Bar Q and A #3

TRUE. Since Australian Law allows alien to acquire property from the age of 16, Roberta may validly own a house in Australia, following the principle of lex rei sitae enshrined in Art. 16, which states "Real property as well as personal property is subject to the law of the country where it is situated." Moreover, even assuming that the legal capacity of Roberta in entering the contract in Australia is governed by Philippine Law, she will acquire ownership over the property bought until the contract is annulled.

No, the suit will not prosper. As applied to foreign nationals with respect to family relations and status of persons, the nationality principle set forth in Art. 15 will govern the relations of Emmanuel and Margarita. Since they are American citizens, the governing law as to the ground for annulment is not Kenyan Law which Magarita invokes in support of sterility as such ground; but should be U.S. Law, which is the national Law of both Emmanuel and Margarita as recognized under Philippine Law. Hence, the Philippine court will not give due course to the case based on Kenyan Law. The nationality principle as expressed in the application of national law of foreign nationals by Philippine courts is established by precedents. (Pilapil v. Ibay-Somera, G.R. No. 80116, June  30,  1989; Garcia v. Recio,  G.R.  No. 138322, October  2, 2001; Llorente v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 124371, November 23, 2000; and Bayot v. Court of Appeals,G.R. No. 155635, November 7, 2008)

New York law shall apply. The petition of change of name filed in New York does not concern the legal capacity or status of the petitioner. Moreover, it does not affect the registry of any other country including the country of birth of the petitioner. However, whatever judgment is rendered in that petition will have effect only in New York. The New York court cannot, for instance, order the Civil Registrar in the Philippines to change its records. The judgment of the New York court allowing a change in the name of the petitioner will be limited to the records of the petitioner in New York and the use of her new name in all transactions in New York. Since the records and processes in New York are the only ones affected, the New York court will apply New York law in resolving the petition.

TRUE. If the foreign law necessary to the resolve an issue is not proven as a fact, the court of the forum may presume that the foreign law is the same as the law of the forum.

a) Yes, the holographic will of Dr. Fuentes may be admitted to probate in the Philippines because there is no public policy violated by such probate. The only issue at probate is the due execution of the will which includes the formal validity of the will. As regards formal validity, the only issue the court will resolve at probate is whether or not the will was executed in accordance with the form prescribed by the law observed by the testator in the execution of his will. For purposes of probate in the Philippines, an alien testator may observe the law of the place where the will was executed (Art. 17, NCC), or the formalities of the law of the place where he resides, or according to the formalities of the law of his own country, or in accordance with the Philippine Civil Code. (Art. 816, NCC) Since Dr. Fuentes executed his will in accordance with the Philippine law, the Philippine court shall apply the New Civil Code in determining the formal validity of the holographic will. The subsequent change in the citizenship ofDr. Fuentes did not affect the law governing the validity of his will. Under the New Civil Code, which was the law used by Dr. Fuentes, the law enforced at the time of execution of the will shall govern the formal validity of the will.(Art. 795, NCC)

b) No, Jay cannot insist because under New York law he is not a compulsory heir entitled to a legitime. The national law of the testator determines who his heirs are, the order that they succeed, how much their successional rights are, and whether or not a testamentary disposition in his will is valid. (Art 16) Since, Dr. Fuentes was a US citizen, the law of the New York determines who his heirs are. And since the New York law does not recognize the concept of compulsory heirs, Jay is not a compulsory heir of Dr. Fuentes entitled to a legitime.

Yes, a divorce decree even if validly obtained abroad cannot have effect in the Philippines unless it is judicially recognized through an appropriate petition filed before Philippine courts. The foreigner must file a petition under Rule 108 and prove therein the fact of divorce by presenting an official copy attested by the officer having custody of the original. He must also prove that the court which issued the divorce has jurisdiction to issue it and the law of the foreign country on divorce. (Corpuz v. Sto. Tomas, G.R. No. 186571, August 11, 2010)

Yes, based on quasi-delict under the human relations provisions of the New Civil Code (Arts. 19, 20 and 21) because the act committed by the lessor is contrary to morals. Moral damages are recoverable under Art. 2219(10) in relation to Art. 21. Although the action is based on quasi-delict and not on contract, actual damages may be recovered if the lessee is able to prove the losses and expenses she suffered.

Yes, Ricky is entitled to recover the P1,000,000.00. The NCC considers a fetus is considered a person for purposes favorable to it provided it is born later in accordance with the provision of the NCC. While the donation is favorable to the fetus, the donation did not take effect because the fetus was not born in accordance with the NCC.

To be considered born, the fetus that had an intrauterine life of less than seven (7) months should live for 24 hours from its complete delivery from the mother’s womb. Since Angela had an intrauterine life of less than seven (7) months but did not live for 24 hours, she was not considered born and, therefore, did not become a person. (Art. 41) Not being a person, she has no juridical capacity to be a donee, hence, the donation to her did not take effect. The donation not being effective, the amount donated may be recovered. To retain it will be unjust enrichment.

Irma succeeded to the estate of Isidro as his surviving spouse to the estate of her legitimate child. When Isidro died, he was succeeded by his surviving wife Irma, and his legitimate unborn child. They divided the estate equally between them, the child excluding the parents of Isidro. An unborn child is considered born for all purposes favorable to it provided it is born later. The child was considered born because, having an intra-uterine life of more than seven months, it lived for a few minutes after its complete delivery. It was legitimate because it was born within the valid marriage of the parents. Succession is favorable to it. When the child died, Irma inherited the share of the child. However, the share of the child in the hands of Irma is subject to reserva troncal for the benefit of the relatives of the child within the third degree of consanguinity and who belong to the line of Isidro.

1. No, Wilma cannot successfully claim that Willy had a hereditary share in his father’s estate. Under Art. 43, Civil Code, two persons “who are called to succeed each other” are presumed to have died at the same time, in the absence of proof as to which of them died first. This presumption of simultaneous death applies in cases involving the question of succession as between the two who died, who in this case are mutual heirs, being father and son.

2. Yes, Wilma can invoke the presumption of survivorship and claim that one-half of the proceeds should belong to Willy’s estate, under Sec. 3 (jj) par. 5 Rule 131, Rules of Court, as the dispute does not involve succession. Under this presumption, the person between the ages of 15 and 60 years is deemed to have survived one whose age was over 60 at the time of their deaths. The estate of Willy endowed with juridical personality stands in place and stead of Willy, as beneficiary.