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G.R. No. L-55960 – 167 SCRA 737 – Civil Law – Preliminary Title – Conflict of Laws – Foreign Laws – Applicability of Foreign Marriage Laws
Sy Kiat, a Chinese national, died on January 17, 1977 leaving behind properties here in the Philippines.
Thereafter, Aida Sy-Gonzales et al filed a petition for the grant of letters of administration alleging that they are the children of the deceased with Asuncion Gillego. The petition was opposed by Yao Kee et al alleging that Yao Kee is the lawful wife of the deceased whom he married in China. The trial court rendered decision in favor of Yao Kee. On appeal, the Court of Appeals rendered a decision, modifying the decision declaring the marriage of Sy Kiat to Yao Kee as not proven valid in accordance with the laws of China. Both parties moved for reconsideration.
ISSUE: Whether or not the marriage of Yao Kee and Sy Kiat is valid in accordance with Philippine laws.
HELD: No. Well-established in this jurisdiction is the principle that Philippine courts cannot take judicial notice of foreign laws. They must be alleged and proven as any other fact. To establish the validity of marriage, the existence of foreign law as a question of fact and the alleged marriage must be proven by clear and convincing evidence.
In this case, for failure to prove the foreign law or custom and consequently of the marriage, the marriage between Yao Kee and Sy Kiat in China cannot be recognized in the jurisdiction of Philippine courts.