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Ronald Julian Laurel

Llorente Vs CA
G.R. No. 124371

Facts:

Lorenzo Llorente was an enlisted serviceman of the US Navy and a naturalized


American Citizen. Lorenzo married petitioner Paula Llorente on 1937. Before the
Pacific war, Lorenzo departed for the US and Paula stayed in their home in Antipolo,
Nabua, Camarines Sur. Lorenzo visited her on 1945 and discovered that Paula was
living with his brother, Ceferino, and was pregnant. Lorenzo refused to forgive Paula.
He returned to the US and filed for divorce with the Superior Court of California. The
Superior Court issued an interlocutory judgment of divorce which became final in
1952.

On 1958, Lorenzo married Alicia who had no knowledge of his previous


marriage. They lived together and produced 3 children. Lorenzo executed a Will and
Testament and bequeathed all his property to Alicia and their children. Lorenzo filed a
petition for the probate and allowance of his last will and testament wherein he moved
that Alicia be appointed Special Administratrix of his estate. Before the proceedings
could be terminated, Lorenzo Died.

Paula filed a petition of letters of administration over Lorenzos estate in her


favor. Alicia filed as well. The trial court denied Alicias petition and ruled that the
divorce decree granted to Lorenzo was void and inapplicable in the Philippines
making their marriage void. Trial court appointed Paula as administrator. Alicia filed
a motion for reconsideration but was denied. Alicia Appealed and appelatte court
affirmed trial courts decision with modification. Trial court declared Alicia as
co-owner of the properties she and Lorenzo acquired during their 25 years of
cohabitation. Paula moved for reconsideration but was denied for lack of merit. Hence,
the present petition.

Issue:

1) Whether or not Lorenzos divorce abroad should be recognized in the


Philippines?

2) Who is entitled to inherit from the Late Lorenzo Llorente?


Held:

1) Yes, the divorce decree obtained abroad should be recognized in the


Philippines. It is undisputed by Paula that Lorenzo became an American Citizen in
1943. When he obtained the divorce decree in 1952, he is no longer a Filipino Citizen.
The Philippine laws relating to family rights, duties and status no longer applies to
Lorenzo since he is no longer a Filipino Citizen. Therefore, the divorce decree should
be recognized.

2) "ARTICLE 17. The forms and solemnities of contracts, wills, and other public
instruments shall be governed by the laws of the country in which they areexecuted.
"When the acts referred to are executed before the diplomatic or consular officials of
the Republic of the Philippines in a foreign country, the solemnities established by
Philippine laws shall be observed in their execution."

The clear intent of Lorenzo to bequeath his property to his second wife and
children by her is glaringly shown in the will he executed. We do not wish to frustrate
his wishes, since he was a foreigner, not covered by our laws on "family rights and
duties, status, condition and legal capacity."

Whether the will is intrinsically valid and who shall inherit from Lorenzo are
issues best proved by foreign law which must be pleaded and proved. Whether the
will was executed in accordance with the formalities required is answered by referring
to Philippine law. In fact, the will was duly probated.