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Miciano vs Brimo

TITLE: Juan Miciano v Andre Brimo


CITATION: GR No.22595, November 1, 1927| 50 Phil 867

FACTS:
Juan Miciano, judicial administrator of the estate in question, filed a scheme of partition. Andre Brimo, one of the
brothers of the deceased (Joseph Brimo) opposed Micianos participation in the inheritance. Joseph Brimo is a Turkish
citizen.

ISSUE: Whether Turkish law or Philippine law will be the basis on the distribution of Joseph Brimos estates.

HELD:
Though the last part of the second clause of the will expressly said that it be made and disposed of in accordance with
the laws in force in the Philippine Island, this condition, described as impossible conditions, shall be considered as not
imposed and shall not prejudice the heir or legatee in any manner whatsoever, even should the testator otherwise
provide. Impossible conditions are further defined as those contrary to law or good morals. Thus, national law of the
testator shall govern in his testamentary dispositions.
The court approved the scheme of partition submitted by the judicial administrator, in such manner as to include Andre
Brimo, as one of the legatees.


Testate Estate of Joseph G. Brimo, JUAN MICIANO, administrator, petitioner-appellee,
vs.
ANDRE BRIMO, opponent-appellant.

Ross, Lawrence and Selph for appellant.
Camus and Delgado for appellee.



ROMUALDEZ, J.:

The partition of the estate left by the deceased Joseph G. Brimo is in question in this case.

The judicial administrator of this estate filed a scheme of partition. Andre Brimo, one of the brothers of the deceased,
opposed it. The court, however, approved it.

The errors which the oppositor-appellant assigns are:

(1) The approval of said scheme of partition; (2) denial of his participation in the inheritance; (3) the denial of the motion
for reconsideration of the order approving the partition; (4) the approval of the purchase made by the Pietro Lana of the
deceased's business and the deed of transfer of said business; and (5) the declaration that the Turkish laws are
impertinent to this cause, and the failure not to postpone the approval of the scheme of partition and the delivery of the
deceased's business to Pietro Lanza until the receipt of the depositions requested in reference to the Turkish laws.

The appellant's opposition is based on the fact that the partition in question puts into effect the provisions of Joseph G.
Brimo's will which are not in accordance with the laws of his Turkish nationality, for which reason they are void as being
in violation or article 10 of the Civil Code which, among other things, provides the following:

Nevertheless, legal and testamentary successions, in respect to the order of succession as well as to the amount of the
successional rights and the intrinsic validity of their provisions, shall be regulated by the national law of the person
whose succession is in question, whatever may be the nature of the property or the country in which it may be situated.

But the fact is that the oppositor did not prove that said testimentary dispositions are not in accordance with the Turkish
laws, inasmuch as he did not present any evidence showing what the Turkish laws are on the matter, and in the absence
of evidence on such laws, they are presumed to be the same as those of the Philippines. (Lim and Lim vs. Collector of
Customs, 36 Phil., 472.)

It has not been proved in these proceedings what the Turkish laws are. He, himself, acknowledges it when he desires to
be given an opportunity to present evidence on this point; so much so that he assigns as an error of the court in not
having deferred the approval of the scheme of partition until the receipt of certain testimony requested regarding the
Turkish laws on the matter.

The refusal to give the oppositor another opportunity to prove such laws does not constitute an error. It is discretionary
with the trial court, and, taking into consideration that the oppositor was granted ample opportunity to introduce
competent evidence, we find no abuse of discretion on the part of the court in this particular. There is, therefore, no
evidence in the record that the national law of the testator Joseph G. Brimo was violated in the testamentary
dispositions in question which, not being contrary to our laws in force, must be complied with and executed. lawphil.net

Therefore, the approval of the scheme of partition in this respect was not erroneous.

In regard to the first assignment of error which deals with the exclusion of the herein appellant as a legatee, inasmuch as
he is one of the persons designated as such in will, it must be taken into consideration that such exclusion is based on
the last part of the second clause of the will, which says:

Second. I like desire to state that although by law, I am a Turkish citizen, this citizenship having been conferred upon me
by conquest and not by free choice, nor by nationality and, on the other hand, having resided for a considerable length
of time in the Philippine Islands where I succeeded in acquiring all of the property that I now possess, it is my wish that
the distribution of my property and everything in connection with this, my will, be made and disposed of in accordance
with the laws in force in the Philippine islands, requesting all of my relatives to respect this wish, otherwise, I annul and
cancel beforehand whatever disposition found in this will favorable to the person or persons who fail to comply with this
request.

The institution of legatees in this will is conditional, and the condition is that the instituted legatees must respect the
testator's will to distribute his property, not in accordance with the laws of his nationality, but in accordance with the
laws of the Philippines.

If this condition as it is expressed were legal and valid, any legatee who fails to comply with it, as the herein oppositor
who, by his attitude in these proceedings has not respected the will of the testator, as expressed, is prevented from
receiving his legacy.

The fact is, however, that the said condition is void, being contrary to law, for article 792 of the civil Code provides the
following:

Impossible conditions and those contrary to law or good morals shall be considered as not imposed and shall not
prejudice the heir or legatee in any manner whatsoever, even should the testator otherwise provide.

And said condition is contrary to law because it expressly ignores the testator's national law when, according to article
10 of the civil Code above quoted, such national law of the testator is the one to govern his testamentary dispositions.

Said condition then, in the light of the legal provisions above cited, is considered unwritten, and the institution of
legatees in said will is unconditional and consequently valid and effective even as to the herein oppositor.

It results from all this that the second clause of the will regarding the law which shall govern it, and to the condition
imposed upon the legatees, is null and void, being contrary to law.

All of the remaining clauses of said will with all their dispositions and requests are perfectly valid and effective it not
appearing that said clauses are contrary to the testator's national law.

Therefore, the orders appealed from are modified and it is directed that the distribution of this estate be made in such a
manner as to include the herein appellant Andre Brimo as one of the legatees, and the scheme of partition submitted by
the judicial administrator is approved in all other respects, without any pronouncement as to costs.

So ordered.

Street, Malcolm, Avancea, Villamor and Ostrand, JJ., concur.





















CASE DIGEST OF YAO KEE V. SY-GONZALES
CASE DIGEST OF YAO KEE V. SY-GONZALES [167 S 737] - F: Sy-Kiat, a Chinese national, died in 1977 in Kaloocan
City, where he was residing, leaving behind substantial real and personal properties here in the Phils. Petition for
letters of administration filed by his natural children, was opposed on the ground that Sy Kiat was legally married
to Yao Kee, in Fookien, China on 1/13/31 and that the oppositors are the legitimate children. The probate court
rendered judgment in favor of the oppositors; this was modified and set aside by the CA w/c held that both sets of
children were acknowledged natural children. Both parties moved for partial reconsideration.

HELD: For failure to prove the foreign law or custom, and consequently, the validity of the marriage in accordance
w/ said law or custom, the marriage between Yao Kee and Sy Kiat cannot be recognized in this jurisdiction. In the
case at bar, petitioners did not present any competent evidence relative to the law and customs of China on
marriage. The testimonies of Yao and Gan Ching cannot be considered as proof of China's law or custom on
marriage not only bec. they are self-serving evidence, but more importantly, there is no showing that they are
competent to testify on the subject matter.
Custom is defined as "a rule of conduct formed by repetition of acts, uniformly observed (practiced) 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." On this score the Court had occasion to state that "a local custom as a source of right can not
be considered by a court of justice unless such custom is properly established by competent evidence like any
other fact." The same evidence, if not one of a higher degree, should be required of a foreign custom.




Yao Kee v. Sy-Gonzales, 167 SCRA 786
FACTS: Sy Kiat is a Chinese national who died on January 17, 1977 in Caloocan City where he was then residing, leaving
behind real and personal properties here in the Philippines worth about P300,000. Aida Sy-Gonzales et al filed a
petition for the grant of letters of administration and alleged that (a) they are the children of the deceased with
Asuncion Gillego; (b) to their knowledge Sy Mat died intestate; (c) they do not recognize Sy Kiat's marriage to
Yao Kee nor the filiation of her children to him. The petition was opposed by Yao Kee et al who alleged that she
is the lawful wife of Sy Kiat whom he married on January 19, 1931 in China and the other oppositors are the
legitimate children of the deceased with Yao Kee. Probate court ruled that Sy Kiat was legally married to Yao Kee
and the other oppositors were legitimate children of Sy Mat. On appeal, CA simply modified probate courts
judgment and stated that Aida Sy-Gonzales et al are natural children of Sy Mat. They filed a motion for
reconsideration but was denied. Hence, this petition.

ISSUE: Whether or not the marriage of Yao Kee and Sy Kiat is valid in accordance with Philippine laws.


HELD: For a marriage to be recognized as valid, the existence of foreign law as a question of fact and the alleged
marriage must be proven by clear and convincing evidence. In the case at bar petitioners 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 as proof of China's law or custom on marriage not only because they are self-serving
evidence, but more importantly, there is no showing that they are competent to testify on the subject matter.
For failure to prove the foreign law or custom, and consequently, the validity of the marriage in accordance with
said law or custom, the marriage between Yao Kee and Sy Kiat cannot be recognized in this jurisdiction.




Tenchavez vs Escano
TITLE: Tenchavez vs. Escano
CITATION: 15 SCRA 355

FACTS:
27 years old Vicenta Escano who belong to a prominent Filipino Family of Spanish ancestry got married on Feburary 24,
1948 with Pastor Tenchavez, 32 years old engineer, and ex-army officer before Catholic chaplain Lt. Moises
Lavares. The marriage was a culmination of the love affair of the couple and was duly registered in the local civil
registry. A certain Pacita Noel came to be their match-maker and go-between who had an amorous relationship
with Tenchavez as written by a San Carlos college student where she and Vicenta are studying. Vicenta and
Pastor are supposed to renew their vows/ marriage in a church as suggested by Vicentas parents. However
after translating the said letter to Vicentas dad , he disagreed for a new marriage. Vicenta continued leaving
with her parents in Cebu while Pastor went back to work in Manila.

Vicenta applied for a passport indicating that she was single and when it was approved she left for the United States and
filed a complaint for divorce against Pastor which was later on approved and issued by the Second Judicial Court
of the State of Nevada. She then sought for the annulment of her marriage to the Archbishop of Cebu. Vicenta
married Russell Leo Moran, an American, in Nevada and has begotten children. She acquired citizenship on
August 8, 1958. Petitioner filed a complaint against Vicenta and her parents whom he alleged to have dissuaded
Vicenta from joining her husband.


ISSUE: Whether the divorce sought by Vicenta Escano is valid and binding upon courts of the Philippines.


HELD:
Civil Code of the Philippines does not admit divorce. Philippine courts cannot give recognition on foreign decrees of
absolute divorce between Filipino citizens because it would be a violation of the Civil Code. Such grant would
arise to discrimination in favor of rich citizens who can afford divorce in foreign countries. The adulterous
relationship of Escano with her American husband is enough grounds for the legal separation prayed by
Tenchavez. In the eyes of Philippine laws, Tenchavez and Escano are still married. A foreign divorce between
Filipinos sought and decreed is not entitled to recognition neither is the marriage of the divorcee entitled to
validity in the Philippines. Thus, the desertion and securing of an invalid divorce decree by one spouse entitled
the other for damages.

WHEREFORE, the decision under appeal is hereby modified as follows;
(1) Adjudging plaintiff-appellant Pastor Tenchavez entitled to a decree of legal separation from defendant Vicenta F.
Escao;
(2) Sentencing defendant-appellee Vicenta Escao to pay plaintiff-appellant Tenchavez the amount of P25,000 for
damages and attorneys' fees;
(3) Sentencing appellant Pastor Tenchavez to pay the appellee, Mamerto Escao and the estate of his wife, the deceased
Mena Escao, P5,000 by way of damages and attorneys' fees.





Tenchavez vs. Escao

FACTS:
Vicenta Escao, 27, exchanged marriage vows with Pastor Tenchavez, 32, on February 24, 1948, before a Catholic
chaplain. The marriage was duly registered with the local civil registrar. However, the two were unable to live
together after the marriage and as of June 1948, they were already estranged. Vicenta left for the United Stated
in 1950. On the same year she filed a verified complaint for divorce against Tenchavez in the State of Nevada on
the ground of Extreme cruelty, entirely mental in character. A decree of divorce, final and absolute was
issued in open court by the said tribunal. She married an American, lived with him in California, had several
children with him and, on 1958, acquired American Citizenship.
On 30 July 1955, Tenchavez filed a complaint in the Court of First Instance of Cebu, and amended on 31 May 1956,
against Vicenta F. Escao, her parents, Mamerto and Mena Escao whom he charged with having dissuaded and
discouraged Vicenta from joining her husband, and alienating her affections, and against the Roman Catholic
Church, for having, through its Diocesan Tribunal, decreed the annulment of the marriage, and asked for legal
separation and one million pesos in damages. Vicentas parents denied that they had in any way influenced their
daughters acts, and counterclaimed for moral damages.
ISSUE:
1. Whether or not the divorce sought by Vicenta Escao is valid and binding upon courts of the Philippines.
2. Whether or not the charges against Vicenta Escaos parents were sufficient in form.
RULING:
1. No. Vicenta Escao and Pastor Tenchavez marriage remain existent and undissolved under the Philippine Law.
Escaos divorce and second marriage cannot be deemed valid under the Philippine Law to which Escao was
bound since in the time the divorce decree was issued, Escao, like her husband, was still a Filipino citizen. The
acts of the wife in not complying with her wifely duties, deserting her husband without any justifiable cause,
leaving for the United States in order to secure a decree of absolute divorce, and finally getting married again
are acts which constitute a willful infliction of injury upon the husbands feelings in a manner contrary to morals,
good customs or public policy, thus entitling Tenchavez to a decree of legal separation under our law on the
basis of adultery.

2. No. Tenchavez charge against Vicentas parents are not supported by credible evidence. The testimony of
Tenchavez about the Escaos animosity toward him strikes the court to be merely conjecture and exaggeration,
and were belied by Tenchavez own letters written before the suit had begun. An action for alienation of
affections against the parents of one consort does not lie in the absence of proof of malice or unworthy motives
on their part.
Plaintiff Tenchavez, in falsely charging Vicenta's aged parents with racial or social discrimination and with having exerted
efforts and pressured her to seek annulment and divorce, unquestionably caused them unrest and anxiety,
entitling them to recover damages.








BELLIS vs BELLIS 20 SCRA 358 G.R. No. L-23678, June 6, 1967
Posted by Evelyn

FACTS:

Amos Bellis, a US citizen, died a resident of Texas. He left two wills -- one devising a certain amount of money to his first
wife and three illegitimate children and another, leaving the rest of his estate to his seven legitimate children.
Before partition, the illegitimate children who are Filipinos opposed on the ground that they are deprived of
their legitimes.

ISSUE:
Whether the applicable law is Texas law or Philippine laws
HELD:
Applying the nationality rule, the law of Texas should govern the intrinsic validity of the will and therefore answer the
question on entitlement to legitimes. But since the law of Texas was never proven, the doctrine of processual
presumption was applied. Hence, SC assumed that Texas law is the same as Philippine laws, which upholds the
nationality rule. Renvoi doctrine is not applicable because there is no conflict as to the nationality and domicile
of Bellis. He is both a citizen and a resident of Texas. So even if assuming the law of Texas applies the domiciliary
rule, it is still Texas law that governs because his domicile is Texas.


BELLIS v. BELLIS
20 SCRA 358

FACTS
Mr. Bellis was a citizen and resident of Texas at the time of his death. He had five (5) legitimate children with his
first wife, Mary Mallen, whom he divorced. He had three (3) legitimate daughters with his second wife, Violet,
who survived him, and another three (3) illegitimate children with another woman. Before he died, he executed
two (2) wills, disposing of his Texas properties, the other disposing his Philippine properties. In both wills, he
recognized his illegitimate children but they were not given anything. Under Texas law, there are no compulsory
heirs or legitime reserved to illegitimate children.
Naturally, the illegitimate children, Maria Cristina and Merriam Palma, opposed the wills on the ground that they were
deprived of their legitime as illegitimate children. Under Philippine law, they are entitled to inherit even if they
are illegitimate children. They claim that Philippine law should be applied.

ISSUE
What law should be applied, the Philippine law or the Texas law? May the illegitimate daughters inherit?

HELD
What applies is the Texas law. Mr. Bellis is a national and domicile of Texas at the time of his death. Hence, both the
intrinsic validity of the will (substance or successional rights) and the extrinsic validity (forms of the will) are
governed by Texas law. Since under Texas law, the decedent may dispose of his property as he wishes, the Will
should be respected. The illegitimate daughters are not entitled to any legitime.

Assuming that Texas law is in conflict of law rule providing that the domiciliary system (law of domicile) should govern,
the same should not result in a reference back (renvoi) to the Philippine law since Mr. Bellis was both a national
and domicile of Texas at the time of his death. Nonetheless, if Texas law has a conflict rule, renvoi would not
arise, since the properties covered by the second will are found in the Philippines. The renvoi doctrine applied in
the case of Aznar v. Garcia cannot be applied since said doctrine is pertinent where the decedent is a national of
one country and domiciliary of another country. Moreover, it has been pointed out that the decedent executed
two (2) wills- one to govern his Texas properties and the other his Philippine estate; the latter being the basis of
the argument of illegitimate children that he intended Philippine law to govern. Assuming that such was the
intention of the decedent in executing a separate Philippine will, it would not alter the law. As rule in Miciano v.
Brimo, a provision of foreigners will to the effect that his properties shall be distributed in accordance with
Philippine law and not with the national law, is illegal and void, for his national law cannot be ignored.

Nationality Principle

Amos Bellis was a citizen of the State of Texas, and of the United States. By his first wife whom he divorced he had five
legitimate children, by his second wife, who survived him, he had three legitimate children, and three
illegitimate children. Before he died, he made two wills, one disposing of his Texas properties and the other
disposing his Philippine properties. In both wills, his illegitimate children were not given anything. The
illegitimate children opposed the will on the ground that they have been deprived of their legitimes to which
they should be entitled, if Philippine law were to be applied.




























CASE DIGEST ON AZNAR V. GARCIA

CASE DIGEST ON AZNAR V. GARCIA [61 O.G. No. 46 p. 7303 (1963)] - Where the testator was a citizen of California, and
domiciled in the Philippines, the amount of successional rights should be governed by his national law.
However, since the conflicts of law rules of California provides that in case of citizens who are residents of
another country, the law of the country of domicile should apply, then Philippine law on legitimes was applied.
Hence, under Philippine laws, the acknowledged natural daughter cannot be deprived of her legitime.


AZNAR vs. GARCIA
G.R. No. L-16749
January 31, 1963

FACTS: EDWARD Christensen died testate. The estate was distributed by Executioner Aznar according to the will, which
provides that: Php 3,600 be given to HELEN Christensen as her legacy, and the rest of his estate to his daughter
LUCY Christensen, as pronounced by CFI Davao.

Opposition to the approval of the project of partition was filed by Helen, insofar as it deprives her of her legitime as an
acknowledged natural child, she having been declared by Us an acknowledged natural child of the deceased
Edward in an earlier case.


As to his citizenship, we find that the citizenship that he acquired in California when he resided in Sacramento from 1904
to 1913, was never lost by his stay in the Philippines, and the deceased appears to have considered himself as a
citizen of California by the fact that when he executed his will he declared that he was a citizen of that State; so
that he appears never to have intended to abandon his California citizenship by acquiring another. But at the
time of his death, he was domiciled in the Philippines.

ISSUE: what law on succession should apply, the Philippine law or the California law?

HELD: WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is hereby reversed and the case returned to the lower court with
instructions that the partition be made as the Philippine law on succession provides.

The law that governs the validity of his testamentary dispositions is defined in Article 16 of the Civil Code of the
Philippines, which is as follows:

ART. 16. Real property as well as personal property is subject to the law of the country where it is situated.

However, intestate and testamentary successions, both with respect to the order of succession and to the amount of
successional rights and to the intrinsic validity of testamentary provisions, shall be regulated by the national law
of the person whose succession is under consideration, whatever may be the nature of the property and
regardless of the country where said property may be found.

The application of this article in the case at bar requires the determination of the meaning of the term national law is
used therein.

The next question is: What is the law in California governing the disposition of personal property?
The decision of CFI Davao, sustains the contention of the executor-appellee that under the California Probate Code, a
testator may dispose of his property by will in the form and manner he desires. But HELEN invokes the
provisions of Article 946 of the Civil Code of California, which is as follows:

If there is no law to the contrary, in the place where personal property is situated, it is deemed to follow the person of
its owner, and is governed by the law of his domicile.

It is argued on executors behalf that as the deceased Christensen was a citizen of the State of California, the internal
law thereof, which is that given in the Kaufman case, should govern the determination of the validity of the
testamentary provisions of Christensens will, such law being in force in the State of California of which
Christensen was a citizen. Appellant, on the other hand, insists that Article 946 should be applicable, and in
accordance therewith and following the doctrine of the renvoi, the question of the validity of the testamentary
provision in question should be referred back to the law of the decedents domicile, which is the Philippines.

We note that Article 946 of the California Civil Code is its conflict of laws rule, while the rule applied in In re Kaufman, its
internal law. If the law on succ ession and the conflict of laws rules of California are to be enforced jointly, each
in its own intended and appropriate sphere, the principle cited In re Kaufman should apply to citizens living in
the State, but Article 946 should apply to such of its citizens as are not domiciled in California but in other
jurisdictions. The rule laid down of resorting to the law of the domicile in the determination of matters with
foreign element involved is in accord with the general principle of American law that the domiciliary law should
govern in most matters or rights which follow the person of the owner.

Appellees argue that what Article 16 of the Civil Code of the Philippines pointed out as the national law is the internal
law of California. But as above explained the laws of California have prescribed two sets of laws for its citizens,
one for residents therein and another for those domiciled in other jurisdictions.

It is argued on appellees (Aznar and LUCY) behalf that the clause if there is no law to the contrary in the place where
the property is situated in Sec. 946 of the California Civil Code refers to Article 16 of the Civil Code of the
Philippines and that the law to the contrary in the Philippines is the provision in said Article 16 that the national
law of the deceased should govern. This contention can not be sustained.

As explained in the various authorities cited above, the national law mentioned in Article 16 of our Civil Code is the law
on conflict of laws in the California Civil Code, i.e., Article 946, which authorizes the reference or return of the
question to the law of the testators domicile. The conflict of laws rule in California, Article 946, Civil Code,
precisely refers back the case, when a decedent is not domiciled in California, to the law of his domicile, the
Philippines in the case at bar. The court of the domicile can not and should not refer the case back to California;
such action would leave the issue incapable of determination because the case will then be like a football,
tossed back and forth between the two states, between the country of which the decedent was a citizen and the
country of his domicile. The Philippine court must apply its own law as directed in the conflict of laws rule of the
state of the decedent, if the question has to be decided, especially as the application of the internal law of
California provides no legitime for children while the Philippine law, Arts. 887(4) and 894, Civil Code of the
Philippines, makes natural children legally acknowledged forced heirs of the parent recognizing them.

We therefore find that as the domicile of the deceased Edward, a citizen of California, is the Philippines, the validity of
the provisions of his will depriving his acknowledged natural child, the appellant HELEN, should be governed by
the Philippine Law, the domicile, pursuant to Art. 946 of the Civil Code of California, not by the internal law of
California..

NOTES: There is no single American law governing the validity of testamentary provisions in the United States, each
state of the Union having its own private law applicable to its citizens only and in force only within the state. The
national law indicated in Article 16 of the Civil Code above quoted can not, therefore, possibly mean or apply
to any general American law. So it can refer to no other than the private law of the State of California.