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Prof. Joselito Guianan Chan's The Labor Code of the Philippines, Annotated Labor Standards & Social Legislation Volume I of a 3-Volume Series 2019 Edition (3rd Revised Edition)
 

 
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UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT JURISPRUDENCE
 

 
PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT JURISPRUDENCE
 

   
June-2003 Jurisprudence                 

  • G.R. No. 125297 June 6, 2003 - ELVIRA YU OH v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 143675 June 9, 2003 - SPS. ROMEO and EMILY GUDA v. ALAN A. LEYNES, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 145338 June 9, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ZALDY P. LABIANO

  • A.C. No. 4738 June 10, 2003 - VIOLETA FLORES ALITAGTAG v. VIRGILIO R. GARCIA

  • Bar Matter No. 1036 June 10, 2003 - DONNA MARIE S. AGUIRRE v. EDWIN L. RANA

  • A.M. No. 99-6-81-MTCC June 10, 2003 - REPORT ON THE JUDICIAL AUDIT CONDUCTED IN THE MTCC OF PALAYAN CITY

  • A.M. No. MTJ-99-1203 June 10, 2003 - NELIA A. ZIGA v. RAMON A. AREJOLA

  • A.M. No. P-96-1214 June 10, 2003 - BERNARDINO M. FABIAN, ET AL. v. LEILA (LAILA) M. GALO

  • A.M. No. RTJ-03-1751 June 10, 2003 - ANDREA D. DOMINGO v. ERNESTO P. PAGAYATAN

  • G.R. No. 111159 June 10, 2003 - NORDIC ASIA LIMITED, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116463 June 10, 2003 - REPUBLIC OF THE PHIL. thru the DPWH v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 119293 June 10, 2003 - SAN MIGUEL CORP. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 123054 June 10, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FAUSTO B. OBEDO

  • G.R. No. 125778 June 10, 2003 - INTER-ASIA INVESTMENTS INDUSTRIES, INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 125838 June 10, 2003 - DEVELOPMENT BANK OF THE PHIL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 126281 June 10, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. SERGIO A. CARATAO

  • G.R. No. 131842 June 10, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DIONISIO JACKSON

  • G.R. No. 139561 June 10, 2003 - SPS. FEDERICO & SARAH ATUEL, ET AL. v. SPS. BERNABE & CONCHITA VALDEZ

  • G.R. No. 141115 June 10, 2003 - POSADAS-MOYA and ASSOC. CONST. CO. v. GREENFIELD DEV’T. CORP.

  • G.R. No. 142467 June 10, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ABELARDO DE CASTRO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 143076 June 10, 2003 - PHILIPPINE RURAL ELECTRIC COOPERATIVES ASSOCIATION, ET AL. v. SECRETARY, DILG, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 143125 June 10, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL .vs. DIOSDADO R. CORIAL

  • G.R. No. 144157 June 10, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. LOWELL SALUDES

  • G.R. Nos. 144523-26 June 10, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FLORENTINO QUIJANO SR.

  • G.R. Nos. 145452-53 June 10, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. LARRY CARITATIVO

  • G.R. Nos. 146749 & 147938 June 10, 2003 - CHINA BANKING CORP. v. COURT OF APPEALS

  • G.R. No. 149154 June 10, 2003 - RODOLFO S. DE JESUS, ET AL. v. COMMISSION ON AUDIT

  • G.R. No. 150611 June 10, 2003 - JACINTO SAGUID v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 153660 June 10, 2003 - PRUDENCIO BANTOLINO, ET AL. v. COCA-COLA BOTTLERS PHILS.

  • A.M. No. RTJ-02-1724 June 12, 2003 - RODOLFO O. MACACHOR v. ROLINDO D. BELDIA JR.

  • G.R. No. 138541 June 12, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JOSE LARRY COLONIA

  • G.R. No. 148327 June 12, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROMEO P. DESALISA

  • A.M. No. P-03-1679 June 16, 2003 - OFFICE OF THE COURT ADMINISTRATOR v. BEL EDUARDO F. NITAFAN, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. SCC-03-08 June 16, 2003 - ERMELYN A. LIMBONA v. CASAN ALI LIMBONA

  • G.R. No. 95901 June 16, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ANTONIO B. SIBONGA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 138692 June 16, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. OSCAR AREO

  • G.R. Nos. 141280-81 June 16, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RICKY L. SODSOD, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 144589 June 16, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JUANITO PACUANCUAN

  • G.R. No. 149683 June 16, 2003 - ILOILO TRADERS FINANCE INC. v. HEIRS OF OSCAR SORIANO JR., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 149750 June 16, 2003 - AURORA ALCANTARA-DAUS v. SPS. HERMOSO & SOCORRO DE LEON

  • A.M. No. MTJ-96-1106 June 17, 2003 - CELESTINA B. CORPUZ v. ORLANDO ANA F. SIAPNO

  • A.M. No. RTJ-02-1710 June 17, 2003 - EVANGELINA C. SAMSON v. JULES A. MEDIA

  • A.M. No. RTJ-03-1784 June 17, 2003 - MANUEL M. ROSALES v. ROMULO S.G. VILLANUEVA

  • G.R. No. 123146 June 17, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ALONA BULI-E, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 128225 June 17, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DANTE A. NARRA

  • G.R. No. 137042 June 17, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FELIPE MUSA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 144225 June 17, 2003 - SPS. GODOFREDO and CARMEN ALFREDO v. SPS. ARMANDO and ADELIA BORRAS

  • G.R. No. 145993 June 17, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RUFINO I. MALLARI

  • G.R. No. 148668 June 17, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. TONY L. PEDRONAN

  • G.R. No. 151440 June 17, 2003 - HEIRS OF SIMPLICIO SANTIAGO v. HEIRS OF MARIANO E. SANTIAGO

  • A.M. No. MTJ-03-1493 June 18, 2003 - RENE BOY GOMEZ v. MANUEL D. PATALINGHUG, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 123161 June 18, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. LIBERATO SOLAMILLO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 125305 June 18, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. BERNABE MONTEMAYOR

  • G.R. Nos. 127756-58 June 18, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. BENJAMIN P. MEDINA SR.

  • G.R. Nos. 131926 & 138991 June 18, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MICHAEL U. PAGALASAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 134981 June 18, 2003 - FREDELITO P. VITTO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 135857 June 18, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ADRIANO ARCA

  • G.R. Nos. 140439-40 June 18, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FELIX HERMOSA

  • G.R. No. 144975 June 18, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. AMADOR SAPIGAO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 149147 June 18, 2003 - FELIX BAROT v. COMELEC CITY BOARD OF CANVASSERS OF TANJAY CITY, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 150327 June 18, 2003 - REPUBLIC OF THE PHIL. v. MARILYN A. PERALTA, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. 01-6-314-RTC June 19, 2003 - RE: REQUEST OF JUDGE ROBERTO S. JAVELLANA, RTC-BR. 59, SAN CARLOS CITY

  • A.M. No. MTJ-92-710 June 19, 2003 - PEDRITA M. HARAYO v. JUDGE MAMERTO Y. COLIFLORES

  • G.R. No. 154411 June 19, 2003 - NATIONAL HOUSING AUTHORITY v. HEIRS OF ISIDRO GUIVELONDO, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. P-03-1701 June 20, 2003 - BALTAZAR LL. FIRMALO v. MELINDA C. QUIERREZ

  • A.M. No. RTJ-00-1594 June 20, 2003 - PASTOR SALUD v. FLORENTINO M. ALUMBRES

  • G.R. No. 122766 June 20, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FELIPE ESPONILLA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 127275 June 20, 2003 - PHILIPPINE COMMERCIAL INTERNATIONAL BANK v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 130759 June 20, 2003 - ASIATRUST DEVELOPMENT BANK v. CONCEPTS TRADING CORP.

  • G.R. No. 139332 June 20, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL v. NOLI A. NOVIO

  • G.R. No. 140698 June 20, 2003 - ROGELIO ENGADA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 142503 June 20, 2003 - ROMUALDO C. PEREZ v. APOLONIO CRUZ

  • G.R. No. 142820 June 20, 2003 - WOLFGANG O. ROEHR v. MARIA CARMEN D. RODRIGUEZ, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 143604 June 20, 2003 - PRISCO LANZADERAS, ET AL. v. AMETHYST SECURITY AND GENERAL SERVICES, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 146595 June 20, 2003 - CARLO A. TAN v. KAAKBAY FINANCE CORP., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 152436 June 20, 2003 - NPC v. SPS. IGMEDIO CHIONG, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 152766 June 20, 2003 - LILIA SANCHEZ v. COURT OF APPEALS

  • G.R. No. 140872 June 23, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. PABLITO T. INGGO

  • G.R. Nos. 142683-84 June 23, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. SERGIO JOROLAN

  • G.R. Nos. 143760-63 June 23, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROMEO B. MANLUCTAO

  • G.R. No. 144018 June 23, 2003 - FAR EAST BANK AND TRUST CO. v. TOMAS TOH, SR., ET AL.

  • A.C. No. 3849 June 25, 2003 - FELICIDAD VDA. DE BERNARDO v. JOSE R. RESTAURO

  • G.R. Nos. 105416-17, 111863 & 143715 June 25, 2003 - PHILIPP BROTHERS OCEANIC, INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 122109 June 25, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JESUS TORIO

  • G.R. No. 123896 June 25, 2003 - ROSALINDA SERRANO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 126113 June 25, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ANTONIO B. GUIHAMA

  • G.R. No. 135323 June 25, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. EDELMA LAGATA

  • G.R. No. 136773 June 25, 2003 - MILAGROS MANONGSONG v. FELOMENA JUMAQUIO ESTIMO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 146018 June 25, 2003 - EDGAR COKALIONG SHIPPING LINES v. UCPB GENERAL INSURANCE COMPANY

  • G.R. Nos. 147589 & 147613 June 25, 2003 - ANG BAGONG BAYANI-OFW LABOR PARTY v. COMELEC, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. P-01-1472 June 26, 2003 - ADRIANO V. ALBIOR v. DONATO A. AUGUIS

  • A.M. No. P-02-1544 June 26, 2003 - ERNESTO LUMANTA v. WILFREDO M. TUPAS

  • A.M. No. RTJ-02-1670 June 26, 2003 - SPS. CAROLINA AND VILLAMOR GRAGERA v. PABLO B. FRANCISCO

  • A.M. No. RTJ-02-1736 June 26, 2003 - SPS. ARTURO and JOSEFINA DE GUZMAN v. FERNANDO VIL PAMINTUAN

  • A.M. No. RTJ-99-1519 June 26, 2003 - GREGORIO LIMPOT LUMAPAS v. CAMILO E. TAMIN

  • G.R. No. 137296 June 26, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DIONISIO Q. VICENTE

  • G.R. No. 140967 June 26, 2003 - EMERITA ACOSTA v. EMILIO ENRIQUEZ

  • G.R. No. 141863 June 26, 2003 - BASILIO RIVERA, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 144090 June 26, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MICHAEL S. MAGUING

  • G.R. No. 145305 June 26, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. REDANTE C. SANTOS

  • G.R. No. 145731 June 26, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. GREGORIO GERAL, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 148730 June 26, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JOSE D. DELA CRUZ, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 154705 June 26, 2003 - REPUBLIC OF INDONESIA, ET AL. v. JAMES VINZON

  • G.R. No. 121828 June 27, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RENE GAYOT PILOLA

  • G.R. Nos. 124830-31 June 27, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. GERARDO P. EVINA

  • G.R. No. 138993 June 27, 2003 - PHILIPPINE VETERANS BANK v. SANTIAGO G. ESTRELLA, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 139217–24 June 27, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. NELSON ESPERANZA

  • G.R. No. 143643 June 27, 2003 - NATIONAL POWER CORPORATION v. SPS. JOSE & MA. CLARA CAMPOS

  •  





     
     

    G.R. No. 142820   June 20, 2003 - WOLFGANG O. ROEHR v. MARIA CARMEN D. RODRIGUEZ, ET AL.

     
    PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

    SECOND DIVISION

    [G.R. No. 142820. June 20, 2003.]

    WOLFGANG O. ROEHR, Petitioner, v. MARIA CARMEN D. RODRIGUEZ, HON. JUDGE JOSEFINA GUEVARA-SALONGA, Presiding Judge of Makati RTC, Branch 149, Respondents.

    D E C I S I O N


    QUISUMBING, J.:


    At the core of the present controversy are issues of (a) grave abuse of discretion allegedly committed by public respondent and (b) lack of jurisdiction of the regional trial court, in matters that spring from a divorce decree obtained abroad by petitioner.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    In this special civil action for certiorari, petitioner assails (a) the order 1 dated September 30, 1999 of public respondent Judge Josefina Guevara-Salonga, Presiding Judge of Makati Regional Trial Court, 2 Branch 149, in Civil Case No. 96-1389 for declaration of nullity of marriage, and (b) the order 3 dated March 31, 2000 denying his motion for reconsideration. The assailed orders partially set aside the trial court’s order dismissing Civil Case No. 96-1389, for the purpose of resolving issues relating to the property settlement of the spouses and the custody of their children.

    Petitioner Wolfgang O. Roehr, a German citizen and resident of Germany, married private respondent Carmen Rodriguez, a Filipina, on December 11, 1980 in Hamburg, Germany. Their marriage was subsequently ratified on February 14, 1981 in Tayasan, Negros Oriental. 4 Out of their union were born Carolynne and Alexandra Kristine on November 18, 1981 and October 25, 1987, respectively.

    On August 28, 1996, private respondent filed a petition 5 for declaration of nullity of marriage before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Makati City. On February 6, 1997, petitioner filed a motion to dismiss, 6 but it was denied by the trial court in its order 7 dated May 28, 1997.

    On June 5, 1997, petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration, but was also denied in an order 8 dated August 13, 1997. On September 5, 1997, petitioner filed a petition for certiorari with the Court of Appeals. On November 27, 1998, the appellate court denied the petition and remanded the case to the RTC.

    Meanwhile, petitioner obtained a decree of divorce from the Court of First Instance of Hamburg-Blankenese, promulgated on December 16, 1997. The decree provides in part:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    [T]he Court of First Instance, Hamburg-Blankenese, Branch 513, has ruled through Judge van Buiren of the Court of First Instance on the basis of the oral proceedings held on 4 Nov. 1997:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    The marriage of the Parties contracted on 11 December 1980 before the Civil Registrar of Hamburg-Altona is hereby dissolved.

    The parental custody for the children

    Carolynne Roehr, born 18 November 1981

    Alexandra Kristine Roehr, born on 25 October 1987

    is granted to the father.

    The litigation expenses shall be assumed by the Parties. 9

    In view of said decree, petitioner filed a Second Motion to Dismiss on May 20, 1999 on the ground that the trial court had no jurisdiction over the subject matter of the action or suit as a decree of divorce had already been promulgated dissolving the marriage of petitioner and private Respondent.

    On July 14, 1999, Judge Guevara-Salonga issued an order granting petitioner’s motion to dismiss. Private respondent filed a Motion for Partial Reconsideration, with a prayer that the case proceed for the purpose of determining the issues of custody of children and the distribution of the properties between petitioner and private Respondent.

    On August 18, 1999, an Opposition to the Motion for Partial Reconsideration was filed by the petitioner on the ground that there is nothing to be done anymore in the instant case as the marital tie between petitioner Wolfgang Roehr and respondent Ma. Carmen D. Rodriguez had already been severed by the decree of divorce promulgated by the Court of First Instance of Hamburg, Germany on December 16, 1997 and in view of the fact that said decree of divorce had already been recognized by the RTC in its order of July 14, 1999, through the implementation of the mandate of Article 26 of the Family Code, 10 endowing the petitioner with the capacity to remarry under the Philippine law.

    On September 30, 1999, respondent judge issued the assailed order partially setting aside her order dated July 14, 1999 for the purpose of tackling the issues of property relations of the spouses as well as support and custody of their children. The pertinent portion of said order provides:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    Acting on the Motion for Partial Reconsideration of the Order dated July 14, 1999 filed by petitioner thru counsel which was opposed by respondent and considering that the second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code was included as an amendment thru Executive Order 227, to avoid the absurd situation of a Filipino as being still married to his or her alien spouse though the latter is no longer married to the Filipino spouse because he/she had obtained a divorce abroad which is recognized by his/her national law, and considering further the effects of the termination of the marriage under Article 43 in relation to Article 50 and 52 of the same Code, which include the dissolution of the property relations of the spouses, and the support and custody of their children, the Order dismissing this case is partially set aside with respect to these matters which may be ventilated in this Court.

    SO ORDERED. 11 (Emphasis supplied.)

    Petitioner filed a timely motion for reconsideration on October 19, 1999, which was denied by respondent judge in an order dated March 31, 2000. 12

    Petitioner ascribes lack of jurisdiction of the trial court and grave abuse of discretion on the part of respondent judge. He cites as grounds for his petition the following:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    1. PARTIALLY SETTING ASIDE THE ORDER DATED JULY 14, 1999 DISMISSING THE INSTANT CASE IS NOT ALLOWED BY 1997 RULES OF CIVIL PROCEDURE. 13

    2. RESPONDENT MARIA CARMEN RODRIGUEZ BY HER MOTION FOR PARTIAL RECONSIDERATION HAD RECOGNIZED AND ADMITTED THE DIVORCE DECISION OBTAINED BY HER EX-HUSBAND IN HAMBURG, GERMANY. 14

    3. THERE IS NOTHING LEFT TO BE TACKLED BY THE HONORABLE COURT AS THERE ARE NO CONJUGAL ASSETS ALLEGED IN THE PETITION FOR ANNULMENT OF MARRIAGE AND IN THE DIVORCE PETITION, AND THE CUSTODY OF THE CHILDREN HAD ALREADY BEEN AWARDED TO PETITIONER WOLFGANG ROEHR. 15

    Pertinent in this case before us are the following issues:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    1. Whether or not respondent judge gravely abused her discretion in issuing her order dated September 30, 1999, which partially modified her order dated July 14, 1999; and

    2. Whether or not respondent judge gravely abused her discretion when she assumed and retained jurisdiction over the present case despite the fact that petitioner has already obtained a divorce decree from a German court.

    On the first issue, petitioner asserts that the assailed order of respondent judge is completely inconsistent with her previous order and is contrary to Section 3, Rule 16, Rules of Civil Procedure, which provides:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    Sec. 3. Resolution of motion — After the hearing, the court may dismiss the action or claim, deny, the motion, or order the amendment of the pleading.

    The court shall not defer the resolution of the motion for the reason that the ground relied upon is not indubitable.

    In every case, the resolution shall state clearly and distinctly the reasons therefor. (Emphasis supplied.)

    Petitioner avers that a court’s action on a motion is limited to dismissing the action or claim, denying the motion, or ordering the amendment of the pleading.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    Private respondent, on her part, argues that the RTC can validly reconsider its order dated July 14, 1999 because it had not yet attained finality, given the timely filing of respondent’s motion for reconsideration.

    Pertinent to this issue is Section 3 in relation to Section 7, Rule 37 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, which provides:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    Sec. 3. Action upon motion for new trial or reconsideration. — The trial court may set aside the judgment or final order and grant a new trial, upon such terms as may be just, or may deny the motion. If the court finds that excessive damages have been awarded or that the judgment or final order is contrary to the evidence or law, it may amend such judgment or final order accordingly.

    Sec. 7. Partial new trial or reconsideration. — If the grounds for a motion under this Rule appear to the court to affect the issues as to only a part, or less than all of the matters in controversy, or only one, or less than all, of the parties to it, the court may order a new trial or grant reconsideration as to such issues if severable without interfering with the judgment or final order upon the rest. (Emphasis supplied.)

    It is clear from the foregoing rules that a judge can order a partial reconsideration of a case that has not yet attained finality. Considering that private respondent filed a motion for reconsideration within the reglementary period, the trial court’s decision of July 14, 1999 can still be modified. Moreover, in Sañado v. Court of Appeals, 16 we held that the court could modify or alter a judgment even after the same has become executory whenever circumstances transpire rendering its decision unjust and inequitable, as where certain facts and circumstances justifying or requiring such modification or alteration transpired after the judgment has become final and executory 17 and when it becomes imperative in the higher interest of justice or when supervening events warrant it. 18 In our view, there are even more compelling reasons to do so when, as in this case, judgment has not yet attained finality.

    Anent the second issue, petitioner claims that respondent judge committed grave abuse of discretion when she partially set aside her order dated July 14, 1999, despite the fact that petitioner has already obtained a divorce decree from the Court of First Instance of Hamburg, Germany.

    In Garcia v. Recio, 19 Van Dorn v. Romillo, Jr., 20 and Llorente v. Court of Appeals, 21 we consistently held that 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. Relevant to the present case is Pilapil v. Ibay-Somera, 22 where this Court specifically recognized the validity of a divorce obtained by a German citizen in his country, the Federal Republic of Germany. We held in Pilapil that a foreign divorce and its legal effects may be recognized in the Philippines insofar as respondent is concerned in view of the nationality principle in our civil law on the status of persons.

    In this case, the divorce decree issued by the German court dated December 16, 1997 has not been challenged by either of the parties. In fact, save for the issue of parental custody, even the trial court recognized said decree to be valid and binding, thereby endowing private respondent the capacity to remarry. Thus, the present controversy mainly relates to the award of the custody of their two children, Carolynne and Alexandra Kristine, to petitioner.

    As a general rule, divorce decrees obtained by foreigners in other countries are recognizable in our jurisdiction, but the legal effects thereof, e.g. on custody, care and support of the children, must still be determined by our courts. 23 Before our courts can give the effect of res judicata to a foreign judgment, such as the award of custody to petitioner by the German court, it must be shown that the parties opposed to the judgment had been given ample opportunity to do so on grounds allowed under Rule 39, Section 50 of the Rules of Court (now Rule 39, Section 48, 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure), to wit:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    SEC. 50. 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:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    (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; but the judgment 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.

    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. In this jurisdiction, our Rules of Court clearly provide that with respect to actions in personam, as distinguished from actions in rem, a foreign judgment merely constitutes prima facie evidence of the justness of the claim of a party and, as such, is subject to proof to the contrary. 24

    In the present case, it cannot be said that private respondent was given the opportunity to challenge the judgment of the German court so that there is basis for declaring that judgment as res judicata with regard to the rights of petitioner to have parental custody of their two children. The proceedings in the German court were summary. As to what was the extent of private respondent’s participation in the proceedings in the German court, the records remain unclear. The divorce decree itself states that neither has she commented on the proceedings 25 nor has she given her opinion to the Social Services Office. 26 Unlike petitioner who was represented by two lawyers, private respondent had no counsel to assist her in said proceedings. 27 More importantly, the divorce judgment was issued to petitioner by virtue of the German Civil Code provision to the effect that when a couple lived separately for three years, the marriage is deemed irrefutably dissolved. The decree did not touch on the issue as to who the offending spouse was. Absent any finding that private respondent is unfit to obtain custody of the children, the trial court was correct in setting the issue for hearing to determine the issue of parental custody, care, support and education mindful of the best interests of the children. This is in consonance with the provision in the Child and Youth Welfare Code that the child’s welfare is always the paramount consideration in all questions concerning his care and custody. 28

    On the matter of property relations, petitioner asserts that public respondent exceeded the bounds of her jurisdiction when she claimed cognizance of the issue concerning property relations between petitioner and private Respondent. Private respondent herself has admitted in Par. 14 of her petition for declaration of nullity of marriage dated August 26, 1996 filed with the RTC of Makati, subject of this case, that:" [p]etitioner and respondent have not acquired any conjugal or community property nor have they incurred any debts during their marriage." 29 Herein petitioner did not contest this averment. Basic is the rule that a court shall grant relief warranted by the allegations and the proof. 30 Given the factual admission by the parties in their pleadings that there is no property to be accounted for, respondent judge has no basis to assert jurisdiction in this case to resolve a matter no longer deemed in controversy.

    In sum, we find that respondent judge may proceed to determine the issue regarding the custody of the two children born of the union between petitioner and private Respondent. Private respondent erred, however, in claiming cognizance to settle the matter of property relations of the parties, which is not at issue.

    WHEREFORE, the orders of the Regional Trial Court of Makati, Branch 149, issued on September 30, 1999 and March 31, 2000 are AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION. We hereby declare that the trial court has jurisdiction over the issue between the parties as to who has parental custody, including the care, support and education of the children, namely Carolynne and Alexandra Kristine Roehr. Let the records of this case be remanded promptly to the trial court for continuation of appropriate proceedings. No pronouncement as to costs.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    SO ORDERED.

    Bellosillo and Callejo, Sr., JJ., concur.

    Austria-Martinez, J., on official leave.

    Endnotes:



    1. Rollo, p. 15.

    2. Judge Josefina Guevara-Salonga signed as Executive Judge.

    3. Rollo, p. 16.

    4. Records, pp. 5–6.

    5. Id. at 1–4.

    6. Id. at 19–28.

    7. Id. at 147.

    8. Id. at 165.

    9. Rollo, p. 33.

    10. 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.

    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 likewise have capacity to remarry under Philippine law. (As amended by E.O. No. 227, dated July 17, 1987.)

    11. Supra, note 1.

    12. Supra, note 3.

    13. Rollo, p. 6.

    14. Id. at 8.

    15. Ibid.

    16. G.R. No. 108338, 17 April 2001, 356 SCRA 546, 561.

    17. David v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 115821, 13 October 1999, 316 SCRA 710, 719.

    18. People v. Gallo, G.R. No. 124736, 29 September 1999, 315 SCRA 461, 463.

    19. G.R. No. 138322, 2 October 2001, 366 SCRA 437, 447.

    20. No. L-68470, 8 October 1985, 139 SCRA 139, 143.

    21. G.R. No. 124371, 23 November 2000, 345 SCRA 592, 601.

    22. G.R. No. 80116, 30 June 1989, 174 SCRA 653, 663.

    23. Llorente v. Court of Appeals, supra at 602.

    24. Philsec Investment Corporation v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 103493, 19 June 1997, 274 SCRA 103, 110

    25. Rollo, p. 57.

    26. Ibid.

    27. Id. at 55–56.

    28. Sagala-Eslao v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 116773, 16 January 1997, 266 SCRA 317, 321, citing Art. 8, P.D. No. 603, The Child and Youth Welfare Code —

    Art. 8. Child’s Welfare Paramount. — In all questions regarding the care, custody, education and property of the child, his welfare shall be the paramount consideration.

    29. Rollo, p. 19.

    30. JG Summit Holdings, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 124293, 20 November 2000, 345 SCRA 143, 154.

    G.R. No. 142820   June 20, 2003 - WOLFGANG O. ROEHR v. MARIA CARMEN D. RODRIGUEZ, ET AL.


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