You are on page 1of 3

PCIB v.

Escolin
G.R. No. L-27860 and L-2789 March 29, 1974 BARREDO, J.
petitioners Philippine Commercial and Industrial Bank, Administrator of the Testate Estate of
Charles Newton Hodges
respondents The Honorable Venicio Escolin, presiding Judge
Avelina A. Magno, Administratrix of the Testate Estate of Linnie Jane Hodges
summary Mrs. Hodges, an American Citizen, left her husband the remainder of her
estate during his natural life. She stated that upon his death, the remainder of her
estate that he hasnt disposed of will be given to her siblings. When her husband died,
the administrator of his estate claimed that 75% or 100% of the conjugal partnership
properties belong to the estate of the husband by applying Article 16 of the Philippine
Civil Code, the Conflict Law of Texas should govern the testamentary provisions
wherein the dispositions of personal property is governed by the domiciliary laws
and the disposition of real property is governed by the law of the situs of the
property, wherein in both cases, the Philippine Law will be applied. Under the
Philippine and Texas Law, the conjugal estate upon dissolution of the marriage shall
be divided equally and that of the estate of the deceased spouse with no ascendants
and descendants is provided for the surviving spouse (so 75% of the conjugal
properties). And as the substitutions provided in the will is invalid, he becomes the
sole beneficiary of the estate(so 100% of the conjugal properties). The administratrix of
the estate of Mrs. Hodges claim that she never changed nor intended to change her
original residence of birth in Texas; that regardless of her residence, being a citizen of
Texas, as per Article 16 of the CC, the distribution of her estate is subject to the laws of
Texas which does not provide for any legitime. Hence the siblings of Mrs. Hodges are
entitled to the remainder of her share of the conjugal partnership properties consisting
of thereof (so the husband should only get 50% of the conjugal properties).
Normally, foreign laws may not be taken judicial notice of and have to be
proven like any other fact in dispute between the parties in any proceeding but when
the parties in a given case do not have controversy or more or less are in agreement
with respect to certain aspects of the foreign laws concerned, the Court may take it for
granted for the purposes of the particular case before it, that said laws are as what the
virtual agreement indicates and do not need the presentation of competent evidence
on the point. It is PCIBs representations concerning the laws of Texas, constituting as
admissions of facts, which the court and other parties rely on they cannot take a
position contrary to or inconsistent with them.

facts of the case


Linnie Jane Hodges (MRS. HODGES), an American Citizen, died in Iloilo City leaving a will
bequeathing to her husband (HODGES) the remainder of her estate (after payment of debts, taxes and
expenses) during his natural lifetime, with the freedom to dispose, convey and sell any of the properties except
for the property in Lubbock, Texas as well as all the rents and incomes from the estate. However, upon his
death, all the properties (both real and personal) that remained as part of the estate and wasnt disposed,
conveyed or sold by her husband will be equally divided among siblings.
The will was probated and Hodges, the husband, was appointed as executor. In the petition for
probate, he listed the 7 siblings of Mrs. Hodges as her heir. When one of the heirs, Roy Higdon, was omitted,
he filed a motion to have him included as an heir.
The court approved all the sales, conveyances, leases and mortgages of all properties of Mrs. Hodges
estate which was part of the conjugal properties of the spouses and authorized Hodges to execute subsequent
transactions. Hodges submitted an Annual Statement of Account for 1959, 1960 and 1961 of the estate of
Mrs. Hodges alleging that said estate earned exactly of the net income from the combined personal assets of
Hodges and the estate of Mrs. Hodges and that he is the sole devisee or legatee of the deceased.
1
When he filed tax returns for the estate as per American Law, he answered YES to the question of
whether he was contemplating renouncing the will and NONE on the question of what property interests has
passed to him as the surviving spouse. Around 4 months before his death, he executed an affidavit wherein he
confirmed that he renounced what was given to him per the will of his wife.
Upon the death of Hodges, Magno was appointed as Administratrix of Mrs. Hodges estate and as
Special Administratrix of Hodges estate. However, Davies and Joe Hodges replaced her as co-special-
administrators of the estate of Hodges as the representatives of his heirs. The will of Hodges was probated.
PCIB replaced Davies and Joe as the sole administrator of the estate of Hodges pursuant to the agreement of
the heirs.
At first the administrators of the respective estates acted conjointly but differences had arisen and they
managed the estates separately. PCIB filed an Urgent Motion for an accounting and delivery to the
administrators of the estate of Hodges all assets of the conjugal partnership and all rents, emoluments and
income therefrom. During their marriage, the spouses were American Citizens originally from Texas, which
is their domicile, but the Court found that because the spouses have lived and worked for more than 50 years
in Iloilo City and accumulated properties in the Philippines, they have acquired a domicile in Iloilo City. It is
in said city where Mrs. Hodges executed her Last Will and Testament.
PCIB claims that Mrs. Hodges intended for the Philippine law to govern her will. As per Article 16 of
the Philippine Civil Code, the Conflict Law of Texas should govern the testamentary provisions wherein the
dispositions of personal property is governed by the domiciliary laws and the disposition of real property is
governed by the law of the situs of the property, wherein in both cases, the Philippine Law will be applied.
Under the Philippine and Texas Law, the conjugal estate upon dissolution of the marriage shall be divided
equally and that of the estate of the deceased spouse with no ascendants and descendants is provided for the
surviving spouse. Immediately, Hodges has a right to 75% or of the conjugal estate. Additionally as her sole
heir with full authority over the properties as provided in her will, by specific testamentary provision of Mrs.
Hodges, Hodges is now entitled to the entirety of his wifes estate in the Philippines and consequently, Hodges
had appropriated the whole estate for himself. PCIB is claiming that 100% or at least 75% of the conjugal
properties belong to Hodges, and that it knows of no assets in the Philippines registered in the name of Mrs.
Hodges, her estate or Hodges as her executor. Also the Philippine estate and inheritance taxes assessed the
estate of Mrs. Hodges based on the fact that Hodges is the sole beneficiary. Additionally, any substitution
implied in the will is invalid. There are only 2 kinds of substitutions and they cannot be applied. It cannot be
vulgar substitution because Hodges did not predecease Mrs. Hodges, did not choose to not to accept the
inheritance nor was he incapacitated to do so. It cannot be fideicommissary because there is no obligation on
his part to preserve the estate. Thus, the inheritance of Hodges is irrevocable and final. The Testate Estate of
Mrs. Hodges had been factually, though not legally, closed with the virtual declaration of Hodges and the
adjudication to him, as the sole heir, of all the properties of Mrs. Hodges estate. That PCIB, as the
administrator of Hodges estate, is entitled to full control and possession of all conjugal properties and Magno,
as administratrix of the estate of Mrs. Hodges, has no right to intervene in the administration of Hodgess
estate.
Magno, as administratrix of the estate of Mrs. Hodges, is claiming that Hodges merely inherited the
usufruct of the estate while the naked title was vested to the siblings with Hodges even renouncing the
usufruct. She denies that Mrs. Hodges died as a resident of the Philippines, she never changed nor intended to
change her original residence of birth in Texas; that regardless of her residence, being a citizen of Texas, as per
Article 16 of the CC, the distribution of her estate is subject to the laws of Texas which does not provide for any
legitime. Hence the siblings of Mrs. Hodges are entitled to the remainder of her share of the conjugal
partnership properties consisting of thereof.

issue
W/N the laws of the Philippines or laws of Texas shall govern the distribution of Mrs. Hodges Estate The
Court applied the Laws of Texas as explained by PCIB (renvoi)

2
ratio

The Court refused to adjudicate on the claims of the parties because there is no clear and reliable
evidence of the applicable laws of Texas with respect to the order of succession and to the amount of
successional rights that may be willed by the testator, which as per Article 16 of the Civil Code, is controlling
in the case at bar due to the undisputed nationality of Mrs. Hodges. The documents relied upon by Magno is
disputable. These matters should be threshed out fully in the trial court and allow the parties to prove what
the law provides. The court held that it is premature to make any specific ruling concerning the validity of the
testamentary dispositions or the amount of inheritance each part is entitled to.
Foreign laws may not be taken judicial notice of and have to be proven like any other fact in dispute
between the parties in any proceeding, with the rare exception in instances when the said laws are already
within the actual knowledge of the court, such as when they are well and generally known or they have been
actually ruled upon in other cases before it and none of the parties concerned do not claim otherwise.
Fluemer v. Hix: The laws of a foreign jurisdiction do not prove themselves in court. The courts of the
Philippine Islands are not authorized to take judicial notice of the laws of various States of the American
Union. Such laws must be proved as facts.
In re Estate of Johnson: The proper rule is to require proof of the statutes of the States of the American union
whenever their provisions are determinative of the issues in any action litigated in the Philippine courts.
When the parties in a given case do not have controversy or more or less are in agreement with respect
to certain aspects of the foreign laws concerned, the Court may take it for granted for the purposes of the
particular case before it, that said laws are as what the virtual agreement indicates and do not need the
presentation of competent evidence on the point.
In the case at bar, even if the pertinent laws of Texas were known and applied, the amount of
inheritance pertaining to the heir of Mrs. Hodges is as fixed by the court (1/4 of the conjugal estate) and that
evidence that it is different is of no consequence unless it is to prove that it could be more. PCIB did not allege
that the application of the laws of Texas would result with the siblings of Mrs. Hodges not inheriting anything
under her will; thus, the remainder of the share of Mrs. Hodges (which was not gratuitously disposed in favor
of third parties, with the income from any dispositions of the properties is part of the estate as the products of
the physical changes of the properties) automatically, upon the death of Hodges, descend to the siblings. It is
PCIBs representations concerning the laws of Texas, constituting as admissions of facts, which the court and
other parties rely on they cannot take a position contrary to or inconsistent with them.

NOTE: While the court ruled that the issue of how Article 16 is to be applied in the case at bar is still
unresolved, it applied the Doctrine of Renvoi and followed the logic of PCIB in assuming that the national law
is the Conflict Laws of Texas and thus applied Philippine Succession laws re conjugal share of the surviving
spouse and his legitime but upheld the validity of Mrs. Hodges testamentary provisions that of the conjugal
estate or the of the estate of Mrs. Hodges belong to the siblings after the death of her husband. Applying the
doctrines, the court assumed that Magno agreed with PCIBs knowledge of Texas Law and application of its
Conflict Laws but Magno had upheld the use of the Succession Laws of Texas, highlighting that there is no
legitime in said laws.