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07) Yao Kee vs.

CA
-In the absence of proof of the Chinese law on marriage, it should be presumed that it
YAO KEE, SZE SOOK WAH, SZE LAI CHO, and SY CHUN YEN, petitioners, vs. is the same as ours
AIDA SY-GONZALES, MANUE SY, TERESITA SY- BERNABE, RODOLFO SY, and
HON. CA, respondents. -Petitioner’s contention that contrary to CA’s ruling they are not duty bound to prove
the Chinese law on marriage as judicial notice thereof had been taken by the Sc in
FACTS: the case of Sy Joc Lieng v. Sy Quia
 erroneous contention because it is well-established is the principle that PH Courts
cannot take judicial notice of foreign laws; they must be alleged and proved as any
1. January 17, 1977: Sy Kiat, a Chinese national, died leaving behind real and other fact
personal properties here in the Philippines worth P300, 000.00 more or less.
2. Aida Sy-Gonzales, Manuel Sy, Teresita Sy-Bernabe and Rodolfo Sy filed a WHEREFORE, decision of CA is AFFIRMED.
petition for the grant of letters of administration. They alleged that they are Winner: Respondent Sy-Gonzales
the children of the deceased with Asuncion Gillego.
3. The petition was opposed by Yao Kee, Sze Sook Wah, Sze Lai Cho and Sy
Yun Chen who alleged that: a) Yao Kee is the lawful wife of Sy Kiat whom
he married on January 19,1931 in China; (b) the other oppositors are the
legitimate children of the deceased with Yao Kee.

4. Probate court, finding among others that:


(1) Sy Kiat was legally married to Yao Kee;
(2) Sze Sook Wah, Sze Lai Cho and Sze Chun Yen are the legitimate
children of Yao Kee with Sy Kiat; and
(3) Aida Sy-Gonzales, Manuel Sy, Teresita Sy-Bernabe and Rodolfo Sy are
the acknowledged illegitimate offspring of Sy Kiat with Asuncion Gillego.

5. CA modified the probate court’s decision and held that oppositors are
acknowledged natural children of Sy Kiat with his Chinese wife Yao Kee since the
legality of the alleged marriage of Sy Kiat to Yao Kee in China had not been proven to
be valid to the laws of China.

6. Petitioners argue that the marriage of Sy Kiat to Yao Kee in accordance with
Chinese law and custom was conclusively proven through the testimony of Yao Kee
on the manner in which their marriage was celebrated (customary manner) and
documentary evidence (Sy Kiat's Master Card of Registered Alien, Alien Certificate of
Registration and certification issued by the Embassy of the People's Republic of
China) indicating that Yao Kee was the wife of Sy Kiat.

ISSUE: WON the evidence presented sufficiently established Yao Kee’s marriage to
Sy Kiat- NO

RULING:
-Custom is defined as "a rule of conduct formed by repetition of acts, uniformly
observed as a social rule, legally binding and obligatory."
-The law requires that "a custom must be proved as a fact, according to the rules of
evidence"

-In the present case, petitioner did not present any competent evidence relative to the
law and custom of China on marriage—> the testimonies of Yao and Gan Ching
cannot be considered proof of China’s law or custom on marriage, not only because
they are self-serving evidence, but more importantly, there is not showing that they
are competent to testify on the subject matter