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9/9/2016 G.R.No.

L23678

TodayisFriday,September09,2016

RepublicofthePhilippines
SUPREMECOURT
Manila

ENBANC

G.R.No.L23678June6,1967

TESTATEESTATEOFAMOSG.BELLIS,deceased.
PEOPLE'SBANKandTRUSTCOMPANY,executor.
MARIACRISTINABELLISandMIRIAMPALMABELLIS,oppositorsappellants,
vs.
EDWARDA.BELLIS,ETAL.,heirsappellees.

VicenteR.MacasaetandJoseD.Villenaforoppositorsappellants.
Paredes,Poblador,CruzandNazarenoforheirsappelleesE.A.Bellis,etal.
QuijanoandArroyoforheirsappelleesW.S.Bellis,etal.
J.R.BalonkitaforappelleePeople'sBank&TrustCompany.
Ozaeta,GibbsandOzaetaforappelleeA.B.Allsman.

BENGZON,J.P.,J.:

ThisisadirectappealtoUs,uponaquestionpurelyoflaw,fromanorderoftheCourtofFirstInstanceofManila
datedApril30,1964,approvingtheprojectofpartitionfiledbytheexecutorinCivilCaseNo.37089therein. 1 w p h 1 . t

Thefactsofthecaseareasfollows:

AmosG.Bellis,borninTexas,was"acitizenoftheStateofTexasandoftheUnitedStates."Byhisfirstwife,Mary
E.Mallen,whomhedivorced,hehadfivelegitimatechildren:EdwardA.Bellis,GeorgeBellis(whopredeceased
himininfancy),HenryA.Bellis,AlexanderBellisandAnnaBellisAllsmanbyhissecondwife,VioletKennedy,who
survivedhim,hehadthreelegitimatechildren:EdwinG.Bellis,WalterS.BellisandDorothyBellisandfinally,he
hadthreeillegitimatechildren:AmosBellis,Jr.,MariaCristinaBellisandMiriamPalmaBellis.

On August 5, 1952, Amos G. Bellis executed a will in the Philippines, in which he directed that after all taxes,
obligations,andexpensesofadministrationarepaidfor,hisdistributableestateshouldbedivided,intrust,inthe
following order and manner: (a) $240,000.00 to his first wife, Mary E. Mallen (b) P120,000.00 to his three
illegitimatechildren,AmosBellis,Jr.,MariaCristinaBellis,MiriamPalmaBellis,orP40,000.00eachand(c)after
theforegoingtwoitemshavebeensatisfied,theremaindershallgotohissevensurvivingchildrenbyhisfirstand
secondwives,namely:EdwardA.Bellis,HenryA.Bellis,AlexanderBellisandAnnaBellisAllsman,EdwinG.Bellis,
WalterS.Bellis,andDorothyE.Bellis,inequalshares. 1 w p h 1 . t

Subsequently, or on July 8, 1958, Amos G. Bellis died a resident of San Antonio, Texas, U.S.A. His will was
admittedtoprobateintheCourtofFirstInstanceofManilaonSeptember15,1958.

ThePeople'sBankandTrustCompany,asexecutorofthewill,paidallthebequeststhereinincludingtheamount
of$240,000.00intheformofsharesofstocktoMaryE.Mallenandtothethree(3)illegitimatechildren,Amos
Bellis,Jr.,MariaCristinaBellisandMiriamPalmaBellis,variousamountstotallingP40,000.00eachinsatisfaction
oftheirrespectivelegacies,oratotalofP120,000.00,whichitreleasedfromtimetotimeaccordingasthelower
courtapprovedandallowedthevariousmotionsorpetitionsfiledbythelatterthreerequestingpartialadvances
onaccountoftheirrespectivelegacies.

On January 8, 1964, preparatory to closing its administration, the executor submitted and filed its "Executor's
FinalAccount,ReportofAdministrationandProjectofPartition"whereinitreported,interalia,thesatisfactionof
thelegacyofMaryE.Mallenbythedeliverytoherofsharesofstockamountingto$240,000.00,andthelegacies
ofAmosBellis,Jr.,MariaCristinaBellisandMiriamPalmaBellisintheamountofP40,000.00eachoratotalof
P120,000.00.Intheprojectofpartition,theexecutorpursuanttothe"Twelfth"clauseofthetestator'sLastWill
and Testament divided the residuary estate into seven equal portions for the benefit of the testator's seven
legitimatechildrenbyhisfirstandsecondmarriages.

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OnJanuary17,1964,MariaCristinaBellisandMiriamPalmaBellisfiledtheirrespectiveoppositionstotheproject
of partition on the ground that they were deprived of their legitimes as illegitimate children and, therefore,
compulsoryheirsofthedeceased.

Amos Bellis, Jr. interposed no opposition despite notice to him, proof of service of which is evidenced by the
registryreceiptsubmittedonApril27,1964bytheexecutor.1

After the parties filed their respective memoranda and other pertinent pleadings, the lower court, on April 30,
1964, issued an order overruling the oppositions and approving the executor's final account, report and
administration and project of partition. Relying upon Art. 16 of the Civil Code, it applied the national law of the
decedent,whichinthiscaseisTexaslaw,whichdidnotprovideforlegitimes.

TheirrespectivemotionsforreconsiderationhavingbeendeniedbythelowercourtonJune11,1964,oppositors
appellantsappealedtothisCourttoraisetheissueofwhichlawmustapplyTexaslaworPhilippinelaw.

In this regard, the parties do not submit the case on, nor even discuss, the doctrine of renvoi, applied by this
Court in Aznar v. Christensen Garcia, L16749, January 31, 1963. Said doctrine is usually pertinent where the
decedentisanationalofonecountry,andadomicileofanother.Inthepresentcase,itisnotdisputedthatthe
decedentwasbothanationalofTexasandadomicilethereofatthetimeofhisdeath.2Sothatevenassuming
Texashasaconflictoflawruleprovidingthatthedomiciliarysystem(lawofthedomicile)shouldgovern,thesame
would not result in a reference back (renvoi) to Philippine law, but would still refer to Texas law. Nonetheless, if
Texashasaconflictsruleadoptingthesitustheory(lexreisitae)callingfortheapplicationofthelawoftheplace
where the properties are situated, renvoi would arise, since the properties here involved are found in the
Philippines.Intheabsence,however,ofproofastotheconflictoflawruleofTexas,itshouldnotbepresumed
differentfromours.3 Appellants' position is therefore not rested on the doctrine of renvoi. As stated, they never
invokednorevenmentioneditintheirarguments.Rather,theyarguethattheircasefallsunderthecircumstances
mentionedinthethirdparagraphofArticle17inrelationtoArticle16oftheCivilCode.

Article16,par.2,andArt.1039oftheCivilCode,renderapplicablethenationallawofthedecedent,inintestate
or testamentary successions, with regard to four items: (a) the order of succession (b) the amount of
successional rights (e) the intrinsic validity of the provisions of the will and (d) the capacity to succeed. They
providethat

ART.16.Realpropertyaswellaspersonalpropertyissubjecttothelawofthecountrywhereitissituated.

However,intestateandtestamentarysuccessions,bothwithrespecttotheorderofsuccessionandtothe
amountofsuccessionalrightsandtotheintrinsicvalidityoftestamentaryprovisions,shallberegulatedby
thenationallawofthepersonwhosesuccessionisunderconsideration,whatevermayhethenatureofthe
propertyandregardlessofthecountrywhereinsaidpropertymaybefound.

ART.1039.Capacitytosucceedisgovernedbythelawofthenationofthedecedent.

AppellantswouldhowevercounterthatArt.17,paragraphthree,oftheCivilCode,statingthat

Prohibitive laws concerning persons, their acts or property, and those which have for their object public
order,publicpolicyandgoodcustomsshallnotberenderedineffectivebylawsorjudgmentspromulgated,
orbydeterminationsorconventionsagreeduponinaforeigncountry.

prevailsastheexceptiontoArt.16,par.2oftheCivilCodeaforequoted.Thisisnotcorrect.Precisely,Congress
deletedthephrase,"notwithstandingtheprovisionsofthisandthenextprecedingarticle"whentheyincorporated
Art. 11 of the old Civil Code as Art. 17 of the new Civil Code, while reproducing without substantial change the
secondparagraphofArt.10oftheoldCivilCodeasArt.16inthenew.Itmusthavebeentheirpurposetomake
the second paragraph of Art. 16 a specific provision in itself which must be applied in testate and intestate
succession.Asfurtherindicationofthislegislativeintent,Congressaddedanewprovision,underArt.1039,which
decreesthatcapacitytosucceedistobegovernedbythenationallawofthedecedent.

It is therefore evident that whatever public policy or good customs may be involved in our System of legitimes,
Congress has not intended to extend the same to the succession of foreign nationals. For it has specifically
chosentoleave,interalia,theamountofsuccessionalrights,tothedecedent'snationallaw.Specificprovisions
mustprevailovergeneralones.

AppellantswouldalsopointoutthatthedecedentexecutedtwowillsonetogovernhisTexasestateandthe
other his Philippine estate arguing from this that he intended Philippine law to govern his Philippine estate.
Assumingthatsuchwasthedecedent'sintentioninexecutingaseparatePhilippinewill,itwouldnotalterthelaw,
forasthisCourtruledinMicianov.Brimo,50Phil.867,870,aprovisioninaforeigner'swilltotheeffectthathis
propertiesshallbedistributedinaccordancewithPhilippinelawandnotwithhisnationallaw,isillegalandvoid,

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forhisnationallawcannotbeignoredinregardtothosemattersthatArticle10nowArticle16oftheCivil
Codestatessaidnationallawshouldgovern.

Thepartiesadmitthatthedecedent,AmosG.Bellis,wasacitizenoftheStateofTexas,U.S.A.,andthatunder
thelawsofTexas,therearenoforcedheirsorlegitimes.Accordingly,sincetheintrinsicvalidityoftheprovisionof
the will and the amount of successional rights are to be determined under Texas law, the Philippine law on
legitimescannotbeappliedtothetestacyofAmosG.Bellis.

Wherefore,theorderoftheprobatecourtisherebyaffirmedintoto,withcostsagainstappellants.Soordered.

Concepcion,C.J.,Reyes,J.B.L.,Dizon,Regala,Makalintal,Zaldivar,SanchezandCastro,JJ.,concur.

Footnotes
1He later filed a motion praying that as a legal heir he be included in this case as one of the oppositors
appellants to file or adopt the opposition of his sisters to the project of partition to submit his brief after
payinghisproportionateshareintheexpensesincurredintheprintingoftherecordonappealortoallow
himtoadoptthebriefsfiledbyhissistersbutthisCourtresolvedtodenythemotion.
2SanAntonio,Texaswashislegalresidence.

3Limvs.Collector,36Phil.472InreTestateEstateofSuntay,95Phil.500.

TheLawphilProjectArellanoLawFoundation

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