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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. DE LA ROSA, PRESIDING JUDGE
OF THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, BRANCH 28,
MANILA and JUAN G. FRIVALDO, respondents.
G.R. No. 105715 June 6, 1994
RAUL R. LEE, petitioner,
vs.

COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and JUAN G.


FRIVALDO, respondents.
G.R. No. 105735 June 6, 1994
RAUL R. LEE, petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and JUAN G.
FRIVALDO, respondents.
The Solicitor General for petitioner in G.R. No. 104654.
Yolando F. Lim counsel for private respondent.
QUIASON, J.:
In Frivaldo v. Commission on Elections, 174 SCRA 245
(1989), this Court declared private respondent, Juan G.

Frivaldo, an alien and therefore disqualified from serving as


Governor of the Province of Sorsogon.
Once more, the citizenship of private respondent is put in
issue in
these petitions docketed as G.R. No.104654 and G.R. No.
105715 and G.R. No. 105735. The petitions were
consolidated since they principally involve the same issues
and parties.
I
G.R. No. 104654
This is a petition for certiorari under Rule 45 of the Revised
Rules of Court in relation to R.A. No. 5440 and Section 25
of the Interim Rules, filed by the Republic of the
Philippines: (1) to annul the Decision dated February 27,
1992 of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 28, Manila, in SP

Proc. No. 91-58645, which re-admitted private respondent


as a Filipino citizen under the Revised Naturalization Law
(C.A. No. 63 as amended by C.A. No. 473); and (2) to
nullify the oath of allegiance taken by private respondent
on February 27, 1992.
On September 20, 1991, petitioner filed a petition for
naturalization captioned: "In the Matter of Petition of Juan
G. Frivaldo to be Re-admitted as a Citizen of the
Philippines under Commonwealth Act No. 63" (Rollo, pp.
17-23).
In an Order dated October 7, 1991 respondent Judge set
the petition for hearing on March 16, 1992, and directed the
publication of the said order and petition in the Official
Gazette and a newspaper of general circulation, for three
consecutive weeks, the last publication of which should be

at least six months before the said date of hearing. The


order further required the posting of a copy thereof and the
petition in a conspicuous place in the Office of the Clerk of
Court of the Regional Trial Court, Manila (Rollo, pp. 24-26).
On January 14, 1992, private respondent filed a "Motion to
Set Hearing Ahead of Schedule," where he manifested his
intention to run for public office in the May 1992 elections.
He alleged that the deadline for filing the certificate of
candidacy was March 15, one day before the scheduled
hearing. He asked that the hearing set on March 16 be
cancelled and be moved to January 24 (Rollo, pp. 27-28).
The motion was granted in an Order dated January 24,
1992, wherein the hearing of the petition was moved to
February 21, 1992. The said order was not published nor a
copy thereof posted.

On February 21, the hearing proceeded with private


respondent as the sole witness. He submitted the following
documentary evidence: (1) Affidavit of Publication of the
Order dated October 7, 1991 issued by the publisher of
The Philippine Star (Exh. "A"); (2) Certificate of Publication
of the order issued
by the National Printing Office (Exh. "B"); (3) Notice of
Hearing of Petition (Exh. "B-1"); (4) Photocopy of a Citation
issued by the National Press Club with private
respondents picture (Exhs. "C" and "C-2"); (5) Certificate
of Appreciation issued by the Rotary Club of Davao (Exh.
"D"); (6) Photocopy
of a Plaque of Appreciation issued by the Republican
College, Quezon City (Exh. "E"); (7) Photocopy of a Plaque
of Appreciation issued by the Davao-Bicol Association
(Exh. "F"); (8) Certification issued by the Records

Management and Archives Office that the record of birth of


private respondent was not on file (Exh. "G"); and (8)
Certificate of Naturalization issued by the United States
District Court (Exh. "H").
Six days later, on February 27, respondent Judge rendered
the assailed Decision, disposing as follows:
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. Petitioner
JUAN G. FRIVALDO, is re-admitted as a citizen of
the Republic of the Philippines by naturalization,
thereby vesting upon him, all the rights and
privileges of a natural born Filipino citizen (Rollo, p.
33).
On the same day, private respondent was allowed to take
his oath of allegiance before respondent Judge (Rollo, p.
34).

On March 16, a "Motion for Leave of Court to Intervene


and to Admit Motion for Reconsideration" was filed by
Quiterio H. Hermo. He alleged that the proceedings were
tainted with jurisdictional defects, and prayed for a new trial
to conform with the requirements of the Naturalization Law.
After receiving a copy of the Decision on March 18, 1992,
the Solicitor General interposed a timely appeal directly
with the Supreme Court.
G.R. No. 105715
This is a petition for certiorari, mandamus with injunction
under Rule 65 of the Revised Rules of Court in relation to
Section 5(2) of Article VIII of the Constitution with prayer for
temporary restraining order filed by Raul R. Lee against the
Commission on Elections (COMELEC) and private
respondent, to annul the en banc Resolution of the

COMELEC, which dismissed his petition docketed as SPC


Case No. 92-273. The said petition sought to annul the
proclamation of private respondent as Governor-elect of
the Province of Sorsogon.
Petitioner was the official candidate of the Laban ng
Demokratikong Pilipino (LDP) for the position of governor
of the Province of Sorsogon in the May 1992 elections.
Private respondent was the official candidate of the LakasNational Union of Christian Democrats (Lakas-NUCD) for
the same position.
Private respondent was proclaimed winner on May 22,
1992.
On June 1, petitioner filed a petition with the COMELEC to
annul the proclamation of private respondent as Governorelect of the Province of Sorsogon on the grounds: (1) that

the proceedings and composition of the Provincial Board of


Canvassers were not in accordance with law; (2) that
private respondent is an alien, whose grant of Philippine
citizenship is being questioned by the State in G.R. No.
104654; and (3) that private respondent is not a duly
registered voter. Petitioner further prayed that the votes
case in favor of private respondent be considered as stray
votes, and that he, on the basis of the remaining valid
votes cast, be proclaimed winner.
On June 10, the COMELEC issued the questioned en
banc resolution which dismissed the petition for having
been filed out of time, citing Section 19 of R.A. No. 7166.
Said section provides that the period to appeal a ruling of
the board of canvassers on questions affecting its
composition or proceedings was three days.

In this petition, petitioner argues that the COMELEC acted


with grave abuse of discretion when it ignored the
fundamental issue of private respondents disqualification
in the guise of technicality.
Petitioner claims that the inclusion of private respondents
name in the list of registered voters in Sta. Magdalena,
Sorsogon was invalid because at the time he registered as
a voter in 1987, he was as American citizen.
Petitioner further claims that the grant of Filipino citizenship
to private respondent is not yet conclusive because the
case is still on appeal before us.
Petitioner prays for: (1) the annulment of private
respondents proclamation as Governor of the Province of
Sorsogon; (2) the deletion of private respondents name
from the list of candidates for the position of governor; (3)

the proclamation of the governor-elect based on the


remaining votes, after the exclusion of the votes for private
respondent; (4) the issuance of a temporary restraining
order to enjoin private respondent from taking his oath and
assuming office; and (5) the issuance of a writ
of mandamus to compel the COMELEC to resolve the
pending disqualification case docketed as SPA Case No.
92-016, against private respondent.
G.R. No. 105735
This is a petition for mandamus under Rule 65 of the
Revised Rules of Court in relation to Section 5(2) of Article
VIII of the Constitution, with prayer for temporary
restraining order. The parties herein are identical with the
parties in G.R. No. 105715.

In substance, petitioner prays for the COMELECs


immediate resolution of SPA Case No. 92-016, which is a
petition for the cancellation of private respondents
certificate of candidacy filed on March 23, 1992 by Quiterio
H. Hermo, the intervenor in G.R. No. 104654 (Rollo, p. 18).
The petition for cancellation alleged: (1) that private
respondent is an American citizen, and therefore ineligible
to run as candidate for the position of governor of the
Province of Sorsogon; (2) that the trial courts decision
re-admitting private respondent as a Filipino citizen was
fraught with legal infirmities rendering it null and void; (3)
that assuming the decision to be valid, private respondents
oath of allegiance, which was taken on the same day the
questioned decision was promulgated, violated Republic
Act No. 530, which provides for a two-year waiting period
before the oath of allegiance can be taken by the applicant;

and (4) that the hearing of the petition on February 27,


1992, was held less than four months from the date of the
last publication of the order and petition. The petition
prayed for the cancellation of private respondents
certificate of candidacy and the deletion of his name from
the list of registered voters in Sta. Magdalena, Sorsogon.
In his answer to the petition for cancellation, private
respondent denied the allegations therein and averred: (1)
that Quiterio H. Hermo, not being a candidate for the same
office for which private respondent was aspiring, had no
standing to file the petition; (2) that the decision readmitting him to Philippine citizenship was presumed to be
valid; and (3) that no case had been filed to exclude his
name as a registered voter.

Raul R. Lee intervened in the petition for cancellation of


private respondents certificate of candidacy (Rollo, p. 37.).
On May 13, 1992, said intervenor urged the COMELEC to
decide the petition for cancellation, citing Section 78 of the
Omnibus Election Code, which provides that all petitions on
matters involving the cancellation of a certificate of
candidacy must be decided "not later than fifteen days
before election," and the case of Alonto v. Commission on
Election, 22 SCRA 878 (1968), which ruled that all preproclamation controversies should be summarily decided
(Rollo,
p. 50).
The COMELEC concedes that private respondent has not
yet reacquired his Filipino citizenship because the decision
granting him the same is not yet final and executory (Rollo,

p. 63). However, it submits that the issue of disqualification


of a candidate is not among the grounds allowed in a
pre-proclamation controversy, like SPC Case No. 92-273.
Moreover, the said petition was filed out of time.
The COMELEC contends that the preparation for the
elections occupied much of its time, thus its failure to
immediately resolve SPA Case No. 92-016. It argues that
under Section 5 of Rule 25 of the COMELEC Rules of
Procedure, it is excused from deciding a disqualification
case within the period provided by law for reasons beyond
its control. It also assumed that the same action was
subsequently abandoned by petitioner when he filed before
it a petition for quo warranto docketed as EPC No. 92-35.
The quo warranto proceedings sought private respondents
disqualification because of his American citizenship.

II
G.R. No. 104654
We shall first resolve the issue concerning private
respondents citizenship.
In his comment to the States appeal of the decision
granting him Philippine citizenship in G.R. No. 104654,
private respondent alleges that the precarious political
atmosphere in the country during Martial Law compelled
him to seek political asylum in the United States, and
eventually to renounce his Philippine citizenship.
He claims that his petition for naturalization was his only
available remedy for his reacquisition of Philippine
citizenship. He tried to reacquire his Philippine citizenship
through repatriation and direct act of Congress. However,
he was later informed that repatriation proceedings were

limited to army deserters or Filipino women who had lost


their citizenship by reason of their marriage to foreigners
(Rollo, pp. 49-50). His request to Congress for sponsorship
of a bill allowing him to reacquire his Philippine citizenship
failed to materialize, notwithstanding the endorsement of
several members of the House of Representatives in his
favor (Rollo, p. 51). He attributed this to the maneuvers of
his political rivals.
He also claims that the re-scheduling of the hearing of the
petition to an earlier date, without publication, was made
without objection from the Office of the Solicitor General.
He makes mention that on the date of the hearing, the
court was jam-packed.
It is private respondents posture that there was substantial
compliance with the law and that the public was well-

informed of his petition for naturalization due to the


publicity given by the media.
Anent the issue of the mandatory two-year waiting period
prior to the taking of the oath of allegiance, private
respondent theorizes that the rationale of the law imposing
the waiting period is to grant the public an opportunity to
investigate the background of the applicant and to oppose
the grant of Philippine citizenship if there is basis to do so.
In his case, private respondent alleges that such
requirement may be dispensed with, claiming that his life,
both private and public, was well-known. Private
respondent cites his achievement as a freedom fighter and
a former Governor of the Province of Sorsogon for six
terms.

The appeal of the Solicitor General in behalf of the


Republic of the Philippines is meritorious. The
naturalization proceedings in SP Proc. No. 91-58645 was
full of procedural flaws, rendering the decision an anomaly.
Private respondent, having opted to reacquire Philippine
citizenship thru naturalization under the Revised
Naturalization Law, is duty bound to follow the procedure
prescribed by the said law. It is not for an applicant to
decide for himself and to select the requirements which he
believes, even sincerely, are applicable to his case and
discard those which be believes are inconvenient or merely
of nuisance value. The law does not distinguish between
an applicant who was formerly a Filipino citizen and one
who was never such a citizen. It does not provide a special
procedure for the reacquisition of Philippine citizenship by
former Filipino citizens akin to the repatriation of a woman

who had lost her Philippine citizenship by reason of her


marriage to an alien.
The trial court never acquired jurisdiction to hear the
petition for naturalization of private respondent. The
proceedings conducted, the decision rendered and the
oath of allegiance taken therein, are null and void for failure
to comply with the publication and posting requirements
under the Revised Naturalization Law.
Under Section 9 of the said law, both the petition for
naturalization and the order setting it for hearing must be
published once a week for three consecutive weeks in the
Official Gazette and a newspaper of general circulation
respondent cites his achievements as a freedom fighter
and a former Governor of the Province of Sorsogon for six
terms.

The appeal of the Solicitor General in behalf of the


Republic of
the Philippines is meritorious. The naturalization
proceedings in SP Proc.
No. 91-58645 was full of procedural flaws, rendering the
decision an anomaly.
Private respondent, having opted to reacquire Philippine
citizenship thru naturalization under the Revised
Naturalization Law, is duty bound to follow the procedure
prescribed by the said law. It is not for an applicant to
decide for himself and to select the requirements which he
believes, even sincerely, are applicable to his case and
discard those which he believes are inconvenient or merely
of nuisance value. The law does not distinguish between
an applicant who was formerly a Filipino citizen and one
who was never such a citizen. It does not provide a special

procedure for the reacquisition of Philippine citizenship by


former Filipino citizens akin to the repatriation of a woman
who had lost her Philippine citizenship by reason of her
marriage to an alien.
The trial court never acquired jurisdiction to hear the
petition for naturalization of private respondent. The
proceedings conducted, the decision rendered and the
oath of allegiance taken therein, are null and void for failure
to comply with the publication and posting requirements
under the Revised Naturalization Law.
Under Section 9 of the said law, both the petition for
naturalization and the order setting it for hearing must be
published once a week for three consecutive weeks in the
Official Gazette and a newspaper of general circulation.
Compliance therewith is jurisdictional (Po Yi Bo v. Republic,

205 SCRA 400 [1992]). Moreover, the publication and


posting of the petition and the order must be in its full test
for the court to acquire jurisdiction (Sy v. Republic, 55
SCRA 724 [1974]).
The petition for naturalization lacks several allegations
required by Sections 2 and 6 of the Revised Naturalization
Law, particularly: (1) that the petitioner is of good moral
character; (2) that he resided continuously in the
Philippines for at least ten years; (3) that he is able to
speak and write English and any one of the principal
dialects; (4) that he will reside continuously in the
Philippines from the date of the filing of the petition until his
admission to Philippine citizenship; and (5) that he has filed
a declaration of intention or if he is excused from said filing,
the justification therefor.

The absence of such allegations is fatal to the petition (Po


Yi Bi v. Republic, 205 SCRA 400 [1992]).
Likewise, the petition is not supported by the affidavit of at
least two credible persons who vouched for the good moral
character of private respondent as required by Section 7 of
the Revised Naturalization Law. Private respondent also
failed to attach a copy of his certificate of arrival to the
petition as required by Section 7 of the said law.
The proceedings of the trial court was marred by the
following irregularities: (1) the hearing of the petition was
set ahead of the scheduled date of hearing, without a
publication of the order advancing the date of hearing, and
the petition itself; (2) the petition was heard within six
months from the last publication of the petition; (3)
petitioner was allowed to take his oath of allegiance before

the finality of the judgment; and (4) petitioner took his oath
of allegiance without observing the two-year waiting period.
A decision in a petition for naturalization becomes final only
after 30 days from its promulgation and, insofar as the
Solicitor General is concerned, that period is counted from
the date of his receipt of the copy of the decision (Republic
v. Court of First Instance of Albay, 60 SCRA 195 [1974]).
Section 1 of R.A. No. 530 provides that no decision
granting citizenship in naturalization proceedings shall be
executory until after two years from its promulgation in
order to be able to observe if: (1) the applicant has left the
country; (2) the applicant has dedicated himself
continuously to a lawful calling or profession; (3) the
applicant has not been convicted of any offense or violation
of government promulgated rules; and (4) the applicant has

committed any act prejudicial to the interest of the country


or contrary to government announced policies.
Even discounting the provisions of R.A. No. 530, the courts
cannot implement any decision granting the petition for
naturalization before its finality.
G.R. No. 105715
In view of the finding in G.R. No. 104654 that private
respondent is not yet a Filipino citizen, we have to grant the
petition in G.R. No. 105715 after treating it as a petition
for certiorari instead of a petition for mandamus. Said
petition assails the en banc resolution of the COMELEC,
dismissing SPC Case No. 92-273, which in turn is a
petition to annul private respondents proclamation on three
grounds: 1) that the proceedings and composition of the
Provincial Board of Canvassers were not in accordance

with law; 2) that private respondent is an alien, whose grant


of Filipino citizenship is being questioned by the State in
G.R. No. 104654; and 3) that private respondent is not a
duly registered voter. The COMELEC dismissed the
petition on the grounds that it was filed outside the threeday period for questioning the proceedings
and composition of the Provincial Board of Canvassers
under Section 19 of R.A. No. 7166.
The COMELEC failed to resolve the more serious issue
the disqualification of private respondent to be proclaimed
Governor on grounds of lack of Filipino citizenship. In this
aspect, the petition is one for quo warranto. In Frivaldo v.
Commission on Elections, 174 SCRA 245 (1989), we held
that a petition for quo warranto, questioning the
respondents title and seeking to prevent him from holding
office as Governor for alienage, is not covered by the ten-

day period for appeal prescribed in Section 253 of the


Omnibus Election Code. Furthermore, we explained that
"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; once any of the required qualification is lost,
his title may be seasonably challenged."
Petitioners argument, that to unseat him will frustrate the
will of the electorate, is untenable. Both the Local
Government Code and the Constitution require that only
Filipino citizens can run and be elected to public office. We
can only surmise that the electorate, at the time they voted
for private respondent, was of the mistaken belief that he
had legally reacquired Filipino citizenship.

Petitioner in G.R. No. 105715, prays that the votes cast in


favor of private respondent be considered stray and that
he, being the candidate obtaining the second highest
number of votes, be declared winner. In Labo, Jr. v.
COMELEC, 176 SCRA 1 (1989), we ruled that where the
candidate who obtained the highest number of votes is
later declared to be disqualified to hold the office to which
he was elected, the candidate who garnered the second
highest number of votes is not entitled to be declared
winner (See also Geronimo v. Ramos, 136 SCRA 435
[1985]; Topacio v. Paredes, 23 Phil. 238 [1912]).
G.R. No. 105735
In view of the discussions of G.R. No. 104654 and G.R.
No. 105715, we find the petition in G.R. No. 105735 moot
and academic.

WHEREFORE, the petitions in G.R. No. 104654 and G.R.


No. 105715 are both GRANTED while the petition in G.R.
No. 105735 is DISMISSED. Private respondent is declared
NOT a citizen of the Philippines and therefore
DISQUALIFIED from continuing to serve as GOVERNOR
of the Province of Sorsogon. He is ordered to VACATE his
office and to SURRENDER the same to the Vice-Governor
of the Province of Sorsogon once this decision becomes
final and executory. No pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED.
Feliciano, Padilla, Bidin, Regalado, Davide, Jr., Romero,
Bellosillo, Melo, Puno, Vitug and Kapunan, JJ., concur.
Narvasa, C.J. and Cruz, J., took no part.

Maquiling v. COMELEC ( Sereno, April 16, 2013)Facts:

Respondent Arnado is a natural born Filipino citizen.


3
However, as a consequence of his
subsequentnaturalization as a citizen of the United States
of America, he lost his Filipino citizenship. Arnado appliedf
or repatriation under Republic Act (R.A.) No. 9225before
the Consulate General of the Philippines in SanFranciso,
USA and took the Oath of Allegiance to theRepublic of the
Philippines on 10 July 2008.
4
On thesame day an Order of Approval of his
CitizenshipRetention and Re-acquisition was issued in his
favor.
5


On 3 April 2009 Arnado again took his Oath of Allegiancet
o the Republic and executed an Affidavit ofRenunciation of
his foreign citizenship, which states:

On 30 November 2009, Arnado filed his Certificate ofCand


idacy for Mayor of Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte,On 28
April 2010, respondent Linog C. Balua (Balua),another
mayoralty candidate, filed a petition to
disqualify Arnado and/or to cancel his certificate of candida
cy formunicipal mayor of Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte
inconnection with the 10 May 2010 local and
nationalelections.
9

Respondent Balua contended that Arnado is not aresident


of Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte and that he is aforeigner,

attaching thereto a certification issued by theBureau of


Immigration dated 23 April 2010 indicating thenationality of
Arnado as "USA-American."
10
To furtherbolster his claim of Arnados US citizenship,
Baluapresented in his Memorandum a computergeneratedtravel record
11
dated 03 December 2009 indicating that Arnado has been
using his US Passport No. 057782700in entering and
departing the Philippines.

On 30 April 2010, the COMELEC (First Division) issuedan


Order
13
requiring the respondent to personally file hisanswer and
memorandum within three (3) days fromreceipt thereof.

After Arnado failed to answer the petition, Balua movedto


declare him in default and to present evidence ex-parte.

Neither motion was acted upon, having been overtakenby


the 2010 elections where Arnado garnered thehighest
number of votes and was subsequentlyproclaimed as the
winning candidate for Mayor ofKauswagan, Lanao del
Norte.

It was only after his proclamation that Arnado filed hisverifi


ed answer,
THE RULING OF THE COMELEC FIRST DIVISION:

Instead of treating the Petition as an action for thecancellat


ion of a certificate of candidacy based
onmisrepresentation,
15

the COMELEC First Divisionconsidered it as one for


disqualification. The FirstDivision disagreed with Arnados
claim that he is aFilipino citizen.
18
The Court ruled that Arnados act ofconsistently using his
US passport after renouncing hisUS citizenship on 03 April
2009 effectively negated his Affidavit of Renunciation.

Petitioner Casan Macode Maquiling (Maquiling), anotherca


ndidate for mayor of Kauswagan, and who garneredthe
second highest number of votes in the 2010elections,
intervened in the case and filed before theCOMELEC En
Banc a Motion for Reconsiderationtogether with an
Opposition to Arnados Amended Motionfor
Reconsideration. Maquiling argued that while the
FirstDivision correctly disqualified Arnado, the order
ofsuccession under Section 44 of the Local
GovernmentCode is not applicable in this case.

Consequently, heclaimed that the cancellation of Arnados


candidacy andthe nullification of his proclamation,
Maquiling, as thelegitimate candidate who obtained the
highest number oflawful votes, should be proclaimed as the
winner.
RULING OF THE COMELEC EN BANC:
ruled in favor of arnado

Maquiling filed the instant petition questioning thepropriety


of declaring Arnado qualified to run for publicoffice despite
his continued use of a US passport, Thereare three
questions posed by the parties before thisCourt which will
be addressed seriatim as thesubsequent questions hinge
on the result of the first.Issues:1. whether or not
intervention is allowed in a disqualification case.2. whether
or not the use of a foreign passport after renouncingforeign
citizenship amounts to undoing a renunciation earlier

made.3. whether or not the rule on succession in the Local


GovernmentCode is applicable to this case.
SC:
1.
Intervention of a rival candidate in a disqualification case
is proper when there has not yet been any
proclamation of thewinner.
2.
The use of foreign passport after renouncing ones
foreigncitizenship is a positive and voluntary act of
representation as toones nationality and citizenship; it
does not divest Filipinocitizenship regained by repatriation
but it recants the Oath ofRenunciation required to qualify
one to run for an elective position.

Between 03 April 2009, the date he renounced hisforeign


citizenship, and 30 November 2009, the date hefiled his

COC, he used his US passport four times,actions that run


counter to the affidavit of renunciation hehad earlier
executed. By using his foreign
passport, Arnado positively and voluntarily represented him
self asan American,

Arnados category of dual citizenship is that by whichforeig


n citizenship is acquired through a positive act ofapplying
for naturalization. This is distinct from thoseconsidered dual
citizens by virtue of birth, who are notrequired by law to
take the oath of renunciation as themere filing of the
certificate of candidacy already carrieswith it an implied
renunciation of foreign citizenship.
39
Dual citizens by naturalization, on the other hand,
arerequired to take not only the Oath of Allegiance to
theRepublic of the Philippines but also to

personallyrenounce foreign citizenship in order to qualify as


acandidate for public office.

By the time he filed his certificate


of candidacy on 30November 2009, Arnado was a dual
citizen enjoying therights and privileges of Filipino and
American citizenship.He was qualified to vote, but by the
expressdisqualification under Section 40(d) of the
LocalGovernment Code,
40
he was not qualified to run for alocal electiv.3. The rule on
Succession under LGC is not applicable.
Maquilingis not a second-placer as he obtained the highest
number of votesfrom among the qualified candidates.

Resolving the third issue necessitates revisiting Topaciov.


Paredes

45
which is the jurisprudential spring of theprinciple that a
second-placer cannot be proclaimed asthe winner in an
election contest. This doctrine must bere-examined and its
soundness once again put to thetest to address the everrecurring issue that a second-placer who loses to an
ineligible candidate cannot beproclaimed as the winner in
the elections.

The often-quoted phrase in Topacio v. Paredes is that"the


wreath of victory cannot be transferred from anineligible
candidate to any other candidate when the solequestion is
the eligibility of the one receiving a plurality ofthe legally
cast ballots."
47

This phrase is not even the ratio decidendi; it is a mereobit


er dictum. The Court was comparing "the effect of a
decision that a candidate is not entitled to the
officebecause of fraud or irregularities in the elections x x
xwith that produced by declaring a person ineligible tohold
such an office."

A proper reading of the case reveals that the rulingtherein


is that since the Court of First Instance is
without jurisdiction to try a disqualification case based on th
eeligibility of the person who obtained the highest
numberof votes in the election, its jurisdiction being
confined "todetermine which of the contestants has been
dulyelected" the judge exceeded his jurisdiction when
he"declared that no one had been legally elected
presidentof the municipality of Imus at the general election

held inthat town on 4 June 1912" where "the only


questionraised was whether or not Topacio was eligible to
beelected and to hold the office of municipal president."

The Court did not rule that Topacio was disqualified andtha
t Abad as the second placer cannot be proclaimed inhis
stead. An ineligible candidate who receives thehighest
number of votes is a wrongful winner. By expresslegal
mandate, he could not even have been a candidatein the
first place, but by virtue of the lack of material timeor any
other intervening circumstances, his ineligibilitymight not
have been passed upon prior to election
date.Consequently, he may have had the opportunity to
holdhimself out to the electorate as a legitimate and
dulyqualified candidate. However, notwithstanding
theoutcome of the elections, his ineligibility as a
candidateremains unchanged. Ineligibility does not only
pertain tohis qualifications as a candidate but necessarily

affectshis right to hold public office. The number of ballots


castin his favor cannot cure the defect of failure to
qualifywith the substantive legal requirements of eligibility
to runfor public office.

The will of the people as expressed through the ballotcann


ot cure the vice of ineligibility, especially if theymistakenly
believed, as in this case, that the candidatewas qualified.
Obviously, this rule requires strictapplication when the
deficiency is lack of citizenship. If aperson seeks to serve
in the Republic of the Philippines,he must owe his total
loyalty to this country only, abjuringand renouncing all
fealty and fidelity to any other state.
51
(Emphasis supplied)

It is imperative to safeguard the expression of thesovereig


n voice through the ballot by ensuring that itsexercise

respects the rule of law. To allow the sovereignvoice


spoken through the ballot to trump constitutionaland
statutory provisions on qualifications anddisqualifications of
candidates is not democracy orrepublicanism. It is electoral
anarchy. When set rules aredisregarded and only the
electorates voice spokenthrough the ballot is made to
matter in the end, itprecisely serves as an open invitation
for electoralanarchy to set in.
1wphi1

With Arnados disqualification, Maquiling then becomesthe


winner in the election as he obtained the highestnumber of
votes from among the qualified candidates.

We have ruled in the recent cases of Aratea v.COMELEC


54
and Jalosjos v. COMELEC

55
that a voidCOC cannot produce any legal effect.

Thus, the votes cast in favor of the ineligible candidateare


not considered at all in determining the winner of
anelection.

Even when the votes for the ineligible candidate aredisreg


arded, the will of the electorate is still respected,and even
more so. The votes cast in favor of an ineligiblecandidate
do not constitute the sole and total expressionof the
sovereign voice. The votes cast in favor of eligibleand
legitimate candidates form part of that voice andmust also
be respected.

There is no need to apply the rule cited


in Labo v.COMELEC
56

that when the voters are well aware withinthe realm of


notoriety of a candidates disqualificationand still cast their
votes in favor said candidate, then theeligible candidate
obtaining the next higher number ofvotes may be deemed
elected. That rule is also a mereobiter that further
complicated the rules affectingqualified candidates who
placed second to ineligibleones.

The electorates awareness of the


candidatesdisqualification is not a prerequisite for
thedisqualification to attach to the candidate. The
veryexistence of a disqualifying circumstance makes
thecandidate ineligible. Knowledge by the electorate of
acandidates disqualification is not necessary before
aqualified candidate who placed second to a
disqualifiedone can be proclaimed as the winner. The
second-placerin the vote count is actually the first-placer
among thequalified candidates.


That the disqualified candidate has already beenproclaime
d and has assumed office is of no moment.The subsequent
disqualification based on a substantiveground that existed
prior to the filing of the certificate ofcandidacy voids not
only the COC but also theproclamation.

The disqualifying circumstance surrounding Arnadoscandi


dacy involves his citizenship. It does not involve
thecommission of election offenses as provided for in
thefirst sentence of Section 68 of the Omnibus
ElectionCode, the effect of which is to disqualify the
individualfrom continuing as a candidate, or if he has
already beenelected, from holding the office.

The disqualifying circumstance affecting Arnado is hiscitiz


enship. With Arnado being barred from evenbecoming a
candidate, his certificate of candidacy is thusrendered void

from the beginning. It could not haveproduced any other


legal effect except that Arnadorendered it impossible to
effect his disqualification priorto the elections because he
filed his answer to thepetition when the elections were
conducted already andhe was already proclaimed the
winner.

Arnado's disqualification, although made long after theelec


tions, reaches back to the filing of the certificate
ofcandidacy. Arnado is declared to be not a candidate atall
in the May 201 0 elections.

Arnado being a non-candidate, the votes cast in his favors


hould not have been counted. This leaves Maquiling asthe
qualified candidate who obtained the highest numberof
votes. Therefore, the rule on succession under theLocal
Government Code will not apply.