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Republic of the Philippines

SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. L-!"#$ %une "& '("#
TESTATE ESTATE O) AMOS G. BELL*S& +ecease+.
PEOPLE,S BAN- an+ TRUST COMPAN.& e/ecuto0.
MAR*A CR*ST*NA BELL*S an+ M*R*AM PALMA BELL*S& opposito0s-appellants&
1s.
E23AR2 A. BELL*S& ET AL.& hei0s-appellees.
4icente R. Macasaet an+ %ose 2. 4illena fo0 opposito0s appellants.
Pa0e+es& Pobla+o0& C0u5 an+ Na5a0eno fo0 hei0s-appellees E. A. Bellis& et al.
6ui7ano an+ A00o8o fo0 hei0s-appellees 3. S. Bellis& et al.
%. R. Balon9ita fo0 appellee People,s Ban9 : T0ust Co;pan8.
O5aeta& Gibbs an+ O5aeta fo0 appellee A. B. Alls;an.
BENG<ON& %.P.& %.=
This is a +i0ect appeal to Us& upon a >uestion pu0el8 of la?& f0o; an o0+e0 of the Cou0t of )i0st *nstance
of Manila +ate+ Ap0il !@& '("A& app0o1inB the p0o7ect of pa0tition file+ b8 the e/ecuto0 in Ci1il Case
No. !#@$( the0ein.'C?phD'.EFt
The facts of the case a0e as follo?s=
A;os G. Bellis& bo0n in Te/as& ?as Ga citi5en of the State of Te/as an+ of the Unite+ States.G B8 his
fi0st ?ife& Ma08 E. Mallen& ?ho; he +i1o0ce+& he ha+ fi1e leBiti;ate chil+0en= E+?a0+ A. Bellis&
Geo0Be Bellis H?ho p0e-+ecease+ hi; in infanc8I& Jen08 A. Bellis& Ale/an+e0 Bellis an+ Anna Bellis
Alls;anK b8 his secon+ ?ife& 4iolet -enne+8& ?ho su01i1e+ hi;& he ha+ th0ee leBiti;ate chil+0en=
E+?in G. Bellis& 3alte0 S. Bellis an+ 2o0oth8 BellisK an+ finall8& he ha+ th0ee illeBiti;ate chil+0en=
A;os Bellis& %0.& Ma0ia C0istina Bellis an+ Mi0ia; Pal;a Bellis.
On AuBust L& '(L& A;os G. Bellis e/ecute+ a ?ill in the Philippines& in ?hich he +i0ecte+ that afte0 all
ta/es& obliBations& an+ e/penses of a+;inist0ation a0e pai+ fo0& his +ist0ibutable estate shoul+ be
+i1i+e+& in t0ust& in the follo?inB o0+e0 an+ ;anne0= HaI MA@&@@@.@@ to his fi0st ?ife& Ma08 E. MallenK
HbI P'@&@@@.@@ to his th0ee illeBiti;ate chil+0en& A;os Bellis& %0.& Ma0ia C0istina Bellis& Mi0ia; Pal;a
Bellis& o0 PA@&@@@.@@ each an+ HcI afte0 the fo0eBoinB t?o ite;s ha1e been satisfie+& the 0e;ain+e0 shall
Bo to his se1en su01i1inB chil+0en b8 his fi0st an+ secon+ ?i1es& na;el8= E+?a0+ A. Bellis& Jen08 A.
Bellis& Ale/an+e0 Bellis an+ Anna Bellis Alls;an& E+?in G. Bellis& 3alte0 S. Bellis& an+ 2o0oth8 E.
Bellis& in e>ual sha0es.'C?phD'.EFt
Subse>uentl8& o0 on %ul8 $& '(L$& A;os G. Bellis +ie+ a 0esi+ent of San Antonio& Te/as& U.S.A. Jis
?ill ?as a+;itte+ to p0obate in the Cou0t of )i0st *nstance of Manila on Septe;be0 'L& '(L$.
The People,s Ban9 an+ T0ust Co;pan8& as e/ecuto0 of the ?ill& pai+ all the be>uests the0ein inclu+inB
the a;ount of MA@&@@@.@@ in the fo0; of sha0es of stoc9 to Ma08 E. Mallen an+ to the th0ee H!I
illeBiti;ate chil+0en& A;os Bellis& %0.& Ma0ia C0istina Bellis an+ Mi0ia; Pal;a Bellis& 1a0ious a;ounts
totallinB PA@&@@@.@@ each in satisfaction of thei0 0especti1e leBacies& o0 a total of P'@&@@@.@@& ?hich it
0elease+ f0o; ti;e to ti;e acco0+inB as the lo?e0 cou0t app0o1e+ an+ allo?e+ the 1a0ious ;otions o0
petitions file+ b8 the latte0 th0ee 0e>uestinB pa0tial a+1ances on account of thei0 0especti1e leBacies.
On %anua08 $& '("A& p0epa0ato08 to closinB its a+;inist0ation& the e/ecuto0 sub;itte+ an+ file+ its
GE/ecuto0,s )inal Account& Repo0t of A+;inist0ation an+ P0o7ect of Pa0titionG ?he0ein it 0epo0te+& inte0
alia& the satisfaction of the leBac8 of Ma08 E. Mallen b8 the +eli1e08 to he0 of sha0es of stoc9
a;ountinB to MA@&@@@.@@& an+ the leBacies of A;os Bellis& %0.& Ma0ia C0istina Bellis an+ Mi0ia;
Pal;a Bellis in the a;ount of PA@&@@@.@@ each o0 a total of P'@&@@@.@@. *n the p0o7ect of pa0tition& the
e/ecuto0 N pu0suant to the GT?elfthG clause of the testato0,s Last 3ill an+ Testa;ent N +i1i+e+ the
0esi+ua08 estate into se1en e>ual po0tions fo0 the benefit of the testato0,s se1en leBiti;ate chil+0en b8
his fi0st an+ secon+ ;a00iaBes.
On %anua08 '#& '("A& Ma0ia C0istina Bellis an+ Mi0ia; Pal;a Bellis file+ thei0 0especti1e oppositions
to the p0o7ect of pa0tition on the B0oun+ that the8 ?e0e +ep0i1e+ of thei0 leBiti;es as illeBiti;ate
chil+0en an+& the0efo0e& co;pulso08 hei0s of the +ecease+.
A;os Bellis& %0. inte0pose+ no opposition +espite notice to hi;& p0oof of se01ice of ?hich is e1i+ence+
b8 the 0eBist08 0eceipt sub;itte+ on Ap0il #& '("A b8 the e/ecuto0.'
Afte0 the pa0ties file+ thei0 0especti1e ;e;o0an+a an+ othe0 pe0tinent plea+inBs& the lo?e0 cou0t& on
Ap0il !@& '("A& issue+ an o0+e0 o1e00ulinB the oppositions an+ app0o1inB the e/ecuto0,s final account&
0epo0t an+ a+;inist0ation an+ p0o7ect of pa0tition. Rel8inB upon A0t. '" of the Ci1il Co+e& it applie+ the
national la? of the +ece+ent& ?hich in this case is Te/as la?& ?hich +i+ not p0o1i+e fo0 leBiti;es.
Thei0 0especti1e ;otions fo0 0econsi+e0ation ha1inB been +enie+ b8 the lo?e0 cou0t on %une ''& '("A&
opposito0s-appellants appeale+ to this Cou0t to 0aise the issue of ?hich la? ;ust appl8 N Te/as la? o0
Philippine la?.
*n this 0eBa0+& the pa0ties +o not sub;it the case on& no0 e1en +iscuss& the +oct0ine of 0en1oi& applie+ b8
this Cou0t in A5na0 1. Ch0istensen Ga0cia& L-'"#A(& %anua08 !'& '("!. Sai+ +oct0ine is usuall8 pe0tinent
?he0e the +ece+ent is a national of one count08& an+ a +o;icile of anothe0. *n the p0esent case& it is not
+ispute+ that the +ece+ent ?as both a national of Te/as an+ a +o;icile the0eof at the ti;e of his +eath.
So that e1en assu;inB Te/as has a conflict of la? 0ule p0o1i+inB that the +o;icilia08 s8ste; Hla? of the
+o;icileI shoul+ Bo1e0n& the sa;e ?oul+ not 0esult in a 0efe0ence bac9 H0en1oiI to Philippine la?& but
?oul+ still 0efe0 to Te/as la?. Nonetheless& if Te/as has a conflicts 0ule a+optinB the situs theo08 Hle/
0ei sitaeI callinB fo0 the application of the la? of the place ?he0e the p0ope0ties a0e situate+& 0en1oi
?oul+ a0ise& since the p0ope0ties he0e in1ol1e+ a0e foun+ in the Philippines. *n the absence& ho?e1e0& of
p0oof as to the conflict of la? 0ule of Te/as& it shoul+ not be p0esu;e+ +iffe0ent f0o; ou0s.! Appellants,
position is the0efo0e not 0este+ on the +oct0ine of 0en1oi. As state+& the8 ne1e0 in1o9e+ no0 e1en
;entione+ it in thei0 a0Bu;ents. Rathe0& the8 a0Bue that thei0 case falls un+e0 the ci0cu;stances
;entione+ in the thi0+ pa0aB0aph of A0ticle '# in 0elation to A0ticle '" of the Ci1il Co+e.
A0ticle '"& pa0. & an+ A0t. '@!( of the Ci1il Co+e& 0en+e0 applicable the national la? of the +ece+ent&
in intestate o0 testa;enta08 successions& ?ith 0eBa0+ to fou0 ite;s= HaI the o0+e0 of successionK HbI the
a;ount of successional 0iBhtsK HeI the int0insic 1ali+it8 of the p0o1isions of the ?illK an+ H+I the
capacit8 to succee+. The8 p0o1i+e that N
ART. '". Real p0ope0t8 as ?ell as pe0sonal p0ope0t8 is sub7ect to the la? of the count08 ?he0e it is
situate+.
Jo?e1e0& intestate an+ testa;enta08 successions& both ?ith 0espect to the o0+e0 of succession an+ to the
a;ount of successional 0iBhts an+ to the int0insic 1ali+it8 of testa;enta08 p0o1isions& shall be 0eBulate+
b8 the national la? of the pe0son ?hose succession is un+e0 consi+e0ation& ?hate1e0 ;a8 he the natu0e
of the p0ope0t8 an+ 0eBa0+less of the count08 ?he0ein sai+ p0ope0t8 ;a8 be foun+.
ART. '@!(. Capacit8 to succee+ is Bo1e0ne+ b8 the la? of the nation of the +ece+ent.
Appellants ?oul+ ho?e1e0 counte0 that A0t. '#& pa0aB0aph th0ee& of the Ci1il Co+e& statinB that N
P0ohibiti1e la?s conce0ninB pe0sons& thei0 acts o0 p0ope0t8& an+ those ?hich ha1e fo0 thei0 ob7ect public
o0+e0& public polic8 an+ Boo+ custo;s shall not be 0en+e0e+ ineffecti1e b8 la?s o0 7u+B;ents
p0o;ulBate+& o0 b8 +ete0;inations o0 con1entions aB0ee+ upon in a fo0eiBn count08.
p0e1ails as the e/ception to A0t. '"& pa0. of the Ci1il Co+e afo0e->uote+. This is not co00ect. P0ecisel8&
ConB0ess +elete+ the ph0ase& Gnot?ithstan+inB the p0o1isions of this an+ the ne/t p0ece+inB a0ticleG
?hen the8 inco0po0ate+ A0t. '' of the ol+ Ci1il Co+e as A0t. '# of the ne? Ci1il Co+e& ?hile
0ep0o+ucinB ?ithout substantial chanBe the secon+ pa0aB0aph of A0t. '@ of the ol+ Ci1il Co+e as A0t. '"
in the ne?. *t ;ust ha1e been thei0 pu0pose to ;a9e the secon+ pa0aB0aph of A0t. '" a specific
p0o1ision in itself ?hich ;ust be applie+ in testate an+ intestate succession. As fu0the0 in+ication of this
leBislati1e intent& ConB0ess a++e+ a ne? p0o1ision& un+e0 A0t. '@!(& ?hich +ec0ees that capacit8 to
succee+ is to be Bo1e0ne+ b8 the national la? of the +ece+ent.
*t is the0efo0e e1i+ent that ?hate1e0 public polic8 o0 Boo+ custo;s ;a8 be in1ol1e+ in ou0 S8ste; of
leBiti;es& ConB0ess has not inten+e+ to e/ten+ the sa;e to the succession of fo0eiBn nationals. )o0 it
has specificall8 chosen to lea1e& inte0 alia& the a;ount of successional 0iBhts& to the +ece+ent,s national
la?. Specific p0o1isions ;ust p0e1ail o1e0 Bene0al ones.
Appellants ?oul+ also point out that the +ece+ent e/ecute+ t?o ?ills N one to Bo1e0n his Te/as estate
an+ the othe0 his Philippine estate N a0BuinB f0o; this that he inten+e+ Philippine la? to Bo1e0n his
Philippine estate. Assu;inB that such ?as the +ece+ent,s intention in e/ecutinB a sepa0ate Philippine
?ill& it ?oul+ not alte0 the la?& fo0 as this Cou0t 0ule+ in Miciano 1. B0i;o& L@ Phil. $"#& $#@& a
p0o1ision in a fo0eiBne0,s ?ill to the effect that his p0ope0ties shall be +ist0ibute+ in acco0+ance ?ith
Philippine la? an+ not ?ith his national la?& is illeBal an+ 1oi+& fo0 his national la? cannot be iBno0e+
in 0eBa0+ to those ;atte0s that A0ticle '@ N no? A0ticle '" N of the Ci1il Co+e states sai+ national la?
shoul+ Bo1e0n.
The pa0ties a+;it that the +ece+ent& A;os G. Bellis& ?as a citi5en of the State of Te/as& U.S.A.& an+
that un+e0 the la?s of Te/as& the0e a0e no fo0ce+ hei0s o0 leBiti;es. Acco0+inBl8& since the int0insic
1ali+it8 of the p0o1ision of the ?ill an+ the a;ount of successional 0iBhts a0e to be +ete0;ine+ un+e0
Te/as la?& the Philippine la? on leBiti;es cannot be applie+ to the testac8 of A;os G. Bellis.
3he0efo0e& the o0+e0 of the p0obate cou0t is he0eb8 affi0;e+ in toto& ?ith costs aBainst appellants. So
o0+e0e+.
Concepcion& C.%.& Re8es& %.B.L.& 2i5on& ReBala& Ma9alintal& <al+i1a0& Sanche5 an+ Cast0o& %%.& concu0.