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HONGKONG SHANGAI BANKING CORPORATION v. SHERMAN G.R. No.

72494 August 11, 1989


FACTS
In 1981, Eastern Book Supply Service PTE, Ltd., (Eastern) a company incorporated inSingapore applied w/,
& was granted by the Singapore branch of HSBC an overdraft facility inthe max amount of Singapore
$200,000 (w/c amount was subsequently increased to Singapore$375,000) w/ interest at 3% over HSBC
prime rate, payable monthly, on amounts due under said overdraft facility. As a security for the repayment
by Eastern of sums advanced by HSBC toit through the aforesaid overdraft facility, in 1982, Jack Sherman,
Dodato Reloj, and a Robin deClive Lowe, all of whom were directors of Eastern at such time, executed a
Joint and SeveralGuarantee in favor of HSBC whereby Sherman, Reloj and Lowe agreed to pay, jointly
andseverally, on demand all sums owed by Eastern to HSBC under the afore stated overdraft facility.The
Joint and Several Guarantee provides that: “This guarantee and all rights, obligations and liabilities arising
hereunder shall be construed and determined under and may be enforced in accordance with the laws of
the Republic of Singapore. We hereby agree that the Courts of Singapore shall have jurisdiction over all
disputes arising under this guarantee.” Eastern failed to pay its obligation. Thus, HSBC demanded
payment of the obligation from Sherman & Reloj, conformably w/ the provisions of the Joint and Several
Guarantee. In as muchas Sherman & Reloj still failed to pay, HSBC filed a complaint for collection of a sum
of money against them. Sherman & Reloj filed a motion to dismiss on the grounds that (1) the court has
no jurisdiction over the subject matter of the complaint, and (2) the court has no jurisdiction over the
person of the defendants.
ISSUE
W/N Philippine courts should have jurisdiction over the suit.
RULING
YES. While it is true that "the transaction took place in Singaporean setting" and that the Joint and Several
Guarantee contains a choice-of-forum clause, the very essence of due process dictates that the stipulation
that "this guarantee and all rights, obligations & liabilities arisinghereunder shall be construed &
determined under & may be enforced in accordance w/ the laws of the Republic of Singapore. We hereby
agree that the Courts in Singapore shall have jurisdiction over all disputes arising under this guarantee"
be liberally construed. One basic principle underlies all rules of jurisdiction in International Law: a State
does not have jurisdiction in the absence of some reasonable basis for exercising it, whether the
proceedings are in rem, quasi in rem or in personam. To be reasonable, the jurisdiction must be based on
someminimum contacts that will not offend traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice. Indeed,
as pointed-out by HSBC at the outset, the instant case presents a very odd situation. Inthe ordinary habits
of life, anyone would be disinclined to litigate before a foreign tribunal, w/more reason as a defendant.
However, in this case, Sherman & Reloj are Philippine residents (a fact which was not disputed by them)
who would rather face a complaint against them before aforeign court and in the process incur
considerable expenses, not to mention inconvenience, than to have a Philippine court try and resolve the
case. Their stance is hardly comprehensible, unless their ultimate intent is to evade, or at least delay, the
payment of a just obligation. The defense of Sherman & Reloj that the complaint should have been filed
in Singapore is based merely on technicality. They did not even claim, much less prove, that the filing of
the action here will cause them any unnecessary trouble, damage, or expense. On the other hand, there
is no showing that petitioner BANK filed the action here just to harass Sherman & Reloj. The parties did
not thereby stipulate that only the courts of Singapore, to the exclusion of all the rest, has jurisdiction.
Neither did the clause in question operate to divest Philippine courts of jurisdiction. In International Law,
jurisdiction is often defined as the light of a State to exercise authority over persons and things w/in its
boundaries subject to certain exceptions. Thus, a State does not assume jurisdiction over travelling
sovereigns, ambassadors and diplomatic representatives of other States, and foreign military units
stationed in or marching through State territory w/ the permission of the latter's authorities. This
authority, which finds its source in the concept of sovereignty, is exclusive w/in and throughout the
domain of the State. A State is competent to take hold of any judicial matter it sees fit by making its courts
and agencies assume jurisdiction over all kinds of cases brought before them.

PHILSEC. INVESTMENT V. COURT OF APPEALS, 274 SCRA 102 (1997)


FACTS
Ducat obtained two separate loans from Ayala and Philsec in the sum of $2.5M secured by shares of stock
ownedby Ducat. In order to facilitate the payment of the loans, 1488 Inc. undertook the obligation to pay
by virtue of a Warranty Deed with a Vendor’s Lien. Through the latter, 1488 Inc. sold to Athona Holdings
(“Athona”) a parcel of land in Texas while Philsec and Ayala extended a $2.5M loan to Athona to partially
cover the value of the $2.8M lot. Athona executed a promissory note in favour of 1488 Inc. worth $.3M
to complete the payment for the lot. After all these transactions, Ducat was released by Philsec and Ayala
of his loan. Athona failed to pay the $.3M promissory note. 1488 Inc. sued Athona, Philsec and Ayala for
the payment of the $.3M. The case was filed in Texas. While the Texas case was pending, Philsec filed a
complaint to recover a sum of money with damages in a Makati RTC against Ducat.

Ducat, on the other hand, filed and was granted a MTD on the basis of litis pendentia and forum non
conveniens. The trial court also held that it had no jurisdiction over 1488 Inc. because the action was
neither in rem nor quasiin rem, accompanied by the fact that the said defendant was a non-resident. The
Court of Appeals affirmed the decision.
ISSUES
1.Does a judgment in a US court bar actions to be instituted in Philippine courts? (i.e. Can the foreign
judgment constitute res judicata?)
2. Did CA err in dismissing the case based on the principle of forum non conveniens?

RULING
1.It depends. The FOREIGN JUDGMENT CANNOT BE GIVEN THE EFFECT OF RES JUDICATA WITHOUTGIVING
THE ADVERSE PARTY AN OPPORTUNITY TO IMPEACH IT ON GROUNDS STATED IN RULE 39, §50 of the Rules
of Court, to wit: “ WANT OF JURISDICTION, WANT OF NOTICE TO THE PARTY, COLLUSION, FRAUD, OR
CLEAR MISTAKE OF LAW OR FACT.”

While this Court has given the effect of res judicata to foreign judgments in several cases, it was after the
parties opposed to the judgment had been given ample opportunity to repel them on grounds allowed
under the law. IT IS NOT NECESSARY FOR THIS PURPOSE TO INITIATE A SEPARATE ACTION OR PROCEEDING
FORENFORCEMENT OF THE FOREIGN JUDGMENT.
WHAT IS ESSENTIAL IS THAT THERE IS OPPORTUNITY TO CHALLENGE THE FOREIGN JUDGMENT, INORDER
FOR THE COURT TO PROPERLY DETERMINE ITS EFFICACY.

This is because in this jurisdiction, with respect to ACTIONS IN PERSONAM, as distinguished from actions
in rem, a FOREIGN JUDGMENT MERELY CONSTITUTES PRIMA FACIE EVIDENCE OF THE JUSTNESS OFTHE
CLAIM OF A PARTY AND, AS SUCH, IS SUBJECT TO PROOF TO THE CONTRARY.
In the case at bar, it cannot be said that petitioners were given the opportunity to challenge the judgment
of the U.S. court as basis for declaring it res judicata or conclusive of the rights of private respondents.

The proceedings in the trial court were summary. Neither the trial court nor the appellate court was even
furnished copies of the pleadings in the U.S. court or apprised of the evidence presented thereat, to assure
a proper determination of 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 rendered would constitute res judicata.
2.Yes.
First, a MTD
is limited to the grounds under Rule 16, §1, which does not include forum non conveniens. The propriety
of dismissing a case based on this principle requires a factual determination, hence, it is more properly
considered a matter of defense.
Second, while it is within the discretion of the trial court to abstain from assuming jurisdiction on this
ground, it should do so only after “vital facts are established, to determine whether special circumstances”
require the court’s desistance.
In this case, the TRIAL COURT ABSTAINED FROM TAKING JURISDICTION SOLELY ON THE BASIS OF
THEPLEADINGS FILED BY PRIVATE RESPONDENTS IN CONNECTION WITH THE MOTION TO DISMISS.

IT FAILED TO CONSIDER THAT PHILSEC IS A DOMESTIC CORPORATION AND DUCAT IS A FILIPINO, AND
THAT IT WAS THE EXTINGUISHMENT OF THE LATTER’S DEBT WHICH WAS THE OBJECT OF THE
TRANSACTION UNDER LITIGATION.
The trial court arbitrarily dismissed the case even after finding that Ducat was not a party in the U.S. case

TUNG HO STEEL ENTERPRISES CORPORATION, vs. TING GUAN TRADING CORPORATION


Tung Ho is a foreign corporation organized under the laws of Taiwan, Republic of China.4 On the other
hand, respondent Ting Guan Trading Corp. (Ting Guan) is a domestic corporation organized under the laws
of the Philippines.5

On January 9, 2002, Ting Guan obligated itself under a contract of sale to deliver heavy metal scrap iron
and steel to Tung Ho. Subsequently, Tung Ho filed a request for arbitration before the ICC International
Court of Arbitration (ICC) in Singapore after Ting Guan failed to deliver the full quantity of the promised
heavy metal scrap iron and steel.6

The ICC ruled in favor of Tung Ho on June 18, 2004 and ordered Ting Guan to pay Tung Ho the following:
(1) actual damages in the amount of US$ 659,646.15 with interest of 6% per annum from 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

On October 24, 2004, Tung Ho filed an action against Ting Guan for the recognition and enforcement of
the arbitral award before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Makati, Branch 145. Ting Guan moved to
dismiss the case based on Tung Ho’s lack of capacity to sue and for prematurity. Ting Guan subsequently
filed a supplemental motion to dismiss based on improper venue. Ting Guan argued that the complaint
should have been filed in Cebu where its principal place of business was located.
This case presents to us the following issues:
1) Whether the present petition is barred by res judicata; and
2) Whether the trial court acquired jurisdiction over the person of Ting Guan, specifically:
a) Whether Tejero was the proper person to receive the summons; and
b) Whether Ting Guan made a voluntary appearance before the trial court.

Ruling:
A. The petition is not barred by res judicata

Res judicata refers to the rule that a final judgment or decree on the merits by a court of competent
jurisdiction is conclusive on the rights of the parties or their privies in all later suits on all points and
matters determined in the former suit.19 For res judicata to apply, the final judgment must be on the
merits of the case which means that the court has unequivocally determined the parties’ rights and
obligations with respect to the causes of action and the subject matter of the case.20

Contrary to Ting Guan’s position, our ruling in G.R. No. 176110 does not operate as res judicata on Tung
Ho’s appeal; G.R. No. 176110 did not conclusively rule on all issues raised by the parties in this case so
that this Court would now be barred from taking cognizance of Tung Ho’s petition. Our disposition in G.R.
No. 176110 only dwelt on technical or collateral aspects of the case, and not on its merits. Specifically, we
did not rule on whether Tung Ho may enforce the foreign arbitral award against Ting Guan in that case.

B. The appellate court cannot be ousted of jurisdiction until it finally disposes of the case

The court’s jurisdiction, once attached, cannot be ousted until it finally disposes of the case. When a court
has already obtained and is exercising jurisdiction over a controversy, its jurisdiction to proceed 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 his disposition.

The CA was not ousted of its jurisdiction with the promulgation of G.R. No. 176110. The July 5, 2006
decision has not yet become final and executory for the reason that there remained a pending incident
before the CA – the resolution of Tung Ho’s motion for reconsideration – when this Court promulgated
G.R. No. 176110. In this latter case, on the other hand, we only resolved procedural issues that are
divorced from the present jurisdictional question before us. Thus, what became immutable in G.R. No.
176110 was the ruling that Tung Ho’s complaint is not dismissible on grounds of prematurity, nullity of
the foreign arbitral award, improper venue, and the foreign arbitral award’s repugnance to local public
policy. This leads us to the conclusion that in the absence of any ruling on the merits on the issue of
jurisdiction, res judicata on this point could not have set in.

C. Tung Ho’s timely filing of a motion for reconsideration and of a petition for review on certiorari
prevented the July 5, 2006 decision from attaining finality

Furthermore, under Section 2, Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, Tung Ho may file a petition for review on
certiorari before the Court within (15) days from the denial of its motion for reconsideration filed in due
time after notice of the judgment. Tung Ho’s timely filing of a motion for reconsideration before the CA
and of a Rule 45 petition before this Court prevented the July 5, 2006 CA decision from attaining finality.
For this Court to deny Tung Ho’s petition would result in an anomalous situation where a party litigant is
penalized and deprived of his fair opportunity to appeal the case by faithfully complying with the Rules of
Court.

II. The trial court acquired jurisdiction over the person of Ting Guan

A. Tejero was not the proper person to receive the summons

Nonetheless, we see no reason to disturb the lower courts’ finding that Tejero was not a corporate
secretary and, therefore, was not the proper person to receive the summons under Section 11, Rule 14 of
the Rules of Court. This Court is not a trier of facts; we cannot re-examine, review or re-evaluate the
evidence and the factual review made by the lower courts. In the absence of compelling reasons, we will
not deviate from the rule that factual findings of the lower courts are final and binding on this Court.22

B. Ting Guan voluntarily appeared before the trial court

However, we cannot agree with the legal conclusion that the appellate court reached, given the
established facts.23 To our mind, Ting Guan voluntarily appeared before the trial court in view of the
procedural recourse that it took before that court. Its voluntary appearance is equivalent to service of
summons

Even assuming that Ting Guan did not voluntarily appear before the RTC, the CA should have ordered the
RTC to issue an alias summons instead. In Lingner & Fisher GMBH vs. Intermediate Appellate Court35, we
enunciated the policy that the courts should not dismiss a case simply because there was an improper
service of summons. The lower courts should be cautious in haphazardly dismissing complaints on this
ground alone considering that the trial court can cure this defect and order the issuance of alias summons
on the proper person in the interest of substantial justice and to expedite the proceedings.

Hang Lung Bank Ltd. Vs Hon. Felintriye G. Saulog


Belo, Abiera & Associates for petitioner. Castelo Law Office for private respondent. FERNAN, C.J.: FACTS:
Petitioner Huang Lung Bank filed a collection suit in the Supreme Court of Hongkong against Worlder and
Cordova Chin San for sums of money due the petitioner from the former on the basis of two (2) continuing
guarantee agreements petitioner entered into with Chin San in Hongkong. The foreign tribunal ordered
the payment to petitioner of the sum of HK$279,325 with interest and cost. Demand was made in writing
to Chin San at his Philippine address but no response was made thereto. Hence, petitioner instituted in
the RTC of Makati, Metro Manila Branch CXLII an action for the enforcement of its claims against Chin San.
Chin San filed a motion to dismiss claiming petitioner had no legal capacity to sue and the venue was
improperly laid. The RTC granted the motion ruling that petitioner does not do business in the Philippines
and is barred from maintaining suit pursuant to Sec. 14 of the General Banking Act. Its motion for
reconsideration having been denied, petitioner seeks the reversal of the orders of the RTC in a petition
for certiorari.
ISSUE: Whether or not petitioner has the capacity to file the action below.
HELD: Yes. A foreign corporation not licensed to do business in the Philippines may not be denied the right
to file an action in our courts for an isolated transaction in this country. Petitioner foreign banking
corporation may not be denied the privilege of pursuing its claims against private respondent for a
contract which was entered into and consummated outside the Philippines. Otherwise, it will hamper the
growth and development of business relations between Filipino citizens and foreign nationals. Worse, it
would be allowing the law to serve as a protective shield for unscrupulous Filipino citizens who have
business relationships abroad. The complaint appears to be one of the enforcement of the Hongkong
judgment because it prays for the grant of the affirmative relief given by said foreign judgment. However,
a foreign judgment may not be enforced if it is not recognized in the jurisdiction where affirmative relief
is being sought. Hence, in the interest of justice, the complaint should be considered as a petition for the
recognition of the Hongkong judgment under Section 50 (b), Rule 39 of the Rules of Court in order that
the defendant, private respondent herein, may present evidence of lack of jurisdiction, notice, collusion,
fraud or clear mistake of fact and law, if applicable.

Bellis vs. Bellis, G.R. No. L-23678, June 6, 1967


Facts:
Amos Bellis, who was a national and domicile of Texas, United States at the time of his death, executed
two wills, one to govern his Texas estate and the other his Philippine estate, which provided that his
properties should be distributed in accordance with Philippine law and not with his national law, one
devising a certain amount of money to his first wife and three illegitimate children and another, leaving
the rest of his estate to his seven legitimate children. Before partition, the illegitimate children who are
Filipinos opposed on the ground that they are deprived of their legitimes.
Issue:
1. Whether or not Doctrine of Renvoi should apply?
2. Whether or not the applicable law is Texas law or Philippine Law?
Held:
1. No. In this regard, the parties do not submit the case on, nor even discussed the doctrine of renvoi. Said
doctrine is usually pertinent where the decedent is a national of one country, and a domicile of another.
In the present case, it is not disputed that the decedent was both a national of Texas and a domicile
thereof at the time of his death. Renvoi doctrine is not applicable because there is no conflict as to the
nationality and domicile of Bellis. He is both a citizen and a resident of Texas. So even if assuming the law
of Texas applies the domiciliary rule, it is still Texas law that governs because his domicile is Texas.
Nonetheless, if Texas has a conflicts rule adopting the situs theory (lex rei sitae) calling for the application
of the law of the place where the properties are situated, renvoi would arise, since the properties here
involved are found in the Philippines. In the absence, however, of proof as to the conflict of law rule of
Texas, it should not be presumed different from ours.
2. Texas law. Applying the nationality rule, the law of Texas should govern the intrinsic validity of the will
and therefore answer the question on entitlement to legitimes. 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. 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, for
his national law cannot be ignored in regard to those matters under Article 16 of the Civil Code states said
national law should govern.
Miciano v. Brimo G.R. No. L-22595, 1 November 1927
FACTS:
Joseph Brimo, an alien testator (Turk) who made his will in the Philippines stated in the will thathis
property should be distributed in accordance with Philippine law, and not that of his nation.
The judicial administrator of the estate of the deceased filed a scheme of partition. However, one of the
brothers of the deceased opposed the said partition.
The appellant in the case, who opposed the same, based his opposition on the fact that the deceased was
a Turkish citizen, which his disposition should be in accordance with the laws of his nationality.

ISSUE:
Whether or not the disposition shall be made in accordance with Philippine Laws.
RULING:
No, the Turkish law should govern the disposition of his property pursuant to Article 16. According to
Article 16 of the Civil Code, such national law of the testator is the one to govern his testamentary
dispositions. The provision in the will is not valid. Said condition then is considered unwritten, hence the
institution of legatees is unconditional and consequently valid and effective.

Aznar vs. Garcia, G.R. No. L-16749, Jan. 3, 1963


Facts:
Edward Christensen, who at his death was a US citizen but domiciled in the Philippines, left a will, devising
unto Maria Helen, his acknowledged natural child, a certain amount of money and giving the rest of his
estate to Maria Lucy. Helen opposed the partition on the ground that she is deprived of her legitime. Her
contention is that the law of California (Article 946 of the Civil Code of California) directs that the law of
the domicile (Philippines) should govern the will and in accordance therewith and following the doctrine
of the renvoi, the question of the validity of the testamentary provision in question should be referred
back to the law of the decedent's domicile, which is the Philippines. The probate court ruled that as
Edward Christensen was a citizen of the United States and of the State of California at the time of his
death, the successional rights and intrinsic validity of the provisions in his will are to be governed by the
law of California, in accordance with which a testator has the right to dispose of his property in the way
he desires.
Issue:
Whether or not the national law or the domiciliary law should apply?
Held:
Domiciliary law. The Doctrine of Renvoi is usually pertinent where the decedent is a national of one
country, and a domicile of another. Here, the intrinsic validity of wills is governed by the national law of
the decedent. In the present case, the national law of Edward is the laws of California. However, there
were two conflicting California laws regarding succession. One is enunciated in In Re Kaufman (which does
not provide for legitimes) and another is Art. 946 of the California Civil Code (which provides that the law
of the domicile applies). SC held that the national law is Art. 946, which is the conflict of laws rule of
California. The reason is that In Re Kaufman applies only to residents while Art. 946 is specific to non-
residents. Thus, since Art. 946 contains a refer-back to Philippine laws (the law of the domicile), then
Maria Helen is entitled to her legitime.

The conflict of laws rule in California, Article 946, Civil Code, precisely refers back the case, when a
decedent is not domiciled in California, to the law of his domicile, the Philippines in the case at bar. The
court of the domicile cannot and should not refer the case back to California; such action would leave the
issue incapable of determination because the case will then be like a football, tossed back and forth
between the two states, between the country of which the decedent was a citizen and the country of his
domicile. The Philippine court must apply its own law as directed in the conflict of laws rule of the state
of the decedent, if the question has to be decided, especially as the application of the internal law of
California provides no legitime for children while the Philippine law, Arts. 887(4) and 894, Civil Code of
the Philippines, makes natural children legally acknowledged forced heirs of the parent recognizing them.

G.R. No. L-12105 January 30, 1960 TESTATE ESTATE OF C. O. BOHANAN, deceased.PHILIPPINE TRUST CO.,
executor-appellee,vs.MAGDALENA C. BOHANAN, EDWARD C. BOHANAN, and MARY LYDIA
BOHANAN,oppositors-appellants.
Issues:
The oppositors, Magadalena C. Bohanan and her two children, question the validity of the
executor/testator C.O. Bohanan’s last will and testament, claiming that they havebeen deprived of the
legitimate that the laws of the form concede to them. Another, is the claim of the testator's children,
Edward and Mary Lydia Bohanan, who had received legacies in the amount of PHP 6, 000 each only, and,
therefore, have not been given their shares in the estate which, in accordance with the laws, should be
two-thirds of the estate left by the testator.
Facts:
C.O. Bohanan was born in Nebraska and therefore a citizen of that state.Notwithstanding his long
residence in the Philippines, he continued and remained to bea citizen of the United States and of the
state of his pertinent residence to spend therest of his days in that state. His permanent residence or
domicile in the United Statesdepended upon his personal intent or desire, and he selected Nevada as his
homicideand therefore at the time of his death, he was a citizen of that state.
Held:
The first issue refers to the share that the wife of the testator, Magdalena C. Bohanan,should be
entitled to receive. The will has not given her any share in the estate left bythe testator. It is argued that
it was error for the trial court to have recognized the Reno divorce secured by the testator from his Filipino
wife Magdalena C. Bohanan, and that said divorce should be declared a nullity in this jurisdiction. The
court refused to recognize the claim of the widow on the ground that the laws of Nevada, of which
thedeceased was a citizen, allow him to dispose of all of his properties without requiring him to leave any
portion of his estate to his former (or divorced) wife. No right to share in the inheritance in favor of a
divorced wife exists in the State of Nevada, thus the oppositor can no longer claim portion of the estate
left by the testator.
With regards the second issue, the old Civil Code, which is applicable to this case because the
testator died in 1944, expressly provides that successional rights to personal property are to be earned by
the national law of the person whose succession is in question, thus the two-third rule is not enforceable.
Wherefore, the court finds that the testator C. O. Bohanan was at the time of his death a citizen
of the United States and of the State of Nevada and declares that his will and testament is fully in
accordance with the laws of the state of Nevada and admits the same to probate.
As in accordance with Article 10 of the old Civil Code, the validity of testamentary dispositions are
to be governed by the national law of the testator, and as it has been decided and it is not disputed that
the national law of the testator is that of the State of Nevada which allows a testator to dispose of all his
property according to his will, as in the case at bar, the order of the court approving the project of partition
made in accordance with the testamentary provisions, must be, as it is hereby affirmed, with costs against
appellants.

Cadalin vs. POEA, G.R. No. L-104776, Dec. 5, 1994


Facts:
Cadalin et al. are OCWs deployed to various Middle Eastern countries, including Bahrain. Under the
contracts, the choice of applicable law is Bahrain law in case of contractual disputes. The contracts were
later pre-terminated, claiming that they were not paid what was due to them, the laborers, upon their
repatration to the Philippines, filed complaints for damages against the employer. The claims having been
filed after one year from the termination of their employment contract, under Bahrain law, specifically of
the Amiri Decree No. 23 of 1976 the action has already prescribed. The claimants contented that the
prescriptive period is as provided under Article 11144 of the NCC which provides for a 10 year prescriptive
period because their claims arose from the violation by the employer of the employment contract. The
NLRC, on the other hand, believes that the applicable period is Article 291 of the Labor Code of the
Philippines which provides for a 3 year prescriptive period because their claims arise from employer-
employee relationship.
Issue:
1. Should the Bahrain law on prescription apply?
2. Whether the prescriptive period governing the filing of the claims is 3 years, as provided by the Labor
Code or 10 years, as provided by the Civil Code?
Held:
1. No. Statute of limitations is sui generis -- it may be procedural or substantive, depending on the
characterization given such a law. This distinction, however, becomes irrelevant when there is a borrowing
statute, as in the case of our Rules of Court, which provides that any action barred under the law of the
country where the cause of action arose is also barred in the Philippines.
A “borrowing statute” directs the state of the forum to apply the foreign statute of limitations to the
pending claims based on a foreign law. But, in this case, SC did not apply our Rules of Court on the ground
that doing so would contravene the constitutional provision on protecting the rights of labor. The courts
of the forum will not enforce a foreign claim obnoxious to the forum’s public policy.
2. The 3 year prescriptive period as provided by the Labor Code should apply. Since the violation arise
from employer-employee relationship.

G.R. No. 168785 February 5, 2010 HERALD BLACK DACASIN, Petitioner, vs. SHARON DEL MUNDO DACASIN,
Respondent.
FACTS:
Petitioner, Herald Dacasin, an American citizen filed the case for review, the dismissal of a suit to enforce
a post-foreign divorce child custody agreement for their daughter, Stephanie, whose sole custody was
awarded to the respondent, a Filipino citizen, filed in Illinois court for lack of jurisdiction. Petitioner sued
respondent in RTC Makati to enforce the agreement (contract) executed by the parties in Manila that
modified the terms of the post-divorce decree from sole custody of their daughter to joint custody,
alleging the respondent’s retention of sole custody. The respondent sought for the dismissal of the case
for lack of jurisdiction because the Illinois court’s retention of jurisdiction to enforce decree even after
the respondent undertook the relinquishment of the Illinois court’s jurisdiction to the Philippine courts.
Hence, the agreement both parties executed is void. The RTC dismissed the case The petitioner sought
reconsideration. His contention is that the divorce decree sought by the respondent in Illinois court is
void. Hence, the post-foreign divorce decree is also void citing the Nationality Rule under Art. 15 of the
Civil Code. The RTC denied the motion. Hence, this case.
ISSUES:
Whether or not the RTC has the jurisdiction over the case.
Whether or not the Agreement (contract) executed in Manila is valid.
RULING:
The RTC has jurisdiction to entertain petitioner’s suit but not to enforce the Agreement which is Void.
However, factual and equity considerations militate against the dismissal of petitioner’s suit and call for
the remand of the case to settle the question of Stephanie’s custody.
The RTC has jurisdiction
. Parties to a contract are free to stipulate the terms of agreement subject to the minimum ban on
stipulations contrary to law, morals, good customs, public order, or public policy.

The agreement is void. At the time the parties executed the Agreement on 28 January 2002, two facts
are undisputed: (1) Stephanie was under seven years old (having been born on 21 September 1995). This
is in contrary to law as stated in Art. 213 of the Civil Code; and (2) petitioner and respondent were no
longer married under the laws of the United States because of the divorce decree.
Based on Art. 15 or the Nationality Rule, petitioner cannot rely on the divorce decree’s alleged invalidity
- not because the Illinois court lacked jurisdiction or that the divorce decree violated Illinois law, but
because the divorce was obtained by his Filipino spouse. Only Philippine nationals are covered by the
policy against absolute divorces the same being considered contrary to our concept of public policy and
morality. However, aliens may obtain divorces abroad, which may be recognized in the Philippines,
provided they are valid according to their national law. In this case, the divorce in Nevada released private
respondent from the marriage from the standards of American law, under which divorce dissolves the
marriage.

Call for the Remand of the Case. Stephanie is now nearly 15 years old, thus removing the case outside of
the ambit of the mandatory maternal custody regime under Article 213 and bringing it within coverage of
the default standard on child custody proceedings – the best interest of the child.

Wildvalley Shipping Co., Ltd. vs Court of Appeals


In the Orinoco River in Venezuela, it is a rule that ships passing through it must be piloted by pilots familiar
to the river. Hence, in 1988 Captain Nicandro Colon, master of Philippine Roxas, a ship owned by Philippine
President Lines, Inc. (PPL), obtained the services of Ezzar Vasquez, a duly accredited pilot in Venezuela to
pilot the ship in the Orinoco River. Unfortunately, Philippine Roxas ran aground in the Orinoco River while
being piloted by Vasquez. As a result, the stranded ship blocked other vessels. One such vessel was owned
Wildvalley Shipping Co., Ltd. (WSC). The blockade caused $400k worth of losses to WSC as its ship was not
able to make its delivery. Subsequently, WSC sued PPL in the RTC of Manila. It averred that PPL is liable
for the losses it incurred under the laws of Venezuela, to wit: Reglamento General de la Ley de Pilotaje
and Reglamento Para la Zona de Pilotaje No 1 del Orinoco. These two laws provide that the master and
owner of the ship is liable for the negligence of the pilot of the ship. Vasquez was proven to be negligent
when he failed to check on certain vibrations that the ship was experiencing while traversing the river.

ISSUE: Whether or not Philippine President Lines, Inc. is liable under the said Venezuelan laws.
HELD: No. The two Venezuelan Laws were not duly proven as fact before the court. Only mere photocopies
of the laws were presented as evidence. For a copy of a foreign public document to be admissible, the
following requisites are mandatory:
(1) It must be attested by the officer having legal custody of the records or by his deputy; and
(2) It must be accompanied by a certificate by a secretary of the embassy or legation, consul general,
consul, vice consular or consular agent or foreign service officer, and with the seal of his office.
And in case of unwritten foreign laws, the oral testimony of expert witnesses is admissible, as are printed
and published books of reports of decisions of the courts of the country concerned if proved to be
commonly admitted in such courts.
Failure to prove the foreign laws gives rise to processual presumption where the foreign law is deemed
to be the same as Philippine laws. Under Philippine laws, PPL nor Captain Colon cannot be held liable for
the negligence of Vasquez. PPL and Colon had shown due diligence in selecting Vasquez to pilot the vessel.
Vasquez is competent and was a duly accredited pilot in Venezuela in good standing when he was
engaged.

MANUFACTURERS HANOVER TRUST CO. v. GUERRERO G.R. No. 136804 February 19, 2003
FACTS
The petition alleged the following:
- On May 17, 1994, respondent Rafael Ma. Guerrero fled before the Regional Trial Court
of Mania against Manufacturers Hanover Trust Co. and/or Chemical Bank
- Guerrero sought payment of damages allegedly for (1) illegally withheld taxed charged
against interests on his checking account with the Bank, (2) a returned check worth
$18,000.00 due to signature verification problems; and (3) unauthorized conversion of
his account.
- The bank filed its Answer alleging that Guerrero’s account is governed by New York law
which does not permit any Guerrero’s claims except actual damages.
- Seeking the dismissal of Guerrero’s claims, the Bank filed a Motion for Partial Summary
Judgment, supported by an affidavit of New York attorney Alyssa Walden.
- The RTC denied the Bank’s Motion for Partial Summary Judgment.
- The Court of Appeals also dismissed the petition for certiorari and prohibition assailing
the RTC Orders

ISSUE

Whether the Walden affidavit does serve as proof of the New York law and jurisprudence
HELD

The Walden affidavit stated conclusions from the affiant’s personal interpretation and opinion of
the facts of the case vis-à-vis, the alleged laws and jurisprudence without citing any laws in
particular. While the attached copies of some US court decisions do not comply with Section 24
of Rule 132 on proof of official records or decisions of foreign courts. Thus, the Walden affidavit
did not prove the current state of New York law and jurisprudence.
Hence, the petition is denied for lack of merit and Court of Appeal’s decision is affirmed.

Like any other fact is not a matter of judicial notice, they must be alleged and proven. The conflicting
allegations as to whether NewYork law or Philippine law applies to Guerreros claims present a clear
disputeon material allegations which can be resolved only by a trial on the merits. TheWalden affidavit
cannot be considered as proof of New York law on damagesnot only because it is self-serving but also
because it does not state the specificNew York law on damages. Guerrero cannot be said to have admitted
the averments in the Banks motionfor partial summary judgment and the Walden affidavit just because
he failed tofile an opposing affidavit. The Bank still had the burden of proving New Yorklaw and
jurisprudence even if Guerrero did not present an opposing affidavit.

EDI-Staffbuilders International, Inc. vs National Labor Relations Commission


In 1993, EDI-Staffbuilders, Inc. (EDI), upon request of Omar Ahmed Ali Bin Bechr Est. (OAB), a company in
Saudi Arabia, sent to OAB resumes from which OAB can choose a computer specialist. Eleazar Gran was
selected. It was agreed that his monthly salary shall be $850.00. But five months into his service in Saudi
Arabia, Gran received a termination letter and right there and then was removed from his post. The
termination letter states that he was incompetent because he does not know the ACAD system which is
required in his line of work; that he failed to enrich his knowledge during his 5 month stay to prove his
competence; that he is disobedient because he failed to submit the required daily reports to OAB. Gran
then signed a quitclaim whereby he declared that he is releasing OAB from any liability in exchange of
2,948.00 Riyal.

When Gran returned, he filed a labor case for illegal dismissal against EDI and OAB. EDI in its defense
averred that the dismissal is valid because when Gran and OAB signed the employment contract, both
parties agreed that Saudi labor laws shall govern all matters relating to the termination of Gran’s
employment; that under Saudi labor laws, Gran’s termination due to incompetence and insubordination
is valid; that Gran’s insubordination and incompetence is outlined in the termination letter Gran received.
The labor arbiter dismissed the labor case but on appeal, the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC)
reversed the decision of the arbiter. The Court of Appeals likewise affirmed the NLRC.

ISSUE: Whether or not the Saudi labor laws should be applied.

HELD: No. The specific Saudi labor laws were not proven in court. EDI did not present proof as to the
existence and the specific provisions of such foreign law. Hence, processual presumption applies and
Philippine labor laws shall be used. Under our laws, an employee like Gran shall only be terminated upon
just cause. The allegations against him, at worst, shall only merit a suspension not a dismissal. His
incompetence is not proven because prior to being sent to Saudi Arabia, he underwent the required trade
test to prove his competence. The presumption therefore is that he is competent and that it is upon OAB
and EDI to prove otherwise. No proof of his incompetence was ever adduced in court. His alleged
insubordination is likewise not proven. It was not proven that the submission of daily track records is part
of his job as a computer specialist. There was also a lack of due process. Under our laws, Gran is entitled
to the two notice rule whereby prior to termination he should receive two notices. In the case at bar, he
only received one and he was immediately terminated on the same day he received the notice.

Lastly, the quitclaim may not also release OAB from liability. Philippine laws is again applied here sans
proof of Saudi laws. Under Philippine Laws, a quitclaim is generally frowned upon and are strictly
examined. In this case, based on the circumstances, Gran at that time has no option but to sign the
quitclaim. The quitclaim is also void because his separation pay was merely 2,948 Riyal which is lower than
the $850.00 monthly salary (3,190 Riyal).
Brief Fact Summary. Plaintiff Carnival Cruise Lines, Inc. opposes a suit by a passenger injured on one of
their cruise ships, because the cruise tickets contained an agreement that all matters relating to the cruise
would be litigated before a Florida court.

Synopsis of Rule of Law. Forum-selection clauses forcing individuals to agree to submit to jurisdiction in a
particular place are enforceable so long as they pass the test for judicial fairness.

Facts. Defendant Shute purchased passage for a seven day cruise on the Tropicale, a ship owned by
Plaintiff, through a Washington travel agent. The face of each ticket contained terms and conditions of
passage, which included an agreement that all matters disputed or litigated subject to the travel
agreement, would be before a Florida court. Defendant boarded the ship in California, which then sailed
to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico before returning to Los Angeles. While the ship was in international waters,
Defendant Eulala Shute was injured from slipping on a deck mat. Defendants filed suit in Federal District
Court in Washington. Defendant filed a motion for summary judgment, alleging that the clause in the
tickets required Defendants to bring their suit in Florida.

Issue. Whether the court should enforce a forum-selection clause forcing individuals to submit to
jurisdiction in a particular state.
Held. Yes. The Supreme Court of the United States held that the Court of Appeals erred in refusing to
enforce the forum-selection clause.
Forum-selection clauses contained in form passage contracts are subject to judicial scrutiny for
fundamental fairness, but where they are not lacking in fairness, they will be enforced.
Dissent. Justice Stevens dissented, in which he was joined by Justice Marshall. Essentially Justice Stevens
feels that adhesion contracts, particularly forum-selection clauses, are void as contrary to public policy if
they were not freely bargained for, create additional expense for one party, or deny one party a remedy.
Discussion. In reaching its decision, the court noted that there is no evidence that Plaintiff set Florida as
the forum as a means of discouraging cruise passengers from pursuing their claims. Such a suggestion is
negated by the fact that Plaintiff has its headquarters in Florida, and many of its cruises depart from
Florida.

Small vs US
Facts of the case
Federal law made gun possession illegal for any person "convicted in any court" for crimes punishable by
more than a year in prison. A Japanese court convicted Gary Sherwood Small for crimes punishable by a
prison term longer than one year. Years later a U.S. District Court convicted Small, because of his prior
conviction, of illegally possessing a gun. Small appealed and argued the term "convicted in any court" did
not include convictions in foreign courts. The Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against Small.

Question
Federal law made gun possession illegal for any person "convicted in any court" for crimes punishable by
more than a year in prison. Does "convicted in any court" include convictions in foreign courts?
Held:
No. In a 5-3 opinion delivered by Justice Stephen Breyer, the Court held that the federal law's phrase,
"convicted in any court," encompassed only domestic, not foreign, convictions. The majority reasoned
that in determining the scope of the phrase, it was appropriate to assume Congress had domestic
concerns in mind. Moreover, the statute's overall language suggested no intent to reach beyond domestic
convictions.

WOLFGANG O. ROEHR, petitioner, vs. MARIA CARMEN D. RODRIGUEZ, HON. JUDGE JOSEFINA
GUEVARA-SALONGA
Petitioner Wolfgang O. Roehr, a German citizen, married private respondent Carmen Rodriguez,
a Filipina, on December 11, 1980 in Germany. Their marriage was subsequently ratified on February 14,
1981 in Tayasan, Negros Oriental. Out of their union were born Carolynne and Alexandra Kristine.
Carmen filed a petition for declaration of nullity of marriage before the Makati Regional Trial Court
(RTC). Wolfgang filed a motion to dismiss, but it was denied.
Meanwhile, Wolfgang obtained a decree of divorce from the Court of First Instance of Hamburg-
Blankenese. Said decree also provides that the parental custody of the children should be vested to
Wolfgang.
Wolfgang filed another motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction as a divorce decree had already
been promulgated, and said motion was granted by Public Respondent RTC Judge Salonga.
Carmen filed a Motion for Partial Reconsideration, with a prayer that the case proceed for the
purpose of determining the issues of custody of children and the distribution of the properties between
her and Wolfgang. Judge Salonga partially set aside her previous order for the purpose of tackling the
issues of support and custody of their children.

1st Issue: W/N Judge Salonga was correct in granting a partial motion for reconsideration.
Ruling: Yes.

A judge can order a partial reconsideration of a case that has not yet attained finality, as in the case at
bar.

The Supreme Court goes further to say that the court can modify or alter a judgment even after the same
has become executory whenever circumstances transpire rendering its decision unjust and inequitable,
as where certain facts and circumstances justifying or requiring such modification or alteration transpired
after the judgment has become final and executory and when it becomes imperative in the higher interest
of justice or when supervening events warrant it.

2nd issue: W/N Judge Salonga's act was valid when she assumed and retained jurisdiction as regards child
custody and support.

Ruling: Yes.
As a general rule, divorce decrees obtained by foreigners in other countries are recognizable in our
jurisdiction. But the legal effects thereof, e.g. on custody, care and support of the children, must still be
determined by our courts.

Before our courts can give the effect of res judicata to a foreign judgment, such as the award of custody
to Wolfgang by the German court, it must be shown that the parties opposed to the judgment had been
given ample opportunity to do so on grounds allowed under Rule 39, Section 50 of the Rules of Court (now
Rule 39, Section 48, 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure).

In the present case, it cannot be said that private respondent was given the opportunity to challenge the
judgment of the German court so that there is basis for declaring that judgment as res judicata with regard
to the rights of Wolfgang to have parental custody of their two children. The proceedings in the German
court were summary. As to what was the extent of Carmen’s participation in the proceedings in the
German court, the records remain unclear.

Absent any finding that private respondent is unfit to obtain custody of the children, the trial court was
correct in setting the issue for hearing to determine the issue of parental custody, care, support and
education mindful of the best interests of the children.