Bar Q and A #2

  1. Juan’s capacity to contract marriage is governed by Philippine law – e. the Family Code – pursuant to Art. 15, Civil Code, which provides that our laws relating to, among others, legal capacity of persons are binding upon citizens of the Philippines even though living abroad.

  2. By way of exception to the general rule of lex rei sitae prescribed by the first paragraph of 16, Civil Code, a person’s successional rights are governed by the national law of the decedent. (2ndpar., Art.16) Since Juan’s deceased father was a Filipino citizen, Philippine law governs Juan’s successional rights.

  1. The extrinsic validity of Juan’s will is governed by (a) Swiss law, it being the law where the will was made (17, 1stpar. Civil Code), or (b) Philippine law, by implication from the provisions of Art. 816, Civil Code, which allows even an alien who is abroad to make a will in conformity with our Civil Code.

  2. The intrinsic validity of his will is governed by Philippine law, it being his national (Art. 16, Civil Code)

A. (1) The divorce secured by Felipe in California is recognizable and valid in the Philippines because he was no longer a Filipino at the time he secured it. Aliens may obtain divorces abroad which may be recognized in the Philippines provided that they are valid according to their national law. (Van Dorn v. Romillo, Jr., 139 SCRA 139 [1985]; Quita v. Court of Appeals, 300 SCRA 406 [1998]; Llorente v. Court of Appeals, 345 SCRA 592 [2002])

(2) The divorce decree obtained capacitated
both Felipe and Felisa to remarry. In Corpuz v. Sto. Tomas, the Court held that an action based on the second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code is not limited to the recognition of the foreign divorce decree. If the court finds that the decree capacitated the alien spouse to remarry, the courts can declare that the Filipino spouse is likewise capacitated to contract another marriage.

In the same case, the Court also initially clarified that Article 26 (2) applies not only to cases where a foreigner was the one who procured a divorce of his/her marriage to a Filipino spouse, but also to instances where, at the time of the celebration of the marriage, the parties were Filipino citizens, but later on, one of them acquired foreign citizenship by naturalization, initiated a divorce proceeding, and obtained a favorable decree. (Luzviminda dela Cruz v. Ryoji Morisono, G.R. No. 226013, July 02, 2018)

B. The foreigner who executes his will in the Philippine may observe the formalities prescribed in:
1) The law of the country of which he is a citizen under Art. 817 of the NCC, or
2) The law of the Philippines being the law of the place of execution under Art. 17 of the NCC.

C. Philippine law will not govern the intrinsic validity of the will. Art. 16 of the New Civil Code provides that intrinsic validity of testamentary provisions shall be governed by the national law of the person whose succession is under consideration. California law will govern the intrinsic validity of the will.

A. (1) It is the law of the place where contracts, wills, and other public instruments are executed and governs their “forms and solemnities,”, pursuant to the first paragraph,
Article 17 of the New Civil Code; or

(2) It is the proper law of the contract; i.e. the system of law intended to govern the entire contract, including its essential requisites, indicating the law of the place with which the contract has its closest connection or where the main elements of the contract converge, as illustrated by Zalamea v. Court of Appeals (228 SCRA 23 [1993]), it is the law of the place where the airline ticket was issued, where the passengers are nationals and residents of, and where the defendant airline company maintained its office.

B. Forum non conveniens means that a court has discretionary authority to decline jurisdiction over a cause of action when it is of the view that the action may be justly and effectively adjudicatedelsewhere.

C. No, the Philippine courts cannot acquire jurisdiction over the case of Felipe. Firstly, under the rule of forum non conveniens, the Philippine court is not a convenient forum as all the incidents of the case occurred outside the Philippines. Neither are both Coals and Energy doing business inside the Philippines. Secondly, the contracts were not perfected in the Philippines. Under the principle of lex loci contractus, the law of the place where the contract is made shall apply. Lastly, the Philippine court has no power to determine the facts surrounding the execution of said contracts. And even if a proper decision could be reached, such would have no binding effect on Coals and Energy as the court was not able to acquire jurisdiction over the said corporations. (Manila Hotel Corp. v. NLRC, G.R. No. 120077, October 13, 2000)

No, Gene is not free to marry his former girlfriend. His marriage to Jane if valid according to the forms and solemnities of British law, is valid here. (Art. 17, 1st par., NCC) However, since Gene and Jane are still Filipinos, although living in England, the dissolution of their marriage is still governed by Philippine law. (Art. 15, NCC) Since sterility is not one of the grounds for the annulment of a marriage under Art. 45 of the Family Code, the annulment of Gene’s marriage to Jane on that ground is not valid in the Philippines. (Art. 17, par., NCC)

A. The civil status of PH and LV will not be adversely affected by Philippine law because they are nationals of Hong Kong and not Filipino citizens.

Being foreigners, their status, conditions and legal capacity in the Philippines are governed by the law of Hong Kong, the country of which they are citizens. Since their marriage is valid under Hong Kong law, it shall be valid and respected in the Philippines.

B. The US Court should apply US law, the law of the forum, in determining the applicable prescriptive period. While US law is silent on this matter, the US Court will not apply Philippine law in determining the prescriptive period. It is generally affirmed as a principle in private international law that procedural law is one of the exceptions to the application of foreign law by the forum. Since prescription is a matter of procedural law even in Philippine jurisprudence (Codalin v. POEA/ JVLRC/Broum and Root International, G.R. No. L-104776, December 5, 1994), the US Court will apply either HI or Federal law in determining the applicable prescriptive period and not Philippine law. The Restatement of American law affirms this principle.

A. YV can inherit from BM, Jr.

The succession to the estate of BM, Jr. Is governed by Philippine law because he was a Filipino when he died. (Art. 16, Civil Code) Under Art. 1039 of the Civil Code, the capacity of the heir to succeed is governed by the national law of the decedent and not by the national law of the heir. Hence, whether or not YV can inherit from BM, Jr. is determined by Philippine law. Under Philippine law, the adopted inherits from the adopter as a legitimate child of the adopter.

YV, however, cannot inherit in his own right, from the father of the adopter, BM, Sr., because he is not a legal heir of BM, Sr. The legal fiction of adoption exists only between the adopted and the adopter. (Teotico v. Del Val, 13 SCRA 406, [1965]) Neither may he inherit from BM, Sr. by representing BM, Jr. Because in representation, the representative must be a legal heir not only of the person he is representing but also of the decedent from whom the represented was supposed to inherit. (Art. 973, CivilCode)

B. Under the Civil Code, the widow or widower is a legal and compulsory heir of the deceased spouse. If the widow is the only surviving heir, there being no legitimate ascendants, descendants, brothers, and sisters, nephews and nieces, she gets the entire estate.

A. If Boni is still a Filipino citizen, his legal capacity is governed by Philippine Law. (Art. 15 Civil Code) Under Philippine law, his marriage to Anne is void because of a prior existing marriage which was not dissolved by the divorce decreed in Oslo. Divorce obtained abroad by Filipino is not recognized.

If Boni was no longer a Filipino citizen, the divorce is valid. Hence, his marriage to Anne is valid if celebrated in accordance with the law of the place where it was celebrated. Since the marriage was celebrated aboard a vessel of Norwegian registry, Norwegian law applies. If the Ship Captain has authority to solemnize the marriage aboard his ship, the marriage is valid and shall be recognized in the Philippines.

As to the second question, if Boni is still a Filipino, Anne can file an action for declaration of nullity of her marriage to him.

B. In so far as the properties of the decedent located in the Philippines are concerned, they are governed by Philippine law. (Art. 16, Civil Code) Under the Philippine law, the proper venue for the settlement of the estate is the domicile of the decedent at the time of his death. Since the decedent last resided in Cebu City, that is the proper venue for the intestate settlement of his estate. However, the successional rights to the estate of ADIL are governed by Pakistani law, his national law, under Art. 16 of the Civil Code.