Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 24

PERSONS & FAMILY RELATIONS 1

[No. 10806. July 6, 1918.] was granted and a date set for the trial and other necessary proceedings for the probate
MONICA BONA, petitioner and appellant, vs. HOSPICIO BRIONES ET AL., of said will.
objectors and appellees.
1. WILLS; NOTARY AS WITNESS TO EXECUTION.—A will was executed by a person Counsel for Hospicio, Gregoria, and Carmen, all surnamed Briones, the legitimate
capable of making it before two attesting witnesses and a notary who, by the order children by the first marriage of the testator, by a pleading dated March 5, 1915,
and under the direction of the testator, was charged with the drafting of the said will, opposed the probate of the will presented by the widow of the deceased Briones,
and who understood the instrument drafted by him as wholly containing the will of the alleging that the said will was executed before two witnesses only and under unlawful
above-mentioned testator, who certified as to the execution and authenticity of the and undue pressure or influence exercised upon the person of the testator who thus
said will and as to its having been signed by the testator and the two witnesses in the signed through fraud and deceit; and he prayed that for that reason the said will be
act of its execution and in his presence, stating further that these witnesses affirm that declared null and of no value, with costs against the petitioners.
they were present when the testator and the said notary signed the said will. Held:
That it cannot be questioned that in the execution of the will the requisites laid down The trial of the case was opened and in the presence of counsel for both parties,
by section 618 of Act No. 190 are present, and therefore it should be admitted to Gregorio Bustilla, one of the witnesses of the said will, was examined and he stated
probate, inasmuch as Domingo de la Fuente was present and intervenQd in the making under oath: That he, as well as Sixto Barrameda and Domingo de la Fuente, was
of the will by Francisco Briones more as an attesting witness than as a notary—the actually present as attesting witness when Francisco Briones executed his will in the
latter's services being no longer necessary in the execution of a will in accordance with month of September in his (Bustilla's) house situated in the municipality of Bao, Ambos
the said Act. Camarines; that Francisco Briones knowing of the presence of notary Domingo de la
Fuente in the house, he went upstairs and ann&unced himself; that on being asked
2. ID.; APPLICATION OP ACT No. 2645, PASSED AFTER DEATH OF TESTATOR.—The what he wanted, Briones stated that he wanted to execute his will; that after Briones
will in question having been executed in September, 1911, five years before Act No. and the notary had talked with each other, the former left and after a while returned
2645, amending said section 618 of Act No. 190 went into effect (July 1, 1916), which bringing with him some paper; that then Domingo de la Fuente, under the direction of
amendment took place two years and some months after the death of the testator Francisco Briones, began to draft the will, which when finished was signed by the latter
Briones (August 14, 1913), it is evident that said amendatory Act cannot apply to this in the presence of the notary, of the declarant, and of another witness, Sixto
case. Barrameda; that then the three witnesses—the declarant, de la Fuente, and
Barram6da—signed in the presence of each other. The declarant identified the
3. STATUTORY CONSTRUCTION; RETROACTIVE EFFECT OF NEW LAW.—The principle signature placed on the will by the testator Briones and those of the other witnesses
that a new law shall not have any retroactive effect only governs the rights arising from Sixto Barrameda and Domingo de la Fuente, who all signed in the presence of the
acts done under the rule of the former law; but if the right be declared for the first time testator himself. He stated further that the testator at that moment was in his sound
by the subsequent law it shall take effect from that time even though it has arisen from judgment and not forced to execute the will. He identified the document Exhibit A as
acts subject to the former laws, provided that it does not prejudice another acquired the will executed by Francisco Briones and the signature of the latter as the one placed
right of the same origin. It is well known that hereditary rights are not born nor does by the testator. By agreement of both parties it was made to appear in the record that,
the will produce any effect except from the moment of the death of the person whose if the witnesses Sixto Barrameda and Domingo de la Fuente were called, they would
inheritance is concerned. (Decision of the supreme court of Spain of June 24 1897.) have testified in the same terms as witness Gregorio Bustilla.
APPEAL from a judgment of the Court of First Instance of Ambos Camarines. Salas, J.
In view of the above, the judge rendered judgment, dated March 27, 1915, denying
The facts are stated in the opinion of the court. probate to the will Exhibit A as executed by Francisco Briones. From the judgment,
Ramon Pimentel for appellant. counsel for Monica Bona appealed and prayed to be allowed to sue further as a pauper;
Ocampo & De la Rosa for appellees. whereupon, by order of March 31,1915, the judge admitted the appeal, ordered the
original records to be brought up, and reiterated his order of December 23, 1913,
TORRES, J.: declaring Bona as a pauper, for the purposes of the appeal interposed.

Counsel for Monica Bona, the widow by the second marriage of the deceased Francisco The whole issue discussed by the parties and submitted for the decision of this court
Briones who died on August 14, 1913, applied for the probate of the will which the said resolves itself as to whether or not in the execution of the will in question the
deceased husband on September 16, 1911, executed during his lifetime; for the fixing solemnities prescribed by section 618 of Act No. 190 have been observed.
of a day for the hearing and presentation of evidence after all the interested parties
had been cited; and then for the approval of the partition of property made by the But before proceeding further it is indispensable to note that the will in question was
testator in the said will. By an order dated January 20, 1915, Moftica Bona's petition executed by Francisco Briones on September 16, 1911, as already stated and the order
denying probate was rendered on March 27, 1915, both .dates being prior to that of
PERSONS & FAMILY RELATIONS 2
Act No. 2645 amending said section 618 and promulgated on February 24, 1916, which all that he had written in the document Exhibit A expresses the genuine and true will
took effect only from July first of the last named year; so that, in order to explain of the testator. He saw and was present when the latter signed his will, as also when
whether or not the above-mentioned. will was executed in accordance with the law the two witnesses Bustilla and Barrameda affixed their signatures; said witnesses also
then in force, the last named law cannot be applied and the will in question should be saw and were present when Domingo de la Fuente signed at the end of the said
examined in accordance with, and under the rules of, the law in force at the time of its document.
execution.
The name of Domingo de la Fuente appears as that of a notary who certifies as to the
The oft-repeated section 618 of Act No. 190 says: certainty of the will made by Francisco Briones and of the signatures of the testator as
well as of the witnesses at its end; and as the law does not require that one of the
"No will, except as provided in the preceding section, shall be valid to pass any estate, witnesses must necessarily be a notary, and it cannot be denied that Domingo de la
real or personal, nor charge or affect the same, unless it be in writing and signed by Fuente attested the execution and the signing of the will not only by the testator but
the testator, or by the testator's name written by some other person in his presence, also by the attesting witnesses, it cannot but be admitted that Domingo de la Fuente
and by his express direction, and attested and subscribed by three or more credible intervened, attested, and signed the testament as a witness.
witnesses in the presence of the testator and of each other. The attestation shall state
the fact that the testator signed the will, or caused it to be signed by some other This is a case in which the judicial criterion should be inspired in the sense that it is not
person, at his express direction, in the presence of three witnesses, and that they defeated, and, if the wish of the testator is so manifest and express as in the instant
attested and subscribed it in his presence and in the presence of each other. But the case, it is not proper nor just to invalidate the will of Francisco Briones merely because
absence of such form of attestation shall not render the will invalid if it is proven that of some small defect in form which is not essential nor of great importance, such as
the will was in fact signed and attested as in this section provided." the failure to state therein that Domingo de la Fuente was also a witness to the said
will when he signed it twice. As a matter of fact, he understood the contents of the will
A mere reading of the last four paragraphs or parts of the will Exhibit A shows in a clear better than the two other attesting witnesses, f or he really was a witness and he
manner that the said will in its form and contents expresses without shadow of doubt attested the execution of the will during its making until it was terminated and signed
the will of the testator; and that in its execution the solemnities prescribed by the by the testator, by the witnesses, and by himself,even though he did it in the capacity
above-mentioned section 618 of Act No. 190 have been observed. of a notary.

Even though Domingo de la Fuente drafted the will and intervened in its preparation The last paragraph of section 618 of Act No. 190 supplies a legal basis to support the
as a notary, by the order and under the express direction of the testator, it is validity of the will in question with the conditions for its probate because,
nevertheless true that he did it as a witness to the execution of the said will with notwithstanding the existence of such defect merely in the form and not in the
positive and concrete acts, while the two other witnesses Gregorio Bustilla and Sixto substance, the certification of authenticity and the very text of the will show in a clear
Barrameda merely attested all that appeared in the second of the four paragraphs and indubitable manner that the will Exhibit A contains the last will of the testator, and
mentioned; for in it they certify that the foregoing testament contains the last will of that it was signed by the latter and attested, as being true and legitimate not only by
the testator Francisco Briones; that the latter told them that before and at the time the two witnesses Bustilla and Barrameda but also by the one who wrote it, Domingo
that he dictated his will, there was no inducement nor threat by anybody; and that as de la Fuente, who was also a truthful and reliable witness, even though he be called a
he did not know how to write the Spanish language, said testator requested Domingo notary public.
de la Fuente to write the will, and he did it as it is now drafted, certifying also, that the
testator Briones signed his will voluntarily with his own hand, in the presence of the The requisites established by Act No. 2645 which amended the oft-repeated section
declarants who, as witnesses, signed the instrument on the date expressed. Domingo 618 cannot be required in the probate of the will here, inasmuch as this document was
de la Fuente on his part declared that the two said witnesses formally swore before executed in September, 1911, five years before said amendatory law began to take
him on the certification which precedes the said will and, according to this testimony effect (July 1, 1916), while the testator died on August 14, 1913, two years and some
as shown in the records and the testimony of the above-mentioned witnesses, the said months before the enforcement of the said law; and so, the only law applicable to the
Domingo de la Fuente wrote and drafted the said will Exhibit A by the order and under present case is the provision contained in section 618 of Act No. 190, and in accordance
the direction of the testator Francisco Briones, who signed in the presence of the with the provisions of this section, the said will should be probated; for it has been
witnesses, Bustilla and Barrameda and of Notary Domingo de la Fuente, all of whom presented to the court many months before the amendatory act went into effect.
immediately signed also in the presence of the testator, each doing it in the presence
of each other. So that, although it is not shown expressly that Domingo de la Fuente It is well known that the principle that a new law shall not have retroactive effect only
was an attesting witness to the will, yet it cannot be denied that it was he who wrote governs the rights arising from acts done under the rule of the former law; but if the
it by the order and under the direction of the testator; that he was a witness to its right be declared for the first time by a subsequent law it shall take effect from that
execution from the first to its last line; and that he was perfectly aware of the fact that
PERSONS & FAMILY RELATIONS 3
time even though it has arisen from acts subject to the former laws, provided that it
does not prejudice another acquired right of the same origin.

It is well known that hereditary rights are not born nor does the will produce any effect
until the moment of the death of the person whose inheritance is concerned. (Decision
rendered in cassation by the supreme court of Spain on June 24, 1897.)

In view of these facts, it follows that the judgment appealed from should be
reversed and it should be declared as we hereby declare that the will Exhibit A has
been executed in due form by Francisco Briones on September 16, 1911, and that the
said will contains and expresses the last will and testamentary wishes of the deceased
testator. Consequently, let the records be returned to the court wherefrom they came
with a certified copy of this resolution in order that the judge, upon petition by the
proper party, may provide for the necessary proceedings with respect to the
inheritance, and the clerk of the court may issue certified. copies of the said testament;
without any special ruling as to costs. So ordered.
Johnson, Carson, Street, Malcolm, Avancena, and Fisher, JJ., concur.
Judgment reversed.
PERSONS & FAMILY RELATIONS 4
G.R. No. 104528. January 18, 1996.* statute when it leads away from the true intent and purpose of the legislature and to
PHILIPPINE NATIONAL BANK, petitioner, vs. OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT, conclusions inconsistent with the general purpose of the act. Intent is the spirit which
HOUSING AND LAND USE REGULATORY BOARD, ALFONSO MAGLAYA, gives life to a legislative enactment. In construing statutes the proper course is to start
ANGELINA MAGLAYA P. REYES, JORGE C. BERNARDINO, CORAZON DE LEON, out and follow the true intent of the legislature and to adopt that sense which
VICTORIANO ACAYA, FLORENCIA CULTURA, MARIA CAMPOS, ERNESTO harmonizes best with the context and promotes in the fullest manner the apparent
SARMIENTO, SANTIAGO TAMONAN, APOLONIA TADIAQUE, SIMEON DE policy and objects of the legislature.”
LEON, NATIVIDAD J. CRUZ, NATIVIDAD B. LORESCO, FELICIDAD GARCIA,
ANA ANITA TAN, LUCAS SERVILLION, JOSE NARAWAL, represented by their Same; Same; Same; Same; Constitutional Law; Impairment Clause; Despite the
duly authorized Attorney-in-Fact, CORAZON DE LEON AND SPOUSES impairment clause, a contract valid at the time of its execution may be legally modified
LEOPOLDO AND CARMEN SEBASTIAN, respondents. or even completely invalidated by a subsequent law.—As for objections about a possible
violation of the impairment clause, we find the following statements of Justice Isagani
Actions; Appeals; Jurisdiction; Administrative Law; Pleadings and Practice; Under Cruz enlightening and pertinent to the case at bench: “Despite the impairment clause,
Revised Administrative Circular No. 1-95, appeals from judgments or final orders of the a contract valid at the time of its execution may be legally modified or even completely
Office of the President may be taken to the Court of Appeals.—Under Revised invalidated by a subsequent law. If the law is a proper exercise of the police power, it
Administrative Circular No. 1-95, “appeals from judgments or final orders of the x x x will prevail over the contract. Into each contract are read the provisions of existing law
Office of the President x x x may be taken to the Court of Appeals x x x.” However, in and, always, a reservation of the police power as long as the agreement deals with a
order to hasten the resolution of this case, which was deemed submitted for decision matter affecting the public welfare. Such a contract, it has been held, suffers a
three years ago, the Court resolved to make an exception to the said Circular in the congenital infirmity, and this is its susceptibility to change by the legislature as a
interest of speedy justice. postulate of the legal order.”

Statutes; P.D. 957; Subdivisions; Contracts; Mortgages; Statutory Construction; It is Same; Same; Same; Same; Same; Pursuant to Section 18 of P.D. 957, a mortgagee
obvious and indubitable that P.D. 957 was intended to cover even those real estate bank is obliged to accept the payment by the lot buyer of the remaining unpaid
mortgages executed prior to its enactment.—Normally, pursuant to Article 4 of the Civil amortization and to apply the payments to the corresponding mortgage indebtedness
Code, “(l)aws shall have no retroactive effect, unless the contrary is provided.” secured by the particular lot being paid for, without prejudice to the mortgagee seeking
However, it is obvious and indubitable that P.D. 957 was intended to cover even those relief against the subdivision developer.—As to the second issue of non-privity,
real estate mortgages, like the one at issue here, executed prior to its enactment, and petitioner avers that, in view of the provisions of Article 1311 of the Civil Code, PNB,
such intent (as succinctly captured in the preamble quoted below) must be given effect being a “total stranger to the land purchase agreement,” cannot be made to take the
if the laudable purpose of protecting innocent purchasers is to be achieved. developer’s place. We disagree. P.D. 957 being applicable, Section 18 of said law
obliges petitioner Bank to accept the payment of the remaining unpaid amortizations
Same; Same; Same; Same; Same; Same; Social Justice; As between small lot buyers tendered by private respondents. Privity of contracts as a defense does not apply in
and the gigantic financial institutions which the developers deal with, it is obvious that this case for the law explicitly grants to the buyer the option to pay the installment
the law—as an instrument of social justice—must favor the weak.—While P.D. 957 did payment for his lot or unit directly to the mortgagee (petitioner), which is required to
not expressly provide for retroactivity in its entirety, yet the same can be plainly inferred apply such payments to reduce the corresponding portion of the mortgage
from the unmistakable intent of the law to protect innocent lot buyers from scheming indebtedness secured by the particular lot or unit being paid for. And, as stated earlier,
subdivision developers. As between these small lot buyers and the gigantic financial this is without prejudice to petitioner Bank’s seeking relief against the subdivision
institutions which the developers deal with, it is obvious that the law—as an instrument developer.
of social justice—must favor the weak.
PETITION for review of a decision of the Office of the President.
Same; Same; Same; Same; Same; Same; The intent of a statute is the law.—The intent
of the law, as culled from its preamble and from the situation, circumstances and The facts are stated in the resolution of the Court.
condition it sought to remedy, must be enforced. Sutherland, in his well-known treatise Santiago, Jr., Vidad, Corpus & Associates for Philippine National Bank.
on Statutory Construction (quoted with approval by this Court in an old case of Public Attorney’s Office for private respondents.
consequence, Ongsiako vs. Gamboa), says: “The intent of a statute is the law. If a
statute is valid it is to have effect according to the purpose and intent of the lawmaker. RESOLUTION
The intent is the vital part, the essence of the law, and the primary rule of construction
is to ascertain and give effect to the intent. The intention of the legislature in enacting PANGANIBAN, J.:
a law is the law itself, and must be enforced when ascertained, although it may not be
consistent with the strict letter of the statute. Courts will not follow the letter of a
PERSONS & FAMILY RELATIONS 5
May a buyer of a property at a foreclosure sale dispossess prior purchasers on Normally, pursuant to Article 4 of the Civil Code, “(l)aws shall have no retroactive effect,
installment of individual lots therein, or compel them to pay again for the lots which unless the contrary is provided.” However, it is obvious and indubitable that P.D. 957
they previously bought from the defaulting mortgagor-subdivision developer, on the was intended to cover even those real estate mortgages, like the one at issue here,
theory that P.D. 957, “The Subdivision and Condominium Buyers’ Protective Decree,” executed prior to its enactment, and such intent (as succinctly captured in the preamble
is not applicable to the mortgage contract in question, the same having been executed quoted below) must be given effect if the laudable purpose of protecting innocent
prior to the enactment of P.D. 957? This is the question confronting the Court in this purchasers is to be achieved:
Petition challenging the Decision dated March 10, 1992 of the Office of the President
of the Philippines in O.P. Case No. 4249, signed by the Executive Secretary, Franklin “WHEREAS, it is the policy of the State to afford its inhabitants the requirements of
M. Drilon, “by authority of the President.” decent human settlement and to provide them with ample opportunities for improving
their quality of life;
Private respondents were buyers on installment of subdivision lots from Marikina
Village, Inc. (represented by spouses Antonio and Susana Astudillo). Notwithstanding “WHEREAS, numerous reports reveal that many real estate subdivision owners,
the land purchase agreements it executed over said lots, the subdivision developer developers, operators, and/or sellers have reneged on their representations and
mortgaged the lots in favor of the petitioner, Philippine National Bank. Unaware of this obligations to provide and maintain properly subdivision roads, drainage, sewerage,
mortgage, private respondents duly complied with their obligations as lot buyers and water systems, lighting systems, and other similar basic requirements, thus
constructed their houses on the lots in question. endangering the health and safety of home and lot buyers;

Subsequently, the subdivision developer defaulted and PNB foreclosed on the “WHEREAS, reports of alarming magnitude also show cases of swindling and fraudulent
mortgage. As highest bidder at the foreclosure sale, the bank became owner of the manipulations perpetrated by unscrupulous subdivision and condominium sellers and
lots. operators, such as failure to deliver titles to the buyers or titles free from liens and
encumbrances, and to pay real estate taxes, and fraudulent sales of the same
Acting on suits brought by private respondents (which were later consolidated), the subdivision lots to different innocent purchasers for value”;1 (Italics supplied)
HLURB Office of Appeals, Adjudication and Legal Affairs (OAALA) in a decision rendered
on October 28, 1988 ruled that PNB—without prejudice to seeking relief against While P.D. 957 did not expressly provide for retroactivity in its entirety, yet the same
Marikina Village, Inc.—may collect from private respondents only the “remaining can be plainly inferred from the unmistakable intent of the law to protect innocent lot
amortizations, in accordance with the land purchase agreements they had previously buyers from scheming subdivision developers. As between these small lot buyers and
entered into with” Marikina Village, Inc., and cannot compel private respondents to pay the gigantic financial institutions which the developers deal with, it is obvious that the
all over again for the lots they had already bought from said subdivision developer. On law—as an instrument of social justice—must favor the weak. Indeed, the petitioner
May 2, 1989, the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board affirmed this decision. On Bank had at its disposal vast resources with which it could adequately protect its loan
March 10, 1992, the Office of the President, invoking P.D. 957, likewise concurred with activities, and therefore is presumed to have conducted the usual “due diligence”
the HLURB. Hence, the present recourse to this Court. checking and ascertained (whether thru ocular inspection or other modes of
investigation) the actual status, condition, utilization and occupancy of the property
Under Revised Administrative Circular No. 1-95, “appeals from judgments or final offered as collateral. It could not have been unaware that the property had been built
orders of the x x x Office of the President x x x may be taken to the Court of Appeals on by small lot buyers. On the other hand, private respondents obviously were
x x x.” However, in order to hasten the resolution of this case, which was deemed powerless to discover the attempt of the land developer to hypothecate the property
submitted for decision three years ago, the Court resolved to make an exception to the being sold to them. It was precisely in order to deal with this kind of situation that P.D.
said Circular in the interest of speedy justice. 957 was enacted, its very essence and intendment being to provide a protective mantle
over helpless citizens who may fall prey to the razzmatazz of what P.D. 957 termed
Petitioner bank raised the following issues: “unscrupulous subdivision and condominium sellers.”

1. The Office of the President erred in applying P.D. 957 because said law was The intent of the law, as culled from its preamble and from the situation, circumstances
enacted only on July 12, 1976, while the subject mortgage was executed on and condition it sought to remedy, must be enforced. Sutherland, in his well-known
December 18, 1975; and treatise on Statutory Construction (quoted with approval by this Court in an old case
2. Petitioner Bank is not privy to the contracts between private respondents and of consequence, Ongsiako vs. Gamboa,2) says:
mortgagor-subdivision developer, hence, the Office of the President erred in
ordering petitioner Bank to accept private respondents’ remaining amortizations and “The intent of a statute is the law. If a statute is valid it is to have effect according to
issue the corresponding titles after payment thereof. the purpose and intent of the lawmaker. The intent is the vital part, the essence of the
law, and the primary rule of construction is to ascertain and give effect to the intent.
PERSONS & FAMILY RELATIONS 6
The intention of the legislature in enacting a law is the law itself, and must be enforced “Failure of the owner or developer to comply with the obligations under this
when ascertained, although it may not be consistent with the strict letter of the statute. and the preceding provisions shall constitute a violation punishable under
Courts will not follow the letter of a statute when it leads away from the true intent Section 38 and 39 of this Decree.
and purpose of the legislature and to conclusions inconsistent with the general purpose
of the act. Intent is the spirit which gives life to a legislative enactment. In construing “SEC. 23. Non-Forfeiture of Payments.—No installment payment made by a
statutes the proper course is to start out and follow the true intent of the legislature buyer in a subdivision or condominium project for the lot or unit he contracted
and to adopt that sense which harmonizes best with the context and promotes in the to buy shall be forfeited in favor of the owner or developer when the buyer,
fullest manner the apparent policy and objects of the legislature.”3 after due notice to the owner or developer, desists from further payment due
to the failure of the owner or developer to develop the subdivision or
Truly, this Court cannot allow the injustice that will be wrought by a strictly prospective condominium project according to the approved plans and within the time
application of the law. Little people who have toiled for years through blood and tears limit for complying with the same. Such buyer may, at his option, be
would be deprived of their homes through no fault of their own. As the Solicitor General, reimbursed the total amount paid including amortization interests but
in his comment, argues: excluding delinquency interests, with interest thereon at the legal rate.” (italics
supplied)
“Verily, if P.D. 957 were to exclude from its coverage the aforecited mortgage contract,
the vigorous regulation which P.D. 957 seeks to impose on unconscientious subdivision As for objections about a possible violation of the impairment clause, we find the
sellers will be translated into a feeble exercise of police power just because the iron following statements of Justice Isagani Cruz enlightening and pertinent to the case at
hand of the State cannot particularly touch mortgage contracts badged with the bench:
fortunate accident of having been constituted prior to the enactment of P.D. 957.
Indeed, it would be illogical in the extreme if P.D. 957 is to be given full force and effect “Despite the impairment clause, a contract valid at the time of its execution
and yet, the fraudulent practices and manipulations it seeks to curb in the first instance may be legally modified or even completely invalidated by a subsequent law.
can nevertheless be liberally perpetrated precisely because P.D. 957 cannot be applied If the law is a proper exercise of the police power, it will prevail over the
to existing antecedent mortgage contracts. The legislative intent could not have contract.
conceivably permitted a loophole which all along works to the prejudice of subdivision
lot buyers (private respondents).”4 “Into each contract are read the provisions of existing law and, always, a
reservation of the police power as long as the agreement deals with a matter
Likewise noteworthy are certain provisions of P.D. 957, which themselves constitute affecting the public welfare. Such a contract, it has been held, suffers a
strong arguments in favor of the retroactivity of P.D. 957 as a whole. These are Sections congenital infirmity, and this is its susceptibility to change by the legislature
20, 21 and 23 thereof, which by their very terms have retroactive effect and will impact as a postulate of the legal order.”5
upon even those contracts and transactions entered into prior to P.D. 957’s enactment:
This Court ruled along similar lines in Juarez vs. Court of Appeals:6
“SEC. 20. Time and Completion.—Every owner or developer shall construct
and provide the facilities, improvements, infrastructures and other forms of “The petitioner complains that the retroactive application of the law would violate the
development, including water supply and lighting facilities, which are offered impairment clause. The argument does not impress. The impairment clause is now no
and indicated in the approved subdivision or condominium plans, brochures, longer inviolate; in fact, there are many who now believe it is an anachronism in the
prospectus, printed matters, letters or in any form of advertisement, within presentday society. It was quite useful before in protecting the integrity of private
one year from the date of the issuance of the license for the subdivision or agreements from government meddling, but that was when such agreements did not
condominium project or such other period of time as may be fixed by the affect the community in general. They were indeed purely private agreements then.
Authority. Any interference with them at that time was really an unwarranted intrusion that could
properly struck down.
“SEC. 21. Sales Prior to Decree.—In cases of subdivision lots or condominium
units sold or disposed of prior to the effectivity of this Decree, it shall be “But things are different now. More and more, the interests of the public have become
incumbent upon the owner or developer of the subdivision or condominium involved in what are supposed to be still private agreements, which have as a result
project to complete compliance with his or its obligations as provided in the been removed from the protection of the impairment clause. These agreements have
preceding section within two years from the date of this Decree unless come within the embrace of the police power, that obtrusive protector of the public
otherwise extended by the Authority or unless an adequate performance bond interest. It is an ubiquitous policeman indeed. As long as the contract affects the public
is filed in accordance with Section 6 hereof. welfare one way or another so as to require the interference of the State, then must
the police power be asserted, and prevail, over the impairment clause.”
PERSONS & FAMILY RELATIONS 7
The decision of the Court of Appeals in Breta and Hamor vs. Lao, et al.,7 penned by been provided to ensure such utilization. The loan value of each lot or unit covered by
then Court of Appeals Associate Justice Jose A. R. Melo, now a respected member of the mortgage shall be determined and the buyer thereof, if any, shall be notified before
this Court, is persuasive, the factual circumstances therein being of great similarity to the release of the loan. The buyer may, at his option, pay his installment for the lot or
the antecedent facts of the case at bench: unit directly to the mortgagee who shall apply the payments to the corresponding
mortgage indebtedness secured by the particular lot or unit being paid for, with a view
“Protection must be afforded small homeowners who toil and save if only to purchase to enabling said buyer to obtain title over the lot or unit promptly after full payment
on installment a tiny home lot they can call their own. The consuming dream of every thereof.” (Italics supplied)
Filipino is to be able to buy a lot, no matter how small, so that he may somehow build
a house. It has, however, been seen of late that these honest, hard-living individuals Privity of contracts as a defense does not apply in this case for the law explicitly grants
are taken advantage of, with the delivery of titles delayed, the subdivision facilities, to the buyer the option to pay the installment payment for his lot or unit directly to the
including the most essential such as water installations not completed, or worse yet, mortgagee (petitioner), which is required to apply such payments to reduce the
as in the instant case, after almost completing the payments for the property and after corresponding portion of the mortgage indebtedness secured by the particular lot or
constructing a house, the buyer is suddenly confronted by the stark reality, contrived unit being paid for. And, as stated earlier, this is without prejudice to petitioner Bank’s
or otherwise, in which another person would now appear to be owner. seeking relief against the subdivision developer.

xxx xxx xxx xxx xxx Finally, before closing this Resolution, we enjoin petitioner Bank to focus not only on
the strictly legal issues involved in this case but also to take another look at the larger
“We cannot overemphasize the fact that the BANK cannot barefacedly argue that simply issues including social justice and the protection of human rights as enshrined in the
because the title or titles offered as security were clean of any encumbrance or lien, Constitution; firstly, because legal issues are raised and decided not in a vacuum but
that it was thereby relieved of taking any other step to verify the over-reaching within the context of existing social, economic and political conditions, law being merely
implications should the subdivision be auctioned on foreclosure. The BANK could not a brick in the up-building of the social edifice; and secondly, petitioner, being THE state
have closed its eyes that it was dealing over a subdivision where there were already bank, is for all intents and purposes an instrument for the implementation of state
houses constructed. Did it not enter the mind of the responsible officers of the BANK policies so cherished in our fundamental law. These considerations are obviously far
that there may even be subdivision residents who have almost completed their more weighty than the winning of any particular suit or the acquisition of any specific
installment payments?” (id., pp. 7 & 9) property. Thus, as the country strives to move ahead towards economic self-sufficiency
and to achieve dreams of “NIC-hood” and social well-being for the majority of our
By the foregoing citation, this Court thus adopts by reference the foregoing as part of countrymen, we hold that petitioner Bank, the premier bank in the country, which has
this Decision. in recent years made record earnings and acquired an enviable international stature,
with branches and subsidiaries in key financial centers around the world, should be
The real estate mortgage in the above cited case, although constituted in 1975 and equally as happy with the disposition of this case as the private respondents, who were
outside the beneficial aegis of P.D. 957, was struck down by the Court of Appeals which almost deprived and dispossessed of their very homes purchased through their hard
found in favor of subdivision lot buyers when the rights of the latter clashed with the work and with their meager savings.
mortgagee bank’s right to foreclose the property. The Court of Appeals in that case
upheld the decision of the trial court declaring the real estate mortgage as null and WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing considerations, the petition is hereby
void. DENIED, petitioner having failed to show any REVERSIBLE ERROR or GRAVE ABUSE
OF DISCRETION in the assailed decision. No costs.
As to the second issue of non-privity, petitioner avers that, in view of the provisions of SO ORDERED.
Article 1311 of the Civil Code, PNB, being a “total stranger to the land purchase Narvasa (C.J., Chairman), Davide, Jr., Melo and Francisco, JJ., concur.
agreement,” cannot be made to take the developer’s place. Petition denied.

We disagree. P.D. 957 being applicable, Section 18 of said law obliges petitioner Bank Notes.—In a contract of sale of personal property payable in installments, the
to accept the payment of the remaining unpaid amortizations tendered by private mere fact that the vendor secures possession of the unpaid articles through an
respondents. attachment does not necessarily mean that it would resort to a foreclosure of the
mortgage. (Palma vs. Court of Appeals, 232 SCRA 714 [1994])
“SEC. 18. Mortgages.—No mortgage on any unit or lot shall be made by the owner or The right of redemption vested in agricultural lessees is superior to the right of the
developer without prior written approval of the Authority. Such approval shall not be mortgagee of the land. The remedy of the mortgagee is not against the land nor the
granted unless it is shown that the proceeds of the mortgage loan shall be used for the agricultural lessees but against the mortgagor. (Cuaño vs. Court of Appeals, 237
development of the condominium or subdivision project and effective measures have SCRA 122 [1994])
PERSONS & FAMILY RELATIONS 8
G.R. No. 136921. April 17, 2001.* when, for the first time, the Court has given life to the term. Molina, that followed, has
LORNA GUILLEN PESCA, petitioner, vs. ZOSIMO A. PESCA, respondent. additionally provided procedural guidelines to assist the courts and the parties in trying
cases for annulment of marriages grounded on psychological incapacity. Molina has
Marriages; Annulment; Words and Phrases; “Psychological Incapacity,” Explained. — strengthened, not overturned, Santos.
The term “psychological incapacity,” as a ground for the declaration of nullity of a
marriage under Article 36 of the Family Code, has been explained by the Court in Santos Same; Same; Same; Emotional immaturity and irresponsibility cannot be equated with
and reiterated in Molina. The Court, in Santos, concluded: “It should be obvious, looking psychological incapacity.—At all events, petitioner has utterly failed, both in her
at all the foregoing disquisitions, including, and most importantly, the deliberations of allegations in the complaint and in her evidence, to make out a case of psychological
the Family Code Revision Committee itself, that the use of the phrase ‘psychological incapacity on the part of respondent, let alone at the time of solemnization of the
incapacity under Article 36 of the Code has not been meant to comprehend all such contract, so as to warrant a declaration of nullity of the marriage. Emotional immaturity
possible cases of psychoses as, likewise mentioned by some ecclesiastical authorities, and irresponsibility, invoked by her, cannot be equated with psychological incapacity.
extremely low intelligence, immaturity, and like circumstances (cited in Fr. Artemio
Balumad’s ‘Void and Voidable Marriages in the Family Code and their Parallels in Canon PETITION for review on certiorari of a decision of the Court of Appeals.
Law,’ quoting from the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder by the American
Psychiatric Association; Edward Hudson’s ‘Handbook II for Marriage Nullity Cases’). The facts are stated in the opinion of the Court.
Article 36 of the Family Code cannot be taken and construed independently of, but Vigilia and Vigilia Law Office for petitioner.
must stand in conjunction with, existing precepts in our law on marriage. Thus Ernesto M. Tomaneng for respondent.
correlated, ‘psychological incapacity’ should refer to no less than a mental (not physical)
incapacity that causes a party to be truly incognitive of the basic marital covenants that VITUG, J.:
concomitantly must be assumed and discharged by the parties to the marriage which,
as so expressed by Article 68 of the Family Code, include their mutual obligations to Submitted for review is the decision of the Court of Appeals, promulgated on 27 May
live together, observe love, respect and fidelity and render help and support. There is 1998, in CA. G.R. CV No. 52374, reversing the decision of the Regional Trial Court
hardly any doubt that the intendment of the law has been to confine the meaning of (“RTC”) of Caloocan City, Branch 130, which has declared the marriage between
‘psychological incapacity’ to the most serious cases of personality disorders clearly petitioner and respondent to be null and void ab initio on the ground of psychological
demonstrative of an utter insensitivity or inability to give meaning and significance to incapacity on the part of respondent.
the marriage. This psychologic condition must exist at the time the marriage is
celebrated.” Petitioner Lorna G. Pesca and respondent Zosimo A. Pesca first met sometime in 1975
while on board an inter-island vessel bound for Bacolod City. After a whirlwind
Same; Same; Judgments; Doctrine of Stare Decisis; Statutory Construction; The courtship, they got married on 03 March 1975. Initially, the young couple did not live
interpretation placed upon the written law by a competent court has the force of law.— together as petitioner was still a student in college and respondent, a seaman, had to
The “doctrine of stare decisis,” ordained in Article 8 of the Civil Code, expresses that leave the country on board an ocean-going vessel barely a month after the marriage.
judicial decisions applying or interpreting the law shall form part of the legal system of Six months later, the young couple established their residence in Quezon City until they
the Philippines. The rule follows the settled legal maxim—“legis interpretado legis vim were able to build their own house in Caloocan City where they finally resided. It was
obtinet”—that the interpretation placed upon the written law by a competent court has blissful marriage for the couple during the two months of the year that they could stay
the force of law. The interpretation or construction placed by the courts establishes the together—when respondent was on vacation. The union begot four children, 19-year
contemporaneous legislative intent of the law. The latter as so interpreted and old Ruhem, 17-year old Rez, 11-year old Ryan, and 9-year old Richie.
construed would thus constitute a part of that law as of the date the statute is enacted.
It is only when a prior ruling of this Court finds itself later overruled, and a different It started in 1988, petitioner said, when she noticed that respondent surprisingly
view is adopted, that the new doctrine may have to be applied prospectively in favor showed signs of “psychological incapacity” to perform his marital covenant . His “true
of parties who have relied on the old doctrine and have acted in good faith in color” of being an emotionally immature and irresponsible husband became apparent.
accordance therewith under the familiar rule of “lex prospicit, non respicit.” He was cruel and violent. He was a habitual drinker, staying with friends daily from
4:00 o’clock in the afternoon until 1:00 o’clock in the morning. When cautioned to stop
Same: Same; Words and Phrases: The phrase “psychological incapacity,” borrowed or, to at least, minimize his drinking, respondent would beat, slap and kick her. At one
from Canon law, is an entirely novel provision in our statute books, and, until the time, he chased petitioner with a loaded shotgun and threatened to kill her in the
relatively recent enactment of the Family Code, the concept has escaped jurisprudential presence of the children. The children themselves were not spared from physical
attention.—The phrase “psychological incapacity,” borrowed from Canon law, is an violence.
entirely novel provision in our statute books, and, until the relatively recent enactment
of the Family Code, the concept has escaped jurisprudential attention. It is in Santos
PERSONS & FAMILY RELATIONS 9
Finally, on 19 November 1992, petitioner and her children left the conjugal abode to covenant, as so provided for in Article 68 of the Family Code; that the incapacity is
live in the house of her sister in Quezon City as they could no longer bear his violent grave, has preceded the marriage and is incurable; that his incapacity to meet his
ways. Two months later, petitioner decided to forgive respondent, and she returned marital responsibility is because of a psychological, not physical illness; that the root
home to give him a chance to change. But, to her dismay, things did not so turn out cause of the incapacity has been identified medically or clinically, and has been proven
as expected. Indeed, matters became worse. by an expert; and that the incapacity is permanent and incurable in nature.

On the morning of 22 March 1994, about eight o’clock, respondent assaulted petitioner The burden of proof to show the nullity of marriage lies in the plaintiff and any doubt
for about half an hour in the presence of the children. She was battered black and blue. should be resolved in favor of the existence and continuation of the marriage and
She submitted herself to medical examination at the Quezon City General Hospital, against its dissolution and nullity.”1
which diagnosed her injuries as contusions and abrasions. Petitioner filed a complaint
with the barangay authorities, and a case was filed against respondent for slight Petitioner, in her plea to this Court, would have the decision of the Court of Appeals
physical injuries. He was convicted by the Metropolitan Trial Court of Caloocan City and reversed on the thesis that the doctrine enunciated in Santos vs. Court of Appeals, 2
sentenced to eleven days of imprisonment. promulgated on 14 January 1995, as well as the guidelines set out in Republic vs. Court
of Appeals and Molin,3 promulgated on 13 February 1997, should have no retroactive
This time, petitioner and her children left the conjugal home for good and stayed with application and, on the assumption that the Molina ruling could be applied retroactively,
her sister. Eventually, they decided to rent an apartment. Petitioner sued respondent the guidelines therein outlined should be taken to be merely advisory and not
before the Regional Trial Court for the declaration of nullity of their marriage invoking mandatory in nature. In any case, petitioner argues, the application of the Santos and
psychological incapacity. Petitioner likewise sought the custody of her minor children Molina dicta should warrant only a remand of the case to the trial court for further
and prayed for support pendente lite. proceedings and not its dismissal.

Summons, together with a copy of the complaint, was served on respondent on 25 Be that as it may, respondent submits, the appellate court did not err in its assailed
April 1994 by personal service by the sheriff. As respondent failed to file an answer or decision for there is absolutely no evidence that has been shown to prove psychological
to enter his appearance within the reglementary period, the trial court ordered the city incapacity on his part as the term has been so defined in Santos.
prosecutor to look into a possible collusion between the parties. Prosecutor Rosa C.
Reyes, on 03 August 1994, submitted her report to the effect that she found no Indeed, there is no merit in the petition.
evidence to establish that there was collusion between the parties.
The term “psychological incapacity,” as a ground for the declaration of nullity of a
On 11 January 1995, respondent belatedly filed, without leave of court, an answer, and marriage under Article 36 of the Family Code, has been explained by the Court in Santos
the same, although filed late, was admitted by the court. In his answer, respondent and reiterated in Molina. The Court, in Santos, concluded:
admitted the fact of his marriage with petitioner and the birth of their children. He also
confirmed the veracity of Annex “A” of the complaint which listed the conjugal property. “It should be obvious, looking at all the foregoing disquisitions, including, and most
Respondent vehemently denied, however, the allegation that he was psychologically importantly, the deliberations of the Family Code Revision Committee itself, that the
incapacitated. use of the phrase ‘psychological incapacity’ under Article 36 of the Code has not been
meant to comprehend all such possible cases of psychoses as, likewise mentioned by
On 15 November 1995, following hearings conducted by it, the trial court rendered its some ecclesiastical authorities, extremely low intelligence, immaturity, and like
decision declaring the marriage between petitioner and respondent to be null and void circumstances (cited in Fr. Artemio Balumad’s ‘Void and Voidable Marriages in the
ab initio on the basis of psychological incapacity on the part of respondent and ordered Family Code and their Parallels in Canon Law,’ quoting from the Diagnostic Statistical
the liquidation of the conjugal partnership. Manual of Mental Disorder by the American Psychiatric Association; Edward Hudson’s
‘Handbook II for Marriage Nullity Cases’). Article 36 of the Family Code cannot be taken
Respondent appealed the above decision to the Court of Appeals, contending that the and construed independently of, but must stand in conjunction with, existing precepts
trial court erred, particularly, in holding that there was legal basis to declare the in our law on marriage. Thus correlated, ‘psychological incapacity should refer to no
marriage null and void and in denying his motion to reopen the case. less than a mental (not physical) incapacity that causes a party to be truly incognitive
of the basic marital covenants that concomitantly must be assumed and discharged by
The Court of Appeals reversed the decision of the trial court and declared the marriage the parties to the marriage which, as so expressed by Article 68 of the Family Code,
between petitioner and respondent valid and subsisting. The appellate court said: include their mutual obligations to live together, observe love, respect and fidelity and
render help and support. There is hardly any doubt that the intendment of the law has
“Definitely the appellee has not established the following: That the appellant showed been to confine the meaning of ‘psychological incapacity’ to the most serious cases of
signs of mental incapacity as would cause him to be truly incognitive of the basic marital personality disorders clearly demonstrative of an utter insensitivity or inability to give
P E R S O N S & F A M I L Y R E L A T I O N S 10
meaning and significance to the marriage. This psychologic condition must exist at the incapacitated—what is important is the presence of evidence that can adequately
time the marriage is celebrated.” establish the party’s psychological condition, for indeed, if the totality of evidence
presented is enough to sustain a finding of psychological incapacity, then actual medical
The “doctrine of stare decisis,” ordained in Article 8 of the Civil Code, expresses that examination of the person concerned need not be resorted to. (Marcos vs. Marcos, 343
judicial decisions applying or interpreting the law shall form part of the legal system of SCRA 755 [2000])
the Philippines. The rule follows the settled legal maxim—“legis interpretado legis vim
obtinet”—that the interpretation placed upon the written law by a competent court has
the force of law.4 The interpretation or construction placed by the courts establishes
the contemporaneous legislative intent of the law. The latter as so interpreted and
construed would thus constitute a part of that law as of the date the statute is enacted.
It is only when a prior ruling of this Court finds itself later overruled, and a different
view is adopted, that the new doctrine may have to be applied prospectively in favor
of parties who have relied on the old doctrine and have acted in good faith in
accordance therewith5 under the familiar rule of lex prospicit, non respicit.”

The phrase “psychological incapacity,” borrowed from Canon law, is an entirely novel
provision in our statute books, and, until the relatively recent enactment of the Family
Code, the concept has escaped jurisprudential attention. It is in Santos when, for the
first time, the Court has given life to the term. Molina, that followed, has additionally
provided procedural guidelines to assist the courts and the parties in trying cases for
annulment of marriages grounded on psychological incapacity. Molina has
strengthened, not overturned, Santos.

At all events, petitioner has utterly failed, both in her allegations in the complaint and
in her evidence, to make out a case of psychological incapacity on the part of
respondent, let alone at the time of solemnization of the contract, so as to warrant a
declaration of nullity of the marriage. Emotional immaturity and irresponsibility, invoked
by her, cannot be equated with psychological incapacity.

The Court reiterates its reminder that marriage is an inviolable social institution and the
foundation of the family6 that the State cherishes and protects. While the Court
commiserates with petitioner in her unhappy marital relationship with respondent,
totally terminating that relationship, however, may not necessarily be the fitting
denouement to it. In these cases, the law has not quite given up, neither should we.
WHEREFORE, the herein petition is DENIED. No costs.
SO ORDERED.
Melo (Chairman), Panganiban, Gonzaga-Reyes and Sandoval-Gutierrez, JJ.,
concur.
Petition denied.

Notes.—Whether one spouse is psychologically incapacitated should be


immediately determined as there is no point in unreasonably, delaying the resolution
of the petition and prolonging the agony of the wedded couple who still have the right
to a renewed blissful life either alone or in the company of each other. ( Salita vs.
Magtolis, 233 SCRA 100 [1994])

The guidelines governing the application and interpretation of psychological incapacity


do not require that a physician examine the person to be declared psychologically
P E R S O N S & F A M I L Y R E L A T I O N S 11
G.R. No. 124862. December 22, 1998.* Van Dorn would become applicable and petitioner could very well lose her right to
FE D. QUITA, petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS and BLANDINA DANDAN,** inherit from Arturo.
respondents.
Same; Same; Same; Forum Shopping; There is no forum shopping where one petition
Actions; Settlement of Estates; Succession; If there is a controversy before the court deals with declaration of heirship while the subsequent petitions filed before other
as to who are the lawful heirs of the deceased person or as to the distributive shares courts concern the issuance of new owner’s duplicate copies of titles of certain
to which each person is entitled under the law, the controversy shall be heard and properties belonging to the estate of the decedent.—As regards the motion of private
decided as in ordinary cases.—We cannot sustain petitioner. The provision relied upon respondent for petitioner and her counsel to be declared in contempt of court and that
by respondent court is clear: If there is a controversy before the court as to who are the present petition be dismissed for forum shopping, the same lacks merit. For forum
the lawful heirs of the deceased person or as to the distributive shares to which each shopping to exist the actions must involve the same transactions and same essential
person is entitled under the law, the controversy shall be heard and decided as in facts and circumstances. There must also be identical causes of action, subject matter
ordinary cases. and issue. The present petition deals with declaration of heirship while the subsequent
petitions filed before the three (3) trial courts concern the issuance of new owner’s
Same; Same; Same; Husband and Wife; Conflict of Laws; Divorce; If there is a question duplicate copies of titles of certain properties belonging to the estate of Arturo.
as to whether a wife was still a Filipino citizen at the time of her divorce from her Obviously, there is no reason to declare the existence of forum shopping.
husband—the decedent—the trial court should conduct a hearing to establish her
citizenship.—We note that in her comment to petitioner’s motion private respondent PETITION for review on certiorari of a decision of the Court of Appeals.
raised, among others, the issue as to whether petitioner was still entitled to inherit
from the decedent considering that she had secured a divorce in the U.S.A. and in fact The facts are stated in the opinion of the Court.
had twice remarried. She also invoked the above quoted procedural rule. To this, Puruganan, Chato, Tan and Geronimo Law Offices for petitioner.
petitioner replied that Arturo was a Filipino and as such remained legally married to her Balgos & Perez Law Offices for private respondent.
in spite of the divorce they obtained. Reading between the lines, the implication is that
petitioner was no longer a Filipino citizen at the time of her divorce from Arturo. This BELLOSILLO, J.:
should have prompted the trial court to conduct a hearing to establish her citizenship.
The purpose of a hearing is to ascertain the truth of the matters in issue with the aid FE D. QUITA and Arturo T. Padlan, both Filipinos, were married in the Philippines on
of documentary and testimonial evidence as well as the arguments of the parties either 18 May 1941. They were not however blessed with children. Somewhere along the way
supporting or opposing the evidence. Instead, the lower court perfunctorily settled her their relationship soured. Eventually Fe sued Arturo for divorce in San Francisco,
claim in her favor by merely applying the ruling in Tenchavez v. Escaño. California, U.S.A. She submitted in the divorce proceedings a private writing dated 19
July 1950 evidencing their agreement to live separately from each other and a
Same; Same; Same; Same; Same; Same; Aliens may obtain divorces abroad, which settlement of their conjugal properties. On 23 July 1954 she obtained a final judgment
may be recognized in the Philippines, provided they are valid according to their national of divorce. Three (3) weeks thereafter she married a certain Felix Tupaz in the same
law; Once proved that a wife was no longer a Filipino citizen at the time of her divorce locality but their relationship also ended in a divorce. Still in the U.S.A., she married for
from her husband, then she could very well lose her right to inherit from the latter.— the third time, to a certain Wernimont.
Then in private respondent’s motion to set aside and/or reconsider the lower court’s
decision she stressed that the citizenship of petitioner was relevant in the light of the On 16 April 1972 Arturo died. He left no will. On 31 August 1972 Lino Javier Inciong
ruling in Van Dorn v. Romillo, Jr. that aliens may obtain divorces abroad, which may filed a petition with the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City for issuance of letters of
be recognized in the Philippines, provided they are valid according to their national law. administration concerning the estate of Arturo in favor of the Philippine Trust Company.
She prayed therefore that the case be set for hearing. Petitioner opposed the motion Respondent Blandina Dandan (also referred to as Blandina Padlan), claiming to be the
but failed to squarely address the issue on her citizenship. The trial court did not grant surviving spouse of Arturo Padlan, and Claro, Alexis, Ricardo, Emmanuel, Zenaida and
private respondent’s prayer for a hearing but proceeded to resolve her motion with the Yolanda, all surnamed Padlan, named in the petition as surviving children of Arturo
finding that both petitioner and Arturo were “Filipino citizens and were married in the Padlan, opposed the petition and prayed for the appointment instead of Atty. Leonardo
Philippines.” It maintained that their divorce obtained in 1954 in San Francisco, Cabasal, which was resolved in favor of the latter. Upon motion of the oppositors
California, U.S.A., was not valid in Philippine jurisdiction. We deduce that the finding themselves, Atty. Cabasal was later replaced by Higino Castillon. On 30 April 1973 the
on their citizenship pertained solely to the time of their marriage as the trial court was op-positors (Blandina and the Padlan children) submitted certified photocopies of the
not supplied with a basis to determine petitioner’s citizenship at the time of their 19 July 1950 private writing and the final judgment of divorce between petitioner and
divorce. The doubt persisted as to whether she was still a Filipino citizen when their Arturo. Later Ruperto T. Padlan, claiming to be the sole surviving brother of the
divorce was decreed. The trial court must have overlooked the materiality of this deceased Arturo, intervened.
aspect. Once proved that she was no longer a Filipino citizen at the time of their divorce,
P E R S O N S & F A M I L Y R E L A T I O N S 12
On 7 October 1987 petitioner moved for the immediate declaration of heirs of the resolution either as to the heirship of the Padlan children or as to their respective shares
decedent and the distribution of his estate. At the scheduled hearing on 23 October in the intestate estate of the decedent; and, second, the issue as to who between
1987, private respondent as well as the six (6) Padlan children and Ruperto failed to petitioner and private respondent is the proper heir of the decedent is one of law which
appear despite due notice. On the same day, the trial court required the submission of can be resolved in the present petition based on established facts and admissions of
the records of birth of the Padlan children within ten (10) days from receipt thereof, the parties.
after which, with or without the documents, the issue on the declaration of heirs would
be considered submitted for resolution. The prescribed period lapsed without the We cannot sustain petitioner. The provision relied upon by respondent court is clear:
required documents being submitted. If there is a controversy before the court as to who are the lawful heirs of the deceased
person or as to the distributive shares to which each person is entitled under the law,
The trial court invoking Tenchavez v. Escaño1 which held that “a foreign divorce the controversy shall be heard and decided as in ordinary cases.
between Filipino citizens sought and decreed after the effectivity of the present Civil
Code (Rep. Act 386) was not entitled to recognition as valid in this jurisdiction,”2 We agree with petitioner that no dispute exists either as to the right of the six (6)
disregarded the divorce between petitioner and Arturo. Consequently, it expressed the Padlan children to inherit from the decedent because there are proofs that they have
view that their marriage subsisted until the death of Arturo in 1972. Neither did it been duly acknowledged by him and petitioner herself even recognizes them as heirs
consider valid their extrajudicial settlement of conjugal properties due to lack of judicial of Arturo Padlan;10 nor as to their respective hereditary shares. But controversy remains
approval.3 On the other hand, it opined that there was no showing that marriage as to who is the legitimate surviving spouse of Arturo. The trial court, after the parties
existed between private respondent and Arturo, much less was it shown that the other than petitioner failed to appear during the scheduled hearing on 23 October 1987
alleged Padlan children had been acknowledged by the deceased as his children with of the motion for immediate declaration of heirs and distribution of estate, simply issued
her. As regards Ruperto, it found that he was a brother of Arturo. On 27 November an order requiring the submission of the records of birth of the Padlan children within
19874 only petitioner and Ruperto were declared the intestate heirs of Arturo. ten (10) days from receipt thereof, after which, with or without the documents, the
Accordingly, equal adjudication of the net hereditary estate was ordered in favor of the issue on declaration of heirs would be deemed submitted for resolution.
two intestate heirs.5
We note that in her comment to petitioner’s motion private respondent raised, among
On motion for reconsideration, Blandina and the Padlan children were allowed to others, the issue as to whether petitioner was still entitled to inherit from the decedent
present proofs that the recognition of the children by the deceased as his legitimate considering that she had secured a divorce in the U.S.A. and in fact had twice
children, except Alexis who was recognized as his illegitimate child, had been made in remarried. She also invoked the above quoted procedural rule. 11 To this, petitioner
their respective records of birth. Thus on 15 February 19886 partial reconsideration was replied that Arturo was a Filipino and as such remained legally married to her in spite
granted declaring the Padlan children, with the exception of Alexis, entitled to one-half of the divorce they obtained.12 Reading between the lines, the implication is that
of the estate to the exclusion of Ruperto Padlan, and petitioner to the other half. 7 petitioner was no longer a Filipino citizen at the time of her divorce from Arturo. This
Private respondent was not declared an heir. Although it was stated in the should have prompted the trial court to conduct a hearing to establish her citizenship.
aforementioned records of birth that she and Arturo were married on 22 April 1947, The purpose of a hearing is to ascertain the truth of the matters in issue with the aid
their marriage was clearly void since it was celebrated during the existence of his of documentary and testimonial evidence as well as the arguments of the parties either
previous marriage to petitioner. supporting or opposing the evidence. Instead, the lower court perfunctorily settled her
claim in her favor by merely applying the ruling in Tenchavez v. Escaño.
In their appeal to the Court of Appeals, Blandina and her children assigned as one of
the errors allegedly committed by the trial court the circumstance that the case was Then in private respondent’s motion to set aside and/or reconsider the lower court’s
decided without a hearing, in violation of Sec. 1, Rule 90, of the Rules of Court, which decision she stressed that the citizenship of petitioner was relevant in the light of the
provides that if there is a controversy before the court as to who are the lawful heirs ruling in Van Dorn v. Romillo, Jr.13 that aliens may obtain divorces abroad, which may
of the deceased person or as to the distributive shares to which each person is entitled be recognized in the Philippines, provided they are valid according to their national law.
under the law, the controversy shall be heard and decided as in ordinary cases. She prayed therefore that the case be set for hearing.14 Petitioner opposed the motion
but failed to squarely address the issue on her citizenship.15 The trial court did not
Respondent appellate court found this ground alone sufficient to sustain the appeal; grant private respondent’s prayer for a hearing but proceeded to resolve her motion
hence, on 11 September 1995 it declared null and void the 27 November 1987 decision with the finding that both petitioner and Arturo were “Filipino citizens and were married
and 15 February 1988 order of the trial court, and directed the remand of the case to in the Philippines.”16 It maintained that their divorce obtained in 1954 in San Francisco,
the trial court for further proceedings.8 On 18 April 1996 it denied reconsideration.9 California, U.S.A., was not valid in Philippine jurisdiction. We deduce that the finding
on their citizenship pertained solely to the time of their marriage as the trial court was
Should this case be remanded to the lower court for further proceedings? Petitioner not supplied with a basis to determine petitioner’s citizenship at the time of their
insists that there is no need because, first, no legal or factual issue obtains for divorce. The doubt persisted as to whether she was still a Filipino citizen when their
P E R S O N S & F A M I L Y R E L A T I O N S 13
divorce was decreed. The trial court must have overlooked the materiality of this Puno, Mendoza and Martinez, JJ., concur.
aspect. Once proved that she was no longer a Filipino citizen at the time of their divorce, Petition denied.
Van Dorn would become applicable and petitioner could very well lose her right to
inherit from Arturo. Notes.—American jurisprudence, on cases involving statutes in that jurisdiction
which are in pari materia with ours, yields the rule that after a divorce has been
Respondent again raised in her appeal the issue on petitioner’s citizenship;17 it did not decreed, the innocent spouse no longer has the right to institute proceedings against
merit enlightenment however from petitioner.18 In the present proceeding, petitioner’s the offenders where the statute provides that the innocent spouse shall have the
citizenship is brought anew to the fore by private respondent. She even furnishes the exclusive right to institute a prosecution for adultery. ( Pilapil vs. Ibay-Somera, 174
Court with the transcript of stenographic notes taken on 5 May 1995 during the hearing SCRA 653 [1989])
for the reconstitution of the original of a certain transfer certificate of title as well as
the issuance of new owner’s duplicate copy thereof before another trial court. When The evidence necessary for the reprobate or allowance of wills which have been
asked whether she was an American citizen petitioner answered that she was since probated outside of the Philippines are as follows: (1) the due execution of the will in
1954.19 Significantly, the decree of divorce of petitioner and Arturo was obtained in the accordance with the foreign laws; (2) the testator has his domicile in the foreign country
same year. Petitioner however did not bother to file a reply memorandum to erase the and not in the Philippines; (3) the will has been admitted to probate in such country;
uncertainty about her citizenship at the time of their divorce, a factual issue requiring (4) the fact that the foreign tribunal is a probate court, and (5) the laws of a foreign
hearings to be conducted by the trial court. Consequently, respondent appellate court country on procedure and allowance of wills. (Vda. de Perez vs. Tolete, 232 SCRA 722
did not err in ordering the case returned to the trial court for further proceedings. [1994])

We emphasize however that the question to be determined by the trial court should be
limited only to the right of petitioner to inherit from Arturo as his surviving spouse.
Private respondent’s claim to heirship was already resolved by the trial court. She and
Arturo were married on 22 April 1947 while the prior marriage of petitioner and Arturo
was subsisting thereby resulting in a bigamous marriage considered void from the
beginning under Arts. 80 and 83 of the Civil Code. Consequently, she is not a surviving
spouse that can inherit from him as this status presupposes a legitimate relationship.20

As regards the motion of private respondent for petitioner and her counsel to be
declared in contempt of court and that the present petition be dismissed for forum
shopping,21 the same lacks merit. For forum shopping to exist the actions must involve
the same transactions and same essential facts and circumstances. There must also be
identical causes of action, subject matter and issue.22 The present petition deals with
declaration of heirship while the subsequent petitions filed before the three (3) trial
courts concern the issuance of new owner’s duplicate copies of titles of certain
properties belonging to the estate of Arturo. Obviously, there is no reason to declare
the existence of forum shopping.

WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The decision of respondent Court of Appeals


ordering the remand of the case to the court of origin for further proceedings and
declaring null and void its decision holding petitioner Fe D. Quita and Ruperto T. Padlan
as intestate heirs is AFFIRMED. The order of the appellate court modifying its previous
decision by granting one-half (1/2) of the net hereditary estate to the Padlan children,
namely, Claro, Ricardo, Emmanuel, Zenaida and Yolanda, with the exception of Alexis,
all surnamed Padlan, instead of Arturo’s brother Ruperto Padlan, is likewise AFFIRMED.
The Court however emphasizes that the reception of evidence by the trial court should
be limited to the hereditary rights of petitioner as the surviving spouse of Arturo Padlan.
The motion to declare petitioner and her counsel in contempt of court and to dismiss
the present petition for forum shopping is DENIED.
SO ORDERED.
P E R S O N S & F A M I L Y R E L A T I O N S 14
No. L-11622. January 28, 1961. Evidence; Proof of foreign laws.—Foreign laws do not prove themselves in our courts.
THE COLLECTOR OF INTERNAL REVENUE, petitioner, vs. DOUGLAS FlSHER and They are not a matter of judicial notice. Like any other fact, they must be alleged and
BETTINA FlSHER, and the COURT OF TAX APPEALS, respondents. proven.

No. L-11668. January 28, 1961. Same.—The provisions of the Rules of Court on proof of foreign laws do not exclude
DOUGLAS FISHER and BETTINA FISHER, petitioners, vs. THE COLLECTOR OF the presentation of other competent evidence to prove the existence of a foreign law.
INTERNAL REVENUE, and the COURT OF TAX APPEALS. respondents. The testimony of a lawyer, practising in California, together with a quotation from a
publication of Bancroft-Whitney, is sufficient to prove the certain provisions of the
Husband and wife; Conjugal partnership.—In the absence of any ante-nuptial California Internal Revenue Code.
agreement, the husband and wife are presumed to have adopted the system of
conjugal partnership. Taxation; Estate and inheritance taxes; Reciprocity in exemption.—Under section 122
of the Tax Code and section 13851 of the California Inheritance Tax Law, the reciprocity
Civil Code of the Philippines; Husband and wife; Marriage. —The property relations of must be total, that is, with respect to transfer or death taxes of any and every character,
husband and wife who were married in 1909 are governed by article 1325 of the in the case of the Philippine law, and to legacy, succession, or death taxes of any and
Spanish Civil Code and not by article 124 of the New Civil Code. every character, in the case of the California law. Therefore, if any of the two states
collects or imposes and does not exempt any transfer, death, legacy, or succession tax
Same; Private International Law (Conflict of laws).—Artide 1325 of the Old Civil Code of any character, the reciprocity does not work. The shares of stock in the Philippines,
and article 124 of the New Civil Code both adhere to the so-called nationality theory of left by a deceased resident of California, are subject to the Philippine inheritance tax.
determining the property relations of spouses where one of them is a foreigner and The reciprocity provisions of section 122 of the Tax Code are not applicable because
they have made no prior agreement as to the administration, disposition and ownership there is no total reciprocity under the two laws.
of their conjugal properties. In such a case, the national law of the husband becomes
the dominant law in determining the property relations of the spouses. However, there Same; Deduction under Federal Estate Tax Law.—The amount allowed under the
is a difference between two articles. Article 124 expressly provides that it applies Federal Estate Tax Law is in the nature of a deduction and not of an exemption,
regardless of where the marriage was celebrated, while article 1325 is limited to regarding which reciprocity cannot be claimed under section 122 of the Philippine Tax
marriages contracted abroad. Both articles apply only to mixed marriages between a Code. Nor is reciprocity allowed under the Federal Law.
Filipino and a foreigner.
Taxation; Estate and inheritance taxes; Assessed value is not the controlling market
Same; Old law; Property relations of British citizens who were, married in Manila in value.—For purposes of the estate and inheritance taxes, the assessed value of real
1909.—English law governs the property relations of a man and woman, both British estate is considered as the fair market value only when evidence to the contrary has
citizens, who were married in Manila 1909. not been submitted. If there is such contrary evidence, the assessed value will not be
considered the fair market value.
Evidence; Foreign laws; Processual presumption.—In the absence of proof of a foreign
law, the processual presumption is that it is the same as the law of the forum. Same; Market value of shares of stock.—Shares of stock of a Philippine (domestic)
corporation have a situs here for purposes of taxation. Their situs is not California
Private International Law; Article 10 of the old Civil Code; Husband and wife.—Article where the certificates were located and in whose stock exchange the shares were
10 of the old Civil Code does not govern the property relations of husband and wife. It registered. Their fair market value should be based on the price prevailing in this
refers to successional rights, which are distinct from the property relations of the country where they are sought to be taxed.
spouses.
Same; Deductibility of expenses allowed by the probate court. —The Supreme Court
Taxation; Estate and inheritance taxes; Share of surviving spouse is deductible. —In will not disturb the ruling of the Tax Court, allowing the administrator's fee, lawyer's
determining- the net taxable estate of a deceased British subject, for purposes of the fee and judicial and administration expenses as liabilities of the estate, it appearing the
estate and inheritance taxes, where said deceased was married to another British said items were likewise allowed by the probate court. The ruling of the Tax Court,
citizen in Manila in 1909, the one-half conjugal share of the surviving wife should be disallowing an additional amount for funeral expenses, for lack of evidence, should be
deducted inasmuch as they are presumed to have adopted the system of conjugal upheld. The Supreme Court will set aside the factual findings of the Tax Court only in
partnership in the absence of an ante-nuptial agreement. case they are not supported by any evidence.

Executors and administrators; Settlement of decedent's estates; Ancillary and


domiciliary adminintration.—The distinction between a domiciliary and an ancillary
P E R S O N S & F A M I L Y R E L A T I O N S 15
administration serves only to distinguish one administration from the other, for the two Gross Estate
proceedings are separate and independent. The reason for the ancillary administration Real Property—2 parcels of land in Ba
is that a grant of administration does not, ex proprio vigore, have any effect beyond guio, covered by T.C.T. Nos. 378
the limits of the country in which it was granted. In other words, there is a regular and 379 .................................
administration under the control of the court, where claims must be presented and Personal Property
approved and expenses of administration allowed before the deductions from the (1) 177 shares of stock of Canacao
estate can be authorized. Estate at P10.00 each...............
(2) 210,000 shares of stock of Min
Same; California debt of decedent should be presented to Philippine court for allo- danao Mother Lode Mines, Inc.
icance.--A debt of the decedent, which was incurred in California and which was allowed at F0.88 per share ..................
by the California court, having jurisdiction over the domiciliary administration, should, (3) Cash credit with Canacao Es
nevertheless, be presented to the Philippine probate court for allowance in order that tate, Inc.
it may constitute a valid claim against the Philippine estate under ancillary (4) Cash with the Chartered Bank of
administration. India, Australia & China ...............
Total Gross Assets ...............................
Same; Deductions allowed the estate of nonresident aliens.—No deduction from the
estate of a nonresident alien is allowed unless the value of his gross estate not situated On May 22, 1951, ancillary administration proceedings were instituted in the Court of
in the Philippines is stated in the return. This requirement is intended to enable the First Instance of Manila for the settlement of the estate in the Philippines. In due time,
revenue officer to determine how much of the debt may be deducted pursuant to Stevenson's will was duly admitted to probate by our court and Ian Murray Statt was
section 89(b)(l) of the Tax Code. The deduction is allowed only to the extent of that appointed ancillary administrator of the estate, who on July 11, 1951, filed a preliminary
portion of the debt, which is equivalent to the proportion that the Philippine estate estate and inheritance tax return with the reservation of having the properties declared
bears to the total estate wherever situated. If the Philippine estate constitutes but 1/5 therein finally appraised at their values six months after the death of Stevenson.
of the entire estate, wherever situated, then only 1/5 of the debt may be deducted. If Preliminary return was made by the ancillary administrator in order to secure the waiver
no statement of the estate situated outside the Philippines is attached to the return, of the Collector of Internal Revenue on the inheritance tax due on the 210,000 shares
then no part of the debt may be deducted from the decedents' estate. of stock in the Mindanao Mother Lode Mines, Inc. which the estate then desired to
dispose in the United States. Acting upon said return, the Collector of Internal Revenue
Taxation; Interest on amount overpaid.—In the absence of any statutory provision accepted the valuation of the personal properties declared therein, but increased the
clearly or expressly directing or authorizing the payment of interest on taxes overpaid, appraisal of the two parcels of land located in Baguio City by fixing their &ir market
the National Government cannot be required to pay interest. value in the amount of P52.200.00, insteed of P43,500.00. After allowing the
deductions claimed by the ancillary administrator for funeral expenses in the amount
PETITION for review by certiorari of a decision of the Court of Tax Appeals. of P2,000.00 and for judicial and administration fiXpenses in the sum of P5,500.00, the
Collector assessed the estate the amount of P5,147.98 for estate tax and P10,875,25
The facts are stated in the opinion of the Court. for inheritance tax, or a total of P16,023.23. Both of these assessments were paid by
the estate on June 6, 1952.
BARRERA, J.:
On September 27, 1952, the ancillary administrator filed an amended estate and
This case relates to the determination and settlement of the hereditary estate left by inheritance tax return in pursuance of his reservation made at the time of filing of the
the deceased Walter G. Stevenson, and the laws applicable thereto. preliminary return and for the purpose of availing of the right granted by section 91 of
the National Internal Revenue Code.
Walter G. Stevenson (born in the Philippines on August 9, 1874 of British parents and
married in the City of Manila on January 23, 1909 to Beatrice Mauricia Stevenson, In this amended return the valuation of the 210,000 shares of stock in the Mindanao
another British subject) died on February 22, 1951 in San Francisco, California, U.S.A., Mother Lode Mines, Inc. was reduced from P0.38 per share, as originally declared, to
whereto he and his wife moved and established their permanent residence since May P0.20 per share, or from a total valuation of P79.800.00 to P42,000.00. This change in
10, 1945. In his will executed in San Francisco on May 22, 1947, and which was duly price per share of stock was based by the ancillary administrator on the market
probated in the Superior Court of California on April 11, 1951, Stevenson instituted his quotation of the stock obtaining at the San Francisco (California) Stock Exchange six
wife Beatrice as his sole heiress to the following real and personal properties acquired months from the death of Stevenson, that is, as of August 22, 1951. In addition, the
by the spouses while residing in the Philippines, described and preliminarily assessed ancillary administrator made claim for the following deductions:
as follows:
P E R S O N S & F A M I L Y R E L A T I O N S 16
Funeral expenses ($1,043.26) ....................... Stevenson is exempt from inheritance tax, pursuant to the proviso of section 122 of
Judicial Expenses: the National Internal Revenue Code in relation to the California Inheritance Tax Law
(a) Administrator's Fee................. Pl,204.34 but decedent's estate is not entitled to an exemption o£ P4,000.00 in the computation
(b) Attorneys' Fee................... 6,000.00 of the estate tax; (c) for purposes of estate and inheritance taxation the Baguio real
(c) Judicial and Administra estate of the spouses should be valued at P52-,200.00, and 210,000 shares of stock in
tion expenses as of Aug the Mindanao Mother Lode Mines, Inc. should be appraised at P0.38 per share; and (d)
ust 9, 1952.............. 1,400.05 the8,604.39
estate shall be entitled to a deduction of P2,000.00 for funeral expenses and judicial
Real Estate Tax for 1951 on Ba expenses of P8,604.89."
guio real properties (O.R. No.
B-1 686836) ...................... 652.50 From this decision, both parties appealed.

Claims against the estate: The Collector of Internal Revenue, hereinafter called petitioner, assigned four errors
($5,000.00) P10.000.00 ......................... P10.000.00 allegedly committed by the trial court, while the assignees, Douglas and Bettina Fisher,
Plus: 4% int. p.a. from Feb. 2 hereinafter called respondents, made six assignments of error. Together, the assigned
to 22, 1951 22.47 errors
10,022.47
raise the following main issues for resolution by this Court:
Sub-Total .................................... P 21,365.88
(1) Whether or not, in determining the taxable net estate of the decedent, one-
half (1/2) of the n6t estat6 should be deducted therefrom as the share of the
In the meantime, on December 1, 1952, Beatrice Mauricia Stevenson assigned all her surviving spouse in accordance with 6ur law on conjugal partnership and in relation
rights and interests in the estate to the spouses, Douglas and Bettina Fisher, to section 89 (c) of the National Internal Revenue Code;
respondents herein. (2) Whether or not the estate can avail itself of the reciprocity proviso embodied
in Section 122 of the National Internal Revenue Code granting exemption from the
On September 7, 1953, the ancillary administrator filed a second amended estate and payment of estate and inheritance taxes on the 210,000 shares of stock in the
inheritance tax return (Exh. "M-N"). This return declared the same assets of the estate Mindanao Mother Lode Mines, Inc.;
stated in the amended return of September 22, 1952, except that it contained new (3) Whether or not the estate is entitled to the deduction of P4,000.00 allowed by
claims for additional exemption and deduction to wit: (1) deduction in the amount of Section 861, U.S. Internal Revenue Code in relation to section 122 of the National
P4,000.00 from the gross estate of the decedent as provided for in Section 861 (4) of Internal Revenue Code;
the U.S. Federal Internal Revenue Code which the anciUary administrator averred was (4) Whether or not the real estate properties of the decedent located in Baguio
allowable by way of the reciprocity granted by Section 122 of the National Internal City and the 210,000 shares 6f stock in the Mindanao Mother Lode Mines, Inc.,
Revenue Code, as then held by the Board of Tax Appeals in case No. 71 entitled were correctly appraised by the lower court;
"Housman vs. Collector," August 14, 1952; and (2) exemption from the imposition of Whether or not the estate as entitled to the following deductions: P8,604.39 for
estate and inheritance taxes on the 210,000 shares of stock in the Mindanao Mother judicial and administration expenses; P2.086.52 for funeral expenses; P652.50 for
Lode Mines, Inc. also pursuant to the reciprocity proviso of Section 122 of the National real estate taxes; and P10.022.47 representing the amount of indebtedness
Internal Revenue Code. In this last return, the estate claimed that it was liable only for allegedly incurred by the decedent during his lifetime; and
the amount of P525.34 for estate tax and P238.06 for inheritance tax and that, as a ((5) Whether or not the estate is entitled to the' payment of interest on the amount
consequence, it had overpaid the government. The refund of the amount of it claims to have overpaid the government and to be refundable to it.
P15,259.83, allegedly overpaid, was accordingly requested by the estate. The Collector
denied the claim. For this reason, action was commenced in the Court of First Instance In deciding the first issue, the lower court applied a well-known doctrine in our civil law
of Manila by respondents, as assignees of Beatrice Mauricia Stevenson, for the recovery that in the absence of any ante-nuptial agreement, the contracting parties are
of said amount. Pursuant to Republic Act No. 1125, the case was forwarded to the presumed to have adopted the system of conjugal part-nership as to the properties
Court of Tax Appeals which court, after hearing, rendered decision the dispositive acquired during- their marriage. The application of this doctrine to the instant case is
portion of which reads as follows: being disputed, however, by petitioner Collector of Internal Revenue, who contends
that pursuant to Article 124 of the New Civil Code, the property relation of the spouses
"In fine, we are of the opinion and so hold that: (a) the one-half (1/2) share of the Stevensons ought not to be determined by the Philippine law, but by the national law
surviving spouse in the conjugal partnership property as diminished by the obligations of the decedent husband, in this case, the law of England. It is alleged by petitioner
properly chargeable to such property should be deducted from the net estate of the that English laws do not recognize legal partnership between spouses, and that what
deceased Walter G. Stevenson, pursuant to Section 89-C of the National Internal obtains in that jurisdiction is .another regime of property relation, wherein all properties
Revenue Code: (b) the intangible personal property belonging to the estate of said acquired during the marriage pertain and belong exclusively to the husband. In further
P E R S O N S & F A M I L Y R E L A T I O N S 17
support of his Stand, petitioner cites Article 16 of the New Civil Code (Art. 10 of the specific and express provisions of Title VI, Chapter I of our new Civil Code (Title III,
old) to the effect that in testate and intestate proceedings, the amount of successional Chapter I of the old Civil Code.) We, therefore, find that the lower court correctly
rights, among others, is to be determined by the national law of the decedent. deducted the half of the conjugal property in determining the 'hereditary estate left by
the deceased Stevenson.
In this connection, let it be noted that since the marriage of the Stevensons in the
Philippines took place in 1909, the applicable law is Article 1325 of the old Civil Code On the second issue, petitioner disputes the action of the Tax Court in exempting the
and not Article 124 0f the New Civil Code which became effective only in 1950. It is respondents from paying inheritance tax on the 210,000 shares of stock in the
true that both articles adhere to the so-called nationality theory of determin-ing the Mindanao Mother Lode Mines, Inc. in virtue of the reciprocity proviso of Section 122 of
property relation of spouses where one of them is a foreigner and they have made no the National Internal Revenue Code, in relation to Section 13851 of the California
prior agreement as tothe administration, disposition, and ownership of their conjugal Revenue and Taxation Code, on the ground that: (1) the said proviso of the California
properties. In such a case, the national law of the husband becomes the dominant law Revenue and Taxation Code has not been duly proven by the respondents; (2) the
in determining the property relation of the spouses. There is, however, a difference reciprocity exemptions granted by section 122 of the National Internal Revenue Code
between the two articles in that Article 1241 of the new Civil Code expressly provides can only be availed of by residents of foreign countries and not of residents of a state
that it shall be applicable regardless of whether the marriage was celebrated in the in the Uttit&d States; and (3) there is no "total" reciprocity between the Philippines and
Philippines or abroad.while Article 13252 of the old Civil Code is limited to marriages the state of California in that while the former exempts payment of both estate and
contracted in a foreign land. inheritance taxes on intangible personal properties, the latter only exempts the
payment of inheritance tax.
It must be noted, however, that what has just been said refers to mixed marriages
between a Filipino citizen and a foreigner. In the instant case, both spouses are To prove the pertinent California law, Attorney Allison Gibbs, counsel for herein
foreigners who married in the Philippines. Manresa,3 in his Commentaries, has this to respondents, testified that as an active member of the California Bar since 1931, he is
say on this point: familiar with the revenue and taxation laws of the State of California. When asked by
the lower court to state the pertinent California law as regards exemption of intangible
"La regla establecida en el art. 1.315, se refiere a las capitulaciones otorgadas en personal properties, the witness cited article 4, section 13851 (a) and (b) of the
España y entre españoles. El 1.325, a las celebradas en el extranjero cuando alguno California Internal and Revenue Code as published in Derring's California Code, &
de los c6nyuges es español. En cuanto a la regla procedente cuando dos extranjeros publication of the Bancroft-Whitney Company, Inc. And as part of his testimony, a full
se casan en España, o dos españoles en el extranjero. hay que atender en el primer quotation of the cited section was offered in evidence as Exhibits "V-2" by the
caso a la legislación de pais a que aquellos pertenezean, y en el segundo, a las reglas respondents.
generales consignadas en los articulos 9 y 10 de nuestro Codigo." (Italics supplied.)
It is well-settled that foreign laws do not prove themselves in our jurisdiction and our
If we adopt the view of Manresa, the law determinative of the property relation of the courts are not authorized to take judicial notice of them.5 Like any other f act, they
Stevensons, married in 1909, would be the English law even if the marriage was must be alleged and proved.6
celebrated in the Philippines, both of them being foreigners. But. as correctly observed
by the Tax Court, the pertinent English law that allegedly vests in the decedent Section 41, Rule 123 of our Rules of Court prescribes the manner of proving foreign
'husband full ownership of the properties acquired during the marriage has not been laws before our tribunal. However, although we believe It desirable that these laws be
proven by petitioner. Except for a mere allegation in his answer, which is not sufficient, proved in accordance with said rule, we heM in the case of Willamette Iron and Steel
the record is bereft of any evidence as to what English law says on the matter. In the Works v. Muzzal, 81 Phil. 471, that "a reading of sections 300 and 301 of our Code of
absence of proof, the Court is justified, therefore, in indulging in what Wharton calls Civil Procedure (now section 41, Rule 128) will convince one that these sections do not
"processual presumption," in presuming that the law of England on this matter is the exclude the presentation of other competent evidence to prove the existence of a
same as our law.4 foreign law." In that case, we considered the testimony of an attorney-at-law of San
Francisco, California who quoted verbatim a section of the California Civil Code and
Nor do we believe petitioner can make use of Article 16 of the New Civil Code (art. 10, who stated that the same was in force at the time the obligations were contracted, as
old Civil Code) to bolster his stand. A reading of Article 10 of the old Civil Code, which sufficient evidence to establish the existence of said law. In line with this view, we find
incidentally is the one applicable, shows that it does not encompass or contemplate to no error, therefore, on the part of the Tax Court in considering the pertinent California
govern the question of property relation between spouses. Said article distinctly speaks law as proved by respondents' witness.
of amount of successional rights and this term, in our opinion, properly refers to the
extent or amount of property that each heir is legally entitled to inherit from the estate We now take up the question of reciprocity in exemption from transfer or death taxes,
available for distribution. It needs to be pointed out that the property relation of between the State of California and the Philippines.
spouses, as distinguished from their successional rights, is governed differently by the
P E R S O N S & F A M I L Y R E L A T I O N S 18
Section 122 of our National Internal Revenue Code, in pertinent part provides: did in the instant case, we will have a situation where a Californian, who is non-resident
in the Philippines but has intangible personal properties here, will be subject to the
"x x x And, provided, further, That no tax shall be collected under this Title in payment of an estate tax, although exempt from the payment of the inheritance tax.
respect of intangible personal property (a) if the decedent at the time of his This being the case, will a Filipino, non-resident of California, but with intangible
death was a resident of a foreign country which at the time of his death did personal properties there, be entitled to the exemption clause of the California law,
not impose a transfer tax or death tax of any character in respect of intangible since the Californian has not been exempted from every character of legacy,
personal property of citizens of the Philippines not residing in that foreign succession, or death tax because he is, under our law, under obligation to pay an estate
country, or (b) if the laws of the foreign country of which the decedent was a tax? Upon the other hand, if we exempt the Californian from paying the estate tax, we
resident at the time of his death allow a similar exemption from transfer taxes do not thereby entitle a Filipino to be exempt from a similar estate tax in California
or death taxes of every character in respect of intangible personal property because under the Federal Law, which is equally enforceable in California, he is bound
owned by citizens of the Philippines not residing in that foreign country." to pay the same, there being no reciprocity recognized in respect thereto. In both
(Italics supplied.) instances, the Filipino citizen is always at a disadvantage. We do not believe that our
legislature has intended such an unfair situation to the detriment of our own
On the other hand, Section 13851 of the California Inheritance Tax Law, insofar as government and people. We, therefore, find and declare that the lower court erred in
pertinent, reads: exempting the estate in question from payment of the inheritance tax.

"SEC. 13851, Intangibles of nonresident: Conditions. Intangible personal We are not unaware of our ruling in the case of Collector of Internal Revenue vs. Lara
property is exempt from the tax imposed by this part if the decedent at the (G.R. Nos. L-9456 & Lr9481, prom. January 6, 1958, 54 O.G. 2881) exempting the
time of his death was a resident of a Territory or another State of the United estate of the deceased Hugo H. Miller from payment of the inheritance tax imposed by
States or of a foreign state or country which then imposed a legacy, the Collector of Internal Revenue. It will be noted, however, that the issue of reciprocity
succession, or death tax in respect to intangible personal property of its own between the pertinent provisions of our tax law and that of the State of California was
residents, but either: not there squarely raised, and the ruling therein cannot control the determination of
the case at bar. Be that as it may, we now declare that in view of the express provisions
"(a)Did not impose a legacy, succession, or death tax of any character in of both the Philippine and California laws that the exemption would apply only if the
respect to intangible personal property of residents of this State, or law of the other grants an exemption from legacy, succession, or death taxes of every
character, there could not be partial reciprocity. It would have to be total or none at
"(b)Had in its laws a reciprocal provision under which intangible personal all.
property of a non-resident was exempt from legacy, succession, or death
taxes of every character if the Territory or other State of the United States or With respect to the question of deduction or reduction in the amount of P4,000.00
foreign state or country in which the nonresident resided allowed a similar based on the U.S. Federal Estate Tax Law which is also being claimed by respondents,
exemption in respect to intangible; personal property of residents of the we uphold and adhere to our ruling in the Lara case (supra) that the amount of
Territory or State of the United States or foreign state or country of residence $2,000.00 allowed under the Federal Estate Tax Law is in the nature of a deduction
of the decedent." (7d.) and not of an exemption regarding which reciprocity cannot be claimed under the
proviso of section 122 of our National Internal Revenue Code. Nor is reciprocity
It is clear from both these quoted provisions that the reciprocity must be total, that is, authorized under the Federal Law.
with respect to transfer or death taxes of any and every character, in the case of the
Philippine law, and to legacy, succession, or death tax of any and every character, in On the issue of the correctness of the appraisal of the two parcels of land situated in
the case of the California law. Therefore, if any of the two states collects or imposes Baguio City, it is contended that their assessed values, as appearing in the tax rolls 6
and does not exempt any transfer, death, legacy, or succession tax of any character, months after the death of Stevenson, ought to have been considered by petitioner as
the reciprocity does not work. This is the underlying principle of the reciprocity clauses their fair market value, pursuant to section 91 of the National Internal Revenue Code.
in both laws. It should be pointed out, however, that in accordance with said proviso the properties
are required to be appraised at their fair market value and the assessed value thereof
In the Philippines, upon the death of any citizen or resident, or non-resident with shall be considered as the f air market value only when evidence to the contrary has
properties therein, there are imposed upon 'his estate and its settlement, both an estate not been shown. After a careful review of the record, we are satisfied that such
and an inheritance tax. Under the laws of California, only inheritance tax is imposed. evidence exists to justify the valuation made by petitioner which was sustained by the
On the other hand, the Federal Internal Revenue Code imposes an estate tax on non- tax court, for as the tax court aptly observed:
residents not citizens of the United States, but does not provide for any exemption on
the basis of reciprocity. Applying these laws in the manner the Court of Tax Appeals
P E R S O N S & F A M I L Y R E L A T I O N S 19
"The two parcels of land containing 36,254 square meters were valued by the Petitioner, in this regard, contends that no evidence of record exists to support the
administrator of the estate in the Estate and Inheritance tax returns filed by him at allowance of the sum of P8.604.39 for the following expenses:
P43.500.00 which is the assessed value of said properties. On the other hand, 1 Administrator's fee .................................................................. Pl.204.34
defendant appraised the same at P52.200.00. It is of common knowledge, and this )
Court can take judicial notice of it, that assessments for real estate taxation purposes 2 Attorney's fee ......................................................................... 6,000.00
are very much lower than the true and fair market value of the properties at a given )
time and place. In fact one year after decedent's death or in 1952 the said properties 3 Judicial and Administrative expenses ......................................... 1,400.05
were sold for a price of P72.000.00 and there is no showing that special or extraordinary )
circumstances caused the sudden increase from the price of P43,500.00, if we were to Total Deductions P8.604.39
accept this value as a fair and reasonable one as of 1951. Even more, the counsel for ......................................................................
plaintiffs himself admitted in open court that he was willing to purchase the said
properties at P2.00 per square meter. In the light of these facts we believe and An examination of the record discloses, however, that the foregoing items were
therefore hold that the valuation of P52.200.00 of the real estate in Baguio made by considered deductible by the Tax Court on the basis of their approval by the probate
defendant is fair, reasonable and justified in the premises." (Decision, p. 19). court to which said expenses, we may presume, had also been presented for
consideration. It is to be supposed that the probate court would not have approved
In respect to the valuation of the 210,000 shares of stock in the Mindanao Mother Lode said items were they not supported by evidence presented by the estate. In allowing
Mines, Inc., (a domestic corporation), respondents contend that their value should be the items in question, the Tax Court had before it the pertinent order of the probate
fixed on the basis of the market quotation obtaining at the San Francisco (California) court which was submitted in evidence by respondents. (Exh. "AA-2", p. 100, record).
Stock Exchange, on the theory that the certificates of stocks were then held in that As the Tax Court said, it found no basis for departing from the findings of the probate
place and registered with the said stock exchange. We cannot agree with respondents' court, as it must have been satisfied that those expenses were actually incurred. Under
argument. The situs of the shares of stock, for purposes of taxation, being located here the circumstances, we see no ground to reverse this finding of fact which, under
in the Philippines, as respondents themselves concede, and considering that they are Republic Act of California National Association, which it would appear, that while still
sought to be taxed in this jurisdiction, consistent with the exercise of our government's living, Walter G. Stevenson obtained we are not inclined to pass upon the claim of
taxing authority, their fair market value should be taxed on the basis of the price respondents in respect to the additional amount of P86.52 for funeral expenses which
prevailing in our country. was disapproved by the court a quo for lack of evidence.

Upon the other hand, we find merit in respondents' other contention that the said In connection with the deduction of P652.50 representing the amount of realty taxes
shares of stock commanded a lesser value at the Manila Stock Exchange six months paid in 1951 on the decedent's two parcels of land in Baguio City, which respondents
after the death of Stevenson. Through Atty. Allison Gibbs, respondents have shown claim was disallowed by the Tax Court, we find that this claim has in fact been allowed.
that at that time a share of said stock was bid for at only P.325 (p. 103, t.s.n.). What happened here, which a careful review of the record will reveal, was that the Tax
Significantly, the testimony of Atty. Gibbs in this respect has never been questioned Court, in itemizing the liabilities of the estate, viz:
nor refuted by petitioner either before this court or in the court below. In the absence
of evidence to the contrary, we are, therefore, constrained to reverse the Tax Court on 1 Administrator's fee ..............................................................................................
this point and to hold that the value of a share in the said mining company on August )
22, 1951 in the Philippine market was P.325 as claimed by respondents. 2 Attorney's fee .....................................................................................................
)
It should be noted that the petitioner and the Tax Court valued each share of stock of 3 Judicial and Administration expenses
P.38 on the basis of the declaration made by the estate in its preliminary return. )
Patently, this should not have been the case, in view of the fact that the ancillary as of August 9, 1952 ............................................................................................
administrator had reserved and availed of his legal right to have the properties of the T o t a 1 .....................................................................................................
estate declared at their fair market value as of six months from the time the decedent
died. added the P652.50 for realty taxes as a liability of the estate, to the Pl,400.05 for
judicial and administration expenses approved by the court, making a total of
On the fifth issue, we shall consider the various deductions, from the allowance or P2,052.55, exactly the same figure which was arrived at by the Tax Court for judicial
disallowance of which by the Tax Court, both petitioner and respondents have and administration expenses. Hence, the difference between the total of P9,256.98
appealed. allowed by the Tax Court as deductions, and the P8,604.39 as found by the probate
court, which is P652.50, the same amount allowed for realty taxes.
P E R S O N S & F A M I L Y R E L A T I O N S 20
An evident oversight 'has involuntarily been made in omitting the P2,000.00 for funeral section ninety-three the value at the time of his death of that part of the gross eState
expenses in the final computation. This amount has been expressly allowed by the of the non-resident not situated in the Philippines."
lower court and there is no reason why it should not be.
In the case at bar, no such statement of the gross estate of the nonresident Stevenson
We come now to the other claim of respondents that pursuant to section 89 (b) (1) in not situated in the Philippines appears in the three returns submitted to the court or to
relation to section 89 (a) (1) (E) and section 89 (d), National Internal Revenue Code, the office of the petitioner Collector of Internal Revenue. The purpose of this
the amount of P10,022.47 should have been allowed the estate as a deduction, because requirement is to enable the revenue officer to determine how much of the
it represented an indebtedness of the decedent incurred during his lifetime. In support indebtedness may be allowed to be deducted, pursuant to letter (b), number (1) of the
thereof, they offered in evidence a duly certified claim, presented to the probate court same section 89 of the Internal Revenue Code which provides:
in California by the Bank of California National Association, which it would appear, that
while still living, Walter G. Stevenson obtained a loan of $5,000.0 secured by a pledge "(b) Deductions allowed to non-resident estates.—In the case of a non-resident not a
on 140,000 of his shares of stock in the Mindanao Mother Lode Mines, Inc. (Exhs. "Q- citizen of the Philippines, by deducting from the value of that part of his gross estate
Q4", pp. 53-59, record). The Tax Court disallowed this item on the ground that the which at the time of his death is situated in the Philippines—
local probate court had not approved the same as a valid claim against the estate and
because it constituted an indebtedness in respect to intangible personal property which "(1) Expenses, losses, indebtedness, and taxes.—That proportion of the deductions
the Tax Court held to be exempt from inheritance tax. specified in paragraph (1) of subsection (a) of this section11 which the value of such
part bears to the value of his entire gross estate wherever situated;"
For two reasons, we uphold the action of the lower court in disallowing the deduction.
Firstly, we believe that the approval of the Philippine probate court of this particular In. other words, the allowable deduction is only to the extent of that portion of the
indebtedness of the decedent is necessary. This is so although the same, it is averred, indebtedness which is equivalent to the proportion that the estate in the Philippines
has been already admitted and approved by the corresponding probate court in bears to the total estate wherever situated. Stated differently, if the properties in the
California, situs of the principal or domiciliary administration. It is true that we have Philippines constitute but 1/5 of the entire assets wherever situated, then only 1/5 of
here in the Philippines only an ancillary administration in this case, but, it has been the indebtedness may be deducted. But since, as heretofore adverted to, there is no
held, the distinction between domiciliary or principal administration and ancillary statement of the value of the estate situated outside the Philippines, or that there exists
administration serves only to distinguish one administration from the other, for the two no such properties outside the Philippines, no part of the indebtedness can be allowed
proceedings are separate and independent.8 The reason for the ancillary administration to be deducted, pursuant to Section 89, letter (d), number (1) of the Internal Revenue
is that, a grant of administration does not ex proprio vigore, have any effect beyond Code.
the limits of the country in which it was granted. Hence, we have the requirement that
before a will duly probated outside of the Philippines can have effect here, it must first For the reasons thus stated, we affirm the ruling of the lower court disallowing the
be proved and allowed before our courts, in much the same manner as wills originally deduction of the alleged indebtedness in the sum of P10.022.47.
presented for allowance therein.9 And the estate shall be administered under letters
testamentary, or letters of administration granted by the court, and disposed of In recapitulation, we hold and declare that:
according to the will as probated, after payment of just debts and expenses of
administration.10 In other words, there is a regular administration under the control of (a) only the one-half (1/2) share of the decedent Stevenson in the conjugal
the court, where claims must be presented and approved, and expenses of partnership property constitutes his hereditary estate subject to the estate and
administration allowed before deductions from the estate can be authorized. Otherwise, inheritance taxes;
we would have the actuations of our own probate court, in the settlement and (b) the intangible personal property is not exempt from inheritance tax, there
distribution of the estate situated here, subject to the proceedings before the foreign existing no complete total reciprocity as required in section 122 of the National
court over which our courts have no control. We do not believe such a procedure is Internal Revenue Code, nor is the decedent's estate entitled to an exemption of
countenanced or contemplated in the Rules of Court. F4.000.00 in the computation of the estate tax;
(c) for the purpose of estate and inheritance taxes, the 210,000 shares of stock in
Another reason for the disallowance of this indebtedness as a deduction, springs from the Mindanao Mother Lode Mines, Inc'. are to be appraised at P0.325 per share; and
the provisions of Section 89, letter (d), number (1), of the National Internal Revenue (d) the P2.000.00 for funeral expenses should be deducted in the determination of
Code which reads: the net asset of the deceased Stevenson.

"(d) Miscellaneous provisions.—(1) No deductions shall be allowed in the case of a non- In all other respects, the decision of the Court of Tax Appeals is affirmed.
resident not a citizen of the Philippines unless the executor, administrator or anyone
o£ the heirs, as the case may be, includes in the return required to be filed under
P E R S O N S & F A M I L Y R E L A T I O N S 21
Respondents' claim for interest on the amount allegedly overpaid, if any actually results
after a recomputation on the basis of this decision, is hereby denied in line with our
recent decision in Collector of Internal Revenue v. St. Paul's Hospital (G.R. No. L-12127,
May 29, 1959) wherein we held that, "in the absence of a statutory provision clearly or
expressly directing or authorizing such payment, and none has been cited by
respondents, the National Government cannot be required to pay interest."

WHEREFORE, as modified in the manner heretofore indicated, the judgment of


the lower court is hereby affirmed in all other respects not inconsistent herewith. No
costs. So ordered.
Paras, C.J., Bengzon, Bautista Angelo, Labrador, Concepcion, Reyes, J.B.L.,
Gutierrez David, Paredes and Dizon, JJ., concur.
Judgment affirmed.

Notes.—-The ruling in the Fisher case, regarding section 122 of the Tax Code, was
reaffirmed in Collector of Internal Revenue vs. Wood McGrath, L-12710, Feb. 28, 1961,
post.

The ruling in the same case regarding interest on tax refunds was modified in the sense
that the Commissioner o£ Internal Revenue is liable to pay interest where the collection
of the tax to be refunded was attended with arbitrariness (Collector of Internal Revenue
vs. Binalbagan Estate, Inc., L-12752, Jan. 30, 1965; Victorias Milling Company, Inc, vs.
Commissioner of Internal Revenue, L-24769, Feb. 25, 1967, 19 Supreme Court Reports
Annotated 430).
P E R S O N S & F A M I L Y R E L A T I O N S 22
No. L-23678. June 6, 1967. Same; System of legitimes does not apply to estate of a citizen of Texas.—Where the
decedent was a citizen of Texas and under Texas laws there are no forced heirs, the
TESTATE ESTATE OF AMOS G. BELLIS, deceased. PEOPLE'S BANK & TRUST system of legitimes in Philippine law cannot be applied to the succession to the
COMPANY, executor. MARIA CRISTINA BELLIS and MIRIAM PALMA BELLIS, decedent's testate because the intrinsic validity of the provisions of the decedent's will
oppositors-appellants, vs. EDWARD A. BELLIS, ET AL., heirs-appellees. and the amount of successional rights are to be determined under Texas law.

Wills; Succession; Conflict of laws; Renvoi doctrine.—The doctrine of renvoi is usually APPEAL from an order of the Court of First Instance of Manila.
pertinent where the decedent is a national of one country and is domiciled in another.
It does not apply to a case where the decedent was a citizen of Texas and was The facts are stated in the opinion of the Court.
domiciled therein at the time of his death. So that, even assuming that Texas has a
conflicts rule providing that the domiciliary law should govern successional rights, the Vicente R. Macasaet and Jose D. Villena for oppositorsappellants.
same would not result in a reference back (renvoi) to Philippine law, but it would still
refer to Texas law. Nonetheless, if Texas has a conflicts rule, adopting the rule of lex
Paredes, Poblador, Cruz & Nazareno for heirs-appellees E. A. Bellis, et al.
rei sitae, which calls for the application of the law of the place where the properties are
situated, renvoi would arise, where the properties involved are found in the Philippines.
Quijano and Arroyo for heirs-appellees W. S. Bellis, et al.
Same; Foreign laws.—In the absence of proof as to the conflicts rule of Texas, it would
be presumed to be the same as our local conflicts rule. J. R. Balonkita for appellee People's Bank & Trust Company.

Same; Applicability of national law to succession; Capacity to succeed—The decedent's Ozaeta, Gibbs & Ozaeta for appellee A. B. Allsman.
national law governs the order of succession, the amount of successional rights, the
intrinsic validity of the provisions of the will and capacity to succeed. BENGZON, J.P., J.:

This is a direct appeal to Us, upon a question purely of law, from an order of the Court
Same; Third paragraph of article 17 of New Civil Code does not modify article 16.—The
of First Instance of Manila dated April 30, 1964, approving the project of partition filed
third paragraph of article 17 of the New Civil Code is not an exception to the second
by the executor in Civil Case No. 37089 therein.
paragraph of article 16. Precisely, Congress deleted the phrase, "notwithstanding the
provisions of this and the next preceding article," when it incorporated article 11 of the
The facts of the case are as follows:
old Civil Code as article 17, while reproducing without substantial change the second
paragraph of article 10 of the old Civil Code, as article 16. The legislative intent must
Amos G. Bellis, born in Texas, was "a citizen of the State of Texas and of the United
have been to make the second paragraph of article 176 a specific provision in itself
States." By his first wife, Mary E. Mallen, whom he divorced, he had five legitimate
which must be applied in testate and intestate succession. As a further indication of
children: Edward A. Bellis, George Bellis (who pre-deceased him in infancy), Henry A.
this legislative intent, Congress added a new provision, under article 1039, which
Bellis, Alexander Bellis and Anna Bellis Allsman; by his second wife, Violet Kennedy,
decrees that capacity to succeed is governed by the decedent's national law,
who survived him, he had three legitimate children: Edwin G. Bellis, Walter S. Bellis
and Dorothy Bellis; and finally, he had three illegitimate children: Amos Bellis, Jr., Maria
Same; Legitimes; Statutes; Special and general provisions.—Whatever public policy and Cristina Bellis and Miriam Palma Bellis.
good customs may be involved in our system of legitimes, Congres has not intended to
extend the same to the succession of foreign nationals. It has specifically chosen the On August 5, 1952, Amos G. Bellis executed a will in the Philippines, in which he
decedent's national law to govern, inter alia, the amount of successional rights. Specific directed that after all taxes, obligations, and expenses of administration are paid for,
provisions must prevail over general ones. his distributable estate should be divided, in trust, in the following order and manner:
(a) $240,000.00 to his first wife, Mary E. Mallen; (b) P120,000.00 to his three
Same; Testamentary provision that successional right to decedent's estate would be illegitimate children, Amos Bellis, Jr., Maria Cristina Bellis, Miriam Palma Bellis, or
governed by law other than his national law is void.—A provision in a foreigner's will P40,000.00 each and (c) after the foregoing two items have been satisfied, the
that his properties should be distributed in accordance with Philippine law and not in remainder shall go to his seven surviving children by his first and second wives, namely:
accordance with his national law is void, being contrary to article 16 of the New Civil Edward A. Bellis, Henry A. Bellis, Alexander Bellis and Anna Bellis Allsman, Edwin G.
Code. Bellis, Walter S. Bellis, and Dorothy E. Bellis, in equal shares.
P E R S O N S & F A M I L Y R E L A T I O N S 23
Subsequently, or on July 8, 1958, Amos G. Bellis died a resident of San Antonio, Texas, rule adopting the situs theory (lex rei sitae) calling for the application of the law of the
U.S.A. His will was admitted to probate in the Court of First Instance of Manila on place where the properties are situated, renvoi would arise, since the properties here
September 15, 1958. involved are found in the Philippines. In the absence, however, of proof as to the
conflict of law rule of Texas, it should not be presumed different from ours.3 Appellants'
The People's Bank and Trust Company, as executor of the will, paid all the bequests position is therefore not rested on the doctrine of renvoi. As stated, they never invoked
therein including the amount of $240,000.00 in the form of shares of stock to Mary E. nor even mentioned it in their arguments. Rather, they argue that their case falls under
Mallen and to the three (3) illegitimate children, Amos Bellis, Jr., Maria Cristina Bellis the circumstances mentioned in the third paragraph of Article 17 in relation to Article
and Miriam Palma Bellis, various amounts totalling P40,000.00 each in satisfaction of 16 of the Civil Code.
their respective legacies, or a total of P120,000.00, which it released from time to time
according as the lower court approved and allowed the various motions or petitions Article 16, par. 2, and Art. 1039 of the Civil Code, render applicable the national law of
filed by the latter three requesting partial advances on account of their respective the decedent, in intestate or testamentary successions, with regard to four items: (a)
legacies. 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 provide that —
On January 8, 1964, preparatory to closing its administration, the executor submitted
and filed its "Executor's Final Account, Report of Administration and Project of Partition" ART. 16. Real property as well as personal property is subject to the law of
wherein it reported, inter alia, the satisfaction of the legacy of Mary E. Mallen by the the country where it is situated.
delivery to her of shares of stock amounting to $240,000.00, and the legacies of Amos
Bellis, Jr., Maria Cristina Bellis and Miriam Palma Bellis in the amount of P40,000.00 However, intestate and testamentary successions, both with respect to the
each or a total of P120,000.00. In the project of partition, the executor — pursuant to order of succession and to the amount of successional rights and to the
the "Twelfth" clause of the testator's Last Will and Testament — divided the residuary intrinsic validity of testamentary provisions, shall be regulated by the national
estate into seven equal portions for the benefit of the testator's seven legitimate law of the person whose succession is under consideration, whatever may he
children by his first and second marriages. the nature of the property and regardless of the country wherein said property
may be found.
On January 17, 1964, Maria Cristina Bellis and Miriam Palma Bellis filed their respecttive
oppositions to the project of partition on the ground that they were deprived of their ART. 1039. Capacity to succeed is governed by the law of the nation of the
legitimes as illegitimate children and, therefore, compulsory heirs of the deceased. decedent.

Amos Bellis, Jr. interposed no opposition despite notice to him, proof of service of which Appellants would however counter that Art. 17, paragraph three, of the Civil Code,
is evidenced by the registry receipt submitted on April 27, 1964 by the executor.1 stating that —

After the parties filed their respective memoranda and other pertinent pleadings, the Prohibitive laws concerning persons, their acts or property, and those which
lower court, on April 30, 1964, issued an order overruling the oppositions and approving have for their object public order, public policy and good customs shall not be
the executor's final account, report and administration and project of partition. Relying rendered ineffective by laws or judgments promulgated, or by determinations
upon Art. 16 of the Civil Code, it applied the national law of the decedent, which in this or conventions agreed upon in a foreign country.
case is Texas law, which did not provide for legitimes.
prevails as the exception to Art. 16, par. 2 of the Civil Code afore-quoted. This is not
Their respective motions for reconsideration having been denied by the lower court on correct. Precisely, Congress deleted the phrase, "notwithstanding the provisions of this
June 11, 1964, oppositors-appellants appealed to this Court to raise the issue of which and the next preceding article" when they incorporated Art. 11 of the old Civil Code as
law must apply — Texas law or Philippine law. Art. 17 of the new Civil Code, while reproducing without substantial change the second
paragraph of Art. 10 of the old Civil Code as Art. 16 in the new. It must have been their
In this regard, the parties do not submit the case on, nor even discuss, the doctrine of purpose to make the second paragraph of Art. 16 a specific provision in itself which
renvoi, applied by this Court in Aznar v. Christensen Garcia, L-16749, January 31, 1963. must be applied in testate and intestate succession. As further indication of this
Said doctrine is usually pertinent where the decedent is a national of one country, and legislative intent, Congress added a new provision, under Art. 1039, which decrees that
a domicile of another. In the present case, it is not disputed that the decedent was capacity to succeed is to be governed by the national law of the decedent.
both a national of Texas and a domicile thereof at the time of his death.2 So that even
assuming Texas has a conflict of law rule providing that the domiciliary system (law of It is therefore evident that whatever public policy or good customs may be involved in
the domicile) should govern, the same would not result in a reference back (renvoi) to our System of legitimes, Congress has not intended to extend the same to the
Philippine law, but would still refer to Texas law. Nonetheless, if Texas has a conflicts succession of foreign nationals. For it has specifically chosen to leave, inter alia,
P E R S O N S & F A M I L Y R E L A T I O N S 24
the amount of successional rights, to the decedent's national law. Specific provisions
must prevail over general ones.

Appellants would also point out that the decedent executed two wills — one to govern
his Texas estate and the other his Philippine estate — arguing from this that he
intended Philippine law to govern his Philippine estate. Assuming that such was the
decedent's intention in executing a separate Philippine will, it would not alter the law,
for as this Court ruled in Miciano v. Brimo, 50 Phil. 867, 870, a provision in a foreigner's
will to the effect that his properties shall be distributed in accordance with Philippine
law and not with his national law, is illegal and void, for his national law cannot be
ignored in regard to those matters that Article 10 — now Article 16 — of the Civil Code
states said national law should govern.

The parties admit that the decedent, Amos G. Bellis, was a citizen of the State of Texas,
U.S.A., and that under the laws of Texas, there are no forced heirs or legitimes.
Accordingly, since the intrinsic validity of the provision of the will and the amount of
successional rights are to be determined under Texas law, the Philippine law on
legitimes cannot be applied to the testacy of Amos G. Bellis.

Wherefore, the order of the probate court is hereby affirmed in toto, with costs against
appellants. So ordered.

Concepcion, C.J., Reyes, J.B.L., Dizon, Regala, Makalintal, Zaldivar, Sanchez and
Castro, JJ., concur.