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Republic vs.

Lim
In opposing the petition of herein respondent to change her
citizenship from Chinese to Filipino the Solicitor General cited
Article IV, Section 1(3) of the 1935 Constitution, which provides that
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.
Likewise, the Republic invokes the provision in Section 1 of
Commonwealth Act No. 625, that legitimate children born of Filipino
mothers may elect Philippine citizenship by expressing such intention
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.
Plainly, the above constitutional and statutory requirements of
electing Filipino citizenship apply only to legitimate children. These do
not apply in the case of respondent who was concededly an illegitimate
child, considering that her Chinese father and Filipino mother were
never married. As such, she was not required to comply with said
constitutional and statutory requirements to become a Filipino
citizen. By being an illegitimate child of a Filipino mother, respondent
automatically became a Filipino upon birth. Stated differently, she is a
Filipino since birth without having to elect Filipino citizenship when she
reached the age of majority.
Tecson vs. COMELEC
Petitioner would have it that even if Allan F. Poe were a Filipino
citizen, he could not have transmitted his citizenship to respondent FPJ,
the latter being an illegitimate child. Petitioner contended that as an
illegitimate child, FPJ so followed the citizenship of his mother, Bessie
Kelley, an American citizen, basing his stand on the ruling of this Court
in Morano vs. Vivo, citing Chiongbian vs. de Leonand Serra vs.
Republic.
Where jurisprudence regarded an illegitimate child as taking
after the citizenship of its mother, it did so for the benefit the child. It
was to ensure a Filipino nationality for the illegitimate child of an alien
father in line with the assumption that the mother had custody, would
exercise parental authority and had the duty to support her illegitimate
child. It was to help the child, not to prejudice or discriminate against
him.

The fact of the matter perhaps the most significant


consideration is that the 1935 Constitution, the fundamental law
prevailing on the day, month and year of birth of respondent FPJ, can
never be more explicit than it is. Providing neither conditions nor
distinctions, the Constitution states that among the citizens of the
Philippines are those whose fathers are citizens of the
Philippines. There utterly is no cogent justification to prescribe
conditions or distinctions where there clearly are none provided.
In re Mallare
The witnesses, all natives of Macalelon, who had personal
knowledge of the person, birth and residency of both Ana Mallare and
her son Esteban, were one in their declaration that Ana Mallare is a
Tagalog who had continuously resided in the place, and that Esteban,
her son, was reputedly born out of wedlock. Such declarations
constitute admissible evidence of the birth and illegitimacy of Esteban
Mallare. The public reputation in Macalelon that Esteban was Ana's
natural child, testified to by the witness, would constitute proof of the
illegitimacy of the former. Besides, if Estaban were really born out of
legal union, it is highly improbable that he would be keeping the
surname "Mallare" after his mother, instead of adopting that of his
father.
Esteban Mallare, natural child of Ana Mallare, a Filipina, is
therefore himself a Filipino, and no other act would be necessary to
confer on him all the rights and privileges attached to Philippine
citizenship (U.S. vs. Ong Tianse, 29 Phil. 332; Santos Co vs.
Government of the Philippine Islands, 42 Phil. 543; Serra vs. Republic,
L-4223, May 12, 1952; Sy Quimsuan vs. Republic, L-4693, Feb. 16,
1953; Pitallano vs. Republic, L-5111, June 28, 1954). Neither could any
act taken on the erroneous belief that he is a non-Filipino divest him of
the citizenship privileges to which he is rightfully entitled.
And even assuming arguendo that Ana Mallare were legally
married to an alien, Esteban's exercise of the right of suffrage when he
came of age, constitutes a positive act of election of Philippine
citizenship. It has been established that Esteban Mallare was a
registered voter as of April 14, 1928 and that as early as 1925 (when
he was about 22 years old), Esteban was already participating in the
elections and campaigning for certain candidate. These acts are
sufficient to show his preference for Philippine citizenship. Indeed, it
would be unfair to expect the presentation of a formal deed to that
effect considering that prior to the enactment of Commonwealth Act
625 on June 7, 1941, no particular proceeding was required to exercise
the option to elect Philippine citizenship, granted to the proper party

by Section 1, subsection 4, Article IV of the 1935 Philippine


Constitution.
In re: Vicente Ching
Can a legitimate child born under the 1935 Constitution of a Filipino
mother and an alien father validly elect Philippine citizenship fourteen
(14) years after he has reached the age of majority? This is the
question sought to be resolved in the present case involving the
application for admission to the Philippine Bar of Vicente D. Ching.
In the present case, Ching, having been born on 11 April 1964, was
already thirty-five (35) years old when he complied with the
requirements of C.A. No. 625 on 15 June 1999, or over fourteen (14)
years after he had reached the age of majority. Based on the
interpretation of the phrase "upon reaching the age of majority,"
Ching's election was clearly beyond, by any reasonable yardstick, the
allowable period within which to exercise the privilege. It should be
stated, in this connection, that the special circumstances invoked by
Ching, i.e., his continuous and uninterrupted stay in the Philippines and
his being a certified public accountant, a registered voter and a former
elected public official, cannot vest in him Philippine citizenship as the
law specifically lays down the requirements for acquisition of Philippine
citizenship by election.
Definitely, the so-called special circumstances cannot constitute what
Ching erroneously labels as informal election of citizenship. Ching
cannot find a refuge in the case of In re: Florencio Mallare. The facts
and circumstances obtaining therein are very different from those in
the present case, thus, negating its applicability. First,
Esteban Mallare was born before the effectivity of the 1935
Constitution and the enactment of C.A. No. 625. Hence, the
requirements and procedures prescribed under the 1935 Constitution
and C.A. No. 625 for electing Philippine citizenship would not be
applicable to him. Second, the ruling in Mallare was an obiter since, as
correctly pointed out by the OSG, it was not necessary for Esteban
Mallare to elect Philippine citizenship because he was already a
Filipino, he being a natural child of a Filipino mother.
Ching failed to validly elect Philippine citizenship. The span of fourteen
(14) years that lapsed from the time he reached the age of majority
until he finally expressed his intention to elect Philippine citizenship is
clearly way beyond the contemplation of the requirement of electing
"upon reaching the age of majority." Moreover, Ching has offered no
reason why he delayed his election of Philippine citizenship. 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. Ching's unreasonable and
unexplained delay in making his election cannot be simply glossed
over.
Side note: Philippine citizenship can never be treated like a commodity
that can be claimed when needed and suppressed when convenient.
One who is privileged to elect Philippine citizenship has only an
inchoate right to such citizenship. As such, he should avail of the right
with fervor, enthusiasm and promptitude. Sadly, in this case, Ching
slept on his opportunity to elect Philippine citizenship and, as a result.
this golden privilege slipped away from his grasp.
Co vs. HRET
There is no dispute that the respondent's mother was a natural born
Filipina at the time of her marriage. Crucial to this case is the issue of
whether or not the respondent elected or chose to be a Filipino citizen.
Election becomes material because Section 2 of Article IV of the
Constitution accords natural born status to children born of Filipino
mothers before January 17, 1973, if they elect citizenship upon
reaching the age of majority.
To expect the respondent to have formally or in writing elected
citizenship when he came of age is to ask for the unnatural and
unnecessary. The reason is obvious. He was already a citizen. Not only
was his mother a natural born citizen but his father had been
naturalized when the respondent was only nine (9) years old. He could
not have divined when he came of age that in 1973 and 1987 the
Constitution would be amended to require him to have filed a sworn
statement in 1969 electing citizenship inspite of his already having
been a citizen since 1957. In 1969, election through a sworn statement
would have been an unusual and unnecessary procedure for one who
had been a citizen since he was nine years old.
The private respondent did more than merely exercise his right of
suffrage. He has established his life here in the Philippines. For those in
the peculiar situation of the respondent who cannot be expected to
have elected citizenship as they were already citizens, we apply the In
Re Mallare rule.

The respondent was born in an outlying rural town of Samar where


there are no alien enclaves and no racial distinctions. The respondent
has lived the life of a Filipino since birth. His father applied for
naturalization when the child was still a small boy. He is a Roman
Catholic. He has worked for a sensitive government agency. His
profession requires citizenship for taking the examinations and getting
a license. He has participated in political exercises as a Filipino and has
always considered himself a Filipino citizen. There is nothing in the
records to show that he does not embrace Philippine customs and
values, nothing to indicate any tinge of alien-ness no acts to show that
this country is not his natural homeland. The mass of voters of
Northern Samar are frilly aware of Mr. Ong's parentage. They should
know him better than any member of this Court will ever know him.
They voted by overwhelming numbers to have him represent them in
Congress. Because of his acts since childhood, they have considered
him as a Filipino.
The filing of sworn statement or formal declaration is a requirement for
those who still have to elect citizenship. For those already
Filipinos when the time to elect came up, there are acts of deliberate
choice which cannot be less binding. Entering a profession open only to
Filipinos, serving in public office where citizenship is a qualification,
voting during election time, running for public office, and other
categorical acts of similar nature are themselves formal manifestations
of choice for these persons.
An election of Philippine citizenship presupposes that the person
electing is an alien. Or his status is doubtful because he is a national of
two countries. There is no doubt in this case about Mr. Ong's being a
Filipino when he turned twenty-one (21).