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CATALAN V. CATALAN G. R. No.

183622 February 8, 2012

Merope Enriquez Vda. De Catalan, Petitioner


Louella A. Catalan-Lee, Respondent.

Ponente: Sereno J.:

Before us is a Petition for Review assailing the Court of Appeals (CA) Decision
and Resolution regarding the issuance of letters of administration of the
intestate estate of Orlando B. Catalan.

This petition for review assails the Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R.
CV No. 69875 dated August 6, 2004, which reverse the Decision of the
Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Dagupan City, Branch 44, in Civil Case No. D10636, declaring the marriage between respondents Orlando B. Catalan and
Merope E. Braganza void on the ground of bigamy, as well as the Resolution
dated January 27, 2005, which denied the motion for reconsideration.
FACTS:
Petitioner Felicitas Amor-Catalan married respondent Orlando on June 4, 1950
in Mabini, Pangasinan. Thereafter, they migrated to the United States of
America and allegedly became naturalized citizens thereof. After 38 years of
marriage, Felicitas and Orlando divorced in April 1988. Two months after the
divorce, or on June 16, 1988, Orlando married respondent Meropein Calasiao,
Pangasinan.Contending that said marriage was bigamous since Merope had a
prior subsisting marriage with EusebioBristol, petitioner filed a petition for
declaration of nullity of marriage with damages in the RTC of Dagupan City
against Orlando and Merope. Respondents filed a motion to dismiss on the
ground of lack of cause of action as petitioner was allegedly not a real partyin-interest, but it was denied. Trial on the merits ensued. On October 10,
2000, the RTC rendered judgment in favor of the petitioner. A motion for
reconsideration was filed by the respondent before appellate court and ruled
in favor of her reversing the decision of the trial court. Petitioner filed a
motion for reconsideration but the same was dismissed by the appellate
court. Petitioner contends that the bigamous marriage of the respondents,
which brought embarrassment to her and her children, confers upon her an
interest to seek judicial remedy to address her grievances and to protect her

family from further embarrassment and humiliation. She claims that the
Court of Appeals committed reversible error in not declaring the marriage
void despite overwhelming evidence and the state policy discouraging illegal
and immoral marriages.
ISSUE:
Whether or not petitioner has the personality to file a petition for the
declaration of nullity of marriage of the respondents on the ground of bigamy.
HELD:
Without the divorce decree and foreign law as part of the evidence, we
cannot rule on the issue of whether petitioner has the personality to file the
petition for declaration of nullity of marriage. After all, she may have the
personality to file the petition if the divorce decree obtained was a limited
divorce oramensaetthoro;or the foreign law may restrict remarriage even
after the divorce decree becomes absolute.In such case, the RTC would be
correct to declare the marriage of the respondents void for being bigamous,
there being already in evidence two existing marriage certificates, which
were both obtained in the Philippines, one in Mabini, Pangasinan dated
December 21, 1959 between Eusebio Bristol and respondent
Merope,and the other, in Calasiao, Pangasinan dated June 16, 1988 between
the respondents.However, if there was indeed a divorce decree obtained and
which, following the national law of Orlando, does not restrict remarriage, the
Court of Appeals would be correct in ruling that petitioner has no legal
personality to file a petition to declare the nullity of marriage, thus:
Freed from their existing marital bond, each of the former spouses no longer
has any interest nor should each have the personality to inquire into the
marriage that the other might subsequentlycontract. x x x Viewed from
another perspective, Felicitas has no existing interest in Orlandos
subsequent marriage since the validity, as well as any defect or infirmity, of
this subsequent marriage will not affect the divorced status of Orlando and
Felicitas.In fine, petitioners personality to file the petition to declare the
nullity of marriage cannot be ascertained because of the absence of the
divorce decree and the foreign law allowing it. Hence, a remand of the case
to the trial court for reception of additional evidence is necessary to
determine whether respondent Orlando was granted a divorce decree and
whether the foreign law which granted the same allows or restricts
remarriage. If it is proved that a valid divorce decree was obtained and the
same did not allow respondent Orlandos remarriage, then the trial court
should declare respondents marriage as bigamous and void ab initio but
reduce the amount of moral damages from P300,000.00 to P50,000.00 and
exemplary damages from P200,000.00 to P25,000.00. On the contrary, if it is

proved that a valid divorce decree was obtained which allowed Orlando to
remarry, then the trial court must dismiss the instant case.

RAYTHEON INTERNATIONAL V. STOCKTON W. ROUZIE, JR., G.R. NO.


162894, (FEBRUARY 26, 2008),546 SCRA 555
RAYTHEON INTERNATIONAL V. STOCKTON W. ROUZIE, JR., G.R. NO. 162894,
(FEBRUARY 26, 2008),546 SCRA 555 RAYTHEON INTERNATIONAL V. STOCKTON
W. ROUZIE, JR., G.R. NO. 162894, (FEBRUARY 26, 2008),546 SCRA 55
FACTS

Brand Marine Services, Inc. (BMSI), a corporation duly organized & existing
under the laws of Connecticut, &Stockton Rouzie, Jr., an American citizen,
entered into a contract

BMSI hired Rouzie as its representative to negotiate the sale of services in


several government projects in thePhilippines for an agreed remuneration of
10% of the gross receipts.

Rouzie secured a service contract w/ the Rep. of Phil. on behalf of BMSI for
the dredging of rivers affected by the Mt.Pinatubo eruption & mudflows.

Rouzie filed before the NLRC a suit against BMSI and Rust International (Rust)
for alleged nonpayment of commissions, illegal termination, & breach of
employment contract.

The Labor Arbiter order

ed BMSI & Rust to pay Rouzies money claims.

Upon appeal, the NLRC reversed & dismissed Rouzies complaint on the
ground of lack of jurisdiction.

Rouzie filed an action for damages before the RTC of La Union (where he was
a resident) against RaytheonInternational. He reiterated that he was not paid
the commissions due him from the Pinatubo dredging project w/c hesecured
on behalf of BMSI. The complaint also averred that BMSI, RUST and Raytheon
had combined & functionedas 1 company.

RAYTHEON SOUGHT THE DISMISSAL OF THE COMPLAINT ON THE GROUNDS


OF FAILURE TO STATE ACAUSE OF ACTION & FORUM NON CONVENIENS &
PRAYED FOR DAMAGES BY WAY OF COMPULSORY
COUNTERCLAIM. THE RTC DENIED RAYTHEONS MOTION. THE CA AFFIRMED.

Raytheons contention: The written contract be


tween Rouzie & BMSI included a valid choice of law clause, that is, thatthe
contract shall be governed by the laws of the State of Connecticut. It also
mentions the presence of foreignelements in the dispute, namely that the
parties & witnesses involved are American corporations & citizens &
theevidence to be presented is located outside the Philippines, that renders
our local courts inconvenient forums. Theforeign elements of the dispute
necessitate the immediate application of the doctrine of forum non
conveniens.ISSUES(a) W/N the RTC had jurisdiction.(b) W/N the complaint
should be dismissed on the ground of forum non conveniens.RULING(a) YES.

On the matter of jurisdiction over a conflicts-of-laws problem where the case


is filed in a Philippine court andwhere the court has jurisdiction over the
subject matter, the parties and the res, it may or can proceed to try thecase
even if the rules of conflict-of-laws or the convenience of the parties point to
a foreign forum. This is anexercise of sovereign prerogative of the country
where the case is filed.

Jurisdiction over the nature and subject matter of an action is conferred by


the Constitution and the law & by thematerial allegations in the complaint,
irrespective of w/n the plaintiff is entitled to recover all or some of the
claimsor reliefs sought therein. The case file was an action for damages
arising from an alleged breach of contract.Undoubtedly, the nature of the
action and the amount of damages prayed are w/in the jurisdiction of the
RTC.
As regards jurisdiction over the parties, the RTC acquired jurisdiction over
Rouzi upon the filing of the complaint.On the other hand, jurisdiction over the
person of Raytheon was acquired by its voluntary appearance in court.

That THE SUBJECT CONTRACT INCLUDED A STIPULATION THAT THE SAME


SHALL BE GOVERNED BYTHE LAWS OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT DOES
NOT SUGGEST THAT THE PHILIPPINE COURTS, OR ANY OTHER FOREIGN
TRIBUNAL FOR THAT MATTER, ARE PRECLUDED FROM HEARING THE CIVIL
ACTION.

JURISDICTION & CHOICE OF LAW ARE 2 DISTINCT CONCEPTS. Jurisdiction


considers whether it is fair tocause a defendant to travel to this state; choice
of law asks the further question whether the application of asubstantive law
which will determine the merits of the case is fair to both parties. The choice
of law stipulation willbecome relevant only when the substantive issues of the
instant case develop, that is, after hearing on the meritsproceeds before the
trial court.(b) NO.

UNDER THE DOCTRINE OF FORUM NON CONVENIENS, A COURT, IN


CONFLICTS-OF-LAWS CASES, MAY
REFUSE IMPOSITIONS ON ITS JURISDICTION WHERE IT IS NOT THE MOST
CONVENIENT OR
AVAILABLE FORUM AND THE PARTIES ARE NOT PRECLUDED FROM SEEKING
REMEDIES ELSEWHERE.
Raytheons averments of the foreign elements are no
t sufficient to oust the RTC of its jurisdiction over the caseand the parties
involved
Moreover, the propriety of dismissing a case based on the principle of forum
non conveniens requires a factualdetermination; hence, it is more properly
considered as a matter of defense. While it is w/c the discretion of thetrial
court to abstain from assuming jurisdiction on this ground, it should do so
only after vital facts are established,
to determine whether special circumstances require the courts
desistance.Moreover, the propriety of dismissing a case based on the
principle of forum non conveniens requires a factualdetermination; hence, it
is more properly considered as a matter of defense. While it is w/c the
discretion of thetrial court to abstain from assuming jurisdiction on this
ground, it should do so only after vital facts are established,
to determine whether special circumstances require the courts desistance.

G.R. No. 172342

July 13, 2009

LWV CONSTRUCTION CORPORATION, Petitioner,


vs.
MARCELO B. DUPO, Respondent.

LWV CONSTRUCTION V. DUPO (2009)


SECOND DIVISION
[ G.R. No. 172342, July 13, 2009 ]
LWV CONSTRUCTION CORPORATION, PETITIONER, VS. MARCELO B.
DUPO, RESPONDENT.

FACTS:
Petitioner, a domestic corporation which recruits Filipino workers,
hired respondent as Civil Structural Superintendent to work in Saudi
Arabia for its principal, Mohammad Al-Mojil Group/Establishment
(MMG). On February 26, 1992, respondent signed his first overseas
employment contract, renewable after one year. It was renewed five
times on the following dates: May 10, 1993, November 16, 1994,
January 22, 1996, April 14, 1997, and March 26, 1998. All were fixedperiod contracts for one year. The sixth and last contract stated that
respondent's employment starts upon reporting to work and ends
when he leaves the work site. Respondent left Saudi Arabia on April
30, 1999 and arrived in the Philippines on May 1, 1999.
On May 28, 1999, respondent informed MMG, through the petitioner,
that he needs to extend his vacation because his son was
hospitalized. He also sought a promotion with salary adjustment.[3]
In reply, MMG informed respondent that his promotion is subject to
management's review; that his services are still needed; that he was
issued a plane ticket for his return flight to Saudi Arabia on May 31,
1999; and that his decision regarding his employment must be made
within seven days, otherwise, MMG "will be compelled to cancel [his]
slot." On July 6, 1999, respondent resigned.
Under the Law of Saudi Arabia, an employee who rendered at least
five (5) years in a company within the jurisdiction of Saudi Arabia, is
entitled to the so-called long service award which is known to others
as longevity pay of at least one half month pay for every year of
service. In excess of five years an employee is entitled to one month
pay for every year of service. In both cases inclusive of all benefits
and allowances.

ISSUE:

1.
WON respondent is entitled to a service award or longevity
pay of US$12,640.33 under the provisions of the Saudi Labor Law;
and
2.
WON prescription barred respondent's claim for service award
as the complaint was filed one year and seven months after the sixth
contract ended.
RULING:
1.
Respondent's service award under Article 87 of the Saudi Labor
Law has already been paid.
Article 87 clearly grants a service award. It reads:
Article 87

Where the term of a labor contract concluded for a specified period


comes to an end or where the employer cancels a contract of
unspecified period, the employer shall pay to the workman an award
for the period of his service to be computed on the basis of half a
month's pay for each of the first five years and one month's pay for
each of the subsequent years. The last rate of pay shall be taken as
basis for the computation of the award. For fractions of a year, the
workman shall be entitled to an award which is proportionate to his
service period during that year. Furthermore, the workman shall be
entitled to the service award provided for at the beginning of this
article in the following cases:

A. If he is called to military service.

B. If a workman resigns because of marriage or childbirth.

C. If the workman is leaving the work as a result of a force majeure


beyond his control.(Emphasis supplied.)

2.
On the matter of prescription, however, we cannot agree with
petitioner that respondent's action has prescribed under Article 13
of the Saudi Labor Law. What applies is Article 291 of our Labor Code

which reads:
ART. 291. Money claims. -- All money claims arising from employeremployee relations accruing during the effectivity of this Code shall
be filed within three (3) years from the time the cause of action
accrued; otherwise they shall be forever barred.

xxxx

In Cadalin v. POEA's Administrator,[27] we held that Article 291


covers all money claims from employer-employee relationship and is
broader in scope than claims arising from a specific law. It is not
limited to money claims recoverable under the Labor Code, but
applies also to claims of overseas contract workers.
Thus, in our considered view, respondent's complaint was filed well
within the three-year prescriptive period under Article 291 of our
Labor Code. This point, however, has already been mooted by our
finding that respondent's service award had been paid, albeit the
payroll termed such payment as severance pay.