Republic of the Philippines

SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. 104654 June 6, 1994
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, Petitioner, vs. HON. ROSALIO G. E LA ROSA, PRESIING JUGE OF THE REGIONAL
TRIAL COURT, BRANCH !", MANILA #n$ JUAN G. FRI%ALO, Respondents.
I.
This is a petition for certiorari under Rule 45 of the Revised Rules of Court in relation to R.A. No. 544 and !ection "5 of the #nteri$
Rules, filed b% the Republic of the Philippines& '() to annul the *ecision dated +ebruar% ",, (--" of the Re.ional Trial Court, Branch
"/, Manila, in !P Proc. No. -(05/145, 2hich re0ad$itted private respondent as a +ilipino citi3en under the Revised Naturali3ation 4a2
'C.A. No. 15 as a$ended b% C.A. No. 4,5)6 and '") to nullif% the oath of alle.iance ta7en b% private respondent on +ebruar% ",,
(--".chanroblesvirtuala2librar% chanrobles virtual la2 librar%
8n !epte$ber ", (--(, petitioner filed a petition for naturali3ation captioned& 9#n the Matter of Petition of :uan ;. +rivaldo to be
Re0ad$itted as a Citi3en of the Philippines under Co$$on2ealth Act No. 159 'Rollo, pp. (,0
"5).chanroblesvirtuala2librar% chanrobles virtual la2 librar%
#n an 8rder dated 8ctober ,, (--( respondent :ud.e set the petition for hearin. on March (1, (--", and directed the publication of
the said order and petition in the 8fficial ;a3ette and a ne2spaper of .eneral circulation, for three consecutive 2ee7s, the last
publication of 2hich should be at least si< $onths before the said date of hearin.. The order further re=uired the postin. of a cop%
thereof and the petition in a conspicuous place in the 8ffice of the Cler7 of Court of the Re.ional Trial Court, Manila 'Rollo, pp. "40
"1).chanroblesvirtuala2librar% chanrobles virtual la2 librar%
8n :anuar% (4, (--", private respondent filed a 9Motion to !et >earin. Ahead of !chedule,9 2here he $anifested his intention to run
for public office in the Ma% (--" elections. >e alle.ed that the deadline for filin. the certificate of candidac% 2as March (5, one da%
before the scheduled hearin.. >e as7ed that the hearin. set on March (1 be cancelled and be $oved to :anuar% "4 'Rollo, pp. ",0
"/).chanroblesvirtuala2librar% chanrobles virtual la2 librar%
The $otion 2as .ranted in an 8rder dated :anuar% "4, (--", 2herein the hearin. of the petition 2as $oved to +ebruar% "(, (--".
The said order 2as not published nor a cop% thereof posted.chanroblesvirtuala2librar% chanrobles virtual la2 librar%
8n +ebruar% "(, the hearin. proceeded 2ith private respondent as the sole 2itness. >e sub$itted the follo2in. docu$entar%
evidence& '() Affidavit of Publication of the 8rder dated 8ctober ,, (--( issued b% the publisher of The Philippine !tar 'E<h. 9A9)6
'") Certificate of Publication of the order issued
b% the National Printin. 8ffice 'E<h. 9B9)6 '5) Notice of >earin. of Petition 'E<h. 9B0(9)6 '4) Photocop% of a Citation issued b% the
National Press Club 2ith private respondent s picture 'E<hs. 9C9 and 9C0"9)6 '5) Certificate of Appreciation issued b% the Rotar% �
Club of *avao 'E<h. 9*9)6 '1) Photocop%
of a Pla=ue of Appreciation issued b% the Republican Colle.e, ?ue3on Cit% 'E<h. 9E9)6 ',) Photocop% of a Pla=ue of Appreciation
issued b% the *avao0Bicol Association 'E<h. 9+9)6 '/) Certification issued b% the Records Mana.e$ent and Archives 8ffice that the
record of birth of private respondent 2as not on file 'E<h. 9;9)6 and '/) Certificate of Naturali3ation issued b% the @nited !tates
*istrict Court 'E<h. 9>9).chanroblesvirtuala2librar% chanrobles virtual la2 librar%
!i< da%s later, on +ebruar% ",, respondent :ud.e rendered the assailed *ecision, disposin. as follo2s&
A>ERE+8RE, the petition is ;RANTE*. Petitioner :@AN ;. +R#BA4*8, is re0ad$itted as a citi3en of the Republic of the Philippines b%
naturali3ation, thereb% vestin. upon hi$, all the ri.hts and privile.es of a natural born +ilipino citi3en 'Rollo, p. 55).
8n the sa$e da%, private respondent 2as allo2ed to ta7e his oath of alle.iance before respondent :ud.e 'Rollo, p.
54).chanroblesvirtuala2librar% chanrobles virtual la2 librar%
8n March (1, a 9Motion for 4eave of Court to #ntervene and to Ad$it Motion for Reconsideration9 2as filed b% ?uiterio >. >er$o. >e
alle.ed that the proceedin.s 2ere tainted 2ith Curisdictional defects, and pra%ed for a ne2 trial to confor$ 2ith the re=uire$ents of
the Naturali3ation 4a2.chanroblesvirtuala2librar% chanrobles virtual la2 librar%
After receivin. a cop% of the *ecision on March (/, (--", the !olicitor ;eneral interposed a ti$el% appeal directl% 2ith the !upre$e
Court.
##.
Ae shall first resolve the issue concernin. private respondent s citi3enship. � chanroblesvirtuala2librar% chanrobles virtual la2 librar%
#n his co$$ent to the !tate s appeal of the decision .rantin. hi$ Philippine citi3enship in ;.R. No. (4154, private respondent �
alle.es that the precarious political at$osphere in the countr% durin. Martial 4a2 co$pelled hi$ to see7 political as%lu$ in the
@nited !tates, and eventuall% to renounce his Philippine citi3enship.chanroblesvirtuala2librar% chanrobles virtual la2 librar%
>e clai$s that his petition for naturali3ation 2as his onl% available re$ed% for his reac=uisition of Philippine citi3enship. >e tried to
reac=uire his Philippine citi3enship throu.h repatriation and direct act of Con.ress. >o2ever, he 2as later infor$ed that repatriation
proceedin.s 2ere li$ited to ar$% deserters or +ilipino 2o$en 2ho had lost their citi3enship b% reason of their $arria.e to forei.ners
'Rollo, pp. 4-05). >is re=uest to Con.ress for sponsorship of a bill allo2in. hi$ to reac=uire his Philippine citi3enship failed to
$ateriali3e, not2ithstandin. the endorse$ent of several $e$bers of the >ouse of Representatives in his favor 'Rollo, p. 5(). >e
attributed this to the $aneuvers of his political rivals.chanroblesvirtuala2librar% chanrobles virtual la2 librar%
>e also clai$s that the re0schedulin. of the hearin. of the petition to an earlier date, 2ithout publication, 2as $ade 2ithout
obCection fro$ the 8ffice of the !olicitor ;eneral. >e $a7es $ention that on the date of the hearin., the court 2as Ca$0
pac7ed.chanroblesvirtuala2librar% chanrobles virtual la2 librar%
#t is private respondent s posture that there 2as substantial co$pliance 2ith the la2 and that the public 2as 2ell0infor$ed of his �
petition for naturali3ation due to the publicit% .iven b% the $edia.chanroblesvirtuala2librar% chanrobles virtual la2 librar%
Anent the issue of the $andator% t2o0%ear 2aitin. period prior to the ta7in. of the oath of alle.iance, private respondent theori3es
that the rationale of the la2 i$posin. the 2aitin. period is to .rant the public an opportunit% to investi.ate the bac7.round of the
applicant and to oppose the .rant of Philippine citi3enship if there is basis to do so. #n his case, private respondent alle.es that such
re=uire$ent $a% be dispensed 2ith, clai$in. that his life, both private and public, 2as 2ell07no2n. Private respondent cites his
achieve$ent as a freedo$ fi.hter and a for$er ;overnor of the Province of !orso.on for si<
ter$s.chanroblesvirtuala2librar% chanrobles virtual la2 librar%
The appeal of the !olicitor ;eneral in behalf of the Republic of the Philippines is $eritorious. The naturali3ation proceedin.s in !P
Proc. No. -(05/145 2as full of procedural fla2s, renderin. the decision an ano$al%.chanroblesvirtuala2librar% chanrobles virtual la2
librar%
Private respondent, havin. opted to reac=uire Philippine citi3enship thru naturali3ation under the Revised Naturali3ation 4a2, is dut%
bound to follo2 the procedure prescribed b% the said la2. #t is not for an applicant to decide for hi$self and to select the
re=uire$ents 2hich he believes, even sincerel%, are applicable to his case and discard those 2hich be believes are inconvenient or
$erel% of nuisance value. The la2 does not distin.uish bet2een an applicant 2ho 2as for$erl% a +ilipino citi3en and one 2ho 2as
never such a citi3en. #t does not provide a special procedure for the reac=uisition of Philippine citi3enship b% for$er +ilipino citi3ens
a7in to the repatriation of a 2o$an 2ho had lost her Philippine citi3enship b% reason of her $arria.e to an
alien.chanroblesvirtuala2librar% chanrobles virtual la2 librar%
The trial court never ac=uired Curisdiction to hear the petition for naturali3ation of private respondent. The proceedin.s conducted,
the decision rendered and the oath of alle.iance ta7en therein, are null and void for failure to co$pl% 2ith the publication and
postin. re=uire$ents under the Revised Naturali3ation 4a2.chanroblesvirtuala2librar% chanrobles virtual la2 librar%
@nder !ection - of the said la2, both the petition for naturali3ation and the order settin. it for hearin. $ust be published once a
2ee7 for three consecutive 2ee7s in the 8fficial ;a3ette and a ne2spaper of .eneral circulation respondent cites his achieve$ents as
a freedo$ fi.hter and a for$er ;overnor of the Province of !orso.on for si< ter$s.chanroblesvirtuala2librar% chanrobles virtual la2
librar%
The appeal of the !olicitor ;eneral in behalf of the Republic of
the Philippines is $eritorious. The naturali3ation proceedin.s in !P Proc.
No. -(05/145 2as full of procedural fla2s, renderin. the decision an ano$al%.chanroblesvirtuala2librar% chanrobles virtual la2
librar%
Private respondent, havin. opted to reac=uire Philippine citi3enship thru naturali3ation under the Revised Naturali3ation 4a2, is dut%
bound to follo2 the procedure prescribed b% the said la2. #t is not for an applicant to decide for hi$self and to select the
re=uire$ents 2hich he believes, even sincerel%, are applicable to his case and discard those 2hich he believes are inconvenient or
$erel% of nuisance value. The la2 does not distin.uish bet2een an applicant 2ho 2as for$erl% a +ilipino citi3en and one 2ho 2as
never such a citi3en. #t does not provide a special procedure for the reac=uisition of Philippine citi3enship b% for$er +ilipino citi3ens
a7in to the repatriation of a 2o$an 2ho had lost her Philippine citi3enship b% reason of her $arria.e to an
alien.chanroblesvirtuala2librar% chanrobles virtual la2 librar%
The trial court never ac=uired Curisdiction to hear the petition for naturali3ation of private respondent. The proceedin.s conducted,
the decision rendered and the oath of alle.iance ta7en therein, are null and void for failure to co$pl% 2ith the publication and
postin. re=uire$ents under the Revised Naturali3ation 4a2.chanroblesvirtuala2librar% chanrobles virtual la2 librar%
@nder !ection - of the said la2, both the petition for naturali3ation and the order settin. it for hearin. $ust be published once a
2ee7 for three consecutive 2ee7s in the 8fficial ;a3ette and a ne2spaper of .eneral circulation. Co$pliance there2ith is
Curisdictional 'Po Di Bo v. Republic, "5 !CRA 4 E(--"F). Moreover, the publication and postin. of the petition and the order $ust
be in its full test for the court to ac=uire Curisdiction '!% v. Republic, 55 !CRA ,"4 E(-,4F).chanroblesvirtuala2librar% chanrobles
virtual la2 librar%
The petition for naturali3ation lac7s several alle.ations re=uired b% !ections " and 1 of the Revised Naturali3ation 4a2, particularl%&
'() that the petitioner is of .ood $oral character6 '") that he resided continuousl% in the Philippines for at least ten %ears6 '5) that
he is able to spea7 and 2rite En.lish and an% one of the principal dialects6 '4) that he 2ill reside continuousl% in the Philippines fro$
the date of the filin. of the petition until his ad$ission to Philippine citi3enship6 and '5) that he has filed a declaration of intention or
if he is e<cused fro$ said filin., the Custification therefor.chanroblesvirtuala2librar% chanrobles virtual la2 librar%
The absence of such alle.ations is fatal to the petition 'Po Di Bi v. Republic, "5 !CRA 4
E(--"F).chanroblesvirtuala2librar% chanrobles virtual la2 librar%
4i7e2ise, the petition is not supported b% the affidavit of at least t2o credible persons 2ho vouched for the .ood $oral character of
private respondent as re=uired b% !ection , of the Revised Naturali3ation 4a2. Private respondent also failed to attach a cop% of his
certificate of arrival to the petition as re=uired b% !ection , of the said la2.chanroblesvirtuala2librar% chanrobles virtual la2 librar%
The proceedin.s of the trial court 2as $arred b% the follo2in. irre.ularities& '() the hearin. of the petition 2as set ahead of the
scheduled date of hearin., 2ithout a publication of the order advancin. the date of hearin., and the petition itself6 '") the petition
2as heard 2ithin si< $onths fro$ the last publication of the petition6 '5) petitioner 2as allo2ed to ta7e his oath of alle.iance before
the finalit% of the Cud.$ent6 and '4) petitioner too7 his oath of alle.iance 2ithout observin. the t2o0%ear 2aitin.
period.chanroblesvirtuala2librar% chanrobles virtual la2 librar%
A decision in a petition for naturali3ation beco$es final onl% after 5 da%s fro$ its pro$ul.ation and, insofar as the !olicitor ;eneral
is concerned, that period is counted fro$ the date of his receipt of the cop% of the decision 'Republic v. Court of +irst #nstance of
Alba%, 1 !CRA (-5 E(-,4F).chanroblesvirtuala2librar% chanrobles virtual la2 librar%
!ection ( of R.A. No. 55 provides that no decision .rantin. citi3enship in naturali3ation proceedin.s shall be e<ecutor% until after
t2o %ears fro$ its pro$ul.ation in order to be able to observe if& '() the applicant has left the countr%6 '") the applicant has
dedicated hi$self continuousl% to a la2ful callin. or profession6 '5) the applicant has not been convicted of an% offense or violation
of .overn$ent pro$ul.ated rules6 and '4) the applicant has co$$itted an% act preCudicial to the interest of the countr% or contrar%
to .overn$ent announced policies.chanroblesvirtuala2librar% chanrobles virtual la2 librar%
Even discountin. the provisions of R.A. No. 55, the courts cannot i$ple$ent an% decision .rantin. the petition for naturali3ation
before its finalit%.