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Republic of the Philippines

SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. L-16749 January 31, 1963
IN THE MTTER O! THE TESTTE ESTTE O! E"#R" E. CHRISTENSEN, "ECESE".
"OL!O C. $NR, E%&'u(or an) LUC* CHRISTENSEN, H&+r o, (-& )&'&a.&), Executor and Heir-appellees,
vs.
HELEN CHRISTENSEN GRCI, oppositor-appellant.
M. R. Sotelo for executor and heir-appellees.
Leopoldo M. Abellera and Jovito Salonga for oppositor-appellant.
L/R"OR, J.:
his is an appeal fro! a decision of the Court of "irst #nstance of $avao, Hon. %icente N. Cusi, &r., presidin', in
(pecial Proceedin' No. )** of said court, dated (epte!ber +,, +-,-, approvin' a!on' thin's the final accounts of
the executor, directin' the executor to rei!burse Maria .uc/ Christensen the a!ount of P0,)11 paid b/ her to Helen
Christensen 2arcia as her le'ac/, and declarin' Maria .uc/ Christensen entitled to the residue of the propert/ to be
en3o/ed durin' her lifeti!e, and in case of death 4ithout issue, one-half of said residue to be pa/able to Mrs. Carrie
.ouise C. Borton, etc., in accordance 4ith the provisions of the 4ill of the testator Ed4ard E. Christensen. he 4ill
4as executed in Manila on March 5, +-5+ and contains the follo4in' provisions6
0. # declare ... that # have but 7NE 8+9 child, na!ed MAR#A .:C; CHR#(EN(EN 8no4 Mrs. Bernard
$ane/9, 4ho 4as born in the Philippines about t4ent/-ei'ht /ears a'o, and 4ho is no4 residin' at No. ))5
Rod'er ;oun' %illa'e, .os An'eles, California, :.(.A.
,. # further declare that # no4 have no livin' ascendants, and no descendants except !/ above na!ed
dau'hter, MAR#A .:C; CHR#(EN(EN $ANE;.
x x x x x x x x x
<. # 'ive, devise and be=ueath unto MAR#A HE.EN CHR#(EN(EN, no4 !arried to Eduardo 2arcia, about
ei'hteen /ears of a'e and 4ho, not4ithstandin' the fact that she 4as bapti>ed Christensen, is not in an/
4a/ related to !e, nor has she been at an/ ti!e adopted b/ !e, and 4ho, fro! all infor!ation # have no4
resides in E'pit, $i'os, $avao, Philippines, the su! of HREE H7:(AN$ (#? H:N$RE$ PE(7(
8P0,)11.119, Philippine Currenc/ the sa!e to be deposited in trust for the said Maria Helen Christensen 4ith
the $avao Branch of the Philippine National Ban@, and paid to her at the rate of 7ne Hundred Pesos
8P+11.119, Philippine Currenc/ per !onth until the principal thereof as 4ell as an/ interest 4hich !a/ have
accrued thereon, is exhausted..
x x x x x x x x x
+*. # hereb/ 'ive, devise and be=ueath, unto !/ 4ell-beloved dau'hter, the said MAR#A .:C;
CHR#(EN(EN $ANE; 8Mrs. Bernard $ane/9, no4 residin' as aforesaid at No. ))5 Rod'er ;oun' %illa'e,
.os An'eles, California, :.(.A., all the inco!e fro! the rest, re!ainder, and residue of !/ propert/ and
estate, real, personal andAor !ixed, of 4hatsoever @ind or character, and 4heresoever situated, of 4hich #
!a/ be possessed at !/ death and 4hich !a/ have co!e to !e fro! an/ source 4hatsoever, durin' her
lifeti!e6 ....
#t is in accordance 4ith the above-=uoted provisions that the executor in his final account and pro3ect of partition
ratified the pa/!ent of onl/ P0,)11 to Helen Christensen 2arcia and proposed that the residue of the estate be
transferred to his dau'hter, Maria .uc/ Christensen.
7pposition to the approval of the pro3ect of partition 4as filed b/ Helen Christensen 2arcia, insofar as it deprives her
8Helen9 of her le'iti!e as an ac@no4led'ed natural child, she havin' been declared b/ :s in 2.R. Nos. .-++,B0-B,
an ac@no4led'ed natural child of the deceased Ed4ard E. Christensen. he le'al 'rounds of opposition are 8a9 that
the distribution should be 'overned b/ the la4s of the Philippines, and 8b9 that said order of distribution is contrar/
thereto insofar as it denies to Helen Christensen, one of t4o ac@no4led'ed natural children, one-half of the estate in
full o4nership. #n a!plification of the above 'rounds it 4as alle'ed that the la4 that should 'overn the estate of the
deceased Christensen should not be the internal la4 of California alone, but the entire la4 thereof because several
forei'n ele!ents are involved, that the foru! is the Philippines and even if the case 4ere decided in California,
(ection -,) of the California Civil Code, 4hich re=uires that the do!icile of the decedent should appl/, should be
applicable. #t 4as also alle'ed that Maria Helen Christensen havin' been declared an ac@no4led'ed natural child of
the decedent, she is dee!ed for all purposes le'iti!ate fro! the ti!e of her birth.
he court belo4 ruled that as Ed4ard E. Christensen 4as a citi>en of the :nited (tates and of the (tate of California
at the ti!e of his death, the successional ri'hts and intrinsic validit/ of the provisions in his 4ill are to be 'overned b/
the la4 of California, in accordance 4ith 4hich a testator has the ri'ht to dispose of his propert/ in the 4a/ he
desires, because the ri'ht of absolute do!inion over his propert/ is sacred and inviolable 8#n re Mc$anielCs Estate, <<
Cal. Appl. *d B<<, +<) P. *d -5*, and #n re Dauf!an, ++< Cal. *B), ,- Pac. +-*, cited in pa'e +<-, Record on
Appeal9. 7ppositor Maria Helen Christensen, throu'h counsel, filed various !otions for reconsideration, but these
4ere denied. Hence, this appeal.
he !ost i!portant assi'n!ents of error are as follo4s6
#
HE .7EER C7:R ERRE$ #N #2N7R#N2 HE $EC#(#7N 7" HE H7N7RAB.E (:PREME C7:R HA
HE.EN #( HE ACDN7E.E$2E$ NA:RA. CH#.$ 7" E$EAR$ E. CHR#(EN(EN AN$, C7N(EF:EN.;, #N
$EPR#%#N2 HER 7" HER &:( (HARE #N HE #NHER#ANCE.
##
HE .7EER C7:R ERRE$ #N EN#RE.; #2N7R#N2 AN$A7R "A#.#N2 7 REC72N#GE HE E?#(ENCE 7"
(E%ERA. "AC7R(, E.EMEN( AN$ C#RC:M(ANCE( CA..#N2 "7R HE APP.#CA#7N 7" #NERNA.
.AE.
###
HE .7EER C7:R ERRE$ #N "A#.#N2 7 REC72N#GE HA :N$ER #NERNA#7NA. .AE,
PAR#C:.AR.; :N$ER HE REN%7# $7CR#NE, HE #NR#N(#C %A.#$#; 7" HE E(AMENAR;
$#(P7(##7N 7" HE $#(R#B:#7N 7" HE E(AE 7" HE $ECEA(E$ E$EAR$ E. CHR#(EN(EN
(H7:.$ BE 27%ERNE$ B; HE .AE( 7" HE PH#.#PP#NE(.
#%
HE .7EER C7:R ERRE$ #N N7 $EC.AR#N2 HA HE (CHE$:.E 7" $#(R#B:#7N (:BM#E$ B;
HE E?EC:7R #( C7NRAR; 7 HE PH#.#PP#NE .AE(.
%
HE .7EER C7:R ERRE$ #N N7 $EC.AR#N2 HA :N$ER HE PH#.#PP#NE .AE( HE.EN
CHR#(EN(EN 2ARC#A #( EN#.E$ 7 7NE-HA." 8+A*9 7" HE E(AE #N ":.. 7ENER(H#P.
here is no =uestion that Ed4ard E. Christensen 4as a citi>en of the :nited (tates and of the (tate of California at
the ti!e of his death. But there is also no =uestion that at the ti!e of his death he 4as do!iciled in the Philippines, as
4itness the follo4in' facts ad!itted b/ the executor hi!self in appelleeCs brief6
#n the proceedin's for ad!ission of the 4ill to probate, the facts of record sho4 that the deceased Ed4ard E.
Christensen 4as born on Nove!ber *-, +B<5 in Ne4 ;or@ Cit/, N.;., :.(.A.H his first arrival in the
Philippines, as an appointed school teacher, 4as on &ul/ +, +-1+, on board the :.(. Ar!/ ransport
I(heridanI 4ith Port of E!bar@ation as the Cit/ of (an "rancisco, in the (tate of California, :.(.A. He
sta/ed in the Philippines until +-1,.
#n $ece!ber, +-1,, Mr. Christensen returned to the :nited (tates and sta/ed there for the follo4in' nine
/ears until +-+0, durin' 4hich ti!e he resided in, and 4as teachin' school in (acra!ento, California.
Mr. ChristensenCs next arrival in the Philippines 4as in &ul/ of the /ear +-+0. Ho4ever, in +-*B, he a'ain
departed the Philippines for the :nited (tates and ca!e bac@ here the follo4in' /ear, +-*-. (o!e nine
/ears later, in +-0B, he a'ain returned to his o4n countr/, and ca!e bac@ to the Philippines the follo4in'
/ear, +-0-.
Eherefore, the parties respectfull/ pra/ that the fore'oin' stipulation of facts be ad!itted and approved b/
this Honorable Court, 4ithout pre3udice to the parties adducin' other evidence to prove their case not
covered b/ this stipulation of facts. 1wph1.!"t
Bein' an A!erican citi>en, Mr. Christensen 4as interned b/ the &apanese Militar/ "orces in the Philippines
durin' Eorld Ear ##. :pon liberation, in April +-,5, he left for the :nited (tates but returned to the
Philippines in $ece!ber, +-,5. Appellees Collective Exhibits I)I, C"# $avao, (p. Proc. )**, as Exhibits
IAAI, IBBI and ICC-$ane/IH Exhs. IMMI, IMM-lI, IMM-*-$ane/I and p. ,<0, t.s.n., &ul/ *+, +-50.9
#n April, +-5+, Ed4ard E. Christensen returned once !ore to California shortl/ after the !a@in' of his last
4ill and testa!ent 8no4 in =uestion herein9 4hich he executed at his la4/ersC offices in Manila on March 5,
+-5+. He died at the (t. .u@eCs Hospital in the Cit/ of Manila on April 01, +-50. 8pp. *-09
#n arrivin' at the conclusion that the do!icile of the deceased is the Philippines, 4e are persuaded b/ the fact that he
4as born in Ne4 ;or@, !i'rated to California and resided there for nine /ears, and since he ca!e to the Philippines
in +-+0 he returned to California ver/ rarel/ and onl/ for short visits 8perhaps to relatives9, and considerin' that he
appears never to have o4ned or ac=uired a ho!e or properties in that state, 4hich 4ould indicate that he 4ould
ulti!atel/ abandon the Philippines and !a@e ho!e in the (tate of California.
(ec. +). Residence is a ter! used 4ith !an/ shades of !eanin' fro! !ere te!porar/ presence to the !ost
per!anent abode. 2enerall/, ho4ever, it is used to denote so!ethin' !ore than !ere ph/sical presence.
82oodrich on Conflict of .a4s, p. *-9
As to his citi>enship, ho4ever, Ee find that the citi>enship that he ac=uired in California 4hen he resided in
(acra!ento, California fro! +-1, to +-+0, 4as never lost b/ his sta/ in the Philippines, for the latter 4as a territor/ of
the :nited (tates 8not a state9 until +-,) and the deceased appears to have considered hi!self as a citi>en of
California b/ the fact that 4hen he executed his 4ill in +-5+ he declared that he 4as a citi>en of that (tateH so that he
appears never to have intended to abandon his California citi>enship b/ ac=uirin' another. his conclusion is in
accordance 4ith the follo4in' principle expounded b/ 2oodrich in his Conflict of .a4s.
he ter!s ICresidenceI and Ido!icileI !i'ht 4ell be ta@en to !ean the sa!e thin', a place of per!anent
abode. But do!icile, as has been sho4n, has ac=uired a technical !eanin'. hus one !a/ be do!iciled in
a place 4here he has never been. And he !a/ reside in a place 4here he has no do!icile. he !an 4ith
t4o ho!es, bet4een 4hich he divides his ti!e, certainl/ resides in each one, 4hile livin' in it. But if he 4ent
on business 4hich 4ould re=uire his presence for several 4ee@s or !onths, he !i'ht properl/ be said to
have sufficient connection 4ith the place to be called a resident. #t is clear, ho4ever, that, if he treated his
settle!ent as continuin' onl/ for the particular business in hand, not 'ivin' up his for!er Iho!e,I he could
not be a do!iciled Ne4 ;or@er. Ac=uisition of a do!icile of choice re=uires the exercise of intention as 4ell
as ph/sical presence. IResidence si!pl/ re=uires bodil/ presence of an inhabitant in a 'iven place, 4hile
do!icile re=uires bodil/ presence in that place and also an intention to !a@e it oneCs do!icile.I Residence,
ho4ever, is a ter! used 4ith !an/ shades of !eanin', fro! the !erest te!porar/ presence to the !ost
per!anent abode, and it is not safe to insist that an/ one use et the onl/ proper one. 82oodrich, p. *-9
he la4 that 'overns the validit/ of his testa!entar/ dispositions is defined in Article +) of the Civil Code of the
Philippines, 4hich is as follo4s6
AR. +). Real propert/ as 4ell as personal propert/ is sub3ect to the la4 of the countr/ 4here it is situated.
Ho4ever, intestate and testa!entar/ successions, both 4ith respect to the order of succession and to the
a!ount of successional ri'hts and to the intrinsic validit/ of testa!entar/ provisions, shall be re'ulated b/
the national la4 of the person 4hose succession is under consideration, 4hatever !a/ be the nature of the
propert/ and re'ardless of the countr/ 4here said propert/ !a/ be found.
he application of this article in the case at bar re=uires the deter!ination of the !eanin' of the ter! #national law# is
used therein.
here is no sin'le A!erican la4 'overnin' the validit/ of testa!entar/ provisions in the :nited (tates, each state of
the :nion havin' its o4n private la4 applicable to its citi>ens onl/ and in force onl/ 4ithin the state. he Inational la4I
indicated in Article +) of the Civil Code above =uoted can not, therefore, possibl/ !ean or appl/ to an/ 'eneral
A!erican la4. (o it can refer to no other than the private la4 of the (tate of California.
he next =uestion is6 Ehat is the la4 in California 'overnin' the disposition of personal propert/J he decision of the
court belo4, sustains the contention of the executor-appellee that under the California Probate Code, a testator !a/
dispose of his propert/ b/ 4ill in the for! and !anner he desires, citin' the case of Estate of Mc$aniel, << Cal. Appl.
*d B<<, +<) P. *d -5*. But appellant invo@es the provisions of Article -,) of the Civil Code of California, 4hich is as
follo4s6
#f there is no la4 to the contrar/, in the place 4here personal propert/ is situated, it is dee!ed to follo4 the
person of its o4ner, and is 'overned b/ the la4 of his do!icile.
he existence of this provision is alle'ed in appellantCs opposition and is not denied. Ee have chec@ed it in the
California Civil Code and it is there. Appellee, on the other hand, relies on the case cited in the decision and testified
to b/ a 4itness. 87nl/ the case of Dauf!an is correctl/ cited.9 #t is ar'ued on executorCs behalf that as the deceased
Christensen 4as a citi>en of the (tate of California, the internal la4 thereof, 4hich is that 'iven in the abovecited
case, should 'overn the deter!ination of the validit/ of the testa!entar/ provisions of ChristensenCs 4ill, such la4
bein' in force in the (tate of California of 4hich Christensen 4as a citi>en. Appellant, on the other hand, insists that
Article -,) should be applicable, and in accordance there4ith and follo4in' the doctrine of therenvoi, the =uestion of
the validit/ of the testa!entar/ provision in =uestion should be referred bac@ to the la4 of the decedentCs do!icile,
4hich is the Philippines.
he theor/ of doctrine of renvoi has been defined b/ various authors, thus6
he proble! has been stated in this 4a/6 IEhen the Conflict of .a4s rule of the foru! refers a 3ural !atter
to a forei'n la4 for decision, is the reference to the purel/ internal rules of la4 of the forei'n s/ste!H i.e., to
the totalit/ of the forei'n la4 !inus its Conflict of .a4s rulesJI
7n lo'ic, the solution is not an eas/ one. he Michi'an court chose to accept the renvoi, that is, applied the
Conflict of .a4s rule of #llinois 4hich referred the !atter bac@ to Michi'an la4. But once havin' deter!ined
the the Conflict of .a4s principle is the rule loo@ed to, it is difficult to see 4h/ the reference bac@ should not
have been to Michi'an Conflict of .a4s. his 4ould have resulted in the Iendless chain of referencesI 4hich
has so often been critici>ed be le'al 4riters. he opponents of the renvoi 4ould have loo@ed !erel/ to the
internal la4 of #llinois, thus re3ectin' the renvoi or the reference bac@. ;et there see!s no co!pellin' lo'ical
reason 4h/ the ori'inal reference should be the internal la4 rather than to the Conflict of .a4s rule. #t is true
that such a solution avoids 'oin' on a !err/-'o-round, but those 4ho have accepted the renvoi theor/ avoid
this inextricabilis circulas b/ 'ettin' off at the second reference and at that point appl/in' internal la4.
Perhaps the opponents of the renvoi are a bit !ore consistent for the/ loo@ al4a/s to internal la4 as the rule
of reference.
(tran'el/ enou'h, both the advocates for and the ob3ectors to the renvoi plead that 'reater unifor!it/ 4ill
result fro! adoption of their respective vie4s. And still !ore stran'e is the fact that the onl/ 4a/ to achieve
unifor!it/ in this choice-of-la4 proble! is if in the dispute the t4o states 4hose la4s for! the le'al basis of
the liti'ation disa'ree as to 4hether the renvoi should be accepted. #f both re3ect, or both accept the
doctrine, the result of the liti'ation 4ill var/ 4ith the choice of the foru!. #n the case stated above, had the
Michi'an court re3ected the renvoi, 3ud'!ent 4ould have been a'ainst the 4o!anH if the suit had been
brou'ht in the #llinois courts, and the/ too re3ected the renvoi, 3ud'!ent 4ould be for the 4o!an. he sa!e
result 4ould happen, thou'h the courts 4ould s4itch 4ith respect to 4hich 4ould hold liabilit/, if both courts
accepted the renvoi.
he Restate!ent accepts the renvoi theor/ in t4o instances6 4here the title to land is in =uestion, and 4here
the validit/ of a decree of divorce is challen'ed. #n these cases the Conflict of .a4s rule of the situs of the
land, or the do!icile of the parties in the divorce case, is applied b/ the foru!, but an/ further reference
'oes onl/ to the internal la4. hus, a personCs title to land, reco'ni>ed b/ the situs, 4ill be reco'ni>ed b/
ever/ courtH and ever/ divorce, valid b/ the do!icile of the parties, 4ill be valid ever/4here. 82oodrich,
Conflict of .a4s, (ec. <, pp. +0-+,.9
?, a citi>en of Massachusetts, dies intestate, do!iciled in "rance, leavin' !ovable propert/ in
Massachusetts, En'land, and "rance. he =uestion arises as to ho4 this propert/ is to be distributed a!on'
?Cs next of @in.
Assu!e 8+9 that this =uestion arises in a Massachusetts court. here the rule of the conflict of la4s as to
intestate succession to !ovables calls for an application of the la4 of the deceasedCs last do!icile. (ince b/
h/pothesis ?Cs last do!icile 4as "rance, the natural thin' for the Massachusetts court to do 4ould be to turn
to "rench statute of distributions, or 4hatever corresponds thereto in "rench la4, and decree a distribution
accordin'l/. An exa!ination of "rench la4, ho4ever, 4ould sho4 that if a "rench court 4ere called upon to
deter!ine ho4 this propert/ should be distributed, it 4ould refer the distribution to the national la4 of the
deceased, thus appl/in' the Massachusetts statute of distributions. (o on the surface of thin's the
Massachusetts court has open to it alternative course of action6 8a9 either to appl/ the "rench la4 is to
intestate succession, or 8b9 to resolve itself into a "rench court and appl/ the Massachusetts statute of
distributions, on the assu!ption that this is 4hat a "rench court 4ould do. #f it accepts the so-
called renvoidoctrine, it 4ill follo4 the latter course, thus appl/in' its o4n la4.
his is one t/pe of renvoi. A 3ural !atter is presented 4hich the conflict-of-la4s rule of the foru! refers to a
forei'n la4, the conflict-of-la4s rule of 4hich, in turn, refers the !atter bac@ a'ain to the la4 of the foru!.
his is renvoi in the narro4er sense. he 2er!an ter! for this 3udicial process is CRuc@ver4eisun'.CI
8Harvard .a4 Revie4, %ol. 0+, pp. 5*0-5<+.9
After a decision has been arrived at that a forei'n la4 is to be resorted to as 'overnin' a particular case, the
further =uestion !a/ arise6 Are the rules as to the conflict of la4s contained in such forei'n la4 also to be
resorted toJ his is a =uestion 4hich, 4hile it has been considered b/ the courts in but a fe4 instances, has
been the sub3ect of fre=uent discussion b/ text4riters and essa/istsH and the doctrine involved has been
descriptivel/ desi'nated b/ the! as the IRenvo/erI to send bac@, or the IRuchvers4eisun'I, or the
IEeiterver4eisun'I, since an affir!ative ans4er to the =uestion postulated and the operation of the
adoption of the forei'n la4 in toto 4ould in !an/ cases result in returnin' the !ain controvers/ to be
decided accordin' to the la4 of the foru!. ... 8+) C.&.(. B<*.9
Another theor/, @no4n as the Idoctrine of renvoiI, has been advanced. he theor/ of the doctrine of renvoiis
that the court of the foru!, in deter!inin' the =uestion before it, !ust ta@e into account the 4hole la4 of the
other 3urisdiction, but also its rules as to conflict of la4s, and then appl/ the la4 to the actual =uestion 4hich
the rules of the other 3urisdiction prescribe. his !a/ be the la4 of the foru!. he doctrine of therenvoi has
'enerall/ been repudiated b/ the A!erican authorities. 8* A!. &ur. *-)9
he scope of the theor/ of renvoi has also been defined and the reasons for its application in a countr/ explained b/
Prof. .oren>en in an article in the ;ale .a4 &ournal, %ol. *<, +-+<-+-+B, pp. 5*--50+. he pertinent parts of the
article are =uoted herein belo46
he reco'nition of the renvoi theor/ i!plies that the rules of the conflict of la4s are to be understood as
incorporatin' not onl/ the ordinar/ or internal la4 of the forei'n state or countr/, but its rules of the conflict of
la4s as 4ell. Accordin' to this theor/ Cthe la4 of a countr/C !eans the 4hole of its la4.
x x x x x x x x x
%on Bar presented his vie4s at the !eetin' of the #nstitute of #nternational .a4, at Neuchatel, in +-11, in the
for! of the follo4in' theses6
8+9 Ever/ court shall observe the la4 of its countr/ as re'ards the application of forei'n la4s.
8*9 Provided that no express provision to the contrar/ exists, the court shall respect6
8a9 he provisions of a forei'n la4 4hich disclai!s the ri'ht to bind its nationals abroad as re'ards
their personal statute, and desires that said personal statute shall be deter!ined b/ the la4 of the
do!icile, or even b/ the la4 of the place 4here the act in =uestion occurred.
8b9 he decision of t4o or !ore forei'n s/ste!s of la4, provided it be certain that one of the! is
necessaril/ co!petent, 4hich a'ree in attributin' the deter!ination of a =uestion to the sa!e
s/ste! of la4.
x x x x x x x x x
#f, for exa!ple, the En'lish la4 directs its 3ud'e to distribute the personal estate of an En'lish!an 4ho has
died do!iciled in Bel'iu! in accordance 4ith the la4 of his do!icile, he !ust first in=uire 4hether the la4 of
Bel'iu! 4ould distribute personal propert/ upon death in accordance 4ith the la4 of do!icile, and if he
finds that the Bel'ian la4 4ould !a@e the distribution in accordance 4ith the la4 of nationalit/ K that is the
En'lish la4 K he !ust accept this reference bac@ to his o4n la4.
Ee note that Article -,) of the California Civil Code is its conflict of la4s rule, 4hile the rule applied in #n re
Dauf!an, Supra, its internal la4. #f the la4 on succession and the conflict of la4s rules of California are to be
enforced 3ointl/, each in its o4n intended and appropriate sphere, the principle cited #n re Dauf!an should appl/ to
citi>ens livin' in the (tate, but Article -,) should appl/ to such of its citi>ens as are not do!iciled in California but in
other 3urisdictions. he rule laid do4n of resortin' to the la4 of the do!icile in the deter!ination of !atters 4ith
forei'n ele!ent involved is in accord 4ith the 'eneral principle of A!erican la4 that the do!iciliar/ la4 should 'overn
in !ost !atters or ri'hts 4hich follo4 the person of the o4ner.
Ehen a !an dies leavin' personal propert/ in one or !ore states, and leaves a 4ill directin' the !anner of
distribution of the propert/, the la4 of the state 4here he 4as do!iciled at the ti!e of his death 4ill be
loo@ed to in decidin' le'al =uestions about the 4ill, al!ost as co!pletel/ as the la4 of situs is consulted in
=uestions about the devise of land. #t is lo'ical that, since the do!iciliar/ rules control devolution of the
personal estate in case of intestate succession, the sa!e rules should deter!ine the validit/ of an atte!pted
testa!entar/ dispostion of the propert/. Here, also, it is not that the do!iciliar/ has effect be/ond the
borders of the do!iciliar/ state. he rules of the do!icile are reco'ni>ed as controllin' b/ the Conflict of
.a4s rules at the situs propert/, and the reason for the reco'nition as in the case of intestate succession, is
the 'eneral convenience of the doctrine. he Ne4 ;or@ court has said on the point6 Che 'eneral principle
that a dispostiton of a personal propert/, valid at the do!icile of the o4ner, is valid an/4here, is one of the
universal application. #t had its ori'in in that international co!it/ 4hich 4as one of the first fruits of
civili>ation, and it this a'e, 4hen business intercourse and the process of accu!ulatin' propert/ ta@e but
little notice of boundar/ lines, the practical 4isdo! and 3ustice of the rule is !ore apparent than ever.
82oodrich, Conflict of .a4s, (ec. +),, pp. ,,*-,,0.9
Appellees ar'ue that 4hat Article +) of the Civil Code of the Philippines pointed out as the national law is the internal
la4 of California. But as above explained the la4s of California have prescribed t4o sets of la4s for its citi>ens, one
for residents therein and another for those do!iciled in other 3urisdictions. Reason de!ands that Ee should enforce
the California internal la4 prescribed for its citi>ens residin' therein, and enforce the conflict of la4s rules for the
citi>ens do!iciled abroad. #f 4e !ust enforce the la4 of California as in co!it/ 4e are bound to 'o, as so declared in
Article +) of our Civil Code, then 4e !ust enforce the la4 of California in accordance 4ith the express !andate
thereof and as above explained, i.e., appl/ the internal la4 for residents therein, and its conflict-of-la4s rule for those
do!iciled abroad.
#t is ar'ued on appelleesC behalf that the clause Iif there is no la4 to the contrar/ in the place 4here the propert/ is
situatedI in (ec. -,) of the California Civil Code refers to Article +) of the Civil Code of the Philippines and that the
la4 to the contrar/ in the Philippines is the provision in said Article +) that the national law of the deceased should
'overn. his contention can not be sustained. As explained in the various authorities cited above the national la4
!entioned in Article +) of our Civil Code is the la4 on conflict of la4s in the California Civil Code, i.e., Article -,),
4hich authori>es the reference or return of the =uestion to the la4 of the testatorCs do!icile. he conflict of la4s rule
in California, Article -,), Civil Code, precisel/ refers bac@ the case, 4hen a decedent is not do!iciled in California, to
the la4 of his do!icile, the Philippines in the case at bar. he court of the do!icile can not and should not refer the
case bac@ to CaliforniaH such action 4ould leave the issue incapable of deter!ination because the case 4ill then be
li@e a football, tossed bac@ and forth bet4een the t4o states, bet4een the countr/ of 4hich the decedent 4as a
citi>en and the countr/ of his do!icile. he Philippine court !ust appl/ its o4n la4 as directed in the conflict of la4s
rule of the state of the decedent, if the =uestion has to be decided, especiall/ as the application of the internal la4 of
California provides no le'iti!e for children 4hile the Philippine la4, Arts. BB<8,9 and B-,, Civil Code of the
Philippines, !a@es natural children le'all/ ac@no4led'ed forced heirs of the parent reco'ni>in' the!.
he Philippine cases 8#n re Estate of &ohnson, 0- Phil. +5)H Riera vs. Pal!aroli, ,1 Phil. +15H Miciano vs. Bri!o, 51
Phil. B)<H Babcoc@ e!pleton vs. Rider Babcoc@, 5* Phil. +01H and 2ibbs vs. 2overn!ent, 5- Phil. *-0.9 cited b/
appellees to support the decision can not possibl/ appl/ in the case at bar, for t4o i!portant reasons, i.e., the sub3ect
in each case does not appear to be a citi>en of a state in the :nited (tates but 4ith do!icile in the Philippines, and it
does not appear in each case that there exists in the state of 4hich the sub3ect is a citi>en, a la4 si!ilar to or identical
4ith Art. -,) of the California Civil Code.
Ee therefore find that as the do!icile of the deceased Christensen, a citi>en of California, is the Philippines, the
validit/ of the provisions of his 4ill deprivin' his ac@no4led'ed natural child, the appellant, should be 'overned b/ the
Philippine .a4, the do!icile, pursuant to Art. -,) of the Civil Code of California, not b/ the internal la4 of California..
EHERE"7RE, the decision appealed fro! is hereb/ reversed and the case returned to the lo4er court 4ith
instructions that the partition be !ade as the Philippine la4 on succession provides. &ud'!ent reversed, 4ith costs
a'ainst appellees.
$adilla% &autista Angelo% 'oncepcion% Re(es% &arrera% $aredes% )i*on% Regala and Ma+alintal% JJ.% concur.
&eng*on% '.J.% too+ no part.