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Republic of the Philippines

G.R. No. L-7011 October 30, 1912
TRANQUILINO ROA, petitioner-appellant,
INSULAR COLLECTOR OF CUSTOMS, respondent-appellee.


Tranquilino Roa, was born in the town of Luculan, Mindanao, Philippine Islands, on July
6, 1889. His father was Basilio Roa Uy Tiong Co, a native of China, and his mother was Basilia
Rodriguez, a native of this country. His parents were legally married in the Philippine Islands at
the time of his birth. The father of the appellant went to China about the year 1895, and died
there about 1900. Subsequent to the death of his father, in May, 1901, the appellant was sent to
China by his mother for the sole purpose of studying (and always with the intention of returning)
and returned to the Philippine Islands on the steamship Kaifong, arriving at the port of Cebu
October 1, 1910, from Amoy, China, and sought admission to the Philippine Islands. At this time
the appellant was a few days under 21 years and 3 months of age.


Whether or not Tranquilino Roa was a citizen of the Philippine Islands by birth?


The nationality of the appellant having followed that of his mother, he was therefore a
citizen of the Philippine Islands on July 1, 1902, and never having expatriated himself, he still
remains a citizen of this country.

The United States follow the principle of Jus Soli or citizenship by place of birth.


Section 1 of the fourteenth amendment to the Constitution of the United States reads:

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction
thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside
Section 4 of the Philippine Bill provides:

That all inhabitants of the Philippine Islands continuing to reside therein 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.

The cession of the Philippine Islands definitely transferred the allegiance of the native
inhabitants from Spain to the United States (articles 3 and 9 of Treaty of Paris). Filipinos
remaining in this country who were not natives of the Peninsula could not, according to the terms
of the treaty, elect to retain their allegiance to Spain. By the cession their allegiance became due
to the United States and they became entitled to its protection. The nationality of the Islands
American instead of Spanish.

The appellant was, as we have stated, born in the Philippine Islands in 1889. His father
was a domiciled alien and his mother a native of this country. His father died in China about the
year 1900 while he was still a minor. His mother sent him to China for the sole purpose of
studying and on reaching his majority he returned to the country of his birth and sought
admission. From the date of his birth to the time he returned to this country he had never in a
legal sense changed his domicile. A minor cannot change his own domicile. As minors have the
domicile. As minors have the domicile of their father he may change their domicile by changing
his own, and after his death the mother, while she remains a widow, may likewise by changing
her domicile change the domicile of the minor. The domicile of the children in either case as
follows the domicile of their parent. (Lamar vs. Miccu, 112 U.S., 452.) After the death of the
father the widowed mother became the natural guardian of the appellant. The mother before she
married was a Spanish subject and entitled to all the rights, privileges and immunities pertaining
thereto. Upon the death of her husband, which occurred after the Philippine Islands were ceded
to the United States, she, under the rule prevailing in the United States, ipso facto reacquired the
nationality of the Philippine Islands, being that of her native country. When she reacquired the
nationality of the country of her birth the appellant was a minor and neither he nor his mother
had ever left this country.