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Republic of the Philippines

SUPREME COURT
Manila
FIRST DIVISION

G.R. No. 138866 March 6, 2002
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
vs.
CRIS PAROCHA Y MAMON, accused-appellant.
KAPUNAN, J .:
This case originated from an Information charging accused-appellant Cris Parocha y Mamon with the crime of statutory rape, committed as follows:
On or about May 14, 1997, in San Juan, Metro Manila, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the accused, with lewd design and by means of
force and intimidation, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously have sexual intercourse with Angel Jungco y Rino, a minor, eight years old,
against her will and consent.
Contrary to law.
1

Accused-appellant pleaded "Not Guilty" to the accusation and trial on the merits ensued.
The evidence for the prosecution consisted mainly of the testimony of Jernnie Jungco, the eleven year-old brother of the victim.
Jernnie recalled that on 14 May 1997, at around four oclock in the morning, their mother Rebecca Jungco left their house to wash the clothes, leaving him and his
eight-year old sister, Angel in their bedroom.
2
After their mother left, Jernnie went out of the bedroom to urinate. While he was urinating, Jernnie noticed accused-
appellant Cris Parocha going up their house.
3
He also noticed that Parocha removed his shirt and covered his face with it.
4
Parocha next went to the kitchen, got a knife
and went inside the bedroom.
5
Parocha then pulled the hair of Jernnie, and proceeded to remove the shorts and panty of Angel who was then still asleep.
6
Parocha next
removed his shorts and brief and went on top of Angel.
7
Angel woke up and tried to shout but Parocha covered her mouth.
8
Parocha remained on top of Angel for
about five (5) minutes
9
after which Jernnie saw blood on the mat.
10
Thereafter, Parocha asked Jernnie where his mother was keeping their money. Jernnie answered
that he did not know. Parocha told Jernnie to be silent about what he witnessed, otherwise, he would return and kill him. As soon as Parocha left them, Jernnie and
Angel went to their mother to report what Parocha did.
11

Jernnie and Angel, together with their mother, went to their Ate Celia, and they all proceeded to the police station to report the incident. They were referred to the
Philippine National Police (PNP) in Camp Crame where Angel was subjected to a physical examination.
Dr. Romeo T. Salen, Chief of the Medico-Legal Division of the PNP Crime Laboratory in Camp Crame who conducted the physical examination, testified that he
found that the loss of Angels virginity occurred in not more than twenty-four (24) hours from the time of the examination.
12
The laceration on the hymen was still
fresh and bleeding.
13
He also found other injuries on the other parts of the vagina, including congestion of the labia minora, the vestibule and posterior fourchette.
14
He
further testified that the cause of the injury could be caused by the introduction to the genital area of a hard blunt object including an erect male reproductive organ.
15

Dr. Olga N. Bausa, Pathologist of the PNP Crime Laboratory, Camp Crame, testified that she conducted a laboratory examination on the short pants of the
victim
16
and found that it was positive for the presence of human blood.
17

For the defense, accused-appellant Cris Parocha testified that on 13 May 1997, at around eleven oclock in the evening, he was with Dennis Haber drinking beer at the
store owned by Ciela.
18
Later, his mother fetched him and they went home. He and his mother parted ways with Dennis near their house.
19
He was surprised when the
policemen arrived the following morning and arrested him.
20
Dennis Haber corroborated the testimony of accused-appellant.
21

Vicitacion Villarazo testified that she was washing clothes in front of the house of accused-appellant around 11:30 p.m. on 13 May 1997.
22
She finished washing at
around 5:00 a.m.
23
She stated that she noticed the arrival of accused-appellant and his mother and she never saw accused-appellant leave the house thereafter.
24

After trial, the court a quo found Parocha guilty as charged and ruled, as follows:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, this Court finds accused, CRIS PAROCHA y MAMON, guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of rape as
charged and imposes upon him the penalty of reclusion perpetua; to indemnify Angel Jungco the sum of P50,000.00 and to pay the costs.
SO ORDERED.
25

The trial court having denied his motion for reconsideration, Parocha promptly filed a notice of appeal.
We affirm the conviction of accused-appellant.
Accused-appellant faulted the prosecution for not presenting the victim in the witness stand. However, the non-presentation of the victim does not necessarily weaken
the prosecutions stand.
Ordinarily, the testimony of the offended party is of utmost importance in a rape case because the victim and the alleged perpetrator are the only participants who can
testify as to its occurrence. Nevertheless, the prosecution may opt not to present the offended party, especially one so young as in this case, on the witness stand to
spare her the humiliation and pain of recalling once more the dastardly act she has suffered from the hands of the accused. As long as there are other evidence that
could prove the commission of the crime beyond reasonable doubt, the Court is not in the position to inquire into the exercise of the prosecutions discretion. Thus,
this Court ruled:
Failure to present the offended party as a witness does not constitute sufficient ground for dismissal. The testimony of the offended party is not essential to
convict the defendant. Whether the offended person is to appear or not as a witness in a criminal case, depends upon the prosecuting officer, who is given
by law discretion to use him as witness or not. The fact that said officer in the exercise of his discretion does not present the offended party as a witness,
does not detract from the efficacy of the proceeding, and does not constitute ground for dismissal thereof. The sufficiency or insufficiency of the evidence
in a criminal case does not depend upon whether the offended party took the witness stand or not.
26

In the case before this Court, the prosecution instead presented Jernnie Jungco, the brother of the victim. Jernnie is an eyewitness to the incident. He saw accused-
appellant enter their house. He was also inside the bedroom with the victim while the act was being committed. He sufficiently testified to the fact of the rape and the
identity of the perpetrator. His testimony before the trial court was candid, straightforward and convincingly established the commission of the crime. He stated:
Q: Do you recall where you were at about 4:00 oclock in the morning on May 14, 1997?
A: Inside our house sleeping, Sir.
Q: Do you know if (sic) who was with you at that time?
A: Yes, Sir. My sister.
Q: Do you know where your mother was during that time?
A: Yes. Sir.
Q: Where was she at that time?
A: She was at the shop washing, Sir.
Q: How far is this shop from your house, if you know?
A: It takes 5 minutes to go there, Sir.
Q: Was there any untoward incident happened on May 14, 1997?
A: Yes, Sir. My sister was raped.
Q: How did it start, if you can still recall?
A: He removed the panty and shorts of my sister, he also removed his shorts and brief and he went on top of my sister, Sir.
Q: When you said he, whom are you referring to?
A: Cris Parocha, Sir.
Q: If he is present in Court, can you please point him?
A: Yes, Sir.
Q: Could you please point to Cris Parocha?
A: (Witness went down the witness stand and tapped the shoulder of a person of Cris Parocha who is wearing a yellow t-shirt and maong pants.)
x x x
Q: Why do you know that it was Cris Parocha who raped your sister that early morning on May 14, 1997?
A: Because I saw him going upstairs, Sir.
Q: And what were you doing when you saw him going upstairs?
A: I was urinating when I saw him going upstairs?
Q: What was he wearing, if you remember?
A: White sando and blue pants, Sir.
Q: What did you do next when you saw him going upstairs of your house?
A: I went inside our mosquito net, Sir.
Q: Who was with you in that mosquito net?
A: My sister, Maam.
Q: Angel Jungco?
A: Yes, Sir.
Q: What was the condition of the lighting in relation in that room?
A: It is lighted, Sir.
Q: Do you have a flourescent lamp or bulb?
A: Flourescent lamp, Sir.
Q: When you were inside the mosquito net, what did Cris Parocha do, if you can recall?
A: He was looking for a knife, Sir.
Q: What did he do with his sando, if you can still recall?
A: He used it to cover his face, Sir.
Q: Did he find any knife at your kitchen, if you know?
A: Yes, Sir.
Q: What did he do with that knife, if you know?
A: He pointed it to us, Sir.
Q: After he pointed that knife to you, what happened next?
A: He pulled my hair, Sir.
Q: Do you know if your sister already awaken?
A: No, Sir she was still sleeping. When he put himself on top of my sister, thats the time that she was waken.
Q: Why do you know that she was awaken?
A: When he put himself on my sister, Sir.
Q: Did you hear the voice of your sister?
A: No, Sir, I saw her because I was peeping.
Q: What was Cris Parocha doing when you peeped?
A: He was raping my sister, Sir.
Q: What do you mean when you said, he was raping?
A: He put himself on top of my sister, Sir.
Q: Did you see that he was wearing blue pants?
A: Yes, Sir.
Q: What did he do with that pants, if you know?
A: He removed it, Sir.
Q: What did he do with the clothing of your sister?
A: He removed the short and panty of my sister, Sir.
Q: And that was the time when he put himself on top of your sister?
A: Yes, Sir.
Q: Do you recall when you were peeping, how long was Cris Parocha on top of your sister?
A: Five (5) minutes, Sir.
Q: After five (5) minutes, what happened next if you can recall?
A: He asked me where the money of my father and mother was kept.
Q: What did you tell him?
A: I told him, I do not know, Sir.
Q: What happened next?
A: He threatened me that if I will make a report, he will come back and kill me.
Q: Do you recall of what happened next?
A: He went downstairs.
Q: What did you do when he left or went downstairs?
A: I went to my mother and I reported that my sister was raped, Sir.
27

Jernnie could not have committed a mistake about the identity of accused-appellant because he has known him for about a year prior to the incident.
28
Jernnie also
sufficiently explained his failure to help his sister or to ask for help when he declared that he was afraid
29
because accused-appellant was pointing a knife at him.
30

Accused-appellant pointed out that the medical examination on the victim failed to show any external injury, and presence of spermatozoa. Absence of external signs
of physical injuries does not cancel out the commission of rape.
31
Despite the absence of physical injuries, the medical examination showed that the victim suffered
fresh laceration on the hymen and other injuries on the genital area. In addition, it is a settled rule that the presence or absence of spermatozoa is immaterial in a
prosecution for rape.
32

The elements of statutory rape are: (1) that the accused had carnal knowledge of a woman and (2) that the woman is below twelve years of age.
33
This Court ruled that
on the matter of the age of the child, the testimony of the mother is admissible as she is in the best position to know when she delivered her child.
34
Unfortunately, the
transcript of stenographic notes of the testimony of Rebecca Jungco is not among those forwarded to the Court since the stenographer who took them down ceased to
be employed with the trial court
35
and she already moved to another residence.
36
In a resolution, dated 09 February 2000, the Court required the parties to inform the
Court if they have copies of the missing stenographic notes and if they have, to submit the same to the Court. In case they have no copies of the missing notes, the
parties were also directed to inform the Court if they are willing to submit the case for decision without the said notes.
37
Only the counsel for accused-appellant
manifested his willingness to submit the case for decision without the missing stenographic notes.
38
The Solicitor General, for its part, submitted an appellee's brief
even without the lacking stenographic notes.
In view of the absence of the testimony of the victims mother, the Court has no way of knowing the real age of the victim and it could not convict accused-appellant
for statutory rape. Nevertheless, this is not sufficient to allow accused-appellant to go scot-free. He could still be convicted for the crime of simple rape in view of the
categorical testimony of Jernnie that he and his sister were intimidated by accused-appellant who was holding a knife while the dastardly act was being committed.
The fear caused by the threat to their lives was sufficient to cow not only the young victim but also her equally young brother.
Anent the allegation that accused-appellant was arrested and detained in violation of his constitutional right to counsel, it should be stressed that no testimony was
taken from him during his detention, and if there were any, it was never presented as evidence against him during the trial. Hence, accused-appellants contention must
fail.
39

The defense of alibi must also be rejected by this Court. Time and again, this Court has ruled that for alibi to prosper, it is not enough to prove that the accused was
somewhere else when the crime was committed but he must likewise demonstrate that it was physically impossible for him to have been at the scene of the
crime.
40
Where there is even the least chance for the accused to be present at the crime scene, the defense of alibiseldom will hold water.
41
The Court finds incredible
the testimony of Vicitacion Villarazo that she was washing clothes in front of the house of accused-appellant from 11:30 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. and that she never saw him
leave the house. It would not be possible for her to notice everything that was going on inside the house of accused-appellant especially since she was busy with her
own chore. Accused-appellant could have easily left the house without her knowing it.
The Court notes that the trial court only awarded an indemnity of P50,000.00 to the victim. In addition to indemnity, moral damages should also be awarded since the
rape victims injury is inherently concomitant to and results from the odiousness of the crime.
42

WHEREFORE, the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Pasig City, Branch 163, is AFFIRMED withMODIFICATION that in addition, accused is ordered to
pay the victim the amount of P50,000.00 as moral damages.
SO ORDERED.
Davide, Jr., C.J., (Chairman), Puno, and Ynares-Santiago, JJ., concur.

Footnotes
1
Rollo, p. 15.
2
TSN, 03 October 1997, p. 8.
3
Id., at 10.
4
Id., at 10-11.
5
Id..
6
Id., at 11-12.
7
Id.
8
Id., at 11; TSN, 07 November 1997, p. 9.
9
TSN, 03 October 1997, p. 12.
10
TSN, 07 November 1997, p. 12.
11
TSN, 03 October 1997, p. 12.
12
TSN, 12 December 1997, p. 9.
13
Id., at 11.
14
Id., at 9.
15
Id., at 11-12.
16
TSN, 03 July 1998, p. 4.
17
Id., at 6.
18
TSN, 14 October 1998, pp. 4-5.
19
Id.
20
Id., at 6.
21
TSN, 04 November 1998.
22
TSN, 24 November 1998, p. 4.
23
Id., at 5.
24
Id., at 4-5.
25
Rollo, p. 18.
26
See People vs. Juliada, 54 Phil. 485 (1930).
27
TSN, 07 November 1997, pp. 8-12.
28
Id., at 13.
29
Id., at 6.
30
Id., at 9.
31
People vs. Osing, G.R. No. 138959, 16 January 2001.
32
People vs. Arcillas, 348 SCRA 729 (2000).
33
People vs. Boras, 348 SCRA 638 (2000).
34
Id.
35
Rollo, p. 54.
36
Id., at 96.
37
Id., at 56.
38
Id., at 67.
39
See People vs. Johnson, 348 SCRA 526 (2000).
40
People vs. Rabang, Jr., 315 SCRA 451 (1999).
41
People vs. Santiago, 319 SCRA 644 (1999).
42
People vs. Pecayo, Jr., 348 SCRA 95 (2000).




Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. 88211 October 27, 1989
FERDINAND E. MARCOS, IMELDA R. MARCOS, FERDINAND R. MARCOS. JR., IRENE M. ARANETA, IMEE M. MANOTOC, TOMAS
MANOTOC, GREGORIO ARANETA, PACIFICO E. MARCOS, NICANOR YIGUEZ and PHILIPPINE CONSTITUTION ASSOCIATION
(PHILCONSA), represented by its President, CONRADO F. ESTRELLA, petitioners,
vs.
HONORABLE RAUL MANGLAPUS, CATALINO MACARAIG, SEDFREY ORDOEZ, MIRIAM DEFENSOR SANTIAGO, FIDEL RAMOS, RENATO
DE VILLA, in their capacity as Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Executive Secretary, Secretary of Justice, Immigration Commissioner, Secretary of National
Defense and Chief of Staff, respectively, respondents.
R E S O L U T I O N
EN BANC:
In its decision dated September 15,1989, the Court, by a vote of eight (8) to seven (7), dismissed the petition, after finding that the President did not act arbitrarily or
with grave abuse of discretion in determining that the return of former President Marcos and his family at the present time and under present circumstances pose a
threat to national interest and welfare and in prohibiting their return to the Philippines. On September 28, 1989, former President Marcos died in Honolulu, Hawaii. In
a statement, President Aquino said:
In the interest of the safety of those who will take the death of Mr. Marcos in widely and passionately conflicting ways, and for the tranquility
of the state and order of society, the remains of Ferdinand E. Marcos will not be allowed to be brought to our country until such time as the
government, be it under this administration or the succeeding one, shall otherwise decide. [Motion for Reconsideration, p. 1; Rollo, p, 443.]
On October 2, 1989, a Motion for Reconsideration was filed by petitioners, raising the following major arguments:
1. to bar former President Marcos and his family from returning to the Philippines is to deny them not only the inherent right of citizens to return to their country of
birth but also the protection of the Constitution and all of the rights guaranteed to Filipinos under the Constitution;
2. the President has no power to bar a Filipino from his own country; if she has, she had exercised it arbitrarily; and
3. there is no basis for barring the return of the family of former President Marcos. Thus, petitioners prayed that the Court reconsider its decision, order respondents to
issue the necessary travel documents to enable Mrs. Imelda R. Marcos, Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr., Irene M. Araneta, Imee M. Manotoc, Tommy Manotoc and Gregorio
Araneta to return to the Philippines, and enjoin respondents from implementing President Aquino's decision to bar the return of the remains of Mr. Marcos, and the
other petitioners, to the Philippines.
Commenting on the motion for reconsideration, the Solicitor General argued that the motion for reconsideration is moot and academic as to the deceased Mr. Marcos.
Moreover, he asserts that "the 'formal' rights being invoked by the Marcoses under the label 'right to return', including the label 'return of Marcos' remains, is in reality
or substance a 'right' to destabilize the country, a 'right' to hide the Marcoses' incessant shadowy orchestrated efforts at destabilization." [Comment, p. 29.] Thus, he
prays that the Motion for Reconsideration be denied for lack of merit.
We deny the motion for reconsideration.
1. It must be emphasized that as in all motions for reconsideration, the burden is upon the movants, petitioner herein, to show that there are compelling reasons to
reconsider the decision of the Court.
2. After a thorough consideration of the matters raised in the motion for reconsideration, the Court is of the view that no compelling reasons have been established by
petitioners to warrant a reconsideration of the Court's decision.
The death of Mr. Marcos, although it may be viewed as a supervening event, has not changed the factual scenario under which the Court's decision was rendered. The
threats to the government, to which the return of the Marcoses has been viewed to provide a catalytic effect, have not been shown to have ceased. On the contrary,
instead of erasing fears as to the destabilization that will be caused by the return of the Marcoses, Mrs. Marcos reinforced the basis for the decision to bar their return
when she called President Aquino "illegal," claiming that it is Mr. Marcos, not Mrs. Aquino, who is the "legal" President of the Philippines, and declared that the
matter "should be brought to all the courts of the world." [Comment, p. 1; Philippine Star, October 4, 1989.]
3. Contrary to petitioners' view, it cannot be denied that the President, upon whom executive power is vested, has unstated residual powers which are implied from the
grant of executive power and which are necessary for her to comply with her duties under the Constitution. The powers of the President are not limited to what are
expressly enumerated in the article on the Executive Department and in scattered provisions of the Constitution. This is so, notwithstanding the avowed intent of the
members of the Constitutional Commission of 1986 to limit the powers of the President as a reaction to the abuses under the regime of Mr. Marcos, for the result was
a limitation of specific power of the President, particularly those relating to the commander-in-chief clause, but not a diminution of the general grant of executive
power.
That the President has powers other than those expressly stated in the Constitution is nothing new. This is recognized under the U.S. Constitution from which we have
patterned the distribution of governmental powers among three (3) separate branches.
Article II, [section] 1, provides that "The Executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America." In Alexander
Hamilton's widely accepted view, this statement cannot be read as mere shorthand for the specific executive authorizations that follow it in
[sections] 2 and 3. Hamilton stressed the difference between the sweeping language of article II, section 1, and the conditional language of
article I, [section] 1: "All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States . . ." Hamilton submitted that
"[t]he [article III enumeration [in sections 2 and 31 ought therefore to be considered, as intended merely to specify the principal articles implied
in the definition of execution power; leaving the rest to flow from the general grant of that power, interpreted in confomity with other parts of
the Constitution...
In Myers v. United States, the Supreme Court accepted Hamilton's proposition, concluding that the federal executive, unlike the Congress,
could exercise power from sources not enumerated, so long as not forbidden by the constitutional text: the executive power was given in general
terms, strengthened by specific terms where emphasis was regarded as appropriate, and was limited by direct expressions where limitation was
needed. . ." The language of Chief Justice Taft in Myers makes clear that the constitutional concept of inherent power is not a synonym for
power without limit; rather, the concept suggests only that not all powers granted in the Constitution are themselves exhausted by internal
enumeration, so that, within a sphere properly regarded as one of "executive' power, authority is implied unless there or elsewhere expressly
limited. [TRIBE, AMERICAN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW 158-159 (1978).]
And neither can we subscribe to the view that a recognition of the President's implied or residual powers is tantamount to setting the stage for another dictatorship.
Despite petitioners' strained analogy, the residual powers of the President under the Constitution should not be confused with the power of the President under the
1973 Constitution to legislate pursuant to Amendment No. 6 which provides:
Whenever in the judgment of the President (Prime Minister), there exists a grave emergency or a threat or imminence thereof, or whenever
the interim Batasang Pambansa or the regular National Assembly fails or is unable to act adequately on any matter for any reason that in his
judgment requires immediate action, he may, in order to meet the exigency, issue the necessary decrees, orders, or letters of instruction, which
shall form part of the law of the land,
There is no similarity between the residual powers of the President under the 1987 Constitution and the power of the President under the 1973 Constitution pursuant to
Amendment No. 6. First of all, Amendment No. 6 refers to an express grant of power. It is not implied. Then, Amendment No. 6 refers to a grant to the President of
thespecific power of legislation.
4. Among the duties of the President under the Constitution, in compliance with his (or her) oath of office, is to protect and promote the interest and welfare of the
people. Her decision to bar the return of the Marcoses and subsequently, the remains of Mr. Marcos at the present time and under present circumstances is in
compliance with this bounden duty. In the absence of a clear showing that she had acted with arbitrariness or with grave abuse of discretion in arriving at this decision,
the Court will not enjoin the implementation of this decision.
ACCORDINGLY, the Court resolved to DENY the Motion for Reconsideration for lack of merit."
Separate Opinions
CRUZ, J ., dissenting:
Nothing important has happened to change my vote for granting the petition. The death of Marcos has not plunged the nation into paroxysms of grief as the so-called
"loyalists" had hoped. By and large, it has been met with only passing interest if not outright indifference from the people. Clearly, the discredited dictator is in death
no El Cid. Marcos dead is only an unpleasant memory, not a bolt of lightning to whip the blood.
This only shows that if he was at all a threat to the national security when he was already moribund that feeble threat has died with him. As the government stresses,
he has been reduced to a non-person (which makes me wonder why it is still afraid of him). His cadaver is not even regarded as a symbol of this or that or whatever
except by his fanatical followers. It is only a dead body waiting to be interred in this country.
This is a tempest in a teapot. We have more important things to do than debating over a corpse that deserves no kinder fate than dissolution and oblivion. I say let it be
brought home and buried deep and let us be done with it forever.
PARAS, J ., dissenting on the Motion for Reconsideration:
I find no reason to deviate from the dissenting opinion I have already expressed.
Firstly, the former President, although already dead, is still entitled to certain rights. It is not correct to say that a dead man, since he is no longer a human being, has
ceased to have rights. For instance, our Revised Penal Code prohibits the commission of libel against a deceased individual. And even if we were to assume the non-
existence anymore of his human rights what about the human rights of his widow and the other members of his family?
Secondly, up to now, the alleged threats to national security have remained unproved and consequently, unpersuasive. Our Armed Forces can easily control any
possible uprising or political and military destabilization. In fact, the converse appears to be nearer the truth, that is, if we do not allow the remains to come, more
trouble may be expected.
Thirdly, reconciliation can proceed at a much faster pace if the petition for the return is granted. To refuse the request can mean a hardening of resistance against the
well-intentioned aim of the administration. Upon the other hand, to grant the petition may well soften the hearts of the oppositionists; paving the way for a united
citizenry.
Finally, the entire world will surely applaud our government's act of mercy. As Shakespeare once wrote "the quality of mercy is not strained." Surely, compassion is
the better part of government. Remove mercy, and you remove the best reason against civil strife, which if not abated can turn our country into a mainstream of fiery
dissent and in the end, as one great man has put it, the question will no longer be what is right, but what is left.
PADILLA, J ., dissenting:
The death of former President Ferdinand E. Marcos, which supervened after decision in this case had been rendered, was pre-empted and foreseen in my original
dissenting opinion. There I said that the first cogent and decisive proposition in this case is that "Mr. Marcos is a Filipino and, as such, entitled to return to, die and be
buried in this country." I have only to add a few statements to that dissenting opinion.
Respondents have succeeded in denying Mr. Marcos the first two (2) rights, i.e. to return to and die in this country, The remaining right of this Filipino that cries out
for vindication at this late hour is the right to be buried in this country. Will the respondents be allowed to complete the circle of denying the constitutional and human
right of Mr. Marcos to travel which, as stated in my dissenting opinion, includes the right to return to, die and be buried in this country? The answer should be in the
negative if the Constitution is to still prevail; the answer should be in the negative if we are to avoid the completely indefensible act of denying a Filipino the last right
to blend his mortal remains with a few square feet of earth in the treasured land of his birth.
Those who would deny this Filipino the only constitutional and human right that can be accorded him now say that the constitutional and human right to be buried in
this country would apply to any Filipino, except Mr. Marcos, because he was a dictator and he plundered the country. This is the most irrelevant argument that can be
raised at this time. For, our democracy is built on the fundamental assumption (so we believe) that the Constitution and all its guarantees apply to all Filipinos,
whether dictator or pauper, learned or ignorant, religious or agnostic as long as he is a Filipino.
It is said that to accord this Filipino the right to be buried in this country would pose a serious threat to national security and public safety. What threat? As pointed out
in my dissenting opinion, the second cogent and decisive proposition in this case is that respondents have not presented any "hard evidence" (factual bases) or
convincing proof of such threat. "All we have are general conclusions of national security and public safety' in avoidance of a specific, demandable and enforceable
constitutional and basic human right to return." Recent events have, to my mind, served to confirm the validity of such dissenting statement.
If a live Marcos returning to this country did not pose a serious threat to national security, the situation cannot be any worse with a dead Marcos returning. For, a dead
Marcos will return to be buried into mother earth, where there are no protests, "demos", or even dissents, where the rule that reigns, in the language of Mr. Justice
Jackson in Barnette is the "unanimity of the graveyard."
It is said that, while a dead Marcos has been rendered impotent to threaten national security, his supporters would pose that threat to national security. This argument
is untenable as it is without merit. As I see it, Marcos' supporters pose a greater threat to peace and order, with Marcos deprived of his right to burial in this country.
On the other hand, if the remains of Mr. Marcos are brought to the country and allowed the burial to which he is constitutionally and humanly entitled, Marcos'
supporters would be deprived of an otherwise potent argumentso conducive to mass protests and even violencethat their Idol has been cruelly denied the right to
be buried in his homeland.
It is also said that Mr. Marcos, in cadaver form, has no constitutional or human rights, to speak of. This contention entirely begs the issue. In the first place, one cannot
overlook that the right of Mr. Marcos, as a Filipino, to be buried in this country, is asserted not for the first time after his death. It was vigorously asserted long before
his death. But, more importantly, the right of every Filipino to be buried in his country, is part of a continuing right that starts from birth and ends only on the day he is
finally laid to rest in his country.
This dissenting opinion does not pretend to deny the Philippine government the right to lay down conditions for the burial of Mr. Marcos in this country, but I submit
that these conditions must, as a fundamental postulate, recognize the right of the man, as a Filipino, to be buried in this country NOW.
The majority resolution, in effect, bans Mr. Marcos' burial in this country now. Without in any way affecting my respect and regard for my brethren and sisters in the
majority, I am deeply concerned and greatly disturbed that, with their decision banning a dead Marcos from burial in this country, they have passed an opportunity to
defuse a constitutional crisis that, in my humble assessment, threatens to ignite an already divided nation, Regrettably, they have ignored the constitutional dimension
of the problem rooted in the ageless and finest tradition of our people for respect and deference to the dead. What predictably follows will be a continuing strife,
among our people, of unending hatred, recriminations and retaliations. God save this country!
My vote is for this Court to ORDER the respondents to allow the immediate return and burial in the Republic of the Philippines of former President Ferdinand E.
Marcos, subject to such conditions as the Philippine government may impose in the interest of peace and order.
SARMIENTO, J ., Dissenting:
The case has curious trappings of a deja vu, the shoe being on the other foot, yet, as I stated before, I can not allow personal emotions to soften my "hardened
impartiality" and deny, as a consequence, the rights of the ex-President's bereaved to bury his remains in his homeland, and for them to return from exile. As I had,
then, voted to grant the petition, so do I vote to grant reconsideration.
I have gone to lengths to locate in the four comers of the Constitution, by direct grant or by implication, the President's supposed "residual" power to forbid citizens
from entering the motherland reiterated in the resolution of the majority. I have found none. I am not agreed, that:
3. Contrary to petitioners view, it cannot be denied that the President, upon whom executive power is vested, has unstated residual powers
which are implied from the grant of executive power and which are necessary for her to comply with her duties under the Constitution. The
powers of the President are not limited to what are expressly enumerated in the article on the Executive Department and in scattered provisions
of the Constitution. This, notwithstanding the avowed intent of the members of the Constitutional Commission of 1986 to limit the powers of
the President as a reaction to the abuses under the regime of Mr. Marcos, for the result was a limitation of specific powers of the President,
particularly those relating to the commander-in-chief clause, but not a diminution of the general grant of executive power.
It is a nice word game, but it is nothing else. For, if the Constitution has imposed limitations on specific powers of the President, it has, a fortiori, prescribed a
diminution of executive power. The Charter says that the right may only be restricted by: (1) a court order; or (2) by fiat of law. Had the fundamental law intended a
presidential imprimatur, it would have said so. It would have also completed the symmetry: judicial, congressional, and executive restraints on the right. No amount of
presumed residual executive power can amend the Charter.
It is well to note that the Bill of Rights stands primarily, a limitation not only against legislative encroachments on individual liberties, but more so, against
presidential intrusions. And especially so, because the President is the caretaker of the military establishment that has, several times over, been unkind to part of the
population it has also sworn to protect.
That "[t]he threats to the government, to which the return of the Marcoses has been viewed to provide a catalytic effect, have not been shown to have ceased" (Res., 3)
is the realm of conjecture, speculation, and imagination. The military has shown no hard evidence that "the return of the Marcoses" would indeed interpose a threat to
national security. And apparently, the majority itself is not convinced ("has been viewed...").
That Mrs. Marcos has referred to President Corazon Aquino as an illegitimate President, does not, so I submit, reinforce alleged fears of a massive destabilization
awaiting the nation. The military has said over and over that Marcos followers are not capable of successful destabilization effort. And only this morning (October 27,
1989), media reported the assurances given to foreign investors by no less than the President, of the political and economic stability of the nation, as well as the
Government's capability to quell forces that menace the gains of EDSA.
I have no eulogies to say on the passing of Mr. Marcos. My personal impressions, however, are beside the point. I reiterate that the President has no power to deny
requests of Marcos relatives to bury Marcos in his homeland. As for the former, let them get their just deserts here too. And let the matter rest.
Separate Opinions
CRUZ, J ., dissenting:
Nothing important has happened to change my vote for granting the petition. The death of Marcos has not plunged the nation into paroxysms of grief as the so-called
"loyalists" had hoped. By and large, it has been met with only passing interest if not outright indifference from the people. Clearly, the discredited dictator is in death
no El Cid. Marcos dead is only an unpleasant memory, not a bolt of lightning to whip the blood.
This only shows that if he was at all a threat to the national security when he was already moribund that feeble threat has died with him. As the government stresses,
he has been reduced to a non-person (which makes me wonder why it is still afraid of him). His cadaver is not even regarded as a symbol of this or that or whatever
except by his fanatical followers. It is only a dead body waiting to be interred in this country.
This is a tempest in a teapot. We have more important things to do than debating over a corpse that deserves no kinder fate than dissolution and oblivion. I say let it be
brought home and buried deep and let us be done with it forever.
PARAS, J ., dissenting on the Motion for Reconsideration:
I find no reason to deviate from the dissenting opinion I have already expressed.
Firstly, the former President, although already dead, is still entitled to certain rights. It is not correct to say that a dead man, since he is no longer a human being, has
ceased to have rights. For instance, our Revised Penal Code prohibits the commission of libel against a deceased individual. And even if we were to assume the non-
existence anymore of his human rights what about the human rights of his widow and the other members of his family?
Secondly, up to now, the alleged threats to national security have remained unproved and consequently, unpersuasive. Our Armed Forces can easily control any
possible uprising or political and military destabilization. In fact, the converse appears to be nearer the truth, that is, if we do not allow the remains to come, more
trouble may be expected.
Thirdly, reconciliation can proceed at a much faster pace if the petition for the return is granted. To refuse the request can mean a hardening of resistance against the
well-intentioned aim of the administration. Upon the other hand, to grant the petition may well soften the hearts of the oppositionists; paving the way for a united
citizenry.
Finally, the entire world will surely applaud our government's act of mercy. As Shakespeare once wrote "the quality of mercy is not strained." Surely, compassion is
the better part of government. Remove mercy, and you remove the best reason against civil strife, which if not abated can turn our country into a mainstream of fiery
dissent and in the end, as one great man has put it, the question will no longer be what is right, but what is left.
PADILLA, J ., dissenting:
The death of former President Ferdinand E. Marcos, which supervened after decision in this case had been rendered, was pre-empted and foreseen in my original
dissenting opinion. There I said that the first cogent and decisive proposition in this case is that "Mr. Marcos is a Filipino and, as such, entitled to return to, die and be
buried in this country." I have only to add a few statements to that dissenting opinion.
Respondents have succeeded in denying Mr. Marcos the first two (2) rights, i.e. to return to and die in this country, The remaining right of this Filipino that cries out
for vindication at this late hour is the right to be buried in this country. Will the respondents be allowed to complete the circle of denying the constitutional and human
right of Mr. Marcos to travel which, as stated in my dissenting opinion, includes the right to return to, die and be buried in this country? The answer should be in the
negative if the Constitution is to still prevail; the answer should be in the negative if we are to avoid the completely indefensible act of denying a Filipino the last right
to blend his mortal remains with a few square feet of earth in the treasured land of his birth.
Those who would deny this Filipino the only constitutional and human right that can be accorded him now say that the constitutional and human right to be buried in
this country would apply to any Filipino, except Mr. Marcos, because he was a dictator and he plundered the country. This is the most irrelevant argument that can be
raised at this time. For, our democracy is built on the fundamental assumption (so we believe) that the Constitution and all its guarantees apply to all Filipinos,
whether dictator or pauper, learned or ignorant, religious or agnostic as long as he is a Filipino.
It is said that to accord this Filipino the right to be buried in this country would pose a serious threat to national security and public safety. What threat? As pointed out
in my dissenting opinion, the second cogent and decisive proposition in this case is that respondents have not presented any "hard evidence" (factual bases) or
convincing proof of such threat. "All we have are general conclusions of national security and public safety' in avoidance of a specific, demandable and enforceable
constitutional and basic human right to return." Recent events have, to my mind, served to confirm the validity of such dissenting statement.
If a live Marcos returning to this country did not pose a serious threat to national security, the situation cannot be any worse with a dead Marcos returning. For, a dead
Marcos will return to be buried into mother earth, where there are no protests, "demos", or even dissents, where the rule that reigns, in the language of Mr. Justice
Jackson in Barnette is the "unanimity of the graveyard."
It is said that, while a dead Marcos has been rendered impotent to threaten national security, his supporters would pose that threat to national security. This argument
is untenable as it is without merit. As I see it, Marcos' supporters pose a greater threat to peace and order, with Marcos deprived of his right to burial in this country.
On the other hand, if the remains of Mr. Marcos are brought to the country and allowed the burial to which he is constitutionally and humanly entitled, Marcos'
supporters would be deprived of an otherwise potent argumentso conducive to mass protests and even violencethat their Idol has been cruelly denied the right to
be buried in his homeland.
It is also said that Mr. Marcos, in cadaver form, has no constitutional or human rights, to speak of. This contention entirely begs the issue. In the first place, one cannot
overlook that the right of Mr. Marcos, as a Filipino, to be buried in this country, is asserted not for the first time after his death. It was vigorously asserted long before
his death. But, more importantly, the right of every Filipino to be buried in his country, is part of a continuing right that starts from birth and ends only on the day he is
finally laid to rest in his country.
This dissenting opinion does not pretend to deny the Philippine government the right to lay down conditions for the burial of Mr. Marcos in this country, but I submit
that these conditions must, as a fundamental postulate, recognize the right of the man, as a Filipino, to be buried in this country NOW.
The majority resolution, in effect, bans Mr. Marcos' burial in this country now. Without in any way affecting my respect and regard for my brethren and sisters in the
majority, I am deeply concerned and greatly disturbed that, with their decision banning a dead Marcos from burial in this country, they have passed an opportunity to
defuse a constitutional crisis that, in my humble assessment, threatens to ignite an already divided nation, Regrettably, they have ignored the constitutional dimension
of the problem rooted in the ageless and finest tradition of our people for respect and deference to the dead. What predictably follows will be a continuing strife,
among our people, of unending hatred, recriminations and retaliations. God save this country!
My vote is for this Court to ORDER the respondents to allow the immediate return and burial in the Republic of the Philippines of former President Ferdinand E.
Marcos, subject to such conditions as the Philippine government may impose in the interest of peace and order.
SARMIENTO, J ., Dissenting:
The case has curious trappings of a deja vu, the shoe being on the other foot, yet, as I stated before, I can not allow personal emotions to soften my "hardened
impartiality" and deny, as a consequence, the rights of the ex-President's bereaved to bury his remains in his homeland, and for them to return from exile. As I had,
then, voted to grant the petition, so do I vote to grant reconsideration.
I have gone to lengths to locate in the four comers of the Constitution, by direct grant or by implication, the President's supposed "residual" power to forbid citizens
from entering the motherland reiterated in the resolution of the majority. I have found none. I am not agreed, that:
3. Contrary to petitioners view, it cannot be denied that the President, upon whom executive power is vested, has unstated residual powers
which are implied from the grant of executive power and which are necessary for her to comply with her duties under the Constitution. The
powers of the President are not limited to what are expressly enumerated in the article on the Executive Department and in scattered provisions
of the Constitution. This, notwithstanding the avowed intent of the members of the Constitutional Commission of 1986 to limit the powers of
the President as a reaction to the abuses under the regime of Mr. Marcos, for the result was a limitation of specific powers of the President,
particularly those relating to the commander-in-chief clause, but not a diminution of the general grant of executive power.
It is a nice word game, but it is nothing else. For, if the Constitution has imposed limitations on specific powers of the President, it has, a fortiori, prescribed a
diminution of executive power. The Charter says that the right may only be restricted by: (1) a court order; or (2) by fiat of law. Had the fundamental law intended a
presidential imprimatur, it would have said so. It would have also completed the symmetry: judicial, congressional, and executive restraints on the right. No amount of
presumed residual executive power can amend the Charter.
It is well to note that the Bill of Rights stands primarily, a limitation not only against legislative encroachments on individual liberties, but more so, against
presidential intrusions. And especially so, because the President is the caretaker of the military establishment that has, several times over, been unkind to part of the
population it has also sworn to protect.
That "[t]he threats to the government, to which the return of the Marcoses has been viewed to provide a catalytic effect, have not been shown to have ceased" (Res., 3)
is the realm of conjecture, speculation, and imagination. The military has shown no hard evidence that "the return of the Marcoses" would indeed interpose a threat to
national security. And apparently, the majority itself is not convinced ("has been viewed...").
That Mrs. Marcos has referred to President Corazon Aquino as an illegitimate President, does not, so I submit, reinforce alleged fears of a massive destabilization
awaiting the nation. The military has said over and over that Marcos followers are not capable of successful destabilization effort. And only this morning (October 27,
1989), media reported the assurances given to foreign investors by no less than the President, of the political and economic stability of the nation, as well as the
Government's capability to quell forces that menace the gains of EDSA.
I have no eulogies to say on the passing of Mr. Marcos. My personal impressions, however, are beside the point. I reiterate that the President has no power to deny
requests of Marcos relatives to bury Marcos in his homeland. As for the former, let them get their just deserts here too. And let the matter rest.

Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
SECOND DIVISION
G.R. No. 148154 December 17, 2007
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, represented by the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG), petitioner,
vs.
SANDIGANBAYAN (Second Division) and FERDINAND R. MARCOS, JR. (as executor of the estate of FERDINAND E. MARCOS), respondents.
R E S O L U T I O N
QUISUMBING, J .:
The propriety of filing and granting of a motion for a bill of particulars filed for the estate of a defaulting and deceased defendant is the main issue in this saga of the
protracted legal battle between the Philippine government and the Marcoses on alleged ill-gotten wealth.
This special civil action for certiorari
1
assails two resolutions of the Sandiganbayan ("anti-graft court" or "court") issued during the preliminary legal skirmishes in this
20-year case:
2
(1) the January 31, 2000 Resolution
3
which granted the motion for a bill of particulars filed by executor Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. (respondent) on behalf
of his father's estate and (2) the March 27, 2001 Resolution
4
which denied the government's motion for reconsideration.
From the records, the antecedent and pertinent facts in this case are as follows:
The administration of then President Corazon C. Aquino successively sued former President Ferdinand E. Marcos and former First Lady Imelda Romualdez-Marcos
(Mrs. Marcos), and their alleged cronies or dummies before the anti-graft court to recover the alleged ill-gotten wealth that they amassed during the former president's
20-year rule. Roman A. Cruz, Jr. (Cruz), then president and general manager of the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS); president of the Philippine Airlines
(PAL); chairman and president of the Hotel Enterprises of the Philippines, Inc., owner of Hyatt Regency Manila; chairman and president of Manila Hotel Corporation;
and chairman of the Commercial Bank of Manila (CBM), is the alleged crony in this case.
On July 21, 1987, the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG), through the Office of the Solicitor General, filed a Complaint
5
for reconveyance,
reversion, accounting, restitution and damages alleging that Cruz and the Marcoses stole public assets and invested them in several institutions here and abroad.
Specifically, Cruz allegedly purchased, in connivance with the Marcoses, assets whose values are disproportionate to their legal income, to wit: two residential lots
and two condominiums in Baguio City; a residential building in Makati; a parcel of land and six condominium units in California, USA; and a residential land in
Metro Manila. The PCGG also prayed for the payment of moral damages of P50 billion and exemplary damages of P1 billion.
On September 18, 1987, Cruz filed an Omnibus Motion to Dismiss, strike out averments in the complaint, and for a bill of particulars.
6

On April 18, 1988, the court ordered that alias summonses be served on the Marcoses who were then in exile in Hawaii.
7
The court likewise admitted the PCGG's
Expanded Complaint
8
dated April 25, 1988, then denied Cruz's omnibus motion on July 28, 1988 after finding that the expanded complaint sufficiently states causes
of action and that the matters alleged are specific enough to allow Cruz to prepare a responsive pleading and for trial.
9
On September 15, 1988, Cruz filed his
answer ad cautelam.
10

On November 10, 1988, the alias summonses on the Marcoses were served at 2338 Makiki Heights, Honolulu, Hawaii.
11
The Marcoses, however, failed to file an
answer and were accordingly declared in default by the anti-graft court on April 6, 1989.
12
In Imelda R. Marcos, et al. v. Garchitorena, et al.,
13
this Court upheld the
validity of the Marcoses' default status for failure to file an answer within 60 days from November 10, 1988 when the alias summonses were validly served in their
house address in Hawaii.
On September 29, 1989, former President Marcos died in Hawaii. He was substituted by his estate, represented by Mrs. Marcos and their three children, upon the
motion of the PCGG.
14

On July 13, 1992, Mrs. Marcos filed a Motion to Set Aside Order of Default,
15
which was granted by the anti-graft court on October 28, 1992.
16
In Republic v.
Sandiganbayan,
17
this Court affirmed the resolution of the anti-graft court, ruling that Mrs. Marcos had a meritorious defense, and that failure of a party to properly
respond to various complaints brought about by the occurrence of circumstances which ordinary prudence could not have guarded against, such as being barred from
returning to the Philippines, numerous civil and criminal suits in the United States, deteriorating health of her husband, and the complexities of her legal battles, is
considered as due to fraud, accident and excusable negligence.
18

On September 6, 1995, Mrs. Marcos filed her answer,
19
arguing that the former President Marcos' wealth is not ill-gotten and that the civil complaints and proceedings
are void for denying them due process. She also questioned the legality of the PCGG's acts and asked for P20 billion moral and exemplary damages and P10 million
attorney's fees.
On January 11, 1999, after pre-trial briefs had been filed by Cruz, the PCGG, and Mrs. Marcos, the court directed former President Marcos' children to appear before
it or it will proceed with pre-trial and subsequent proceedings.
20

On March 16, 1999, respondent filed a Motion for Leave to File a Responsive Pleading as executor of his late father's estate.
21
The PCGG opposed the motion, citing
as ground the absence of a motion to set aside the default order or any order lifting the default status of former President Marcos.
22

On May 28, 1999, the court granted respondent's motion:
x x x x
The Court concedes the plausibility of the stance taken by the Solicitor General that the default Order binds the estate and the executor for they merely
derived their right, if any, from the decedent. Considering however the complexities of this case, and so that the case as against the other defendants can
proceed smoothly as the stage reached to date is only a continuation of the pre-trial proceedings, the Court, in the interest of justice and conformably with
the discretion granted to it under Section 3 of Rule 9 of the Rules of Court hereby accords affirmative relief to the prayer sought in the motion.
Accordingly, Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr.[,] as executor of the [estate of] deceased defendant Ferdinand E. Marcos[,] is granted a period of ten (10) days from
receipt of this Resolution within which to submit his Responsive Pleading.
x x x x
23

Respondent asked for three extensions totaling 35 days to file an answer. The court granted the motions and gave him until July 17, 1999 to file an answer. But instead
of filing an answer, respondent filed on July 16, 1999, a Motion For Bill of Particulars,
24
praying for clearer statements of the allegations which he called "mere
conclusions of law, too vague and general to enable defendants to intelligently answer."
The PCGG opposed the motion, arguing that the requested particulars were evidentiary matters; that the motion was dilatory; and that it contravened the May 28, 1999
Resolution granting respondent's Motion for Leave to File a Responsive Pleading.
25

The anti-graft court, however, upheld respondent, explaining that the allegations against former President Marcos were vague, general, and were mere conclusions of
law. It pointed out that the accusations did not specify the ultimate facts of former President Marcos' participation in Cruz's alleged accumulation of ill-gotten wealth,
effectively preventing respondent from intelligently preparing an answer. It noted that this was not the first time the same issue was raised before it, and stressed that
this Court had consistently ruled in favor of the motions for bills of particulars of the defendants in the other ill-gotten wealth cases involving the Marcoses.
The fallo of the assailed January 31, 2000 Resolution reads:
WHEREFORE, the defendant-movant's motion for bill of particulars is hereby GRANTED.
Accordingly, the plaintiff is hereby ordered to amend pars. 9 and Annex "A", 12 (a) to (e), and 19 in relation to par-3 of the PRAYER, of the Expanded
Complaint, to allege the ultimate facts indicating the nature, manner, period and extent of participation of Ferdinand E. Marcos in the acts referred to
therein, and the amount of damages to be proven during trial, respectively, within fifteen (15) days from receipt of this resolution[.]
SO ORDERED.
26

Not convinced by petitioner's Motion for Reconsideration,
27
the court ruled in the assailed March 27, 2001 Resolution that the motion for a bill of particulars was not
dilatory considering that the case was only at its pre-trial stage and that Section 1,
28
Rule 12 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure allows its filing.
In urging us to nullify now the subject resolutions, petitioner, through the PCGG, relies on two grounds:
i.
The motion for bill of particulars contravenes section 3, rule 9 of the 1997 rules [OF] civil procedure.
ii.
The motion for bill of particulars is patently dilatory and bereft of any basis.
29

Invoking Section 3,
30
Rule 9 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, petitioner argues that since the default order against former President Marcos has not been lifted by
any court order, respondent cannot file a motion for a bill of particulars. Petitioner stresses that respondent did not file a motion to lift the default order as executor of
his father's estate; thus, he and the estate cannot take part in the trial.
Petitioner also contends that respondent was granted leave to file an answer to the expanded complaint, not a motion for a bill of particulars. The anti-graft court
should not have accepted the motion for a bill of particulars after he had filed a motion for leave to file responsive pleading and three successive motions for extension
as the motion for a bill of particulars is dilatory. Petitioner insists that respondent impliedly admitted that the complaint sufficiently averred factual matters with
definiteness to enable him to properly prepare a responsive pleading because he was able to prepare a draft answer, as stated in his second and third motions for
extension. Petitioner adds that the factual matters in the expanded complaint are clear and sufficient as Mrs. Marcos and Cruz had already filed their respective
answers.
Petitioner also argues that if the assailed Resolutions are enforced, the People will suffer irreparable damage because petitioner will be forced to prematurely divulge
evidentiary matters, which is not a function of a bill of particulars. Petitioner maintains that paragraph 12, subparagraphs a to e,
31
of the expanded complaint "illustrate
the essential acts pertaining to the conspirational acts" between Cruz and former President Marcos. Petitioner argues that respondent erroneously took out of context
the phrase "unlawful concert" from the rest of the averments in the complaint.
Respondent, for his part, counters that this Court had compelled petitioner in several ill-gotten wealth cases involving the same issues and parties to comply with the
motions for bills of particulars filed by other defendants on the ground that most, if not all, of the allegations in the similarly worded complaints for the recovery of
alleged ill-gotten wealth consisted of mere conclusions of law and were too vague and general to enable the defendants to intelligently parry them.
Respondent adds that it is misleading for the Government to argue that the default order against his father stands because the May 28, 1999 Resolution effectively
lifted it; otherwise, he would not have been called by the court to appear before it and allowed to file a responsive pleading. He stresses that the May 28, 1999
Resolution remains effective for all intents and purposes because petitioner did not file a motion for reconsideration.
Respondent likewise denies that his motion for a bill of particulars is dilatory as it is petitioner's continued refusal to submit a bill of particulars which causes the delay
and it is petitioner who is "hedging, flip-flopping and delaying in its prosecution" of Civil Case No. 0006. His draft answer turned out "not an intelligent" one due to
the vagueness of the allegations. He claims that petitioner's actions only mean one thing: it has no specific information or evidence to show his father's participation in
the acts of which petitioner complains.
In its Reply,
32
petitioner adds that the acts imputed to former President Marcos were acts that Cruz committed in conspiracy with the late dictator, and which Cruz
could not have done without the participation of the latter. Petitioner further argues that conspiracies need not be established by direct evidence of the acts charged but
by a number of indefinite acts, conditions and circumstances.
In a nutshell, the ultimate issue is: Did the court commit grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in granting respondent's motion for a bill
of particulars as executor of former President Marcos' estates considering that the deceased defendant was then a defaulting defendant when the motion was filed?
We rule in the negative, and dismiss the instant petition for utter lack of merit.
Under the Rules of Court, a defending party may be declared in default, upon motion and notice, for failure to file an answer within the allowable period. As a result,
the defaulting party cannot take part in the trial albeit he is entitled to notice of subsequent proceedings.
33

The remedies against a default order are: (1) a motion to set aside the order of default at any time after discovery thereof and before judgment on the ground that the
defendant's failure to file an answer was due to fraud, accident, mistake or excusable neglect and that the defendant has a meritorious defense; (2) a motion for new
trial within 15 days from receipt of judgment by default, if judgment had already been rendered before the defendant discovered the default, but before said judgment
has become final and executory; (3) an appeal within 15 days from receipt of judgment by default; (4) a petition for relief from judgment within 60 days from notice
of judgment and within 6 months from entry thereof; and (5) a petition for certiorari in exceptional circumstances.
34

In this case, former President Marcos was declared in default for failure to file an answer. He died in Hawaii as an exile while this case was pending, since he and his
family fled to Hawaii in February 1986 during a people-power revolt in Metro Manila. His representatives failed to file a motion to lift the order of default.
Nevertheless, respondent, as executor of his father's estate, filed a motion for leave to file a responsive pleading, three motions for extensions to file an answer, and a
motion for bill of particulars all of which were granted by the anti-graft court.
Given the existence of the default order then, what is the legal effect of the granting of the motions to file a responsive pleading and bill of particulars? In our view,
the effect is that the default order against the former president is deemed lifted.
Considering that a motion for extension of time to plead is not a litigated motion but an ex parte one, the granting of which is a matter addressed to the sound
discretion of the court; that in some cases we have allowed defendants to file their answers even after the time fixed for their presentation; that we have set aside
orders of default where defendants' failure to answer on time was excusable; that the pendency of the motion for a bill of particulars interrupts the period to file a
responsive pleading; and considering that no real injury would result to the interests of petitioner with the granting of the motion for a bill of particulars, the three
motions for extensions of time to file an answer, and the motion with leave to file a responsive pleading, the anti-graft court has validly clothed respondent with the
authority to represent his deceased father. The only objection to the action of said court would be on a technicality. But on such flimsy foundation, it would be
erroneous to sacrifice the substantial rights of a litigant. Rules of procedure should be liberally construed to promote their objective in assisting the parties obtain a
just, speedy and inexpensive determination of their case.
35

While it is true that there was no positive act on the part of the court to lift the default order because there was no motion nor order to that effect, the anti-graft court's
act of granting respondent the opportunity to file a responsive pleading meant the lifting of the default order on terms the court deemed proper in the interest of justice.
It was the operative act lifting the default order and thereby reinstating the position of the original defendant whom respondent is representing, founded on the court's
discretionary power to set aside orders of default.
It is noteworthy that a motion to lift a default order requires no hearing; it need be under oath only and accompanied by an affidavit of merits showing a meritorious
defense.
36
And it can be filed "at any time after notice thereof and before judgment." Thus, the act of the court in entertaining the motions to file a responsive pleading
during the pre-trial stage of the proceedings effectively meant that respondent has acquired a locus standi in this case. That he filed a motion for a bill of particulars
instead of an answer does not pose an issue because he, as party defendant representing the estate, is allowed to do so under the Rules of Court to be able to file an
intelligent answer. It follows that petitioner's filing of a bill of particulars in this case is merely a condition precedent to the filing of an answer.
Indeed, failure to file a motion to lift a default order is not procedurally fatal as a defaulted party can even avail of other remedies mentioned above.
As default judgments are frowned upon, we have been advising the courts below to be liberal in setting aside default orders to give both parties every chance to
present their case fairly without resort to technicality.
37
Judicial experience shows, however, that resort to motions for bills of particulars is sometimes intended for
delay or, even if not so intended, actually result in delay since the reglementary period for filing a responsive pleading is suspended and the subsequent proceedings
are likewise set back in the meantime. As understood under Section 1 of Rule 12, mentioned above, a motion for a bill of particulars must be filed within the
reglementary period for the filing of a responsive pleading to the pleading sought to be clarified. This contemplates pleadings which arerequired by the Rules to be
answered under pain of procedural sanctions, such as default or implied admission of the facts not responded to.
38

But as defaulted defendants are not actually thrown out of court because the Rules see to it that judgments against them must be in accordance with the law and
competent evidence, this Court prefers that the lifting of default orders be effected before trial courts could receive plaintiffs' evidence and render judgments. This is
so since judgments by default may result in considerable injustice to defendants, necessitating careful and liberal examination of the grounds in motions seeking to set
them aside. The inconvenience and complications associated with rectifying resultant errors, if defendant justifies his omission to seasonably answer, far outweigh the
gain in time and dispatch of immediately trying the case.
39
The fact that former President Marcos was in exile when he was declared in default, and that he later died
still in exile, makes the belated filing of his answer in this case understandably excusable.
The anti-graft court required the Marcos siblings through its January 11, 1999 Order
40
to substitute for their father without informing them that the latter was already
declared in default. They were unaware, therefore, that they had to immediately tackle the matter of default. Respondent, who stands as the executor of their father's
estate, could assume that everything was in order as far as his standing in court was concerned. That his motion for leave to file a responsive pleading was granted by
the court gave him credible reason not to doubt the validity of his legal participation in this case. Coupled with his intent to file an answer, once his motion for a bill of
particulars is sufficiently answered by petitioner, the circumstances abovementioned warrant the affirmation of the anti-graft court's actions now being assailed.
As to the propriety of the granting of the motion for a bill of particulars, we find for respondent as the allegations against former President Marcos appear obviously
couched in general terms. They do not cite the ultimate facts to show how the Marcoses acted "in unlawful concert" with Cruz in illegally amassing assets, property
and funds in amounts disproportionate to Cruz's lawful income, except that the former President Marcos was the president at the time.
The pertinent allegations in the expanded complaint subject of the motion for a bill of particulars read as follows:
11. Defendant Roman A. Cruz, Jr. served as public officer during the Marcos administration. During his . . . incumbency as public officer, he acquired
assets, funds and other property grossly and manifestly disproportionate to his salaries, lawful income and income from legitimately acquired property.
12. . . . Cruz, Jr., in blatant abuse of his position as Chairman and General Manager of the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), as President and
Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Philippine Airlines (PAL), and as Executive Officer of the Commercial Bank of Manila, by himself and/or in
unlawful concert with defendants Ferdinand E. Marcos and Imelda R. Marcos, among others:
(a) purchased through Arconal N.V., a Netherland-Antilles Corporation, a lot and building located at 212 Stockton St., San Francisco, California, for an
amount much more than the value of the property at the time of the sale to the gross and manifest disadvantageous (sic) to plaintiff.
GSIS funds in the amount of $10,653,350.00 were used for the purchase when under the right of first refusal by PAL contained in the lease agreement with
Kevin Hsu and his wife, the owners of the building, a much lower amount should have been paid.
For the purchase of the building, defendant Cruz allowed the intervention of Sylvia Lichauco as broker despite the fact that the services of such broker
were not necessary and even contrary to existing policies of PAL to deal directly with the seller. The broker was paid the amount of $300,000.00 resulting
to the prejudice of GSIS and PAL.
(b) Converted and appropriated to . . . own use and benefit funds of the Commercial Bank of Manila, of which he was Executive Officer at the time.
He caused the disbursement from the funds of the bank of among others, the amount of P81,152.00 for personal services rendered to him by one Brenda
Tuazon.
(c) Entered into an agency agreement on behalf of the Government Service Insurance System with the Integral Factors Corporation (IFC), to solicit
insurance, and effect reinsurance on behalf of the GSIS, pursuant to which agreement, IFC effected a great part of its reinsurance with INRE Corporation,
which, was a non-insurance company registered in London[,] with defendant . . . Cruz, Jr., as one of its directors.
IFC was allowed to service accounts emanating from government agencies like the Bureau of Buildings, Philippine National Oil Corporation, National
Power Corporation, Ministry of Public Works and Highways which under the laws are required to insure with and deal directly with the GSIS for their
insurance needs. The intervention of IFC to service these accounts caused the reduction of premium paid to GSIS as a portion thereof was paid to IFC.
(d) Entered into an agreement with the Asiatic Integrated Corporation (AIC) whereby the GSIS ceded, transferred, and conveyed property consisting of
five (5) adjoining parcels of land situated in Manila covered by Transfer Certificates of Title (TCT) Nos. 49853, 49854, 49855 and 49856 to AIC in
exchange for AIC property known as the Pinugay Estate located at Tanay, Rizal, covered by TCT No. 271378, under terms and conditions grossly and
manifestly disadvantageous to the government.
The appraised value of the GSIS parcels of land was P14,585,600.00 as of June 25, 1971 while the value of the Pinugay Estate was P2.00 per square meter
or a total amount of P15,219,264.00. But in the barter agreement, the Pinugay Estate was valued at P5.50 per square meter or a total of P41,852,976.00,
thus GSIS had to pay AIC P27,287,976.00, when it was GSIS which was entitled to payment from AIC for its failure to pay the rentals of the GSIS
property then occupied by it.
(e) purchased three (4) (sic) additional Airbus 300 in an amount much more than the market price at the time when PAL was in deep financial strain, to the
gross and manifest disadvantage of Plaintiff.
On October 29, 1979, defendant Cruz, as President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of . . . (PAL) authorized the payment of non-refundable deposit
of U.S. $200,000.00 even before a meeting of the Board of Directors of PAL could deliberate and approve the purchase.
41

In his motion for a bill of particulars, respondent wanted clarification on the specific nature, manner and extent of participation of his father in the acquisition of the
assets cited above under Cruz; particularly whether former President Marcos was a beneficial owner of these properties; and the specific manner in which he acquired
such beneficial control.
Also, respondent wanted to know the specific nature, manner, time and extent of support, participation and collaboration of his father in (1) Cruz's alleged "blatant
abuse" as GSIS president and general manager, PAL president and chairman of the board, and executive officer of the CBM; (2) the purchase of a lot and building in
California using GSIS funds and Cruz's allowing Lichauco as broker in the sale of the lot and building contrary to PAL policies; (3) Cruz's appropriating to himself
CBM funds; (4) Cruz's disbursement of P81,152 CBM funds for personal services rendered to him by Tuazon; (5) Cruz's entering into an agency agreement for GSIS
with IFC to solicit, insure, and effect reinsurance of GSIS, as result of which IFC effected a great part of its reinsurance with INRE Corporation, a London-registered
non-insurance company, of which Cruz was one of the directors; (6) Cruz's allowing IFC to service the accounts emanating from government agencies which were
required under the law to insure and deal directly with the GSIS for their insurance needs; (7) the GSIS-AIC agreement wherein GSIS ceded and conveyed to AIC five
parcels of land in Manila in exchange for AIC's Pinugay Estate in Tanay, Rizal; (8) PAL's purchase of three Airbus 300 jets for a higher price than the market price;
and (9) if former President Marcos was connected in any way to IFC and INRE Corporation. Respondent likewise asked, what is the specific amount of damages
demanded?
The 1991 Virata-Mapa Doctrine
42
prescribes a motion for a bill of particulars, not a motion to dismiss, as the remedy for perceived ambiguity or vagueness of a
complaint for the recovery of ill-gotten wealth,
43
which was similarly worded as the complaint in this case. That doctrine provided protective precedent in favor of
respondent when he filed his motion for a bill of particulars.
While the allegations as to the alleged specific acts of Cruz were clear, they were vague and unclear as to the acts of the Marcos couple who were allegedly "in
unlawful concert with" the former. There was no factual allegation in the original and expanded complaints on the collaboration of or on the kind of support extended
by former President Marcos to Cruz in the commission of the alleged unlawful acts constituting the alleged plunder. All the allegations against the Marcoses, aside
from being maladroitly laid, were couched in general terms. The alleged acts, conditions and circumstances that could show the conspiracy among the defendants were
not particularized and sufficiently set forth by petitioner.
That the late president's co-defendants were able to file their respective answers to the complaint does not necessarily mean that his estate's executor will be able to file
an equally intelligent answer, since the answering defendants' defense might be personal to them.
In dismissing this petition, Tantuico, Jr. v. Republic
44
also provides us a cogent jurisprudential guide. There, the allegations against former President Marcos were also
conclusions of law unsupported by factual premises. The particulars prayed for in the motion for a bill of particulars were also not evidentiary in nature. In that case,
we ruled that the anti-graft court acted with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in denying an alleged crony's motion for a bill of
particulars on a complaint with similar tenor and wordings as in the case at bar.
Likewise we have ruled in Virata v. Sandiganbayan
45
(1993) that Tantuico's applicability to that case was "ineluctable," and the propriety of the motion for a bill of
particulars under Section 1, Rule 12 of the Revised Rules of Court was beyond dispute.
46

In 1996, in the similar case of Republic v. Sandiganbayan (Second Division),
47
we also affirmed the resolutions of the Sandiganbayan granting the motion for a bill of
particulars of Marcos' alleged crony, business tycoon Lucio Tan.
48

Phrases like "in flagrant breach of public trust and of their fiduciary obligations as public officers with grave and scandalous abuse of right and power and in brazen
violation of the Constitution and laws," "unjust enrichment," "embarked upon a systematic plan to accumulate ill-gotten wealth," "arrogated unto himself all powers of
government," are easy and easy to read; they have potential media quotability and they evoke passion with literary flair, not to mention that it was populist to flaunt
those statements in the late 1980s. But they are just that, accusations by generalization. Motherhood statements they are, although now they might be a politically
incorrect expression and an affront to mothers everywhere, although they best describe the accusations against the Marcoses in the case at bar.
In Justice Laurel's words, "the administration of justice is not a matter of guesswork."
49
The name of the game is fair play, not foul play. We cannot allow a legal
skirmish where, from the start, one of the protagonists enters the arena with one arm tied to his back.
50
We must stress anew that the administration of justice entails a
painstaking, not haphazard, preparation of pleadings.
The facile verbosity with which the legal counsel for the government flaunted the accusation of excesses against the Marcoses in general terms must be soonest
refurbished by a bill of particulars, so that respondent can properly prepare an intelligent responsive pleading and so that trial in this case will proceed as expeditiously
as possible. To avoid a situation where its pleadings may be found defective, thereby amounting to a failure to state a cause of action, petitioner for its part must be
given the opportunity to file a bill of particulars. Thus, we are hereby allowing it to supplement its pleadings now, considering that amendments to pleadings are
favored and liberally allowed especially before trial.
Lastly, the allowance of the motion for a more definite statement rests with the sound discretion of the court. As usual in matters of a discretionary nature, the ruling
of the trial court will not be reversed unless there has been a palpable abuse of discretion or a clearly erroneous order.
51
This Court has been liberal in giving the lower
courts the widest latitude of discretion in setting aside default orders justified under the right to due process principle. Plain justice demands and the law requires no
less that defendants must know what the complaint against them is all about.
52

What is important is that this case against the Marcoses and their alleged crony and dummy be decided by the anti-graft court on the merits, not merely on some
procedural faux pas. In the interest of justice, we need to dispel the impression in the individual respondents' minds that they are being railroaded out of their rights
and properties without due process of law.
WHEREFORE, finding no grave abuse of discretion on the part of the Sandiganbayan in granting respondent's Motion for Bill of Particulars, the petition
is DISMISSED. The Resolutions of the Sandiganbayan dated January 31, 2000 and March 27, 2001 in Civil Case No. 0006 are AFFIRMED. Petitioner is ordered to
prepare and file a bill of particulars containing the ultimate facts as prayed for by respondent within twenty (20) days from notice.
SO ORDERED.
Carpio-Morales, Tinga, Velasco, Jr., Reyes
*
, JJ., concur.
Footnotes
*
Additional member due to the inhibition of Associate Justice Antonio T. Carpio and pursuant to Administrative Circular No. 84-2007.
1
Rollo, pp. 2-33.
2
Id. at 5; Records, Vol. 1, p. 42. Civil Case No. 0006, titled "Republic of the Philippines v. Roman A. Cruz, Jr., Ferdinand E. Marcos and Imelda R.
Marcos," for reconveyance, reversion, accounting, restitution and damages. There were 39 such complaints filed against the Marcoses by the PCGG.
3
Records, Vol. 4, pp. 1,754-1,760.
4
Id. at 1,919-1,920.
5
Records, Vol. 1, pp. 1-24.
6
Id. at 68-89.
7
Id. at 175-188; 196-198.
8
Id. at 210-232.
9
Id. at 255-264.
10
Id. at 282-293.
11
Id. at 306; Imelda R. Marcos, et al. v. Garchitorena, et al., G.R. Nos. 90110-43, February 22, 1990 (Unsigned Resolution).
12
Id. at 364.
13
G.R. Nos. 90110-43, February 22, 1990 (Unsigned Resolution).
14
Records, Vol. 1, pp. 397-399; 415-418.
15
Id. at 946-960.
16
Id. at 987-1,014.
17
G.R. Nos. 109430-43, December 28, 1994, 239 SCRA 529.
18
Id. at 534-535.
19
Records, Vol. 3, pp. 1,161-1,182.
20
Records, Vol. 4, p. 1,589.
21
Id. at 1,609-1,611.
22
Id. at 1,614-1,617.
23
Id. at 1,633-1,634.
24
Id. at 1,665-1,672.
25
Id. at 1,705-1,712.
26
Id. at 1,760.
27
Id. at 1,764-1,781.
28
SECTION 1. When applied for; purpose. Before responding to a pleading, a party may move for a definite statement or for a bill of particulars of any
matter which is not averred with sufficient definiteness or particularity to enable him properly to prepare his responsive pleading. If the pleading is a reply,
the motion must be filed within ten (10) days from service thereof. Such motion shall point out the defects complained of, the paragraphs wherein they are
contained, and the details desired.
29
Rollo, p. 13.
30
Sec 3. Default; declaration of. If the defending party fails to answer within the time allowed therefor, the court shall, upon motion of the claiming party
with notice to the defending party, and proof of such failure, declare the defending party in default. Thereupon, the court shall proceed to render judgment
granting the claimant such relief as his pleading may warrant, unless the court in its discretion requires the claimant to submit evidence. Such reception of
evidence may be delegated to the clerk of court.
(a) Effect of order of default. A party in default shall be entitled to notice of subsequent proceedings but not to take part in the trial.
(b) Relief from order of default. A party declared in default may at any time after notice thereof and before judgment file a motion under oath
to set aside the order of default upon proper showing that his failure to answer was due to fraud, accident, mistake or excusable negligence and
that he has a meritorious defense. In such case, the order of default may be set aside on such terms and conditions as the judge may impose in
the interest of justice. . . .
x x x x
31
Records, Vol. 1, pp. 218-222.
32
Rollo, pp. 206-207.
33
Supra note 31.
34
Lina v. Court of Appeals, No. L-63397, April 9, 1985, 135 SCRA 637, 641-642; See The Mechanics of Lifting an Order of Default, December 14, 1981,
110 SCRA 223, 227-232.
35
Amante v. Suga, No. L-40491, May 28, 1975, 64 SCRA 192, 195-197.
36
Rules Of Court, Rule 9, Sec. 3, par. (b).
37
Santos v. Samson, No. L-46371, December 14, 1981, 110 SCRA 215, 220.
38
1 F. Regalado, Remedial Law Compendium, 198-199 (7th rev. ed., 1999).
39
Lim Tanhu v. Ramolete, No. L-40098, August 29, 1975, 66 SCRA 425, 453-454.
40
Rollo, p. 89.
41
Id. at 65-69.
42
Virata v. Sandiganbayan, G.R. Nos. 86926 & 86949, October 15, 1991, 202 SCRA 680; Justice Hugo Gutierrez, Jr. dissented, saying the motion to
dismiss should have been granted because the complaint consisted of mere inferences and general conclusions, with no statement of ultimate facts to
support the sweeping and polemical charges, which cannot substitute for a cause of action.
43
Id. at 694-695.
44
G.R. No. 89114, December 2, 1991, 204 SCRA 428.
45
G.R. No. 106527, April 6, 1993, 221 SCRA 52.
46
Id. at 62.
47
G.R. No. 115748, August 7, 1996, 260 SCRA 411.
48
Id. at 419.
49
Go Occo & Co. v. De la Costa and Reyes, 63 Phil. 445, 449 (1936).
50
Republic v. Sandiganbayan, supra note 17, at 538.
51
Santos v. Liwag, No. L-24238, November 28, 1980, 101 SCRA 327, 329.
52
Virata v. Sandiganbayan, G.R. No. 114331, May 27, 1997, 272 SCRA 661, 688.



Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
SECOND DIVISION
G.R. No. 139325 April 12, 2005
PRISCILLA C. MIJARES, LORETTA ANN P. ROSALES, HILDA B. NARCISO, SR. MARIANI DIMARANAN, SFIC, and JOEL C. LAMANGAN in
their behalf and on behalf of the Class Plaintiffs in Class Action No. MDL 840, United States District Court of Hawaii, Petitioner,
vs.
HON. SANTIAGO JAVIER RANADA, in his capacity as Presiding Judge of Branch 137, Regional Trial Court, Makati City, and the ESTATE OF
FERDINAND E. MARCOS, through its court appointed legal representatives in Class Action MDL 840, United States District Court of Hawaii, namely:
Imelda R. Marcos and Ferdinand Marcos, Jr., Respondents.
D E C I S I O N
TINGA, J .:
Our martial law experience bore strange unwanted fruits, and we have yet to finish weeding out its bitter crop. While the restoration of freedom and the fundamental
structures and processes of democracy have been much lauded, according to a significant number, the changes, however, have not sufficiently healed the colossal
damage wrought under the oppressive conditions of the martial law period. The cries of justice for the tortured, the murdered, and the desaparecidos arouse outrage
and sympathy in the hearts of the fair-minded, yet the dispensation of the appropriate relief due them cannot be extended through the same caprice or whim that
characterized the ill-wind of martial rule. The damage done was not merely personal but institutional, and the proper rebuke to the iniquitous past has to involve the
award of reparations due within the confines of the restored rule of law.
The petitioners in this case are prominent victims of human rights violations
1
who, deprived of the opportunity to directly confront the man who once held absolute
rule over this country, have chosen to do battle instead with the earthly representative, his estate. The clash has been for now interrupted by a trial court ruling,
seemingly comported to legal logic, that required the petitioners to pay a whopping filing fee of over Four Hundred Seventy-Two Million Pesos (P472,000,000.00) in
order that they be able to enforce a judgment awarded them by a foreign court. There is an understandable temptation to cast the struggle within the simplistic
confines of a morality tale, and to employ short-cuts to arrive at what might seem the desirable solution. But easy, reflexive resort to the equity principle all too often
leads to a result that may be morally correct, but legally wrong.
Nonetheless, the application of the legal principles involved in this case will comfort those who maintain that our substantive and procedural laws, for all their
perceived ambiguity and susceptibility to myriad interpretations, are inherently fair and just. The relief sought by the petitioners is expressly mandated by our laws
and conforms to established legal principles. The granting of this petition for certiorari is warranted in order to correct the legally infirm and unabashedly unjust ruling
of the respondent judge.
The essential facts bear little elaboration. On 9 May 1991, a complaint was filed with the United States District Court (US District Court), District of Hawaii, against
the Estate of former Philippine President Ferdinand E. Marcos (Marcos Estate). The action was brought forth by ten Filipino citizens
2
who each alleged having
suffered human rights abuses such as arbitrary detention, torture and rape in the hands of police or military forces during the Marcos regime.
3
The Alien Tort Act was
invoked as basis for the US District Court's jurisdiction over the complaint, as it involved a suit by aliens for tortious violations of international law.
4
These plaintiffs
brought the action on their own behalf and on behalf of a class of similarly situated individuals, particularly consisting of all current civilian citizens of the
Philippines, their heirs and beneficiaries, who between 1972 and 1987 were tortured, summarily executed or had disappeared while in the custody of military or
paramilitary groups. Plaintiffs alleged that the class consisted of approximately ten thousand (10,000) members; hence, joinder of all these persons was impracticable.
The institution of a class action suit was warranted under Rule 23(a) and (b)(1)(B) of the US Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the provisions of which were invoked
by the plaintiffs. Subsequently, the US District Court certified the case as a class action and created three (3) sub-classes of torture, summary execution and
disappearance victims.
5
Trial ensued, and subsequently a jury rendered a verdict and an award of compensatory and exemplary damages in favor of the plaintiff class.
Then, on 3 February 1995, the US District Court, presided by Judge Manuel L. Real, rendered a Final Judgment (Final Judgment) awarding the plaintiff class a total
of One Billion Nine Hundred Sixty Four Million Five Thousand Eight Hundred Fifty Nine Dollars and Ninety Cents ($1,964,005,859.90). The Final Judgment was
eventually affirmed by the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in a decision rendered on 17 December 1996.
6

On 20 May 1997, the present petitioners filed Complaint with the Regional Trial Court, City of Makati (Makati RTC) for the enforcement of the Final Judgment.
They alleged that they are members of the plaintiff class in whose favor the US District Court awarded damages.
7
They argued that since the Marcos Estate failed to
file a petition for certiorari with the US Supreme Court after the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals had affirmed the Final Judgment, the decision of the US District Court
had become final and executory, and hence should be recognized and enforced in the Philippines, pursuant to Section 50, Rule 39 of the Rules of Court then in force.
8

On 5 February 1998, the Marcos Estate filed a motion to dismiss, raising, among others, the non-payment of the correct filing fees. It alleged that petitioners had only
paid Four Hundred Ten Pesos (P410.00) as docket and filing fees, notwithstanding the fact that they sought to enforce a monetary amount of damages in the amount of
over Two and a Quarter Billion US Dollars (US$2.25 Billion). The Marcos Estate cited Supreme Court Circular No. 7, pertaining to the proper computation and
payment of docket fees. In response, the petitioners claimed that an action for the enforcement of a foreign judgment is not capable of pecuniary estimation; hence, a
filing fee of only Four Hundred Ten Pesos (P410.00) was proper, pursuant to Section 7(c) of Rule 141.
9

On 9 September 1998, respondent Judge Santiago Javier Ranada
10
of the Makati RTC issued the subject Orderdismissing the complaint without prejudice. Respondent
judge opined that contrary to the petitioners' submission, the subject matter of the complaint was indeed capable of pecuniary estimation, as it involved a judgment
rendered by a foreign court ordering the payment of definite sums of money, allowing for easy determination of the value of the foreign judgment. On that score,
Section 7(a) of Rule 141 of the Rules of Civil Procedure would find application, and the RTC estimated the proper amount of filing fees was approximately Four
Hundred Seventy Two Million Pesos, which obviously had not been paid.
Not surprisingly, petitioners filed a Motion for Reconsideration, which Judge Ranada denied in an Order dated 28 July 1999. From this denial, petitioners filed
a Petition for Certiorari under Rule 65 assailing the twin orders of respondent judge.
11
They prayed for the annulment of the questioned orders, and an order directing
the reinstatement of Civil Case No. 97-1052 and the conduct of appropriate proceedings thereon.
Petitioners submit that their action is incapable of pecuniary estimation as the subject matter of the suit is the enforcement of a foreign judgment, and not an action for
the collection of a sum of money or recovery of damages. They also point out that to require the class plaintiffs to pay Four Hundred Seventy Two Million Pesos
(P472,000,000.00) in filing fees would negate and render inutile the liberal construction ordained by the Rules of Court, as required by Section 6, Rule 1 of the Rules
of Civil Procedure, particularly the inexpensive disposition of every action.
Petitioners invoke Section 11, Article III of the Bill of Rights of the Constitution, which provides that "Free access to the courts and quasi-judicial bodies and adequate
legal assistance shall not be denied to any person by reason of poverty," a mandate which is essentially defeated by the required exorbitant filing fee. The adjudicated
amount of the filing fee, as arrived at by the RTC, was characterized as indisputably unfair, inequitable, and unjust.
The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) was permitted to intervene in this case.
12
It urged that the petition be granted and a judgment rendered, ordering the
enforcement and execution of the District Court judgment in accordance with Section 48, Rule 39 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure. For the CHR, the Makati RTC
erred in interpreting the action for the execution of a foreign judgment as a new case, in violation of the principle that once a case has been decided between the same
parties in one country on the same issue with finality, it can no longer be relitigated again in another country.
13
The CHR likewise invokes the principle of comity, and
of vested rights.
The Court's disposition on the issue of filing fees will prove a useful jurisprudential guidepost for courts confronted with actions enforcing foreign judgments,
particularly those lodged against an estate. There is no basis for the issuance a limited pro hac vice ruling based on the special circumstances of the petitioners as
victims of martial law, or on the emotionally-charged allegation of human rights abuses.
An examination of Rule 141 of the Rules of Court readily evinces that the respondent judge ignored the clear letter of the law when he concluded that the filing fee be
computed based on the total sum claimed or the stated value of the property in litigation.
In dismissing the complaint, the respondent judge relied on Section 7(a), Rule 141 as basis for the computation of the filing fee of over P472 Million. The provision
states:
SEC. 7. Clerk of Regional Trial Court.-
(a) For filing an action or a permissive counterclaim or money claim against an estate not based on judgment, or for filing with leave of
court a third-party, fourth-party, etc., complaint, or a complaint in intervention, and for all clerical services in the same time, if the total sum
claimed, exclusive of interest, or the started value of the property in litigation, is:
1. Less than P 100,00.00 P 500.00
2. P 100,000.00 or more but less than P 150,000.00 P 800.00
3. P 150,000.00 or more but less than P 200,000.00 P 1,000.00
4. P 200,000.00 or more but less than P 250,000.00 P 1,500.00
5. P 250,000.00 or more but less than P 300,00.00 P 1,750.00
6. P 300,000.00 or more but not more than P 400,000.00 P 2,000.00
7. P 350,000.00 or more but not more than P400,000.00 P 2,250.00
8. For each P 1,000.00 in excess of P 400,000.00 P 10.00
(Emphasis supplied)
Obviously, the above-quoted provision covers, on one hand, ordinary actions, permissive counterclaims, third-party, etc. complaints and complaints-in-interventions,
and on the other, money claims against estates which are not based on judgment. Thus, the relevant question for purposes of the present petition is whether the action
filed with the lower court is a "money claim against an estate not based on judgment."
Petitioners' complaint may have been lodged against an estate, but it is clearly based on a judgment, the Final Judgment of the US District Court. The provision does
not make any distinction between a local judgment and a foreign judgment, and where the law does not distinguish, we shall not distinguish.
A reading of Section 7 in its entirety reveals several instances wherein the filing fee is computed on the basis of the amount of the relief sought, or on the value of the
property in litigation. The filing fee for requests for extrajudicial foreclosure of mortgage is based on the amount of indebtedness or the mortgagee's claim.
14
In special
proceedings involving properties such as for the allowance of wills, the filing fee is again based on the value of the property.
15
The aforecited rules evidently have no
application to petitioners' complaint.
Petitioners rely on Section 7(b), particularly the proviso on actions where the value of the subject matter cannot be estimated. The provision reads in full:
SEC. 7. Clerk of Regional Trial Court.-
(b) For filing
1. Actions where the value
of the subject matter
cannot be estimated --- P 600.00
2. Special civil actions except
judicial foreclosure which
shall be governed by
paragraph (a) above --- P 600.00
3. All other actions not
involving property --- P 600.00
In a real action, the assessed value of the property, or if there is none, the estimated value, thereof shall be alleged by the claimant and shall be the basis in computing
the fees.
It is worth noting that the provision also provides that in real actions, the assessed value or estimated value of the property shall be alleged by the claimant and shall be
the basis in computing the fees. Yet again, this provision does not apply in the case at bar. A real action is one where the plaintiff seeks the recovery of real property or
an action affecting title to or recovery of possession of real property.
16
Neither the complaint nor the award of damages adjudicated by the US District Court involves
any real property of the Marcos Estate.
Thus, respondent judge was in clear and serious error when he concluded that the filing fees should be computed on the basis of the schematic table of Section 7(a), as
the action involved pertains to a claim against an estate based on judgment. What provision, if any, then should apply in determining the filing fees for an action to
enforce a foreign judgment?
To resolve this question, a proper understanding is required on the nature and effects of a foreign judgment in this jurisdiction.
The rules of comity, utility and convenience of nations have established a usage among civilized states by which final judgments of foreign courts of competent
jurisdiction are reciprocally respected and rendered efficacious under certain conditions that may vary in different countries.
17
This principle was prominently affirmed
in the leading American case of Hilton v. Guyot
18
and expressly recognized in our jurisprudence beginning with Ingenholl v. Walter E. Olsen & Co.
19
The conditions
required by the Philippines for recognition and enforcement of a foreign judgment were originally contained in Section 311 of the Code of Civil Procedure, which was
taken from the California Code of Civil Procedure which, in turn, was derived from the California Act of March 11, 1872.
20
Remarkably, the procedural rule now
outlined in Section 48, Rule 39 of the Rules of Civil Procedure has remained unchanged down to the last word in nearly a century. Section 48 states:
SEC. 48. Effect of foreign judgments. The effect of a judgment of a tribunal of a foreign country, having jurisdiction to pronounce the judgment is
as follows:
(a) In case of a judgment upon a specific thing, the judgment is conclusive upon the title to the thing;
(b) In case of a judgment against a person, the judgment is presumptive evidence of a right as between the parties and their successors in interest
by a subsequent title;
In either case, the judgment or final order may be repelled by evidence of a want of jurisdiction, want of notice to the party, collusion, fraud, or clear
mistake of law or fact.
There is an evident distinction between a foreign judgment in an action in rem and one in personam. For an actionin rem, the foreign judgment is deemed conclusive
upon the title to the thing, while in an action in personam, the foreign judgment is presumptive, and not conclusive, of a right as between the parties and their
successors in interest by a subsequent title.
21
However, in both cases, the foreign judgment is susceptible to impeachment in our local courts on the grounds of want of
jurisdiction or notice to the party,
22
collusion, fraud,
23
or clear mistake of law or fact.
24
Thus, the party aggrieved by the foreign judgment is entitled to defend against
the enforcement of such decision in the local forum. It is essential that there should be an opportunity to challenge the foreign judgment, in order for the court in this
jurisdiction to properly determine its efficacy.
25

It is clear then that it is usually necessary for an action to be filed in order to enforce a foreign judgment
26
, even if such judgment has conclusive effect as in the case
of in rem actions, if only for the purpose of allowing the losing party an opportunity to challenge the foreign judgment, and in order for the court to properly determine
its efficacy.
27
Consequently, the party attacking a foreign judgment has the burden of overcoming the presumption of its validity.
28

The rules are silent as to what initiatory procedure must be undertaken in order to enforce a foreign judgment in the Philippines. But there is no question that the filing
of a civil complaint is an appropriate measure for such purpose. A civil action is one by which a party sues another for the enforcement or protection of a right,
29
and
clearly an action to enforce a foreign judgment is in essence a vindication of a right prescinding either from a "conclusive judgment upon title" or the "presumptive
evidence of a right."
30
Absent perhaps a statutory grant of jurisdiction to a quasi-judicial body, the claim for enforcement of judgment must be brought before the
regular courts.
31

There are distinctions, nuanced but discernible, between the cause of action arising from the enforcement of a foreign judgment, and that arising from the facts or
allegations that occasioned the foreign judgment. They may pertain to the same set of facts, but there is an essential difference in the right-duty correlatives that are
sought to be vindicated. For example, in a complaint for damages against a tortfeasor, the cause of action emanates from the violation of the right of the complainant
through the act or omission of the respondent. On the other hand, in a complaint for the enforcement of a foreign judgment awarding damages from the same
tortfeasor, for the violation of the same right through the same manner of action, the cause of action derives not from the tortious act but from the foreign judgment
itself.
More importantly, the matters for proof are different. Using the above example, the complainant will have to establish before the court the tortious act or omission
committed by the tortfeasor, who in turn is allowed to rebut these factual allegations or prove extenuating circumstances. Extensive litigation is thus conducted on the
facts, and from there the right to and amount of damages are assessed. On the other hand, in an action to enforce a foreign judgment, the matter left for proof is the
foreign judgment itself, and not the facts from which it prescinds.
As stated in Section 48, Rule 39, the actionable issues are generally restricted to a review of jurisdiction of the foreign court, the service of personal notice, collusion,
fraud, or mistake of fact or law. The limitations on review is in consonance with a strong and pervasive policy in all legal systems to limit repetitive litigation on
claims and issues.
32
Otherwise known as the policy of preclusion, it seeks to protect party expectations resulting from previous litigation, to safeguard against the
harassment of defendants, to insure that the task of courts not be increased by never-ending litigation of the same disputes, and in a larger sense to promote what
Lord Coke in the Ferrer's Case of 1599 stated to be the goal of all law: "rest and quietness."
33
If every judgment of a foreign court were reviewable on the merits, the
plaintiff would be forced back on his/her original cause of action, rendering immaterial the previously concluded litigation.
34

is incapable of pecuniary estimation. Admittedly the proposition, as it applies in this case, is counter-intuitive, and thus deserves strict scrutiny. For in all practical
intents and purposes, the matter at hand is capable of pecuniary estimation, down to the last cent. In the assailedthe enforcement of a foreign judgmentPetitioners
appreciate this distinction, and rely upon it to support the proposition that the subject matter of the complaintOrder, the respondent judge pounced upon this point
without equivocation:
The Rules use the term "where the value of the subject matter cannot be estimated." The subject matter of the present case is the judgment rendered by the
foreign court ordering defendant to pay plaintiffs definite sums of money, as and for compensatory damages. The Court finds that the value of the foreign
judgment can be estimated; indeed, it can even be easily determined. The Court is not minded to distinguish between the enforcement of a judgment and
the amount of said judgment, and separate the two, for purposes of determining the correct filing fees. Similarly, a plaintiff suing on promissory note for P1
million cannot be allowed to pay only P400 filing fees (sic), on the reasoning that the subject matter of his suit is not the P1 million, but the enforcement of
the promissory note, and that the value of such "enforcement" cannot be estimated.
35

The jurisprudential standard in gauging whether the subject matter of an action is capable of pecuniary estimation is well-entrenched. The Marcos Estate
cites Singsong v. Isabela Sawmill and Raymundo v. Court of Appeals, which ruled:
[I]n determining whether an action is one the subject matter of which is not capable of pecuniary estimation this Court has adopted the criterion of first
ascertaining the nature of the principal action or remedy sought. If it is primarily for the recovery of a sum of money, the claim is considered capable of
pecuniary estimation, and whether jurisdiction is in the municipal courts or in the courts of first instance would depend on the amount of the claim.
However, where the basic issue is something other than the right to recover a sum of money, where the money claim is purely incidental to, or a
consequence of, the principal relief sought, this Court has considered such actions as cases where the subject of the litigation may not be estimated in terms
of money, and are cognizable exclusively by courts of first instance (now Regional Trial Courts).
On the other hand, petitioners cite the ponencia of Justice JBL Reyes in Lapitan v. Scandia,
36
from which the rule in Singsong and Raymundo actually derives, but
which incorporates this additional nuance omitted in the latter cases:
xxx However, where the basic issue is something other than the right to recover a sum of money, where the money claim is purely incidental to, or a
consequence of, the principal relief sought, like in suits to have the defendant perform his part of the contract (specific performance) and in actions
for support, or for annulment of judgment or to foreclose a mortgage, this Court has considered such actions as cases where the subject of the
litigation may not be estimated in terms of money, and are cognizable exclusively by courts of first instance.
37

Petitioners go on to add that among the actions the Court has recognized as being incapable of pecuniary estimation include legality of conveyances and money
deposits,
38
validity of a mortgage,
39
the right to support,
40
validity of documents,
41
rescission of contracts,
42
specific performance,
43
and validity or annulment of
judgments.
44
It is urged that an action for enforcement of a foreign judgment belongs to the same class.
This is an intriguing argument, but ultimately it is self-evident that while the subject matter of the action is undoubtedly the enforcement of a foreign judgment, the
effect of a providential award would be the adjudication of a sum of money. Perhaps in theory, such an action is primarily for "the enforcement of the foreign
judgment," but there is a certain obtuseness to that sort of argument since there is no denying that the enforcement of the foreign judgment will necessarily result in the
award of a definite sum of money.
But before we insist upon this conclusion past beyond the point of reckoning, we must examine its possible ramifications. Petitioners raise the point that a declaration
that an action for enforcement of foreign judgment may be capable of pecuniary estimation might lead to an instance wherein a first level court such as the Municipal
Trial Court would have jurisdiction to enforce a foreign judgment. But under the statute defining the jurisdiction of first level courts, B.P. 129, such courts are not
vested with jurisdiction over actions for the enforcement of foreign judgments.
Sec. 33. Jurisdiction of Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts in civil cases. Metropolitan Trial Courts,
Municipal Trial Courts, and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts shall exercise:
(1) Exclusive original jurisdiction over civil actions and probate proceedings, testate and intestate, including the grant of provisional remedies in proper
cases, where the value of the personal property, estate, or amount of the demand does not exceed One hundred thousand pesos (P100,000.00) or, in Metro
Manila where such personal property, estate, or amount of the demand does not exceed Two hundred thousand pesos (P200,000.00) exclusive of interest
damages of whatever kind, attorney's fees, litigation expenses, and costs, the amount of which must be specifically alleged: Provided, That where there are
several claims or causes of action between the same or different parties, embodied in the same complaint, the amount of the demand shall be the totality of
the claims in all the causes of action, irrespective of whether the causes of action arose out of the same or different transactions;
(2) Exclusive original jurisdiction over cases of forcible entry and unlawful detainer: Provided, That when, in such cases, the defendant raises the question
of ownership in his pleadings and the question of possession cannot be resolved without deciding the issue of ownership, the issue of ownership shall be
resolved only to determine the issue of possession.
(3) Exclusive original jurisdiction in all civil actions which involve title to, or possession of, real property, or any interest therein where the assessed value
of the property or interest therein does not exceed Twenty thousand pesos (P20,000.00) or, in civil actions in Metro Manila, where such assessed value
does not exceed Fifty thousand pesos (P50,000.00) exclusive of interest, damages of whatever kind, attorney's fees, litigation expenses and costs: Provided,
That value of such property shall be determined by the assessed value of the adjacent lots.
45

Section 33 of B.P. 129 refers to instances wherein the cause of action or subject matter pertains to an assertion of rights and interests over property or a sum of money.
But as earlier pointed out, the subject matter of an action to enforce a foreign judgment is the foreign judgment itself, and the cause of action arising from the
adjudication of such judgment.
An examination of Section 19(6), B.P. 129 reveals that the instant complaint for enforcement of a foreign judgment, even if capable of pecuniary estimation, would
fall under the jurisdiction of the Regional Trial Courts, thus negating the fears of the petitioners. Indeed, an examination of the provision indicates that it can be relied
upon as jurisdictional basis with respect to actions for enforcement of foreign judgments, provided that no other court or office is vested jurisdiction over such
complaint:
Sec. 19. Jurisdiction in civil cases. Regional Trial Courts shall exercise exclusive original jurisdiction:
xxx
(6) In all cases not within the exclusive jurisdiction of any court, tribunal, person or body exercising jurisdiction or any court, tribunal, person or body
exercising judicial or quasi-judicial functions.
Thus, we are comfortable in asserting the obvious, that the complaint to enforce the US District Court judgment is one capable of pecuniary estimation. But at the
same time, it is also an action based on judgment against an estate, thus placing it beyond the ambit of Section 7(a) of Rule 141. What provision then governs the
proper computation of the filing fees over the instant complaint? For this case and other similarly situated instances, we find that it is covered by Section 7(b)(3),
involving as it does, "other actions not involving property."
Notably, the amount paid as docket fees by the petitioners on the premise that it was an action incapable of pecuniary estimation corresponds to the same amount
required for "other actions not involving property." The petitioners thus paid the correct amount of filing fees, and it was a grave abuse of discretion for respondent
judge to have applied instead a clearly inapplicable rule and dismissed the complaint.
There is another consideration of supreme relevance in this case, one which should disabuse the notion that the doctrine affirmed in this decision is grounded solely on
the letter of the procedural rule. We earlier adverted to the the internationally recognized policy of preclusion,
46
as well as the principles of comity, utility and
convenience of nations
47
as the basis for the evolution of the rule calling for the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments. The US Supreme Court in Hilton v.
Guyot
48
relied heavily on the concept of comity, as especially derived from the landmark treatise of Justice Story in his Commentaries on the Conflict of Laws of
1834.
49
Yet the notion of "comity" has since been criticized as one "of dim contours"
50
or suffering from a number of fallacies.
51
Other conceptual bases for the
recognition of foreign judgments have evolved such as the vested rights theory or the modern doctrine of obligation.
52

There have been attempts to codify through treaties or multilateral agreements the standards for the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments, but these have
not borne fruition. The members of the European Common Market accede to the Judgments Convention, signed in 1978, which eliminates as to participating countries
all of such obstacles to recognition such as reciprocity and rvision au fond.
53
The most ambitious of these attempts is the Convention on the Recognition and
Enforcement of Foreign Judgments in Civil and Commercial Matters, prepared in 1966 by the Hague Conference of International Law.
54
While it has not received the
ratifications needed to have it take effect,
55
it is recognized as representing current scholarly thought on the topic.
56
Neither the Philippines nor the United States are
signatories to the Convention.
Yet even if there is no unanimity as to the applicable theory behind the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments or a universal treaty rendering it obligatory
force, there is consensus that the viability of such recognition and enforcement is essential. Steiner and Vagts note:
. . . The notion of unconnected bodies of national law on private international law, each following a quite separate path, is not one conducive to the
growth of a transnational community encouraging travel and commerce among its members. There is a contemporary resurgence of writing stressing the
identity or similarity of the values that systems of public and private international law seek to further a community interest in common, or at least
reasonable, rules on these matters in national legal systems. And such generic principles as reciprocity play an important role in both fields.
57

Salonga, whose treatise on private international law is of worldwide renown, points out:
Whatever be the theory as to the basis for recognizing foreign judgments, there can be little dispute that the end is to protect the reasonable expectations
and demands of the parties. Where the parties have submitted a matter for adjudication in the court of one state, and proceedings there are not tainted with
irregularity, they may fairly be expected to submit, within the state or elsewhere, to the enforcement of the judgment issued by the court.
58

There is also consensus as to the requisites for recognition of a foreign judgment and the defenses against the enforcement thereof. As earlier discussed, the exceptions
enumerated in Section 48, Rule 39 have remain unchanged since the time they were adapted in this jurisdiction from long standing American rules. The requisites and
exceptions as delineated under Section 48 are but a restatement of generally accepted principles of international law. Section 98 of The Restatement, Second, Conflict
of Laws, states that "a valid judgment rendered in a foreign nation after a fair trial in a contested proceeding will be recognized in the United States," and on its face,
the term "valid" brings into play requirements such notions as valid jurisdiction over the subject matter and parties.
59
Similarly, the notion that fraud or collusion may
preclude the enforcement of a foreign judgment finds affirmation with foreign jurisprudence and commentators,
60
as well as the doctrine that the foreign judgment
must not constitute "a clear mistake of law or fact."
61
And finally, it has been recognized that "public policy" as a defense to the recognition of judgments serves as an
umbrella for a variety of concerns in international practice which may lead to a denial of recognition.
62

The viability of the public policy defense against the enforcement of a foreign judgment has been recognized in this jurisdiction.
63
This defense allows for the
application of local standards in reviewing the foreign judgment, especially when such judgment creates only a presumptive right, as it does in cases wherein the
judgment is against a person.
64
The defense is also recognized within the international sphere, as many civil law nations adhere to a broad public policy exception
which may result in a denial of recognition when the foreign court, in the light of the choice-of-law rules of the recognizing court, applied the wrong law to the
case.
65
The public policy defense can safeguard against possible abuses to the easy resort to offshore litigation if it can be demonstrated that the original claim is
noxious to our constitutional values.
There is no obligatory rule derived from treaties or conventions that requires the Philippines to recognize foreign judgments, or allow a procedure for the enforcement
thereof. However, generally accepted principles of international law, by virtue of the incorporation clause of the Constitution, form part of the laws of the land even if
they do not derive from treaty obligations.
66
The classical formulation in international law sees those customary rules accepted as binding result from the combination
two elements: the established, widespread, and consistent practice on the part of States; and a psychological element known as the opinion juris sive
necessitates (opinion as to law or necessity). Implicit in the latter element is a belief that the practice in question is rendered obligatory by the existence of a rule of
law requiring it.
67

While the definite conceptual parameters of the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments have not been authoritatively established, the Court can assert with
certainty that such an undertaking is among those generally accepted principles of international law.
68
As earlier demonstrated, there is a widespread practice among
states accepting in principle the need for such recognition and enforcement, albeit subject to limitations of varying degrees. The fact that there is no binding universal
treaty governing the practice is not indicative of a widespread rejection of the principle, but only a disagreement as to the imposable specific rules governing the
procedure for recognition and enforcement.
Aside from the widespread practice, it is indubitable that the procedure for recognition and enforcement is embodied in the rules of law, whether statutory or
jurisprudential, adopted in various foreign jurisdictions. In the Philippines, this is evidenced primarily by Section 48, Rule 39 of the Rules of Court which has existed
in its current form since the early 1900s. Certainly, the Philippine legal system has long ago accepted into its jurisprudence and procedural rules the viability of an
action for enforcement of foreign judgment, as well as the requisites for such valid enforcement, as derived from internationally accepted doctrines. Again, there may
be distinctions as to the rules adopted by each particular state,
69
but they all prescind from the premise that there is a rule of law obliging states to allow for, however
generally, the recognition and enforcement of a foreign judgment. The bare principle, to our mind, has attained the status of opinio juris in international practice.
This is a significant proposition, as it acknowledges that the procedure and requisites outlined in Section 48, Rule 39 derive their efficacy not merely from the
procedural rule, but by virtue of the incorporation clause of the Constitution. Rules of procedure are promulgated by the Supreme Court,
70
and could very well be
abrogated or revised by the high court itself. Yet the Supreme Court is obliged, as are all State components, to obey the laws of the land, including generally accepted
principles of international law which form part thereof, such as those ensuring the qualified recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments.
71

Thus, relative to the enforcement of foreign judgments in the Philippines, it emerges that there is a general right recognized within our body of laws, and affirmed by
the Constitution, to seek recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments, as well as a right to defend against such enforcement on the grounds of want of
jurisdiction, want of notice to the party, collusion, fraud, or clear mistake of law or fact.
The preclusion of an action for enforcement of a foreign judgment in this country merely due to an exhorbitant assessment of docket fees is alien to generally accepted
practices and principles in international law. Indeed, there are grave concerns in conditioning the amount of the filing fee on the pecuniary award or the value of the
property subject of the foreign decision. Such pecuniary award will almost certainly be in foreign denomination, computed in accordance with the applicable laws and
standards of the forum.
72
The vagaries of inflation, as well as the relative low-income capacity of the Filipino, to date may very well translate into an award virtually
unenforceable in this country, despite its integral validity, if the docket fees for the enforcement thereof were predicated on the amount of the award sought to be
enforced. The theory adopted by respondent judge and the Marcos Estate may even lead to absurdities, such as if applied to an award involving real property situated
in places such as the United States or Scandinavia where real property values are inexorably high. We cannot very well require that the filing fee be computed based
on the value of the foreign property as determined by the standards of the country where it is located.
As crafted, Rule 141 of the Rules of Civil Procedure avoids unreasonableness, as it recognizes that the subject matter of an action for enforcement of a foreign
judgment is the foreign judgment itself, and not the right-duty correlatives that resulted in the foreign judgment. In this particular circumstance, given that the
complaint is lodged against an estate and is based on the US District Court's Final Judgment, this foreign judgment may, for purposes of classification under the
governing procedural rule, be deemed as subsumed under Section 7(b)(3) of Rule 141, i.e., within the class of "all other actions not involving property." Thus, only the
blanket filing fee of minimal amount is required.
Finally, petitioners also invoke Section 11, Article III of the Constitution, which states that "[F]ree access to the courts and quasi-judicial bodies and adequate legal
assistance shall not be denied to any person by reason of poverty." Since the provision is among the guarantees ensured by the Bill of Rights, it certainly gives rise to a
demandable right. However, now is not the occasion to elaborate on the parameters of this constitutional right. Given our preceding discussion, it is not necessary to
utilize this provision in order to grant the relief sought by the petitioners. It is axiomatic that the constitutionality of an act will not be resolved by the courts if the
controversy can be settled on other grounds
73
or unless the resolution thereof is indispensable for the determination of the case.
74

One more word. It bears noting that Section 48, Rule 39 acknowledges that the Final Judgment is not conclusive yet, but presumptive evidence of a right of the
petitioners against the Marcos Estate. Moreover, the Marcos Estate is not precluded to present evidence, if any, of want of jurisdiction, want of notice to the party,
collusion, fraud, or clear mistake of law or fact. This ruling, decisive as it is on the question of filing fees and no other, does not render verdict on the enforceability of
the Final Judgment before the courts under the jurisdiction of the Philippines, or for that matter any other issue which may legitimately be presented before the trial
court. Such issues are to be litigated before the trial court, but within the confines of the matters for proof as laid down in Section 48, Rule 39. On the other hand, the
speedy resolution of this claim by the trial court is encouraged, and contumacious delay of the decision on the merits will not be brooked by this Court.
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The assailed orders are NULLIFIED and SET ASIDE, and a new order REINSTATING Civil Case No. 97-1052 is
hereby issued. No costs.
SO ORDERED.
Puno, (Chairman), Austria-Martinez, Callejo, Sr., and Chico-Nazario, JJ., concur.
Footnotes
1
Priscilla Mijares is a judge of the Regional Trial Court of Pasay, Loretta Ann P. Rosales an incumbent member of the House of Representatives, and Joel
Lamangan a noted film director.
2
Namely Celsa Hilao, Josefina Hilao Forcadilla, Arturo P. Revilla, Jr., Rodolfo G. Benosa, Danila M. Fuente, Renato Pineda, Domiciano Amparo,
Chistopher Sorio, Jose Duran, and Adora Faye De Vera. Rollo, pp. 42-47.
3
Except for Celsa Hilao, who instead alleged that her daughter, Liliosa Hilao, had been tortured then executed by military personnel during martial law. Id.
at 42-43.
4
Id. at 42.
5
Id. at 35.
6
The Opinion was authored by Circuit Judge Betty B. Fletcher and concurred in by Circuit Judge Harry Pragerson. Circuit Judge Pamela Ann Rymer filed
an opinion concurring and dissenting in part, her dissent centering on the methodology used for computing compensatory damages. Rollo, pp. 84-132.
7
Under Section 58 of the US Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the judgment for compensatory damages in a class suit is awarded to a randomly
selected. Petitioner Joel Lamangan was among the randomly selected claimants of the Torture subclass awarded damages by the US District Court. See
Rollo, p. 71.
8
Now Section 48, Rule 39, 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure.
9
Since increased to P600.00.
10
Now an Associate Justice of the Court of Appeals.
11
Petitioners correctly note that they are precluded from filing an appeal on certiorari under Section 1, Rule 41 of the Rules of Civil Procedure, which bars
an appeal taken from an order dismissing an action without prejudice and dictates the aggrieved party to file an appropriate civil action under Rule 65
instead. See Rollo, p. 9
12
In a Resolution dated 4 December 2000. Rollo, p. 282.
13
Id. at 205.
14
See Section 7(c), Rule 141.
15
See Section 7(d), id.
16
Gochan v. Gochan, 423 Phil. 491, 502 (2001).
17
Philippine Aluminum Wheels v. Fasgi Enterprises, Inc., G.R. No. 137378, 12 October 2000, 342 SCRA 722, 734; citing Jovito R Salonga, Rex
Bookstore, Manila, Philippines, 1995 Edition, p. 543.
18
159 U.S. 113 (1895)
19
47 Phil. 189 (1925). While the Philippine Supreme Court in this case refused to enforce the judgment of the Hongkong Court on the ground of mistake of
law or fact, it was reversed on appeal to the US Supreme Court.
20
Id. JJ. Malcolm and Avancea, dissenting.
21
See also Borthwick v. Hon. Castro-Bartolome, G.R. No. L-57338, 23 July 1987, 152 SCRA 129, 235; Philippine International Shipping Corp. v. Court
of Appeals, G.R. No. 77085, 26 April 1989, 172 SCRA 810, 819.
22
" Ultimately, matters of remedy and procedure such as those relating to the service of summons or court process upon the defendant, the authority of
counsel to appear and represent a defendant and the formal requirements in a decision are governed by the lex fori or the internal law of the forum."
Asiavest Merchant Bankers (M) Berhad v. Court of Appeals, 414 Phil. 13, 29 (1991).
23
"Fraud, to hinder the enforcement within this jurisdiction of a foreign judgment, must be extrinsic, i.e., fraud based on facts not controverted or resolved
in the case where judgment is rendered, or that which would go to the jurisdiction of the court or would deprive the party against whom judgment is
rendered a chance to defend the action to which he has a meritorious case or defense. In fine, intrinsic fraud, that is, fraud which goes to the very existence
of the cause of action such as fraud in obtaining the consent to a contract is deemed already adjudged, and it, therefore, cannot militate against the
recognition or enforcement of the foreign judgment." Philippine Aluminum Wheels v. Fasgi Enterprises, Inc., supra note 17.
24
See, e.g., Nagarmull v. Binalbagan-Isabela Sugar Co., 144 Phil. 72, 77 (1970); Ingenholl v. Walter E. Olsen and Company, Inc., supra note 20.
25
Roeher v. Rodriguez, G.R. No. 142820, 20 June 2003, 404 SCRA 495, 503.
26
"An action must be brought in the second state upon the judgment recovered in the first." J. Salonga, Private International Law (3rd ed., 1967), at
500; citing Goodrich, 600, 601; Chesire, 628; II Beale, 1377. But see E. Scoles and P. Hay, Conflict of Laws (2nd ed., 1982), at 969, which recognizes that
civil law countries provide a procedure to give executory force to the foreign judgment, as distinguished from the Anglo-American common law (but not
statutory) practice of requiring an action on the judgment.
27
See Philsec Investment Corp. v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 103493, 19 June 1997, 274 SCRA 102, 110.
28
Northwest Orient Airlines v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 112573, 9 February 1995, 241 SCRA 192, 199.
29
See Section 3(a), Rule 1, Rules of Civil Procedure.
30
Every ordinary civil action must be based on a cause of action. Section 1, Rule 2, Rules of Civil Procedure. A cause of action is the act or omission by
which a party violates a right of another. Section 2, Rule 2, Rules of Civil Procedure.
31
See Pacific Asia Overseas Shipping Corp. v. NLRC, G.R. No. 76595. 6 May 1988, 161 SCRA 122, 133.
32
Soles & Hay, supra note 27, at 916.
33
Ibid.
34
Salonga, supra note 27, at 514; citing Cheshire, 803.
35
Rollo, p. 30. Emphasis omitted.
36
133 Phil. 526 (1968).
37
Id. at 528.
38
Rollo, at 326, citing Arroz v. Alojado, 19 SCRA 711 (1967).
39
Ibid citing Bunayog v. Tunas, 106 Phil. 715 (1959)
40
Id. citing Baito v. Sarmiento, 109 Phil. 148 (1960).
41
Id. citing De Rivera v. Halili, 9 SCRA 59 (1963).
42
Id. citing Bautista v. Lim, 88 SCRA 479 (1979) and De Leon v. Court of Appeals, 287 SCRA 94 (1998).
43
Id. citing Amorganda v. Court of Appeals, 166 SCRA 203 (1988); Ortigas & Company v. Herrera, 120 SCRA 89 (1983).
44
Id. citing Mercado v. Ubay, 187 SCRA 719 (1990) and Filipino Pipe Workers Union v. Batario, Jr., 163 SCRA 789 (1988).
45
As amended by Rep. Act No. 7691.
46
Supra note 32.
47
Supra note 17.
48
Supra note 18.
49
H. Steiner & D. Vagts, Transnational Legal Problems: Materials and Text (2nd ed., 1976), at 775.
50
Ibid.
51
See Salonga, supra note 27, at 66.
52
Id. at 502-503.
53
Scoles & Hays, supra note 27, at 970.
54
Steiner & Vagts, supra note 51, at 808. "A decision rendered in one of the Contracting States shall be entitled to recognition and enforcement in another
Contracting State under the terms of this Convention (1) if the decision was given by a court considered to have jurisdiction within the meaning of this
Convention, and (2) if it is no longer subject to ordinary forms of review in the State of origin." Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of
Foreign Judgments in Civil and Commercial Matters, Chapter II, Article 4.
55
To date, only Cyprus, the Netherlands, Portugal and Kuwait have either ratified or acceded to the Convention.
56
Steiner & Vagts, supra note 51.
57
Steiner & Vagts, supra note 51,at 776.
58
Salonga, supra note 51, at 502.
59
Steiner & Vagts, supra note 27, at 779. "A policy common to all legal systems is to provide for the final resolution of disputes. The policy is furthered by
each nation's adoption of a view of 'jurisdiction in the international sense' which recognizes the foreign court's assertion of jurisdiction as satisfying its own
notions of due process in circumstances in which it itself would have asserted jurisdiction." Soles & Hay, supra note 27, at 976; citing Hay, International
versus Interstate Conflicts Law in the United States, 35 Rabels Zeitschrift 429,450 n. 101 (1971) and Cherun v. Frishman, 236 F. Supp. 292 (D.D.C.
1964). Salonga, in affirming the rule of want of jurisdiction, cites the commentaries of Cheshire, Wolff, Goodrich and Nussbaum.
60
See, e.g., Salonga, supra note 27 at 513.
61
Ibid; citing Henderson v. Henderson, 6 Q.B. (1844) 288; Vanquelin v. Bouard, 15 C.B. (N.S. 1863) 341; Godard v. Gray, L.R. 6 Q.B. 139 (1870);
Vadala v. Lawes 25 Q.B.D. (1890) 319, 316; cf. Chandler v. Peketz, 297 U.S. 609, 56 S.Ct., 80 L.Ed. 881 (1936); Cheshire, 661-664; Wolff, 268;
Goodrich, 603.
62
Soles & Hay, supra note 27, at 978.
63
"Thus, when the foreign law, judgment or contract is contrary to a sound and established public policy of the forum, the said foreign law, judgment or
order shall not be applied." Bank of America v. American Realty Corp., 378 Phil. 1279, 1296 (1999); citing Philippine Conflict of Laws, Eight Edition,
1996, Paras, page 46. "Las sentencias de tribunals extranjeros no pueden ponerse en vigor en Filipinas si son contrarias a las leyes, costumbres y orden
pblico. Si dichas decisiones, por la simple teora de reciprocidad, cortesa judicial y urbanidad internacional son base suficiente para que nuestros
tribunales decidan a tenor de las mismas, entonces nuestros juzgados estaran en la pobre tessitura de tener que dictar sentencias contrarias a nuestras
leyes, costumbres y orden pblico. Esto es absurdo." Querubin v. Querubin, 87 Phil. 124, 133. (1950).
64
See Section 48, Rule 39, Rules of Civil Procedure.
65
Soles & Hays, supra note 27, at 979.
66
"[It] is generally recognized that, subject to [exceptions], a rule of general customary international law is binding on all States, whether or not they have
participated in the practice from which it sprang." H. Thirlway, "The Sources of International Law", International Law (ed. by M.Evans, 1st ed., 2003), at
124.
67
"Not only must the acts concerned amount to a settled practice, but they must also be such, or be carried out in such a way, as to be evidence of a belief
that this practice is rendered obligatory by the existence of a rule of law requiring it. The need for such a belief, i.e., the existence of a subjective element,
is implicit in the very notion of the opinion juris sive necessitatis. North Sea Continental Shelf, Judgment, ICJ Reports 1969, p. 3, para. 77; cited in H.
Thirlway, ibid.
68
"The problems that arise in the enforcement of foreign judgments are generally to be solved by the principles of international law. The Philippines by its
Constitution, adopts the generally accepted principles of international law. F. Gupit, "Enforcement of Foreign Judgments and Arbitral Awards", XXIII J.
Integ. Bar. Phil. 3, at 69.
69
Divergent practices do not necessarily preclude recognition of a customary norm. In reviewing the question of the existence of customary rules
forbidding the use of force or intervention, the International Court of Justice pertinently held: "It is not to be expected that in the practice of States the
application of the rules in question should have been perfect, in the sense that States should have refrained, with complete consistency, from the use of
force or from intervention in each other's internal affairs. The Court does not consider that, for a rule to be established as customary, the
corresponding practice must be in absolutely rigorous conformity with the rule. In order to deduce the existence of customary rules, the Court deems
it sufficient that the conduct of States, should, in general, be consistent with such rules, and that instances of State conduct inconsistent with a given rule
should generally have been treated as breaches of that rule, not as indications of recognition of a new rule." (emphasis supplied) Military and Paramilitary
Activities in and against Nicaragua (Nicaragua v. United States of America), Merits, Judgment, ICJ Reports 1986, p. 14, para. 186; citing in H.
Thirlway, supra note 66.
70
And other inferior courts, relative to their jurisdictions.
71
Sec. 2, Art. II, 1987 Const., which states "The Philippines renounces war as an instrument of national policy, adopts the generally accepted principles of
international law as part of the law of the land and adheres to the policy of peace, equality, justice, freedom, cooperation and amity with all nations.
72
Indeed, the valuation of foreign money judgments remains a matter of debate in international law. In the United States, Section 144 of the Restatement,
Second, Conflicts of Laws (1971) adopts the rule that the forum would convert the currency into local currency as of the date of the award. However, this
rule has been criticized. In England, the judgment debtor may now effect payment either in the foreign currency in the amount due or in local currency
equivalent to the foreign currency on the date of payment. French and German law similarly permit the expression of a judgment in foreign currency. Soles
& Hays, supra note 27, at 973.
73
Ty v. Trampe, 321 Phil. 81 (1995).
74
Tarrosa v. Singson, G.R. No. 111243, 25 May 1994, 232 SCRA 553, 557.

Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
THIRD DIVISION
G.R. No. 138322 October 2, 2001
GRACE J. GARCIA, a.k.a. GRACE J. GARCIA-RECIO, petitioner,
vs.
REDERICK A. RECIO, respondents.
PANGANIBAN, J .:
A divorce obtained abroad by an alien may be recognized in our jurisdiction, provided such decree is valid according to the national law of the foreigner. However, the
divorce decree and the governing personal law of the alien spouse who obtained the divorce must be proven. Our courts do not take judicial notice of foreign laws and
judgment; hence, like any other facts, both the divorce decree and the national law of the alien must be alleged and proven according to our law on evidence.
The Case
Before us is a Petition for Review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, seeking to nullify the January 7, 1999 Decision
1
and the March 24, 1999 Order
2
of the
Regional Trial Court of Cabanatuan City, Branch 28, in Civil Case No. 3026-AF. The assailed Decision disposed as follows:
"WHEREFORE, this Court declares the marriage between Grace J. Garcia and Rederick A. Recio solemnized on January 12, 1994 at Cabanatuan City as
dissolved and both parties can now remarry under existing and applicable laws to any and/or both parties."
3

The assailed Order denied reconsideration of the above-quoted Decision.
The Facts
Rederick A. Recio, a Filipino, was married to Editha Samson, an Australian citizen, in Malabon, Rizal, on March 1, 1987.
4
They lived together as husband and wife in
Australia. On May 18, 1989,
5
a decree of divorce, purportedly dissolving the marriage, was issued by an Australian family court.
On June 26, 1992, respondent became an Australian citizen, as shown by a "Certificate of Australian Citizenship" issued by the Australian government.
6
Petitioner a
Filipina and respondent were married on January 12, 1994 in Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in Cabanatuan City.
7
In their application for a marriage license,
respondent was declared as "single" and "Filipino."
8

Starting October 22, 1995, petitioner and respondent lived separately without prior judicial dissolution of their marriage. While the two were still in Australia, their
conjugal assets were divided on May 16, 1996, in accordance with their Statutory Declarations secured in Australia.
9

On March 3, 1998, petitioner filed a Complaint for Declaration of Nullity of Marriage
10
in the court a quo, on the ground of bigamy respondent allegedly had a prior
subsisting marriage at the time he married her on January 12, 1994. She claimed that she learned of respondent's marriage to Editha Samson only in November, 1997.
In his Answer, respondent averred that, as far back as 1993, he had revealed to petitioner his prior marriage andits subsequent dissolution.
11
He contended that his first
marriage to an Australian citizen had been validly dissolved by a divorce decree obtained in Australian in 1989;
12
thus, he was legally capacitated to marry petitioner
in 1994.1wphi1.nt
On July 7, 1998 or about five years after the couple's wedding and while the suit for the declaration of nullity was pending respondent was able to secure a divorce
decree from a family court in Sydney, Australia because the "marriage ha[d] irretrievably broken down."
13

Respondent prayed in his Answer that the Complained be dismissed on the ground that it stated no cause of action.
14
The Office of the Solicitor General agreed with
respondent.
15
The court marked and admitted the documentary evidence of both parties.
16
After they submitted their respective memoranda, the case was submitted for
resolution.
17

Thereafter, the trial court rendered the assailed Decision and Order.
Ruling of the Trial Court
The trial court declared the marriage dissolved on the ground that the divorce issued in Australia was valid and recognized in the Philippines. It deemed the marriage
ended, but not on the basis of any defect in an essential element of the marriage; that is, respondent's alleged lack of legal capacity to remarry. Rather, it based its
Decision on the divorce decree obtained by respondent. The Australian divorce had ended the marriage; thus, there was no more martial union to nullify or annual.
Hence, this Petition.
18

Issues
Petitioner submits the following issues for our consideration:
"I
The trial court gravely erred in finding that the divorce decree obtained in Australia by the respondent ipso facto terminated his first marriage to Editha
Samson thereby capacitating him to contract a second marriage with the petitioner.
"2
The failure of the respondent, who is now a naturalized Australian, to present a certificate of legal capacity to marry constitutes absence of a substantial
requisite voiding the petitioner' marriage to the respondent.
"3
The trial court seriously erred in the application of Art. 26 of the Family Code in this case.
"4
The trial court patently and grievously erred in disregarding Arts. 11, 13, 21, 35, 40, 52 and 53 of the Family Code as the applicable provisions in this case.
"5
The trial court gravely erred in pronouncing that the divorce gravely erred in pronouncing that the divorce decree obtained by the respondent in
Australia ipso facto capacitated the parties to remarry, without first securing a recognition of the judgment granting the divorce decree before our courts."
19

The Petition raises five issues, but for purposes of this Decision, we shall concentrate on two pivotal ones: (1) whether the divorce between respondent and Editha
Samson was proven, and (2) whether respondent was proven to be legally capacitated to marry petitioner. Because of our ruling on these two, there is no more
necessity to take up the rest.
The Court's Ruling
The Petition is partly meritorious.
First Issue:
Proving the Divorce Between Respondent and Editha Samson
Petitioner assails the trial court's recognition of the divorce between respondent and Editha Samson. Citing Adong v. Cheong Seng Gee,
20
petitioner argues that the
divorce decree, like any other foreign judgment, may be given recognition in this jurisdiction only upon proof of the existence of (1) the foreign law allowing absolute
divorce and (2) the alleged divorce decree itself. She adds that respondent miserably failed to establish these elements.
Petitioner adds that, based on the first paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code, marriages solemnized abroad are governed by the law of the place where they were
celebrated (the lex loci celebrationist). In effect, the Code requires the presentation of the foreign law to show the conformity of the marriage in question to the legal
requirements of the place where the marriage was performed.
At the outset, we lay the following basic legal principles as the take-off points for our discussion. Philippine law does not provide for absolute divorce; hence, our
courts cannot grant it.
21
A marriage between two Filipinos cannot be dissolved even by a divorce obtained abroad, because of Articles 15
22
and 17
23
of the Civil
Code.
24
In mixed marriages involving a Filipino and a foreigner, Article 26
25
of the Family Code allows the former to contract a subsequent marriage in case the
divorce is "validly obtained abroad by the alien spouse capacitating him or her to remarry."
26
A divorce obtained abroad by a couple, who are both aliens, may be
recognized in the Philippines, provided it is consistent with their respective national laws.
27

A comparison between marriage and divorce, as far as pleading and proof are concerned, can be made. Van Dorn v. Romillo Jr. decrees that "aliens may obtain
divorces abroad, which may be recognized in the Philippines, provided they are valid according to their national law."
28
Therefore, before a foreign divorce decree can
be recognized by our courts, the party pleading it must prove the divorce as a fact and demonstrate its conformity to the foreign law allowing it.
29
Presentation solely
of the divorce decree is insufficient.
Divorce as a Question of Fact
Petitioner insists that before a divorce decree can be admitted in evidence, it must first comply with the registration requirements under Articles 11, 13 and 52 of the
Family Code. These articles read as follows:
"ART. 11. Where a marriage license is required, each of the contracting parties shall file separately a sworn application for such license with the proper
local civil registrar which shall specify the following:
x x x x x x x x x
"(5) If previously married, how, when and where the previous marriage was dissolved or annulled;
x x x x x x x x x
"ART. 13. In case either of the contracting parties has been previously married, the applicant shall be required to furnish, instead of the birth of baptismal
certificate required in the last preceding article, the death certificate of the deceased spouse or the judicial decree of annulment or declaration of nullity of
his or her previous marriage. x x x.
"ART. 52. The judgment of annulment or of absolute nullity of the marriage, the partition and distribution of the properties of the spouses, and the delivery
of the children's presumptive legitimes shall be recorded in the appropriate civil registry and registries of property; otherwise, the same shall not affect their
persons."
Respondent, on the other hand, argues that the Australian divorce decree is a public document a written official act of an Australian family court. Therefore, it
requires no further proof of its authenticity and due execution.
Respondent is getting ahead of himself. Before a foreign judgment is given presumptive evidentiary value, the document must first be presented and admitted in
evidence.
30
A divorce obtained abroad is proven by the divorce decree itself. Indeed the best evidence of a judgment is the judgment itself.
31
The decree purports to be
a written act or record of an act of an officially body or tribunal of a foreign country.
32

Under Sections 24 and 25 of Rule 132, on the other hand, a writing or document may be proven as a public or official record of a foreign country by either (1) an
official publication or (2) a copy thereof attested
33
by the officer having legal custody of the document. If the record is not kept in the Philippines, such copy must be
(a) accompanied by a certificate issued by the proper diplomatic or consular officer in the Philippine foreign service stationed in the foreign country in which the
record is kept and (b) authenticated by the seal of his office.
34

The divorce decree between respondent and Editha Samson appears to be an authentic one issued by an Australian family court.
35
However, appearance is not
sufficient; compliance with the aforemetioned rules on evidence must be demonstrated.
Fortunately for respondent's cause, when the divorce decree of May 18, 1989 was submitted in evidence, counsel for petitioner objected, not to its admissibility, but
only to the fact that it had not been registered in the Local Civil Registry of Cabanatuan City.
36
The trial court ruled that it was admissible, subject to petitioner's
qualification.
37
Hence, it was admitted in evidence and accorded weight by the judge. Indeed, petitioner's failure to object properly rendered the divorce decree
admissible as a written act of the Family Court of Sydney, Australia.
38

Compliance with the quoted articles (11, 13 and 52) of the Family Code is not necessary; respondent was no longer bound by Philippine personal laws after he
acquired Australian citizenship in 1992.
39
Naturalization is the legal act of adopting an alien and clothing him with the political and civil rights belonging to a
citizen.
40
Naturalized citizens, freed from the protective cloak of their former states, don the attires of their adoptive countries. By becoming an Australian, respondent
severed his allegiance to the Philippines and the vinculum juris that had tied him to Philippine personal laws.
Burden of Proving Australian Law
Respondent contends that the burden to prove Australian divorce law falls upon petitioner, because she is the party challenging the validity of a foreign judgment. He
contends that petitioner was satisfied with the original of the divorce decree and was cognizant of the marital laws of Australia, because she had lived and worked in
that country for quite a long time. Besides, the Australian divorce law is allegedly known by Philippine courts: thus, judges may take judicial notice of foreign laws in
the exercise of sound discretion.
We are not persuaded. The burden of proof lies with "the party who alleges the existence of a fact or thing necessary in the prosecution or defense of an action."
41
In
civil cases, plaintiffs have the burden of proving the material allegations of the complaint when those are denied by the answer; and defendants have the burden of
proving the material allegations in their answer when they introduce new matters.
42
Since the divorce was a defense raised by respondent, the burden of proving the
pertinent Australian law validating it falls squarely upon him.
It is well-settled in our jurisdiction that our courts cannot take judicial notice of foreign laws.
43
Like any other facts, they must be alleged and proved. Australian
marital laws are not among those matters that judges are supposed to know by reason of their judicial function.
44
The power of judicial notice must be exercised with
caution, and every reasonable doubt upon the subject should be resolved in the negative.
Second Issue:
Respondent's Legal Capacity to Remarry
Petitioner contends that, in view of the insufficient proof of the divorce, respondent was legally incapacitated to marry her in 1994.
Hence, she concludes that their marriage was void ab initio.
Respondent replies that the Australian divorce decree, which was validly admitted in evidence, adequately established his legal capacity to marry under Australian
law.
Respondent's contention is untenable. In its strict legal sense, divorce means the legal dissolution of a lawful union for a cause arising after marriage. But divorces are
of different types. The two basic ones are (1) absolute divorce or a vinculo matrimonii and (2) limited divorce or a mensa et thoro. The first kind terminates the
marriage, while the second suspends it and leaves the bond in full force.
45
There is no showing in the case at bar which type of divorce was procured by respondent.
Respondent presented a decree nisi or an interlocutory decree a conditional or provisional judgment of divorce. It is in effect the same as a separation from bed and
board, although an absolute divorce may follow after the lapse of the prescribed period during which no reconciliation is effected.
46

Even after the divorce becomes absolute, the court may under some foreign statutes and practices, still restrict remarriage. Under some other jurisdictions, remarriage
may be limited by statute; thus, the guilty party in a divorce which was granted on the ground of adultery may be prohibited from remarrying again. The court may
allow a remarriage only after proof of good behavior.
47

On its face, the herein Australian divorce decree contains a restriction that reads:
"1. A party to a marriage who marries again before this decree becomes absolute (unless the other party has died) commits the offence of bigamy."
48

This quotation bolsters our contention that the divorce obtained by respondent may have been restricted. It did not absolutely establish his legal capacity to remarry
according to his national law. Hence, we find no basis for the ruling of the trial court, which erroneously assumed that the Australian divorce ipso facto restored
respondent's capacity to remarry despite the paucity of evidence on this matter.
We also reject the claim of respondent that the divorce decree raises a disputable presumption or presumptive evidence as to his civil status based on Section 48, Rule
39
49
of the Rules of Court, for the simple reason that no proof has been presented on the legal effects of the divorce decree obtained under Australian laws.
Significance of the Certificate of Legal Capacity
Petitioner argues that the certificate of legal capacity required by Article 21 of the Family Code was not submitted together with the application for a marriage license.
According to her, its absence is proof that respondent did not have legal capacity to remarry.
We clarify. To repeat, the legal capacity to contract marriage is determined by the national law of the party concerned. The certificate mentioned in Article 21 of the
Family Code would have been sufficient to establish the legal capacity of respondent, had he duly presented it in court. A duly authenticated and admitted certificate is
prima facie evidence of legal capacity to marry on the part of the alien applicant for a marriage license.
50

As it is, however, there is absolutely no evidence that proves respondent's legal capacity to marry petitioner. A review of the records before this Court shows that only
the following exhibits were presented before the lower court: (1) for petitioner: (a) Exhibit "A" Complaint;
51
(b) Exhibit "B" Certificate of Marriage Between
Rederick A. Recto (Filipino-Australian) and Grace J. Garcia (Filipino) on January 12, 1994 in Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija;
52
(c) Exhibit "C" Certificate of
Marriage Between Rederick A. Recio (Filipino) and Editha D. Samson (Australian) on March 1, 1987 in Malabon, Metro Manila;
53
(d) Exhibit "D" Office of the
City Registrar of Cabanatuan City Certification that no information of annulment between Rederick A. Recto and Editha D. Samson was in its records;
54
and (e)
Exhibit "E" Certificate of Australian Citizenship of Rederick A. Recto;
55
(2) for respondent: (Exhibit "1" Amended Answer;
56
(b) Exhibit "S" Family Law Act
1975 Decree Nisi of Dissolution of Marriage in the Family Court of Australia;
57
(c) Exhibit "3" Certificate of Australian Citizenship of Rederick A. Recto;
58
(d)
Exhibit "4" Decree Nisi of Dissolution of Marriage in the Family Court of Australia Certificate;
59
and Exhibit "5" Statutory Declaration of the Legal Separation
Between Rederick A. Recto and Grace J. Garcia Recio since October 22, 1995.
60

Based on the above records, we cannot conclude that respondent, who was then a naturalized Australian citizen, was legally capacitated to marry petitioner on January
12, 1994. We agree with petitioner's contention that the court a quo erred in finding that the divorce decree ipso facto clothed respondent with the legal capacity to
remarry without requiring him to adduce sufficient evidence to show the Australian personal law governing his status; or at the very least, to prove his legal capacity
to contract the second marriage.
Neither can we grant petitioner's prayer to declare her marriage to respondent null and void on the ground of bigamy. After all, it may turn out that under Australian
law, he was really capacitated to marry petitioner as a direct result of the divorce decree. Hence, we believe that the most judicious course is to remand this case to the
trial court to receive evidence, if any, which show petitioner's legal capacity to marry petitioner. Failing in that, then the court a quo may declare a nullity of the
parties' marriage on the ground of bigamy, there being already in evidence two existing marriage certificates, which were both obtained in the Philippines, one in
Malabon, Metro Manila dated March 1, 1987 and the other, in Cabanatuan City dated January 12, 1994.
WHEREFORE, in the interest of orderly procedure and substantial justice, we REMAND the case to the court a quo for the purpose of receiving evidence which
conclusively show respondent's legal capacity to marry petitioner; and failing in that, of declaring the parties' marriage void on the ground of bigamy, as above
discussed. No costs.
SO ORDERED.
Melo, Puno, Vitug, and Sandoval-Gutierrez, JJ., concur.
Footnotes
1
Penned by Judge Feliciano V. Buenaventura; rollo, pp. 7-9.
2
Rollo, p. 10.
3
Ibid, p. 9.
4
Rollo, p. 37.
5
Ibid., p. 47.
6
Id., p. 44.
7
Id., p. 36.
8
Annex "I"; temporary rollo, p. 9.
9
The couple secured an Australian "Statutory Declaration" of their legal separation and division of conjugal assets. See Annexes "3" and "4" of
Respondent's Comment; rollo, p. 48.
10
Id., pp. 33-35.
11
Id., p. 39.
12
Amended Answer, p. 2; rollo, p. 39.
13
Id., pp. 77-78.
14
Id., p. 43.
15
Rollo, pp. 48-51.
16
TSN, December 16, 1998, pp. 1-8; records, pp. 172-179.
17
RTC Order of December 16, 1998; ibid., p. 203.
18
The case was deemed submitted for decision on January 11, 2000, upon this Court's receipt of the Memorandum for petitioner, signed by Atty. Olivia
Velasco-Jacoba. The Memorandum for respondent, signed by Atty. Gloria V. Gomez of Gomez and Associates, had been filed on December 10, 1999.
19
Petitioner's Memorandum, pp. 8-9; rollo, pp. 242-243.
20
43 Phil. 43, 49, March 3, 1922.
21
Ruben F. Balane, "Family Courts and Significant Jurisprudence in Family Law," Journal of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, 1
st
& 2
nd
Quarters,
2001, Vol. XXVII, No. 1, p. 25.
22
"ART. 15. Laws relating to family rights and duties, or to the status, condition and legal capacity of persons are binding upon citizens of the Philippines,
even though living abroad."
23
"ART. 17. The forms and solemnities of contracts, wills, and other public instruments shall be governed by the laws of the country in which they are
executed.
x x x x x x x x x
"Prohibitive laws concerning persons, their acts or property, and those which have for their object public order, public policy and good customs
shall not be rendered ineffective by laws or judgments promulgated, or by determinations or conventions agreed upon in a foreign country."
25
Tenchaves v. Escano 15 SCRA 355, 362, November 29, 1965; Barretto Gonzalez v. Gonzales, 58 Phil. 67, 71-72, March 7, 1933.
"Art. 26. All marriages solemnized outside the Philippines in accordance with the laws in force in the country where they were solemnized, and valid there
as such, shall also be valid in this country, except those prohibited under Articles 35(1), (4), (5), and (6), 36, 37, and 38. (71a).
"Where a marriage between a Filipino citizen and a foreigner is validly celebrated and a divorce is thereafter validly obtained abroad by the alien spouse
capacitating him or her to remarry, the Filipino spouse shall have capacity to remarry under Philippine law." (As amended by EO 227, prom. July 27,
1987).
26
Cf. Van Dorn v. Romillo Jr., 139 SCRA 139, 143-144, October 8, 1985; and Pilapil v. Ibay-Somera, 174 SCRA 653, 663, June 30, 1989.1wphi1.nt
27
Van Dorn v. Romillo Jr., supra.
28
Ibid., p. 143.
29
For a detailed discussion of Van Dorn, see Salonga, Private International Law, 1995 ed. pp. 295-300.See also Jose C. Vitug, Compendium of Civil Law
and Jurisprudence, 1993 ed., p. 16;
30
"SEC. 19. Classes of documents. For the purpose of their presentation in evidence, documents are either public or private.
"Public documents are:
"(a) The written official acts, or records of the official acts of the sovereign authority, official bodies and tribunals, and public officers, whether in the
Philippines, or of a foreign country.
x x x x x x x x x."
31
Burr W. Jones, Commentaries on the Law of Evidence in Civil Cases, Vol. IV, 1926 ed., p. 3511; 3, Rule 130 of the Rules on Evidence provides that
"when the subject of inquiry is the contents of a document, no evidence shall be admissible other than the original document itself."
32
"SEC. 19. Classes of documents. For the purpose of their presentation in evidence, documents are either public or private.
Public documents are:
"(a) The written official acts, or records of the official acts of the sovereign authority, official bodies and tribunals, and public officers, whether in the
Philippines, or of a foreign country.
x x x x x x x x x."
33
"Sec. 25. What attestation of copy must state. Whenever a copy of a document or record is attested for the purpose of evidence, the attestation must
state, in substance, that the copy is a correct copy of the original, or a specific part thereof, as the case may be. The attestation must be under the official
seal of the attesting officer, if there be any, or if he be the clerk of a court having a seal, under the seal of such court."
34
"Sec. 24. Proof of official record. The record of public documents referred to in paragraph (a) of Section 19, when admissible for any purpose, may be
evidenced by an official publication thereof or by a copy attested by the officer having the legal custody of the record, or by his deputy, and accompanied,
if the record is not kept in the Philippines, with a certificate that such officer has the custody. If the office in which the record is kept is in a foreign
country, the certificate may be made by a secretary of the embassy or legation, consul general, consul, vice-consul, or consular agent or by any officer in
the foreign service of the Philippines stationed in the foreign country in which the record is kept, and authenticated by the seal of his office."
See also Asiavest Ltd. v. Court of Appeals, 296 SCRA 539, 550-551, September 25, 1998; Pacific Asia Overseas Shipping Corp. v. National Labor
Relations Commission, 161 SCRA 122, 133-134, May 6, 1988.
35
The transcript of stenographic notes states that the original copies of the divorce decrees were presented in court (TSN, December 16, 1998, p. 5; records,
p. 176), but only photocopies of the same documents were attached to the records (Records, Index of Exhibit, p. 1.).
36
TSN, December 15, 1998, p. 7; records, p. 178.
37
TSN, December 16, 1998, p. 7; records, p. 178.
38
People v. Yatco, 97 Phil. 941, 945, November 28, 1955; Marella v. Reyes, 12 Phil. 1, 3, November 10, 1908; People v. Diaz, 271 SCRA 504, 516, April
18, 1997; De la Torre v. Court of Appeals, 294 SCRA 196, 203-204, August 14, 1998, Maunlad Savings & Loan Asso., Inc. v. Court of Appeals, GR No.
114942, November 27, 2000, pp. 8-9.
39
Art. 15, Civil Code.
40
Joaquin Bernas, The 1987 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines: A Commentary, 1996 ed., p. 566.
41
Ricardo J. Francisco, Evidence: Rules of Court in the Philippines, second edition, p. 382.
42
Ibid., p. 384.
43
Wildvalley Shipping Co., Ltd. v. Court of Appeals, GR No. 119602, October 56, 2000, p. 7.
44
Francisco, p. 29, citing De los Angeles v. Cabahug, 106 839, December 29, 1959.
45
274 CJS, 15-17, 1.
46
Ibid., p. 611-613, 161.
47
27A CJS, 625, 162.
48
Rollo, p. 36.
49
"SEC. 48. Effect of foreign judgments or final orders. The effect of a judgment or final order of a tribunal of a foreign country, having jurisdiction to
render the judgment or final order is as follows:
x x x x x x x x x
"(b) In case of a judgment or final order against a person, the judgment or final order is presumptive evidence of a right as between the parties
and their successors in interest by a subsequent title.
"In either case, the judgment or final order may be repelled by evidence of a want of jurisdiction, want of notice to the party, collusion, fraud, or
clear mistake of law or fact."
50
In passing, we note that the absence of the said certificate is merely an irregularity in complying with the formal requirement for procuring a marriage
license. Under Article 4 of the Family Code, an irregularity will not affect the validity of a marriage celebrated on the basis of a marriage license issued
without that certificate. (Vitug, Compendium, pp. 120-126); Sempio-Diy, Handbook on the Family Code of the Philippines, 197 reprint, p. 17; Rufus
Rodriguez, The Family Code of the Philippines Annotated, 1990 ed., p. 42; Melencio Sta. Maria Jr., Persons and Family Relations Law, 1999 ed., p. 146.).
51
Records, pp. 1-3.
52
Ibid., p. 4.
53
Id., p. 5.
54
Id., p. 180.
55
Id., pp. 170-171.
26
Id., pp. 84-89.
57
Id., pp. 181-182.
58
Id., pp. 40-41.
59
Id., pp. 183.
60
Id., pp. 184-187.

Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
SECOND DIVISION
G.R. No. 119602 October 6, 2000
WILDVALLEY SHIPPING CO., LTD. petitioner,
vs.
COURT OF APPEALS and PHILIPPINE PRESIDENT LINES INC., respondents.
D E C I S I O N
BUENA, J .:
This is a petition for review on certiorari seeking to set aside the decision of the Court of Appeals which reversed the decision of the lower court in CA-G.R. CV No.
36821, entitled "Wildvalley Shipping Co., Ltd., plaintiff-appellant, versus Philippine President Lines, Inc., defendant-appellant."
The antecedent facts of the case are as follows:
Sometime in February 1988, the Philippine Roxas, a vessel owned by Philippine President Lines, Inc., private respondent herein, arrived in Puerto Ordaz, Venezuela,
to load iron ore. Upon the completion of the loading and when the vessel was ready to leave port, Mr. Ezzar del Valle Solarzano Vasquez, an official pilot of
Venezuela, was designated by the harbour authorities in Puerto Ordaz to navigate the Philippine Roxas through the Orinoco River.
1
He was asked to pilot the said
vessel on February 11, 1988
2
boarding it that night at 11:00 p.m.
3

The master (captain) of the Philippine Roxas, Captain Nicandro Colon, was at the bridge together with the pilot (Vasquez), the vessel's third mate (then the officer on
watch), and a helmsman when the vessel left the port
4
at 1:40 a.m. on February 12, 1988.
5
Captain Colon left the bridge when the vessel was under way.
6

The Philippine Roxas experienced some vibrations when it entered the San Roque Channel at mile 172.
7
The vessel proceeded on its way, with the pilot assuring the
watch officer that the vibration was a result of the shallowness of the channel.
8

Between mile 158 and 157, the vessel again experienced some vibrations.
9
These occurred at 4:12 a.m.
10
It was then that the watch officer called the master to the
bridge.
11

The master (captain) checked the position of the vessel
12
and verified that it was in the centre of the channel.
13
He then went to confirm, or set down, the position of the
vessel on the chart.
14
He ordered Simplicio A. Monis, Chief Officer of the President Roxas, to check all the double bottom tanks.
15

At around 4:35 a.m., the Philippine Roxas ran aground in the Orinoco River,
16
thus obstructing the ingress and egress of vessels.
As a result of the blockage, the Malandrinon, a vessel owned by herein petitioner Wildvalley Shipping Company, Ltd., was unable to sail out of Puerto Ordaz on that
day.
Subsequently, Wildvalley Shipping Company, Ltd. filed a suit with the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch III against Philippine President Lines, Inc. and Pioneer
Insurance Company (the underwriter/insurer of Philippine Roxas) for damages in the form of unearned profits, and interest thereon amounting to US $400,000.00 plus
attorney's fees, costs, and expenses of litigation. The complaint against Pioneer Insurance Company was dismissed in an Order dated November 7, 1988.
17

At the pre-trial conference, the parties agreed on the following facts:
"1. The jurisdictional facts, as specified in their respective pleadings;
"2. That defendant PPL was the owner of the vessel Philippine Roxas at the time of the incident;
"3. That defendant Pioneer Insurance was the insurance underwriter for defendant PPL;
"4. That plaintiff Wildvalley Shipping Co., Inc. is the owner of the vessel Malandrinon, whose passage was obstructed by the vessel Philippine Roxas at
Puerto Ordaz, Venezuela, as specified in par. 4, page 2 of the complaint;
"5. That on February 12, 1988, while the Philippine Roxas was navigating the channel at Puerto Ordaz, the said vessel grounded and as a result, obstructed
navigation at the channel;
"6. That the Orinoco River in Puerto Ordaz is a compulsory pilotage channel;
"7. That at the time of the incident, the vessel, Philippine Roxas, was under the command of the pilot Ezzar Solarzano, assigned by the government thereat,
but plaintiff claims that it is under the command of the master;
"8. The plaintiff filed a case in Middleburg, Holland which is related to the present case;
"9. The plaintiff caused the arrest of the Philippine Collier, a vessel owned by the defendant PPL;
"10. The Orinoco River is 150 miles long and it takes approximately 12 hours to navigate out of the said river;
"11. That no security for the plaintiff's claim was given until after the Philippine Collier was arrested; and
"12. That a letter of guarantee, dated 12-May-88 was issued by the Steamship Mutual Underwriters Ltd."
18

The trial court rendered its decision on October 16, 1991 in favor of the petitioner, Wildvalley Shipping Co., Ltd. The dispositive portion thereof reads as follows:
"WHEREFORE, judgment is rendered for the plaintiff, ordering defendant Philippine President Lines, Inc. to pay to the plaintiff the sum of U.S. $259,243.43, as
actual and compensatory damages, and U.S. $162,031.53, as expenses incurred abroad for its foreign lawyers, plus additional sum of U.S. $22,000.00, as and for
attorney's fees of plaintiff's local lawyer, and to pay the cost of this suit.
"Defendant's counterclaim is dismissed for lack of merit.
"SO ORDERED."
19

Both parties appealed: the petitioner appealing the non-award of interest with the private respondent questioning the decision on the merits of the case.
After the requisite pleadings had been filed, the Court of Appeals came out with its questioned decision dated June 14, 1994,
20
the dispositive portion of which reads
as follows:
"WHEREFORE, finding defendant-appellant's appeal to be meritorious, judgment is hereby rendered reversing the Decision of the lower court. Plaintiff-appellant's
Complaint is dismissed and it is ordered to pay defendant-appellant the amount of Three Hundred Twenty-three Thousand, Forty-two Pesos and Fifty-three Centavos
(P323,042.53) as and for attorney's fees plus cost of suit. Plaintiff-appellant's appeal is DISMISSED.
"SO ORDERED."
21

Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration
22
but the same was denied for lack of merit in the resolution dated March 29, 1995.
23

Hence, this petition.
The petitioner assigns the following errors to the court a quo:
1. RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS SERIOUSLY ERRED IN FINDING THAT UNDER PHILIPPINE LAW NO FAULT OR NEGLIGENCE
CAN BE ATTRIBUTED TO THE MASTER NOR THE OWNER OF THE "PHILIPPINE ROXAS" FOR THE GROUNDING OF SAID VESSEL
RESULTING IN THE BLOCKAGE OF THE RIO ORINOCO;
2. RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS SERIOUSLY ERRED IN REVERSING THE FINDINGS OF FACTS OF THE TRIAL COURT CONTRARY
TO EVIDENCE;
3. RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS SERIOUSLY ERRED IN FINDING THAT THE "PHILIPPINE ROXAS" IS SEAWORTHY;
4. RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS SERIOUSLY ERRED IN DISREGARDING VENEZUELAN LAW DESPITE THE FACT THAT THE
SAME HAS BEEN SUBSTANTIALLY PROVED IN THE TRIAL COURT WITHOUT ANY OBJECTION FROM PRIVATE RESPONDENT, AND
WHOSE OBJECTION WAS INTERPOSED BELATEDLY ON APPEAL;
5. RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS SERIOUSLY ERRED IN AWARDING ATTORNEY'S FEES AND COSTS TO PRIVATE RESPONDENT
WITHOUT ANY FAIR OR REASONABLE BASIS WHATSOEVER;
6. RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS SERIOUSLY ERRED IN NOT FINDING THAT PETITIONER'S CAUSE IS MERITORIOUS HENCE,
PETITIONER SHOULD BE ENTITLED TO ATTORNEY'S FEES, COSTS AND INTEREST.
The petition is without merit.
The primary issue to be determined is whether or not Venezuelan law is applicable to the case at bar.
It is well-settled that foreign laws do not prove themselves in our jurisdiction and our courts are not authorized to take judicial notice of them. Like any other fact, they
must be alleged and proved.
24

A distinction is to be made as to the manner of proving a written and an unwritten law. The former falls under Section 24, Rule 132 of the Rules of Court, as amended,
the entire provision of which is quoted hereunder. Where the foreign law sought to be proved is "unwritten," the oral testimony of expert witnesses is admissible, as
are printed and published books of reports of decisions of the courts of the country concerned if proved to be commonly admitted in such courts.
25

Section 24 of Rule 132 of the Rules of Court, as amended, provides:
"Sec. 24. Proof of official record. -- The record of public documents referred to in paragraph (a) of Section 19, when admissible for any purpose, may be evidenced by
an official publication thereof or by a copy attested by the officer having the legal custody of the record, or by his deputy, and accompanied, if the record is not kept in
the Philippines, with a certificate that such officer has the custody. If the office in which the record is kept is in a foreign country, the certificate may be made by a
secretary of the embassy or legation, consul general, consul, vice consul, or consular agent or by any officer in the foreign service of the Philippines stationed in the
foreign country in which the record is kept, and authenticated by the seal of his office." (Underscoring supplied)
The court has interpreted Section 25 (now Section 24) to include competent evidence like the testimony of a witness to prove the existence of a written foreign law.
26

In the noted case of Willamette I ron & Steel Works vs. Muzzal,
27
it was held that:
" Mr. Arthur W. Bolton, an attorney-at-law of San Francisco, California, since the year 1918 under oath, quoted verbatim section 322 of the California Civil Code
and stated that said section was in force at the time the obligations of defendant to the plaintiff were incurred, i.e. on November 5, 1928 and December 22, 1928. This
evidence sufficiently established the fact that the section in question was the law of the State of California on the above dates. A reading of sections 300 and 301 of
our Code of Civil Procedure will convince one that these sections do not exclude the presentation of other competent evidence to prove the existence of a foreign law.
"`The foreign law is a matter of fact You ask the witness what the law is; he may, from his recollection, or on producing and referring to books, say what it is.'
(Lord Campbell concurring in an opinion of Lord Chief Justice Denman in a well-known English case where a witness was called upon to prove the Roman laws of
marriage and was permitted to testify, though he referred to a book containing the decrees of the Council of Trent as controlling, Jones on Evidence, Second Edition,
Volume 4, pages 3148-3152.) x x x."
We do not dispute the competency of Capt. Oscar Leon Monzon, the Assistant Harbor Master and Chief of Pilots at Puerto Ordaz, Venezuela,
28
to testify on the
existence of the Reglamento General de la Ley de Pilotaje(pilotage law of Venezuela)
29
and the Reglamento Para la Zona de Pilotaje N
o
1 del Orinoco (rules
governing the navigation of the Orinoco River). Captain Monzon has held the aforementioned posts for eight years.
30
As such he is in charge of designating the pilots
for maneuvering and navigating the Orinoco River. He is also in charge of the documents that come into the office of the harbour masters.
31

Nevertheless, we take note that these written laws were not proven in the manner provided by Section 24 of Rule 132 of the Rules of Court.
The Reglamento General de la Ley de Pilotaje was published in the Gaceta Oficial
32
of the Republic of Venezuela. A photocopy of the Gaceta Oficial was presented
in evidence as an official publication of the Republic of Venezuela.
The Reglamento Para la Zona de Pilotaje N
o
1 del Orinoco is published in a book issued by the Ministerio de Comunicaciones of Venezuela.
33
Only a photocopy of
the said rules was likewise presented as evidence.
Both of these documents are considered in Philippine jurisprudence to be public documents for they are the written official acts, or records of the official acts of the
sovereign authority, official bodies and tribunals, and public officers of Venezuela.
34

For a copy of a foreign public document to be admissible, the following requisites are mandatory: (1) It must be attested by the officer having legal custody of the
records or by his deputy; and (2) It must be accompanied by a certificate by a secretary of the embassy or legation, consul general, consul, vice consular or consular
agent or foreign service officer, and with the seal of his office.
35
The latter requirement is not a mere technicality but is intended to justify the giving of full faith and
credit to the genuineness of a document in a foreign country.
36

It is not enough that the Gaceta Oficial, or a book published by the Ministerio de Comunicaciones of Venezuela, was presented as evidence with Captain Monzon
attesting it. It is also required by Section 24 of Rule 132 of the Rules of Court that a certificate that Captain Monzon, who attested the documents, is the officer who
had legal custody of those records made by a secretary of the embassy or legation, consul general, consul, vice consul or consular agent or by any officer in the foreign
service of the Philippines stationed in Venezuela, and authenticated by the seal of his office accompanying the copy of the public document. No such certificate could
be found in the records of the case.
With respect to proof of written laws, parol proof is objectionable, for the written law itself is the best evidence. According to the weight of authority, when a foreign
statute is involved, the best evidence rule requires that it be proved by a duly authenticated copy of the statute.
37

At this juncture, we have to point out that the Venezuelan law was not pleaded before the lower court.
A foreign law is considered to be pleaded if there is an allegation in the pleading about the existence of the foreign law, its import and legal consequence on the event
or transaction in issue.
38

A review of the Complaint
39
revealed that it was never alleged or invoked despite the fact that the grounding of the M/V Philippine Roxas occurred within the
territorial jurisdiction of Venezuela.
We reiterate that under the rules of private international law, a foreign law must be properly pleaded and proved as a fact. In the absence of pleading and proof, the
laws of a foreign country, or state, will be presumed to be the same as our own local or domestic law and this is known as processual presumption.
40

Having cleared this point, we now proceed to a thorough study of the errors assigned by the petitioner.
Petitioner alleges that there was negligence on the part of the private respondent that would warrant the award of damages.
There being no contractual obligation, the private respondent is obliged to give only the diligence required of a good father of a family in accordance with the
provisions of Article 1173 of the New Civil Code, thus:
"Art. 1173. The fault or negligence of the obligor consists in the omission of that diligence which is required by the nature of the obligation and corresponds with the
circumstances of the persons, of the time and of the place. When negligence shows bad faith, the provisions of articles 1171 and 2201, paragraph 2, shall apply.
"If the law or contract does not state the diligence which is to be observed in the performance, that which is expected of a good father of a family shall be required."
The diligence of a good father of a family requires only that diligence which an ordinary prudent man would exercise with regard to his own property. This we have
found private respondent to have exercised when the vessel sailed only after the "main engine, machineries, and other auxiliaries" were checked and found to be in
good running condition;
41
when the master left a competent officer, the officer on watch on the bridge with a pilot who is experienced in navigating the Orinoco River;
when the master ordered the inspection of the vessel's double bottom tanks when the vibrations occurred anew.
42

The Philippine rules on pilotage, embodied in Philippine Ports Authority Administrative Order No. 03-85, otherwise known as the Rules and Regulations Governing
Pilotage Services, the Conduct of Pilots and Pilotage Fees in Philippine Ports enunciate the duties and responsibilities of a master of a vessel and its pilot, among other
things.
The pertinent provisions of the said administrative order governing these persons are quoted hereunder:
"Sec. 11. Control of Vessels and Liability for Damage. -- On compulsory pilotage grounds, the Harbor Pilot providing the service to a vessel shall be responsible for
the damage caused to a vessel or to life and property at ports due to his negligence or fault. He can be absolved from liability if the accident is caused by force majeure
or natural calamities provided he has exercised prudence and extra diligence to prevent or minimize the damage.
"The Master shall retain overall command of the vessel even on pilotage grounds whereby he can countermand or overrule the order or command of the Harbor Pilot
on board. In such event, any damage caused to a vessel or to life and property at ports by reason of the fault or negligence of the Master shall be the responsibility and
liability of the registered owner of the vessel concerned without prejudice to recourse against said Master.
"Such liability of the owner or Master of the vessel or its pilots shall be determined by competent authority in appropriate proceedings in the light of the facts and
circumstances of each particular case.
"x x x
"Sec. 32. Duties and Responsibilities of the Pilots or Pilots Association. -- The duties and responsibilities of the Harbor Pilot shall be as follows:
"x x x
"f) A pilot shall be held responsible for the direction of a vessel from the time he assumes his work as a pilot thereof until he leaves it anchored or berthed safely;
Provided, however, that his responsibility shall cease at the moment the Master neglects or refuses to carry out his order."
The Code of Commerce likewise provides for the obligations expected of a captain of a vessel, to wit:
"Art. 612. The following obligations shall be inherent in the office of captain:
"x x x
"7. To be on deck on reaching land and to take command on entering and leaving ports, canals, roadsteads, and rivers, unless there is a pilot on board discharging his
duties. x x x."
The law is very explicit. The master remains the overall commander of the vessel even when there is a pilot on board. He remains in control of the ship as he can still
perform the duties conferred upon him by law
43
despite the presence of a pilot who is temporarily in charge of the vessel. It is not required of him to be on the bridge
while the vessel is being navigated by a pilot.
However, Section 8 of PPA Administrative Order No. 03-85, provides:
"Sec. 8. Compulsory Pilotage Service - For entering a harbor and anchoring thereat, or passing through rivers or straits within a pilotage district, as well as docking
and undocking at any pier/wharf, or shifting from one berth or another, every vessel engaged in coastwise and foreign trade shall be under compulsory pilotage.
"xxx."
The Orinoco River being a compulsory pilotage channel necessitated the engaging of a pilot who was presumed to be knowledgeable of every shoal, bank, deep and
shallow ends of the river. In his deposition, pilot Ezzar Solarzano Vasquez testified that he is an official pilot in the Harbour at Port Ordaz, Venezuela,
44
and that he
had been a pilot for twelve (12) years.
45
He also had experience in navigating the waters of the Orinoco River.
46

The law does provide that the master can countermand or overrule the order or command of the harbor pilot on board. The master of the Philippine Roxas deemed it
best not to order him (the pilot) to stop the vessel,
47
mayhap, because the latter had assured him that they were navigating normally before the grounding of the
vessel.
48
Moreover, the pilot had admitted that on account of his experience he was very familiar with the configuration of the river as well as the course headings, and
that he does not even refer to river charts when navigating the Orinoco River.
49

Based on these declarations, it comes as no surprise to us that the master chose not to regain control of the ship. Admitting his limited knowledge of the Orinoco
River, Captain Colon relied on the knowledge and experience of pilot Vasquez to guide the vessel safely.
"Licensed pilots, enjoying the emoluments of compulsory pilotage, are in a different class from ordinary employees, for they assume to have a skill and a knowledge
of navigation in the particular waters over which their licenses extend superior to that of the master; pilots are bound to use due diligence and reasonable care and
skill. A pilot's ordinary skill is in proportion to the pilot's responsibilities, and implies a knowledge and observance of the usual rules of navigation, acquaintance with
the waters piloted in their ordinary condition, and nautical skill in avoiding all known obstructions. The character of the skill and knowledge required of a pilot in
charge of a vessel on the rivers of a country is very different from that which enables a navigator to carry a vessel safely in the ocean. On the ocean, a knowledge of
the rules of navigation, with charts that disclose the places of hidden rocks, dangerous shores, or other dangers of the way, are the main elements of a pilot's
knowledge and skill. But the pilot of a river vessel, like the harbor pilot, is selected for the individual's personal knowledge of the topography through which the vessel
is steered."
50

We find that the grounding of the vessel is attributable to the pilot. When the vibrations were first felt the watch officer asked him what was going on, and pilot
Vasquez replied that "(they) were in the middle of the channel and that the vibration was as (sic) a result of the shallowness of the channel."
51

Pilot Ezzar Solarzano Vasquez was assigned to pilot the vessel Philippine Roxas as well as other vessels on the Orinoco River due to his knowledge of the same. In
his experience as a pilot, he should have been aware of the portions which are shallow and which are not. His failure to determine the depth of the said river and his
decision to plod on his set course, in all probability, caused damage to the vessel. Thus, we hold him as negligent and liable for its grounding.
In the case of Homer Ramsdell Transportation Company vs. La Compagnie Generale Transatlantique, 182 U.S. 406, it was held that:
"x x x The master of a ship, and the owner also, is liable for any injury done by the negligence of the crew employed in the ship. The same doctrine will apply to the
case of a pilot employed by the master or owner, by whose negligence any injury happens to a third person or his property: as, for example, by a collision with another
ship, occasioned by his negligence. And it will make no difference in the case that the pilot, if any is employed, is required to be a licensed pilot; provided the master
is at liberty to take a pilot, or not, at his pleasure, for in such a case the master acts voluntarily, although he is necessarily required to select from a particular class. On
the other hand, if it is compulsive upon the master to take a pilot, and, a fortiori, if he is bound to do so under penalty, then, and in such case, neither he nor
the owner will be liable for injuries occasioned by the negligence of the pilot; for in such a case the pilot cannot be deemed properly the servant of the master or
the owner, but is forced upon them, and the maxim Qui facit per alium facit per se does not apply." (Underscoring supplied)
Anent the river passage plan, we find that, while there was none,
52
the voyage has been sufficiently planned and monitored as shown by the following actions
undertaken by the pilot, Ezzar Solarzano Vasquez, to wit: contacting the radio marina via VHF for information regarding the channel, river traffic,
53
soundings of the
river, depth of the river, bulletin on the buoys.
54
The officer on watch also monitored the voyage.
55

We, therefore, do not find the absence of a river passage plan to be the cause for the grounding of the vessel.
The doctrine of res ipsa loquitur does not apply to the case at bar because the circumstances surrounding the injury do not clearly indicate negligence on the part of
the private respondent. For the said doctrine to apply, the following conditions must be met: (1) the accident was of such character as to warrant an inference that it
would not have happened except for defendant's negligence; (2) the accident must have been caused by an agency or instrumentality within the exclusive management
or control of the person charged with the negligence complained of; and (3) the accident must not have been due to any voluntary action or contribution on the part of
the person injured.
56

As has already been held above, there was a temporary shift of control over the ship from the master of the vessel to the pilot on a compulsory pilotage channel. Thus,
two of the requisites necessary for the doctrine to apply, i.e., negligence and control, to render the respondent liable, are absent.
As to the claim that the ship was unseaworthy, we hold that it is not.
The Lloyds Register of Shipping confirmed the vessels seaworthiness in a Confirmation of Class issued on February 16, 1988 by finding that "the above named ship
(Philippine Roxas) maintained the class "+100A1 Strengthened for Ore Cargoes, Nos. 2 and 8 Holds may be empty (CC) and +LMC" from 31/12/87 up until the time
of casualty on or about 12/2/88."
57
The same would not have been issued had not the vessel been built according to the standards set by Lloyd's.
Samuel Lim, a marine surveyor, at Lloyd's Register of Shipping testified thus:
"Q Now, in your opinion, as a surveyor, did top side tank have any bearing at all to the seaworthiness of the vessel?
"A Well, judging on this particular vessel, and also basing on the class record of the vessel, wherein recommendations were made on the top side tank, and it was
given sufficient time to be repaired, it means that the vessel is fit to travel even with those defects on the ship.
"COURT
What do you mean by that? You explain. The vessel is fit to travel even with defects? Is that what you mean? Explain.
"WITNESS
"A Yes, your Honor. Because the class society which register (sic) is the third party looking into the condition of the vessel and as far as their record states, the vessel
was class or maintained, and she is fit to travel during that voyage."
"x x x
"ATTY. MISA
Before we proceed to other matter, will you kindly tell us what is (sic) the 'class +100A1 Strengthened for Ore Cargoes', mean?
"WITNESS
"A Plus 100A1 means that the vessel was built according to Lloyd's rules and she is capable of carrying ore bulk cargoes, but she is particularly capable of carrying
Ore Cargoes with No. 2 and No. 8 holds empty.
"x x x
"COURT
The vessel is classed, meaning?
"A Meaning she is fit to travel, your Honor, or seaworthy."
58

It is not required that the vessel must be perfect. To be seaworthy, a ship must be reasonably fit to perform the services, and to encounter the ordinary perils of the
voyage, contemplated by the parties to the policy.
59

As further evidence that the vessel was seaworthy, we quote the deposition of pilot Vasquez:
"Q Was there any instance when your orders or directions were not complied with because of the inability of the vessel to do so?
"A No.
"Q. Was the vessel able to respond to all your commands and orders?
"A. The vessel was navigating normally."
60

Eduardo P. Mata, Second Engineer of the Philippine Roxas submitted an accident report wherein he stated that on February 11, 1988, he checked and prepared the
main engine, machineries and all other auxiliaries and found them all to be in good running condition and ready for maneuvering. That same day the main engine,
bridge and engine telegraph and steering gear motor were also tested.
61
Engineer Mata also prepared the fuel for consumption for maneuvering and checked the engine
generators.
62

Finally, we find the award of attorneys fee justified.1wphi1
Article 2208 of the New Civil Code provides that:
"Art. 2208. In the absence of stipulation, attorney's fees and expenses of litigation, other than judicial costs, cannot be recovered, except:
"x x x
"(11) In any other case where the court deems it just and equitable that attorney's fees and expenses of litigation should be recovered.
"x x x"
Due to the unfounded filing of this case, the private respondent was unjustifiably forced to litigate, thus the award of attorneys fees was proper.
WHEREFORE, IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the petition is DENIED and the decision of the Court of Appeals in CA G.R. CV No. 36821 is AFFIRMED.
SO ORDERED.
Bellosillo, (Chairman), Mendoza, Quisumbing, and De leon, Jr., JJ., concur.
Footnotes
1
vide Exhibit "FF" (Deposition upon Oral Examination of Oscar Leon Monzon, June 14, 1990), p. 9; Exhibit "EE" (Deposition upon Oral Examination of
Ezzar del Valle Solarzano Vasquez, June 13, 1990), p. 47.
2
Exhibit "EE," p. 9.
3
Ibid., p. 9.
4
Ibid., p. 13.
5
Ibid., p. 9.
6
Ibid., p. 13.
7
Ibid., p. 13.
8
Ibid., p. 14.
9
Ibid., p. 18; Exhibit "E-1."
10
Ibid., p. 21.
11
Ibid., p. 22.
12
Ibid., p. 22; Exhibit "E-2."
13
Ibid., p. 22.
14
Ibid., p. 26.
15
Exhibit "E-2."
16
Exhibit "EE", p. 29; Exhibit "E-1."
17
Original Records, p. 209.
18
Ibid., pp. 639-640.
19
Ibid., p. 1029.
20
Annex "A"; Rollo, p 75.
21
Ibid., p. 85.
22
Annex "C"; Ibid., p. 89.
23
Annex "B"; Ibid., p. 86.
24
Zalamea vs. Court of Appeals, 228 SCRA 23 [1993] citing The Collector of Internal Revenue vs. Fisher and Fisher vs. The Collector of Internal
Revenue, 110 Phil. 686 [1961]; Yao Kee vs. Sy- Gonzales, 167 SCRA 736 [1988]; vide Sy Joc Lieng vs. Sy Quia, 16 Phil. 137, Yam Ka Lim vs. Collector
of Customs, 30 Phil. 46, In re Estate of Johnson, 39 Phil. 156, Fluemer vs. Hix, 54 Phil. 610.
25
Vicente J. Francisco, The Revised Rules of Court in the Philippines, Volume VII, Part I, 1997 ed., p. 626 citing Secs. 36 and 49, Rule 130, Rules of
Court, as amended.
26
Yao Kee vs. Sy-Gonzales, supra, pp. 744-745.
27
61 Phil. 471, 475.
28
Exhibit "FF", p. 9.
29
Ibid., p. 39.
30
Exhibit "FF", p. 9.
31
Ibid., p. 9.
32
Exhibit "V."
33
Exhibit "W."
34
Section 19, Rule 132 of the Rules of court, as amended.
35
Section 24, Rule 132 of the Rules of Court, as amended.
36
Valencia vs. Lopez, (CA), 65 OG 9959.
37
Vicente J. Francisco, The Revised Rules of Court in the Philippines, Volume VII, Part II, 1997 ed., p. 365, citing 20 Am. Jur. 371-372.
38
Jovito R. Salonga, Private International Law, p. 82.
39
Original Records, p. 1.
40
Yao Kee vs. Sy-Gonzales, supra; In re: Testate Estate of Suntay, 95 Phil. 500, 510-511; Miciano vs. Brimo, 50 Phil. 867; Lim and Lim vs. Collector of
Customs, 36 Phil. 472.
41
Exhibit "E-4."
42
Exhibit "E-2."
43
Article 612 of the Code of Commerce.
44
Exhibit "EE", p. 8.
45
Ibid., p. 8.
46
Ibid., p. 8.
47
Ibid., p. 26.
48
Ibid., pp. 52 and 58.
49
Ibid., p. 33.
50
70 Am Jur 2d, Shipping Sec. 290.
51
Exhibit "EE", p. 14.
52
Comment to Petition for Review on Certiorari, p. 21; Rollo, p. 283.
53
Exhibit "EE", pp. 10-11.
54
Ibid., p. 12.
55
vide Exhibit "E-2."
56
57B Am Jur 2d, Negligence, Sec. 1848.
57
Exhibit "3."
58
T.S.N. dated March 14, 1991, pp. 26-27, 36, and 75.
59
Section 107, Act 2427 (The Insurance Act).
60
Exhibit "EE", p. 48.
61
Exhibit "E-4."
62
T.S.N. dated December 7, 1990, p. 8.