question his right to enter into
that contract so that the parties are in pari delicto. He constructed a
3. The claim of Chong came as a surprise to the Llantinos because they building on the property worth P40,000.00 and prays that he be
did not remember having agreed to a sixty-year lease agreement as awarded P30,000.00 for moral damages and P2,000.00 for
that would virtually make Chong the owner of the realty which, as a Attorney's fees.
Chinese national, he had no right to own and neither could he have
acquired such ownership after naturalization subsequent to 1954. Issue:
Whether or not the contract of lease entered into by and between the
4. On December 16, 1967, in order to avoid a court litigation the petitioners and private respondent on October 5, 1954 for a period of
Llantinos once more invited Chong to a conference about the matter sixty (60) years is valid (YES. Valid, decision affirmed.)
but again Chong ignored the invitation.

1. The position of private respondent is well taken. 3. The only instance where a contract of lease may be considered
a. The lower court correctly ruled that the defendant-appellee invalid is, if there are circumstances attendant to its execution, which
Chong had at the time of the execution of the contract, the right are used as a scheme to circumvent the constitutional prohibition.
to hold by lease the property involved in the case although at the a. If an alien is given not only a lease of, but also an option to buy,
time of the execution of the contract, he was still a Chinese a piece of land, by virtue of which the Filipino owner cannot sell
national or otherwise dispose of his property, this to last for 50 years,
b. It has been established that there is only one contract and there then it becomes clear that the arrangement is a virtual transfer
is no option to buy the leased property in favor of Chong. There of ownership whereby the owner divests himself in stages not
is nothing in the record, either in the lease contract or in the only of the right to enjoy the land (jus possidendi, jus utendi, jus
complaint itself, to indicate any scheme to circumvent the fruendi, and jus abutendi) — rights, the sum of which make up
constitutional prohibition. ownership. It is just as if today the possession is transferred,
c. The Llantinos themselves admit openly that right from the start tomorrow the use, the next day the disposition, and so on, until
and before entering into the contract, Chong had merely asked ultimately all the rights of which ownership is made up are
them for a lease of the premises to which they agreed. consolidated in an alien
d. Under the terms of the contract there is nothing to prevent the 4. Even assuming, arguendo, that the subject contract is prohibited,
Llantinos from disposing of their title to the land to any qualified the same can no longer be questioned presently upon the
party but subject to the rights of the lessee Chong. Neither is acquisition by the private respondent of Filipino citizenship. It was
there under the terms of the said contract to indicate that the held that sale of a residential land to an alien which is now in the
ownership of the Llantinos of the leased premises has been hands of a naturalized Filipino citizen is valid.
virtually transferred to the lessee (Rollo, p. 59; Appellee's Brief, a. A contract is the law between the contracting parties, and when
p. 14). there is nothing in it which is contrary to law, morals, good
2. Under the circumstances, a lease to an alien for a reasonable period customs, public policy or public order, the validity of the contract
is valid. So is an option giving an alien the right to buy real property must be sustained
on condition that he is granted Philippine citizenship. b. The issue of the nature of the contract in the case at bar was
a. Aliens are not completely excluded by the Constitution from use never raised in the basic pleadings or in the pre-trial
of lands for residential purposes. Since their residence in the c. It is too late to raise an issue on appeal in the Supreme Court
Philippines is temporary, they may be granted temporary rights when it has not been raised in the lower court
such as a lease contract which is not forbidden by the d. Moreover, contracts which are not ambiguous are to be
Constitution. Should they desire to remain here forever and interpreted according to their literal meaning and should not be
share our fortune and misfortune, Filipino citizenship is not interpreted beyond their obvious intendment
impossible to acquire

02 THOMAS C. CHEESMAN, petitioner, o The legal presumption in Article 160 could not apply because the husband-
vs. plaintiff is an American citizen and therefore disqualified under the
INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT and ESTELITA Constitution to acquire and own real properties; and
PADILLA, respondents. o The exercise by Criselda of exclusive acts of dominion with the knowledge
of her husband “had led Estelita to believe that the properties were the
exclusive properties of Criselda and on the faith of such a belief she bought
the properties from her and for value” and therefore, Thomas was estopped
to impugn the transfer.
FACTS:  Thomas appealed the judgment, as well as the act of the Trial Court of
 Thomas Cheesman and Criselda P. Cheesman were married on December granting Estelita’s petition for relief and its resolution of matters not
4, 1970 but have been separated since February 15, 1981. subject of said petition. IAC affirmed the Summary Judgment and found no
 On June 4, 1974, a “Deed of Sale and Transfer of Possessory Rights” was reversible error. Thomas Cheesman appealed to the Supreme Court.
executed by Armando Altares conveying a parcel of unregistered land and
the house in favor of “Criselda P. Cheesman, of legal age, Filipino citizen, ISSUE: Whether or not Thomas correctly availed of the remedy of appeal to
married to Thomas Cheesman, and residing at Lot No. 1, Blk. 8, Filtration SC? – NO
Road, Sta. Rita, Olongapo City .
 Thomas Cheesman, although aware of the deed, did not object to the transfer [COMMENTO: We’re familiar with the Persons related issue –– The foreigner
being made only to his wife. husband has no capacity or personality to question the sale of the property
 Thereafter, tax declarations for the property purchased were issued in the because it would be an indirect controversion of the constitutional prohibition.
name only of Criselda Cheesman and Criselda assumed exclusive Aliens are prohibited from acquiring lands of the public domain.]
management and administration of said property, leasing it to tenants. This
happened without any protest from Thomas. RULING: An order of the CFI granting a petition for relief under Rule 38 is
 Criselda sold the property to Estelita M. Padilla, without the knowledge or interlocutory and is not appealable.
consent of Cheesman. The deed described Criselda as being “of legal age,
married to an American citizen...”  QUESTION OF FACT vs. QUESTION OF LAW: The conclusions made by
 Subsequently, Thomas filed a suit in the CFI against Criselda and Estelita the trial court were derived from evidence adduced by the parties, the facts
Padilla, praying for the annulment of the sale on the ground that the set out in the pleadings or otherwise appearing on record—are conclusions
transaction had been executed without his knowledge and consent. or findings of fact. As distinguished from a QUESTION OF LAW—which
 During the Pre-trial, the sale was declared void ab initio and the the delivery exists "when the doubt or difference arises as to what the law is on a certain
of the property to Thomas as administrator of the conjugal partnership state of facts" — "there is a QUESTION OF FACT when the doubt or
property was ordered. difference arises as to the truth or the falsehood of alleged facts;" or when
 However, the judgment was set aside on a petition for relief filed by the the "query necessarily invites calibration of the whole evidence considering
Estrellita, grounded on "fraud, mistake and/or excusable negligence" which mainly the credibility of witnesses, existence and relevancy of specific
had seriously impaired her right to present her case adequately. Estelita surrounding circumstances, their relation; to each other and to the whole and
Padilla filed a supplemental pleading as her own answer to the complaint and the probabilities of the situation."
a motion for summary judgment.  The RULE is that only questions of law, distinctly set forth, may be raised in
 The Trial Court found that — a petition for the review on certiorari of a decision of the Court of Appeals
o The evidence on record satisfactorily overcame the disputable presumption presented to the Supreme Court.
that all property of the marriage belongs to the conjugal partnership and  The appellate jurisdiction of the SC is limited to reviewing errors of law,
that the immovable in question was in truth Criselda’s paraphernal property; accepting as conclusive the factual findings of the lower court upon its own
assessment of the evidence.

 CA was created precisely to take away from the SC the work of examining
the evidence, and confine its task to the determination of questions which do
not call for the reading and study of transcripts containing the testimony of
 The rule of conclusiveness of the factual findings or conclusions of the CA is
subject to certain exceptions. However, none of which is present in the case
at bar.
 Both the Trial Court and the IAC reached the same conclusions on the 3
factual matters, after assessment of the evidence and determination of the
probative value thereof and these determinations will not be disturbed.
o The facts on record adequately proved fraud, mistake or excusable
negligence by which Estelita Padilla's rights had been substantially
impaired; that the funds used by Criselda Cheesman was money she had
earned and saved prior to her marriage to Thomas Cheesman, and that
Estelita Padilla did believe in good faith that Criselda Cheesman was the
sole owner of the property in question.
 An order of a CFI granting a petition for relief under Rule 38 is
interlocutory and is NOT appealable. The failure of the party who
opposed the petition to appeal from said order, or his participation in
the proceedings subsequently had, cannot be construed as a waiver of
his objection to the petition for relief so as to preclude his raising the
same question on appeal from the judgment on the merits of the main
 Such a party need not repeat his objections to the petition for relief, or
perform any act thereafter in order to preserve his right to question the
same eventually, on appeal, it being sufficient for this purpose that he has
made of record "the action which he desires the court to take or his
objection to the action of the court and his grounds therefor."
 The prayer in a petition for relief from judgment under Rule 38 is not
necessarily the same prayer in the petitioner's complaint, answer or other
basic pleading. Once a petition for relief is granted and the judgment
subject thereof set aside, and further proceedings are thereafter had, the
Court in its judgment on the merits may properly grant the relief sought in
the petitioner's basic pleadings, although different from that stated in his
petition for relief.

WHEREFORE, the appealed decision is AFFIRMED, with costs against


03 LILJEDAHL V. GLASSGOW making them liable (Hilger, after finding out that there was a
Short summary: Morgagee sues the transferee of the Mortgagor for the deed saying the said statement, he returned the deed and
amount due. Transferee argues that in accordance with lex situs, he is rescinded the contract).
not liable. The court held that he is, it being assumed that the parties 4. The parties may be presumed to have contracted with reference
contracted w/ the reference to lex contractus. to the law of Iowa, where the contract was executed and to be
FACTS: performed, and that they intended to be bound in accordance
1. BAILEY (DEBTOR-MORTGAGOR) executed a mortgage in favor of therewith.
Foskett (original CREDITOR).
2. Foskett assigned the proceeds of the loan and the mortgage to
Liljedahl. Land mortgaged was in Colorado, principal loan
payable in Iowa.
3. Bailey sold the mortgaged land to GLASSGOW w/ a deed
containing a blank space for the insertion of the name of the
grantee (and w/ a statement as follows: "grantee assumed and
agreed to pay the plaintiff's mortgage"). Glassgow, though, did
not put his name on the blank space.
4. Glassgow later transferred the land to another. Liljedahl now
sues Glassgow as the grantee of the land.
ISSUE: WON Glassgow is liable? YES. Apply Colorado Law
1. Instruments of conveyance primarily or directly relating to the
tile follow lex rei sitae; personal covenants or agreements in
instruments of conveyance follow law of the place where the
same is executed and to be performed.
2. Contracts made and to be performed in a particular state are
made with reference to the law of that state. Glassgow and Hiatt
were residents of Iowa, the mortgage was payable in Iowa (in
Shenandoah), delivery by Bailey to Glassgow is presumed to be
in Iowa also.
3. Evidence was introduced before the jury that Glassgow and
Hilger (also a subsequent transferee) understood the legal
implications of accepting a deed containing the statement

04 POLLY CAYETANO v. HON. TOMAS T. LEONIDAS (CFI Manila) and has verified the veracity of the will and now confirms the same
NENITA CAMPOS PAGUIA to be truly the probated will of Adoracion.
CFI: Last Will and Testament is admitted to and allowed probate in the
Facts: Philippines, and Nenita is appointed Administratrix of the estate.
 1977, Adoracion C. Campos died, leaving her father,
Hermogenes and her sisters, Nenita, Remedios and Marieta as Note: Hermogenes died and left a will, which has been questioned by
the surviving heirs. his children and forced heirs, and which appointed Polly Cayetano as
 As Hermogenes was the only compulsory heir, he executed an the executrix.
Affidavit of Adjudication whereby he adjudicated unto himself
the ownership of the entire estate of Adoracion. Issue: WON the right of a forced heir to his legitime can be divested by
 Nenita filed a petition for the reprobate of a will of Adoracion, a decree admitting a will to probate in which no provision is made for
which was allegedly executed in the US and for her appointment the forced heir in complete disregard of Law of Succession. YES.
as administratrix of the estate.
o Testatrix was an American citizen at the time of her Held:
death and was a permanent resident of Philadelphia,  [Procedural Concerns]: No proof that the motion to withdraw
Pennsylvania, U.S.A. was secured through fraudulent means and that Atty. Loyola
o Testatrix died in Manila while temporarily residing with was not his counsel of record.
her sister in Malate
o Testatrix made her last will and testament in 1975,  [Relevant to Topic: General rule: Probate court's authority is
according to the laws of Pennsylvania, nominating limited only to the extrinsic validity of the will, the due execution
Wilfredo Barzaga of New Jersey as executor thereof, the testatrix's testamentary capacity and the
o Last will was presented, probated, allowed, and compliance with the requisites or solemnities prescribed
registered with the Registry of Wills at the County of o Intrinsic validity of the will comes after the court has
Philadelphia declared that the will has been duly authenticated.
 Opposition was filed by Hermogenes. o Exception: Where practical considerations demand that
o He believes that the will in question is a forgery the intrinsic validity be passed upon, even before it is
o Intrinsic provisions of the will are null and void. probated, the court should meet the issue.
o Pertinent American laws on intrinsic provisions could not  Although on its face, the will appeared to have preterited
apply as they would work injustice and injury to him. Hermogenes and judge should have denied its reprobate
 Hermogenes, through his counsel, filed a Motion to Dismiss outright, Adoracion was, at the time of her death, an American
Opposition (With Waiver of Rights or Interests) stating that he citizen and a permanent resident of Philadelphia.

o Under Art. 16(2) and 1039 NCC, the law which governs
Adoracion's will is the law of Pennsylvania, which is the
national law of the decedent.
 As regards the intrinsic validity of the provisions of the will, the
national law of the decedent must apply.
o Bellis v. Bellis: Whatever public policy/good customs may
be involved in our system of legitimes, Congress has not
intended to extend the same to the succession of foreign
nationals. For it has specifically chosen to leave… the
amount of successional rights, to the decedent's national
law. Specific provisions must prevail over general ones.
 Settlement of the estate of Adoracion was correctly filed with
the CFI Manila where she had an estate since it was alleged and
proven that Adoracion at the time of her death was a citizen and
permanent resident of Pennsylvania and not a "usual resident of
Cavite" as alleged by Polly.
o Polly is now estopped from questioning the jurisdiction
of the probate court in the petition for relief since it
cannot be invoked to secure affirmative relief, against his
opponent and after failing to obtain such relief,
repudiate or question that same jurisdiction.

WHEREFORE, petition for certiorari and prohibition is dismissed for lack

of merit.

05 In the matter of the estate of EMIL H. JOHNSON the Philippine Islands, and shall have the same effect as if
STREET, J. executed according to the laws of these Islands.
Facts:  After the requisite publication and hearing, the will was
 Biographical facts about Emil Johnson: admitted to probate in March 1916 and Victor Johnson was
o Born in Sweden in 1877. He migrated to the US and lived appointed administrator.
in Chicago, Illinois from 1893-1898. Married Rosalie  By the will in question, the testator gives to his brother Victor
Ackeson in 1898 and thereafter embarked for the PH as one hundred shares of the corporate stock in the Johnson-
a US soldier. He had a daughter, Ebba. After being Pickett Rope Company; to his father and mother in Sweden, the
discharged as a soldier, Emil lived in the PH and was sum of P20,000; to his daughter Ebba Ingeborg, the sum of
divorced by Rosalie in 1902 on the ground of desertion. P5,000; to his wife, Alejandra Ibañez, the sum of P75 per month,
In 1903, Emil visited the US and procured a Certificate of if she remains single; to Simeona Ibañez, spinster, P65 per
Naturalization. From Chicago, Emil flew to Sweden to month, if she remains single. The rest of the property is left to
visit his parents and Ebba then proceeded to Manila, the testator's five children — Mercedes, Encarnacion, Victor,
where he lived until his death. In Manila, he married Eleonor and Alberto.
Alejandra Ibanez with whom he had three children,  In June 1916, Ebba entered an appearance challenging the
Mercedes, Encarnacion and Victor. The other two admission to probate.
children in the will were borne to the deceased Simeona Issues:
Ibanez. (I) The order admitting the will to probate was beyond the
 Feb 4 1916 – Emil died in Manila. He left a holographic will, dated jurisdiction of the court and void because made without notice
September 9, 1915, signed by him and two witnesses. His estate to the petitioner;
was valued at P231,800. (II) The judgment from which the petitioner seeks relief should
 Feb 9 1916 – the will was presented for probate in CFI Manila be set aside because the testator was not a resident of the State
citing that Johnson was a citizen of US at the time of his death of Illinois and the will was not in conformity with the laws of that
and his will was executed in accordance with Illinois laws and State.
therefore can be probated in the Philippines under section 636 Held/Ratio:
of the Code of Civil Procedure: 1. The Court has jurisdiction over the probate proceedings.
Will made here by alien. — A will made within the Admission to probate affirmed.
Philippine Islands by a citizen or subject of another state or
country, which is executed in accordance with the law of Re Jurisdiction of the Court
the state or country of which he is a citizen or subject, and
which might be proved and allowed by the law of his own Recall: Court acquired jurisdiction over the probate proceedings
state or country, may be proved, allowed, and recorded in based on Sec 636.

Code of Civil Procedure, Ebba has six months from March 1916
Ebba claims that Sec 636 is not applicable because it refers to (order admitting will to probate) to file an application for relief
wills of aliens and since the word “state” is not capitalized, then from a judgment, order, or proceeding taken against her
said provision does not apply to a United States citizen residing through her mistake, inadvertence, surprise or excusable
in the PH. Therefore, court has no jurisdiction. neglect. True enough, Ebba was able to file her petition within
just three months or in June. Therefore, the March 1916 order
Court held that the words “another state or country” includes cannot be declared void merely because Ebba was unavoidably
the United States and the States of the American Union and the prevented from appearing in the original hearing.
Sec 636 is not limited to wills of aliens. It is a rule of
hermeneutics that punctuation and capitalization are aids of 2. Emil is a US citizen. The Illinois laws that were violated by the
low degree in interpreting the language of a statute and can will were not presented in court.
never control against the intelligible meaning of the written
words. Furthermore, the epigraph, or heading, of a section, Re Foreign Laws
being nothing more than a convenient index to the contents of CFI mistakenly took judicial notice of Illinois laws. Sec 275 of the
the provision, cannot have the effect of limiting the operative Code of Civil Procedure authorizes the courts to take judicial
words contained in the body of the text. Therefore, if Emil H. notice of the acts of the legislative department of the US and not
Johnson was at the time of his death a citizen of the United of the multifarious laws of the various American States. The
States and of the State of Illinois, his will was provable under Sec proper rule is to require proof of the statutes of the States of the
636 in the courts of the Philippine Islands, provided the American Union whenever their provisions are determinative of
instrument was so executed as to be admissible to probate the issues in any action litigated in the Philippine courts.
under the laws of the State of Illinois. However, even if the CFI made such mistake, the court order still
cannot be invalidated because the supposed non-
Re Lack of Notice compliance/violations to Illinois laws were not raised by the
petitioner. Ebba merely stated in general terms that the will in
Ebba claims that she was not given ample opportunity to appear question is invalid and inadequate to pass real and personal
personally or by a representative in the probate proceedings. property in the State of Illinois, but this is merely a conclusion of
When the court issued the order of publication, the court was law. The affidavits by which the petition is accompanied contain
apprised of the fact the she lived in the US. Hence, the court no reference to the subject, and we are cited to no authority in
should have appointed a later hearing date. the appellant's brief which might tent to raise a doubt as to the
correctness of the conclusion of the trial court.
Court found that the date set was proper and regular. The Re US Citizenship
remedy of Ebba was to file an appeal. Also, under Sec 113 of the

As evidence of Emil’s US Citizenship, a certificate of
naturalization was presented. This certificate is incontrovertible
proof that upon the date stated (1903), Emil became a citizen of
the US. Even if Emil later resided in the PH, this does not have
the effect of cancelling his US citizenship because (1) there is no
evidence that Emil abandoned Illinois as his permanent
domicile, and (2) there are no naturalization laws in the PH at
that time.

06 In the matter of the will of Jennie Rider Babcock. Argument of oppositor Babcock, the brother of the proponent: testatrix
BEATRICE BABCOCK TEMPLETON, vs. WILLIAM RIDER BABCOCK had never acquired a legal domicile in the State of California, or that, if
she had, such domicile had been lost under the conditions presently to
FACTS: Beatrice Babcock Templeton filed a petition with the CFI Manila be discussed.
to secure probate of a paper writing purporting to express the wishes HELD: The deceased had acquired a domicile in the State of California
of Jennie Rider Babcock, deceased, with reference to the post RATIO:
mortem disposition of all her property. 1. The deceased had voted in California elections. Though not
This paper is written wholly in the handwriting of the deceased and conclusive of acquisition of domicile, voting in a place is an
bears her proper signature. The testatrix eft her stock and money to important circumstance and, where the evidence is scanty, may
her three grandchildren, bearing the surname Templeton, but the she have decisive weight. The exercise of the franchise is one of the
further stated that all interest and dividends are to be given to her only highest prerogatives of citizenship, and in no other act of his life
daughter, Mrs. Templeton, as well as her jewelry and personal effects does the citizen identify his interests with the state in which he
"for their support until the youngest is of age." lives more than in the act of voting.
Templeton alleged that testatrix was at the time of her death a resident
of the State of California, though temporarily residing in Manila at the 2. First, her son-in-law, Templeton, owned a home in San Francisco
time of her death; and the parties have agreed that this paper could be in which he lived, without any apparent intention of removing
proved in the State of California as the holographic will of the deceased. from the state;
NOTE: The aforesaid instrument is admittedly of a testamentary Secondly, upon arriving in San Francisco, the testatrix
character, but it is not executed as a will under the provisions of law established herself as a practitioner in Christian Science, a cult
generally governing the execution of the wills made in the Philippine to which she was attached:
Islands. Thirdly she engaged in political activities, taking part in a parade
ISSUE: Whether the testatrix, at the time will was made, had the status advertising a cause in which she was interested, and she voted
of a citizen of the State of California. YES. CITIZEN OF CALIFORNIA. Will in at least one general election that occurred in that state;
to be probated under the laws of California. Fourthly, she formed an attachment for California, and in many
Note: The citizenship (to a specific state) of a person born in the United conversations thereafter with intimate friends, she referred to
States, as was the testatrix in this case, is dependent upon the place of California as her home state expressed her intention of
residence, or domicile. returning there and building a home in which to live.
Argument of Templeton, mother of the three children who are principal 3. In the passenger manifest of the vessel upon which she came to
beneficiaries of the will: the testatrix acquired a legal domicile in the Manila, she wrote New York City to be her "Last Permanent
State of California by residence therein over two periods of time Residence." HELD: No probative force. The Passenger Manifest
between 1917 and 1923, and that such domicile was never lost. gave the passenger no choice about indicating whether New
York was the place of last residence or the place of last

permanent residence. Papers of this character are not
commonly written with legal precision; and the circumstances
that she had lived many years in Manila and was coming back to
this city, sufficiently explains why she claimed to be a resident
of Manila in that declaration without making any conclusive
commitment as to the place of her domicile in law.
ISSUE 2: Whether or not the domicile thus acquired was subsequently
lost by removal from said state.
HELD: No. Not removed.
RATIO:There are no declarations of the testatrix in evidence which
would tend to show that, upon removal to New York, she had any
intention of acquiring a legal domicile in that state
ISSUE 3: Whether or not the will should be admitted here in the PH as
the will of a citizen of the PH after the testatrix established herself in
these Islands as a place of permanent abode
HELD: NO. However long the testatrix had resided in the Philippine
Islands, she at no time had any intention of residing here permanently.
In the contrary, her repeated declarations reveal a fixed intention of
returning ultimately to the United States.
A citizen of the United States cannot acquire citizenship in the Philippine
Islands by residence here, however long continued.
Which state of the American Union has the best claim to her citizenship,
a question, which, as we have already seen, turns upon domicile; and
there is no other state whose citizenship she can claim, with as good
right as the State of California. Massachusetts, the place of her marital
abode, has not been entered in the competition. It is between California
and New York.
As between these two states, California was surely the state of her legal
domicile, acquired by choice and by residing therein. Furthermore, this
California domicile has not been supplanted by a later domicile acquired
in New York.

07 Testate Estate of Joseph G. Brimo, JUAN MICIANO, administrator, The oppositor was granted ample opportunity to introduce competent
petitioner-appellee, vs. ANDRE BRIMO, opponent-appellant. evidence, so there is no error on the part the trial court when it denied
G.R. No. L-22595|November 1, 1927| ROMUALDEZ, J.: giving the oppositor another opportunity to do so.
Facts: There is, therefore, no evidence in the record that the national law of
 The judicial administrator of this estate of deceased Joseph Brimo the testator Joseph G. Brimo was violated in the testamentary
filed a scheme of partition. Andre Brimo, one of the brothers of the dispositions in question which, not being contrary to our laws in force,
deceased, opposed it. The court, however, approved it. must be complied with and executed.
 The oppositor argued that the partition in question puts into effect The approval of the scheme of partition in this respect was not
the provisions of Joseph Brimo's will which are not in accordance erroneous.
with the laws of his Turkish nationality, for which reason they are In regard to the first assignment of error which deals with the exclusion
void as being in violation or article 10 of the Civil Code which of the herein appellant as a legatee, inasmuch as he is one of the
provides that “legal and testamentary successions, in respect to the persons designated as such in will, it must be taken into consideration
order of succession as well as to the amount of the successional that such exclusion is based on the last part of the second clause of the
rights and the intrinsic validity of their provisions, shall be regulated will. The institution of legatees in this will is conditional, and the
by the national law of the person whose succession is in question, condition is that the instituted legatees must respect the testator's will
whatever may be the nature of the property or the country in which to distribute his property, not in accordance with the laws of his
it may be situated.” nationality, but in accordance with the laws of the Philippines.
 The oppositor did not prove that said testamentary dispositions are The provision in the will which states that the distribution of the
not in accordance with the Turkish laws, inasmuch as he did not property be made in accordance with Philippine law is void, being
present any evidence showing what the Turkish laws are on the contrary to law, because it expressly ignores the testator's national law
matter. when, according to article 10 of the civil Code above quoted, such
Issue: What law governs the partition of the decedent’s estate? Turkish national law of the testator is the one to govern his testamentary
law but it is presumed to be the same as that of Philippine law. dispositions. Said condition then, in the light of the legal provisions
Held: above cited, is considered unwritten, and the institution of legatees in
In the absence of evidence on Turkish laws, they are presumed to be said will is unconditional and consequently valid and effective even as
the same as those of the Philippines. to the herein oppositor.
It has not been proved in these proceedings what the Turkish laws are. All of the remaining clauses of said will with all their dispositions and
He, himself, acknowledges it when he desires to be given an opportunity requests are perfectly valid and effective it not appearing that said
to present evidence on this point; so much so that he assigns as an error clauses are contrary to the testator's national law.
of the court in not having deferred the approval of the scheme of DISPOSITIVE: The distribution of this estate be made in such a manner
partition until the receipt of certain testimony requested regarding the as to include the herein appellant Andre Brimo as one of the legatees,
Turkish laws on the matter.

and the scheme of partition submitted by the judicial administrator is
approved in all other respects.

08 Testate Estate of Amos Bellis v. Edward Bellis (1967) - Appellants argue that their case falls under the circumstances
Bengzon, J: mentioned in the third paragraph of Article 17 in relation to Article 16
of the Civil Code. “Art 17(3)-- Prohibitive laws concerning persons, their
Facts: acts or property, and those which have for their object public order,
- Amos Bellis, an American citizen, was born and resided in Texas. public policy and good customs shall not be rendered ineffective by laws
He had 5 legitimate children by his first wife, 3 legitimate children by his or judgments promulgated, or by determinations or conventions agreed
second wife and 3 illegitimate children. upon in a foreign country.”
- He executed a will in the Philippines, directing that his
distributable estate should be divided, in trust, in the following order Issue: WON Texas or Philippine law should apply  Texas Law
and manner: (a) $240,000.00 to his first wife, Mary E. Mallen; (b)
P120,000.00 to his three illegitimate children, Amos Bellis, Jr., Maria Ratio:
Cristina Bellis, Miriam Palma Bellis, or P40,000.00 each and (c) after the - The parties do not submit the case on, nor even discuss, the
foregoing two items have been satisfied, the remainder shall go to his doctrine of renvoi, Said doctrine is usually pertinent where the
seven surviving children in equal shares decedent is a national of one country, and a domicile of another. In the
- On July 8, 1958, Amos G. Bellis died a resident of San Antonio, present case, the decedent was both a national of Texas and a domicile
Texas, USA. His will was admitted to probate in the CFI of Manila on thereof at the time of his death. Even assuming Texas has a conflict of
September 15, 1958. law rule providing that the domiciliary system (law of the domicile)
- As executor of the will, People’s Bank and Trust Company paid should govern, the same would still refer to Texas law.
$240,000 in the form of shares of stock to Mary E. Mallen and to the 3 - Nonetheless, if Texas has a conflicts rule adopting the situs
illegitimate children, Amos Bellis, Jr., Maria Cristina Bellis and Miriam theory (lex rei sitae) calling for the application of the law of the place
Palma Bellis, amounts totalling P40,000 each. where the properties are situated, renvoi would arise, since the
- When the executor submitted its Final Account, Report of properties here involved are found in the Philippines. In the absence,
Administration and Project of Partition, Maria Cristina Bellis and Miriam however, of proof as to the conflict of law rule of Texas, it should not be
Palma Bellis filed their oppositions to the project of partition on the presumed different from ours.
ground that they were deprived of their legitimes as illegitimate - Article 16, par. 2, and Art. 1039 of the Civil Code, render
children. applicable the national law of the decedent, in intestate or
- The CFI of Manila overruled the oppositions and approved the testamentary successions, with regard to four items: (a) the order of
executor's final account, report and administration and project of succession; (b) the amount of successional rights; (e) the intrinsic
partition. Relying upon Art. 16 of the Civil Code, it applied the national validity of the provisions of the will; and (d) the capacity to succeed.
law of the decedent, which in this case is Texas law, which did not - Appellants would however counter that Art. 17, paragraph 3 of
provide for legitimes. the Civil Code prevails as the exception to Art. 16, par. 2 of the Civil
Code. This is not correct. Precisely, Congress deleted the phrase,

"notwithstanding the provisions of this and the next preceding article"
when they incorporated Art. 11 of the old Civil Code as Art. 17 of the
new Civil Code, while reproducing without substantial change the
second paragraph of Art. 10 of the old Civil Code as Art. 16 in the 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 and
intestate succession. As further indication of this legislative intent,
Congress added a new provision, under Art. 1039, which decrees that
capacity to succeed is to be governed by the national law of the
- Whatever public policy or good customs may be involved in our
System of legitimes, Congress has not intended to extend the same to
the succession of foreign nationals. For it has specifically chosen to
leave, inter alia, the amount of successional rights, to the decedent's
national law. Specific provisions must prevail over general ones.
- Appellants would also point out that the decedent executed two
wills — one to govern his Texas estate and the other his Philippine
estate — arguing from this that he intended Philippine law to govern his
Philippine estate. Such intention would not alter the law, for as this
Court ruled in Miciano v. Brimo, a provision in a foreigner's will to the
effect that his properties shall be distributed in accordance with
Philippine law and not with his national law, is illegal and void
- The parties admit that the decedent, Amos G. Bellis, was a
citizen of the State of Texas, U.S.A., and that under the laws of Texas,
there are no forced heirs or legitimes. Accordingly, since the intrinsic
validity of the provision of the will and the amount of successional rights
are to be determined under Texas law, the Philippine law on legitimes
cannot be applied to the testacy of Amos G. Bellis.

09 IN RE: TESTATE ESTATE OF THE DECEASED JOSE B. SUNTAY. SILVINO proceedings praying for the probate of the will executed in the
SUNTAY VS IN RE: INTESTATE ESTATE Philippines or of the will executed in Amoy, Fookien, China.
G.R. Nos. L-3087 and L-3088 July 31, 1954 Witnesses were presented to prove the existence of the will allegedly
left by Jose Suntay.
Doctrine: Wills proved and allowed in a foreign country, according to
the laws of such country, may be allowed, filed, and recorded by the Lower Court Ruling: Dissallowed alleged will and testament executed in
proper Court of First Instance in the Philippines. Manila on November 1929, and the alleged last will and testament
executed in Kulangsu, Amoy, China, on 4 January 1931, by Jose B.
FACTS: Jose Suntay, a Filipino citizen and resident of the Philippines, Suntay.
died in the city of Amoy, Fookien province, Republic of China, leaving
real and personal properties in the Philippines and a house in Amoy, ISSUE:
Fookien province, China, and children by his first marriage with Manuela 1. Whether or not the wills allegedly left by Jose SUntay can be
T. Cruz namely, Apolonio, Concepcion, Angel, Manuel, Federico, Ana, probated.
Aurora, Emiliano, and children with his second marriage to Maria
Natividad Lim Billian namely Jose, Jr. and Silvino. RATIO: Upheld decision of the Court of First Instance. Granting that
Intestate proceedings were instituted in the Court of First there was a will duly executed by Jose B. Suntay, and that it was in
Instance of Bulacan. Apolonio Suntay was declared administrator. After existence at the time of, and note revoked before his death, the
his death, Federico C. Suntay was appointed administrator of the estate. testimonies of the witnesses presented fall falls short of the legal
Maria Natividad filed a petition in the Court of First Instance of Bulacan requirement that the provisions of the lost will must be "clearly and
for the probate of a last will and testament claimed to have been distinctly proved by at least two credible witnesses." Credible witnesses
executed and signed in the Philippines on November 1929 by the late mean competent witnesses and those who testify to facts from or upon
Jose B. Suntay. This petition was denied because of the loss of said will hearsay are neither competent nor credible witnesses.
and of the insufficiency of the evidence to establish the loss of the said As to the will claimed to have been executed on 4 January 1931 in Amoy,
will. An appeal was taken from said order denying the probate of the China, the law on the point in Rule 78. Section 1 of the rule provides:
will and this Court held the evidence before the probate court sufficient Wills proved and allowed in a foreign country, according
to prove the loss of the will and remanded the case to the Court of First to the laws of such country, may be allowed, filed, and
Instance of Bulacan for the further proceedings. recorded by the proper Court of First Instance in the
Silvino Suntay, claiming that he had found among the files, Philippines.
records and documents of his late father a will and testament in Chinese Section 2 provides:
characters executed and signed by the deceased on 4 January 1931 and When a copy of such will and the allowance thereof, duly
that the same was filed, recorded and probated in the Amoy district authenticated, is filed with a petition for allowance in the
court, Province of Fookien, China, filed a petition in the intestate Philippines, by the executor or other person interested,

in the court having jurisdiction, such court shall fix a time Chinese courts are the a deposition or to a perpetuation of testimony,
and place for the hearing, and cause notice thereof to be and even if it were so it does not measure same as those provided for
given as in case of an original will presented for in our laws on the subject. It is a proceeding in rem and for the validity
allowance. of such proceedings personal notice or by publication or both to all
Section 3 provides: interested parties must be made. The interested parties in the case
If it appears at the hearing that the will should be were known to reside in the Philippines. The evidence shows that no
allowed in the Philippines, the court shall so allow it, and such notice was received by the interested parties residing in the
a certificate of its allowance, signed by the Judge, and Philippines
attested by the seal of the courts, to which shall be The order of the municipal district court of Amoy, China, does
attached a copy of the will, shall be filed and recorded by not purport to probate or allow the will which was the subject of the
the clerk, and the will shall have the same effect as if proceedings. In view thereof, the will and the alleged probate thereof
originally proved and allowed in such court. cannot be said to have been done in accordance with the accepted basic
The fact that the municipal district court of Amoy, China, is a probate and fundamental concepts and principles followed in the probate and
court must be proved. The law of China on procedure in the probate or allowance of wills. Consequently, the authenticated transcript of
allowance of wills must also be proved. The legal requirements for the proceedings held in the municipal district court of Amoy, China, cannot
execution of a valid will in China in 1931 should also be established by be deemed and accepted as proceedings leading to the probate or
competent evidence. However, there was no evidence presented to allowance of a will and, therefore, the will referred to therein cannot be
prove this point. The unverified answers to the questions propounded allowed, filed and recorded by a competent court of this country.
by counsel for the appellant to the Consul General of the Republic of
China, objected to by counsel for the appellee, are inadmissible,
because apart from the fact that the office of Consul General does not
qualify and make the person who holds it an expert on the Chinese law
on procedure in probate matters, if the same be admitted, the adverse
party would be deprived of his right to confront and cross-examine the
witness. Consuls are appointed to attend to trade matters. Moreover, it
appears that all the proceedings had in the municipal district court of
Amoy were for the purpose of taking the testimony of two attesting
witnesses to the will and that the order of the municipal district court
of Amoy does not purport to probate the will. In the absence of proof
that the municipal district court of Amoy is a probate court and on the
Chinese law of procedure in probate matters, it may be presumed that
the proceedings in the matter of probating or allowing a will in the

10 Vda. De Perez v. Tolete

11 Tayag v. Benguet Consolidated