Thursday, October 12, 2017

NORMA DEL SOCORRO V. WILSEM CASE DIGEST - CIVIL LAW

DEL SOCORRO VS. WILSEM                                                 G.R. No. 193707 December 10, 2014

FACTS:

Norma A. Del Socorro and Ernst Van Wilsem contracted marriage in Holland. They were blessed with a son named Roderigo Norjo Van Wilsem. Unfortunately, their marriage bond ended by virtue of a Divorce Decree issued by the appropriate Court of Holland. Thereafter, Norma and her son came home to the Philippines. According to Norma, Ernst made a promise to provide monthly support to their son. However, since the arrival of petitioner and her son in the Philippines, Ernst never gave support to Roderigo. Respondent remarried again a Filipina and resides again the Philippines particulary in Cebu where the petitioner also resides. Norma filed a complaint against Ernst for violation of R.A. No. 9262 for the latters unjust refusal to support his minor child with petitioner. The trial court dismissed the complaint since the facts charged in the information do not constitute an offense with respect to the accused, he being an alien

ISSUES:

1. Does a foreign national have an obligation to support his minor child under the Philippine law?
2. Whether or not a foreign national can be held criminally liable under R.A. No. 9262 for his unjustified failure to support his minor child.

RULING:

1. YES. While it is true that Respondent Ernst is a citizen of Holland or the Netherlands, we agree with the RTC that he is subject to the laws of his country, not to Philippine law, as to whether he is obliged to give support to his child, as well as the consequences of his failure to do so. This does not, however, mean that Ernst is not obliged to support Normas son altogether. In international law, the party who wants to have a foreign law applied to a dispute or case has the burden of proving the foreign law. In the present case, Ernst hastily concludes that being a national of the Netherlands, he is governed by such laws on the matter of provision of and capacity to support. While Ernst pleaded the laws of the Netherlands in advancing his position that he is not obliged to support his son, he never proved the same. It is incumbent upon Ernst to plead and prove that the national law of the Netherlands does not impose upon the parents the obligation to support their child. Foreign laws do not prove themselves in our jurisdiction and our courts are not authorized to take judicial notice of them. Like any other fact, they must be alleged and proved. Moreover, foreign law should not be applied when its application would work undeniable injustice to the citizens or residents of the forum. To give justice is the most important function of law; hence, a law, or judgment or contract that is obviously unjust negates the fundamental principles of Conflict of Laws. Applying the foregoing, even if the laws of the Netherlands neither enforce a parents obligation to support his child nor penalize the non-compliance therewith, such obligation is still duly enforceable in the Philippines because it would be of great injustice to the child to be denied of financial support when the latter is entitled thereto.

2. YES. The court has jurisdiction over the offense (R.A 9262) because the foreigner is living here in the Philippines and committed the offense here.

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