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Batch One Case Digests (case 15-28) between Mrs.

between Mrs. Harden and herein appellee, is not contrary to law, morals, good customs, public order or public
EH 502 policy.

15. In the matter of the claim for attorneys fees. Claro M Recto vs. Esperanza De Harden and Fred The last objection is based upon principles of equity,but, pursuant thereto, one who seeks equity must come with
Harden lean hands and appellants have not done so, for the circumstances surrounding the case show, to our
From: AA satisfaction,that their aforementioned agreements, ostensibly for the settlement of the differences between
husband and wife, were made for the purpose of circumventing or defeating the rights of herein appellee, under
Facts: Esperanza Harden hired Atty Claro M. Recto to represent her in a case against her husband. They agreed his above-quoted contract of services with Mrs. Harden. Indeed, having secured a judgment in her
on the following, favor,acknowledging her rights to the assets of the conjugal partnership, which turned out to be worth almost
P4,000,000 in addition to litis expensae in the sum of P175,000, it is inconceivable that Mrs. Harden would have
In lieu of a retainer fee, payment to be made monthly, during the pendency of the litigation and until the waived such rights,as well as the benefits of all orders and judgments in her favor,in consideration of the paltry
termination of the same, twenty-five (25%) percent of the total increase in allowance or pension which may be sum of $5,000 allegedly paid to herby Mr. Harden and the additional sum of $20,000 to be paid by him in
awarded to me by the court over and above the amount of P1,500.00 which I now receive monthly from installments, at the rate of $500 a month. In fact, no explanation has been given for this most unusual avowed
defendant Fred M. Harden Out of the funds of the conjugal partnership; Provided, that should the case be settlement between Mr. and Mrs. Harden. One can not even consider the possibility of a reconciliation between
terminated or an amicable settlement thereof be arrived at by the parties before the expiration of two years from the spouses, the same being inconsistent with the monetary consideration for said alleged settlement.
the date of the filing of the complaint, I shall continue to pay the said twenty-five (25%) per cent up to the end
of said period. Provided, that should the case be terminated or an amicable settlement thereof be arrived at by What is more, the records show that the relations between said spouses which were bad indeed, not only in
the parties before the expiration of two years from the date of the filing of the complaint, I shall continue to pay July, 1941, when Mrs. Harden engaged the services of the appellee, but, even, before, for Mr. and Mrs. Harden
the said twenty-five (25%) per cent up to the end of said period. were separated since 1938 had worsened considerably thereafter, as evidence by an action for divorce filed by
Mr. Harden in NewJersey, in July 1948, upon the ground of repeated acts of infidelity allegedly committed by
As full and complete satisfaction of the fees of Attorney Claro M. Recto in connection with the case above Mrs. Harden in 1940 and 1941.
referred to, and said case being for the purposes aforestated, that is, to secure an increase in the amount of
support I now receive as well as to protect and preserve my rights and interest in the properties of the conjugal 16. Pioneer Concrete v Todaro
partnership, in contemplation of divorce and of the liquidation of said partnership, I hereby agree to pay said From: PB
Attorney Claro M. Recto Twenty (20%) per cent of the value of the share and participation which I may receive in
the funds and properties of the said conjugal partnership of myself and defendant Fred M.Harden, as a result of Facts: Respondent Antonio D. Todaro (Todaro) a complaint for Sum of Money and Damages with Preliminary
the liquidation thereof either by death, divorce, judicial separation,compromise or by any means or method by Attachment against Pioneer International Limited (PIL), Pioneer Concrete Philippines, Inc. (PCPI), Pioneer
virtue of which said partnership is or may be liquidated. Philippines Holdings, Inc. (PPHI), John G. McDonald (McDonald) and Philip J. Klepzig (Klepzig).

Expenses in connection with the litigation are to be for my account, but the same may be advanced by Attorney PCPI is the company established by PIL to undertake its business of ready-mix concrete, concrete aggregates and
Claro M. Recto, to be reimbursed to him either from the money which I receive by way of support or from the quarrying operations in the Philippines. Todaro has been the managing director of Betonval Readyconcrete, Inc.
funds of the conjugal partnership. (Betonval), a company engaged in pre-mixed concrete and concrete aggregate production; he resigned from
Betonval in February 1996; in May 1996, PIL contacted Todaro and asked him if he was available to join them in
Subsequently, the Philippines was invaded by theJapanese and placed under military occupation. Then came the connection with their intention to establish a ready-mix concrete plant and other related operations in the
liberation, in the course of which the records of this case were destroyed. On October 23, 1946, said records Philippines; Todaro informed PIL of his availability and interest to join them; subsequently, PIL and Todaro came
were reconstituted at the instance of appellee herein. to an agreement wherein the former consented to engage the services of the latter as a consultant for two to
three months, after which, he would be employed as the manager of PIL's ready-mix concrete operations should
Issues: The first question for determination therein is the validity of the above-quoted contract of services, the company decide to invest in the Philippines; subsequently, PIL started its operations in the Philippines;
which the appellants assail as void, mainly, upon the ground: (1) that Mrs.Harden cannot bind the conjugal however, it refused to comply with its undertaking to employ Todaro on a permanent basis.
partnership without her husband's consent; (2) that Article 1491 of the Civil Code of thePhilippines in effect
prohibits contingent fees; (3) that the contract in question has for its purpose to secure a decree of divorce, Instead of filing an Answer, PPHI, PCPI and Klepzig separately moved to dismiss the complaint on the grounds
allegedly in violation of Articles 1305, 1352 and 1409 of the Civil Code of the Philippines; and (4) that the terms that the complaint states no cause of action, that the RTC has no jurisdiction over the subject matter of the
of said contract are harsh, inequitable and oppressive. complaint, as the same is within the jurisdiction of the NLRC, and that the complaint should be dismissed on the
basis of the doctrine of forum non conveniens.
Held: (1) The first objection has no foundation in fact, for the contract in dispute does not seek to bind the Instead of filing an Answer, PPHI, PCPI and Klepzig separately moved to dismiss the complaint on the grounds
conjugal partnership. By virtue of said contract, Mrs. Harden merely bound herself or assumed the personal that the complaint states no cause of action, that the RTC has no jurisdiction over the subject matter of the
obligation to pay, by way of contingent fees, 20% of her share in said partnership. The contract neither gives, complaint, as the same is within the jurisdiction of the NLRC, and that the complaint should be dismissed on the
nor purports to give, to the appellee any right whatsoever, personal or real, in and to her aforesaid share. The basis of the doctrine of forum non conveniens.
amount thereof is simply a basis for the computation of said fees.
Issue: Whether or not forum non conveniens is applicable
For the same reason, the second objection is, likewise, untenable. Moreover, it has already been held that
contingent fees are not prohibited in the Philippines and are impliedly sanctioned by our Cannons (No. 13) of Ruling: With respect to the applicability of the principle of forum non conveniens in the present case, this
Professional Ethics. Court's ruling in Bank of America NT & SA v. Court of Appeals is instructive, to wit:

Needless to say, there is absolutely nothing in the records before us to show that appellee herein had, in any The doctrine of forum non conveniens, literally meaning the forum is inconvenient, emerged in
manner, taken an unfair or unreasonable advantage of his client Mrs. Harden. The third objection is not borne private international law to deter the practice of global forum shopping, that is to prevent non-
out, either by the language of the contract between them, or by the intent of the parties thereto. Its purpose was resident litigants from choosing the forum or place wherein to bring their suit for malicious reasons,
not to secure a divorce, or to facilitate or promote the procurement of a divorce. It merely sought to protect the such as to secure procedural advantages, to annoy and harass the defendant, to avoid overcrowded
interest of Mrs. Harden in the conjugal partnership, during the pendency of a divorce suit she intended to file in dockets, or to select a more friendly venue. Under this doctrine, a court, in conflicts of law cases,
the United States. What is more, inasmuch as Mr. and Mrs. Harden are admittedly citizens of the United States, may refuse impositions on its jurisdiction where it is not the most "convenient" or available forum
their status and the dissolution thereof are governed pursuant toArticle 9 of the Civil Code of Spain (which was and the parties are not precluded from seeking remedies elsewhere.
in force in thePhilippines at the time of the execution of the contract inquestion) and Article 15 of the Civil Code
of the Philippines by the laws of the United States, which sanction divorce. In short, the contract of services,

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Whether a suit should be entertained or dismissed on the basis of said doctrine depends largely upon (5) submitted within 40 days after the entry of this Memorandum and
the facts of the particular case and is addressed to the sound discretion of the trial court. In the case Order an agreement binding them to satisfy any final judgment
of Communication Materials and Design, Inc. vs. Court of Appeals , this Court held that "xxx [a] rendered in favor of plaintiffs by a foreign court.
Philippine Court may assume jurisdiction over the case if it chooses to do so; provided, that the
following requisites are met: (1) that the Philippine Court is one to which the parties may Notwithstanding the dismissals that may result from this Memorandum and
conveniently resort to; (2) that the Philippine Court is in a position to make an intelligent decision as Order, in the event that the highest court of any foreign country finally
to the law and the facts; and, (3) that the Philippine Court has or is likely to have power to enforce affirms the dismissal for lack of jurisdiction of an action commenced by a
its decision." plaintiff in these actions in his home country or the country in which he was
injured, that plaintiff may return to this court and, upon proper motion, the
Moreover, this Court enunciated in Philsec. Investment Corporation vs. Court of Appeals , court will resume jurisdiction over the action as if the case had never been
that the doctrine of forum non conveniens should not be used as a ground for a motion dismissed for [forum non conveniens]
to dismiss because Sec. 1, Rule 16 of the Rules of Court does not include said doctrine as
a ground. This Court further ruled that while it is within the discretion of the trial court to abstain In accordance with the Memo (verbatim above), Navida, et al (Gen. San. Petitioners) filed a complaint in the RTC
from assuming jurisdiction on this ground, it should do so only after vital facts are of General Santos against several companies (private respondents). Note that subsequent to the RTC General
established, to determine whether special circumstances require the courts desistance; Santos case, Abella, et. al., filed a similar case before the Davao RTC alleging a similar cause of action.
and that the propriety of dismissing a case based on this principle of forum non NAVIDA, et al., prayed for the payment of damages in view of the illnesses and injuries to the reproductive
conveniens requires a factual determination, hence it is more properly considered a systems which they allegedly suffered because of their exposure to DBCP. They claimed, among others, that they
matter of defense. were exposed to this chemical during the early 1970s up to the early 1980s when they used the same in the
banana plantations where they worked at; and/or when they resided within the agricultural area where such
In the present case, the factual circumstances cited by petitioners which would allegedly justify the application chemical was used. NAVIDA, et al., claimed that their illnesses and injuries were due to the fault or negligence of
of the doctrine of forum non conveniens are matters of defense, the merits of which should properly be threshed each of the defendant companies in that they produced, sold and/or otherwise put into the stream of commerce
out during trial. DBCP-containing products. According to NAVIDA, et al., they were allowed to be exposed to the said products,
which the defendant companies knew, or ought to have known, were highly injurious to the formers health and
17. Bernabe L. Navida, et. al. v. Teodoro Judge, Shell Oil Co., Dow Chemical Co.,etc., well-being.
From: KB
The RTC of General Santos dismissed the complaints for several reasons, among them:
Facts: Consolidated petitions for review of 2 civil cases filed in different courts whose factual background and 1. It does not have jurisdiction. The substance of the cause of action as stated in the complaint
issues are closely intertwined. against the defendant foreign companies cites activity on their part which took place abroad
and had occurred outside and beyond the territorial domain of the Philippines. These acts of
Beginning 1993, a number of personal injury suits were filed in different Texas state courts by citizens of twelve defendants cited in the complaint included the manufacture of pesticides, their packaging in
foreign countries, including the Philippines. The thousands of plaintiffs sought damages for injuries they allegedly containers, their distribution through sale or other disposition, resulting in their becoming part
sustained from their exposure to dibromochloropropane (DBCP), a chemical used to kill nematodes (worms), of the stream of commerce.
while working on farms in 23 foreign countries. The cases therein that involved plaintiffs from
thePhilippines were Jorge Colindres Carcamo, et al. v. Shell Oil Co., et al. , and Juan Ramon Valdez, et al. v. Shell Accordingly, the subject matter stated in the complaint and which is uniquely particular to the
Oil Co., et al., The defendants in the consolidated cases prayed for the dismissal of all the actions under the present case, consisted of activity or course of conduct engaged in by foreign defendants
doctrine of forum non conveniens. outside Philippine territory, hence, outside and beyond the jurisdiction of Philippine Courts,
In a Memorandum and Order dated July 11, 1995, the Federal District Court conditionally granted the including the present Regional Trial Court
defendants motion to dismiss. Pertinently, the court ordered that:
2. That the tort complained is not punishable under the Philippine jurisdiction. The specific tort
Delgado, Jorge Carcamo, Valdez and Isae Carcamo will be dismissed 90 days after the asserted against defendant foreign companies in the present complaint is product liability tort.
entry of this Memorandum and Order provided that defendants and third- and fourth- When the averments in the present complaint are examined in terms of the particular
party defendants have: categories of tort recognized in the Philippine Civil Code, it becomes stark clear that such
averments describe and identify the category of specific tort known as product liability tort.
(1) participated in expedited discovery in the United States xxx; This is necessarily so, because it is the product manufactured by defendant foreign companies,
which is asserted to be the proximate cause of the damages sustained by the plaintiff workers,
(2) either waived or accepted service of process and waived any other and the liability of the defendant foreign companies, is premised on being the manufacturer of
jurisdictional defense within 40 days after the entry of this the pesticides.
Memorandum and Order in any action commenced by a plaintiff in
these actions in his home country or the country in which his injury 3. Forum non conveniens. The filing of the case in the U.S. courts divested this court of its own
occurred. Any plaintiff desiring to bring such an action will do so jurisdiction. This court takes note that the U.S. District Court did not decline jurisdiction over
within 30 days after the entry of this Memorandum and Order; the cause of action. The case was dismissed on the ground of forum non conveniens, which is
really a matter of venue. By taking cognizance of the case, the U.S. District Court has, in
(3) waived within 40 days after the entry of this Memorandum and Order essence, concurrent jurisdiction with this court over the subject matter of this case. It is
any limitations-based defense that has matured since the settled that initial acquisition of jurisdiction divests another of its own jurisdiction.
commencement of these actions in the courts of Texas;
The Davao RTC expressed that while it is true that the Federal Court of Texas allowed provisionally dismissed
(4) stipulated within 40 days after the entry of this Memorandum and their case in Texas under the condition that the highest court of their (RP) country will take cognizance of the
Order that any discovery conducted during the pendency of these case. Otherwise, Texas will take jurisdiction. However, Davao RTC gave the following reasons for dismissing the
actions may be used in any foreign proceeding to the same extent as Abella, et. al. petition, to wit:
if it had been conducted in proceedings initiated there; and 1. The Philippines should be an inconvenient forum to file this kind of damage suit against
foreign companies since the causes of action alleged in the petition do not exist under
Philippine laws. There has been no decided case in Philippine Jurisprudence awarding to those

CONFLICT OF LAWS CASE DIGEST (2016-2017) 2


adversely affected by DBCP. This means there is no available evidence which will prove and their claims for damages. Third, the testimonial and documentary evidence from important witnesses, such as
disprove the relation between sterility and DBCP. doctors, co-workers, family members and other members of the community, would be easier to gather in the
Philippines. Considering the great number of plaintiff claimants involved in this case, it is not far-fetched to
2. Retired Supreme Court Justice Abraham Sarmiento opined that while a class suit is allowed in assume that voluminous records are involved in the presentation of evidence to support the claim of plaintiff
the Philippines the device has been employed strictly. Mass sterility will not qualify as a class claimants. Thus, these additional factors, coupled with the fact that the alleged cause of action of NAVIDA, et al.,
suit injury within the contemplation of Philippine statute. and ABELLA, et al., against the defendant companies for damages occurred in the Philippines, demonstrate that,
apart from the RTC of General Santos City and the RTC of Davao City having jurisdiction over the subject matter
3. Retired High Court Justice Rodolfo Nocom stated that there is simply an absence of doctrine in the instant civil cases, they are, indeed, the convenient fora for trying these cases.
here that permits these causes to be heard. No product liability ever filed or tried here.
Thus, these allegations in the complaints constitute the cause of action of plaintiff claimants a quasi-delict, which
In essence, NAVIDA, et al., and ABELLA, et al., argue that the allegedly tortious acts and/or omissions of under the Civil Code is defined as an act, or omission which causes damage to another, there being fault or
defendant companies occurred within Philippine territory. Specifically, the use of and exposure to DBCP that was negligence. To be precise, Article 2176 of the Civil Code provides:
manufactured, distributed or otherwise put into the stream of commerce by defendant companies happened in
the Philippines. Said fact allegedly constitutes reasonable basis for our courts to assume jurisdiction over the Article 2176. Whoever by act or omission causes damage to another, there being fault or negligence,
case. Furthermore, NAVIDA, et al., and ABELLA, et al., assert that the provisions of Chapter 2 of the Preliminary is obliged to pay for the damage done. Such fault or negligence, if there is no pre-existing
Title of the Civil Code, as well as Article 2176 thereof, are broad enough to cover their claim for damages. Thus, contractual relation between the parties, is called a quasi-delict and is governed by the provisions of
NAVIDA, et al., and ABELLA, et al., pray that the respective rulings of the RTC of General Santos City and the this Chapter.
RTC of Davao City in Civil Case Nos. 5617 and 24,251-96 be reversed and that the said cases be remanded to the
courts a quo for further proceedings. As specifically enumerated in the amended complaints, NAVIDA, et al., and ABELLA, et al., point to the acts
CHIQUITA (one of the plaintiffs in one of the consolidated cases) avers that the pertinent matter is the place of and/or omissions of the defendant companies in manufacturing, producing, selling, using, and/or otherwise
the alleged exposure to DBCP, not the place of manufacture, packaging, distribution, sale, etc., of the said putting into the stream of commerce, nematocides which contain DBCP, without informing the users of its
chemical. This is in consonance with the lex loci delicti commisi theory in determining the situs of a tort, which hazardous effects on health and/or without instructions on its proper use and application.
states that the law of the place where the alleged wrong was committed will govern the action. CHIQUITA and
the other defendant companies also submitted themselves to the jurisdiction of the RTC by making voluntary 18. Kazuhiro Hazegawa & Nippon vs. Kitamura
appearances and seeking for affirmative reliefs during the course of the proceedings. From: BB

Issues: FACTS: Nippon Engineering Consultants (Nippon), a Japanese consultancy firm providing technical and
The primary issue in the case is whether Philippine courts have jurisdiction on the basis that the tortious acts management support in the infrastructure projects of foreign governments, entered into an Independent
occurred in the Philippines. Contractor Agreement (ICA) with respondent Minoru Kitamura, a Japanese national permanently residing in the
Philippines. The agreement provides that respondent was to extend professional services to Nippon for a year
Held: Yes, primarily on the basis that the cause of action is not criminal, but civil in nature. Note starting on April 1, 1999. Nippon then assigned respondent to work as the project manager of the Southern
also the discussion on convenient forum. Tagalog Access Road (STAR) Project in the Philippines, following the companys consultancy contract with the
Conflict of Laws; Civil Actions; Jurisdiction falls where acts occurred Philippine Government. When the STAR project was near completion, DPWH engaged the consultancy services of
Nippon, this time for the detailed engineering & construction supervision of the Bongabon-Baler Road
Certainly, the cases below are not criminal cases where territoriality, or the situs of the act complained of, would Improvement (BBRI) Project. Kitamaru was named as the project manger in the contract.
be determinative of jurisdiction and venue for trial of cases. In personal civil actions, such as claims for payment
of damages, the Rules of Court allow the action to be commenced and tried in the appropriate court, where any Hasegawa, Nippons general manager for its International Division, informed Kitamaru that the company had no
of the plaintiffs or defendants resides, or in the case of a non-resident defendant, where he may be found, at the more intention of automatically renewing his ICA. His services would be engaged by the company only up to the
election of the plaintiff. substantial completion of the STAR Project.

Moreover, the injuries and illnesses, which NAVIDA, et al., and ABELLA, et al., allegedly suffered resulted from Kitamaru demanded that he be assigned to the BBRI project. Nippon insisted that Kitamarus contract was for a
their exposure to DBCP while they were employed in the banana plantations located in the Philippines or while fixed term that had expired. Kitamaru then filed for specific performance & damages w/ the RTC of Lipa City.
they were residing within the agricultural areas also located in the Philippines. The factual allegations in the Nippon filed a MTD.
Amended Joint-Complaints all point to their cause of action, which undeniably occurred in the Philippines. The
RTC of General Santos City and the RTC of Davao City obviously have reasonable basis to assume jurisdiction Nippons contention: The ICA had been perfected in Japan & executed by & between Japanese nationals. Thus,
over the cases. the RTC of Lipa City has no jurisdiction. The claim for improper pre-termination of Kitamarus ICA could only be
heard & ventilated in the proper courts of Japan following the principles of lex loci celebrationis & lex contractus.
It is, therefore, error on the part of the courts a quo when they dismissed the cases on the ground of lack of
jurisdiction on the mistaken assumption that the cause of action narrated by NAVIDA, et al., and ABELLA, et al., The RTC denied the motion to dismiss. The CA ruled hat the principle of lex loci celebrationis was not applicable
took place abroad and had occurred outside and beyond the territorial boundaries of the Philippines, i.e., the to the case, because nowhere in the pleadings was the validity of the written agreement put in issue. It held that
manufacture of the pesticides, their packaging in containers, their distribution through sale or other disposition, the RTC was correct in applying the principle of lex loci solutionis.
resulting in their becoming part of the stream of commerce, and, hence, outside the jurisdiction of the RTCs.
ISSUE: Whether or not the subject matter jurisdiction of Philippine courts in civil cases for specific performance
Quite evidently, the allegations in the Amended Joint-Complaints of NAVIDA, et al., and ABELLA, et al., attribute & damages involving contracts executed outside the country by foreign nationals may be assailed on the
to defendant companies certain acts and/or omissions which led to their exposure to nematocides containing the principles of lex loci celebrationis, lex contractus, the state of the most significant relationship rule, or forum
chemical DBCP. According to NAVIDA, et al., and ABELLA, et al., such exposure to the said chemical caused ill non conveniens.
effects, injuries and illnesses, specifically to their reproductive system.
HELD: No.
Civil Law; Quasi-Delicts; Convenient Forum
In a very real sense, most of the evidence required to prove the claims of NAVIDA, et al., and ABELLA, et al., are To elucidate, in the judicial resolution of conflicts problems, three consecutive phases are involved: jurisdiction,
available only in the Philippines. First, plaintiff claimants are all residents of the Philippines, either in General choice of law, and recognition and enforcement of judgments. Corresponding to these phases are the following
Santos City or in Davao City. Second, the specific areas where they were allegedly exposed to the chemical DBCP questions: (1) Where can or should litigation be initiated? (2) Which law will the court apply? and (3) Where can
are within the territorial jurisdiction of the courts a quo wherein NAVIDA, et al., and ABELLA, et al., initially filed the resulting judgment be enforced?

CONFLICT OF LAWS CASE DIGEST (2016-2017) 3


doctrine depends largely upon the facts of the particular case and is addressed to the sound discretion of the trial
Analytically, jurisdiction and choice of law are two distinct concepts. Jurisdiction considers whether it is fair to court. In this case, the RTC decided to assume jurisdiction. Third, the propriety of dismissing a case based on this
cause a defendant to travel to this state; choice of law asks the further question whether the application of a principle requires a factual determination; hence, this conflicts principle is more properly considered a matter of
substantive law which will determine the merits of the case is fair to both parties. The power to exercise defense.
jurisdiction does not automatically give a state constitutional authority to apply forum law. While jurisdiction and
the choice of the lex fori will often coincide, the minimum contacts for one do not always provide the necessary Accordingly, since the RTC is vested by law with the power to entertain and hear the civil case filed by
significant contacts for the other. The question of whether the law of a state can be applied to a transaction is respondent and the grounds raised by petitioners to assail that jurisdiction are inappropriate, the trial and
different from the question of whether the courts of that state have jurisdiction to enter a judgment. appellate courts correctly denied the petitioners motion to dismiss.

In this case, only the first phase is at issuejurisdiction. Jurisdiction, however, has various aspects. For a court to WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition for review on certiorari is DENIED.
validly exercise its power to adjudicate a controversy, it must have jurisdiction over the plaintiff or the petitioner, SO ORDERED.
over the defendant or the respondent, over the subject matter, over the issues of the case and, in cases
involving property, over the res or the thing which is the subject of the litigation. In assailing the trial courts
jurisdiction herein, petitioners are actually referring to subject matter jurisdiction.

Jurisdiction over the subject matter in a judicial proceeding is conferred by the sovereign authority which 19. Manufacturers Hanover Trust Co vs Guerrero
establishes and organizes the court. It is given only by law and in the manner prescribed by law. It is further From: AC
determined by the allegations of the complaint irrespective of whether the plaintiff is entitled to all or some of the
claims asserted therein. To succeed in its motion for the dismissal of an action for lack of jurisdiction over the Facts: On May 17, 1994, respondent Rafael Ma. Guerrero (Guerrero for brevity) filed a complaint for damages
subject matter of the claim, the movant must show that the court or tribunal cannot act on the matter submitted against petitioner Manufacturers Hanover Trust Co. and/or Chemical Bank (the Bank for brevity) with the
to it because no law grants it the power to adjudicate the claims. Regional Trial Court of Manila (RTC for brevity). Guerrero sought payment of damages allegedly for (1) illegally
In the instant case, petitioners, in their motion to dismiss, do not claim that the trial court is not properly vested withheld taxes charged against interests on his checking account with the Bank; (2) a returned check worth
by law with jurisdiction to hear the subject controversy for, indeed, Civil Case No. 00-0264 for specific US$18,000.00 due to signature verification problems; and (3) unauthorized conversion of his account. Guerrero
performance and damages is one not capable of pecuniary estimation and is properly cognizable by the RTC of amended his complaint on April 18, 1995.
Lipa City. What they rather raise as grounds to question subject matter jurisdiction are the principles of lex loci
celebrationis and lex contractus, and the state of the most significant relationship rule. On September 1, 1995, the Bank filed its Answer alleging, inter alia, that by stipulation Guerreros account is
governed by New York law and this law does not permit any of Guerreros claims except actual damages. That the
The Court finds the invocation of these grounds unsound. stipulated foreign law bars the claims for consequential, moral, temperate, nominal and exemplary damages and
attorneys fees. Subsequently, the Bank filed a Motion for Partial Summary Judgment seeking the dismissal of
Lex loci celebrationis relates to the law of the place of the ceremony or the law of the place where a contract is Guerreros claims for consequential, nominal, temperate, moral and exemplary damages as well as attorneys fees
made. The doctrine of lex contractus or lex loci contractus means the law of the place where a contract is on the same ground alleged in its Answer. The affidavit of Alyssa Walden, a New York attorney, stated that
executed or to be performed. It controls the nature, construction, and validity of the contract and it may pertain Guerreros New York bank account stipulated that the governing law is New York law and that this law bars all of
to the law voluntarily agreed upon by the parties or the law intended by them either expressly or implicitly. Under Guerreros claims except actual damages. The Philippine Consular Office in New York authenticated the Walden
the state of the most significant relationship rule, to ascertain what state law to apply to a dispute, the court affidavit.
should determine which state has the most substantial connection to the occurrence and the parties. In a case
involving a contract, the court should consider where the contract was made, was negotiated, was to be Issue: Whether or not the affidavit, which proves foreign law as a fact, is hearsay and thereby cannot serve as
performed, and the domicile, place of business, or place of incorporation of the parties. This rule takes into proof of the new york law relied upon by petitioners in their motion for summary judgment?
account several contacts and evaluates them according to their relative importance with respect to the particular
issue to be resolved. Held: The petition is devoid of merit.
A perusal of the parties respective pleadings would show that there are genuine issues of fact that necessitate
Since these three principles in conflict of laws make reference to the law applicable to a dispute, they are rules formal trial. Guerreros complaint before the RTC contains a statement of the ultimate facts on which he relies for
proper for the second phase, the choice of law. They determine which states law is to be applied in resolving the his claim for damages.
substantive issues of a conflicts problem. Necessarily, as the only issue in this case is that of jurisdiction, choice-
of-law rules are not only inapplicable but also not yet called for. There can be no summary judgment where questions of fact are in issue or where material allegations of the
pleadings are in dispute. [7] The resolution of whether a foreign law allows only the recovery of actual damages is
Further, petitioners premature invocation of choice-of-law rules is exposed by the fact that they have not yet a question of fact as far as the trial court is concerned since foreign laws do not prove themselves in our courts.
pointed out any conflict between the laws of Japan and ours. Before determining which law should apply, first [8]
Foreign laws are not a matter of judicial notice. [9] Like any other fact, they must be alleged and
there should exist a conflict of laws situation requiring the application of the conflict of laws rules. Also, when the proven. Certainly, the conflicting allegations as to whether New York law or Philippine law applies to Guerreros
law of a foreign country is invoked to provide the proper rules for the solution of a case, the existence of such claims present a clear dispute on material allegations which can be resolved only by a trial on the merits.
law must be pleaded and proved. Under Section 24 of Rule 132, how to allege and prove foreign laws.

It should be noted that when a conflicts case, one involving a foreign element, is brought before a court or 20. CATALAN V. CATALAN G. R. No. 183622 February 8, 2012
administrative agency, there are three alternatives open to the latter in disposing of it: (1) dismiss the case, From: DC
either because of lack of jurisdiction or refusal to assume jurisdiction over the case; (2) assume jurisdiction over
the case and apply the internal law of the forum; or (3) assume jurisdiction over the case and take into account FACTS: Orlando B. Catalan was a naturalized American citizen. After allegedly obtaining a divorce in the United
or apply the law of some other State or States. The courts power to hear cases and controversies is derived from States from his first wife, Felicitas Amor, he contracted a second marriage with petitioner herein. On 18
the Constitution and the laws. While it may choose to recognize laws of foreign nations, the court is not limited November 2004, Orlando died intestate in the Philippines.
by foreign sovereign law short of treaties or other formal agreements, even in matters regarding rights provided
by foreign sovereigns. Thereafter, petitioner filed with the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Dagupan City a Petition for the issuance of
letters of administration for her appointment as administratrix of the intestate estate of Orlando. The case was
Neither can the other ground raised, forum non conveniens, be used to deprive the trial court of its jurisdiction docketed as Special Proceedings (Spec. Proc.) No. 228. On 3 March 2005, while Spec. Proc. No. 228 was
herein. First, it is not a proper basis for a motion to dismiss because Section 1, Rule 16 of the Rules of Court does pending, respondent Louella A. Catalan-Lee, one of the children of Orlando from his first marriage, filed a similar
not include it as a ground. Second, whether a suit should be entertained or dismissed on the basis of the said

CONFLICT OF LAWS CASE DIGEST (2016-2017) 4


petition. Petitioner prayed for the dismissal of Spec. Proc. No. 232 on the ground of litis pendentia, considering having legal custody of the document. If the record is not kept in the Philippines, such copy must be (a)
that Spec. Proc. No. 228 covering the same estate was already pending. accompanied by a certificate issued by the proper diplomatic or consular officer in the Philippine foreign service
stationed in the foreign country in which the record is kept and (b) authenticated by the seal of his office.
On the other hand, respondent alleged that petitioner was not considered an interested person qualified to file a
petition for the issuance of letters of administration of the estate of Orlando. In support of her contention, The divorce decree between respondent and Editha Samson appears to be an authentic one issued by an
respondent alleged that a criminal case for bigamy was filed against petitioner before Branch 54 of the RTC of Australian family court. However, appearance is not sufficient; compliance with the aforementioned rules on
Alaminos, Pangasinan. Apparently, Felicitas Amor filed a Complaint for bigamy, alleging that petitioner contracted evidence must be demonstrated.
a second marriage to Orlando despite having been married to one Eusebio Bristol on 12 December 1959.
Compliance with the quoted articles (11, 13 and 52) of the Family Code is not necessary; respondent was no
RTC had acquitted petitioner of bigamy. The trial court ruled that since the deceased was a divorced American longer bound by Philippine personal laws after he acquired Australian citizenship in 1992. Naturalization is the
citizen, and since that divorce was not recognized under Philippine jurisdiction, the marriage between him and legal act of adopting an alien and clothing him with the political and civil rights belonging to a citizen. Naturalized
petitioner was not valid. citizens, freed from the protective cloak of their former states, don the attires of their adoptive countries. By
becoming an Australian, respondent severed his allegiance to the Philippines and the vinculum juris that had tied
Furthermore, it took note of the action for declaration of nullity then pending action with the trial court in him to Philippine personal laws.
Dagupan City filed by Felicitas Amor against the deceased and petitioner. It considered the pending action to be
a prejudicial question in determining the guilt of petitioner for the crime of bigamy. Burden of Proving Australian Law
Respondent contends that the burden to prove Australian divorce law falls upon petitioner, because she is the
CA promulgated the assailed Decision that the petitioner, armed with a marriage certificate, filed her petition for party challenging the validity of a foreign judgment. He contends that petitioner was satisfied with the original of
letters of administration. As a spouse, the petitioner would have been preferred to administer the estate of the divorce decree and was cognizant of the marital laws of Australia, because she had lived and worked in that
Orlando B. Catalan. However, a marriage certificate, like any other public document, is only prima facie evidence country for quite a long time. Besides, the Australian divorce law is allegedly known by Philippine courts; thus,
of the facts stated therein. The fact that the petitioner had been charged with bigamy and was acquitted has not judges may take judicial notice of foreign laws in the exercise of sound discretion.
been disputed by the petitioner. Bigamy is an illegal marriage committed by contracting a second or subsequent
marriage before the first marriage has been dissolved or before the absent spouse has been declared We are not persuaded. The burden of proof lies with the party who alleges the existence of a fact or thing
presumptively dead by a judgment rendered in a proper proceedings. The deduction of the trial court that the necessary in the prosecution or defense of an action. In civil cases, plaintiffs have the burden of proving the
acquittal of the petitioner in the said case negates the validity of her subsequent marriage with Orlando B. material allegations of the complaint when those are denied by the answer; and defendants have the burden of
Catalan has not been disproved by her. There was not even an attempt from the petitioner to deny the findings proving the material allegations in their answer when they introduce new matters. Since the divorce was a
of the trial court. There is therefore no basis for us to make a contrary finding. Thus, not being an interested defense raised by respondent, the burden of proving the pertinent Australian law validating it falls squarely upon
party and a stranger to the estate of Orlando B. Catalan, the dismissal of her petition for letters of administration him.
by the trial court is in place.
It is well-settled in our jurisdiction that our courts cannot take judicial notice of foreign laws. Like any other facts,
Petitioner moved for a reconsideration of this Decision. She alleged that the reasoning of the CA was illogical in they must be alleged and proved. Australian marital laws are not among those matters that judges are supposed
stating, on the one hand, that she was acquitted of bigamy, while, on the other hand, still holding that her to know by reason of their judicial function. The power of judicial notice must be exercised with caution, and
marriage with Orlando was invalid. She insists that with her acquittal of the crime of bigamy, the marriage enjoys every reasonable doubt upon the subject should be resolved in the negative. (Emphasis supplied)
the presumption of validity
In the present case, It appears that the trial court no longer required petitioner to prove the validity of Orlando's
ISSUE: Whether or not Petitioner has proven her divorce with Eusebio Bristol allowing her to validly marry the divorce under the laws of the United States and the marriage between petitioner and the deceased. Thus, there
deceased. is a need to remand the proceedings to the trial court for further reception of evidence to establish the fact of
divorce.
HELD: The trial court concluded that, because petitioner was acquitted of bigamy, it follows that the first
marriage with Bristol still existed and was valid. By failing to take note of the findings of fact on the nonexistence Should petitioner prove the validity of the divorce and the subsequent marriage, she has the preferential right to
of the marriage between petitioner and Bristol, both the RTC and CA held that petitioner was not an interested be issued the letters of administration over the estate. Otherwise, letters of administration may be issued to
party in the estate of Orlando. respondent, who is undisputedly the daughter or next of kin of the deceased, in accordance with Sec. 6 of Rule
78 of the Revised Rules of Court.
It is imperative to note that at the time the bigamy case in Crim. Case No. 2699-A was dismissed, we had already
ruled that under the principles of comity, our jurisdiction recognizes a valid divorce obtained by a spouse of Thus, it is imperative for the trial court to first determine the validity of the divorce to ascertain the rightful party
foreign nationality. This doctrine was established as early as 1985 in Van Dorn v. Romillo, Jr. wherein we said: to be issued the letters of administration over the estate of Orlando B. Catalan.

It is true that owing to the nationality principle embodied in Article 15 of the Civil Code, only Philippine nationals 21. San luis v san luis
are covered by the policy against absolute divorces[,] the same being considered contrary to our concept of From: JJ
public policy and morality. However, aliens may obtain divorces abroad, which may be recognized in the
Philippines, provided they are valid according to their national law. In this case, the divorce in Nevada released FACTS: During his lifetime, Felicisimo contracted three marriages. His first marriage was with Virginia Sulit on
private respondent from the marriage from the standards of American law, under which divorce dissolves the March 17, 1942 out of which were born six children, namely: Rodolfo, Mila, Edgar, Linda, Emilita and Manuel. On
marriage. August 11, 1963, Virginia predeceased Felicisimo.

Nonetheless, the fact of divorce must still first be proven as we have enunciated in Garcia v. Recio, to wit: Five years later, on May 1, 1968, Felicisimo married Merry Lee Corwin, with whom he had a son, Tobias.
However, on October 15, 1971, Merry Lee, an American citizen, filed a Complaint for Divorce before the Family
Respondent is getting ahead of himself. Before a foreign judgment is given presumptive evidentiary value, the Court of the First Circuit, State of Hawaii, United States of America (U.S.A.), which issued a Decree Granting
document must first be presented and admitted in evidence. A divorce obtained abroad is proven by the divorce Absolute Divorce and Awarding Child Custody on December 14, 1973. On June 20, 1974, Felicisimo married
decree itself. Indeed the best evidence of a judgment is the judgment itself. The decree purports to be a written respondent Felicidad San Luis, then surnamed Sagalongos, before Rev. Fr.
act or record of an act of an official body or tribunal of a foreign country.
William Meyer, Minister of the United Presbyterian at Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A. He had
Under Sections 24 and 25 of Rule 132, on the other hand, a writing or document may be proven as a public or no children with respondent but lived with her for 18 years from the time of their marriage up to his death on
official record of a foreign country by either (1) an official publication or (2) a copy thereof attested by the officer December 18, 1992.

CONFLICT OF LAWS CASE DIGEST (2016-2017) 5


Thereafter, respondent sought the dissolution of their conjugal partnership assets and the settlement of Facts: Petitioner Fujiki is a Japanese national who married respondent Maria Marinay in the Philippines 2004.
Felicisimos estate. On December 17, 1993, she filed a petition for letters of administration before the Regional The marriage did not sit well with petitioner's parents. Thus, Fujiki could not bring his wife to Japan where he
Trial Court resides. Eventually, they lost contact with each other.

On February 4, 1994, petitioner Rodolfo San Luis, one of the children of Felicisimo by his first marriage, filed a In 2008, Marinay met another Japanese, Shinichi Maekara (Maekara). Without the first marriage being dissolved,
motion to dismiss on the grounds of improper venue and failure to state a cause of action. Rodolfo claimed that Marinay and Maekara were married on 15 May 2008 in Quezon City, Philippines. Maekara brought Marinay to
the petition for letters of administration should have been filed in the Province of Laguna because this was Japan. However, Marinay allegedly suffered physical abuse from Maekara. She left Maekara and started to
Felicisimos place of residence prior to his death. He further claimed that respondent has no legal personality to contact Fujiki.
file the petition because she was only a mistress of Felicisimo since the latter, at the time of his death, was still
legally married to Merry Lee. Fujiki and Marinay met in Japan and they were able to reestablish their relationship. In 2010, Fujiki helped
Marinay obtain a judgment from a family court in Japan which declared the marriage between Marinay and
DECISION OF LOWER COURTS: Maekara void on the ground of bigamy. Fujiki filed a petition in the RTC entitled: "Judicial Recognition of Foreign
(1) Trial Court: denied the motion to dismiss, ruled that respondent, as widow of the decedent, possessed the Judgment (or Decree of Absolute Nullity of Marriage)." praying that (1) the Japanese Family Court judgment be
legal standing to file the petition and that venue was properly laid. Mila filed a motion for inhibition against Judge recognized; (2) that the bigamous marriage between Marinay and Maekara be declared void ab initio under
Tensuan on November 16, 1994. Thus, a new trial ensued. Articles 35 and 41 of the Family Code of the Philippines; and (3) for the RTC to direct the Local Civil Registrar of
Quezon City to annotate the Japanese Family Court judgment on the Certificate of Marriage between Marinay and
(2) Trial Court (new): dismissed the petition for letters of administration. It held that, at the time of his death, Maekara and to endorse such annotation to the Office of the Administrator and Civil Registrar General in the
Felicisimo was the duly elected governor and a resident of the Province of Laguna. Hence, the petition should National Statistics Office (NSO).
have been filed in Sta. Cruz, Laguna and not in Makati City. It found that the decree of absolute divorce
dissolving Felicisimos marriage to Merry Lee was not valid in the Philippines and did not bind Felicisimo who was RTC immediately issued an Order dismissing the petitioN on grounds of lack of personality to sue since Fujiki is
a Filipino citizen. It also ruled that paragraph 2, Article 26 of the Family Code cannot be retroactively applied not the husband and improper venue under Sections 2 (a) and 4 of A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC.
because it would impair the vested rights of Felicisimos legitimate children.
(3) CA: reversed and set aside the orders of the trial court ISSUE: (1) WON Fujiki has he personality to sue.
(2) Whether the Regional Trial Court can recognize the foreign judgment, the decree of Absolute Nullity of
ISSUES: Marriage, in a proceeding for cancellation or correction of entries in the Civil Registry under Rule 108 of the Rules
(1) Whether a Filipino who is divorced by his alien spouse abroad may validly remarry under the Civil Code, of Court.
considering that Felicidads marriage to Felicisimo was solemnized on June 20, 1974, or before the Family Code
took effect on August 3, 1988. HELD: (1) Yes. Fujiki has the personality to file a petition to recognize the Japanese Family Court judgment
(2) Whether respondent has legal capacity to file the subject petition for letters of administration. nullifying the marriage between Marinay and Maekara on the ground of bigamy because the judgment concerns
his civil status as married to Marinay. he is clearly prejudiced; as the prior spouse has a personal and material
RULING: interest in maintaining the integrity of the marriage he contracted and the property relations arising from it.
(1) Yes. Paragraph 2 of Article 26 traces its origin to the 1985 case of Van Dorn v. Romillo, Jr. The Van Dorn
case involved a marriage between a Filipino citizen and a foreigner. The Court held therein that a divorce decree For the same reason he has the personality to file a petition under Rule 108 to cancel the entry of marriage
validly obtained by the alien spouse is valid in the Philippines, and consequently, the Filipino spouse is between Marinay and Maekara on the basis of the decree of the Japanese Family Court in the civil registry.
capacitated to remarry under Philippine law. As such, the Van Dorn case is sufficient basis in resolving a situation
where a divorce is validly obtained abroad by the alien spouse. With the enactment of the Family Code and (2) Yes. Since the recognition of a foreign judgment only requires proof of fact of the judgment, it may be made
paragraph 2, Article 26 thereof, our lawmakers codified the law already established through judicial precedent. in a special proceeding for cancellation or correction of entries in the civil registry under Rule 108 of the Rules of
Court
The divorce decree allegedly obtained by Merry Lee which absolutely allowed Felicisimo to remarry, would have
vested Felicidad with the legal personality to file the present petition as Felicisimos surviving spouse. However, A petition to recognize a foreign judgment declaring a marriage void does not require relitigation under a
the records show that there is insufficient evidence to prove the validity of the divorce obtained by Merry Lee as Philippine court of the case as if it were a new petition for declaration of nullity of marriage. Philippine courts
well as the marriage of respondent and Felicisimo under the laws of the U.S.A. cannot presume to know the foreign laws under which the foreign judgment was rendered. They cannot
substitute their judgment on the status, condition and legal capacity of the foreign citizen who is under the
With regard to respondents marriage to Felicisimo allegedly solemnized in California, U.S.A., she submitted jurisdiction of another state. Thus, Philippine courts can only recognize the foreign judgment as a fact according
photocopies of the Marriage Certificate and the annotated text of the Family Law Act of California which to the rules of evidence.
purportedly show that their marriage was done in accordance with the said law. As stated in Garcia, however, the Section 48 (b), Rule 39 of the Rules of Court provides that a foreign judgment or final order against a person
Court cannot take judicial notice of foreign laws as they must be alleged and proved. creates a "presumptive evidence of a right as between the parties and their successors in interest by a
subsequent title." Moreover, Section 48 of the Rules of Court states that "the judgment or final order may be
Therefore, this case should be remanded to the trial court for further reception of evidence on the divorce decree repelled by evidence of a want of jurisdiction, want of notice to the party, collusion, fraud, or clear mistake of law
obtained by Merry Lee and the marriage of respondent and Felicisimo. or fact."

(2) Yes. Respondents legal capacity to file the subject petition for letters of administration may arise from her To be sure, a petition for correction or cancellation of an entry in the civil registry cannot substitute for an action
status as the surviving wife of Felicisimo or as his co-owner under Article 144 of the Civil Code or Article 148 of to invalidate a marriage. However this does not apply to foreign judgment annulling a marriage where one of the
the Family Code. parties is a citizen of the foreign country.
Even assuming that Felicisimo was not capacitated to marry respondent in 1974, nevertheless, we find that the
latter has the legal personality to file the subject petition for letters of administration, as she may be considered Article 26 of the Family Code confers jurisdiction on Philippine courts to extend the effect of a foreign divorce
the co-owner of Felicisimo as regards the properties that were acquired through their joint efforts during their decree to a Filipino spouse without undergoing trial to determine the validity of the dissolution of the marriage.
cohabitation. The second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code provides that "[w]here a marriage between a Filipino
citizen and a foreigner is validly celebrated and a divorce is thereafter validly obtained abroad by the alien spouse
22. Minora Fujiki vs Marinay capacitating him or her to remarry, the Filipino spouse shall have capacity to remarry under Philippine law."
From: MM
Thus, Philippine courts are limited to the question of whether to extend the effect of a foreign judgment in the
Philippines. In a foreign judgment relating to the status of a marriage involving a citizen of a foreign country,

CONFLICT OF LAWS CASE DIGEST (2016-2017) 6


Philippine courts only decide whether to extend its effect to the Filipino party, under the rule of lex nationalii service to be computed on the basis of half a months pay for each of the first five years and one months pay for
expressed in Article 15 of the Civil Code. each of the subsequent years. xxx

For this purpose, Philippine courts will only determine (1) whether the foreign judgment is inconsistent with an Dupo however, has called the benefit other names such as long service award and longevity pay.
overriding public policy in the Philippines (divorce is an exception as it will be unjust for the Filipino to remain
married while the alien spouse is already free); and (2) whether any alleging party is able to prove an extrinsic (2) On the matter of prescription, the SC cannot agree with LWV that Dupos action has prescribed. What applies
ground to repel the foreign judgment. If there is neither, Philippine courts should, by default, recognize the is Article 291 of the Labor Code of the Philippines that provides that all money claims arising from employer-
foreign judgment as part of the comity of nations. employee relations shall be filed within three (3) years from the cause of the action accrued.

The recognition of the foreign judgment nullifying a bigamous marriage is a subsequent event that establishes a In Cadalin v. POEAs Administrator , SC held that Article 291 covers all money claims from employer-
new status, right and fact that needs to be reflected in the civil registry. Otherwise, there will be an inconsistency employee relationship and is broader in scope than claims arising from a specific law. It is not limited to money
between the recognition of the effectivity of the foreign judgment and the public records in the Philippines. claims recoverable under the Labor Code, but applies also to claims of overseas contract workers.

23. LWV Construction Corporation vs. Marcelo Dupo In the said case, the SC also provided that the courts of the forum will not enforce any foreign claim obnoxious
From: JM to the forums public policy.

Facts: Petitioner LWV Construction, a domestic corporation which recruits Filipino workers, hired Dupo as Civil Dupos complaint was filed within the three-year prescriptive period under Article 291 of our Labor Code. This
Structural Superintendent to work in Saudi Arabia for its principal, Mohammad Al-Mojil Group/Establishment point, however, has already been mooted by the finding that Dupos service award had been paid, albeit the
(MMG). On February 26, 1992, Dupo signed his first overseas employment contract, renewable after one year. It payroll termed such payment as severance pay.
was renewed five times. The sixth and last contract stated that Dupos employment starts upon reporting to work
and ends when he leaves the work site. Respondent Dupo left Saudi Arabia on April 30, 1999 and arrived in the 24. ATCI OVERSEAS CORPORATION, et. al. vs. ECHIN
Philippines on May 1, 1999. From: SO

On May 28, 1999, Dupo informed MMG, through LWV Construction, that he needs to extend his vacation because FACTS: Respondent Echlin was hired by petitioner ATCI in behalf of its principal-co-petitioner Ministry of Public
his son was hospitalized. He also sought a promotion with salary adjustment. In reply, MMG informed Health of Kuwait for the position of medical technologist under a two-year contract, denominated as a MOA.
respondent that his promotion is subject to management's review; that his services are still needed; that he was Under the MOA, all newly-hired employees undergo a probationary period of 1 year and are covered by Kuwaits
issued a plane ticket for his return flight to Saudi Arabia on May 31, 1999; and that his decision regarding his Civil Service Board Employment Contract No.2. Respondent was terminated from employment before the lapse of
employment must be made within seven days, otherwise, MMG "will be compelled to cancel his slot." On July 6, the said 2-yr period, for not having allegedly passed the probationary period. Respondent filed with NLRC a
1999, Dupo resigned. In his letter to MMG, he made known to them his entitlement to a long service award for complaint for illegal dismissal against petitioners. The LA ruled in favor of respondent, which was affirmed by
his seven years of services, pursuant to the Saudi Law. NLRC. Then the CA affirmed the NLRC Resolution. Hence, this petition.

LWV informed Dupo that MMG did not respond to his (Dupos) letter. This prompted Dupo to file a complaint for
Petitioners contend that they should not be held liable because respondents employment contract
payment of service award against LWV Construction before the Labor Arbiter. Dupo averred in his position paper
specifically stipulates that her employment shall be governed by the Civil Service Law and Regulations of Kuwait,
that under the Law of Saudi Arabia, an employee who rendered at least five (5) years in a company within the
and not the Labor Code. Also, petitioners argue that even the POEA Rules relative to master employment
jurisdiction of Saudi Arabia, is entitled to the so-called long service award which is known to others as longevity
contracts accord respect to the customs, practices, company policies and labor laws and legislation of the host
pay of at least one half month pay for every year of service. In excess of five years an employee is entitled to
country.
one month pay for every year of service. In both cases inclusive of all benefits and allowances. Dupo also
contended that this benefit was offered to him before he went on vacation, hence, this was engrained in his
mind. He reconstructed the computation of his long service award or longevity pay and he arrived at the amount ISSUE: WON petitioners be held liable considering that the contract specifically stipulates that respondents
of US$12,640.33. The Labor Arbiter ordered LWV Construction to pay longevity pay. Both the NLRC and CA employment shall be governed by the Civil Service Law and Regulations of Kuwait.
affirmed the Labor arbiters decision.

LWC Construction raised the defense of payment and prescription. It points out that the Labor Arbiter awarded HELD: Yes.
Petitioners contentions that Philippine labor laws on probationary employment are not applicable
longevity pay although the Saudi Labor Law grants no such benefit, and the NLRC confused longevity pay and
service award. Petitioner maintains that the benefit granted by Article 87 of the Saudi Labor Law is service award since it was expressly provided in respondents employment contract that the terms of her engagement shall be
governed by prevailing Kuwaiti Civil Service Laws and Regulations as in fact POEA Rules accord respect to such
which was already paid by MMG each time respondents contract ended. LWV also insists that prescription barred
Dupos claim for service award as the complaint was filed one year and seven months after the sixth contract rules, customs and practices of the host country, was not substantiated.
Indeed, a contract freely entered into is considered the law between the parties as long as they are
ended which is contrary to Saudi Labor Law which provides that no case or claim relating to any of the rights
provided for under said law shall be heard after the lapse of 12 months from the date of the termination of the not contrary to law, morals, good customs, public order or public policy. However, petitioners failed to prove the
foreign law. In the case of EDI-Staffbuilders Intl., v. NLRC , the SC held that for failure of petitioner to prove the
contract.
pertinent Saudi laws, the International Law doctrine of presumed-identity approach or processual presumption
comes into play. Where a foreign law is not pleaded or, even if pleaded, is not proved, the presumption is that
ISSUE: (1) WON Dupo is entitled to a service award or longevity pay of US$12,640.33 under the provisions of
the Saudi Labor Law; and foreign law is the same as ours. Thus, the SC applied the Philippine labor laws.
To prove the Kuwaiti law, petitioners submitted the following: (1) The MOA between respondent and
(2) WON prescription barred respondent's claim for service award as the complaint was filed one year and seven
months after the sixth contract ended; the Ministry as represented by ATCI; (2) A translated copy (Arabic to English) of the termination letter to
respondent stating that she did not pass the probation terms, without specifying the grounds therefor, and a
RULING: translated copy of the certificate of termination, both of which documents were certified by the Head of the DFA-
Office of Consular Affairs Inslamic Certification and Translation Unit; and (3) Respondents letter of
(1) NO. SC Reversed Court of Appeals. Dupos service award under Article 87 of the Saudi Labor Law has already
been paid. Article 87 of the Saudi Labor Law clearly grants service award. It reads: reconsideration to the Ministry, wherein she noted that in her first 8 months of employment, she was given a
rating of Excellent albeit it changed due to changes in her shift of work schedule.
Where the term of a labor contract concluded for a specified period comes to an end or where the employer These documents, whether taken singly or as a whole, do not sufficiently prove that respondent was
validly terminated as a probationary employee under Kuwaiti civil service laws. Instead of submitting a copy
cancels a contract of unspecified period, the employer shall pay to the workman an award for the period of his
of the pertinent Kuwaiti labor laws duly authenticated and translated by Embassy officials thereat,

CONFLICT OF LAWS CASE DIGEST (2016-2017) 7


as required under the Rules, what petitioners submitted were mere certifications attesting only to admitted the annexes attached thereto as the reconstituted records of this case. Thereafter,
the correctness of the translations of the MOA and the termination letter which does not prove at the Motion to Dismiss, the resolution of which had been deferred, was denied by the Court.
all that Kuwaiti civil service laws differ from Philippine laws and that under such Kuwaiti laws,
respondent was validly terminated. WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. On October 19, 1988, defendant filed his Answer. The case was then set for pre-trial
conference. At the conference, the parties could not arrive at any settlement. However, they
agreed on the following stipulations of facts:
25. Bank of America vs. CA
From: NT 1) The defendant admits the existence of the judgment dated December 28, 1984 as
well as its amendment dated April 13, 1987, but not necessarily the authenticity or
validity thereof;
26. EDI-Staffbuilders vs NLRC/Gran, GR No. 145587, 26 October 2007
From: AC 2) The plaintiff is not doing business and is not licensed to do business in the
Philippines;
Facts: In 1993, EDI-Staffbuilders, Inc. (EDI), upon request of Omar Ahmed Ali Bin Bechr Est. (OAB), a company
in Saudi Arabia, sent to OAB resumes from which OAB can choose a computer specialist. Eleazar Gran was
3) The residence of defendant, Antonio Heras, is New Manila, Quezon City.
selected. It was agreed that his monthly salary shall be $850.00. But five months into his service in Saudi Arabia,
Gran received a termination letter and right there and then was removed from his post. The termination letter
states that he was incompetent because he does not know the ACAD system which is required in his line of work; In view of the admission by the defendant of the existence of the aforementioned judgment
that he failed to enrich his knowledge during his 5 month stay to prove his competence; that he is disobedient as well as the legal presumption in favor of the plaintiff as provided for in paragraph (b), Sec.
because he failed to submit the required daily reports to OAB. Gran then signed a quitclaim whereby he declared 50, the plaintiff presented only documentary evidence to show rendition, existence, and
that he is releasing OAB from any liability in exchange of 2,948.00 Riyal. authentication of such judgment by the proper officials concerned. In addition, the plaintiff
presented testimonial and documentary evidence to show its entitlement to attorneys fees
When Gran returned, he filed a labor case for illegal dismissal against EDI and OAB. EDI in its defense averred and other expenses of litigation.
that the dismissal is valid because when Gran and OAB signed the employment contract, both parties agreed that
Saudi labor laws shall govern all matters relating to the termination of Grans employment; that under Saudi labor On the other hand, the defendant presented two witnesses, namely, Fortunata dela Vega and
laws, Grans termination due to incompetence and insubordination is valid; that Grans insubordination and Russel Warren Lousich.
incompetence is outlined in the termination letter Gran received. The labor arbiter dismissed the labor case but
on appeal, the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) reversed the decision of the arbiter. The Court of The gist of Ms. dela Vegas testimony is to the effect that no writ of summons or copy of a statement of claim of
Appeals likewise affirmed the NLRC. Asiavest Limited was ever served in the office of the Navegante Shipping Agency Limited and/or for Mr. Antonio
Heras, and that no service of the writ of summons was either served on the defendant at his residence in New
Issue: Whether or not the Saudi labor laws should be applied. Manila, Quezon City. Her knowledge is based on the fact that she was the personal secretary of Mr. Heras during
his JD Transit days up to the latter part of 1972 when he shifted or diversified to shipping business in Hong
Held: No. The specific Saudi labor laws were not proven in court. EDI did not present proof as to the existence Kong; that she was in-charge of all his letters and correspondence, business commitments, undertakings,
and the specific provisions of such foreign law. Hence, processual presumption applies and Philippine labor laws conferences and appointments, until October 1984 when Mr. Heras left Hong Kong for good;
shall be used. Under our laws, an employee like Gran shall only be terminated upon just cause. The allegations
against him, at worst, shall only merit a suspension not a dismissal. His incompetence is not proven because prior Mr. Lousich was presented as an expert on the laws of Hong Kong, and as a representative of the law
to being sent to Saudi Arabia, he underwent the required trade test to prove his competence. The presumption office of the defendants counsel who made a verification of the record of the case filed by the plaintiff in
therefore is that he is competent and that it is upon OAB and EDI to prove otherwise. No proof of his Hong Kong against the defendant, as well as the procedure in serving Court processes in Hong Kong.
incompetence was ever adduced in court. His alleged insubordination is likewise not proven. It was not proven
that the submission of daily track records is part of his job as a computer specialist. There was also a lack of due In his affidavit which constitutes his direct testimony, the said witness stated that:
process. Under our laws, Gran is entitled to the two notice rule whereby prior to termination he should receive
two notices. In the case at bar, he only received one and he was immediately terminated on the same day he The defendant was sued on the basis of his personal guarantee of the obligations of
received the notice. Compania Hermanos de Navegacion S.A. There is no record that a writ of summons
was served on the person of the defendant in Hong Kong, or that any such attempt at
Lastly, the quitclaim may not also release OAB from liability. Philippine laws is again applied here sans proof of service was made. Likewise, there is no record that a copy of the judgment of the High
Saudi laws. Under Philippine Laws, a quitclaim is generally frowned upon and are strictly examined. In this case, Court was furnished or served on the defendant; anyway, it is not a legal requirement
based on the circumstances, Gran at that time has no option but to sign the quitclaim. The quitclaim is also void to do so under Hong Kong laws;
because his separation pay was merely 2,948 Riyal which is lower than the $850.00 monthly salary (3,190 Riyal)
a) The writ of summons or claim can be served by the solicitor (lawyer) of
27. ASIAVEST LIMITED VS. CA the claimant or plaintiff. In Hong Kong there are no Court personnel
From: DC who serve writs of summons and/or most other processes.

FACTS: The plaintiff Asiavest Limited filed a complaint on December 3, 1987 against the defendant Antonio b) If the writ of summons or claim (or complaint) is not contested, the
Heras praying that said defendant be ordered to pay to the plaintiff the amounts awarded by the Hong Kong claimant or the plaintiff is not required to present proof of his claim or
Court Judgment dated December 28, 1984 and amended on April 13, 1987, to wit: 1) US$1,810,265.40 or its complaint nor present evidence under oath of the claim in order to
equivalent in Hong Kong currency at the time of payment with legal interest from December 28, 1984 until fully obtain a Judgment.
paid; XXX
c) There is no legal requirement that such a Judgment or decision rendered
On March 3, 1988, the defendant filed a Motion to Dismiss. However, before the court could by the Court in Hong Kong [to] make a recitation of the facts or the
resolve the said motion, a fire which partially razed the Quezon City Hall Building on June 11, law upon which the claim is based.
1988 totally destroyed the office of this Court, together with all its records, equipment and
properties. The plaintiff, through counsel filed a Motion for Reconstitution of Case Records. d) There is no necessity to furnish the defendant with a copy of the
The Court, after allowing the defendant to react thereto, granted the said Motion and Judgment or decision rendered against him.

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e) In an action based on a guarantee, there is no established legal presumption is applied where it is now presumed that Hong Kong law in as far as this case is concerned is the
requirement or obligation under Hong Kong laws that the creditor same as Philippine laws. And under our laws, in an action in personam wherein the defendant is a non-
must first bring proceedings against the principal debtor. The creditor resident who does not voluntarily submit himself to the authority of the court, personal service of summons
can immediately go against the guarantor. within the state is essential to the acquisition of jurisdiction over her person. This method of service is possible if
such defendant is physically present in the country. If he is not found therein, the court cannot acquire
On cross examination, Mr. Lousich stated that before he was commissioned by the law firm of the defendants jurisdiction over his person and therefore cannot validly try and decide the case against him. Without
counsel as an expert witness and to verify the records of the Hong Kong case, he had been acting as counsel for a personal service of summons, the Hong Kong court never acquired jurisdiction. Needless to say, the summons
the defendant in a number of commercial matters; that there was an application for service of summons upon tendered to Lopez was an invalid service because the same does not satisfy the requirement of personal service.
the defendant outside the jurisdiction of Hong Kong; that there was an order of the Court authorizing service
upon Heras outside of Hong Kong, particularly in Manila or any other place in the Philippines; that there must be
adequate proof of service of summons, otherwise the Hong Kong Court will refuse to render judgment; that the 28. Corpuz vs. Sto. Tomas
mere fact that the Hong Kong Court rendered judgment, it can be presumed that there was service of summons; From: JJ
that in this case, it is not just a presumption because there was an affidavit stating that service was effected in a
particular man here in Manila; that such affidavit was filed by one Jose R. Fernandez of the firm Sycip Salazar on Art. 26. All marriages solemnized outside the Philippines, in accordance with the laws in force in the country
the 21st of December 1984, and stated in essence that on Friday, the 23 rd of November 1984 he served the where they were solemnized, and valid there as such, shall also be valid in this country, except those prohibited
4th defendant at No. 6 First Street, Quezon City by leaving it at that address with Mr. Dionisio Lopez, the son-in- under Articles 35(1), (4), (5) and (6), 36, 37 and 38.
law of the 4th defendant the copy of the writ and Mr. Lopez informed me and I barely believed that he would
bring the said writ to the attention of the 4 th defendant. Where a marriage between a Filipino citizen and a foreigner is validly celebrated and a divorce is thereafter
validly obtained abroad by the alien spouse capacitating him or her to remarry, the Filipino spouse shall likewise
The trial court held that since the Hong Kong court judgment had been duly proved, it is a presumptive have capacity to remarry under Philippine law.
evidence of a right as between the parties; hence, the party impugning it had the burden to prove want of
jurisdiction over his person. HERAS failed to discharge that burden. He did not testify to state categorically and FACTS: Petitioner Gerbert R. Corpuz was a former Filipino citizen who acquired Canadian citizenship through
under oath that he never received summons. Even his own witness Lousich admitted that HERAS was served with naturalization on November 29, 2000. On January 18, 2005, Gerbert married respondent Daisylyn T. Sto. Tomas,
summons in his Quezon City residence. As to De la Vegas testimony regarding non-service of summons, the a Filipina, in Pasig City. Due to work and other professional commitments, Gerbert left for Canada soon after the
same was hearsay and had no probative value. wedding. He returned to the Philippines sometime in April 2005 to surprise Daisylyn, but was shocked to discover
that his wife was having an affair with another man. Hurt and disappointed, Gerbert returned to Canada and filed
As to HERAS contention that the Hong Kong court judgment violated the Constitution and the procedural a petition for divorce. The Superior Court of Justice, Windsor, Ontario, Canada granted Gerberts petition for
laws of the Philippines because it contained no statements of the facts and the law on which it was based, the divorce on December 8, 2005. Gerbert filed a petition for judicial recognition of foreign divorce and/or declaration
trial court ruled that since the issue related to procedural matters, the law of the forum, i.e., Hong Kong laws, of marriage as dissolved (petition) with the RTC.
should govern. As testified by the expert witness Lousich, such legalities were not required under Hong Kong
laws. The trial court also debunked HERAS contention that the principle of excussion under Article 2058 of the DECISION OF LOWER COURTS:
Civil Code of the Philippines was violated. It declared that matters of substance are subject to the law of the (1) RTC: Gerbert was not the proper party to institute the action for judicial recognition of the foreign divorce
place where the transaction occurred; in this case, Hong Kong laws must govern. decree as he is a naturalized Canadian citizen. It ruled that only the Filipino spouse can avail of the remedy,
under the second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code
The trial court concluded that the Hong Kong court judgment should be recognized and given effect in this
jurisdiction for failure of HERAS to overcome the legal presumption in favor of the foreign judgment. ISSUE: whether the second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code extends to aliens the right to petition a
court of this jurisdiction for the recognition of a foreign divorce decree.
The Court of Appeals rendered its decision reversing the decision of the trial court and dismissing
ASIAVESTs complaint without prejudice. It underscored the fact that a foreign judgment does not of itself have RULING: Yes.
any extraterritorial application. For it to be given effect, the foreign tribunal should have acquired jurisdiction over
the person and the subject matter. If such tribunal has not acquired jurisdiction, its judgment is void. The General Rule is that the alien spouse can claim no right under the second paragraph of Article 26 of the
Family Code as the substantive right it establishes is in favor of the Filipino spouse. In other words, only the
The Court of Appeals agreed with the trial court that matters of remedy and procedure such as those relating to Filipino spouse can invoke the second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code; the alien spouse can claim no
service of summons upon the defendant are governed by the lex fori, which was, in this case, the law of Hong right under this provision.
Kong. The Court of Appeals agreed with HERAS that notice sent outside the state to a non-resident is unavailing
to give jurisdiction in an action against him personally for money recovery. Summons should have been The foreign divorce decree is presumptive evidence of a right that clothes the party with legal interest to petition
personally served on HERAS in Hong Kong, for, as claimed by ASIAVEST, HERAS was physically present in Hong for its recognition in this jurisdiction. BUT - direct involvement or being the subject of the foreign judgment is
Kong for nearly 14 years. Since there was not even an attempt to serve summons on HERAS in Hong Kong, the sufficient to clothe a party with the requisite interest to institute an action before our courts for the recognition of
Hong Kong Supreme Court did not acquire jurisdiction over HERAS. Nonetheless, it did not totally foreclose the the foreign judgment. In a divorce situation, we have declared, no less, that the divorce obtained by an alien
claim of ASIAVEST. abroad may be recognized in the Philippines, provided the divorce is valid according to his or her national law.
ISSUE: Whether or not the foreign judgment can be enforced against Heras in the Philippines.
The case is remanded to the RTC to determine whether the divorce decree is consistent with the Canadian
divorce law. Pasig City Civil Registry Office has already recorded the divorce decree on Gerbert and Daisylyns
marriage certificate based on the mere presentation of the decree. We consider the recording to be legally
HELD: No. Although the foreign judgment was duly authenticated (Asiavest was able to adduce evidence in improper; hence, the need to draw attention of the bench and the bar to what had been done.
support thereto) and Heras was never able to overcome the validity of it, it cannot be enforced against Heras
here in the Philippines because Heras was not properly served summons. Hence, as far as Philippine law is But while the law requires the entry of the divorce decree in the civil registry, the law and the submission of the
concerned, the Hong Kong court has never acquired jurisdiction over Heras. This means then that Philippine decree by themselves do not ipso facto authorize the decrees registration. The law should be read in relation
courts cannot act to enforce the said foreign judgment. with the requirement of a judicial recognition of the foreign judgment before it can be given res judicata effect.
In the context of the present case, no judicial order as yet exists recognizing the foreign divorce decree. Thus,
The action against Heras is an action in personam and as far as Hong Kong is concerned, Heras is a non resident. the Pasig City Civil Registry Office acted totally out of turn and without authority of law when it annotated the
He is a non resident because prior to the judgment, he already abandoned Hong Kong. The Hong Kong law on Canadian divorce decree on Gerbert and Daisylyns marriage certificate, on the strength alone of the foreign
service of summons in in personam cases against non residents was never presented in court hence processual

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decree presented by Gerbert. For being contrary to law, the registration of the foreign divorce decree without the
requisite judicial recognition is patently void and cannot produce any legal effect.

Cancellation of the entry in the civil registry requirements:


(1) verified petition must be filed with the RTC of the province where the corresponding civil registry is located
(2) civil registrar and all persons who have or claim any interest must be made parties to the proceedings
(3) time and place for hearing must be published in a newspaper of general circulation

As these basic jurisdictional requirements have not been met in the present case, we cannot consider the petition
Gerbert filed with the RTC as one filed under Rule 108 of the Rules of Court.

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