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YAO KEE v. SY-GONZALES G.R. No. L-55960. (Digested)

YAO KEE v. SY-GONZALESG.R. No. L-55960. November 24, 1988CORTES, J.:


            Sy Kiat, a chines national died in Caloocan City, leaving behind his real and personal properties in the Philippines worth P 300,000 more or less. Aida Sy-Gonzales, et. al. filed a petition for the grant of letters of administration claiming among other things that they are children of the deceased with Asuncion Gillego, a Filipina. The petition was opposed by Yao kee who alleged that she is the lawful wife of the deceased whom he married in China and that one of her children, Sze Sook Wah, should be the administrator of the deceased. The Court of First Instance decided in favor of Yao Kee’s petition but was modified and set aside by the court of appeals.


                Whether or not Sy Kiat’s marriage to Yao Kee in accordance with Chinese Law and Custom conclusive.

                The Supreme Court ruled that evidence may prove the fact if marriage between Sy Kiat and Yao Kee is valid, but it is not sufficient to establish the validity of said marriage in accordance with Chinese law and custom. A custom "a rule of conduct formed by repetition of acts, uniformly observed (practiced) as a social rule, legally binding and obligatory and must be proved as a fact according to the rules of evidence and that a local custom as a source of right cannot be considered by a court of justice unless such custom is properly established by competent evidence. In the case at bar, petitioners did not present any competent evidence relative to the law of China on marriage. In the absence of proof of the Chinese law on marriage, it should be presumed that it is the same as that of the Philippines.

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