G.R. No. L-23678 (June 6, 1967)

Testate of Amos Bellis vs. Edward A. Bellis, et al


Amos G. Bellis was a citizen of the State of Texas and of the United States. He had five legitimate children with his first wife (whom he divorced), three legitimate children with his second wife (who survived him) and, finally, three illegitimate children.

6 years prior Amos Bellis’ death, he executed two(2) wills, apportioning the remainder of his estate and properties to his seven surviving children.  The appellants filed their oppositions to the project of partition claiming that they have been deprived of their legitimes to which they were entitled according to the Philippine law. Appellants argued that the deceased wanted his Philippine estate to be governed by the Philippine law, thus the creation of two separate wills.


Whether or not the Philippine law be applied in the case in the determination of the illegitimate children’s successional rights


Court ruled that provision in a foreigner’s will to the effect that his properties shall be distributed in accordance with Philippine law and not with his national law, is illegal and void, for his national law cannot be ignored in view of those matters that Article 10 — now Article 16 — of the Civil Code states said national law should govern.

Where the testator was a citizen of Texas and domiciled in Texas, the intrinsic validity of his will should be governed by his national law. Since Texas law does not require legitimes, then his will, which deprived his illegitimate children of the legitimes, is valid.

The Supreme Court held that the illegitimate children are not entitled to the legitimes under the texas law, which is the national law of the deceased.

N.B. To see why the Renvoi doctrine was not applied in this case, click HERE for the explanation.



  1. Pingback: The Renvoi Doctrine | Over a Cup of Coffee and a Pint of Insanity

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