Civil Code of the Philippines: Conflicts of Law Provisions, Arts. 14 ,15, 16, 17, and 18

 Art. 14. Penal laws and those of public security and safety shall be
obligatory upon all who live or sojourn in the Philippine territory, subject to the
principles of public international law and to treaty stipulations.

Two principles:
1. Territoriality
General Rule: Criminal laws apply only in Philippine territory.
Exception: Article 2, Revised Penal Code.
2. Generality
General Rule: Criminal laws apply to everyone in the territory (citizens and
Exceptions: In these instances, all the Philippines can do is expel them
a. Treaty stipulations which exempt some persons within the jurisdiction of
Philippine courts (e.g., Bases Agreement)
b. Heads of State and Ambassadors
(Note: Consuls are subject to the jurisdiction of our criminal courts.)
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.

Theories on Personal Law:
1. Domiciliary theory – the personal laws of a person are determined by his
2. Nationality theory – the nationality or citizenship determines the personal laws
of the individual

Under Article 15, the Philippines follows the nationality theory. Family rights and
duties, status and legal capacity of Filipinos are governed by Philippine law.

General Rule: Under Article 26 of the Family Code, 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, is also valid in the Philippines.

Exception: If the marriage is void under Philippine law, then the marriage is void
even if it is valid in the country where the marriage was solemnized .
Exception to the exception:
1. Article 35, Family Code
Art. 35. The following marriages shall be void from the beginning:
(2) Those solemnized by any person not legally authorized to perform
marriages unless such marriages were contracted with either or
both parties believing in good faith that the solemnizing officer had
the legal authority to do so;
2. Article 35, Family Code
Art. 35. The following marriages shall be void from the beginning:
(3) Those solemnized without license, except those covered the
preceding Chapter;
Even if the foreign marriage did not comply with either 2 and 3 of Article
35, Philippine law will recognize the marriage as valid as long as it is valid under
foreign law.
Art. 16. Real property as well as personal property is subject to the
law of the country where it is stipulated.
Lex situs or lex rei sitae governs real or personal property (property is subject to the
laws of the country in which it is located).
In Tayag vs. Benguet consolidated, the SC said that Philippine law shall govern in
cases involving shares of stock of a Philippine corporation even if the owner is in the
Art. 16. However, intestate and testamentary successions, both with
respect to the order of succession and to the amount of successional rights and
to the intrinsic validity of testamentary provisions, shall be regulated by the
national law of the person whose succession is under consideration, whatever
may be the nature of the property and regardless of the country wherein said
property may be found.

This is merely an extension of the nationality theory in Article 15.
The national law of the decedent regardless of the location of the property shall
govern. Thus, the national law of the decedent shall determine who will succeed.

In Miciano vs. Brimo, the SC said that the will of a foreigner containing the condition
that the law of the Philippines should govern regarding the distribution of the
properties is invalid.
In Aznar vs. Garcia, what was involved was the renvoi doctrine. In this case, the
decedent was a citizen of California who resided in the Philippine. The problem was
that under Philippine law, the national law of the decedent shall govern. On the other
hand, under California law, the law of the state where the decedent has his domicile
shall govern. The SC accepted the referral by California law and applied Philippine
law (single renvoi).

Problem: What if the decedent is a Filipino domiciled in a foreign country which
follows the domiciliary theory?
According to Professor Balane, one way to resolve the situation is this –
Philippine law should govern with respect to properties in Philippine while the law of
the domicile should govern with respect to properties located in the state of domicile.
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
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.
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.

Lex loci celebrationis (formal requirements of contracts, wills, and other public
instruments are governed by the country in which they are executed)

There is no conflict between the 1st of Article 16 and the 1st of Article 17 since
they talk of 2 different things.

Thus, the formal requirements of a contract involving real property in the Philippines
must follow the formal requirements of the place where the contract was entered
into. However, if what is involved is not the formal requirements, then the law of the
place where the properties (whether real or personal) are located shall govern.
Art. 18. In matters which are governed by the Code of Commerce and
special laws, their deficiency shall be supplied by the provisions of this Code.


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