Sie sind auf Seite 1von 60

G.R. No.

104654 June 6, 1994


REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner,
vs.
HON. ROSALIO G. DE LA ROSA, PRESIDING
JUDGE OF THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT,
BRANCH 28, MANILA and JUAN G.
FRIVALDO, respondents.
G.R. No. 105715 June 6, 1994
RAUL R. LEE, petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and JUAN G.
FRIVALDO, respondents.
G.R. No. 105735 June 6, 1994
RAUL R. LEE, petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and JUAN G.
FRIVALDO, respondents.
The Solicitor General for petitioner in G.R. No.
104654.
Yolando F. Lim counsel for private respondent.

QUIASON, J.:
In Frivaldo v. Commission on Elections, 174
SCRA 245 (1989), this Court declared private
respondent, Juan G. Frivaldo, an alien and
therefore disqualified from serving as Governor
of the Province of Sorsogon.
Once more, the citizenship of private
respondent is put in issue in
these petitions docketed as G.R. No.104654
and G.R. No. 105715 and G.R. No. 105735. The
petitions were consolidated since they
principally involve the same issues and parties.
I
G.R. No. 104654
This is a petition for certiorari under Rule 45 of
the Revised Rules of Court in relation to R.A.
No. 5440 and Section 25 of the Interim Rules,
filed by the Republic of the Philippines: (1) to
annul the Decision dated February 27, 1992 of
the Regional Trial Court, Branch 28, Manila, in
SP Proc. No. 91-58645, which re-admitted

private respondent as a Filipino citizen under


the Revised Naturalization Law (C.A. No. 63 as
amended by C.A. No. 473); and (2) to nullify
the oath of allegiance taken by private
respondent on February 27, 1992.
On September 20, 1991, petitioner filed a
petition for naturalization captioned: "In the
Matter of Petition of Juan G. Frivaldo to be Readmitted as a Citizen of the Philippines under
Commonwealth Act No. 63" (Rollo, pp. 17-23).
In an Order dated October 7, 1991 respondent
Judge set the petition for hearing on March 16,
1992, and directed the publication of the said
order and petition in the Official Gazette and a
newspaper of general circulation, for three
consecutive weeks, the last publication of
which should be at least six months before the
said date of hearing. The order further required
the posting of a copy thereof and the petition
in a conspicuous place in the Office of the Clerk
of Court of the Regional Trial Court, Manila
(Rollo, pp. 24-26).
On January 14, 1992, private respondent filed a
"Motion to Set Hearing Ahead of Schedule,"
where he manifested his intention to run for
public office in the May 1992 elections. He
alleged that the deadline for filing the
certificate of candidacy was March 15, one day
before the scheduled hearing. He asked that
the hearing set on March 16 be cancelled and
be moved to January 24 (Rollo, pp. 27-28).
The motion was granted in an Order dated
January 24, 1992, wherein the hearing of the
petition was moved to February 21, 1992. The
said order was not published nor a copy thereof
posted.
On February 21, the hearing proceeded with
private respondent as the sole witness. He
submitted the following documentary
evidence: (1) Affidavit of Publication of the
Order dated October 7, 1991 issued by the
publisher of The Philippine Star (Exh. "A"); (2)
Certificate of Publication of the order issued
by the National Printing Office (Exh. "B"); (3)
Notice of Hearing of Petition (Exh. "B-1"); (4)
Photocopy of a Citation issued by the National
Press Club with private respondents picture
(Exhs. "C" and "C-2"); (5) Certificate of
Appreciation issued by the Rotary Club of

Davao (Exh. "D"); (6) Photocopy


of a Plaque of Appreciation issued by the
Republican College, Quezon City (Exh. "E"); (7)
Photocopy of a Plaque of Appreciation issued
by the Davao-Bicol Association (Exh. "F"); (8)
Certification issued by the Records
Management and Archives Office that the
record of birth of private respondent was not
on file (Exh. "G"); and (8) Certificate of
Naturalization issued by the United States
District Court (Exh. "H").

Petitioner was the official candidate of the


Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino (LDP) for the
position of governor of the Province of
Sorsogon in the May 1992 elections. Private
respondent was the official candidate of the
Lakas-National Union of Christian Democrats
(Lakas-NUCD) for the same position.
Private respondent was proclaimed winner on
May 22, 1992.

On the same day, private respondent was


allowed to take his oath of allegiance before
respondent Judge (Rollo, p. 34).

On June 1, petitioner filed a petition with the


COMELEC to annul the proclamation of private
respondent as Governor-elect of the Province of
Sorsogon on the grounds: (1) that the
proceedings and composition of the Provincial
Board of Canvassers were not in accordance
with law; (2) that private respondent is an
alien, whose grant of Philippine citizenship is
being questioned by the State in G.R. No.
104654; and (3) that private respondent is not
a duly registered voter. Petitioner further
prayed that the votes case in favor of private
respondent be considered as stray votes, and
that he, on the basis of the remaining valid
votes cast, be proclaimed winner.

On March 16, a "Motion for Leave of Court to


Intervene and to Admit Motion for
Reconsideration" was filed by Quiterio H.
Hermo. He alleged that the proceedings were
tainted with jurisdictional defects, and prayed
for a new trial to conform with the
requirements of the Naturalization Law.

On June 10, the COMELEC issued the


questioned en banc resolution which dismissed
the petition for having been filed out of time,
citing Section 19 of R.A. No. 7166. Said section
provides that the period to appeal a ruling of
the board of canvassers on questions affecting
its composition or proceedings was three days.

After receiving a copy of the Decision on March


18, 1992, the Solicitor General interposed a
timely appeal directly with the Supreme Court.

In this petition, petitioner argues that the


COMELEC acted with grave abuse of discretion
when it ignored the fundamental issue of
private respondents disqualification in the
guise of technicality.

Six days later, on February 27, respondent


Judge rendered the assailed Decision, disposing
as follows:
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED.
Petitioner JUAN G. FRIVALDO, is re-admitted as
a citizen of the Republic of the Philippines by
naturalization, thereby vesting upon him, all
the rights and privileges of a natural born
Filipino citizen (Rollo, p. 33).

G.R. No. 105715


This is a petition for certiorari, mandamus with
injunction under Rule 65 of the Revised Rules
of Court in relation to Section 5(2) of Article VIII
of the Constitution with prayer for temporary
restraining order filed by Raul R. Lee against
the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) and
private respondent, to annul the en
banc Resolution of the COMELEC, which
dismissed his petition docketed as SPC Case
No. 92-273. The said petition sought to annul
the proclamation of private respondent as
Governor-elect of the Province of Sorsogon.

Petitioner claims that the inclusion of private


respondents name in the list of registered
voters in Sta. Magdalena, Sorsogon was invalid
because at the time he registered as a voter in
1987, he was as American citizen.
Petitioner further claims that the grant of
Filipino citizenship to private respondent is not
yet conclusive because the case is still on
appeal before us.
Petitioner prays for: (1) the annulment of
private respondents proclamation as Governor
of the Province of Sorsogon; (2) the deletion of

private respondents name from the list of


candidates for the position of governor; (3) the
proclamation of the governor-elect based on
the remaining votes, after the exclusion of the
votes for private respondent; (4) the issuance
of a temporary restraining order to enjoin
private respondent from taking his oath and
assuming office; and (5) the issuance of a writ
of mandamus to compel the COMELEC to
resolve the pending disqualification case
docketed as SPA Case No. 92-016, against
private respondent.
G.R. No. 105735
This is a petition for mandamus under Rule 65
of the Revised Rules of Court in relation to
Section 5(2) of Article VIII of the Constitution,
with prayer for temporary restraining order.
The parties herein are identical with the parties
in G.R. No. 105715.
In substance, petitioner prays for the
COMELECs immediate resolution of SPA Case
No. 92-016, which is a petition for the
cancellation of private respondents certificate
of candidacy filed on March 23, 1992 by
Quiterio H. Hermo, the intervenor in G.R. No.
104654 (Rollo, p. 18).
The petition for cancellation alleged: (1) that
private respondent is an American citizen, and
therefore ineligible to run as candidate for the
position of governor of the Province of
Sorsogon; (2) that the trial courts decision
re-admitting private respondent as a Filipino
citizen was fraught with legal infirmities
rendering it null and void; (3) that assuming
the decision to be valid, private respondents
oath of allegiance, which was taken on the
same day the questioned decision was
promulgated, violated Republic Act No. 530,
which provides for a two-year waiting period
before the oath of allegiance can be taken by
the applicant; and (4) that the hearing of the
petition on February 27, 1992, was held less
than four months from the date of the last
publication of the order and petition. The
petition prayed for the cancellation of private
respondents certificate of candidacy and the
deletion of his name from the list of registered
voters in Sta. Magdalena, Sorsogon.

In his answer to the petition for cancellation,


private respondent denied the allegations
therein and averred: (1) that Quiterio H.
Hermo, not being a candidate for the same
office for which private respondent was
aspiring, had no standing to file the petition;
(2) that the decision re-admitting him to
Philippine citizenship was presumed to be
valid; and (3) that no case had been filed to
exclude his name as a registered voter.
Raul R. Lee intervened in the petition for
cancellation of private respondents certificate
of candidacy (Rollo, p. 37.).
On May 13, 1992, said intervenor urged the
COMELEC to decide the petition for
cancellation, citing Section 78 of the Omnibus
Election Code, which provides that all petitions
on matters involving the cancellation of a
certificate of candidacy must be decided "not
later than fifteen days before election," and the
case of Alonto v. Commission on Election, 22
SCRA 878 (1968), which ruled that all preproclamation controversies should be
summarily decided (Rollo,
p. 50).
The COMELEC concedes that private
respondent has not yet reacquired his Filipino
citizenship because the decision granting him
the same is not yet final and executory (Rollo,
p. 63). However, it submits that the issue of
disqualification of a candidate is not among the
grounds allowed in a
pre-proclamation controversy, like SPC Case
No. 92-273. Moreover, the said petition was
filed out of time.
The COMELEC contends that the preparation
for the elections occupied much of its time,
thus its failure to immediately resolve SPA Case
No. 92-016. It argues that under Section 5 of
Rule 25 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure, it
is excused from deciding a disqualification case
within the period provided by law for reasons
beyond its control. It also assumed that the
same action was subsequently abandoned by
petitioner when he filed before it a petition
for quo warranto docketed as EPC No. 92-35.
The quo warranto proceedings sought private
respondents disqualification because of his
American citizenship.

II
G.R. No. 104654
We shall first resolve the issue concerning
private respondents citizenship.
In his comment to the States appeal of the
decision granting him Philippine citizenship in
G.R. No. 104654, private respondent alleges
that the precarious political atmosphere in the
country during Martial Law compelled him to
seek political asylum in the United States, and
eventually to renounce his Philippine
citizenship.
He claims that his petition for naturalization
was his only available remedy for his
reacquisition of Philippine citizenship. He tried
to reacquire his Philippine citizenship through
repatriation and direct act of Congress.
However, he was later informed that
repatriation proceedings were limited to army
deserters or Filipino women who had lost their
citizenship by reason of their marriage to
foreigners (Rollo, pp. 49-50). His request to
Congress for sponsorship of a bill allowing him
to reacquire his Philippine citizenship failed to
materialize, notwithstanding the endorsement
of several members of the House of
Representatives in his favor (Rollo, p. 51). He
attributed this to the maneuvers of his political
rivals.
He also claims that the re-scheduling of the
hearing of the petition to an earlier date,
without publication, was made without
objection from the Office of the Solicitor
General. He makes mention that on the date of
the hearing, the court was jam-packed.
It is private respondents posture that there
was substantial compliance with the law and
that the public was well-informed of his petition
for naturalization due to the publicity given by
the media.
Anent the issue of the mandatory two-year
waiting period prior to the taking of the oath of
allegiance, private respondent theorizes that
the rationale of the law imposing the waiting
period is to grant the public an opportunity to
investigate the background of the applicant
and to oppose the grant of Philippine
citizenship if there is basis to do so. In his case,

private respondent alleges that such


requirement may be dispensed with, claiming
that his life, both private and public, was wellknown. Private respondent cites his
achievement as a freedom fighter and a former
Governor of the Province of Sorsogon for six
terms.
The appeal of the Solicitor General in behalf of
the Republic of the Philippines is meritorious.
The naturalization proceedings in SP Proc. No.
91-58645 was full of procedural flaws,
rendering the decision an anomaly.
Private respondent, having opted to reacquire
Philippine citizenship thru naturalization under
the Revised Naturalization Law, is duty bound
to follow the procedure prescribed by the said
law. It is not for an applicant to decide for
himself and to select the requirements which
he believes, even sincerely, are applicable to
his case and discard those which be believes
are inconvenient or merely of nuisance value.
The law does not distinguish between an
applicant who was formerly a Filipino citizen
and one who was never such a citizen. It does
not provide a special procedure for the
reacquisition of Philippine citizenship by former
Filipino citizens akin to the repatriation of a
woman who had lost her Philippine citizenship
by reason of her marriage to an alien.
The trial court never acquired jurisdiction to
hear the petition for naturalization of private
respondent. The proceedings conducted, the
decision rendered and the oath of allegiance
taken therein, are null and void for failure to
comply with the publication and posting
requirements under the Revised Naturalization
Law.
Under Section 9 of the said law, both the
petition for naturalization and the order setting
it for hearing must be published once a week
for three consecutive weeks in the Official
Gazette and a newspaper of general circulation
respondent cites his achievements as a
freedom fighter and a former Governor of the
Province of Sorsogon for six terms.
The appeal of the Solicitor General in behalf of
the Republic of
the Philippines is meritorious. The
naturalization proceedings in SP Proc.

No. 91-58645 was full of procedural flaws,


rendering the decision an anomaly.

a declaration of intention or if he is excused


from said filing, the justification therefor.

Private respondent, having opted to reacquire


Philippine citizenship thru naturalization under
the Revised Naturalization Law, is duty bound
to follow the procedure prescribed by the said
law. It is not for an applicant to decide for
himself and to select the requirements which
he believes, even sincerely, are applicable to
his case and discard those which he believes
are inconvenient or merely of nuisance value.
The law does not distinguish between an
applicant who was formerly a Filipino citizen
and one who was never such a citizen. It does
not provide a special procedure for the
reacquisition of Philippine citizenship by former
Filipino citizens akin to the repatriation of a
woman who had lost her Philippine citizenship
by reason of her marriage to an alien.

The absence of such allegations is fatal to the


petition (Po Yi Bi v. Republic, 205 SCRA 400
[1992]).

The trial court never acquired jurisdiction to


hear the petition for naturalization of private
respondent. The proceedings conducted, the
decision rendered and the oath of allegiance
taken therein, are null and void for failure to
comply with the publication and posting
requirements under the Revised Naturalization
Law.
Under Section 9 of the said law, both the
petition for naturalization and the order setting
it for hearing must be published once a week
for three consecutive weeks in the Official
Gazette and a newspaper of general
circulation. Compliance therewith is
jurisdictional (Po Yi Bo v. Republic, 205 SCRA
400 [1992]). Moreover, the publication and
posting of the petition and the order must be in
its full test for the court to acquire jurisdiction
(Sy v. Republic, 55 SCRA 724 [1974]).
The petition for naturalization lacks several
allegations required by Sections 2 and 6 of the
Revised Naturalization Law, particularly: (1)
that the petitioner is of good moral character;
(2) that he resided continuously in the
Philippines for at least ten years; (3) that he is
able to speak and write English and any one of
the principal dialects; (4) that he will reside
continuously in the Philippines from the date of
the filing of the petition until his admission to
Philippine citizenship; and (5) that he has filed

Likewise, the petition is not supported by the


affidavit of at least two credible persons who
vouched for the good moral character of
private respondent as required by Section 7 of
the Revised Naturalization Law. Private
respondent also failed to attach a copy of his
certificate of arrival to the petition as required
by Section 7 of the said law.
The proceedings of the trial court was marred
by the following irregularities: (1) the hearing
of the petition was set ahead of the scheduled
date of hearing, without a publication of the
order advancing the date of hearing, and the
petition itself; (2) the petition was heard within
six months from the last publication of the
petition; (3) petitioner was allowed to take his
oath of allegiance before the finality of the
judgment; and (4) petitioner took his oath of
allegiance without observing the two-year
waiting period.
A decision in a petition for naturalization
becomes final only after 30 days from its
promulgation and, insofar as the Solicitor
General is concerned, that period is counted
from the date of his receipt of the copy of the
decision (Republic v. Court of First Instance of
Albay, 60 SCRA 195 [1974]).
Section 1 of R.A. No. 530 provides that no
decision granting citizenship in naturalization
proceedings shall be executory until after two
years from its promulgation in order to be able
to observe if: (1) the applicant has left the
country; (2) the applicant has dedicated
himself continuously to a lawful calling or
profession; (3) the applicant has not been
convicted of any offense or violation of
government promulgated rules; and (4) the
applicant has committed any act prejudicial to
the interest of the country or contrary to
government announced policies.
Even discounting the provisions of R.A. No.
530, the courts cannot implement any decision

granting the petition for naturalization before


its finality.

the mistaken belief that he had legally


reacquired Filipino citizenship.

G.R. No. 105715

Petitioner in G.R. No. 105715, prays that the


votes cast in favor of private respondent be
considered stray and that he, being the
candidate obtaining the second highest
number of votes, be declared winner. In Labo,
Jr. v. COMELEC, 176 SCRA 1 (1989), we ruled
that where the candidate who obtained the
highest number of votes is later declared to be
disqualified to hold the office to which he was
elected, the candidate who garnered the
second highest number of votes is not entitled
to be declared winner (See also Geronimo v.
Ramos, 136 SCRA 435 [1985]; Topacio v.
Paredes, 23 Phil. 238 [1912]).

In view of the finding in G.R. No. 104654 that


private respondent is not yet a Filipino citizen,
we have to grant the petition in G.R. No.
105715 after treating it as a petition
for certiorari instead of a petition
for mandamus. Said petition assails the en
banc resolution of the COMELEC, dismissing
SPC Case No. 92-273, which in turn is a petition
to annul private respondents proclamation on
three grounds: 1) that the proceedings and
composition of the Provincial Board of
Canvassers were not in accordance with law; 2)
that private respondent is an alien, whose
grant of Filipino citizenship is being questioned
by the State in G.R. No. 104654; and 3) that
private respondent is not a duly registered
voter. The COMELEC dismissed the petition on
the grounds that it was filed outside the threeday period for questioning the proceedings
and composition of the Provincial Board of
Canvassers under Section 19 of R.A. No. 7166.
The COMELEC failed to resolve the more
serious issue the disqualification of private
respondent to be proclaimed Governor on
grounds of lack of Filipino citizenship. In this
aspect, the petition is one for quo warranto.
In Frivaldo v. Commission on Elections, 174
SCRA 245 (1989), we held that a petition
for quo warranto, questioning the respondents
title and seeking to prevent him from holding
office as Governor for alienage, is not covered
by the ten-day period for appeal prescribed in
Section 253 of the Omnibus Election Code.
Furthermore, we explained that "qualifications
for public office are continuing requirements
and must be possessed not only at the time of
appointment or election or assumption of office
but during the officers entire tenure; once any
of the required qualification is lost, his title may
be seasonably challenged."
Petitioners argument, that to unseat him will
frustrate the will of the electorate, is
untenable. Both the Local Government Code
and the Constitution require that only Filipino
citizens can run and be elected to public office.
We can only surmise that the electorate, at the
time they voted for private respondent, was of

G.R. No. 105735


In view of the discussions of G.R. No. 104654
and G.R. No. 105715, we find the petition in
G.R. No. 105735 moot and academic.
WHEREFORE, the petitions in G.R. No. 104654
and G.R. No. 105715 are both GRANTED while
the petition in G.R. No. 105735 is DISMISSED.
Private respondent is declared NOT a citizen of
the Philippines and therefore DISQUALIFIED
from continuing to serve as GOVERNOR of the
Province of Sorsogon. He is ordered to VACATE
his office and to SURRENDER the same to the
Vice-Governor of the Province of Sorsogon once
this decision becomes final and executory. No
pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED.
EN BANC
[G.R. No. 161434. March 3, 2004]
MARIA JEANETTE C. TECSON and FELIX B.
DESIDERIO, JR., petitioners, vs. The
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, RONALD ALLAN
KELLY POE (a.k.a. FERNANDO POE, JR.) and
VICTORINO X. FORNIER, respondents.
[G.R. No. 161634. March 3, 2004]
ZOILO ANTONIO VELEZ, petitioner, vs. RONALD
ALLAN KELLEY POE, a.k.a. FERNANDO POE,
JR., respondent.
[G. R. No. 161824. March 3, 2004]

VICTORINO X. FORNIER, petitioner, vs. HON.


COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and RONALD
ALLAN KELLEY POE, ALSO KNOWN AS
FERNANDO POE JR., respondents.
DECISION
VITUG, J.:
Citizenship is a treasured right conferred on
those whom the state believes are deserving of
the privilege. It is a precious heritage, as well
as an inestimable acquisition,[1] that cannot be
taken lightly by anyone - either by those who
enjoy it or by those who dispute it.
Before the Court are three consolidated cases,
all of which raise a single question of profound
importance to the nation. The issue of
citizenship is brought up to challenge the
qualifications of a presidential candidate to
hold the highest office of the land. Our people
are waiting for the judgment of the Court with
bated breath. Is Fernando Poe, Jr., the hero of
silver screen, and now one of the main
contenders for the presidency, a natural-born
Filipino or is he not?
The moment of introspection takes us face to
face with Spanish and American colonial roots
and reminds us of the rich heritage of civil law
and common law traditions, the fusion resulting
in a hybrid of laws and jurisprudence that could
be no less than distinctly Filipino.
Antecedent Case Settings
On 31 December 2003, respondent Ronald
Allan Kelly Poe, also known as Fernando Poe, Jr.
(hereinafter "FPJ"), filed his certificate of
candidacy for the position of President of the
Republic of the Philippines under the Koalisyon
ng Nagkakaisang Pilipino (KNP) Party, in the
forthcoming national elections. In his certificate
of candidacy, FPJ, representing himself to be a
natural-born citizen of the Philippines, stated
his name to be "Fernando Jr.," or "Ronald Allan"
Poe, his date of birth to be 20 August 1939 and
his place of birth to be Manila.
Victorino X. Fornier, petitioner in G.R. No.
161824, entitled "Victorino X. Fornier,
Petitioner, versus Hon. Commission on
Elections and Ronald Allan Kelley Poe, also
known as Fernando Poe, Jr., Respondents,"

initiated, on 09 January 2004, a petition


docketed SPA No. 04-003 before the
Commission on Elections ("COMELEC") to
disqualify FPJ and to deny due course or to
cancel his certificate of candidacy upon the
thesis that FPJ made a material
misrepresentation in his certificate of
candidacy by claiming to be a natural-born
Filipino citizen when in truth, according to
Fornier, his parents were foreigners; his
mother, Bessie Kelley Poe, was an American,
and his father, Allan Poe, was a Spanish
national, being the son of Lorenzo Pou, a
Spanish subject. Granting, petitioner
asseverated, that Allan F. Poe was a Filipino
citizen, he could not have transmitted his
Filipino citizenship to FPJ, the latter being an
illegitimate child of an alien mother. Petitioner
based the allegation of the illegitimate birth of
respondent on two assertions - first, Allan F.
Poe contracted a prior marriage to a certain
Paulita Gomez before his marriage to Bessie
Kelley and, second, even if no such prior
marriage had existed, Allan F. Poe, married
Bessie Kelly only a year after the birth of
respondent.
In the hearing before the Third Division of the
COMELEC on 19 January 2004, petitioner, in
support of his claim, presented several
documentary exhibits - 1) a copy of the
certificate of birth of FPJ, 2) a certified
photocopy of an affidavit executed in Spanish
by Paulita Poe y Gomez attesting to her having
filed a case for bigamy and concubinage
against the father of respondent, Allan F. Poe,
after discovering his bigamous relationship
with Bessie Kelley, 3) an English translation of
the affidavit aforesaid, 4) a certified photocopy
of the certificate of birth of Allan F. Poe, 5) a
certification issued by the Director of the
Records Management and Archives Office,
attesting to the fact that there was no record in
the National Archives that a Lorenzo Poe or
Lorenzo Pou resided or entered the Philippines
before 1907, and 6) a certification from the
Officer-In-Charge of the Archives Division of the
National Archives to the effect that no available
information could be found in the files of the
National Archives regarding the birth of Allan F.
Poe.
On his part, respondent, presented twenty-two
documentary pieces of evidence, the more

significant ones being - a) a certification issued


by Estrella M. Domingo of the Archives Division
of the National Archives that there appeared to
be no available information regarding the birth
of Allan F. Poe in the registry of births for San
Carlos, Pangasinan, b) a certification issued by
the Officer-In-Charge of the Archives Division of
the National Archives that no available
information about the marriage of Allan F. Poe
and Paulita Gomez could be found, c) a
certificate of birth of Ronald Allan Poe, d)
Original Certificate of Title No. P-2247 of the
Registry of Deeds for the Province of
Pangasinan, in the name of Lorenzo Pou, e)
copies of Tax Declaration No. 20844, No.
20643, No. 23477 and No. 23478 in the name
of Lorenzo Pou, f) a copy of the certificate of
death of Lorenzo Pou, g) a copy of the
purported marriage contract between Fernando
Pou and Bessie Kelley, and h) a certification
issued by the City Civil Registrar of San Carlos
City, Pangasinan, stating that the records of
birth in the said office during the period of from
1900 until May 1946 were totally destroyed
during World War II.

Court had original and exclusive jurisdiction to


resolve the basic issue on the case.

On 23 January 2004, the COMELEC dismissed


SPA No. 04-003 for lack of merit. Three days
later, or on 26 January 2004, Fornier filed his
motion for reconsideration. The motion was
denied on 06 February 2004 by the
COMELEC en banc. On 10 February 2004,
petitioner assailed the decision of the
COMELEC before this Court conformably with
Rule 64, in relation to Rule 65, of the Revised
Rules of Civil Procedure. The petition, docketed
G. R. No. 161824, likewise prayed for a
temporary restraining order, a writ of
preliminary injunction or any other resolution
that would stay the finality and/or execution of
the COMELEC resolutions.

Section 52. Powers and functions of the


Commission on Elections. In addition to the
powers and functions conferred upon it by the
Constitution, the Commission shall have
exclusive charge of the enforcement and
administration of all laws relative to the
conduct of elections for the purpose of
ensuring free, orderly and honest elections -

The other petitions, later consolidated with G.


R. No. 161824, would include G. R. No. 161434,
entitled "Maria Jeanette C. Tecson, and Felix B.
Desiderio, Jr., vs. The Commission on Elections,
Ronald Allan Kelley Poe (a.k.a. Fernando Poe,
Jr.), and Victorino X. Fornier," and the other,
docketed G. R. No. 161634, entitled "Zoilo
Antonio G. Velez, vs. Ronald Allan Kelley
Poe, a.k.a. Fernando Poe, Jr.," both challenging
the jurisdiction of the COMELEC and asserting
that, under Article VII, Section 4, paragraph 7,
of the 1987 Constitution, only the Supreme

Jurisdiction of the Court


In G. R. No. 161824
In seeking the disqualification of the candidacy
of FPJ and to have the COMELEC deny due
course to or cancel FPJs certificate of candidacy
for alleged misrepresentation of a material fact
(i.e., that FPJ was a natural-born citizen) before
the COMELEC, petitioner Fornier invoked
Section 78 of the Omnibus Election Code
Section 78. Petition to deny due course to or
cancel a certificate of candidacy. --- A verified
petition seeking to deny due course or to
cancel a certificate of candidacy may be filed
by any person exclusively on the ground that
any material representation contained therein
as required under Section 74 hereof is false
in consonance with the general powers of
COMELEC expressed in Section 52 of the
Omnibus Election Code -

and in relation to Article 69 of the Omnibus


Election Code which would authorize "any
interested party" to file a verified petition to
deny or cancel the certificate of candidacy of
any nuisance candidate.
Decisions of the COMELEC on disqualification
cases may be reviewed by the Supreme Court
per Rule 64[2] in an action for certiorari under
Rule 65[3] of the Revised Rules of Civil
Procedure. Section 7, Article IX, of the 1987
Constitution also reads
"Each Commission shall decide by a majority
vote of all its Members any case or matter
brought before it within sixty days from the
date of its submission for decision or
resolution. A case or matter is deemed
submitted for decision or resolution upon the

filing of the last pleading, brief, or


memorandum, required by the rules of the
Commission or by the Commission itself. Unless
otherwise provided by this Constitution or by
law, any decision, order, or ruling of each
Commission may be brought to the Supreme
Court on certiorari by the aggrieved party
within thirty days from receipt of a copy
thereof."
Additionally, Section 1, Article VIII, of the same
Constitution provides that judicial power is
vested in one Supreme Court and in such lower
courts as may be established by law which
power includes the duty of the courts of justice
to settle actual controversies involving rights
which are legally demandable and enforceable,
and to determine whether or not there has
been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to
lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any
branch or instrumentality of the Government.
It is sufficiently clear that the petition brought
up in G. R. No. 161824 was aptly elevated to,
and could well be taken cognizance of by, this
Court. A contrary view could be a gross denial
to our people of their fundamental right to be
fully informed, and to make a proper choice, on
who could or should be elected to occupy the
highest government post in the land.
In G. R. No. 161434 and G. R. No. 161634
Petitioners Tecson, et al., in G. R. No. 161434,
and Velez, in G. R. No. 161634, invoke the
provisions of Article VII, Section 4, paragraph 7,
of the 1987 Constitution in assailing the
jurisdiction of the COMELEC when it took
cognizance of SPA No. 04-003 and in urging the
Supreme Court to instead take on the petitions
they directly instituted before it. The
Constitutional provision cited reads:

Court to declare, in Lopez vs. Roxas,[4] as not


(being) justiciable controversies or disputes
involving contests on the elections, returns and
qualifications of the President or VicePresident. The constitutional lapse prompted
Congress, on 21 June 1957, to enact Republic
Act No. 1793, "An Act Constituting an
Independent Presidential Electoral Tribunal to
Try, Hear and Decide Protests Contesting the
Election of the President-Elect and the VicePresident-Elect of the Philippines and Providing
for the Manner of Hearing the Same." Republic
Act 1793 designated the Chief Justice and the
Associate Justices of the Supreme Court to be
the members of the tribunal. Although the
subsequent adoption of the parliamentary form
of government under the 1973 Constitution
might have implicitly affected Republic Act No.
1793, the statutory set-up, nonetheless, would
now be deemed revived under the present
Section 4, paragraph 7, of the 1987
Constitution.
Ordinary usage would characterize a "contest"
in reference to a postelection scenario. Election contests consist of
either an election protest or a quo
warranto which, although two distinct
remedies, would have one objective in
view, i.e., to dislodge the winning candidate
from office. A perusal of the phraseology in
Rule 12, Rule 13, and Rule 14 of the "Rules of
the Presidential Electoral Tribunal,"
promulgated by the Supreme Court en banc on
18 April 1992, would support this premise Rule 12. Jurisdiction. - The Tribunal shall be the
sole judge of all contests relating to the
election, returns, and qualifications of the
President or Vice-President of the Philippines.

"The Supreme Court, sitting en banc, shall be


the sole judge of all contests relating to the
election, returns, and qualifications of the
President or Vice-President, and may
promulgate its rules for the purpose."

Rule 13. How Initiated. - An election contest is


initiated by the filing of an election protest or a
petition for quo warranto against the President
or Vice-President. An election protest shall not
include a petition for quo warranto. A petition
for quo warranto shall not include an election
protest.

The provision is an innovation of the 1987


Constitution. The omission in the 1935 and the
1973 Constitution to designate any tribunal to
be the sole judge of presidential and vicepresidential contests, has constrained this

Rule 14. Election Protest. - Only the


registered candidate for President or for VicePresident of the Philippines who received the
second or third highest number of votes may
contest the election of the President or the

Vice-President, as the case may be, by filing a


verified petition with the Clerk of the
Presidential Electoral Tribunal within thirty (30)
days after the proclamation of the winner.
The rules categorically speak of the jurisdiction
of the tribunal over contests relating to the
election, returns and qualifications of the
"President" or "Vice-President", of
thePhilippines, and not of "candidates" for
President or Vice-President. A quo
warranto proceeding is generally defined as
being an action against a person who usurps,
intrudes into, or unlawfully holds or exercises a
public office.[5] In such context, the election
contest can only contemplate a postelection scenario. In Rule 14, only a registered
candidate who would have received either the
second or third highest number of votes could
file an election protest. This rule again
presupposes a post-election scenario.
It is fair to conclude that the jurisdiction of the
Supreme Court, defined by Section 4,
paragraph 7, of the 1987 Constitution, would
not include cases directly brought before it,
questioning the qualifications of a candidate for
the presidency or vice-presidency before the
elections are held.
Accordingly, G. R. No. 161434, entitled "Maria
Jeanette C. Tecson, et al., vs. Commission on
Elections et al.," and G. R. No. 161634, entitled
"Zoilo Antonio Velez vs. Ronald Allan Kelley
Poe a.k.a. Fernando Poe, Jr." would have to be
dismissed for want of jurisdiction.
The Citizenship Issue
Now, to the basic issue; it should be helpful to
first give a brief historical background on the
concept of citizenship.
Perhaps, the earliest understanding of
citizenship was that given by Aristotle, who,
sometime in 384 to 322 B.C., described the
"citizen" to refer to a man who shared in the
administration of justice and in the holding of
an office.[6] Aristotle saw its significance if only
to determine the constituency of the "State,"
which he described as being composed of such
persons who would be adequate in number to
achieve a self-sufficient existence.[7] The
concept grew to include one who would both

govern and be governed, for which


qualifications like autonomy, judgment and
loyalty could be expected. Citizenship was seen
to deal with rights and entitlements, on the one
hand, and with concomitant obligations, on the
other.[8] In its ideal setting, a citizen was
active in public life and fundamentally willing
to submit his private interests to the general
interest of society.
The concept of citizenship had undergone
changes over the centuries. In the 18th
century, the concept was limited, by and large,
to civil citizenship, which established the rights
necessary for individual freedom, such as
rights to property, personal liberty and justice.
[9] Its meaning expanded during the 19th
century to include political citizenship, which
encompassed the right to participate in the
exercise of political power.[10] The 20th
century saw the next stage of the development
of social citizenship, which laid emphasis on
the right of the citizen to economic well-being
and social security.[11] The idea of citizenship
has gained expression in the modern welfare
state as it so developed inWestern Europe. An
ongoing and final stage of development, in
keeping with the rapidly shrinking global
village, might well be the internationalization of
citizenship.[12]
The Local Setting - from Spanish
Times to the Present
There was no such term as "Philippine citizens"
during the Spanish regime but "subjects
of Spain" or "Spanish subjects."[13] In church
records, the natives were called'indios',
denoting a low regard for the inhabitants of the
archipelago. Spanish laws on citizenship
became highly codified during the 19th century
but their sheer number made it difficult to
point to one comprehensive law. Not all of
these citizenship laws of Spain however, were
made to apply to the Philippine Islands except
for those explicitly extended by Royal Decrees.
[14]
Spanish laws on citizenship were traced back
to the Novisima Recopilacion, promulgated in
Spain on 16 July 1805 but as to whether the
law was extended to the Philippines remained
to be the subject of differing views among

experts;[15] however, three royal decrees were


undisputably made applicable to Spaniards in
the Philippines - theOrder de la Regencia of 14
August 1841,[16] the Royal Decree of 23
August 1868 specifically defining the political
status of children born in the Philippine Islands,
[17] and finally, the Ley Extranjera de
Ultramar of 04 July 1870, which was expressly
made applicable to the Philippines by the Royal
Decree of 13 July 1870.[18]
The Spanish Constitution of 1876 was never
extended to the Philippine Islands because of
the express mandate of its Article 89,
according to which the provisions of
theUltramar among which this country was
included, would be governed by special laws.
[19]
It was only the Civil Code of Spain, made
effective in this jurisdiction on 18 December
1889, which came out with the first categorical
enumeration of who were Spanish citizens. (a) Persons born in Spanish territory,
(b) Children of a Spanish father or mother,
even if they were born outside of Spain,
(c) Foreigners who have obtained
naturalization papers,
(d) Those who, without such papers, may have
become domiciled inhabitants of any town of
the Monarchy.[20]
The year 1898 was another turning point in
Philippine history. Already in the state of
decline as a superpower, Spain was forced to
so cede her sole colony in the East to an
upcoming world power, the United States. An
accepted principle of international law dictated
that a change in sovereignty, while resulting in
an abrogation of all political laws then in force,
would have no effect on civil laws, which would
remain virtually intact.
The Treaty of Paris was entered into on 10
December 1898 between Spain and the United
States.[21] Under Article IX of the treaty, the
civil rights and political status of the native
inhabitants of the territories ceded to the
United States would be determined by its
Congress -

"Spanish subjects, natives of the Peninsula,


residing in the territory over which Spain by the
present treaty relinquishes or cedes her
sovereignty may remain in such territory or
may remove therefrom, retaining in either
event all their rights of property, including the
right to sell or dispose of such property or of its
proceeds; and they shall also have the right to
carry on their industry, commerce, and
professions, being subject in respect thereof to
such laws as are applicable to foreigners. In
case they remain in the territory they may
preserve their allegiance to the Crown of Spain
by making, before a court of record, within a
year from the date of the exchange of
ratifications of this treaty, a declaration of their
decision to preserve such allegiance; in default
of which declaration they shall be held to have
renounced it and to have adopted the
nationality of the territory in which they reside.
Thus
"The civil rights and political status of the
native inhabitants of the territories hereby
ceded to the United States shall be determined
by the Congress."[22]
Upon the ratification of the treaty, and pending
legislation by the United States Congress on
the subject, the native inhabitants of the
Philippines ceased to be Spanish
subjects.Although they did not become
American citizens, they, however, also ceased
to be "aliens" under American laws and were
thus issued passports describing them to be
citizens of the Philippines entitled to the
protection of the United States.
The term "citizens of the Philippine Islands"
appeared for the first time in the Philippine Bill
of 1902, also commonly referred to as the
Philippine Organic Act of 1902, the first
comprehensive legislation of the Congress of
the United States on the Philippines ".... that all inhabitants of the Philippine Islands
continuing to reside therein, who were Spanish
subjects on the 11th day of April, 1891, and
then resided in said Islands, and their children
born subsequent thereto, shall be deemed and
held to be citizens of the Philippine Islands and
as such entitled to the protection of the United
States, except such as shall have elected to

preserve their allegiance to the Crown of Spain


in accordance with the provisions of the treaty
of peace between the United States and Spain,
signed at Paris, December tenth eighteen
hundred and ninety eight."[23]
Under the organic act, a citizen of the
Philippines was one who was an inhabitant of
the Philippines, and a Spanish subject on the
11th day of April 1899. The term inhabitant
was taken to include 1) a native-born
inhabitant, 2) an inhabitant who was a native
of Peninsular Spain, and 3) an inhabitant who
obtained Spanish papers on or before 11 April
1899.[24]
Controversy arose on to the status of children
born in the Philippines from 11 April 1899 to 01
July 1902, during which period no citizenship
law was extant in the Philippines. Weight was
given to the view, articulated in jurisprudential
writing at the time, that the common law
principle of jus soli, otherwise also known as
the principle of territoriality, operative in the
United States and England, governed those
born in the Philippine Archipelago within that
period.[25] More about this later.
In 23 March 1912, the Congress of the United
States made the following amendment to the
Philippine Bill of 1902 "Provided, That the Philippine Legislature is
hereby authorized to provide by law for the
acquisition of Philippine citizenship by those
natives of the Philippine Islands who do not
come within the foregoing provisions, the
natives of other insular possession of the
United States, and such other persons residing
in the Philippine Islands who would become
citizens of the United States, under the laws of
the United States, if residing therein."[26]
With the adoption of the Philippine Bill of 1902,
the concept of "Philippine citizens" had for the
first time crystallized. The word "Filipino" was
used by William H. Taft, the first Civil Governor
General in the Philippines when he initially
made mention of it in his slogan, "The
Philippines for the Filipinos." In 1916, the
Philippine Autonomy Act, also known as the
Jones Law restated virtually the provisions of
the Philippine Bill of 1902, as so amended by
the Act of Congress in 1912 -

That all inhabitants of the Philippine Islands


who were Spanish subjects on the eleventh day
of April, eighteen hundred and ninety-nine, and
then resided in said Islands, and their children
born subsequently thereto, shall be deemed
and held to be citizens of the Philippine Islands,
except such as shall have elected to preserve
their allegiance to the Crown of Spain in
accordance with the provisions of the treaty of
peace between the United States and Spain,
signed at Paris December tenth, eighteen
hundred and ninety-eight and except such
others as have since become citizens of some
other country; Provided, That the Philippine
Legislature, herein provided for, is hereby
authorized to provide for the acquisition of
Philippine citizenship by those natives of the
Philippine Islands who do not come within the
foregoing provisions, the natives of the insular
possessions of the United States, and such
other persons residing in the Philippine Islands
who are citizens of the United States, or who
could become citizens of the United States
under the laws of the United States, if residing
therein."
Under the Jones Law, a native-born inhabitant
of the Philippines was deemed to be a citizen of
the Philippines as of 11 April 1899 if he was 1)
a subject of Spain on 11 April 1899, 2) residing
in the Philippines on said date, and, 3) since
that date, not a citizen of some other country.
While there was, at one brief time, divergent
views on whether or not jus soli was a mode of
acquiring citizenship, the 1935 Constitution
brought to an end to any such link with
common law, by adopting, once and for all, jus
sanguinis or blood relationship as being
the basis of Filipino citizenship Section 1, Article III, 1935 Constitution. The
following are citizens of the Philippines (1) Those who are citizens of the Philippine
Islands at the time of the adoption of this
Constitution
(2) Those born in the Philippines Islands of
foreign parents who, before the adoption of this
Constitution, had been elected to public office
in the Philippine Islands.

(3) Those whose fathers are citizens of the


Philippines.
(4) Those whose mothers are citizens of the
Philippines and upon reaching the age of
majority, elect Philippine citizenship.
(5) Those who are naturalized in accordance
with law.
Subsection (4), Article III, of the 1935
Constitution, taken together with existing civil
law provisions at the time, which provided that
women would automatically lose their Filipino
citizenship and acquire that of their foreign
husbands, resulted in discriminatory situations
that effectively incapacitated the women from
transmitting their Filipino citizenship to their
legitimate children and required illegitimate
children of Filipino mothers to still elect Filipino
citizenship upon reaching the age of
majority. Seeking to correct this anomaly, as
well as fully cognizant of the newly found
status of Filipino women as equals to men, the
framers of the 1973 Constitution crafted the
provisions of the new Constitution on
citizenship to reflect such concerns Section 1, Article III, 1973 Constitution - The
following are citizens of the Philippines:
(1) Those who are citizens of the Philippines at
the time of the adoption of this Constitution.
(2) Those whose fathers or mothers are citizens
of the Philippines.
(3) Those who elect Philippine citizenship
pursuant to the provisions of the Constitution
of nineteen hundred and thirty-five.
(4) Those who are naturalized in accordance
with law.
For good measure, Section 2 of the same
article also further provided that
"A female citizen of the Philippines who marries
an alien retains her Philippine citizenship,
unless by her act or omission she is deemed,
under the law to have renounced her
citizenship."
The 1987 Constitution generally adopted the
provisions of the 1973 Constitution, except for

subsection (3) thereof that aimed to correct the


irregular situation generated by the
questionable proviso in the 1935 Constitution.
Section I, Article IV, 1987 Constitution now
provides:
The following are citizens of the Philippines:
(1) Those who are citizens of the Philippines at
the time of the adoption of this Constitution.
(2) Those whose fathers or mothers are citizens
of the Philippines.
(3) Those born before January 17, 1973 of
Filipino mothers, who elect Philippine
citizenship upon reaching the age of majority;
and
(4) Those who are naturalized in accordance
with law.
The Case Of FPJ
Section 2, Article VII, of the 1987 Constitution
expresses:
"No person may be elected President unless he
is a natural-born citizen of the Philippines, a
registered voter, able to read and write, at
least forty years of age on the day of the
election, and a resident of the Philippines for at
least ten years immediately preceding such
election."
The term "natural-born citizens," is defined to
include "those who are citizens of the
Philippines from birth without having to
perform any act to acquire or perfect their
Philippine citizenship."[27]
The date, month and year of birth of FPJ
appeared to be 20 August 1939 during the
regime of the 1935 Constitution. Through its
history, four modes of acquiring citizenship naturalization, jus soli, res judicata and jus
sanguinis[28] had been in vogue. Only
two, i.e., jus soli and jus sanguinis, could
qualify a person to being a natural-born citizen
of the Philippines. Jus soli, per Roa vs. Collector
of Customs[29] (1912), did not last long. With
the adoption of the 1935 Constitution and the
reversal of Roa in Tan Chong vs. Secretary of
Labor[30] (1947), jus sanguinis or blood

relationship would now become the primary


basis of citizenship by birth.
Documentary evidence adduced by petitioner
would tend to indicate that the earliest
established direct ascendant of FPJ was his
paternal grandfather Lorenzo Pou, married to
Marta Reyes, the father of Allan F. Poe. While
the record of birth of Lorenzo Pou had not been
presented in evidence, his death certificate,
however, identified him to be a Filipino, a
resident of San Carlos, Pangasinan, and 84
years old at the time of his death on 11
September 1954. The certificate of birth of the
father of FPJ, Allan F. Poe, showed that he was
born on 17 May 1915 to an Espaol father,
Lorenzo Pou, and a mestiza Espaol mother,
Marta Reyes. Introduced by petitioner was an
uncertified copy of a supposed certificate of
the alleged marriage of Allan F. Poe and Paulita
Gomez on 05 July 1936. The marriage
certificate of Allan F. Poe and Bessie Kelley
reflected the date of their marriage to be on 16
September 1940. In the same certificate, Allan
F. Poe was stated to be twenty-five years old,
unmarried, and a Filipino citizen, and Bessie
Kelley to be twenty-two years old, unmarried,
and an American citizen. The birth certificate of
FPJ, would disclose that he was born on 20
August 1939 to Allan F. Poe, a Filipino, twentyfour years old, married to Bessie Kelly, an
American citizen, twenty-one years old and
married.
Considering the reservations made by the
parties on the veracity of some of the entries
on the birth certificate of respondent and the
marriage certificate of his parents, the only
conclusions that could be drawn with some
degree of certainty from the documents would
be that 1. The parents of FPJ were Allan F. Poe and
Bessie Kelley;
2. FPJ was born to them on 20 August 1939;
3. Allan F. Poe and Bessie Kelley were married
to each other on 16 September, 1940;
4. The father of Allan F. Poe was Lorenzo Poe;
and
5. At the time of his death on 11 September
1954, Lorenzo Poe was 84 years old.

Would the above facts be sufficient or


insufficient to establish the fact that FPJ is a
natural-born Filipino citizen? The marriage
certificate of Allan F. Poe and Bessie Kelley, the
birth certificate of FPJ, and the death certificate
of Lorenzo Pou are documents of public record
in the custody of a public officer. The
documents have been submitted in evidence
by both contending parties during the
proceedings before the COMELEC.
The birth certificate of FPJ was marked Exhibit
"A" for petitioner and Exhibit "3" for
respondent. The marriage certificate of Allan F.
Poe to Bessie Kelley was submitted as Exhibit
"21" for respondent. The death certificate of
Lorenzo Pou was submitted by respondent as
his Exhibit "5." While the last two documents
were submitted in evidence for respondent, the
admissibility thereof, particularly in reference
to the facts which they purported to
show, i.e., the marriage certificate in relation to
the date of marriage of Allan F. Poe to Bessie
Kelley and the death certificate relative to the
death of Lorenzo Pou on 11 September 1954 in
San Carlos, Pangasinan, were all admitted by
petitioner, who had utilized those material
statements in his argument. All three
documents were certified true copies of the
originals.
Section 3, Rule 130, Rules of Court states that Original document must be produced;
exceptions. - When the subject of inquiry is the
contents of a document, no evidence shall be
admissible other than the original document
itself, except in the following cases:
xxxxxxxxx
(d) When the original is a public record in the
custody of a public office or is recorded in a
public office.
Being public documents, the death certificate
of Lorenzo Pou, the marriage certificate of Allan
F. Poe and Bessie Kelly, and the birth certificate
of FPJ, constitute prima facieproof of their
contents. Section 44, Rule 130, of the Rules of
Court provides:
Entries in official records. Entries in official
records made in the performance of his duty by
a public officer of the Philippines, or by a

person in the performance of a duty specially


enjoined by law, are prima facie evidence of
the facts therein stated.
The trustworthiness of public documents and
the value given to the entries made therein
could be grounded on 1) the sense of official
duty in the preparation of the statement made,
2) the penalty which is usually affixed to a
breach of that duty, 3) the routine and
disinterested origin of most such statements,
and 4) the publicity of record which makes
more likely the prior exposure of such errors as
might have occurred.[31]
The death certificate of Lorenzo Pou would
indicate that he died on 11 September 1954, at
the age of 84 years, in San Carlos,
Pangasinan. It could thus be assumed that
Lorenzo Pou was born sometime in the year
1870 when the Philippines was still a colony of
Spain. Petitioner would argue that Lorenzo Pou
was not in the Philippines during the crucial
period of from 1898 to 1902 considering that
there was no existing record about such fact in
the Records Management and Archives
Office. Petitioner, however, likewise failed to
show that Lorenzo Pou was at any other place
during the same period. In his death certificate,
the residence of Lorenzo Pou was stated to be
San Carlos, Pangasinan.In the absence of any
evidence to the contrary, it should be sound to
conclude, or at least to presume, that the place
of residence of a person at the time of his
death was also his residence before death. It
would be extremely doubtful if the Records
Management and Archives Office would have
had complete records of all residents of the
Philippines from 1898 to 1902.
Proof of Paternity and Filiation
Under Civil Law.
Petitioner submits, in any case, that in
establishing filiation (relationship or civil status
of the child to the father [or mother]) or
paternity (relationship or civil status of the
father to the child) of an illegitimate child, FPJ
evidently being an illegitimate son according to
petitioner, the mandatory rules under civil law
must be used.

Under the Civil Code of Spain, which was in


force in the Philippines from 08 December
1889 up until the day prior to 30 August 1950
when the Civil Code of the Philippines took
effect, acknowledgment was required to
establish filiation or paternity. Acknowledgment
was either judicial (compulsory) or
voluntary. Judicial or compulsory
acknowledgment was possible only if done
during the lifetime of the putative parent;
voluntary acknowledgment could only be had
in a record of birth, a will, or a public
document.[32] Complementary to the new
code was Act No. 3753 or the Civil Registry Law
expressing in Section 5 thereof, that In case of an illegitimate child, the birth
certificate shall be signed and sworn to
jointly by the parents of the infant or only by
the mother if the father refuses. In the latter
case, it shall not be permissible to state or
reveal in the document the name of the father
who refuses to acknowledge the child, or to
give therein any information by which such
father could be identified.
In order that the birth certificate could then be
utilized to prove voluntary acknowledgment of
filiation or paternity, the certificate was
required to be signed or sworn to by the
father. The failure of such requirement
rendered the same useless as being an
authoritative document of recognition.
[33] In Mendoza vs. Mella,[34] the Court ruled "Since Rodolfo was born in 1935, after the
registry law was enacted, the question here
really is whether or not his birth certificate
(Exhibit 1), which is merely a certified copy of
the registry record, may be relied upon as
sufficient proof of his having been voluntarily
recognized. No such reliance, in our judgment,
may be placed upon it. While it contains the
names of both parents, there is no showing
that they signed the original, let alone swore to
its contents as required in Section 5 of Act No.
3753. For all that might have happened, it was
not even they or either of them who furnished
the data to be entered in the civil
register. Petitioners say that in any event the
birth certificate is in the nature of a public
document wherein voluntary recognition of a
natural child may also be made, according to
the same Article 131. True enough, but in such

a case, there must be a clear statement in the


document that the parent recognizes the child
as his or her own."
In the birth certificate of respondent FPJ,
presented by both parties, nowhere in the
document was the signature of Allan F. Poe
found. There being no will apparently executed,
or at least shown to have been executed, by
decedent Allan F. Poe, the only other proof of
voluntary recognition remained to be "some
other public document." InPareja vs. Pareja,
[35] this Court defined what could constitute
such a document as proof of voluntary
acknowledgment:
"Under the Spanish Civil Code there are two
classes of public documents, those executed by
private individuals which must be
authenticated by notaries, and those issued by
competent public officials by reason of their
office. The public document pointed out in
Article 131 as one of the means by which
recognition may be made belongs to the first
class."
Let us leave it at that for the moment.
The 1950 Civil Code categorized the
acknowledgment or recognition of illegitimate
children into voluntary, legal or
compulsory. Voluntary recognition was required
to be expressedly made in a record of birth, a
will, a statement before a court of record or in
any authentic writing. Legal acknowledgment
took place in favor of full blood brothers and
sisters of an illegitimate child who was
recognized or judicially declared as
natural. Compulsory acknowledgment could be
demanded generally in cases when the child
had in his favor any evidence to prove
filiation. Unlike an action to claim legitimacy
which would last during the lifetime of the
child, and might pass exceptionally to the heirs
of the child, an action to claim
acknowledgment, however, could only be
brought during the lifetime of the presumed
parent.
Amicus Curiae Ruben F. Balane defined, during
the oral argument, "authentic writing," so as to
be an authentic writing for purposes of
voluntary recognition, simply as being a
genuine or indubitable writing of the

father. The term would include a public


instrument (one duly acknowledged before a
notary public or other competent official) or a
private writing admitted by the father to be his.
The Family Code has further liberalized the
rules; Article 172, Article 173, and Article 175
provide:
Art. 172. The filiation of legitimate children is
established by any of the following:
(1) The record of birth appearing in the civil
register or a final judgment; or
(2) An admission of legitimate filiation in a
public document or a private handwritten
instrument and signed by the parent
concerned.
In the absence of the foregoing evidence, the
legitimate filiation shall be proved by:
(1) The open and continuous possession of the
status of a legitimate child; or
(2) Any other means allowed by the Rules of
Court and special laws.
Art. 173. The action to claim legitimacy may be
brought by the child during his or her lifetime
and shall be transmitted to the heirs should the
child die during minority or in a state of
insanity. In these cases, the heirs shall have a
period of five years within which to institute
the action.
The action already commenced by the child
shall survive notwithstanding the death of
either or both of the parties.
x x x x x x x x x.
Art. 175. Illegitimate children may establish
their illegitimate filiation in the same way and
on the same, evidence as legitimate children.
The action must be brought within the same
period specified in Article 173, except when the
action is based on the second paragraph of
Article 172, in which case the action may be
brought during the lifetime of the alleged
parent.

The provisions of the Family Code are


retroactively applied; Article 256 of the code
reads:
"Art. 256. This Code shall have retroactive
effect insofar as it does not prejudice or impair
vested or acquired rights in accordance with
the Civil Code or other laws.
Thus, in Vda. de Sy-Quia vs. Court of Appeals,
[36] the Court has ruled:
"We hold that whether Jose was a voluntarily
recognized natural child should be decided
under Article 278 of the Civil Code of the
Philippines. Article 2260 of that Code provides
that 'the voluntary recognition of a natural
child shall take place according to this Code,
even if the child was born before the effectivity
of this body of laws' or before August 30,
1950. Hence, Article 278 may be given
retroactive effect."
It should be apparent that the growing trend to
liberalize the acknowledgment or recognition of
illegitimate children is an attempt to break
away from the traditional idea of keeping well
apart legitimate and non-legitimate
relationships within the family in favor of the
greater interest and welfare of the child. The
provisions are intended to merely govern the
private and personal affairs of the family. There
is little, if any, to indicate that the legitimate or
illegitimate civil status of the individual would
also affect his political rights or, in general, his
relationship to the State. While, indeed,
provisions on "citizenship" could be found in
the Civil Code, such provisions must be taken
in the context of private relations, the domain
of civil law; particularly "Civil Law is that branch of law which has for its
double purpose the organization of the family
and the regulation of property. It has thus
[been] defined as the mass of precepts which
determine and regulate the relations of
assistance, authority and obedience among
members of a family, and those which exist
among members of a society for the protection
of private interests."[37]
In Yaez de Barnuevo vs. Fuster,[38] the Court
has held:

"In accordance with Article 9 of the Civil Code


of Spain, x x x the laws relating to family rights
and duties, or to the status, condition and legal
capacity of persons, govern Spaniards although
they reside in a foreign country; that, in
consequence, 'all questions of a civil nature,
such as those dealing with the validity or
nullity of the matrimonial bond, the domicile of
the husband and wife, their support, as
between them, the separation of their
properties, the rules governing property,
marital authority, division of conjugal property,
the classification of their property, legal causes
for divorce, the extent of the latter, the
authority to decree it, and, in general, the civil
effects of marriage and divorce upon the
persons and properties of the spouses, are
questions that are governed exclusively by the
national law of the husband and wife."
The relevance of "citizenship" or "nationality"
to Civil Law is best exemplified in Article 15 of
the Civil Code, stating that "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" that explains the need to incorporate in the
code a reiteration of the Constitutional
provisions on citizenship. Similarly, citizenship
is significant in civil relationships found in
different parts of the Civil Code,[39] such as on
successional rights and family relations.[40] In
adoption, for instance, an adopted child would
be considered the child of his adoptive parents
and accorded the same rights as their
legitimate child but such legal fiction extended
only to define his rights under civil law[41] and
not his political status.
Civil law provisions point to an obvious bias
against illegitimacy. This discriminatory
attitude may be traced to the Spanish family
and property laws, which, while defining
proprietary and successional rights of members
of the family, provided distinctions in the rights
of legitimate and illegitimate children. In the
monarchial set-up of old Spain, the distribution
and inheritance of titles and wealth were
strictly according to bloodlines and the concern
to keep these bloodlines uncontaminated by
foreign blood was paramount.

These distinctions between legitimacy and


illegitimacy were codified in the Spanish Civil
Code, and the invidious discrimination survived
when the Spanish Civil Code became the
primary source of our own Civil Code. Such
distinction, however, remains and should
remain only in the sphere of civil law and not
unduly impede or impinge on the domain of
political law.

Thus, the duly notarized declaration made by


Ruby Kelley Mangahas, sister of Bessie Kelley
Poe submitted as Exhibit 20 before the
COMELEC, might be accepted to prove the acts
of Allan F. Poe, recognizing his own paternal
relationship with FPJ, i.e, living together with
Bessie Kelley and his children (including
respondent FPJ) in one house, and as one
family -

The proof of filiation or paternity for purposes


of determining his citizenship status should
thus be deemed independent from and not
inextricably tied up with that prescribed for
civil law purposes. The Civil Code or Family
Code provisions on proof of filiation or
paternity, although good law, do not have
preclusive effects on matters alien to personal
and family relations. The ordinary rules on
evidence could well and should govern. For
instance, the matter about pedigree is not
necessarily precluded from being applicable by
the Civil Code or Family Code provisions.

"I, Ruby Kelley Mangahas, of legal age and


sound mind, presently residing in Stockton,
California, U.S.A., after being sworn in
accordance with law do hereby declare that:

Section 39, Rule 130, of the Rules of Court


provides Act or Declaration about pedigree. The act or
declaration of a person deceased, or unable to
testify, in respect to the pedigree of another
person related to him by birth or marriage,
may be received in evidence where it occurred
before the controversy, and the relationship
between the two persons is shown by evidence
other than such act or declaration. The word
`pedigree includes relationship, family
genealogy, birth, marriage, death, the dates
when and the places where these facts
occurred, and the names of the relatives. It
embraces also facts of family history intimately
connected with pedigree.
For the above rule to apply, it would be
necessary that (a) the declarant is already
dead or unable to testify, (b) the pedigree of a
person must be at issue, (c) the declarant must
be a relative of the person whose pedigree is in
question, (d) declaration must be made before
the controversy has occurred, and (e) the
relationship between the declarant and the
person whose pedigree is in question must be
shown by evidence other than such act or
declaration.

1. I am the sister of the late Bessie Kelley Poe.


2. Bessie Kelley Poe was the wife of Fernando
Poe, Sr.
3. Fernando and Bessie Poe had a son by the
name of Ronald Allan Poe, more popularly
known in the Philippines as `Fernando Poe, Jr.,
or `FPJ.
4. Ronald Allan Poe `FPJ was born on August
20, 1939 at St. Luke's Hospital, Magdalena
Street, Manila.
xxxxxxxxx
7. Fernando Poe Sr., and my sister Bessie, met
and became engaged while they were students
at the University of the Philippines in 1936. I
was also introduced to Fernando Poe, Sr., by
my sister that same year.
8. Fernando Poe, Sr., and my sister Bessie had
their first child in 1938.
9. Fernando Poe, Sr., my sister Bessie and their
first three children, Elizabeth, Ronald, Allan and
Fernando II, and myself lived together with our
mother at our family's house on Dakota St.
(now Jorge Bocobo St.), Malate until the
liberation of Manila in 1945, except for some
months between 1943-1944.
10. Fernando Poe, Sr., and my sister, Bessie,
were blessed with four (4) more children after
Ronald Allan Poe.
xxxxxxxxx

18. I am executing this Declaration to attest to


the fact that my nephew, Ronald Allan Poe is a
natural born Filipino, and that he is the
legitimate child of Fernando Poe, Sr.
Done in City of Stockton, California, U.S.A., this
12th day of January 2004.
Ruby Kelley Mangahas
Declarant
DNA Testing
In case proof of filiation or paternity would be
unlikely to satisfactorily establish or would be
difficult to obtain, DNA testing, which examines
genetic codes obtained from body cells of the
illegitimate child and any physical residue of
the long dead parent could be resorted to. A
positive match would clear up filiation or
paternity. In Tijing vs. Court of Appeals,[42] this
Court has acknowledged the strong weight of
DNA testing "Parentage will still be resolved using
conventional methods unless we adopt the
modern and scientific ways
available. Fortunately, we have now the facility
and expertise in using DNA test for
identification and parentage testing. The
University of the Philippines Natural Science
Research Institute (UP-NSRI) DNA Analysis
Laboratory has now the capability to conduct
DNA typing using short tandem repeat (STR)
analysis. The analysis is based on the fact that
the DNA of a child/person has two (2) copies,
one copy from the mother and the other from
the father. The DNA from the mother, the
alleged father and the child are analyzed to
establish parentage. Of course, being a novel
scientific technique, the use of DNA test as
evidence is still open to challenge.Eventually,
as the appropriate case comes, courts should
not hesitate to rule on the admissibility of DNA
evidence. For it was said, that courts should
apply the results of science when competently
obtained in aid of situations presented, since to
reject said result is to deny progress."
Petitioners Argument For
Jurisprudential Conclusiveness

Petitioner would have it that even if Allan F. Poe


were a Filipino citizen, he could not have
transmitted his citizenship to respondent FPJ,
the latter being an illegitimate child.According
to petitioner, prior to his marriage to Bessie
Kelley, Allan F. Poe, on July 5, 1936, contracted
marriage with a certain Paulita Gomez, making
his subsequent marriage to Bessie Kelley
bigamous and respondent FPJ an illegitimate
child. The veracity of the supposed certificate
of marriage between Allan F. Poe and Paulita
Gomez could be most doubtful at best. But the
documentary evidence introduced by no less
than respondent himself, consisting of a birth
certificate of respondent and a marriage
certificate of his parents showed that FPJ was
born on 20 August 1939 to a Filipino father and
an American mother who were married to each
other a year later, or on 16 September
1940.Birth to unmarried parents would make
FPJ an illegitimate child. Petitioner contended
that as an illegitimate child, FPJ so followed the
citizenship of his mother, Bessie Kelley, an
American citizen, basing his stand on the ruling
of this Court in Morano vs. Vivo,
[43] citing Chiongbian vs. de
Leon[44] and Serra vs. Republic.[45]
On the above score, the disquisition made
by amicus curiae Joaquin G. Bernas, SJ, is most
convincing; he states "We must analyze these cases and ask what
the lis mota was in each of them. If the
pronouncement of the Court on jus
sanguinis was on the lis mota, the
pronouncement would be a decision
constituting doctrine under the rule of stare
decisis. But if the pronouncement was
irrelevant to the lis mota, the pronouncement
would not be a decision but a mere obiter
dictum which did not establish doctrine. I
therefore invite the Court to look closely into
these cases.
First, Morano vs. Vivo. The case was not about
an illegitimate child of a Filipino father. It was
about a stepson of a Filipino, a stepson who
was the child of a Chinese mother and a
Chinese father.The issue was whether the
stepson followed the naturalization of the
stepfather. Nothing about jus
sanguinis there. The stepson did not have the
blood of the naturalized stepfather.

Second, Chiongbian vs. de Leon. This case was


not about the illegitimate son of a Filipino
father. It was about a legitimate son of a father
who had become Filipino by election to public
office before the 1935 Constitution pursuant to
Article IV, Section 1(2) of the 1935
Constitution. No one was illegitimate here.
Third, Serra vs. Republic. The case was not
about the illegitimate son of a Filipino
father. Serra was an illegitimate child of a
Chinese father and a Filipino mother. The issue
was whether one who was already a Filipino
because of his mother who still needed to be
naturalized. There is nothing there about
invidious jus sanguinis.
Finally, Paa vs. Chan.[46] This is a more
complicated case. The case was about the
citizenship of Quintin Chan who was the son of
Leoncio Chan. Quintin Chan claimed that his
father, Leoncio, was the illegitimate son of a
Chinese father and a Filipino mother. Quintin
therefore argued that he got his citizenship
from Leoncio, his father. But the Supreme Court
said that there was no valid proof that Leoncio
was in fact the son of a Filipina mother. The
Court therefore concluded that Leoncio was not
Filipino. If Leoncio was not Filipino, neither was
his son Quintin. Quintin therefore was not only
not a natural-born Filipino but was not even a
Filipino.
The Court should have stopped there. But
instead it followed with an obiter dictum. The
Court said obiter that even if Leoncio, Quintin's
father, were Filipino, Quintin would not be
Filipino because Quintin was illegitimate. This
statement about Quintin, based on a contrary
to fact assumption, was absolutely
unnecessary for the case. x x x It was obiter
dictum, pure and simple, simply repeating the
obiter dictum in Morano vs. Vivo.
xxxxxxxxx
"Aside from the fact that such a
pronouncement would have no textual
foundation in the Constitution, it would also
violate the equal protection clause of the
Constitution not once but twice.First, it would
make an illegitimate distinction between a
legitimate child and an illegitimate child, and
second, it would make an illegitimate

distinction between the illegitimate child of a


Filipino father and the illegitimate child of a
Filipino mother.
The doctrine on constitutionally allowable
distinctions was established long ago by People
vs. Cayat.[47] I would grant that the distinction
between legitimate children and illegitimate
children rests on real differences. x x x But real
differences alone do not justify invidious
distinction. Real differences may justify
distinction for one purpose but not for another
purpose.
x x x What is the relevance of legitimacy or
illegitimacy to elective public service? What
possible state interest can there be for
disqualifying an illegitimate child from
becoming a public officer.It was not the fault of
the child that his parents had illicit liaison. Why
deprive the child of the fullness of political
rights for no fault of his own? To disqualify an
illegitimate child from holding an important
public office is to punish him for the
indiscretion of his parents. There is neither
justice nor rationality in that. And if there is
neither justice nor rationality in the distinction,
then the distinction transgresses the equal
protection clause and must be reprobated.
The other amici curiae, Mr. Justice Vicente
Mendoza (a former member of this Court),
Professor Ruben Balane and Dean Martin
Magallona, at bottom, have expressed similar
views. The thesis of petitioner, unfortunately
hinging solely on pure obiter dicta, should
indeed fail.
Where jurisprudence regarded an illegitimate
child as taking after the citizenship of its
mother, it did so for the benefit the child. It was
to ensure a Filipino nationality for the
illegitimate child of an alien father in line with
the assumption that the mother had custody,
would exercise parental authority and had the
duty to support her illegitimate child. It was to
help the child, not to prejudice or discriminate
against him.
The fact of the matter perhaps the most
significant consideration is that the 1935
Constitution, the fundamental law prevailing on
the day, month and year of birth of respondent
FPJ, can never be more explicit than it

is. Providing neither conditions nor distinctions,


the Constitution states that among the citizens
of the Philippines are those whose fathers are
citizens of the Philippines. There utterly is no
cogent justification to prescribe conditions or
distinctions where there clearly are none
provided.
In Sum
(1) The Court, in the exercise of its power of
judicial review, possesses jurisdiction over the
petition in G. R. No. 161824, filed under Rule
64, in relation to Rule 65, of the Revised Rules
of Civil Procedure. G.R. No. 161824 assails the
resolution of the COMELEC for alleged grave
abuse of discretion in dismissing, for lack of
merit, the petition in SPA No. 04-003 which has
prayed for the disqualification of respondent
FPJ from running for the position of President in
the 10th May 2004 national elections on the
contention that FPJ has committed material
representation in his certificate of candidacy by
representing himself to be a natural-born
citizen of the Philippines.
(2) The Court must dismiss, for lack of
jurisdiction and prematurity, the petitions in G.
R. No. 161434 and No. 161634 both having
been directly elevated to this Court in the
latters capacity as the only tribunal to resolve a
presidential and vice-presidential election
contest under the Constitution. Evidently, the
primary jurisdiction of the Court can directly be
invoked only after, not before, the elections are
held.
(3) In ascertaining, in G.R. No. 161824, whether
grave abuse of discretion has been committed
by the COMELEC, it is necessary to take on the
matter of whether or not respondent FPJ is a
natural-born citizen, which, in turn, depended
on whether or not the father of respondent,
Allan F. Poe, would have himself been a Filipino
citizen and, in the affirmative, whether or not
the alleged illegitimacy of respondent prevents
him from taking after the Filipino citizenship of
his putative father. Any conclusion on the
Filipino citizenship of Lorenzo Pou could only be
drawn from the presumption that having died
in 1954 at 84 years old, Lorenzo would have
been born sometime in the year 1870, when
the Philippines was under Spanish rule, and
that San Carlos, Pangasinan, his place of

residence upon his death in 1954, in the


absence of any other evidence, could have well
been his place of residence before death, such
that Lorenzo Pou would have benefited from
the en masse Filipinization that the Philippine
Bill had effected in 1902. That citizenship (of
Lorenzo Pou), if acquired, would thereby extend
to his son, Allan F. Poe, father of respondent
FPJ. The 1935 Constitution, during which
regime respondent FPJ has seen first light,
confers citizenship to all persons whose fathers
are Filipino citizens regardless of whether such
children are legitimate or illegitimate.
(4) But while the totality of the evidence may
not establish conclusively that respondent FPJ
is a natural-born citizen of the Philippines, the
evidence on hand still would preponderate in
his favor enough to hold that he cannot be held
guilty of having made a material
misrepresentation in his certificate of
candidacy in violation of Section 78, in relation
to Section 74, of the Omnibus Election Code.
Petitioner has utterly failed to substantiate his
case before the Court, notwithstanding the
ample opportunity given to the parties to
present their position and evidence, and to
prove whether or not there has been material
misrepresentation, which, as so ruled
in Romualdez-Marcos vs. COMELEC,[48] must
not only be material, but also deliberate and
willful.
WHEREFORE, the Court RESOLVES to DISMISS
1. G. R. No. 161434, entitled "Maria Jeanette C.
Tecson and Felix B. Desiderio, Jr.,
Petitioners, versus Commission on Elections,
Ronald Allan Kelley Poe (a.k.a. "Fernando Poe,
Jr.,) and Victorino X. Fornier, Respondents," and
G. R. No. 161634, entitled "Zoilo Antonio Velez,
Petitioner, versus Ronald Allan Kelley
Poe, a.k.a. Fernando Poe, Jr., Respondent," for
want of jurisdiction.
2. G. R. No. 161824, entitled Victorino X.
Fornier, Petitioner, versus Hon. Commission on
Elections and Ronald Allan Kelley Poe, also
known as Fernando Poe, Jr., for failure to show
grave abuse of discretion on the part of
respondent Commission on Elections in
dismissing the petition in SPA No. 04-003.
No Costs.

SO ORDERED.
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. 142840

May 7, 2001

ANTONIO BENGSON III, petitioner,


vs.
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES ELECTORAL
TRIBUNAL and TEODORO C.
CRUZ, respondents.
CONCURRING OPINION
DISSENTING OPINION
KAPUNAN, J.:
The citizenship of respondent Teodoro C. Cruz
is at issue in this case, in view of the
constitutional requirement that "no person
shall be a Member of the House of
Representative unless he is a natural-born
citizen."1
Respondent Cruz was a natural-born citizen of
the Philippines. He was born in San Clemente,
Tarlac, on April 27, 1960, of Filipino parents.
The fundamental law then applicable was the
1935 Constitution.2
On November 5, 1985, however, respondent
Cruz enlisted in the United States Marine Corps
and without the consent of the Republic of the
Philippines, took an oath of allegiance to the
United States. As a Consequence, he lost his
Filipino citizenship for under Commonwealth
Act No. 63, section 1(4), a Filipino citizen may
lose his citizenship by, among other,
"rendering service to or accepting commission
in the armed forces of a foreign country." Said
provision of law reads:
SECTION 1. How citizenship may be lost. A
Filipino citizen may lose his citizenship in any of
the following ways and/or events:
xxx
(4) By rendering services to, or accepting
commission in, the armed of a foreign
country: Provided, That the rendering of service

to, or the acceptance of such commission in,


the armed forces of a foreign country, and the
taking of an oath of allegiance incident thereto,
with the consent of the Republic of the
Philippines, shall not divest a Filipino of his
Philippine citizenship if either of the following
circumstances is present:
(a) The Republic of the Philippines has a
defensive and/or offensive pact of alliance with
said foreign country; or
(b) The said foreign country maintains armed
forces on Philippine territory with the consent
of the Republic of the
Philippines: Provided, That the Filipino citizen
concerned, at the time of rendering said
service, or acceptance of said commission, and
taking the oath of allegiance incident thereto,
states that he does so only in connection with
his service to said foreign country; And
provided, finally, That any Filipino citizen who is
rendering service to, or is commissioned in, the
armed forces of a foreign country under any of
the circumstances mentioned in paragraph (a)
or (b), shall not be Republic of the Philippines
during the period of his service to, or
commission in, the armed forces of said
country. Upon his discharge from the service of
the said foreign country, he shall be
automatically entitled to the full enjoyment of
his civil and politically entitled to the full
enjoyment of his civil political rights as a
Filipino citizen x x x.
Whatever doubt that remained regarding his
loss of Philippine citizenship was erased by his
naturalization as a U.S. citizen on June 5, 1990,
in connection with his service in the U.S.
Marine Corps.
On March 17, 1994, respondent Cruz
reacquired his Philippine citizenship through
repatriation under Republic Act No. 2630.3 He
ran for and was elected as the Representative
of the Second District of Pangasinan in the May
11, 1998 elections. He won by a convincing
margin of 26,671 votes over petitioner Antonio
Bengson III, who was then running for
reelection.1wphi1.nt
Subsequently, petitioner filed a case for Quo
Warranto Ad Cautelam with respondent House
of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET)

claiming that respondent Cruz was not


qualified to become a member of the House of
Representatives since he is not a natural-born
citizen as required under Article VI, section 6 of
the Constitution.4
On March 2, 2000, the HRET rendered its
decision5 dismissing the petition for quo
warranto and declaring Cruz the duly elected
Representative of the Second District of
Pangasinan in the May 1998 elections. The
HRET likewise denied petitioner's motion for
reconsideration of the decision in its resolution
dated April 27, 2000.6
Petitioner thus filed the present petition for
certiorari assailing the HRET's decision on the
following grounds:
1. The HRET committed serious errors and
grave abuse of discretion, amounting to excess
of jurisdiction, when it ruled that private
respondent is a natural-born citizen of the
Philippines despite the fact that he had ceased
being such in view of the loss and renunciation
of such citizenship on his part.
2. The HRET committed serious errors and
grave abuse of discretion, amounting to excess
of jurisdiction, when it considered private
respondent as a citizen of the
Philippines despite the fact he did not validly
acquire his Philippine citizenship.
3. Assuming that private respondent's
acquisition of Philippine citizenship was invalid,
the HRET committed serious errors and grave
abuse of discretion, amounting to excess of
jurisdiction, when it dismissed the
petition despite the fact that such reacquisition
could not legally and constitutionally restore
his natural-born status.7
The issue now before us is whether respondent
Cruz, a natural-born Filipino who became an
American citizen, can still be considered a
natural-born Filipino upon his reacquisition of
Philippine citizenship.
Petitioner asserts that respondent Cruz may no
longer be considered a natural-born Filipino
since he lost h is Philippine citizenship when he
swore allegiance to the United States in 1995,
and had to reacquire the same by repatriation.
He insists that Article citizens are those who

are from birth with out having to perform any


act to acquire or perfect such citizenship.
Respondent on the other hand contends that
he reacquired his status as natural-born citizen
when he was repatriated since the phrase
"from birth" in Article IV, Section 2 refers to the
innate, inherent and inborn characteristic of
being a natural-born citizen.
The petition is without merit.
The 1987 Constitution enumerates who are
Filipino citizens as follow:
(1) Those who are citizens of the Philippines at
the time of the adoption of this Constitution;
(2) Those whose fathers or mothers are citizens
of the Philippines;
(3) Those born before January 17, 1973 of
Filipino mother, who elect Philippine citizenship
upon reaching the age of majority, and
(4) Those who are naturalized in accordance
with law.8
There are two ways of acquiring citizenship: (1)
by birth, and (2) by naturalization. These ways
of acquiring citizenship correspond to the two
kinds of citizens: the natural-born citizen, and
the naturalized citizen. A person who at the
time of his birth is a citizen of a particular
country, is a natural-born citizen thereof.9
As defined in the same Constitution, naturalborn citizens "are those citizens of the
Philippines from birth without having to
perform any act to acquire or perfect his
Philippine citezenship."10
On the other hand, naturalized citizens are
those who have become Filipino citizens
through naturalization, generally under
Commonwealth Act No. 473, otherwise known
as the Revised Naturalization Law, which
repealed the former Naturalization Law (Act No.
2927), and by Republic Act No. 530.11 To be
naturalized, an applicant has to prove that he
possesses all the qualifications12 and none of
the disqualification13 provided by law to
become a Filipino citizen. The decision granting
Philippine citizenship becomes executory only
after two (2) years from its promulgation when

the court is satisfied that during the


intervening period, the applicant has (1) not
left the Philippines; (2) has dedicated himself
to a lawful calling or profession; (3) has not
been convicted of any offense or violation of
Government promulgated rules; or (4)
committed any act prejudicial to the interest of
the nation or contrary to any Government
announced policies.14
Filipino citizens who have lost their citizenship
may however reacquire the same in the
manner provided by law. Commonwealth Act.
No. (C.A. No. 63), enumerates the three modes
by which Philippine citizenship may be
reacquired by a former citizen: (1) by
naturalization, (2) by repatriation, and (3) by
direct act of Congress.15
Naturalization is mode for both acquisition and
reacquisition of Philippine citizenship. As a
mode of initially acquiring Philippine
citizenship, naturalization is governed by
Commonwealth Act No. 473, as amended. On
the other hand, naturalization as a mode for
reacquiring Philippine citizenship is governed
by Commonwealth Act No. 63.16 Under this
law, a former Filipino citizen who wishes to
reacquire Philippine citizenship must possess
certain qualifications17 and none of the
disqualification mentioned in Section 4 of C.A.
473.18
Repatriation, on the other hand, may be had
under various statutes by those who lost their
citizenship due to: (1) desertion of the armed
forces;19 services in the armed forces of the
allied forces in World War II;20 (3) service in
the Armed Forces of the United States at any
other time,21 (4) marriage of a Filipino woman
to an alien;22 and (5) political economic
necessity.23
As distinguished from the lengthy process of
naturalization, repatriation simply consists of
the taking of an oath of allegiance to the
Republic of the Philippine and registering said
oath in the Local Civil Registry of the place
where the person concerned resides or last
resided.
In Angat v. Republic,24 we held:

xxx. Parenthetically, under these statutes


[referring to RA Nos. 965 and 2630], the person
desiring to reacquire Philippine citizenship
would not even be required to file a petition in
court, and all that he had to do was to take an
oath of allegiance to the Republic of the
Philippines and to register that fact with the
civil registry in the place of his residence or
where he had last resided in the Philippines.
[Italics in the original.25
Moreover, repatriation results in the recovery
of the original nationality.26 This means that a
naturalized Filipino who lost his citizenship will
be restored to his prior status as a naturalized
Filipino citizen. On the other hand, if he was
originally a natural-born citizen before he lost
his Philippine citizenship, he will be restored to
his former status as a natural-born Filipino.
In respondent Cruz's case, he lost his Filipino
citizenship when he rendered service in the
Armed Forces of the United States. However,
he subsequently reacquired Philippine
citizenship under R.A. No. 2630, which
provides:
Section 1. Any person who had lost his
Philippine citizenship by rendering service to,
or accepting commission in, the Armed Forces
of the United States, or after separation from
the Armed Forces of the United States,
acquired United States citizenship, may
reacquire Philippine citizenship by taking an
oath of allegiance to the Republic of the
Philippines and registering the same with Local
Civil Registry in the place where he resides or
last resided in the Philippines. The said oath of
allegiance shall contain a renunciation of any
other citizenship.
Having thus taken the required oath of
allegiance to the Republic and having
registered the same in the Civil Registry of
Magantarem, Pangasinan in accordance with
the aforecited provision, respondent Cruz is
deemed to have recovered his original status
as a natural-born citizen, a status which he
acquired at birth as the son of a Filipino
father.27 It bears stressing that the act of
repatriation allows him to recover, or return to,
his original status before he lost his Philippine
citizenship.

Petitioner's contention that respondent Cruz is


no longer a natural-born citizen since he had to
perform an act to regain his citizenship is
untenable. As correctly explained by the HRET
in its decision, the term "natural-born citizen"
was first defined in Article III, Section 4 of the
1973 Constitution as follows:
Sec. 4. A natural-born citizen is one who is a
citizen of the Philippines from birth without
having to perform any act to acquire or perfect
his Philippine citizenship.
Two requisites must concur for a person to be
considered as such: (1) a person must be a
Filipino citizen birth and (2) he does not have to
perform any act to obtain or perfect his
Philippine citizenship.
Under the 1973 Constitution definition, there
were two categories of Filipino citizens which
were not considered natural-born: (1) those
who were naturalized and (2) those born before
January 17, 1973,38 of Filipino mothers who,
upon reaching the age of majority, elected
Philippine citizenship. Those "naturalized
citizens" were not considered natural-born
obviously because they were not Filipino at
birth and had to perform an act to acquire
Philippine citizenship. Those born of Filipino
mothers before the effectively of the 1973
Constitution were likewise not considered
natural-born because they also had to perform
an act to perfect their Philippines citizenship.
The present Constitution, however, now
consider those born of Filipino mothers before
the effectivity of the 1973 Constitution and
who elected Philippine citizenship upon
reaching the majority age as natural-born. After
defining who re natural-born citizens, Section 2
of Article IV adds a sentence: "Those who elect
Philippine citizenship in accordance with
paragraph (3), Section 1 hereof shall be
deemed natural-born citizens." Consequently,
only naturalized Filipinos are considered not
natural-born citizens. It is apparent from the
enumeration of who are citizens under the
present Constitution that there are only two
classes of citizens: (1) those who are naturalborn and (2) those who are naturalized in
accordance with law. A citizen who is not a
naturalized Filipino, i.e., did not have to
undergo the process of naturalization to obtain

Philippine citizenship, necessarily is naturalborn Filipino. Noteworthy is the absence in said


enumeration of a separate category for
persons who, after losing Philippine citizenship,
subsequently reacquire it. The reason therefor
is clear: as to such persons, they would either
be natural-born or naturalized depending on
the reasons for the loss of their citizenship and
the mode prescribed by the applicable law for
the reacquisition thereof. As respondent Cruz
was not required by law to go through
naturalization proceeding in order to reacquire
his citizenship, he is perforce a natural-born
Filipino. As such, he possessed all the
necessary qualifications to be elected as
member of the House of Representatives.
A final point. The HRET has been empowered
by the Constitution to be the "sole judge" of all
contests relating to the election, returns, and
qualifications of the members of the
House.29 The Court's jurisdiction over the
HRET is merely to check "whether or not there
has been a grave abuse of discretion
amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction" on
the part of the latter.30 In the absence thereof,
there is no occasion for the Court to exercise
its corrective power and annul the decision of
the HRET nor to substitute the Court's
judgement for that of the latter for the simple
reason that it is not the office of a petition for
certiorari to inquire into the correctness of the
assailed decision.31 There is no such showing
of grave abuse of discretion in this case.
WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DISMISSED.
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC

BAR MATTER No. 914 October 1, 1999


RE: APPLICATION FOR ADMISSION TO THE
PHILIPPINE BAR,
vs.
VICENTE D. CHING, applicant.
RESOLUTION

KAPUNAN, J.:
Can a legitimate child born under the 1935
Constitution of a Filipino mother and an alien
father validly elect Philippine citizenship
fourteen (14) years after he has reached the
age of majority? This is the question sought to
be resolved in the present case involving the
application for admission to the Philippine Bar
of Vicente D. Ching.
The facts of this case are as follows:
Vicente D. Ching, the legitimate son of the
spouses Tat Ching, a Chinese citizen, and
Prescila A. Dulay, a Filipino, was born in Francia
West, Tubao, La Union on 11 April 1964. Since
his birth, Ching has resided in the Philippines.
On 17 July 1998, Ching, after having completed
a Bachelor of Laws course at the St. Louis
University in Baguio City, filed an application to
take the 1998 Bar Examinations. In a
Resolution of this Court, dated 1 September
1998, he was allowed to take the Bar
Examinations, subject to the condition that he
must submit to the Court proof of his Philippine
citizenship.
In compliance with the above resolution, Ching
submitted on 18 November 1998, the following
documents:
1. Certification, dated 9 June 1986, issued by
the Board of Accountancy of the Professional
Regulations Commission showing that Ching is
a certified public accountant;
2. Voter Certification, dated 14 June 1997,
issued by Elizabeth B. Cerezo, Election Officer
of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) in
Tubao La Union showing that Ching is a
registered voter of the said place; and
3. Certification, dated 12 October 1998, also
issued by Elizabeth B. Cerezo, showing that
Ching was elected as a member of the
Sangguniang Bayan of Tubao, La Union during
the 12 May 1992 synchronized elections.
On 5 April 1999, the results of the 1998 Bar
Examinations were released and Ching was one
of the successful Bar examinees. The oath-

taking of the successful Bar examinees was


scheduled on 5 May 1999. However, because
of the questionable status of Ching's
citizenship, he was not allowed to take his
oath. Pursuant to the resolution of this Court,
dated 20 April 1999, he was required to submit
further proof of his citizenship. In the same
resolution, the Office of the Solicitor General
(OSG) was required to file a comment on
Ching's petition for admission to the bar and on
the documents evidencing his Philippine
citizenship.
The OSG filed its comment on 8 July 1999,
stating that Ching, being the "legitimate child
of a Chinese father and a Filipino mother born
under the 1935 Constitution was a Chinese
citizen and continued to be so, unless upon
reaching the age of majority he elected
Philippine citizenship" 1 in strict compliance
with the provisions of Commonwealth Act No.
625 entitled "An Act Providing for the Manner
in which the Option to Elect Philippine
Citizenship shall be Declared by a Person
Whose Mother is a Filipino Citizen." The OSG
adds that "(w)hat he acquired at best was only
an inchoate Philippine citizenship which he
could perfect by election upon reaching the
age of majority." 2 In this regard, the OSG
clarifies that "two (2) conditions must concur in
order that the election of Philippine citizenship
may be effective, namely: (a) the mother of the
person making the election must be a citizen of
the Philippines; and (b) said election must be
made upon reaching the age of majority." 3 The
OSG then explains the meaning of the phrase
"upon reaching the age of majority:"
The clause "upon reaching the age of majority"
has been construed to mean a reasonable time
after reaching the age of majority which had
been interpreted by the Secretary of Justice to
be three (3) years (VELAYO, supra at p.
51 citing Op., Sec. of Justice No. 70, s. 1940,
Feb. 27, 1940). Said period may be extended
under certain circumstances, as when a (sic)
person concerned has always considered
himself a Filipino (ibid., citing Op. Nos. 355 and
422, s. 1955; 3, 12, 46, 86 and 97, s. 1953).
But in Cuenco, it was held that an election
done after over seven (7) years was not made
within a reasonable time.

In conclusion, the OSG points out that Ching


has not formally elected Philippine citizenship
and, if ever he does, it would already be
beyond the "reasonable time" allowed by
present jurisprudence. However, due to the
peculiar circumstances surrounding Ching's
case, the OSG recommends the relaxation of
the standing rule on the construction of the
phrase "reasonable period" and the allowance
of Ching to elect Philippine citizenship in
accordance with C.A. No. 625 prior to taking his
oath as a member of the Philippine Bar.
On 27 July 1999, Ching filed a Manifestation,
attaching therewith his Affidavit of Election of
Philippine Citizenship and his Oath of
Allegiance, both dated 15 July 1999. In his
Manifestation, Ching states:
1. I have always considered myself as a
Filipino;
2. I was registered as a Filipino and consistently
declared myself as one in my school records
and other official documents;
3. I am practicing a profession (Certified Public
Accountant) reserved for Filipino citizens;
4. I participated in electoral process[es] since
the time I was eligible to vote;
5. I had served the people of Tubao, La Union
as a member of the Sangguniang Bayan from
1992 to 1995;
6. I elected Philippine citizenship on July 15,
1999 in accordance with Commonwealth Act
No. 625;
7. My election was expressed in a statement
signed and sworn to by me before a notary
public;
8. I accompanied my election of Philippine
citizenship with the oath of allegiance to the
Constitution and the Government of the
Philippines;
9. I filed my election of Philippine citizenship
and my oath of allegiance to (sic) the Civil
Registrar of Tubao La Union, and
10. I paid the amount of TEN PESOS (Ps. 10.00)
as filing fees.

Since Ching has already elected Philippine


citizenship on 15 July 1999, the question raised
is whether he has elected Philippine citizenship
within a "reasonable time." In the affirmative,
whether his citizenship by election retroacted
to the time he took the bar examination.
When Ching was born in 1964, the governing
charter was the 1935 Constitution. Under
Article IV, Section 1(3) of the 1935
Constitution, the citizenship of a legitimate
child born of a Filipino mother and an alien
father followed the citizenship of the father,
unless, upon reaching the age of majority, the
child elected Philippine citizenship. 4 This right
to elect Philippine citizenship was recognized in
the 1973 Constitution when it provided that
"(t)hose who elect Philippine citizenship
pursuant to the provisions of the Constitution
of nineteen hundred and thirty-five" are
citizens of the Philippines. 5 Likewise, this
recognition by the 1973 Constitution was
carried over to the 1987 Constitution which
states that "(t)hose born before January 17,
1973 of Filipino mothers, who elect Philippine
citizenship upon reaching the age of majority"
are Philippine citizens. 6 It should be noted,
however, that the 1973 and 1987
Constitutional provisions on the election of
Philippine citizenship should not be understood
as having a curative effect on any irregularity
in the acquisition of citizenship for those
covered by the 1935 Constitution. 7 If the
citizenship of a person was subject to
challenge under the old charter, it remains
subject to challenge under the new charter
even if the judicial challenge had not been
commenced before the effectivity of the new
Constitution. 8
C.A. No. 625 which was enacted pursuant to
Section 1(3), Article IV of the 1935
Constitution, prescribes the procedure that
should be followed in order to make a valid
election of Philippine citizenship. Under Section
1 thereof, legitimate children born of Filipino
mothers may elect Philippine citizenship by
expressing such intention "in a statement to be
signed and sworn to by the party concerned
before any officer authorized to administer
oaths, and shall be filed with the nearest civil
registry. The said party shall accompany the
aforesaid statement with the oath of allegiance

to the Constitution and the Government of the


Philippines."
However, the 1935 Constitution and C.A. No.
625 did not prescribe a time period within
which the election of Philippine citizenship
should be made. The 1935 Charter only
provides that the election should be made
"upon reaching the age of majority." The age of
majority then commenced upon reaching
twenty-one (21) years. 9 In the opinions of the
Secretary of Justice on cases involving the
validity of election of Philippine citizenship, this
dilemma was resolved by basing the time
period on the decisions of this Court prior to
the effectivity of the 1935 Constitution. In
these decisions, the proper period for electing
Philippine citizenship was, in turn, based on the
pronouncements of the Department of State of
the United States Government to the effect
that the election should be made within a
"reasonable time" after attaining the age of
majority. 10 The phrase "reasonable time" has
been interpreted to mean that the election
should be made within three (3) years from
reaching the age of
majority. 11 However, we held in Cuenco
vs. Secretary of Justice, 12 that the three (3)
year period is not an inflexible rule. We said:
It is true that this clause has been construed to
mean a reasonable period after reaching the
age of majority, and that the Secretary of
Justice has ruled that three (3) years is the
reasonable time to elect Philippine citizenship
under the constitutional provision adverted to
above, which period may be extended under
certain circumstances, as when the person
concerned has always considered himself a
Filipino. 13
However, we cautioned in Cuenco that the
extension of the option to elect Philippine
citizenship is not indefinite:
Regardless of the foregoing, petitioner was
born on February 16, 1923. He became of age
on February 16, 1944. His election of
citizenship was made on May 15, 1951, when
he was over twenty-eight (28) years of age, or
over seven (7) years after he had reached the
age of majority. It is clear that said election has
not been made "upon reaching the age of
majority." 14

In the present case, Ching, having been born


on 11 April 1964, was already thirty-five (35)
years old when he complied with the
requirements of C.A. No. 625 on 15 June 1999,
or over fourteen (14) years after he had
reached the age of majority. Based on the
interpretation of the phrase "upon reaching the
age of majority," Ching's election was clearly
beyond, by any reasonable yardstick, the
allowable period within which to exercise the
privilege. It should be stated, in this
connection, that the special circumstances
invoked by Ching, i.e., his continuous and
uninterrupted stay in the Philippines and his
being a certified public accountant, a
registered voter and a former elected public
official, cannot vest in him Philippine
citizenship as the law specifically lays down the
requirements for acquisition of Philippine
citizenship by election.
Definitely, the so-called special circumstances
cannot constitute what Ching erroneously
labels as informal election of citizenship. Ching
cannot find a refuge in the case of In
re:Florencio Mallare, 15 the pertinent portion of
which reads:
And even assuming arguendo that Ana Mallare
were (sic) legally married to an alien, Esteban's
exercise of the right of suffrage when he came
of age, constitutes a positive act of election of
Philippine citizenship. It has been established
that Esteban Mallare was a registered voter as
of April 14, 1928, and that as early as 1925
(when he was about 22 years old), Esteban was
already participating in the elections and
campaigning for certain candidate[s]. These
acts are sufficient to show his preference for
Philippine citizenship. 16
Ching's reliance on Mallare is misplaced. The
facts and circumstances obtaining therein are
very different from those in the present case,
thus, negating its applicability. First,
Esteban Mallare was born before the effectivity
of the 1935 Constitution and the enactment of
C.A. No. 625. Hence, the requirements and
procedures prescribed under the 1935
Constitution and C.A. No. 625 for electing
Philippine citizenship would not be applicable
to him. Second, the ruling in Mallare was an
obiter since, as correctly pointed out by the
OSG, it was not necessary for Esteban Mallare

to elect Philippine citizenship because he was


already a Filipino, he being a natural child of a
Filipino mother. In this regard, the Court stated:
Esteban Mallare, natural child of Ana Mallare, a
Filipina, is therefore himself a Filipino, and no
other act would be necessary to confer on him
all the rights and privileges attached to
Philippine citizenship (U.S. vs. Ong Tianse, 29
Phil. 332; Santos Co vs. Government of the
Philippine Islands, 42 Phil. 543, Serra vs.
Republic, L-4223, May 12, 1952, Sy Quimsuan
vs. Republic, L-4693, Feb. 16, 1953; Pitallano
vs. Republic, L-5111, June 28, 1954). Neither
could any act be taken on the erroneous belief
that he is a non-filipino divest him of the
citizenship privileges to which he is rightfully
entitled. 17
The ruling in Mallare was reiterated and further
elaborated in Co vs. Electoral Tribunal of the
House of Representatives, 18 where we held:

less binding. Entering a profession open only to


Filipinos, serving in public office where
citizenship is a qualification, voting during
election time, running for public office, and
other categorical acts of similar nature are
themselves formal manifestations for these
persons.
An election of Philippine citizenship
presupposes that the person electing is an
alien. Or his status is doubtful because he is a
national of two countries. There is no doubt in
this case about Mr. Ong's being a Filipino when
he turned twenty-one (21).
We repeat that any election of Philippine
citizenship on the part of the private
respondent would not only have been
superfluous but it would also have resulted in
an absurdity. How can a Filipino citizen elect
Philippine citizenship? 19

xxx xxx xxx

The Court, like the OSG, is sympathetic with


the plight of Ching. However, even if we
consider the special circumstances in the life of
Ching like his having lived in the Philippines all
his life and his consistent belief that he is a
Filipino, controlling statutes and jurisprudence
constrain us to disagree with the
recommendation of the OSG. Consequently, we
hold that Ching failed to validly elect Philippine
citizenship. The span of fourteen (14) years
that lapsed from the time he reached the age
of majority until he finally expressed his
intention to elect Philippine citizenship is
clearly way beyond the contemplation of the
requirement of electing "upon reaching the age
of majority." Moreover, Ching has offered no
reason why he delayed his election of
Philippine citizenship. The prescribed
procedure in electing Philippine citizenship is
certainly not a tedious and painstaking
process. All that is required of the elector is to
execute an affidavit of election of Philippine
citizenship and, thereafter, file the same with
the nearest civil registry. Ching's unreasonable
and unexplained delay in making his election
cannot be simply glossed over.

The filing of sworn statement or formal


declaration is a requirement for those who still
have to elect citizenship. For those already
Filipinos when the time to elect came up, there
are acts of deliberate choice which cannot be

Philippine citizenship can never be treated like


a commodity that can be claimed when needed
and suppressed when convenient. 20 One who
is privileged to elect Philippine citizenship has
only an inchoate right to such citizenship. As

We have jurisprudence that defines "election"


as both a formal and an informal process.
In the case of In re: Florencio Mallare (59 SCRA
45 [1974]), the Court held that the exercise of
the right of suffrage and the participation in
election exercises constitute a positive act of
election of Philippine citizenship. In the exact
pronouncement of the Court, we held:
Esteban's exercise of the right of suffrage when
he came of age constitutes a positive act of
Philippine citizenship. (p. 52: emphasis
supplied)
The private respondent did more than merely
exercise his right of suffrage. He has
established his life here in the Philippines.
For those in the peculiar situation of the
respondent who cannot be excepted to have
elected Philippine citizenship as they were
already citizens, we apply the In Re Mallare
rule.

such, he should avail of the right with fervor,


enthusiasm and promptitude. Sadly, in this
case, Ching slept on his opportunity to elect
Philippine citizenship and, as a result. this
golden privilege slipped away from his grasp.
IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the Court
Resolves to DENY Vicente D. Ching's
application for admission to the Philippine Bar.
SO ORDERED.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila

resident of Laoang, Northern Samar for voting


purposes. The sole issue before us is whether
or not, in making that determination, the HRET
acted with grave abuse of discretion.
On May 11, 1987, the congressional election
for the second district of Northern Samar was
held.
Among the candidates who vied for the
position of representative in the second
legislative district of Northern Samar are the
petitioners, Sixto Balinquit and Antonio Co and
the private respondent, Jose Ong, Jr.
Respondent Ong was proclaimed the duly
elected representative of the second district of
Northern Samar.

EN BANC

The petitioners filed election protests against


the private respondent premised on the
following grounds:

G.R. Nos. 92191-92 July 30, 1991

1) Jose Ong, Jr. is not a natural born citizen of


the Philippines; and

ANTONIO Y. CO, petitioner,


vs.
ELECTORAL TRIBUNAL OF THE HOUSE OF
REPRESENTATIVES AND JOSE ONG,
JR., respondents.
G.R. Nos. 92202-03 July 30, 1991
SIXTO T. BALANQUIT, JR., petitioner,
vs.
ELECTORAL TRIBUNAL OF THE HOUSE OF
REPRESENTATIVES AND JOSE ONG,
JR., respondents.

2) Jose Ong, Jr. is not a resident of the second


district of Northern Samar.
The HRET in its decision dated November 6,
1989, found for the private respondent.
A motion for reconsideration was filed by the
petitioners on November 12, 1989. This was,
however, denied by the HRET in its resolution
dated February 22, 1989.
Hence, these petitions for certiorari.

Hechanova & Associates for petitioner Co.

We treat the comments as answers and decide


the issues raised in the petitions.

Brillantes, Nachura, Navarro and Arcilla Law


Offices for respondent Ong, Jr.

ON THE ISSUE OF JURISDICTION


The first question which arises refers to our
jurisdiction.

GUTIERREZ, JR., J.:p


The petitioners come to this Court asking for
the setting aside and reversal of a decision of
the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal
(HRET).
The HRET declared that respondent Jose Ong,
Jr. is a natural born Filipino citizen and a

The Constitution explicitly provides that the


House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal
(HRET) and the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET)
shall be the sole judges of all contests relating
to the election, returns, and qualificationsof
their respective members. (See Article VI,
Section 17, Constitution)

The authority conferred upon the Electoral


Tribunal is full, clear and complete. The use of
the word soleemphasizes the exclusivity of the
jurisdiction of these Tribunals.
The Supreme Court in the case of Lazatin
v. HRET (168 SCRA 391 [1988]) stated that
under the 1987 Constitution, the jurisdiction of
the Electoral Tribunal is original and
exclusive, viz:
The use of the word "sole" emphasizes the
exclusive character of the jurisdiction conferred
(Angara v. Electoral Commission, supra at p.
162). The exercise of power by the Electoral
Commission under the 1935 Constitution has
been described as "intended to be as complete
and unimpaired as if it had originally remained
in the legislature." (id., at p. 175) Earlier this
grant of power to the legislature was
characterized by Justice Malcolm as "full, clear
and complete; (Veloso v. Board of Canvassers
of Leyte and Samar, 39 Phil. 886 [1919]) Under
the amended 1935 Constitution, the power was
unqualifiedly reposed upon the Electoral
Tribunal and it remained as full, clear and
complete as that previously granted the
Legislature and the Electoral Commission,
(Lachica v. Yap, 25 SCRA 140 [1968]) The same
may be said with regard to the jurisdiction of
the Electoral Tribunal under the 1987
Constitution. (p. 401)
The Court continued further, ". . . so long as
the Constitution grants the HRET the power to
be the sole judge of all contests relating to
election, returns and qualifications of members
of the House of Representatives, any final
action taken by the HRET on a matter within its
jurisdiction shall, as a rule, not be reviewed by
this Court . . . the power granted to the
Electoral Tribunal is full, clear and complete
and excludes the exercise of any authority on
the part of this Court that would in any wise
restrict it or curtail it or even affect the same."
(pp. 403-404)
When may the Court inquire into acts of the
Electoral Tribunals under our constitutional
grants of power?
In the later case of Robles v. HRET (181 SCRA
780 [1990]) the Supreme Court stated that the
judgments of the Tribunal are beyond judicial

interference save only "in the exercise of this


Court's so-called extraordinary jurisdiction, . . .
upon a determination that the Tribunal's
decision or resolution was rendered without or
in excess of its jurisdiction, or with grave abuse
of discretion or paraphrasing Morrero, upon a
clear showing of such arbitrary and
improvident use by the Tribunal of its power as
constitutes a denial of due process of law, or
upon a demonstration of a very clear
unmitigated ERROR, manifestly constituting
such GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION that there
has to be a remedy for such abuse." (at pp.
785-786)
In the leading case of Morrero v. Bocar (66 Phil.
429 [1938]) the Court ruled that the power of
the Electoral Commission "is beyond judicial
interference except, in any event, upon a clear
showing of such arbitrary and improvident use
of power as will constitute a denial of due
process." The Court does not venture into the
perilous area of trying to correct perceived
errors of independent branches of the
Government, It comes in only when it has to
vindicate a denial of due process or correct an
abuse of discretion so grave or glaring that no
less than the Constitution calls for remedial
action.
The Supreme Court under the 1987
Constitution, has been given an expanded
jurisdiction, so to speak, to review the
decisions of the other branches and agencies
of the government to determine whether or not
they have acted within the bounds of the
Constitution. (See Article VIII, Section 1,
Constitution)
Yet, in the exercise thereof, the Court is to
merely check whether or not the governmental
branch or agency has gone beyond the
Constitutional limits of its jurisdiction, not that
it erred or has a different view. In the absence
of a showing that the HRET has committed
grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of
jurisdiction, there is no occasion for the Court
to exercise its corrective power; it will not
decide a matter which by its nature is for the
HRET alone to decide. (See Marcos v.
Manglapus, 177 SCRA 668 [1989]) It has no
power to look into what it thinks is apparent
error.

As constitutional creations invested with


necessary power, the Electoral Tribunals,
although not powers in the tripartite scheme of
the government, are, in the exercise of their
functions independent organs independent
of Congress and the Supreme Court. The power
granted to HRET by the Constitution is
intended to be as complete and unimpaired as
if it had remained originally in the legislature.
(Angara v. Electoral Commission, 63 Phil. 139
[1936])
In passing upon petitions, the Court with its
traditional and careful regard for the balance of
powers, must permit this exclusive privilege of
the Tribunals to remain where the Sovereign
authority has place it. (See Veloso v. Boards of
Canvassers of Leyte and Samar, 39 Phil. 886
[1919])
It has been argued that under Article VI,
Section 17 of the present Constitution, the
situation may exist as it exists today where
there is an unhealthy one-sided political
composition of the two Electoral Tribunals.
There is nothing in the Constitution, however,
that makes the HRET because of its
composition any less independent from the
Court or its constitutional functions any less
exclusive. The degree of judicial intervention
should not be made to depend on how many
legislative members of the HRET belong to this
party or that party. The test remains the samemanifest grave abuse of discretion.
In the case at bar, the Court finds no
improvident use of power, no denial of due
process on the part of the HRET which will
necessitate the exercise of the power of judicial
review by the Supreme Court.
ON THE ISSUE OF CITIZENSHIP
The records show that in the year 1895, the
private respondent's grandfather, Ong Te,
arrived in the Philippines from China. Ong Te
established his residence in the municipality of
Laoang, Samar on land which he bought from
the fruits of hard work.
As a resident of Laoang, Ong Te was able to
obtain a certificate of residence from the then
Spanish colonial administration.

The father of the private respondent, Jose Ong


Chuan was born in China in 1905. He was
brought by Ong Te to Samar in the year 1915.
Jose Ong Chuan spent his childhood in the
province of Samar. In Laoang, he was able to
establish an enduring relationship with his
neighbors, resulting in his easy assimilation
into the community.
As Jose Ong Chuan grew older in the rural and
seaside community of Laoang, he absorbed
Filipino cultural values and practices. He was
baptized into Christianity. As the years passed,
Jose Ong Chuan met a natural born-Filipino,
Agripina Lao. The two fell in love and,
thereafter, got married in 1932 according to
Catholic faith and practice.
The couple bore eight children, one of whom is
the private respondent who was born in 1948.
The private respondent's father never
emigrated from this country. He decided to put
up a hardware store and shared and survived
the vicissitudes of life in Samar.
The business prospered. Expansion became
inevitable. As a result, a branch was set-up in
Binondo, Manila. In the meantime, the father of
the private respondent, unsure of his legal
status and in an unequivocal affirmation of
where he cast his life and family, filed with the
Court of First Instance of Samar an application
for naturalization on February 15, 1954.
On April 28, 1955, the CFI of Samar, after trial,
declared Jose Ong Chuan a Filipino citizen.
On May 15, 1957, the Court of First Instance of
Samar issued an order declaring the decision of
April 28, 1955 as final and executory and that
Jose Ong Chuan may already take his Oath of
Allegiance.
Pursuant to said order, Jose Ong Chuan took his
Oath of Allegiance; correspondingly, a
certificate of naturalization was issued to him.
At the time Jose Ong Chuan took his oath, the
private respondent then a minor of nine years
was finishing his elementary education in the
province of Samar. There is nothing in the
records to differentiate him from other Filipinos

insofar as the customs and practices of the


local populace were concerned.

In 1984, the private respondent married a


Filipina named Desiree Lim.

Fortunes changed. The house of the family of


the private respondent in Laoang, Samar was
burned to the ground.

For the elections of 1984 and 1986, Jose Ong,


Jr. registered himself as a voter of Laoang,
Samar, and correspondingly, voted there
during those elections.

Undaunted by the catastrophe, the private


respondent's family constructed another one in
place of their ruined house. Again, there is no
showing other than that Laoang was their
abode and home.
After completing his elementary education, the
private respondent, in search for better
education, went to Manila in order to acquire
his secondary and college education.
In the meantime, another misfortune was
suffered by the family in 1975 when a fire
gutted their second house in Laoang, Samar.
The respondent's family constructed still
another house, this time a 16-door apartment
building, two doors of which were reserved for
the family.
The private respondent graduated from
college, and thereafter took and passed the
CPA Board Examinations.
Since employment opportunities were better in
Manila, the respondent looked for work here.
He found a job in the Central Bank of the
Philippines as an examiner. Later, however, he
worked in the hardware business of his family
in Manila. In 1971, his elder brother, Emil, was
elected as a delegate to the 1971
Constitutional Convention. His status as a
natural born citizen was challenged.
Parenthetically, the Convention which in
drafting the Constitution removed the unequal
treatment given to derived citizenship on the
basis of the mother's citizenship formally and
solemnly declared Emil Ong, respondent's full
brother, as a natural born Filipino. The
Constitutional Convention had to be aware of
the meaning of natural born citizenship since it
was precisely amending the article on this
subject.
The private respondent frequently went home
to Laoang, Samar, where he grew up and spent
his childhood days.

The private respondent after being engaged for


several years in the management of their
family business decided to be of greater
service to his province and ran for public office.
Hence, when the opportunity came in 1987, he
ran in the elections for representative in the
second district of Northern Samar.
Mr. Ong was overwhelmingly voted by the
people of Northern Samar as their
representative in Congress. Even if the total
votes of the two petitioners are combined, Ong
would still lead the two by more than 7,000
votes.
The pertinent portions of the Constitution
found in Article IV read:
SECTION 1, the following are citizens of the
Philippines:
1. Those who are citizens of the Philippines at
the time of the adoption of the Constitution;
2. Those whose fathers or mothers are citizens
of the Philippines;
3. Those born before January 17, 1973, of
Filipino mothers, who elect Philippine
citizenship upon reaching the age of majority;
and
4. Those who are naturalized in accordance
with law.
SECTION 2, Natural-born Citizens are those who
are citizens of the Philippines from birth
without having to perform any act to acquire or
perfect their citizenship. Those who elect
Philippine citizenship in accordance with
paragraph 3 hereof shall be deemed naturalborn citizens.
The Court interprets Section 1, Paragraph 3
above as applying not only to those who elect
Philippine citizenship after February 2, 1987
but also to those who, having been born of

Filipino mothers, elected citizenship before that


date.
The provision in Paragraph 3 was intended to
correct an unfair position which discriminates
against Filipino women. There is no ambiguity
in the deliberations of the Constitutional
Commission, viz:
Mr. Azcuna: With respect to the provision of
section 4, would this refer only to those who
elect Philippine citizenship after the effectivity
of the 1973 Constitution or would it also cover
those who elected it under the 1973
Constitution?
Fr. Bernas: It would apply to anybody who
elected Philippine citizenship by virtue of the
provision of the 1935 Constitution whether the
election was done before or after January 17,
1973. (Records of the Constitutional
Commission, Vol. 1, p. 228; Emphasis supplied)
xxx xxx xxx
Mr. Trenas: The Committee on Citizenship, Bill
of Rights, Political Rights and Obligations and
Human Rights has more or less decided to
extend the interpretation of who is a naturalborn citizen as provided in section 4 of the
1973 Constitution by adding that persons who
have elected Philippine Citizenship under the
1935 Constitution shall be natural-born? Am I
right Mr. Presiding Officer?
Fr. Bernas: yes.
xxx xxx xxx
Mr. Nolledo: And I remember very well that in
the Reverend Father Bernas' well written book,
he said that the decision was designed merely
to accommodate former delegate Ernesto Ang
and that the definition on natural-born has no
retroactive effect. Now it seems that the
Reverend Father Bernas is going against this
intention by supporting the amendment?
Fr. Bernas: As the Commissioner can see, there
has been an evolution in my thinking. (Records
of the Constitutional Commission, Vol. 1, p.
189)
xxx xxx xxx

Mr. Rodrigo: But this provision becomes very


important because his election of Philippine
citizenship makes him not only a Filipino citizen
but a natural-born Filipino citizen entitling him
to run for Congress. . .
Fr. Bernas: Correct. We are quite aware of that
and for that reason we will leave it to the body
to approve that provision of section 4.
Mr. Rodrigo: I think there is a good basis for the
provision because it strikes me as unfair that
the Filipino citizen who was born a day before
January 17, 1973 cannot be a Filipino citizen or
a natural-born citizen. (Records of the
Constitutional Commission, Vol. 1, p. 231)
xxx xxx xxx
Mr. Rodrigo: The purpose of that provision is to
remedy an inequitable situation. Between 1935
and 1973 when we were under the 1935
Constitution, those born of Filipino fathers but
alien mothers were natural-born Filipinos.
However, those born of Filipino mothers but
alien fathers would have to elect Philippine
citizenship upon reaching the age of majority;
and if they do elect, they become Filipino
citizens but not natural-born Filipino citizens.
(Records of the Constitutional Commission, Vol.
1, p. 356)
The foregoing significantly reveals the intent of
the framers. To make the provision prospective
from February 3, 1987 is to give a narrow
interpretation resulting in an inequitable
situation. It must also be retroactive.
It should be noted that in construing the law,
the Courts are not always to be hedged in by
the literal meaning of its language. The spirit
and intendment thereof, must prevail over the
letter, especially where adherence to the latter
would result in absurdity and injustice. (Casela
v. Court of Appeals, 35 SCRA 279 [1970])
A Constitutional provision should be construed
so as to give it effective operation and
suppress the mischief at which it is aimed,
hence, it is the spirit of the provision which
should prevail over the letter thereof. (Jarrolt v.
Mabberly, 103 U.S. 580)
In the words of the Court in the case
of J.M. Tuason v. LTA (31 SCRA 413 [1970]:

To that primordial intent, all else is


subordinated. Our Constitution, any
constitution is not to be construed narrowly or
pedantically for the prescriptions therein
contained, to paraphrase Justice Holmes, are
not mathematical formulas having their
essence in their form but are organic living
institutions, the significance of which is vital
not formal. . . . (p. 427)

of whether or not the respondent elected or


chose to be a Filipino citizen.

The provision in question was enacted to


correct the anomalous situation where one
born of a Filipino father and an alien mother
was automatically granted the status of a
natural-born citizen while one born of a Filipino
mother and an alien father would still have to
elect Philippine citizenship. If one so elected,
he was not, under earlier laws, conferred the
status of a natural-born.

To expect the respondent to have formally or in


writing elected citizenship when he came of
age is to ask for the unnatural and
unnecessary. The reason is obvious. He was
already a citizen. Not only was his mother a
natural born citizen but his father had been
naturalized when the respondent was only nine
(9) years old. He could not have divined when
he came of age that in 1973 and 1987 the
Constitution would be amended to require him
to have filed a sworn statement in 1969
electing citizenship inspite of his already
having been a citizen since 1957. In 1969,
election through a sworn statement would have
been an unusual and unnecessary procedure
for one who had been a citizen since he was
nine years old.

Under the 1973 Constitution, those born of


Filipino fathers and those born of Filipino
mothers with an alien father were placed on
equal footing. They were both considered as
natural-born citizens.
Hence, the bestowment of the status of
"natural-born" cannot be made to depend on
the fleeting accident of time or result in two
kinds of citizens made up of essentially the
same similarly situated members.
It is for this reason that the amendments were
enacted, that is, in order to remedy this
accidental anomaly, and, therefore, treat
equally all those born before the 1973
Constitution and who elected Philippine
citizenship either before or after the effectivity
of that Constitution.
The Constitutional provision in question is,
therefore curative in nature. The enactment
was meant to correct the inequitable and
absurd situation which then prevailed, and
thus, render those acts valid which would have
been nil at the time had it not been for the
curative provisions. (See Development Bank of
the Philippines v. Court of Appeals, 96 SCRA
342 [1980])
There is no dispute that the respondent's
mother was a natural born Filipina at the time
of her marriage. Crucial to this case is the issue

Election becomes material because Section 2


of Article IV of the Constitution accords natural
born status to children born of Filipino mothers
before January 17, 1973, if
they elect citizenship upon reaching the age of
majority.

We have jurisprudence that defines "election"


as both a formal and an informal process.
In the case of In Re: Florencio Mallare (59 SCRA
45 [1974]), the Court held that the exercise of
the right of suffrage and the participation in
election exercises constitute a positive act of
election of Philippine citizenship. In the exact
pronouncement of the Court, we held:
Esteban's exercise of the right of suffrage when
he came of age, constitutes a positive act of
election of Philippine citizenship (p. 52;
emphasis supplied)
The private respondent did more than merely
exercise his right of suffrage. He has
established his life here in the Philippines.
For those in the peculiar situation of the
respondent who cannot be expected to have
elected citizenship as they were already
citizens, we apply the In Re Mallare rule.
The respondent was born in an outlying rural
town of Samar where there are no alien
enclaves and no racial distinctions. The

respondent has lived the life of a Filipino since


birth. His father applied for naturalization when
the child was still a small boy. He is a Roman
Catholic. He has worked for a sensitive
government agency. His profession requires
citizenship for taking the examinations and
getting a license. He has participated in
political exercises as a Filipino and has always
considered himself a Filipino citizen. There is
nothing in the records to show that he does not
embrace Philippine customs and values,
nothing to indicate any tinge of alien-ness no
acts to show that this country is not his natural
homeland. The mass of voters of Northern
Samar are frilly aware of Mr. Ong's parentage.
They should know him better than any member
of this Court will ever know him. They voted by
overwhelming numbers to have him represent
them in Congress. Because of his acts since
childhood, they have considered him as a
Filipino.
The filing of sworn statement or formal
declaration is a requirement for those who still
have to elect citizenship.For those already
Filipinos when the time to elect came up, there
are acts of deliberate choice which cannot be
less binding. Entering a profession open only to
Filipinos, serving in public office where
citizenship is a qualification, voting during
election time, running for public office, and
other categorical acts of similar nature are
themselves formal manifestations of choice for
these persons.
An election of Philippine citizenship
presupposes that the person electing is an
alien. Or his status is doubtful because he is a
national of two countries. There is no doubt in
this case about Mr. Ong's being a Filipino when
he turned twenty-one (21).
We repeat that any election of Philippine
citizenship on the part of the private
respondent would not only have been
superfluous but it would also have resulted in
an absurdity. How can a Filipino citizen elect
Philippine citizenship?
The respondent HRET has an interesting view
as to how Mr. Ong elected citizenship. It
observed that "when protestee was only nine
years of age, his father, Jose Ong Chuan
became a naturalized Filipino. Section 15 of the

Revised Naturalization Act squarely applies its


benefit to him for he was then a minor residing
in this country. Concededly, it was the law itself
that had already elected Philippine citizenship
for protestee by declaring him as such."
(Emphasis supplied)
The petitioners argue that the respondent's
father was not, validly, a naturalized citizen
because of his premature taking of the oath of
citizenship.
The Court cannot go into the collateral
procedure of stripping Mr. Ong's father of his
citizenship after his death and at this very late
date just so we can go after the son.
The petitioners question the citizenship of the
father through a collateral approach. This can
not be done. In our jurisdiction, an attack on a
person's citizenship may only be done through
a direct action for its nullity. (See Queto v.
Catolico, 31 SCRA 52 [1970])
To ask the Court to declare the grant of
Philippine citizenship to Jose Ong Chuan as null
and void would run against the principle of due
process. Jose Ong Chuan has already been laid
to rest. How can he be given a fair opportunity
to defend himself. A dead man cannot speak.
To quote the words of the HRET "Ong Chuan's
lips have long been muted to perpetuity by his
demise and obviously he could not use beyond
where his mortal remains now lie to defend
himself were this matter to be made a central
issue in this case."
The issue before us is not the nullification of
the grant of citizenship to Jose Ong Chuan. Our
function is to determine whether or not the
HRET committed abuse of authority in the
exercise of its powers. Moreover, the
respondent traces his natural born citizenship
through his mother, not through the citizenship
of his father. The citizenship of the father is
relevant only to determine whether or not the
respondent "chose" to be a Filipino when he
came of age. At that time and up to the
present, both mother and father were Filipinos.
Respondent Ong could not have elected any
other citizenship unless he first formally
renounced Philippine citizenship in favor of a
foreign nationality. Unlike other persons faced
with a problem of election, there was no

foreign nationality of his father which he could


possibly have chosen.
There is another reason why we cannot declare
the HRET as having committed manifest grave
abuse of discretion. The same issue of naturalborn citizenship has already been decided by
the Constitutional Convention of 1971 and by
the Batasang Pambansa convened by authority
of the Constitution drafted by that Convention.
Emil Ong, full blood brother of the respondent,
was declared and accepted as a natural born
citizen by both bodies.
Assuming that our opinion is different from that
of the Constitutional Convention, the Batasang
Pambansa, and the respondent HRET, such a
difference could only be characterized as error.
There would be no basis to call the HRET
decision so arbitrary and whimsical as to
amount to grave abuse of discretion.
What was the basis for the Constitutional
Convention's declaring Emil Ong a natural born
citizen?
Under the Philippine Bill of 1902, inhabitants of
the Philippines who were Spanish subjects on
the 11th day of April 1899 and then residing in
said islands and their children born subsequent
thereto were conferred the status of a Filipino
citizen.
Was the grandfather of the private respondent
a Spanish subject?
Article 17 of the Civil Code of Spain
enumerates those who were considered
Spanish Subjects, viz:
ARTICLE 17. The following are Spaniards:
1. Persons born in Spanish territory.
2. Children born of a Spanish father or mother,
even though they were born out of Spain.
3. Foreigners who may have obtained
naturalization papers.
4. Those without such papers, who may have
acquired domicile in any town in the Monarchy.
(Emphasis supplied)

The domicile of a natural person is the place of


his habitual residence. This domicile, once
established is considered to continue and will
not be deemed lost until a new one is
established. (Article 50, NCC; Article 40, Civil
Code of Spain; Zuellig v. Republic, 83 Phil. 768
[1949])
As earlier stated, Ong Te became a permanent
resident of Laoang, Samar around 1895.
Correspondingly, a certificate of residence was
then issued to him by virtue of his being a
resident of Laoang, Samar. (Report of the
Committee on Election Protests and Credentials
of the 1971 Constitutional Convention,
September 7, 1972, p. 3)
The domicile that Ong Te established in 1895
continued until April 11, 1899; it even went
beyond the turn of the 19th century. It is also in
this place were Ong Te set-up his business and
acquired his real property.
As concluded by the Constitutional Convention,
Ong Te falls within the meaning of subparagraph 4 of Article 17 of the Civil Code of
Spain.
Although Ong Te made brief visits to China, he,
nevertheless, always returned to the
Philippines. The fact that he died in China,
during one of his visits in said country, was of
no moment. This will not change the fact that
he already had his domicile fixed in the
Philippines and pursuant to the Civil Code of
Spain, he had become a Spanish subject.
If Ong Te became a Spanish subject by virtue of
having established his domicile in a town under
the Monarchy of Spain, necessarily, Ong Te was
also an inhabitant of the Philippines for an
inhabitant has been defined as one who has
actual fixed residence in a place; one who has
a domicile in a place. (Bouvier's Law
Dictionary, Vol. II) Apriori, there can be no
other logical conclusion but to educe that Ong
Te qualified as a Filipino citizen under the
provisions of section 4 of the Philippine Bill of
1902.
The HRET itself found this fact of absolute
verity in concluding that the private
respondent was a natural-born Filipino.

The petitioners' sole ground in disputing this


fact is that document presented to prove it
were not in compliance with the best the
evidence rule. The petitioners allege that the
private respondent failed to present the
original of the documentary evidence,
testimonial evidence and of the transcript of
the proceedings of the body which the
aforesaid resolution of the 1971 Constitutional
Convention was predicated.
On the contrary, the documents presented by
the private respondent fall under the
exceptions to the best evidence rule.
It was established in the proceedings before
the HRET that the originals of the Committee
Report No. 12, the minutes of the plenary
session of 1971 Constitutional Convention held
on November 28, 1972 cannot be found.
This was affirmed by Atty. Ricafrente, Assistant
Secretary of the 1971 Constitutional
Convention; by Atty. Nolledo, Delegate to the
1971 Constitutional Convention; and by Atty.
Antonio Santos, Chief Librarian of the U.P Law
Center, in their respective testimonies given
before the HRET to the effect that there is no
governmental agency which is the official
custodian of the records of the 1971
Constitutional Convention. (TSN, December 12,
1988, pp. 30-31; TSN, January 17, 1989, pp.
34-35; TSN, February 1, 1989, p. 44; TSN,
February 6, 1989, pp. 28-29)
The execution of the originals was established
by Atty. Ricafrente, who as the Assistant
Secretary of the 1971 Constitutional
Convention was the proper party to testify to
such execution. (TSN, December 12, 1989, pp.
11-24)
The inability to produce the originals before the
HRET was also testified to as aforestated by
Atty. Ricafrente, Atty. Nolledo, and Atty. Santos.
In proving the inability to produce, the law does
not require the degree of proof to be of
sufficient certainty; it is enough that it be
shown that after a bona fide diligent search,
the same cannot be found. (see Government of
P.I. v. Martinez, 44 Phil. 817 [1918])
Since the execution of the document and the
inability to produce were adequately

established, the contents of the questioned


documents can be proven by a copy thereof or
by the recollection of witnesses.
Moreover, to erase all doubts as to the
authenticity of the documentary evidence cited
in the Committee Report, the former member
of the 1971 Constitutional Convention, Atty.
Nolledo, when he was presented as a witness
in the hearing of the protest against the private
respondent, categorically stated that he saw
the disputed documents presented during the
hearing of the election protest against the
brother of the private respondent. (TSN,
February 1, 1989, pp. 8-9)
In his concurring opinion, Mr. Justice Sarmiento,
a vice-president of the Constitutional
Convention, states that he was presiding officer
of the plenary session which deliberated on the
report on the election protest against Delegate
Emil Ong. He cites a long list of names of
delegates present. Among them are Mr. Chief
Justice Fernan, and Mr. Justice Davide, Jr. The
petitioners could have presented any one of
the long list of delegates to refute Mr. Ong's
having been declared a natural-born citizen.
They did not do so. Nor did they demur to the
contents of the documents presented by the
private respondent. They merely relied on the
procedural objections respecting the
admissibility of the evidence presented.
The Constitutional Convention was the sole
judge of the qualifications of Emil Ong to be a
member of that body. The HRET by explicit
mandate of the Constitution, is the sole
judge of the qualifications of Jose Ong, Jr. to be
a member of Congress. Both bodies deliberated
at length on the controversies over which they
were sole judges. Decisions were arrived at
only after a full presentation of all relevant
factors which the parties wished to present.
Even assuming that we disagree with their
conclusions, we cannot declare their acts as
committed with grave abuse of discretion. We
have to keep clear the line
between error and grave abuse.
ON THE ISSUE OF RESIDENCE
The petitioners question the residence
qualification of respondent Ong.

The petitioners lose sight of the meaning of


"residence" under the Constitution. The term
"residence" has been understood as
synonymous with domicile not only under the
previous Constitutions but also under the 1987
Constitution.
The deliberations of the Constitutional
Commission reveal that the meaning of
residence vis-a-vis the qualifications of a
candidate for Congress continues to remain the
same as that of domicile, to wit:
Mr. Nolledo: With respect to Section 5, I
remember that in the 1971 Constitutional
Convention, there was an attempt to require
residence in the place not less than one year
immediately preceding the day of the
elections. So my question is: What is the
Committee's concept of residence of a
candidate for the legislature? Is it actual
residence or is it the concept of domicile or
constructive residence?
Mr. Davide: Madame President, in so far as the
regular members of the National Assembly are
concerned, the proposed section merely
provides, among others, and a resident thereof,
that is, in the district, for a period of not less
than one year preceding the day of the
election. This was in effect lifted from the 1973
Constitution, the interpretation given to it was
domicile. (Records of the 1987 Constitutional
Convention, Vol. 11, July 22, 1986. p. 87)
xxx xxx xxx
Mrs. Rosario Braid: The next question is on
Section 7, page 2. I think Commissioner
Nolledo has raised the same point that
"resident" has been interpreted at times as a
matter of intention rather than actual
residence.
Mr. De los Reyes: Domicile.
Ms. Rosario Braid: Yes, So, would the
gentlemen consider at the proper time to go
back to actual residence rather than mere
intention to reside?
Mr. De los Reyes: But we might encounter
some difficulty especially considering that a
provision in the Constitution in the Article on
Suffrage says that Filipinos living abroad may

vote as enacted by law. So, we have to stick to


the original concept that it should be by
domicile and not physical and actual residence.
(Records of the 1987 Constitutional
Commission, Vol. 11, July 22, 1986, p. 110)
The framers of the Constitution adhered to the
earlier definition given to the word "residence"
which regarded it as having the same meaning
as domicile.
The term "domicile" denotes a fixed permanent
residence to which when absent for business or
pleasure, one intends to return. (Ong Huan Tin
v. Republic, 19 SCRA 966 [1967]) The absence
of a person from said permanent residence, no
matter how long, notwithstanding, it continues
to be the domicile of that person. In other
words, domicile is characterized by animus
revertendi (Ujano v. Republic, 17 SCRA 147
[1966])
The domicile of origin of the private
respondent, which was the domicile of his
parents, is fixed at Laoang, Samar. Contrary to
the petitioners' imputation, Jose Ong, Jr. never
abandoned said domicile; it remained fixed
therein even up to the present.
The private respondent, in the proceedings
before the HRET sufficiently established that
after the fire that gutted their house in 1961,
another one was constructed.
Likewise, after the second fire which again
destroyed their house in 1975, a sixteen-door
apartment was built by their family, two doors
of which were reserved as their family
residence. (TSN, Jose Ong, Jr., November
18,1988, p. 8)
The petitioners' allegation that since the
private respondent owns no property in
Laoang, Samar, he cannot, therefore, be a
resident of said place is misplaced.
The properties owned by the Ong Family are in
the name of the private respondent's parents.
Upon the demise of his parents, necessarily,
the private respondent, pursuant to the laws of
succession, became the co-owner thereof (as a
co- heir), notwithstanding the fact that these
were still in the names of his parents.

Even assuming that the private respondent


does not own any property in Samar, the
Supreme Court in the case of De los Reyes
v. Solidum (61 Phil. 893 [1935]) held that it is
not required that a person should have a house
in order to establish his residence and
domicile. It is enough that he should live in the
municipality or in a rented house or in that of a
friend or relative. (Emphasis supplied)

Our citizens no doubt constitute the country's


greatest wealth. Citizenship is a special
privilege which one must forever cherish.

To require the private respondent to own


property in order to be eligible to run for
Congress would be tantamount to a property
qualification. The Constitution only requires
that the candidate meet the age, citizenship,
voting and residence requirements. Nowhere is
it required by the Constitution that the
candidate should also own property in order to
be qualified to run. (see Maquera v. Borra, 122
Phil. 412 [1965])

Under the overly strict jurisprudence


surrounding our antiquated naturalization laws
only the very affluent backed by influential
patrons, who were willing to suffer the
indignities of a lengthy, sometimes humiliating,
and often corrupt process of clearances by
minor bureaucrats and whose lawyers knew
how to overcome so many technical traps of
the judicial process were able to acquire
citizenship. It is time for the naturalization law
to be revised to enable a more positive,
affirmative, and meaningful examination of an
applicant's suitability to be a Filipino. A more
humane, more indubitable and less technical
approach to citizenship problems is essential.

It has also been settled that absence from


residence to pursue studies or practice a
profession or registration as a voter other than
in the place where one is elected, does not
constitute loss of residence. (Faypon v. Quirino,
96 Phil. 294 [1954])
As previously stated, the private respondent
stayed in Manila for the purpose of finishing his
studies and later to practice his profession,
There was no intention to abandon the
residence in Laoang, Samar. On the contrary,
the periodical journeys made to his home
province reveal that he always had
the animus revertendi.
The Philippines is made up not only of a single
race; it has, rather, undergone an interracial
evolution. Throughout our history, there has
been a continuing influx of Malays, Chinese,
Americans, Japanese, Spaniards and other
nationalities. This racial diversity gives strength
to our country.
Many great Filipinos have not been wholeblooded nationals, if there is such a person, for
there is none. To mention a few, the great Jose
Rizal was part Chinese, the late Chief Justice
Claudio Teehankee was part Chinese, and of
course our own President, Corazon Aquino is
also part Chinese. Verily, some Filipinos of
whom we are proud were ethnically more
Chinese than the private respondent.

However, in order to truly revere this treasure


of citizenship, we do not, on the basis of too
harsh an interpretation, have to unreasonably
deny it to those who qualify to share in its
richness.

WHEREFORE, the petitions are hereby


DISMISSED. The questioned decision of the
House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal is
AFFIRMED. Respondent Jose Ong, Jr. is declared
a natural-born citizen of the Philippines and a
resident of Laoang, Northern Samar.
SO ORDERED.
Bidin, Grio-Aquino, Medialdea and Davide, Jr.,
JJ., concur.
Fernan, C.J., Melencio-Herrera, Cruz, Feliciano
and Gancayco, JJ., took no part.
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
THIRD DIVISION

G.R. No. L-35947 October 20, 1992


REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, movantappellee,
vs.
WILLIAM LI YAO, petitioner-appellant.

ROMERO, J.:
This is an appeal from the order of the then
Court of First Instance of Manila over twenty
years ago, or on July 22, 1971, cancelling the
certificate of naturalization of William Li Yao as
well as from the ordered dated December 29,
1971 denying Li Yao's motion for
reconsiderations.
William Li Yao, a Chinese national, filed a
petition for naturalization on June 3, 1949 with
the then Court of First Instance of Manila, which
petition was docketed as Case No. 8225. 1
After several hearings on the petition were held
wherein the Office of the Solicitor General, in
the representation of the Republic of the
Philippines appeared, the lower court rendered
a decision dated October 25, 1950, the
dispositive portion of which reads as follows:
IN VIEW OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the Court
hereby declares William Li Yao, for all intents
and purposes a naturalized Filipino citizen, it
appearing that he possesses all the
qualifications to become a naturalized Filipino
and none of the disqualifications provided for
by the law. However, in view of the provisions
of Republic Act No. 530, this decision shall not
become final and executory until after two (2)
years from its promulgation and after this
Court, on proper hearing, with the attendance
of the Solicitor General or his representative, is
satisfied, and so finds, that during the
intervening time the applicant herein has (1)
not left the Philippines, (2) has dedicated
himself continuously to a lawful calling or
profession, (3) has not been convicted of any
offense and violation of the government
promulgated rules, (4) or committed any act
prejudicial to the interest of the nation or
contrary to any Government announce policies.
After the finding mentioned herein, this
decision granting Philippine citizenship to the
applicant herein shall be registered and the
oath provided by existing law shall be taken by
said applicant, whereupon, and not before, he
will be entitled to all the privileges of the
Filipino citizen and the certificate of
naturalization shall forthwith issue in his favor
by the Clerk of this Court. 2

On November 20, 1952, acting on the petition


of William Li Yao praying for the execution of
the foregoing decision and that he be allowed
to take his oath of allegiance as a Filipino
citizen, the lower court issued an order, the
dispositive portion of which reads as follows:
WHEREFORE, it appearing that the petitioner
has complied, within the two year probation
period, with the provisions of Republic Act No.
530, he is hereby allowed to take his oath of
allegiance as a Filipino citizen, and Clerk of
Court is directed to issue in his favor to the
corresponding certificate of naturalization. 3
About fifteen years later, or on January 5, 1968,
the Republic of the Philippines, through the
Solicitor General, filed a motion to cancel
William Li Yao's certificate of naturalization on
the ground that it was fraudulently and illegally
obtained for the following reasons:
1. At the time of the filing of the petition, the
applicant was not qualified to acquire Filipino
citizenship by naturalization because:
a. He was not a person of good moral
character, having had illicit amorous
relationship (sic) with several women other
than his lawfully wedded wife, by whom he
fathered illegitimate children (Li Siu Liat vs.
Republic, L-25356, November 25, 1967).
b. Nor had he conducted himself in an
irreproachable manner in his dealings with the
duly constituted authorities:
(i) In contracting marriage, he used the name
Fransisco Li Yao (Exh. "J," p. 31, rec.) without
prior judicial authority to use the aforesaid first
name Fransisco, the same not appearing to be
his baptismal name (Cosme Co Tian An vs.
Republic, L-1983, August 31, 1966).
(ii) He was also known and had used the name
and/or alias LI CHAY TOO, JR. before the last
World War, and under which name, a trust fund
was created for him (see Decision, Court of Tax
Appeals, CTA Case No. 30, dated July 31, 1956;
also Decision, Supreme Court, G.R. No. L11861, Dec. 28, 1963).
(iii) He evaded the payment of lawful taxes due
to the government by underdeclaration of
income as reflected in his income tax returns

for the years 1946-1951 (see Decision,


Supreme Court, William Li Yao v. Collector of
Internal Revenue, L-11875, December 28,
1963).
(iv) He committed violations of the Constitution
and Anti-Dummy laws prohibiting aliens from
acquiring real properties by employing
dummies in the formation of a private domestic
corporation, which acquired the real properties.
(v) He made it appear, falsely, in the baptismal
certificate of an illegitimate son he fathered,
named William Jose Antonio, that the latter's
mother is Juanita Tan Ho Ti, his law-mother is
another woman (sic). 4
William Li Yao opposed the forgoing motion on
July 22, 1971. The lower court, however,
without touching on all the grounds upon which
the said motion was based, relied solely on
ground (iii) that William Li Yao evaded the
payment of lawful taxes due the government
by underdeclaration of income as reflected in
his income tax returns for the years 19461951. It issued an order, the dispositive portion
of which reads as follows:
WHEREFORE, the motion of the Republic of the
Philippines to cancel Certificate of
Naturalization No. 1139 dated November 20,
1952 issued to the petitioner is hereby
granted, and the said Certificate of
Naturalization should be, as it is hereby
cancelled. Without pronouncement as to cost. 5
William Li Yao filed a motion for reconsideration
on December 29, 1971, which the lower court
denied. 6
On January 7, 1972, William LI Yao filed a notice
of appeal to this Court, manifesting that he was
appealing from the order of the lower court
dated July 22, 1971, and from the order dated
December 29, 1971. 7
After the parties had filed their respective
briefs, petitioner-appellant Li Yao died. 8 The
case has not, however, become moot and
academic since its disposition, either way, will
have grave implications for the late petitionerappellant's wife and children.
The issue in this case is whether or not the
cancellation of the certificate of naturalization

of the deceased petitioner-appellant William Li


Yao made by the government through the
Office of the Solicitor General is valid.
The appeal is without merit.
In his motion filed on January 5, 1968, the
Solicitor General asked for the cancellation of
the naturalization certificate of appellant on
the ground that it was "fraudelently and
illegally obtained." This based on Section 18(a)
of Com. Act No. 473, known as the Revised
Naturalization Act, which provides that a
naturalization certificate may be cancelled "[i]f
it is shown that said naturalization certificate
was obtained fraudelently and illegally."
It is indisputable that a certificate of
naturalization may be cancelled if it is
subsequently discovered that the applicant
therefore obtained it by misleading the court
upon any material fact. 9 Law and
jurisprudence even authorize the cancellation
of a certificate of naturalization upon grounds
had conditions arising subsequent to the
granting of the certificate. 10 Moreover, a
naturalization proceeding is not a judicial
adversary proceeding, the decision rendered
therein, not constituting res judicata as to any
matter that would support a judgment
cancelling a certificate of naturalization on the
ground of illegal or fraudulent procurement
thereof. 11
In ordering the cancellation of the
naturalization certificate previously issued to
appellant, the lower court sustained the
government's motion for cancellation on the
sole finding that Li Yao had committed
underdeclaration of income and underpayment
of income tax.
In the case entitled In the Matter of the Petition
for Naturalization as Citizen of the Philippines,
Lim Eng Yu vs. Republic, 12 It was held that the
concealment of applicant's income to evade
payment of lawful taxes shows that his moral
character is not irreproachable, thus
disqualifying him for naturalization.
Assuming arguendo, that appellant, as alleged,
has fully paid or settled his tax liability under
P.D. No. 68 which granted a tax amnesty, such
payment is not a sufficient ground for lifting

the order of the lower court of July 22, 1971


cancelling his certificate of naturalization. The
legal effect of payment under the decree is
merely the removal of any civil, criminal or
administrative liability on the part of the
taxpayer, only insofar as his tax case is
concerned. Thus, paragraph 4 of the decree
provides;
4. That after full settlement of the accounts
mentioned herein, the taxpayer shall be free of
any civil, criminal or administrative
liability insofar as his tax case is
involved (Emphasis supplied)
In other words, the tax amnesty does not have
the effect of obliterating his lack of good moral
character and irreproachable conduct which
are grounds for denaturalization.
The lower court based its order of cancellation
of citizenship on the finding of evasion of
payment of lawful taxes which is sufficient
ground, under Sec. 2 of the Revised
Naturalization Law requiring, among others,
that applicant conduct himself "in a proper and
irreproachable manner during the entire period
of his residence in the Philippines in his relation
with constituted government as well as with
the community in which he is living," 13 to strip
him of his citizenship without going into the
other grounds for cancellation presented by the
Solicitor General.
Finally, taking into account the fact that
naturalization laws should be rigidly enforced
in favor of the Government and against the
applicant, this Court has repeatedly maintained
the view that where the applicant failed to
meet the qualifications required for
naturalization, the latter is not entitled to
Filipino citizenship. 14 More specifically, the
Court has had occasion to state: "Admission to
citizenship is one of the highest privileges that
the Republic of the Philippines can confer upon
an alien. It is a privilege that should not be
conferred except upon persons fully qualified
for it, and upon strict compliance with the
law." 15 Philippine citizenship is a pearl of great
price which should be cherished and not taken
for granted. Once acquired, its sheen must be
burnished and not stained by any wrongdoing
which could constitute ample ground for
divesting one of said citizenship. Hence,

compliance with all the requirements of the law


must be proved to the satisfaction of the
Court. 16
WHEREFORE, the instant appeal is hereby
DISMISSED and the assailed decision
AFFIRMED.
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC

G.R. No. 99358 January 30, 1995


DJUMANTAN, petitioner,
vs.
HON. ANDREA D. DOMINGO, COMMISSIONER
OF THE BOARD OF IMMIGRATION, HON. REGINO
R. SANTIAGO and HON. JORGE V. SARMIENTO,
COMMISSIONERS BUREAU OF IMMIGRATION
AND DEPORTATION, respondents.

QUIASON, J.:
This is a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of
the Revised Rules of Court with preliminary
injunction, to reverse and set aside the
Decision dated September 27, 1990 of the
Commission on Immigration and Deportation
(CID), ordering the deportation of petitioner
and its Resolution dated January 29, 1991,
denying the motion for reconsideration.
I
Bernard Banez, the husband of Marina Cabael,
went to Indonesia as a contract worker.
On April 3, 1974, he embraced and was
converted to Islam. On May 17, 1974, he
married petitioner in accordance with Islamic
rites. He returned to the Philippines in January
1979.
On January 13, 1979, petitioner and her two
children with Banez, (two-year old Marina and
nine-month old Nikulas) arrived in Manila as
the "guests" of Banez. The latter made it
appear that he was just a friend of the family of
petitioner and was merely repaying the

hospitability extended to him during his stay in


Indonesia.
When petitioner and her two children arrived at
the Ninoy Aquino International Airport on
January 13, 1979, Banez, together with Marina
Cabael, met them.
Banez executed an "Affidavit of Guaranty and
Support," for his "guests," stating inter alia,
that:
That I am the guarantor for the entry into the
Philippines of Mrs. Djumantan, 42 years old,
and her two minor children, MARINA, 2 years
old, and NIKULAS, 9 months old, all Indonesian
citizens, who are coming as temporary visitors.
That I am willing to guaranty them out of
gratitude to their family for the hospitality they
have accorded me during the few years that I
have stayed in Indonesia in connection with my
employment thereat.
That I guaranty they are law abiding citizens
and I guaranty their behavior while they are in
the Philippines; I also guaranty their support
and that they will not become a public charge.
That I guaranty their voluntary departure upon
the termination of the authorized stay granted
them by the Government (Rollo, p. 41).
As "guests," petitioner and her two children
lived in the house of Banez.
Petitioner and her children were admitted to
the Philippines as temporary visitors under
Section 9(a) of the Immigration Act of 1940.
In 1981, Marina Cabael discovered the true
relationship of her husband and petitioner. She
filed a complaint for "concubinage" with the
Municipal Trial Court of Urdaneta, Pangasinan
against the two. This case was, however,
dismissed for lack of merit.
On March 25, 1982, the immigration status of
petitioner was changed from temporary visitor
to that of permanent resident under Section
13(a) of the same law. On April 14, 1982,
petitioner was issued an alien certificate of
registration.

Not accepting the set-back, Banez' eldest son,


Leonardo, filed a letter complaint with the
Ombudsman, who subsequently referred the
letter to the CID. On the basis of the said letter,
petitioner was detained at the CID detention
cell. She later released pending the deportation
proceedings (DEP Case No. 90-400) after
posting a cash bond (Rollo, pp. 15-16).
Thereafter, she manifested to the CID that she
be allowed to depart voluntarily from the
Philippines and asked for time to purchase her
airline ticket (Rollo, p. 10). However, she a
change of heart and moved for the dismissal of
the deportation case on the ground that she
was validly married to a Filipino citizen (Rollo,
pp. 11-12).
In the Decision dated September 27, 1990, the
CID, through public respondents, disposed as
follows:
WHEREFORE, IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the
Board of Commissioners finds the second
marriage of Bernardo Banes to respondent
Djumantan irregular and not in accordance
with the laws of the Philippines. We revoke the
Section 13(a) visa previously granted to her
(Rollo, p. 23).
Public respondents denied petitioner's motion
for reconsideration in their Resolution dated
January 29, 1991 (Rollo, pp. 31-33).
Hence, this petition.
We issued a temporary restraining order,
directing public respondents to cease and
desist from executing or implementing the
Decision dated September 27, 1990 and the
Resolution dated January 29, 1991 (Rollo, pp.
34-36).
On September 20, 1994, Leonardo C. Banez
manifested that his father died on August 14,
1994 and that he and his mother were
withdrawing their objection to the granting of a
permanent resident visa to petitioner (Rollo,
pp. 173-175).
II
Petitioner claims that her marriage to Banez
was valid under Article 27 of P.D. No. 1085, the
Muslim Code, which recognizes the practice of
polyandry by Muslim males. From that premise,

she argues that under Articles 109 of the Civil


Code of the Philippines, Article 68 of the Family
Code and Article 34 of the Muslim Code, the
husband and wife are obliged to live together
and under Article 110 of the Civil Code of the
Philippines, the husband is given the right to fix
the conjugal residence. She claims that public
respondents have no right to order the couple
to live separately (Rollo, pp. 5-7).
When asked to comment on the petition, the
Solicitor General took the position that the CID
could not order petitioner's deportation
because its power to do so had prescribed
under Section 37 (b) of the Immigration Act of
1940 (Rollo, pp. 57-74).
III
We need not resolve the validity of petitioner's
marriage to Banez, if under the law the CID can
validly deport petitioner as an "undesirable
alien" regardless of her marriage to a Filipino
citizen. Therefore, to be first resolved is the
question on petitioner's immigration status,
particularly the legality of her admission into
the country and the change of her status from
temporary visitor to permanent resident. Upon
a finding that she was not lawfully admitted
into the country and she did not lawfully
acquire permanent residency, the next
question is whether the power to deport her
has prescribed.
There was a blatant abuse of our immigration
laws in effecting petitioner's entry into the
country and the change of her immigration
status from temporary visitor to permanent
resident. All such privileges were obtained
through misinterpretation.
Never was the marriage of petitioner to Banez
disclosed to the immigration authorities in her
applications for temporary visitor's visa and for
permanent residency.
The civil status of an alien applicant for
admission as a temporary visitor is a matter
that could influence the exercise of discretion
on the part of the immigration authorities. The
immigration authorities would be less inclined
to allow the entry of a woman who claims to
have entered into a marriage with a Filipino
citizen, who is married to another woman

(Cf. Shiu Shin Man v. Galang, 3 SCRA 871


[1961]).
Generally, the right of the President to expel or
deport aliens whose presence is deemed
inimical to the public interest is as absolute
and unqualified as the right to prohibit and
prevent their entry into the country
(Annotations, 8 ALR 1286). this right is based
on the fact that since the aliens are not part of
the nation, their admission into the territory is
a matter of pure permission and simple
tolerance which creates no obligation on the
part of the government to permit them to stay
(3 Am. Jur. 2d. 72).
The interest, which an alien has in being
admitted into or allowed to continue to reside
in the country, is protected only so far as
Congress may choose to protect it (United
States ex rel. Kaloudis v. Shauhnessy 180 F. 2d.
489).
There is no law guaranteeing aliens married to
Filipino citizens the right to be admitted, much
less to be given permanent residency, in the
Philippines.
The fact of marriage by an alien to a citizen
does not withdraw her from the operation of
the immigration laws governing the admission
and exclusion of aliens (United States ex rel.
Knauff v. Shauhnessy, 338 US 537 94 L. Ed.
317, 70 S. Ct. 309 [1950]; Low Wah Suey v.
Backus, 225 US 460 56 L. Ed. 1165, 32 S. Ct.
734 [1912]; Annotations, 71 ALR 1213).
Marriage of an alien woman to a Filipino
husband does not ipso facto make her a Filipino
citizen and does not excuse her from her
failure to depart from the country upon the
expiration of her extended stay here as an
alien (Joaquin v. Galang, 33 SCRA 362 [1970]).
Under Section 9 of the Immigration Act of
1940, it is not mandatory for the CID to admit
any alien who applies for a visitor's visa. Once
admitted into the country, the alien has no
right to an indefinite stay. Under Section 13 of
the law, an alien allowed to stay temporarily
may apply for a change of status and "may be
admitted" as a permanent resident. Among
those considered qualified to apply for
permanent residency if the wife or husband of
a Philippine citizen (Immigration Act of 1940,

Sec. 13[a]). The entry of aliens into the country


and their admission as immigrants is not a
matter of right, even if they are legally married
to Filipino citizens.
IV
We now address the issue raised by the
Solicitor General that the right of public
respondents to deport petitioner has
prescribed, citing Section 37(b) of the
Immigration Act of 1940.
Said Section 37(b) provides:
Deportation may be effected under clauses 2,
7, 8, 11 and 12 of paragraph (a) of this section
at any time after entry, but shall not be
effected under any clause unless the arrest in
the deportation proceedings is made within
five years after the cause for deportation
arises. Deportation under clauses 3 and 4 shall
not be effected if the court, or judge thereof,
when sentencing the alien, shall recommend to
the Commissioner of Immigration that the alien
be not deported (As amended by Rep. Act No.
503).
Section 37(a) of the said law mentioned in
Section 37(b) thereof provides:
The following aliens shall be arrested upon the
warrant of the Commissioner of Immigration or
of any other officer designated by him for the
purpose and deported upon the warrant of the
Commissioner of Immigration after a
determination by the Board of Commissioners
of the existence of the ground for deportation
as charged against the alien:
1) Any alien who enters the Philippines after
the effective date of this Act by means of false
and misleading statements or without
inspection and admission by the immigration
authorities at a designating port of entry or at
any place other than at a designated port of
entry.
2) Any alien who enters the Philippines after
the effective date of this Act, who was not
lawfully admissible at the time of entry;
3) Any alien who, after the effective date of this
Act, is convicted in the Philippines and
sentenced for a term of one year or more for a

crime involving moral turpitude committed


within five years after his entry, is so convicted
and sentenced more than once;
4) Any alien who is convicted and sentenced
for a violation of the law governing prohibited
drugs;
5) Any alien who practices prostitution or is an
inmate of a house of prostitution or is
connected with the management of a house of
prostitution, or is a procurer;
6) Any alien who becomes a public charge
within five years after entry from causes not
affirmatively shown to have arisen subsequent
to entry;
7) Any alien who remains in the Philippines in
violation of any limitation or condition under
which he was admitted a non-immigrant;
8) Any alien who believes in, advises,
advocates or teaches the overthrow by force
and violence of the Government of the
Philippines, or of constituted law and authority,
or who disbelieves in or is opposed to
organized government, or who advises,
advocates, or teaches the assault or
assassination of public officials because of their
office, or who advises, advocates, or teaches
the unlawful destruction of property, or who is
a member of or affiliated with any organization
entertaining, advocating or teaching such
doctrines, or who on any manner whatsoever
lends assistance, financial or otherwise, to the
dissemination of such doctrines;
9) Any alien who commits any of the acts
described in Sections forty-five and forty-six of
this Act, independent of criminal action which
may be brought against him: Provided, That in
the case of an alien who, for any reason, is
convicted and sentenced to suffer both
imprisonment and deportation, said alien shall
first serve the entire period of his
imprisonment before he is actually
deported:Provided, however, That the
imprisonment may be waived by the
Commissioner of Immigration with the consent
of the Department Head, and upon payment by
the alien concerned of such amount as the
Commissioner may fix and approved by the
Department Head, and upon payment by the

alien concerned of such amount as the


Commissioner may fix and approved by the
Department Head (as amended by R.A. No.
144);
10) Any alien who, at any time within five years
after entry, shall have been convicted of
violating the provisions of the Philippine
Commonwealth Act Numbered Six hundred and
fifty-three, otherwise known as the Philippine
Alien Registration Act of 1941 (now Republic
Act No. 562), or who, at any time after entry,
shall have been convicted more than once of
violating the provisions of the same Act;
11) Any alien who engages in profiteering,
hoarding, or black-marketing, independent of
any criminal action which may be brought
against him;
12) Any alien who is convicted of any offense
penalized under Commonwealth Act Numbered
Four hundred and seventy-three, otherwise
known as the Revised Naturalization Laws of
the Philippines, or any law relating to
acquisition of Philippine citizenship;
13) Any alien who defrauds his creditor by
absconding or alienating properties, to prevent
them from being attached or executed.
Under clause 1 of Section 37(a), an "alien who
enters the Philippines after the effective date
of this Act by means of false and misleading
statements or without inspection and
admission by the immigration authorities at a
designated port of entry or at any place other
than at a designated port of entry" is subject to
deportation.
The deportation of an alien under said clause
of Section 37(a) has a prescriptive period and
"shall not be effected ... unless the arrest in the
deportation proceedings is made within five
years after the cause for deportation arises"
(Immigration Act of 1940, Sec. 37[b]).

Section 37(b) of the Immigration Act of 1940,


the deportation of an alien may be barred after
the lapse of five years after the cause of
deportation arises. Justice Feliciano, in his
dissenting opinion, qualified the broad
statement of the law as follows:
Examination of the above quoted Section 37
(b) shows that the five (5) year limitation is
applicable only where deportation is sought to
be effected under clauses of Section 37 (a)
other than clauses 2, 7, 8, 11 and 12; that
where deportation or exclusion is sought to be
effected under clauses of Section 37(a), no
period of limitation is applicable; and that to
the contrary, deportation or exclusion may be
effected "at any time after entry."
Justice Davide, in his dissenting opinion,
clarified:
Note that the five-year period applies only to
clauses other than 2, 7, 8, 11 and 12 of
paragraph (a) of the Section. In respect to
clauses 2, 7, 8, 11, and 12, the limitation does
not apply.
In Lam Shee v. Bengzon, 93 Phil. 1065 (1953),
the alien admitted that she had gained
entrance into the Philippines fraudulently by
making use of the name of a Chinese residentmerchant other than that of her lawful
husband. The Court, however, held that she
could no longer be deported "for the simple
reason that more than 5 years had elapsed
from the date of her admission."
The right of public respondents to deport
petitioner has prescribed.

Congress may impose a limitation of time for


the deportation of alien from the country
(Costanzo v. Tillinghast, 287 US 341 77 L. Ed.
350, 53 S. Ct. 152 [1932]; Guiney v. Bonham
[CA 9] 261 F. 582, 8 ALR 1282).

Petitioner was admitted and allowed entry into


the Philippines on January 13, 1979 on the
basis of false and misleading statements in her
application and in the other supporting
documents submitted to the immigration
authorities. Leonardo C. Banez first complained
with the CID on November 19, 1980 about the
manner petitioner was admitted into the
country and asked for her deportation (Rollo,
pp. 77-78). After the EDSA Revolution, he sent
a follow-up letter to the CID requesting action
on his 1980 letter-complaint (Rollo, p. 78).

In Board of Commissioners (CID) v. Dela Rosa,


197 SCRA 853 (1991), we held that under

Tolling the prescriptive period from November


19, 1980, when Leonardo C. Banez informed

the CID of the illegal entry of petitioner into the


country, more than five years had elapsed
before the issuance of the order of her
deportation on September 27, 1990.
In their Comment, public respondents urged
that what is barred under Section 37(b) is the
deportation of an alien and claimed that what
they ordered was not the deportation of
petitioner but merely the revocation of Section
13(a) which refers to the visa previously
granted her (Rollo, p. 102).
The "arrest" contemplated by Section 37(b)
refers to the arrest for the purpose of carrying
out an order for deportation and not the arrest
prior to proceedings to determine the right of
the alien to stay in the country. When public
respondents revoked the permanent residence
visa issued to petitioner, they, in effect,
ordered her arrest and deportation as an
overstaying alien.
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED and the
temporary restraining order issued on June 4,
1991 is MADE PERMANENT.
The Decision of the Board of Commissioners
dated September 27, 1990 revoking the
issuance of the permanent resident visa to
petitioner and the Resolution dated January 29,
1991 are REVERSED.
TEODULO M. COQUILLA, petitioner, vs. THE
HON. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and MR.
NEIL M. ALVAREZ, respondents.
DECISION
MENDOZA, J.:
This is a petition for certiorari to set aside the
resolution,[1] dated July 19, 2001, of the
Second Division of the Commission on
Elections (COMELEC), ordering the cancellation
of the certificate of candidacy of petitioner
Teodulo M. Coquilla for the position of mayor of
Oras, Eastern Samar in the May 14, 2001
elections and the order, dated January 30,
2002, of the COMELEC en banc denying
petitioners motion for reconsideration.
The facts are as follows:

Petitioner Coquilla was born on February 17,


1938 of Filipino parents in Oras, Eastern
Samar. He grew up and resided there until
1965, when he joined the United States Navy.
He was subsequently naturalized as a U.S.
citizen.[2] From 1970 to 1973, petitioner thrice
visited the Philippines while on leave from the
U.S. Navy.[3] Otherwise, even after his
retirement from the U.S. Navy in 1985, he
remained in the United States.
On October 15, 1998, petitioner came to the
Philippines and took out a residence certificate,
although he continued making several trips to
the United States, the last of which took place
on July 6, 2000 and lasted until August 5, 2000.
[4] Subsequently, petitioner applied for
repatriation under R.A. No. 8171[5] to the
Special Committee on Naturalization. His
application was approved on November 7,
2000, and, on November 10, 2000, he took his
oath as a citizen of the Philippines. Petitioner
was issued Certificate of Repatriation No.
000737 on November 10, 2000 and Bureau of
Immigration Identification Certificate No.
115123 on November 13, 2000.
On November 21, 2000, petitioner applied for
registration as a voter of Butnga, Oras, Eastern
Samar. His application was approved by the
Election Registration Board on January 12,
2001.[6] On February 27, 2001, he filed his
certificate of candidacy stating therein that he
had been a resident of Oras, Eastern Samar for
two (2) years.[7]
On March 5, 2001, respondent Neil M. Alvarez,
who was the incumbent mayor of Oras and who
was running for reelection, sought the
cancellation of petitioners certificate of
candidacy on the ground that the latter had
made a material misrepresentation in his
certificate of candidacy by stating that he had
been a resident of Oras for two years when in
truth he had resided therein for only about six
months since November 10, 2000, when he
took his oath as a citizen of the Philippines.
The COMELEC was unable to render judgment
on the case before the elections on May 14,
2001. Meanwhile, petitioner was voted for and
received the highest number of votes (6,131)
against private respondents 5,752 votes, or a
margin of 379 votes. On May 17, 2001,

petitioner was proclaimed mayor of Oras by the


Municipal Board of Canvassers.[8] He
subsequently took his oath of office.
On July 19, 2001, the Second Division of the
COMELEC granted private respondents petition
and ordered the cancellation of petitioners
certificate of candidacy on the basis of the
following findings:
Respondents frequent or regular trips to the
Philippines and stay in Oras, Eastern Samar
after his retirement from the U.S. Navy in 1985
cannot be considered as a waiver of his status
as a permanent resident or immigrant . . . of
the U.S.A. prior to November 10, 2000 as would
qualify him to acquire the status of residency
for purposes of compliance with the one-year
residency requirement of Section 39(a) of the
Local Government Code of 1991 in relation to
Sections 65 and 68 of the Omnibus Election
Code. The one (1) year residency requirement
contemplates of the actual residence of a
Filipino citizen in the constituency where he
seeks to be elected.
All things considered, the number of years he
claimed to have resided or stayed in Oras,
Eastern Samar since 1985 as an American
citizen and permanent resident of the U.S.A.
before November 10, 2000 when he reacquired
his Philippine citizenship by [repatriation]
cannot be added to his actual residence
thereat after November 10, 2000 until May 14,
2001 to cure his deficiency in days, months,
and year to allow or render him eligible to run
for an elective office in the Philippines. Under
such circumstances, by whatever formula of
computation used, respondent is short of the
one-year residence requirement before the May
14, 2001 elections.[9]
Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration,
but his motion was denied by the COMELEC en
banc on January 30, 2002. Hence this petition.
I.
Two questions must first be resolved before
considering the merits of this case: (a) whether
the 30-day period for appealing the resolution
of the COMELEC was suspended by the filing of
a motion for reconsideration by petitioner and
(b) whether the COMELEC retained jurisdiction

to decide this case notwithstanding the


proclamation of petitioner.
A. With respect to the first question, private
respondent contends that the petition in this
case should be dismissed because it was filed
late; that the COMELEC en banchad denied
petitioners motion for reconsideration for being
pro forma; and that, pursuant to Rule 19, 4 of
the COMELEC Rules of Procedure, the said
motion did not suspend the running of the 30day period for filing this petition. He points out
that petitioner received a copy of the
resolution, dated July 19, 2001, of the
COMELECs Second Division on July 28, 2001, so
that he had only until August 27, 2001 within
which to file this petition. Since the petition in
this case was filed on February 11, 2002, the
same should be considered as having been
filed late and should be dismissed.
Private respondents contention has no merit.
Rule 19 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure
provides in pertinent parts:
Sec. 2. Period for Filing Motions for
Reconsideration. A motion to reconsider a
decision, resolution, order, or ruling of a
Division shall be filed within five days from the
promulgation thereof. Such motion, if not proforma, suspends the execution for
implementation of the decision, resolution,
order, or ruling.
Sec. 4. Effect of Motion for Reconsideration on
Period to Appeal. A motion to reconsider a
decision, resolution, order, or ruling, when not
pro-forma, suspends the running of the period
to elevate the matter to the Supreme Court.
The five-day period for filing a motion for
reconsideration under Rule 19, 2 should be
counted from the receipt of the decision,
resolution, order, or ruling of the COMELEC
Division.[10] In this case, petitioner received a
copy of the resolution of July 19, 2001 of the
COMELECs Second Division on July 28, 2001.
Five days later, on August 2, 2001, he filed his
motion for reconsideration. On February 6,
2002, he received a copy of the order, dated
January 30, 2002, of the COMELEC en
banc denying his motion for
reconsideration. Five days later, on February

11, 2002, he filed this petition for


certiorari. There is no question, therefore, that
petitioners motion for reconsideration of the
resolution of the COMELEC Second Division, as
well as his petition for certiorari to set aside of
the order of the COMELEC en banc, was filed
within the period provided for in Rule 19, 2 of
the COMELEC Rules of Procedure and in Art.
IX(A), 7 of the Constitution.
It is contended, however, that petitioners
motion for reconsideration before the
COMELEC en banc did not suspend the running
of the period for filing this petition because the
motion was pro forma and, consequently, this
petition should have been filed on or before
August 27, 2001. It was actually filed, however,
only on February 11, 2002. Private respondent
cites the finding of the COMELEC en banc that
An incisive examination of the allegations in
the Motion for Reconsideration shows that the
same [are] a mere rehash of his averments
contained in his Verified
Answer andMemorandum. Neither did
respondent raise new matters that would
sufficiently warrant a reversal of the assailed
resolution of the Second Division. This makes
the said Motionpro forma.[11]
We do not think this contention is correct. The
motion for reconsideration was not pro
forma and its filing did suspend the period for
filing the petition for certiorari in this case. The
mere reiteration in a motion for reconsideration
of the issues raised by the parties and passed
upon by the court does not make a motion pro
forma; otherwise, the movants remedy would
not be a reconsideration of the decision but a
new trial or some other remedy.[12] But, as we
have held in another case:[13]
Among the ends to which a motion for
reconsideration is addressed, one is precisely
to convince the court that its ruling is
erroneous and improper, contrary to the law or
the evidence; and in doing so, the movant has
to dwell of necessity upon the issues passed
upon by the court. If a motion for
reconsideration may not discuss these issues,
the consequence would be that after a decision
is rendered, the losing party would be confined
to filing only motions for reopening and new
trial.

Indeed, in the cases where a motion for


reconsideration was held to be pro forma, the
motion was so held because (1) it was a
second motion for reconsideration,[14] or (2) it
did not comply with the rule that the motion
must specify the findings and conclusions
alleged to be contrary to law or not supported
by the evidence,[15] or (3) it failed to
substantiate the alleged errors,[16] or (4) it
merely alleged that the decision in question
was contrary to law,[17] or (5) the adverse
party was not given notice thereof.[18] The 16page motion for reconsideration filed by
petitioner in the COMELEC en banc suffers from
none of the foregoing defects, and it was error
for the COMELEC en banc to rule that
petitioners motion for reconsideration was pro
forma because the allegations raised therein
are a mere rehash of his earlier pleadings or
did not raise new matters. Hence, the filing of
the motion suspended the running of the 30day period to file the petition in this case,
which, as earlier shown, was done within the
reglementary period provided by law.
B. As stated before, the COMELEC failed to
resolve private respondents petition for
cancellation of petitioners certificate of
candidacy before the elections on May 14,
2001. In the meantime, the votes were
canvassed and petitioner was proclaimed
elected with a margin of 379 votes over private
respondent. Did the COMELEC thereby lose
authority to act on the petition filed by private
respondent?
R.A. No. 6646 provides:
SECTION 6. Effect of Disqualification Case. Any
candidate who has been declared by final
judgment to be disqualified shall not be voted
for, and the votes cast for him shall not be
counted. If for any reason a candidate is not
declared by final judgment before an election
to be disqualified and he is voted for and
receives the winning number of votes in such
election, the Court or Commission shall
continue with the trial and hearing of the
action, inquiry, or protest and, upon motion of
the complainant or any intervenor, may during
the pendency thereof order the suspension of
the proclamation of such candidate whenever
the evidence of his guilt is strong. (Emphasis
added)

SECTION 7. Petition to Deny Due Course To or


Cancel a Certificate of Candidacy. The
procedure hereinabove provided shall apply to
petitions to deny due course to or cancel a
certificate of candidacy as provided in Section
78 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 881.

panlungsod, or sangguniang bayan, the district


where he intends to be elected; a resident
therein for at least one (1) year immediately
preceding the day of the election; and able to
read and write Filipino or any other local
language or dialect. (Emphasis added)

The rule then is that candidates who are


disqualified by final judgment before the
election shall not be voted for and the votes
cast for them shall not be counted. But those
against whom no final judgment of
disqualification had been rendered may be
voted for and proclaimed, unless, on motion of
the complainant, the COMELEC suspends their
proclamation because the grounds for their
disqualification or cancellation of their
certificates of candidacy are strong. Meanwhile,
the proceedings for disqualification of
candidates or for the cancellation or denial of
certificates of candidacy, which have been
begun before the elections, should continue
even after such elections and proclamation of
the winners. In Abella v.
COMELEC[19] and Salcedo II v. COMELEC,
[20] the candidates whose certificates of
candidacy were the subject of petitions for
cancellation were voted for and, having
received the highest number of votes, were
duly proclaimed winners. This Court, in the first
case, affirmed and, in the second, reversed the
decisions of the COMELEC rendered after the
proclamation of candidates, not on the ground
that the latter had been divested of jurisdiction
upon the candidates proclamation but on the
merits.

The term residence is to be understood not in


its common acceptation as referring to dwelling
or habitation,[21] but rather to domicile or
legal residence,[22] that is, the place where a
party actually or constructively has his
permanent home, where he, no matter where
he may be found at any given time, eventually
intends to return and remain (animus
manendi).[23] A domicile of origin is acquired
by every person at birth. It is usually the place
where the childs parents reside and continues
until the same is abandoned by acquisition of
new domicile (domicile of choice).[24]

II.
On the merits, the question is whether
petitioner had been a resident of Oras, Eastern
Samar at least one (1) year before the
elections held on May 14, 2001 as he
represented in his certificate of candidacy. We
find that he had not.
First, 39(a) of the Local Government Code (R.A
No. 7160) provides:
Qualifications. - (a) An elective local official
must be a citizen of the Philippines; a
registered voter in the barangay, municipality,
city, or province or, in the case of a member of
the sangguniang panlalawigan, sangguniang

In the case at bar, petitioner lost his domicile of


origin in Oras by becoming a U.S. citizen after
enlisting in the U.S. Navy in 1965. From then on
and until November 10, 2000, when he
reacquired Philippine citizenship, petitioner was
an alien without any right to reside in the
Philippines save as our immigration laws may
have allowed him to stay as a visitor or as a
resident alien.
Indeed, residence in the United States is a
requirement for naturalization as a U.S. citizen.
Title 8, 1427(a) of the United States Code
provides:
Requirements of naturalization . Residence
(a) No person, except as otherwise provided in
this subchapter, shall be naturalized unless
such applicant, (1) immediately preceding the
date of filing his application for
naturalization has resided continuously, after
being lawfully admitted for permanent
residence, within the United States for at least
five years and during the five years
immediately preceding the date of filing his
petition has been physically present therein for
periods totaling at least half of that time, and
who has resided within the State or within the
district of the Service in the United States in
which the applicant filed the application for at
least three months, (2) has resided
continuously within the United States from the

date of the application up to the time of


admission to citizenship, and (3) during all the
period referred to in this subsection has been
and still is a person of good moral
character, attached to the principles of the
Constitution of the United States, and well
disposed to the good order and happiness of
the United States. (Emphasis added)
In Caasi v. Court of Appeals,[25] this Court
ruled that immigration to the United States by
virtue of a greencard, which entitles one to
reside permanently in that country, constitutes
abandonment of domicile in the Philippines.
With more reason then does naturalization in a
foreign country result in an abandonment of
domicile in the Philippines.

Certificate of Residence (ICR)[29] and thus


waive his status as a non-resident. On the
other hand, he may acquire Philippine
citizenship by naturalization under C.A. No.
473, as amended, or, if he is a former
Philippine national, he may reacquire Philippine
citizenship by repatriation or by an act of
Congress,[30] in which case he waives not only
his status as an alien but also his status as a
non-resident alien.

Nor can petitioner contend that he was


compelled to adopt American citizenship only
by reason of his service in the U.S. armed
forces.[26] It is noteworthy that petitioner was
repatriated not under R.A. No. 2630, which
applies to the repatriation of those who lost
their Philippine citizenship by accepting
commission in the Armed Forces of the United
States, but under R.A. No. 8171, which, as
earlier mentioned, provides for the repatriation
of, among others, natural-born Filipinos who
lost their citizenship on account of political or
economic necessity. In any event, the fact is
that, by having been naturalized abroad, he
lost his Philippine citizenship and with it his
residence in the Philippines. Until his
reacquisition of Philippine citizenship on
November 10, 2000, petitioner did not
reacquire his legal residence in this country.

In the case at bar, the only evidence of


petitioners status when he entered the country
on October 15, 1998, December 20, 1998,
October 16, 1999, and June 23, 2000 is the
statement Philippine Immigration [] Balikbayan
in his 1998-2008 U.S. passport. As for his entry
on August 5, 2000, the stamp bore the added
inscription good for one year stay.[31] Under 2
of R.A. No. 6768 (An Act Instituting
a Balikbayan Program), the
term balikbayan includes a former Filipino
citizen who had been naturalized in a foreign
country and comes or returns to the Philippines
and, if so, he is entitled, among others, to a
visa-free entry to the Philippines for a period of
one (1) year (3(c)). It would appear then that
when petitioner entered the country on the
dates in question, he did so as a visafree balikbayan visitor whose stay as such was
valid for one year only. Hence, petitioner can
only be held to have waived his status as an
alien and as a non-resident only on November
10, 2000 upon taking his oath as a citizen of
the Philippines under R.A. No. 8171.[32]He
lacked the requisite residency to qualify him for
the mayorship of Oras, Eastern, Samar.

Second, it is not true, as petitioner contends,


that he reestablished residence in this country
in 1998 when he came back to prepare for the
mayoralty elections of Oras by securing a
Community Tax Certificate in that year and by
constantly declaring to his townmates of his
intention to seek repatriation and run for
mayor in the May 14, 2001 elections.[27] The
status of being an alien and a non-resident can
be waived either separately, when one
acquires the status of a resident alien before
acquiring Philippine citizenship, or at the same
time when one acquires Philippine citizenship.
As an alien, an individual may obtain an
immigrant visa under 13[28] of the Philippine
Immigration Act of 1948 and an Immigrant

Petitioner invokes the ruling in Frivaldo v.


Commission on Elections[33] in support of his
contention that the residency requirement in
39(a) of the Local Government Code includes
the residency of one who is not a citizen of the
Philippines. Residency, however, was not an
issue in that case and this Court did not make
any ruling on the issue now at bar. The
question in Frivaldo was whether petitioner,
who took his oath of repatriation on the same
day that his term as governor of Sorsogon
began on June 30, 1995, complied with the
citizenship requirement under 39(a). It was
held that he had, because citizenship may be
possessed even on the day the candidate
assumes office. But in the case of residency, as

already noted, 39(a) of the Local Government


Code requires that the candidate must have
been a resident of the municipality for at least
one (1) year immediately preceding the day of
the election.
Nor can petitioner invoke this Courts ruling
in Bengzon III v. House of Representatives
Electoral Tribunal.[34] What the Court held in
that case was that, upon repatriation, a former
natural-born Filipino is deemed to have
recovered his original status as a natural-born
citizen.
Third, petitioner nonetheless says that his
registration as a voter of Butnga, Oras, Eastern
Samar in January 2001 is conclusive of his
residency as a candidate because 117 of the
Omnibus Election Code requires that a voter
must have resided in the Philippines for at least
one year and in the city or municipality
wherein he proposes to vote for at least six
months immediately preceding the election. As
held in Nuval v. Guray,[35] however,
registration as a voter does not bar the filing of
a subsequent case questioning a candidates
lack of residency.
Petitioners invocation of the liberal
interpretation of election laws cannot avail him
any. As held in Aquino v. Commission on
Elections:[36]
A democratic government is necessarily a
government of laws. In a republican
government those laws are themselves
ordained by the people. Through their
representatives, they dictate the qualifications
necessary for service in government positions.
And as petitioner clearly lacks one of the
essential qualifications for running for
membership in the House of Representatives,
not even the will of a majority or plurality of
the voters of the Second District of Makati City
would substitute for a requirement mandated
by the fundamental law itself.
Fourth, petitioner was not denied due process
because the COMELEC failed to act on his
motion to be allowed to present
evidence. Under 5(d), in relation to 7, of R.A.
No. 6646 (Electoral Reforms Law of 1987),
proceedings for denial or cancellation of a
certificate of candidacy are summary in

nature. The holding of a formal hearing is thus


not de rigeur. In any event, petitioner cannot
claim denial of the right to be heard since he
filed a Verified Answer, a Memorandum and a
Manifestation, all dated March 19, 2001, before
the COMELEC in which he submitted
documents relied by him in this petition, which,
contrary to petitioners claim, are complete and
intact in the records.
III.
The statement in petitioners certificate of
candidacy that he had been a resident of Oras,
Eastern Samar for two years at the time he
filed such certificate is not true. The question is
whether the COMELEC was justified in ordering
the cancellation of his certificate of candidacy
for this reason. We hold that it was. Petitioner
made a false representation of a material fact
in his certificate of candidacy, thus rendering
such certificate liable to cancellation. The
Omnibus Election Code provides:
SEC. 74. Contents of certificate of candidacy.
The certificate of candidacy shall state that the
person filing it is announcing his candidacy for
the office stated therein and that he is eligible
for said office; if for Member of the Batasang
Pambansa, the province, including its
component cities, highly urbanized city or
district or sector which he seeks to represent;
the political party to which he belongs; civil
status; his date of birth; residence; his post
office address for all election purposes; his
profession or occupation; that he will support
and defend the Constitution of the Philippines
and will maintain true faith and allegiance
thereto; that he will obey the laws, legal
orders, and decrees promulgated by the duly
constituted authorities; that he is not a
permanent resident or immigrant to a foreign
country; that the obligation imposed by his
oath is assumed voluntarily, without mental
reservation or purpose of evasion; and that the
facts stated in the certificate of candidacy are
true to the best of his knowledge.
SEC. 78. Petition to deny due course to or
cancel a certificate of candidacy. A verified
petition seeking to deny due course or to
cancel a certificate of candidacy may be filed
by any person exclusively on the ground that
any material representation contained therein

as required under Section 74 hereof is


false. The petition may be filed at any time not
later than twenty-five days from the time of the
filing of the certificate of candidacy and shall
be decided, after due notice and hearing, not
later than fifteen days before the election.
Indeed, it has been held that a candidates
statement in her certificate of candidacy for
the position of governor of Leyte that she was
a resident of Kananga, Leyte when this was not
so[37] or that the candidate was a natural-born
Filipino when in fact he had become an
Australian citizen[38] constitutes a ground for
the cancellation of a certificate of candidacy.
On the other hand, we held in Salcedo II v.
COMELEC[39] that a candidate who used her
husbands family name even though their
marriage was void was not guilty of
misrepresentation concerning a material fact.
In the case at bar, what is involved is a false
statement concerning a candidates
qualification for an office for which he filed the
certificate of candidacy. This is a
misrepresentation of a material fact justifying
the cancellation of petitioners certificate of
candidacy. The cancellation of petitioners
certificate of candidacy in this case is thus fully
justified.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED and the
resolution of the Second Division of the
Commission on Elections, dated July 19, 2001,
and the order, dated January 30, 2002 of the
Commission on Elections en banc are
AFFIRMED.

her great grand uncle, Lau Ching Ping. She was


permitted to come into the Philippines on 13
March 1961 for a period of one month.
On the date of her arrival, Asher Y. Cheng filed
a bond in the amount of P1,000.00 to
undertake, among others, that said Lau Yuen
Yeung would actually depart from the
Philippines on or before the expiration of her
authorized period of stay in this country or
within the period as in his discretion the
Commissioner of Immigration or his authorized
representative might properly allow.

After repeated extensions, Lau Yuen Yeung was


allowed to stay in the Philippines up to 13
February 1962. On 25 January 1962, she
contracted marriage with Moy Ya Lim Yao alias
Edilberto Aguinaldo Lim an alleged Filipino
citizen. Because of the contemplated action of
the Commissioner of Immigration to confiscate
her bond and order her arrest and immediate
deportation, after the expiration of her
authorized stay, she brought an action for
injunction. At the hearing which took place one
and a half years after her arrival, it was
admitted that Lau Yuen Yeung could not write
and speak either English or Tagalog, except for
a few words. She could not name any Filipino
neighbor, with a Filipino name except one,
Rosa. She did not know the names of her
brothers-in-law, or sisters-in-law. As a result,
the Court of First Instance of Manila denied the
prayer for preliminary injunction. Moya Lim Yao
and Lau Yuen Yeung appealed.

MOY YA LIM YAO VS. COMMISSIONER OF


IMMIGRATION
G.R. No. L-21289, October 4 1971, 41 SCRA
292

ISSUE:
Whether or not Lau Yuen Yeung ipso facto
became a Filipino citizen upon her marriage to
a Filipino citizen.

FACTS:
Lau Yuen Yeung applied for a passport visa to
enter the Philippines as a non-immigrant on 8
February 1961. In the interrogation made in
connection with her application for a temporary
visitor's visa to enter the Philippines, she
stated that she was a Chinese residing at
Kowloon, Hongkong, and that she desired to
take a pleasure trip to the Philippines to visit

HELD:
Under Section 15 of Commonwealth Act 473,
an alien woman marrying a Filipino, native born
or naturalized, becomes ipso facto a Filipina
provided she is not disqualified to be a citizen
of the Philippines under Section 4 of the same

law. Likewise, an alien woman married to an


alien who is subsequently naturalized here
follows the Philippine citizenship of her
husband the moment he takes his oath as
Filipino citizen, provided that she does not
suffer from any of the disqualifications under
said Section 4. Whether the alien woman
requires to undergo the naturalization
proceedings, Section 15 is a parallel provision
to Section 16. Thus, if the widow of an
applicant for naturalization as Filipino, who dies
during the proceedings, is not required to go
through a naturalization proceedings, in order
to be considered as a Filipino citizen hereof, it
should follow that the wife of a living Filipino
cannot be denied the same privilege.

due time. The League of Municipalities filed


with the COMELEC a petition for the annulment
of Frivaldo on the ground that he was not a
Filipino citizen, having been naturalized in the
United States.
Frivaldo admitted the allegations but pleaded
the special and affirmative defenses that he
was naturalized as American citizen only to
protect himself against President Marcos during
the Martial Law era.
ISSUE:
Whether or not Frivaldo is a Filipino citizen.
RULING:

This is plain common sense and there is


absolutely no evidence that the Legislature
intended to treat them differently. As the laws
of our country, both substantive and
procedural, stand today, there is no such
procedure (a substitute for naturalization
proceeding to enable the alien wife of a
Philippine citizen to have the matter of her own
citizenship settled and established so that she
may not have to be called upon to prove it
everytime she has to perform an act or enter
into a transaction or business or exercise a
right reserved only to Filipinos), but such is no
proof that the citizenship is not vested as of
the date of marriage or the husband's
acquisition of citizenship, as the case may be,
for the truth is that the situation obtains even
as to native-born Filipinos. Everytime the
citizenship of a person is material or
indispensible in a judicial or administrative
case. Whatever the corresponding court or
administrative authority decides therein as to
such citizenship is generally not considered as
res adjudicata, hence it has to be threshed out
again and again as the occasion may demand.
Lau Yuen Yeung, was declared to have become
a Filipino citizen from and by virtue of her
marriage to Moy Ya Lim Yao al as Edilberto
Aguinaldo Lim, a Filipino citizen of 25 January
1962. Read full text
FACTS:
Juan G. Frivaldo was proclaimed governor of
the province of Sorsogon and assumed office in

No. Section 117 of the Omnibus Election Code


provides that a qualified voter must be, among
other qualifications, a citizen of the Philippines,
this being an indispensable requirement for
suffrage under Article V, Section 1, of the
Constitution.
He claims that he has reacquired Philippine
citizenship by virtue of valid repatriation. He
claims that by actively participating in the local
elections, he automatically forfeited American
citizenship under the laws of the United States
of America. The Court stated that that the
alleged forfeiture was between him and the US.
If he really wanted to drop his American
citizenship, he could do so in accordance with
CA No. 63 as amended by CA No. 473 and PD
725. Philippine citizenship may be reacquired
by direct act of Congress, by naturalization, or
by repatriation.

176 SCRA 1 Law on Public Officers Election


Laws Citizenship of a Public Officer Dual
Citizenship Labo Doctrine
In 1988, Ramon Labo, Jr. was elected as mayor
of Baguio City. His rival, Luis Lardizabal filed a

petition for quo warranto against Labo as

national interest and shall be dealt with by law.

Lardizabal asserts that Labo is an Australian

He lost his Filipino citizenship when he swore

citizen

was

allegiance to Australia. He cannot also claim

naturalized as an Australian after he married

that when he lost his Australian citizenship, he

an Australian. Labo avers that his marriage

became solely a Filipino. To restore his Filipino

with an Australian did not make him an

citizenship,

Australian; that at best he has dual citizenship,

repatriated or be declared as a Filipino through

Australian and Filipino; that even if he indeed

an act of Congress none of this happened.

hence

disqualified;

that

he

he

must

be

naturalized

or

became an Australian when he married an


Australian citizen, such citizenship was lost

Labo, being a foreigner, cannot serve public

when his marriage with the Australian was later

office. His claim that his lack of citizenship

declared void for being bigamous. Labo further

should not overcome the will of the electorate

asserts that even if hes considered as an

is not tenable. The people of Baguio could not

Australian, his lack of citizenship is just a mere

have,

technicality which should not frustrate the will

requirements of the Local Government Code

of the electorate of Baguio who voted for him

and the Constitution simply by electing a

by a vast majority.

foreigner (curiously, would Baguio have voted

even

unanimously,

changed

the

for Labo had they known he is Australian). The


ISSUES:

electorate had no power to permit a foreigner


owing his total allegiance to the Queen of

1. Whether or not Labo can retain his public

Australia, or at least a stateless individual

office.

owing no allegiance to the Republic of the


Philippines, to preside over them as mayor of

2. Whether or not Lardizabal, who obtained the


second highest vote in the mayoralty race, can

their city. Only citizens of the Philippines have


that privilege over their countrymen.

replace Labo in the event Labo is disqualified.


2. Lardizabal on the other hand cannot assert,
HELD: 1. No. Labo did not question the
authenticity of evidence presented against
him. He was naturalized as an Australian in
1976. It was not his marriage to an Australian
that made him an Australian. It was his act of
subsequently swearing by taking an oath of
allegiance to the government of Australia. He
did not dispute that he needed an Australian
passport to return to the Philippines in 1980;
and that he was listed as an immigrant here. It
cannot be said also that he is a dual citizen.
Dual allegiance of citizens is inimical to the

through the quo warranto proceeding, that he


should be declared the mayor by reason of
Labos

disqualification

because

Lardizabal

obtained the second highest number of vote. It


would be extremely repugnant to the basic
concept of the constitutionally guaranteed
right to suffrage if a candidate who has not
acquired the majority or plurality of votes is
proclaimed a winner and imposed as the
representative of a constituency, the majority
of which have positively declared through their
ballots that they do not choose him. Sound

policy dictates that public elective offices are

ISSUE:

filled by those who have received the highest


number of votes cast in the election for that

Whether or not petitioners acts constitute

office, and it is a fundamental idea in all

renunciation of his Philippine citizenship

republican forms of government that no one


can be declared elected and no measure can
be declared carried unless he or it receives a
majority or plurality of the legal votes cast in
the election.

HELD:
Express

renunciation was

held to mean a

renunciation that is made known distinctly and


explicitly

and

not

left

to

inference

or

implication. Petitioner, with full knowledge, and


legal

renounced

prior status as a Portuguese citizen, applied for


a renewal of his Portuguese passport and

FACTS:

represented

Petitioner Yu was originally issued a Portuguese


passport in 1971. On February 10, 1978, he
was naturalized as a Philippine citizen. Despite
his naturalization, he applied for and was
issued Portuguese Passport by the Consular
Section of the Portuguese Embassy in Tokyo on
July 21, 1981. Said Consular Office certifies that
his Portuguese passport expired on 20 July
1986. He also declared his nationality as
in

commercial

documents

he

signed, specifically, the Companies registry of


Shun

having

Philippine citizen resumed or reacquired his

GR No. L-83882, January 24, 1989

Tai

after

Portuguese citizenship upon naturalization as a

YU vs. DEFENSOR-SANTIAGO

Portuguese

capacity,

Estate

Ltd.

filed

in

Hongkong

sometime in April 1980.


The CID detained Yu pending his deportation
case. Yu, in turn, filed a petition for habeas
corpus. An internal resolution of 7 November
1988 referred the case to the Court en banc.
The Court en banc denied the petition. When

himself

as

such

in

documents even after he had become a


naturalized Philippine citizen. Such resumption
or reacquisition of Portuguese citizenship is
grossly inconsistent with his maintenance of
Philippine citizenship.
While normally the question of whether or not
a

person

has

renounced

his

Philippine

citizenship should be heard before a trial court


of law in adversary proceedings, this has
become unnecessary as this Court, no less,
upon the insistence of petitioner, had to look
into the facts and satisfy itself on whether or
not petitioner's claim to continued Philippine
citizenship is meritorious.
Philippine citizenship, it must be stressed, is
not a commodity or were to be displayed when
required and suppressed when convenient.

his Motion for Reconsideration was denied,


petitioner filed a Motion for Clarification.

official

JAO vs. REPUBLIC


G.R. No. L-29397, March 29, 1983

authorizing that repatriation should be effected


FACTS:

by a judicial proceeding. All that is required for


a female citizen of the Philippines who lost her

The petitioner filed a petition in the CFI of

citizenship

Davao for repatriation under Commonwealth

Philippine citizen, upon the termination of her

Act No. 63, as amended, alleging therein that

marital

although her father was Chinese, she was a

necessary oath of allegianceto the Republic of

citizen of the Philippines because her mother

the Philippines and to register the said oath in

was a Filipina who was not legally married to

the proper civil registry" (Lim vs. Republic, 37

her

SCRA 783).

Chinese

husband;

that

she lost her

to

an

status,

alien
"is

to

for

reacquire
her

to

her
take

Philippine citizenship when she married Go


Wan, a Chinese; and that Go Wan died in

Moreover, the petitioner's claim of Philippine

September 6, 1962. Petitioner further alleged

citizenship prior to her marriage for being

that

erroneously

allegedly an illegitimate child of a Chinese

registered her as an alien with the Bureau of

her

illiterate

mother

father and a Filipino mother may not be

Immigration, by virtue of which she was issued

established in an action where the mother or

Alien Certificate of Registration. The petition

her heirs are not parties (Tan Pong vs. Republic,

contains no prayer for relief.

30 Phil. 380). It is the consistent rule in this


jurisdiction that Philippine citizenship may not

The petition was not published, but notice

be declared in a non-adversary suit where the

thereof was served on the Provincial Fiscal who

persons whose rights are affected by such a

appeared at the hearing but presented no

declaration are not parties, such as an action

evidence. After receiving the evidence of the

for

petitioner, the trial court issued an Order

Commissioner of Immigration, 107 Phil. 632) a

declaring

petition

the

petitioner

as

"judicially

declaratory
for

relief

judicial

repatriation

The

registration as an alien (Tan vs. Republic, L-

Provincial Fiscal, in behalf of the Republic of the

16108, Oct. 31, 1961). As was held in Lim vs.

Philippines, took this appeal.

Republic,

registration.

supra,

"there

action

is

no

to

vs.

her

of

an

(Lim

vs.

Republic,

certificate

or

Navarro

repatriated," and ordering the cancellation of


alien

supra),

(Tiu

cancel

proceeding

established by law or the rules by which any


person claiming to be a citizen may get a
ISSUE:

declaration in a court of justice to that effect or


in regard to his citizenship."

WON one may be repatriated by judicial


proceedings
Note: Although Jaos citizenship prior to her
marriage to a Chinese husband needed judicial
HELD:

confirmation, the process of repatriation itself


(i.e., of reacquiring that citizenship) involves a

The proceedings taken in the trial court are


a complete nullity. There is no law requiring or

purely administrative proceeding.

ANGAT VS REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES


Posted by kaye lee on 9:47 PM

these statutes, the person desiring to reacquire


his Philippine citizenship would not even
required to file a petition in court; all he had to

G.R. No. 132244, 14 September 1999

do is to take an Oath of Allegiance to the

[Naturalization; Reacquisition; RA No. 8171]

Republic of the Philippines and to register the


said oath with the proper civil registry.

FACTS:
Gerardo Angat, a natural born Filipino citizen,
asked to regain his status as a Philippine
citizen before the RTC Marikina. RTC allowed
him to take his Oath of Allegiance on October
3, 1996 and the following day, the RTC
declared him as citizen of the Philippines
pursuant to R.A. No. 8171.
OSG filed a Manifestation and Motion in March
1997, asserting that the petition should have
been dismissed by the court for lack of
jurisdiction.
ISSUE:

AZNAR VS. COMELEC, digested


Posted by Pius Morados on November 9, 2011
GR # 83820, May 25, 1990 (Constitutional Law
Alien, Loss of Citizenship)
FACTS: In the case at bar, petitioner challenged
respondents right to hold public office on the
ground that the latter was an alien.
Respondent maintains that he is a son of a
Filipino, was a holder of a valid subsisting
passport, a continuous resident of the

Whether or not the RTC has jurisdiction in

Philippines and a registered voter since 1965.

deciding over repatriation case.

He was, however, also a holder of an alien


registration certificate.

RULING:
No. A petition for repatriation should be filed

ISSUE: Whether or not respondent is an alien.

with the Special Committee on Naturalization


and not with the RTC which has no

HELD: No, because by virtue of his being a son

jurisdiction.Therefore, the court's order was

of a Filipino, it is presumed that he was a

null and void.

Filipino and remained Filipino until proof could

RA No. 8171, which has lapsed into law on

be shown that he had renounced or lost his

October 23 1995, is an act providing for

Philippine citizenship. In addition, possession of

repatriation of Filipino women who have lost

an alien registration certificate unaccompanied

their Philippine citizenship by marriage to

by proof of performance of acts whereby

aliens and of natural-born Filipinos who have

Philippine citizenship had been lost is not

lost the Philippine citizenship on account of

adequate proof of loss of citizenship

political or economic necessity.


Moreover, petitioner was incorrect when he

MERCADO VS MANZANO

initially invoked RA 965 and RA 2630, since

Posted by kaye lee on 5:15 PM

these laws could only apply to persons who


had lost their Philippine citizenship by

G.R. No. 135083, 26 May 1999 [Dual

rendering service to, or accepting commission

Citizenship; Dual Allegiance]

in, the armed forces of an allied country or the


armed forces of the US, a factual matter not

FACTS:

alleged in his petition. Parenthetically, under

Petition for disqualification was filed against

Edu Manzano to hold elective office on the


ground that he is both an American citizen and

RULING:

a Filipino citizen, having been born in the

No. Dual citizenship is different from dual

United States of Filipino parents. COMELEC

allegiance. What is inimical is not dual

granted the petition and disqualified Manzano

citizenship per se, but with naturalized citizens

for being a dual citizen pursuant to the Local

who maintain their allegiance to their countries

Government Code RA 7160, that those with

of origin even after their naturalization. Hence,

dual citizenship are disqualified from running

the phrase dual citizenship in RA 7160 must

any public position.

be understood as referring to dual allegiance.


Consequently, persons with mere dual

ISSUE:

citizenship do not fall under this

Whether or not dual citizenship is a ground for

disqualification.

disqualification to hold or run office in the local


position.