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[G.R. No. 120295. June 28, 1996] JUAN G. FRIVALDO, petitioner, vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, and RAUL R. LEE, respondents.

Facts In the May 8, 1995 elections, Juan G. Frivaldo, eighty one years of age, a natural born Filipino, won the gubernatorial seat in the province of Sorsogon by having the most number of votes against rivals Raul Lee, Antonio Escudero Jr. and Isagani Ocampo. However, prior to the said election, Raul Lee filed a petition with the COMELEC which claimed that Frivaldo should be disqualified on the basis that he is not a Filipino Citizen. COMELEC adhered to the petition and on May 1st declared Frivaldo disqualified and cancelled his certificate of candidacy. COMELEC also denied Frivaldo’s Motion for Reconsideration but such remained unanswered until May 11th, resulting to his name still being included on the day of the voting. On June 29th of the same year, the COMELEC en banc issued through the provincial board of canvassers that 2nd placer, Raul Lee, be proclaimed as the winner of the gubernatorial race. At 8:30 pm, the following day, Lee was declared Governor of Sorsogon. On the contrary, Juan Frivaldo contended on a petition filed with the COMELEC on July 6th, that he should be proclaimed the governor since, at 2:00 pm on the same day of Lee’s proclamation, he already took his allegiance as a citizen of the Philippines, due to the granting of his petition for repatriation under Presidential Decree 725 with the Special Committee on Naturalization on August 17, 1994. Consequentially, Frivaldo then, being the choice of the sovereign will should be declared as governor. Issues Whether or not the repatriation under P.D. 725 of Frivaldo is valid and legal? Held Under Philippine law, Philippine citizenship may be reacquired as follows: by direct act of congress, by naturalization or by repatriation. Previously, Frivaldo sought a direct act of congress as a means of reacquiring his citizenship but it failed because of his alleged political rivals and he also sought naturalization but was rejected because of jurisdictional, substantial and procedural defects.

Frivaldo pursued reacquisition of Philippine citizenship under Presidential Decree 725 providing for repatriation of Filipino Women who had lost their Philippine citizenship by marriage to aliens and of natural born Filipinos. . This is not unusual since. in repatriation the applicant is a former natural-born Filipino who is merely seeking to reacquire his previous citizenship. after which they shall be deemed to have reacquired Philippine citizenship. 725 itself requires very little of an applicant. In the said decree pertaining to natural born Filipinos. the effect of the said repatriation is retroacted in the date of his application since P. if their applications are approved. unlike in naturalization where an alien covets a first-time entry into Philippine political life.D. 725 showed that it created new rights for Frivaldo. he was undoubtedly a natural-born citizen who openly and faithfully served his country and his province prior to his naturalization in the United States — a naturalization he insists was made necessary only to escape the iron clutches of a dictatorship he abhorred and could not in conscience embrace — and who.” The court in addition states regarding the process of reacquisition: “In fact. after the fall of the dictator and the re-establishment of democratic space.” The reacquisition of citizenship is deemed valid since it followed the correct procedure and the said decree has not been repealed by any subsequent laws in the first place. 270.D. taking the necessary oath of allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines. He possessed the vital requirement of Filipino citizenship as of the start of the term of office of governor. it states that: “… natural born Filipinos who have lost their Philippine citizenship may require Philippine citizenship through repatriation by applying with the Special Committee on Naturalization created by Letter of Instruction No. wasted no time in returning to his country of birth to offer once more his talent and services to his people.On the third time however. P. and should have been proclaimed instead of Lee. and even the rules and regulations to implement the said decree were left to the Special Committee to promulgate. and. In the case of Frivaldo. Also.