Sie sind auf Seite 1von 14

6/28/2016

SaudiArabianAirlinesvsCA:122191:October8,1998:J.Quisumbing:FirstDivision

FIRSTDIVISION

[G.R.No.122191.October8,1998]

SAUDI ARABIAN AIRLINES, petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS, MILAGROS P.


MORADAandHON.RODOLFOA.ORTIZ,inhiscapacityasPresidingJudge
ofBranch89,RegionalTrialCourtofQuezonCity,respondents.
DECISION
QUISUMBING,J.:

ThispetitionforcertioraripursuanttoRule45oftheRulesofCourtseekstoannulandsetaside
theResolution[1]dated September 27, 1995 and the Decision[2] dated April 10, 1996 of the Court of
Appeals[3] in CAG.R. SP No. 36533,[4] and the Orders[5] dated August 29, 1994[6] and February 2,
1995[7]thatwereissuedbythetrialcourtinCivilCaseNo.Q9318394.[8]
Thepertinentantecedentfactswhichgaverisetotheinstantpetition,asstatedinthequestioned
Decision[9],areasfollows:

OnJanuary21,1988defendantSAUDIAhiredplaintiffasaFlight
AttendantforitsairlinesbasedinJeddah,SaudiArabia.xxx
OnApril27,1990,whileonalayoverinJakarta,Indonesia,plaintiffwent
toadiscodancewithfellowcrewmembersThamerAlGazzawiandAllah
AlGazzawi,bothSaudinationals.Becauseitwasalmostmorningwhen
theyreturnedtotheirhotels,theyagreedtohavebreakfasttogetheratthe
roomofThamer.Whentheywereinte(sic)room,Allahleftonsome
pretext.Shortlyafterhedid,Thamerattemptedtorapeplaintiff.Fortunately,
aroomboyandseveralsecuritypersonnelheardhercriesforhelpand
rescuedher.Later,theIndonesianpolicecameandarrestedThamerand
AllahAlGazzawi,thelatterasanaccomplice.
WhenplaintiffreturnedtoJeddahafewdayslater,severalSAUDIAofficials
interrogatedherabouttheJakartaincident.Theythenrequestedhertogo
backtoJakartatohelparrangethereleaseofThamerandAllah.In
Jakarta,SAUDIALegalOfficerSirahAkkadandbasemanagerBaharini
negotiatedwiththepolicefortheimmediatereleaseofthedetainedcrew
membersbutdidnotsucceedbecauseplaintiffrefusedtocooperate.She
wasafraidthatshemightbetrickedintosomethingshedidnotwant
becauseofherinabilitytounderstandthelocaldialect.Shealsodeclinedto
signablankpaperandadocumentwritteninthelocaldialect.Eventually,
SAUDIAallowedplaintifftoreturntoJeddahbutbarredherfromthe
Jakartaflights.
http://sc.judiciary.gov.ph/jurisprudence/1998/oct1998/122191.htm

1/14

6/28/2016

SaudiArabianAirlinesvsCA:122191:October8,1998:J.Quisumbing:FirstDivision

Plaintifflearnedthat,throughtheintercessionoftheSaudiArabian
government,theIndonesianauthoritiesagreedtodeportThamerandAllah
aftertwoweeksofdetention.Eventually,theywereagainputinserviceby
defendantSAUDI(sic).InSeptember1990,defendantSAUDIAtransferred
plaintifftoManila.
OnJanuary14,1992,justwhenplaintiffthoughtthattheJakartaincident
wasalreadybehindher,hersuperiorsrequestedhertoseeMr.Ali
Meniewy,ChiefLegalOfficerofSAUDIA,inJeddah,SaudiArabia.When
shesawhim,hebroughthertothepolicestationwherethepolicetookher
passportandquestionedherabouttheJakartaincident.Miniewysimply
stoodbyasthepoliceputpressureonhertomakeastatementdropping
thecaseagainstThamerandAllah.Notuntilsheagreedtodosodidthe
policereturnherpassportandallowedhertocatchtheafternoonflightout
ofJeddah.
OneyearandahalflateroronJune16,1993,inRiyadh,SaudiArabia,a
fewminutesbeforethedepartureofherflighttoManila,plaintiffwasnot
allowedtoboardtheplaneandinsteadorderedtotakealaterflightto
JeddahtoseeMr.Miniewy,theChiefLegalOfficerofSAUDIA.Whenshe
did,acertainKhalidoftheSAUDIAofficebroughthertoaSaudicourt
whereshewasaskedtosignadocumentwritteninArabic.Theytoldher
thatthiswasnecessarytoclosethecaseagainstThamerandAllah.Asit
turnedout,plaintiffsignedanoticetohertoappearbeforethecourton
June27,1993.PlaintiffthenreturnedtoManila.
Shortlyafterwards,defendantSAUDIAsummonedplaintifftoreportto
JeddahonceagainandseeMiniewyonJune27,1993forfurther
investigation.PlaintiffdidsoafterreceivingassurancefromSAUDIAs
Manilamanager,AslamSaleemi,thattheinvestigationwasroutinaryand
thatitposednodangertoher.
InJeddah,aSAUDIAlegalofficerbroughtplaintifftothesameSaudicourt
onJune27,1993.NothinghappenedthenbutonJune28,1993,aSaudi
judgeinterrogatedplaintiffthroughaninterpreterabouttheJakarta
incident.Afteronehourofinterrogation,theylethergo.Attheairport,
however,justasherplanewasabouttotakeoff,aSAUDIAofficertoldher
thattheairlinehadforbiddenhertotakeflight.AttheInflightServiceOffice
whereshewastoldtogo,thesecretaryofMr.YahyaSaddicktookaway
herpassportandtoldhertoremaininJeddah,atthecrewquarters,until
furtherorders.
OnJuly3,1993aSAUDIAlegalofficeragainescortedplaintifftothesame
courtwherethejudge,toherastonishmentandshock,rendereda
decision,translatedtoherinEnglish,sentencinghertofivemonths
http://sc.judiciary.gov.ph/jurisprudence/1998/oct1998/122191.htm

2/14

6/28/2016

SaudiArabianAirlinesvsCA:122191:October8,1998:J.Quisumbing:FirstDivision

imprisonmentandto286lashes.OnlythendidsherealizethattheSaudi
courthadtriedher,togetherwithThamerandAllah,forwhathappenedin
Jakarta.Thecourtfoundplaintiffguiltyof(1)adultery(2)goingtoadisco,
dancingandlisteningtothemusicinviolationofIslamiclawsand(3)
socializingwiththemalecrew,incontraventionofIslamictradition.[10]
Facing conviction, private respondent sought the help of her employer, petitioner SAUDIA.
Unfortunately,shewasdeniedanyassistance.ShethenaskedthePhilippineEmbassyinJeddahto
helpherwhilehercaseisonappeal.Meanwhile,topayforherupkeep,sheworkedonthedomestic
flightofSAUDIA,whileThamerandAllahcontinuedtoserveintheinternationalflights.[11]
Becauseshewaswrongfullyconvicted,thePrinceofMakkahdismissedthecaseagainstherand
allowedhertoleaveSaudiArabia.ShortlybeforeherreturntoManila,[12]shewasterminatedfromthe
servicebySAUDIA,withoutherbeinginformedofthecause.
OnNovember23,1993,MoradafiledaComplaint[13]fordamagesagainstSAUDIA,andKhaled
AlBalawi(AlBalawi),itscountrymanager.
OnJanuary19,1994,SAUDIAfiledanOmnibusMotionToDismiss[14]whichraisedthefollowing
grounds,towit:(1)thattheComplaintstatesnocauseofactionagainstSaudia(2)thatdefendantAl
Balawiisnotarealpartyininterest(3)thattheclaimordemandsetforthintheComplainthasbeen
waived,abandonedorotherwiseextinguishedand(4)thatthetrialcourthasnojurisdictiontotrythe
case.
On February 10, 1994, Morada filed her Opposition (To Motion to Dismiss)[15] Saudia filed a
reply[16]theretoonMarch3,1994.
On June 23, 1994, Morada filed an Amended Complaint[17] wherein AlBalawi was dropped as
partydefendant.OnAugust11,1994,SaudiafileditsManifestationandMotiontoDismissAmended
Complaint[18].
ThetrialcourtissuedanOrder[19]datedAugust29,1994denyingtheMotiontoDismissAmended
ComplaintfiledbySaudia.
From the Order of respondent Judge[20] denying the Motion to Dismiss, SAUDIA filed on
September20,1994,itsMotionforReconsideration[21]oftheOrderdatedAugust29,1994.Italleged
that the trial court has no jurisdiction to hear and try the case on the basis of Article 21 of the Civil
Code, since the proper law applicable is the law of the Kingdom of SaudiArabia. On October 14,
1994,MoradafiledherOpposition[22](ToDefendantsMotionforReconsideration).
IntheReply[23]filedwiththetrialcourtonOctober24,1994,SAUDIAallegedthatsinceitsMotion
forReconsiderationraisedlackofjurisdictionasitscauseofaction,theOmnibusMotionRuledoes
notapply,evenifthatgroundisraisedforthefirsttimeonappeal.Additionally,SAUDIAallegedthat
the Philippines does not have any substantial interest in the prosecution of the instant case, and
hence,withoutjurisdictiontoadjudicatethesame.
Respondent Judge subsequently issued another Order[24] dated February 2, 1995, denying
SAUDIAsMotionforReconsideration.ThepertinentportionoftheassailedOrderreadsasfollows:

ActingontheMotionforReconsiderationofdefendantSaudiArabian
Airlinesfiled,thrucounsel,onSeptember20,1994,andtheOpposition
theretooftheplaintifffiled,thrucounsel,onOctober14,1994,aswellas
theReplytherewithofdefendantSaudiArabianAirlinesfiled,thrucounsel,
onOctober24,1994,consideringthataperusaloftheplaintiffsAmended
Complaint,whichisonefortherecoveryofactual,moralandexemplary
http://sc.judiciary.gov.ph/jurisprudence/1998/oct1998/122191.htm

3/14

6/28/2016

SaudiArabianAirlinesvsCA:122191:October8,1998:J.Quisumbing:FirstDivision

damagesplusattorneysfees,uponthebasisoftheapplicablePhilippine
law,Article21oftheNewCivilCodeofthePhilippines,is,clearly,within
thejurisdictionofthisCourtasregardsthesubjectmatter,andtherebeing
nothingnewofsubstancewhichmightcausethereversalormodification
oftheordersoughttobereconsidered,themotionforreconsiderationof
thedefendant,isDENIED.
SOORDERED.[25]
Consequently,onFebruary20,1995,SAUDIAfileditsPetitionforCertiorariandProhibitionwith
PrayerforIssuanceofWritofPreliminaryInjunctionand/orTemporaryRestrainingOrder[26]withthe
CourtofAppeals.
Respondent Court of Appeals promulgated a Resolution with Temporary Restraining Order[27]
datedFebruary23,1995,prohibitingtherespondentJudgefromfurtherconductinganyproceeding,
unlessotherwisedirected,intheinterim.
InanotherResolution[28]promulgatedonSeptember27,1995,nowassailed,theappellatecourt
deniedSAUDIAsPetitionfortheIssuanceofaWritofPreliminaryInjunctiondatedFebruary18,1995,
towit:

ThePetitionfortheIssuanceofaWritofPreliminaryInjunctionishereby
DENIED,afterconsideringtheAnswer,withPrayertoDenyWritof
PreliminaryInjunction(Rollo,p.135)theReplyandRejoinder,itappearing
thathereinpetitionerisnotclearlyentitledthereto(UncianoParamedical
College,et.Al.,v.CourtofAppeals,et.Al.,100335,April7,1993,Second
Division).
SOORDERED.
On October 20, 1995, SAUDIA filed with this Honorable Court the instant Petition[29] for Review
withPrayerforTemporaryRestrainingOrderdatedOctober13,1995.
However,duringthependencyoftheinstantPetition,respondentCourtofAppealsrenderedthe
Decision[30] dated April 10, 1996, now also assailed. It ruled that the Philippines is an appropriate
forum considering that the Amended Complaints basis for recovery of damages is Article 21 of the
CivilCode,andthus,clearlywithinthejurisdictionofrespondentCourt.Itfurtherheldthatcertiorariis
not the proper remedy in a denial of a Motion to Dismiss, inasmuch as the petitioner should have
proceededtotrial,andincaseofanadverseruling,findrecourseinanappeal.
On May 7, 1996, SAUDIA filed its Supplemental Petition for Review with Prayer for Temporary
RestrainingOrder[31]datedApril30,1996,givenduecoursebythisCourt.Afterbothpartiessubmitted
theirMemoranda,[32]theinstantcaseisnowdeemedsubmittedfordecision.
PetitionerSAUDIAraisedthefollowingissues:
I

ThetrialcourthasnojurisdictiontohearandtryCivilCaseNo.Q9318394
basedonArticle21oftheNewCivilCodesincetheproperlawapplicableisthe
lawoftheKingdomofSaudiArabiainasmuchasthiscaseinvolveswhatis
knowninprivateinternationallawasaconflictsproblem.Otherwise,theRepublic
ofthePhilippineswillsitinjudgmentoftheactsdonebyanothersovereignstate
http://sc.judiciary.gov.ph/jurisprudence/1998/oct1998/122191.htm

4/14

6/28/2016

SaudiArabianAirlinesvsCA:122191:October8,1998:J.Quisumbing:FirstDivision

whichisabhorred.
II.

Leaveofcourtbeforefilingasupplementalpleadingisnotajurisdictional
requirement.Besides,thematterastoabsenceofleaveofcourtisnowmootand
academicwhenthisHonorableCourtrequiredtherespondentstocommenton
petitionersApril30,1996SupplementalPetitionForReviewWithPrayerForA
TemporaryRestrainingOrderWithinTen(10)DaysFromNoticeThereof.Further,
theRevisedRulesofCourtshouldbeconstruedwithliberalitypursuanttoSection
2,Rule1thereof.
III.

PetitionerreceivedonApril22,1996theApril10,1996decisioninCAG.R.SP
NO.36533entitledSaudiArabianAirlinesv.Hon.RodolfoA.Ortiz,etal.andfiled
itsApril30,1996SupplementalPetitionForReviewWithPrayerForATemporary
RestrainingOrderonMay7,1996at10:29a.m.orwithinthe15day
reglementaryperiodasprovidedforunderSection1,Rule45oftheRevised
RulesofCourt.Therefore,thedecisioninCAG.R.SPNO.36533hasnotyet
becomefinalandexecutoryandthisHonorableCourtcantakecognizanceofthis
case.[33]
From the foregoing factual and procedural antecedents, the following issues emerge for our
resolution:
I.

WHETHERRESPONDENTAPPELLATECOURTERREDINHOLDING
THATTHEREGIONALTRIALCOURTOFQUEZONCITYHAS
JURISDICTIONTOHEARANDTRYCIVILCASENO.Q9318394
ENTITLEDMILAGROSP.MORADAV.SAUDIARABIANAIRLINES.
II.

WHETHERRESPONDENTAPPELLATECOURTERREDINRULING
THATINTHECASEPHILIPPINELAWSHOULDGOVERN.
PetitionerSAUDIAclaimsthatbeforeusisaconflictoflawsthatmustbesettledattheoutset.It
maintainsthatprivaterespondentsclaimforallegedabuseofrightsoccurredintheKingdomofSaudi
Arabia.Itallegesthattheexistenceofaforeignelementqualifiestheinstantcasefortheapplication
ofthelawoftheKingdomofSaudiArabia,byvirtueofthelexlocidelicticommissirule.[34]
Ontheotherhand,privaterespondentcontendsthatsinceherAmendedComplaintisbasedon
Articles19[35]and21[36]oftheCivilCode,thentheinstantcaseisproperlyamatterofdomesticlaw.[37]
Under the factual antecedents obtaining in this case, there is no dispute that the interplay of
eventsoccurredintwostates,thePhilippinesandSaudiArabia.
AsstatedbyprivaterespondentinherAmendedComplaint[38]datedJune23,1994:

2.DefendantSAUDIARABIANAIRLINESorSAUDIAisaforeignairlines
http://sc.judiciary.gov.ph/jurisprudence/1998/oct1998/122191.htm

5/14

6/28/2016

SaudiArabianAirlinesvsCA:122191:October8,1998:J.Quisumbing:FirstDivision

corporationdoingbusinessinthePhilippines.Itmaybeservedwith
summonsandothercourtprocessesatTravelWideAssociatedSales
(Phils.),Inc.,3rdFloor,CougarBuilding,114ValeroSt.,SalcedoVillage,
Makati,MetroManila.
xxxxxxxxx

6.Plaintifflearnedthat,throughtheintercessionoftheSaudiArabian
government,theIndonesianauthoritiesagreedtodeportThamerandAllah
aftertwoweeksofdetention.Eventually,theywereagainputinserviceby
defendantSAUDIA.InSeptember1990,defendantSAUDIAtransferred
plaintifftoManila.
7.OnJanuary14,1992,justwhenplaintiffthoughtthattheJakarta
incidentwasalreadybehindher,hersuperiorsrequestedhertoseeMR.
AliMeniewy,ChiefLegalOfficerofSAUDIA,inJeddah,SaudiArabia.
Whenshesawhim,hebroughthertothepolicestationwherethepolice
tookherpassportandquestionedherabouttheJakartaincident.Miniewy
simplystoodbyasthepoliceputpressureonhertomakeastatement
droppingthecaseagainstThamerandAllah.Notuntilsheagreedtodoso
didthepolicereturnherpassportandallowedhertocatchtheafternoon
flightoutofJeddah.
8.OneyearandahalflateroronJune16,1993,inRiyadh,SaudiArabia,
afewminutesbeforethedepartureofherflighttoManila,plaintiffwasnot
allowedtoboardtheplaneandinsteadorderedtotakealaterflightto
JeddahtoseeMr.Meniewy,theChiefLegalOfficerofSAUDIA.Whenshe
did,acertainKhalidoftheSAUDIAofficebroughthertoaSaudicourt
whereshewasaskedtosignadocumentwritteninArabic.Theytoldher
thatthiswasnecessarytoclosethecaseagainstThamerandAllah.Asit
turnedout,plaintiffsignedanoticetohertoappearbeforethecourton
June27,1993.PlaintiffthenreturnedtoManila.
9.Shortlyafterwards,defendantSAUDIAsummonedplaintifftoreportto
JeddahonceagainandseeMiniewyonJune27,1993forfurther
investigation.PlaintiffdidsoafterreceivingassurancefromSAUDIAs
Manilamanager,AslamSaleemi,thattheinvestigationwasroutinaryand
thatitposednodangertoher.
10.InJeddah,aSAUDIAlegalofficerbroughtplaintifftothesameSaudi
courtonJune27,1993.NothinghappenedthenbutonJune28,1993,a
SaudijudgeinterrogatedplaintiffthroughaninterpreterabouttheJakarta
incident.Afteronehourofinterrogation,theylethergo.Attheairport,
however,justasherplanewasabouttotakeoff,aSAUDIAofficertoldher
thattheairlinehadforbiddenhertotakethatflight.AttheInflightService
Officewhereshewastoldtogo,thesecretaryofMr.YahyaSaddicktook
http://sc.judiciary.gov.ph/jurisprudence/1998/oct1998/122191.htm

6/14

6/28/2016

SaudiArabianAirlinesvsCA:122191:October8,1998:J.Quisumbing:FirstDivision

awayherpassportandtoldhertoremaininJeddah,atthecrewquarters,
untilfurtherorders.
11.OnJuly3,1993aSAUDIAlegalofficeragainescortedplaintifftothe
samecourtwherethejudge,toherastonishmentandshock,rendereda
decision,translatedtoherinEnglish,sentencinghertofivemonths
imprisonmentandto286lashes.OnlythendidsherealizethattheSaudi
courthadtriedher,togetherwithThamerandAllah,forwhathappenedin
Jakarta.Thecourtfoundplaintiffguiltyof(1)adultery(2)goingtoadisco,
dancing,andlisteningtothemusicinviolationofIslamiclaws(3)
socializingwiththemalecrew,incontraventionofIslamictradition.
12.BecauseSAUDIArefusedtolendherahandinthecase,plaintiff
soughtthehelpofthePhilippineEmbassyinJeddah.Thelatterhelpedher
pursueanappealfromthedecisionofthecourt.Topayforherupkeep,
sheworkedonthedomesticflightsofdefendantSAUDIAwhile,ironically,
ThamerandAllahfreelyservedtheinternationalflights.[39]
Where the factual antecedents satisfactorily establish the existence of a foreign element, we
agreewithpetitionerthattheproblemhereincouldpresentaconflictscase.
A factual situation that cuts across territorial lines and is affected by the diverse laws of two or
morestatesissaidtocontainaforeignelement.Thepresenceofaforeignelementisinevitablesince
socialandeconomicaffairsofindividualsandassociationsarerarelyconfinedtothegeographiclimits
oftheirbirthorconception.[40]
Theformsinwhichthisforeignelementmayappeararemany.[41]Theforeignelementmaysimply
consistinthefactthatoneofthepartiestoacontractisanalienorhasaforeigndomicile,orthata
contractbetweennationalsofoneStateinvolvespropertiessituatedinanotherState.Inothercases,
theforeignelementmayassumeacomplexform.[42]
Intheinstantcase,theforeignelementconsistedinthefactthatprivaterespondentMoradaisa
resident Philippine national, and that petitioner SAUDIA is a resident foreign corporation. Also, by
virtue of the employment of Morada with the petitioner Saudia as a flight stewardess, events did
transpire during her many occasions of travel across national borders, particularly from Manila,
PhilippinestoJeddah,SaudiArabia,andviceversa,thatcausedaconflictssituationtoarise.
Wethusfindprivaterespondentsassertionthatthecaseispurelydomestic,imprecise.Aconflicts
problempresentsitselfhere,andthequestionofjurisdiction[43]confrontsthecourtaquo.
After a careful study of the private respondents Amended Complaint,[44] and the Comment
thereon,wenotethatsheaptlypredicatedhercauseofactiononArticles19and21oftheNewCivil
Code.
Ononehand,Article19oftheNewCivilCodeprovides

Art.19.Everypersonmust,intheexerciseofhisrightsandinthe
performanceofhisduties,actwithjusticegiveeveryonehisdueand
observehonestyandgoodfaith.
Ontheotherhand,Article21oftheNewCivilCodeprovides:

Art.21.Anypersonwhowillfullycauseslossorinjurytoanotherina
mannerthatiscontrarytomorals,goodcustomsorpublicpolicyshall
http://sc.judiciary.gov.ph/jurisprudence/1998/oct1998/122191.htm

7/14

6/28/2016

SaudiArabianAirlinesvsCA:122191:October8,1998:J.Quisumbing:FirstDivision

compensatethelatterfordamages.
Thus,inPhilippineNationalBank(PNB)vs.CourtofAppeals,[45]thisCourtheldthat:

Theaforecitedprovisionsonhumanrelationswereintendedtoexpandthe
conceptoftortsinthisjurisdictionbygrantingadequatelegalremedyfor
theuntoldnumberofmoralwrongswhichisimpossibleforhuman
foresighttospecificallyprovideinthestatutes.
AlthoughArticle19merelydeclaresaprincipleoflaw,Article21givesfleshtoitsprovisions.Thus,
weagreewithprivaterespondentsassertionthatviolationsofArticles19and21areactionable,with
judiciallyenforceableremediesinthemunicipalforum.
Basedontheallegations[46]intheAmendedComplaint,readinthelightoftheRulesofCourton
jurisdiction[47]wefindthattheRegionalTrialCourt(RTC)ofQuezonCitypossessesjurisdictionover
thesubjectmatterofthesuit.[48]ItsauthoritytotryandhearthecaseisprovidedforunderSection1of
RepublicActNo.7691,towit:

Section1.Section19ofBatasPambansaBlg.129,otherwiseknownas
theJudiciaryReorganizationActof1980,isherebyamendedtoreadas
follows:
SEC.19.JurisdictioninCivilCases.RegionalTrialCourtsshallexercise
exclusivejurisdiction:
xxxxxxxxx

(8)Inallothercasesinwhichdemand,exclusiveofinterest,damagesof
whateverkind,attorneysfees,litigationexpenses,andcostsorthevalueofthe
propertyincontroversyexceedsOnehundredthousandpesos(P100,000.00)or,
insuchothercasesinMetroManila,wherethedemand,exclusiveoftheabove
mentioneditemsexceedsTwohundredThousandpesos(P200,000.00).
(Emphasisours)
xxxxxxxxx
And following Section 2 (b), Rule 4 of the Revised Rules of Courtthe venue, Quezon City, is
appropriate:

SEC.2VenueinCourtsofFirstInstance.[NowRegionalTrialCourt]
(a)xxxxxxxxx
(b)Personalactions.Allotheractionsmaybecommencedandtriedwhere
thedefendantoranyofthedefendantsresidesormaybefound,orwhere
theplaintifforanyoftheplaintiffresides,attheelectionoftheplaintiff.
Pragmaticconsiderations,includingtheconvenienceoftheparties,alsoweighheavilyinfavorof
the RTC Quezon City assuming jurisdiction. Paramount is the private interest of the litigant.
Enforceabilityofajudgmentifoneisobtainedisquiteobvious.Relativeadvantagesandobstaclesto
afairtrialareequallyimportant.Plaintiffmaynot,bychoiceofaninconvenientforum,vex,harass,or
http://sc.judiciary.gov.ph/jurisprudence/1998/oct1998/122191.htm

8/14

6/28/2016

SaudiArabianAirlinesvsCA:122191:October8,1998:J.Quisumbing:FirstDivision

oppress the defendant, e.g. by inflicting upon him needless expense or disturbance.But unless the
balanceisstronglyinfavorofthedefendant,theplaintiffschoiceofforumshouldrarelybedisturbed.
[49]

Weighingtherelativeclaimsoftheparties,thecourtaquofounditbesttohearthecaseinthe
Philippines. Had it refused to take cognizance of the case, it would be forcing plaintiff (private
respondentnow)toseekremedialactionelsewhere,i.e.intheKingdomofSaudiArabiawheresheno
longermaintainssubstantialconnections.Thatwouldhavecausedafundamentalunfairnesstoher.
Moreover, by hearing the case in the Philippines no unnecessary difficulties and inconvenience
havebeenshownbyeitheroftheparties.Thechoiceofforumoftheplaintiff(nowprivaterespondent)
shouldbeupheld.
Similarly,thetrialcourtalsopossessesjurisdictionoverthepersonsofthepartiesherein.Byfiling
her Complaint and Amended Complaint with the trial court, private respondent has voluntary
submittedherselftothejurisdictionofthecourt.
TherecordsshowthatpetitionerSAUDIAhasfiledseveralmotions[50]prayingforthedismissalof
Moradas Amended Complaint. SAUDIA also filed an Answer In Ex Abundante Cautelam dated
February20,1995.Whatisverypatentandexplicitfromthemotionsfiled,isthatSAUDIAprayedfor
otherreliefsunderthepremises.Undeniably,petitionerSAUDIAhaseffectivelysubmittedtothetrial
courtsjurisdictionbyprayingforthedismissaloftheAmendedComplaintongroundsotherthanlack
ofjurisdiction.
AsheldbythisCourtinRepublicvs.KerandCompany,Ltd.:[51]

WeobservethatthemotiontodismissfiledonApril14,1962,asidefrom
disputingthelowercourtsjurisdictionoverdefendantsperson,prayedfor
dismissalofthecomplaintonthegroundthatplaintiffscauseofactionhas
prescribed.Byinterposingsuchsecondgroundinitsmotiontodismiss,
KerandCo.,Ltd.availedofanaffirmativedefenseonthebasisofwhichit
prayedthecourttoresolvecontroversyinitsfavor.Forthecourttovalidly
decidethesaidpleaofdefendantKer&Co.,Ltd.,itnecessarilyhadto
acquirejurisdictionuponthelattersperson,who,beingtheproponentof
theaffirmativedefense,shouldbedeemedtohaveabandoneditsspecial
appearanceandvoluntarilysubmitteditselftothejurisdictionofthecourt.
Similarly,thecaseofDeMidgelyvs.Ferandos,heldthat:

Whentheappearanceisbymotionforthepurposeofobjectingtothe
jurisdictionofthecourtovertheperson,itmustbeforthesoleand
separatepurposeofobjectingtothejurisdictionofthecourt.Ifhismotion
isforanyotherpurposethantoobjecttothejurisdictionofthecourtover
hisperson,hetherebysubmitshimselftothejurisdictionofthecourt.A
specialappearancebymotionmadeforthepurposeofobjectingtothe
jurisdictionofthecourtoverthepersonwillbeheldtobeageneral
appearance,ifthepartyinsaidmotionshould,forexample,askfora
dismissaloftheactionuponthefurthergroundthatthecourthadno
jurisdictionoverthesubjectmatter.[52]
Clearly, petitioner had submitted to the jurisdiction of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City.
Thus,wefindthatthetrialcourthasjurisdictionoverthecaseandthatitsexercisethereof,justified.
http://sc.judiciary.gov.ph/jurisprudence/1998/oct1998/122191.htm

9/14

6/28/2016

SaudiArabianAirlinesvsCA:122191:October8,1998:J.Quisumbing:FirstDivision

As to the choice of applicable law, we note that choiceoflaw problems seek to answer two
important questions: (1) What legal system should control a given situation where some of the
significantfactsoccurredintwoormorestatesand(2)towhatextentshouldthechosenlegalsystem
regulatethesituation.[53]
Severaltheorieshavebeenpropoundedinordertoidentifythelegalsystemthatshouldultimately
control.Althoughideally,allchoiceoflawtheoriesshouldintrinsicallyadvancebothnotionsofjustice
and predictability, they do not always do so. The forum is then faced with the problem of deciding
whichofthesetwoimportantvaluesshouldbestressed.[54]
Beforeachoicecanbemade,itisnecessaryforustodetermineunderwhatcategoryacertain
setoffactsorrulesfall.Thisprocessisknownascharacterization,orthedoctrineofqualification.Itis
theprocessofdecidingwhetherornotthefactsrelatetothekindofquestionspecifiedinaconflicts
rule.[55]Thepurposeofcharacterizationistoenabletheforumtoselecttheproperlaw.[56]
Ourstartingpointofanalysishereisnotalegalrelation,butafactualsituation,event,oroperative
fact.[57]Anessentialelementofconflictrulesistheindicationofatestorconnectingfactororpointof
contact.Choiceoflawrulesinvariablyconsistofafactualrelationship(suchaspropertyright,contract
claim) and a connecting factor or point of contact, such as the situs of the res, the place of
celebration,theplaceofperformance,ortheplaceofwrongdoing.[58]
Note that one or more circumstances may be present to serve as the possible test for the
determination of the applicable law.[59] These test factors or points of contact or connecting factors
couldbeanyofthefollowing:

(1)Thenationalityofaperson,hisdomicile,hisresidence,hisplaceof
sojourn,orhisorigin
(2)theseatofalegalorjuridicalperson,suchasacorporation
(3)thesitusofathing,thatis,theplacewhereathingis,orisdeemedto
besituated.Inparticular,thelexsitusisdecisivewhenrealrightsare
involved
(4)theplacewhereanacthasbeendone,thelocusactus,suchas
theplacewhereacontracthasbeenmade,amarriagecelebrated,a
willsignedoratortcommitted.Thelexlociactusisparticularly
importantincontractsandtorts
(5)theplacewhereanactisintendedtocomeintoeffect,e.g.,theplaceof
performanceofcontractualduties,ortheplacewhereapowerofattorney
istobeexercised
(6)theintentionofthecontractingpartiesastothelawthatshouldgovern
theiragreement,thelexlociintentionis
(7)theplacewherejudicialoradministrativeproceedingsareinstitutedor
done.Thelexforithelawoftheforumisparticularlyimportantbecause,as
wehaveseenearlier,mattersofprocedurenotgoingtothesubstanceof
theclaiminvolvedaregovernedbyitandbecausethelexforiapplies
wheneverthecontentoftheotherwiseapplicableforeignlawisexcluded
fromapplicationinagivencaseforthereasonthatitfallsunderoneofthe
exceptionstotheapplicationsofforeignlawand
http://sc.judiciary.gov.ph/jurisprudence/1998/oct1998/122191.htm

10/14

6/28/2016

SaudiArabianAirlinesvsCA:122191:October8,1998:J.Quisumbing:FirstDivision

(8)theflagofaship,whichinmanycasesisdecisiveofpracticallyalllegalrelationshipsof
theshipandofitsmasterorownerassuch.Italsocoverscontractualrelationships
particularlycontractsofaffreightment.[60](Underscoringours.)
Afteracarefulstudyofthepleadingsonrecord,includingallegationsintheAmendedComplaint
deemedsubmittedforpurposesofthemotiontodismiss,weareconvincedthatthereisreasonable
basis for private respondents assertion that although she was already working in Manila, petitioner
broughthertoJeddahonthepretensethatshewouldmerelytestifyinaninvestigationofthecharges
she made against the two SAUDIA crew members for the attack on her person while they were in
Jakarta. As it turned out, she was the one made to face trial for very serious charges, including
adulteryandviolationofIslamiclawsandtradition.
Thereislikewiselogicalbasisonrecordfortheclaimthatthehandingoverorturningoverofthe
person of private respondent to Jeddah officials, petitioner may have acted beyond its duties as
employer.Petitionerspurportedactcontributedtoandamplifiedorevenproximatelycausedadditional
humiliation, misery and suffering of private respondent. Petitioner thereby allegedly facilitated the
arrest, detention and prosecution of private respondent under the guise of petitioners authority as
employer, taking advantage of the trust, confidence and faith she reposed upon it. As purportedly
found by the Prince of Makkah, the alleged conviction and imprisonment of private respondent was
wrongful.Butthesecappedtheinjuryorharmallegedlyinflicteduponherpersonandreputation,for
whichpetitionercouldbeliableasclaimed,toprovidecompensationorredressforthewrongsdone,
oncedulyproven.
Consideringthatthecomplaintinthecourtaquo is one involving torts, the connecting factor or
point of contact could be the place or places where the tortious conduct or lex loci actus occurred.
Andapplyingthetortsprincipleinaconflictscase,wefindthatthePhilippinescouldbesaidasasitus
of the tort (the place where the alleged tortious conduct took place). This is because it is in the
Philippines where petitioner allegedly deceived private respondent, a Filipina residing and working
here.According to her, she had honestly believed that petitioner would, in the exercise of its rights
andintheperformanceofitsduties,actwithjustice,giveherherdueandobservehonestyandgood
faith. Instead, petitioner failed to protect her, she claimed. That certain acts or parts of the injury
allegedlyoccurredinanothercountryisofnomoment.Forinourviewwhatisimportanthereisthe
place where the overall harm or the fatality of the alleged injury to the person, reputation, social
standingandhumanrightsofcomplainant,hadlodged,accordingtotheplaintiffbelow(hereinprivate
respondent).Alltold,itisnotwithoutbasistoidentifythePhilippinesasthesitusoftheallegedtort.
Moreover,withthewidespreadcriticismofthetraditionalruleoflexlocidelicticommissi,modern
theoriesandrulesontortliability[61]havebeenadvancedtoofferfreshjudicialapproachestoarriveat
justresults.Inkeepingabreastwiththemoderntheoriesontortliability,wefindhereanoccasionto
apply the State of the most significant relationship rule, which in our view should be appropriate to
applynow,giventhefactualcontextofthiscase.
InapplyingsaidprincipletodeterminetheStatewhichhasthemostsignificantrelationship,the
following contacts are to be taken into account and evaluated according to their relative importance
withrespecttotheparticularissue:(a)theplacewheretheinjuryoccurred(b)theplacewherethe
conductcausingtheinjuryoccurred(c)thedomicile,residence,nationality,placeofincorporationand
placeofbusinessoftheparties,and(d)theplacewheretherelationship,ifany,betweenthepartiesis
centered.[62]
Asalreadydiscussed,thereisbasisfortheclaimthatoverallinjuryoccurredandlodgedinthe
Philippines. There is likewise no question that private respondent is a resident Filipina national,
workingwithpetitioner,aresidentforeigncorporationengagedhereinthebusinessofinternationalair
carriage.Thus,therelationshipbetweenthepartieswascenteredhere,althoughitshouldbestressed
thatthissuitisnotbasedonmerelaborlawviolations.Fromtherecord,theclaimthatthePhilippines
has the most significant contact with the matter in this dispute,[63] raised by private respondent as
plaintiffbelowagainstdefendant(hereinpetitioner),inourview,hasbeenproperlyestablished.
http://sc.judiciary.gov.ph/jurisprudence/1998/oct1998/122191.htm

11/14

6/28/2016

SaudiArabianAirlinesvsCA:122191:October8,1998:J.Quisumbing:FirstDivision

PrescindingfromthispremisethatthePhilippinesisthesitusofthetortcomplaintofandtheplace
havingthemostinterestintheproblem,wefind,bywayofrecapitulation,thatthePhilippinelawon
tort liability should have paramount application to and control in the resolution of the legal issues
arisingoutofthiscase.Further,weholdthattherespondentRegionalTrialCourthasjurisdictionover
the parties and the subject matter of the complaint the appropriate venue is in Quezon City, which
could properly apply Philippine law. Moreover, we find untenable petitioners insistence that [s]ince
private respondent instituted this suit, she has the burden of pleading and proving the applicable
Saudilawonthematter.[64] As aptly said by private respondent, she has no obligation to plead and
provethelawoftheKingdomofSaudiArabiasincehercauseofactionisbasedonArticles19and21
oftheCivilCodeofthePhilippines.InherAmendedComplaintandsubsequentpleadingsshenever
allegedthatSaudilawshouldgovernthiscase.[65]Andascorrectlyheldbytherespondentappellate
court, considering that it was the petitioner who was invoking the applicability of the law of Saudi
Arabia,thustheburdenwasonit[petitioner]topleadandtoestablishwhatthelawofSaudiArabiais.
[66]

Lastly, no error could be imputed to the respondent appellate court in upholding the trial courts
denialofdefendants(hereinpetitioners)motiontodismissthecase.Notonlywasjurisdictioninorder
andvenueproperlylaid,butappealaftertrialwasobviouslyavailable,andtheexpeditioustrialitself
indicated by the nature of the case at hand. Indubitably, the Philippines is the state intimately
concernedwiththeultimateoutcomeofthecasebelownotjustforthebenefitofallthelitigants,but
alsoforthevindicationofthecountryssystemoflawandjusticeinatransnationalsetting.Withthese
guidelines in mind, the trial court must proceed to try and adjudge the case in the light of relevant
Philippine law, with due consideration of the foreign element or elements involved. Nothing said
herein, of course, should be construed as prejudging the results of the case in any manner
whatsoever.
WHEREFORE, the instant petition for certiorari is hereby DISMISSED. Civil Case No. Q93
18394entitledMilagrosP.Moradavs.SaudiArabiaAirlinesisherebyREMANDEDtoRegionalTrial
CourtofQuezonCity,Branch89forfurtherproceedings.
SOORDERED.
Davide,Jr.,(Chairman),Bellosillo,Vitug,andPanganiban,JJ.,concur.

[1]AnnexA,PETITION,October13,1995,rollo,p.36.
[2]AnnexA,SUPPLEMENTALPETITION,April30,1996,rollo,pp.88102.
[3]PennedbyAssociateJusticeBernardoLl.Salas,andconcurredinbyAssociateJusticeJorgeS.ImperialandAssociate

JusticePacitaCaizaresNye.
[4]EntitledSaudiArabianAirlinesvs.Hon.JudgeRodolfoA.Ortiz,inhiscapacityasPresidingJudgeofBranch89ofthe
RegionalTrialCourtofQuezonCityandMilagrosP.Morada.
[5]IssuedbyrespondentJudgeHon.RodolfoA.OrtizofBranch89,RegionalTrialCourtofQuezonCity.
[6]
AnnexB,PETITION,October13,1995,rollo,pp.3739.
[7]AnnexB,PETITION,October13,1995,rollo,p.40.
[8]EntitledMilagrosP.Moradavs.SaudiArabianAirlines.
[9]Supra,note2.
[10]Decision,pp.24SeeRollo,pp.8991.
[11]Privaterespondent'sCommentrollo,p.50.
[12]Ibid.,atpp.5051.
[13]DatedNovember19,1993anddocketedasCivilCaseNo.Q9318394,Branch89,RegionalTrialCourtofQuezonCity.
[14]DatedJanuary14,1994.
[15]DatedFebruary4,1994.
[16]ReplydatedMarch1,1994.
[17]Records,pp.6584.
[18]Rollo,p.65.
[19]Supra,note6.
http://sc.judiciary.gov.ph/jurisprudence/1998/oct1998/122191.htm

12/14

6/28/2016

SaudiArabianAirlinesvsCA:122191:October8,1998:J.Quisumbing:FirstDivision

[20]Hon.RodolfoA.Ortiz.
[21]DatedSeptember19,1994.
[22]Records,pp.108116.
[23]Records,pp.117128.
[24]Supra,note7.
[25]Ibid.
[26]DatedFebruary18,1995seesupranote4.
[27]Supra,note7.
[28]Records,p.180.
[29]Rollo,pp.144.
[30]Supra,note2.
[31]Rollo,pp.8086.
[32]Memorandum for Petitioner dated October 9, 1996 rollo, pp. 149180 and Memorandum for Private Respondent, 30

October1996,rollo,pp.182210.
[33]Rollo,pp.157159.Allcapsintheoriginal.
[34]MemorandumforPetitioner,p.14,rollo,p.162.
[35]Art. 19. Every person must, in the exercise of his rights and in the performance of his duties, act with justice, give
everyonehisdue,andobservehonestyandgoodfaith.
[36]Art.21.Anypersonwhowilfullycauseslossorinjurytoanotherinamannerthatiscontrarytomorals,goodcustomsor
publicpolicyshallcompensatethelatterforthedamages.
[37]MemorandumforPrivateRespondent,p.9,rollo,p.190.
[38]Records,pp.6571.
[39]Supra,note17,atpp.6568.
[40]Salonga,PrivateInternationalLaw,1995edition,p.3.
[41]Ibid.,citingCheshireandNorth,PrivateInternationalLaw,p.5byP.M.NorthandJ.J.Faucett(ButterworthsLondon,
1992).
[42]Ibid.
[43]Paras,PhilippineConflictofLaws,sixthedition(1984),p.24,citingLeflar,TheLawofConflictofLaws,pp.56.
[44]Supra,note17.
[45]83SCRA237,247.
[46]Supra,noteat17,atp.6.MoradapraysthatjudgmentberenderedagainstSaudia,orderingittopay:(1)notlessthan
P250,000.00 as actual damages (2) P4 million in moral damages (3) P500,000.00 in exemplary damages and (4)
P500,000.00inattorneysfees.
[47]Baguiorov.Barrios,77Phil.120.
[48]Jurisdiction over the subject matter is conferred by law and is defined as the authority of a court to hear and decide
casesofthegeneralclasstowhichtheproceedingsinquestionbelong.(Reyesv.Diaz,73Phil.484,487)
[49]Supra,note37,p.58,citingGulfOilCorporationv.Gilbert,350U.S.501,67Sup.Ct.839(1947).
[50]OmnibusMotiontoDismissdatedJanuary14,1994Reply(toPlaintiffsOpposition)datedFebruary19,1994Comment
(to Plaintiffs Motion to Admit Amended Complaint dated June 23, 1994) dated July 20, 1994 Manifestation and Motion to
Dismiss Amended Complaint dated June 23, 1994 under date August 11, 1994 and Motion for Reconsideration dated
September19,1994.
[51]18SCRA207,213214.
[52]64SCRA23,31.
[53]Coquia and Pangalangan, Conflict of Laws, 1995 edition, p. 65, citing Von Mehren, Recent Trends in ChoiceofLaw
Methodology,60CornellL.Rev.927(1975).
[54]Ibid.
[55]Supra,note40atp.94,citingFalconbridge,EssaysontheConflictofLaws,p.50.
[56]Ibid.
[57]Supra,note37,atp.136cf.Mussbaum,PrincipleofPrivateInternationalLaw,p.173andRabel,TheConflictofLaws:
AComparativeStudy,pp.5152.
[58]Supra,note37,atp.137.
[59]Ibid.
[60]Supra,note37,atpp.138139.
[61] Includes the (1) German rule of elective concurrence (2) State of the most significant relationship rule (the Second
Restatementof1969)(3)Stateinterestanalysisand(4)CaversPrincipleofPreference.
[62]Supra,note37,p.396.
http://sc.judiciary.gov.ph/jurisprudence/1998/oct1998/122191.htm

13/14

6/28/2016

SaudiArabianAirlinesvsCA:122191:October8,1998:J.Quisumbing:FirstDivision

[63]Supra,note59,atp.79,citingRubenv.IrvingTrustCo.,305N.Y.288,305,113N.E.2d424,431.
[64]MemorandumforPetitioner,p.22Rollo,p.170.
[65]MemorandumforPrivateRespondent,pp.2122rollo,pp.202203.
[66]CADecision,p.10rollo,p.97.

http://sc.judiciary.gov.ph/jurisprudence/1998/oct1998/122191.htm

14/14