Santos vs Northwest Airlines

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Judicial Review – Warsaw Convention

Santos III is a minor represented by his dad. In October 1986, he bought a round trip ticket from NOA in San Francisco. His flight would be from San Francisco to Manila via Tokyo. His scheduled flight was in December. A day before his departure he checked with NOA and NOA said he made nor reservation and that he bought no ticket. The next year, due to the incident, he sued NOA for damages. He sued NOA in Manila. NOA argued that Philippine courts have no jurisdiction over the matter pursuant to the Warsaw Convention w/c provides that complaints against international carriers can only be instituted in:

1.  the court of the domicile of the carrier;

2.  the court of its principal place of business;

3.  the court where it has a place of business through which the contract had been made;

4.  the court of the place of destination.

The lower court ruled in favor of NOA. Santos III averred that Philippine courts have jurisdiction over the case.

ISSUE: Whether or  not Philippine courts have jurisdiction over the matter to conduct judicial review.

HELD: The SC ruled that they cannot rule over the matter for the SC is bound by the provisions of the Warsaw Convention which was ratified by the Senate. Until & unless there’d be amendment to the Warsaw Convention, the only remedy for Santos III is to sue in any of the place indicated in the Convention such as in San Francisco, USA. It is well-settled that courts will assume jurisdiction over a constitutional question only if it is shown that the essential requisites of a judicial inquiry into such a question are first satisfied. Thus, there must be an actual case or controversy involving a conflict of legal rights susceptible of judicial determination; the constitutional question must have been opportunely raised by the proper party and the resolution of the question is unavoidably necessary to the decision of the case itself.


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