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GR NO. 124862

DEC. 22, 1998


On May 18, 1941, Fe Quita (petitioner) and Arturo Padlan, both Filipinos, married in the Philippines.

Later on, Fe sued Antonio for divorce in San Francisco, California, USA. Fe submitted in the divorce proceedings a
private writing evidencing their agreement to live separately and to settle their conjugal properties.

On July 23, 1954, Fe obtained a final judgment of divorce. Three weeks later, she married Felix Tupaz. The marriage
also ended in divorce. Fe married a third time to Wernimont in the USA.

In 1972, Arturo died, leaving no will. Lino Javier Inciong filed a petition for issuance of letters of administration of
Arturos estate in favor of the Philippine Trust Company.

Blandina Dandan (respondent), claiming to be the surviving spouse of Arturo, and six allegedly Padlan children,
opposed the petition. Ruperto Padlan, claiming to be the sole surviving brother of Arturo also intervened.

The trial court disregarded the divorce between Fe and Arturo and invoked Tenchavez v. Escao, which held that "a
foreign divorce between Filipino citizens sought and decreed after the effectivity of the present Civil Code (Rep. Act
386) was not entitled to recognition as valid in this jurisdiction.


WON Blandina was entitled to inherit from the decedent, by alleging that Arturo and Fe were already divorced
at the time of the deceaseds death? NO.


NO. Blandina and Arturo were married in 1947 while the prior marriage of Fe and Arturo was still subsisting, resulting in
a bigamous marriage considered void from the beginning under Arts. 80 and 83 of the Civil Code. Consequently,
Blandina is not a surviving spouse that can inherit from him as this status presupposes a legitimate relationship.

Blandina stressed that the citizenship of Fe was relevant in the light of the ruling in Van Dorn v. Romillo Jr. that aliens
may obtain divorces abroad, which may be recognized in the Philippines, provided they are valid according to their

national law. Once proved that Fe was no longer a Filipino citizen at the time of their divorce, Van Dorn would become
applicable and Fe could very well lose her right to inherit from Arturo.

However, Fe answered that she was an American citizen since 1954. Significantly, the decree of divorce of Fe and
Arturo was obtained in the same year.

SC denied the petition and affirmed that 1/2 of the net hereditary estate should be granted to the Padlan children,
considering that they were acknowledged by both Arturo and Fe. As for Fe, the case was remanded to the trial court to
determine the facts regarding her citizenship during the divorce filing.