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LAUREL V. GARCIA [G.R. NO. 92013 & 92047. JULY 25, 1990.

Facts: The subject Roppongi property is one of the four properties in Japan acquired by the Philippine government under the Reparations Agreement entered into with Japan on 9 May 1956, the other lots being the Nampeidai Property (site of Philippine Embassy Chancery), the Kobe Commercial Property (Commercial lot used as warehouse and parking lot of consulate staff), and the Kobe Residential Property (a vacant residential lot). The properties and the capital goods and services procured from the Japanese government for national development projects are part of the indemnification to the Filipino people for their losses in life and property and their suffering during World War II. The Reparations Agreement provides that reparations valued at $550 million would be payable in 20 years in accordance with annual schedules of procurements to be fixed by the Philippine and Japanese governments (Article 2, Reparations Agreement). RA 1789, the Reparations Law, prescribes the national policy on procurement and utilization of reparations and development loans; those which belong to the government and which may be availed of by private entities. The Roppongi property was acquired from the Japanese government under the Second Year Schedule and listed under the heading "Government Sector", through Reparations Contract 300 dated 27 June 1958. The Roponggi property consists of the land and building "for the Chancery of the Philippine Embassy." As intended, it became the site of the Philippine Embassy until the latter was transferred to Nampeidai on 22 July 1976 when the Roppongi building needed major repairs. Due to the failure of our government to provide necessary funds, the Roppongi property has remained undeveloped since that time.

During the incumbency of President Aquino, a proposal was made by former Philippine Ambassador to Japan, Carlos J. Valdez, to lease the subject property to Kajima Corporation, a Japanese firm, in exchange of the construction of 2 buildings in Roppongi, 1 building in Nampeidai, and the renovation of the Philippine Chancery in Nampeidai. The Government did not act favorably to said proposal, but instead, on 11 August 1986, President Aquino created a committee to study the disposition or utilization of Philippine government properties in Tokyo and Kobe though AO-3, and AO 3A to 3-D. On 25 July 1987, the President issued EO 296 entitling non-Filipino citizens or entities to avail of reparations' capital goods and services in the event of sale, lease or disposition. The four properties in Japan including the Roppongi were specifically mentioned in the first "Whereas" clause. Amidst opposition by various sectors, the Executive branch of the government has been pushing, with great vigor, its decision to sell the reparations properties starting with the Roppongi lot.

Two petitions for prohibition were filed seeking to enjoin respondents, their representatives and agents from proceeding with the bidding for the sale of

the 3,179 sq. m. of land at 306 Ropponggi, 5-Chome Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan scheduled on 21 February 1990; the temporary restaining order of which was granted by the court on 20 February 1990. In G.R. No. 92047, a writ of mandamus was prayed for to compel the respondents to fully disclose to the public the basis of their decision to push through with the sale of the Roppongi property inspite of strong public opposition and to explain the proceedings which effectively prevent the participation of Filipino citizens and entities in the bidding process.

After multiple motions for extension to file comment by the respondents, the Supreme Court resolved to decide the 2 cases; thereby granting the petitions and enjoining the respondents from proceeding with the sale of the Roppongi property in Tokyo, Japan. The Court also made permanent the 20 February 1990 temporary restaining order.


1. Roponggi lot is a property of public dominion.

The nature of the Roppongi lot as property for public service is expressly spelled out. It is dictated by the terms of the Reparations Agreement and the corresponding contract of procurement which bind both the Philippine government and the Japanese government, that these were assigned to the government sector and that the Roppongi property itself was specifically designated under the Reparations Agreement to house the Philippine Embassy. There can be no doubt that it is of public dominion unless it is convincingly shown that the property has become patrimonial; which respondents have failed to show.

2. Conversion to patrimonial property happen if property is withdrawn from public use; Abandonment must be certain and positive act based on correct legal premises.

The fact that the Roppongi site has not been used for a long time for actual Embassy service does not automatically convert it to patrimonial property. Any such conversion happens only if the property is withdrawn from public use (Cebu Oxygen and Acetylene Co. v. Bercilles, 66 SCRA 481 [1975]). A property continues to be part of the public domain, not available for private appropriation or ownership "until there is a formal declaration on the part of the government to withdraw it from being such (Ignacio v. Director of Lands, 108 Phil. 335 [1960]) An abandonment of the intention to use the Roppongi

property for public service and to make it patrimonial property under Article 422 of the Civil Code must be definite. Abandonment cannot be inferred from the non-use alone specially if the non-use was attributable not to the government's own deliberate and indubitable will but to a lack of financial support to repair and improve the property (See Heirs of Felino Santiago v. Lazarao, 166 SCRA 368 [1988]). Abandonment must be a certain and positive act based on correct legal premises. In the present case, the recent Administrative Orders authorizing a study of the status and conditions of government properties in Japan were merely directives for investigation but did not in any way signify a clear intention to dispose of the properties. Further EO 296 does not declare that the properties lost their public character, but merely intends to make the properties available to foreigners and not to Filipinos alone in case of a sale, lease or other disposition.

3. RA 6657 does not authorize the disposition of Roppongi property as it is outside the commerce of man; EO 296 amended nationality provision for the sale of procurements for the private sector, not the procurements for the government (the latter which includes Roppongi property) EO 296 is based on the wrong premise or assumption that the Roppongi and the three other properties were earlier converted into alienable real properties. RA 1789 differentiates the procurements for the government sector and the private sector (Sections 2 and 12, RA 1789). Only the private sector properties can be sold to end-users who must be Filipinos or entities owned by Filipinos. It is this nationality provision which was amended by EO 296. Further, Section 63 (c) of RA 6657 (the CARP Law) which provides as one of the sources of funds for its implementation, the proceeds of the disposition of the properties of the Government in foreign countries, did not withdraw the Roppongi property from being classified as one of public dominion when it mentions Philippine properties abroad. Section 63 (c) refers to properties which are alienable and not to those reserved for public use or service. RA 6657, therefore, does not authorize the Executive Department to sell the Roppongi property. It merely enumerates possible sources of future funding to augment (as and when needed) the Agrarian Reform Fund created under EO 299. Obviously any property outside of the commerce of man cannot be tapped as a source of funds.

4. Conflict of law rule does not apply when conflict of law situation does not exist. A conflict of law rule cannot apply when no conflict of law situation exists. A conflict of law situation arises only when: (1) There is a dispute over the title or ownership of an immovable, such that the capacity to take and transfer immovables, the formalities of conveyance, the essential validity and effect of the transfer, or the interpretation and effect of a conveyance, are to be

determined; and (2) A foreign law on land ownership and its conveyance is asserted to conflict with a domestic law on the same matters. Hence, the need to determine which law should apply. In the present case, none of the above elements exists.

5. Issue on the authority of officials to dispose property belonging to state, and not validity of ownership or title, in question; governed by Philippine law The issues are not concerned with validity of ownership or title. There is no question that the property belongs to the Philippines. The issue is the authority of the respondent officials to validly dispose of property belonging to the State. And the validity of the procedures adopted to effect its sale. This is governed by Philippine Law. The rule of lex situs does not apply.

6. Opinion of Secretary of Justice irrelevant; Issue of whether the property can be sold precedes the issue of who can acquire. The assertion that the opinion of the Secretary of Justice sheds light on the relevance of the lex situs rule is misplaced. The opinion does not tackle the alienability of the real properties procured through reparations nor the existence in what body of the authority to sell them. In discussing who are capable of acquiring the lots, the Secretary merely explains that it is the foreign law which should determine who can acquire the properties so that the constitutional limitation on acquisition of lands of the public domain to Filipino citizens and entities wholly owned by Filipinos is inapplicable. There is no need to discuss who can acquire the Roppongi lot when there is no showing that it can be sold. Furthermore, there is no law authorizing the conveyance of the Roppongi property; Conveyance must be authorized by law enacted by Congress and requires executive and legislative concurrence.

TIME INC. VS REYES 39 SCRA 303 (1971)


This is a petition for certiorari and prohibition, with preliminary injunction, to annul certain orders of the respondent Court of First Instance of Rizal, issued in its Civil Case No. 10403, entitled "Antonio J. Villegas and Juan Ponce Enrile vs. Time, Inc., and Time-Life International, Publisher of 'Time' Magazine (Asia Edition)", and to prohibit the said court from further proceeding with the said civil case. Petitioner Time, Inc., 1 is an American corporation with principal offices at Rocketfeller Center, New York City, N. Y.,

and is the publisher of "Time", a weekly news magazine; the petition, however, does not allege the petitioner's legal capacity to sue in the courts of the Philippine. In the aforesaid Civil Case No. 10403, therein plaintiffs (herein respondents) Antonio J. Villegas and Juan Ponce Enrile seek to recover from the herein petitioner damages upon an alleged libel arising from a publication of Time (Asia Edition) magazine, in its issue of 18 August 1967, of an essay, entitled "Corruption in Asia". Petitioner filed a motion to dismiss the complaint for lack of jurisdiction and improper venue, relying upon the provisions of Republic Act 4363. Private respondents opposed the motion. In an order dated 26 February 1968, respondent court deferred the determination of the motion to dismiss until after trial of the case on the merits, the court having considered that the grounds relied upon in the motion do not appear to be indubitable. Failing in its motion, petitioner filed the instant petition for certiorari and prohibition


Whether or not the Time Corporation has the capacity to sue in the Philippine courts.

Ruling: Section 69 of the Corporation law, which provides: SEC. 69. No foreign corporation or corporations formed, organized, or existing under any laws other than those of the Philippines shall be permitted to ... maintain by itself or assignee any suit for the recovery of any debt, claim, or demand whatever, unless it shall have the license prescribed in the section immediately preceding. ..." ...;

They also invoke the ruling in Marshall-Wells Co. vs. Elser & Co., Inc. 7 that no foreign corporation may be permitted to maintain any suit in the local courts unless it shall have the license required by the law, and the ruling in Atlantic Mutual Ins. Co., Inc. vs. Cebu Stevedoring Co., Inc. 8 that "where ... the law denies to a foreign corporation the right to maintain suit unless it has previously complied with a certain requirement, then such compliance or the fact that the suing corporation is exempt therefrom, becomes a necessary averment in the complaint." We fail to see how these doctrines can be a propos in the case at bar, since the petitioner is not "maintaining any suit" but is merely defending one against itself; it did not file any complaint but

only a corollary defensive petition to prohibit the lower court from further proceeding with a suit that it had no jurisdiction to entertain. Petitioner's failure to aver its legal capacity to institute the present petition is not fatal, for ... A foreign corporation may, by writ of prohibition, seek relief against the wrongful assumption of jurisdiction. And a foreign corporation seeking a writ of prohibition against further maintenance of a suit, on the ground of want of jurisdiction in which jurisdiction is not bound by the ruling of the court in which the suit Fwas brought, on a motion to quash service of summons, that it has jurisdiction.

It is also advanced that the present petition is premature, since respondent court has not definitely ruled on the motion to dismiss, nor held that it has jurisdiction, but only argument is untenable. The motion to dismiss was predicated on the respondent court's lack of jurisdiction to entertain the action; and the rulings of this Court are that writs of certiorari or prohibition, or both, may issue in case of a denial or deferment of action on such a motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction.

SAUDI ARABIAN AIRLINES, petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS, MILAGROS P. MORADA and HON. RODOLFO A. ORTIZ, in his capacity as Presiding Judge of Branch 89, Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, respondents.

Facts: On January 21, 1988 defendant SAUDIA hired plaintiff as a Flight Attendant for its airlines based in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. . . . On April 27, 1990, while on a lay-over in Jakarta, Indonesia, plaintiff went to a disco dance with fellow crew members Thamer Al-Gazzawi and Allah AlGazzawi, both Saudi nationals. Because it was almost morning when they returned to their hotels, they agreed to have breakfast together at the room of Thamer. When they were in te (sic) room, Allah left on some pretext. Shortly after he did, Thamer attempted to rape plaintiff. Fortunately, a roomboy and several security personnel heard her cries for help and rescued her. Later, the Indonesian police came and arrested Thamer and Allah AlGazzawi, the latter as an accomplice.

In Jakarta, SAUDIA Legal Officer Sirah Akkad and base manager Baharini negotiated with the police for the immediate release of the detained crew

members but did not succeed because plaintiff refused to cooperate. She was afraid that she might be tricked into something she did not want because of her inability to understand the local dialect. She also declined to sign a blank paper and a document written in the local dialect. SAUDIA allowed plaintiff to return to Jeddah but barred her from the Jakarta flights.

The Indonesian authorities agreed to deport Thamer and Allah after two weeks of detention. Eventually, they were again put in service by defendant SAUDI. In September 1990, defendant SAUDIA transferred plaintiff to Manila. On January 14, 1992, just when plaintiff thought that the Jakarta incident was already behind her, her superiors requested her to see Mr. Ali Meniewy, Chief Legal Officer of SAUDIA, in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. When she saw him, he brought her to the police station where the police took her passport and questioned her about the Jakarta incident.

One year and a half later or on lune 16, 1993, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, a few minutes before the departure of her flight to Manila, plaintiff was not allowed to board the plane and instead ordered to take a later flight to Jeddah to see Mr. Miniewy, the Chief Legal Officer of SAUDIA. When she did, a certain Khalid of the SAUDIA office brought her to a Saudi court where she was asked to sign a document written in Arabic. They told her that this was necessary to close the case against Thamer and Allah. As it turned out, plaintiff signed a notice to her to appear before the court on June 27, 1993. Plaintiff then returned to Manila.

Defendant SAUDIA summoned plaintiff to report to Jeddah once again and see Miniewy on June 27, 1993 for further investigation. Plaintiff did so after receiving assurance from SAUDIA's Manila manager, Aslam Saleemi, that the investigation was routinary and that it posed no danger to her.

Saudi judge interrogated plaintiff through an interpreter about the Jakarta incident. After one hour of interrogation, they let her go. At the airport, however, just as her plane was about to take off, a SAUDIA officer told her that the airline had forbidden her to take flight. to her astonishment and shock, rendered a decision, translated to her in English, sentencing her to five months imprisonment and to 286 lashes. Only then did she realize that the Saudi court had tried her, together with Thamer and Allah, for what happened in Jakarta. The court found plaintiff guilty of (1) adultery; (2) going to a disco, dancing and listening to the music in violation of Islamic laws; and (3) socializing with the male crew, in contravention of Islamic tradition. 10 Private respondent sought the help of her employer, petitioner SAUDIA. Unfortunately, she was denied any assistance.

Because she was wrongfully convicted, the Prince of Makkah dismissed the case against her and allowed her to leave Saudi Arabia. she was terminated from the service by SAUDIA, without her being informed of the cause.

Morada filed a Complaint 13 for damages against SAUDIA, and Khaled AlBalawi ("Al-Balawi"), its country manager. SAUDIA filed an Omnibus Motion To Dismiss .The trial court issued an Order 19 dated August 29, 1994 denying the Motion to Dismiss Amended Complaint filed by Saudia.

SAUDIA filed on September 20, 1994, its Motion for Reconsideration 21 of the Order dated August 29, 1994. It alleged that the trial court has no jurisdiction to hear and try the case on the basis of Article 21 of the Civil Code, since the proper law applicable is the law of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Respondent Judge denying SAUDIA's Motion for Reconsideration. upon the basis of the applicable Philippine law, Article 21 of the New Civil Code of the Philippines, is, clearly, within the jurisdiction of this Court as regards the subject matter, and there being nothing new of substance which might cause the reversal or modification of the order sought to be reconsidered, the motion for reconsideration of the defendant, is DENIED. Court of Appeals rendered the Decision that the Philippines is an appropriate forum considering that the Amended Complaint's basis for recovery of damages is Article 21 of the Civil Code, and thus, clearly within the jurisdiction of respondent Court.


Held: Petitioner SAUDIA claims that before us is a conflict of laws that must be settled at the outset. It maintains that private respondent's claim for alleged abuse of rights occurred in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It alleges that the existence of a foreign element qualifies the instant case for the application of the law of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, by virtue of the lex loci delicti commissi rule. 34 Private respondent contends that since her Amended Complaint is based on Articles 19 35 and 21 36 of the Civil Code, then the instant case is properly a matter of domestic law. Where the factual

antecedents satisfactorily establish the existence of a foreign element, we agree with petitioner that the problem herein could present a "conflicts" case. A factual situation that cuts across territorial lines and is affected by the diverse laws of two or more states is said to contain a "foreign element". The foreign element may simply consist in the fact that one of the parties to a contract is an alien or has a foreign domicile, or that a contract between nationals of one State involves properties situated in another State. In other cases, the foreign element may assume a complex form. 42In the instant case, the foreign element consisted in the fact that private respondent Morada is a resident Philippine national, and that petitioner SAUDIA is a resident foreign corporation. A conflicts problem presents itself here, and the question of jurisdiction 43 confronts the court a quo. Article 19 of the New Civil Code provides: Art. 19. Every person must, in the exercise of his rights and in the performance of his duties, act with justice give everyone his due and observe honesty and good faith.

Article 21 of the New Civil Code provides: Art. 21. Any person who willfully causes loss or injury to another in a manner that is contrary to morals, good customs or public policy shall compensate the latter for damages.

The Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Quezon City possesses jurisdiction over the subject matter of the suit. 48 Its authority to try and hear the case is provided for under Section 1 of Republic Act No. 7691, to wit: Sec. 1. Section 19 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, otherwise known as the "Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980", is hereby amended to read as follows: Sec. 19. Jurisdiction in Civil Cases. Regional Trial Courts shall exercise exclusive jurisdiction: (8) In all other cases in which demand, exclusive of interest, damages of whatever kind, attorney's fees, litigation expenses, and cots or the value of the property in controversy exceeds One hundred thousand pesos (P100,000.00) or, in such other cases in Metro Manila, where the demand, exclusive of the above-mentioned items exceeds Two hundred Thousand pesos (P200,000.00). (Emphasis ours)

And following Section 2 (b), Rule 4 of the Revised Rules of Court the venue, Quezon City, is appropriate:

Sec. 2 Venue in Courts of First Instance. [Now Regional Trial Court] (b) Personal actions. All other actions may be commenced and tried where the defendant or any of the defendants resides or may be found, or where the plaintiff

Pragmatic considerations, including the convenience of the parties, also weigh heavily in favor of the RTC Quezon City assuming jurisdiction. Paramount Plaintiff may not, by choice of an inconvenient forum, "vex", "harass", or "oppress" the defendant, e.g. by inflicting upon him needless expense or disturbance. But unless the balance is strongly in favor of the defendant, the plaintiffs choice of forum should rarely be disturbed.

by hearing the case in the Philippines no unnecessary difficulties and inconvenience have been shown by either of the parties. The choice of forum of the plaintiff (now private respondent) should be upheld. The trial court also possesses jurisdiction over the persons of the parties herein. By filing her Complaint and Amended Complaint with the trial court, private respondent has voluntary submitted herself to the jurisdiction of the court. Petitioner SAUDIA has effectively submitted to the trial court's jurisdiction by praying for the dismissal of the Amended Complaint on grounds other than lack of jurisdiction. If his motion is for any other purpose than to object to the jurisdiction of the court over his person, he thereby submits himself to the jurisdiction of the court.

Clearly, petitioner had submitted to the jurisdiction of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City. Thus, we find that the trial court has jurisdiction over the case and that its exercise thereof, justified.

As to the choice of applicable law, we note that choice-of-law problems seek to answer two important questions: (1) What legal system should control a given situation where some of the significant facts occurred in two or more states; and (2) to what extent should the chosen legal system regulate the situation. Before a choice can be made, it is necessary for us to determine under what category a certain set of facts or rules fall. This process is known as "characterization", or the "doctrine of qualification". It is the "process of deciding whether or not the facts relate to the kind of question specified in a conflicts rule." The purpose of "characterization" is to enable the forum to select the proper law.

An essential element of conflict rules is the indication of a "test" or "connecting factor" or "point of contact". Choice-of-law rules invariably

consist of a factual relationship (such as property right, contract claim) and a connecting factor or point of contact, such as the situs of the res, the place of celebration, the place of performance, or the place of wrongdoing.

there is reasonable basis for private respondent's assertion that although she was already working in Manila, petitioner brought her to Jeddah on the pretense that she would merely testify in an investigation of the charges she made against the two SAUDIA crew members for the attack on her person while they were in Jakarta.

There is likewise logical basis on record for the claim that the "handing over" or "turning over" of the person of private respondent to Jeddah officials, petitioner may have acted beyond its duties as employer. Petitioner's purported act contributed to and amplified or even proximately caused additional humiliation, misery and suffering of private respondent.

Considering that the complaint in the court a quo is one involving torts, the "connecting factor" or "point of contact" could be the place or places where the tortious conduct or lex loci actus occurred. And applying the torts principle in a conflicts case, we find that the Philippines could be said as a situs of the tort (the place where the alleged tortious conduct took place). This is because it is in the Philippines where petitioner allegedly deceived private respondent, a Filipina residing and working here. That certain acts or parts of the injury allegedly occurred in another country is of no moment. What is important here is the place where the over-all harm or the totality of the alleged injury to the person, reputation, social standing and human rights of complainant, had lodged, according to the plaintiff below (herein private respondent). All told, it is not without basis to identify the Philippines as the situs of the alleged tort. "State of the most significant relationship" rule - In applying said principle to determine the State which has the most significant relationship, the following contacts are to be taken into account and evaluated according to their relative importance with respect to the particular issue: (a) the place where the injury occurred; (b) the place where the conduct causing the injury occurred; (c) the domicile, residence, nationality, place of incorporation and place of business of the parties, and (d) the place where the relationship, if any, between the parties is centered. There is basis for the claim that over-all injury occurred and lodged in the Philippines.

There is likewise no question that private respondent is a resident Filipina national, working with petitioner, a resident foreign corporation engaged here in the business of international air carriage. Thus, the "relationship" between the parties was centered here, that the Philippines is the situs of the tort complained of and the place "having the most interest in the problem", the Philippine law on tort liability should have paramount application to and control in the resolution of the legal issues arising out of this case. the respondent Regional Trial Court has jurisdiction over the parties and the subject matter of the complaint; the appropriate venue is in Quezon City, which could properly apply Philippine law. the Philippines is the state intimately concerned with the ultimate outcome of the case below, not just for the benefit of all the litigants, but also for the vindication of the country's system of law and justice in a transnational setting. Milagros P. Morada vs. Saudi Arabia Airlines" is hereby REMANDED to Regional Trial Court of Quezon City,

WILDVALLEY V. COURT OF APPEALS, 342 SCRA 213 Philippine (private)ship sangyad sa Venezuela kiha.. dismiss, unsa nga law ...unearned profits!! No averments sa law nila.. so apply sa atoa.. pilotage.. venezuelian...

FACTS: The Philippine Roxas, a vessel owned by Philippine President Lines, Inc., private respondent herein, arrived in Puerto Ordaz, Venezuela, to load iron ore. Upon the completion of the loading and when the vessel was ready to leave port, Mr. Ezzar del Valle Solarzano Vasquez, an official pilot of Venezuela, was designated by the harbour authorities in Puerto Ordaz to navigate the Philippine Roxas through the Orinoco River.

The Philippine Roxas experienced some vibrations when it entered the San Roque Channel at mile 172. The vessel proceeded on its way, with the pilot assuring the watch officer that the vibration was a result of the shallowness of the channel.

Between mile 158 and 157, the vessel again experienced some vibrations. These occurred at 4:12 a.m. It was then that the watch officer called the master to the bridge.

The master (captain) checked the position of the vesselvand verified that it was in the centre of the channel. He then went to confirm, or set down, the position of the vessel on the chart. He ordered Simplicio A. Monis, Chief Officer of the President Roxas, to check all the double bottom tanks. At around 4:35 a.m., the Philippine Roxas ran aground in the Orinoco River, thus obstructing the ingress and egress of vessels.

As a result of the blockage, the Malandrinon, a vessel owned by herein petitioner Wildvalley Shipping Company, Ltd., was unable to sail out of Puerto Ordaz on that day. Subsequently, Wildvalley sued Philippine President Lines and its underwriter for damages.The trial court ruled in favour of Wildvalley but was reversed on appeal, hence this petition.

ISSUE: Whether Venezuelan law should be applicable.

HELD: It is well-settled that foreign laws do not prove themselves in our jurisdiction and our courts are not authorized to take judicial notice of them. Like any other fact, they must be alleged and proved.

A distinction is to be made as to the manner of proving a written and an unwritten law. The former falls under Section 24, Rule 132 of the Rules of Court, as amended, the entire provision of which is quoted hereunder. Where the foreign law sought to be proved is unwritten, 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.

Section 24 of Rule 132 of the Rules of Court, as amended, provides: Sec. 24. Proof of official record. The record of public documents referred to in paragraph (a) of Section 19, when admissible for any purpose, may be evidenced by an official publication thereof or by a copy attested by the officer having the legal custody of the record, or by his deputy, and accompanied, if the record is not kept in the Philippines, with a certificate that such officer has the custody. If the office in which the record is kept is in a foreign country, the certificate may be made by a secretary of the embassy or legation, consul general, consul, vice consul, or consular agent or by any officer in the foreign service of the Philippines stationed in the foreign country in which the record is kept, and authenticated by the seal of his office.

The court has interpreted Section 25 (now Section 24) to include competent evidence like the testimony of a witness to prove the existence of a written foreign law.

We do not dispute the competency of Capt. Oscar Leon Monzon, the Assistant Harbor Master and Chief of Pilots at Puerto Ordaz, Venezuela, to testify on the existence of the Reglamento General

de la Ley de Pilotaje (pilotage law of Venezuela) and the Reglamento Para la Zona de Pilotaje N o 1 del Orinoco (rules governing the navigation of the Orinoco River). Captain Monzon has held the aforementioned posts for eight years. As such he is in charge of designating the pilots for maneuvering and navigating the Orinoco River. He is also in charge of the documents that come into the office of the harbour masters. Nevertheless, we take note that these written laws were not proven in the manner provided by Section 24 of Rule 132 of the Rules of Court.

The Reglamento General de la Ley de Pilotaje was published in the Gaceta Oficial of the Republic of Venezuela. A photocopy of the Gaceta Oficial was presented in evidence as an official publication of the Republic of Venezuela. The Reglamento Para la Zona de Pilotaje No 1 del Orinoco is published in a book issued by the Ministerio de Comunicaciones of Venezuela. Only a photocopy of the said rules was likewise presented as evidence. Both of these documents are considered in Philippine jurisprudence to be public documents for they are the written official acts, or records of the official acts of the sovereign authority, official bodies and tribunals, and public officers of Venezuela.

For a copy of a foreign public document to be admissible, the following requisites are mandatory: (1) It must be attested to 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. The latter requirement is not a mere technicality but is intended to justify the giving of full faith and credit to the genuineness of a document in a foreign country.

It is not enough that the Gaceta Oficial, or a book published by the Ministerio de Comunicaciones of Venezuela, was presented as evidence with Captain Monzon attesting it. It is also required by Section 24 of Rule 132 of the Rules of Court that a certificate that Captain Monzon, who attested to the documents, is the officer who had legal custody of those records made by a secretary of the embassy or legation, consul general, consul, vice consul or consular agent or by any officer in the foreign service of the Philippines stationed in Venezuela, and authenticated by the seal of his office accompanying the copy of the public document. No such certificate could be found in the records of the case.

With respect to proof of written laws, parol proof is objectionable, for the written law itself is the best evidence. According to the weight of authority, when a foreign statute is involved, the best evidence rule requires that it be proved by a duly authenticated copy of the statute. At this juncture, we have to point out that the Venezuelan law was not pleaded before the lower court. A foreign law is considered to be pleaded if there is an allegation in the pleading about the existence of the foreign law, its import and legal consequence on the event or transaction in issue.

A review of the Complaint revealed that it was never alleged or invoked despite the fact that the grounding of the M/V Philippine Roxas occurred within the territorial jurisdiction of Venezuela.

We reiterate that under the rules of private international law, a foreign law must be properly pleaded and proved as a fact. In the absence of pleading and proof, the laws of a foreign country, or state, will be presumed to be the same as our own local or domestic law and this is known as processual presumption.


FACTS: Napoleon B. Abordo, the deceased husband of private respondent Restituta C. Abordo, was the Second Engineer of M.T. "Cherry Earl" when he died from an apoplectic stroke in the course of his employment with petitioner NORSE MANAGEMENT COMPANY (PTE). The M.T. "Cherry Earl" is a vessel of Singaporean Registry. The late Napoleon B. Abordo at the time of his death was receiving a monthly salary of US$850.00. In her complaint for "death compensation benefits, accrued leave pay and time-off allowances, funeral expenses, attorney's fees and other benefits and reliefs available in connection with the death of Napoleon B. Abordo," filed before the National Seamen Board, Restituta C. Abordo alleged that the amount of compensation due her from petitioners Norse Management Co. (PTE) and Pacific Seamen Services, Inc., principal and agent, respectively, should be based on the law where the vessel is registered. On the other hand, petitioners contend that the law of Singapore should not be applied in this case because the National Seamen Board cannot take judicial notice of the Workmen's Insurance Law of Singapore. As an alternative, they offered to pay private respondent Restituta C. Abordo the sum of P30,000.00 as death benefits based on the Board's Memorandum Circular No. 25 which they claim should apply in this case. ISSUE: Whether or not the law of Singapore applies in this case.( HELD: The Supreme Court ruled in the affirmative. In Section 5(B) of the "Employment Agreement" between Norse Management Co. (PTE) and the late Napoleon B. Abordo, which is Annex "C" of the Supplemental Complaint, it was stipulated that: In the event of illness or injury to Employee arising out of and in

the course of his employment and not due to his own willful misconduct and occurring whilst on board any vessel to which he may be assigned, but not any other time, the EMPLOYER win provide employee with free medical attention, including hospital treatment, also essential medical treatment in the course of repatriation and until EMPLOYEE's arrival at his point of origin. If such illness or injury incapacitates the EMPLOYEE to the extent the EMPLOYEE's services must be terminated as determined by a qualified physician designated by the EMPLOYER and provided such illness or injury was not due in part or whole to his willful act, neglect or misconduct compensation shall be paid to employee in accordance with and subject to the limitations of the Workmen's Compensation Act of the Republic of the Philippines or the Workmen's Insurance Law of registry of the vessel whichever is greater. (Emphasis supplied)

In the aforementioned "Employment Agreement" between petitioners and the late Napoleon B. Abordo, it is clear that compensation shall be paid under Philippine Law or the law of registry of petitioners' vessel, whichever is greater. Since private respondent Restituta C. Abordo was offered P30,000.00 only by the petitioners, Singapore law was properly applied in this case. The "Employment Agreement" is attached to the Supplemental Complaint of Restituta C. Abordo and, therefore, it forms part thereof. As it is familiar with Singapore Law, the National Seamen Board is justified in taking judicial notice of and in applying that law.

Furthermore, Article 20, Labor Code of the Philippines, provides that the National Seamen Board has original and exclusive jurisdiction over all matters or cases including money claims, involving employer-employee relations, arising out of or by virtue of any law or contracts involving Filipino seamen for overseas employment. Thus, it is safe to assume that the Board is familiar with pertinent Singapore maritime laws relative to workmen's compensation. Moreover, the Board may apply the rule on judicial notice and, "in administrative proceedings, the technical rules of procedure particularly of evidence applied in judicial trials, do not strictly apply." (Oromeca Lumber Co. Inc. vs. Social Security Commission, 4 SCRA 1188).

Finally, Article IV of the Labor Code provides that "all doubts in the implementation and interpretation of the provisions of this code, including its implementing rules and resolved in favor of labor.



Joseph B. Atienza was engaged by Philimare Shipping and Equipment Supply, as agent for Trans Ocean Liner Pte. Ltd. of Germany, based on Singapore, to work as Third Mate on board the MV Tibati for the stipulated compensation of US$850.00 a month from January 20, 1981 to January 20, 1982. 1 The, Crew Agreement signed by the parties on January 3, 1981, provided for insurance benefits "as per NSB Standard Format" and was validated and approved by the National Seamen Board on January 14,1981.

On May 12, 1981, Atienza died as a result of an accident which befell him while working on the vessel in Bombay, India. 3 In due time, his father, the herein petitioner, filed a claim for death benefits computed at the rate of 36 months times the seaman's monthly salary plus ten per cent thereof in accordance with the Workmen's Compensation Law of Singapore, for a total of $30,600.00. The, private respondents, while admitting liability, contended that this was limited to only P40,000.00 under Section D(1) of the NSB Standard Format.

ISSUES: 1.Whether or not foreign law is controlling for it provided greater benefits for the claimant 2. Effectivity of the National Board Memorandum Circular No.71

RULING: No. On the first issue, our ruling is that Norse is not applicable to the present petition. The, reason is that in that case, it was specifically stipulated by the parties in the Crew Agreement that "compensation shall be paid to employee in accordance with and subject to the limitations of the Workmen's Compensation Act of the Philippines or the Workmen's Insurance Law of the registry of the vessel, whichever is greater. That was why the higher benefits prescribed by the foreign law were awarded. By contrast, no such stipulation appears in the Crew Agreement now under consideration. Instead, it is clearly

stated therein that the insurance benefits shall be "as per NSB Standard Format," in the event "of death of the seaman during the term of his contract, over and above the benefits for which the Philippine Government is liable under Philippine law.

There was no stipulation in the Crew Agreement of January 3, 1981, that the employee would be entitled to whichever greater insurance benefits were offered by either Philippine law or the foreign law; on the contrary, it was plainly provided that insurance benefits would be determined according to the NSB Standard Format then in force. The consequence is that the petitioner cannot now claim a higher award than the compensation prescribed in the said format.

The next issue involves the effectivity of NSB Memorandum Circular No. 71, which appears to have been retroactively applied by the NLRC in increasing the compensation from P40,000.00 The amended award was based by the POEA on NSB Memorandum Circular No. 46, which became effective in 1979. 11 The NLRC, apparently laboring under the belief that Memorandum Circular No. 71 was already effective at the time of the seaman's death on May 12, 1981, increased the death benefits to P75,000.00 as provided thereunder. The fact, though, is that the new rule became effective only in December 1981, as certified by the POEA itself, 12 or seven months after Atienza's fatal accident. On the petitioner's claim that the award should be adjusted in view of the decrease in the purchasing power of the Philippine peso, it suffices to cite the following relevant ruling of the Court in Sta. Rita and Well Run Maritime SA Ltd. v. NLRC: Considering that the applicable law governing death compensation for seamen at the time of Sta. Rita's death was Memorandum Circular No. 46, Series of 1979, the petitioner's liability should be limited to P30,000.00. Moreover, if manning agents or shipping corporations secure employer's insurance to cover their liabilities for death, total disability and sickness of officers and ratings on board foreign going vessels, the extent of the coverage is based on the applicable law at the time. It would be unjust to compel them to pay benefits based on a law not yet in effect at the time the contingency occurs.

G.R. No. 119571. March 11, 1998 MITSUI O.S.K. LINES LTD., represented by MAGSAYSAY AGENCIES, INC. vs. COURT OF APPEALS and LAVINE LOUNGEWEAR MFG. CORP. FACTS: Petitioner Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd. is a foreign corporation represented in the Philippines by its agent, Magsaysay Agencies. It entered into a contract of

carriage through Meister Transport, Inc., an international freight forwarder, with private respondent Lavine Loungewear Manufacturing Corporation to transport goods of the latter from Manila to Le Havre, France. Petitioner undertook to deliver the goods to France 28 days from initial loading. On July 24, 1991, petitioners vessel loaded private respondents container van for carriage at the said port of origin.

However, in Kaoshiung, Taiwan the goods were not transshipped immediately, with the result that the shipment arrived in Le Havre only on November 14, 1991. The consignee allegedly paid only half the value of the said goods on the ground that they did not arrive in France until the off season in that country. The remaining half was allegedly charged to the account of private respondent which in turn demanded payment from petitioner through its agent.

As petitioner denied private respondents claim, the latter filed a case in the Regional Trial Court. In the original complaint, private respondent impleaded as defendants Meister Transport, Inc. and Magsaysay Agencies, Inc., the latter as agent of petitioner Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd. On May 20, 1993, it amended its complaint by impleading petitioner as defendant in lieu of its agent. The parties to the case thus became private respondent as plaintiff, on one side, and Meister Transport Inc. and petitioner Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd. as represented by Magsaysay Agencies, Inc., as defendants on the other. Petitioner filed a motion to dismiss alleging that the claim against it had prescribed under the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act.

The Regional Trial Court denied petitioners motion as well as its subsequent motion for reconsideration. On petition for certiorari, the Court of Appeals sustained the trial courts orders.

ISSUE/S: Whether or not private respondents action is for loss or damage to goods shipped, within the meaning of 3(6) of the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act (COGSA). Whether or not the period to file an action has prescribed.

RULING: Section 3 provides: (6) Unless notice of loss or damage and the general nature of such loss or damage be given in writing to the carrier or his agent at the port of discharge or at the time of the removal of the goods into the custody of the person entitled to delivery thereof under the contract of carriage, such removal shall be prima facie evidence of the delivery by the carrier of the goods as described in the bill of lading. If the loss or damage is not

apparent, the notice must be given within three days of the delivery. Said notice of loss or damage may be endorsed upon the receipt for the goods given by the person taking delivery thereof. The notice in writing need not be given if the state of the goods has at the time of their receipt been the subject of joint survey or inspection. In any event the carrier and the ship shall be discharged from all liability in respect of loss or damage unless suit is brought within one year after delivery of the goods or the date when the goods should have been delivered: Provided, that, if a notice of loss or damage, either apparent or concealed, is not given as provided for in this section, that fact shall not affect or prejudice the right of the shipper to bring suit within one year after the delivery of the goods or the date when the goods should have been delivered.

In the case of any actual or apprehended loss or damage, the carrier and the receiver shall give all reasonable facilities to each other for inspecting and tallying the goods.

As defined in the Civil Code and as applied to Section 3(6), paragraph 4 of the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act, loss contemplates merely a situation where no delivery at all was made by the shipper of the goods because the same had perished, gone out of commerce, or disappeared in such a way that their existence is unknown or they cannot be recovered. Conformably with this concept of what constitutes loss or damage, this Court held in another case that the deterioration of goods due to delay in their transportation constitutes loss or damage within the meaning of 3(6), so that as suit was not brought within one year the action was barred: Whatever damage or injury is suffered by the goods while in transit would result in loss or damage to either the shipper or the consignee. As long as it is claimed, therefore, as it is done here, that the losses or damages suffered by the shipper or consignee were due to the arrival of the goods in damaged or deteriorated condition, the action is still basically one for damage to the goods, and must be filed within the period of one year from delivery or receipt, under the above-quoted provision of the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act. But the Court allowed that There would be some merit in appellants insistence that the damages suffered by him as a result of the delay in the shipment of his cargo are not covered by the prescriptive provision of the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act above referred to, if such damages were due, not to the deterioration and decay of the goods while in transit, but to other causes independent of the condition of the cargo upon arrival, like a drop in their market value. . . .

As this Court held in Ang: Said one-year period of limitation is designed to meet the exigencies of maritime hazards. In a case where the goods shipped were neither lost nor damaged in transit but were, on the contrary, delivered in port to someone who claimed to be entitled thereto, the situation is different, and the special need for the short period of limitation in cases of loss or damage caused by maritime perils does not obtain. In the case at bar, there is neither deterioration nor disappearance nor destruction of goods caused by the carriers breach of contract. Whatever reduction there may have been in the value of the goods is not due to their deterioration or disappearance because they had been damaged in transit. Petitioner contends: Although we agree that there are places in the section (Article III) in which the phrase need have no broader meaning than loss or physical damage to the goods, we disagree with the conclusion that it must so be limited wherever it is used. We take it that the phrase has a uniform meaning, not merely in Section 3, but throughout the Act; and there are a number of places in which the restricted interpretation suggested would be inappropriate. For example Section 4(2) [Article IV(2) (sic) exempts exempts (sic) the carrier, the ship (sic), from liability loss or damage (sic) resulting from certain courses beyond their control. Indeed, what is in issue in this petition is not the liability of petitioner for its handling of goods as provided by 3(6) of the COGSA, but its liability under its contract of carriage with private respondent as covered by laws of more general application.

Precisely, the question before the trial court is not the particular sense of damages as it refers to the physical loss or damage of a shippers goods as specifically covered by 3(6) of COGSA but petitioners potential liability for the damages it has caused in the general sense and, as such, the matter is governed by the Civil Code, the Code of Commerce and COGSA, for the breach of its contract of carriage with private respondent.

We conclude by holding that as the suit below is not for loss or damage to goods contemplated in 3(6), the question of prescription of action is governed not by the COGSA but by Art. 1144 of the Civil Code which provides for a prescriptive period of ten years. WHEREFORE, the decision of the Court of Appeals is AFFIRMED.

G.R. No. L-18924

October 19, 1922

THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS, plaintiff-appellant, vs. WONG CHENG (alias WONG CHUN), defendant-appellee.

FACTS:In this appeal the Attorney-General urges the revocation of the order of the Court of First Instance of Manila, sustaining the demurrer presented by the defendant to the information that initiated this case and in which the appellee is accused of having illegally smoked opium, aboard the merchant vessel Changsa of English nationality while said vessel was anchored in Manila Bay two and a half miles from the shores of the city.

ISSUE: whether the courts of the Philippines have jurisdiction over crime, like the one herein involved, committed aboard merchant vessels anchored in our jurisdiction waters. 1

HELD: YES There are two fundamental rules on this particular matter in connection with International Law; to wit, the French rule, according to which crimes committed aboard a foreign merchant vessels should not be prosecuted in the courts of the country within whose territorial jurisdiction they were committed, unless their commission affects the peace and security of the territory; and the English rule, based on the territorial principle and followed in the United States, according to which, crimes perpetrated under such circumstances are in general triable in the courts of the country within territory they were committed. Of this two rules, it is the last one that obtains in this jurisdiction, because at present the theories and jurisprudence prevailing in the United States on this matter are authority in the Philippines which is now a territory of the United States.

Mere possession of opium aboard a foreign vessel in transit was held by this court not triable by or courts, because it being the primary object of our Opium Law to protect the inhabitants of the Philippines against the disastrous effects entailed by the use of this drug, its mere possession in such a ship, without being used in our territory, does not being about in the said territory those effects that our statute contemplates avoiding. Hence such a mere possession is not considered a disturbance of the public order.

But to smoke opium within our territorial limits, even though aboard a foreign merchant ship, is certainly a breach of the public order here established, because it causes such drug to produce its pernicious effects within our territory. It seriously contravenes the purpose that our Legislature has in mind in enacting the aforesaid repressive statute.

Hence in United States vs. Look Chaw (18 Phil., 573), this court held that: Although the mere possession of an article of prohibited use in the Philippine Islands, aboard a foreign vessel in transit in any local port, does not, as a general rule, constitute a crime triable by the courts of the Islands, such vessels being considered as an extension of its own nationality, the same rule does not apply when the article, the use of which is prohibited in the Islands, is landed from the vessels upon Philippine soil; in such a case an open violation of the laws of the land is committed with respect to which, as it is a violation of the penal law in force at the place of the commission of the crime, no court other than that established in the said place has jurisdiction of the offense, in the absence of an agreement under an international treaty.

It is true that in certain cases the comity of nations is observed, as in Mali and Wildenhus vs. Keeper of the Common Jail (120 U.., 1), wherein it was said that: . . . The principle which governs the whole matter is this: Disorder which disturb only the peace of the ship or those on board are to be dealt with exclusively by the sovereignty of the home of the ship, but those which disturb the public peace may be suppressed, and, if need be, the offenders punished by the proper authorities of the local jurisdiction. It may not be easy at all times to determine which of the two jurisdictions a particular act of disorder belongs. Much will undoubtedly depend on the attending circumstances of the particular case, but all must concede that felonious homicide is a subject for the local jurisdiction, and that if the proper authorities are proceeding with the case in the regular way the consul has no right to interfere to prevent it.

NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT CO. VS CA and DEVELOPMENT INSURANCE & SURETY CORPORATION (DISC) Facts: In accordance with a memorandum agreement entered into between defendants NDC and MCP (Maritime Company of the Philippines), defendant NDC as the first preferred mortgagee of three ocean going vessels including one with the name 'Dona Nati' appointed defendant MCP as its agent to manage and operate said vessel for and in its behalf and account. Thus, on February 28, 1964 the E. Philipp Corporation of New York loaded on board the vessel "Dona Nati" at San Francisco, California, a total of 1,200 bales of

American raw cotton consigned to the order of Manila Banking Corporation, Manila and the People's Bank and Trust Company acting for and in behalf of the Pan Asiatic Commercial Company, Inc., who represents Riverside Mills Corporation. Also loaded on the same vessel at Tokyo, Japan, were the cargo of Kyokuto Boekui, Kaisa, Ltd., consigned to the order of Manila Banking Corporation consisting of 200 cartons of sodium lauryl sulfate and 10 cases of aluminum foil. En route to Manila the vessel Dofia Nati figured in a collision at 6:04 a.m. on April 15, 1964 at Ise Bay, Japan with a Japanese vessel 'SS Yasushima Maru' as a result of which 550 bales of aforesaid cargo of American raw cotton were lost and/or destroyed, of which 535 bales as damaged were landed and sold on the authority of the General Average Surveyor for Yen 6,045,-500 and 15 bales were not landed and deemed lost. The damaged and lost cargoes was worth P344,977.86 which amount, the plaintiff as insurer, paid to the Riverside Mills Corporation as holder of the negotiable bills of lading duly endorsed. Also considered totally lost were the aforesaid shipment of Kyokuto, Boekui Kaisa Ltd., consigned to the order of Manila Banking Corporation, Manila, acting for Guilcon, Manila, The total loss was P19,938.00 which the plaintiff as insurer paid to Guilcon as holder of the duly endorsed bill of lading. Thus, the plaintiff had paid as insurer the total amount of P364,915.86 to the consignees or their successors-in-interest, for the said lost or damaged cargoes. Hence, plaintiff filed this complaint to recover said amount from the defendants-NDC and MCP as owner and ship agent respectively, of the said 'Dofia Nati' vessel. After DISC and MCP presented their respective evidence, the trial court rendered a decision ordering the defendants MCP and NDC to pay jointly and solidarily to DISC. The Court of Appeals promulgated its decision affirming in toto the decision of the trial court. Issue: Which laws govern loss or destruction of goods due to collision of vessels outside Philippine waters. Held: The main thrust of NDC's argument is to the effect that the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act should apply to the case at bar and not the Civil Code or the Code of Commerce. Under Section 4 (2) of said Act, the carrier is not responsible for the loss or damage resulting from the "act, neglect or default of the master, mariner, pilot or the servants of the carrier in the navigation or in the management of the ship." Thus, NDC insists that based on the findings of the trial court which were adopted by the Court of Appeals, both pilots of the colliding vessels were at fault and negligent, NDC would have been relieved of liability under the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act. Instead, Article 287 of the Code of Commerce was applied and both NDC and MCP were ordered to reimburse the insurance company for the amount the latter paid to the consignee as earlier stated.

This issue has already been laid to rest by this Court of Eastern Shipping Lines Inc. v. IAC (1 50 SCRA 469-470 [1987]) where it was held under similar circumstance "that the law of the country to which the goods are to be transported governs the liability of the common carrier in case of their loss, destruction or deterioration" (Article 1753, Civil Code). Thus, the rule was specifically laid down that for cargoes transported from Japan to the Philippines, the liability of the carrier is governed primarily by the Civil Code and in all matters not regulated by said Code, the rights and obligations of common carrier shall be governed by the Code of commerce and by laws (Article 1766, Civil Code). Hence, the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act, a special law, is merely suppletory to the provision of the Civil Code. In the case at bar, it has been established that the goods in question are transported from San Francisco, California and Tokyo, Japan to the Philippines and that they were lost or due to a collision which was found to have been caused by the negligence or fault of both captains of the colliding vessels. Under the above ruling, it is evident that the laws of the Philippines will apply, and it is immaterial that the collision actually occurred in foreign waters, such as Ise Bay, Japan. Article 826 of the Code of Commerce provides that where collision is imputable to the personnel of a vessel, the owner of the vessel at fault, shall indemnify the losses and damages incurred after an expert appraisal. But more in point to the instant case is Article 827 of the same Code, which provides that if the collision is imputable to both vessels, each one shall suffer its own damages and both shall be solidarily responsible for the losses and damages suffered by their cargoes. Significantly, under the provisions of the Code of Commerce, particularly Articles 826 to 839, the shipowner or carrier, is not exempt from liability for damages arising from collision due to the fault or negligence of the captain. Primary liability is imposed on the shipowner or carrier in recognition of the universally accepted doctrine that the shipmaster or captain is merely the representative of the owner who has the actual or constructive control over the conduct of the voyage. There is, therefore, no room for NDC's interpretation that the Code of Commerce should apply only to domestic trade and not to foreign trade. Aside from the fact that the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act (Com. Act No. 65) does not specifically provide for the subject of collision, said Act in no uncertain terms, restricts its application "to all contracts for the carriage of goods by sea to and from Philippine ports in foreign trade." Under Section I thereof, it is explicitly provided that "nothing in this Act shall be construed as repealing any existing provision of the Code of Commerce which is now in force, or as limiting its application." By such incorporation, it is obvious that said law not only recognizes the existence of the Code of Commerce, but more importantly does not repeal nor limit its application.



In G.R. No. 69044, June 1977, the M/S ASIATICA, a vessel operated by petitioner Eastern Shipping Lines, Inc., (referred to hereinafter as Petitioner Carrier) loaded at Kobe, Japan for transportation to Manila the following:

1) 5,000 pieces of calorized lance pipes in 28 packages valued at P256,039.00 consigned to Philippine Blooming Mills Co., Inc., 2) cases of spare parts valued at P92,361.75, consigned to Central Textile Mills, Inc. - Both sets of goods were insured against marine risk for their stated value with respondent Development Insurance and Surety Corporation.

3) 128 cartons of garment fabrics and accessories, in two (2) containers, consigned to Mariveles Apparel Corporation - insured by Nishin Fire & Marine Insurance Co. for US$46,583.00

4) two cases of surveying instruments consigned to Aman Enterprises and General Merchandise. - insured by Dowa Fire & Marine Insurance Co., Ltd., for US$11,385.00.

Enroute for Kobe, Japan, to Manila, the vessel caught fire and sank, resulting in the total loss of ship and cargo. The respective respondent Insurers paid the corresponding marine insurance values to the consignees concerned and were thus subrogated unto the rights of the latter as the insured.

G.R. No. 69044 On May 11, 1978, respondent Development Insurance & Surety Corporation,

having been subrogated unto the rights of the two insured companies, filed suit against petitioner Carrier for the recovery of the amounts it had paid to the insured before the then Court of First Instance of Manila, Branch XXX (Civil Case No. 116087).

Petitioner-Carrier denied liability mainly on the ground that the loss was due to an extraordinary fortuitous event, hence, it is not liable under the law.

On August 31, 1979, the Trial Court rendered judgment in favor of Development Insurance. Petitioner Carrier took an appeal to the then Court of Appeals which, on August 14, 1984, affirmed the decision of the trial court.

Petitioner Carrier is now before us on a Petition for Review on Certiorari.

G.R. NO. 71478

On June 16, 1978, respondents Nisshin Fire & Marine Insurance Co. (NISSHIN, for short), and Dowa Fire & Marine Insurance Co., Ltd. (DOWA, for brevity), as subrogees of the insured, filed suit against Petitioner Carrier for the recovery of the insured value of the cargo lost with the then Court of First Instance of Manila, Branch II (Civil Case No. 116151), imputing unseaworthiness of the ship and non-observance of extraordinary diligence by petitioner Carrier.

Petitioner Carrier denied liability on the grounds that the fire which caused the sinking of the ship is an exempting circumstance under Section 4(2) (b) of the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act (COGSA); and that when the loss of fire is established, the burden of proving negligence of the vessel is shifted to the cargo shipper.

The Trial Court rendered judgment in favor of NISSHIN and DOWA. On appeal by petitioner, the then Court of Appeals on September 10, 1984, affirmed with modification the Trial Court's judgment by decreasing the amount recoverable by DOWA to US$1,000.00 because of $500 per package limitation of liability under the COGSA.

Hence, this Petition for Review on Certiorari by Petitioner Carrier.

Both Petitions were initially denied for lack of merit. Upon Petitioner Carrier's Motion for Reconsideration, however, G.R. No. 69044 was given due course.

On the other hand, in G.R. No. 71478, Petitioner Carrier sought reconsideration of the Resolution denying the Petition for Review and moved for its consolidation with G.R. No. 69044, the lower-numbered case, which was then pending resolution with the First Division. The same was granted;

ISSUES: (1) which law should govern ---- the Civil Code provisions on Common carriers or the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act? and (2) who has the burden of proof to show negligence of the carrier?


The law of the country to which the goods are to be transported governs the liability of the common carrier in case of their loss, destruction or deterioration. As the cargoes in question were transported from Japan to the Philippines, the liability of Petitioner Carrier is governed primarily by the Civil Code. However, in all matters not regulated by said Code, the rights and obligations of common carrier shall be governed by the Code of Commerce and by special laws. Thus, the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act, a special law, is suppletory to the provisions of the Civil Code.

On the Burden of Proof

Under the Civil Code, common carriers, from the nature of their business and for reasons of public policy, are bound to observe extraordinary diligence in the vigilance over goods, according to all the circumstances of each case.

Common carriers are responsible for the loss, destruction, or deterioration of the goods unless the same is due to any of the following causes only:

"(1) Flood, storm, earthquake, lightning or other natural disaster or calamity;




Petitioner Carrier claims that the loss of the vessel by fire exempts it from liability under the phrase "natural disaster or calamity." However, we are of the opinion that fire may not be considered a natural disaster or calamity. This must be so as it arises almost invariably from some act of man or by human means. It does not fall within the category of an act of God unless caused by lightning or by other natural disaster or calamity. It may even be caused by the actual fault or privity of the carrier.

Article 1680 of the Civil Code, which considers fire as an extraordinary fortuitous event refers to leases of rural lands where a reduction of the rent is allowed when more than one-half of the fruits have been lost due to such event, considering that the law adopts a protective policy towards agriculture.

As the peril of fire is not comprehended within the exceptions in Article 1734, supra, Article 1735 of the Civil Code provides that in all cases other than those mentioned in Article 1734, the common carrier shall be presumed to have been at fault or to have acted negligently, unless it proves that it has observed the extraordinary diligence required by law.

In this case, the respective Insurers, as subrogees of the cargo shippers, have proven that the transported goods have been lost. Petitioner Carrier has also proven that the loss was caused by fire. The burden then is upon Petitioner Carrier to prove that it has exercised the extraordinary diligence required by law.

"Pursuant to Article 1733, common carriers are bound to observe extraordinary diligence in the vigilance over the goods. The evidence of the defendant did not show that extraordinary vigilance was observed by the vessel to prevent the occurrence of fire at hatches numbers 2 and 3. Defendant's evidence did not likewise show the amount of diligence made by the crew, on orders, in the care of the cargoes. What appears is that after the cargoes were stored in the hatches, no regular inspection was made as to their condition during the voyage. Consequently, the crew could not have even explain what could have caused the fire. The defendant, in the Court's

mind, failed to satisfactorily show that extraordinary vigilance and care had been made by the crew to prevent the occurrence of the fire. The defendant, as a common carrier, is liable to the consignees for said lack of diligence required of it under Article l733 of the Civil Code."

Having failed to discharge the burden of proving that it had exercised the extraordinary diligence required by law, Petitioner Carrier cannot escape liability for the loss of the cargo.

And even if fire were to be considered a "natural disaster" within the meaning of Article 1734 of the Civil Code, it is required under Article 1739 of the same Code that the "natural disaster" must have been the "proximate and only cause of the loss," and that the carrier has "exercised due diligence to prevent or minimize the loss before, during or after the occurrence of the disaster." This Petitioner Carrier has also failed to establish satisfactorily.

Nor may Petitioner Carrier seek refuge from liability under the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act. It is provided therein that:

"Sec. 4(2). Neither the carrier nor the ship shall be responsible for loss or damage arising or resulting from.

'(b) Fire, unless caused by the actual fault or privity of the carrier.



-xxx- "

In this case, both the Trial Court and the Appellate Court, in effect, found, as a fact, that there was "actual fault" of the carrier shown by "lack of diligence" in that "when the smoke was noticed, the fire was already big; that the fire must have started twenty-four (24) hours before the same was noticed;" and that "after the cargoes were stored in the hatches, no regular inspection was made as to their condition during the voyage." The foregoing suffices to show that the circumstances under which the fire originated and spread are such as to show that Petitioner Carrier or its servants were negligent in connection therewith. Consequently, the complete defense afforded by the COGSA when loss results from fire is unavailing to Petitioner Carrier.

On the US $500 Per Package Limitation:

Petitioner Carrier avers that its liability if any, should not exceed US$500 per package as provided in section 4(5) of the COGSA, which reads:

"(5) Neither the carrier nor the ship shall in any event be or become liable for any loss or damage to or in connection with the transportation of goods in an amount exceeding $500 per package lawful money of the United States, or in case of goods not shipped in packages, per customary freight unit, or the equivalent of that sum in other currency, unless the nature and value of such goods have been declared by the shipper before shipment and inserted in bill of lading. This declaration if embodied in the bill of lading shall be prima facie evidence, but all be conclusive on the carrier.

"By agreement between the carrier, master or agent of the carrier, and the shipper another maximum amount than that mentioned in this paragraph may be fixed: Provided, That such maximum shall not be less than the figure above named. In no event shall the carrier be liable for more than the amount of damage actually sustained."




Article 1749 of the New Civil Code also allows the limitations of liability in this wise:

"Art. 1749. A stipulation that the common carrier's liability is limited to the value of the goods appearing in the bill of lading, unless the shipper or owner declares a greater value, is binding."

It is to be noted that the Civil Code does not of itself limit the liability of the common carrier to a fixed amount per package although the Code expressly permits a stipulation limiting such liability. Thus, the COGSA, which is suppletory to the provisions of the Civil Code, steps in and supplements the Code by establishing a statutory provision limiting the carrier's liability in the absence of a declaration of a higher value of the goods by the shipper in the bill of lading. The provisions of the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act on limited liability are as much a part of a bill of lading as though physically in it and as much a part thereof as though placed therein by agreement of the parties.

In G.R. No. 69044, there is no stipulation in the respective Bills of Lading limiting the carrier's liability for the loss or destruction of the goods. Nor is there a declaration of a higher value of the goods. Hence, Petitioner Carrier's liability should not exceed US$500 per package, or its peso equivalent, at the time of payment of the value of the goods lost, but in no case "more than the amount of damage actually sustained."

On Alleged Denial of Opportunity to Present Deposition of Its Witnesses: (in G.R. No. 69044 only)

Petitioner Carrier claims that the Trial Court did not give it sufficient time to take the depositions of its witnesses in Japan by written interrogatories. We do not agree. Petitioner Carrier was given full opportunity to present its evidence but it failed to do so.

It had more than nine months to prepare its evidence. Petitioner Carrier was afforded ample time to present its side of the case. It cannot complain now that it was denied due process when the Trial Court rendered its Decision on the basis of the evidence adduced. What due process abhors is absolute lack of opportunity to be heard.

WHEREFORE, 1) in G.R. No. 69044, the judgment is modified in that petitioner Eastern Shipping Lines shall pay the Development Insurance and Surety Corporation the amount of P256,039 for the twenty-eight (28) packages of calorized lance pipes, and P71,540 for the seven (7) cases of spare parts, with interest at the legal rate from the date of the filing of the Complaint on June 13, 1978, plus P5,000 as attorney's fees, and the costs.

2) In G.R. No. 71478, the judgment is hereby affirmed.


THE UNITED STATES vs. H. N. BULL, G.R. No. L-5270 15, 1910


FACTS: That on and for many months prior to the 2d day of December, 1908, the said H. N. Bull was master of a steam sailing vessel known as the steamship Standard, which vessel was engaged in carrying and transporting cattle, carabaos, and other animals from a foreign port and city of Manila, Philippine Islands; the said accused H. N. Bull, while master of said vessel, as aforesaid, on or about the 2d day of December, 1908, willfully, unlawfully, and wrongly carry, transport, and bring into the port and city of Manila, aboard said vessel, from the port of Ampieng, Formosa, six hundred and seventy-seven (677) head of cattle and carabaos, without providing suitable means for securing said animals while in transit, so as to avoid cruelty and unnecessary suffering to the said animals,. H. N. Bull, master, failED to provide stalls for said animals so in transit and suitable means for trying and securing said animals in a proper manner, and caused some of said animals to be tied by means of rings passed through their noses, and allow and permit others to be transported loose in the hold and on the deck of said vessel without being tied or secured in stalls, and all without bedding; that by reason of the aforesaid neglect and failure of the accused to provide suitable means for securing said animals while so in transit, the noses of some of said animals were cruelly torn, and many of said animals were tossed about upon the decks and hold of said vessel, and cruelly wounded, bruised, and killed.

The act of the accused is said to be contrary to the provisions of Acts No. 55 and No. 275 of the Philippine Commission.

Section 1 of Act No. 55, which went into effect January 1, 1901, provides that The owners or masters of steam, sailing, or other vessels, carrying or transporting cattle, sheep, swine, or other animals, from one port in the Philippine Islands to another, or from any foreign port to any port within the Philippine Islands, shall carry with them, upon the vessels carrying such animals, sufficient forage and fresh water to provide for the suitable sustenance of such animals during the ordinary period occupied by the vessel in passage from the port of shipment to the port of debarkation, and shall cause such animals to be provided with adequate forage and fresh water at least once in every twenty-four hours from the time that the animals are embarked to the time of their final debarkation. By Act No. 275, enacted October 23, 1901, Act No. 55 was amended by adding to section 1 thereof the following: The owners or masters of steam, sailing, or other vessels, carrying or transporting cattle, sheep, swine, or other animals from one port in the Philippine Islands to another, or from any

foreign port to any port within the Philippine Islands, shall provide suitable means for securing such animals while in transit so as to avoid all cruelty and unnecessary suffering to the animals, and suitable and proper facilities for loading and unloading cattle or other animals upon or from vessels upon which they are transported, without cruelty or unnecessary suffering. It is hereby made unlawful to load or unload cattle upon or from vessels by swinging them over the side by means of ropes or chains attached to the thorns. Section 3 of Act No. 55 provides that Any owner or master of a vessel, or custodian of such animals, who knowingly and willfully fails to comply with the provisions of section one, shall, for every such failure, be liable to pay a penalty of not less that one hundred dollars nor more that five hundred dollars, United States money, for each offense ISSUE: Whether or not the court had jurisdiction over an offense of this character when the Standard was a Norwegian vessel, and it is conceded that it was not registered or licensed in the Philippine Islands under the laws thereof. RULING: Yes the Philippines has jurisdiction. No court of the Philippine Islands had jurisdiction over an offenses or crime committed on the high seas or within the territorial waters of any other country, but when she came within 3 miles of a line drawn from the headlines which embrace the entrance to Manila Bay, she was within territorial waters, and a new set of principles became applicable. (Wheaton, Int. Law (Dana ed.) The ship and her crew were then subject to the jurisdiction of the territorial sovereign subject through the proper political agency. This offense was committed within territorial waters. From the line which determines these waters the Standard must have traveled at least 25 miles before she came to anchor. During that part of her voyage the violation of the statue continued, and as far as the jurisdiction of the court is concerned, it is immaterial that the same conditions may have existed while the vessel was on the high seas. The offense, assuming that it originated at the port of departure in Formosa, was a continuing one, and every element necessary to constitute it existed during the voyage across the territorial waters. The completed forbidden act was done within American waters, and the court therefore had jurisdiction over the subject-matter of the offense and the person of the offender. Every state has complete control and jurisdiction over its territorial waters. According to strict legal right, even public vessels may not enter the ports of a friendly power without permission, but it is now conceded that in the absence of a prohibition such ports are considered as open to the public ship of all friendly powers. Such vessels are therefore permitted during times of peace to come and go freely. Local official exercise but little control over their actions, and offenses committed by their crew are justiciable by their own officers acting under the laws to which they primarily owe allegiance.

This limitation upon the general principle of territorial sovereignty is based entirely upon comity and convenience, and finds its justification in the fact that experience shows that such vessels are generally careful to respect local laws and regulation which are essential to the health, order, and well-being of the port. But comity and convenience does not require the extension of the same degree of exemption to merchant vessels. There are two well-defined theories as to extent of the immunities ordinarily granted to them, According to the French theory and practice, matters happening on board a merchant ship which do not concern the tranquillity of the port or persons foreign to the crew, are justiciable only by the court of the country to which the vessel belongs. The French courts therefore claim exclusive jurisdiction over crimes committed on board French merchant vessels in foreign ports by one member of the crew against another. The leading English authority, says that It is admitted by the most thoroughgoing asserters of the territoriality of merchant vessels that so soon as the latter enter the ports of a foreign state they become subject to the local jurisdiction on all points in which the interests of the country are touched. The order and tranquillity of the country are affected by many events which do not amount to a riot or general public disturbance. Thus an assault by one member of the crew upon another, committed upon the ship, of which the public may have no knowledge whatever, is not by this treaty withdrawn from the cognizance of the local authorities. The treaty does not therefore deprive the local courts of jurisdiction over offenses committed on board a merchant vessel by one member of the crew against another which amount to a disturbance of the order or tranquillity of the country, and a fair and reasonable construction of the language requires un to hold that any violation of criminal laws disturbs the order or traquillity of the country. The offense with which the appellant is charged had nothing to so with any difference between the captain and the crew. It was a violation by the master of the criminal law of the country into whose port he came. We thus find that neither by reason of the nationality of the vessel, the place of the commission of the offense, or the prohibitions of any treaty or general principle of public law, are the court of the Philippine Islands deprived of jurisdiction over the offense charged in the information in this case.

ISSUE: Whether or not Act No. 55 and the amendment thereto are constitutional?

RULING: Yes, it is constituional. The Philippine Islands is not a State, and its relation to the United States is controlled by constitutional principles different from those which apply to States of the Union. The Constitution confers upon the United States the express power to make war and treaties, and it has the power possessed by all nations to acquire territory by conquest or treaty. Territory thus acquired belongs to the United States, and to guard against the

possibility of the power of Congress to provide for its government being questioned, the framers of the Constitution provided in express terms that Congress should have the power "to dispose of and make all needful rules and regulations respecting territory and other property belonging to the United States." (Art. IV, sec. 3, par. 3.) Upon the acquisition of the territory by the United States, and until it is formally incorporated into the Union, the duty of providing a government therefor devolves upon Congress. It may govern the territory by its direct acts, or it may create a local government, and delegate thereto the ordinary powers required for local government. (Binns vs. U. S., 194 U. S., 486.) This has been the usual procedure. The Constitution of the United States does not by its own force operate within such territory, although the liberality of Congress in legislating the Constitution into contiguous territory tended to create an impression upon the minds of many people that it went there by its own force. (Downes vs. Bidwell, 182 U. S., 289.) In legislating with reference to this territory, the power of Congress is limited only by those prohibitions of the Constitution which go to the very root of its power to act at all, irrespective of time or place. This Government of the Philippine Islands is not a State or a Territory, although its form and organization somewhat resembles that of both. It stands outside of the constitutional relation which unites the States and Territories into the Union. The authority for its creation and maintenance is derived from the Constitution of the United States, which, however, operates on the President and Congress, and not directly on the Philippine Government. It is the creation of the United States, acting through the President and Congress, both deriving power from the same source, but from different parts thereof. Within the limits of its authority the Government of the Philippines is a complete governmental organism with executive, legislative, and judicial departments exercising the functions commonly assigned to such departments. The separation of powers is as complete as in most governments. Section 3, Article IV, of the Constitution of the United States operated only upon the States of the Union. It has no application to the Government of the Philippine Islands. The power to regulate foreign commerce is vested in Congress, and by virtue of its power to govern the territory belonging to the United States, it may regulate foreign commerce with such territory. It may do this directly, or indirectly through a legislative body created by it, to which its power in this respect if delegate. Congress has by direct legislation determined the duties which shall be paid upon goods imported into the Philippines, and it has expressly authorized the Government of the Philippines to provide for the needs of commerce by improving harbors and navigable waters. A few other specific provisions relating to foreign commerce may be found in the Acts of Congress, but its general regulation is left to the Government of the Philippines, subject to the reserved power of Congress to annul such legislation as does not meet with its approval. The express limitations upon the power of the Commission and Legislature to legislate do not affect the authority with respect to the regulation of commerce with foreign countries. Act No. 55 was enacted before Congress took over the

control of the Islands, and this act was amended by Act No. 275 after the Spooner amendment of March 2, 1901, was passed. The military government, and the civil government instituted by the President, had the power, whether it be called legislative or administrative, to regulate commerce between foreign nations and the ports of the territory. (Cross vs. Harrison, 16 How. (U.S.), 164, 190; Hamilton vs. Dillin, 21 Wall. (U.S.), 73, 87.) This Act has remained in force since its enactment without annulment or other action by Congress, and must be presumed to have met with its approval. We are therefore satisfied that the Commission had, and the Legislature now has, full constitutional power to enact laws for the regulation of commerce between foreign countries and the ports of the Philippine Islands, and that Act No. 55, as amended by Act No. 275, is valid.


FACTS: In the evening of March 2, 1991, M/T Tabangao, a cargo vessel owned by the PNOC Shipping and Transport Corporation, was sailing off the coast of Mindoro near Silonay Island.

It manned by 21 crew members, including Captain Edilberto Libo-on, Second Mate Christian Torralba, and Operator Isaias Ervas, was suddenly boarded, with the use of an aluminum ladder, by seven fully armed pirates led by Emilio Changco, older brother of accused-appellant Cecilio Changco. The pirates, including accused-appellants Tulin, Loyola, and Infante, Jr. were armed with M-16 rifles, .45 and .38 caliber handguns, and bolos. They detained the crew and took complete control of the vessel. Thereafter, accused-appellant Loyola ordered three crew members to paint over, using black paint, the name "M/T Tabangao" on the front and rear portions of the vessel, as well as the PNOC logo on the chimney of the vessel. The vessel was then painted with the name "Galilee," with registry at San Lorenzo, Honduras. The crew was forced to sail to Singapore, all the while sending misleading radio messages to PNOC that the ship was undergoing repairs.

PNOC, after losing radio contact with the vessel, reported the disappearance of the vessel to the Philippine Coast Guard and secured the assistance of the Philippine Air Force and the Philippine Navy. However, search and rescue operations yielded negative results. On March 9, 1991, the ship arrived in the vicinity of Singapore and cruised around the area presumably to await another vessel which, however, failed to arrive. The pirates were thus forced to return to the Philippines on March 14, 1991, arriving at Calatagan, Batangas on March 20, 1991 where it remained at sea.

On March 28, 1991, the "M/T Tabangao" again sailed to and anchored about 10 to 18 nautical miles from Singapore's shoreline where another vessel called "Navi Pride" anchored beside it. Emilio Changco ordered the crew of "M/T Tabangao" to transfer the vessel's cargo to the hold of "Navi Pride". Accused-appellant Cheong San Hiong supervised the crew of "Navi Pride" in receiving the cargo. The transfer, after an interruption, with both vessels leaving the area, was completed on March 30, 1991.

On April 8, 1991, "M/T Tabangao" arrived at Calatagan, Batangas, but the vessel remained at sea. On April 10, 1991, the members of the crew were released in three batches with the stern warning not to report the incident to government authorities for a period of two days, otherwise they would be killed. The first batch was fetched from the shoreline by a newly painted passenger jeep driven by accused-appellant Cecilio Changco, brother of Emilio Changco, who brought them to Imus, Cavite and gave P20,000.00 to Captain Libo-on for fare of the crew in proceeding to their respective homes. The second batch was fetched by accused-appellant Changco at midnight of April 10, 1991 and were brought to different places in Metro Manila.

On April 12, 1991, the Chief Engineer, accompanied by the members of the crew, called the PNOC Shipping and Transport Corporation office to report the incident. The crew members were brought to the Coast Guard Office for investigation. The incident was also reported to the National Bureau of Investigation where the officers and members of the crew executed sworn statements regarding the incident.

A series of arrests was thereafter effected as follows. Upon arraignment, accused-appellants pleaded not guilty to the charge.

ISSUE: Whether or not accused-appellant Cheong San Hiong can be convicted as accomplice when he was not charged as such and when the acts allegedly committed by him were done or executed outside Philippine waters and territory.

HELD: The contention that the trial court did not acquire jurisdiction over the person of accusedappellant Hiong since the crime was committed outside Philippine waters, suffice it to state that unquestionably, the attack on and seizure of "M/T Tabangao" (renamed "M/T Galilee" by the pirates) and its cargo were committed in Philippine waters, although the captive vessel was later brought by the pirates to Singapore where its cargo was off-loaded, transferred, and sold. And such transfer was done under accused-appellant Hiong's direct supervision. Although Presidential Decree No. 532 requires that the attack and seizure of the vessel and its cargo be committed in Philippine waters, the disposition by the pirates of the vessel and its cargo is still deemed part of the act of piracy, hence, the same need not be committed in Philippine waters.

Moreover, piracy falls under Title One of Book Two of the Revised Penal Code. As such, it is an

exception to the rule on territoriality in criminal law. The same principle applies even if Hiong, in the instant case, were charged, not with a violation of qualified piracy under the penal code but under a special law, Presidential Decree No. 532 which penalizes piracy in Philippine waters. Verily, Presidential Decree No. 532 should be applied with more force here since its purpose is precisely to discourage and prevent piracy in Philippine waters. It is likewise, well-settled that regardless of the law penalizing the same, piracy is a reprehensible crime against the whole world.

16. US VS. FOWLER, G.R. NO. L-496, DECEMBER 21, 1902 Facts: The two defendants have been accused of the theft of sixteen bottles of champagne of the value of $20 while on board the transport Lawton, then navigating the high seas, which said bottles of champagne formed part of the cargo of the said vessel, and which were taken lucri causa, and with the intent to appropriate the same. Counsel for the defendants presented a demurrer, alleging that the Court of First Instance was without jurisdiction to try the crime charged, inasmuch as it appeared from the information that the crime was committed on the high seas, and not in the city of Manila, or within the territory comprising the Bay of Manila, or upon the seas within the 3-mile limit to which the jurisdiction of the court extends, and asked, upon these grounds, that the case be dismissed. This contention was opposed by the prosecuting attorney, who alleged that the court has original jurisdiction in all criminal cases in which the penalty exceeds six month's imprisonment, or a fine of over $100; that, in accordance with the orders of the Military Governor and the Civil Commission admiralty jurisdiction over all crimes committed on board vessel flying the flag of the United States has been vested in the Court of First Instance of the city of Manila. Among other laws and orders he cited the order of August 14, 1898, and Acts Nos. 76 and 186 of the United States Civil Commission. The judge, however, by an order of the 14th of September, 1901, held that the court was without jurisdiction to try the accused for the theft alleged to have been committed on the high seas, sustained the demurrer, and ordered the discharge of the defendants, with the costs to the Government. Against this order the prosecuting attorney appealed, and the case was brought before this court. Issue: Whether the CFI has jurisdiction over the case.

Held: No This case deals with a theft committed on board a transport while navigating the high seas. Act No. 136 of the organic law, as well as Act No. 186 passed by the Civil Commission, and which repealed the former law, Act No. 76, do not expressly confer jurisdiction or authority upon this court to take cognizance of all crimes committed on board vessels on the high seas. While the provisions of the law are clear and precise with respect to civil admiralty or maritime cases, this is not true with respect to criminal cases. If any doubt could arise concerning the true meaning of the law applicable to the case, Act No. 400 effectively dissipates such doubts. This law, which is an addition to Act No. 136, by which the courts of justice of the Philippine Islands were organized, in article 1 adds to article 56, consisting of seven paragraphs, another paragraph numbered 8, which reads as follows: "Of all crimes and offenses committed on the high seas or beyond the jurisdiction of any country, or within any of the navigable waters of the Philippine Archipelago, on board a ship or water craft of any kind registered or licensed in the Philippine Islands in accordance with the laws thereof." The purpose of this law was to define the jurisdiction of the courts of First Instance in criminal cases for crimes committed on board vessels registered or licensed in the Philippine Islands. The transport Lawton not being a vessel of this class, our courts are without jurisdiction to take cognizance of a crime committed on board the same.