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ARTICLE 37-41

TITLE: Quimiguing vs Icao


CITATION: 34 SCRA 132

FACTS:

Carmen Quimiguing, the petitioner, and Felix Icao, the defendant, were neighbors
in Dapitan City and had close and confidential relations. Despite the fact that Icao
was married, he succeeded to have carnal intercourse with plaintiff several times
under force and intimidation and without her consent. As a result, Carmen
became pregnant despite drugs supplied by defendant and as a consequence,
Carmen stopped studying. Plaintiff claimed for support at P120 per month,
damages and attorneys fees. The complaint was dismissed by the lower court in
Zamboanga del Norte on the ground lack of cause of action. Plaintiff moved to
amend the complaint that as a result of the intercourse, she gave birth to a baby
girl but the court ruled that no amendment was allowable since the original
complaint averred no cause of action.

ISSUE: Whether plaintiff has a right to claim damages.

HELD:

Supreme Court held that a conceive child, although as yet unborn, is given by law
a provisional personality of its own for all purposes favorable to it, as explicitly
provided in Article 40 of the Civil Code of the Philippines. The conceive child may
also receive donations and be accepted by those persons who will legally represent
them if they were already born as prescribed in Article 742.

Lower courts theory on article 291 of the civil code declaring that support is an
obligation of parents and illegitimate children does not contemplate support to
children as yet unborn violates article 40 aforementioned.

Another reason for reversal of the order is that Icao being a married man forced a
woman not his wife to yield to his lust and this constitutes a clear violation of
Carmens rights. Thus, she is entitled to claim compensation for the damage
caused.

WHEREFORE, the orders under appeal are reversed and set aside. Let the case be
remanded to the court of origin for further proceedings conformable to this
decision. Costs against appellee Felix Icao. So ordered.
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. 26795 July 31, 1970
CARMEN QUIMIGUING, Suing through her parents, ANTONIO QUIMIGUING and
JACOBA CABILIN,plaintiffs-appellants,
vs.
FELIX ICAO, defendant-appellee.
Torcuato L. Galon for plaintiffs-appellants.
Godardo Jacinto for defendant-appellee.

REYES, J.B.L., J.:
Appeal on points of law from an order of the Court of First Instance of Zamboanga
del Norte (Judge Onofre Sison Abalos, presiding), in its Civil Case No. 1590,
dismissing a complaint for support and damages, and another order denying
amendment of the same pleading.
The events in the court of origin can be summarized as follows:
Appellant, Carmen Quimiguing, assisted by her parents, sued Felix Icao in the court
below. In her complaint it was averred that the parties were neighbors in Dapitan
City, and had close and confidential relations; that defendant Icao, although
married, succeeded in having carnal intercourse with plaintiff several times by
force and intimidation, and without her consent; that as a result she became
pregnant, despite efforts and drugs supplied by defendant, and plaintiff had to
stop studying. Hence, she claimed support at P120.00 per month, damages and
attorney's fees.
Duly summoned, defendant Icao moved to dismiss for lack of cause of action since
the complaint did not allege that the child had been born; and after hearing
arguments, the trial judge sustained defendant's motion and dismissed the
complaint.
Thereafter, plaintiff moved to amend the complaint to allege that as a result of the
intercourse, plaintiff had later given birth to a baby girl; but the court, sustaining
defendant's objection, ruled that no amendment was allowable, since the original
complaint averred no cause of action. Wherefore, the plaintiff appealed directly to
this Court.
We find the appealed orders of the court below to be untenable. A conceived
child, although as yet unborn, is given by law a provisional personality of its own
for all purposes favorable to it, as explicitly provided in Article 40 of the Civil Code
of the Philippines. The unborn child, therefore, has a right to support from its
progenitors, particularly of the defendant-appellee (whose paternity is deemed
admitted for the purpose of the motion to dismiss), even if the said child is only
"en ventre de sa mere;" just as a conceived child, even if as yet unborn, may
receive donations as prescribed by Article 742 of the same Code, and its being
ignored by the parent in his testament may result in preterition of a forced heir
that annuls the institution of the testamentary heir, even if such child should be
born after the death of the testator Article 854, Civil Code).
ART. 742. Donations made to conceived and unborn children may be accepted by
those persons who would legally represent them if they were already born.
ART. 854. The preterition or omission of one, some, or all of the compulsory heirs
in the direct line, whether living at the time of the execution of the will or born
after the death of the testator, shall annul the institution of heir; but the devises
and legacies shall be valid insofar as they are not inofficious.
If the omitted compulsory heirs should die before the testator, the institution shall
be effectual, without prejudice to the right of 'representation.
It is thus clear that the lower court's theory that Article 291 of the Civil Code
declaring that support is an obligation of parents and illegitimate children "does
not contemplate support to children as yet unborn," violates Article 40 aforesaid,
besides imposing a condition that nowhere appears in the text of Article 291. It is
true that Article 40 prescribing that "the conceived child shall be considered born
for all purposes that are favorable to it" adds further "provided it be born later
with the conditions specified in the following article" (i.e., that the foetus be alive
at the time it is completely delivered from the mother's womb). This proviso,
however, is not a condition precedent to the right of the conceived child; for if it
were, the first part of Article 40 would become entirely useless and ineffective.
Manresa, in his Commentaries (5th Ed.) to the corresponding Article 29 of the
Spanish Civil Code, clearly points this out:
Los derechos atribuidos al nasciturus no son simples expectativas, ni aun en el
sentido tecnico que la moderna doctrina da a esta figura juridica sino que
constituyen un caso de los propiamente Ilamados 'derechos en estado de
pendenci'; el nacimiento del sujeto en las condiciones previstas por el art. 30, no
determina el nacimiento de aquellos derechos (que ya existian de antemano), sino
que se trata de un hecho que tiene efectos declarativos. (1 Manresa, Op. cit., page
271)
A second reason for reversing the orders appealed from is that for a married man
to force a woman not his wife to yield to his lust (as averred in the original
complaint in this case) constitutes a clear violation of the rights of his victim that
entitles her to claim compensation for the damage caused. Says Article 21 of the
Civil Code of the Philippines:
ART. 21. Any person who wilfully causes loss or injury to another in a manner that
is contrary to morals, good customs or public policy shall compensate the latter for
the damage.
The rule of Article 21 is supported by Article 2219 of the same Code:
ART 2219. Moral damages may be recovered in the following and analogous cases:
(3) Seduction, abduction, rape or other lascivious acts:
xxx xxx xxx
(10) Acts and actions referred to in Articles 21, 26, 27, 28 ....
Thus, independently of the right to Support of the child she was carrying, plaintiff
herself had a cause of action for damages under the terms of the complaint; and
the order dismissing it for failure to state a cause of action was doubly in error.
WHEREFORE, the orders under appeal are reversed and set aside. Let the case be
remanded to the court of origin for further proceedings conformable to this
decision. Costs against appellee Felix Icao. So ordered.
TITLE: Geluz vs CA
CITATION: 2 SCRA 801

FACTS:

Nita Villanueva, the wife of Oscar lazo, respondent, came to know Antonio Geluz,
the petitioner and physician, through her aunt Paula Yambot. Nita became
pregnant some time in 1950 before she and Oscar were legally married. As
advised by her aunt and to conceal it from her parents, she decided to have it
aborted by Geluz. She had her pregnancy aborted again on October 1953 since she
found it inconvenient as she was employed at COMELEC. After two years, on
February 21, 1955, she again became pregnant and was accompanied by her sister
Purificacion and the latters daughter Lucida at Geluz clinic at Carriedo and P.
Gomez Street. Oscar at this time was in the province of Cagayan campaigning for
his election to the provincial board. He doesnt have any idea nor given his
consent on the abortion.

ISSUE: Whether husband of a woman, who voluntarily procured her abortion,
could recover damages from the physician who caused the same.

HELD:

The Supreme Court believed that the minimum award fixed at P3,000 for the death
of a person does not cover cases of an unborn fetus that is not endowed with
personality which trial court and Court of Appeals predicated.

Both trial court and CA wasnt able to find any basis for an award of moral
damages evidently because Oscars indifference to the previous abortions of Nita
clearly indicates he was unconcerned with the frustration of his parental
affections. Instead of filing an administrative or criminal case against Geluz, he
turned his wifes indiscretion to personal profit and filed a civil action for damages
of which not only he but, including his wife would be the beneficiaries. It shows
that hes after obtaining a large money payment since he sued Geluz for P50,000
damages and P3,000 attorneys fees that serves as indemnity claim, which under
the circumstances was clearly exaggerated.
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. L-16439 July 20, 1961
ANTONIO GELUZ, petitioner,
vs.
THE HON. COURT OF APPEALS and OSCAR LAZO, respondents.
Mariano H. de Joya for petitioner.
A.P. Salvador for respondents.
REYES, J.B.L., J.:
This petition for certiorari brings up for review question whether the husband of a
woman, who voluntarily procured her abortion, could recover damages from
physician who caused the same.
The litigation was commenced in the Court of First Instance of Manila by
respondent Oscar Lazo, the of Nita Villanueva, against petitioner Antonio Geluz, a
physician. Convinced of the merits of the complaint upon the evidence adduced,
the trial court rendered judgment favor of plaintiff Lazo and against defendant
Geluz, ordering the latter to pay P3,000.00 as damages, P700.00 attorney's fees
and the costs of the suit. On appeal, Court of Appeals, in a special division of five,
sustained the award by a majority vote of three justices as against two, who
rendered a separate dissenting opinion.
The facts are set forth in the majority opinion as follows:
Nita Villanueva came to know the defendant (Antonio Geluz) for the first time in
1948 through her aunt Paula Yambot. In 1950 she became pregnant by her
present husband before they were legally married. Desiring to conceal her
pregnancy from her parent, and acting on the advice of her aunt, she had herself
aborted by the defendant. After her marriage with the plaintiff, she again became
pregnant. As she was then employed in the Commission on Elections and her
pregnancy proved to be inconvenient, she had herself aborted again by the
defendant in October 1953. Less than two years later, she again became pregnant.
On February 21, 1955, accompanied by her sister Purificacion and the latter's
daughter Lucida, she again repaired to the defendant's clinic on Carriedo and P.
Gomez streets in Manila, where the three met the defendant and his wife. Nita
was again aborted, of a two-month old foetus, in consideration of the sum of fifty
pesos, Philippine currency. The plaintiff was at this time in the province of
Cagayan, campaigning for his election to the provincial board; he did not know of,
nor gave his consent, to the abortion.
It is the third and last abortion that constitutes plaintiff's basis in filing this action
and award of damages. Upon application of the defendant Geluz we
granted certiorari.
The Court of Appeals and the trial court predicated the award of damages in the
sum of P3,000.06 upon the provisions of the initial paragraph of Article 2206 of the
Civil Code of the Philippines. This we believe to be error, for the said article, in
fixing a minimum award of P3,000.00 for the death of a person, does not cover the
case of an unborn foetus that is not endowed with personality. Under the system
of our Civil Code, "la criatura abortiva no alcanza la categoria de persona natural y
en consscuencia es un ser no nacido a la vida del Derecho" (Casso-Cervera,
"Diccionario de Derecho Privado", Vol. 1, p. 49), being incapable of having rights
and obligations.
Since an action for pecuniary damages on account of personal injury or death
pertains primarily to the one injured, it is easy to see that if no action for such
damages could be instituted on behalf of the unborn child on account of the
injuries it received, no such right of action could derivatively accrue to its parents
or heirs. In fact, even if a cause of action did accrue on behalf of the unborn child,
the same was extinguished by its pre-natal death, since no transmission to anyone
can take place from on that lacked juridical personality (or juridical capacity as
distinguished from capacity to act). It is no answer to invoke the provisional
personality of a conceived child (conceptus pro nato habetur) under Article 40 of
the Civil Code, because that same article expressly limits such provisional
personality by imposing the condition that the child should be subsequently born
alive: "provided it be born later with the condition specified in the following
article". In the present case, there is no dispute that the child was dead when
separated from its mother's womb.
The prevailing American jurisprudence is to the same effect; and it is generally held
that recovery can not had for the death of an unborn child (Stafford vs. Roadway
Transit Co., 70 F. Supp. 555; Dietrich vs. Northampton, 52 Am. Rep. 242; and
numerous cases collated in the editorial note, 10 ALR, (2d) 639).
This is not to say that the parents are not entitled to collect any damages at all. But
such damages must be those inflicted directly upon them, as distinguished from
the injury or violation of the rights of the deceased, his right to life and physical
integrity. Because the parents can not expect either help, support or services from
an unborn child, they would normally be limited to moral damages for the illegal
arrest of the normal development of the spes hominis that was the foetus, i.e., on
account of distress and anguish attendant to its loss, and the disappointment of
their parental expectations (Civ. Code Art. 2217), as well as to exemplary damages,
if the circumstances should warrant them (Art. 2230). But in the case before us,
both the trial court and the Court of Appeals have not found any basis for an award
of moral damages, evidently because the appellee's indifference to the previous
abortions of his wife, also caused by the appellant herein, clearly indicates that he
was unconcerned with the frustration of his parental hopes and affections. The
lower court expressly found, and the majority opinion of the Court of Appeals did
not contradict it, that the appellee was aware of the second abortion; and the
probabilities are that he was likewise aware of the first. Yet despite the suspicious
repetition of the event, he appeared to have taken no steps to investigate or
pinpoint the causes thereof, and secure the punishment of the responsible
practitioner. Even after learning of the third abortion, the appellee does not seem
to have taken interest in the administrative and criminal cases against the
appellant. His only concern appears to have been directed at obtaining from the
doctor a large money payment, since he sued for P50,000.00 damages and
P3,000.00 attorney's fees, an "indemnity" claim that, under the circumstances of
record, was clearly exaggerated.
The dissenting Justices of the Court of Appeals have aptly remarked that:
It seems to us that the normal reaction of a husband who righteously feels
outraged by the abortion which his wife has deliberately sought at the hands of a
physician would be highminded rather than mercenary; and that his primary
concern would be to see to it that the medical profession was purged of an
unworthy member rather than turn his wife's indiscretion to personal profit, and
with that idea in mind to press either the administrative or the criminal cases he
had filed, or both, instead of abandoning them in favor of a civil action for
damages of which not only he, but also his wife, would be the beneficiaries.
It is unquestionable that the appellant's act in provoking the abortion of appellee's
wife, without medical necessity to warrant it, was a criminal and morally
reprehensible act, that can not be too severely condemned; and the consent of the
woman or that of her husband does not excuse it. But the immorality or illegality
of the act does not justify an award of damage that, under the circumstances on
record, have no factual or legal basis.
The decision appealed from is reversed, and the complaint ordered dismissed.
Without costs.
Let a copy of this decision be furnished to the Department of Justice and the Board
of Medical Examiners for their information and such investigation and action
against the appellee Antonio Geluz as the facts may warrant.
Republic of the Philippines
Congress of the Philippines
Metro Manila
Eighth Congress


Republic Act No. 6809 December 13, 1989
AN ACT LOWERING THE AGE OF MAJORITY FROM TWENTY-ONE TO EIGHTEEN
YEARS, AMENDING FOR THE PURPOSE EXECUTIVE ORDER NUMBERED TWO
HUNDRED NINE, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Philippines in
Congress assembled::
Section 1. Article 234 of Executive Order No. 209, the Family Code of the
Philippines, is hereby amended to read as follows:
"Art. 234. Emancipation takes place by the attainment of majority. Unless
otherwise provided, majority commences at the age of eighteen years."
Section 2. Articles 235 and 237 of the same Code are hereby repealed.
Section 3. Article 236 of the same Code is also hereby amended to read as follows:
"Art. 236. Emancipation shall terminate parental authority over the person and
property of the child who shall then be qualified and responsible for all acts of civil
life, save the exceptions established by existing laws in special cases.
"Contracting marriage shall require parental consent until the age of twenty-one.
"Nothing in this Code shall be construed to derogate from the duty or
responsibility of parents and guardians for children and wards below twenty-one
years of age mentioned in the second and third paragraphs of Article 2180 of the
Civil Code."
Section 4. Upon the effectivity of this Act, existing wills, bequests, donations,
grants, insurance policies and similar instruments containing references and
provisions favorable to minors will not retroact to their prejudice.
Section 5. This Act shall take effect upon completion of its publication in at least
two (2) newspapers of general circulation.
Approved: December 13, 1989
TITLE: De Jesus v Syquia
CITATION: 58 Phil 866

FACTS:

Antonia Loanco, a likely unmarried girl 20 years of age was a cashier in a barber
shop owned by the defendants brother in law Vicente Mendoza. Cesar Syquia, the
defendant, 23 years of age and an unmarried scion of a prominent family in Manila
was accustomed to have his haircut in the said barber shop. He got acquainted
with Antonio and had an amorous relationship. As a consequence, Antonia got
pregnant and a baby boy was born on June 17, 1931.

In the early months of Antonias pregnancy, defendant was a constant visitor. On
February 1931, he even wrote a letter to a rev father confirming that the child is
his and he wanted his name to be given to the child. Though he was out of the
country, he continuously wrote letters to Antonia reminding her to eat on time for
her and juniors sake. The defendant ask his friend Dr. Talavera to attend at the
birth and hospital arrangements at St. Joseph Hospital in Manila.

After giving birth, Syquia brought Antonia and his child at a House in Camarines
Street Manila where they lived together for about a year. When Antonia showed
signs of second pregnancy, defendant suddenly departed and he was married with
another woman at this time.

It should be noted that during the christening of the child, the defendant who was
in charge of the arrangement of the ceremony caused the name Ismael Loanco to
be given instead of Cesar Syquia Jr. that was first planned.

ISSUES:

1. Whether the note to the padre in connection with the other letters written by
defendant to Antonia during her pregnancy proves acknowledgement of paternity.

2. Whether trial court erred in holding that Ismael Loanco had been in the
uninterrupted possession of the status of a natural child, justified by the conduct
of the father himself, and that as a consequence, the defendant in this case should
be compelled to acknowledge the said Ismael Loanco.

HELD:

The letter written by Syquia to Rev. Father serves as admission of paternity and the
other letters are sufficient to connect the admission with the child carried by
Antonia. The mere requirement is that the writing shall be indubitable.

The law fixes no period during which a child must be in the continuous
possession of the status of a natural child; and the period in this case was long
enough to reveal the father's resolution to admit the status.

Supreme Court held that they agree with the trial court in refusing to provide
damages to Antonia Loanco for supposed breach of promise to marry since action
on this has no standing in civil law. Furthermore, there is no proof upon which a
judgment could be based requiring the defendant to recognize the second baby,
Pacita Loanco. Finally, SC found no necessity to modify the judgment as to the
amount of maintenance allowed to Ismael Loanco in the amount of P50 pesos per
month. They likewise pointed out that it is only the trial court who has jurisdiction
to modify the order as to the amount of pension.
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. L-39110 November 28, 1933
ANTONIA L. DE JESUS, ET AL., plaintiff-appellant,
vs.
CESAR SYQUIA, defendant-appellant.
Jose Sotelo for plaintiffs-appellants.
Vicente J. Francisco for defendant-appellant.

STREET, J.:
This action was instituted in the Court of First Instance of Manila by Antonia
Loanco de Jesus in her own right and by her mother, Pilar Marquez, as next friend
and representative of Ismael and Pacita Loanco, infants, children of the first-
named plaintiff, for the purpose of recovering from the defendant, Cesar Syquia,
the sum of thirty thousand pesos as damages resulting to the first-named plaintiff
from breach of a marriage promise, to compel the defendant to recognize Ismael
and Pacita as natural children begotten by him with Antonia, and to pay for the
maintenance of the three the amount of five hundred pesos per month, together
with costs. Upon hearing the cause, after answer of the defendant, the trial court
erred a decree requiring the defendant to recognize Ismael Loanco as his natural
child and to pay maintenance for him at the rate of fifty pesos per month, with
costs, dismissing the action in other respects. From this judgment both parties
appealed, the plaintiffs from so much of the decision as denied part of the relief
sought by them, and the defendant from that feature of the decision which
required him to recognize Ismael Loanco and to pay for his maintenance.
At the time with which we are here concerned, the defendant, Cesar Syquia was of
the age of twenty-three years, and an unmarried scion of the prominent family in
Manila, being possessed of a considerable property in his own right. His brother-in-
law, Vicente Mendoza is the owner of a barber shop in Tondo, where the
defendant was accustomed to go for tonsorial attention. In the month of June
Antonia Loanco, a likely unmarried girl of the age of twenty years, was taken on as
cashier in this barber shop. Syquia was not long in making her acquaintance and
amorous relations resulted, as a consequence of which Antonia was gotten with
child and a baby boy was born on June 17, 1931. The defendant was a constant
visitor at the home of Antonia in the early months of her pregnancy, and in
February, 1931, he wrote and placed in her hands a note directed to
the padre who has expected to christen the baby. This note was as follows:
Saturday, 1:30 p. m.
February 14, 1931
Rev. FATHER,
The baby due in June is mine and I should like for my name to be given to it.
CESAR SYQUIA
The occasion for writing this note was that the defendant was on the eve of his
departure on a trip to China and Japan; and while he was abroad on this visit he
wrote several letters to Antonia showing a paternal interest in the situation that
had developed with her, and cautioning her to keep in good condition in order
that "junior" (meaning the baby to be, "Syquia, Jr.") might be strong, and promising
to return to them soon. The baby arrived at the time expected, and all necessary
anticipatory preparations were made by the defendant. To this he employed his
friend Dr. Crescenciano Talavera to attend at the birth, and made arrangements
for the hospitalization of the mother in Saint Joseph's Hospital of the City of
Manila, where she was cared for during confinement.
When Antonio was able to leave the hospital, Syquia took her, with her mother
and the baby, to a house at No. 551 Camarines Street, Manila, where they lived
together for about a year in regular family style, all household expenses, including
gas and electric light, being defrayed by Syquia. In course of time, however, the
defendant's ardor abated and, when Antonia began to show signs of a second
pregnancy the defendant decamped, and he is now married to another woman. A
point that should here be noted is that when the time came for christening the
child, the defendant, who had charge of the arrangement for this ceremony,
caused the name Ismael Loanco to be given to him, instead of Cesar Syquia, Jr., as
was at first planned.
The first question that is presented in the case is whether the note to the padre,
quoted above, in connection with the letters written by the defendant to the
mother during pregnancy, proves an acknowledgment of paternity, within the
meaning of subsection 1 of article 135 of the Civil Code. Upon this point we have
no hesitancy in holding that the acknowledgment thus shown is sufficient. It is a
universal rule of jurisprudence that a child, upon being conceived, becomes a
bearer of legal rights and capable of being dealt with as a living person. The fact
that it is yet unborn is no impediment to the acquisition of rights. The problem
here presented of the recognition of unborn child is really not different from that
presented in the ordinary case of the recognition of a child already born and
bearing a specific name. Only the means and resources of identification are
different. Even a bequest to a living child requires oral evidence to connect the
particular individual intended with the name used.
It is contended however, in the present case that the words of description used in
the writings before us are not legally sufficient to indemnify the child now suing as
Ismael Loanco. This contention is not, in our opinion, well founded. The words of
recognition contained in the note to the padre are not capable of two
constructions. They refer to a baby then conceived which was expected to be born
in June and which would thereafter be presented for christening. The baby came,
and though it was in the end given the name of Ismael Loanco instead of Cesar
Syquia, Jr., its identity as the child which the defendant intended to acknowledge is
clear. Any doubt that might arise on this point is removed by the letters Exhibit F,
G, H, and J. In these letters the defendant makes repeated reference to junior as
the baby which Antonia, to whom the letters were addressed, was then carrying in
her womb, and the writer urged Antonia to eat with good appetite in order
that junior might be vigorous. In the last letter (Exhibit J) written only a few days
before the birth of the child, the defendant urged her to take good care of herself
and of junior also.
It seems to us that the only legal question that can here arise as to the sufficiency
of acknowledgment is whether the acknowledgment contemplated in subsection 1
of article 135 of the Civil Code must be made in a single document or may be made
in more than one document, of indubitable authenticity, written by the recognizing
father. Upon this point we are of the opinion that the recognition can be made out
by putting together the admissions of more than one document, supplementing
the admission made in one letter by an admission or admissions made in another.
In the case before us the admission of paternity is contained in the note to
the padreand the other letters suffice to connect that admission with the child
then being carried by Antonia L. de Jesus. There is no requirement in the law that
the writing shall be addressed to one, or any particular individual. It is merely
required that the writing shall be indubitable.
The second question that presents itself in this case is whether the trial court erred
in holding that Ismael Loanco had been in the uninterrupted possession of the
status of a natural child, justified by the conduct of the father himself, and that as a
consequence, the defendant in this case should be compelled to acknowledge the
said Ismael Loanco, under No. 2 of article 135 of the Civil Code. The facts already
stated are sufficient, in our opinion, to justify the conclusion of the trial court on
this point, and we may add here that our conclusion upon the first branch of the
case that the defendant had acknowledged this child in writings above referred to
must be taken in connection with the facts found by the court upon the second
point. It is undeniable that from the birth of this child the defendant supplied a
home for it and the mother, in which they lived together with the defendant. This
situation continued for about a year, and until Antonia became enciente a second
time, when the idea entered the defendant's head of abandoning her. The law
fixes no period during which a child must be in the continuous possession of the
status of a natural child; and the period in this case was long enough to evince the
father's resolution to concede the status. The circumstance that he abandoned the
mother and child shortly before this action was started is unimportant. The word
"continuous" in subsection 2 of article 135 of the Civil Code does not mean that
the concession of status shall continue forever, but only that it shall not be of an
intermittent character while it continues.
What has been said disposes of the principal feature of the defendant's appeal.
With respect to the appeal of the plaintiffs, we are of the opinion that the trial
court was right in refusing to give damages to the plaintiff, Antonia Loanco, for
supposed breach of promise to marry. Such promise is not satisfactorily proved,
and we may add that the action for breach of promise to marry has no standing in
the civil law, apart from the right to recover money or property advanced by the
plaintiff upon the faith of such promise. This case exhibits none of the features
necessary to maintain such an action. Furthermore, there is no proof upon which a
judgment could be based requiring the defendant to recognize the second baby,
Pacita Loanco.
Finally, we see no necessity or propriety in modifying the judgment as to the
amount of the maintenance which the trial court allowed to Ismael Loanco. And in
this connection we merely point out that, as conditions change, the Court of First
Instance will have jurisdiction to modify the order as to the amount of the pension
as circumstances will require.
The judgment appealed from is in all respects affirmed, without costs. So ordered.
Malcolm, Abad Santos, Hull, Vickers, and butte, JJ., concur.



Separate Opinions

VILLA-REAL, J., dissenting:
The majority opinion is predicated on two grounds: First, that the defendant-
appellant Cesar Syquia has expressly acknowledged his paternity of the child
Ismael Loanco in an indubitable writing of his; and secondly, that said child has
enjoyed the uninterrupted possession of the status of a natural son of said
defendant-appellant Cesar Syquia, justified by his acts, as required by article 135 of
the Civil Code.
The first conclusion is drawn from Exhibits C, F, G, H, and J.
Exhibit C, which is in the handwriting of any signed by the defendant-appellant
Cesar Syquia, reads as follows:
Sabado, 1.30 p. m. 14 febrero, 1931
Rev. PADRE:
La criatura que vendra el junio es mio y que yo quisiera mi nombre que se de a la
criatura.
(Fdo.) CESAR SYQUIA
Exhibit F, G, H, and j, which are letters written by the said defendant-appellant
Cesar Syquia to plaintiff-appellee Antonia L. de Jesus prior to the birth of the child
contain the following expressions:
Exhibit F, Feb. 18, 1931: "No hagas nada malo; ni manches mi nombre y el
de junior tambien no lo manches. A cuerdate muy bien Toni que es por ti y
por junior volvere alli pronto. ..."
Exhibit G. Feb. 24, 1931: "Toni por favor cuida bien a junior eh? . ..."
Exhibit H, March 25, 1931: "Toni, cuida tu bien a junior y cuidate bien, y come tu
mucho. ... ."
Exhibit J, June 1, 1931: "Cuidate bien y junior tambien . ..."
Article 135, number 1, provides as follows:
ART. 135. The father may be compelled to acknowledge his natural child in the
following cases:
1. When an indisputable paper written by him, expressly acknowledging his
paternity, is in existence.
Maresa (Codigo Civil, Vol. 1, page 596, 4th ed.) commenting on said article, says:
Con arreglo al articulo que comentamos, no puede haber cuestion acerca de si es
posible admitir por otro medio la prueba de la paternidad natural. Entendemos
que no, porquel el articulo es terminante y la intencion de la ley mas terminante
aun. Se establecio en la base 5.a que "no se admitira investigacion de la paternidad
sino en los casos de delito, o cuando exista escrito del padre en el que conste su
voluntad indubitada de reconocer por suyo al hijo, deliberadamente expresada con
ese fin, o cuando medie posesion de estado", y esto mismo es lo que se ordena en
el presente articulo.
No puede, pues, prosperar la demanda para obligar al padre al reconocimiento de
un hijo natural, aunque solo se limite a pedir alimentos, si no se funda en el
reconocimiento expreso del padre hecho por escrito, en la posesion constante de
estado de hijo natural o en sentencia firme recaida en causa por de delito violacin,
estupro o rapto. El escrito y la sentencia habran de acompaarse a la demandada,
y no puede admitirse otra prueba que la conducente a justificar que el escrito es
indubitadamente del padre que en el reconozca su paternidad, o la relativa a los
actos directos del mismo padre o de su familia, que demuestren la posesion
continua de dicho estado. Para la prueba de estos dos hechos podran utilizarse
todos los medios que permite la Ley de Enjuiciamiento Civil, debiendo el juez
rechazar la que por cualquier otro concepto se dirija a la investigacion de la
paternidad.
x x x x x x x x x
En cuanto al otro requisito de ser expreso el reconocimiento, tengase presente que
no basta hacerlo por incidencia; es indespensable que se consigne en el escrito la
voluntad indubitada, clara y terminante del padre, de reconocer por suyo al
hijo, deliberadamente expresada con este fin, como se ordena an la base 5.a antes
citada, de las aprobadas por la Ley de 11 de mayo de 1888; de suerte que el
escrito, aunque contenga otros particulares, como sucede en los testamentos, ha
de tener por objecto el reconocimiento deliberado y expreso del hijo natural. No
llena, pues, ese objecto la manifestacion que incidentalmente haga el padre de ser
hijo natural suyo la persona a quien se refiera, y mucho menos el dar a una
persona el titulo y tratamiento de hijo en cartas familiares. Sin embrago, en cada
caso decidiran los un modo suficientemente expresivo la paternidad, servira de
base para acreditar, en union con otros datos, la posesion contante del estado del
hijo a los efectos de este articulo, y con arreglo a su numero 2.
Let it first be noted that the law prohibits the investigation of paternity (Borres and
Barza vs. Municipality of Panay, 42 Phil., 643; Donado vs. Menendez Donado, 55
Phil., 861). The only exceptions to this rule are those established in article 135 of
the Civil Code quoted above, the first of which is that the father may be compelled
to acknowledge his paternity, "When an indubitable writing of his exists in which
he expressly acknowledge his paternity." The writing that is required by said
provision must be complete in itself and by itself, and must contain all the
statements that are necessary to constitute a full and clear acknowledgment by a
father of his paternity of a child, in order that it may serve as a basis for compelling
him to acknowledge said child should be afterwards deny his paternity. If several
writings put together, each not being complete in itself, should be necessary in
order to obtain a full and complete expression of acknowledgment by a father of
his paternity of a child, the general prohibition to investigate paternity would be
violated.
By the mere reading of all said letters, the one addressed to a priest and the others
to the herein plaintiff-appellee, Antonia L. de Jesus, the reader cannot ascertain
which is the "creature that is coming on June", which the defendant- appellant,
Cesar Syquia, says in the said letter addressed to the priest is his, nor who is the
"junior" that he recommends to said Antonia L. de Jesus to take good care of, as
there is nothing in anyone of said letters from which it may be inferred that
Antonia L. de Jesus was enciente at the time, that the "junior" was the being she
was carrying in her womb, and that it was the "creature that is coming in June." To
connect all these facts it was necessary to prove that Cesar Syquia had had illicit
relations with Antonia L. de Jesus, that as a result of such relations the woman
became pregnant, and that she gave birth to a boy in June 1931. All this certainly
constitutes an investigation of the paternity of Cesar Syquia of said child outside of
the documents, which is prohibited by law.
Either taken alone therefore, or in connection with Exhibits F, G, H, and J, Exhibit C
is insufficient to constitute a "indubitable writing of Cesar Syquia, in which he
expressly acknowledges his paternity of the child Ismael Loanco," as required by
number 1 of article 135 of the Civil Code.
As to the second ground of the decision of the majority, number 2 of article 135 of
the Civil Code provides:
ART. 135. The father may be compelled to acknowledge his natural child in the
following cases:
x x x x x x x x x
2. When the child has been in the uninterrupted possession of the status of a
natural child of the defendant father, justified by the conduct of the father himself
or that of his family.
The majority decision bases its connection on the second point on Exhibits C, F, G,
H, and J and the following facts, as found by the lower court in its decision:
Cuando la demandante Antonia L. de Jesus estaba para dar a luz, el demandado
Cesar Syquia llamo a su comprovinciano Dr. Crescenciano Talavera, medico que
entonces ejercia su profesion en la Ciudad de Manila, para que asistiera a aquella
en su parto y a ese efecto llevo a la demandante Antonia L. de Jesus acompaado
del Dr. Talavera al Hospital San Jose, de esta Ciudad, donde ella dio a luz el 17 de
junio de 1931 asistida por dicho Dr. Talavera, que firmo el certificado de
necimiento Exhibit E.
Despues del nacimiento del demandante Ismael Loanco, el demandado estuvo
viviendo con este y con la demandante Antonio L. de Jesus en la casa No. 551 de la
Calle Camarines, Manila, entregando a dicha demandante el dinero para los gastos
de casa y el pago del consumo de gas y luz electrica, habiendo firmado el contrato
para el suministro del fluido electrico en dicha casa.
Exhibit, C, F, G, H, and J, are inadmissible in evidence the purpose of showing that
Ismael Loanco has enjoyed the continuous possession of the status of a natural
child, because being of prior date to the birth of said child they can not be
considered as direct acts of Cesar Syquia showing possession of the status of
natural child, as no human being can enjoy such possession until he be born with
legal capacity for acquiring civil rights (Infante vs. Figueras, 4 Phil., 738;
Granados vs. Leynes, G.R. No. 31224, promulgated September 9, 1929, not
reported).
It must also be stated that Cesar Syquia refused to allow his name to be given to
the child Ismael when it was baptized, so that the name of its mother, Loanco, had
to be given to it.
The facts which were found by the court below to have been proved by the
testimony of the witnesses during the trial, are not sufficient to constitute the
uninterrupted possession of the status of Ismael Loanco as natural child of said
Cesar Syquia, in the light of the following authorities:
In the case of Buenaventura vs. Urbano (5 Phil., 1, 9), this court said:
. . . Confining ourselves to the acts proved to have been performed by Don
Telesforo, we find that he visited the mother of the plaintiff; that he paid money
for her support; that he paid money for the support of the plaintiff; that he hold
one witness that the plaintiff was his son; that the plaintiff called him "Papa," and
that Don Telesforo answered to this designation; that when the plaintiff visited
Don Telesforo he kissed his hand; that Don Telesforo wrote letters to him; that he
paid his fees for instruction in school, and secured him a position in a commercial
house.
x x x x x x x x x
All these facts taken together are not sufficient to show that plaintiff possesses
continuously the status of a natural child. They may have a tendency to show that
Don Telesforo was the father of the child, but that it is not sufficient. It is not
sufficient that the father recognize the child as his. By the express terms of article
135 that recognition must appear either in writing, made by the father, or it must
appear in acts which show that the son has possessed continuously the status of a
natural child. No recognition by the father of the child which comes short of the
requirements of these two paragraphs is sufficient. It must appear that it was the
intention of the father to recognize the child as to give him that status, and that
the acts performed by him were done with that intention.
Manresa (Codigo Civil, Vol. 1, page 602, 4th ed.) in citing some decisions of the
Supreme Court of Spain says:
En la sentencia de 5 de junio de 1906 declarase que para justificar la posesion de
estado de hijo natural se requiere que los actos sean de tal naturaleza que revelen,
a la vez que el convencimiento de la paternidad, la voluntad ostensible de tener y
tratar al hijo como tal en las relaciones sociales y de la vida, y esto no
accidentalmente, sino continuedamente, porque en tal supuesto los actos tiene el
mismo valor que el reconocimiento expreso.lawphil.net
En el mismo criterio restrictivo se inspira la de 12 de octubre de 1907, que estima
que el hecho de que dos nodrizas criaron a otros tantos nios, sufragando el gasto
el demandado, quien ademas iba a casa de la demandante, los besada, los llamaba
hijos y encargaba para los mismos el mayor cuidado; el de que subvenia a las
necesidades de la madre y de los seis hijos que la nacieron, el primero de los cuales
se llamaba como el padre; y el de que los porteros de la casa donde vivio la actora
sabian que el finado visitaba a esta, se lamentaba de la mucha familia que tenia y
era tenido en el concepto publico como padre de los menores, no son suficientes
para fundar la declaracion de paternidad, pues no es legal confundir actos que
puedan revelar mas o menos la presuncion o convencimiento en que una persona
este de su paternidad con relacion a hijos naturales, con los que demuestren su
proposito de poner a estos hijos en la posesion de tal estado.
It will thus be seen from the foregoing discussion and authorities that the herein
defendant-appellant Cesar Syquia cannot be compelled to acknowledge the child
Ismael Loanco as his natural son because there exists not an indubitable writing of
his in which he expressly acknowledges his paternity of said child, and because the
said child has not enjoyed the uninterrupted possession of the status of a natural
child of the said
defendant-appellant, justified by his own conduct or that of his family, as required
by article 135 of the Civil Code.
The decision appealed from should, therefore, be reversed and the complaint
dismissed.
ARTICLE 43
TITLE: Limjuco vs. The Estate of Pedro Fragante
CITATION: 45 OG No. 9, p.397

FACTS:

Pedro Fragante, a Filipino citizen at the time of his death, applied for a certificate
of public convenience to install and maintain an ice plant in San Juan Rizal. His
intestate estate is financially capable of maintaining the proposed service. The
Public Service Commission issued a certificate of public convenience to Intestate
Estate of the deceased, authorizing said Intestate Estate through its special or
Judicial Administrator, appointed by the proper court of competent jurisdiction, to
maintain and operate the said plant. Petitioner claims that the granting of
certificate applied to the estate is a contravention of law.

ISSUE: Whether or not the estate of Fragante may be extended an artificial judicial
personality.

HELD:

The estate of Fragante could be extended an artificial judicial personality because
under the Civil Code, estate of a dead person could be considered as artificial
juridical person for the purpose of the settlement and distribution of his
properties. It should be noted that the exercise of juridical administration
includes those rights and fulfillment of obligation of Fragante which survived after
his death. One of those surviving rights involved the pending application for public
convenience before the Public Service Commission.

Supreme Court is of the opinion that for the purposes of the prosecution of said
case No. 4572 of the Public Service Commission to its final conclusion, both the
personality and citizenship of Pedro O. Fragrante must be deemed extended,
within the meaning and intent of the Public Service Act, as amended, in harmony
with the constitution: it is so adjudged and decreed.
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. L-770 April 27, 1948
ANGEL T. LIMJOCO, petitioner,
vs.
INTESTATE ESTATE OF PEDRO O. FRAGRANTE, deceased, respondent.
Angel Limjoco, Jr. and Delfin L. Gonzales for petitioner.
Bienvenido A. Tan for respondent.
HILADO, J.:
Under date of May 21, 1946, the Public Service Commission, through Deputy
Commissioner Fidel Ibaez, rendered its decision in case No. 4572 of Pedro O.
Fragante, as applicant for a certificate of public convenience to install, maintain
and operate an ice plant in San Juan, Rizal, whereby said commission held that the
evidence therein showed that the public interest and convenience will be
promoted in a proper and suitable manner "by authorizing the operation and
maintenance of another ice plant of two and one-half (2-) tons in the
municipality of San Juan; that the original applicant Pedro O. Fragante was a
Filipino Citizen at the time of his death; and that his intestate estate is financially
capable of maintaining the proposed service". The commission, therefore,
overruled the opposition filed in the case and ordered "that under the provisions
of section 15 of Commonwealth Act No. 146, as amended a certificate of public
convenience be issued to the Intestate Estate of the deceased Pedro Fragante,
authorizing said Intestate Estate through its Special or Judicial Administrator,
appointed by the proper court of competent jurisdiction, to maintain and operate
an ice plant with a daily productive capacity of two and one-half (2-1/2) tons in the
Municipality of San Juan and to sell the ice produced from said plant in the said
Municipality of San Juan and in the Municipality of Mandaluyong, Rizal, and in
Quezon City", subject to the conditions therein set forth in detail (petitioner's brief,
pp. 33-34).
Petitioner makes four assignments of error in his brief as follows:
1. The decision of the Public Service Commission is not in accordance with law.
2. The decision of the Public Service Commission is not reasonably supported by
evidence.
3. The Public Service Commission erred in not giving petitioner and the Ice and
Cold Storage Industries of the Philippines, Inc., as existing operators, a reasonable
opportunity to meet the increased demand.
4. The decision of the Public Service Commission is an unwarranted departure from
its announced policy with respect to the establishment and operation of ice plant.
(Pp. 1-2, petitioner's brief.)
In his argument petitioner contends that it was error on the part of the
commission to allow the substitution of the legal representative of the estate of
Pedro O. Fragante for the latter as party applicant in the case then pending before
the commission, and in subsequently granting to said estate the certificate applied
for, which is said to be in contravention of law.
If Pedro O. Fragante had not died, there can be no question that he would have
had the right to prosecute his application before the commission to its final
conclusion. No one would have denied him that right. As declared by the
commission in its decision, he had invested in the ice plant in question P 35,000,
and from what the commission said regarding his other properties and business,
he would certainly have been financially able to maintain and operate said plant
had he not died. His transportation business alone was netting him about P1,440 a
month. He was a Filipino citizen and continued to be such till his demise. The
commission declared in its decision, in view of the evidence before it, that his
estate was financially able to maintain and operate the ice plant. The aforesaid
right of Pedro O. Fragante to prosecute said application to its conclusion was one
which by its nature did not lapse through his death. Hence, it constitutes a part of
the assets of his estate, for which a right was property despite the possibility that
in the end the commission might have denied application, although under the facts
of the case, the commission granted the application in view of the financial ability
of the estate to maintain and operate the ice plant. Petitioner, in his memorandum
of March 19, 1947, admits (page 3) that the certificate of public convenience once
granted "as a rule, should descend to his estate as an asset". Such certificate would
certainly be property, and the right to acquire such a certificate, by complying with
the requisites of the law, belonged to the decedent in his lifetime, and survived to
his estate and judicial administrator after his death.
If Pedro O. Fragrante had in his lifetime secured an option to buy a piece of land
and during the life of the option he died, if the option had been given him in the
ordinary course of business and not out of special consideration for his person,
there would be no doubt that said option and the right to exercise it would have
survived to his estate and legal representatives. In such a case there would also be
the possibility of failure to acquire the property should he or his estate or legal
representative fail to comply with the conditions of the option. In the case at bar
Pedro O. Fragrante's undoubted right to apply for and acquire the desired
certificate of public convenience the evidence established that the public
needed the ice plant was under the law conditioned only upon the requisite
citizenship and economic ability to maintain and operate the service. Of course,
such right to acquire or obtain such certificate of public convenience was subject
to failure to secure its objective through nonfulfillment of the legal conditions, but
the situation here is no different from the legal standpoint from that of the option
in the illustration just given.
Rule 88, section 2, provides that the executor or administrator may bring or defend
actions, among other cases, for the protection of the property or rights of the
deceased which survive, and it says that such actions may be brought or defended
"in the right of the deceased".
Rule 82, section 1, paragraph (a), mentions among the duties of the executor or
administrator, the making of an inventory of all goods, chattels, rights, credits, and
estate of the deceased which shall come to his possession or knowledge, or to the
possession of any other person for him.
In his commentaries on the Rules of Court (Volume II, 2nd ed., pages 366, 367) the
present chief Justice of this Court draws the following conclusion from the
decisions cited by him:
Therefore, unless otherwise expressly provided by law, any action affecting the
property or rights (emphasis supplied) of a deceased person which may be brought
by or against him if he were alive, may likewise be instituted and prosecuted by or
against the administrator, unless the action is for recovery of money, debt or
interest thereon, or unless, by its very nature, it cannot survive, because death
extinguishes the right . . . .
It is true that a proceeding upon the application for a certificate of public
convenience before the Public Service Commission is not an "action". But the
foregoing provisions and citations go to prove that the decedent's rights which by
their nature are not extinguished by death go to make up a part and parcel of the
assets of his estate which, being placed under the control and management of the
executor or administrator, can not be exercised but by him in representation of the
estate for the benefit of the creditors, devisees or legatees, if any, and the heirs of
the decedent. And if the right involved happens to consist in the prosecution of an
unfinished proceeding upon an application for a certificate of public convenience
of the deceased before the Public Service Commission, it is but logical that the
legal representative be empowered and entitled in behalf of the estate to make
the right effective in that proceeding.
Manresa (Vol. III, 6th ed., p. 11) says that No. 10 of article 334 and article 336 of
the Civil Code, respectively, consider as immovable and movable
things rights which are not material. The same eminent commentator says in the
cited volume (p. 45) that article 336 of the Civil Code has been deficiently drafted
in that it is not sufficiently expressive of all incorporeal rights which are
also property for juridical purposes.
Corpus Juris (Vol. 50, p. 737) states that in the broad sense of the term, property
includes, among other things, "an option", and "the certificate of the railroad
commission permitting the operation of a bus line", and on page 748 of the same
volume we read:
However, these terms (real property, as estate or interest) have also been declared
to include every species of title, inchoate or complete, and embrace rights which
lie in contract, whether executory or executed. (Emphasis supplied.)
Another important question raised by petitioner is whether the estate of Pedro O.
Fragrante is a "person" within the meaning of the Public Service Act.
Words and Phrases, First Series, (Vol. 6, p, 5325), states the following doctrine in
the jurisdiction of the State of Indiana:
As the estate of the decedent is in law regarded as a person, a forgery committed
after the death of the man whose name purports to be signed to the instrument
may be prosecuted as with the intent to defraud the estate. Billings vs. State, 107
Ind., 54, 55, 6 N. E. 914, 7 N. E. 763, 57 Am. Rep. 77.
The Supreme Court of Indiana in the decision cited above had before it a case of
forgery committed after the death of one Morgan for the purpose of defrauding
his estate. The objection was urged that the information did not aver that the
forgery was committed with the intent to defraud any person. The Court, per
Elliott, J., disposed of this objection as follows:
. . . The reason advanced in support of this proposition is that the law does not
regard the estate of a decedent as a person. This intention (contention) cannot
prevail. The estate of the decedent is a person in legal contemplation. "The word
"person" says Mr. Abbot, "in its legal signification, is a generic term, and includes
artificial as well as natural persons," 2 Abb. Dict. 271; Douglas vs. Pacific, etc. Co., 4
Cal. 304; Planters', etc., Bank vs. Andrews, 8 Port. (Ala.) 404. It said in another work
that 'persons are of two kinds: natural and artificial. A natural person is a human
being. Artificial persons include (1) a collection or succession of natural persons
forming a corporation; (2) a collection of property to which the law attributes the
capacity of having rights and duties. The latter class of artificial persons is
recognized only to a limited extent in our law. "Examples are the estate of a
bankrupt or deceased person." 2 Rapalje & L. Law Dict. 954. Our own cases
inferentially recognize the correctness of the definition given by the authors from
whom we have quoted, for they declare that it is sufficient, in pleading a claim
against a decedent's estate, to designate the defendant as the estate of the
deceased person, naming him. Ginn vs. Collins, 43 Ind. 271. Unless we accept this
definition as correct, there would be a failure of justice in cases where, as here, the
forgery is committed after the death of a person whose name is forged; and this is
a result to be avoided if it can be done consistent with principle. We perceive no
difficulty in avoiding such a result; for, to our minds, it seems reasonable that the
estate of a decedent should be regarded as an artificial person. It is the creation of
law for the purpose of enabling a disposition of the assets to be properly made,
and, although natural persons as heirs, devises, or creditors, have an interest in the
property, the artificial creature is a distinct legal entity. The interest which natural
persons have in it is not complete until there has been a due administration; and
one who forges the name of the decedent to an instrument purporting to be a
promissory note must be regarded as having intended to defraud the estate of the
decedent, and not the natural persons having diverse interests in it, since ha
cannot be presumed to have known who those persons were, or what was the
nature of their respective interest. The fraudulent intent is against the artificial
person, the estate and not the natural persons who have direct or contingent
interest in it. (107 Ind. 54, 55, 6 N.E. 914-915.)
In the instant case there would also be a failure of justice unless the estate of
Pedro O. Fragrante is considered a "person", for quashing of the proceedings for
no other reason than his death would entail prejudicial results to his investment
amounting to P35,000.00 as found by the commission, not counting the expenses
and disbursements which the proceeding can be presumed to have occasioned him
during his lifetime, let alone those defrayed by the estate thereafter. In this
jurisdiction there are ample precedents to show that the estate of a deceased
person is also considered as having legal personality independent of their heirs.
Among the most recent cases may be mentioned that of "Estate of Mota vs.
Concepcion, 56 Phil., 712, 717, wherein the principal plaintiff was the estate of the
deceased Lazaro Mota, and this Court gave judgment in favor of said estate along
with the other plaintiffs in these words:
. . . the judgment appealed from must be affirmed so far as it holds that
defendants Concepcion and Whitaker are indebted to he plaintiffs in the amount
of P245,804.69 . . . .
Under the regime of the Civil Code and before the enactment of the Code of Civil
Procedure, the heirs of a deceased person were considered in contemplation of
law as the continuation of his personality by virtue of the provision of article 661 of
the first Code that the heirs succeed to all the rights and obligations of the
decedent by the mere fact of his death. It was so held by this Court in Barrios vs.
Dolor, 2 Phil., 44, 46. However, after the enactment of the Code of Civil Procedure,
article 661 of the Civil Code was abrogated, as held in Suiliong & Co. vs. Chio-
Taysan, 12 Phil., 13, 22. In that case, as well as in many others decided by this
Court after the innovations introduced by the Code of Civil Procedure in the matter
of estates of deceased persons, it has been the constant doctrine that it is the
estate or the mass of property, rights and assets left by the decedent, instead of
the heirs directly, that becomes vested and charged with his rights and obligations
which survive after his demise.
The heirs were formerly considered as the continuation of the decedent's
personality simply by legal fiction, for they might not have been flesh and blood
the reason was one in the nature of a legal exigency derived from the principle that
the heirs succeeded to the rights and obligations of the decedent. Under the
present legal system, such rights and obligations as survive after death have to be
exercised and fulfilled only by the estate of the deceased. And if the same legal
fiction were not indulged, there would be no juridical basis for the estate,
represented by the executor or administrator, to exercise those rights and to fulfill
those obligations of the deceased. The reason and purpose for indulging the fiction
is identical and the same in both cases. This is why according to the Supreme Court
of Indiana in Billings vs. State, supra, citing 2 Rapalje & L. Dictionary, 954, among
the artificial persons recognized by law figures "a collection of property to which
the law attributes the capacity of having rights and duties", as for instance, the
estate of a bankrupt or deceased person.
Petitioner raises the decisive question of whether or not the estate of Pedro O.
Fragrante can be considered a "citizen of the Philippines" within the meaning of
section 16 of the Public Service Act, as amended, particularly the proviso thereof
expressly and categorically limiting the power of the commission to issue
certificates of public convenience or certificates of public convenience and
necessity "only to citizens of the Philippines or of the United States or to
corporations, copartnerships, associations, or joint-stock companies constituted
and organized under the laws of the Philippines", and the further proviso that sixty
per centum of the stock or paid-up capital of such entities must belong entirely to
citizens of the Philippines or of the United States.
Within the Philosophy of the present legal system, the underlying reason for the
legal fiction by which, for certain purposes, the estate of the deceased person is
considered a "person" is the avoidance of injustice or prejudice resulting from the
impossibility of exercising such legal rights and fulfilling such legal obligations of
the decedent as survived after his death unless the fiction is indulged. Substantially
the same reason is assigned to support the same rule in the jurisdiction of the
State of Indiana, as announced in Billings vs. State, supra, when the Supreme Court
of said State said:
. . . It seems reasonable that the estate of a decedent should be regarded as an
artificial person. it is the creation of law for the purpose of enabling a disposition of
the assets to be properly made . . . .
Within the framework and principles of the constitution itself, to cite just one
example, under the bill of rights it seems clear that while the civil rights
guaranteed therein in the majority of cases relate to natural persons, the term
"person" used in section 1 (1) and (2) must be deemed to include artificial or
juridical persons, for otherwise these latter would be without the constitutional
guarantee against being deprived of property without due process of law, or the
immunity from unreasonable searches and seizures. We take it that it was the
intendment of the framers to include artificial or juridical, no less than natural,
persons in these constitutional immunities and in others of similar nature. Among
these artificial or juridical persons figure estates of deceased persons. Hence, we
hold that within the framework of the Constitution, the estate of Pedro O.
Fragrante should be considered an artificial or juridical person for the purposes of
the settlement and distribution of his estate which, of course, include the exercise
during the judicial administration thereof of those rights and the fulfillment of
those obligations of his which survived after his death. One of those rights was the
one involved in his pending application before the Public Service Commission in
the instant case, consisting in the prosecution of said application to its final
conclusion. As stated above, an injustice would ensue from the opposite course.
How about the point of citizenship? If by legal fiction his personality is considered
extended so that any debts or obligations left by, and surviving, him may be paid,
and any surviving rights may be exercised for the benefit of his creditors and heirs,
respectively, we find no sound and cogent reason for denying the application of
the same fiction to his citizenship, and for not considering it as likewise extended
for the purposes of the aforesaid unfinished proceeding before the Public Service
Commission. The outcome of said proceeding, if successful, would in the end inure
to the benefit of the same creditors and the heirs. Even in that event petitioner
could not allege any prejudice in the legal sense, any more than he could have
done if Fragrante had lived longer and obtained the desired certificate. The fiction
of such extension of his citizenship is grounded upon the same principle, and
motivated by the same reason, as the fiction of the extension of personality. The
fiction is made necessary to avoid the injustice of subjecting his estate, creditors
and heirs, solely by reason of his death to the loss of the investment amounting to
P35,000, which he has already made in the ice plant, not counting the other
expenses occasioned by the instant proceeding, from the Public Service
Commission of this Court.
We can perceive no valid reason for holding that within the intent of the
constitution (Article IV), its provisions on Philippine citizenship exclude the legal
principle of extension above adverted to. If for reasons already stated our law
indulges the fiction of extension of personality, if for such reasons the estate of
Pedro O. Fragrante should be considered an artificial or juridical person herein, we
can find no justification for refusing to declare a like fiction as to the extension of
his citizenship for the purposes of this proceeding.
Pedro O. Fragrante was a Filipino citizen, and as such, if he had lived, in view of the
evidence of record, he would have obtained from the commission the certificate
for which he was applying. The situation has suffered but one change, and that is,
his death. His estate was that of a Filipino citizen. And its economic ability to
appropriately and adequately operate and maintain the service of an ice plant was
the same that it received from the decedent himself. In the absence of a contrary
showing, which does not exist here, his heirs may be assumed to be also Filipino
citizens; and if they are not, there is the simple expedient of revoking the
certificate or enjoining them from inheriting it.
Upon the whole, we are of the opinion that for the purposes of the prosecution of
said case No. 4572 of the Public Service Commission to its final conclusion, both
the personality and citizenship of Pedro O. Fragrante must be deemed extended,
within the meaning and intent of the Public Service Act, as amended, in harmony
with the constitution: it is so adjudged and decreed.
Decision affirmed, without costs. So ordered.
Moran, C.J., Pablo, Bengzon, Briones, Padilla and Tuason, JJ., concur.
Paras, J., I hereby certify that Mr. Justice Feria voted with the majority.


Separate Opinions
PERFECTO, J., dissenting:
Commonwealth Act No. 146 reserves to Filipino citizens the right to obtain a
certificate of public convenience to operate an ice plant in San Juan, Rizal. The
limitation is in accordance with section 8 of Article XIV of the Constitution which
provides
No franchise, certificate, or any other form of authorization for the operation of a
public utility shall be granted except to citizens of the Philippines or to
corporations or other entities organized under the laws of the Philippines, sixty per
centum of the capital of which is owned by citizens of the Philippines, nor such
franchise, certificate or authorization be exclusive in character or for a longer
period than fifty years. No franchise granted to any individual, firm or corporation,
except under the condition that it shall be subject to amendment, alteration, or
repeal by Congress when the public interest so requires.
The main question in this case is whether the estate of Pedro O. Fragrante fulfills
the citizenship requirement. To our mind, the question can be restated by asking
whether the heirs of Pedro O. Fragrante fulfill the citizenship requirement of the
law.
The estate is an abstract entity. As such, its legal value depends on what it
represents. It is a device by which the law gives a kind of personality and unity to
undetermined tangible persons, the heirs. They inherit and replace the deceased at
the very moment of his death. As there are procedural requisites for their
identification and determination that need time for their compliance, a legal fiction
has been devised to represent them. That legal fiction is the estate, a liquid
condition in process of solidification.
The estate, therefore, has only a representative value. What the law calls estate is,
a matter of fact, intended to designate the heirs of the deceased. The question,
therefore, in this case, boils down to the citizenship of the heirs of Fragrante.
There is nothing in the record to show conclusively the citizenship of the heirs of
Fragrante. If they are Filipino citizens, the action taken by the Public Service
Commission should be affirmed. If they are not, it should be reversed.
Petitioner alleges that the estate is just a front or dummy for aliens to go around
the citizenship constitutional provision. It is alleged that Gaw Suy, the special
administrator of the estate, is an alien.
We are of the opinion that the citizenship of the heirs of Fragrante should be
determined by the Commission upon evidence that the party should be present. It
should also determine the dummy question raised by the petitioner.
We are of opinion and so vote that the decision of the Public Service Commission
of May 21, 1946, be set aside and that the Commission be instructed to receive
evidence of the above factual questions and render a new decision accordingly.
TITLE: Dumlao v Quality Plastics
CITATION: GR No. L27956, April 30, 1976

FACTS:

Judgement for Civil Case T-662 was rendered on February 28, 1962 ordering
defendants Soliven, Pedro Oria, Laurencio, Sumalbag and Darang to pay solidarity
Quality Plastics the sum of P3,667.03 plus legal rate of interest from November
1958 before its decision became final or else Quality Plastics is hereby authorized
to foreclose the bond. Defendants failed to pay the amount before the limit given.
Oria's land, which was covered by Original Certificate of Title No. 28732 and has an
area of nine and six-tenths hectares, was levied upon and sold by the sheriff at
public auction on September 24, 1962 which he has given as security under the
bond.

Apparently, Oria died on April 23, 1959 or long before June 13, 1960. Quality
Plastics was not aware on Orias death. The summons and copies of complaint was
personally served on June 24, 1960 by a deputy sheriff to Soliven which the latter
acknowledged and signed in his own behalf and his co-defendants.

Dionisio, Fausta, Amado and Benjamin, all surnamed Dumlao and all testamentary
heirs in Oria's duly probated will, sued Quality Plastic Products, Inc on March 1,
1963 for the annulment of the judgment against Oria and the execution against his
land (T-873). Dionisio also sued in his capacity as administrator of Orias testate
estate.



ISSUE: Whether judgment against Oria and execution against his land be annulled
on the ground of lack in juridical capacity.


HELD:

Quality Plastics upon receiving the summons on T-873 just learned that Oria was
already dead prior case T-662 was filed. The Dumalaos agreed in their stipulation
that indeed Quality Plastics was unaware of Orias death and that they acted in
good faith in joining Oria as a co-defendant.

However, no jurisdiction was acquired over Oria, thus, the judgment against him is
a patent nullity. Lower courts judgment against Oria in T-662 is void for lack of
jurisdiction over his person as far as Oria was concerned. He had no more civil
personality and his juridical capacity which is the fitness to be the subject of legal
relations was lost through death.

The fact that Dumlao had to sue Quality Plastics in order to annul the judgment
against Oria does not follow that they are entitiled to claim attorneys fees against
the corporation.

WHEREFORE, the lower court's decision is reversed and set aside. Its judgment in
Civil Case No. T-662 against Pedro Oria is declared void for lack of jurisdiction. The
execution sale of Oria's land covered by OCT No. 28732 is also void.
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
SECOND DIVISION
G.R. No. L-27956 April 30, 1976
DIONISIO DUMLAO, in his own behalf and in his capacity as Administrator of the
Testate Estate of the late Pedro Oria; FAUSTA DUMLAO, AMADO DUMLAO, and
BENJAMIN DUMLAO, plaintiffs-appellants,
vs.
QUALITY PLASTIC PRODUCTS, INC., defendant-appellee.
Castillo & Castillo for appellants.
Eugenio T. Estavillo for appellee.

AQUINO, J.:p
On February 28, 1962 the Court of First Instance of Pangasinan in Civil Case No.
T-662 rendered a judgment ordering defendants Vicente Soliven, Pedro Oria,
Santiago Laurencio, Marcelino Sumalbag and Juana Darang to pay solidarity Quality
Plastic Products, Inc. the sum of P3,667.03 plus the legal rate of interest from
November, 1958. The lower court directed that in case the defendants failed to
pay the said amount before its decision became final, then Quality Plastic Products,
Inc. "is hereby authorized to foreclose the bond, Exhibit A, in accordance with law,
for the satisfaction of the judgment". (Under that bond the four sureties bound
themselves to answer solidarity for the obligations of the principal, Vicente Soliven
and certain real properties of the sureties were "given as security for" their
undertaking).
Upon defendants' failure to pay the amount of the judgment and after the decision
had become final, the lower court, on motion of Quality Plastic Products, Inc.,
ordered the "foreclosure" of the surety bond and the sale at public auction of the
land of Pedro Oria which he had given as security under the bond. Oria's land,
which was covered by Original Certificate of Title No. 28732 and has an area of
nine and six-tenths hectares, was levied upon and sold by the sheriff at public
auction on September 24, 1962. The sale was confirmed by the lower court in its
order of November 20, 1962.
It turned out that Oria died on April 23, 1959 or long before June 13, 1960 when
the action was filed. Oria's death was not known to Quality Plastic Products, Inc.
Nor were the representatives of Quality Plastic Products, Inc. aware that in the
same Tayug court Special Proceeding No. T-212, Testate Estate of the deceased
Pedro Oria, was pending.
The summons and copies of the complaint for the five defendants in Civil Case No.
T-662 had been personally served on June 24, 1960 by a deputy sheriff on Soliven,
the principal in the bond, who acknowledged such service by signing on the back of
the original summons in his own behalf and again signing for his co-defendants.
On March 1, 1963 Dionisio, Fausta, Amado and Benjamin, all surnamed Dumlao
and all testamentary heirs in Oria's duly probated will, sued Quality Plastic
Products, Inc., also in the Tayug court for the annulment of the judgment against
Oria and the execution against his land. (Dionisio Dumlao also sued in his capacity
as administrator of Oria's testate estate).
The ground for annulment was lack of jurisdiction over the person of the deceased
Oria (Civil Case No. T- 873). It was only when Quality Plastic Products, Inc. received
the summons in Civil Case No. T-873 that it learned that Oria was already dead at
the time the prior case, Civil Case No. T-662, was filed.
Quality Plastic Products, Inc. in its answer alleged that Oria's heirs were aware of
the suit against Soliven and his sureties and that the said heirs were estopped to
question the court's jurisdiction over Oria.
After hearing the lower court held that it acquired jurisdiction over Soliven and the
other defendants in Civil Case No. T-662 by reason of their voluntary appearance. It
reasoned out that Soliven acted in bad faith because he did not apprise the court
that Oria was dead. It specifically ruled that "it had acquired jurisdiction over the
person" of Oria and that the judgment was valid as to him. From that decision the
plaintiffs appealed.
The four assignments of error of appellants Dumlao may be boiled down to the
issue as to the validity of the lower court's judgment against the deceased Pedro
Oria who, being already in the other world, was never served with summons.
There is no difficulty in resolving that issue. Since no jurisdiction was acquired over
Oria, the judgment against him is a patent nullity (Ang Lam vs. Rosillosa and
Santiago, 86 Phil. 447; Asuncion vs. Nieto, 4 Phil. 97; Gorostiaga vs. Sarte, 68 Phil.
4).
As far as Oria was concerned, the lower court's judgment against him in Civil Case
No. T-662 is void for lack of jurisdiction over his person. He was not, and he could
not have been, validly served with summons. He had no more civil personality. His
juridical capacity, which is the fitness to be the subject of legal relations, was lost
through death. (Arts. 37 and 42, Civil Code).
The lower court erred in ruling that since Soliven's counsel also appeared as
counsel for Oria, there was a voluntary appearance which enabled the court to
acquire jurisdiction over Oria, as contemplated in section 23, Rule 14 of the
Revised Rules of Court. Soliven's counsel could not have validly appeared for a
dead co-defendant. Estoppel has no application to this case.
But from the fact that appellants Dumlao had to sue Quality Plastic Products, Inc.
in order to annul the judgment against Oria, it does not follow that they are
entitled to claim attorney's fees against that corporation. The parties herein
agreed in their stipulation of facts that Quality Plastic Products, Inc. was unaware
of Oria's death. Appellants Dumlao in effect conceded that the appellee acted in
good faith in joining Oria as a co-defendant.
WHEREFORE, the lower court's decision is reversed and set aside. Its judgment in
Civil Case No. T-662 against Pedro Oria is declared void for lack of jurisdiction. The
execution sale of Oria's land covered by OCT No. 28732 is also void. No costs.
SO ORDERED.
CITIZENSHIP AND DOMICILE
MOY YA LIM YAO VS. COMMISSIONER OF IMMIGRATION, digested
GR # L-21289, October 4, 1971 (Constitutional Law, Citizenship, Naturalization
Qualification and Disqualification)
FACTS: Plaintiff-appellant, a temporary alien visitor, whose authorized stay in the
Philippines was to expire, claims herself to be lawfully naturalized by virtue of her
marriage with co-plaintiff, a Filipino citizen. Solicitor General opposes on the
ground that the mere marriage of a Filipino citizen to an alien does not
automatically confer on the latter Philippine citizenship, because record shows
that the same does not posses all the qualifications required of applicants for
naturalization (CA 473), even if she has proven that she does not suffer any
disqualification there under.
ISSUE: Whether or not an alien who married a naturalized Filipino is lawfully
naturalized.
HELD: Yes, 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 (Sec. 15 and 4, CA 473).
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC

G.R. No. L-21289 October 4, 1971
MOY YA LIM YAO alias EDILBERTO AGUINALDO LIM and LAU YUEN
YEUNG, petitioners-appellants,
vs.
THE COMMISSIONER OF IMMIGRATION, respondent-appellee.
Aruego, Mamaril & Associates for petitioners-appellants.
Office of the Solicitor General Arturo A. Alafriz, Assistant Solicitor General Frine' C.
Zaballero and Solicitor Sumilang V. Bernardo for respondent-appellee.

BARREDO, J.:
Appeal from the following decision of the Court of First Instance of Manila in its
Civil Case No. 49705 entitled Moy Ya Lim Yao, etc., et al. vs. The Commissioner of
Immigration which, brief as it is, sufficiently depicts the factual setting of and the
fundamental issues involved in this case thus:
In the instant case, petitioners seek the issuance of a writ of injunction against the
Commissioner of Immigration, "restraining the latter and/or his authorized
representative from ordering plaintiff Lau Yuen Yeung to leave the Philippines and
causing her arrest and deportation and the confiscation of her bond, upon her
failure to do so."
The prayer for preliminary injunction embodied in the complaint, having been
denied, the case was heard on the merits and the parties submitted their
respective evidence.
The facts of the case, as substantially and correctly stated by the Solicitor General
are these:
On February 8, 1961, Lau Yuen Yeung applied for a passport visa to enter the
Philippines as a non-immigrant. 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 her great (grand) uncle Lau Ching Ping for a
period of one month (Exhibits "l," "1-a," and "2"). She was permitted to come into
the Philippines on March 13, 1961, and was permitted to stay for a period of one
month which would expire on April 13, 1961. 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, petitioner Lau Yuen Yeung was
allowed to stay in the Philippines up to February 13, 1962 (Exhibit "4"). On January
25, 1962, she contracted marriage with Moy Ya Lim Yao alias Edilberto Aguinaldo
Lim an alleged Filipino citizen. Because of the contemplated action of respondent
to confiscate her bond and order her arrest and immediate deportation, after the
expiration of her authorized stay, she brought this action for injunction with
preliminary injunction. At the hearing which took place one and a half years after
her arrival, it was admitted that petitioner Lau Yuen Yeung could not write either
English or Tagalog. Except for a few words, she could not speak either English or
Tagalog. 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.
Under the facts unfolded above, the Court is of the considered opinion, and so
holds, that the instant petition for injunction cannot be sustained for the same
reason as set forth in the Order of this Court, dated March 19, 1962, the pertinent
portions of which read:
First, Section 15 of the Revised Naturalization Law provides:
Effect of the naturalization on wife and children. Any woman who is now or may
hereafter be married to a citizen of the Philippines, and who might herself be
lawfully naturalized shall be deemed a citizen of the Philippines.
The above-quoted provision is clear and its import unequivocal and hence it should
be held to mean what it plainly and explicitly expresses in unmistakable terms. The
clause "who might herself be lawfully naturalized" incontestably implies that an
alien woman may be deemed a citizen of the Philippines by virtue of her marriage
to a Filipino citizen only if she possesses all the qualifications and none of the
disqualifications specified in the law, because these are the explicit requisites
provided by law for an alien to be naturalized. (Lee Suan Ay, Alberto Tan and Lee
Chiao vs. Emilio Galang, etc., G. R. No. L-11855). However, from the allegation of
paragraph 3 of the complaint, to wit:
3. That plaintiff Lau Yuen Yeung, Chinese by birth, who might herself be lawfully
naturalized as a Filipino citizen (not being disqualified to become such by
naturalization), is a Filipino citizen by virtue of her marriage on January 25, 1962 to
plaintiff MOY YA LIM YAO alias EDILBERTO AGUINALDO LIM, under the
Naturalization Laws of the Philippines.
it can be deduced beyond debate that petitioner Lau Yuen Yeung while claiming
not to be disqualified, does not and cannot allege that she possesses all the
qualifications to be naturalized, naturally because, having been admitted as a
temporary visitor only on March 13, 1961, it is obvious at once that she lacks at
least, the requisite length of residence in the Philippines (Revised Naturalization
Law, Sec. 2, Case No. 2, Sec. 3, Case No. 3).
Were if the intention of the law that the alien woman, to be deemed a citizen of
the Philippines by virtue of marriage to a Filipino citizen, need only be not
disqualified under the Naturalization Law, it would have been worded "and who
herself is not disqualified to become a citizen of the Philippines."
Second, Lau Yuen Yeung, a temporary Chinese woman visitor, whose authorized
stay in the Philippines, after repeated extensions thereof, was to expire last
February 28, 1962, having married her co-plaintiff only on January 25, 1962, or just
a little over one month before the expiry date of her stay, it is evident that said
marriage was effected merely for convenience to defeat or avoid her then
impending compulsory departure, not to say deportation. This cannot be
permitted.
Third, as the Solicitor General has well stated:
5. That petitioner Lau Yuen Yeung, having been admitted as a temporary alien
visitor on the strength of a deliberate and voluntary representation that she will
enter and stay only for a period of one month and thereby secured a visa, cannot
go back on her representation to stay permanently without first departing from
the Philippines as she had promised. (Chung Tiao Bing, et al. vs. Commissioner of
Immigration, G. R. No. L-9966, September 29, 1956; Ong Se Lun vs. Board of
Commissioners, G. R. No. L-6017, September 16, 1954; Sec. 9, last par., Phil.
Immigration Law).
The aforequoted argument of the Solicitor General is well buttressed not only by
the decided cases of the Supreme Court on the point mentioned above, but also on
the very provisions of Section 9, sub-paragraph (g) of the Philippine Immigration
Act of 1940 which reads:
An alien who is admitted as a non-immigrant cannot remain in the Philippines
permanently. To obtain permanent admission, a non-immigrant alien must depart
voluntarily to some foreign country and procure from the appropriate Philippine
Consul the proper visa and thereafter undergo examination by the Officers of the
Bureau of Immigration at a Philippine port of entry for determination of his
admissibility in accordance with the requirements of this Act. (This paragraph is
added by Republic Act 503). (Sec. 9, subparagraph (g) of the Philippine Immigration
Act of 1940).
And fourth, respondent Commissioner of Immigration is charged with the
administration of all laws relating to immigration (Sec. 3, Com. Act No. 613) and in
the performance of his duties in relation to alien immigrants, the law gives the
Commissioner of Immigration a wide discretion, a quasi-judicial function in
determining cases presented to him (Pedro Uy So vs. Commissioner of Immigration
CA-G. R. No. 23336-R, Dec. 15, 1960), so that his decision thereon may not be
disturbed unless he acted with abuse of discretion or in excess of his jurisdiction.
It may also be not amiss to state that wife Lau Yuen Yeung, while she barely and
insufficiently talk in broken Tagalog and English, she admitted that she cannot
write either language.
The only matter of fact not clearly passed upon by His Honor which could have
some bearing in the resolution of this appeal is the allegation in the brief of
petitioners-appellants, not denied in the governments brief, that "in the hearing ...,
it was shown thru the testimony of the plaintiff Lau Yuen Yeung that she does not
possess any of the disqualifications for naturalization." Of course, as an additional
somehow relevant factual matter, it is also emphasized by said appellants that
during the hearing in the lower court, held almost ten months after the alleged
marriage of petitioners, "Lau Yuen Yeung was already carrying in her womb for
seven months a child by her husband."
Appellants have assigned six errors allegedly committed by the court a quo, thus:
I
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THE CLAUSE "WHO MIGHT HERSELF
BE LAWFULLY NATURALIZED" (OF SECTION 15, REVISED NATURALIZATION LAW)
INCONTESTABLY IMPLIES THAT AN ALIEN WOMAN MAY BE DEEMED A CITIZEN OF
THE PHILIPPINES BY VIRTUE OF HER MARRIAGE TO A FILIPINO CITIZEN, ONLY IF SHE
POSSESSES ALL THE QUALIFICATIONS AND NONE OF THE DISQUALIFICATIONS
SPECIFIED IN THE LAW.
II
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN HOLDING THAT A WOMAN FOREIGNER WHO DOES
NOT POSSESS ANY OF THE DISQUALIFICATIONS FOR CITIZENSHIP AND WHO
MARRIED A FILIPINO CITIZEN IS STILL CONSIDERED AN ALIEN EVEN AFTER SUCH
MARRIAGE AS TO FALL WITHIN THE REQUIREMENT OF SECTION 9, SUB-
PARAGRAPH (9) OF THE PHILIPPINE IMMIGRATION ACT OF 1940.
III
THE COURT ERRED IN CONCLUDING THAT LAU YUEN YEUNG'S MARRIAGE TO A
FILIPINO CITIZEN WAS ONLY FOR CONVENIENCE, MERELY BECAUSE THE SAME WAS
CELEBRATED JUST OVER A MONTH BEFORE THE EXPIRY DATE OF HER AUTHORIZED
STAY.
IV
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN FAILING TO FIND THAT THE COMMISSIONER OF
IMMIGRATION ACTED WITH ABUSE OF DISCRETION OR IN EXCESS OF HIS
JURISDICTION WHEN SAID OFFICER THREATENED TO SEND OUT OF THE COUNTRY
PLAINTIFF LAU YUEN YEUNG WITH WARNING THAT HER FAILURE TO DO SO
WOULD MEAN CONFISCATION OF HER BOND, ARREST AND IMMEDIATE
DEPORTATION, IN SPITE OF THE FACT THAT LAU YUEN YEUNG IS NOW A FILIPINO
CITIZEN.
V
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN DISMISSING PLAINTIFFS-APPELLANTS' COMPLAINT
AND IN REFUSING TO PERMANENTLY ENJOIN THE COMMISSIONER FROM
ORDERING PLAINTIFF LAU YUEN YEUNG TO LEAVE THE PHILIPPINES AS A
TEMPORARY VISITOR WHICH SHE IS NOT.
VI
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN REFUSING TO GRANT PLAINTIFFS-APPELLANTS'
MOTION FOR PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION EMBODIED IN THEIR COMPLAINT, IN AN
ORDER DATED MARCH 19, 1962. (PAGES 36-41, RECORD ON APPEAL) .
We need not discuss these assigned errors separately. In effect, the above decision
upheld the two main grounds of objection of the Solicitor General to the petition in
the court below, viz:
That petitioner Lau Yuen Yeung, having been admitted as a temporary alien visitor
on the strength of a deliberate and voluntary representation that she will enter
and stay only for a period of one month and thereby secured a visa, cannot go back
on her representation to stay permanently without first departing from the
Philippines as she had promised. (Chung Tiao Bing, et al. vs. Commissioner of
Immigration, G.R. No. L-9966, September 29, 1956; Ong Se Lun vs. Board of
Commissioners, G.R. No. L-6017, Sept. 16, 1954, Sec. 9, last par. Phil. Immigration
Law);
That the mere marriage of a Filipino citizen to an alien does not automatically
confer on the latter Philippine citizenship. The alien wife must possess all the
qualifications required by law to become a Filipino citizen by naturalization and
none of the disqualifications. (Lee Suan Ay, Alberto Tan and Lee Chiao vs. Galang,
etc., G. R. No. L-11855, Dec. 25, 1959)
It is obvious from the nature of these objection that their proper resolution would
necessarily cover all the points raised in appellants' assignments of error, hence,
We will base our discussions, more or less, on said objections.
I
The first objection of the Solicitor General which covers the matters dealt with in
appellants' second and fourth assignments of error does not require any lengthy
discussion. As a matter of fact, it seem evident that the Solicitor General's pose
that an alien who has been admitted into the Philippines as a non-immigrant
cannot remain here permanently unless he voluntarily leaves the country first and
goes to a foreign country to secure thereat from the appropriate Philippine consul
the proper visa and thereafter undergo examination by officers of the Bureau of
Immigration at a Philippine port of entry for determination of his admissibility in
accordance with the requirements of the Philippine Immigration Act of 1940, as
amended by Republic Act 503, is premised on the assumption that petitioner Lau
Yuen Yeung is not a Filipino citizen. We note the same line of reasoning in the
appealed decision of the court a quo. Accordingly, it is but safe to assume that
were the Solicitor General and His Honor of the view that said petitioner had
become ipso facto a Filipina by virtue of her marriage to her Filipino husband, they
would have held her as entitled to assume the status of a permanent resident
without having to depart as required of aliens by Section 9 (g) of the law.
In any event, to set this point at rest, We hereby hold that portion of Section 9 (g)
of the Immigration Act providing:
An alien who is admitted as a non-immigrant cannot remain in the Philippines
permanently. To obtain permanent admission, a non-immigrant alien must depart
voluntarily to some foreign country and procure from the appropriate Philippine
consul the proper visa and thereafter undergo examination by the officers of the
Bureau of Immigration at a Philippine port of entry for determination of his
admissibility in accordance with the requirements of this Act.
does not apply to aliens who after coming into the Philippines as temporary
visitors, legitimately become Filipino citizens or acquire Filipino citizenship. Such
change of nationality naturally bestows upon their the right to stay in the
Philippines permanently or not, as they may choose, and if they elect to reside
here, the immigration authorities may neither deport them nor confiscate their
bonds. True it is that this Court has vehemently expressed disapproval of
convenient ruses employed by alien to convert their status from temporary visitors
to permanent residents in circumvention of the procedure prescribed by the legal
provision already mentioned, such as inChiong Tiao Bing vs. Commissioner of
Immigration, 99 Phil. 1020, wherein, thru Mr. Justice J.B.L. Reyes, the Court,
reiterating the ruling in Ong Se Lun vs. Board of Immigration Commissioners, 95
PMI. 785, said:
... It is clear that if an alien gains admission to the Islands on the strength of a
deliberate and voluntary representation that he will enter only for a limited time,
and thereby secures the benefit of a temporary visa, the law will not allow him
subsequently to go back on his representation and stay permanently, without first
departing from the Philippines as he had promised. No officer can relieve him of
the departure requirements of section 9 of the Immigration Act, under the guise of
"change" or "correction", for the law makes no distinctions, and no officer is above
the law. Any other ruling would, as stated in our previous decision, encourage
aliens to enter the Islands on false pretences; every alien so permitted to enter for
a limited time, might then claim a right to permanent admission, however flimsy
such claim should be, and thereby compel our government to spend time, money
and effort to examining and verifying whether or not every such alien really has a
right to take up permanent residence here. In the meanwhile, the alien would be
able to prolong his stay and evade his return to the port whence he came, contrary
to what he promised to do when he entered. The damages inherent in such ruling
are self-evident.
On the other hand, however, We cannot see any reason why an alien who has
been here as a temporary visitor but who has in the meanwhile become a Filipino
should be required to still leave the Philippines for a foreign country, only to apply
thereat for a re-entry here and undergo the process of showing that he is entitled
to come back, when after all, such right has become incontestible as a necessary
concomitant of his assumption of our nationality by whatever legal means this has
been conferred upon him. Consider for example, precisely the case of the minor
children of an alien who is naturalized. It is indubitable that they become ipso
facto citizens of the Philippines. Could it be the law that before they can be
allowed permanent residence, they still have to be taken abroad so that they may
be processed to determine whether or not they have a right to have permanent
residence here? The difficulties and hardships which such a requirement entails
and its seeming unreasonableness argue against such a rather absurd construction.
Indeed, as early as 1957, in Ly Giok Ha vs. Galang, 101 Phil. 459, Mr. Justice
Concepcion, our present Chief Justice, already ruled thus:
... (P)etitioners allege that, upon her marriage to a Filipino, Ly Giok Ha became also
a citizen of the Philippines. Indeed, if this conclusion were correct, it would follow
that, in consequence of her marriage, she had been naturalized as such citizen,
and, hence the decision appealed from would have to be affirmed, for section
40(c) of Commonwealth Act 613 provides that "in the event of the naturalization as
a Philippine citizen ... of the alien on whose behalf the bond deposit is given, the
bond shall be cancelled or the sum deposited shall be returned to the depositor or
his legal representative." (At. pp. 462-463)
In other words, the applicable statute itself more than implies that the
naturalization of an alien visitor as a Philippine citizen logically produces the effect
of conferring upon him ipso facto all the rights of citizenship including that of being
entitled to permanently stay in the Philippines outside the orbit of authority of the
Commissioner of Immigration vis-a-vis aliens, if only because by its very nature and
express provisions, the Immigration Law is a law only for aliens and is inapplicable
to citizens of the Philippines. In the sense thus discussed therefore, appellants'
second and fourth assignments of error are well taken.
II
Precisely, the second objection, of the Solicitor General sustained by the trial judge
is that appellant Lau Yuen Yeung's marriage to appellant Moya Lim Yao alias
Edilberto Aguinaldo whose Filipino citizenship is not denied did not have the effect
of making her a Filipino, since it has not been shown that she "might herself be
lawfully naturalized," it appearing clearly in the record that she does not possess
all the qualifications required of applicants for naturalization by the Revised
Naturalization Law, Commonwealth Act 473, even if she has proven that she does
not suffer from any of the disqualifications thereunder. In other words, the
Solicitor General implicitly concedes that had it been established in the
proceedings below that appellant Lau Yuen Yeung possesses all the qualifications
required by the law of applicants for naturalization, she would have been
recognized by the respondent as a Filipino citizen in the instant case, without
requiring her to submit to the usual proceedings for naturalization.
To be sure, this position of the Solicitor General is in accord with what used to be
the view of this Court since Lee Suan Ay, et al. v. Emilio Galang, etc., et al., G.R. No.
L-11855, promulgated December 23, 1959, 106 Phil., 706,713,
1
for it was only
in Zita Ngo Burca vs. Republic, G.R. NO. L-24252 which was promulgated on
January 30, 1967 (19 SCRA 186), that over the pen of Mr. Justice Conrado Sanchez,
this Court held that for an alien woman who marries a Filipino to be deemed a
Filipina, she has to apply for naturalization in accordance with the procedure
prescribed by the Revised Naturalization Law and prove in said naturalization
proceeding not only that she has all the qualifications and none of the
disqualifications provided in the law but also that she has complied with all the
formalities required thereby like any other applicant for naturalization,
2
albeit said
decision is not yet part of our jurisprudence inasmuch as the motion for its
reconsideration is still pending resolution. Appellants are in effect urging Us,
however, in their first and second assignments of error, not only to
reconsider Burca but to even reexamine Lee Suan Ay which, as a matter of fact, is
the prevailing rule, having been reiterated in all subsequent decisions up to Go Im
Ty.
3

Actually, the first case in which Section 15 of the Naturalization Law,
Commonwealth Act 473, underwent judicial construction was in the first Ly Giok
Ha case,
4
one almost identical to the one at bar. Ly Giok Ha, a woman of Chinese
nationality, was a temporary visitor here whose authority to stay was to expire on
March 14, 1956. She filed a bond to guaranty her timely departure. On March 8,
1956, eight days before the expiration of her authority to stay, she married a
Filipino by the name of Restituto Lacasta. On March 9, 1956, her husband notified
the Commissioner of Immigration of said marriage and, contending that his wife
had become a Filipina by reason of said marriage, demanded for the cancellation
of her bond, but instead of acceding to such request, the Commissioner required
her to leave, and upon her failure to do so, on March 16, 1956, the Commissioner
confiscated her bond; a suit was filed for the recovery of the bond; the lower court
sustained her contention that she had no obligation to leave, because she had
become Filipina by marriage, hence her bond should be returned. The
Commissioner appealed to this Court. In the said appeal, Mr. Justice Roberto
Concepcion, our present Chief Justice, spoke for the Court, thus:
The next and most important question for determination is whether her marriage
to a Filipino justified or, at least, excused the aforesaid failure of Ly Giok Ha to
depart from the Philippines on or before March 14, 1956. In maintaining the
affirmative view, petitioners alleged that, upon her marriage to a Filipino, Ly Giok
Ha became, also, a citizen of the Philippines. Indeed, if this conclusion were
correct, it would follow that, in consequence of her marriage, she had been
naturalized as such citizen, and, hence, the decision appealed from would have to
be affirmed, for section 40(c) of Commonwealth Act No. 613 provides that "in the
event of the naturalization as a Philippine citizen ... of the alien on whose behalf
the bond deposit is given, the bond shall be cancelled or the sum deposited shall
be returned to the depositor or his legal representative." Thus the issue boils down
to whether an alien female who marries a male citizen of the Philippines
follows ipso facto his political status.
The pertinent part of section 15 of Commonwealth Act No. 473, upon which
petitioners rely, reads:
Any woman who is now or may hereafter be married to a citizen of the Philippines,
and who might herself be lawfully naturalized shall be deemed a citizen of the
Philippines.
Pursuant thereto, marriage to a male Filipino does not vest Philippine citizenship to
his foreign wife, unless she "herself may be lawfully naturalized." As correctly held
in an opinion of the Secretary of Justice (Op. No. 52, series of 1950),* this limitation
of section 15 excludes, from the benefits of naturalization by marriage, those
disqualified from being naturalized as citizens of the Philippines under section 4 of
said Commonwealth Act No. 473, namely:
(a) Persons opposed to organized government or affiliated with any association or
group of persons who uphold and teach doctrines opposing all organized
governments;
(b) Persons defending or teaching the necessity or propriety of violence, personal
assault, or assassination for the success and predominance of their ideas;
(c) Polygamists or believers in the practice of polygamy;
(d) Persons convicted of crimes involving moral turpitude;
(e) Persons suffering from mental alienation or incurable contagious diseases;
(f) Persons who, during the period of their residence in the Philippines, have not
mingled socially with the Filipinos, or who have not evinced a sincere desire to
learn and embrace the customs, traditions, and ideals of the Filipinos;
(g) Citizens or subjects of nations with whom the ... Philippines are at war, during
the period of such war;
(h) Citizens or subjects of a foreign country other than the United States, whose
laws does not grant Filipinos the right to become naturalized citizens or subjects
thereof.
In the case at bar, there is neither proof nor allegation in the pleadings that Ly Giok
Ha does not fall under any of the classes disqualified by law. Moreover, as the
parties who claim that, despite her failure to depart from the Philippines within the
period specified in the bond in question, there has been no breach thereof,
petitioners have the burden of proving her alleged change of political status, from
alien to citizen. Strictly speaking, petitioners have not made out, therefore a case
against the respondents-appellants.
Considering, however, that neither in the administrative proceedings, nor in the
lower court, had the parties seemingly felt that there was an issue on whether Ly
Giok Ha may "be lawfully naturalized," and this being a case of first impression in
our courts, we are of the opinion that, in the interest of equity and justice, the
parties herein should be given an opportunity to introduce evidence, if they have
any, on said issue. (At pp. 462-464.) .
As may be seen, although not specifically in so many words, no doubt was left in
the above decision as regards the following propositions: .
1. That under Section 15 of Commonwealth Act 473, the Revised Naturalization
Law, the marriage of an alien woman to a Filipino makes her a Filipina, if she
"herself might be lawfully naturalized";
2. That this Court declared as correct the opinion of the Secretary of Justice that
the limitation of Section 15 of the Naturalization Law excludes from the benefits of
naturalization by marriage, only those disqualified from being naturalized under
Section 4 of the law qouted in the decision;
3. That evidence to the effect that she is not disqualified may be presented in the
action to recover her bond confiscated by the Commissioner of Immigration;
4. That upon proof of such fact, she may be recognized as Filipina; and
5. That in referring to the disqualification enumerated in the law, the Court
somehow left the impression that no inquiry need be made as to
qualifications,
5
specially considering that the decision cited and footnotes several
opinions of the Secretary of Justice, the immediate superior of the Commissioner
of Immigration, the most important of which are the following:
Paragraph (a), section 13 of Act No. 2927, as amended, (now section 15,
Commonwealth Act No. 473), provided that "any woman who is now or may
hereafter be married to a citizen of the Philippines, and who might herself be
lawfully naturalized shall be deemed a citizen of the Philippines." A similar
provision in the naturalization law of the United States has been construed as not
requiring the woman to have the qualifications of residence, good character, etc.,
as in the case of naturalization by judicial proceedings, but merely that she is of the
race of persons who may be naturalized. (Kelly v. Owen [Dist. Col. 1868] 7 Wall
496, 5F, 11, 12; ex parte Tryason [D. C. Wash. 1914] 215 F. 449, 27 Op. Atty. Gen.
507). (Op. No. 168, s. 1940 of Justice Sec. Jose Abad Santos.)
In a previous opinion rendered for your Office, I stated that the clause "who might
herself be lawfully naturalized", should be construed as not requiring the woman
to have the qualifications of residence, good character, etc., as in cases of
naturalization by judicial proceedings, but merely that she is of the race of persons
who may be naturalized. (Op. No. 79, s. 1940)
Inasmuch as the race qualification has been removed by the Revised Naturalization
Law, it results that any woman who married a citizen of the Philippines prior to or
after June 17, 1939, and the marriage not having been dissolved, and on the
assumption that she possesses none of the disqualifications mentioned in Section
4 of Commonwealth Act No. 473, follows the citizenship of her husband. (Op. No.
176, s. 1940 of Justice Sec. Jose Abad Santos.)
From the foregoing narration of facts, it would seem that the only material point of
inquiry is as to the citizenship of Arce Machura. If he shall be found to be a citizen
of the Philippines, his wife, Mrs. Lily James Machura, shall likewise be deemed a
citizen of the Philippines pursuant to the provision of Section 15, Commonwealth
Act No. 473, which reads in part as follows:
Any woman who is now or may hereafter be married to a citizen of the Philippines,
and who might herself be lawfully naturalized shall be deemed a citizen of the
Philippines.
The phrase "who might herself be lawfully naturalized", as contained in the above
provision, means that the woman who is married to a Filipino citizen must not
belong to any of the disqualified classes enumerated in Section 4 of the
Naturalization Law (Ops., Sec. of Jus., No. 28, s. 1950; No. 43, s. 1948, No. 95, s.
1941; Nos. 79 and 168, s. 1940). Under the facts stated in the within papers, Mrs.
Machura does not appear to be among the disqualified classes mentioned in the
law.
It having been shown that Arce Machura or Arsenio Guevara was born as an
illegitimate of a Filipino mother, he should be considered as a citizen of the
Philippines in consonance with the well-settled rule that an illegitimate child
follows the citizenship of his only legally recognized parent, the mother (Op., Sec.
of Jus., Nos. 58, 98 & 281, s. 1948; No. 96, s. 1949). Her husband being a Filipino,
Mrs. Machura must necessarily be deemed as a citizen of the Philippines by
marriage (Sec. 15, Com. Act No. 473.) (Op. No. 52, s. 1950 of Justice Sec. Ricardo
Nepomuceno.)
The logic and authority of these opinions, compelling as they are, must have so
appealed to this Court that five days later, on May 22, 1957, in Ricardo Cua v. The
Board of Commissioners, 101 Phil. 521, Mr. Justice J.B.L. Reyes, reiterated the same
ruling on the basis of the following facts:
Tjioe Wu Suan, an Indonesian, arrived in Manila on November 1, 1952, but it
turned out that her passport was forged. On December 10, 1953, a warrant was
issued for her arrest for purpose of deportation. Later, on December 20, 1953, she
married Ricardo Cua, a Filipino, and because of said marriage, the Board of Special
Inquiry considered her a Filipina. Upon a review of the case, however, the Board of
Immigration Commissioners insisted on continuing with the deportation
proceedings and so, the husband filed prohibition and mandamus proceedings.
The lower court denied the petition. Although this Court affirmed said decision, it
held, on the other hand, that:
Granting the validity of marriage, this Court has ruled in the recent case of Ly Giok
Ha v. Galang, supra, p. 459, that the bare fact of a valid marriage to a citizen does
not suffice to confer his citizenship upon the wife. Section 15 of the Naturalization
Law requires that the alien woman who marries a Filipino must show, in addition,
that she "might herself be lawfully naturalized" as a Filipino citizen. As construed in
the decision cited, this last condition requires proof that the woman who married a
Filipino is herself not disqualified under section 4 of the Naturalization Law.
No such evidence appearing on record, the claim of assumption of Filipino
citizenship by Tjioe Wu Suan, upon her marriage to petitioner, is untenable. The
lower court, therefore, committed no error in refusing to interfere with the
deportation proceedings, where she can anyway establish the requisites
indispensable for her acquisition of Filipino citizenship, as well as the alleged
validity of her Indonesian passport. (Ricardo Cua v. The Board of Immigration
Commissioners, G. R. No. L-9997, May 22, 1957, 101 Phil. 521, 523.) [Emphasis
supplied] .
For emphasis, it is reiterated that in the above two cases, this Court expressly gave
the parties concerned opportunity to prove the fact that they were not suffering
from any of the disqualifications of the law without the need of undergoing any
judicial naturalization proceeding. It may be stated, therefore, that according to
the above decisions, the law in this country, on the matter of the effect of
marriage of an alien woman to a Filipino is that she thereby becomes a Filipina, if it
can be proven that at the time of such marriage, she does not possess any of the
disqualifications enumerated in Section 4 of the Naturalization Law, without the
need of submitting to any naturalization proceedings under said law.
It is to be admitted that both of the above decisions made no reference to
qualifications, that is, as to whether or not they need also to be proved, but, in any
event, it is a fact that the Secretary of Justice understood them to mean that such
qualifications need not be possessed nor proven. Then Secretary of Justice Jesus
Barrera, who later became a distinguished member of this Court,
6
so ruled in
opinions rendered by him subsequent to Ly Giok Ha, the most illustrative of which
held: .
At the outset it is important to note that an alien woman married to a Filipino
citizen needs only to show that she "might herself be lawfully naturalized" in order
to acquire Philippine citizenship. Compliance with other conditions of the statute,
such as those relating to the qualifications of an applicant for naturalization
through judicial proceedings, is not necessary. (See: Leonard v. Grant, 5 Fed. 11; 27
Ops. Atty. Gen [U.S.] 507; Ops. Sec. of Justice, No. 776, s. 1940, and No. 111, s.
1953.
This view finds support in the case of Ly Giok Ha et al. v. Galang et al., G.R. No. L-
10760, promulgated May 17, 1957, where the Supreme Court, construing the
abovequoted section of the Naturalization Law, held that "marriage to a male
Filipino does not vest Philippine citizenship to his foreign wife," unless she "herself
may be lawfully naturalized," and that "this limitation of Section 15 excludes, from
the benefits of naturalization by marriage, those disqualified from being
naturalized as citizens of the Philippines under Section 4 of said Commonwealth Act
No. 473." In other words, disqualification for any of the causes enumerated in
Section 4 of the Act is the decisive factor that defeats the right of the foreign wife
of a Philippine citizen to acquire Philippine citizenship.
xxx xxx xxx
Does petitioner, Lim King Bian, belong to any of these groups The Commissioner of
Immigration does not say so but merely predicates his negative action on the
ground that a warrant of deportation for "overstaying" is pending against the
petitioner.
We do not believe the position is well taken. Since the grounds for disqualification
for naturalization are expressly enumerated in the law, a warrant of deportation
not based on a finding of unfitness to become naturalized for any of those
specified causes may not be invoked to negate acquisition of Philippine citizenship
by a foreign wife of a Philippine citizen under Section 15 of the Naturalization Law.
(Inclusio unius est exclusio alterius) (Op. No. 12, s. 1958 of Justice Undersec. Jesus
G. Barrera.)
Regarding the steps that should be taken by an alien woman married to a Filipino
citizen in order to acquire Philippine citizenship, the procedure followed in the
Bureau of Immigration is as follows: The alien woman must file a petition for the
cancellation of her alien certificate of registration alleging, among other things,
that she is married to a Filipino citizen and that she is not disqualified from
acquiring her husband's citizenship pursuant to section 4 of Commonwealth Act
No. 473, as amended. Upon the filing of said petition, which should be
accompanied or supported by the joint affidavit of the petitioner and her Filipino
husband to the effect that the petitioner does not belong to any of the groups
disqualified by the cited section from becoming naturalized Filipino citizen (please
see attached CEB Form 1), the Bureau of Immigration conducts an investigation
and thereafter promulgates its order or decision granting or denying the petition.
(Op. No. 38, s. 19058 of Justice Sec. Jesus G. Barrera.)
This view finds support in the case of Ly Giok Ha et al., v. Galang et al. (G.R. No. L-
10760, promulgated May 17, 1957), where the Supreme Court, construing the
above-quoted section in the Revised Naturalization Law, held that "marriage to a
male Filipino does not vest Philippine citizenship to his foreign wife, unless she
herself may be lawfully naturalized," and that "this limitation of Section 15
excludes, from the benefits of naturalization by marriage, those disqualified from
being naturalized as citizens of the Philippines under Section 4 of said
Commonwealth Act No. 473." In other words, disqualification for any of the causes
enumerated in section 4 of the Act is the decisive factor that defeats the right of an
alien woman married to a Filipino citizen to acquire Philippine citizenship. (Op. 57,
s. 1958 of Justice Sec. Jesus G. Barrera.)
The contention is untenable. The doctrine enunciated in the Ly Giok Ha case is not
a new one. In that case, the Supreme Court held that under paragraph I of Section
15 Of Commonwealth Act No. 473, 'marriage to a male Filipino does not vest
Philippine citizenship to his foreign wife unless she "herself may be lawfully
naturalized"', and, quoting several earlier opinions of the Secretary of Justice,
namely: No. 52, s. 1950; No. 168, s. 1940; No. 95, s. 1941; No. 63, s. 1948; No. 28.
s. 1950, "this limitation of section 15 excludes from the benefits of naturalization
by marriage, those disqualified from being naturalized as citizens of the Philippines
under section 4 of said Commonwealth Act No. 473." (Op. 134, s. 1962 of Justice
Undersec. Magno S. Gatmaitan.)
It was not until more than two years later that, in one respect, the above
construction of the law was importantly modified by this Court in Lee Suan
Ay, supra, in which the facts were as follows:
Upon expiration of the appellant Lee Suan Ay's authorized period of temporary
stay in the Philippines (25 March 1955), on 26 March 1955 the Commissioner of
Immigration asked the bondsman to present her to the Bureau of Immigration
within 24 hours from receipt of notice, otherwise the bond will be
confiscated(Annex 1). For failure of the bondsman to comply with the foregoing
order, on 1 April 1955. the Commissioner of Immigration ordered the cash bond
confiscated (Annex E). Therefore, there was an order issued by the Commissioner
of Immigration confiscating or forfeiting the cash bond. Unlike in forfeiture of bail
bonds in criminal proceedings, where the Court must enter an order forfeiting the
bail bond and the bondsman must be given an opportunity to present his principal
or give a satisfactory reason for his inability to do so, before final judgment may be
entered against the bondsman,(section 15, Rule 110; U.S. v. Bonoan, 22 Phil. 1.) in
forfeiture of bonds posted for the temporary stay of an alien in the Philippines, no
court proceeding is necessary. Once a breach of the terms and conditions of the
undertaking in the bond is committed, the Commissioner of Immigration may,
under the terms and conditions thereof, declare it forfeited in favor of the
Government. (In the meanwhile, on April 1, 1955, Lee Suan Ay and Alberto Tan, a
Filipino, were joined in marriage by the Justice of the Peace of Las Pias, Rizal.)
Mr. Justice Sabino Padilla speaking for a unanimous court which included Justices
Concepcion and Reyes who had penned Ly Giok Ha, and Ricardo Cua, ruled thus:
The fact that Lee Suan Ay (a Chinese) was married to a Filipino citizen does not
relieve the bondsman from his liability on the bond. The marriage took place on 1
April 1955, and the violation of the terms and conditions of the undertaking in the
bond failure to depart from the Philippines upon expiration of her authorized
period of temporary stay in the Philippines (25 March 1955) and failure to report
to the Commissioner of Immigration within 24 hours from receipt of notice were
committed before the marriage. Moreover, the marriage of a Filipino citizen to an
alien does not automatically confer Philippine citizenship upon the latter. She must
possess the qualifications required by law to become a Filipino citizen by
naturalization.* There is no showing that the appellant Lee Suan Ay possesses all
the qualifications and none of the disqualifications provided for by law to become
a Filipino citizen by naturalization.
Pertinently to be noted at once in this ruling, which, to be sure, is the one relied
upon in the appealed decision now before Us, is the fact that the footnote of the
statement therein that the alien wife "must possess the qualifications required by
law to become a Filipino citizen by naturalization" makes reference to Section 15,
Commonwealth Act 473 and precisely, also to Ly Giok Ha v. Galang, supra. As will
be recalled, on the other hand, in the opinions of the Secretary of Justice explicitly
adopted by the Court in Ly Giok Ha, among them, Opinion No. 176, Series of 1940,
above-quoted, it was clearly held that "(I)n a previous opinion rendered for your
Office, I stated that the clause "who might herself be lawfully naturalized", should
be construed as not requiring the woman to have the qualifications of residence,
good character, etc., as in cases of naturalization by judicial proceedingsbut merely
that she is of the race by persons who may be naturalized. (Op. No. 79, s. 1940)
Since Justice Padilla gave no reason at all for the obviously significant modification
of the construction of the law, it could be said that there was need for clarification
of the seemingly new posture of the Court. The occasion for such clarification
should have been in Kua Suy, etc., et al. vs. The Commissioner of Immigration, G.R.
No. L-13790, October 31, 1963, penned by Mr. Justice J.B.L. Reyes, who had
rendered the opinion in Ricardo Cua,supra, which followed that in Ly Giok
Ha, supra, but apparently seeing no immediate relevancy in the case on hand then
of the particular point in issue now, since it was not squarely raised therein
similarly as in Lee Suan Ay, hence, anything said on the said matter would at best
be no more than obiter dictum, Justice Reyes limited himself to holding that
"Under Section 15 of the Naturalization Act, the wife is deemed a citizen of the
Philippines only if she "might herself be lawfully naturalized," so that the fact of
marriage to a citizen, by itself alone, does not suffice to confer citizenship, as this
Court has previously ruled in Ly Giok Ha v. Galang, 54 O.G. 356, and in Cua v. Board
of Immigration Commissioners, 53 O.G. 8567; and there is here no evidence of
record as to the qualifications or absence of disqualifications of appellee Kua Suy",
without explaining the apparent departure already pointed out from Ly Giok Ha
and Ricardo Cua. Even Justice Makalintal, who wrote a separate concurring and
dissenting opinion merely lumped together Ly Giok Ha, Ricardo Cua and Lee Suan
Ay and opined that both qualifications and non-disqualifications have to be shown
without elucidating on what seemed to be departure from the said first two
decisions.
It was only on November 30, 1963 that to Mr. Justice Roberto Regala fell the task
of rationalizing the Court's position. In Lo San Tuang v. Galang, G.R. No. L-18775,
November 30, 1963, 9 SCRA 638, the facts were simply these: Lo San Tuang, a
Chinese woman, arrived in the Philippines on July 1, 1960 as a temporary visitor
with authority to stay up to June 30, 1961. She married a Filipino on January 7,
1961, almost six months before the expiry date of her permit, and when she was
requested to leave after her authority to stay had expired, she refused to do so,
claiming she had become a Filipina by marriage, and to bolster her position, she
submitted an affidavit stating explicitly that she does not possess any of the
disqualifications enumerated in the Naturalization Law, Commonwealth Act 473.
When the case reached the court, the trial judge held for the government that in
addition to not having any of the disqualifications referred to, there was need that
Lo San Tuang should have also possessed all the qualifications of residence, moral
character, knowledge of a native principal dialect, etc., provided by the law.
Recognizing that the issue squarely to be passed upon was whether or not the
possession of all the qualifications were indeed needed to be shown apart from
non-disqualification, Justice Regala held affirmatively for the Court, reasoning out
thus: .
It is to be noted that the petitioner has anchored her claim for citizenship on the
basis of the decision laid down in the case of Leonard v. Grant, 5 Swy. 603, 5 F 11,
where the Circuit Court of Oregon held that it was only necessary that the woman
"should be a person of the class or race permitted to be naturalized by existing
laws, and that in respect of the qualifications arising out of her conduct or
opinions, being the wife of a citizen, she is to be regarded as qualified for
citizenship, and therefore considered a citizen." (In explanation of its conclusion,
the Court said: "If, whenever during the life of the woman or afterwards, the
question of her citizenship arises in a legal proceeding, the party asserting her
citizenship by reason of her marriage with a citizen must not only prove such
marriage, but also that the woman then possessed all the further qualifications
necessary to her becoming naturalized under existing laws, the statute will be
practically nugatory, if not a delusion and a share. The proof of the facts may have
existed at the time of the marriage, but years after, when a controversy arises
upon the subject, it may be lost or difficult to find.")
In other words, all that she was required to prove was that she was a free white
woman or a woman of African descent or nativity, in order to be deemed an
American citizen, because, with respect to the rest of the qualifications on
residence, moral character, etc., she was presumed to be qualified.
Like the law in the United States, our former Naturalization Law (Act No. 2927, as
amended by Act No. 3448) specified the classes of persons who alone might
become citizens of the Philippines, even as it provided who were disqualified. Thus,
the pertinent provisions of that law provided:
Section 1. Who may become Philippine citizens Philippine citizenship may be
acquired by (a) natives of the Philippines who are not citizens thereof under the
Jones Law; (b) natives of the Insular possessions of the United States; (c) citizens of
the United States, or foreigners who under the laws of the United States may
become citizens of said country if residing therein.
Section 2. Who are disqualified. The following cannot be naturalized as
Philippine citizens: (a) Persons opposed to organized government or affiliated with
any association or group of persons who uphold and teach doctrines opposing all
organized government; (b) persons defending or teaching the necessity or
propriety of violence, personal assault or assassination for the success and
predominance of their ideas; (c) polygamists or believers in the practice of
polygamy; (d) persons convicted of crimes involving moral turpitude; (e) persons
suffering from mental alienation or incurable contagious diseases; (f) citizens or
subjects of nations with whom the United States and the Philippines are at war,
during the period of such war.
Section 3. Qualifications. The persons comprised in subsection (a) of section one
of this Act, in order to be able to acquire Philippine citizenship, must be not less
than twenty-one years of age on the day of the hearing of their petition.
The persons comprised in subsections (b) and (c) of said section one shall, in
addition to being not less than twenty-one years of age on the day of the hearing
of the petition, have all and each of the following qualifications:
First. Residence in the Philippine Islands for a continuous period of not less than
five years, except as provided in the next following section;
Second. To have conducted themselves in a proper and irreproachable manner
during the entire period of their residence in the Philippine Islands, in their relation
with the constituted government as well as with the community in which they are
living;
Third. To hold in the Philippine Islands real estate worth not less than one
thousand pesos, Philippine currency, or have some known trade or profession; and
Fourth. To speak and write English, Spanish, or some native tongue.
In case the petitioner is a foreign subject, he shall, besides, declare in writing and
under oath his intention of renouncing absolutely and perpetually all faith and
allegiance to the foreign authority, state or sovereignty of which he was a native,
citizen or subject.
Applying the interpretation given by Leonard v. Grant supra, to our law as it then
stood, alien women married to citizens of the Philippines must, in order to be
deemed citizens of the Philippines, be either (1) natives of the Philippines who
were not citizens thereof under the Jones Law, or (2) natives of other Insular
possessions of the United States, or (3) citizens of the United States or foreigners
who under the laws of the United States might become citizens of that country if
residing therein. With respect to the qualifications set forth in Section 3 of the
former law, they were deemed to have the same for all intents and purposes.
But, with the approval of the Revised Naturalization Law (Commonwealth Act No.
473) on June 17, 1939, Congress has since discarded class or racial consideration
from the qualifications of applicants for naturalization (according to its proponent,
the purpose in eliminating this consideration was, first, to remove the features of
the existing naturalization act which discriminated in favor of the Caucasians and
against Asiatics who are our neighbors, and are related to us by racial affinity and,
second, to foster amity with all nations [Sinco, Phil. Political Law 502 11 ed.]),
even as it retained in Section 15 the phrase in question. The result is that the
phrase "who might herself be lawfully naturalized" must be understood in the
context in which it is now found, in a setting so different from that in which it was
found by the Court in Leonard v. Grant.
The only logical deduction from the elimination of class or racial consideration is
that, as the Solicitor General points out, the phrase "who might herself be lawfully
naturalized" must now be understood as referring to those who under Section 2 of
the law are qualified to become citizens of the Philippines.
There is simply no support for the view that the phrase "who might herself be
lawfully naturalized" must now be understood as requiring merely that the alien
woman must not belong to the class of disqualified persons under Section 4 of the
Revised Naturalization Law. Such a proposition misreads the ruling laid down in
Leonard v. Grant. A person who is not disqualified is not necessarily qualified to
become a citizen of the Philippines, because the law treats "qualifications" and
"disqualifications" in separate sections. And then it must not be lost sight of that
even under the interpretation given to the former law, it was to be understood
that the alien woman was not disqualified under Section 2 of that law. Leonard v.
Grant did not rule that it was enough if the alien woman does not belong to the
class of disqualified persons in order that she may be deemed to follow the
citizenship of her husband: What that case held was that the phrase "who might
herself be lawfully naturalized, merely means that she belongs to the class or race
of persons qualified to become citizens by naturalization the assumption being
always that she is not otherwise disqualified.
We therefore hold that under the first paragraph of Section 15 of the
Naturalization Law, an alien woman, who is married to a citizen of the Philippines,
acquires the citizenship of her husband only if she has all the qualifications and
none of the disqualifications provided by law. Since there is no proof in this case
that petitioner has all the qualifications and is not in any way disqualified, her
marriage to a Filipino citizen does not automatically make her a Filipino citizen. Her
affidavit to the effect that she is not in any way disqualified to become a citizen of
this country was correctly disregarded by the trial court, the same being self-
serving.
Naturally, almost a month later in Sun Peck Yong v. Commissioner of Immigration,
G.R. No. L-20784, December 27, 1963, 9 SCRA 875, wherein the Secretary of
Foreign Affairs reversed a previous resolution of the preceding administration to
allow Sun Peck Yong and her minor son to await the taking of the oath of Filipino
citizenship of her husband two years after the decision granting him
nationalization and required her to leave and this order was contested in court,
Justice Barrera held:
In the case of Lo San Tuang v. Commissioner of Immigration (G.R. No. L-18775,
promulgated November 30, 1963; Kua Suy vs. Commissioner of Immigration, L-
13790, promulgated October 31, 1963), we held that the fact that the husband
became a naturalized citizen does not automatically make the wife a citizen of the
Philippines. It must also be shown that she herself possesses all the qualifications,
and none of the disqualifications, to become a citizen. In this case, there is no
allegation, much less showing, that petitioner-wife is qualified to become a Filipino
citizen herself. Furthermore, the fact that a decision was favorably made on the
naturalization petition of her husband is no assurance that he (the husband) would
become a citizen, as to make a basis for the extension of her temporary stay.
On the same day, in Tong Siok Sy v. Vivo, G.R. No. L-21136, December 27, 1963, 9
SCRA 876, Justice Barrera reiterated the same ruling and citing particularly Lo San
Tuang and Kua Suy, held that the marriage of Tong Siok Sy to a Filipino on
November 12, 1960 at Taichung, Taiwan and her taking oath of Filipino citizenship
before the Philippine Vice-Consul at Taipeh, Taiwan on January 6, 1961 did not
make her a Filipino citizen, since she came here only in 1961 and obviously, she
had not had the necessary ten-year residence in the Philippines required by the
law.
Such then was the status of the jurisprudential law on the matter under discussion
when Justice Makalintal sought a reexamination thereof in Choy King Tee v.
Galang, G.R. No. L-18351, March 26, 1965, 13 SCRA 402. Choy King Tee's husband
was granted Philippine citizenship on January 13, 1959 and took the oath on
January 31 of the same year. Choy King Tee first came to the Philippines in 1955
and kept commuting between Manila and Hongkong since then, her last visa
before the case being due to expire on February 14, 1961. On January 27, 1961,
her husband asked the Commissioner of Immigration to cancel her alien certificate
of registration, as well as their child's, for the reason that they were Filipinos, and
when the request was denied as to the wife, a mandamus was sought, which the
trial court granted. Discussing anew the issue of the need for qualifications, Justice
Makalintal not only reiterated the arguments of Justice Regala in Lo San Tuang but
added further that the ruling is believed to be in line with the national policy of
selective admission to Philippine citizenship.
7

No wonder, upon this authority, in Austria v. Conchu, G.R. No. L-20716, June 22,
1965, 14 SCRA 336, Justice J.P. Bengzon readily reversed the decision of the lower
court granting the writs of mandamus and prohibition against the Commissioner of
Immigration, considering that Austria's wife, while admitting she did not possess all
the qualifications for naturalization, had submitted only an affidavit that she had
none of the disqualifications therefor. So also did Justice Dizon similarly hold eight
days later in Brito v. Commissioner, G.R. No. L-16829, June 30, 1965, 14 SCRA 539.
Then came the second Ly Giok Ha case
8
wherein Justice J. B. L. Reyes took occasion
to expand on the reasoning of Choy King Tee by illustrating with examples "the
danger of relying exclusively on the absence of disqualifications, without taking
into account the other affirmative requirements of the law."
9

Lastly, in Go Im Ty v. Republic, G.R. No. L-17919, decided on July 30, 1966,
10
Justice
Zaldivar held for the Court that an alien woman who is widowed during the
dependency of the naturalization proceedings of her husband, in order that she
may be allowed to take the oath as Filipino, must, aside from proving compliance
with the requirements of Republic Act 530, show that she possesses all the
qualifications and does not suffer from any of the disqualifications under the
Naturalization Law, citing in the process the decision to such effect discussed
above,
11
even as he impliedly reversed pro tanto the ruling in Tan Lin v. Republic,
G.R. No. L-13786, May 31, 1961, 2 SCRA 383.
Accordingly, in Burca, Justice Sanchez premised his opinion on the assumption that
the point now under discussion is settled law.
In the case now at bar, the Court is again called upon to rule on the same issue.
Under Section 15 of the Naturalization Law, Commonwealth Act 473, providing
that:
SEC. 15. Effect of the naturalization on wife and children. Any woman, who is
now or may hereafter be married to a citizen of the Philippines, and who might
herself be lawfully naturalized shall be deemed a citizen of the Philippines.
Minor children of persons naturalized under this law who have been born in the
Philippines shall be considered citizens thereof.
A foreign-born minor child, if dwelling in the Philippines at the time of the
naturalization of the parent, shall automatically become a Philippine citizen, and a
foreign-born child, who is not in the Philippines at the time the parent is
naturalized, shall be deemed a Philippine citizen only during his minority, unless he
begins to reside permanently in the Philippines when still a minor, in which case,
he will continue to be a Philippine citizen even after becoming of age.
A child born outside of the Philippines after the naturalization of his parent, shall
be considered a Philippine citizen unless within one year after reaching the age of
majority he fails to register himself as a Philippine citizen at the American
Consulate of the country where he resides, and to take the necessary oath of
allegiance.
is it necessary, in order that an alien woman who marries a Filipino or who is
married to a man who subsequently becomes a Filipino, may become a Filipino
citizen herself, that, aside from not suffering from any of the disqualifications
enumerated in the law, she must also possess all the qualifications required by said
law? if nothing but the unbroken line from Lee Suan Ay to Go Im Ty, as recounted
above, were to be considered, it is obvious that an affirmative answer to the
question would be inevitable, specially, if it is noted that the present case was
actually submitted for decision on January 21, 1964 yet, shortly after Lo San Tuang,
Tong Siok Sy and Sun Peck Yong, all supra, and even before Choy King Tee, supra,
were decided. There are other circumstances, however, which make it desirable, if
not necessary, that the Court take up the matter anew. There has been a
substantial change in the membership of the Court since Go Im Ty, and of those
who were in the Court already when Burca was decided, two members, Justice
Makalintal and Castro concurred only in the result, precisely, according to them,
because (they wanted to leave the point now under discussion open in so far as
they are concerned.
12
Truth to tell, the views and arguments discussed at length
with copious relevant authorities, in the motion for reconsideration as well as in
the memorandum of the amici curae
13
in the Burca case cannot just be taken
lightly and summarily ignored, since they project in the most forceful manner, not
only the legal and logical angles of the issue, but also the imperative practical
aspects thereof in the light of the actual situation of the thousands of alien wives
of Filipinos who have so long, even decades, considered themselves as Filipinas
and have always lived and acted as such, officially or otherwise, relying on the long
standing continuous recognition of their status as such by the administrative
authorities in charge of the matter, as well as by the courts. Under these
circumstances, and if only to afford the Court an opportunity to consider the views
of the five justices who took no part in Go Im Ty (including the writer of this
opinion), the Court decided to further reexamine the matter. After all, the ruling
first laid in Lee Suan Ay, and later in Lo San Tuang, Choy King Tee stand the second
(1966) Ly Giok Ha, did not categorically repudiate the opinions of the Secretary of
Justice relied upon by the first (1959) Ly Giok Ha. Besides, some points brought to
light during the deliberations in this case would seem to indicate that the premises
of the later cases can still bear further consideration.
Whether We like it or not, it is undeniably factual that the legal provision We are
construing, Section 15, aforequoted, of the Naturalization Law has been taken
directly, copied and adopted from its American counterpart. To be more accurate,
said provision is nothing less than a reenactment of the American provision. A brief
review of its history proves this beyond per adventure of doubt.
The first Naturalization Law of the Philippines approved by the Philippine
Legislature under American sovereignty was that of March 26, 1920, Act No. 2927.
Before then, as a consequence of the Treaty of Paris, our citizenship laws were
found only in the Organic Laws, the Philippine Bill of 1902, the Act of the United
States Congress of March 23, 1912 and later the Jones Law of 1916. In fact, Act No.
2927 was enacted pursuant to express authority granted by the Jones Law. For
obvious reasons, the Philippines gained autonomy on the subjects of citizenship
and immigration only after the effectivity of the Philippine Independence Act. This
made it practically impossible for our laws on said subject to have any perspective
or orientation of our own; everything was American.
The Philippine Bill of 1902 provided pertinently: .
SECTION 4. That all inhabitants of the Philippine Islands continuing to reside herein
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 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.
This Section 4 of the Philippine Bill of 1902 was amended by Act of Congress of
March 23, 1912, by adding a provision as follows:
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
possessions 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.
The Jones Law reenacted these provisions substantially: .
SECTION 2. 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 subsequent 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 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 the insular possessions
of the United States, and such other persons residing in the Philippine Islands who
are citizens of the United States under the laws of the United States if residing
therein.
For aught that appears, there was nothing in any of the said organic laws regarding
the effect of marriage to a Filipino upon the nationality of an alien woman, albeit
under the Spanish Civil Code provisions on citizenship, Articles 17 to 27, which
were, however, abrogated upon the change of sovereignty, it was unquestionable
that the citizenship of the wife always followed that of the husband. Not even Act
2927 contained any provision regarding the effect of naturalization of an alien,
upon the citizenship of his alien wife, nor of the marriage of such alien woman with
a native born Filipino or one who had become a Filipino before the marriage,
although Section 13 thereof provided thus: .
SEC. 13. Right of widow and children of petitioners who have died. In case a
petitioner should die before the final decision has been rendered, his widow and
minor children may continue the proceedings. The decision rendered in the case
shall, so far as the widow and minor children are concerned, produce the same
legal effect as if it had been rendered during the life of the petitioner.
It was not until November 30, 1928, upon the approval of Act 3448, amending Act
2977, that the following provisions were added to the above Section 13:
SECTION 1. The following new sections are hereby inserted between sections
thirteen and fourteen of Act Numbered Twenty-nine hundred and Twenty-seven:
SEC. 13(a). Any woman who is now or may hereafter be married to a citizen of the
Philippine Islands and who might herself be lawfully naturalized, shall be deemed a
citizen of the Philippine Islands.
SEC. 13(b). Children of persons who have been duly naturalized under this law,
being under the age of twenty-one years at the time of the naturalization of their
parents, shall, if dwelling in the Philippine Islands, be considered citizens thereof.
SEC. 13(c). Children of persons naturalized under this law who have been born in
the Philippine Islands after the naturalization of their parents shall be considered
citizens thereof.
When Commonwealth Act 473, the current naturalization law, was enacted on
June 17, 1939, the above Section 13 became its Section 15 which has already been
quoted earlier in this decision. As can be seen, Section 13 (a) abovequoted was re-
enacted practically word for word in the first paragraph of this Section 15 except
for the change of Philippine Islands to Philippines. And it could not have been on
any other basis than this legislative history of our naturalization law that each and
everyone of the decisions of this Court from the first Ly Giok Ha to Go Im Ty,
discussed above, were rendered.
As stated earlier, in the opinion of Chief Justice Concepcion in the first Ly Giok Ha,
it was quite clear that for an alien woman who marries a Filipino to become herself
a Filipino citizen, there is no need for any naturalization proceeding because she
becomes a Filipina ipso facto from the time of such marriage, provided she does
not suffer any of the disqualifications enumerated in Section 4 of Commonwealth
Act 473, with no mention being made of whether or not the qualifications
enumerated in Section 2 thereof need be shown. It was only in Lee Suan Ay in 1959
that the possession of qualifications were specifically required, but it was not until
1963, in Lo San Tuang, that Justice Regala reasoned out why the possession of the
qualifications provided by the law should also be shown to be possessed by the
alien wife of a Filipino, for her to become a Filipina by marriage.
As may be recalled, the basic argument advanced by Justice Regala was briefly as
follows: That "like the law in the United States, our Naturalization Law specified
the classes of persons who alone might become citizens, even as it provided who
were disqualified," and inasmuch as Commonwealth Act 473, our Naturalization
Law since 1939 did not reenact the section providing who might become citizens,
allegedly in order to remove racial discrimination in favor of Caucasians and
against Asiatics, "the only logical deduction ... is that the phrase "who might herself
be lawfully naturalized" must now be understood as referring to those who under
Section 2 of the law are qualified to become citizens of the Philippines" and "there
is simply no support for the view that the phrase "who might herself be lawfully
naturalized" must now be understood as requiring merely that the alien woman
must not belong to the class of disqualified persons under Section 4 of the Revised
Naturalization Law."
14

A similar line of reasoning was followed in Choy King Tee, which for ready
reference may be qouted:
The question has been settled by the uniform ruling of this Court in a number of
cases. The alien wife of a Filipino citizen must first prove that she has all the
qualifications required by Section 2 and none of the disqualifications enumerated
in Section 4 of the Naturalization Law before she may be deemed a Philippine
citizen (Lao Chay v. Galang, L-190977, Oct. 30, 1964, citing Lo San Tuang v. Galang,
L-18775, Nov. 30, 1963; Sun Peck Yong v. Commissioner of Immigration, L-20784,
December 27, 1963; Tong Siok Sy v. Vivo, L-21136, December 27, 1963). The writer
of this opinion has submitted the question anew to the court for a possible
reexamination of the said ruling in the light of the interpretation of a similar law in
the United States after which Section 15 of our Naturalization Law was patterned.
That law was section 2 of the Act of February 10, 1855 (Section 1994 of the Revised
Statutes of the U.S.). The local law, Act No. 3448, was passed on November 30,
1928 as an amendment to the former Philippine Naturalization Law, Act No. 2927,
which was approved on March 26, 1920. Under this Naturalization Law, acquisition
of Philippine citizenship was limited to three classes of persons, (a) Natives of the
Philippines who were not citizens thereof; (b) natives of the other insular
possessions of the United States; and (c) citizens of the United States, or foreigners
who, under the laws of the United States, may become citizens of the latter
country if residing therein. The reference in subdivision (c) to foreigners who may
become American Citizens is restrictive in character, for only persons of certain
specified races were qualified thereunder. In other words, in so far as racial
restrictions were concerned there was at the time a similarity between the
naturalization laws of the two countries and hence there was reason to accord
here persuasive force to the interpretation given in the United States to the
statutory provision concerning the citizenship of alien women marrying American
citizens.
This Court, however, believes that such reason has ceased to exist since the
enactment of the Revised Naturalization Law, (Commonwealth Act No. 473) on
June 17, 1939. The racial restrictions have been eliminated in this Act, but the
provision found in Act No. 3448 has been maintained. It is logical to presume that
when Congress chose to retain the said provision that to be deemed a Philippine
citizen upon marriage the alien wife must be one "who might herself be lawfully
naturalized," the reference is no longer to the class or race to which the woman
belongs, for class or race has become immaterial, but to the qualifications and
disqualifications for naturalization as enumerated in Sections 2 and 4 of the
statute. Otherwise the requirement that the woman "might herself be lawfully
naturalized" would be meaningless surplusage, contrary to settled norms of
statutory construction.
The rule laid down by this Court in this and in other cases heretofore decided is
believed to be in line with the national policy of selective admission to Philippine
citizenship, which after all is a privilege granted only to those who are found
worthy thereof, and not indiscriminately to anybody at all on the basis alone of
marriage to a man who is a citizen of the Philippines, irrespective of moral
character, ideological beliefs, and identification with Filipino ideals, customs and
traditions.
Appellee here having failed to prove that she has all the qualifications for
naturalization, even, indeed, that she has none of the disqualifications, she is not
entitled to recognition as a Philippine citizen.
In the second Ly Giok Ha, the Court further fortified the arguments in favor of the
same conclusion thus:
On cross-examination, she (Ly Giok Ha) failed to establish that: (1) she has been
residing in the Philippines for a continuous period of at least (10) years (p. 27,
t.s.n., id.); (2) she has a lucrative trade, profession, or lawful occupation (p. 13,
t.s.n., id.); and (3) she can speak and write English, or any of the principal
Philippine languages (pp. 12, 13, t.s.n., id.).
While the appellant Immigration Commissioner contends that the words
emphasized indicate that the present Naturalization Law requires that an alien
woman who marries a Filipino husband must possess the qualifications prescribed
by section 2 in addition to not being disqualified under any of the eight ("a" to "h")
subheadings of section 4 of Commonwealth Act No. 473, in order to claim our
citizenship by marriage, both the appellee and the court below (in its second
decision) sustain the view that all that the law demands is that the woman be not
disqualified under section 4.
At the time the present case was remanded to the court of origin (1960) the
question at issue could be regarded as not conclusively settled, there being only
the concise pronouncement in Lee Suan Ay, et al. v. Galang, G. R. No. L-11855, Dec.
23, 1959, to the effect that:
The marriage of a Filipino citizen to an alien does not automatically confer
Philippine citizenship upon the latter. She must possess the qualifications required
by law to become a Filipino citizen by naturalization.
Since that time, however, a long line of decisions of this Court has firmly
established the rule that the requirement of section 15 of Commonwealth Act 473
(the Naturalization Act), that an alien woman married to a citizen should be one
who "might herself be lawfully naturalized," means not only woman free from the
disqualifications enumerated in section 4 of the Act but also one who possesses
the qualifications prescribed by section 2 of Commonwealth Act 473 (San Tuan v.
Galang, L-18775, Nov. 30, 1963; Sun Peck Yong v. Com. of Immigration, L-20784,
Dee. 27, 1963; Tong Siok Sy v. Vivo, L-21136, Dec. 27, 1963; Austria v. Conchu, L-
20716, June 22, 1965; Choy King Tee v. Galang, L-18351, March 26, 1965; Brito v.
Com. of Immigration, L-16829, June 30, 1965).
Reflection will reveal why this must be so. The qualifications prescribed under
section 2 of the Naturalization Act, and the disqualifications enumerated in its
section 4 are not mutually exclusive; and if all that were to be required is that the
wife of a Filipino be not disqualified under section 4, the result might well be that
citizenship would be conferred upon persons in violation of the policy of the
statute. For example, section 4 disqualifies only
(c) Polygamists or believers in the practice of polygamy; and
(d) Persons convicted of crimes involving moral turpitude,
so that a blackmailer, or a maintainer of gambling or bawdy houses, not previously
convicted by a competent court would not be thereby disqualified; still, it is certain
that the law did not intend such person to be admitted as a citizen in view of the
requirement of section 2 that an applicant for citizenship "must be of good moral
character."
Similarly, the citizen's wife might be a convinced believer in racial supremacy, in
government by certain selected classes, in the right to vote exclusively by certain
"herrenvolk", and thus disbelieve in the principles underlying the Philippine
Constitution; yet she would not be disqualified under section 4, as long as she is
not "opposed to organized government," nor affiliated to groups "upholding or
teaching doctrines opposing all organized governments", nor "defending or
teaching the necessity or propriety of violence, personal assault or assassination
for the success or predominance of their ideas." Et sic de caeteris.
The foregoing instances should suffice to illustrate the danger of relying exclusively
on the absence of disqualifications, without taking into account the other
affirmative requirements of the law, which, in the case at bar, the appellee Ly Giok
Ha admittedly does not possess.
As to the argument that the phrase "might herself be lawfully naturalized" was
derived from the U.S. Revised Statutes (section 1994) and should be given the
same territorial and racial significance given to it by American courts, this Court
has rejected the same in Lon San Tuang v. Galang, L-18775, November 30, 1963;
and in Choy King Tee v. Galang, L-18351, March 26, 1965.
It is difficult to minimize the persuasive force of the foregoing rationalizations, but
a closer study thereof cannot bat reveal certain relevant considerations which
adversely affect the premises on which they are predicated, thus rendering the
conclusions arrived thereby not entirely unassailable.
1. The main proposition, for instance, that in eliminating Section 1 of Act 2927
providing who are eligible for Philippine citizenship, the purpose of
Commonwealth Act 473, the Revised Naturalization Law, was to remove the racial
requirements for naturalization, thereby opening the door of Filipino nationality to
Asiatics instead of allowing the admission thereto of Caucasians only, suffers from
lack of exact accuracy. It is important to note, to start with, that Commonwealth
Act 473 did away with the whole Section 1 of Act 2927 which reads, thus:
SECTION 1. Who may become Philippine citizens. Philippine citizenship may be
acquired by: (a) natives of the Philippines who are not citizens thereof under the
Jones Law; (b) natives of the other Insular possessions of the United States; (c)
citizens of the United States, or foreigners who under the laws of the United States
may become citizens of said country if residing therein.
and not only subdivision (c) thereof. Nowhere in this whole provision was there
any mention of race or color of the persons who were then eligible for Philippine
citizenship. What is more evident from said provision is that it reflected the
inevitable subordination of our legislation during the pre-Commonwealth
American regime to the understandable stations flowing from our staffs as a
territory of the United States by virtue of the Treaty of Paris. In fact, Section 1 of
Act 2927 was precisely approved pursuant to express authority without which it
could not have been done, granted by an amendment to Section 4 of the Philippine
Bill of 1902 introduced by the Act of the United States Congress of March 23, 1912
and which was reenacted as part of the Jones Law of 1916, the pertinent
provisions of which have already been footed earlier. In truth, therefore, it was
because of the establishment of the Philippine Commonwealth and in the exercise
of our legislative autonomy on citizenship matters under the Philippine
Independence Act that Section 1 of Act 2927 was eliminated,
15
and not purposely
to eliminate any racial discrimination contained in our Naturalization Law. The
Philippine Legislature naturally wished to free our Naturalization Law from the
impositions of American legislation. In other words, the fact that such
discrimination was removed was one of the effects rather than the intended
purpose of the amendment.
2. Again, the statement in Choy King Tee to the effect that "the reference in
subdivision (c) (of Section 1 of Act 2927) to foreigners who may become American
citizens is restrictive in character, for only persons of certain specified races were
qualified thereunder" fails to consider the exact import of the said subdivision.
Explicitly, the thrust of the said subdivision was to confine the grant under it of
Philippine citizenship only to the three classes of persons therein mentioned, the
third of which were citizens of the United States and, corollarily, persons who
could be American citizens under her laws. The words used in the provision do not
convey any idea of favoring aliens of any particular race or color and of excluding
others, but more accurately, they refer to all the disqualifications of foreigners for
American citizenship under the laws of the United States. The fact is that even as
of 1906, or long before 1920, when our Act 2927 became a law, the naturalization,
laws of the United States already provided for the following disqualifications in the
Act of the Congress of June 29, 1906:
SEC. 7. That no person who disbelieves in or who is opposed to organized
government, or who is a member of or affiliated with any organization entertaining
and teaching such disbelief in or opposition to organized government, or who
advocates or teaches the duty, necessity, or propriety of the unlawful assaulting or
killing of any officer or officers, either of specific individuals or of officers generally,
of the Government of the United States, or of any other organized government,
because of his or their official character, or who is a polygamist, shall be
naturalized or be made a citizen of the United States.
and all these disqualified persons were, therefore, ineligible for Philippine
citizenship under Section 1 of Act 2927 even if they happened to be Caucasians.
More importantly, as a matter of fact, said American law, which was the first "Act
to Establish a Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization and to provide for a
Uniform Rule for Naturalization of Aliens throughout the United States" contained
no racial disqualification requirement, except as to Chinese, the Act of May 6, 1882
not being among the expressly repealed by this law, hence it is clear that when Act
2927 was enacted, subdivision (e) of its Section 1 could not have had any
connotation of racial exclusion necessarily, even if it were traced back to its origin
in the Act of the United States Congress of 1912 already mentioned above.
16
Thus,
it would seem that the rationalization in the qouted decisions predicated on the
theory that the elimination of Section 1 of Act 2927 by Commonwealth Act 473
was purposely for no other end than the abolition of racial discrimination in our
naturalization law has no clear factual basis.
17

3. In view of these considerations, there appears to be no cogent reason why the
construction adopted in the opinions of the Secretary of Justice referred to in the
first Ly Giok Ha decision of the Chief Justice should not prevail. It is beyond dispute
that the first paragraph of Section 15 of Commonwealth Act 473 is a reenactment
of Section 13(a) of Act 2927, as amended by Act 3448, and that the latter is nothing
but an exact copy, deliberately made, of Section 1994 of the Raised Statutes of the
United States as it stood before its repeal in 1922.
18
Before such repeal, the phrase
"who might herself be lawfully naturalized" found in said Section 15 had a definite
unmistakable construction uniformly foIlowed in all courts of the United States
that had occasion to apply the same and which, therefore, must be considered, as
if it were written in the statute itself. It is almost trite to say that when our
legislators enacted said section, they knew of its unvarying construction in the
United States and that, therefore, in adopting verbatim the American statute, they
have in effect incorporated into the provision, as thus enacted, the construction
given to it by the American courts as well as the Attorney General of the United
States and all administrative authorities, charged with the implementation of the
naturalization and immigration laws of that country. (Lo Cham v. Ocampo, 77 Phil.,
635 [1946]; Laxamana v. Baltazar, 92 Phil., 32 [1952]; Hartley v. Commissioner, 295
U.S. 216, 79 L. ed. 1399, 55 S Ct. 756 [19353; Helvering v. Winmill, 305 U.S. 79, 83 L
ed. 52, 59 S Ct. 45 [1938]; Helvering v. R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., 306 U.S. 110, 83
L ed. 536, 59 S Ct. 423 [1939]. [p. 32, Memo of Amicus Curiae]).
A fairly comprehensive summary of the said construction by the American courts
and administrative authorities is contained in United States of America ex rel. Dora
Sejnensky v. Robert E. Tod, Commissioner of Immigration, Appt., 295 Fed. 523,
decided November 14, 1922, 26 A. L. R. 1316 as follows:
Section 1994 of the Revised Statutes (Comp. Stat. 3948, 2 Fed. Sta. Anno. 2d ed. p.
117) provides as follows: "Any woman who is now or may hereafter be married to
a citizen of the United States, and who might herself be lawfully naturalized, shall
be deemed a citizen."
Section 1944 of the Revised Stat. is said to originate in the Act of Congress of
February 10, 1855 (10 Stat. at L. 604, chap. 71), which in its second section
provided "that any woman, who might lawfully be naturalized under the existing
laws, married, or who shall be married to a citizen of the United States, shall be
deemed and taken to be a citizen."
And the American Statute of 1855 is substantially a copy of the earlier British
Statute 7 & 8 Vict. chap. 66, s 16, 1844, which provided that "any woman married,
or who shall be married, to a natural-born subject or person naturalized, shall be
deemed and taken to be herself naturalized, and have all the rights and privileges
of a natural born subject."
The Act of Congress of September 22, 1922 (42 Stat. at L. 1021, chap. 411, Comp.
Stat. 4358b, Fed. Stat. Anno. Supp. 1922, p. 255), being "An Act Relative to the
Naturalization and Citizenship of Married Women," in 2, provides "that any woman
who marries a citizen of the United States after the passage of this Act, ... shall not
become a citizen of the United States by reason of such marriage ..."
Section 6 of the act also provides "that 1994 of the Revised Statutes ... are
repealed."
Section 6 also provides that `such repeal shall not terminate citizenship acquired or
retained under either of such sections, ..." meaning 2 and 6. So that this Act of
September 22, 1922, has no application to the facts of the present case, as the
marriage of the relator took place prior to its passage. This case, therefore,
depends upon the meaning to be attached to 1994 of the Revised Statutes.
In 1868 the Supreme Court, in Kelly v. Owen, 7 Wall. 496, 498, 19 L. ed. 283, 284,
construed this provision as found in the Act of 1855 as follows: "The term, "who
might lawfully be naturalized under the existing laws," only limits the application of
the law to free white women. The previous Naturalization Act, existing at the time,
only required that the person applying for its benefits should be "a free white
person," and not an alien enemy."
This construction limited the effect of the statute to those aliens who belonged to
the class or race which might be lawfully naturalized, and did not refer to any of
the other provisions of the naturalization laws as to residence or moral character,
or to any of the provisions of the immigration laws relating to the exclusion or
deportation of aliens.
In 1880, in Leonard v. Grant (C. C.) 5 Fed. 11, District Judge Deady also construed
the Act of 1855, declaring that "any woman who is now or may hereafter be
married to a citizen of the United States, and might herself be lawfully naturalized,
shall be deemed a citizen." He held that "upon the authorities, and the reason, if
not the necessity, of the case," the statute must be construed as in effect declaring
that an alien woman, who is of the class or race that may be lawfully naturalized
under the existing laws, and who marries a citizen of the United States, is such a
citizen also, and it was not necessary that it should appear affirmatively that she
possessed the other qualifications at the time of her marriage to entitle her to
naturalization.
In 1882, the Act of 1855 came before Mr. Justice Harlan, sitting in the circuit court,
in United States v. Kellar, 13 Fed. 82. An alien woman, a subject of Prussia came to
the United States and married here a naturalized citizen. Mr. Justice Harlan, with
the concurrence of Judge Treat, held that upon her marriage she became ipso
facto a citizen of the United States as fully as if she had complied with all of the
provisions of the statutes upon the subject of naturalization. He added: "There can
be no doubt of this, in view of the decision of the Supreme Court of the United,
States in Kelly v. Owen, 7 Wall. 496, 19 L. ed. 283." The alien "belonged to the class
of persons" who might be lawfully naturalized.
In 1904, in Hopkins v. Fachant, 65 C. C. A. 1, 130 Fed. 839, an alien woman came to
the United States from France and entered the country contrary to the
immigration laws. The immigration authorities took her into custody at the port of
New York, with the view of deporting her. She applied for her release under a writ
of habeas corpus, and pending the disposition of the matter she married a
naturalized American citizen. The circuit court of appeals for the ninth Circuit held,
affirming the court below, that she was entitled to be discharged from custody.
The court declared: "The rule is well settled that her marriage to a naturalized
citizen of the United States entitled her to be discharged. The status of the wife
follows that of her husband, ... and by virtue of her marriage her husband's domicil
became her domicil." .
In 1908, the circuit court for the district of Rhode Island in Re Rustigian, 165. Fed.
980, had before it the application of a husband for his final decree of
naturalization. It appeared that at that time his wife was held by the immigration
authorities at New York on the ground that she was afflicted with a dangerous and
contagious disease. Counsel on both sides agreed that the effect of the husband's
naturalization would be to confer citizenship upon the wife. In view of that
contingency District Judge Brown declined to pass upon the husband's application
for naturalization, and thought it best to wait until it was determined whether the
wife's disease was curable. He placed his failure to act on the express ground that
the effect of naturalizing the husband might naturalize her. At the same time he
express his opinion that the husband's naturalization would not effect her
naturalization, as she was not one who could become lawfully naturalized. "Her
own capacity (to become naturalized)," the court stated "is a prerequisite to her
attaining citizenship. If herself lacking in that capacity, the married status cannot
confer it upon her." Nothing, however, was actually decided in that case, and the
views expressed therein are really nothing more than mere dicta. But, if they can
be regarded as something more than that, we find ourselves, with all due respect
for the learned judge, unable to accept them.
In 1909, in United States ex rel. Nicola v. Williams, 173 Fed. 626, District Judge
Learned Hand held that an alien woman, a subject of the Turkish Empire, who
married an American citizen while visiting Turkey, and then came to the United
States, could not be excluded, although she had, at the time of her entry, a disease
which under the immigration laws would have been sufficient ground for her
exclusion, if she bad not had the status of a citizen. The case was brought into this
court on appeal, and in 1911 was affirmed, in 106 C. C. A. 464, 184 Fed. 322. In that
case, however at the time the relators married, they might have been lawfully
naturalized, and we said: "Even if we assume the contention of the district
attorney to be correct that marriage will not make a citizen of a woman who would
be excluded under our immigration laws, it does not affect these relators."
We held that, being citizens, they could not be excluded as aliens; and it was also
said to be inconsistent with the policy of our law that the husband should be a
citizen and the wife an alien. The distinction between that case and the one now
before the court is that, in the former case, the marriage took place before any
order of exclusion had been made, while in this the marriage was celebrated after
such an order was made. But such an order is a mere administrative provision, and
has not the force of a judgment of a court, and works no estoppel. The
administrative order is based on the circumstances that existed at the time the
order of exclusion was made. If the circumstances change prior to the order being
carried into effect, it cannot be executed. For example, if an order of exclusion
should be based on the ground that the alien was at the time afflicted with a
contagious disease, and it should be made satisfactorily to appear, prior to actual
deportation, that the alien had entirely recovered from the disease, we think it
plain that the order could not be carried into effect. So, in this case, if, after the
making of the order of exclusion and while she is permitted temporarily to remain,
she in good faith marries an American citizen, we cannot doubt the validity of her
marriage, and that she thereby acquired, under international law and under 1994
of the Revised Statutes, American citizenship, and ceased to be an alien. There
upon, the immigration authorities lost their jurisdiction over her, as that
jurisdiction applies only to aliens, and not to citizens.
In 1910, District Judge Dodge, in Ex parte Kaprielian, 188 Fed. 694, sustained the
right of the officials to deport a woman under the following circumstances: She
entered this country in July, 1910, being an alien and having been born in Turkey.
She was taken into custody by the immigration authorities in the following
September, and in October a warrant for her deportation was issued. Pending
hearings as to the validity of that order, she was paroled in the custody of her
counsel. The ground alleged for her deportation was that she was afflicted with a
dangerous and contagious disease at the time of her entry. One of the reasons
assigned to defeat deportation was that the woman had married a citizen of the
United States pending the proceedings for her deportation. Judge Dodge declared
himself unable to believe that a marriage under such circumstances "is capable of
having the effect claimed, in view of the facts shown." He held that it was no part
of the intended policy of 1994 to annul or override the immigration laws, so as to
authorize the admission into the country of the wife of a naturalized alien not
otherwise entitled to enter, and that an alien woman, who is of a class of persons
excluded by law from admission to the United States does not come within the
provisions of that section. The court relied wholly upon the dicta contained in the
Rustigian Case. No other authorities were cited.
In 1914, District Judge Neterer, in Ex parte Grayson, 215 Fed. 449, construed 1994
and held that where, pending proceedings to deport an alien native of France as an
alien prostitute, she was married to a citizen of the United States, she thereby
became a citizen, and was not subject to deportation until her citizenship was
revoked by due process of law. It was his opinion that if, as was contended, her
marriage was conceived in fraud, and was entered into for the purpose of evading
the immigration laws and preventing her deportation, such fact should be
established in a court of competent jurisdiction in an action commenced for the
purpose. The case was appealed and the appeal was dismissed. 134 C. C. A. 666,
219 Fed. 1022.
It is interesting also to observe the construction placed upon the language of the
statute by the Department of Justice. In 1874, Attorney General Williams, 14 Ops.
Atty. Gen. 402, passing upon the Act of February 10, 1855, held that residence
within the United States for the period required by the naturalization laws was riot
necessary in order to constitute an alien woman a citizen, she having married a
citizen of the United States abroad, although she never resided in the United
States, she and her husband having continued to reside abroad after the marriage.
In 1909, a similar construction was given to the Immigration Act of May 5, 1907, in
an opinion rendered by Attorney General Wickersham. It appeared an unmarried
woman, twenty-eight years of age and a native of Belgium, arrived in New York
and went at once to a town in Nebraska, where she continued to reside. About
fifteen months after her arrival she was taken before a United States commissioner
by way of instituting proceedings under the Immigration Act (34 Stat. at L. 898,
chap. 1134, Comp. Stat. 4242, 3 Fed. Stat. Anno. 2d ed. p. 637) for her deportation,
on the ground that she had entered this country for the purpose of prostitution,
and had been found an inmate of a house of prostitution and practicing the same
within three years after landing. It appeared, however, that after she was taken
before the United States commissioner, but prior to her arrest under a warrant by
the Department of Justice, she was lawfully married to a native-born citizen of the
United States. The woman professed at the time of her marriage an intention to
abandon her previous mode of life and to remove with her husband to his home in
Pennsylvania. He knew what her mode of life had been, but professed to believe in
her good intentions. The question was raised as to the right to deport her, the
claim being advance that by her marriage she bad become an American citizen and
therefore could not be deported. The Attorney General ruled against the right to
deport her as she had become an American citizen. He held that the words, "who
might herself be lawfully naturalized," refer to a class or race who might be
lawfully naturalized, and that compliance with the other conditions of the
naturalization laws was not required. 27 Ops. Atty. Gen. 507.
Before concluding this opinion, we may add that it has not escaped our
observation that Congress, in enacting the Immigration Act of 1917, so as to
provide, in 19, "that the marriage to an American citizen of a female of the sexually
immoral classes ... shall not invest such female with United States citizenship if the
marriage of such alien female shall be solemnized after her arrest or after the
commission of acts which make her liable to deportation under this act."
Two conclusions seem irresistibly to follow from the above change in the law:
(1) Congress deemed legislation essential to prevent women of the immoral class
avoiding deportation through the device of marrying an American citizen.
(2) If Congress intended that the marriage of an American citizen with an alien
woman of any other of the excluded classes, either before or after her detention,
should not confer upon her American citizenship, thereby entitling her to enter the
country, its intention would have been expressed, and 19 would not have been
confined solely to women of the immoral class.
Indeed, We have examined all the leading American decisions on the subject and
We have found no warrant for the proposition that the phrase "who might herself
be lawfully naturalized" in Section 1994 of the Revised Statutes was meant solely
as a racial bar, even if loose statements in some decisions and other treaties and
other writings on the subject would seem to give such impression. The case
of Kelley v. Owen, supra, which appears to be the most cited among the first of the
decisions
19
simply held:
As we construe this Act, it confers the privileges of citizenship upon women
married to citizens of the United States, if they are of the class of persons for
whose naturalization the previous Acts of Congress provide. The terms "married"
or "who shall be married," do not refer in our judgment, to the time when the
ceremony of marriage is celebrated, but to a state of marriage. They mean that,
whenever a woman, who under previous Acts might be naturalized, is in a state of
marriage to a citizen, whether his citizenship existed at the passage of the Act or
subsequently, or before or after the marriage, she becomes, by that fact, a citizen
also. His citizenship, whenever it exists, confers, under the Act, citizenship upon
her. The construction which would restrict the Act to women whose husbands, at
the time of marriage, are citizens, would exclude far the greater number, for
whose benefit, as we think, the Act was intended. Its object, in our opinion, was to
allow her citizenship to follow that of her husband, without the necessity of any
application for naturalization on her part; and, if this was the object, there is no
reason for the restriction suggested.
The terms, "who might lawfully be naturalized under the existing laws," only limit
the application of the law to free white women. The previous Naturalization Act,
existing at the time only required that the person applying for its benefits should
be "a free white person," and not an alien enemy. Act of April 14th, 1802, 2 Stat. at
L. 153.
A similar construction was given to the Act by the Court of Appeals of New York,
in Burton v. Burton, 40 N. Y. 373; and is the one which gives the widest extension
to its provisions.
Note that write the court did say that "the terms, "who might lawfully be
naturalized under existing laws" only limit the application to free white
women"
20
it hastened to add that "the previous Naturalization Act, existing at the
time, ... required that the person applying for its benefits should be (not only) a
"free white person" (but also) ... not an alien enemy." This is simply because under
the Naturalization Law of the United States at the time the case was decided, the
disqualification of enemy aliens had already been removed by the Act of July 30,
1813, as may be seen in the corresponding footnote hereof anon. In other words, if
in the case of Kelly v. Owen only the race requirement was mentioned, the reason
was that there was no other non-racial requirement or no more alien enemy
disqualification at the time; and this is demonstrated by the fact that the court
took care to make it clear that under the previous naturalization law, there was
also such requirement in addition to race. This is impotent, since as stated in re
Rustigian, 165 Fed. Rep. 980, "The expression used by Mr. Justice Field, (in Kelly v.
Owen) the terms "who might lawfully be naturalized under existing laws" only limit
the application of the law to free white women, must be interpreted in the
application to the special facts and to the incapacities under the then existing
laws," (at p. 982) meaning that whether or not an alien wife marrying a citizen
would be a citizen was dependent, not only on her race and nothing more
necessarily, but on whether or not there were other disqualifications under the law
in force at the time of her marriage or the naturalization of her husband.
4. As already stated, in Lo San Tuang, Choy King Tee and the second Ly Giok Ha, the
Court drew the evidence that because Section 1 of Act 2927 was eliminated by
Commonwealth Act 473, it follows that in place of the said eliminated section
particularly its subdivision (c), being the criterion of whether or not an alien wife
"may be lawfully naturalized," what should be required is not only that she must
not be disqualified under Section 4 but that she must also possess the
qualifications enumerated in Section 2, such as those of age, residence, good moral
character, adherence to the underlying principles of the Philippine Constitution,
irreproachable conduct, lucrative employment or ownership of real estate,
capacity to speak and write English or Spanish and one of the principal local
languages, education of children in certain schools, etc., thereby implying that, in
effect, sails Section 2 has been purposely intended to take the place of Section 1 of
Act 2927. Upon further consideration of the proper premises, We have come, to
the conclusion that such inference is not sufficiently justified.
To begin with, nothing extant in the legislative history, which We have already
explained above of the mentioned provisions has been shown or can be shown to
indicate that such was the clear intent of the legislature. Rather, what is definite is
that Section 15 is, an exact copy of Section 1994 of the Revised Statutes of the
United States, which, at the time of the approval of Commonwealth Act 473 had
already a settled construction by American courts and administrative authorities.
Secondly, as may be gleaned from the summary of pertinent American decisions
quoted above, there can be no doubt that in the construction of the identically
worded provision in the Revised Statutes of the United States, (Section 1994,
which was taken, from the Act of February 10, 1855) all authorities in the United
States are unanimously agreed that the qualifications of residence, good moral
character, adherence to the Constitution, etc. are not supposed to be considered,
and that the only eligibility to be taken into account is that of the race or class to
which the subject belongs, the conceptual scope of which, We have just
discussed.
21
In the very case of Leonard v. Grant, supra, discussed by Justice Regala
in Lo San Tuang, the explanation for such posture of the American authorities was
made thus:
The phrase, "shall be deemed a citizen" in section 1994 Rev. St., or as it was in the
Act of 1855,supra, "shall be deemed and taken to be a citizen" while it may imply
that the person to whom it relates has not actually become a citizen by ordinary
means or in the usual way, as by the judgment of a competent court, upon a
proper application and proof, yet it does not follow that such person is on that
account practically any the less a citizen. The word "deemed" is the equivalent of
"considered" or "judged"; and, therefore, whatever an act of Congress requires to
be "deemed" or "taken" as true of any person or thing, must, in law, be considered
as having been duly adjudged or established concerning "such person or thing, and
have force and effect accordingly. When, therefore, Congress declares that an alien
woman shall, under certain circumstances, be "deemed' an American citizen, the
effect when the contingency occurs, is equivalent to her being naturalized directly
by an act of Congress, or in the usual mode thereby prescribed.
Unless We disregard now the long settled familiar rule of statutory construction
that in a situation like this wherein our legislature has copied an American statute
word for word, it is understood that the construction already given to such statute
before its being copied constitute part of our own law, there seems to be no
reason how We can give a different connotation or meaning to the provision in
question. At least, We have already seen that the views sustaining the contrary
conclusion appear to be based on in accurate factual premises related to the real
legislative background of the framing of our naturalization law in its present form.
Thirdly, the idea of equating the qualifications enumerated in Section 2 of
Commonwealth Act 473 with the eligibility requirements of Section 1 of Act 2927
cannot bear close scrutiny from any point of view. There is no question that
Section 2 of Commonwealth Act 473 is more or less substantially the same as
Section 3 of Act 2927. In other words, Section 1 of Act 2927 co-existed already with
practically the same provision as Section 2 of Commonwealth Act 473. If it were
true that the phrase "who may be lawfully naturalized" in Section 13 (a) of Act
2927, as amended by Act 3448, referred to the so-called racial requirement in
Section 1 of the same Act, without regard to the provisions of Section 3 thereof,
how could the elimination of Section 1 have the effect of shifting the reference to
Section 3, when precisely, according to the American jurisprudence, which was
prevailing at the time Commonwealth Act 473 was approved, such qualifications as
were embodied in said Section 3, which had their counterpart in the corresponding
American statutes, are not supposed to be taken into account and that what
should be considered only are the requirements similar to those provided for in
said Section 1 together with the disqualifications enumerated in Section 4?
Fourthly, it is difficult to conceive that the phrase "who might be lawfully
naturalized" in Section 15 could have been intended to convey a meaning different
than that given to it by the American courts and administrative authorities. As
already stated, Act 3448 which contained said phrase and from which it was taken
by Commonwealth Act 473, was enacted in 1928. By that, time, Section 1994 of
the Revised Statutes of the United States was no longer in force because it had
been repealed expressly the Act of September 22, 1922 which did away with the
automatic naturalization of alien wives of American citizens and required, instead,
that they submit to regular naturalization proceedings, albeit under more liberal
terms than those of other applicants. In other words, when our legislature adopted
the phrase in question, which, as already demonstrated, had a definite
construction in American law, the Americans had already abandoned said
phraseology in favor of a categorical compulsion for alien wives to be natural
judicially. Simple logic would seem to dictate that, since our lawmakers, at the time
of the approval of Act 3448, had two choices, one to adopt the phraseology of
Section 1994 with its settled construction and the other to follow the new posture
of the Americans of requiring judicial naturalization and it appears that they have
opted for the first, We have no alternative but to conclude that our law still follows
the old or previous American Law On the subject. Indeed, when Commonwealth
Act 473 was approved in 1939, the Philippine Legislature, already autonomous
then from the American Congress, had a clearer chance to disregard the old
American law and make one of our own, or, at least, follow the trend of the Act of
the U.S. Congress of 1922, but still, our legislators chose to maintain the language
of the old law. What then is significantly important is not that the legislature
maintained said phraseology after Section 1 of Act 2927 was eliminated, but that it
continued insisting on using it even after the Americans had amended their law in
order to provide for what is now contended to be the construction that should be
given to the phrase in question. Stated differently, had our legislature adopted a
phrase from an American statute before the American courts had given it a
construction which was acquiesced to by those given upon to apply the same, it
would be possible for Us to adopt a construction here different from that of the
Americans, but as things stand, the fact is that our legislature borrowed the phrase
when there was already a settled construction thereof, and what is more, it
appears that our legislators even ignored the modification of the American law and
persisted in maintaining the old phraseology. Under these circumstances, it would
be in defiance of reason and the principles of Statutory construction to say that
Section 15 has a nationalistic and selective orientation and that it should be
construed independently of the previous American posture because of the
difference of circumstances here and in the United States. It is always safe to say
that in the construction of a statute, We cannot fall on possible judicial fiat or
perspective when the demonstrated legislative point of view seems to indicate
otherwise.
5. Viewing the matter from another angle, there is need to emphasize that in
reality and in effect, the so called racial requirements, whether under the
American laws or the Philippine laws, have hardly been considered as
qualifications in the same sense as those enumerated in Section 3 of Act 2927 and
later in Section 2 of Commonwealth Act 473. More accurately, they have always
been considered as disqualifications, in the sense that those who did not possess
them were the ones who could not "be lawfully naturalized," just as if they were
suffering from any of the disqualifications under Section 2 of Act 2927 and later
those under Section 4 of Commonwealth Act 473, which, incidentally, are
practically identical to those in the former law, except those in paragraphs (f) and
(h) of the latter.
22
Indeed, such is the clear impression anyone will surely get after
going over all the American decisions and opinions quoted and/or cited in the
latest USCA (1970), Title 8, section 1430, pp. 598-602, and the first decisions of this
Court on the matter, Ly Giok Ha (1959) and Ricardo Cua, citing with approval the
opinions of the secretary of Justice.
23
Such being the case, that is, that the so-
called racial requirements were always treated as disqualifications in the same
light as the other disqualifications under the law, why should their elimination not
be viewed or understood as a subtraction from or a lessening of the
disqualifications? Why should such elimination have instead the meaning that
what were previously considered as irrelevant qualifications have become
disqualifications, as seems to be the import of the holding in Choy King Tee to the
effect that the retention in Section 15 of Commonwealth Act 473 of the same
language of what used to be Section 13 (a) of Act 2927 (as amended by Act 3448),
notwithstanding the elimination of Section 1 of the latter, necessarily indicates
that the legislature had in mind making the phrase in question "who may be
lawfully naturalized" refer no longer to any racial disqualification but to the
qualification under Section 2 of Commonwealth Act 473? Otherwise stated, under
Act 2927, there were two groups of persons that could not be naturalized, namely,
those falling under Section 1 and those falling under Section 2, and surely, the
elimination of one group, i.e. those belonging to Section 1, could not have had, by
any process of reasoning, the effect of increasing, rather than decreasing, the
disqualifications that used to be before such elimination. We cannot see by what
alchemy of logic such elimination could have convicted qualifications into
disqualifications specially in the light of the fact that, after all, these are
disqualifications clearly set out as such in the law distinctly and separately from
qualifications and, as already demonstrated, in American jurisprudence,
qualifications had never been considered to be of any relevance in determining
"who might be lawfully naturalized," as such phrase is used in the statute
governing the status of alien wives of American citizens, and our law on the matter
was merely copied verbatim from the American statutes.
6. In addition to these arguments based on the applicable legal provisions and
judicial opinions, whether here or in the United States, there are practical
considerations that militate towards the same conclusions. As aptly stated in the
motion for reconsideration of counsel for petitioner-appellee dated February 23,
1967, filed in the case of Zita Ngo Burca v. Republic, supra:
Unreasonableness of requiring alien wife to prove "qualifications"
There is one practical consideration that strongly militates against a construction
that Section 15 of the law requires that an alien wife of a Filipino must
affirmatively prove that she possesses the qualifications prescribed under Section
2, before she may be deemed a citizen. Such condition, if imposed upon an alien
wife, becomes unreasonably onerous and compliance therewith manifestly
difficult. The unreasonableness of such requirement is shown by the following:
1. One of the qualifications required of an Applicant for naturalization under
Section 2 of the law is that the applicant "must have resided in the Philippines for a
continuous period of not less than ten years." If this requirement is applied to an
alien wife married to a Filipino citizen, this means that for a period of ten years at
least, she cannot hope to acquire the citizenship of her husband. If the wife
happens to be a citizen of a country whose law declares that upon her marriage to
a foreigner she automatically loses her citizenship and acquires the citizenship of
her husband, this could mean that for a period of ten years at least, she would be
stateless. And even after having acquired continuous residence in the Philippines
for ten years, there is no guarantee that her petition for naturalization will be
granted, in which case she would remain stateless for an indefinite period of time.
2. Section 2 of the law likewise requires of the applicant for naturalization that he
"must own real estate in the Philippines worth not less than five thousand pesos,
Philippine currency, or must have some known lucrative trade, profession, or
lawful occupation." Considering the constitutional prohibition against acquisition
by an alien of real estate except in cases of hereditary succession (Art. XIII, Sec. 5,
Constitution), an alien wife desiring to acquire the citizenship of her husband must
have to prove that she has a lucrative income derived from a lawful trade,
profession or occupation. The income requirement has been interpreted to mean
that the petitioner herself must be the one to possess the said income. (Uy v.
Republic, L-19578, Oct. 27, 1964; Tanpa Ong vs. Republic, L-20605, June 30, 1965;
Li Tong Pek v. Republic, L-20912, November 29, 1965). In other words, the wife
must prove that she has a lucrative income derived from sources other than her
husband's trade, profession or calling. It is of common knowledge, and judicial
notice may be taken of the fact that most wives in the Philippines do not have
gainful occupations of their own. Indeed, Philippine law, recognizing the
dependence of the wife upon the husband, imposes upon the latter the duty of
supporting the former. (Art. 291, Civil Code). It should be borne in mind that
universally, it is an accepted concept that when a woman marries, her primary
duty is to be a wife, mother and housekeeper. If an alien wife is not to be remiss in
this duty, how can she hope to acquire a lucrative income of her own to qualify her
for citizenship?
3. Under Section 2 of the law, the applicant for naturalization "must have enrolled
his minor children of school age, in any of the public schools or private schools
recognized by the Office of the Private Education of the Philippines, where
Philippine history, government and civics are taught or prescribed as part of the
school curriculum during the entire period of residence in the Philippines required
of him prior to the hearing of his petition for naturalization as Philippine citizen." If
an alien woman has minor children by a previous marriage to another alien before
she marries a Filipino, and such minor children had not been enrolled in Philippine
schools during her period of residence in the country, she cannot qualify for
naturalization under the interpretation of this Court. The reason behind the
requirement that children should be enrolled in recognized educational institutions
is that they follow the citizenship of their father. (Chan Ho Lay v. Republic, L-5666,
March 30, 1954; Tan Hi v. Republic, 88 Phil. 117 [1951]; Hao Lian Chu v. Republic,
87 Phil. 668 [1950]; Yap Chin v. Republic, L-4177, May 29, 1953; Lim Lian Hong v.
Republic, L-3575, Dec. 26, 1950). Considering that said minor children by her first
husband generally follow the citizenship of their alien father, the basis for such
requirement as applied to her does not exist. Cessante ratione legis cessat ipsa lex.
4. Under Section 3 of the law, the 10-year continuous residence prescribed by
Section 2 "shall be understood as reduced to five years for any petitioner (who is)
married to a Filipino woman." It is absurd that an alien male married to a Filipino
wife should be required to reside only for five years in the Philippines to qualify for
citizenship, whereas an alien woman married to a Filipino husband must reside for
ten years.
Thus under the interpretation given by this Court, it is more difficult for an alien
wife related by marriage to a Filipino citizen to become such citizen, than for a
foreigner who is not so related. And yet, it seems more than clear that the general
purpose of the first paragraph of Section 15 was obviously to accord to an alien
woman, by reason of her marriage to a Filipino, a privilege not similarly granted to
other aliens. It will be recalled that prior to the enactment of Act No. 3448 in 1928,
amending Act No. 2927 (the old Naturalization Law), there was no law granting any
special privilege to alien wives of Filipinos. They were treated as any other
foreigner. It was precisely to remedy this situation that the Philippine legislature
enacted Act No. 3448. On this point, the observation made by the Secretary of
Justice in 1941 is enlightening:
It is true that under, Article 22 of the (Spanish) Civil Code, the wife follows the
nationality of the husband; but the Department of State of the United States on
October 31, 1921, ruled that the alien wife of a Filipino citizen is not a Filipino
citizen, pointing out that our Supreme Court in the leading case of Roa v. Collector
of Customs (23 Phil. 315) held that Articles 17 to 27 of the Civil Code being political
have been abrogated upon the cession of the Philippine Islands to the United
States. Accordingly, the stated taken by the Attorney-General prior to the
envictment of Act No. 3448, was that marriage of alien women to Philippine
citizens did not make the former citizens of this counting. (Op. Atty. Gen., March
16, 1928) .
To remedy this anomalous condition, Act No. 3448 was enacted in 1928 adding
section 13(a) to Act No. 2927 which provides that "any woman who is now or may
hereafter be married to a citizen of the Philippine Islands, and who might herself be
lawfully naturalized, shall be deemed a citizen of the Philippine Islands. (Op. No. 22,
s. 1941; emphasis ours).
If Section 15 of the, Revised Naturalization Law were to be interpreted, as this
Court did, in such a way as to require that the alien wife must prove the
qualifications prescribed in Section 2, the privilege granted to alien wives would
become illusory. It is submitted that such a construction, being contrary to the
manifested object of the statute must be rejected.
A statute is to be construed with reference to its manifest object, and if the
language is susceptible of two constructions, one which will carry out and the
other defeat such manifest object, it should receive the former construction. (In re
National Guard, 71 Vt. 493, 45 A. 1051; Singer v. United States, 323 U.S. 338, 89 L.
ed. 285. See also, U.S. v. Navarro, 19 Phil. 134 [1911]; U. S. v. Toribio, 15 Phil. 85
[1910).
... A construction which will cause objectionable results should be avoided and the
court will, if possible, place on the statute a construction which will not result in
injustice, and in accordance with the decisions construing statutes, a construction
which will result in oppression, hardship, or inconveniences will also be avoided, as
will a construction which will prejudice public interest, or construction resulting in
unreasonableness, as well as a construction which will result in absurd
consequences.
So a construction should, if possible, be avoided if the result would be an apparent
inconsistency in legislative intent, as has been determined by the judicial decisions,
or which would result in futility, redundancy, or a conclusion not contemplated by
the legislature; and the court should adopt that construction which will be the
least likely to produce mischief. Unless plainly shown to have been the intention of
the legislature, an interpretation which would render the requirements of the
statute uncertain and vague is to be avoided, and the court will not ascribe to the
legislature an intent to confer an illusory right. ... (82 C.J.S., Statutes, sec. 326, pp.
623-632).
7. In Choy King Tee and the second Ly Giok Ha, emphasis was laid on the need for
aligning the construction of Section 15 with "the national policy of selective
admission to Philippine citizenship." But the question may be asked, is it
reasonable to suppose that in the pursuit of such policy, the legislature
contemplated to make it more difficult if not practically impossible in some
instances, for an alien woman marrying a Filipino to become a Filipina than any
ordinary applicant for naturalization, as has just been demonstrated above? It
seems but natural and logical to assume that Section 15 was intended to extend
special treatment to alien women who by marrying a Filipino irrevocably deliver
themselves, their possessions, their fate and fortunes and all that marriage implies
to a citizen of this country, "for better or for worse." Perhaps there can and will be
cases wherein the personal conveniences and benefits arising from Philippine
citizenship may motivate such marriage, but must the minority, as such cases are
bound to be, serve as the criterion for the construction of law? Moreover, it is not
farfetched to believe that in joining a Filipino family the alien woman is somehow
disposed to assimilate the customs, beliefs and ideals of Filipinos among whom,
after all, she has to live and associate, but surely, no one should expect her to do
so even before marriage. Besides, it may be considered that in reality the
extension of citizenship to her is made by the law not so much for her sake as for
the husband. Indeed, We find the following observations anent the national policy
rationalization in Choy King Tee and Ly Giok Ha (the second) to be quite
persuasive:
We respectfully suggest that this articulation of the national policy begs the
question. The avowed policy of "selectives admission" more particularly refers to a
case where citizenship is sought to be acquired in a judicial proceeding for
naturalization. In such a case, the courts should no doubt apply the national policy
of selecting only those who are worthy to become citizens. There is here a choice
between accepting or rejecting the application for citizenship. But this policy finds
no application in cases where citizenship is conferred by operation of law. In such
cases, the courts have no choice to accept or reject. If the individual claiming
citizenship by operation of law proves in legal proceedings that he satisfies the
statutory requirements, the courts cannot do otherwise than to declare that he is a
citizen of the Philippines. Thus, an individual who is able to prove that his father is
a Philippine citizen, is a citizen of the Philippines, "irrespective of his moral
character, ideological beliefs, and identification with Filipino ideals, customs, and
traditions." A minor child of a person naturalized under the law, who is able to
prove the fact of his birth in the Philippines, is likewise a citizen, regardless of
whether he has lucrative income, or he adheres to the principles of the
Constitution. So it is with an alien wife of a Philippine citizen. She is required to
prove only that she may herself be lawfully naturalized, i.e., that she is not one of
the disqualified persons enumerated in Section 4 of the law, in order to establish
her citizenship status as a fact.
A paramount policy consideration of graver import should not be overlooked in
this regard, for it explains and justifies the obviously deliberate choice of words. It
is universally accepted that a State, in extending the privilege of citizenship to an
alien wife of one of its citizens could have had no other objective than to maintain
a unity of allegiance among the members of the family. (Nelson v. Nelson, 113
Neb. 453, 203 N. W. 640 [1925]; see also "Convention on the Nationality of
Married Women: Historical Background and Commentary." UNITED NATIONS,
Department of Economic and Social Affairs E/CN, 6/399, pp. 8 et seq.). Such
objective can only be satisfactorily achieved by allowing the wife to acquire
citizenship derivatively through the husband. This is particularly true in the
Philippines where tradition and law has placed the husband as head of the family,
whose personal status and decisions govern the life of the family group. Corollary
to this, our laws look with favor on the unity and solidarity of the family (Art. 220,
Civil Code), in whose preservation of State as a vital and enduring interest. (See
Art. 216, Civil Code). Thus, it has been said that by tradition in our country, there is
a theoretic identity of person and interest between husband and wife, and from
the nature of the relation, the home of one is that of the other. (See De la Via v.
Villareal, 41 Phil. 13). It should likewise be said that because of the theoretic
identity of husband and wife, and the primacy of the husband, the nationality of
husband should be the nationality of the wife, and the laws upon one should be
the law upon the other. For as the court, in Hopkins v. Fachant (9th Cir., 1904) 65
C.C.A., 1, 130 Fed. 839, held: "The status of the wife follows that of the husband, ...
and by virtue of her marriage her husband's domicile became her domicile." And
the presumption under Philippine law being that the property relations of husband
and wife are under the regime of conjugal partnership (Art. 119, Civil Code), the
income of one is also that of the other.
It is, therefore, not congruent with our cherished traditions of family unity and
identity that a husband should be a citizen and the wife an alien, and that the
national treatment of one should be different from that of the other. Thus, it
cannot be that the husband's interests in property and business activities reserved
by law to citizens should not form part of the conjugal partnership and be denied
to the wife, nor that she herself cannot, through her own efforts but for the
benefit of the partnership, acquire such interests. Only in rare instances should the
identity of husband and wife be refused recognition, and we submit that in respect
of our citizenship laws, it should only be in the instances where the wife suffers
from the disqualifications stated in Section 4 of the Revised Naturalization Law.
(Motion for Reconsideration, Burca vs. Republic, supra.)
With all these considerations in mind, We are persuaded that it is in the best
interest of all concerned that Section 15 of the Naturalization Law be given effect
in the same way as it was understood and construed when the phrase "who may
be lawfully naturalized," found in the American statute from which it was
borrowed and copied verbatim, was applied by the American courts and
administrative authorities. There is merit, of course in the view that Philippine
statutes should be construed in the light of Philippine circumstances, and with
particular reference to our naturalization laws. We should realize the disparity in
the circumstances between the United States, as the so-called "melting pot" of
peoples from all over the world, and the Philippines as a developing country whose
Constitution is nationalistic almost in the come. Certainly, the writer of this opinion
cannot be the last in rather passionately insisting that our jurisprudence should
speak our own concepts and resort to American authorities, to be sure, entitled to
admiration, and respect, should not be regarded as source of pride and
indisputable authority. Still, We cannot close our eyes to the undeniable fact that
the provision of law now under scrutiny has no local origin and orientation; it is
purely American, factually taken bodily from American law when the Philippines
was under the dominating influence of statutes of the United States Congress. It is
indeed a sad commentary on the work of our own legislature of the late 1920's and
1930's that given the opportunity to break away from the old American pattern, it
took no step in that direction. Indeed, even after America made it patently clear in
the Act of Congress of September 22, 1922 that alien women marrying Americans
cannot be citizens of the United States without undergoing naturalization
proceedings, our legislators still chose to adopt the previous American law of
August 10, 1855 as embodied later in Section 1994 of the Revised Statutes of 1874,
Which, it is worth reiterating, was consistently and uniformly understood as
conferring American citizenship to alien women marrying Americansipso facto,
without having to submit to any naturalization proceeding and without having to
prove that they possess the special qualifications of residence, moral character,
adherence to American ideals and American constitution, provided they show they
did not suffer from any of the disqualifications enumerated in the American
Naturalization Law. Accordingly, We now hold, all previous decisions of this Court
indicating otherwise notwithstanding, that 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.
As under any other law rich in benefits for those coming under it, doubtless there
will be instances where unscrupulous persons will attempt to take advantage of
this provision of law by entering into fake and fictitious marriages or mala
fide matrimonies. We cannot as a matter of law hold that just because of these
possibilities, the construction of the provision should be otherwise than as dictated
inexorably by more ponderous relevant considerations, legal, juridical and
practical. There can always be means of discovering such undesirable practice and
every case can be dealt with accordingly as it arises.
III.
The third aspect of this case requires necessarily a re-examination of the ruling of
this Court in Burca, supra, regarding the need of judicial naturalization proceedings
before the alien wife of a Filipino may herself be considered or deemed a Filipino.
If this case which, as already noted, was submitted for decision in 1964 yet, had
only been decided earlier, before Go Im Ty, the foregoing discussions would have
been sufficient to dispose of it. The Court could have held that despite her
apparent lack of qualifications, her marriage to her co-petitioner made her a
Filipina, without her undergoing any naturalization proceedings, provided she
could sustain, her claim that she is not disqualified under Section 4 of the law. But
as things stand now, with the Burca ruling, the question We have still to decide is,
may she be deemed a Filipina without submitting to a naturalization proceeding?
Naturally, if Burca is to be followed, it is clear that the answer to this question must
necessarily be in the affirmative. As already stated, however, the decision in Burca
has not yet become final because there is still pending with Us a motion for its
reconsideration which vigorously submits grounds worthy of serious consideration
by this Court. On this account, and for the reasons expounded earlier in this
opinion, this case is as good an occasion as any other to re-examine the issue.
In the said decision, Justice Sanchez held for the Court:
We accordingly rule that: (1) An alien woman married to a Filipino who desires to
be a citizen of this country must apply therefore by filing a petition for citizenship
reciting that she possesses all the qualifications set forth in Section 2 and none of
the disqualifications under Section 4, both of the Revised Naturalization Law; (2)
Said petition must be filed in the Court of First Instance where petitioner has
resided at least one year immediately preceding the filing of the petition; and (3)
Any action by any other office, agency, board or official, administrative or
otherwise other than the judgment of a competent court of justice certifying
or declaring that an alien wife of the Filipino citizen is also a Filipino citizen, is
hereby declared null and void.
3. We treat the present petition as one for naturalization. Or, in the words of law, a
"petition for citizenship". This is as it should be. Because a reading of the petition
will reveal at once that efforts were made to set forth therein, and to prove
afterwards, compliance with Sections 2 and 4 of the Revised Naturalization law.
The trial court itself apparently considered the petition as one for naturalization,
and, in fact, declared petitioner "a citizen of the Philippines."
In other words, under this holding, in order for an alien woman marrying a Filipino
to be vested with Filipino citizenship, it is not enough that she possesses the
qualifications prescribed by Section 2 of the law and none of the disqualifications
enumerated in its Section 4. Over and above all these, she has to pass thru the
whole process of judicial naturalization apparently from declaration of intention to
oathtaking, before she can become a Filipina. In plain words, her marriage to a
Filipino is absolutely of no consequence to her nationality vis-a-vis that of her
Filipino husband; she remains to be the national of the country to which she owed
allegiance before her marriage, and if she desires to be of one nationality with her
husband, she has to wait for the same time that any other applicant for
naturalization needs to complete, the required period of ten year residence, gain
the knowledge of English or Spanish and one of the principle local languages, make
her children study in Filipino schools, acquire real property or engage in some
lawful occupation of her own independently of her husband, file her declaration of
intention and after one year her application for naturalization, with the affidavits
of two credible witnesses of her good moral character and other qualifications,
etc., etc., until a decision is ordered in her favor, after which, she has to undergo
the two years of probation, and only then, but not before she takes her oath as
citizen, will she begin to be considered and deemed to be a citizen of the
Philippines. Briefly, she can become a Filipino citizen only by judicial declaration.
Such being the import of the Court's ruling, and it being quite obvious, on the
other hand, upon a cursory reading of the provision, in question, that the law
intends by it to spell out what is the "effect of naturalization on (the) wife and
children" of an alien, as plainly indicated by its title, and inasmuch as the language
of the provision itself clearly conveys the thought that some effect beneficial to the
wife is intended by it, rather than that she is not in any manner to be benefited
thereby, it behooves Us to take a second hard look at the ruling, if only to see
whether or not the Court might have overlooked any relevant consideration
warranting a conclusion different from that complained therein. It is undeniable
that the issue before Us is of grave importance, considering its consequences upon
tens of thousands of persons affected by the ruling therein made by the Court, and
surely, it is for Us to avoid, whenever possible, that Our decision in any case should
produce any adverse effect upon them not contemplated either by the law or by
the national policy it seeks to endorse.
AMICI CURIAE in the Burca case, respectable and impressive by their number and
standing in the Bar and well known for their reputation for intellectual integrity,
legal acumen and incisive and comprehensive resourcefulness in research, truly
evident in the quality of the memorandum they have submitted in said case, invite
Our attention to the impact of the decision therein thus:
The doctrine announced by this Honorable Court for the first time in the present
case -- that an alien woman who marries a Philippine citizen not only does not ipso
facto herself become a citizen but can acquire such citizenship only through
ordinary naturalization proceedings under the Revised Naturalization Law, and that
all administrative actions "certifying or declaring such woman to be a Philippine
citizen are null and void" has consequences that reach far beyond the confines
of the present case. Considerably more people are affected, and affected deeply,
than simply Mrs. Zita N. Burca. The newspapers report that as many as 15
thousand women married to Philippine citizens are affected by this decision of the
Court. These are women of many and diverse nationalities, including Chinese,
Spanish, British, American, Columbian, Finnish, Japanese, Chilean, and so on. These
members of the community, some of whom have been married to citizens for two
or three decades, have all exercised rights and privileges reserved by law to
Philippine citizens. They will have acquired, separately or in conjugal partnership
with their citizen husbands, real property, and they will have sold and transferred
such property. Many of these women may be in professions membership in which
is limited to citizens. Others are doubtless stockholders or officers or employees in
companies engaged in business activities for which a certain percentage of Filipino
equity content is prescribed by law. All these married women are now faced with
possible divestment of personal status and of rights acquired and privileges
exercised in reliance, in complete good faith, upon a reading of the law that has
been accepted as correct for more than two decades by the very agencies of
government charged with the administration of that law. We must respectfully
suggest that judicial doctrines which would visit such comprehensive and far-
reaching injury upon the wives and mothers of Philippine citizens deserve intensive
scrutiny and reexamination.
To be sure, this appeal can be no less than what this Court attended to in Gan
Tsitung vs. Republic, G.R. No. L-20819, Feb. 21, 1967, 19 SCRA 401 when Chief
Justice Concepcion observed:
The Court realizes, however, that the rulings in the Barretto and Delgado cases
although referring to situations the equities of which are not identical to those
obtaining in the case at bar may have contributed materially to the irregularities
committed therein and in other analogous cases, and induced the parties
concerned to believe, although erroneously, that the procedure followed was valid
under the law.
Accordingly, and in view of the implications of the issue under consideration, the
Solicitor General was required, not only, to comment thereon, but, also, to state
"how many cases there are, like the one at bar, in which certificates of
naturalization have been issued after notice of the filing of the petition for
naturalization had been published in the Official Gazette only once, within the
periods (a) from January 28, 1950" (when the decision in Delgado v. Republic was
promulgated) "to May 29, 1957" (when the Ong Son Cui was decided) "and (b)
from May 29, 1957 to November 29, 1965" (when the decision in the present case
was rendered).
After mature deliberation, and in the light of the reasons adduced in appellant's
motion for reconsideration and in the reply thereto of the Government, as well as
of the data contained in the latter, the Court holds that the doctrine laid down in
the Ong Son Cui case shall apply and affect the validity of certificates of
naturalization issued after, not on or before May 29, 1957.
Here We are met again by the same problem. In Gan Tsitung, the Court had to
expressly enjoin the prospective application of its construction of the law made in
a previous decision,
24
which had already become final, to serve the ends of justice
and equity. In the case at bar, We do not have to go that far. As already observed,
the decision in Burca still under reconsideration, while the ruling in Lee Suan Ay, Lo
San Tuang, Choy King Tee and others that followed them have at the most become
the law of the case only for the parties thereto. If there are good grounds therefor,
all We have to do now is to reexamine the said rulings and clarify or modify them.
For ready reference, We requote Section 15:
Sec. 15. Effect of the naturalization on wife and children. Any woman who is
now or may hereafter be married to a citizen of the Philippines, and who might
herself be lawfully naturalized shall be deemed a citizen of the Philippines.
Minor children of persons naturalized under this law who have been born in the
Philippines shall be considered citizens thereof.
A foreign-born minor child, if dwelling in the Philippines at the time of
naturalization of the parents, shall automatically become a Philippine citizen, and a
foreign-born minor child, who is not in the Philippines at the time the parent is
naturalized, shall be deemed a Philippine citizen only during his minority, unless he
begins to reside permanently in the Philippines when still a minor, in which case,
he will continue to be a Philippine citizen even after becoming of age.
A child born outside of the Philippines after the naturalization of his parent, shall
be considered a Philippine citizen, unless within one year after reaching the age of
majority, he fails to register himself as a Philippine citizen at the American
Consulate of the country where he resides, and to take the necessary oath of
allegiance.
It is obvious that the main subject-matter and purpose of the statute, the Revised
Naturalization Law or Commonwealth Act 473, as a whole, is to establish a
complete procedure for the judicial conferment of the status of citizenship upon
qualified aliens. After laying out such a procedure, remarkable for its elaborate and
careful inclusion of all safeguards against the possibility of any undesirable persons
becoming a part of our citizenry, it carefully but categorically states the
consequence of the naturalization of an alien undergoing such procedure it
prescribes upon the members of his immediate family, his wife and
children,
25
and, to that end, in no uncertain terms it ordains that: (a) all his minor
children who have been born in the Philippines shall be "considered citizens" also;
(b) all such minor children, if born outside the Philippines but dwelling here at the
time of such naturalization "shall automatically become" Filipinos also, but those
not born in the Philippines and not in the Philippines at the time of such
naturalization, are also redeemed citizens of this country provided that they shall
lose said status if they transfer their permanent residence to a foreign country
before becoming of age; (c) all such minor children, if born outside of the
Philippines after such naturalization, shall also be "considered" Filipino citizens,
unless they expatriate themselves by failing to register as Filipinos at the Philippine
(American) Consulate of the country where they reside and take the necessary
oath of allegiance; and (d) as to the wife, she "shall be deemed a citizen of the
Philippines" if she is one "who might herself be lawfully naturalized".
26

No doubt whatever is entertained, so Burca holds very correctly, as to the point
that the minor children, falling within the conditions of place and time of birth and
residence prescribed in the provision, are vested with Philippine citizenship directly
by legislative fiat or by force of the law itself and without the need for any judicial
proceeding or declaration. (At p. 192, 19 SCRA). Indeed, the language of the
provision, is not susceptible of any other interpretation. But it is claimed that the
same expression "shall be deemed a citizen of the Philippines" in reference to the
wife, does not necessarily connote the vesting of citizenship status upon her by
legislative fiat because the antecedent phrase requiring that she must be one "who
might herself be lawfully naturalized" implies that such status is intended to attach
only after she has undergone the whole process of judicial naturalization required
of any person desiring to become a Filipino. Stated otherwise, the ruling in Burca is
that while Section 15 envisages and intends legislative naturalization as to the
minor children, the same section deliberately treats the wife differently and leaves
her out for the ordinary judicial naturalization.
Of course, it goes without saying that it is perfectly within the constitutional
authority of the Congress of the Philippines to confer or vest citizenship status by
legislative fiat. (U.S. v. Wong Kim Ark, 169 U.S. 649, 42 L ed. 890 [1898]; See, 1
Taada & Carreon, Political Law of the Philippines 152 [1961 ed.]) In fact, it has
done so for particular individuals, like two foreign religious prelates,
27
hence there
is no reason it cannot do it for classes or groups of persons under general
conditions applicable to all of the members of such class or group, like women who
marry Filipinos, whether native-born or naturalized. The issue before Us in this
case is whether or not the legislature hag done so in the disputed provisions of
Section 15 of the Naturalization Law. And Dr. Vicente G. Sinco, one of the most
respect authorities on political law in the Philippines
28
observes in this connection
thus: "A special form of naturalization is often observed by some states with
respect to women. Thus in the Philippines a foreign woman married to a Filipino
citizen becomes ipso facto naturalized, if she belongs to any of the classes who
may apply for naturalization under the Philippine Laws." (Sinco, Phil. Political Law
498-499 [10th ed. 1954]; emphasis ours; this comment is substantially reiterated in
the 1962 edition, citing Ly Giok Ha and Ricardo Cua, supra.)
More importantly, it may be stated, at this juncture, that in construing the
provision of the United States statutes from which our law has been copied,
28
a the
American courts have held that the alien wife does not acquire American
citizenship by choice but by operation of law. "In the Revised Statutes the words
"and taken" are omitted. The effect of this statute is that every alien woman who
marries a citizen of the United States becomes perforce a citizen herself, without
the formality of naturalization, and regardless of her wish in that respect." (USCA
8, p. 601 [1970 ed.], citing Mackenzie v. Hare, 1913, 134 P. 713, 165 Cal. 766,
affirmed 36 S. Ct. 106, 239 U.S. 299, 60 L ed. 297.) .
We need not recount here again how this provision in question was first enacted
as paragraph (a) of Section 13, by way of an insertion into Act 2927 by Act 3448 of
November 30, 1928, and that, in turn, and paragraph was copied verbatim from
Section 1994 of the Revised Statutes of the United States, which by that time
already had a long accepted construction among the courts and administrative
authorities in that country holding that under such provision an alien woman who
married a citizen became, upon such marriage, likewise a citizen by force of law
and as a consequence of the marriage itself without having to undergo any
naturalization proceedings, provided that, it could be shown that at the time of
such marriage, she was not disqualified to be naturalized under the laws then in
force. To repeat the discussion We already made of these undeniable facts would
unnecessarily make this decision doubly extensive. The only point which might be
reiterated for emphasis at this juncture is that whereas in the United States, the
American Congress, recognizing the construction, of Section 1994 of the Revised
Statutes to be as stated above, and finding it desirable to avoid the effects of such
construction, approved the Act of September 22, 1922 Explicitly requiring all such
alien wives to submit to judicial naturalization albeit under more liberal terms than
those for other applicants for citizenship, on the other hand, the Philippine
Legislature, instead of following suit and adopting such a requirement, enacted Act
3448 on November 30, 1928 which copied verbatim the aforementioned Section
1994 of the Revised Statutes, thereby indicating its preference to adopt the latter
law and its settled construction rather than the reform introduced by the Act of
1922.
Obviously, these considerations leave Us no choice. Much as this Court may feel
that as the United States herself has evidently found it to be an improvement of
her national policy vis-a-vis the alien wives of her citizens to discontinue their
automatic incorporation into the body of her citizenry without passing through the
judicial scrutiny of a naturalization proceeding, as it used to be before 1922, it
seems but proper, without evidencing any bit of colonial mentality, that as a
developing country, the Philippines adopt a similar policy, unfortunately, the
manner in which our own legislature has enacted our laws on the subject, as
recounted above, provides no basis for Us to construe said law along the line of the
1922 modification of the American Law. For Us to do so would be to indulge in
judicial legislation which it is not institutionally permissible for this Court to do.
Worse, this court would be going precisely against the grain of the implicit
Legislative intent.
There is at least one decision of this Court before Burca wherein it seems it is quite
clearly implied that this Court is of the view that under Section 16 of the
Naturalization Law, the widow and children of an applicant for naturalization who
dies during the proceedings do not have to submit themselves to another
naturalization proceeding in order to avail of the benefits of the proceedings
involving the husband. Section 16 provides: .
SEC. 16. Right of widow and children of petitioners who have died. In case a
petitioner should die before the final decision has been rendered, his widow and
minor children may continue the proceedings. The decision rendered in the case
shall, so far as the widow and minor children are concerned, produce the same
legal effect as if it had been rendered during the life of the petitioner.
In Tan Lin v. Republic, G.R. No. L-13706, May 31, 1961, 2 SCRA 383, this Court held:
Invoking the above provisions in their favor, petitioners-appellants argue (1) that
under said Sec. 16, the widow and minor children are allowed to continue the
same proceedings and are not substituted for the original petitioner; (2) that the
qualifications of the original petitioner remain to be in issue and not those of the
widow and minor children, and (3) that said Section 16 applies whether the
petitioner dies before or after final decision is rendered, but before the judgment
becomes executory.
There is force in the first and second arguments. Even the second sentence of said
Section 16 contemplate the fact that the qualifications of the original petitioner
remains the subject of inquiry, for the simple reason that it states that "The
decision rendered in the case shall, so far as the widow and minor children are
concerned, produce the same legal effect as if it had been rendered during the life
of the petitioner." This phraseology emphasizes the intent of the law to continue
the proceedings with the deceased as the theoretical petitioner, for if it were
otherwise, it would have been unnecessary to consider the decision rendered, as
far as it affected the widow and the minor children.
xxx xxx xxx
The Chua Chian case (supra), cited by the appellee, declared that a dead person
can not be bound to do things stipulated in the oath of allegiance, because an oath
is a personal matter. Therein, the widow prayed that she be allowed to take the
oath of allegiance for the deceased. In the case at bar, petitioner Tan Lin merely
asked that she be allowed to take the oath of allegiance and the proper certificate
of naturalization, once the naturalization proceedings of her deceased husband,
shall have been completed, not on behalf of the deceased but on her own behalf
and of her children, as recipients of the benefits of his naturalization. In other
words, the herein petitioner proposed to take the oath of allegiance, as a citizen of
the Philippines, by virtue of the legal provision that "any woman who is now or
may hereafter be married to a citizen of the Philippines and who might herself be
lawfully naturalized shall be deemed a citizen of the Philippines. Minor children of
persons naturalized under this law who have been born in the Philippines shall be
considered citizens thereof." (Section 15, Commonwealth Act No. 473). The
decision granting citizenship to Lee Pa and the record of the case at bar, do not
show that the petitioning widow could not have been lawfully naturalized, at the
time Lee Pa filed his petition, apart from the fact that his 9 minor children were all
born in the Philippines. (Decision, In the Matter of the Petition of Lee Pa to be
admitted a citizen of the Philippines, Civil Case No. 16287, CFI, Manila, Annex A;
Record on Appeal, pp. 8-11). The reference to Chua Chian case is, therefore,
premature.
Section 16, as may be seen, is a parallel provision to Section 15. If the widow of an
applicant for naturalization as Filipino, who dies during the proceedings, is not
required to go through a naturalization preceeding, 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. This is plain common sense and there is absolutely no
evidence that the Legislature intended to treat them differently.
Additionally, We have carefully considered the arguments advanced in the motion
for reconsideration in Burca, and We see no reason to disagree with the following
views of counsel: .
It is obvious that the provision itself is a legislative declaration of who may be
considered citizens of the Philippines. It is a proposition too plain to be disputed
that Congress has the power not only to prescribe the mode or manner under
which foreigners may acquire citizenship, but also the very power of conferring
citizenship by legislative fiat. (U. S. v. Wong Kim Ark, 169 U. S. 649, 42 L. Ed. 890
[1898] ; see 1 Taada and Carreon, Political Law of the Philippines 152 [1961 ed.])
The Constitution itself recognizes as Philippine citizens "Those who are naturalized
in accordance with law" (Section 1[5], Article IV, Philippine Constitution). Citizens
by naturalization, under this provision, include not only those who are naturalized
in accordance with legal proceedings for the acquisition of citizenship, but also
those who acquire citizenship by "derivative naturalization" or by operation of law,
as, for example, the "naturalization" of an alien wife through the naturalization of
her husband, or by marriage of an alien woman to a citizen. (See Taada &
Carreon, op. cit. supra, at 152, 172; Velayo, Philippine Citizenship and
Naturalization 2 [1965 ed.]; 1 Paras, Civil Code 186 [1967 ed.]; see also 3
Hackworth, Digest of International Law 3).
The phrase "shall be deemed a citizen of the Philippines" found in Section 14 of the
Revised Naturalization Law clearly manifests an intent to confer citizenship.
Construing a similar phrase found in the old U.S. naturalization law (Revised
Statutes, 1994), American courts have uniformly taken it to mean that upon her
marriage, the alien woman becomes by operation of law a citizen of the United
States as fully as if she had complied with all the provisions of the statutes upon
the subject of naturalization. (U.S. v. Keller, 13 F. 82; U.S. Opinions of the US
Attorney General dated June 4, 1874 [14 Op. 4021, July 20, 1909 [27 Op. 507],
December 1, 1910 [28 Op. 508], Jan. 15, 1920 [32 Op. 2091 and Jan. 12, 1923 [23
398]).
The phrase "shall be deemed a citizen," in Section 1994 Revised Statute (U.S.
Comp. Stat. 1091, 1268) or as it was in the Act of 1855 (10 Stat. at L. 604, Chapt.
71, Sec. 2), "shall be deemed and taken to be a citizens" while it may imply that the
person to whom it relates has not actually become a citizen by the ordinary means
or in the usual way, as by the judgment of a competent court, upon a proper
application and proof, yet it does not follow that such person is on that account
practically any the less a citizen. The word "deemed" is the equivalent of
"considered" or "judged," and therefore, whatever an Act of Congress requires to
be "deemed" or "taken" as true of any person or thing must, in law, be considered
as having been duly adjudged or established concerning such person or thing, and
have force and effect accordingly. When, therefore, Congress declares that an alien
woman shall, under certain circumstances, be "deemed" an American citizen, the
effect when the contingency occurs, is equivalent to her being naturalized directly
by an Act of Congress or in the usual mode thereby prescribed. (Van Dyne,
Citizenship of the United States 239, cited in Velayo, Philippine Citizenship and
Naturalization 146-147 [1965 ed.]; emphasis ours).
That this was likewise the intent of the Philippine legislature when it enacted the
first paragraph of Section 15 of the Revised Naturalization Law is shown by a
textual analysis of the entire statutory provision. In its entirety, Section 15 reads:
(See supra).
The phrases "shall be deemed" "shall be considered," and "shall automatically
become" as used in the above provision, are undoubtedly synonymous. The
leading idea or purpose of the provision was to confer Philippine citizenship by
operation of law upon certain classes of aliens as a legal consequence of their
relationship, by blood or by affinity, to persons who are already citizens of the
Philippines. Whenever the fact of relationship of the persons enumerated in the
provision concurs with the fact of citizenship of the person to whom they are
related, the effect is for said persons to become ipso facto citizens of the
Philippines. "Ipso facto" as here used does not mean that all alien wives and all
minor children of Philippine citizens, from the mere fact of relationship, necessarily
become such citizens also. Those who do not meet the statutory requirements do
not ipso factobecome citizens; they must apply for naturalization in order to
acquire such status. What it does mean, however, is that in respect of those
persons enumerated in Section 15, the relationship to a citizen of the Philippines is
the operative fact which establishes the acquisition of Philippine citizenship by
them. Necessarily, it also determines the point of time at which such citizenship
commences. Thus, under the second paragraph of Section 15, a minor child of a
Filipino naturalized under the law, who was born in the Philippines, becomes ipso
facto a citizen of the Philippines from the time the fact of relationship concurs with
the fact of citizenship of his parent, and the time when the child became a citizen
does not depend upon the time that he is able to prove that he was born in the
Philippines. The child may prove some 25 years after the naturalization of his
father that he was born in the Philippines and should, therefore, be "considered" a
citizen thereof. It does not mean that he became a Philippine citizen only at that
later time. Similarly, an alien woman who married a Philippine citizen may be able
to prove only some 25 years after her marriage (perhaps, because it was only 25
years after the marriage that her citizenship status became in question), that she is
one who might herself be lawfully naturalized." It is not reasonable to conclude
that she acquired Philippine citizenship only after she had proven that she "might
herself be lawfully naturalized." It is not reasonable to conclude that she acquired
Philippine citizenship only after she had proven that she "might herself be lawfully
naturalized."
The point that bears emphasis in this regard is that in adopting the very
phraseology of the law, the legislature could not have intended that an alien
wife should not be deemed a Philippine citizenunless and until she proves that she
might herself be lawfully naturalized. Far from it, the law states in plain terms that
she shall be deemed a citizen of the Philippines if she is one "who might herself be
lawfully naturalized." The proviso that she must be one "who might herself be
lawfully naturalized" is not a condition precedent to the vesting or acquisition of
citizenship; it is only a condition or a state of fact necessary to establish her
citizenship as a factum probandum, i.e., as a fact established and proved in
evidence. The word "might," as used in that phrase, precisely replies that at the
time of her marriage to a Philippine citizen, the alien woman "had (the) power" to
become such a citizen herself under the laws then in force. (Owen v. Kelly, 6 DC
191 [1867], aff'd Kelly v. Owen, 76 US 496, 19 L ed 283 [1869). That she establishes
such power long after her marriage does not alter the fact that at her marriage,
she became a citizen.
(This Court has held) that "an alien wife of a Filipino citizen may not acquire the
status of a citizen of the Philippines unless there is proof that she herself may be
lawfully naturalized" (Decision, pp. 3-4). Under this view, the "acquisition" of
citizenship by the alien wife depends on her having proven her qualifications for
citizenship, that is, she is not a citizen unless and until she proves that she may
herself be lawfully naturalized. It is clear from the words of the law that the
proviso does not mean that she must first prove that she "might herself be lawfully
naturalized" before she shall be deemed (by Congress, not by the courts) a citizen.
Even the "uniform" decisions cited by this Court (at fn. 2) to support its holding did
not rule that the alien wife becomes a citizen only after she has proven her
qualifications for citizenship. What those decisions ruled was that the alien wives
in those cases failed to prove their qualifications and therefore they failed to
establish their claim to citizenship. Thus in Ly Giok Ha v. Galang, 101 Phil. 459
[l957], the case was remanded to the lower court for determination of whether
petitioner, whose claim to citizenship by marriage to a Filipino was disputed by the
Government, "might herself be lawfully naturalized," for the purpose of " proving
her alleged change of political status from alien to citizen" (at 464). In Cua v. Board,
101 Phil. 521 [1957], the alien wife who was being deported, claimed she was a
Philippine citizen by marriage to a Filipino. This Court finding that there was no
proof that she was not disqualified under Section 4 of the Revised Naturalization
Law, ruled that: "No such evidence appearing on record, the claim of assumption of
Philippine citizenship by Tijoe Wu Suan, upon her marriage to petitioner, is
untenable." (at 523) It will be observed that in these decisions cited by this Court,
the lack of proof that the alien wives "might (themselves) be lawfully naturalized"
did not necessarily imply that they did not become, in truth and in fact, citizens
upon their marriage to Filipinos. What the decisions merely held was that these
wives failed to establish their claim to that status as a proven fact.
In all instances where citizenship is conferred by operation of law, the time when
citizenship is conferred should not be confused with the time when citizenship
status is established as a proven fact. Thus, even a natural-born citizen of the
Philippines, whose citizenship status is put in issue in any proceeding would be
required to prove, for instance, that his father is a citizen of the Philippines in order
to factually establish his claim to citizenship.* His citizenship status commences
from the time of birth, although his claim thereto is established as a fact only at a
subsequent time. Likewise, an alien woman who might herself be lawfully
naturalized becomes a Philippine citizen at the time of her marriage to a Filipino
husband, not at the time she is able to establish that status as a proven fact by
showing that she might herself be lawfully naturalized. Indeed, there is no
difference between a statutory declaration that a person is deemed a citizen of the
Philippines provided his father is such citizen from a declaration that an alien
woman married to a Filipino citizen of the Philippines provided she might herself be
lawfully naturalized. Both become citizens by operation of law; the former
becomes a citizen ipso facto upon birth; the later ipso facto upon marriage.
It is true that unless and until the alien wife proves that she might herself be
lawfully naturalized, it cannot be said that she has established her status as a
proven fact. But neither can it be said that on that account, she did not become a
citizen of the Philippines. If her citizenship status is not questioned in any legal
proceeding, she obviously has no obligation to establish her status as a fact. In
such a case, the presumption of law should be that she is what she claims to be.
(U.S. v. Roxas, 5 Phil. 375 [1905]; Hilado v. Assad, 51 O.G. 4527 [1955]). There is a
presumption that a representation shown to have been made is true. (Aetna
Indemnity Co. v. George A. Fuller, Co., 73 A. 738, 74 A. 369, 111 ME. 321).
The question that keeps bouncing back as a consequence of the foregoing views is,
what substitute is them for naturalization proceedings 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 in to a transaction or business or exercise a right reserved
only to Filipinos? The ready answer to such question is that as the laws of our
country, both substantive and procedural, stand today, there is no such procedure,
but such paucity is no proof that the citizenship under discussion 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 same situation objections even as to native-born
Filipinos. Everytime the citizenship of a person is material or indispensable 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. This, as We view it, is the sense in which Justice Dizon referred to
"appropriate proceeding" in Brito v. Commissioner, supra. Indeed, only the good
sense and judgment of those subsequently inquiring into the matter may make the
effort easier or simpler for the persons concerned by relying somehow on the
antecedent official findings, even if these are not really binding.
It may not be amiss to suggest, however, that in order to have a good starting
point and so that the most immediate relevant public records may be kept in
order, the following observations in Opinion No. 38, series of 1958, of then Acting
Secretary of Justice Jesus G. Barrera, may be considered as the most appropriate
initial step by the interested parties:
Regarding the steps that should be taken by an alien woman married to a Filipino
citizen in order to acquire Philippine citizenship, the procedure followed in the
Bureau of Immigration is as follows: The alien woman must file a petition for the
cancellation of her alien certificate of registration alleging, among other things,
that she is married to a Filipino, citizen and that she is not disqualified from
acquiring her husband's citizenship pursuant to section 4 of Commonwealth Act
No. 473, as amended. Upon the filing of said petition, which should be
accompanied or supported by the joint affidavit of the petitioner and her Filipino
husband to the effect that the petitioner does not belong to any of the groups
disqualified by the cited section from becoming naturalized Filipino citizen (please
see attached CEB Form 1), the Bureau of Immigration conducts an investigation
and thereafter promulgates its order or decision granting or denying the petition.
Once the Commissioner of Immigration cancels the subject's registration as an
alien, there will probably be less difficulty in establishing her Filipino citizenship in
any other proceeding, depending naturally on the substance and vigor of the
opposition.
Before closing, it is perhaps best to clarify that this third issue We have passed
upon was not touched by the trial court, but as the point is decisive in this case,
the Court prefers that the matter be settled once and for all now.
IN VIEW OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the judgment of the Court a quo dismissing
appellants' petition for injunction is hereby reversed and the Commissioner of
Immigration and/or his authorized representative is permanently enjoined from
causing the arrest and deportation and the confiscation of the bond of appellant
Lau Yuen Yeung, who is hereby declared to have become a Filipino citizen from and
by virtue of her marriage to her co-appellant Moy Ya Lim Yao alias Edilberto
Aguinaldo Lim, a Filipino citizen on January 25, 1962. No costs.
Frivaldo vs. Comelec
G.R. No. 120295 (June 28, 1996)

Facts:
Juan G. Frivaldo was proclaimed governor-elect of the province of Sorsogon on 22
January 1988, and assumed office in due time. On 27 October 1988, the league of
Municipalities, Sorsogon Chapter represented by its President, Salvador Estuye,
who was also suing in his personal capacity, filed with the Comelec a petition for
the annulment of Frivaldos election and proclamation on the ground that he was
not a Filipino citizen, having been naturalized in the United States on 20 January
1983. Frivaldo admitted that he was naturalized in the United States as alleged but
pleaded the special and affirmative defenses that he had sought American
citizenship only to protect himself against President Marcos. His naturalization, he
said, was merely forced upon himself as a means of survival against the
unrelenting persecution by the Martial Law Dictators agents abroad. He also
argued that the challenge to his title should be dismissed, being in reality a quo
warranto petition that should have been filed within 10 days from his
proclamation, in accordance with Section 253 of the Omhibus Election Code.

Issue:
Whether Juan G. Frivaldo was a citizen of the Philippines at the time of his election
on 18 January 1988, as provincial governor of Sorsogon.

Held:
The Commission on Elections has the primary jurisdiction over the question as the
sole judge of all contests relating to the election, returns and qualifications of the
members of the Congress and elective provincial and city officials. However, the
decision on Frivaldos citizenship has already been made by the COMELEC through
its counsel, the Solicitor General, who categorically claims that Frivaldo is a
foreigner. The Solicitors stance is assumed to have bben taken by him after
consultation with COMELEC and with its approval. It therefore represents the
decision of the COMELEC itself that the Supreme Court may review. In the
certificate of candidacy filed on 19 November 1987, Frivaldo described himself as a
natural-born citizen of the Philippines, omitting mention of any subsequent loss
of such status. The evidence shows, however, that he was naturalized as a citizen
of the United States in 1983 per the certification from the United States District
Court, Northern District of California, as duly authenticated by Vice Consul Amado
P. Cortez of the Philippine Consulate General in San Francisco, California, U.S.A.
There were many other Filipinos in the United States similarly situated as Frivaldo,
and some of them subject to greater risk than he, who did not find it necessary
nor do they claim to have been coerced to abandon their cherished status as
Filipinos. Still, if he really wanted to disavow his American citizenship and reacquire
Philippine citizenship, Frivaldo should have done so in accordance with the laws of
our country. Under CA No. 63 as amended by CA No. 473 and PD No. 725,
Philippine citizenship may be reacquired by direct act of Congress, by
naturalization, or by repatriation. He failed to take such categorical acts. Rhe
anomaly of a person sitting as provincial governor in this country while owing
exclusive allegiance to another country cannot be permitted. The fact that he was
elected by the people of Sorsogon does not excuse this patent violation of the
salutary rule limiting public office and employment only to the citizens of this
country. The will of the people as expressed through the ballot cannot cure the
vice of ineligibilityQualifications 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
qualifications is lost, his title may be seasonably challenged. Frivaldo is disqualified
from serving as governor of Sorsogon.
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. 87193 June 23, 1989
JUAN GALLANOSA FRIVALDO, petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS AND THE LEAGUE OF MUNICIPALITIES, SORSOGON
CHAPTER, HEREIN REPRESENTED BY ITS PRESIDENT, SALVADOR NEE
ESTUYE, respondents.
J.L. Misa & Associates for petitioner.
Lladoc, Huab & Associates for private respondent.

CRUZ, J.:
Petitioner Juan G. Frivaldo was proclaimed governor-elect of the province of
Sorsogon on January 22, 1988, and assumed office in due time. On October 27,
1988, the League of Municipalities, Sorsogon Chapter (hereafter, League),
represented by its President, Salvador Estuye, who was also suing in his personal
capacity, filed with the Commission on Elections a petition for the annulment of
Frivaldo; election and proclamation on the ground that he was not a Filipino
citizen, having been naturalized in the United States on January 20, 1983. In his
answer dated May 22, 1988, Frivaldo admitted that he was naturalized in the
United States as alleged but pleaded the special and affirmative defenses that he
had sought American citizenship only to protect himself against President Marcos.
His naturalization, he said, was "merely forced upon himself as a means of survival
against the unrelenting persecution by the Martial Law Dictator's agents abroad."
He added that he had returned to the Philippines after the EDSA revolution to help
in the restoration of democracy. He also argued that the challenge to his title
should be dismissed, being in reality a quo warranto petition that should have
been filed within ten days from his proclamation, in accordance with Section 253
of the Omnibus Election Code. The League, moreover, was not a proper party
because it was not a voter and so could not sue under the said section.
Frivaldo moved for a preliminary hearing on his affirmative defenses but the
respondent Commission on Elections decided instead by its Order of January 20,
1988, to set the case for hearing on the merits. His motion for reconsideration was
denied in another Order dated February 21, 1988. He then came to this Court in a
petition forcertiorari and prohibition to ask that the said orders be set aside on the
ground that they had been rendered with grave abuse of discretion. Pending
resolution of the petition, we issued a temporary order against the hearing on the
merits scheduled by the COMELEC and at the same time required comments from
the respondents.
In their Comment, the private respondents reiterated their assertion that Frivaldo
was a naturalized American citizen and had not reacquired Philippine citizenship
on the day of the election on January 18, 1988. He was therefore not qualified to
run for and be elected governor. They also argued that their petition in the
Commission on Elections was not really for quo warranto under Section 253 of the
Omnibus Election Code. The ultimate purpose was to prevent Frivaldo from
continuing as governor, his candidacy and election being null and void ab
initio because of his alienage. Even if their petition were to be considered as one
for quo warranto, it could not have been filed within ten days from Frivaldo's
proclamation because it was only in September 1988 that they received proof of
his naturalization. And assuming that the League itself was not a proper party,
Estuye himself, who was suing not only for the League but also in his personal
capacity, could nevertheless institute the suit by himself alone.
Speaking for the public respondent, the Solicitor General supported the contention
that Frivaldo was not a citizen of the Philippines and had not repatriated himself
after his naturalization as an American citizen. As an alien, he was disqualified from
public office in the Philippines. His election did not cure this defect because the
electorate of Sorsogon could not amend the Constitution, the Local Government
Code, and the Omnibus Election Code. He also joined in the private respondent's
argument that Section 253 of the Omnibus Election Code was not applicable
because what the League and Estuye were seeking was not only the annulment of
the proclamation and election of Frivaldo. He agreed that they were also asking for
the termination of Frivaldo's incumbency as governor of Sorsogon on the ground
that he was not a Filipino.
In his Reply, Frivaldo insisted that he was a citizen of the Philippines because his
naturalization as an American citizen was not "impressed with voluntariness." In
support he cited the Nottebohm Case, [(1955 I.C.J. 4; 49 A.J.I.L. 396 (1955)] where
a German national's naturalization in Liechtenstein was not recognized because it
had been obtained for reasons of convenience only. He said he could not have
repatriated himself before the 1988 elections because the Special Committee on
Naturalization created for the purpose by LOI No. 27C had not yet been organized
then. His oath in his certificate of candidacy that he was a natural-born citizen
should be a sufficient act of repatriation. Additionally, his active participation in
the 1987 congressional elections had divested him of American citizenship under
the laws of the United States, thus restoring his Philippine citizenship. He ended by
reiterating his prayer for the rejection of the move to disqualify him for being time-
barred under Section 253 of the Omnibus Election Code.
Considering the importance and urgency of the question herein raised, the Court
has decided to resolve it directly instead of allowing the normal circuitous route
that will after all eventually end with this Court, albeit only after a, long delay. We
cannot permit this delay. Such delay will be inimical to the public interest and the
vital principles of public office to be here applied.
It is true that the Commission on Elections has the primary jurisdiction over this
question as the sole judge of all contests relating to the election, returns and
qualifications of the members of the Congress and elective provincial and city
officials. However, the decision on Frivaldo's citizenship has already been made by
the COMELEC through its counsel, the Solicitor General, who categorically claims
that Frivaldo is a foreigner. We assume this stance was taken by him after
consultation with the public respondent and with its approval. It therefore
represents the decision of the COMELEC itself that we may now review. Exercising
our discretion to interpret the Rules of Court and the Constitution, we shall
consider the present petition as having been filed in accordance with Article IX-A
Section 7, of the Constitution, to challenge the aforementioned Orders of the
COMELEC.
The basic question we must resolve is whether or not Juan G. Frivaldo was a citizen
of the Philippines at the time of his election on January 18, 1988, as provincial
governor of Sorsogon. All the other issues raised in this petition are merely
secondary to this basic question.
The reason for this inquiry is the provision in Article XI, Section 9, of the
Constitution that all public officials and employees owe the State and the
Constitution "allegiance at all times" and the specific requirement in Section 42 of
the Local Government Code that a candidate for local elective office must be inter
alia a citizen of the Philippines and a qualified voter of the constituency where he
is running. 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.
In the certificate of candidacy he filed on November 19, 1987, Frivaldo described
himself as a "natural-born" citizen of the Philippines, omitting mention of any
subsequent loss of such status. The evidence shows, however, that he was
naturalized as a citizen of the United States in 1983 per the following certification
from the United States District Court, Northern District of California, as duly
authenticated by Vice Consul Amado P. Cortez of the Philippine Consulate General
in San Francisco, California, U.S.A.
OFFICE OF THE CLERK
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
September 23, 1988
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:
Our records show that JUAN GALLANOSA FRIVALDO, born on October 20, 1915,
was naturalized in this Court on January 20, 1983, and issued Certificate of
Naturalization No. 11690178.
Petition No. 280225.
Alien Registration No. A23 079 270.
Very truly yours,

WILLIAM L. WHITTAKER
Clerk
by:
(Sgd.)

ARACELI V. BAREN
Deputy Clerk
This evidence is not denied by the petitioner. In fact, he expressly admitted it in his
answer. Nevertheless, as earlier noted, he claims it was "forced" on him as a
measure of protection from the persecution of the Marcos government through
his agents in the United States.
The Court sees no reason not to believe that the petitioner was one of the enemies
of the Marcos dictatorship. Even so, it cannot agree that as a consequence thereof
he was coerced into embracing American citizenship. His feeble suggestion that his
naturalization was not the result of his own free and voluntary choice is totally
unacceptable and must be rejected outright.
There were many other Filipinos in the United States similarly situated as Frivaldo,
and some of them subject to greater risk than he, who did not find it necessary
nor do they claim to have been coerced to abandon their cherished status as
Filipinos. They did not take the oath of allegiance to the United States, unlike the
petitioner who solemnly declared "on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce
and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state or
sovereignty of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen,"
meaning in his case the Republic of the Philippines. The martyred Ninoy Aquino
heads the impressive list of those Filipinos in exile who, unlike the petitioner, held
fast to their Philippine citizenship despite the perils of their resistance to the
Marcos regime.
The Nottebohm case cited by the petitioner invoked the international law principle
of effective nationality which is clearly not applicable to the case at bar. This
principle is expressed in Article 5 of the Hague Convention of 1930 on the Conflict
of Nationality Laws as follows:
Art. 5. Within a third State a person having more than one nationality shall be
treated as if he had only one. Without prejudice to the application of its law in
matters of personal status and of any convention in force, a third State shall, of the
nationalities which any such person possesses, recognize exclusively in its territory
either the nationality of the country in which he is habitually and principally
resident or the nationality of the country with which in the circumstances he
appears to be in fact most closely connected.
Nottebohm was a German by birth but a resident of Guatemala for 34 years when
he applied for and acquired naturalization in Liechtenstein one month before the
outbreak of World War II. Many members of his family and his business interests
were in Germany. In 1943, Guatemala, which had declared war on Germany,
arrested Nottebohm and confiscated all his properties on the ground that he was a
German national. Liechtenstein thereupon filed suit on his behalf, as its citizen,
against Guatemala. The International Court of Justice held Nottebohm to be still a
national of Germany, with which he was more closely connected than with
Liechtenstein.
That case is not relevant to the petition before us because it dealt with a conflict
between the nationality laws of two states as decided by a third state. No third
state is involved in the case at bar; in fact, even the United States is not actively
claiming Frivaldo as its national. The sole question presented to us is whether or
not Frivaldo is a citizen of the Philippines under our own laws, regardless of other
nationality laws. We can decide this question alone as sovereign of our own
territory, conformably to Section 1 of the said Convention providing that "it is for
each State to determine under its law who are its nationals."
It is also worth noting that Nottebohm was invoking his naturalization in
Liechtenstein whereas in the present case Frivaldo is rejecting his naturalization in
the United States.
If he really wanted to disavow his American citizenship and reacquire Philippine
citizenship, the petitioner should have done so in accordance with the laws of our
country. Under CA No. 63 as amended by CA No. 473 and PD No. 725, Philippine
citizenship may be reacquired by direct act of Congress, by naturalization, or by
repatriation.
While Frivaldo does not invoke either of the first two methods, he nevertheless
claims he has reacquired Philippine citizenship by virtue of a valid repatriation. He
claims that by actively participating in the elections in this country, he
automatically forfeited American citizenship under the laws of the United States.
Such laws do not concern us here. The alleged forfeiture is between him and the
United States as his adopted country. It should be obvious that even if he did lose
his naturalized American citizenship, such forfeiture did not and could not have the
effect of automatically restoring his citizenship in the Philippines that he had
earlier renounced. At best, what might have happened as a result of the loss of his
naturalized citizenship was that he became a stateless individual.
Frivaldo's contention that he could not have repatriated himself under LOI 270
because the Special Committee provided for therein had not yet been constituted
seems to suggest that the lack of that body rendered his repatriation unnecessary.
That is far-fetched if not specious Such a conclusion would open the floodgates, as
it were. It would allow all Filipinos who have renounced this country to claim back
their abandoned citizenship without formally rejecting their adoptedstate and
reaffirming their allegiance to the Philippines.
It does not appear that Frivaldo has taken these categorical acts. He contends that
by simply filing his certificate of candidacy he had, without more, already
effectively recovered Philippine citizenship. But that is hardly the formal
declaration the law envisions surely, Philippine citizenship previously disowned
is not that cheaply recovered. If the Special Committee had not yet been
convened, what that meant simply was that the petitioner had to wait until this
was done, or seek naturalization by legislative or judicial proceedings.
The argument that the petition filed with the Commission on Elections should be
dismissed for tardiness is not well-taken. The herein private respondents are
seeking to prevent Frivaldo from continuing to discharge his office of governor
because he is disqualified from doing so as a foreigner. 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 officer's entire
tenure. Once any of the required qualifications is lost, his title may be seasonably
challenged. If, say, a female legislator were to marry a foreigner during her term
and by her act or omission acquires his nationality, would she have a right to
remain in office simply because the challenge to her title may no longer be made
within ten days from her proclamation? It has been established, and not even
denied, that the evidence of Frivaldo's naturalization was discovered only eight
months after his proclamation and his title was challenged shortly thereafter.
This Court will not permit the anomaly of a person sitting as provincial governor in
this country while owing exclusive allegiance to another country. The fact that he
was elected by the people of Sorsogon does not excuse this patent violation of the
salutary rule limiting public office and employment only to the citizens of this
country. The qualifications prescribed for elective office cannot be erased by the
electorate alone. The will of the people as expressed through the ballot cannot
cure the vice of ineligibility, especially if they mistakenly believed, as in this case,
that the candidate was qualified. Obviously, this rule requires strict application
when the deficiency is lack of citizenship. If a person seeks to serve in the Republic
of the Philippines, he must owe his total loyalty to this country only, abjuring and
renouncing all fealty and fidelity to any other state.
It is true as the petitioner points out that the status of the natural-born citizen is
favored by the Constitution and our laws, which is all the more reason why it
should be treasured like a pearl of great price. But once it is surrendered and
renounced, the gift is gone and cannot be lightly restored. This country of ours, for
all its difficulties and limitations, is like a jealous and possessive mother. Once
rejected, it is not quick to welcome back with eager arms its prodigal if repentant
children. The returning renegade must show, by an express and unequivocal act,
the renewal of his loyalty and love.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED and petitioner JUAN G. FRIVALDO is hereby
declared not a citizen of the Philippines and therefore DISQUALIFIED from serving
as Governor of the Province of Sorsogon. Accordingly, he is ordered to vacate his
office and surrender the same to the duly elected Vice-Governor of the said
province once this decision becomes final and executory. The temporary
restraining order dated March 9, 1989, is LIFTED.
SO ORDERED.
Romualdez-Marcos vs COMELEC
248 SCRA 300

Facts:
March 8, 1995 Marcos filed her Certificate of Candidacy for the position of
Representative of the First District of Leyte with the Provincial Election Supervisor.

March 23, 1995 Montejo, incumbent of and candidate for the same position,
filed a petition for cancellation and disqualification with the COMELEC, alleging
that Marcos did not meet the residency requirement.

March 29, 1995 Marcos filed an Amended/Corrected Certificate of Candidacy in
the COMELECs head office in Intramuros claiming that her error in the first
certificate was the result of an honest misrepresentation and that she has
always maintained Tacloban City as her domicile or residence.

April 24, 1995 COMELEC Second Division by a vote of 2-1 came up with a
Resolution that found Montejos petition for disqualification meritorious, Marcos
corrected certificate of candidacy void, and her original certificate cancelled.

May 7, 1995 COMELEC en banc denied Marcos Motion for Reconsideration of
the Resolution drafted on April 24.

May 11, 1995 COMELEC issued another Resolution allowing Marcos
proclamation to the office should the results of the canvass show that she
obtained the highest number of votes. However, this was reversed and instead
directed that the proclamation would be suspended even if she did win.

May 25, 1995 In a supplemental petitition, Marcos declared that she was the
winner of the said Congressional election.

Issues/ Held/Ratio:
(1)
WON plaintiff had established legal residency required to be a voter, and thus
candidate, of the first district of Leyte.
Yes. It is the fact if residence, not a statement in a certificate of candidacy which
out to be decisive in determining whether or not an individual has satisfied the
constitutions residency qualification requirement (as intended by the framers of
the constitution)2. The confusion of the honest mistake made when filed her
Certificate of Candidacy can be attributed to the fact that the entry for residence is
immediately followed by the entry for the number of years and months in the
residence where the candidate seeks to hold office immediately after the
elections. This honest mistake should not be allowed to negate the fact of
residence in the First District. The instances (i.e. when Marcos lived in Manila and
Ilocos after marrying her husband) used by the COMELEC to disqualify Marcos
were only actual residences incurred during their marriage; and as such, she was
required to change residences and apply for voters registration in these cited
locations. When she got married to the late dictator, it cannot be argued that she
lost her domicile of origin by operation of law stated in Article 110 of the CC3 and
further contemplated in Article 1094 of the same code. It is the husbands right to
transfer residences to wherever he might see fit to raise a family. Thus, the
relocation does not mean or intend to lose the wifes domicile of origin. After the
death of her husband, her choice of domicle was Tacloban, Leyte as expressed
when she wrote the PCGG chairman seeking permission to rehabilitate their
ancestral house in Tacloban and their farm in Olot, Leyte.

(2)
WON COMELEC the proper jurisdiction in disqualifying the plaintiff under Article 78
of the Omnibus Election Code had already lapsed, thereby transmitting jurisdiction
to the House of Representatives.
Yes. The mischief in petitioners contention lies in the fact that our courts and
other quasi-judicial bodies would then refuse to render judgments merely on the
ground of having failed to reach a decision within a given or prescribed period. In
any event, Sections 6
2 As discussed during the deliberations of the 1987 Constitution by Mr. Nolledo
and Mr. Davide, and Mrs. Rosario and Mr. De Los Reyes in the RECORD OF THE
1987 CONSTITUTIONAL CONVETION July 22, 1986.
3 The husband shall fix the residence of the family. But the court may exempt the
wife from living with the husband if he should live abroad unless in the service of
the Republic.
4 The husband and wife are obligated to live together, observe mutual respect and
fidelity, and render mutual help and support.
and 7 of R.A. 6646 in relation to Sec. 78 of B.P. 881, it is evident that the
respondent Commission does not lose jurisdiction to hear and decide a pending
disqualification case under Sec. 78 of B.P. 881 even after the elections.

(3)
WON the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET) had jurisdiction over
the question of the petitioners qualifications after the elections.
No. The HRETs jurisdiction of all contests relating to the elections, returns, and
qualifications of members of Congress begins only after a candidate has become a
member of the House of Representatives.
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC

G.R. No. 119976 September 18, 1995
IMELDA ROMUALDEZ-MARCOS, petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and CIRILO ROY MONTEJO, respondents.

KAPUNAN, J.:
A constitutional provision should be construed as to give it effective operation and
suppress the mischief at which it is aimed.
1
The 1987 Constitution mandates that
an aspirant for election to the House of Representatives be "a registered voter in
the district in which he shall be elected, and a resident thereof for a period of not
less than one year immediately preceding the election."
2
The mischief which this
provision reproduced verbatim from the 1973 Constitution seeks to prevent
is the possibility of a "stranger or newcomer unacquainted with the conditions and
needs of a community and not identified with the latter, from an elective office to
serve that community."
3

Petitioner Imelda Romualdez-Marcos filed her Certificate of Candidacy for the
position of Representative of the First District of Leyte with the Provincial Election
Supervisor on March 8, 1995, providing the following information in item no. 8:
4

RESIDENCE IN THE CONSTITUENCY WHERE I SEEK TO BE ELECTED IMMEDIATELY
PRECEDING THE ELECTION: __________ Years and seven Months.
On March 23, 1995, private respondent Cirilo Roy Montejo, the incumbent
Representative of the First District of Leyte and a candidate for the same position,
filed a "Petition for Cancellation and Disqualification"
5
with the Commission on
Elections alleging that petitioner did not meet the constitutional requirement for
residency. In his petition, private respondent contended that Mrs. Marcos lacked
the Constitution's one year residency requirement for candidates for the House of
Representatives on the evidence of declarations made by her in Voter Registration
Record 94-No. 3349772
6
and in her Certificate of Candidacy. He prayed that "an
order be issued declaring (petitioner) disqualified and canceling the certificate of
candidacy."
7

On March 29, 1995, petitioner filed an Amended/Corrected Certificate of
Candidacy, changing the entry "seven" months to "since childhood" in item no. 8 of
the amended certificate.
8
On the same day, the Provincial Election Supervisor of
Leyte informed petitioner that:
[T]his office cannot receive or accept the aforementioned Certificate of Candidacy
on the ground that it is filed out of time, the deadline for the filing of the same
having already lapsed on March 20, 1995. The Corrected/Amended Certificate of
Candidacy should have been filed on or before the March 20, 1995 deadline.
9

Consequently, petitioner filed the Amended/Corrected Certificate of Candidacy
with the COMELEC's Head Office in Intramuros, Manila on
March 31, 1995. Her Answer to private respondent's petition in SPA No. 95-009
was likewise filed with the head office on the same day. In said Answer, petitioner
averred that the entry of the word "seven" in her original Certificate of Candidacy
was the result of an "honest misinterpretation"
10
which she sought to rectify by
adding the words "since childhood" in her Amended/Corrected Certificate of
Candidacy and that "she has always maintained Tacloban City as her domicile or
residence.
11
Impugning respondent's motive in filing the petition seeking her
disqualification, she noted that:
When respondent (petitioner herein) announced that she was intending to register
as a voter in Tacloban City and run for Congress in the First District of Leyte,
petitioner immediately opposed her intended registration by writing a letter
stating that "she is not a resident of said city but of Barangay Olot, Tolosa, Leyte.
After respondent had registered as a voter in Tolosa following completion of her
six month actual residence therein, petitioner filed a petition with the COMELEC to
transfer the town of Tolosa from the First District to the Second District and
pursued such a move up to the Supreme Court, his purpose being to remove
respondent as petitioner's opponent in the congressional election in the First
District. He also filed a bill, along with other Leyte Congressmen, seeking the
creation of another legislative district to remove the town of Tolosa out of the First
District, to achieve his purpose. However, such bill did not pass the Senate. Having
failed on such moves, petitioner now filed the instant petition for the same
objective, as it is obvious that he is afraid to submit along with respondent for the
judgment and verdict of the electorate of the First District of Leyte in an honest,
orderly, peaceful, free and clean elections on May 8, 1995.
12

On April 24, 1995, the Second Division of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC),
by a vote of 2 to 1,
13
came up with a Resolution 1) finding private respondent's
Petition for Disqualification in SPA 95-009 meritorious; 2) striking off petitioner's
Corrected/Amended Certificate of Candidacy of March 31, 1995; and 3) canceling
her original Certificate of Candidacy.
14
Dealing with two primary issues, namely,
the validity of amending the original Certificate of Candidacy after the lapse of the
deadline for filing certificates of candidacy, and petitioner's compliance with the
one year residency requirement, the Second Division held:
Respondent raised the affirmative defense in her Answer that the printed word
"Seven" (months) was a result of an "honest misinterpretation or honest mistake"
on her part and, therefore, an amendment should subsequently be allowed. She
averred that she thought that what was asked was her "actual and physical"
presence in Tolosa and not residence of origin or domicile in the First Legislative
District, to which she could have responded "since childhood." In an accompanying
affidavit, she stated that her domicile is Tacloban City, a component of the First
District, to which she always intended to return whenever absent and which she
has never abandoned. Furthermore, in her memorandum, she tried to discredit
petitioner's theory of disqualification by alleging that she has been a resident of
the First Legislative District of Leyte since childhood, although she only became a
resident of the Municipality of Tolosa for seven months. She asserts that she has
always been a resident of Tacloban City, a component of the First District, before
coming to the Municipality of Tolosa.
Along this point, it is interesting to note that prior to her registration in Tolosa,
respondent announced that she would be registering in Tacloban City so that she
can be a candidate for the District. However, this intention was rebuffed when
petitioner wrote the Election Officer of Tacloban not to allow respondent since she
is a resident of Tolosa and not Tacloban. She never disputed this claim and instead
implicitly acceded to it by registering in Tolosa.
This incident belies respondent's claim of "honest misinterpretation or honest
mistake." Besides, the Certificate of Candidacy only asks for RESIDENCE. Since on
the basis of her Answer, she was quite aware of "residence of origin" which she
interprets to be Tacloban City, it is curious why she did not cite Tacloban City in her
Certificate of Candidacy. Her explanation that she thought what was asked was her
actual and physical presence in Tolosa is not easy to believe because there is none
in the question that insinuates about Tolosa. In fact, item no. 8 in the Certificate of
Candidacy speaks clearly of "Residency in the CONSTITUENCY where I seek to be
elected immediately preceding the election." Thus, the explanation of respondent
fails to be persuasive.
From the foregoing, respondent's defense of an honest mistake or
misinterpretation, therefore, is devoid of merit.
To further buttress respondent's contention that an amendment may be made,
she cited the case ofAlialy v. COMELEC (2 SCRA 957). The reliance of respondent on
the case of Alialy is misplaced. The case only applies to the "inconsequential
deviations which cannot affect the result of the election, or deviations from
provisions intended primarily to secure timely and orderly conduct of elections."
The Supreme Court in that case considered the amendment only as a matter of
form. But in the instant case, the amendment cannot be considered as a matter of
form or an inconsequential deviation. The change in the number of years of
residence in the place where respondent seeks to be elected is a substantial
matter which determines her qualification as a candidacy, specially those intended
to suppress, accurate material representation in the original certificate which
adversely affects the filer. To admit the amended certificate is to condone the evils
brought by the shifting minds of manipulating candidate, of the detriment of the
integrity of the election.
Moreover, to allow respondent to change the seven (7) month period of her
residency in order to prolong it by claiming it was "since childhood" is to allow an
untruthfulness to be committed before this Commission. The arithmetical accuracy
of the 7 months residency the respondent indicated in her certificate of candidacy
can be gleaned from her entry in her Voter's Registration Record accomplished on
January 28, 1995 which reflects that she is a resident of Brgy. Olot, Tolosa, Leyte
for 6 months at the time of the said registration (Annex A, Petition). Said accuracy
is further buttressed by her letter to the election officer of San Juan, Metro Manila,
dated August 24, 1994, requesting for the cancellation of her registration in the
Permanent List of Voters thereat so that she can be re-registered or transferred to
Brgy. Olot, Tolosa, Leyte. The dates of these three (3) different documents show
the respondent's consistent conviction that she has transferred her residence to
Olot, Tolosa, Leyte from Metro Manila only for such limited period of time, starting
in the last week of August 1994 which on March 8, 1995 will only sum up to 7
months. The Commission, therefore, cannot be persuaded to believe in the
respondent's contention that it was an error.
xxx xxx xxx
Based on these reasons the Amended/Corrected Certificate of Candidacy cannot
be admitted by this Commission.
xxx xxx xxx
Anent the second issue, and based on the foregoing discussion, it is clear that
respondent has not complied with the one year residency requirement of the
Constitution.
In election cases, the term "residence" has always been considered as synonymous
with "domicile" which imports not only the intention to reside in a fixed place but
also personal presence in-that place, coupled with conduct indicative of such
intention. Domicile denotes a fixed permanent residence to which when absent for
business or pleasure, or for like reasons, one intends to return. (Perfecto Faypon
vs. Eliseo Quirino, 96 Phil 294; Romualdez vs. RTC-Tacloban, 226 SCRA 408). In
respondent's case, when she returned to the Philippines in 1991, the residence she
chose was not Tacloban but San Juan, Metro Manila. Thus, her animus revertendi is
pointed to Metro Manila and not Tacloban.
This Division is aware that her claim that she has been a resident of the First
District since childhood is nothing more than to give her a color of qualification
where she is otherwise constitutionally disqualified. It cannot hold ground in the
face of the facts admitted by the respondent in her affidavit. Except for the time
that she studied and worked for some years after graduation in Tacloban City, she
continuously lived in Manila. In 1959, after her husband was elected Senator, she
lived and resided in San Juan, Metro Manila where she was a registered voter. In
1965, she lived in San Miguel, Manila where she was again a registered voter. In
1978, she served as member of the Batasang Pambansa as the representative of
the City of Manila and later on served as the Governor of Metro Manila. She could
not have served these positions if she had not been a resident of the City of
Manila. Furthermore, when she filed her certificate of candidacy for the office of
the President in 1992, she claimed to be a resident of San Juan, Metro Manila. As a
matter of fact on August 24, 1994, respondent wrote a letter with the election
officer of San Juan, Metro Manila requesting for the cancellation of her registration
in the permanent list of voters that she may be re-registered or transferred to
Barangay Olot, Tolosa, Leyte. These facts manifest that she could not have been a
resident of Tacloban City since childhood up to the time she filed her certificate of
candidacy because she became a resident of many places, including Metro Manila.
This debunks her claim that prior to her residence in Tolosa, Leyte, she was a
resident of the First Legislative District of Leyte since childhood.
In this case, respondent's conduct reveals her lack of intention to make Tacloban
her domicile. She registered as a voter in different places and on several occasions
declared that she was a resident of Manila. Although she spent her school days in
Tacloban, she is considered to have abandoned such place when she chose to stay
and reside in other different places. In the case of Romualdez vs. RTC(226 SCRA
408) the Court explained how one acquires a new domicile by choice. There must
concur: (1) residence or bodily presence in the new locality; (2) intention to remain
there; and (3) intention to abandon the old domicile. In other words there must
basically be animus manendi with animus non revertendi. When respondent chose
to stay in Ilocos and later on in Manila, coupled with her intention to stay there by
registering as a voter there and expressly declaring that she is a resident of that
place, she is deemed to have abandoned Tacloban City, where she spent her
childhood and school days, as her place of domicile.
Pure intention to reside in that place is not sufficient, there must likewise be
conduct indicative of such intention. Respondent's statements to the effect that
she has always intended to return to Tacloban, without the accompanying conduct
to prove that intention, is not conclusive of her choice of residence. Respondent
has not presented any evidence to show that her conduct, one year prior the
election, showed intention to reside in Tacloban. Worse, what was evident was
that prior to her residence in Tolosa, she had been a resident of Manila.
It is evident from these circumstances that she was not a resident of the First
District of Leyte "since childhood."
To further support the assertion that she could have not been a resident of the
First District of Leyte for more than one year, petitioner correctly pointed out that
on January 28, 1995 respondent registered as a voter at precinct No. 18-A of Olot,
Tolosa, Leyte. In doing so, she placed in her Voter Registration Record that she
resided in the municipality of Tolosa for a period of six months. This may be
inconsequential as argued by the respondent since it refers only to her residence in
Tolosa, Leyte. But her failure to prove that she was a resident of the First District of
Leyte prior to her residence in Tolosa leaves nothing but a convincing proof that
she had been a resident of the district for six months only.
15

In a Resolution promulgated a day before the May 8, 1995 elections, the
COMELEC en banc denied petitioner's Motion for Reconsideration
16
of the April
24, 1995 Resolution declaring her not qualified to run for the position of Member
of the House of Representatives for the First Legislative District of Leyte.
17
The
Resolution tersely stated:
After deliberating on the Motion for Reconsideration, the Commission RESOLVED
to DENY it, no new substantial matters having been raised therein to warrant re-
examination of the resolution granting the petition for disqualification.
18

On May 11, 1995, the COMELEC issued a Resolution allowing petitioner's
proclamation should the results of the canvass show that she obtained the highest
number of votes in the congressional elections in the First District of Leyte. On the
same day, however, the COMELEC reversed itself and issued a second Resolution
directing that the proclamation of petitioner be suspended in the event that she
obtains the highest number of votes.
19

In a Supplemental Petition dated 25 May 1995, petitioner averred that she was the
overwhelming winner of the elections for the congressional seat in the First District
of Leyte held May 8, 1995 based on the canvass completed by the Provincial Board
of Canvassers on May 14, 1995. Petitioner alleged that the canvass showed that
she obtained a total of 70,471 votes compared to the 36,833 votes received by
Respondent Montejo. A copy of said Certificate of Canvass was annexed to the
Supplemental Petition.
On account of the Resolutions disqualifying petitioner from running for the
congressional seat of the First District of Leyte and the public respondent's
Resolution suspending her proclamation, petitioner comes to this court for relief.
Petitioner raises several issues in her Original and Supplemental Petitions. The
principal issues may be classified into two general areas:
I. The issue of Petitioner's qualifications
Whether or not petitioner was a resident, for election purposes, of the First District
of Leyte for a period of one year at the time of the May 9, 1995 elections.
II. The Jurisdictional Issue
a) Prior to the elections
Whether or not the COMELEC properly exercised its jurisdiction in disqualifying
petitioner outside the period mandated by the Omnibus Election Code for
disqualification cases under Article 78 of the said Code.
b) After the Elections
Whether or not the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal assumed exclusive
jurisdiction over the question of petitioner's qualifications after the May 8, 1995
elections.
I. Petitioner's qualification
A perusal of the Resolution of the COMELEC's Second Division reveals a startling
confusion in the application of settled concepts of "Domicile" and "Residence" in
election law. While the COMELEC seems to be in agreement with the general
proposition that for the purposes of election law, residence is synonymous with
domicile, the Resolution reveals a tendency to substitute or mistake the concept of
domicile for actual residence, a conception not intended for the purpose of
determining a candidate's qualifications for election to the House of
Representatives as required by the 1987 Constitution. As it were, residence, for the
purpose of meeting the qualification for an elective position, has a settled meaning
in our jurisdiction.
Article 50 of the Civil Code decrees that "[f]or the exercise of civil rights and the
fulfillment of civil obligations, the domicile of natural persons is their place of
habitual residence." In Ong vs. Republic
20
this court took the concept of domicile
to mean an individual's "permanent home", "a place to which, whenever absent
for business or for pleasure, one intends to return, and depends on facts and
circumstances in the sense that they disclose intent."
21
Based on the foregoing,
domicile includes the twin elements of "the fact of residing or physical presence in
a fixed place" and animus manendi, or the intention of returning there
permanently.
Residence, in its ordinary conception, implies the factual relationship of an
individual to a certain place. It is the physical presence of a person in a given area,
community or country. The essential distinction between residence and domicile in
law is that residence involves the intent to leave when the purpose for which the
resident has taken up his abode ends. One may seek a place for purposes such as
pleasure, business, or health. If a person's intent be to remain, it becomes his
domicile; if his intent is to leave as soon as his purpose is established it is
residence.
22
It is thus, quite perfectly normal for an individual to have different
residences in various places. However, a person can only have a single domicile,
unless, for various reasons, he successfully abandons his domicile in favor of
another domicile of choice. In Uytengsu vs. Republic,
23
we laid this distinction
quite clearly:
There is a difference between domicile and residence. "Residence" is used to
indicate a place of abode, whether permanent or temporary; "domicile" denotes a
fixed permanent residence to which, when absent, one has the intention of
returning. A man may have a residence in one place and a domicile in another.
Residence is not domicile, but domicile is residence coupled with the intention to
remain for an unlimited time. A man can have but one domicile for the same
purpose at any time, but he may have numerous places of residence. His place of
residence is generally his place of domicile, but it is not by any means necessarily
so since no length of residence without intention of remaining will constitute
domicile.
For political purposes the concepts of residence and domicile are dictated by the
peculiar criteria of political laws. As these concepts have evolved in our election
law, what has clearly and unequivocally emerged is the fact that residence for
election purposes is used synonymously with domicile.
In Nuval vs. Guray,
24
the Court held that "the term residence. . . is synonymous
with domicile which imports not only intention to reside in a fixed place, but also
personal presence in that place, coupled with conduct indicative of such
intention."
25
Larena vs. Teves
26
reiterated the same doctrine in a case involving
the qualifications of the respondent therein to the post of Municipal President of
Dumaguete, Negros Oriental. Faypon vs. Quirino,
27
held that the 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.
28
So
settled is the concept (of domicile) in our election law that in these and other
election law cases, this Court has stated that the mere absence of an individual
from his permanent residence without the intention to abandon it does not result
in a loss or change of domicile.
The deliberations of the 1987 Constitution on the residence qualification for
certain elective positions have placed beyond doubt the principle that when the
Constitution speaks of "residence" in election law, it actually means only
"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, insofar 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.
29

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 gentleman 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 residence.
30

In Co vs. Electoral Tribunal of the House of Representatives,
31
this Court concluded
that the framers of the 1987 Constitution obviously adhered to the definition given
to the term residence in election law, regarding it as having the same meaning as
domicile.
32

In the light of the principles just discussed, has petitioner Imelda Romualdez
Marcos satisfied the residency requirement mandated by Article VI, Sec. 6 of the
1987 Constitution? Of what significance is the questioned entry in petitioner's
Certificate of Candidacy stating her residence in the First Legislative District of
Leyte as seven (7) months?
It is the fact of residence, not a statement in a certificate of candidacy which ought
to be decisive in determining whether or not and individual has satisfied the
constitution's residency qualification requirement. The said statement becomes
material only when there is or appears to be a deliberate attempt to mislead,
misinform, or hide a fact which would otherwise render a candidate ineligible. It
would be plainly ridiculous for a candidate to deliberately and knowingly make a
statement in a certificate of candidacy which would lead to his or her
disqualification.
It stands to reason therefore, that petitioner merely committed an honest mistake
in jotting the word "seven" in the space provided for the residency qualification
requirement. The circumstances leading to her filing the questioned entry
obviously resulted in the subsequent confusion which prompted petitioner to write
down the period of her actual stay in Tolosa, Leyte instead of her period of
residence in the First district, which was "since childhood" in the space provided.
These circumstances and events are amply detailed in the COMELEC's Second
Division's questioned resolution, albeit with a different interpretation. For
instance, when herein petitioner announced that she would be registering in
Tacloban City to make her eligible to run in the First District, private respondent
Montejo opposed the same, claiming that petitioner was a resident of Tolosa, not
Tacloban City. Petitioner then registered in her place of actual residence in the
First District, which is Tolosa, Leyte, a fact which she subsequently noted down in
her Certificate of Candidacy. A close look at said certificate would reveal the
possible source of the confusion: the entry for residence (Item No. 7) is followed
immediately by the entry for residence in the constituency where a candidate
seeks election thus:
7. RESIDENCE (complete Address): Brgy. Olot, Tolosa, Leyte
POST OFFICE ADDRESS FOR ELECTION PURPOSES: Brgy. Olot, Tolosa, Leyte
8. RESIDENCE IN THE CONSTITUENCY WHERE I SEEK TO
BE ELECTED IMMEDIATELY PRECEDING THE ELECTION:_________ Years
and Seven Months.
Having been forced by private respondent to register in her place of actual
residence in Leyte instead of petitioner's claimed domicile, it appears that
petitioner had jotted down her period of stay in her legal residence or domicile.
The juxtaposition of entries in Item 7 and Item 8 the first requiring actual
residence and the second requiring domicile coupled with the circumstances
surrounding petitioner's registration as a voter in Tolosa obviously led to her
writing down an unintended entry for which she could be disqualified. This honest
mistake should not, however, be allowed to negate the fact of residence in the
First District if such fact were established by means more convincing than a mere
entry on a piece of paper.
We now proceed to the matter of petitioner's domicile.
In support of its asseveration that petitioner's domicile could not possibly be in the
First District of Leyte, the Second Division of the COMELEC, in its assailed
Resolution of April 24,1995 maintains that "except for the time when (petitioner)
studied and worked for some years after graduation in Tacloban City, she
continuously lived in Manila." The Resolution additionally cites certain facts as
indicative of the fact that petitioner's domicile ought to be any place where she
lived in the last few decades except Tacloban, Leyte. First, according to the
Resolution, petitioner, in 1959, resided in San Juan, Metro Manila where she was
also registered voter. Then, in 1965, following the election of her husband to the
Philippine presidency, she lived in San Miguel, Manila where she as a voter. In 1978
and thereafter, she served as a member of the Batasang Pambansa and Governor
of Metro Manila. "She could not, have served these positions if she had not been a
resident of Metro Manila," the COMELEC stressed. Here is where the confusion
lies.
We have stated, many times in the past, that an individual does not lose his
domicile even if he has lived and maintained residences in different places.
Residence, it bears repeating, implies a factual relationship to a given place for
various purposes. The absence from legal residence or domicile to pursue a
profession, to study or to do other things of a temporary or semi-permanent
nature does not constitute loss of residence. Thus, the assertion by the COMELEC
that "she could not have been a resident of Tacloban City since childhood up to the
time she filed her certificate of candidacy because she became a resident of many
places" flies in the face of settled jurisprudence in which this Court carefully made
distinctions between (actual) residence and domicile for election law purposes.
In Larena vs. Teves,
33
supra, we stressed:
[T]his court is of the opinion and so holds that a person who has his own house
wherein he lives with his family in a municipality without having ever had the
intention of abandoning it, and without having lived either alone or with his family
in another municipality, has his residence in the former municipality,
notwithstanding his having registered as an elector in the other municipality in
question and having been a candidate for various insular and provincial positions,
stating every time that he is a resident of the latter municipality.
More significantly, in Faypon vs. Quirino,
34
We explained that:
A citizen may leave the place of his birth to look for "greener pastures," as the
saying goes, to improve his lot, and that, of course includes study in other places,
practice of his avocation, or engaging in business. When an election is to be held,
the citizen who left his birthplace to improve his lot may desire to return to his
native town to cast his ballot but for professional or business reasons, or for any
other reason, he may not absent himself from his professional or business
activities; so there he registers himself as voter as he has the qualifications to be
one and is not willing to give up or lose the opportunity to choose the officials who
are to run the government especially in national elections. Despite such
registration, the animus revertendi to his home, to his domicile or residence of
origin has not forsaken him. This may be the explanation why the registration of a
voter in a place other than his residence of origin has not been deemed sufficient
to constitute abandonment or loss of such residence. It finds justification in the
natural desire and longing of every person to return to his place of birth. This
strong feeling of attachment to the place of one's birth must be overcome by
positive proof of abandonment for another.
From the foregoing, it can be concluded that in its above-cited statements
supporting its proposition that petitioner was ineligible to run for the position of
Representative of the First District of Leyte, the COMELEC was obviously referring
to petitioner's various places of (actual) residence, not her domicile. In doing so, it
not only ignored settled jurisprudence on residence in election law and the
deliberations of the constitutional commission but also the provisions of the
Omnibus Election Code (B.P. 881).
35

What is undeniable, however, are the following set of facts which establish the fact
of petitioner's domicile, which we lift verbatim from the COMELEC's Second
Division's assailed Resolution:
36

In or about 1938 when respondent was a little over 8 years old, she established her
domicile in Tacloban, Leyte (Tacloban City). She studied in the Holy Infant Academy
in Tacloban from 1938 to 1949 when she graduated from high school. She pursued
her college studies in St. Paul's College, now Divine Word University in Tacloban,
where she earned her degree in Education. Thereafter, she taught in the Leyte
Chinese School, still in Tacloban City. In 1952 she went to Manila to work with her
cousin, the late speaker Daniel Z. Romualdez in his office in the House of
Representatives. In 1954, she married ex-President Ferdinand E. Marcos when he
was still a congressman of Ilocos Norte and registered there as a voter. When her
husband was elected Senator of the Republic in 1959, she and her husband lived
together in San Juan, Rizal where she registered as a voter. In 1965, when her
husband was elected President of the Republic of the Philippines, she lived with
him in Malacanang Palace and registered as a voter in San Miguel, Manila.
[I]n February 1986 (she claimed that) she and her family were abducted and
kidnapped to Honolulu, Hawaii. In November 1991, she came home to Manila. In
1992, respondent ran for election as President of the Philippines and filed her
Certificate of Candidacy wherein she indicated that she is a resident and registered
voter of San Juan, Metro Manila.
Applying the principles discussed to the facts found by COMELEC, what is
inescapable is that petitioner held various residences for different purposes during
the last four decades. None of these purposes unequivocally point to an intention
to abandon her domicile of origin in Tacloban, Leyte. Moreover, while petitioner
was born in Manila, as a minor she naturally followed the domicile of her parents.
She grew up in Tacloban, reached her adulthood there and eventually established
residence in different parts of the country for various reasons. Even during her
husband's presidency, at the height of the Marcos Regime's powers, petitioner
kept her close ties to her domicile of origin by establishing residences in Tacloban,
celebrating her birthdays and other important personal milestones in her home
province, instituting well-publicized projects for the benefit of her province and
hometown, and establishing a political power base where her siblings and close
relatives held positions of power either through the ballot or by appointment,
always with either her influence or consent. These well-publicized ties to her
domicile of origin are part of the history and lore of the quarter century of Marcos
power in our country. Either they were entirely ignored in the COMELEC'S
Resolutions, or the majority of the COMELEC did not know what the rest of the
country always knew: the fact of petitioner's domicile in Tacloban, Leyte.
Private respondent in his Comment, contends that Tacloban was not petitioner's
domicile of origin because she did not live there until she was eight years old. He
avers that after leaving the place in 1952, she "abandoned her residency (sic)
therein for many years and . . . (could not) re-establish her domicile in said place by
merely expressing her intention to live there again." We do not agree.
First, minor follows the domicile of his parents. As domicile, once acquired is
retained until a new one is gained, it follows that in spite of the fact of petitioner's
being born in Manila, Tacloban, Leyte was her domicile of origin by operation of
law. This domicile was not established only when her father brought his family
back to Leyte contrary to private respondent's averments.
Second, domicile of origin is not easily lost. To successfully effect a change of
domicile, one must demonstrate:
37

1. An actual removal or an actual change of domicile;
2. A bona fide intention of abandoning the former place of residence and
establishing a new one; and
3. Acts which correspond with the purpose.
In the absence of clear and positive proof based on these criteria, the residence of
origin should be deemed to continue. Only with evidence showing concurrence of
all three requirements can the presumption of continuity or residence be rebutted,
for a change of residence requires an actual and deliberate abandonment, and one
cannot have two legal residences at the same time.
38
In the case at bench, the
evidence adduced by private respondent plainly lacks the degree of persuasiveness
required to convince this court that an abandonment of domicile of origin in favor
of a domicile of choice indeed occurred. To effect an abandonment requires the
voluntary act of relinquishing petitioner's former domicile with an intent to
supplant the former domicile with one of her own choosing (domicilium
voluntarium).
In this connection, it cannot be correctly argued that petitioner lost her domicile of
origin by operation of law as a result of her marriage to the late President
Ferdinand E. Marcos in 1952. For there is a clearly established distinction between
the Civil Code concepts of "domicile" and "residence."
39
The presumption that the
wife automatically gains the husband's domicile by operation of law upon marriage
cannot be inferred from the use of the term "residence" in Article 110 of the Civil
Code because the Civil Code is one area where the two concepts are well
delineated. Dr. Arturo Tolentino, writing on this specific area explains:
In the Civil Code, there is an obvious difference between domicile and residence.
Both terms imply relations between a person and a place; but in residence, the
relation is one of fact while in domicile it is legal or juridical, independent of the
necessity of physical presence.
40

Article 110 of the Civil Code provides:
Art. 110. The husband shall fix the residence of the family. But the court may
exempt the wife from living with the husband if he should live abroad unless in the
service of the Republic.
A survey of jurisprudence relating to Article 110 or to the concepts of domicile or
residence as they affect the female spouse upon marriage yields nothing which
would suggest that the female spouse automatically loses her domicile of origin in
favor of the husband's choice of residence upon marriage.
Article 110 is a virtual restatement of Article 58 of the Spanish Civil Code of 1889
which states:
La mujer esta obligada a seguir a su marido donde quiera que fije su residencia. Los
Tribunales, sin embargo, podran con justa causa eximirla de esta obligacion cuando
el marido transende su residencia a ultramar o' a pais extranjero.
Note the use of the phrase "donde quiera su fije de residencia" in the aforequoted
article, which means wherever (the husband) wishes to establish residence. This
part of the article clearly contemplates only actual residence because it refers to a
positive act of fixing a family home or residence. Moreover, this interpretation is
further strengthened by the phrase "cuando el marido translade su residencia" in
the same provision which means, "when the husband shall transfer his residence,"
referring to another positive act of relocating the family to another home or place
of actual residence. The article obviously cannot be understood to refer to
domicile which is a fixed,
fairly-permanent concept when it plainly connotes the possibility of transferring
from one place to another not only once, but as often as the husband may deem fit
to move his family, a circumstance more consistent with the concept of actual
residence.
The right of the husband to fix the actual residence is in harmony with the
intention of the law to strengthen and unify the family, recognizing the fact that
the husband and the wife bring into the marriage different domiciles (of origin).
This difference could, for the sake of family unity, be reconciled only by allowing
the husband to fix a single place of actual residence.
Very significantly, Article 110 of the Civil Code is found under Title V under the
heading: RIGHTS AND OBLIGATIONS BETWEEN HUSBAND AND WIFE. Immediately
preceding Article 110 is Article 109 which obliges the husband and wife to live
together, thus:
Art. 109. The husband and wife are obligated to live together, observe mutual
respect and fidelity and render mutual help and support.
The duty to live together can only be fulfilled if the husband and wife are physically
together. This takes into account the situations where the couple has many
residences (as in the case of the petitioner). If the husband has to stay in or
transfer to any one of their residences, the wife should necessarily be with him in
order that they may "live together." Hence, it is illogical to conclude that Art. 110
refers to "domicile" and not to "residence." Otherwise, we shall be faced with a
situation where the wife is left in the domicile while the husband, for professional
or other reasons, stays in one of their (various) residences. As Dr. Tolentino further
explains:
Residence and Domicile Whether the word "residence" as used with reference
to particular matters is synonymous with "domicile" is a question of some
difficulty, and the ultimate decision must be made from a consideration of the
purpose and intent with which the word is used. Sometimes they are used
synonymously, at other times they are distinguished from one another.
xxx xxx xxx
Residence in the civil law is a material fact, referring to the physical presence of a
person in a place. A person can have two or more residences, such as a country
residence and a city residence. Residence is acquired by living in place; on the
other hand, domicile can exist without actually living in the place. The important
thing for domicile is that, once residence has been established in one place, there
be an intention to stay there permanently, even if residence is also established in
some other
place.
41

In fact, even the matter of a common residence between the husband and the wife
during the marriage is not an iron-clad principle; In cases applying the Civil Code on
the question of a common matrimonial residence, our jurisprudence has
recognized certain situations
42
where the spouses could not be compelled to live
with each other such that the wife is either allowed to maintain a residence
different from that of her husband or, for obviously practical reasons, revert to her
original domicile (apart from being allowed to opt for a new one). In De la Vina
vs. Villareal
43
this Court held that "[a] married woman may acquire a residence or
domicile separate from that of her husband during the existence of the marriage
where the husband has given cause for divorce."
44
Note that the Court allowed the
wife either to obtain new residence or to choose a new domicile in such an event.
In instances where the wife actually opts, .under the Civil Code, to live separately
from her husband either by taking new residence or reverting to her domicile of
origin, the Court has held that the wife could not be compelled to live with her
husband on pain of contempt. In Arroyo vs. Vasques de Arroyo
45
the Court held
that:
Upon examination of the authorities, we are convinced that it is not within the
province of the courts of this country to attempt to compel one of the spouses to
cohabit with, and render conjugal rights to, the other. Of course where the
property rights of one of the pair are invaded, an action for restitution of such
rights can be maintained. But we are disinclined to sanction the doctrine that an
order, enforcible (sic) by process of contempt, may be entered to compel the
restitution of the purely personal right of consortium. At best such an order can be
effective for no other purpose than to compel the spouses to live under the same
roof; and he experience of those countries where the courts of justice have
assumed to compel the cohabitation of married people shows that the policy of
the practice is extremely questionable. Thus in England, formerly the Ecclesiastical
Court entertained suits for the restitution of conjugal rights at the instance of
either husband or wife; and if the facts were found to warrant it, that court would
make a mandatory decree, enforceable by process of contempt in case of
disobedience, requiring the delinquent party to live with the other and render
conjugal rights. Yet this practice was sometimes criticized even by the judges who
felt bound to enforce such orders, and in Weldon v. Weldon (9 P.D. 52), decided in
1883, Sir James Hannen, President in the Probate, Divorce and Admiralty Division
of the High Court of Justice, expressed his regret that the English law on the
subject was not the same as that which prevailed in Scotland, where a decree of
adherence, equivalent to the decree for the restitution of conjugal rights in
England, could be obtained by the injured spouse, but could not be enforced by
imprisonment. Accordingly, in obedience to the growing sentiment against the
practice, the Matrimonial Causes Act (1884) abolished the remedy of
imprisonment; though a decree for the restitution of conjugal rights can still be
procured, and in case of disobedience may serve in appropriate cases as the basis
of an order for the periodical payment of a stipend in the character of alimony.
In the voluminous jurisprudence of the United States, only one court, so far as we
can discover, has ever attempted to make a preemptory order requiring one of the
spouses to live with the other; and that was in a case where a wife was ordered to
follow and live with her husband, who had changed his domicile to the City of New
Orleans. The decision referred to (Bahn v. Darby, 36 La. Ann., 70) was based on a
provision of the Civil Code of Louisiana similar to article 56 of the Spanish Civil
Code. It was decided many years ago, and the doctrine evidently has not been
fruitful even in the State of Louisiana. In other states of the American Union the
idea of enforcing cohabitation by process of contempt is rejected. (21 Cyc., 1148).
In a decision of January 2, 1909, the Supreme Court of Spain appears to have
affirmed an order of the Audiencia Territorial de Valladolid requiring a wife to
return to the marital domicile, and in the alternative, upon her failure to do so, to
make a particular disposition of certain money and effects then in her possession
and to deliver to her husband, as administrator of the ganancial property, all
income, rents, and interest which might accrue to her from the property which she
had brought to the marriage. (113 Jur. Civ., pp. 1, 11) But it does not appear that
this order for the return of the wife to the marital domicile was sanctioned by any
other penalty than the consequences that would be visited upon her in respect to
the use and control of her property; and it does not appear that her disobedience
to that order would necessarily have been followed by imprisonment for
contempt.
Parenthetically when Petitioner was married to then Congressman Marcos, in
1954, petitioner was obliged by virtue of Article 110 of the Civil Code to
follow her husband's actual place of residence fixed by him. The problem here is
that at that time, Mr. Marcos had several places of residence, among which were
San Juan, Rizal and Batac, Ilocos Norte. There is no showing which of these places
Mr. Marcos did fix as his family's residence. But assuming that Mr. Marcos had
fixed any of these places as the conjugal residence, what petitioner gained upon
marriage was actual residence. She did not lose her domicile of origin.
On the other hand, the common law concept of "matrimonial domicile" appears to
have been incorporated, as a result of our jurisprudential experiences after the
drafting of the Civil Code of 1950, into the New Family Code. To underscore the
difference between the intentions of the Civil Code and the Family Code drafters,
the term residence has been supplanted by the term domicile in an entirely new
provision (Art. 69) distinctly different in meaning and spirit from that found in
Article 110. The provision recognizes revolutionary changes in the concept of
women's rights in the intervening years by making the choice of domicile a product
of mutual agreement between the spouses.
46

Without as much belaboring the point, the term residence may mean one thing in
civil law (or under the Civil Code) and quite another thing in political law. What
stands clear is that insofar as the Civil Code is concerned-affecting the rights and
obligations of husband and wife the term residence should only be interpreted
to mean "actual residence." The inescapable conclusion derived from this
unambiguous civil law delineation therefore, is that when petitioner married the
former President in 1954, she kept her domicile of origin and merely gained a new
home, not a domicilium necessarium.
Even assuming for the sake of argument that petitioner gained a new "domicile"
after her marriage and only acquired a right to choose a new one after her
husband died, petitioner's acts following her return to the country clearly indicate
that she not only impliedly but expressly chose her domicile of origin (assuming
this was lost by operation of law) as her domicile. This "choice" was unequivocally
expressed in her letters to the Chairman of the PCGG when petitioner sought the
PCGG's permission to "rehabilitate (our) ancestral house in Tacloban and Farm in
Olot, Leyte. . . to make them livable for the Marcos family to have a home in our
homeland."
47
Furthermore, petitioner obtained her residence certificate in 1992 in
Tacloban, Leyte, while living in her brother's house, an act which supports the
domiciliary intention clearly manifested in her letters to the PCGG Chairman. She
could not have gone straight to her home in San Juan, as it was in a state of
disrepair, having been previously looted by vandals. Her "homes" and "residences"
following her arrival in various parts of Metro Manila merely qualified as
temporary or "actual residences," not domicile. Moreover, and proceeding from
our discussion pointing out specific situations where the female spouse either
reverts to her domicile of origin or chooses a new one during the subsistence of
the marriage, it would be highly illogical for us to assume that she cannot regain
her original domicile upon the death of her husband absent a positive act of
selecting a new one where situations exist within the subsistence of the marriage
itself where the wife gains a domicile different from her husband.
In the light of all the principles relating to residence and domicile enunciated by
this court up to this point, we are persuaded that the facts established by the
parties weigh heavily in favor of a conclusion supporting petitioner's claim of legal
residence or domicile in the First District of Leyte.
II. The jurisdictional issue
Petitioner alleges that the jurisdiction of the COMELEC had already lapsed
considering that the assailed resolutions were rendered on April 24, 1995, fourteen
(14) days before the election in violation of Section 78 of the Omnibus Election
Code.
48
Moreover, petitioner contends that it is the House of Representatives
Electoral Tribunal and not the COMELEC which has jurisdiction over the election of
members of the House of Representatives in accordance with Article VI Sec. 17 of
the Constitution. This is untenable.
It is a settled doctrine that a statute requiring rendition of judgment within a
specified time is generally construed to be merely directory,
49
"so that non-
compliance with them does not invalidate the judgment on the theory that if the
statute had intended such result it would have clearly indicated it."
50
The
difference between a mandatory and a directory provision is often made on
grounds of necessity. Adopting the same view held by several American
authorities, this court in Marcelino vs. Cruz held that:
51

The difference between a mandatory and directory provision is often determined
on grounds of expediency, the reason being that less injury results to the general
public by disregarding than enforcing the letter of the law.
In Trapp v. Mc Cormick, a case calling for the interpretation of a statute containing
a limitation of thirty (30) days within which a decree may be entered without the
consent of counsel, it was held that "the statutory provisions which may be thus
departed from with impunity, without affecting the validity of statutory
proceedings, are usually those which relate to the mode or time of doing that
which is essential to effect the aim and purpose of the Legislature or some incident
of the essential act." Thus, in said case, the statute under examination was
construed merely to be directory.
The mischief in petitioner's contending that the COMELEC should have abstained
from rendering a decision after the period stated in the Omnibus Election Code
because it lacked jurisdiction, lies in the fact that our courts and other quasi-
judicial bodies would then refuse to render judgments merely on the ground of
having failed to reach a decision within a given or prescribed period.
In any event, with the enactment of Sections 6 and 7 of R.A. 6646 in relation to
Section 78 of B.P. 881,
52
it is evident that the respondent Commission does not
lose jurisdiction to hear and decide a pending disqualification case under Section
78 of B.P. 881 even after the elections.
As to the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal's supposed assumption of
jurisdiction over the issue of petitioner's qualifications after the May 8, 1995
elections, suffice it to say that HRET's jurisdiction as the sole judge of all contests
relating to the elections, returns and qualifications of members of Congress begins
only after a candidate has become a member of the House of
Representatives.
53
Petitioner not being a member of the House of
Representatives, it is obvious that the HRET at this point has no jurisdiction over
the question.
It would be an abdication of many of the ideals enshrined in the 1987 Constitution
for us to either to ignore or deliberately make distinctions in law solely on the basis
of the personality of a petitioner in a case. Obviously a distinction was made on
such a ground here. Surely, many established principles of law, even of election
laws were flouted for the sake perpetuating power during the pre-EDSA regime.
We renege on these sacred ideals, including the meaning and spirit of EDSA
ourselves bending established principles of principles of law to deny an individual
what he or she justly deserves in law. Moreover, in doing so, we condemn
ourselves to repeat the mistakes of the past.
WHEREFORE, having determined that petitioner possesses the necessary residence
qualifications to run for a seat in the House of Representatives in the First District
of Leyte, the COMELEC's questioned Resolutions dated April 24, May 7, May 11,
and May 25, 1995 are hereby SET ASIDE. Respondent COMELEC is hereby directed
to order the Provincial Board of Canvassers to proclaim petitioner as the duly
elected Representative of the First District of Leyte.
SO ORDERED.