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Answers to Phil Bar Exams 1987-2006 Political Law

Answers to Phil Bar Exams 1987-2006 Political Law

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Published by: Hanna Mapandi on Mar 14, 2010
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12/10/2012

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No. 13: - Robert Brown was born in Hawaii on
May 15, 1962, of an American father and a
Filipina mother. On May 16, 1983 while holding
an American passport, he registered as a
Filipino with the Philippine Consulate at
Honolulu, Hawaii. In September, 1983 he
returned to the Philippines, and took up
residence at Boac, Marinduque, hometown of
his mother. He registered as a voter, voted, and
even participated as a leader of one of the
candidates in that district in the 1984 Batasan
elections. In the elections of 1987, he ran for
Congressman, and won. His sole opponent is
now questioning his qualifications and is trying
to oust him on two basic claims:
He is not a natural born Filipino citizen, but is in
fact, an American, born in Hawaii, an
integral portion of the U.S.A., who holds an
American passport;
He did not meet the age requirement; and
He has a "green card" from the U.S.
Government.

Assume that you are a member of the House
Electoral Tribunal where the petition for Brown's
ouster is pending. How would you decide the
three issues raised against him?

SUGGESTED ANSWER:

The first and third grounds have no merit. But
the second is well taken and, therefore, Brown
should be disqualified.
1. Robert Brown is a natural born citizen of the
Philippines. A person born of a Filipino mother
and an alien father before January 17, 1973,
who thereafter upon reaching the age of
majority elect Philippine citizenship, is a citizen
of the Philippines (Art. IV, sec. 1(3)). Under Art.
IV, sec, 2 he is also deemed a natural-born
citizen.

2. The Constitution requires, among other
things, that a candidate for member of the
House of Representatives must be at least 25
years of age "on the day of the election." (Art.
VI, sec. 6). As Brown was born on May 15,
1962, he did not become 25 years old until May
15, 1987. Hence on May 11, 1987, when the
election was held, he was 4 days short of the
required age.

3. The Constitution provides that those who
seek either to change their citizenship or to
acquire the status of an immigrant of another
country "during their tenure" shall be dealt with
by law (Art. XI, sec. 17). The provision cannot
apply to Brown for the following reasons: First,
Brown is in addition an American citizen and
thus has a dual citizenship which is allowed by
the Constitution. (Cf. Art. IV, sec. 4), Second,
Brown did not seek to acquire the status of an
immigrant, but is an American by birth under
the principle of jus soli obtaining in the United
States. Third, he did not seek to change his
status during his tenure as a public officer.
Fourth, the provision of Art. XI, sec. 17 is not
self-executing but requires an implementing
law. Fifth, but above all, the House Electoral
Tribunal has no jurisdiction to decide this
question since it does not concern the
qualification of a member-elect.

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