You are on page 1of 25

JOEL JIMENEZ, plaintiff-appellee, resolution of his motion, the city attorney timely appealed from the decree.

n, the city attorney timely appealed from the decree. On 13 The contingent fee to which the claimant is entitled under paragraph 3 of the
vs. May 1957 the motion for reconsideration was denied. contract, Exhibit JJJ or 20, is 20% of P1,920,554.85 or the sum of P384,110.97.
REMEDIOS CAIZARES, defendant.
Republic of the Philippines, intervenor-appellant. The question to determine is whether the marriage in question may be annulled WHEREFORE, this Court hereby approves the recommendation of the
on the strength only of the lone testimony of the husband who claimed and Commissioner with the above-stated modification, and finds that Attorney Claro M.
Recto is entitled to the sum of THREE HUNDRED EIGHTY-FOUR THOUSAND
Acting Solicitor General Guillermo E. Torres and Solicitor Pacifico P. de Castro for testified that his wife was and is impotent. The latter did not answer the complaint,
ONE HUNDRED AND TEN PESOS AND NINETY-SEVEN CENTAVOS
appellant. was absent during the hearing, and refused to submit to a medical examination. (P384,110.97), representing 20% of Esperanza P. de Hardens share in the
Climaco, Ascarraga and Silang for appellee. conjugal properties owned by her and her husband, Fred M. Harden, as
Marriage in this country is an institution in which the community is deeply contingent fee stipulated in paragraph 3 of the Contract of Professional Services,
PADILLA, J.: interested. The state has surrounded it with safeguards to maintain its purity, Exhibit JJJ or 20, and the said Esperanza P. de Harden is hereby ordered to pay
continuity and permanence. The security and stability of the state are largely the said amount above-stated. It appears that sometime in July, 1941, Appellant,
dependent upon it. It is the interest of each and every member of the community Mrs. Harden, and Appellee, Claro M. Recto, executed the
In a complaint filed on 7 June 1955 in the Court of First Instance of Zamboanga
to prevent the bringing about of a condition that would shake its foundation and following:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
the plaintiff Joel Jimenez prays for a decree annulling his marriage to the
defendant RemediosCaizares contracted on 3 August 1950 before a judge of the ultimately lead to its destruction. The incidents of the status are governed by law,
not by will of the parties. The law specifically enumerates the legal grounds, that CONTRACT OF PROFESSIONAL SERVICES
municipal court of Zamboanga City, upon the ground that the office of her genitals
or vagina was to small to allow the penetration of a male organ or penis for must be proved to exist by indubitable evidence, to annul a marriage. In the case
at bar, the annulment of the marriage in question was decreed upon the sole KNOW ALL MEN BY THESE PRESENTS:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
copulation; that the condition of her genitals as described above existed at the
time of marriage and continues to exist; and that for that reason he left the testimony of the husband who was expected to give testimony tending or aiming
at securing the annulment of his marriage he sought and seeks. Whether the wife That I, ESPERANZA PEREZ DE HARDEN, of age, married to Fred M. Harden,
conjugal home two nights and one day after they had been married. On 14 June and temporarily residing in the Philippines, with address at 534 Sales Street,
1955 the wife was summoned and served a copy of the complaint. She did not file is really impotent cannot be deemed to have been satisfactorily established,
Manila, have engaged the services of Attorney Claro M. Recto to appear and act
an answer. On 29 September 1956, pursuant to the provisions of article 88 of the becase from the commencement of the proceedings until the entry of the decree
as my counsel in the action which I will file against my husband, Fred M. Harden,
Civil Code, the Court directed the city attorney of Zamboanga to inquire whether she had abstained from taking part therein. Although her refusal to be examined
for the purpose of securing an increase in the amount of support being received
there was a collusion, to intervene for the State to see that the evidence for the or failure to appear in court show indifference on her part, yet from such attitude by me from the conjugal partnership of myself and said Fred M. Harden, and for
plaintiff is not a frame-up, concocted or fabricated. On 17 December 1956 the the presumption arising out of the suppression of evidence could not arise or be the purpose likewise of protecting and preserving my rights in the properties of the
Court entered an order requiring the defendant to submit to a physical inferred because women of this country are by nature coy, bashful and shy and said conjugal partnership, in contemplation of the divorce suit which I intent to file
examination by a competent lady physician to determine her physical capacity for would not submit to a physical examination unless compelled to by competent against him in the competent Court of California and of the liquidation of the
copulation and to submit, within ten days from receipt of the order, a medical authority. This the Court may do without doing violence to and infringing in this conjugal partnership between us, this contract of services to be under the
certificate on the result thereof. On 14 March 1957 the defendant was granted case is not self-incrimination. She is not charged with any offense. She is not following conditions:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
additional five days from notice to comply with the order of 17 December 1956 being compelled to be a witness against herself.1 "Impotency being an abnormal
with warning that her failure to undergo medical examination and submit the condition should not be presumed. The presumption is in favor of potency."2 The 1. That in lieu of retainer fee, which under the circumstances I am not in a
required doctor's certificate would be deemed lack of interest on her part in the lone testimony of the husband that his wife is physically incapable of sexual position to pay, I hereby agree to pay Attorney Claro M. Recto, such payment to
case and that judgment upon the evidence presented by her husband would be intercourse is insufficient to tear asunder the ties that have bound them together be made monthly, during the pendency of the litigation and until the termination of
as husband and wife. the same, twenty-five (25%) per cent of the total increase in allowance or pension
rendered.
which may be awarded to me by the court over and above the amount of
P1,500.00 which I now receive monthly from Defendant Fred M. Harden out of the
After hearing, at which the defendant was not present, on 11 April 1957 the Court The decree appealed from is set aside and the case remanded to the lower court funds of the conjugal partnership; chanroblesvirtualawlibraryProvided, that should
entered a decree annulling the marriage between the plaintiff and the defendant. for further proceedings in accordance with this decision, without pronouncement the case be terminated or an amicable settlement thereof be arrived at by the
On 26 April 1957 the city attorney filed a motion for reconsideration of the decree as to costs. parties before the expiration of two years from the date of the filing of the
thus entered, upon the ground, among others, that the defendant's impotency has complaint, I shall continue to pay the said twenty-five (25%) per cent up to the end
not been satisfactorily established as required by law; that she had not been In the Matter of the Claim for Attorneys Fees. CLARO M. RECTO, claimant- of said period.
physically examined because she had refused to be examined; that instead of Appellee, vs. ESPERANZA P. DE HARDEN and FRED M.
annulling the marriage the Court should have punished her for contempt of court HARDEN, Defendants-Appellants. 2. That the aforesaid monthly payments shall be in addition to whatever amount
and compelled her to undergo a physical examination and submit a medical may be adjudged by the court against the Defendant Fred M. Harden or against
certificate; and that the decree sought to be reconsidered would open the door to This is an appeal taken by Esperanza P. de Harden and Fred M. Harden from a the conjugal partnership by way of litis expense, that is, attorneys fees
decision of the Court of First Instance of Manila, the pertinent part of which is of chargeable as expenses of litigation.
married couples, who want to end their marriage to collude or connive with each
other by just alleging impotency of one of them. He prayed that the complaint be the following tenor:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary.
dismissed or that the wife be subjected to a physical examination. Pending
3. That as full and complete satisfaction of the fees of Attorney Claro M. Recto in account for all moneys, amounting to P285,000.00, belonging to the business and reconstituted at the instance of Appellee herein. Thereafter, the proceedings were
connection with the case above referred to, and said case being for the purposes assets of said conjugal partnership and deposited by him in a safety box, either in resumed and, in due course, the Court of First Instance of Manila rendered, on or
aforestated, that is, to secure an increase in the amount of support I now receive his name, or in that of Antonio Wilson, from January 23 to December 23, about October 31, 1949, a decision the dispositive part of which we
as well as to protect and preserve my rights and interest in the properties of the 1940; chanroblesvirtualawlibrary(e) that the transfer, in the name of Salumbides, quote:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
conjugal partnership, in contemplation of divorce and of the liquidation of said of certain shares of stock, allegedly belonging to the conjugal partnership, be
partnership, I hereby agree to pay said Attorney Claro M. Recto twenty (20%) per rescinded and said Defendant ordered to transfer said shares of stock in the In view of the foregoing considerations, this court finds and so holds that
cent of the value of the share and participation which I may receive in the funds name of Mrs. Harden or in that of Mr. and Mrs. Harden, should Mr. Harden be
and properties of the said conjugal partnership of myself and Defendant Fred M. allowed to continue as administrator of said (a) Fred M. Harden abandoned his domicile of origin in New Jersey and
Harden, as a result of the liquidation thereof either by death, divorce, judicial partnership; chanroblesvirtualawlibrary( f ) that the transfer, made by Mr. Harden established a domicile of choice in Manila, Philippines, since 1901;
separation, compromise or by any means or method by virtue of which said and/or by Defendant Salumbides, as his attorney-in-fact, of 36,000 shares of
partnership is or may be liquidated. stock of the Angelo Mining Company, to some residents of Hongkong, be
(b) The matrimonial domicile of Fred M. Harden and Esperanza P. de Harden
rescinded and said shares returned to the assets of the conjugal partnership and
was established in Manila, Philippines, from the date of their marriage on
4. All expenses in connection with the litigation are to be for my account, but the placed in the name of Mr. and Mrs. Harden; chanroblesvirtualawlibrary(g) that the
December 14, 1917;
same may be advanced by Attorney Claro M. Recto, to be reimbursed to him monthly allowance of Mrs. Harden be increased from P1,500 to
either from the money which I receive by way of support or from the funds of the P15,000; chanroblesvirtualawlibrary(h) that, pending final decision, Mr. Harden be
ordered to increase the allowance or pension of Mrs. Harden and their daughter (c) Since they did not execute any antenuptial contract before their marriage, all
conjugal partnership.
Sarah Elizabeth to P10,000 a month; chanroblesvirtualawlibraryand (i) that a writ the properties, real or personal, acquired by either or both of them on and after
of preliminary injunction be issued restraining the Defendants from disposing of December 14, 1917, up to the present, over and above the sum of P20,000.00
5. It is hereby understood that this contract includes the services of Attorney representing Fred M. Hardens capital, are hereby declared conjugal properties;
Claro M. Recto in connection with the securing of the liquidation of the properties the assets of the conjugal partnership in fraud of Mrs. Harden.
and assets of the conjugal partnership of myself and Fred M. Harden, upon
By an order dated July 12, 1941, the court authorized the issuance of said writ, (d) The total amount of P1,944,794.37 representing deposits in safety deposit
dissolution of said partnership or for any other cause mentioned in Paragraph (3)
upon the filing of the corresponding bond. It appears that, pursuant to an boxes in the name of Jose Salumbides, the selling price of the house in Los
hereof.
agreement submitted by both parties, and with a view to avoiding unnecessary Angeles, California, and the pre-war and post-war remittances abroad of Fred M.
embarrassment, restraint or inconvenience in the financial operations of the Harden, from which has already been deducted the sum of P160,000.00 covering
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have signed these presents in the City _____ of payments for deficiency Federal income taxes and attorneys fees, both in the tax
Manila, Philippines this _______ day of July, 1941. business enterprises affected by said writ of preliminary injunction, the same was
amended by an order dated July 19, 1941, in the sense that. case and the present one, is hereby declared chargeable to the share
of Defendant Harden and deductible from whatever participation he may still have
s/ Esperanza P. de Harden in the said conjugal partnership upon the liquidation thereof, upon his failure to
cralaw without prejudicing in any way the rights of the parties in this case, a
return and deposit them in the name of the Plaza Lunch with the Manila branch of
separate bank account be established in the Chartered Bank of India, Australia
t/ ESPERANZA P. DE HARDEN the Chartered Bank of India, Australia and China up to the time this decision shall
and China, of Manila, and all transactions in connection with the aforesaid
become final;
businesses passed through that account by Mr. Harden or his duly authorized
ACCEPTED:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary representative, who at present is Mr. Salumbides, without the necessity of
securing a particular order from this Court on each (e) A conjugal lien be annotated in the original and owners duplicate of Transfer
s/ Claro M. Recto occasion; chanroblesvirtualawlibrarythat the present funds in the Philippine Certificates of Title Nos. 24393, 52436 and 54911 of the Register of Deeds of
National Bank in the name of Plaza Lunch and Fred M. Harden be utilized for the Manila and in Original Certificate of Title No. 2292 of Quezon Province, and on all
t/ CLARO M. RECTO purpose of starting said special bank account in the Chartered Bank of India, the certificates of shares belonging to said conjugal partnership, as well as in the
Australia and China; chanroblesvirtualawlibrarythat all income from the aforesaid corresponding books of the companies or corporations issuing them, whereby it
businesses be deposited in this special bank account and no checks be drawn will be made to appear that any subsequent alienation or encumbrance of said
In compliance therewith, on July 12, 1941, the Appellee, as counsel for Mrs.
upon the same, except to pay the necessary overhead and running expenses properties by Fred M. Harden alone or his representative without the consent of
Harden, commenced Civil Case No. 59634 of the Court of First Instance of
including purchases of tobacco, merchandise, etc., required for the proper his wife will be deemed fraudulent and subject to revocation or cancellation for
Manila, entitled Esperanza P. de Harden vs. Fred M. Harden and Jose
operation of said businesses; chanroblesvirtualawlibrarythat a new set of books being in fraud and prejudicial to the right of Esperanza P. de Harden;
Salumbides. In the complaint therein filed, it was prayed, among other
things:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary (a) that Mrs. Harden be given the exclusive be opened by Mr. Harden or his duly authorized representative covering all
administration of the business and all properties of the conjugal partnership of Mr. business transactions passed through said special bank account and the same be ( f ) Within a period of fifteen (15) days after this decision shall have become
and Mrs. Harden; chanroblesvirtualawlibrary(b) that, in the event of denial of this opened for inspection by the Plaintiffs duly authorized representative. final, Fred M. Harden and Esperanza P. de Harden are hereby ordered to execute
prayer, the Defendants be ordered to inform her of everything pertaining to the a document to be approved by this court creating and express active trust upon
administration of said business and properties, as well as to render accounts The order of injunction of July 12, 1941, is modified only to the above extent, and the remaining cash assets and income of the conjugal partnership in the
thereof and to permit her to examine the books and records pertinent in all other respects is maintained. Philippines, whereby the Philippine Trust Company, with offices in Manila, will act
thereto; chanroblesvirtualawlibrary(c) that Mr. Harden be ordered to account to as trustee, subject to the right of Fred M. Harden to receive therefrom the sum of
Mrs. Harden, and to return to this jurisdiction, the sum of P449,015.44 allegedly P2,500,00 a month by way of allowance and an equal amount for the Plaintiff as
Subsequently, the Philippines was invaded by the Japanese and placed under
withdrawn by him from the Philippines or sent by him to Hongkong on April 1, separate support and maintenance;
military occupation. Then came the liberation, in the course of which the records
1941; chanroblesvirtualawlibrary(d) that Defendant Salumbides be ordered to of this case were destroyed. On October 23, 1946, said records were
(g) Within thirty (30) days after this decision shall have become final, Fred M. under paragraph 3 of the contract, Annex A, and to that end a charging lien In compliance with said resolution, the records of this case were remanded to the
Harden shall inform the Plaintiff of all the properties and businesses of the therefore be established upon the properties above-mentioned; lower court, which, on September 2, 1952, designated a commissioner to receive
conjugal partnership, be they in the Philippines or abroad, and render a true and evidence on the amount of the fees collectible by herein Appellee and to report
complete accounting of the earnings and profits thereof; d) And the receiver be ordered to pay to the undersigned the full amount of the thereon. After due hearing, said commissioner submitted, on February 6, 1953, a
fees to which the latter is found to be entitled. report of about one hundred (100) pages of the printed record on appeal, setting
(h) The Plaintiff is entitled to litisexpensae in the amount of P175,000.00 for forth, in detail, the evidence introduced by both parties, and his findings of fact,
services rendered by her counsel up to the rendition of this judgment, which Fred Counsel for the Defendants-Appellants, in turn, moved for the dismissal of the with the following conclusion and recommendation:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
M. Harden or the herein receiver is ordered to pay within a period of fifteen (15) case, to which Appellee objected. Acting upon the issues raised in such motion for
days after this decision has become final; chanroblesvirtualawlibraryand dismissal and in Appellees motion to establish and enforce his charging lien, as Taking into consideration the value of the properties involved in this litigation, the
counsel for Mrs. Harden, this Court issued on July 22, 1952, a resolution the length of time in which claimant had handled the same for Esperanza Harden, the
(i) The writ of preliminary injunction of July 12, 1941, is hereby declared pertinent part of which reads:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary volume and quality of the work performed, the complicated legal questions
permanent and the order of receivership of November 20, 1946, is hereby involved, the responsibility assumed by the claimant as counsel, his reputation in
maintained, but said auxiliary remedies will be automatically lifted upon the It will be seen from the above that the Defendants-Appellants pray for the the bar, the difficulties encountered by him while handling the same in which he
conclusion of the annotation of the conjugal lien and the execution of the deed of complete dismissal of the above entitled case without prejudice to the annotation had to work hard every inch of the way because of the stiff oppositions filed by
trust above mentioned. Without costs. of the contingent claim of Attorney Claro M. Recto on the property under adverse counsel, the diligence he employed not only in the preservation of the
receivership, other than the 368,553 shares of the Balatoc Mining Company which records in his possession during the days of enemy occupation but also in the
IT IS SO ORDERED. belong to Fred M. Harden. On the other hand, Attorney Claro M. Recto agrees to protection of the interests of Esperanza Harden, his successful handling of said
the lifting of the writ of preliminary injunction, the orders of contempt and case and those cases growing out of it which reached the Supreme Court, and the
commitment, and all other interlocutory orders which were issued in the course of extra services he rendered in her behalf in the tax and other court cases, the
The Defendants appealed from said decision to this Court, where the case was
this case, with the exception of the receivership, but objects to the dismissal of the undersigned Commissioner concludes that claimant is entitled to the full amount
docketed as case No. L-3687. While the appeal was thus pending before us,
case on the ground that, since receivership is merely an auxiliary remedy, the of 20% of Esperanza Hardens share of the conjugal properties, as provided in
herein Appellee filed a manifestation and a motion, both dated February 20, 1952.
present case should be allowed to remain pending for the purpose of maintaining paragraph 3 of the Contract of Professional Services, Exhibit JJJ.
In said manifestation, Appellee stated that Mrs. Harden had instructed him, by
letter, to discontinue all proceedings relative to said case, vacate all orders and the receivership to safeguard his right to collect the fees that may be due him.
judgments rendered therein, and abandon and nullify all her claims to the conjugal WHEREFORE, the undersigned Commissioner respectfully recommends that
partnership existing between her and Mr. Harden, in accordance with several Attorney Claro M. Recto prays that a commissioner or referee be immediately Atty. Claro M. Recto be paid the equivalent amount of 20% of Esperanza P. de
instruments dated January 29, 1952, and executed without the knowledge, advise appointed by this Court to receive evidence in support of his allegations as to his Hardens share of the conjugal properties or the sum of P369,410.04 as his
and consent of said Appellee, as counsel for Mrs. Harden, attorneys lien and its enforcement. Counsel for the Defendants-Appellants does contingent fee for services rendered in her behalf.
whereby:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary (1) Mr. and Mrs. Harden had purportedly not object to this proceeding provided that the restrictions set forth by him be
agreed to settle their differences in consideration of the sum of $5,000 paid by Mr. observed. However, this Court does not have the proper facilities for receiving After appropriate proceedings, the lower court rendered a decision dated April 30,
Harden to Mrs. Harden, and a monthly pension of P500 to be paid by him to evidence in order to determine the amount of the fees claimed by Attorney Claro 1953, adopting substantially said report of the commissioner, but increasing the
her; chanroblesvirtualawlibrary(2) Mr. Harden had created a trust fund of $20,000 M. Recto, and it is deemed advisable that this matter be determined by the Court contingent fee of Appellee herein from P369,410.04, the sum recommended in the
from which said monthly pension of $500 would be of First Instance. This is specially so considering the opposition to the claim of report, to P384,110.97. Hence, this appeal taken by Mr. and Mrs. Harden.
taken; chanroblesvirtualawlibraryand (3) Mr. and Mrs. Harden had mutually Attorney Claro M. Recto filed by Attorney J. W. Ferrier, Sr. in behalf of Esperanza
released and forever discharged each other from all actions, debts, duties, P. de Harden. The first question for determination therein is the validity of the above-quoted
accounts, demands and claims to the conjugal partnership, in consideration of the contract of services, which the Appellants assail as void, mainly, upon the
sum of $1. It was further asserted, in Appellees manifestation, that the purpose In view of the foregoing, the above entitled case is hereby remanded to the court ground:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary (1) that Mrs. Harden cannot bind the conjugal
of the said instruments, executed by Mr. and Mrs. Harden, was to defeat the claim of origin in order to determine the amount of fees claimed by Attorney Claro M. partnership without her husbands consent; chanroblesvirtualawlibrary(2) that
of the former for attorneys fees, for which reason, he prayed, in his Recto in his motion dated February 20, 1952. Article 1491 of the Civil Code of the Philippines in effect prohibits contingent
aforementioned motion, that fees; chanroblesvirtualawlibrary(3) that the contract in question has for its purpose
It is understood that, after said fees had been finally determined and paid, this to secure a decree of divorce, allegedly in violation of Articles 1305, 1352 and
a) Pending the resolution of this motion, the receiver appointed herein be case will be completely dismissed as prayed for by the Defendants-Appellants, 1409 of the Civil Code of the Philippines; chanroblesvirtualawlibraryand (4) that
authorized to continue holding the properties above mentioned in his custody in without prejudice to considering the claim of the receiver for compensation as the terms of said contract are harsh, inequitable and oppressive.
order not to defeat the undersigneds inchoate lien on them; stated in his urgent motion dated July 2, 1952. Pending the determination of the
amount of fees claimed by Attorney Claro M. Recto, the writ of preliminary The first objection has no foundation in fact, for the contract in dispute does not
b) A day set aside to receive the evidence of the undersigned and those of injunction, the orders of contempt and commitment, and all interlocutory orders seek to bind the conjugal partnership. By virtue of said contract, Mrs. Harden
the Plaintiff and the Defendant Fred M. Harden, in order to determine the amount which were issued in the course of this case, are hereby lifted and vacated, and merely bound herself or assumed the personal obligation to pay, by way of
of fees due to the undersigned, by the appointment of a referee or commissioner with regard to the receivership, the same is hereby dissolved, only with respect to contingent fees, 20% of her share in said partnership. The contract neither gives,
for the reception of such the 368,553 shares of the Balatoc Mining Company. As to the rest of the nor purports to give, to the Appellee any right whatsoever, personal or real, in and
properties, the receivership shall be maintained. to her aforesaid share. The amount thereof is simply a basis for the computation
c) After due hearing, the undersigned be declared entitled to the sum of of said fees.
P400,000.00 as his fees for services rendered in behalf of the Plaintiff in this case,
For the same reason, the second objection is, likewise, untenable. Moreover, it worsened considerably thereafter, as evidence by an action for divorce filed by Mr. Australia and China. Mr. Harden objected to said motion. Appellee filed a
has already been held that contingent fees are not prohibited in the Philippines Harden in New Jersey, in July 1948, upon the ground of repeated acts of infidelity rejoinder, to which Mr. Harden replied. Appellee filed a rejoinder to the rejoinder.
and are impliedly sanctioned by our Cannons (No. 13) of Professional Ethics. allegedly committed by Mrs. Harden in 1940 and 1941. On October 7, 1947, the Court granted Appellees motion. Mr. Harden sought a
(see, also, Ulanday vs. Manila Railroad Co., 45 Phil., 540, 554.) Such is, likewise, reconsideration, which was opposed by the Appellee on October 27, 1947, and
the rule in the United States (Legal Ethics by Henry S. Drinker, p. 176). Again, it appears that Appellee had rendered, under the contract in question, the denied by an order dated November 13, 1947. Mr. Harden moved, on November
following services, for the benefit of Mrs. Harden:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary 18, 1947, for the suspension of this order, which was immediately objected to by
cralaw in the United States, the great weight of authority recognizes the validity the Appellee and then denied by the Court.
of contracts for contingent fees, provided such contracts are not in contravention 1. He succeeded in defeating Defendants motion for the dissolution of the writ of
of public policy, and it is only when the attorney has taken an unfair or preliminary injunction, issued by the Court on July 12, 1941, and amended on July 6. Inasmuch as said order of November 13, 1947 had not been complied
unreasonable advantage of his client that such a claim is condemned. (See 5 19, 1941. with, Appellee filed on November 27, 1947, a motion praying that Mr. Harden be
Am. Jur. 359 et seq.; chanroblesvirtualawlibraryBallentine, Law Dictionary, 2nd declared in contempt of court and punished accordingly. Meanwhile, or on
ed., p. 276.) 2. On November 12, 1946, Appellee moved for the appointment of a receiver, November 24, 1947, Mr. Harden had instituted case G. R. No. L-1816 of this
upon the ground that, despite said writ of preliminary injunction, Court against Hon. Emilio Pea, as Judge of the Court of First Instance of Manila,
Needless to say, there is absolutely nothing in the records before us to show the Defendants had been disposing of the properties of the conjugal partnership and Mrs. Harden. In the petition therein filed, Mr. Harden applied for a writ of
that Appellee herein had, in any manner, taken an unfair or unreasonable for the purpose of defrauding Mrs. Harden. After due hearing, the court, by an certiorari annulling said orders of Judge Pea of October 7 and November 13,
advantage of his client Mrs. Harden. order dated November 20, 1946, directed the appointment of Abelardo Perez as 1947, and prayed that, pending disposition of the case, a writ of preliminary
receiver of said properties, upon the filing of a P10,000 bond. Defendants asked, injunction be issued restraining the Respondents therein from enforcing said
The third objection is not borne out, either by the language of the contract on February 13, 1947, that the receivership be suspended, or else, that they be orders, particularly through contempt proceedings. Hence, the lower court
between them, or by the intent of the parties thereto. Its purpose was not to allowed to file a bond for the discharge of the receivership. Appellee replied deferred action on the aforementioned motion of November 27, 1947. After due
secure a divorce, or to facilitate or promote the procurement of a divorce. It merely objecting thereto, unless the Defendants posted a P4,000,000 bond. hearing, this Court, in a resolution dated February 12, 1948, refused to issue the
sought to protect the interest of Mrs. Harden in the conjugal partnership, during Subsequently or on March 5, 1947, the Defendants sought a reconsideration of writ of preliminary injunction prayed for. Subsequently, or on November 21, 1950,
the pendency of a divorce suit she intended to file in the United States. What is the order of November 20, 1946, and the discharge of the receiver. By an order decision was rendered denying the petition for a writ of certiorari.
more, inasmuch as Mr. and Mrs. Harden are admittedly citizens of the United dated March 21, 1947, the Court authorized said discharged upon the filing, by
States, their status and the dissolution thereof are governed pursuant to Article the Defendants, of a bond in the sum of P500,000, provided that Mr. Harden 7. Soon after the issuance of our resolution in said case G. R. No. 1816, dated
9 of the Civil Code of Spain (which was in force in the Philippines at the time of should bring back all the 368,553 shares of the Balatoc Mining Co., in his name February 12, 1948, or to be exact on March 27, 1948, the lower court issued an
the execution of the contract in question) and Article 15 of the Civil Code of the to the Philippines for deposit with the Clerk of Court, or with the Chartered Bank of order directing Mr. Harden to comply, within five (5) days from notice, with the
Philippines by the laws of the United States, which sanction divorce. In short, India, Australia and China, at Manila cralaw order of October 7, 1947. On April 6, 1948, Appellee filed with the lower court the
the contract of services, between Mrs. Harden and herein Appellee, is not corresponding formal charges against Mr. Harden for contempt of court. After due
contrary to law, morals, good customs, public order or public policy. 3. On motion of the Appellee dated March 4, 1947, the Court, by an order dated hearing, Mr. Harden was, by an order of April 28, 1948, found guilty as charged
April 5, 1947, directed Mr. Harden to remit to Mrs. Harden the sum of $2,500, to and ordered confined until he complies with the aforementioned orders of
The last objection is based upon principles of equity, but, pursuant thereto, one be charged against her litisexpensae. Upon similar motion, filed by Appellee on or October 7, 1947 and March 27, 1948. On motion of Mr. Harden, said order of April
who seeks equity must come with clean hands (Bastida, et al., vs. DyBuncio& about April 26, 1947, the Court ordered Mr. Harden, on May 13, 1947, to furnish 28, 1948 was suspended until May 4, 1948, on which date he was arrested and
Co., 93 Phil., 195; chan roblesvirtualawlibrary30 C.J. S. 475), Mrs. Harden the sum of $5,000, under the same conditions. placed in confinement at the New Bilibid Prison, in Muntinglupa, Rizal. On July 10,
and Appellants have not done so, for the circumstances surrounding the case 1948, he filed with this Court a petition for a writ of habeas corpus against the
show, to our satisfaction, that their aforementioned agreements, ostensibly for the Director of Prisons, (G. R. No. L-2349, entitled Fred M. Harden vs. The Director
4. On June 21, 1947, the Defendants instituted Civil Case No. G. R. No. L-1499
settlement of the differences between husband and wife, were made for the of Prisons), which, in due course was denied in a decision promulgated on
of this Court, entitled Fred M. Harden and Jose Salumbides vs. Emilio Pea,
purpose of circumventing or defeating the rights of herein Appellee, under his October 22, 1948.
Abelardo Perez and Esperanza P. Harden for the purpose of annulling and
above-quoted contract of services with Mrs. Harden. Indeed, having secured a setting aside, by writ of certiorari, the aforementioned orders of the lower court
judgment in her favor, acknowledging her rights to the assets of the conjugal dated July 12, 1941, November 20, 1946, and April 5 and May 13, 1947, and to 8. During the military occupation of the Philippines by the Japanese,
partnership, which turned out to be worth almost P4,000,000 in addition to restrain, in the meantime, the enforcement thereof. After appropriate proceedings, the Appellee made representations with the Japanese Government to prevent the
litisexpensae in the sum of P175,000, it is inconceivable that Mrs. Harden would in the course of which Appellee appeared as counsel for Mrs. Harden, and like commandeering of a business establishment belonging to Mr. and Mrs. Harden.
have waived such rights, as well as the benefits of all orders and judgments in her counsel for the Petitioners therein, filed several lengthy, detailed pleadings and Moreover, he succeeded in persuading the Japanese to refrain from interning Mrs.
favor, in consideration of the paltry sum of $5,000 allegedly paid to her by Mr. memoranda, decision was rendered on November 21, 1950, denying the writ of Harden and her daughter and to allow her to withdraw, from the formers deposit
Harden and the additional sum of $20,000 to be paid by him in installments, at the certiorari prayed for. in a local bank, from P200 to P250 a month, for their subsistence. He, likewise,
rate of $500 a month. In fact, no explanation has been given for this most unusual lent her money to meet her needs and spent the sum of P55,000 in the
avowed settlement between Mr. and Mrs. Harden. One cannot even consider the preservation of the records and papers pertaining to the business and other
5. On or about September 9, 1947, Appellee filed a motion alleging that despite
possibility of a reconciliation between the spouses, the same being inconsistent properties of the conjugal partnership of Mr. and Mrs. Harden.
the writ of preliminary injunction above mentioned, the Defendants had,
with the monetary consideration for said alleged settlement. What is more, the fraudulently and without judicial consent, remitted abroad several sums of money
records show that the relations between said spouses which were bad indeed, aggregating P1,000,608.66, and praying that Mr. Harden be ordered to return this 9. Appellee assisted, also, the receiver, as his counsel and, in such capacity, took
not only in July, 1941, when Mrs. Harden engaged the services of the Appellee, sum to the Philippines, within a stated period, said sum to be deposited with the all steps essential for the proper discharge of the duties of the former. Among
but, even, before, for Mr. and Mrs. Harden were separated since 1938 had account of the Plaza Lunch at the Manila Branch of the Chartered Bank of India, other things, Appellee sought and obtained judicial authority for some important
acts of administration of, and disposition by, the receiver. He (Appellee) secured 59634 (SC-G.R. No. L- 3687), wherein he collected the sum of P176,000.00 for all shall lose every right to make use of the period when he violates any
judicial intervention for the protection and preservation of the assets of the such legal services. undertaking, in consideration of which the creditor agreed to the period. (Art.
conjugal partnership, including orders for the delivery of certificates of stock, the 1198, Civil Code.)
return thereof and/or its deposit with the clerk of court. He, likewise, represented Said decision, however, states clearly that the aforementioned sum of P175,000
the receiver in seeking war damage payments. represents litisexpensae, and the contract between the Appellee and Mrs. Harden It should be noted, also, that the compensation agreed upon for Appellees
explicitly declares that said litisexpensae shall be in addition to Appellees share services, consists of three (3) parts, namely:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary (a) 25% of
10. In civil case No. 6222 of the Court of First Instance of Manila, entitled of 25% of the increase in the allowance of Mrs. Harden and his attorneys fees of the increase in the allowance of Mrs. Harden; chanroblesvirtualawlibrary(b)
Francisco Dalupan vs. Fred M. Harden for the recovery of P113,837.17, it was 20% of her share in the conjugal partnership. The second assignment of error is, litisexpensae; chanroblesvirtualawlibraryand (c) 20% of her share in the conjugal
decided, through Appellees intervention, that the conjugal assets would bear the therefore, devoid of merit. partnership. The first part was dealt with in the first paragraph of their contract of
payment of P22,767.43 only, the balance to be chargeable exclusively against Mr. services. The second and third parts were the object of the second and third
Hardens share of the conjugal partnership. Appellants, further contend, that:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary paragraphs, respectively. The first paragraph limited the rights
of Appellee thereunder to two (2) years, in the event of termination of the case or
11. Appellee instituted civil case No. 6940 of the Court of First Instance of Manila, 3. The lower court erred in holding that the inchoate share of the wife, Esperanza amicable settlement thereof within two (2) years from the filing of the complaint.
entitled Abelardo Perez vs. Chartered Bank of India, Australia and China and P. de Harden, in the undissolved and unliquidated conjugal partnership properties No such limitation appears in the second and third paragraphs of said contract.
Fred M. Harden, for the recovery of P1,000,608.66 and the return of stock of the Harden spouses, is capable of certain valuation before such dissolution and Hence, the same were intended by the parties to be fully operative under any and
certificates of the Balatoc Mining Co., which had been sent abroad. liquidation, and summarily assessing the value of Mrs. Hardens share in such all conditions.
conjugal properties without proper evidence.
12. He (Appellee) represented Mrs. Harden in connection with a million-peso It may not be amiss to add that the value of the properties involved has been
federal tax case against Mr. and Mrs. Harden. 4. The lower court erred in awarding 20% of such inchoate share to Attorney assessed, not summarily, but after due notice and full dress hearing, in the course
Claro M. Recto from Mrs. Hardens interests in the Harden conjugal properties, of which both parties introduced testimonial and documentary
13. Appellee successfully blocked Mr. Hardens attempts to summarily assessing such 20% inchoate share as of a value of P384,110.97, and evidence. Appellants presented Exhibits 1 to 58, whereas those of
withdraw:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary (1) $53,000 and forward the same to the ordering the payment of said sum to Attorney Recto in pursuance of the provisions the Appellee were so numerous that, having begun with Exhibit A, his last piece of
Collector of Internal Revenue of Los Angeles, of paragraph 3 of the Contract of Professional Services. documentary evidence was marked Exhibit 26 Ys. The transcript of the hearing,
California; chanroblesvirtualawlibrary(2) $50,000.00, allegedly to defray expenses which lasted ten (10) days, covers over 220 pages.
in resisting a new tax assessment against him in the United Appellants arguments in support thereof may be summarized as
States; chanroblesvirtualawlibraryand (3) P65,000 for his expenses. follows:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary The contract of services in question provides The other assignments of error made by Appellants herein are mere corollaries of
that Appellees contingent fees shall be 20% of the share of Mrs. Harden in the those already disposed of, and, hence, no further discussion thereof is necessary.
Then too, the conjugal partnership had varried and extensive business interests conjugal partnership. Pursuant to law, the share of Mrs. Harden shall be
and its assets were worth almost P4,000,000. The pleadings, motions, determined upon the liquidation of said partnership, which has not taken place, as In conclusion, it appears that the assets of the conjugal partnership between Mr.
oppositions, rejoinders, and memoranda filed, and the evidence introduced, in the yet. What is more, it cannot be effected until the dissolution of the marriage and Mrs. Harden are reasonably valued at P3,841,109.70. One-half (1/2) thereof,
aforementioned cases in which Appellee was pitted against one of the most relation between Mr. and Mrs. Harden. Inasmuch as this relation subsists, it representing the share of Mrs. Harden, is therefore, worth P1,920,554.85. Twenty
experienced and able members of the Philippine Bar were numerous, follows that the amount of attorneys fees due to Appellee herein should not have percentum (20%) of this sum is P384,110.97, which is the contingent fee due to
extensive and exhaustive. For instance, the record on appeal in one of those been determined in the decision appealed from. the Appellee, apart from the litisexpensae already paid to him. Inasmuch as
cases, namely, G. R. No. L-3687, consisted of 966 pages. the Appellee has collected, also, the sum of P80,000.00, on account of said
This line of argument overlooks the fact that said contract of services was made, contingent fees, there results in his favor a balance of P304,110.97.
In short, considering the character of the services rendered by the Appellee, the principally, in contemplation of a suit for divorce that, according to Mrs. Harden,
nature and importance of the issues in said litigations, the amount of labor, time she intended to file before a competent court in California, and of the liquidation Subject to this qualification, the decision appealed from is hereby affirmed,
(1941 to 1952) and trouble involved therein, the skill displayed in connection with of the conjugal partnership between her and Mr. Harden. Had she filed said therefore, with costs against the Appellants. SO ORDERED.
said cases, the value of the property affected by the controversy, the professional action for divorce and secured a decree of divorce, said conjugal partnership
character and standing of the Appellee, the risks assumed and the results would have been dissolved and then liquidated, and the share of Mrs. Harden CONSTANZA YAEZ DE BARNUEVO, plaintiff and appellant,
obtained, we are of the opinion, and so hold, that the contract of services in therein would have been fixed. However, this cannot take place, either now, or in
question is neither harsh nor oppressive or inequitable. the foreseeable future, owing to the aforementioned agreements between Mr. and vs.
Mrs. Harden, which were made for the evident purpose of defeating Appellees
Under their second assignment of error, Appellants maintain claim for attorneys fees. In other words, the occurrence, within the time GABRIEL FUSTER, defendant and appellant.
that:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary contemplated by the parties bearing in mind the nature of, and the
circumstances under which they entered into, said contract of services of the
On the 7th of February, 1875, Gabriel Fuster and ConstanzaYaez were joined in
The lower court erred in failing to find as a fact borne out by the evidence that the event upon which the amount of said fees depended, was rendered impossible by
a Catholic or canonical marriage in the city of Malaga, Spain. In February of 1892,
legal services of Attorney Claro M. Recto to Mrs. Esperanza P. de Harden, Mrs. Harden. Hence, whether such event be regarded as a condition or as a
Gabriel Fuster came to the Philippine Islands, settled, and acquired real and
payment, for which is sought by him in this case, have already been paid by his period, she may not insist upon its occurrence, prior to the enforcement of the
personal property. Toward the middle of 1896, ConstanzaYaez came to Manila,
immediate execution pending appeal of the decision in Civil Case No. CFI-R- rights of the herein Appellee, for the condition shall be deemed fulfilled when the
where her husband was residing, and here lived with him in conjugal relations
obligor voluntarily prevents its fulfillment (Art. 1186, Civil Code) and the debtor
until the month of April, 1899. On the 4th day of that month and year they made said power of attorney, attached the property and collected the credits without defendant in point five of his answer to the complaint, that in May, 1900, he sent a
an agreement, in a public document, by which they "resolved to separate and live ever having rendered any account of them. As a special preferred defense, he letter instructing the plaintiff to return to Manila to live with her husband and to be
apart, both consenting to such separation, and by virtue thereof the husband alleged that neither the trial court nor any other court in the Philippine Islands has supported by him in his house, but that the plaintiff, against the will of the
authorized the wife to move to Spain, there to reside in such place as the said jurisdiction over the subject matter of the complaint, because, as to the allowance defendant, continued to live part from him. (B. of E., p. 7.) It is also affirmed in the
lady pleases." (B. of E., p. 13.) In the same document, the husband undertook to for support, since neither the plaintiff nor the defendant are residents of Manila, or said answer, that during all of the time referred to in the complaint, and especially
send his wife the sum of 300 pesetas monthly for her support, payable in Madrid, of any other place in the Philippine Islands, the agreement upon the subject was since 1900, the plaintiff knew where her husband resided. (B. of E., p. 7.) It is also
Spain, from the month of June of the said year 1899. The husband complied with neither celebrated, nor was it to be fulfilled, in the Philippine Islands; and as to the very evident that the contract, by virtue of which he authorized his wife to move to
this obligation until August, 1899, after which time he ceased to make further divorce, because the action therefore ought to be tried by the ecclesiastical Spain and reside there in such place as was agreeable to her, was executed in
payments. courts. In conclusion, he prayed that the court find: That the court was without these Islands, "in the city of Manila on the 4th of April, 1889," as is to be seen in
jurisdiction over the two causes of action; that even if it had jurisdiction, it could the heading of the document. (B. of E., p. 12.) Finally, at page 11 of his brief, he
In the beginning of March, 1909, the wife returned to the Philippines, but the not order the payment of the sum claimed as arrears of alimony; that, after all, the says that the record shows him to be a Spanish subject, inscribed in the consulate
husband had absented himself therefrom in the early days of February of the action with regard to this cause of action has prescribed; and as to the prayer for of his nation, and cities article 26 of the Civil Code, the Treaty of Paris and the
same year. On the 11th of March, 1909, the wife commenced divorce proceedings a decree of divorce, the defendant should be acquitted, while on the other hand Philippine Bill.
against her husband, alleging as cause of action the adultery committed by him in the plaintiff should be required to render to the defendant an accounting,
or about the year 1899 with a certain woman that she named in the complaint and supported by proofs, of her operations as his attorney and administratrix of his Granting these facts, there can be no doubt that the defendant, although a
with whom he had lived and cohabited and by whom he had had two children. property in Spain. Spanish subject, was a resident of these Islands. Article 26 of the Civil Code that
She prayed that she be granted a decree of divorce; that the court order the he cites itself provides that "Spaniards who change their domicile to a foreign
separation of the properties of the plaintiff and the defendant, to date from the In deciding the case, the Court of First Instance of the city of Manila held itself to country, where they may be considered as natives without other conditions than
date of the said decree; that the conjugal society be therefore liquidated, and after have jurisdiction, decreed the suspension of life in common between the plaintiff that of residents therein, shall be required, in order to preserve the Spanish
the amount of the conjugal property had been determined, that one-half thereof and defendant, ordered the latter to pay the former P5,010.17, directed that the nationality, to state that such is their wish before the Spanish diplomatic or
be adjudicated to her; furthermore, as to the amount of pension owing for her communal property be divided between the parties, with costs against the consular agent, who must record them in the registry of Spanish residents, as well
support but not paid to her, that the defendant be ordered to pay her the sum of defendant, and in event that the parties could not agree to the division, it was to as their spouses, should they be married, and any children they may have." From
36,000 Spanish pesetas, that is, 7,220 Spanish dollars, which, reduced to be effected by commissioners according to law. this provision, which is the exclusive and irrefutable law governing the defendant,
Philippine currency at the rate of exchange on the date of the complaint, we are to conclude that the domicile of the defendant and the plaintiff is fully
amounted to P12,959.90. Both parties appealed from this judgment, but notwithstanding the appeal, the proven, irrespective of the Treaty of Paris. Without this supposition of having
partition of the property, by means of commissioners, was proceeded with. These acquired his domicile and residence in these Islands, he could not have required
The defendant denied that either he or his wife was a resident of the city of latter, after various vicissitudes, rendered their report and account of the partition his wife to return to live with him therein because this requirement could only be
Manila, as they had their domicile in Barcelona, Spain, and he alleged that both of to the court, who then rendered final judgment, from which, also, both parties based on articles 58 of the Civil Code of Spain, according to which the wife is
them were natives and subjects of Spain. He admitted that he was married to appealed. obliged to follow her husband wherever he wishes to establish his residence, or
ConstanzaYaez; he also admitted having executed the document of the 4th of on article 48 of chapter 5 of the Marriage Law in force in the Philippines, which
April, 1899, in which he had undertaken to make an allowance for the support of I. DEFENDANT'S APPEAL. imposes upon the wife the duty of obeying her husband, living in his company, or
his wife in Madrid, but he denied the other paragraphs of the complaint. As a of following him to wherever he transfers his domicile or residence. And just
special defense with regard to the allowance, he alleged: "That in or about the because he was absent for a month before his wife returned to the Philippines, he
The first error assigned is the utter lack of jurisdiction of the trial court and of all
month of May, 1900, he wrote to his wife, the plaintiff, instructing her to return to cannot be understood to have surrendered his habitual domicile of more than
other courts of the Islands to try the case, either with regard to the fulfillment of
Manila, with a view of joining her husband and being maintained by him in his own seventeen years, without having established any other afterwards, and without
the contract to furnish alimony, or to decree a divorce or suspension of life in
house; that the communication was ignored by the plaintiff, who against the will of making any declaration in legal form, before he absented himself, of it being his
common between the spouses: lack of jurisdiction over the persons and over the
the defendant, continued to live separately from him that from the year 1901, the intention to change his domicile, while at the same time he retains here his house,
subject matter of the litigation; and over the persons of the contending parties,
defendant did not know her address; that since 1900, the plaintiff has lived in real property and all manner of means of subsistence. Section 377 of the Code of
because neither of the spouses was a resident of the Philippines on the date of
comfort and has known where her husband resided; that the plaintiff, during all of Civil Procedure leaves to the election of the plaintiff the bringing of a personal
the complaint.
the time referred to, in addition to dispossing of valuable property belonging to her action like the one at bar either in the place where the defendant may reside or be
husband, possessed and still possesses property of her own, acquired by her, in found, or in that where the plaintiff resides.
The lower court did not commit this error attributed to him. The defendant had not
greater amount than that owned by her husband; and that in any case the action
proved that he had elsewhere a legal domicile other than that which he manifestly
has prescribed by operation of law."(B. of E., pp. 7 and 8.) As to the divorce, he The litigating spouses have gained not only domicile (domicilio) but also residence
had in the Philippines during the seventeen years preceding the date of the
admits that he had by the plaintiff two children that have died. He expressly (vecindad) in Manila. In this litigation the defendant claims that, born as he says in
complaint. On the contrary, it plainly appears, without proof to the contrary, that
denied the contents of paragraph 5 of the complaint, relating to the charge of Mallorca, in the Balearic Islands, he is not subject, in his marriage, to the rules
during this not inconsiderable period, extending from the year 1892 until a month
adultery and also those of paragraphs 6, 7, and 8, concerning the possession of governing conjugal property, that are in force in the territories of Spain that are
prior to the arrival of his wife in the Philippines in March, 1909, he had constantly
real and personal property of the conjugal partnership, the statement of their governed by the common law of Castillo (as the Philippines in their day), because
resided in the said Islands, had kept open house, and had acquired in the city of
amount, and their qualification as being all conjugal property. As a special they are opposed to the Foral Law in force in the said Islands and which is
Manila quite a little real property which is now the object of the division of the
defense, he alleged that prior to the year 1899 he conferred powers of attorney respected by the Civil Code. Even if this defense could be sustained herein,
conjugal society. It is also plainly shown, without proof to the contrary, that his wife
upon the plaintiff to administer and collect property and credits pertaining to him to paragraph 2 of article 15 of the said Civil Code would be applicable. It provides:
resided in this city of Manila from the middle of 1896 until April, 1899, at which
the value of about 200,000 pesos; that the plaintiff accepted and exercised the "For the purposes of this article, residence (vecindad) will be acquired: By
time she was permitted by him to change her residence. It is affirmed by the
residence of ten years in common law provinces or territories, unless before the The authority of jurisdictional power of courts to decree a divorce is not comprised The second assignment of error is directed against the finding of the court that the
termination of that time he manifests his will to the contrary; or by a residence of within the personal status of the husband and wife, simply because the whole defendant had committed adultery with a certain woman in this city from the year
two years, if the interested person declares this to be his will . . . In any case, the theory of the statutes and of the rights which belong to everyone does not go 1899 until 1909; the third was against the finding that the adultery was
wife will follow the condition of her husband. . . ." On no occasion had the beyond the sphere of private law, and the authority and jurisdiction of the courts accompanied by public scandal and injured the dignity of his wife; and the fourth
defendant manifested his will to the contrary, not even as he was leaving, after a are not a matter of the private law of persons, but of the public or political law of for having decreed the divorce, suspension of the married life, and the separation
residence of seventeen years, a month before the return of his wife to these the nation. "The jurisdiction of courts and other questions relating to procedure of the properties of the parties.
Islands. On the contrary, when he inscribed himself in the Spanish consulate, he are considered to be of a public nature and consequently are generally submitted
declared his intention of continuing to reside in the Islands as a Spaniard and not to the territorial principle. . . . All persons that have to demand justice in a case in The evidence relating to the foregoing not being sent up on appeal, we are unable
as a Mallorquin, subject as such to the common law of Spain. which foreigners intervene, since they can gain nothing by a simple declaration, to review it, so we accept the findings of the trial court.
should endeavor to apply to the tribunales of the state which have coercive
In an endeavor to demonstrate the lack of jurisdiction of the courts of these means (property situated in the territory) to enforce any decision they may render. There is a point of law regarding the claim that the adultery, even though it were
Islands over the subject matter of the complaint that is to try an action for divorce Otherwise, one would expose himself in the suit to making useless expenditures proven would not be a cause for divorce, because no public scandal resulted
between two Catholic Spaniards, he alleges in his appeal: That both litigants are which, although he won his case, would not contribute to secure his rights therefrom nor was there contempt displayed for the wife. (Appellant's brief, p. 26.)
Spanish subjects and that they contracted a Catholic marriage; that in accordance because of the court's lack of means to enforce them." (Torres Campos, The facts must be accepted by this tribunal as they were found by the trial court,
with article 9 of the Civil Code of Spain (the same as that of these Islands) the "Elementos de Derecho International Privado," p. 108.) "Justice," says the same since the evidence cannot be reviewed; moreover, the appellee affirms the
laws relating to family rights and duties, or to the status, condition and legal professor, "is a principle superior to that of nations, and it should therefore be contrary and maintains that it is a proven fact, public and notorious, an assertion
capacity of persons, govern Spaniards although they reside in a foreign country; administered without taking into any account whatsoever the state to which the that the trial court must have found to be proven. (Appellee's brief, p. 5.) In law, it
that, in consequence, "all questions of a civil nature, such as those dealing with litigants belong. . . . In order to foster their relations and develop their commerce, is not necessary that adultery, to be a cause for divorce, should be accompanied
the validity or nullity of the matrimonial bond, the domicile of the husband and all civilized nations are interested in doing justice, not alone to their own people, by public scandal and contempt for the wife. There is no law that requires this.
wife, their support, as between them, the separation of their properties, the rules but to those foreigners who contract within the country or outside of it juridical ties Law 2, title 9, of the Fourth Partida does not require it.
governing property, marital authority, division of conjugal property, the which in some manner effect their sovereignty. (Ibid, p. 107.) Might its courts, in
classification of their property, legal causes for divorce, the extent of the latter, the some cases, in suits between foreigners residing in its territory, apply the personal
The fifth and sixth assignments of error are directed against the finding of the trial
AUTHORITY to decree it, and, in general, the civil effects of marriage and divorce law of the parties, but abdicate their jurisdiction, refrain from administering justice
court that there exists conjugal property, a finding that the appellant maintains is
upon the person and properties of the spouses, are questions that are governed because the personal law of the foreigner gave the jurisdiction of the given case
without foundation, and that which holds that the property in the hands of the
exclusively by the national law of the husband and wife, and, in our case, by the to some court that is not the territorial one of the nation? This has never yet been
receiver (that sought to be divided) is conjugal property, a conclusion which the
Spanish law by virtue of article 9 as above set out." (Brief, p. 12.) The appellant claimed in any of the theories regarding the conflict of laws arising out of
appellant claims to be contrary to the law which should be applied to the case and
and defendant continues his argument, saying: That by the express provision of questions of nationality and domicile; it would be equivalent to recognizing
according to which, as alleged in the tenth assignment of error, the whole of the
article 80 of the Civil Code of Spain, "jurisdiction in actions for divorce and extraterritorial law in favor of private persons. The provisions of article 80 of the
property should be adjudicated to the defendant as being exclusively his.
nullification of canonical marriages lies with ecclesiastical courts," while that of Civil Law of Spain is only binding within the dominions of Spain. It does not
civil tribunals is limited to civil marriages; that this being so, the action for divorce accompany the persons of the Spanish subject wherever he may go. He could not
successfully invoke it if he resided in Japan, in China, in Hongkong or in any other Facts: The appellant affirms that he is a native of Mallorca in the Balearic Islands
brought by the plaintiff in the cause does not fall within the jurisdiction of the civil
territory not subject to the dominion of Spain. Foreign Catholics domiciled in and that is also the condition of his wife, the plaintiff. Law: That although the rule
courts, according to his own law of persons, because these courts ought to apply
Spain, subject to the ecclesiastical courts in actions for divorce according to the of the Civil Code is that which legally governs conjugal property, yet at the same
the Spanish law in accordance with the said article 9 of the Civil Cod of Spain,
said article 80 of the Civil Code, could not allege lack of jurisdiction by invoking, time it admits, as an exception, the laws, usages, and customs of the Foral Law,
and this Spanish law grants the jurisdiction over the present cause to the
as the law of their personal statute, a law of their nation which gives jurisdiction in according to which, as applied in the Balearic Islands, the law of the family is that
ecclesiastical courts, in the place of which no tribunal of these Islands con
such a case to territorial courts, or to a certain court within or without the territory of the division of property and that of conjugal property is not known; so that the
subrogate itself. Says this appellant: "If a law of a foreign country were of rigorous
of their nation.1awphi1.net property pertains exclusively to the spouse who, by whatever title, has acquired it.
application in a given case, a North American tribunal would have no jurisdiction
In support of the facts, appellant cites pages 27 to 37 and 39 to 41 in the bill of
upon an ecclesiastical court and therefore the North American tribunal in applying
exceptions; and of the law, the doctrinal authority of Manresa, Gutierrez, and
it would have to exercise a faculty which that law reserved to the ecclesiastical It is a question that has already been settled in two decisions of the Supreme
Alcubilla.
court." (Brief, pp. 13, 14, and 15.) Court (Benedicto vs. De la Rama, 3 Phil. Rep., 34, and Ibaez vs. Ortiz, 5 Phil.
Rep., 325).
The citation from pages 39 to 41 of the bill of exceptions, the only pertinent one, is
Unless we take the question itself for granted, the foregoing reasoning cannot be
but an affidavit filed by the defendant in which, under oath, he himself testifies as
upheld. The question is precisely whether the courts of the Philippines are In the present action for divorce the Court of First Instance of the city of Manila did
to the Foral Law in the Balearic Islands. The adverse party says with regard to
competent or have jurisdiction to decree the divorce now on appeal, and it is not lack jurisdiction over the persons of the litigants, for, although Spanish
this: "This affidavit was never presented in proof, was never received by the trial
taken for granted that the power to decree it is one of the rights included in the Catholic subjects, they were residents of this city and had their domicile herein.
judge, and cannot seriously be considered as an effort to establish the law of a
personal statute, but appellant does not prove by any law or legal doctrine
foreign jurisdiction. Sections 300, 301 and 302 of the Code of Civil Procedure,
whatever that the personal statute of a foreigner carries with it, to whether he The Courts of First Instance of the Philippine Islands have the power and now in force in these islands, indicate the method by which the law of a foreign
transfers his domicile, the authority established by the law of his nation to decree jurisdiction to try actions for divorce. That of the city of Manila did not lack country may be proved. We maintain that the affidavit of a person not versed in
his divorce, which was what he had to demonstrate. jurisdiction by reason of the subject matter of the litigation. the law, which was never submitted as proof, never received by the trial court, and
which has never been subjected to any cross-examination, is not a means of
proving a foreign law on which the defendant relies." (Brief, pp. 6 and 7.)
Furthermore, on the supposition that the defendant could invoke the Foral Law as promise established in 4 and 5, says as follows: "That the defendant Gabriel As the trial court rendered judgment ordering the defendant to pay to the plaintiff
the law of his personal status in the matter of the regimen of his marriage, and Fuster y Fuster actually owes the plaintiff the sum of 36,100 Spanish pesetas, that only P5,010.17, the petitioner here prays that the judgment be reversed and that
that to allege this he be considered as authorized by article 15 of the Civil Code, is, 7,220 dollars, which, reduced at the present rate of exchange, amounts to the in its place this court order the defendant to pay to the plaintiff her claim of
we have said before, in dealing with his law of domicile, that paragraph 2 of this sum of P12,959.90, Philippine currency." (B. of E., p. 2.) In the case of default on P12,959.90, plus the additional sum which the alimony amounts to at the rate of
article 15 of the Civil Code would be entirely adverse to his claim, and if it be the part of the defendant "the court shall proceed to hear the plaintiff and his P107.70 per month, dating from the 1st of August, 1909, until the date of payment,
advanced that there is a similar Foral Law in the Philippines by virtue of witnesses and assess the damages or determine the other relief to which the with legal interest upon the said P12,959.90 from the date of the filing of the
paragraph 1 of the said article 15, it might be said, though there is not at present plaintiff may be entitled, including the costs of the action, and render final complaint until the date of payment, and, furthermore, legal interest upon each of
any need to say it, that it is not in force. The two findings attacked are in perfect judgment for the plaintiff to recover such sum or to receive such other relief as the the monthly payments due after the filing of the complaint, and which will continue
accord with the law. All the property of the marriage, says article 1407 of the Civil pleadings and the facts warrant." The pleadings, not the prayer of the complaint. to become due until the close of this litigation.
Code, shall be considered as conjugal property until it is proven that it belongs
exclusively to the husband or to the wife. No proof has been submitted to this This court has recently decided that the pleadings, not the prayer, exactly, are the The trial court made the following findings: First, that the total amount of the
effect. essential part of a complaint. alimony owing to the plaintiff amounted to 34,200 pesetas; second, that of this
sum the plaintiff had collected in Madrid 6,365.68; third, that the remainder, that is,
As seventh assignment of error it is alleged that the court below erred in holding It is not a question of alimony for the present, nor for the future, which constitutes 27,834.32, was equivalent to $5,566.86 Mexican currency; fourth, that the
in the judgment that the plaintiff had brought to the marriage a dowry of 30,000 the first cause of action, but of certain sums stipulated in a contract. This contract Mexican peso was worth 90 centavos Philippine currency; fifth, that therefore the
Spanish dollars. But the defendant himself adds that the court made no order or is a law for the contracting parties, a law which rises superior to those general sum of $5,566.86 Mexican currency was equivalent to P5,010 Philippine currency;
decree regarding the alleged dowry. On the other hand, the plaintiff, in her fourth laws which regulate the nature of the subject matter of the contract (in the present and finally, as there was no evidence as to the kind of pesetas agreed upon, it
assignment of errors, claimed that the court erred in not confirming the report of case an entirely voluntary one) and which govern judicial action. was to be presumed that it was that current at the time and place where the
the commissioners which gave to the said plaintiff the sum of 30,000 Spanish agreement was made, which was Mexican pesetas.
dollars. It is unnecessary to say anything further. An action arising out of a contract of this nature does not prescribe like all
personal ones, but, by the provisions of article 1964 of the Civil Code, after fifteen In her appeal, the plaintiff contends that these findings are erroneous in that,
The eighth error consists in that the court below ordered the defendant to pay to years. But even though the provisions of article 1966 were applicable, by which firstly, the parties had admitted that the pesetas referred to in the contract of the
the plaintiff P56,010.17 Philippine currency, whereas the plaintiff had made no an action to compel the fulfillment of an agreement to pay alimony prescribes in 4th of April, 1899, were Spanish, and in view of this admission the court was not
demand in her complaint with respect to this sum; that no arrears of payment are five years, yet by section 50 of the Code of Civil Procedure, "when payment has empowered to define them as being different from the kind admitted by the
owing for alimony, even though payments had been stipulated in the contract, been made upon any demand founded upon contract . . . an action may be parties; secondly, if he were so empowered, his interpretation should be governed
unless they are claimed by the person who had furnished the actual support, and brought . . . after such payment. . . ." And the parties admit that on the 18th of by the terms of the law.
that alimony is due only when it is necessary; so that, as the plaintiff has had no August, 1908, the plaintiff secured the payment of 6,365.68 pesetas by virtue of
need of it for ten years, nor has she stated who has furnished it, there is no the contract of April 4, 1899. So that from August, 1908, until March, 1909, the With regard to the first error, the plaintiff says that the statement is made in her
reason for awaring her the amount of the arrears for all that time; that as she has date of the complaint, the said period of five years had not elapsed. complaint that the defendant had obligated himself to pay her a "monthly pension
allowed ten years to elapse before claiming it, her action prescribed in 1904, that for her support of 300 Spanish pesetas, that is, 60 Spanish dollars, which,
is to say, after five years. The ninth assignment of error consists in that the court below erred in reduced to Philippine currency, amounts to P107.70;" that the defendant had
empowering the receiver to proceed to the separation of the property and in admitted this in hi answer to the complaint, and that by his finding in a sense other
The plaintiff acknowledges that there is no petition or prayer in her complaint as to appointing commissioners to make the partition and distribution between the than that accepted and not refuted in the answer of the defendant, the court
this cause of action, but she considers that in equity such an omission can be spouses, since the principal question in this action hinges upon the classification violated the provisions of section 94 of the Code of Civil Procedure.
supplied. of the property; that it was erroneously classified as conjugal property, whereas all
of it pertained to the husband alone and should be adjudicated to him for the The court has not incurred this error, because it does not appear that the
Paragraph 3 of section 89 (90) of the Code of Civil Procedure determines one of reason that, as it reiterated in the tenth assignment of error, the conjugal defendant in his answer accepted the fact in the manner alleged in the complaint.
the requisites of the complaint: "A demand for the relief which the plaintiff claims." partnership was not subject to the provisions of the law governing conjugal The defendant said that he admitted having made the agreement referred to in
The section goes on to say: "If the recovery of money or damages is demanded, property, because such provision are totally foreign to the Foral Law of the paragraph 4 of the complaint, and that he stood upon its contents. The contents of
the amount demanded must be stated. If special relief, such as an order for the Balearic Islands. the document to which he refers is of the following tenor: "Mr. Fuster binds and
special restitution of property, etc., the ground of demanding such relief must be obligates himself to pay to his said wife the sum of 300 pesetas, monthly, payable
stated and the special relief prayed for. But there may be added to the statement The action of the trial court, by the terms of section 184 of the Code of Civil de sucuenta in the city and capital of Madrid, for her support. . . ." He did not
of the specific relief demanded a general prayer for such further or other relief as Procedure, was in accordance with law. The only question before this court is the therefore admit the matter of the Spanish pesetas; that does not appear in the
shall be deemed equitable." partition of real property. All that referred to in the second decision appealed from, contents of the document the only thing he admitted in his answer.
dated September 9, 1911, is urban real estate. Its classification as conjugal
In the complaint of the case at bar the provisions of paragraph 2 of the said property is in accordance with law, as is shown in the foregoing reasoning, and As to the second error, the court did not commit it in applying the rule contained in
section 89 [90] are complied with by setting forth in its paragraphs 4 and 5 the that no consideration of the Foral Law enters into the question has also been article 1287 of the Civil Code. "The usages or customs of the country shall be
relation of the cause of action, that is, the contract of the 4th of April, 1899, by demonstrated. taken into consideration in interpreting ambiguity in contracts. . . ." If in the
which the defendant obligated himself to send to the plaintiff in Spain a certain contract the word " pesetas," not being specific, was ambiguous, then it was in
amount of money monthly, for her support, and the failure to comply with this II. PLAINTIFF'S APPEAL. harmony with this precept to interpret it as being the peseta then in use or current
obligation after the month of August, 1899. Paragraph 6, as a consequence of the when and where the agreement was made, Mexican being then the usual and
current money in the Philippines. Furthermore, the phrase de sucuenta clearly certain Felix Tupaz in the same locality but their relationship also ended in a she and Arturo were married on 22 April 1947, their marriage was clearly void
means that it was not "Spanish pesetas" that the contracting parties had in mind, divorce. Still in the U.S.A., she married for the third time, to a certain Wernimont. since it was celebrated during the existence of his previous marriage to petitioner.
because if the agreement had been a specific one to pay 300 Spanish pesetas in
Madrid, everyone would of course understand that the expense of following the On 16 April 1972 Arturo died. He left no will. On 31 August 1972 Lino Javier In their appeal to the Court of Appeals, Blandina and her children assigned as one
fluctuations of change and of the differences in value between the money current Inciong filed a petition with the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City for issuance of of the errors allegedly committed by the trial court the circumstance that the case
in the country, and the Spanish pesetas, would have to be defrayed by the letters of administration concerning the estate of Arturo in favor of the Philippine was decided without a hearing, in violation of Sec. 1, Rule 90, of the Rules of
obligated party; whereas, if nothing more than pesetas was mentioned, it was Trust Company. Respondent BlandinaDandan (also referred to as Court, which provides that if there is a controversy before the court as to who are
necessary to decide which party should pay for the difference in value so that the BlandinaPadlan), claiming to be the surviving spouse of Arturo Padlan, and Claro, the lawful heirs of the deceased person or as to the distributive shares to which
300 pesetas stipulated here should be 300 Spanish pesetas paid in Madrid. Alexis, Ricardo, Emmanuel, Zenaida and Yolanda, all surnamed Padlan, named in each person is entitled under the law, the controversy shall be heard and decided
Against the reasons of the court below for his decision this court can offer no legal the petition as surviving children of Arturo Padlan, opposed the petition and as in ordinary cases.
grounds. The rule of interpretation cited is the one applicable and it supports the prayed for the appointment instead of Atty. Leonardo Cabasal, which was
reasoning of the decision appealed from. resolved in favor of the latter. Upon motion of the oppositors themselves, Atty. Respondent appellate court found this ground alone sufficient to sustain the
Cabasal was later replaced by HiginoCastillon. On 30 April 1973 the oppositors appeal; hence, on 11 September 1995 it declared null and void the 27 November
The appellant also alleges as error that the court did not adjudicate to her the (Blandina and the Padlan children) submitted certified photocopies of the 19 July 1987 decision and 15 February 1988 order of the trial court, and directed the
30,000 Spanish dollars which the commissioners proposed in their report. First 1950 private writing and the final judgment of divorce between petitioner and remand of the case to the trial court for further proceedings.[8] On 18 April 1996 it
she characterizes this sum of 30,000 dollars as the dowry of the wife delivered to Arturo. Later Ruperto T. Padlan, claiming to be the sole surviving brother of the denied reconsideration.[9]
the husband, then, later, as paraphernal property brought to the marriage. deceased Arturo, intervened.
Should this case be remanded to the lower court for further proceedings?
According to the last instructions of the court to the commissioners, this amount of On 7 October 1987 petitioner moved for the immediate declaration of heirs of the Petitioner insists that there is no need because, first, no legal or factual issue
30,000 dollars could not enter into the partition, and with reason. If, as was decedent and the distribution of his estate. At the scheduled hearing on 23 obtains for resolution either as to the heirship of the Padlan children or as to their
claimed, it was inherited by the plaintiff from her uncle, it really constitutes October 1987, private respondent as well as the six (6) Padlan children and respective shares in the intestate estate of the decedent; and, second, the issue
paraphernal property under article 1381. "Paraphernal property is that which the Ruperto failed to appear despite due notice. On the same day, the trial court as to who between petitioner and private respondent is the proper heir of the
wife brings to the marriage without being included in the dowry and that she may required the submission of the records of birth of the Padlan children within ten decedent is one of law which can be resolved in the present petition based on
acquire after the creation of the same without being added thereto." But it is a (10) days from receipt thereof, after which, with or without the documents, the established facts and admissions of the parties.
provision of article 1384 that "The wife shall have the management of the issue on the declaration of heirs would be considered submitted for resolution.
paraphernal property unless she has delivered the same to her husband, before a The prescribed period lapsed without the required documents being submitted. We cannot sustain petitioner. The provision relied upon by respondent court is
notary, in order that he may administer said property. In such case the husband is clear: If there is a controversy before the court as to who are the lawful heirs of
obliged to create a mortgage for the value of the personal property he may The trial court invoking Tenchavez v. Escao[1] which held that "a foreign divorce the deceased person or as to the distributive shares to which each person is
receive, or to secure said property, in the manner established for the dowry between Filipino citizens sought and decreed after the effectivity of the present entitled under the law, the controversy shall be heard and decided as in ordinary
property." Not even was there offered in evidence the public deed of delivery, nor Civil Code (Rep. Act 386) was not entitled to recognition as valid in this cases.
the equally public mortgage deed that is required by law. So that, therefore, the jurisdiction,"[2] disregarded the divorce between petitioner and Arturo.
necessary proof of the obligation to return paraphernal property as here Consequently, it expressed the view that their marriage subsisted until the death We agree with petitioner that no dispute exists either as to the right of the six (6)
demanded does not exist.lawphil.net of Arturo in 1972. Neither did it consider valid their extrajudicial settlement of Padlan children to inherit from the decedent because there are proofs that they
conjugal properties due to lack of judicial approval.[3] On the other hand, it opined have been duly acknowledged by him and petitioner herself even recognizes them
The partition of property decreed in the judgment appealed from of the 9th of that there was no showing that marriage existed between private respondent and as heirs of Arturo Padlan;[10] nor as to their respective hereditary shares. But
September, 1911, should be and is hereby confirmed. Arturo, much less was it shown that the alleged Padlan children had been controversy remains as to who is the legitimate surviving spouse of Arturo. The
acknowledged by the deceased as his children with her. As regards Ruperto, it trial court, after the parties other than petitioner failed to appear during the
The two judgments appealed from are hereby affirmed, without special found that he was a brother of Arturo. On 27 November 1987[4] only petitioner scheduled hearing on 23 October 1987 of the motion for immediate declaration of
pronouncement of costs in this instance. and Ruperto were declared the intestate heirs of Arturo. Accordingly, equal heirs and distribution of estate, simply issued an order requiring the submission of
adjudication of the net hereditary estate was ordered in favor of the two intestate the records of birth of the Padlan children within ten (10) days from receipt
FE D. QUITA, petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS and BLANDINA DANDAN,* heirs.[5] thereof, after which, with or without the documents, the issue on declaration of
respondents. heirs would be deemed submitted for resolution.
On motion for reconsideration, Blandina and the Padlan children were allowed to
FE D. QUITA and Arturo T. Padlan, both Filipinos, were married in the Philippines present proofs that the recognition of the children by the deceased as his
on 18 May 1941. They were not however blessed with children. Somewhere along legitimate children, except Alexis who was recognized as his illegitimate child, had
the way their relationship soured. Eventually Fe sued Arturo for divorce in San been made in their respective records of birth. Thus on 15 February 1988[6]
We note that in her comment to petitioner's motion private respondent raised,
Francisco, California, U.S.A. She submitted in the divorce proceedings a private partial reconsideration was granted declaring the Padlan children, with the
among others, the issue as to whether petitioner was still entitled to inherit from
writing dated 19 July 1950 evidencing their agreement to live separately from exception of Alexis, entitled to one-half of the estate to the exclusion of
the decedent considering that she had secured a divorce in the U.S.A. and in fact
each other and a settlement of their conjugal properties. On 23 July 1954 she RupertoPadlan, and petitioner to the other half.[7] Private respondent was not
had twice remarried. She also invoked the above quoted procedural rule.[11] To
obtained a final judgment of divorce. Three (3) weeks thereafter she married a declared an heir. Although it was stated in the aforementioned records of birth that
this, petitioner replied that Arturo was a Filipino and as such remained legally
married to her in spite of the divorce they obtained.[12] Reading between the
lines, the implication is that petitioner was no longer a Filipino citizen at the time of As regards the motion of private respondent for petitioner and her counsel to be Before the outbreak of the Pacific War, Lorenzo departed for the United States
her divorce from Arturo. This should have prompted the trial court to conduct a declared in contempt of court and that the present petition be dismissed for forum and Paula stayed in the conjugal home in barrio Antipolo, Nabua, Camarines Sur.
hearing to establish her citizenship. The purpose of a hearing is to ascertain the shopping,[21] the same lacks merit. For forum shopping to exist the actions must [5]
truth of the matters in issue with the aid of documentary and testimonial evidence involve the same transactions and same essential facts and circumstances. There
as well as the arguments of the parties either supporting or opposing the must also be identical causes of action, subject matter and issue.[22] The present On November 30, 1943, Lorenzo was admitted to United States citizenship and
evidence. Instead, the lower court perfunctorily settled her claim in her favor by petition deals with declaration of heirship while the subsequent petitions filed Certificate of Naturalization No. 5579816 was issued in his favor by the United
merely applying the ruling in Tenchavez v. Escao. before the three (3) trial courts concern the issuance of new owner's duplicate States District Court, Southern District of New York.[6]
copies of titles of certain properties belonging to the estate of Arturo. Obviously,
Then in private respondent's motion to set aside and/or reconsider the lower there is no reason to declare the existence of forum shopping. Upon the liberation of the Philippines by the American Forces in 1945, Lorenzo
court's decision she stressed that the citizenship of petitioner was relevant in the was granted an accrued leave by the U. S. Navy, to visit his wife and he visited
light of the ruling in Van Dorn v. Romillo Jr.[13] that aliens may obtain divorces WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The decision of respondent Court of the Philippines.[7] He discovered that his wife Paula was pregnant and was living
abroad, which may be recognized in the Philippines, provided they are valid Appeals ordering the remand of the case to the court of origin for further in and having an adulterous relationship with his brother, CeferinoLlorente.[8]
according to their national law. She prayed therefore that the case be set for proceedings and declaring null and void its decision holding petitioner Fe D. Quita
hearing.[14] Petitioner opposed the motion but failed to squarely address the and Ruperto T. Padlan as intestate heirs is AFFIRMED. The order of the appellate On December 4, 1945, Paula gave birth to a boy registered in the Office of the
issue on her citizenship.[15] The trial court did not grant private respondent's court modifying its previous decision by granting one-half (1/2) of the net Registrar of Nabua as CrisologoLlorente, with the certificate stating that the child
prayer for a hearing but proceeded to resolve her motion with the finding that both hereditary estate to the Padlan children, namely, Claro, Ricardo, Emmanuel, was not legitimate and the line for the fathers name was left blank.[9]
petitioner and Arturo were "Filipino citizens and were married in the Zenaida and Yolanda, with the exception of Alexis, all surnamed Padlan, instead
Philippines."[16] It maintained that their divorce obtained in 1954 in San of Arturo's brother RupertoPadlan, is likewise AFFIRMED. The Court however
Francisco, California, U.S.A., was not valid in Philippine jurisdiction. We deduce emphasizes that the reception of evidence by the trial court should be limited to
that the finding on their citizenship pertained solely to the time of their marriage as the hereditary rights of petitioner as the surviving spouse of Arturo Padlan.
the trial court was not supplied with a basis to determine petitioner's citizenship at Lorenzo refused to forgive Paula and live with her. In fact, on February 2, 1946,
the time of their divorce. The doubt persisted as to whether she was still a Filipino the couple drew a written agreement to the effect that (1) all the family allowances
The motion to declare petitioner and her counsel in contempt of court and to
citizen when their divorce was decreed. The trial court must have overlooked the allotted by the United States Navy as part of Lorenzos salary and all other
dismiss the present petition for forum shopping is DENIED.
materiality of this aspect. Once proved that she was no longer a Filipino citizen at obligations for Paulas daily maintenance and support would be suspended; (2)
the time of their divorce, Van Dorn would become applicable and petitioner could they would dissolve their marital union in accordance with judicial proceedings; (3)
SO ORDERED. they would make a separate agreement regarding their conjugal property acquired
very well lose her right to inherit from Arturo.
during their marital life; and (4) Lorenzo would not prosecute Paula for her
PAULA T. LLORENTE, petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS and ALICIA F. adulterous act since she voluntarily admitted her fault and agreed to separate
Respondent again raised in her appeal the issue on petitioner's citizenship;[17] it LLORENTE, respondents. from Lorenzo peacefully. The agreement was signed by both Lorenzo and Paula
did not merit enlightenment however from petitioner.[18] In the present
and was witnessed by Paulas father and stepmother. The agreement was
proceeding, petitioner's citizenship is brought anew to the fore by private
The Case notarized by Notary Public Pedro Osabel.[10]
respondent. She even furnishes the Court with the transcript of stenographic
notes taken on 5 May 1995 during the hearing for the reconstitution of the original
of a certain transfer certificate title as well as the issuance of new owner's The case raises a conflict of laws issue. Lorenzo returned to the United States and on November 16, 1951 filed for divorce
duplicate copy thereof before another trial court. When asked whether she was an with the Superior Court of the State of California in and for the County of San
American citizen petitioner answered that she was since 1954.[19] Significantly, What is before us is an appeal from the decision of the Court of Appeals[1] Diego. Paula was represented by counsel, John Riley, and actively participated in
the decree of divorce of petitioner and Arturo was obtained in the same year. modifying that of the Regional Trial Court, Camarines Sur, Branch 35, Iriga City[2] the proceedings. On November 27, 1951, the Superior Court of the State of
Petitioner however did not bother to file a reply memorandum to erase the declaring respondent Alicia F. Llorente (herinafter referred to as Alicia), as co- California, for the County of San Diego found all factual allegations to be true and
uncertainty about her citizenship at the time of their divorce, a factual issue owners of whatever property she and the deceased Lorenzo N. Llorente issued an interlocutory judgment of divorce.[11]
requiring hearings to be conducted by the trial court. Consequently, respondent (hereinafter referred to as Lorenzo) may have acquired during the twenty-five (25)
appellate court did not err in ordering the case returned to the trial court for further years that they lived together as husband and wife. On December 4, 1952, the divorce decree became final.[12]
proceedings.
The Facts In the meantime, Lorenzo returned to the Philippines.
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 The deceased Lorenzo N. Llorente was an enlisted serviceman of the United On January 16, 1958, Lorenzo married Alicia F. Llorente in Manila.[13] Apparently,
surviving spouse. Private respondent's claim to heirship was already resolved by States Navy from March 10, 1927 to September 30, 1957.[3] Alicia had no knowledge of the first marriage even if they resided in the same
the trial court. She and Arturo were married on 22 April 1947 while the prior town as Paula, who did not oppose the marriage or cohabitation.[14]
marriage of petitioner and Arturo was subsisting thereby resulting in a bigamous On February 22, 1937, Lorenzo and petitioner Paula Llorente (hereinafter referred
marriage considered void from the beginning under Arts. 80 and 83 of the Civil to as Paula) were married before a parish priest, Roman Catholic Church, in From 1958 to 1985, Lorenzo and Alicia lived together as husband and wife.[15]
Code. Consequently, she is not a surviving spouse that can inherit from him as Nabua, Camarines Sur.[4] Their twenty-five (25) year union produced three children, Raul, Luz and Beverly,
this status presupposes a legitimate relationship.[20] all surnamed Llorente.[16]
On March 13, 1981, Lorenzo executed a Last Will and Testament. The will was testament wherein Lorenzo moved that Alicia be appointed Special Administratrix administration issue in her favor upon her filing a bond in the amount (sic) of
notarized by Notary Public Salvador M. Occiano, duly signed by Lorenzo with of his estate.[18] P100,000.00 conditioned for her to make a return to the court within three (3)
attesting witnesses Francisco Hugo, Francisco Neibres and Tito Trajano. In the months a true and complete inventory of all goods, chattels, rights, and credits,
will, Lorenzo bequeathed all his property to Alicia and their three children, to wit: and estate which shall at any time come to her possession or to the possession of
any other person for her, and from the proceeds to pay and discharge all debts,
(1) I give and bequeath to my wife ALICIA R. FORTUNO exclusively my On January 18, 1984, the trial court denied the motion for the reason that the legacies and charges on the same, or such dividends thereon as shall be decreed
residential house and lot, located at San Francisco, Nabua, Camarines Sur, testator Lorenzo was still alive.[19] or required by this court; to render a true and just account of her administration to
Philippines, including ALL the personal properties and other movables or the court within one (1) year, and at any other time when required by the court and
belongings that may be found or existing therein; to perform all orders of this court by her to be performed.
On January 24, 1984, finding that the will was duly executed, the trial court
admitted the will to probate.[20]
On the other matters prayed for in respective petitions for want of evidence could
not be granted.
On June 11, 1985, before the proceedings could be terminated, Lorenzo died.[21]
(2) I give and bequeath exclusively to my wife Alicia R. Fortuno and to my
children, Raul F. Llorente, Luz F. Llorente and Beverly F. Llorente, in equal shares, SO ORDERED.[27]
On September 4, 1985, Paula filed with the same court a petition[22] for letters of
all my real properties whatsoever and wheresoever located, specifically my real administration over Lorenzos estate in her favor. Paula contended (1) that she
properties located at Barangay Aro-Aldao, Nabua, Camarines Sur; Barangay was Lorenzos surviving spouse, (2) that the various property were acquired during In time, Alicia filed with the trial court a motion for reconsideration of the
Paloyon, Nabua, Camarines Sur; Barangay Baras, SitioPuga, Nabua, Camarines their marriage, (3) that Lorenzos will disposed of all his property in favor of Alicia aforequoted decision.[28]
Sur; and Barangay Paloyon, SitioNalilidong, Nabua, Camarines Sur; and her children, encroaching on her legitime and 1/2 share in the conjugal
property.[23] On September 14, 1987, the trial court denied Alicias motion for reconsideration
(3) I likewise give and bequeath exclusively unto my wife Alicia R. Fortuno and but modified its earlier decision, stating that Raul and Luz Llorente are not
unto my children, Raul F. Llorente, Luz F. Llorente and Beverly F. Llorente, in On December 13, 1985, Alicia filed in the testate proceeding (Sp. Proc. No. IR- children legitimate or otherwise of Lorenzo since they were not legally adopted by
equal shares, my real properties located in Quezon City Philippines, and covered 755), a petition for the issuance of letters testamentary.[24] him.[29] Amending its decision of May 18, 1987, the trial court declared Beverly
by Transfer Certificate of Title No. 188652; and my lands in Antipolo, Rizal, Llorente as the only illegitimate child of Lorenzo, entitling her to one-third (1/3) of
Philippines, covered by Transfer Certificate of Title Nos. 124196 and 165188, both the estate and one-third (1/3) of the free portion of the estate.[30]
On October 14, 1985, without terminating the testate proceedings, the trial court
of the Registry of Deeds of the province of Rizal, Philippines;
gave due course to Paulas petition in Sp. Proc. No. IR-888.[25]
On September 28, 1987, respondent appealed to the Court of Appeals.[31]
(4) That their respective shares in the above-mentioned properties, whether real
On November 6, 13 and 20, 1985, the order was published in the newspaper
or personal properties, shall not be disposed of, ceded, sold and conveyed to any On July 31, 1995, the Court of Appeals promulgated its decision, affirming with
Bicol Star.[26]
other persons, but could only be sold, ceded, conveyed and disposed of by and modification the decision of the trial court in this wise:
among themselves;
On May 18, 1987, the Regional Trial Court issued a joint decision, thus:
WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is hereby AFFIRMED with the
(5) I designate my wife ALICIA R. FORTUNO to be the sole executor of this my MODIFICATION that Alicia is declared as co-owner of whatever properties she
Last Will and Testament, and in her default or incapacity of the latter to act, any of Wherefore, considering that this court has so found that the divorce decree
and the deceased may have acquired during the twenty-five (25) years of
my children in the order of age, if of age; granted to the late Lorenzo Llorente is void and inapplicable in the Philippines,
cohabitation.
therefore the marriage he contracted with Alicia Fortunato on January 16, 1958 at
Manila is likewise void. This being so the petition of Alicia F. Llorente for the
(6) I hereby direct that the executor named herein or her lawful substitute should SO ORDERED.[32]
issuance of letters testamentary is denied. Likewise, she is not entitled to receive
served (sic) without bond;
any share from the estate even if the will especially said so her relationship with
Lorenzo having gained the status of paramour which is under Art. 739 (1). On August 25, 1995, petitioner filed with the Court of Appeals a motion for
(7) I hereby revoke any and all my other wills, codicils, or testamentary reconsideration of the decision.[33]
dispositions heretofore executed, signed, or published, by me;
On the other hand, the court finds the petition of Paula Titular Llorente,
meritorious, and so declares the intrinsic disposition of the will of Lorenzo Llorente On March 21, 1996, the Court of Appeals,[34] denied the motion for lack of merit.
(8) It is my final wish and desire that if I die, no relatives of mine in any degree in dated March 13, 1981 as void and declares her entitled as conjugal partner and
the Llorentes Side should ever bother and disturb in any manner whatsoever my entitled to one-half of their conjugal properties, and as primary compulsory heir, Hence, this petition.[35]
wife Alicia R. Fortunato and my children with respect to any real or personal Paula T. Llorente is also entitled to one-third of the estate and then one-third
properties I gave and bequeathed respectively to each one of them by virtue of should go to the illegitimate children, Raul, Luz and Beverly, all surname (sic) The Issue
this Last Will and Testament.[17] Llorente, for them to partition in equal shares and also entitled to the remaining
free portion in equal shares. Stripping the petition of its legalese and sorting through the various arguments
On December 14, 1983, Lorenzo filed with the Regional Trial Court, Iriga,
raised,[36] the issue is simple. Who are entitled to inherit from the late Lorenzo N.
Camarines Sur, a petition for the probate and allowance of his last will and Petitioner, Paula Llorente is appointed legal administrator of the estate of the Llorente?
deceased, Lorenzo Llorente. As such let the corresponding letters of
We do not agree with the decision of the Court of Appeals. We remand the case The trial court held that the will was intrinsically invalid since it contained When the acts referred to are executed before the diplomatic or consular officials
to the trial court for ruling on the intrinsic validity of the will of the deceased. dispositions in favor of Alice, who in the trial courts opinion was a mere paramour. of the Republic of the Philippines in a foreign country, the solemnities established
The trial court threw the will out, leaving Alice, and her two children, Raul and Luz, by Philippine laws shall be observed in their execution. (underscoring ours)
The Applicable Law with nothing.
The clear intent of Lorenzo to bequeath his property to his second wife and
The fact that the late Lorenzo N. Llorente became an American citizen long before The Court of Appeals also disregarded the will. It declared Alice entitled to one children by her is glaringly shown in the will he executed. We do not wish to
and at the time of: (1) his divorce from Paula; (2) marriage to Alicia; (3) execution half (1/2) of whatever property she and Lorenzo acquired during their frustrate his wishes, since he was a foreigner, not covered by our laws on family
of his will; and (4) death, is duly established, admitted and undisputed. cohabitation, applying Article 144 of the Civil Code of the Philippines. rights and duties, status, condition and legal capacity.[44]

Thus, as a rule, issues arising from these incidents are necessarily governed by The hasty application of Philippine law and the complete disregard of the will, Whether the will is intrinsically valid and who shall inherit from Lorenzo are issues
foreign law. already probated as duly executed in accordance with the formalities of Philippine best proved by foreign law which must be pleaded and proved. Whether the will
law, is fatal, especially in light of the factual and legal circumstances here was executed in accordance with the formalities required is answered by referring
The Civil Code clearly provides: obtaining. to Philippine law. In fact, the will was duly probated.

Art. 15. Laws relating to family rights and duties, or to the status, condition and As a guide however, the trial court should note that whatever public policy or good
legal capacity of persons are binding upon citizens of the Philippines, even though customs may be involved in our system of legitimes, Congress did not intend to
living abroad. Validity of the Foreign Divorce extend the same to the succession of foreign nationals. Congress specifically left
the amount of successional rights to the decedent's national law.[45]
Art. 16. Real property as well as personal property is subject to the law of the In Van Dorn v. Romillo, Jr.[40] we held that owing to the nationality principle
country where it is situated. embodied in Article 15 of the Civil Code, only Philippine nationals are covered by Having thus ruled, we find it unnecessary to pass upon the other issues raised.
the policy against absolute divorces, the same being considered contrary to our
However, intestate and testamentary succession, both with respect to the order of concept of public policy and morality. In the same case, the Court ruled that aliens The Fallo
succession and to the amount of successional rights and to the intrinsic validity of may obtain divorces abroad, provided they are valid according to their national
testamentary provisions, shall be regulated by the national law of the person law. WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The decision of the Court of Appeals in
whose succession is under consideration, whatever may be the nature of the CA-G. R. SP No. 17446 promulgated on July 31, 1995 is SET ASIDE.
property and regardless of the country wherein said property may be found. Citing this landmark case, the Court held in Quita v. Court of Appeals,[41] that
(emphasis ours) once proven that respondent was no longer a Filipino citizen when he obtained In lieu thereof, the Court REVERSES the decision of the Regional Trial Court and
the divorce from petitioner, the ruling in Van Dorn would become applicable and RECOGNIZES as VALID the decree of divorce granted in favor of the deceased
True, foreign laws do not prove themselves in our jurisdiction and our courts are petitioner could very well lose her right to inherit from him. Lorenzo N. Llorente by the Superior Court of the State of California in and for the
not authorized to take judicial notice of them. Like any other fact, they must be County of San Diego, made final on December 4, 1952.
alleged and proved.[37] In Pilapil v. Ibay-Somera,[42] we recognized the divorce obtained by the
respondent in his country, the Federal Republic of Germany. There, we stated that Further, the Court REMANDS the cases to the court of origin for determination of
While the substance of the foreign law was pleaded, the Court of Appeals did not divorce and its legal effects may be recognized in the Philippines insofar as the intrinsic validity of Lorenzo N. Llorentes will and determination of the parties
admit the foreign law. The Court of Appeals and the trial court called to the fore respondent is concerned in view of the nationality principle in our civil law on the successional rights allowing proof of foreign law with instructions that the trial
the renvoi doctrine, where the case was referred back to the law of the decedents status of persons. court shall proceed with all deliberate dispatch to settle the estate of the deceased
domicile, in this case, Philippine law. within the framework of the Rules of Court.
For failing to apply these doctrines, the decision of the Court of Appeals must be
We note that while the trial court stated that the law of New York was not reversed.[43] We hold that the divorce obtained by Lorenzo H. Llorente from his No costs.
sufficiently proven, in the same breath it made the categorical, albeit equally first wife Paula was valid and recognized in this jurisdiction as a matter of comity.
unproven statement that American law follows the domiciliary theory hence, Now, the effects of this divorce (as to the succession to the estate of the SO ORDERED.
Philippine law applies when determining the validity of Lorenzos will.[38] decedent) are matters best left to the determination of the trial court.
ELOISA GOITIA DE LA CAMARA, plaintiff-appellant,
First, there is no such thing as one American law. The "national law" indicated in Validity of the Will
Article 16 of the Civil Code cannot possibly apply to general American law. There vs.
is no such law governing the validity of testamentary provisions in the United The Civil Code provides:
States. Each State of the union has its own law applicable to its citizens and in JOSE CAMPOS RUEDA, defendant-appellee.
force only within the State. It can therefore refer to no other than the law of the Art. 17. The forms and solemnities of contracts, wills, and other public instruments
State of which the decedent was a resident.[39] Second, there is no showing that shall be governed by the laws of the country in which they are executed.
This is an action by the wife against her husband for support outside of the
the application of the renvoi doctrine is called for or required by New York State
conjugal domicile. From a judgment sustaining the defendant's demurrer upon the
law.
ground that the facts alleged in the complaint do not state a cause of action, Islands by royal decree on April 13, 1883 (Ebreo vs. Sichon, 4 Phil. Rep., 705). pension fixed or receiving and keeping in his own house the party who is entitled
followed by an order dismissing the case after the plaintiff declined to amend, the Articles 44, 45, and 48 of this law read: to the same, is not so absolute as to prevent cases being considered wherein,
latter appealed. either because this right would be opposed to the exercise of a preferential right
ART. 44. The spouses are obliged to be faithful to each other and to mutually or because of the existence of some justifiable cause morally opposed to the
It was urged in the first instance, and the court so held, that the defendant cannot assist each other. removal of the party enjoying the maintenance, the right of selection must be
be compelled to support the plaintiff, except in his own house, unless it be by understood as being thereby restricted.
virtue of a judicial decree granting her a divorce or separation from the defendant. ART. 45. The husband must live with and protect his wife. (The second paragraph
deals with the management of the wife's property.) Whereas the only question discussed in the case which gave rise to this appeal
The parties were legally married in the city of Manila on January 7, 1915, and was whether there was any reason to prevent the exercise of the option granted
immediately thereafter established their residence at 115 Calle San Marcelino, ART. 48. The wife must obey her husband, live with him, and follow him when he by article 149 of the Civil Code to the person obliged to furnish subsistence, to
where they lived together for about a month, when the plaintiff returned to the charges his domicile or residence. receive and maintain in his own house the one who is entitled to receive it; and
home of her parents. The pertinent allegations of the complaint are as follows: inasmuch as nothing has been alleged or discussed with regard to the parental
authority of Pedro AlcantaraCalvo, which he ha not exercised, and it having been
Notwithstanding the provisions of the foregoing paragraph, the court may for just
That the defendant, one month after he had contracted marriage with the plaintiff, set forth that the natural father simply claims his child for the purpose of thus
cause relieve her from this duty when the husband removes his residence to a
demanded of her that she perform unchaste and lascivious acts on his genital better attending to her maintenance, no action having been taken by him toward
foreign country.
organs; that the plaintiff spurned the obscene demands of the defendant and providing the support until, owing to such negligence, the mother was obliged to
refused to perform any act other than legal and valid cohabitation; that the demand it; it is seen that these circumstances, together with the fact of the
And articles 143 and 149 of the Civil Code are as follows: marriage of Pedro Alcantara, and that it would be difficult for the mother to
defendant, since that date had continually on other successive dates, made
similar lewd and indecorous demands on his wife, the plaintiff, who always maintain relations with her daughter, all constitute an impediment of such a nature
ART. 143. The following are obliged to support each other reciprocally to the as to prevent the exercise of the option in the present case, without prejudice to
spurned them, which just refusals of the plaintiff exasperated the defendant and
whole extent specified in the preceding article. such decision as may be deemed proper with regard to the other questions
induce him to maltreat her by word and deed and inflict injuries upon her lips, her
face and different parts of her body; and that, as the plaintiff was unable by any previously cited in respect to which no opinion should be expressed at this time.
means to induce the defendant to desist from his repugnant desires and cease 1. The consorts.
from maltreating her, she was obliged to leave the conjugal abode and take The above was quoted with approval in United States and De Jesus vs. Alvir (9
refuge in the home of her parents. Phil. Rep., 576), wherein the court held that the rule laid down in article 149 of the
Civil Code "is not absolute." but it is insisted that there existed a preexisting or
Marriage in this jurisdiction is a contract entered into in the manner and with the x xxxxxxxx preferential right in each of these cases which was opposed to the removal of the
solemnities established by General Orders No. 68, in so far as its civil effects are one entitled to support. It is true that in the first the person claiming the option was
concerned requiring the consent of the parties. (Garcia vs. Montague, 12 Phil. ART. (149) 49. The person obliged to give support may, at his option, satisfy it, the natural father of the child and had married a woman other than the child's
Rep., 480, citing article 1261 of Civil Code.) Upon the termination of the marriage either by paying the pension that may be fixed or by receiving and maintaining in mother, and in the second the right to support had already been established by a
ceremony, a conjugal partnership is formed between the parties. (SyJocLieng vs. his own home the person having the right to the same. final judgment in a criminal case. Notwithstanding these facts the two cases
Encarnacion, 16 Phil. Rep., 137.) To this extent a marriage partakes of the nature clearly established the proposition that the option given by article 149 of the Civil
of an ordinary contract. But it is something more than a mere contract. It is a new Code may not be exercised in any and all cases.
Article 152 of the Civil Code gives the instances when the obligation to give
relation, the rights, duties, and obligations of which rest not upon the agreement support shall cease. The failure of the wife to live with her husband is not one of
of the parties but upon the general law which defines and prescribes those rights, them. Counsel for the defendant cite, in support of their contention, the decision of the
duties, and obligations .Marriage is an institution, in the maintenance of which in supreme court of Spain, dated November 3, 1905. In this case Don Berno Comas,
its purity the public is deeply interested. It is a relation for life and the parties as a result of certain business reverses and in order no to prejudice his wife,
The above quoted provisions of the Law of Civil Marriage and the Civil Code fix
cannot terminate it at any shorter period by virtue of any contract they may conferred upon her powers to administer and dispose of her property. When she
the duties and obligations of the spouses. The spouses must be faithful to, assist,
make .The reciprocal rights arising from this relation, so long as it continues, are left him he gave her all the muniments of title, mortgage credits, notes, P10,000 in
and support each other. The husband must live with and protect his wife. The wife
such as the law determines from time to time, and none other. When the legal accounts receivable, and the key to the safe in which he kept a large amount of
must obey and live with her husband and follow him when he changes his
existence of the parties is merged into one by marriage, the new relation is jewels, thus depriving himself of all his possessions and being reduced in
domicile or residence, except when he removes to a foreign country. But the
regulated and controlled by the state or government upon principles of public consequence to want. Subsequently he instituted this civil action against his wife,
husband who is obliged to support his wife may, at his option, do so by paying her
policy for the benefit of society as well as the parties. And when the object of a who was then living in opulence, for support and the revocation of the powers
a fixed pension or by receiving and maintaining her in his own home. May the
marriage is defeated by rendering its continuance intolerable to one of the parties heretofore granted in reference to the administration and disposal of her property.
husband, on account of his conduct toward his wife, lose this option and be
and productive of no possible good to the community, relief in some way should In her answer the wife claimed that the plaintiff (her husband) was not legally in a
compelled to pay the pension? Is the rule established by article 149 of the Civil
be obtainable. With these principles to guide us, we will inquire into the status of situation to claim support and that the powers voluntarily conferred and accepted
Code absolute? The supreme court of Spain in its decision of December 5, 1903,
the law touching and governing the question under consideration. by her were bilateral and could not be canceled by the plaintiff. From a judgment
held:.
in favor of the plaintiff the defendant wife appealed to the Audencia Territorial
Articles 42 to 107 of the Civil Code are not in force in the Philippine Islands wherein, after due trial, judgment was rendered in her favor dismissing the action
That in accordance with the ruling of the supreme court of Spain in its decisions upon the merits. The plaintiff appealed to the supreme court and that high tribunal,
(Benedicto vs. De la Rama, 3 Phil .Rep., 34). Articles 44 to 78 of the Law of Civil dated May 11, 1897, November 25, 1899, and July 5, 1901, the option which
Marriage of 1870, in force in the Peninsula, were extended to the Philippine in affirming the judgment of the Audencia Territorial, said:
article 149 grants the person, obliged to furnish subsistence, between paying the
Considering that article 143, No. 1, of the Civil Code, providing that the spouses that the person responsible for this situation was his wife, as she turned him out of part of the husband to support his wife. This obligation is founded not so much on
are mutually obliged to provide each other with support, cannot but be the house. From this state of affairs it results that it is the wife who is party the express or implied terms of the contract of marriage as on the natural and
subordinate to the other provisions of said Code which regulates the family abandoned, the husband not having prosecuted any action to keep her in his legal duty of the husband; an obligation, the enforcement of which is of such vital
organization and the duties of spouses not legally separated, among which duties company and he therefore finds himself, as long as he consents to the situation, concern to the state itself that the laws will not permit him to terminate it by his
are those of their living together and mutually helping each other, as provided in under the ineluctable obligation to support his wife in fulfillment of the natural duty own wrongful acts in driving his wife to seek protection in the parental home. A
article 56 of the aforementioned code; and taking this for granted, the obligation of sanctioned in article 56 of the Code in relation with paragraph 1 of article 143. In judgment for separate maintenance is not due and payable either as damages or
the spouse who has property to furnish support to the one who has no property not so holding, the trial court, on the mistaken ground that for the fulfillment of this as a penalty; nor is it a debt in the strict legal sense of the term, but rather a
and is in need of it for subsistence, is to be understood as limited to the case duty the situation or relation of the spouses should be regulated in the manner it judgment calling for the performance of a duty made specific by the mandate of
where, in accordance with law, their separation has been decreed, either indicates, has made the errors of law assigned in the first three grounds alleged, the sovereign. This is done from necessity and with a view to preserve the public
temporarily or finally and this case, with respect to the husband, cannot occur until because the nature of the duty of affording mutual support is compatible and peace and the purity of the wife; as where the husband makes so base demands
a judgment of divorce is rendered, since, until then, if he is culpable, he is not enforcible in all situations, so long as the needy spouse does not create any illicit upon his wife and indulges in the habit of assaulting her. The pro tanto separation
deprived of the management of his wife's property and of the product of the other situation of the court above described.lawphil.net resulting from a decree for separate support is not an impeachment of that public
property belonging to the conjugal partnership; and policy by which marriage is regarded as so sacred and inviolable in its nature; it is
If we are in error as to the doctrine enunciated by the supreme court of Spain in its merely a stronger policy overruling a weaker one; and except in so far only as
Considering that, should the doctrine maintained in the appeal prevail, it would decision of November 3, 1905, and if the court did hold, as contended by counsel such separation is tolerated as a means of preserving the public peace and
allow married persons to disregard the marriage bond and separate from each for the defendant in the case under consideration, that neither spouse can be morals may be considered, it does not in any respect whatever impair the
other of their own free will, thus establishing, contrary to the legal provision compelled to support the other outside of the conjugal abode, unless it be by marriage contract or for any purpose place the wife in the situation of a feme sole.
contained in said article 56 of the Civil Code, a legal status entirely incompatible virtue of a final judgment granting the injured one a divorce or separation from the
with the nature and effects of marriage in disregard of the duties inherent therein other, still such doctrine or holding would not necessarily control in this jurisdiction The foregoing are the grounds upon which our short opinion and order for
and disturbing the unity of the family, in opposition to what the law, in conformity for the reason that the substantive law is not in every particular the same here as judgment, heretofore filed in this case, rest.
with good morals, has established; and. it is in Spain. As we have already stated, articles 42 to 107 of the Civil Code in
force in the Peninsula are not in force in the Philippine Islands. The law governing WONG WOO YIU alias NG YAO, petitioner-appellee,
Considering that, as the spouses D. Ramon Benso and Doa Adela Galindo are the duties and obligations of husband and wife in this country are articles 44 to 78
not legally separated, it is their duty to live together and afford each other help of the Law of Civil Marriage of 1870 .In Spain the complaining spouse has, under vs.
and support; and for this reason, it cannot be held that the former has need of article 105 of the Civil Code, various causes for divorce, such as adultery on the
support from his wife so that he may live apart from her without the conjugal part of the wife in every case and on the part of the husband when public scandal
HON. MARTINIANO P. VIVO, ETC., ET AL., respondents-appellants.
abode where it is his place to be, nor of her conferring power upon him to dispose or disgrace of the wife results therefrom; personal violence actually inflicted or
even of the fruits of her property in order therewith to pay the matrimonial grave insults: violence exercised by the husband toward the wife in order to force
her to change her religion; the proposal of the husband to prostitute his wife; the On June 28, 1961, the Board of Special Inquiry No. 3 rendered a decision finding
expenses and, consequently, those of his own support without need of going to
attempts of the husband or wife to corrupt their sons or to prostitute their petitioner to be legally married to Perfecto Blas and admitting her into the country
his wife; wherefore the judgment appealed from, denying the petition of D. Ramon
daughters; the connivance in their corruption or prostitution; and the as a non-quota immigrant. This decision was affirmed by the Board of
Benso for support, has not violated the articles of the Civil Code and the doctrine
condemnation of a spouse to perpetual chains or hard labor, while in this Commissioners on July 12, 1961 of which petitioner was duly informed in a letter
invoked in the assignments of error 1 and 5 of the appeal.
jurisdiction the only ground for a divorce is adultery. (Benedicto vs. De la Rama, 3 sent on the same date by the Secretary of the Board. However, on June 28, 1962,
Phil .Rep., 34, 45.) This positive and absolute doctrine was announced by this the same Board of Commissioners, but composed entirely of a new set of
From a careful reading of the case just cited and quoted from it appears quite members, rendered a new decision reversing that of the Board of Special Inquiry
clearly that the spouses separated voluntarily in accordance with an agreement court in the case just cited after an exhaustive examination of the entire subject.
Although the case was appealed to the Supreme Court of the United States and No. 3 and ordering petitioner to be excluded from the country. On August 9, 1962,
previously made. At least there are strong indications to this effect, for the court petitioner filed a motion for new trial requesting an opportunity to clarify certain
says, "should the doctrine maintained in the appeal prevail, it would allow married the judgment rendered by this court was there reversed, the reversal did not affect
in any way or weaken the doctrine in reference to adultery being the only ground points taken in the decision, but the same was denied for lack of merit.
persons to disregard the marriage bond and separate from each other of their Whereupon, on September 14, 1962, petitioner initiated the instant petition for
own free will." If this be the true basis upon which the supreme court of Spain for a divorce. And since the decision was promulgated by this court in that case in
December, 1903, no change or modification of the rule has been announced. It is, mandamus with preliminary injunction before the Court of First Instance of Manila
rested its decision, then the doctrine therein enunciated would not be controlling which incidentally was considered by it as a petition for certiorari.
in cases where one of the spouses was compelled to leave the conjugal abode by therefore, the well settled and accepted doctrine in this jurisdiction.
the other or where the husband voluntarily abandons such abode and the wife
But it is argued that to grant support in an independent suit is equivalent to In due time, respondents filed their answer, and, after the parties had submitted a
seeks to force him to furnish support. That this is true appears from the decision
granting divorce or separation, as it necessitates a determination of the question written stipulation of facts, attaching thereto some documentary evidence, the
of the same high tribunal, dated October 16, 1903. In this case the wife brought
whether the wife has a good and sufficient cause for living separate from her court a quo rendered a decision granting in, toto the relief prayed for. Thus, the
an action for support against her husband who had willfully and voluntarily
husband; and, consequently, if a court lacks power to decree a divorce, as in the court declared valid the decision rendered by the Board of Special Inquiry No. 3
abandoned the conjugal abode without any cause whatever. The supreme court,
instant case, power to grant a separate maintenance must also be lacking. The while it restrained respondents from excluding petitioner from the country.
reversing the judgment absolving the defendant upon the ground that no action
weakness of this argument lies in the assumption that the power to grant support Respondents interposed the present appeal.
for divorce, etc., had been instituted, said:
in a separate action is dependent upon a power to grant a divorce. That the one is
not dependent upon the other is apparent from the very nature of the marital It appears that in the proceedings held before the Board of Special Inquiry
In the case at bar, it has been proven that it was Don TeodoroExposito who left
obligations of the spouses. The mere act of marriage creates an obligation on the sometime in June, 1961, petitioner declared that she came to the Philippines in
the conjugal abode, although he claims, without however proving his contention,
1961 for the first time to join her husband Perfecto Blas to whom she was married
in Chingkang, China on January 15, 1929; that they had several children all of solemnized either by a judge of any court inferior to the Supreme Court, a justice decision of the Supreme Court on the last point will affect marriages
whom are not in the Philippines; that their marriage was celebrated by one Chua of the peace, or a priest or minister of the gospel of any denomination duly consummated by not less than one hundred and fifty thousand Moros who profess
Tio, a village leader; that on June 28, 1961 the Board of Special Inquiry No. 3 registered in the Philippine Library and Museum (Public Act 3412, Section 2). the Mohammedan faith, the transcendental importance of the cause can be
rendered a decision finding, among others, that petitioner is legally married to Even if we assume, therefore, that the marriage of petitioner to Perfecto Blas realized. We proposed to give to the subject the serious consideration which it
Perfecto Blas, a Filipino Citizen, and admitted her into the country as a non-quota before a village leader is valid in China, the same is not one of those authorized in deserves.
immigrant; that this decision was affirmed by the Board of Commissioners of our country.
which petitioner was duly notified by the Secretary of said Board in a letter dated
Cheong Boo, a native of China, died intestate in Zamboanga, Philippine Islands,
July 12, 1961; that in a motuproprio decision rendered by the Board of But it may be contended that under Section 4 of General orders No. 68, as
Commissioners composed of a new set of members dated June 28, 1962 the on August 5, 1919. He left property worth nearly P100,000. The estate of the
reproduced in Section 19 of Act No. 3613, which is now Article 71 of our new Civil
latter found that petitioner's claim that she is the lawful wife of Perfecto Blas was deceased was claimed, on the one hand, by Cheong Seng Gee, who alleged that
Code, a marriage contracted outside of the Philippines which is valid under the
without basis in evidence as it was "bereft of substantial proof of husband-wife law of the country in which it was celebrated is also valid in the Philippines. But no he was a legitimate child by a marriage contracted by Cheong Boo with Tan Dit in
relationship"; that said Board further held that, it appearing that in the entry validity can be given to this contention because no proof was presented relative to China in 1895. The estate was claimed, on the other hand, by the Mora Adong
proceedings of Perfecto Blas had on January 23, 1947 he declared that he first the law of marriage in China. Such being the case, we should apply the general who alleged that she had been lawfully married to Cheong Boo in 1896 in Basilan,
visited China in 1935 and married petitioner in 1936, it could not possibly sustain rule that in the absence of proof of the law of a foreign country it should be Philippine Islands, and her daughters, Payang, married to Cheng BianChay, and
her claim that she married Perfecto Blas in 1929; that in an affidavit dated August presumed that it is the same as our own. Rosalia Cheong Boo, unmarried.
9, 1962 Perfecto Blas claimed that he went to China in 1929, 1935 and 1941,
although in his re-entry declaration he admitted that he first went to China in 1935, The statutes of other countries or states must be pleaded and proved the same as The conflicting claims to the estate of Cheong Boo were ventilated in the Court of
then in 1937, then in 1939, and lastly in 1941; and that Perfecto Blas in the same any other fact. Courts cannot take judicial notice of what such laws are. In the First Instance of Zamboanga. The trial judge, the Honorable QuiricoAbeto, after
affidavit likewise claimed that he first went to China when he was merely four absence of pleading and proof the laws of a foreign country or state will be hearing the evidence presented by both sides, reached the conclusion, with
years old so that computed from his date of birth in 1908 it must have been in presumed to be the same as our own. (Yam Ka Lim v. Collector of Customs, 30 reference to the allegations of Cheong Seng Gee, that the proof did not
1912.1wph1.t Phil. 46). sufficiently establish the Chinese marriage, but that because Cheong Seng Gee
had been admitted to the Philippine Islands as the son of the deceased, he should
In view of the discrepancies found in the statements made by petitioner and her In the absence of anything to the contrary as to the character of a foreign law, it
alleged husband Perfecto Blas in the several investigations conducted by the share in the estate as a natural child. With reference to the allegations of the Mora
will be presumed to be the same as the domestic law on the same subject. (Lim Adong and her daughters Payang and Rosalia, the trial judge reached the
immigration authorities concerning their alleged marriage before a village leader and Lim vs. Collector of Customs, 36 Phil. 472).
in China in 1929, coupled with the fact that the only basis in support of petitioner's conclusion that the marriage between the Mora Adong and the deceased had
claim that she is the lawful wife of Perfecto Blas is "a mass of oral and been adequately proved but that under the laws of the Philippine Islands it could
In the absence of evidence to the contrary foreign laws on a particular subject are
documentary evidence bereft of substantial proof of husband-wife relationship," not be held to be a lawful marriage; accordingly, the daughters Payang and
presumed to be the same as those of the Philippines. (Miciano v. Brimo, 50 Phil.
the Board of Commissioners motuproprio reviewed the record concerning the Rosalia would inherit as natural children. The order of the trial judge, following
867).
admission of petitioner into the country resulting in its finding that she was these conclusions, was that there should be a partition of the property of the
improperly admitted. Thus, said Board made the following comment: deceased Cheong Boo between the natural children, Cheong Seng Gee, Payang,
Since our law only recognizes a marriage celebrated before any of the officers
mentioned therein, and a village leader is not one of them, it is clear that and Rosalia.
The only basis in support of the claim that she is the wife of Perfecto Blas is a
petitioner's marriage, even if true, cannot be recognized in this jurisdiction.
mass of oral and documentary evidence bereft of substantial proof of husband-
wife relationship. She relies on the records of Perfecto Blas in connection with his
cancellation case and the testimony of the supposed children in the previous WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is reversed. As a corollary, the petition
for mandamus filed before the court a quo is hereby dismissed. No costs. From the judgment of the Judge of First Instance both parties perfected appeals.
admission proceeding. But this claim is belied by the admission of Perfecto Blas
himself, in the hearing conducted by a Board of special inquiry in connection with As to the facts, we can say that we agree in substance with the findings of the trial
his entry on January 23, 1947, that he was married to one Ng Yo in Ki Say, IN THE MATTER OF THE ESTATE OF CHEONG BOO, deceased. court. As to the legal issues submitted for decision by the numerous assignments
Chingkang, China in 1936, his first visit there being in 1935; he could not of error, these can best be resolved under two heads, namely: (1) The validity of
therefore have been married to herein applicant in 1929. MORA ADONG, petitioner-appellant, the Chinese marriage; and (2) the validity of the Mohammedan marriage.

The above comment cannot be disputed, it finding support in the record. Indeed, vs. 1. Validity of the Chinese Marriage
not only is there no documentary evidence to support the alleged marriage of
petitioner to Perfecto Blas but the record is punctured with so many CHEONG SENG GEE, opponent-appellant. The theory advanced on behalf of the claimant Cheong Seng Gee was that
inconsistencies which cannot but lead one to doubt their veracity concerning the Cheong Boo was married in the city of Amoy, China, during the second moon of
pretended marriage in China in 1929. This claim cannot also be entertained under the twenty-first year of the Emperor Quang Su, or, according to the modern count,
our law on family relations. Thus, Article 15 of our new Civil Code provides that The two question presented for determination by these appeals may be framed as
follows: Is a marriage contracted in China and proven mainly by an alleged on February 16, 1985, to a young lady named Tan Dit. Witnesses were presented
laws relating to family rights or to the status of persons are binding upon citizens
matrimonial letter, valid in the Philippines? Are the marriage performed in the who testified to having been present at the marriage ceremony. There was also
of the Philippines, even though living abroad, and it is well-known that in 1929 in
order that a marriage celebrated in the Philippines may be valid it must be Philippines according to the rites of the Mohammedan religion valid? As the introduced in evidence a document in Chinese which in translation reads as
follows:
One hundred years of life and health for both. and the Supreme Court of the United States were called upon to decide, as to the From the marriage day until the death of Cheong Boo, twenty-three years later,
conflicting claims to the estate of a Chinese merchant, between the descendants the Chinaman and the Mora Adong cohabited as husband and wife. To them were
Your nephew, Tan Chao, respecfully answers the venerable ChiongIng, father of of an alleged Chinese marriage and the descendants of an alleged Philippine born five children, two of whom, Payang and Rosalia, are living. Both in his
the bridegroom, accepting his offer of marriage, and let this document serve as marriage. The Supreme Courts of the Philippine Islands and the United States relations with Mora Adong and with third persons during his lifetime, Cheong Boo
proof of the acceptance of said marriage which is to be celebrated during the united in holding that the Chinese marriage was not adequately proved. The legal treated Adong as his lawful wife. He admitted this relationship in several private
merry season of the flowers. I take advantage of this occasion to wish for your rule was stated by the United States Supreme Court to be this: A Philippine and public documents. Thus, when different legal documents were executed,
and the spouses much happiness, a long life, and prolific issue, as noble and marriage, followed by forty years of uninterrupted marital life, should not be including decrees of registration, Cheong Boo stated that he was married to the
great as that which you brought forth. I consider the marriage of your son Boo with impugned and discredited, after the death of the husband and administration of Mora Adong while as late as 1918, he gave written consent to the marriage of his
my sister Lit Chia as a mandate of God and I hope that they treat each other with his estate, though an alleged prior Chinese marriage, "save upon proof so clear, minor daughter, Payang.
great love and mutual courtesy and that both they and their parents be very strong, and unequivocal as to produce a moral conviction of the existence of such
happy. impediment." Another case in the same category is that of Son Cui vs. Notwithstanding the insinuation of counsel for the Chinese appellant that the
Guepangco ([1912], 22 Phil., 216). custom is prevalent among the Moros to favor in their testimony, a relative or
Given during the second moon of the twenty-first year of the reign of the Emperor friend, especially when they do not swear on the Koran to tell the truth, it seems to
Quang Su. us that proof could not be more convincing of the fact that a marriage was
contracted by the Chinaman Cheong Boo and the Mora Adong, according to the
Cheong Boo is said to have remained in China for one year and four months after In the case at bar there is no competent testimony as to what the laws of China in ceremonies of the Mohammedan religion.
his marriage during which time there was born to him and his wife a child named the Province of Amoy concerning marriage were in 1895. As in the Encarnacion
Cheong Seng Gee. Cheong Boo then left China for the Philippine Islands and case, there is lacking proof so clear, strong, and unequivocal as to produce a It is next incumbent upon us to approach the principal question which we
sometime thereafter took to himself a concubine Mora by whom he had two moral conviction of the existence of the alleged prior Chinese marriage. Substitute announced in the very beginning of this decision, namely, Are the marriages
children. In 1910, Cheong Boo was followed to the Philippines by Cheong Seng twenty-three years for forty years and the two cases are the same. performed in the Philippines according to the rites of the Mohammedan religion
Gee who, as appears from documents presented in evidence, was permitted to valid? Three sections of the Marriage Law (General Order No. 68) must be taken
land in the Philippine Islands as the son of Cheong Boo. The deceased, however, The lower court allowed the claimant, Cheong Seng Gee, the testamentary rights into consideration.
never returned to his native hearth and seems never to have corresponded with of an acknowledged natural child. This finding finds some support in Exhibit 3, the
his Chinese wife or to have had any further relations with her except once when affidavit of Cheong Boo before the American Vice-Consul at Sandakan, British Section V of the Marriage Law provides that "Marriage may be solemnized by
he sent her P10. North Borneo. But we are not called upon to make a pronouncement on the either a judge of any court inferior to the Supreme Court, justice of the peace, or
question, because the oppositor-appellant indicates silent acquiescence by priest or minister of the Gospel of any denomination . . ." Counsel, failing to take
The trial judge found, as we have said, that the proof did not sustain the allegation assigning no error. account of the word "priest," and only considering the phrase "minister of the
of the claimant Cheong SengGee, that Cheong Boo had married in China. His Gospel of any denomination" would limit the meaning of this clause to ministers of
Honor noted a strong inclination on the part of the Chinese witnesses, especially 2. Validity of the Mohammedan Marriage the Christian religion. We believe this is a strained interpretation. "Priest,"
the brother of Cheong Boo, to protect the interests of the alleged son, Cheong according to the lexicographers, means one especially consecrated to the service
Seng Gee, by overstepping the limits of truthfulness. His Honor also noted that The biographical data relating to the Philippine odyssey of the Chinaman Cheong of a divinity and considered as the medium through whom worship, prayer,
reliable witnesses stated that in the year 1895, when Cheong Boo was supposed Boo is fairly complete. He appears to have first landed on Philippine soil sometime sacrifice, or other service is to be offered to the being worshipped, and pardon,
to have been in China, he was in reality in Jolo, in the Philippine Islands. We are prior to the year 1896. At least, in the year las mentioned, we find him in Basilan, blessing, deliverance, etc., obtained by the worshipper, as a priest of Baal or of
not disposed to disturb this appreciation of fact by the trial court. The immigration Philippine Islands. There he was married to the Mora Adong according to the Jehovah; a Buddhist priest. "Minister of the Gospel" means all clergymen of every
documents only go to show the relation of parent and child existing between the ceremonies prescribed by the book on marriage of the Koran, by the denomination and faith. A "denomination" is a religious sect having a particular
deceased Cheong Boo and his son Cheong Seng Gee and do not establish the Mohammedan Iman (priest) Habubakar. That a marriage ceremony took place is name. (Haggin vs. Haggin [1892], 35 Neb., 375; In re Reinhart, 9 O. Dec., 441;
marriage between the deceased and the mother of Cheong Seng Gee. established by one of the parties to the marriage, the Mora Adong, by the Iman Hale vs. Everett [1868], 53 N. H. 9.) A Mohammedan Iman is a "priest or minister
who solemnized the marriage, and by other eyewitnesses, one of whom was the of the Gospel," and Mohammedanism is a "denomination," within the meaning of
Section IV of the Marriage Law (General Order No. 68) provides that "All father of the bride, and another, the chief of the rancheria, now a municipal the Marriage Law.
marriages contracted without these Islands, which would be valid by the laws of councilor. The groom complied with Quranic law by giving to the bride a dowry of
the country in which the same were contracted, are valid in these Islands." To P250 in money and P250 in goods. The following section of the Marriage Law, No. VI, provides that "No particular
establish a valid foreign marriage pursuant to this comity provision, it is first form for the ceremony of marriage is required, but the parties must declare, in the
necessary to prove before the courts of the Islands the existence of the foreign The religious rites began with the bride and groom seating themselves in the presence of the person solemnizing the marriage, that they take each other as
law as a question of fact, and it is then necessary to prove the alleged foreign house of the father of the bride, MarahadjaSahibil. The Iman read from the Koran. husband and wife." The law is quite correct in affirming that no precise ceremonial
marriage by convincing evidence. Then the Iman asked the parents if they had any objection to the marriage. The is indispensable requisite for the creation of the marriage contract. The two
marital act was consummated by the groom entering the woman's mosquito net. essentials of a valid marriage are capacity and consent. The latter element may
As a case directly in point is the leading one of SyJocLieng vs. Encarnacion be inferred from the ceremony performed, the acts of the parties, and habit or
([1910]), 16 Phil., 137; [1913], 228 U.S., 335). Here, the courts of the Philippines repute. In this instance, there is no question of capacity. Nor do we think there can
exist any doubt as to consent. While it is true that during the Mohammedan In view of the importance of the question, we do not desire to stop here but would customs and laws of the people at a place where such customs and laws are in
ceremony, the remarks of the priest were addressed more to the elders than to ascertain from other sources the meaning and scope of Section IX of General force, must be recognized as a valid marriage. The rule as to the Society of
the participants, it is likewise true that the Chinaman and the Mora woman did in Order No. 68. Quakers is, that they will be left to their own customs and that their marriages will
fact take each other to be husband and wife and did thereafter live together as be recognized although they use no solemnization. The rule as to Mormon
husband and wife. (Travers vs. Reinhardt [1907], 205 U.S., 423. The purpose of the government toward the Mohammedan population of the marriages is that the sealing ceremony entered into before a proper official by
Philippines has, time and again, been announced by treaty, organic law, statutory members of that Church competent to contract marriage constitutes a valid
It would be possible to leave out of view altogether the two sections of the law, and executive proclamation. The Treaty of Paris in its article X, provided that marriage.
Marriage Law which have just been quoted and discussed. The particular portion "The inhabitants of the territories over which Spain relinquishes or cedes her
of the law which, in our opinion, is controlling, is section IX, reading as follows: sovereignty shall be secured Instructions to the Philippine Commission imposed The basis of human society throughout the civilized world is that of marriage.
"No marriage heretofore solemnized before any person professing to have on every branch of the Government of the Philippine Islands the inviolable rule Marriage in this jurisdiction is not only a civil contract, but, it is a new relation, an
authority therefor shall be invalid for want of such authority or on account of any "that no law shall be made respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting institution in the maintenance of which the public is deeply interested.
informality, irregularity, or omission, if it was celebrated with the belief of the the free exercise thereof, and that the free exercise and enjoyment of religious Consequently, every intendment of the law leans toward legalizing matrimony.
parties, or either of them, that he had authority and that they have been lawfully profession and worship, without discrimination or preference, shall forever be Persons dwelling together in apparent matrimony are presumed, in the absence of
married." allowed ... That no form of religion and no minister of religion shall be forced upon any counter-presumption or evidence special to the case, to be in fact married.
any community or upon any citizen of the Islands; that, upon the other hand, no The reason is that such is the common order of society, and if the parties were not
The trial judge in construing this provision of law said that he did not believe that minister of religion shall be interfered with or molested in following his calling, and what they thus hold themselves out as being, they would be living in the constant
the legislative intention in promulgating it was to validate marriages celebrated that the separation between state and church shall be real, entire, and absolute." violation of decency and of law. A presumption established by our Code of Civil
between Mohammedans. To quote the judge: The notable state paper of President McKinley also enjoined the Commission, "to Procedure is "that a man and woman deporting themselves as husband and wife
bear in mind that the Government which they are establishing is designed . . . for have entered into a lawful contract of marriage.:" (Sec. 334, No. 28.) Semper
This provisions relates to marriages contracted by virtue of the provisions of the the happiness, peace, and prosperity of the people of the Philippine Islands" and praesumitur pro matrimonio Always presume marriage. (U. S. vs. Villafuerte
Spanish law before revolutionary authorized to solemnized marriages, and it is not that, therefore, "the measures adopted should be made to conform to their and Rabano [1905], 4 Phil., 476; Son Cui vs. Guepangco, supra; U.S. vs.
to be presumed that the legislator intended by this law to validate void marriages customs, their habits, and even their prejudices. . . . The Philippine Bill and the Memoracion and Uri [1916], 34 Phil., 633; Teter vs. Teter [1884], 101 Ind., 129.)
celebrated during the Spanish sovereignty contrary to the laws which then Jones Law reproduced the main constitutional provisions establishing religious
governed. toleration and equality. Section IX of the Marriage Law is in the nature of a curative provision intended to
safeguard society by legalizing prior marriages. We can see no substantial reason
What authority there is for this statement, we cannot conceive. To our mind, Executive and legislative policy both under Spain and the United States followed for denying to the legislative power the right to remove impediments to an
nothing could be clearer than the language used in section IX. Note for a moment in the same path. For instance, in the Treaty of April 30, 1851, entered into by the effectual marriage. If the legislative power can declare what shall be valid
the all embracing words found in this section: Captain General of the Philippines and the Sultan of Sulu, the Spanish marriages, it can render valid, marriages which, when they took place, were
Government guaranteed "with all solemnity to the Sultan and other inhabitants of against the law. Public policy should aid acts intended to validate marriages and
Sulu the free exercise of their religion, with which it will not interfere in the should retard acts intended to invalidate marriages. (Coghsen vs. Stonington
slightest way, and it will also respect their customs." (See further Decree of the [1822], 4 Conn, 209; Baity vs. Cranfill [1884], 91 N. C., 273.)
"No marriage" Could more inclusive words be found? "Heretofore solemnized" Governor-General of January 14, 1881.) For instance, Act No. 2520 of the
Could any other construction than that of retrospective force be given to this Philippine Commission, section 3, provided that "Judges of the Court of First The courts can properly incline the scales of their decisions in favors of that
phrase? "Before any person professing to have authority therefor shall be invalid Instance and justices of the peace deciding civil cases in which the parties are solution which will mot effectively promote the public policy. That is the true
for want of such authority" Could stronger language than this be invoked to Mohammedans or pagans, when such action is deemed wise, may modify the construction which will best carry legislative intention into effect. And here the
announce legislative intention? "Or on account of any informality, irregularity, or application of the law of the Philippine Islands, except laws of the United States consequences, entailed in holding that the marriage of the Mora Adong and the
omission" Could the legislative mind frame an idea which would more applicable to the Philippine Islands, taking into account local laws and customs. . . deceased Cheong Boo, in conformity with the Mohammedan religion and Moro
effectively guard the marriage relation against technicality? "If it was celebrated ." (See further Act No. 787, sec. 13 [ j]; Act No. 1283, sec. 6 [b]; Act No. 114 of the customs, was void, would be far reaching in disastrous result. The last census
with the belief of the parties, or either of them, that he had authority and that they Legislative Council amended and approved by the Philippine Commission; Cacho shows that there are at least one hundred fifty thousand Moros who have been
have been lawfully married" What was the purpose of the legislator here, if it vs. Government of the United States [1914], 28 Phil., 616.) Various responsible married according to local custom. We then have it within our power either to
was not to legalize the marriage, if it was celebrated by any person who thought officials have so oft announced the purpose of the Government not to interfere nullify or to validate all of these marriages; either to make all of the children born
that he had authority to perform the same, and if either of the parties thought that with the customs of the Moros, especially their religious customs, as to make of these unions bastards or to make them legitimate; either to proclaim immorality
they had been married? Is there any word or hint of any word which would restrict quotation of the same superfluous. or to sanction morality; either to block or to advance settled governmental policy.
the curative provisions of section IX of the Marriage Law to Christian marriages? Our duty isa obvious as the law is plain.
By what system of mental gymnastics would it be possible to evolve from such The retrospective provisions of the Philippine Marriage Law undoubtedly were
precise language the curious idea that it was restricted to marriages performed inspired by the governmental policy in the United States, with regard to the In moving toward our conclusion, we have not lost sight of the decisions of this
under the Spanish law before the revolutionary authorities? marriages of the Indians, the Quakers, and the Mormons. The rule as to Indians court in the cases of United States vs. Tubban ([1915]), 29 Phil., 434) and United
marriages is, that a marriage between two Indians entered into according to the States vs. Verzola ([1916, 33 Phil., 285). We do not, however, believe these
decisions to be controlling. In the first place, these were criminal actions and two and that ever since respondent has had the minor Maria Ching under his custody In the case of Adong vs. Cheong Seng Gee (43 Phil., 43, 49), this Court held,
Justice dissented.. In the second place, in the Tubban case, the marriage in in Malolos, Bulacan, and has restrained her at her liberty. after quoting the aforesaid provision of the former Marriage Law:
question was a tribal marriage of the Kalingas, while in the Verzola case, the
marriage had been performed during the Spanish regime by a lieutenant of the It is further alleged that respondent had been previously married in China to Gue . . . To establish a valid foreign marriage pursuant to this comity provision, it is first
Guardia Civil. In neither case, in deciding as to whether or not the accused should Min, said marriage being said to be subsisting at the time respondent married necessary to prove before the courts of the Islands the existence of the foreign
be given the benefit of the so-called unwritten law, was any consideration given to Maria Ching. Petitioner further avers that Gue Min has never been declared an law as a question of fact, and it is then necessary to prove the alleged foreign
the provisions of section IX of General Order No. 68. We are free to admit that, if absentee nor generally considered as dead and believed to be so by respondent marriage by convincing evidence.
necessary, we would unhesitatingly revoke the doctrine announced in the two at the time he married Maria Ching.
cases above mentioned. In the same case of Adong vs. Cheong Seng Gee, this Court said (p. 50):
Respondent, in his answer, among other things, asserts that on June 21, 1946, he
We regard the evidence as producing a moral conviction of the existence of the and Maria Ching alias AvelinaChing were legally married before the Justice of the In the case at bar there is no competent testimony as to what the laws of China in
Mohammedan marriage. We regard the provisions of section IX of the Marriage Peace of Plaridel, Bulacan. He has attached to his answer a certificate (Appendix the Province of Amoy concerning marriage were in 1895. As in the Encarnacion
law as validating marriages performed according to the rites of the Mohammedan 1) of the Local Civil Registrar of Plaridel, Bulacan, dated July 9, 1946, attesting case (SyJocLieng vs. Encarnacion, 16 Phil., 137; 228 U.S., 335), there is lacking
religion. the celebration of the marriage above mentioned between the parties above proof so clear, strong and unequivocal as to produce a moral conviction of the
named on June 21, 1946, and alleges that the essential requisites for such were existence of the alleged prior Chinese marriage. . . .
There are other questions presented in the various assignments of error which it marriage complied with.
is unnecessary to decide. In resume, we find the Chinese marriage not to be Again in that case the United States Supreme Court (228 U.S., 335, 338-339)
proved and that the Chinaman Cheong Seng Gee has only the rights of a natural The question to be decided is whether petitioner still retains his right to the held:
child, and we find the Mohammedan marriage to be proved and to be valid, thus custody of his minor daughter Maria Ching alias AvelinaChing.
giving to the widow and the legitimate children of this union the rights accruing to In these circumstances every presumption was in favor of the validity and good
them under the law. The fact of the civil marriage between respondent and Maria Ching having been faith of the Philippine marriage, and sound reason required that it be not
solemnized by the Justice of the Peace of Plaridel, Bulacan, on June 21, 1946, is impugned and discredited through the alleged prior marriage save upon proof so
Judgment is reversed in part, and the case shall be returned to the lower court for not disputed. Petitioner himself alleges in his petition that respondent is of legal clear, strong and unequivocal as to produce a moral conviction of the existence of
a partition of the property in accordance with this decision, and for further age, meaning 21 years or more old upon the date of the petition, November 28, that impediment. . . .
proceedings in accordance with law. Without special findings as to costs in this 1946. June 21, 1946, date of the marriage, was only 5 months and one week
instance, it is so ordered. earlier. Both man and woman were, therefore, of marriageable age under section On the other hand, the Philippine marriage between said respondent and Maria
2 of Act No. 3613. Ching before the Justice of the Peace of Plaridel, Bulacan, is undisputed. It is also
CHING HUAT, petitioner, beyond question that marriage was contracted by a man much over 16 years old
The alleged marriage of respondent to Gue Min in China has not been proven. with a girl 15 years old (Act No. 3613, section 2), neither of whom was included in
vs. There is no allegation in the petition, much less is there evidence, to show that the any of the exceptions mentioned in section 28 of the same Act; nor in those stated
said supposed marriage was performed in accordance with the laws were of in section 29 thereof for the reason that the alleged prior Chinese marriage has
CO HEONG (alias CO HONG, CO YONG), respondent. China inforce at the time of its supposed performance, nor even what those laws not been established.
were (Act No. 3613, section 19). The cited section of the existing Marriage Law
Petitioner prays for the issuance of a writ of habeas corpus directing any lawful provides: If the supposed prior Chinese marriage had been sufficiently proven, then in order
officer to take from respondent and produce before this Court the person of Maria that the subsequent Philippine marriage could be valid, it would have been
Ching alias AvelinaChing, allegedly aged 15 years, and requiring the respondent SEC. 19. Marriages performed abroad. All marriages performed outside of the necessary either (a) that the Chinese marriage should have been previously
to justify his right to the custody of said minor, and, after hearing, to award said Philippine Islands in accordance with the laws in force in the country where they annulled or dissolved: or (b) that the first wife of respondent should have been
custody to petitioner. were performed and valid there as such, shall also be valid in these Islands. absent for 7 consecutive years at the time of the second marriage without the
respondent having news of the absentee being alive; or (c) that the absentee
It is alleged in the petition, verified by petitioner's oath, among other things, that This provision is substantially the same as that contained upon the same subject should have been generally considered as dead and believed to be so by
the said minor is his legitimate daughter; that up to June 21, 1946, said minor had in the former Philippine Marriage Law, General Orders No. 68, which is as follows: respondent at the time of contracting the subsequent marriage, in either of which
been living with and had under the custody of petitioner; that respondent, taking last two cases the subsequent marriage will be valid until declared null and void
advantage of his confidential and spiritual relation with Maria Ching as her SEC. IV. All marriages contracted without these Islands, which would be valid by by a competent court, while in the first it will be valid without this limitation. (Act
godfather, persuaded and induced her by means of trick, promises and cajolery, to the laws of the country in which the same were contracted, are valid in these No. 3613, section 29 [a] and [b]; section 30 [b].) But as already adverted to, the
leave the parental home and to elope with him in the night of June 21, 1946, to Islands. complete absence of proof of the supposed former Chinese marriage makes
Plaridel, Bulacan, where they were married on the following day before the Justice sections 29 and 30 of the Marriage Law inapplicable.
of the Peace of said municipality, said Maria Ching being at the time 15 years old;
Maria Ching having been validly married on June 21, 1946, she became But this presumption should not be established over the categorical affirmation of In re estate of JOSE YAP SIONG, deceased.
emancipated on that same date (arts. 314 [1] and 315, Civil Code). This Moro Jalmani, Dumpo's father, that he did not give his consent to his daughter's
emancipation brought about the loss by the father of the parental authority that he alleged second marriage for the reason that he was not informed thereof and that, MARIA LAO and JOSE LAO, petitioners-appellees,
claims. On the other hand, by article 48 of Chapter V of the Spanish Marriage Law at all events, he would not have given it, knowing that Dumpo's first marriage was
of 1870, whose articles 44 to 78 were, and are now partly, in force in the not dissolved. vs.
Philippines (Benedicto vs. De la Rama, 3 Phil., 34), the wife has the duty, among
others, of living in her husband's company and of following him to wherever he It is an essential element of the crime of bigamy that the alleged second marriage, DEE TIM, YAP KIM TING, YAP KIM SENG, and YAP HU CHO, respondents-
transfer his domicile or residence. (Yaez de Barbuevo vs. Fuster, 29 Phil., 606, having all the essential requisites, would be valid were it not for the subsistence of appellants.
612.) the first marriage. It appearing that the marriage alleged to first been contracted
by the accused with Sabdapal, her former marriage with Hassan being It appears from the record that on the 5th day of September, 1922, Yap Siong died
undissolved, cannot be considered as such, there is no justification to hold her in the municipality of Angeles, Province of Pampanga, Philippine Islands, leaving
guilty of the crime charged in the information. a considerable amount of property to be distributed among his heirs. An
For all the foregoing considerations, we are of opinion that the petition should be, administrator was appointed to administer his estate. During the course of the
as it is hereby, dismissed, with costs to petitioner. So ordered. Wherefore, reversing the appealed judgment, the accused is acquitted of the administration and distribution of the estate there appeared the petitioners and the
charges and if she should be in detention her immediate release is ordered, with respondents, each claiming to be the legitimate heirs of Yap Siong and entitled to
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS, Plaintiff-Appellee, vs. MORA the costs of both instances de oficio. So ordered. his estate. The petitioner Maria Lao claims to be the legitimate widow of Yap
DUMPO, Defendant-Appellant. Siong, having been legally joined to him in holy wedlock on the 24th day of June,
Avancea, C.J., Malcolm, Villa-Real, Abad Santos, and Imperial, JJ., concur. 1903, in the Philippine Islands (Exhibit 1) and that Jose Lao is a legitimate child
Moro Hassan and Mora Dupo have been legally married according to the rites born of that marriage, and that they are therefore entitled, as heirs, to the estate of
and practice of the Mohammedan religion. Without this marriage being dissolved, Separate Opinions Yap Siong, deceased.
it is alleged that Dumpo contracted another marriage with Moro Sabdapal after
which the two lived together as husband and wife. Dumpo was prosecuted for and HULL, J., dissenting: Upon the other hand Dee Tim claims to be the legitimate widow of Yap Siong; that
convicted of the crime of bigamy in the Court of First Instance of Zamboanga and she and Yap Siong were joined in the holy wedlock on the 14th day of September,
sentenced to an indeterminate penalty with a maximum of eight years, and one Under section 25 of the Marriage Law Act No. 3613, "marriages between 1893, in accordance with the laws of China (Exhibits A and A-1), and that the said
day of prision mayor and minimum of two years, four months and twenty one days Mohammedans may be performed in accordance with the rites or practices of Yap Kim Ting, Yap Kim Seng, and Yap Hu Cho were her legitimate children born
of prisioncorreccional, with costs. From this judgment the accused interposed an their religion . . .," and as stated in the majority opinion we cannot take judicial of that wedlock.
appeal. The records of the case disclose that it has been established by the notice of such matters but that they are subject to proof, as is any foreign law. The
defense, without the prosecution having presented any objection nor evidence to person "learned in the law" who was presented as an expert witness for the In support of the contention of the petitioners, Maria Lao and her son Jose Lao, a
the contrary, that the alleged second marriage of the accused is null and void defense, did not know his age, but it was estimated by the judgment as fifty-four great deal of proof was presented. Exhibits 1 and 1-A, certificates of marriage,
according to Mohammedan rites on the ground that her father had not given his years. He gave his occupation as that of a fisherman and stated he had were presented to show that she had been legally married to Yap Siong. A
consent thereto. performed two marriages. He does not know how to read. He was not asked any number of other documents (Exhibits 9 to 13) were presented to show that Yap
questions as to whether there was a difference between the marriage of a young Siong had admitted that he was a married man. Exhibits 14 to 17 were presented
We formulate no general statement regarding the requisites necessary for the woman living with her parents or a woman who had been emancipated. for the purpose of proving that Yap Siong had admitted in a public document that
validity of a marriage between Moros according to Mohammedan rites. This is a Maria Lao was his wife.
fact of which no judicial notice may be taken and must be subject to proof in every In the evidence of the prosecution, it was shown that the second marriage was
particular case. In the case at bar we have the uncontradicted testimony of Tahari, solemnized by an Iman, a Mohammedan religious official, seventy years old, who The respondent Dee Tim presented a great deal of proof to show that she was the
an Iman or Mohammedan priest authorized to solemnize marriages between was living in the vicinity of the contracting parties. legitimate wife of Yap Siong, lawfully joined to him in holy wedlock in China on the
Mohammedans, to the effect that the consent of the bride's father or. in the 14th day of September, 1893. To support that contention she presented what she
absence thereof, that of the chief of the tribe to which she belongs in an There was no quotation from the Koran regarding the essentials of a marriage contended was a certificate of marriage, marked Exhibit A Exhibit A-1. She
indipensable requisite for the validity of such contracts. If the absence of this ceremony according to the Mohammedan religion, and I agree with the trial court contended that Exhibit A was positive proof of her marriage and that it complied
requisite did not make the marriage contract between Mohammedans void, it was that the evidence relied upon by the majority opinion, is not worthy of serious with the custom and practice in China with reference to marriage ceremonies. To
easy for the prosecution to show it by refuting ImanTahari's testimony inasmuch consideration. If consent were in fact necessary, it can well be presumed from the support her contention she presented a number of witnesses. Jan Peng, a
as for lack of one there were two other Imans among the State witnesses in this subsequent actions of the father of the girl. She left his house and after the Chinaman of 52 years of age, swore that he knew the forms of ceremonies of
case. It failed to do so, however, and from such failure we infer that the Iman's second ceremony lived openly with her second husband, this with her father's full marriage in China, and that Exhibit A was the ordinary and customary document
testimony for the defense is in accordance with truth. It is contended that, granting knowledge and at least tacit consent, for many months. issued to prove that the ceremony of marriage had taken place. He described in
the absolute necessity of the requisite in question, tacit compliance therewith may detail the ceremony of marriage performed in accordance with the customs and
be presumed because it does not appear that Dumpo's father has signified his I therefore believe that the sentence appealed from should be affirmed. practice in China.
opposition to this alleged marriage after he had been informed of its celebration.
Dee Tim also presented a witness, Ty Cong Ting, a Chinaman, 32 years of age whereabouts of Yap Siong during the period to which their testimony referred. wedlock; that Dee Tim and her said children were ignorant of the fact that Yap
and a lawyer, who testified concerning the laws and customs in China with Upon the contrary there is much proof in the record that Yap Siong returned to Siong had legally married Maria Lao, and that Jose Lao was born of that wedlock;
reference to the forms of marriage ceremony. He testified that he knew and was China a number of times after his first arrival here. The petitioner further presents and that they had no reason to believe, until after the death of Yap Siong, that he
well acquainted with the customs and practices of Chinamen in China with some proof to show that Yap Siong had admitted on several occasions that Dee was legally married to the petitioner herein.
reference to marriages and the manner and form in which they were celebrated, Tim was his querida and not his wife.
and the form of proof issued for the purpose of proving that a marriage ceremony (2) That Maria Lao was legally married to Yap Siong on the 24th day of June,
had been performed. He further testified that Exhibit A was the usual proof or The respondents further attempted to show that Maria Lao and Jose Lao, her son, 1903, in good faith believing that Yap Siong was not then a married man, without
certificate issued for the purpose of proving that a marriage ceremony had taken were not the legitimate wife and son of Yap Siong, by presenting Exhibits L and any knowledge or information or suspicion to the contrary; and that Jose Lao is
place. He further testified that Exhibit A was the usual and ordinary proof, or LL. Exhibit L is the baptismal certificate issued by the parish priest of the the legitimate child born of that marriage of Yap Siong and Maria Lao.
certificate, if it may be called a certificate, issued to show that a marriage municipality of Angeles, in which it is made to appear that on the 5th day of
ceremony had been performed between the persons mentioned therein. Mr. Ty January, 1904, he baptized a child named Jose Martin, a natural son of Maria In other words, we are fully convinced that a preponderance of the evidence
Cong Ting was, at the time he declared as a witness, the legal attorney of the Lao, and whose father was unknown. Exhibit LL is a certificate of birth issued by shows that both Dee Tim and Maria Lao were legally married to Yap Siong in
Chinese Consul General in the City of Manila. the secretary of the municipality of Angeles, in which it appears that Jose Martin good faith, believing that each was his sole and separate wife, living in absolute
Lao, a child, was born on the first day of January, 1904, a natural son of Maria ignorance of the fact of his double marriage. They were each married in good faith
The respondent Dee Tim presented several witnesses who confirmed her Lao. There is nothing, however, in Exhibits L or LL, which shows that Maria Lao and in ignorance of the existence of the other marriage. Yap Siong up to the time
contention that she was the legitimate wife of Yap Siong and that her three was responsible for the facts which they contain. Exhibit LL contains the of his death seems to have been successful in keeping each of his two wives
children Yap Kim Ting, Yap Kim Seng, and Yap Hu Cho were her legitimate statement that the facts therein were not obtained from Maria Lao but from one ignorant of the fact that he was married to the other.
children, born of her marriage with Yap Siong. To further sustain her contention Isabelo Lao.
she presented Exhibits B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, and J, documents in which Yap Under the foregoing facts, how must the property of Yap Siong be divided
Siong had expressly recognized his marriage to her. There is a notable conflict between Exhibits L and LL. Exhibit LL certifies that Jose between the two families? Under the Leyes de Partidas (Law 1, title 13, partida 4),
Martin Lao was born on the first day of January, 1904, while Exhibit L certifies that where two women innocently and in good faith are legally united in holy
To overcome the proof adduced by Dee Tim in support of her marriage to Yap the baptism took place on the 5th day of January, 1904, and that the child was matrimony to the same man, their children born will be regarded as legitimate
Siong, the petitioner presented Exhibits 2,3,4,5,6,7, and 8. Said exhibits are then 34 days old. It is apparent therefore that the facts stated in one or the other children and each family will be entitled to one-half of the estate of the husband
alleged letters supposed to have been written by an uncle in China of Yap Siong of said exhibits are untrue. And, moreover, when we consider the customs of the upon distribution of his estate. That provision of the Leyes de Partidas is a very
during the years 1900 to 1906, urging him to return to China for the purpose of Filipino people in their relation with the Holy Roman Catholic Apostolic Church, it humane and wise law. It justly protects those who innocently have entered into the
marrying, thus attempting to establish the fact that Yap Siong during that period is easily understood, in view of the alleged fact that Maria Lao and Yap Siong had solemn relation of marriage and their descendants. The good faith of all the
was not a married man. When we first studied the record in this case we were been joined in holy matrimony under the forms of the Protestant Church, why the parties will be presumed until the contrary is positively proved. (Article 69, Civil
inclined to give said letters great credit, but upon a further examination of the parish priest of the municipality of Angeles stated in his certificate that the father Code; Las Leyes de Matrimonio, section 96; Gaines vs. Hennen, 65 U.S., 553.)
record and a further argument by the respective parties, we are now inclined to of the child, then Jose Martin, was unknown.
believe that said letters were fabricated for the very purpose of defeating the A woman who is deceived by a man who represents himself as single and who
contention of Dee Tim. They were not identified properly by persons who had The respondents further attempted to show that Yap Siong and Maria Lao had marries him, she and her children born while the deception lasted, under the
reason to know that they were genuine in character and were actually prepared in never been joined legally in holy wedlock, by the testimony of a number of Spanish Law, are entitled to all the rights of a legitimate wife and children. The
China and sent to Yap Siong in the Philippine Islands. We are of the opinion, and witnesses to the fact that Yap Siong had on numerous occassions asserted that common law allowing none of the incidents of a true marriage to follow another
we believe that was the real opinion of the trial court, that said exhibits should not Maria Lao was his querida only. It is perhaps true that Yap Siong did on various marriage entered into during the continuance of a first, was early found to work a
be admitted as proof to sustain the fact for which they were presented. We are occasions, depending upon his interest and convenience at the particular time, great injustice upon the innocent parties to the second marriage, and specially
now persuaded that said letters are pure fabrications. state that Maria Lao was his querida and not his wife. It is also perhaps true, for upon the offspring of such second marriage. To remedy that hardship under the
the same reason, that he stated that Dee Tim was not his wife but his querida. common law and following the wise jurisprudence of Spain, both England and
The petitioner further presents two or three witnesses for the purpose of showing Evidently he was attempting to keep the information, that he was quite able to do, many of the states of the United States adopted statutes. (Glass vs. Glass, 114
that the marriage between Dee Tim and Yap Siong never took place for the until he had passed to that bourn from which none returns, and until a distribution Mass., 563; Spicer vs. Spicer, 16 Abbot's Practice [N. S.], 114; Dyer vs. Brannock,
reason that Yap Siong was in the Philippine Islands on the 14th day of September, of his large accumulated earnings among his heirs became necessary. 66 Mo., 391; Graham vs. Bennet, 2 Cal., 503; Smith vs. Smith, 1 Tex., 621 [46
1893, and that at that time he was living in the municipality of Bacolor, of the Am. Dec., 121]; Clendenning vs. Clendenning, 7 Martin [La.], 587; Patton vs.
Province of Pampanga, and that he never left that municipality. A careful reading From all of the foregoing conflicting facts, and considering all of the facts of the Cities of Philadelphia and New Orleans, 1 La. Ann., 98; Abston vs. Abston, 15 La.
of their testimony, however, does not convince us that it is altogether reliable. The record, we are forced to the conclusion that a preponderance of the evidence Ann., 137; Gaines vs. Hennen, 65 U.S., 553; Ex parte Myra Clarke Whitney, 38
testimony which they gave was given in the month of January, 1923, and they shows the following: U.S., 404; Estate of Navarro, 24 La. Ann., 298; In re Taylor, 39 La. Ann., 823.)
testified positively as to exact dates, times, and places in the year 1897. Their
testimony contains no facts, or data, or peculiar circumstances or conditions (1) That Dee Tim and Yap Siong were legally married in China in accordance with The foregoing conclusions in no way conflict with the decision of this court in the
which caused them to remember the particular facts concerning which they the laws and customs in China on the 14th day of September, 1893; that Yap Kim case of SyJocLieng vs. Encarnacion (16 Phil., 137) nor with the decision of Adong
testified. They gave no reason why they were able to remember the exact Ting, Yap Kim Seng, and Yap Hu Cho were the legitimate children born of that vs. Cheong Seng Gee (43 Phil., 43), for the reason that in each of said cases a
preponderance of the evidence showed that no legal marriage had been (3) Aida Sy-Gonzales, Manuel Sy, TeresitaSy-Bernabe and Rodolfo Sy are The instant petition, on the other hand, questions paragraphs (1) and (2) of the
performed in China, that is, that the alleged Chines wife and the deceased in each the acknowledged illegitimate offsprings of SyKiat with Asuncion Gillego [CFI dispositive portion of the decision of the Court of Appeals. This petition was
of those cases had never been legally married. decision, pp. 27-28; Rollo, pp. 64- 65.] initially denied by the Supreme Court on June 22, 1981. Upon motion of the
petitioners the Court in a resolution dated September 16, 1981 reconsidered the
Therefore the conclusion reached in the decision heretofore announced by this Decision was held in favor of the oppositors (petitioners herein) and appointed denial and decided to give due course to this petition. Herein petitioners assign
court in the present case is hereby set aside and it is hereby ordered and decreed Sze SookWah as the administratrix of the intestate estate of the deceased [CFI the following as errors:
that the judgment of the lower court be revoked and that the estate of Yap Siong decision, pp. 68-69; Rollo, pp. 105-106.]
be divided equally, one-half going to Maria Lao and her son, Jose Lao, and the I. RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS SERIOUSLY ERRED IN
other one-half to Dee Tim and her three children. And without any finding as to DECLARING THE MARRIAGE OF SY KIAT TO YAO YEE AS NOT HAVE (sic)
costs, it so ordered. BEEN PROVEN VALID IN ACCORDANCE WITH LAWS OF THE PEOPLE'S
On appeal the Court of Appeals rendered a decision modifying that of the probate REPUBLIC OF CHINA.
YAO KEE, SZE SOOK WAH, SZE LAI CHO, and SY CHUN YEN, petitioners, court, the dispositive portion of which reads:
II. RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN
vs. IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the decision of the lower Court is hereby DECLARING AIDA SY-GONZALES, MANUEL SY, TERESITA SY-BERNABE AND
MODIFIED and SET ASIDE and a new judgment rendered as follows: RODOLFO SY AS NATURAL CHILDREN OF SY KIAT WITH ASUNCION
AIDA SY-GONZALES, MANUEL SY, TERESITA SY-BERNABE, RODOLFO SY, GILLEGO. [Petition, p. 2; Rollo, p. 6.]
and HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, (1) Declaring petitioners Aida Sy-Gonzales, Manuel Sy, TeresitaSy-
Bernabe and Rodolfo Sy acknowledged natural children of the deceased SyKiat I. Petitioners argue that the marriage of SyKiat to Yao Kee in accordance
SyKiat, a Chinese national. died on January 17, 1977 in Caloocan City where he with Asuncion Gillego, an unmarried woman with whom he lived as husband and with Chinese law and custom was conclusively proven. To buttress this argument
was then residing, leaving behind real and personal properties here in the wife without benefit of marriage for many years: they rely on the following testimonial and documentary evidence.
Philippines worth P300,000.00 more or less.
(2) Declaring oppositors Sze SookWah, Sze Lai Chu and Sze Chun Yen, First, the testimony of Yao Kee summarized by the trial court as follows:
Thereafter, Aida Sy-Gonzales, Manuel Sy, TeresitaSy-Bernabe and Rodolfo Sy the acknowledged natural children of the deceased SyKiat with his Chinese wife
filed a petition for the grant of letters of administration docketed as Special Yao Kee, also known as Yui Yip, since the legality of the alleged marriage of Sy Yao Kee testified that she was married to SyKiat on January 19, 1931 in Fookien,
Proceedings Case No. C-699 of the then Court of First Instance of Rizal Branch Mat to Yao Kee in China had not been proven to be valid to the laws of the China; that she does not have a marriage certificate because the practice during
XXXIII, Caloocan City. In said petition they alleged among others that (a) they are Chinese People's Republic of China (sic); that time was for elders to agree upon the betrothal of their children, and in her
the children of the deceased with Asuncion Gillego; (b) to their knowledge Sy Mat case, her elder brother was the one who contracted or entered into [an]
died intestate; (c) they do not recognize SyKiat's marriage to Yao Kee nor the (3) Declaring the deed of sale executed by SyKiat on December 7, 1976 in agreement with the parents of her husband; that the agreement was that she and
filiation of her children to him; and, (d) they nominate Aida Sy-Gonzales for favor of Tomas Sy (Exhibit "G-1", English translation of Exhibit "G") of the Avenue Sy Mat would be married, the wedding date was set, and invitations were sent
appointment as administratrix of the intestate estate of the deceased [Record on Tractor and Diesel Parts Supply to be valid and accordingly, said property should out; that the said agreement was complied with; that she has five children with
Appeal, pp. 4-9; Rollo, p. 107.] be excluded from the estate of the deceased SyKiat; and SyKiat, but two of them died; that those who are alive are Sze SookWah, Sze Lai
Cho, and Sze Chun Yen, the eldest being Sze SookWah who is already 38 years
The petition was opposed by Yao Kee, Sze SookWah, Sze Lai Cho and Sy Yun (4) Affirming the appointment by the lower court of Sze SookWah as old; that Sze SookWah was born on November 7, 1939; that she and her
Chen who alleged that: (a) Yao Kee is the lawful wife of SyKiat whom he married judicial administratrix of the estate of the deceased. [CA decision, pp. 11-12; husband, Sy Mat, have been living in FooKien, China before he went to the
on January 19, 1931 in China; (b) the other oppositors are the legitimate children Rollo, pp. 36- 37.] Philippines on several occasions; that the practice during the time of her marriage
of the deceased with Yao Kee; and, (c) Sze SookWah is the eldest among them was a written document [is exchanged] just between the parents of the bride and
and is competent, willing and desirous to become the administratrix of the estate From said decision both parties moved for partial reconsideration, which was the parents of the groom, or any elder for that matter; that in China, the custom is
of SyKiat [Record on Appeal, pp. 12-13; Rollo, p. 107.] After hearing, the probate however denied by respondent court. They thus interposed their respective that there is a go- between, a sort of marriage broker who is known to both parties
court, finding among others that: appeals to this Court. who would talk to the parents of the bride-to-be; that if the parents of the bride-to-
be agree to have the groom-to-be their son in-law, then they agree on a date as
(1) SyKiat was legally married to Yao Kee [CFI decision, pp. 12-27; Rollo, Private respondents filed a petition with this Court docketed as G.R. No. 56045 an engagement day; that on engagement day, the parents of the groom would
pp. 49-64;] entitled "Aida Sy-Gonzales, Manuel Sy, TeresitaSy-Bernabe and Rodolfo Sy v. bring some pieces of jewelry to the parents of the bride-to-be, and then one month
Court of Appeals, Yao Kee, Sze SookWah, Sze Lai Cho and Sy Chun Yen" after that, a date would be set for the wedding, which in her case, the wedding
(2) Sze SookWah, Sze Lai Cho and Sze Chun Yen are the legitimate questioning paragraphs (3) and (4) of the dispositive portion of the Court of date to SyKiat was set on January 19, 1931; that during the wedding the
children of Yao Kee with Sy Mat [CFI decision, pp. 28-31; Rollo. pp. 65-68;] and, Appeals' decision. The Supreme Court however resolved to deny the petition and bridegroom brings with him a couch (sic) where the bride would ride and on that
the motion for reconsideration. Thus on March 8, 1982 entry of judgment was same day, the parents of the bride would give the dowry for her daughter and then
made in G.R. No. 56045. ** the document would be signed by the parties but there is no solemnizing officer as
is known in the Philippines; that during the wedding day, the document is signed
only by the parents of the bridegroom as well as by the parents of the bride; that available at the Embassy Mr. SyKiat a Chinese national and Mrs. Yao Kee alias or by his deputy, and accompanied, if the record is not kept in the Philippines, with
the parties themselves do not sign the document; that the bride would then be Yui Yip also Chinese were married on January 19, 1931 in Fukien, the People's a certificate that such officer has the custody. If the office in which the record is
placed in a carriage where she would be brought to the town of the bridegroom Republic of China" [Exhibit "5".] kept is in a foreign country, the certificate may be made by a secretary of
and before departure the bride would be covered with a sort of a veil; that upon embassy or legation, consul general, consul, vice consul, or consular agent or by
reaching the town of the bridegroom, the bridegroom takes away the veil; that These evidence may very well prove the fact of marriage between Yao Kee and any officer in the foreign service of the Philippines stationed in the foreign country
during her wedding to SyKiat (according to said Chinese custom), there were SyKiat. However, the same do not suffice to establish the validity of said marriage in which the record is kept and authenticated by the seal of his office.
many persons present; that after SyKiat opened the door of the carriage, two old in accordance with Chinese law or custom.
ladies helped her go down the carriage and brought her inside the house of Sy The Court has interpreted section 25 to include competent evidence like the
Mat; that during her wedding, Sy Chick, the eldest brother of SyKiat, signed the Custom is defined as "a rule of conduct formed by repetition of acts, uniformly testimony of a witness to prove the existence of a written foreign law [Collector of
document with her mother; that as to the whereabouts of that document, she and observed (practiced) as a social rule, legally binding and obligatory" [In the Matter Internal Revenue v. Fisher 110 Phil. 686, 700-701 (1961) citing Willamette Iron
Sy Mat were married for 46 years already and the document was left in China and of the Petition for Authority to Continue Use of the Firm Name "Ozaeta, Romulo, and Steel Works v. Muzzal, 61 Phil. 471 (1935).]
she doubt if that document can still be found now; that it was left in the possession de Leon, Mabanta and Reyes", July 30, 1979, SCRA 3, 12 citing JBL Reyes & RC
of SyKiat's family; that right now, she does not know the whereabouts of that Puno, Outline of Phil. Civil Law, Fourth Ed., Vol. 1, p. 7.] The law requires that "a In the case at bar petitioners did not present any competent evidence relative to
document because of the lapse of many years and because they left it in a certain custom must be proved as a fact, according to the rules of evidence" [Article 12, the law and custom of China on marriage. The testimonies of Yao and GanChing
place and it was already eaten by the termites; that after her wedding with SyKiat, Civil Code.] On this score the Court had occasion to state that "a local custom as cannot be considered as proof of China's law or custom on marriage not only
they lived immediately together as husband and wife, and from then on, they lived a source of right can not be considered by a court of justice unless such custom is because they are
together; that SyKiat went to the Philippines sometime in March or April in the properly established by competent evidence like any other fact" [Patriarca v.
same year they were married; that she went to the Philippines in 1970, and then Orate, 7 Phil. 390, 395 (1907).] The same evidence, if not one of a higher degree, self-serving evidence, but more importantly, there is no showing that they are
came back to China; that again she went back to the Philippines and lived with Sy should be required of a foreign custom. competent to testify on the subject matter. For failure to prove the foreign law or
Mat as husband and wife; that she begot her children with SyKiat during the custom, and consequently, the validity of the mrriage in accordance with said law
several trips by SyKiat made back to China. [CFI decision, pp. 13-15; Rollo, pp. The law on foreign marriages is provided by Article 71 of the Civil Code which or custom, the marriage between Yao Kee and SyKiat cannot be recognized in
50-52.] states that: this jurisdiction.

Second, the testimony of GanChing, a younger brother of Yao Kee who stated Art. 71. All marriages performed outside the Philippines in accordance with the Petitioners contend that contrary to the Court of Appeals' ruling they are not duty
that he was among the many people who attended the wedding of his sister with laws in force in the country where they were performed and valid there as such, bound to prove the Chinese law on marriage as judicial notice thereof had been
SyKiat and that no marriage certificate is issued by the Chinese government, a shall also be valid in this country, except bigamous, Polygamous, or incestuous taken by this Court in the case of SyJocLieng v.SyQuia [16 Phil. 137 (1910).]
document signed by the parents or elders of the parties being sufficient [CFI marriages, as determined by Philippine law. (Emphasis supplied.) ***
decision, pp. 15-16; Rollo, pp. This contention is erroneous. Well-established in this jurisdiction is the principle
Construing this provision of law the Court has held that to establish a valid foreign that Philippine courts cannot take judicial notice of foreign laws. They must be
52-53.] marriage two things must be proven, namely: (1) the existence of the foreign law alleged and proved as any other fact [Yam Ka Lim v. Collector of Customs, 30
as a question of fact; and (2) the alleged foreign marriage by convincing evidence Phil. 46, 48 (1915); Fluemer v. Hix, 54 Phil. 610 (1930).]
Third, the statements made by Asuncion Gillego when she testified before the trial [Adong v. Cheong Seng Gee, 43 Phil. 43, 49 (1922).]
court to the effect that (a) Sy Mat was married to Yao Kee according to Chinese Moreover a reading of said case would show that the party alleging the foreign
custom; and, (b) SyKiat's admission to her that he has a Chinese wife whom he In proving a foreign law the procedure is provided in the Rules of Court. With marriage presented a witness, one Li Ung Bieng, to prove that matrimonial letters
married according to Chinese custom [CFI decision, p. 17; Rollo, p. 54.] respect to an unwritten foreign law, Rule 130 section 45 states that: mutually exchanged by the contracting parties constitute the essential requisite for
a marriage to be considered duly solemnized in China. Based on his testimony,
Fourth, SyKiat's Master Card of Registered Alien issued in Caloocan City on SEC. 45. Unwritten law.The oral testimony of witnesses, skilled therein, is which as found by the Court is uniformly corroborated by authors on the subject of
October 3, 1972 where the following entries are found: "Marital statusMarried"; admissible as evidence of the unwritten law of a foreign country, as are also Chinese marriage, what was left to be decided was the issue of whether or not the
"If married give name of spousesYao Kee"; "Address-China; "Date of marriage printed and published books of reports of decisions of the courts of the foreign fact of marriage in accordance with Chinese law was duly proven [SyJocLieng v.
1931"; and "Place of marriageChina" [Exhibit "SS-1".] country, if proved to be commonly admitted in such courts. SyQuia, supra., at p. 160.]

Fifth, SyKiat's Alien Certificate of Registration issued in Manila on January 12, Proof of a written foreign law, on the other hand, is provided for under Rule 132
1968 where the following entries are likewise found: "Civil statusMarried"; and, section 25, thus:
'If married, state name and address of spouseYao KeeChingkang, China" Further, even assuming for the sake of argument that the Court has indeed taken
[Exhibit "4".] SEC. 25. Proof of public or official record.An official record or an entry therein, judicial notice of the law of China on marriage in the aforecited case, petitioners
when admissible for any purpose, may be evidenced by an official publication however have not shown any proof that the Chinese law or custom obtaining at
And lastly, the certification issued in Manila on October 28, 1977 by the Embassy thereof or by a copy attested by the officer having the legal custody of the record, the time the SyJocLieng marriage was celebrated in 1847 was still the law when
of the People's Republic of China to the effect that "according to the information
the alleged marriage of SyKiat to Yao Kee took place in 1931 or eighty-four (84) children, it appearing that at the time of their conception Yao Kee and SyKiat were Manuel Sy, TeresitaSy, and Rodolfo Sy, but to be administered by Asuncion
years later. not disqualified by any impediment to marry one another [See Art. 269, Civil Gillego during her lifetime ... [Exhibit
Code.] And they are acknowledged children of the deceased because of SyKiat's
Petitioners moreover cite the case of U.S. v. Memoracion [34 Phil. 633 (1916)] as recognition of Sze SookWah [Exhibit "3"] and its extension to Sze Lai Cho and Sy This compromise agreement constitutes a statement before a court of record by
being applicable to the instant case. They aver that the judicial pronouncement in Chun Yen who are her sisters of the full blood [See Art. 271, Civil Code.] which a child may be voluntarily acknowledged [See Art. 278, Civil Code.]
the Memoracion case, that the testimony of one of the contracting parties is
competent evidence to show the fact of marriage, holds true in this case. Private respondents on the other hand are also the deceased's acknowledged Petitioners further argue that the questions on the validity of Sy Mat's marriage to
natural children with Asuncion Gillego, a Filipina with whom he lived for twenty- Yao Kee and the paternity and filiation of the parties should have been ventilated
The Memoracion case however is not applicable to the case at bar as said case five (25) years without the benefit of marriage. They have in their favor their in the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court.
did not concern a foreign marriage and the issue posed was whether or not the father's acknowledgment, evidenced by a compromise agreement entered into by
oral testimony of a spouse is competent evidence to prove the fact of marriage in and between their parents and approved by the Court of First Instance on Specifically, petitioners rely on the following provision of Republic Act No. 5502,
a complaint for adultery. February 12, 1974 wherein SyKiat not only acknowleged them as his children by entitled "An Act Revising Rep. Act No. 3278, otherwise known as the Charter of
Asuncion Gillego but likewise made provisions for their support and future the City of Caloocan', with regard to the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court:
Accordingly, in the absence of proof of the Chinese law on marriage, it should be inheritance, thus:
presumed that it is the same as ours *** [Wong Woo Yiu v. Vivo, G.R. No. L-
21076, March 31, 1965, 13 SCRA 552, 555.] Since Yao Kee admitted in her xxx xxx xxx
testimony that there was no solemnizing officer as is known here in the The provisions of the Judiciary Act to the contrary notwithstanding, the court shall
Philippines [See Article 56, Civil Code] when her alleged marriage to Sy Mat was 2. The parties also acknowledge that they are common-law husband and have exclusive original jurisdiction to hear and decide the following cases:
celebrated [CFI decision, p. 14; Rollo, p. 51], it therefore follows that her marriage wife and that out of such relationship, which they have likewise decided to
to SyKiat, even if true, cannot be recognized in this jurisdiction [Wong Woo Yiu v. definitely and finally terminate effective immediately, they begot five children, (2) Cases involving custody, guardianship, adoption, revocation of
Vivo, supra., pp. 555-556.] namely: Aida Sy, born on May 30, 1950; Manuel Sy, born on July 1, 1953; adoption, paternity and acknowledgment;
TeresitaSy, born on January 28, 1955; Ricardo Sy now deceased, born on
II. The second issue raised by petitioners concerns the status of private December 14, 1956; and Rodolfo Sy, born on May 7, 1958. (3) Annulment of marriages, relief from marital obligations, legal
respondents. separation of spouses, and actions for support;

Respondent court found the following evidence of petitioners' filiation: (4) Proceedings brought under the provisions of title six and title seven,
3. With respect to the AVENUE TRACTOR AND DIESEL PARTS SUPPLY chapters one to three of the civil code;
(1) SyKiat's Master Card of Registered Alien where the following are ... , the parties mutually agree and covenant that
entered: "Children if any: give number of childrenFour"; and, "NameAll living With the enactment of Batas PambansaBlg. 129, otherwise known as the
in China" [Exhibit "SS-1";] (a) The stocks and merchandize and the furniture and equipments ..., shall Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980, the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Courts
be divided into two equal shares between, and distributed to, SyKiat who shall were abolished. Their functions and jurisdiction are now vested with the Regional
(2) the testimony of their mother Yao Kee who stated that she had five own Trial Courts [See Section 19 (7), B.P. Blg. 129 and Divinagracia v. Belosillo, G.R.
children with SyKiat, only three of whom are alive namely, Sze SookWah, Sze Lai No. L-47407, August 12, 1986, 143 SCRA 356, 360] hence it is no longer
Chu and Sze Chin Yan [TSN, December 12, 1977, pp. 9-11;] and, one-half of the total and the other half to Asuncion Gillego who shall transfer the necessary to pass upon the issue of jurisdiction raised by petitioners.
same to their children, namely, Aida Sy, Manuel Sy, TeresitaSy, and Rodolfo Sy.
(3) an affidavit executed on March 22,1961 by SyKiat for presentation to Moreover, even without the exactment of Batas PambansaBlg. 129 we find in
the Local Civil Registrar of Manila to support Sze SookWah's application for a (b) the business name and premises ... shall be retained by SyKiat. Rep. Act No. 5502 sec. 91-A last paragraph that:
marriage license, wherein SyKiat expressly stated that she is his daughter [Exhibit However, it shall be his obligation to give to the aforenamed children an amount of
"3".] One Thousand Pesos ( Pl,000.00 ) monthly out of the rental of the two doors of If any question involving any of the above matters should arise as an incident in
the same building now occupied by Everett Construction. any case pending in the ordinary court, said incident shall be determined in the
Likewise on the record is the testimony of Asuncion Gillego that SyKiat told her he main case.
has three daughters with his Chinese wife, two of whomSookWah and Sze Kai (5) With respect to the acquisition, during the existence of the
Choshe knows, and one adopted son [TSN, December 6,1977, pp. 87-88.] As held in the case of Divinagracia v. Rovira [G.R. No. L42615. August
common-law husband-and-wife relationship between the parties, of the real
However, as petitioners failed to establish the marriage of Yao Kee with Sy Mat estates and properties registered and/or appearing in the name of Asuncion It is true that under the aforequoted section 1 of Republic Act No. 4834 **** a case
according to the laws of China, they cannot be accorded the status of legitimate Gillego... , the parties mutually agree and covenant that the said real estates and involving paternity and acknowledgment may be ventilated as an incident in the
children but only that of acknowledged natural children. Petitioners are natural properties shall be transferred in equal shares to their children, namely, Aida Sy, intestate or testate proceeding (See Baluyot vs. Ines Luciano, L-42215, July 13,
1976). But that legal provision presupposes that such an administration was blessed with a son and a daughter, KristofferSimbortriz V. Orbecido and Lady before breach or violation thereof, bring an action in the appropriate Regional Trial
proceeding is pending or existing and has not been terminated. [at pp. 313-314.] Kimberly V. Orbecido. Court to determine any question of construction or validity arising, and for a
(Emphasis supplied.) declaration of his rights or duties, thereunder.
In 1986, Ciprianos wife left for the United States bringing along their son
The reason for ths rule is not only "to obviate the rendition of conflicting rulings on Kristoffer. A few years later, Cipriano discovered that his wife had been naturalized The requisites of a petition for declaratory relief are: (1) there must be a justiciable
the same issue by the Court of First Instance and the Juvenile and Domestic as an American citizen. controversy; (2) the controversy must be between persons whose interests are
Relations Court" [Vda. de Baluyut v. Luciano, G.R. No. L-42215, July 13, 1976, 72 adverse; (3) that the party seeking the relief has a legal interest in the
SCRA 52, 63] but more importantly to prevent multiplicity of suits. Accordingly, this Sometime in 2000, Cipriano learned from his son that his wife had obtained a controversy; and (4) that the issue is ripe for judicial determination.8
Court finds no reversible error committed by respondent court. divorce decree and then married a certain Innocent Stanley. She, Stanley and her
child by him currently live at 5566 A. Walnut Grove Avenue, San Gabriel, This case concerns the applicability of Paragraph 2 of Article 26 to a marriage
WHEREFORE, the decision of the Court of Appeals is hereby AFFIRMED. California. between two Filipino citizens where one later acquired alien citizenship, obtained
a divorce decree, and remarried while in the U.S.A. The interests of the parties
SO ORDERED. Cipriano thereafter filed with the trial court a petition for authority to remarry are also adverse, as petitioner representing the State asserts its duty to protect
invoking Paragraph 2 of Article 26 of the Family Code. No opposition was filed. the institution of marriage while respondent, a private citizen, insists on a
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, Petitioner, Finding merit in the petition, the court granted the same. The Republic, herein declaration of his capacity to remarry. Respondent, praying for relief, has legal
petitioner, through the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), sought interest in the controversy. The issue raised is also ripe for judicial determination
vs. reconsideration but it was denied. inasmuch as when respondent remarries, litigation ensues and puts into question
the validity of his second marriage.
CIPRIANO ORBECIDO III, Respondent. In this petition, the OSG raises a pure question of law:
Coming now to the substantive issue, does Paragraph 2 of Article 26 of the Family
Given a valid marriage between two Filipino citizens, where one party is later WHETHER OR NOT RESPONDENT CAN REMARRY UNDER ARTICLE 26 OF Code apply to the case of respondent? Necessarily, we must dwell on how this
naturalized as a foreign citizen and obtains a valid divorce decree capacitating THE FAMILY CODE4 provision had come about in the first place, and what was the intent of the
him or her to remarry, can the Filipino spouse likewise remarry under Philippine legislators in its enactment?
law? The OSG contends that Paragraph 2 of Article 26 of the Family Code is not
applicable to the instant case because it only applies to a valid mixed marriage; Brief Historical Background
Before us is a case of first impression that behooves the Court to make a definite that is, a marriage celebrated between a Filipino citizen and an alien. The proper
ruling on this apparently novel question, presented as a pure question of law. remedy, according to the OSG, is to file a petition for annulment or for legal On July 6, 1987, then President Corazon Aquino signed into law Executive Order
separation.5 Furthermore, the OSG argues there is no law that governs No. 209, otherwise known as the "Family Code," which took effect on August 3,
In this petition for review, the Solicitor General assails the Decision1 dated May respondents situation. The OSG posits that this is a matter of legislation and not 1988. Article 26 thereof states:
15, 2002, of the Regional Trial Court of Molave, Zamboangadel Sur, Branch 23 of judicial determination.6
and its Resolution2 dated July 4, 2002 denying the motion for reconsideration. All marriages solemnized outside the Philippines in accordance with the laws in
The court a quo had declared that herein respondent CiprianoOrbecido III is For his part, respondent admits that Article 26 is not directly applicable to his case force in the country where they were solemnized, and valid there as such, shall
capacitated to remarry. The falloof the impugned Decision reads: but insists that when his naturalized alien wife obtained a divorce decree which also be valid in this country, except those prohibited under Articles 35, 37, and 38.
capacitated her to remarry, he is likewise capacitated by operation of law pursuant
WHEREFORE, by virtue of the provision of the second paragraph of Art. 26 of the to Section 12, Article II of the Constitution.7 On July 17, 1987, shortly after the signing of the original Family Code, Executive
Family Code and by reason of the divorce decree obtained against him by his Order No. 227 was likewise signed into law, amending Articles 26, 36, and 39 of
American wife, the petitioner is given the capacity to remarry under the Philippine At the outset, we note that the petition for authority to remarry filed before the trial the Family Code. A second paragraph was added to Article 26. As so amended, it
Law. court actually constituted a petition for declaratory relief. In this connection, now provides:
Section 1, Rule 63 of the Rules of Court provides:
IT IS SO ORDERED.3 ART. 26. All marriages solemnized outside the Philippines in accordance with the
RULE 63 laws in force in the country where they were solemnized, and valid there as such,
The factual antecedents, as narrated by the trial court, are as follows. shall also be valid in this country, except those prohibited under Articles 35(1), (4),
DECLARATORY RELIEF AND SIMILAR REMEDIES (5) and (6), 36, 37 and 38.

Section 1. Who may file petitionAny person interested under a deed, will,
On May 24, 1981, CiprianoOrbecido III married Lady Myros M. Villanueva at the contract or other written instrument, or whose rights are affected by a statute,
United Church of Christ in the Philippines in Lam-an, Ozamis City. Their marriage executive order or regulation, ordinance, or other governmental regulation may,
Where a marriage between a Filipino citizen and a foreigner is validly celebrated Does the same principle apply to a case where at the time of the celebration of fate would have it, the naturalized alien wife subsequently obtained a valid divorce
and a divorce is thereafter validly obtained abroad by the alien spouse the marriage, the parties were Filipino citizens, but later on, one of them obtains a capacitating her to remarry. Clearly, the twin requisites for the application of
capacitating him or her to remarry, the Filipino spouse shall have capacity to foreign citizenship by naturalization? Paragraph 2 of Article 26 are both present in this case. Thus Cipriano, the
remarry under Philippine law. (Emphasis supplied) "divorced" Filipino spouse, should be allowed to remarry.
The jurisprudential answer lies latent in the 1998 case of Quita v. Court of
On its face, the foregoing provision does not appear to govern the situation Appeals.11 In Quita, the parties were, as in this case, Filipino citizens when they We are also unable to sustain the OSGs theory that the proper remedy of the
presented by the case at hand. It seems to apply only to cases where at the time got married. The wife became a naturalized American citizen in 1954 and Filipino spouse is to file either a petition for annulment or a petition for legal
of the celebration of the marriage, the parties are a Filipino citizen and a foreigner. obtained a divorce in the same year. The Court therein hinted, by way of obiter separation. Annulment would be a long and tedious process, and in this particular
The instant case is one where at the time the marriage was solemnized, the dictum, that a Filipino divorced by his naturalized foreign spouse is no longer case, not even feasible, considering that the marriage of the parties appears to
parties were two Filipino citizens, but later on, the wife was naturalized as an married under Philippine law and can thus remarry. have all the badges of validity. On the other hand, legal separation would not be a
American citizen and subsequently obtained a divorce granting her capacity to sufficient remedy for it would not sever the marriage tie; hence, the legally
remarry, and indeed she remarried an American citizen while residing in the Thus, taking into consideration the legislative intent and applying the rule of separated Filipino spouse would still remain married to the naturalized alien
U.S.A. reason, we hold that Paragraph 2 of Article 26 should be interpreted to include spouse.
cases involving parties who, at the time of the celebration of the marriage were
Noteworthy, in the Report of the Public Hearings9 on the Family Code, the Filipino citizens, but later on, one of them becomes naturalized as a foreign citizen However, we note that the records are bereft of competent evidence duly
Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) registered the following and obtains a divorce decree. The Filipino spouse should likewise be allowed to submitted by respondent concerning the divorce decree and the naturalization of
objections to Paragraph 2 of Article 26: remarry as if the other party were a foreigner at the time of the solemnization of respondents wife. It is settled rule that one who alleges a fact has the burden of
the marriage. To rule otherwise would be to sanction absurdity and injustice. proving it and mere allegation is not evidence.13
1. The rule is discriminatory. It discriminates against those whose spouses are Where the interpretation of a statute according to its exact and literal import would
Filipinos who divorce them abroad. These spouses who are divorced will not be lead to mischievous results or contravene the clear purpose of the legislature, it Accordingly, for his plea to prosper, respondent herein must prove his allegation
able to re-marry, while the spouses of foreigners who validly divorce them abroad should be construed according to its spirit and reason, disregarding as far as that his wife was naturalized as an American citizen. Likewise, before a foreign
can. necessary the letter of the law. A statute may therefore be extended to cases not divorce decree can be recognized by our own courts, the party pleading it must
within the literal meaning of its terms, so long as they come within its spirit or prove the divorce as a fact and demonstrate its conformity to the foreign law
intent.12 allowing it.14 Such foreign law must also be proved as our courts cannot take
judicial notice of foreign laws. Like any other fact, such laws must be alleged and
2. This is the beginning of the recognition of the validity of divorce even for Filipino If we are to give meaning to the legislative intent to avoid the absurd situation proved.15 Furthermore, respondent must also show that the divorce decree
citizens. For those whose foreign spouses validly divorce them abroad will also be where the Filipino spouse remains married to the alien spouse who, after allows his former wife to remarry as specifically required in Article 26. Otherwise,
considered to be validly divorced here and can re-marry. We propose that this be obtaining a divorce is no longer married to the Filipino spouse, then the instant there would be no evidence sufficient to declare that he is capacitated to enter
deleted and made into law only after more widespread consultation. (Emphasis case must be deemed as coming within the contemplation of Paragraph 2 of into another marriage.
supplied.) Article 26.
Nevertheless, we are unanimous in our holding that Paragraph 2 of Article 26 of
Legislative Intent In view of the foregoing, we state the twin elements for the application of the Family Code (E.O. No. 209, as amended by E.O. No. 227), should be
Paragraph 2 of Article 26 as follows: interpreted to allow a Filipino citizen, who has been divorced by a spouse who
Records of the proceedings of the Family Code deliberations showed that the had acquired foreign citizenship and remarried, also to remarry. However,
intent of Paragraph 2 of Article 26, according to Judge Alicia Sempio-Diy, a 1. There is a valid marriage that has been celebrated between a Filipino citizen considering that in the present petition there is no sufficient evidence submitted
member of the Civil Code Revision Committee, is to avoid the absurd situation and a foreigner; and and on record, we are unable to declare, based on respondents bare allegations
where the Filipino spouse remains married to the alien spouse who, after that his wife, who was naturalized as an American citizen, had obtained a divorce
obtaining a divorce, is no longer married to the Filipino spouse. 2. A valid divorce is obtained abroad by the alien spouse capacitating him or her decree and had remarried an American, that respondent is now capacitated to
to remarry. remarry. Such declaration could only be made properly upon respondents
Interestingly, Paragraph 2 of Article 26 traces its origin to the 1985 case of Van submission of the aforecited evidence in his favor.
Dorn v. Romillo, Jr.10 The Van Dorn case involved a marriage between a Filipino The reckoning point is not the citizenship of the parties at the time of the
citizen and a foreigner. The Court held therein that a divorce decree validly celebration of the marriage, but their citizenship at the time a valid divorce is ACCORDINGLY, the petition by the Republic of the Philippines is GRANTED. The
obtained by the alien spouse is valid in the Philippines, and consequently, the obtained abroad by the alien spouse capacitating the latter to remarry. assailed Decision dated May 15, 2002, and Resolution dated July 4, 2002, of the
Filipino spouse is capacitated to remarry under Philippine law. Regional Trial Court of Molave, Zamboangadel Sur, Branch 23, are hereby SET
In this case, when Ciprianos wife was naturalized as an American citizen, there ASIDE.
was still a valid marriage that has been celebrated between her and Cipriano. As
SO ORDERED.