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Repatriation is the process of returning a person back to

one's place of origin or citizenship. This includes the process


of returning refugees or soldiers to their place of origin
following a war.

less, upon the insistence of petitioner, had to look into the facts and satisfy
itself on whether or not petitioner's claim to continued Philippine
citizenship is meritorious.
Philippine citizenship, it must be stressed, is not a commodity or were to
be displayed when required and suppressed when convenient.

YU vs. DEFENSOR-SANTIAGO
GR No. L-83882, January 24, 1989

AZNAR vs. COMELEC

FACTS:
Petitioner Yu was originally issued a Portuguese passport in 1971. On
February 10, 1978, he was naturalized as a Philippine citizen. Despite his
naturalization, he applied for and was issued Portuguese Passport by the
Consular Section of the Portuguese Embassy in Tokyo on July 21, 1981.
Said Consular Office certifies that his Portuguese passport expired on 20
July 1986. He also declared his nationality as Portuguese in commercial
documents he signed, specifically, the Companies registry of Tai Shun
Estate Ltd. filed in Hongkong sometime in April 1980.
The CID detained Yu pending his deportation case. Yu, in turn, filed a
petition for habeas corpus. An internal resolution of 7 November 1988
referred the case to the Court en banc. The Court en banc denied the
petition. When his Motion for Reconsideration was denied, petitioner filed a
Motion for Clarification.
ISSUE:
Whether or not petitioners acts constitute renunciation of his Philippine
citizenship
HELD:
Express renunciation was held to mean a renunciation that is made known
distinctly and explicitly and not left to inference or implication. Petitioner,
with full knowledge, and legal capacity, after having renounced Portuguese
citizenship upon naturalization as a Philippine citizen resumed or
reacquired his prior status as a Portuguese citizen, applied for a renewal of
his Portuguese passport and represented himself as such in official
documents even after he had become a naturalized Philippine citizen. Such
resumption or reacquisition of Portuguese citizenship is grossly
inconsistent with his maintenance of Philippine citizenship.
While normally the question of whether or not a person has renounced his
Philippine citizenship should be heard before a trial court of law in
adversary proceedings, this has become unnecessary as this Court, no

G.R. No. 83820 May 25, 1990


FACTS:
Respondent Emilio Lito Osmena filed his certificate of candidacy before
the COMELEC as the Governor of Cebu Province. Aznar, herein petitioner,
as the representative of the Cebu PDP- Provincial council and as the
incumbent Chairman of such, filed a petition against the respondent before
the Comelec contending that he should be disqualified because he is not
a Filipino citizen, instead an American citizen. Petitioner filed a Formal
Manifestation showing a Certificate issued by the Immigration and
Deportation Commissioner Miriam Defensor Santiago that the respondent
as an American Citizen is a holder of Alien Certificate of Registration and
Immigrant Certificate of Residence. The Comelec en banc ordered the
Board of Canvassers to continue canvassing but to suspend the
proclamation upon the filing the motion of herein respondent for the
Temporary Restraining Order to the Cebu Provincial Board of Canvassers
from tabulation and proclamation of the respondent until the resolution of
said petition.
Private respondent alleged that he is a Filipino Citizen that he is the
legitimate son of Dr. Emilio D. Osmena, the latter being the son of the late
President Sergio Osmena.He also claimed that he has been continuously
residing in the Philippines since birth and he has not gone out of the
country for more than six months. Furthermore, he contended that he is a
registered voter of the Philippines since 1965.
COMELEC (FirstDivision) directed the Board of Canvassers to proclaim the
winning candidates. Having obtained the highest number of votes, private
respondent was proclaimed the Provincial Governor of Cebu.
ISSUE:
Whether or not private respondent Emilio Lito Osmena has lost his
Filipino Citizenship and thus be disqualified as a candidate for the
Provincial Governor of Cebu Province.

HELD:
NO. The respondent did not lose his Filipino Citizenship and thereby
qualified as a candidate for the Provincial Governor of Cebu Province. The
petitioner failed to present direct proof that private respondent had lost his
Filipino Citizenship by any of the modes provided under C.A. No. 63
namely: (1) By naturalization in a foreign country; (2) By express
renunciation of Citizenship; and (3) By subscribing to an oath of allegiance
to support the Constitution or laws of a foreign country. Thus, it is clear
that private respondent Osmea did not lose his Philippine citizenship by
any of the three mentioned herein above or by any other mode of losing
Philippine Citizenship.

FRIVALDO vs. COMELEC


174 SCRA 245 G.R. No. 87193
June 23, 1989
Facts:
Petitioner Juan G. Frivaldo was proclaimed governor-elect and assume
office in due time. The League of Municipalities filed with the COMELEC a
petition for annulment of Frivaldos election and proclamation on the
ground that he was not a Filipino citizen, having been naturalized in the
United States. Frivaldo admitted the allegation but pleaded the special and
affirmative defenses that his naturalization was merely forced upon himself
as a means of survival against the unrelenting prosecution by the Martial
Law Dictators agent abroad.
Issue:
Whether or not Frivaldo was a citizen of the Philippines at the time of his
election.
Held:
No. 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.
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.
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 officers entire tenure.
Frivaldo declared not a citizen of the Philippines and therefore disqualified
from serving as a Governor of the Province of Sorsogon.

ARTICLE IV
CITIZENSHIP
Section 1.

The following are citizens of the Philippines:

[1] Those who are citizens of the Philippines at the time of the
adoption of this Constitution;
[2] Those whose fathers or mothers are citizens of the Philippines;
[3] Those born before January 17, 1973, of Filipino mothers, who
elect Philippine citizenship upon reaching the age of
majority; and
[4] Those who are naturalized in accordance with law.
Section 2.
Natural-born citizens are those who are citizens of the Philippines
from birth without having to perform any act to acquire or
perfect their Philippine citizenship. Those who elect Philippine
citizenship in accordance with paragraph (3) Section 1 hereof shall
be deemed natural-born citizens.
Section 3.
Philippine citizenship may be lost or reacquired in the manner
provided by law.
Section 4.
Citizens of the Philippines who marry aliens shall retain their
citizenship, unless by their act or omission, they are deemed,
under the law, to have renounced it.
Section 5.
Dual allegiance of citizens is inimical to the national interest and
shall be dealt with by law.

Article IV Section 5 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution


provides that dual allegiance of citizens is inimical to the national
interest and shall be dealt with by law. 1[1] Dual citizenship is not
dual allegiance; as such dual allegiance and not dual citizenship
shall be dealt with by the law.

Mercado v. Manzano (307 SCRA 630)


As what was stated in the case of Mercado v. Manzano, dual
citizenship is different from dual allegiance. The former arises when, as a
result of the concurrent application of the different laws of two or more
states, a person is simultaneously considered a national by the said states.
For instance, such a situation may arise when a person whose parents are
citizens of a state which follows the doctrine of jus soli. Such a person,
ipso facto and without any voluntary act on his part, is concurrently
considered a citizen of both states.2[2] Dual allegiance, on the other hand,
refers to the situation in which a person simultaneously owes, by some
positive act, loyalty to two or more states. While dual citizenship is
involuntary, dual allegiance is the result of an individuals volition. 3[3]
In this case, Ernesto S. Mercado and Eduardo B. Manzano were
candidates for vice mayor of the city of Makati in the 11 May 1998
elections. Manzano garnered majority of the votes casted, but his
proclamation was suspended due to the case filed by a certain Ernesto
Mamaril who alleged that Manzano was not a citizen of the Philippines but
of the United States and as such disqualified to run for public office. In his
answer, Manzano admitted that he is registered as a foreigner with the
Bureau of Immigration under Alien Certificate of Registration number B31632 and alleged that he is a Filipino citizen because he was born in 1955
of a Filipino father and a Filipino mother. He was born in the United States,
San Francisco, California on 14 September 1955, and is considered an
American citizen under US Laws. But notwithstanding his registration as an
American citizen, he did not lose his Filipino citizenship. 4[4]

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The COMELEC en banc held that Manzano acquired US citizenship


by operation of the United States Constitution and laws under the principle
of jus soli. He was issued an alien certificate of registration. This, however,
did not result in the loss of his Philippine citizenship since he did not take
an oath of allegiance to the United States. It is an undisputed fact that
when Manzano attained the age of majority, he registered himself as a
voter, and voted in the elections of 1992, 1995 and 1998, which effectively
renounced his US citizenship under American law. As such, Eduardo B.
Manzano was qualified to run for the position of vice mayor of Makati.
Petitioner argued that the COMELEC en banc erred in its decision that
Manzano was qualified, invoking the maxim dura lex sed lex. Petitioner, as
well as the solicitor general, who sides with him in this case, contends that
according to the Local Government Code, Congress has commanded in
explicit terms the ineligibility of persons possessing dual allegiance to hold
local elective office. Petitioner also contends that such is also provided by
the Article on Citizenship under the Philippine Constitution.
However, the court held that in including Section 5 Article IV on
citizenship, the concern of the Constitutional Commission was not on dual
citizens per se but with naturalized citizens, who maintain their allegiance
to their countries of origin even after their naturalization. Petitioner also
argued that the en banc erred in ruling that Manzano already effectively
renounced his US citizenship under the American law. The petitioners
argument does not hold water, as the court held that by filing a certificate
of candidacy when he ran for his present post, Manzano elected Philippine
citizenship and in effect renounced his American citizenship. As what was
stated earlier what the law prohibits is dual allegiance and not dual
citizenship.

MERCADO vs. MANZANO


307 SCRA 630, G.R. No. 135083
May 26, 1999
Facts:

Petitioner Ernesto Mercado and Private respondent Eduardo


Manzano are candidates for the position of Vice-Mayor of Makati City in the
May, 1998 elections. Private respondent was the winner of the said
election but the proclamation was suspended due to the petition of Ernesto
Mamaril regarding the citizenship of private respondent. Mamaril alleged
that the private respondent is not a citizen of the Philippines but of the
United States. COMELEC granted the petition and disqualified the private
respondent for being a dual citizen, pursuant to the Local Government
code that provides that persons who possess dual citizenship are
disqualified from running any public position. Private respondent filed a
motion for reconsideration which remained pending until after election.
Petitioner sought to intervene in the case for disqualification. COMELEC
reversed the decision and declared private respondent qualified to run for
the position. Pursuant to the ruling of the COMELEC, the board of
canvassers proclaimed private respondent as vice mayor. This petition
sought the reversal of the resolution of the COMELEC and to declare the
private respondent disqualified to hold the office of the vice mayor of
Makati.
Issue:
Whether or Not private respondent is qualified to hold office as
Vice-Mayor.
Held:
Dual citizenship is different from dual allegiance. The former arises
when, as a result of the concurrent application of the different laws of two
or more states, a person is simultaneously considered a national by the
said states. For instance, such a situation may arise when a person whose
parents are citizens of a state which adheres to the principle of jus
sanguinis is born in a state which follows the doctrine of jus soli. Private
respondent is considered as a dual citizen because he is born of Filipino
parents but was born in San Francisco, USA. Such a person, ipso facto and
without any voluntary act on his part, is concurrently considered a citizen
of both states. Considering the citizenship clause (Art. IV) of our
Constitution, it is possible for the following classes of citizens of the
Philippines to posses dual citizenship: (1) Those born of Filipino fathers
and/or mothers in foreign countries which follow the principle of jus soli;
(2) Those born in the Philippines of Filipino mothers and alien fathers if by
the laws of their fathers country such children are citizens of that country;
(3) Those who marry aliens if by the laws of the latters country the former
are considered citizens, unless by their act or omission they are deemed to
have renounced Philippine citizenship. Dual allegiance, on the other hand,

refers to the situation in which a person simultaneously owes, by some


positive act, loyalty to two or more states. While dual citizenship is
involuntary, dual allegiance is the result of an individuals volition.
By filing a certificate of candidacy when he ran for his present post, private
respondent elected Philippine citizenship and in effect renounced his
American citizenship. The filing of such certificate of candidacy sufficed to
renounce his American citizenship, effectively removing any disqualification
he might have as a dual citizen.
By declaring in his certificate of candidacy that he is a Filipino citizen; that
he is not a permanent resident or immigrant of another country; that he
will defend and support the Constitution of the Philippines and bear true
faith and allegiance thereto and that he does so without mental
reservation, private respondent has, as far as the laws of this country are
concerned, effectively repudiated his American citizenship and anything
which he may have said before as a dual citizen. On the other hand,
private respondents oath of allegiance to the Philippine, when considered
with the fact that he has spent his youth and adulthood, received his
education, practiced his profession as an artist, and taken part in past
elections in this country, leaves no doubt of his election of Philippine
citizenship.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the


Philippines in Congress assembled:
Section 1. Short Title this act shall be known as the "Citizenship
Retention and Re-acquisition Act of 2003."
Section 2. Declaration of Policy - It is hereby declared the policy of the
State that all Philippine citizens of another country shall be deemed not to
have lost their Philippine citizenship under the conditions of this Act.
Section 3. Retention of Philippine Citizenship - Any provision of law to
the contrary notwithstanding, natural-born citizenship by reason of their
naturalization as citizens of a foreign country are hereby deemed to have
re-acquired Philippine citizenship upon taking the following oath of
allegiance to the Republic:
"I _____________________, solemny swear (or affrim) that I will
support and defend the Constitution of the Republic of the
Philippines and obey the laws and legal orders promulgated by the
duly constituted authorities of the Philippines; and I hereby declare
that I recognize and accept the supreme authority of the
Philippines and will maintain true faith and allegiance thereto; and
that I imposed this obligation upon myself voluntarily without
mental reservation or purpose of evasion."
Natural born citizens of the Philippines who, after the effectivity of this Act,
become citizens of a foreign country shall retain their Philippine citizenship
upon taking the aforesaid oath.
Section 4. Derivative Citizenship - The unmarried child, whether
legitimate, illegitimate or adopted, below eighteen (18) years of age, of
those who re-acquire Philippine citizenship upon effectivity of this Act shall
be deemed citizenship of the Philippines.
Section 5. Civil and Political Rights and Liabilities - Those who retain
or re-acquire Philippine citizenship under this Act shall enjoy full civil and
political rights and be subject to all attendant liabilities and responsibilities
under existing laws of the Philippines and the following conditions:

Republic Act No. 9225

August 29, 2003

AN ACT MAKING THE CITIZENSHIP OF PHILIPPINE CITIZENS WHO


ACQUIRE FOREIGN CITIZENSHIP PERMANENT.
AMENDING FOR THE PURPOSE COMMONWEALTH ACT. NO. 63, AS
AMENDED AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES

(1) Those intending to exercise their right of surffrage must Meet


the requirements under Section 1, Article V of the Constitution,
Republic Act No. 9189, otherwise known as "The Overseas
Absentee Voting Act of 2003" and other existing laws;
(2) Those seeking elective public in the Philippines shall meet the
qualification for holding such public office as required by the

Constitution and existing laws and, at the time of the filing of the
certificate of candidacy, make a personal and sworn renunciation
of any and all foreign citizenship before any public officer
authorized to administer an oath;
(3) Those appointed to any public office shall subscribe and swear
to an oath of allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines and its
duly constituted authorities prior to their assumption of office:
Provided, That they renounce their oath of allegiance to the
country where they took that oath;
(4) Those intending to practice their profession in the Philippines
shall apply with the proper authority for a license or permit to
engage in such practice; and
(5) That right to vote or be elected or appointed to any public
office in the Philippines cannot be exercised by, or extended to,
those who:
(a) are candidates for or are occupying any public office in
the country of which they are naturalized citizens; and/or
(b) are in active service as commissioned or noncommissioned officers in the armed forces of the country
which they are naturalized citizens.
Section 6. Separability Clause - If any section or provision of this Act is
held unconstitutional or invalid, any other section or provision not affected
thereby shall remain valid and effective.
Section 7. Repealing Clause - All laws, decrees, orders, rules and
regulations inconsistent with the provisions of this Act are hereby repealed
or modified accordingly.
Section 8. Effectivity Clause This Act shall take effect after fifteen
(15) days following its publication in the Official Gazette or two (2)
newspaper of general circulation.

REPUBLIC vs. NORA FE SAGUN


G.R. No. 187567, February 15, 2012

Before us is a petition for review on certiorari filed by the Solicitor


General on behalf of the Republic of the Philippines, seeking the reversal of

the April 3, 2009 Decision 5[1] of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 3,
of Baguio City in Spcl. Pro. Case No. 17-R.
The RTC granted the
petition6[2] filed by respondent Nora Fe Sagun entitled In re: Judicial
Declaration of Election of Filipino Citizenship, Nora Fe Sagun v. The Local
Civil Registrar of Baguio City.
The facts follow:
Respondent is the legitimate child of Albert S. Chan, a Chinese
national, and Marta Borromeo, a Filipino citizen. She was born on August
8, 1959 in Baguio City 7[3] and did not elect Philippine citizenship upon
reaching the age of majority. In 1992, at the age of 33 and after getting
married to Alex Sagun, she executed an Oath of Allegiance 8[4] to the
Republic of the Philippines. Said document was notarized by Atty. Cristeta
Leung on December 17, 1992, but was not recorded and registered with
the Local Civil Registrar of Baguio City.
Sometime in September 2005, respondent applied for a Philippine
passport. Her application was denied due to the citizenship of her father
and there being no annotation on her birth certificate that she has elected
Philippine citizenship. Consequently, she sought a judicial declaration of
her election of Philippine citizenship and prayed that the Local Civil
Registrar of Baguio City be ordered to annotate the same on her birth
certificate.
In her petition, respondent averred that she was raised as a
Filipino, speaks Ilocano and Tagalog fluently and attended local schools in
Baguio City, including Holy Family Academy and the Saint Louis University.
Respondent claimed that despite her part-Chinese ancestry, she always
thought of herself as a Filipino. She is a registered voter of Precinct No.
0419A of Barangay Manuel A. Roxas in Baguio City and had voted in local

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and national elections as shown in the Voter Certification 9[5] issued by


Atty. Maribelle Uminga of the Commission on Elections of Baguio City.

Whether or not an action or proceeding for judicial


declaration of Philippine citizenship is procedurally and
jurisdictionally permissible; and,

She asserted that by virtue of her positive acts, she has


effectively elected Philippine citizenship and such fact should be annotated
on her record of birth so as to entitle her to the issuance of a Philippine
passport.
On
entered its
authorized
mentioned
Prosecutor.

August 7, 2007, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG)


appearance as counsel for the Republic of the Philippines and
the City Prosecutor of Baguio City to appear in the above
case.10[6]
However, no comment was filed by the City

After conducting a hearing, the trial court rendered the assailed


Decision on April 3, 2009 granting the petition and declaring respondent a
Filipino citizen. The fallo of the decision reads:
WHEREFORE, the instant petition is hereby
GRANTED. Petitioner Nora Fe Sagun y Chan is hereby
DECLARED [a] FILIPINO CITIZEN, having chosen or
elected Filipino citizenship.
Upon payment of the required fees, the Local Civil
Registrar of Baguio City is hereby directed to annotate [on]
her birth certificate, this judicial declaration of Filipino
citizenship of said petitioner.
IT IS SO ORDERED.11[7]

Contending that the lower court erred in so ruling, petitioner,


through the OSG, directly filed the instant recourse via a petition for
review on certiorari before us. Petitioner raises the following issues:
I

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II
Whether or not an election of Philippine citizenship,
made twelve (12) years after reaching the age of majority,
is considered to have been made within a reasonable
time as interpreted by jurisprudence.12[8]

Petitioner argues that respondents petition before the RTC was


improper on two counts: for one, law and jurisprudence clearly
contemplate no judicial action or proceeding for the declaration of
Philippine citizenship; and for another, the pleaded registration of the oath
of allegiance with the local civil registry and its annotation on respondents
birth certificate are the ministerial duties of the registrar; hence, they
require no court order. Petitioner asserts that respondents petition before
the trial court seeking a judicial declaration of her election of Philippine
citizenship undeniably entails a determination and consequent declaration
of her status as a Filipino citizen which is not allowed under our legal
system. Petitioner also argues that if respondents intention in filing the
petition is ultimately to have her oath of allegiance registered with the
local civil registry and annotated on her birth certificate, then she does not
have to resort to court proceedings.
Petitioner further argues that even assuming that respondents
action is sanctioned, the trial court erred in finding respondent as having
duly elected Philippine citizenship since her purported election was not in
accordance with the procedure prescribed by law and was not made within
a reasonable time. Petitioner points out that while respondent executed
an oath of allegiance before a notary public, there was no affidavit of her
election of Philippine citizenship. Additionally, her oath of allegiance which
was not registered with the nearest local civil registry was executed when
she was already 33 years old or 12 years after she reached the age of
majority. Accordingly, it was made beyond the period allowed by law.
In her Comment,13[9] respondent avers that notwithstanding her
failure to formally elect Filipino citizenship upon reaching the age of

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majority, she has in fact effectively elected Filipino citizenship by her


performance of positive acts, among which is the exercise of the right of
suffrage. She claims that she had voted and participated in all local and
national elections from the time she was of legal age. She also insists that
she is a Filipino citizen despite the fact that her election of Philippine
citizenship was delayed and unregistered.
In reply,14[10] petitioner argues that the special circumstances
invoked by respondent, like her continuous and uninterrupted stay in the
Philippines, her having been educated in schools in the country, her choice
of staying here despite the naturalization of her parents as American
citizens, and her being a registered voter, cannot confer on her Philippine
citizenship as the law specifically provides the requirements for acquisition
of Philippine citizenship by election.

In the present case, petitioner assails the propriety of the decision


of the trial court declaring respondent a Filipino citizen after finding that
respondent was able to substantiate her election of Filipino citizenship.
Petitioner contends that respondents petition for judicial declaration of
election of Philippine citizenship is procedurally and jurisdictionally
impermissible. Verily, petitioner has raised questions of law as the
resolution of these issues rest solely on what the law provides given the
attendant circumstances.
In granting the petition, the trial court stated:
This Court believes that petitioner was able to fully
substantiate her petition regarding her election of Filipino
citizenship, and the Local Civil Registrar of Baguio City
should be ordered to annotate in her birth certificate her
election of Filipino citizenship. This Court adds that the
petitioners election of Filipino citizenship should be
welcomed by this country and people because the
petitioner has the choice to elect citizenship of powerful
countries like the United States of America and China,
however, petitioner has chosen Filipino citizenship because
she grew up in this country, and has learned to love the
Philippines. Her choice of electing Filipino citizenship is, in
fact, a testimony that many of our people still wish to live
in the Philippines, and are very proud of our country.

Essentially, the issues for our resolution are: (1) whether


respondents petition for declaration of election of Philippine citizenship is
sanctioned by the Rules of Court and jurisprudence; (2) whether
respondent has effectively elected Philippine citizenship in accordance with
the procedure prescribed by law.
The petition is meritorious.
At the outset, it is necessary to stress that a direct recourse to this
Court from the decisions, final resolutions and orders of the RTC may be
taken where only questions of law are raised or involved. There is a
question of law when the doubt or difference arises as to what the law is
on a certain state of facts, which does not call for an examination of the
probative value of the evidence presented by the parties-litigants. On the
other hand, there is a question of fact when the doubt or controversy
arises as to the truth or falsity of the alleged facts. Simply put, when there
is no dispute as to fact, the question of whether the conclusion drawn
therefrom is correct or not, is a question of law.15[11]

WHEREFORE, the instant petition is hereby


GRANTED. Petitioner Nora Fe Sagun y Chan is hereby
DECLARED as FILIPINO CITIZEN, having chosen or elected
Filipino citizenship.16[12]

For sure, this Court has consistently ruled that there is no


proceeding established by law, or the Rules for the judicial declaration of
the citizenship of an individual. 17[13] There is no specific legislation
authorizing the institution of a judicial proceeding to declare that a given
person is part of our citizenry.18[14] This was our ruling in Yung Uan Chu

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v. Republic19[15] citing the early case of Tan v. Republic of the


Philippines,20[16] where we clearly stated:
Under our laws, there can be no action or
proceeding for the judicial declaration of the citizenship of
an individual. Courts of justice exist for settlement of
justiciable controversies, which imply a given right, legally
demandable and enforceable, an act or omission violative
of said right, and a remedy, granted or sanctioned by law,
for said breach of right. As an incident only of the
adjudication of the rights of the parties to a controversy,
the court may pass upon, and make a pronouncement
relative to their status. Otherwise, such a pronouncement
is beyond judicial power. x x x

Clearly, it was erroneous for the trial court to make a specific


declaration of respondents Filipino citizenship as such pronouncement was
not within the courts competence.
As to the propriety of respondents petition seeking a judicial
declaration of election of Philippine citizenship, it is imperative that we
determine whether respondent is required under the law to make an
election and if so, whether she has complied with the procedural
requirements in the election of Philippine citizenship.
When respondent was born on August 8, 1959, the governing
charter was the 1935 Constitution, which declares as citizens of the
Philippines those whose mothers are citizens of the Philippines and elect
Philippine citizenship upon reaching the age of majority. Sec. 1, Art. IV of
the 1935 Constitution reads:
Section 1.
Philippines:
xxxx

The following are citizens of the

(4) Those whose mothers are citizens of the


Philippines and, upon reaching the age of majority, elect
Philippine citizenship.

Under Article IV, Section 1(4) of the 1935 Constitution, the


citizenship of a legitimate child born of a Filipino mother and an alien
father followed the citizenship of the father, unless, upon reaching the age
of majority, the child elected Philippine citizenship. The right to elect
Philippine citizenship was recognized in the 1973 Constitution when it
provided that [t]hose who elect Philippine citizenship pursuant to the
provisions of the Constitution of nineteen hundred and thirty-five are
citizens of the Philippines. 21[17] Likewise, this recognition by the 1973
Constitution was carried over to the 1987 Constitution which states that
[t]hose born before January 17, 1973 of Filipino mothers, who elect
Philippine citizenship upon reaching the age of majority are Philippine
citizens.22[18] It should be noted, however, that the 1973 and 1987
Constitutional provisions on the election of Philippine citizenship should not
be understood as having a curative effect on any irregularity in the
acquisition of citizenship for those covered by the 1935 Constitution. If
the citizenship of a person was subject to challenge under the old charter,
it remains subject to challenge under the new charter even if the judicial
challenge had not been commenced before the effectivity of the new
Constitution.23[19]
Being a legitimate child, respondents citizenship followed that of
her father who is Chinese, unless upon reaching the age of majority, she
elects Philippine citizenship. It is a settled rule that only legitimate
children follow the citizenship of the father and that illegitimate children
are under the parental authority of the mother and follow her nationality. 24
[20] An illegitimate child of Filipina need not perform any act to confer
upon him all the rights and privileges attached to citizens of the
Philippines; he automatically becomes a citizen himself.25[21] But in the

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case of respondent, for her to be considered a Filipino citizen, she must


have validly elected Philippine citizenship upon reaching the age of
majority.
Commonwealth Act (C.A.) No. 625, 26[22] enacted pursuant to
Section 1(4), Article IV of the 1935 Constitution, prescribes the procedure
that should be followed in order to make a valid election of Philippine
citizenship, to wit:
Section 1. The option to elect Philippine citizenship
in accordance with subsection (4), [S]ection 1, Article IV,
of the Constitution shall be expressed in a statement to be
signed and sworn to by the party concerned before any
officer authorized to administer oaths, and shall be filed
with the nearest civil registry.
The said party shall
accompany the aforesaid statement with the oath of
allegiance to the Constitution and the Government of the
Philippines.
Based on the foregoing, the statutory formalities of electing
Philippine citizenship are: (1) a statement of election under oath; (2) an
oath of allegiance to the Constitution and Government of the Philippines;
and (3) registration of the statement of election and of the oath with the
nearest civil registry.27[23]
Furthermore, no election of Philippine citizenship shall be accepted
for registration under C.A. No. 625 unless the party exercising the right of
election has complied with the requirements of the Alien Registration Act
of 1950.
In other words, he should first be required to register as an
alien.28[24]
Pertinently, the person electing Philippine citizenship is
required to file a petition with the Commission of Immigration and
Deportation (now Bureau of Immigration) for the cancellation of his alien
certificate of registration based on his aforesaid election of Philippine
citizenship and said Office will initially decide, based on the evidence
presented the validity or invalidity of said election. 29[25] Afterwards, the

same is elevated to the Ministry (now Department) of Justice for final


determination and review.30[26]
It should be stressed that there is no specific statutory or
procedural rule which authorizes the direct filing of a petition for
declaration of election of Philippine citizenship before the courts. The
special proceeding provided under Section 2, Rule 108 of the Rules of
Court on Cancellation or Correction of Entries in the Civil Registry, merely
allows any interested party to file an action for cancellation or correction of
entry in the civil registry, i.e., election, loss and recovery of citizenship,
which is not the relief prayed for by the respondent.
Be that as it may, even if we set aside this procedural infirmity, still
the trial courts conclusion that respondent duly elected Philippine
citizenship is erroneous since the records undisputably show that
respondent failed to comply with the legal requirements for a valid
election. Specifically, respondent had not executed a sworn statement of
her election of Philippine citizenship. The only documentary evidence
submitted by respondent in support of her claim of alleged election was
her oath of allegiance, executed 12 years after she reached the age of
majority, which was unregistered. As aptly pointed out by the petitioner,
even assuming arguendo that respondents oath of allegiance suffices, its
execution was not within a reasonable time after respondent attained the
age of majority and was not registered with the nearest civil registry as
required under Section 1 of C.A. No. 625. The phrase reasonable time
has been interpreted to mean that the election should be made generally
within three (3) years from reaching the age of majority.31[27] Moreover,
there was no satisfactory explanation proffered by respondent for the
delay and the failure to register with the nearest local civil registry.
Based on the foregoing circumstances, respondent clearly failed to
comply with the procedural requirements for a valid and effective election
of Philippine citizenship. Respondent cannot assert that the exercise of
suffrage and the participation in election exercises constitutes a positive
act of election of Philippine citizenship since the law specifically lays down
the requirements for acquisition of citizenship by election. The mere

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exercise of suffrage, continuous and uninterrupted stay in the Philippines,


and other similar acts showing exercise of Philippine citizenship cannot
take the place of election of Philippine citizenship. Hence, respondent
cannot now be allowed to seek the intervention of the court to confer upon
her Philippine citizenship when clearly she has failed to validly elect
Philippine citizenship.
As we held in Ching,32[28] the prescribed
procedure in electing Philippine citizenship is certainly not a tedious and
painstaking process. All that is required of the elector is to execute an
affidavit of election of Philippine citizenship and, thereafter, file the same
with the nearest civil registry. Having failed to comply with the foregoing
requirements, respondents petition before the trial court must be denied.
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The Decision dated April
3, 2009 of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 3 of Baguio City in Spcl. Pro.
Case No. 17-R is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The petition for judicial
declaration of election of Philippine citizenship filed by respondent Nora Fe
Sagun is hereby DISMISSED for lack of merit.
No costs.

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