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EFFECT OF REPATRIATION mentioned in Section 4 of C.A. 473.

Bengson v HRET G.R. No 142840, May 7, Repatriation, on the other hand, may be had
2001 under various statutes by those who lost their
Bengson v House of Representatives Electoral citizenship due to: (1) desertion of the armed
Tribunal forces; services in the armed forces of the allied
G.R. No 142840, May 7, 2001 forces in World War II; (3) service in the Armed
Forces of the United States at any other time, (4)
marriage of a Filipino woman to an alien; and (5)
Facts: The citizenship of Teodoro Cruz, a member political economic necessity.
of the HOR, is being questioned on the ground
that he is not a natural-born citizen of the As distinguished from the lengthy process of
Philippines. naturalization, repatriation simply consists of the
taking of an oath of allegiance to the Republic of
Cruz was born in the Philippines in 1960, the time the Philippine and registering said oath in the
when the acquisition of citizenship rule was still Local Civil Registry of the place where the person
jus soli. However, he enlisted to the US Marine concerned resides or last resided.
Corps and he was naturalized as US citizen in
connection therewith. He reacquired Philippine Moreover, repatriation results in the recovery of
citizenship through repatriation under RA 2630 the original nationality. This means that a
and ran for and was elected as a representative. naturalized Filipino who lost his citizenship will be
When his nationality was questioned by restored to his prior status as a naturalized
petitioner, the HRET decided that Cruz was a Filipino citizen. On the other hand, if he was
natural born citizen of the Philippines. originally a natural-born citizen before he lost his
Philippine citizenship, he will be restored to his
Issue: WON Cruz is a natural born citizen of the former status as a natural-born Filipino.
Philippines.
In respondent Cruz's case, he lost his Filipino
Held: YES. Natural-born citizens "are those citizenship when he rendered service in the
citizens of the Philippines from birth without Armed Forces of the United States. However, he
having to perform any act to acquire or perfect subsequently reacquired Philippine citizenship
his Philippine citezenship." On the other hand, under R.A. No. 2630.
naturalized citizens are those who have become
Filipino citizens through naturalization, generally Having thus taken the required oath of allegiance
under Commonwealth Act No. 473, otherwise to the Republic and having registered the same in
known as the Revised Naturalization Law, which the Civil Registry of Magantarem, Pangasinan in
repealed the former Naturalization Law (Act No. accordance with the aforecited provision,
2927), and by Republic Act No. 530.11 To be respondent Cruz is deemed to have recovered his
naturalized, an applicant has to prove that he original status as a natural-born citizen, a status
possesses all the qualifications12 and none of the which he acquired at birth as the son of a Filipino
disqualification. father. It bears stressing that the act of
repatriation allows him to recover, or return to,
Filipino citizens who have lost their citizenship his original status before he lost his Philippine
may however reacquire the same in the manner citizenship
provided by law. Commonwealth Act. No. (C.A. BENGSON VS. HRET
No. 63), enumerates the three modes by which G.R. No. 142840, May 7 2001
Philippine citizenship may be reacquired by a
former citizen: (1) by naturalization, (2) by FACTS:
repatriation, and (3) by direct act of Congress. Respondent Cruz was a natural-born citizen of the
Philippines. He was born in San Clemente, Tarlac,
Naturalization is mode for both acquisition and on April 27, 1960, of Filipino parents. The
reacquisition of Philippine citizenship. As a mode fundamental law then applicable was the
of initially acquiring Philippine citizenship, 1935 Constitution.
naturalization is governed by Commonwealth Act
No. 473, as amended. On the other hand, However, respondent Cruz enlisted in the United
naturalization as a mode for reacquiring States Marine Corps and without the consent of
Philippine citizenship is governed by the Republic of the Philippines, took an oath
Commonwealth Act No. 63.16 Under this law, a of allegiance to the United States. As
former Filipino citizen who wishes to reacquire a consequence, he lost his Filipino citizenship for
Philippine citizenship must possess certain under Commonwealth Act No. 63, section 1(4),
qualifications and none of the disqualification a Filipino citizen may lose his citizenship by,
among other, "rendering service to or accepting Therefore, Cruz has all the qualifications to
commission in the armed forces of a foreign be elected as a member of the House of
country." Representatives. The HRET did not commit any
grave abuse of discretion, thus the petition was
Respondent Cruz then reacquired his Philippine dismissed. Read full text
citizenship through repatriation under Republic
Act No. 2630 entitled as An Act Providing For
Reacquisition of Philippine Citizenship By Persons G.R. No. 142840 May 7, 2001
Who Lost Such Citizenship by Rendering Service
To, or Accepting Commission in, the Armed Forces
ANTONIO BENGSON III, petitioner,
of the United States. He ran for and
was elected as the Representative of the vs.
Second District of Pangasinan in the May 11, HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES ELECTORAL
1998 elections. He won by a convincing margin of TRIBUNAL and TEODORO C.
26,671 votes over petitioner Antonio Bengson III, CRUZ, respondents.
who was then running for reelection.
CONCURRING OPINION
Petitioner filed a case for Quo Warranto Ad
Cautelam with respondent House of DISSENTING OPINION
Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET)
claiming that respondent Cruz was not qualified
to become a member of the House of KAPUNAN, J.:
Representatives since he is not a natural-
born citizen as required under Article VI, section 6 The citizenship of respondent Teodoro C. Cruz is
of the Constitution. at issue in this case, in view of the constitutional
requirement that "no person shall be a Member of
ISSUE: the House of Representative unless he is a
Whether or not respondent Cruz can still be natural-born citizen."1
considered a natural-born Filipino upon his
reacquisition of Philippine citizenship.
Respondent Cruz was a natural-born citizen of the
HELD: Philippines. He was born in San Clemente, Tarlac,
Repatriation results in the recovery of the original on April 27, 1960, of Filipino parents. The
nationality. This means that a fundamental law then applicable was the 1935
naturalized Filipino who lost his citizenship will be Constitution.2
restored to his prior status as a
naturalized Filipinocitizen. On the other hand, if On November 5, 1985, however, respondent Cruz
he was originally a natural-born citizen before he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and
lost his Philippine citizenship, he will be restored without the consent of the Republic of the
to his former status as a natural-born Filipino. Philippines, took an oath of allegiance to the
United States. As a Consequence, he lost his
In respondent Cruz's case, he lost
Filipino citizenship for under Commonwealth Act
his Filipino citizenship when he rendered service
in the Armed Forces of the United States. No. 63, section 1(4), a Filipino citizen may lose his
However, he subsequently reacquired Philippine citizenship by, among other, "rendering service to
citizenship as provided under Section 1 of R.A. or accepting commission in the armed forces of a
No. 2630. foreign country." Said provision of law reads:

Having thus taken the required oath SECTION 1. How citizenship may be lost.
of allegiance to the Republic and A Filipino citizen may lose his citizenship
having registered the same in the Civil Registry of in any of the following ways and/or events:
Magantarem, Pangasinan in accordance with the
aforecited provision, respondent Cruz is deemed
xxx
to have recovered his original status as a natural-
born citizen, a status which he acquired at birth
as the son of a Filipino father. It bears stressing (4) By rendering services to, or accepting
that the act of repatriation allows him to recover, commission in, the armed of a foreign
or return to, his original status before he lost his country: Provided, That the rendering of
Philippine citizenship. service to, or the acceptance of such
commission in, the armed forces of a
foreign country, and the taking of an oath
of allegiance incident thereto, with the citizen as required under Article VI, section 6 of
consent of the Republic of the Philippines, the Constitution.4
shall not divest a Filipino of his Philippine
citizenship if either of the following On March 2, 2000, the HRET rendered its
circumstances is present: decision5 dismissing the petition for quo
warranto and declaring Cruz the duly elected
(a) The Republic of the Philippines has a Representative of the Second District of
defensive and/or offensive pact of alliance Pangasinan in the May 1998 elections. The HRET
with said foreign country; or likewise denied petitioner's motion for
reconsideration of the decision in its resolution
(b) The said foreign country maintains dated April 27, 2000.6
armed forces on Philippine territory with
the consent of the Republic of the Petitioner thus filed the present petition for
Philippines: Provided, That the Filipino certiorari assailing the HRET's decision on the
citizen concerned, at the time of rendering following grounds:
said service, or acceptance of said
commission, and taking the oath of 1. The HRET committed serious errors and
allegiance incident thereto, states that he grave abuse of discretion, amounting to
does so only in connection with his service excess of jurisdiction, when it ruled that
to said foreign country; And provided, private respondent is a natural-born
finally, That any Filipino citizen who is citizen of the Philippines despite the fact
rendering service to, or is commissioned that he had ceased being such in view of
in, the armed forces of a foreign country the loss and renunciation of such
under any of the circumstances mentioned citizenship on his part.
in paragraph (a) or (b), shall not be
Republic of the Philippines during the 2. The HRET committed serious errors and
period of his service to, or commission in, grave abuse of discretion, amounting to
the armed forces of said country. Upon his excess of jurisdiction, when it considered
discharge from the service of the said private respondent as a citizen of the
foreign country, he shall be automatically Philippines despite the fact he did not
entitled to the full enjoyment of his civil validly acquire his Philippine citizenship.
and politically entitled to the full
enjoyment of his civil political rights as a 3. Assuming that private respondent's
Filipino citizen x x x. acquisition of Philippine citizenship was
invalid, the HRET committed serious errors
Whatever doubt that remained regarding his loss and grave abuse of discretion, amounting
of Philippine citizenship was erased by his to excess of jurisdiction, when it dismissed
naturalization as a U.S. citizen on June 5, 1990, in the petition despite the fact that such
connection with his service in the U.S. Marine reacquisition could not legally and
Corps. constitutionally restore his natural-born
status.7
On March 17, 1994, respondent Cruz reacquired
his Philippine citizenship through repatriation The issue now before us is whether respondent
under Republic Act No. 2630.3 He ran for and was Cruz, a natural-born Filipino who became an
elected as the Representative of the Second American citizen, can still be considered a
District of Pangasinan in the May 11, 1998 natural-born Filipino upon his reacquisition of
elections. He won by a convincing margin of Philippine citizenship.
26,671 votes over petitioner Antonio Bengson III,
who was then running for reelection.1wphi1.nt Petitioner asserts that respondent Cruz may no
longer be considered a natural-born Filipino since
Subsequently, petitioner filed a case for Quo he lost h is Philippine citizenship when he swore
Warranto Ad Cautelam with respondent House of allegiance to the United States in 1995, and had
Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET) to reacquire the same by repatriation. He insists
claiming that respondent Cruz was not qualified that Article citizens are those who are from birth
to become a member of the House of with out having to perform any act to acquire or
Representatives since he is not a natural-born perfect such citizenship.
Respondent on the other hand contends that he profession; (3) has not been convicted of any
reacquired his status as natural-born citizen when offense or violation of Government promulgated
he was repatriated since the phrase "from birth" rules; or (4) committed any act prejudicial to the
in Article IV, Section 2 refers to the innate, interest of the nation or contrary to any
inherent and inborn characteristic of being a Government announced policies.14
natural-born citizen.
Filipino citizens who have lost their citizenship
The petition is without merit. may however reacquire the same in the manner
provided by law. Commonwealth Act. No. (C.A.
The 1987 Constitution enumerates who are No. 63), enumerates the three modes by which
Filipino citizens as follow: Philippine citizenship may be reacquired by a
former citizen: (1) by naturalization, (2) by
(1) Those who are citizens of the repatriation, and (3) by direct act of Congress. 15
Philippines at the time of the adoption of
this Constitution; Naturalization is mode for both acquisition and
reacquisition of Philippine citizenship. As a mode
(2) Those whose fathers or mothers are of initially acquiring Philippine citizenship,
citizens of the Philippines; naturalization is governed by Commonwealth Act
No. 473, as amended. On the other hand,
(3) Those born before January 17, 1973 of naturalization as a mode for reacquiring
Filipino mother, who elect Philippine Philippine citizenship is governed by
citizenship upon reaching the age of Commonwealth Act No. 63.16 Under this law, a
majority, and former Filipino citizen who wishes to reacquire
Philippine citizenship must possess certain
qualifications17 and none of the disqualification
(4) Those who are naturalized in
mentioned in Section 4 of C.A. 473.18
accordance with law.8

Repatriation, on the other hand, may be had


There are two ways of acquiring citizenship: (1)
under various statutes by those who lost their
by birth, and (2) by naturalization. These ways of
citizenship due to: (1) desertion of the armed
acquiring citizenship correspond to the two kinds
forces;19 services in the armed forces of the allied
of citizens: the natural-born citizen, and the
forces in World War II;20 (3) service in the Armed
naturalized citizen. A person who at the time of
Forces of the United States at any other
his birth is a citizen of a particular country, is a
time,21 (4) marriage of a Filipino woman to an
natural-born citizen thereof.9
alien;22 and (5) political economic necessity.23
As defined in the same Constitution, natural-born
As distinguished from the lengthy process of
citizens "are those citizens of the Philippines from
naturalization, repatriation simply consists of the
birth without having to perform any act to acquire
taking of an oath of allegiance to the Republic of
or perfect his Philippine citezenship."10
the Philippine and registering said oath in the
Local Civil Registry of the place where the person
On the other hand, naturalized citizens are those
concerned resides or last resided.
who have become Filipino citizens through
naturalization, generally under Commonwealth
In Angat v. Republic,24 we held:
Act No. 473, otherwise known as the Revised
Naturalization Law, which repealed the former
Naturalization Law (Act No. 2927), and by xxx. Parenthetically, under these statutes
Republic Act No. 530.11 To be naturalized, an [referring to RA Nos. 965 and 2630], the
applicant has to prove that he possesses all the person desiring to reacquire Philippine
qualifications12 and none of the citizenship would not even be required to
disqualification13 provided by law to become a file a petition in court, and all that he had
Filipino citizen. The decision granting Philippine to do was to take an oath of allegiance to
citizenship becomes executory only after two (2) the Republic of the Philippines and to
years from its promulgation when the court is register that fact with the civil registry in
satisfied that during the intervening period, the the place of his residence or where he had
applicant has (1) not left the Philippines; (2) has last resided in the Philippines. [Italics in
dedicated himself to a lawful calling or the original.25
Moreover, repatriation results in the recovery of Two requisites must concur for a person to be
the original nationality.26 This means that a considered as such: (1) a person must be a
naturalized Filipino who lost his citizenship will be Filipino citizen birth and (2) he does not have to
restored to his prior status as a naturalized perform any act to obtain or perfect his Philippine
Filipino citizen. On the other hand, if he was citizenship.
originally a natural-born citizen before he lost his
Philippine citizenship, he will be restored to his Under the 1973 Constitution definition, there
former status as a natural-born Filipino. were two categories of Filipino citizens which
were not considered natural-born: (1) those who
In respondent Cruz's case, he lost his Filipino were naturalized and (2) those born before
citizenship when he rendered service in the January 17, 1973,38 of Filipino mothers who, upon
Armed Forces of the United States. However, he reaching the age of majority, elected Philippine
subsequently reacquired Philippine citizenship citizenship. Those "naturalized citizens" were not
under R.A. No. 2630, which provides: considered natural-born obviously because they
were not Filipino at birth and had to perform an
Section 1. Any person who had lost his act to acquire Philippine citizenship. Those born
Philippine citizenship by rendering service of Filipino mothers before the effectively of the
to, or accepting commission in, the Armed 1973 Constitution were likewise not considered
Forces of the United States, or after natural-born because they also had to perform an
separation from the Armed Forces of the act to perfect their Philippines citizenship.
United States, acquired United States
citizenship, may reacquire Philippine The present Constitution, however, now consider
citizenship by taking an oath of allegiance those born of Filipino mothers before the
to the Republic of the Philippines and effectivity of the 1973 Constitution and who
registering the same with Local Civil elected Philippine citizenship upon reaching the
Registry in the place where he resides or majority age as natural-born. After defining who
last resided in the Philippines. The said re natural-born citizens, Section 2 of Article IV
oath of allegiance shall contain a adds a sentence: "Those who elect Philippine
renunciation of any other citizenship. citizenship in accordance with paragraph (3),
Section 1 hereof shall be deemed natural-born
Having thus taken the required oath of allegiance citizens." Consequently, only naturalized Filipinos
to the Republic and having registered the same in are considered not natural-born citizens. It is
the Civil Registry of Magantarem, Pangasinan in apparent from the enumeration of who are
accordance with the aforecited provision, citizens under the present Constitution that there
respondent Cruz is deemed to have recovered his are only two classes of citizens: (1) those who are
original status as a natural-born citizen, a status natural-born and (2) those who are naturalized in
which he acquired at birth as the son of a Filipino accordance with law. A citizen who is not a
father.27 It bears stressing that the act of naturalized Filipino, i.e., did not have to undergo
repatriation allows him to recover, or return to, the process of naturalization to obtain Philippine
his original status before he lost his citizenship, necessarily is natural-born Filipino.
Philippine citizenship. Noteworthy is the absence in said enumeration of
a separate category for persons who, after losing
Petitioner's contention that respondent Cruz is no Philippine citizenship, subsequently reacquire it.
longer a natural-born citizen since he had to The reason therefor is clear: as to such persons,
perform an act to regain his citizenship is they would either be natural-born or naturalized
untenable. As correctly explained by the HRET in depending on the reasons for the loss of their
its decision, the term "natural-born citizen" was citizenship and the mode prescribed by the
first defined in Article III, Section 4 of the 1973 applicable law for the reacquisition thereof. As
Constitution as follows: respondent Cruz was not required by law to go
through naturalization proceeding in order to
Sec. 4. A natural-born citizen is one who is reacquire his citizenship, he is perforce a natural-
a citizen of the Philippines from birth born Filipino. As such, he possessed all the
without having to perform any act to necessary qualifications to be elected as member
acquire or perfect his Philippine of the House of Representatives.
citizenship.
A final point. The HRET has been empowered by
the Constitution to be the "sole judge" of all
contests relating to the election, returns, and Whether or not a dual citizen is disqualified to
qualifications of the members of the House.29 The hold public elective office in the philippines.
Court's jurisdiction over the HRET is merely to
check "whether or not there has been a grave
abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess RULING:
of jurisdiction" on the part of the latter. 30 In the
The court ruled that the phrase "dual citizenship"
absence thereof, there is no occasion for the
in R.A. 7160 Sec. 40 (d) and R.A. 7854 Sec. 20
Court to exercise its corrective power and annul
must be understood as referring to dual
the decision of the HRET nor to substitute the allegiance. Dual citizenship is different from dual
Court's judgement for that of the latter for the allegiance. The former arises when, as a result of
simple reason that it is not the office of a petition the application of the different laws of two or
for certiorari to inquire into the correctness of the more states, a person is simultaneously
assailed decision.31 There is no such showing of considered a national by the said states. Dual
grave abuse of discretion in this case. allegiance on the other hand, refers to a situation
in which a person simultaneously owes, by some
WHEREFORE, the petition is positive act, loyalty to two or more states. While
hereby DISMISSED. dual citizenship is involuntary, dual allegiance is a
result of an individual's volition. Article IV Sec. 5
of the Constitution provides "Dual allegiance of
SO ORDERED. citizens is inimical to the national interest and
shall be dealt with by law."
DUAL ALLEGIANCE VS. DUAL CITIZENSHIP
Consequently, persons with mere dual citizenship
Mercado v. Manzano Case Digest [G.R. No. do not fall under this disqualification. Unlike those
135083. May 26, 1999] with dual allegiance, who must, therefore, be
FACTS: subject to strict process with respect to the
termination of their status, for candidates with
Petitioner Ernesto Mercado and Eduardo Manzano dual citizenship, it should suffice if, upon the filing
were both candidates for Vice-Mayor of Makati in of their certificates of candidacy, they elect
the May 11, 1998 elections. Philippine citizenship to terminate their status as
persons with dual citizenship considering that
Based on the results of the election, Manzano their condition is the unavoidable consequence of
garnered the highest number of votes. However, conflicting laws of different states.
his proclamation was suspended due to the
pending petition for disqualification filed by By electing Philippine citizenship, such
Ernesto Mercado on the ground that he was not a candidates at the same time forswear allegiance
citizen of the Philippines but of the United States. to the other country of which they are also
citizens and thereby terminate their status as
From the facts presented, it appears that dual citizens. It may be that, from the point of
Manzano is both a Filipino and a US citizen. view of the foreign state and of its laws, such an
individual has not effectively renounced his
The Commission on Elections declared Manzano foreign citizenship. That is of no moment.
disqualified as candidate for said elective
position. When a person applying for citizenship by
naturalization takes an oath that he renounces
However, in a subsequent resolution of the his loyalty to any other country or government
COMELEC en banc, the disqualification of the and solemnly declares that he owes his
respondent was reversed. Respondent was held allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines, the
to have renounced his US citizenship when he condition imposed by law is satisfied and
attained the age of majority and registered complied with. The determination whether such
himself as a voter in the elections of 1992, 1995 renunciation is valid or fully complies with the
and 1998. provisions of our Naturalization Law lies within
the province and is an exclusive prerogative of
Manzano was eventually proclaimed as the Vice- our courts. The latter should apply the law duly
Mayor of Makati City on August 31, 1998. enacted by the legislative department of the
Republic. No foreign law may or should interfere
Thus the present petition. with its operation and application.

The court ruled that the filing of certificate of


ISSUE: candidacy of respondent sufficed to renounce his
American citizenship, effectively removing any ISSUE:
disqualification he might have as a dual citizen. Whether or not dual citizenship is a ground for
By declaring in his certificate of candidacy that he disqualification to hold or run office in the local
is a Filipino citizen; that he is not a permanent position.
resident or immigrant of another country; that he
will defend and support the Constitution of the RULING:
Philippines and bear true faith and allegiance
No. Dual citizenship is different from dual
thereto and that he does so without mental
allegiance. What is inimical is not dual citizenship
reservation, private respondent has, as far as the
laws of this country are concerned, effectively per se, but with naturalized citizens who maintain
repudiated his American citizenship and anything their allegiance to their countries of origin even
which he may have said before as a dual citizen. after their naturalization. Hence, the phrase dual
citizenship in RA 7160 must be understood as
On the other hand, private respondents oath of referring to dual allegiance. Consequently,
allegiance to the Philippines, when considered persons with mere dual citizenship do not fall
with the fact that he has spent his youth and under this disqualification.
adulthood, received his education, practiced his
profession as an artist, and taken part in past G.R. No. 135083 May 26, 1999
elections in this country, leaves no doubt of his
election of Philippine citizenship. ERNESTO S. MERCADO, petitioner,
vs.
His declarations will be taken upon the faith that EDUARDO BARRIOS MANZANO and the
he will fulfill his undertaking made under oath. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, respondents.
Should he betray that trust, there are enough
sanctions for declaring the loss of his Philippine
citizenship through expatriation in appropriate
proceedings. In Yu v. Defensor-Santiago, the
court sustained the denial of entry into the MENDOZA, J.:
country of petitioner on the ground that, after
taking his oath as a naturalized citizen, he Petitioner Ernesto S. Mercado and private
applied for the renewal of his Portuguese respondent Eduardo B. Manzano were candidates
passport and declared in commercial documents for vice mayor of the City of Makati in the May 11,
executed abroad that he was a Portuguese 1998 elections. The other one was Gabriel V.
national. A similar sanction can be taken against
Daza III. The results of the election were as
any one who, in electing Philippine citizenship,
renounces his foreign nationality, but follows:
subsequently does some act constituting
renunciation of his Philippine citizenship. Eduardo B. Manzano 103,853

The petition for certiorari is DISMISSED for lack of Ernesto S. Mercado 100,894
merit.
Gabriel V. Daza III 54,275 1

MERCADO VS MANZANO The proclamation of private respondent was


Posted by kaye lee on 5:15 PM suspended in view of a pending petition for
G.R. No. 135083, 26 May 1999 [Dual Citizenship; disqualification filed by a certain Ernesto Mamaril
Dual Allegiance] who alleged that private respondent was not a
citizen of the Philippines but of the United States.
FACTS:
Petition for disqualification was filed against Edu In its resolution, dated May 7, 1998, 2 the Second
Manzano to hold elective office on the ground Division of the COMELEC granted the petition of
that he is both an American citizen and a Filipino Mamaril and ordered the cancellation of the
citizen, having been born in the United States of certificate of candidacy of private respondent on
Filipino parents. COMELEC granted the petition the ground that he is a dual citizen and, under
and disqualified Manzano for being a dual citizen 40(d) of the Local Government Code, persons
pursuant to the Local Government Code RA 7160, with dual citizenship are disqualified from running
that those with dual citizenship are disqualified for any elective position. The COMELEC's Second
from running any public position. Division said:
What is presented before the On May 8, 1998, private respondent filed a
Commission is a petition for motion for reconsideration. 3 The motion
disqualification of Eduardo Barrios remained pending even until after the election
Manzano as candidate for the office held on May 11, 1998.
of Vice-Mayor of Makati City in the
May 11, 1998 elections. The Accordingly, pursuant to Omnibus Resolution No.
petition is based on the ground 3044, dated May 10, 1998, of the COMELEC, the
that the respondent is an American board of canvassers tabulated the votes cast for
citizen based on the record of the vice mayor of Makati City but suspended the
Bureau of Immigration and proclamation of the winner.
misrepresented himself as a
natural-born Filipino citizen. On May 19, 1998, petitioner sought to intervene
in the case for disqualification. 4 Petitioner's
In his answer to the petition filed motion was opposed by private respondent.
on April 27, 1998, the respondent
admitted that he is registered as a The motion was not resolved. Instead, on August
foreigner with the Bureau of 31, 1998, the COMELEC en banc rendered its
Immigration under Alien Certificate resolution. Voting 4 to 1, with one commissioner
of Registration No. B-31632 and abstaining, the COMELEC en banc reversed the
alleged that he is a Filipino citizen ruling of its Second Division and declared private
because he was born in 1955 of a respondent qualified to run for vice mayor of the
Filipino father and a Filipino mother. City of Makati in the May 11, 1998 elections. 5The
He was born in the United States, pertinent portions of the resolution of the
San Francisco, California, COMELEC en banc read:
September 14, 1955, and is
considered in American citizen As aforesaid, respondent Eduardo
under US Laws. But Barrios Manzano was born in San
notwithstanding his registration as Francisco, California, U.S.A. He
an American citizen, he did not lose acquired US citizenship by
his Filipino citizenship. operation of the United States
Constitution and laws under the
Judging from the foregoing facts, it principle of jus soli.
would appear that respondent
Manzano is born a Filipino and a US He was also a natural born Filipino
citizen. In other words, he holds citizen by operation of the 1935
dual citizenship. Philippine Constitution, as his
father and mother were Filipinos at
The question presented is whether the time of his birth. At the age of
under our laws, he is disqualified six (6), his parents brought him to
from the position for which he filed the Philippines using an American
his certificate of candidacy. Is he passport as travel document. His
eligible for the office he seeks to be parents also registered him as an
elected? alien with the Philippine Bureau of
Immigration. He was issued an
Under Section 40(d) of the Local alien certificate of registration.
Government Code, those holding This, however, did not result in the
dual citizenship are disqualified loss of his Philippine citizenship, as
from running for any elective local he did not renounce Philippine
position. citizenship and did not take an oath
of allegiance to the United States.
WHEREFORE, the Commission
hereby declares the respondent It is an undisputed fact that when
Eduardo Barrios Manzano respondent attained the age of
DISQUALIFIED as candidate for majority, he registered himself as a
Vice-Mayor of Makati City. voter, and voted in the elections of
1992, 1995 and 1998, which
effectively renounced his US Pursuant to the resolution of the COMELEC en
citizenship under American law. banc, the board of canvassers, on the evening of
Under Philippine law, he no longer August 31, 1998, proclaimed private respondent
had U.S. citizenship. as vice mayor of the City of Makati.

At the time of the May 11, 1998 This is a petition for certiorari seeking to set aside
elections, the resolution of the the aforesaid resolution of the COMELEC en
Second Division, adopted on May 7, banc and to declare private respondent
1998, was not yet final. disqualified to hold the office of vice mayor of
Respondent Manzano obtained the Makati City. Petitioner contends that
highest number of votes among
the candidates for vice-mayor of [T]he COMELEC en banc ERRED in
Makati City, garnering one hundred holding that:
three thousand eight hundred fifty
three (103,853) votes over his A. Under Philippine law, Manzano
closest rival, Ernesto S. Mercado, was no longer a U.S. citizen when
who obtained one hundred he:
thousand eight hundred ninety four
(100,894) votes, or a margin of two 1. He renounced his
thousand nine hundred fifty nine U.S. citizenship when
(2,959) votes. Gabriel Daza III he attained the age
obtained third place with fifty four of majority when he
thousand two hundred seventy five was already 37 years
(54,275) votes. In applying election old; and,
laws, it would be far better to err in
favor of the popular choice than be
2. He renounced his
embroiled in complex legal issues
U.S. citizenship when
involving private international law
he (merely)
which may well be settled before
registered himself as
the highest court (Cf. Frivaldo vs.
a voter and voted in
Commission on Elections, 257
the elections of
SCRA 727).
1992, 1995 and
1998.
WHEREFORE, the Commission en
banc hereby REVERSES the
B. Manzano is qualified to run for
resolution of the Second Division,
and or hold the elective office of
adopted on May 7, 1998, ordering
Vice-Mayor of the City of Makati;
the cancellation of the
respondent's certificate of
C. At the time of the May 11, 1998
candidacy.
elections, the resolution of the
Second Division adopted on 7 May
We declare respondent Eduardo
1998 was not yet final so that,
Luis Barrios Manzano to be
effectively, petitioner may not be
QUALIFIED as a candidate for the
declared the winner even assuming
position of vice-mayor of Makati
that Manzano is disqualified to run
City in the May 11, 1998, elections.
for and hold the elective office of
Vice-Mayor of the City of Makati.
ACCORDINGLY, the Commission
directs the Makati City Board of
We first consider the threshold procedural issue
Canvassers, upon proper notice to
raised by private respondent Manzano whether
the parties, to reconvene and
petitioner Mercado his personality to bring this
proclaim the respondent Eduardo
suit considering that he was not an original party
Luis Barrios Manzano as the
in the case for disqualification filed by Ernesto
winning candidate for vice-mayor
Mamaril nor was petitioner's motion for leave to
of Makati City.
intervene granted.
I. PETITIONER'S RIGHT TO BRING THIS City, on the basis of which petitioner came out
SUIT only second to private respondent. The fact,
however, is that there had been no proclamation
Private respondent cites the following provisions at that time. Certainly, petitioner had, and still
of Rule 8 of the Rules of Procedure of the has, an interest in ousting private respondent
COMELEC in support of his claim that petitioner from the race at the time he sought to intervene.
has no right to intervene and, therefore, cannot The rule in Labo v. COMELEC, 6 reiterated in
bring this suit to set aside the ruling denying his several cases, 7 only applies to cases in which the
motion for intervention: election of the respondent is contested, and the
question is whether one who placed second to
Sec. 1. When proper and when may the disqualified candidate may be declared the
be permitted to intervene. Any winner. In the present case, at the time petitioner
person allowed to initiate an action filed a "Motion for Leave to File Intervention" on
or proceeding may, before or May 20, 1998, there had been no proclamation of
during the trial of an action or the winner, and petitioner's purpose was
proceeding, be permitted by the precisely to have private respondent disqualified
Commission, in its discretion to "from running for [an] elective local position"
intervene in such action or under 40(d) of R.A. No. 7160. If Ernesto Mamaril
proceeding, if he has legal interest (who originally instituted the disqualification
in the matter in litigation, or in the proceedings), a registered voter of Makati City,
success of either of the parties, or was competent to bring the action, so was
an interest against both, or when petitioner since the latter was a rival candidate
he is so situated as to be adversely for vice mayor of Makati City.
affected by such action or
proceeding. Nor is petitioner's interest in the matter in
litigation any less because he filed a motion for
xxx xxx xxx intervention only on May 20, 1998, after private
respondent had been shown to have garnered the
Sec. 3. Discretion of Commission. highest number of votes among the candidates
In allowing or disallowing a for vice mayor. That petitioner had a right to
motion for intervention, the intervene at that stage of the proceedings for the
Commission or the Division, in the disqualification against private respondent is
exercise of its discretion, shall clear from 6 of R.A. No. 6646, otherwise known
consider whether or not the as the Electoral Reform Law of 1987, which
intervention will unduly delay or provides:
prejudice the adjudication of the
rights of the original parties and Any candidate who his been
whether or not the intervenor's declared by final judgment to be
rights may be fully protected in a disqualified shall not be voted for,
separate action or proceeding. and the votes cast for him shall not
be counted. If for any reason a
Private respondent argues that petitioner candidate is not declared by final
has neither legal interest in the matter in judgment before an election to be
litigation nor an interest to protect disqualified and he is voted for and
because he is "a defeated candidate for receives the winning number of
the vice-mayoralty post of Makati City votes in such election, the Court or
[who] cannot be proclaimed as the Vice- Commission shall continue with the
Mayor of Makati City if the private trial and hearing of action, inquiry,
respondent be ultimately disqualified by or protest and, upon motion of the
final and executory judgment." complainant or any intervenor,
may during the pendency thereof
order the suspension of the
The flaw in this argument is it assumes that, at
proclamation of such candidate
the time petitioner sought to intervene in the
whenever the evidence of guilt is
proceedings before the COMELEC, there had
strong.
already been a proclamation of the results of the
election for the vice mayoralty contest for Makati
Under this provision, intervention may be allowed classes of citizens of the Philippines to possess
in proceedings for disqualification even after dual citizenship:
election if there has yet been no final judgment
rendered. (1) Those born of Filipino fathers
and/or mothers in foreign countries
The failure of the COMELEC en banc to resolve which follow the principle of jus
petitioner's motion for intervention was soli;
tantamount to a denial of the motion, justifying
petitioner in filing the instant petition (2) Those born in the Philippines of
for certiorari. As the COMELEC en banc instead Filipino mothers and alien fathers if
decided the merits of the case, the present by the laws of their father's'
petition properly deals not only with the denial of country such children are citizens
petitioner's motion for intervention but also with of that country;
the substantive issues respecting private
respondent's alleged disqualification on the (3) Those who marry aliens if by
ground of dual citizenship. the laws of the latter's country the
former are considered citizens,
This brings us to the next question, namely, unless by their act or omission they
whether private respondent Manzano possesses are deemed to have renounced
dual citizenship and, if so, whether he is Philippine citizenship.
disqualified from being a candidate for vice
mayor of Makati City. There may be other situations in which a citizen
of the Philippines may, without performing any
II. DUAL CITIZENSHIP AS A GROUND FOR act, be also a citizen of another state; but the
DISQUALIFICATION above cases are clearly possible given the
constitutional provisions on citizenship.
The disqualification of private respondent
Manzano is being sought under 40 of the Local Dual allegiance, on the other hand, refers to the
Government Code of 1991 (R.A. No. 7160), which situation in which a person simultaneously owes,
declares as "disqualified from running for any by some positive act, loyalty to two or more
elective local position: . . . (d) Those with dual states. While dual citizenship is involuntary, dual
citizenship." This provision is incorporated in the allegiance is the result of an individual's volition.
Charter of the City of Makati. 8
With respect to dual allegiance, Article IV, 5 of
Invoking the maxim dura lex sed lex, petitioner, the Constitution provides: "Dual allegiance of
as well as the Solicitor General, who sides with citizens is inimical to the national interest and
him in this case, contends that through 40(d) of shall be dealt with by law." This provision was
the Local Government Code, Congress has included in the 1987 Constitution at the instance
"command[ed] in explicit terms the ineligibility of of Commissioner Blas F. Ople who explained its
persons possessing dual allegiance to hold local necessity as follows: 10
elective office."
. . . I want to draw attention to the
To begin with, dual citizenship is different from fact that dual allegiance is not dual
dual allegiance. The former arises when, as a citizenship. I have circulated a
result of the concurrent application of the memorandum to the Bernas
different laws of two or more states, a person is Committee according to which a
simultaneously considered a national by the said dual allegiance and I reiterate a
states. 9 For instance, such a situation may arise dual allegiance is larger and
when a person whose parents are citizens of a more threatening than that of mere
state which adheres to the principle of jus double citizenship which is seldom
sanguinis is born in a state which follows the intentional and, perhaps, never
doctrine of jus soli. Such a person, ipso facto and insidious. That is often a function of
without any voluntary act on his part, is the accident of mixed marriages or
concurrently considered a citizen of both states. of birth on foreign soil. And so, I do
Considering the citizenship clause (Art. IV) of our not question double citizenship at
Constitution, it is possible for the following all.
What we would like the Committee capital famine which also means
to consider is to take constitutional economic stagnation, worsening
cognizance of the problem of dual unemployment and social unrest.
allegiance. For example, we all
know what happens in the triennial And so, this is exactly what we ask
elections of the Federation of that the Committee kindly
Filipino-Chinese Chambers of consider incorporating a new
Commerce which consists of about section, probably Section 5, in the
600 chapters all over the country. article on Citizenship which will
There is a Peking ticket, as well as read as follows: DUAL ALLEGIANCE
a Taipei ticket. Not widely known is IS INIMICAL TO CITIZENSHIP AND
the fact chat the Filipino-Chinese SHALL BE DEALT WITH ACCORDING
community is represented in the TO LAW.
Legislative Yuan of the Republic of
China in Taiwan. And until recently, In another session of the Commission, Ople spoke
sponsor might recall, in Mainland on the problem of these citizens with dual
China in the People's Republic of allegiance, thus: 11
China, they have the Associated
Legislative Council for overseas . . . A significant number of
Chinese wherein all of Southeast Commissioners expressed their
Asia including some European and concern about dual citizenship in
Latin countries were represented, the sense that it implies a double
which was dissolved after several allegiance under a double
years because of diplomatic sovereignty which some of us who
friction. At that time, the Filipino- spoke then in a freewheeling
Chinese were also represented in debate thought would be
that Overseas Council. repugnant to the sovereignty which
pervades the Constitution and to
When I speak of double allegiance, citizenship itself which implies a
therefore, I speak of this unsettled uniqueness and which elsewhere in
kind of allegiance of Filipinos, of the Constitution is defined in terms
citizens who are already Filipinos of rights and obligations exclusive
but who, by their acts, may be said to that citizenship including, of
to be bound by a second course, the obligation to rise to the
allegiance, either to Peking or defense of the State when it is
Taiwan. I also took close note of the threatened, and back of this,
concern expressed by some Commissioner Bernas, is, of course,
Commissioners yesterday, the concern for national security. In
including Commissioner Villacorta, the course of those debates, I think
who were concerned about the lack some noted the fact that as a result
of guarantees of thorough of the wave of naturalizations since
assimilation, and especially the decision to establish diplomatic
Commissioner Concepcion who has relations with the People's Republic
always been worried about of China was made in 1975, a good
minority claims on our natural number of these naturalized
resources. Filipinos still routinely go to Taipei
every October 10; and it is
Dull allegiance can actually siphon asserted that some of them do
scarce national capital to Taiwan, renew their oath of allegiance to a
Singapore, China or Malaysia, and foreign government maybe just to
this is already happening. Some of enter into the spirit of the occasion
the great commercial places in when the anniversary of the Sun
downtown Taipei are Filipino- Yat-Sen Republic is
owned, owned by Filipino-Chinese commemorated. And so, I have
it is of common knowledge in detected a genuine and deep
Manila. It can mean a tragic capital concern about double citizenship,
outflow when we have to endure a with its attendant risk of double
allegiance which is repugnant to SENATOR ENRILE. Mr. President, I
our sovereignty and national would like to ask clarification of line
security. I appreciate what the 41, page 17: "Any person with dual
Committee said that this could be citizenship" is disqualified to run for
left to the determination of a future any elective local position. Under
legislature. But considering the the present Constitution, Mr.
scale of the problem, the real President, someone whose mother
impact on the security of this is a citizen of the Philippines but his
country, arising from, let us say, father is a foreigner is a natural-
potentially great numbers of born citizen of the Republic. There
double citizens professing double is no requirement that such a
allegiance, will the Committee natural born citizen, upon reaching
entertain a proposed amendment the age of majority, must elect or
at the proper time that will prohibit, give up Philippine citizenship.
in effect, or regulate double
citizenship? On the assumption that this person
would carry two passports, one
Clearly, in including 5 in Article IV on citizenship, belonging to the country of his or
the concern of the Constitutional Commission was her father and one belonging to the
not with dual citizens per se but with naturalized Republic of the Philippines, may
citizens who maintain their allegiance to their such a situation disqualify the
countries of origin even after their naturalization. person to run for a local
Hence, the phrase "dual citizenship" in R.A. No. government position?
7160, 40(d) and in R.A. No. 7854, 20 must be
understood as referring to "dual allegiance." SENATOR PIMENTEL. To my mind,
Consequently, persons with mere dual citizenship Mr. President, it only means that at
do not fall under this disqualification. Unlike those the moment when he would want
with dual allegiance, who must, therefore, be to run for public office, he has to
subject to strict process with respect to the repudiate one of his citizenships.
termination of their status, for candidates with
dual citizenship, it should suffice if, upon the filing SENATOR ENRILE. Suppose he
of their certificates of candidacy, they elect carries only a Philippine passport
Philippine citizenship to terminate their status as but the country of origin or the
persons with dual citizenship considering that country of the father claims that
their condition is the unavoidable consequence of person, nevertheless, as a citizen?
conflicting laws of different states. As Joaquin G. No one can renounce. There are
Bernas, one of the most perceptive members of such countries in the world.
the Constitutional Commission, pointed out:
"[D]ual citizenship is just a reality imposed on us SENATOR PIMENTEL. Well, the very
because we have no control of the laws on fact that he is running for public
citizenship of other countries. We recognize a office would, in effect, be an
child of a Filipino mother. But whether she is election for him of his desire to be
considered a citizen of another country is considered as a Filipino citizen.
something completely beyond our control." 12
SENATOR ENRILE. But, precisely,
By electing Philippine citizenship, such Mr. President, the Constitution does
candidates at the same time forswear allegiance not require an election. Under the
to the other country of which they are also Constitution, a person whose
citizens and thereby terminate their status as mother is a citizen of the
dual citizens. It may be that, from the point of Philippines is, at birth, a citizen
view of the foreign state and of its laws, such an without any overt act to claim the
individual has not effectively renounced his citizenship.
foreign citizenship. That is of no moment as the
following discussion on 40(d) between Senators
SENATOR PIMENTEL. Yes. What we
Enrile and Pimentel clearly shows: 13
are saying, Mr. President, is: Under
the Gentleman's example, if he
does not renounce his other applying not what our legislative
citizenship, then he is opening department has deemed it wise to
himself to question. So, if he is require, but what a foreign
really interested to run, the first government has thought or
thing he should do is to say in the intended to exact. That, of course,
Certificate of Candidacy that: "I am is absurd. It must be resisted by all
a Filipino citizen, and I have only means and at all cost. It would be a
one citizenship." brazen encroachment upon the
sovereign will and power of the
SENATOR ENRILE. But we are people of this Republic.
talking from the viewpoint of
Philippine law, Mr. President. He will III. PETITIONER'S ELECTION OF PHILIPPINE
always have one citizenship, and CITIZENSHIP
that is the citizenship invested
upon him or her in the Constitution The record shows that private respondent was
of the Republic. born in San Francisco, California on September 4,
1955, of Filipino parents. Since the Philippines
SENATOR PIMENTEL. That is true, adheres to the principle of jus sanguinis, while
Mr. President. But if he exercises the United States follows the doctrine of jus soli,
acts that will prove that he also the parties agree that, at birth at least, he was a
acknowledges other citizenships, national both of the Philippines and of the United
then he will probably fall under this States. However, the COMELEC en banc held that,
disqualification. by participating in Philippine elections in 1992,
1995, and 1998, private respondent "effectively
This is similar to the requirement that an renounced his U.S. citizenship under American
applicant for naturalization must renounce "all law," so that now he is solely a Philippine
allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, national.
potentate, state, or sovereignty" 14 of which at
the time he is a subject or citizen before he can Petitioner challenges this ruling. He argues that
be issued a certificate of naturalization as a merely taking part in Philippine elections is not
citizen of the Philippines. In Parado sufficient evidence of renunciation and that, in
v. Republic, 15 it was held: any event, as the alleged renunciation was made
when private respondent was already 37 years
[W]hen a person applying for old, it was ineffective as it should have been
citizenship by naturalization takes made when he reached the age of majority.
an oath that he renounce, his
loyalty to any other country or In holding that by voting in Philippine elections
government and solemnly declares private respondent renounced his American
that he owes his allegiance to the citizenship, the COMELEC must have in mind
Republic of the Philippines, the 349 of the Immigration and Nationality Act of the
condition imposed by law is United States, which provided that "A person who
satisfied and compiled with. The is a national of the United States, whether by
determination whether such birth or naturalization, shall lose his nationality
renunciation is valid or fully by: . . . (e) Voting in a political election in a
complies with the provisions of our foreign state or participating in an election or
Naturalization Law lies within the plebiscite to determine the sovereignty over
province and is an exclusive foreign territory." To be sure this provision was
prerogative of our courts. The latter declared unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme
should apply the law duly enacted Court in Afroyim v. Rusk 16 as beyond the power
by the legislative department of given to the U.S. Congress to regulate foreign
the Republic. No foreign law may or relations. However, by filing a certificate of
should interfere with its operation candidacy when he ran for his present post,
and application. If the requirement private respondent elected Philippine citizenship
of the Chinese Law of Nationality and in effect renounced his American citizenship.
were to be read into our Private respondent's certificate of candidacy, filed
Naturalization Law, we would be
on March 27, 1998, contained the following is cogent reason to hold that
statements made under oath: Frivaldo was really STATELESS at
the time he took said oath of
6. I AM A FILIPINO allegiance and even before that,
CITIZEN (STATE IF when he ran for governor in 1988.
"NATURAL-BORN" OR In his Comment, Frivaldo wrote that
"NATURALIZED") he "had long renounced and had
NATURAL-BORN long abandoned his American
citizenship long before May 8,
xxx xxx xxx 1995. At best, Frivaldo was
stateless in the interim when he
10. I AM A REGISTERED VOTER OF abandoned and renounced his US
PRECINCT NO. 747-A, BARANGAY citizenship but before he was
SAN LORENZO, CITY/MUNICIPALITY repatriated to his Filipino
OF MAKATI, PROVINCE OF NCR. citizenship."

11. I AM NOT A PERMANENT On this point, we quote from the


RESIDENT OF, OR IMMIGRANT TO, A assailed Resolution dated
FOREIGN COUNTRY. December 19, 1995:

12. I AM ELIGIBLE FOR THE OFFICE I By the laws of the


SEEK TO BE ELECTED. I WILL United States,
SUPPORT AND DEFEND THE petitioner Frivaldo
CONSTITUTION OF THE PHILIPPINES lost his American
AND WILL MAINTAIN TRUE FAITH citizenship when he
AND ALLEGIANCE THERETO; THAT I took his oath of
WILL OBEY THE LAWS, LEGAL allegiance to the
ORDERS AND DECREES Philippine
PROMULGATED BY THE DULY Government when
CONSTITUTED AUTHORITIES OF he ran for Governor
THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES; in 1988, in 1992, and
AND THAT I IMPOSE THIS in 1995. Every
OBLIGATION UPON MYSELF certificate of
VOLUNTARILY, WITHOUT MENTAL candidacy contains
RESERVATION OR PURPOSE OF an oath of allegiance
EVASION. I HEREBY CERTIFY THAT to the Philippine
THE FACTS STATED HEREIN ARE Government.
TRUE AND CORRECT OF MY OWN
PERSONAL KNOWLEDGE. These factual findings that Frivaldo
has lost his foreign nationality long
The filing of such certificate of candidacy sufficed before the elections of 1995 have
to renounce his American citizenship, effectively not been effectively rebutted by
removing any disqualification he might have as a Lee. Furthermore, it is basic that
dual citizen. Thus, in Frivaldo v. COMELEC it was such findings of the Commission
held: 17 are conclusive upon this Court,
absent any showing of
capriciousness or arbitrariness or
It is not disputed that on January
abuse.
20, 1983 Frivaldo became an
American. Would the retroactivity
of his repatriation not effectively There is, therefore, no merit in petitioner's
give him dual citizenship, which contention that the oath of allegiance contained
under Sec. 40 of the Local in private respondent's certificate of candidacy is
Government Code would disqualify insufficient to constitute renunciation that, to be
him "from running for any elective effective, such renunciation should have been
local position?" We answer this made upon private respondent reaching the age
question in the negative, as there of majority since no law requires the election of
Philippine citizenship to be made upon majority On the other hand, private respondent's oath of
age. allegiance to the Philippines, when considered
with the fact that he has spent his youth and
Finally, much is made of the fact that private adulthood, received his education, practiced his
respondent admitted that he is registered as an profession as an artist, and taken part in past
American citizen in the Bureau of Immigration elections in this country, leaves no doubt of his
and Deportation and that he holds an American election of Philippine citizenship.
passport which he used in his last travel to the
United States on April 22, 1997. There is no merit His declarations will be taken upon the faith that
in this. Until the filing of his certificate of he will fulfill his undertaking made under oath.
candidacy on March 21, 1998, he had dual Should he betray that trust, there are enough
citizenship. The acts attributed to him can be sanctions for declaring the loss of his Philippine
considered simply as the assertion of his citizenship through expatriation in appropriate
American nationality before the termination of his proceedings. In Yu v. Defensor-Santiago, 19 we
American citizenship. What this Court said sustained the denial of entry into the country of
in Aznar v. COMELEC 18 applies mutatis petitioner on the ground that, after taking his
mundatis to private respondent in the case at oath as a naturalized citizen, he applied for the
bar: renewal of his Portuguese passport and declared
in commercial documents executed abroad that
. . . Considering the fact that he was a Portuguese national. A similar sanction
admittedly Osmea was both a can be taken against any one who, in electing
Filipino and an American, the mere Philippine citizenship, renounces his foreign
fact that he has a Certificate nationality, but subsequently does some act
staring he is an American does not constituting renunciation of his Philippine
mean that he is not still a citizenship.
Filipino. . . . [T]he Certification that
he is an American does not mean WHEREFORE, the petition for certiorari is
that he is not still a Filipino, DISMISSED for lack of merit.1wphi1.nt
possessed as he is, of both
nationalities or citizenships. SO ORDERED.
Indeed, there is no express
renunciation here of Philippine
citizenship; truth to tell, there is
even no implied renunciation of Republic Act No. 9225 August 29,
said citizenship. When We consider 2003
that the renunciation needed to
lose Philippine citizenship must be AN ACT MAKING THE CITIZENSHIP OF
"express," it stands to reason that PHILIPPINE CITIZENS WHO ACQUIRE
there can be no such loss of FOREIGN CITIZENSHIP PERMANENT.
Philippine citizenship when there is AMENDING FOR THE PURPOSE
no renunciation, either "express" or COMMONWEALTH ACT. NO. 63, AS AMENDED
"implied." AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES

To recapitulate, by declaring in his certificate of Be it enacted by the Senate and House of


candidacy that he is a Filipino citizen; that he is Representatives of the Philippines in Congress
not a permanent resident or immigrant of another assembled:
country; that he will defend and support the
Constitution of the Philippines and bear true faith Section 1. Short Title this act shall be known
and allegiance thereto and that he does so as the "Citizenship Retention and Re-
without mental reservation, private respondent acquisition Act of 2003."
has, as far as the laws of this country are
concerned, effectively repudiated his American Section 2. Declaration of Policy - It is hereby
citizenship and anything which he may have said declared the policy of the State that all Philippine
citizens of another country shall be deemed not
before as a dual citizen.
to have lost their Philippine citizenship under the
conditions of this Act.
Section 3. Retention of Philippine (3) Those appointed to any public office
Citizenship - Any provision of law to the contrary shall subscribe and swear to an oath of
notwithstanding, natural-born citizenship by allegiance to the Republic of the
reason of their naturalization as citizens of a Philippines and its duly constituted
foreign country are hereby deemed to have re- authorities prior to their assumption of
acquired Philippine citizenship upon taking the office: Provided, That they renounce their
following oath of allegiance to the Republic: oath of allegiance to the country where
they took that oath;
"I _____________________, solemny swear (or
affrim) that I will support and defend the (4) Those intending to practice their
Constitution of the Republic of the profession in the Philippines shall apply
Philippines and obey the laws and legal with the proper authority for a license or
orders promulgated by the duly permit to engage in such practice; and
constituted authorities of the Philippines;
and I hereby declare that I recognize and (5) That right to vote or be elected or
accept the supreme authority of the appointed to any public office in the
Philippines and will maintain true faith and Philippines cannot be exercised by, or
allegiance thereto; and that I imposed this extended to, those who:
obligation upon myself voluntarily without
mental reservation or purpose of evasion." (a) are candidates for or are
occupying any public office in the
Natural born citizens of the Philippines who, after country of which they are
the effectivity of this Act, become citizens of a naturalized citizens; and/or
foreign country shall retain their Philippine
citizenship upon taking the aforesaid oath. (b) are in active service as
commissioned or non-
Section 4. Derivative Citizenship - The commissioned officers in the armed
unmarried child, whether legitimate, illegitimate forces of the country which they
or adopted, below eighteen (18) years of age, of are naturalized citizens.
those who re-acquire Philippine citizenship upon
effectivity of this Act shall be deemed citizenship Section 6. Separability Clause - If any section
of the Philippines. or provision of this Act is held unconstitutional or
invalid, any other section or provision not
Section 5. Civil and Political Rights and affected thereby shall remain valid and effective.
Liabilities - Those who retain or re-acquire
Philippine citizenship under this Act shall enjoy Section 7. Repealing Clause - All laws,
full civil and political rights and be subject to all decrees, orders, rules and regulations
attendant liabilities and responsibilities under inconsistent with the provisions of this Act are
existing laws of the Philippines and the following hereby repealed or modified accordingly.
conditions:
Section 8. Effectivity Clause This Act shall
(1) Those intending to exercise their right take effect after fifteen (15) days following its
of surffrage must Meet the requirements publication in the Official Gazette or two (2)
under Section 1, Article V of the newspaper of general circulation.
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 Approved,


Philippines shall meet the qualification for
holding such public office as required by
the Constitution and existing laws and, at FRANKLIN DRILON JOSE DE VENECIA JR.
the time of the filing of the certificate of President of the Senate Speaker of the House of
candidacy, make a personal and sworn Representatives
renunciation of any and all foreign
citizenship before any public officer
authorized to administer an oath;
This Act, which is a consolidation of Senate Bill
No. 2130 and House Bill No. 4720 was finally
passed by the the House of Representatives and United States of America, he lost his Filipino
Senate on August 25, 2003 and August 26, 2003, citizenship. Arnado applied for repatriation under
respectively. Republic Act (R.A.) No. 9225 before the Consulate
General of the Philippines in San Franciso, USA
and took the Oath of Allegiance to the Republic of
ROBERTO P. NAZARENO the Philippines on 10 July 2008. On the same day
4
OSCAR G. YABES
Secretary of Senate Secretary General an Order of Approval of his Citizenship Retention
House of Represenatives and Re-acquisition was issued in his favor.5

The aforementioned Oath of Allegiance states:


Approved: August 29, 2003
I, Rommel Cagoco Arnado, solemnly swear that I
GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO will support and defend the Constitution of the
President of the Philippines 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 impose
RA 9225; ELECTION LAWS
this obligation upon myself voluntarily without
mental reservation or purpose of evasion.6

On 3 April 2009 Arnado again took his Oath of


G.R. No. 195649 April 16, 2013 Allegiance to the Republic and executed an
Affidavit of Renunciation of his foreign citizenship,
CASAN MACODE MAQUILING, Petitioner, which states:
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, ROMMEL I, Rommel Cagoco Arnado, do solemnly swear
ARNADO y CAGOCO, LINOG G. that I absolutely and perpetually renounce all
BALUA, Respondents. allegiance and fidelity to the UNITED STATES OF
AMERICA of which I am a citizen, and I divest
DECISION myself of full employment of all civil and political
rights and privileges of the United States of
America.
SERENO, CJ.:

I solemnly swear that all the foregoing statement


THE CASE
is true and correct to the best of my knowledge
and belief.7
This is a Petition for Certiorari ender Rule 64 in
conjunction with Rule 65 of the Rules of Court to
On 30 November 2009, Arnado filed his
review the Resolutions of the Commission on
Certificate of Candidacy for Mayor of Kauswagan,
Elections (COMELEC). The Resolution1 in SPA No.
Lanao del Norte, which contains, among others,
10-1 09(DC) of the COMELEC First Division dated
the following statements:
5 October 201 0 is being assailed for applying
Section 44 of the Local Government Code while
the Resolution2 of the COMELEC En Banc dated 2 I am a natural born Filipino citizen / naturalized
February 2011 is being questioned for finding Filipino citizen.
that respondent Rommel Arnado y Cagoco
(respondent Arnado/Arnado) is solely a Filipino I am not a permanent resident of, or immigrant
citizen qualified to run for public office despite his to, a foreign country.
continued use of a U.S. passport.
I am eligible for the office I seek to be elected to.
FACTS
I will support and defend the Constitution of the
Respondent Arnado is a natural born Filipino Republic of the Philippines and will maintain true
citizen.3 However, as a consequence of his faith and allegiance thereto. I will obey the laws,
subsequent naturalization as a citizen of the
legal orders and decrees promulgated by the duly After Arnado failed to answer the petition, Balua
constituted authorities. moved to declare him in default and to present
evidence ex-parte.
I impose this obligation upon myself voluntarily
without mental reservation or purpose of Neither motion was acted upon, having been
evasion.8 overtaken by the 2010 elections where Arnado
garnered the highest number of votes and was
On 28 April 2010, respondent Linog C. Balua subsequently proclaimed as the winning
(Balua), another mayoralty candidate, filed a candidate for Mayor of Kauswagan, Lanao del
petition to disqualify Arnado and/or to cancel his Norte.
certificate of candidacy for municipal mayor of
Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte in connection with It was only after his proclamation that Arnado
the 10 May 2010 local and national elections.9 filed his verified answer, submitting the following
documents as evidence:14
Respondent Balua contended that Arnado is not a
resident of Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte and that 1. Affidavit of Renunciation and Oath of
he is a foreigner, attaching thereto a certification Allegiance to the Republic of the
issued by the Bureau of Immigration dated 23 Philippines dated 03 April 2009;
April 2010 indicating the nationality of Arnado as
"USA-American."10To further bolster his claim of 2. Joint-Affidavit dated 31 May 2010 of
Arnados US citizenship, Balua presented in his Engr. Virgil Seno, Virginia Branzuela,
Memorandum a computer-generated travel Leoncio Daligdig, and Jessy Corpin, all
record11 dated 03 December 2009 indicating that neighbors of Arnado, attesting that Arnado
Arnado has been using his US Passport No. is a long-time resident of Kauswagan and
057782700 in entering and departing the that he has been conspicuously and
Philippines. The said record shows that Arnado continuously residing in his familys
left the country on 14 April 2009 and returned on ancestral house in Kauswagan;
25 June 2009, and again departed on 29 July
2009, arriving back in the Philippines on 24 3. Certification from the Punong Barangay
November 2009. of Poblacion, Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte
dated 03 June 2010 stating that Arnado is
Balua likewise presented a certification from the a bona fide resident of his barangay and
Bureau of Immigration dated 23 April 2010, that Arnado went to the United States in
certifying that the name "Arnado, Rommel 1985 to work and returned to the
Cagoco" appears in the available Computer Philippines in 2009;
Database/Passenger manifest/IBM listing on file
as of 21 April 2010, with the following pertinent 4. Certification dated 31 May 2010 from
travel records: the Municipal Local Government
Operations Office of Kauswagan stating
DATE OF Arrival : 01/12/2010 that Dr. Maximo P. Arnado, Sr. served as
Mayor of Kauswagan, from January 1964
NATIONALITY : USA-AMERICAN to June 1974 and from 15 February 1979
to 15 April 1986; and
PASSPORT : 057782700
5. Voter Certification issued by the
DATE OF Arrival : 03/23/2010 Election Officer of Kauswagan certifying
that Arnado has been a registered voter of
NATIONALITY : USA-AMERICAN Kauswagan since 03 April 2009.

PASSPORT : 05778270012 THE RULING OF THE COMELEC FIRST


DIVISION
On 30 April 2010, the COMELEC (First Division)
issued an Order13 requiring the respondent to Instead of treating the Petition as an action for
personally file his answer and memorandum the cancellation of a certificate of candidacy
within three (3) days from receipt thereof. based on misrepresentation,15 the COMELEC First
Division considered it as one for disqualification.
Baluas contention that Arnado is a resident of Arnado sought reconsideration of the resolution
the United States was dismissed upon the finding before the COMELEC En Banc on the ground that
that "Balua failed to present any evidence to "the evidence is insufficient to justify the
support his contention,"16 whereas the First Resolution and that the said Resolution is
Division still could "not conclude that Arnado contrary to law."21 He raised the following
failed to meet the one-year residency contentions:22
requirement under the Local Government
Code."17 1. The finding that he is not a Filipino
citizen is not supported by the evidence
In the matter of the issue of citizenship, however, consisting of his Oath of Allegiance and
the First Division disagreed with Arnados claim the Affidavit of Renunciation, which show
that he is a Filipino citizen.18 that he has substantially complied with
the requirements of R.A. No. 9225;
We find that although Arnado appears to have
substantially complied with the requirements of 2. The use of his US passport subsequent
R.A. No. 9225, Arnados act of consistently using to his renunciation of his American
his US passport after renouncing his US citizenship is not tantamount to a
citizenship on 03 April 2009 effectively negated repudiation of his Filipino citizenship, as he
his Affidavit of Renunciation. did not perform any act to swear
allegiance to a country other than the
xxxx Philippines;

Arnados continued use of his US passport is a 3. He used his US passport only because
strong indication that Arnado had no real he was not informed of the issuance of his
intention to renounce his US citizenship and that Philippine passport, and that he used his
he only executed an Affidavit of Renunciation to Philippine passport after he obtained it;
enable him to run for office. We cannot turn a
blind eye to the glaring inconsistency between 4. Baluas petition to cancel the certificate
Arnados unexplained use of a US passport six of candidacy of Arnado was filed out of
times and his claim that he re-acquired his time, and the First Divisions treatment of
Philippine citizenship and renounced his US the petition as one for disqualification
citizenship. As noted by the Supreme Court in the constitutes grave abuse of discretion
Yu case, "a passport is defined as an official amounting to excess of jurisdiction;23
document of identity and nationality issued to a
person intending to travel or sojourn in foreign 5. He is undoubtedly the peoples choice
countries." Surely, one who truly divested himself as indicated by his winning the elections;
of US citizenship would not continue to avail of
privileges reserved solely for US nationals.19 6. His proclamation as the winning
candidate ousted the COMELEC from
The dispositive portion of the Resolution rendered jurisdiction over the case; and
by the COMELEC
7. The proper remedy to question his
First Division reads: citizenship is through a petition for quo
warranto, which should have been filed
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the within ten days from his proclamation.
petition for disqualification and/or to cancel the
certificate of candidacy of Rommel C. Arnado is Petitioner Casan Macode Maquiling (Maquiling),
hereby GRANTED. Rommel C. Arnados another candidate for mayor of Kauswagan, and
proclamation as the winning candidate for who garnered the second highest number of
Municipal Mayor of Kauswagan, Lanao del Nore is votes in the 2010 elections, intervened in the
hereby ANNULLED. Let the order of succession case and filed before the COMELEC En Banc a
under Section 44 of the Local Government Code Motion for Reconsideration together with an
of 1991 take effect.20 Opposition to Arnados Amended Motion for
Reconsideration. Maquiling argued that while the
The Motion for Reconsideration and First Division correctly disqualified Arnado, the
the Motion for Intervention order of succession under Section 44 of the Local
Government Code is not applicable in this case. Philippine citizenship as though he never became
Consequently, he claimed that the cancellation of a citizen of another country. It was at that time,
Arnados candidacy and the nullification of his April 3, 2009, that the respondent became a pure
proclamation, Maquiling, as the legitimate Philippine Citizen again.
candidate who obtained the highest number of
lawful votes, should be proclaimed as the winner. xxxx

Maquiling simultaneously filed his Memorandum The use of a US passport does not operate to
with his Motion for Intervention and his Motion for revert back his status as a dual citizen prior to his
Reconsideration. Arnado opposed all motions filed renunciation as there is no law saying such. More
by Maquiling, claiming that intervention is succinctly, the use of a US passport does not
prohibited after a decision has already been operate to "un-renounce" what he has earlier on
rendered, and that as a second-placer, Maquiling renounced. The First Divisions reliance in the
undoubtedly lost the elections and thus does not case of In Re: Petition for Habeas Corpus of Willy
stand to be prejudiced or benefitted by the final Yu v. Defensor-Santiago, et al. is misplaced. The
adjudication of the case. petitioner in the said case is a naturalized citizen
who, after taking his oath as a naturalized
RULING OF THE COMELEC EN BANC Filipino, applied for the renewal of his Portuguese
passport. Strict policy is maintained in the
In its Resolution of 02 February 2011, the conduct of citizens who are not natural born, who
COMELEC En Banc held that under Section 6 of acquire their citizenship by choice, thus
Republic Act No. 6646, the Commission "shall discarding their original citizenship. The
continue with the trial and hearing of the action, Philippine State expects strict conduct of
inquiry or protest even after the proclamation of allegiance to those who choose to be its citizens.
the candidate whose qualifications for office is In the present case, respondent is not a
questioned." naturalized citizen but a natural born citizen who
chose greener pastures by working abroad and
As to Maquilings intervention, the COMELEC En then decided to repatriate to supposedly help in
Banc also cited Section 6 of R.A. No. 6646 which the progress of Kauswagan. He did not apply for a
allows intervention in proceedings for US passport after his renunciation. Thus the
disqualification even after elections if no final mentioned case is not on all fours with the case
judgment has been rendered, but went on further at bar.
to say that Maquiling, as the second placer, would
not be prejudiced by the outcome of the case as xxxx
it agrees with the dispositive portion of the
Resolution of the First Division allowing the order The respondent presented a plausible explanation
of succession under Section 44 of the Local as to the use of his US passport. Although he
Government Code to take effect. applied for a Philippine passport, the passport
was only issued on June 18, 2009. However, he
The COMELEC En Banc agreed with the treatment was not notified of the issuance of his Philippine
by the First Division of the petition as one for passport so that he was actually able to get it
disqualification, and ruled that the petition was about three (3) months later. Yet as soon as he
filed well within the period prescribed by was in possession of his Philippine passport, the
law,24 having been filed on 28 April 2010, which is respondent already used the same in his
not later than 11 May 2010, the date of subsequent travels abroad. This fact is proven by
proclamation. the respondents submission of a certified true
copy of his passport showing that he used the
However, the COMELEC En Banc reversed and set same for his travels on the following dates:
aside the ruling of the First Division and granted January 31, 2010, April 16, 2010, May 20, 2010,
Arnados Motion for Reconsideration, on the January 12, 2010, March 31, 2010 and June 4,
following premises: 2010. This then shows that the use of the US
passport was because to his knowledge, his
First: Philippine passport was not yet issued to him for
his use. As probably pressing needs might be
undertaken, the respondent used whatever is
By renouncing his US citizenship as imposed by
within his control during that time.25
R.A. No. 9225, the respondent embraced his
In his Separate Concurring Opinion, COMELEC disqualification was filed before election against a
Chairman Sixto Brillantes cited that the use of candidate but was adversely resolved against him
foreign passport is not one of the grounds after election, his having obtained the highest
provided for under Section 1 of Commonwealth number of votes did not make his election valid.
Act No. 63 through which Philippine citizenship His ouster from office does not violate the
may be lost. principle of vox populi suprema est lex because
the application of the constitutional and statutory
"The application of the more assimilative principle provisions on disqualification is not a matter of
of continuity of citizenship is more appropriate in popularity. To apply it is to breath[e] life to the
this case. Under said principle, once a person sovereign will of the people who expressed it
becomes a citizen, either by birth or when they ratified the Constitution and when
naturalization, it is assumed that he desires to they elected their representatives who enacted
continue to be a citizen, and this assumption the law.27
stands until he voluntarily denationalizes or
expatriates himself. Thus, in the instant case THE PETITION BEFORE THE COURT
respondent after reacquiring his Philippine
citizenship should be presumed to have remained Maquiling filed the instant petition questioning
a Filipino despite his use of his American passport the propriety of declaring Arnado qualified to run
in the absence of clear, unequivocal and for public office despite his continued use of a US
competent proof of expatriation. Accordingly, all passport, and praying that Maquiling be
doubts should be resolved in favor of retention of proclaimed as the winner in the 2010 mayoralty
citizenship."26 race in Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte.

On the other hand, Commissioner Rene V. Ascribing both grave abuse of discretion and
Sarmiento dissented, thus: reversible error on the part of the COMELEC En
Banc for ruling that Arnado is a Filipino citizen
Respondent evidently failed to prove that he truly despite his continued use of a US passport,
and wholeheartedly abandoned his allegiance to Maquiling now seeks to reverse the finding of the
the United States. The latters continued use of COMELEC En Banc that Arnado is qualified to run
his US passport and enjoyment of all the for public office.
privileges of a US citizen despite his previous
renunciation of the afore-mentioned citizenship Corollary to his plea to reverse the ruling of the
runs contrary to his declaration that he chose to COMELEC En Banc or to affirm the First Divisions
retain only his Philippine citizenship. disqualification of Arnado, Maquiling also seeks
Respondents submission with the twin the review of the applicability of Section 44 of the
requirements was obviously only for the purpose Local Government Code, claiming that the
of complying with the requirements for running COMELEC committed reversible error in ruling
for the mayoralty post in connection with the May that "the succession of the vice mayor in case the
10, 2010 Automated National and Local Elections. respondent is disqualified is in order."

Qualifications for elective office, such as There are three questions posed by the parties
citizenship, are continuing requirements; once before this Court which will be addressed seriatim
any of them is lost during his incumbency, title to as the subsequent questions hinge on the result
the office itself is deemed forfeited. If a candidate of the first.
is not a citizen at the time he ran for office or if
he lost his citizenship after his election to office, The first question is whether or not intervention is
he is disqualified to serve as such. Neither does allowed in a disqualification case.
the fact that respondent obtained the plurality of
votes for the mayoralty post cure the latters The second question is whether or not the use of
failure to comply with the qualification a foreign passport after renouncing foreign
requirements regarding his citizenship. citizenship amounts to undoing a renunciation
earlier made.
Since a disqualified candidate is no candidate at
all in the eyes of the law, his having received the A better framing of the question though should
highest number of votes does not validate his be whether or not the use of a foreign passport
election. It has been held that where a petition for
after renouncing foreign citizenship affects ones That petitioner had a right to intervene at that
qualifications to run for public office. stage of the proceedings for the disqualification
against private respondent is clear from Section 6
The third question is whether or not the rule on of R.A. No. 6646, otherwise known as the
succession in the Local Government Code is Electoral Reforms Law of 1987, which provides:
applicable to this case. Any candidate who has been declared by final
judgment to be disqualified shall not be voted for,
OUR RULING and the votes cast for him shall not be counted. If
for any reason a candidate is not declared by final
Intervention of a rival candidate in a judgment before an election to be disqualified
disqualification case is proper when and he is voted for and receives the winning
there has not yet been any number of votes in such election, the Court or
proclamation of the winner. Commission shall continue with the trial and
hearing of the action, inquiry, or protest and,
upon motion of the complainant or any
Petitioner Casan Macode Maquiling intervened at
intervenor, may during the pendency thereof
the stage when respondent Arnado filed a Motion
order the suspension of the proclamation of such
for Reconsideration of the First Division
candidate whenever the evidence of guilt is
Resolution before the COMELEC En Banc. As the
strong. Under this provision, intervention may be
candidate who garnered the second highest
allowed in proceedings for disqualification even
number of votes, Maquiling contends that he has
after election if there has yet been no final
an interest in the disqualification case filed
judgment rendered.29
against Arnado, considering that in the event the
latter is disqualified, the votes cast for him should
be considered stray and the second-placer should Clearly then, Maquiling has the right to intervene
be proclaimed as the winner in the elections. in the case. The fact that the COMELEC En Banc
has already ruled that Maquiling has not shown
that the requisites for the exemption to the
It must be emphasized that while the original
second-placer rule set forth in Sinsuat v.
petition before the COMELEC is one for
COMELEC30 are present and therefore would not
cancellation of the certificate of candidacy and /
be prejudiced by the outcome of the case, does
or disqualification, the COMELEC First Division
not deprive Maquiling of the right to elevate the
and the COMELEC En Banc correctly treated the
matter before this Court.
petition as one for disqualification.

Arnados claim that the main case has attained


The effect of a disqualification case is enunciated
finality as the original petitioner and respondents
in Section 6 of R.A. No. 6646:
therein have not appealed the decision of the
COMELEC En Banc, cannot be sustained. The
Sec. 6. Effect of Disqualification Case. - Any
elevation of the case by the intervenor prevents it
candidate who has been declared by final
from attaining finality. It is only after this Court
judgment to be disqualified shall not be voted for,
has ruled upon the issues raised in this instant
and the votes cast for him shall not be counted. If
petition that the disqualification case originally
for any reason a candidate is not declared by final
filed by Balua against Arnado will attain finality.
judgment before an election to be disqualified
and he is voted for and receives the winning
The use of foreign passport after
number of votes in such election, the Court or
renouncing ones foreign citizenship is a
Commission shall continue with the trial and
positive and voluntary act of representation
hearing of the action, inquiry, or protest and,
as to ones nationality and citizenship; it
upon motion of the complainant or any
does not divest Filipino citizenship regained
intervenor, may during the pendency thereof
by repatriation but it recants the Oath of
order the suspension of the proclamation of such
Renunciation required to qualify one to run
candidate whenever the evidence of his guilt is
for an elective position.
strong.

Section 5(2) of The Citizenship Retention and Re-


Mercado v. Manzano28
acquisition Act of 2003 provides:
clarified the right of intervention in a
disqualification case. In that case, the Court said:
Those who retain or re-acquire Philippine Arnado himself subjected the issue of his
citizenship under this Act shall enjoy full civil and citizenship to attack when, after renouncing his
political rights and be subject to all attendant foreign citizenship, he continued to use his US
liabilities and responsibilities under existing laws passport to travel in and out of the country before
of the Philippines and the following conditions: filing his certificate of candidacy on 30 November
2009. The pivotal question to determine is
xxxx whether he was solely and exclusively a Filipino
citizen at the time he filed his certificate of
(2)Those seeking elective public in the Philippines candidacy, thereby rendering him eligible to run
shall meet the qualification for holding such for public office.
public office as required by the Constitution and
existing laws and, at the time of the filing of the Between 03 April 2009, the date he renounced
certificate of candidacy, make a personal and his foreign citizenship, and 30 November 2009,
sworn renunciation of any and all foreign before the date he filed his COC, he used his US
any public officer authorized to administer an passport four times, actions that run counter to
oath. the affidavit of renunciation he had earlier
executed. By using his foreign passport, Arnado
x x x31 positively and voluntarily represented himself as
an American, in effect declaring before
Rommel Arnado took all the necessary steps to immigration authorities of both countries that he
qualify to run for a public office. He took the Oath is an American citizen, with all attendant rights
of Allegiance and renounced his foreign and privileges granted by the United States of
citizenship. There is no question that after America.
performing these twin requirements required
under Section 5(2) of R.A. No. 9225 or the The renunciation of foreign citizenship is not a
Citizenship Retention and Re-acquisition Act of hollow oath that can simply be professed at any
2003, he became eligible to run for public office. time, only to be violated the next day. It requires
an absolute and perpetual renunciation of the
Indeed, Arnado took the Oath of Allegiance not foreign citizenship and a full divestment of all civil
just only once but twice: first, on 10 July 2008 and political rights granted by the foreign country
when he applied for repatriation before the which granted the citizenship.
Consulate General of the Philippines in San
Francisco, USA, and again on 03 April 2009 Mercado v. Manzano34 already hinted at this
simultaneous with the execution of his Affidavit of situation when the Court declared:
Renunciation. By taking the Oath of Allegiance to
the Republic, Arnado re-acquired his Philippine His declarations will be taken upon the faith that
citizenship. At the time, however, he likewise he will fulfill his undertaking made under oath.
possessed American citizenship. Arnado had Should he betray that trust, there are enough
therefore become a dual citizen. sanctions for declaring the loss of his Philippine
citizenship through expatriation in appropriate
After reacquiring his Philippine citizenship, Arnado proceedings. In Yu v. Defensor-Santiago, we
renounced his American citizenship by executing sustained the denial of entry into the country of
an Affidavit of Renunciation, thus completing the petitioner on the ground that, after taking his
requirements for eligibility to run for public office. oath as a naturalized citizen, he applied for the
renewal of his Portuguese passport and declared
By renouncing his foreign citizenship, he was in commercial documents executed abroad that
deemed to be solely a Filipino citizen, regardless he was a Portuguese national. A similar sanction
of the effect of such renunciation under the laws can be taken against anyone who, in electing
of the foreign country.32 Philippine citizenship, renounces his foreign
nationality, but subsequently does some act
constituting renunciation of his Philippine
However, this legal presumption does not operate
citizenship.
permanently and is open to attack when, after
renouncing the foreign citizenship, the citizen
performs positive acts showing his continued While the act of using a foreign passport is not
possession of a foreign citizenship.33 one of the acts enumerated in Commonwealth
Act No. 63 constituting renunciation and loss of
Philippine citizenship,35 it is nevertheless an act In effect, Arnado was solely and exclusively a
which repudiates the very oath of renunciation Filipino citizen only for a period of eleven days, or
required for a former Filipino citizen who is also a from 3 April 2009 until 14 April 2009, on which
citizen of another country to be qualified to run date he first used his American passport after
for a local elective position. renouncing his American citizenship.

When Arnado used his US passport on 14 April This Court has previously ruled that:
2009, or just eleven days after he renounced his
American citizenship, he recanted his Oath of Qualifications for public office are continuing
Renunciation36 that he "absolutely and requirements and must be possessed not only at
perpetually renounce(s) all allegiance and fidelity the time of appointment or election or
to the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA"37 and that he assumption of office but during the officer's entire
"divest(s) himself of full employment of all civil tenure. Once any of the required qualifications is
and political rights and privileges of the United lost, his title may be seasonably challenged. x x
States of America."38 x.41

We agree with the COMELEC En Banc that such The citizenship requirement for elective public
act of using a foreign passport does not divest office is a continuing one. It must be possessed
Arnado of his Filipino citizenship, which he not just at the time of the renunciation of the
acquired by repatriation. However, by foreign citizenship but continuously. Any act
representing himself as an American citizen, which violates the oath of renunciation opens the
Arnado voluntarily and effectively reverted to his citizenship issue to attack.
earlier status as a dual citizen. Such reversion
was not retroactive; it took place the instant We agree with the pronouncement of the
Arnado represented himself as an American COMELEC First Division that "Arnados act of
citizen by using his US passport. consistently using his US passport effectively
negated his "Affidavit of Renunciation."42 This
This act of using a foreign passport after does not mean, that he failed to comply with the
renouncing ones foreign citizenship is fatal to twin requirements under R.A. No. 9225, for he in
Arnados bid for public office, as it effectively fact did.
imposed on him a disqualification to run for an
elective local position. It was after complying with the requirements that
he performed positive acts which effectively
Arnados category of dual citizenship is that by disqualified him from running for an elective
which foreign citizenship is acquired through a public office pursuant to Section 40(d) of the
positive act of applying for naturalization. This is Local Government Code of 1991.
distinct from those considered dual citizens by
virtue of birth, who are not required by law to The purpose of the Local Government Code in
take the oath of renunciation as the mere filing of disqualifying dual citizens from running for any
the certificate of candidacy already carries with it elective public office would be thwarted if we
an implied renunciation of foreign were to allow a person who has earlier renounced
citizenship.39 Dual citizens by naturalization, on his foreign citizenship, but who subsequently
the other hand, are required to take not only the represents himself as a foreign citizen, to hold
Oath of Allegiance to the Republic of the any public office.
Philippines but also to personally renounce
foreign citizenship in order to qualify as a Arnado justifies the continued use of his US
candidate for public office. passport with the explanation that he was not
notified of the issuance of his Philippine passport
By the time he filed his certificate of candidacy on 18 June 2009, as a result of which he was only
on 30 November 2009, Arnado was a dual citizen able to obtain his Philippine passport three (3)
enjoying the rights and privileges of Filipino and months later.43
American citizenship. He was qualified to vote,
but by the express disqualification under Section The COMELEC En Banc differentiated Arnado from
40(d) of the Local Government Code,40 he was not Willy Yu, the Portuguese national who sought
qualified to run for a local elective position. naturalization as a Filipino citizen and later
applied for the renewal of his Portuguese
passport. That Arnado did not apply for a US its soundness once again put to the test to
passport after his renunciation does not make his address the ever-recurring issue that a second-
use of a US passport less of an act that violated placer who loses to an ineligible candidate cannot
the Oath of Renunciation he took. It was still a be proclaimed as the winner in the elections.
positive act of representation as a US citizen
before the immigration officials of this country. The Facts of the case are as follows:

The COMELEC, in ruling favorably for Arnado, On June 4, 1912, a general election was held in
stated "Yet, as soon as he was in possession of the town of Imus, Province of Cavite, to fill the
his Philippine passport, the respondent already office of municipal president. The petitioner,
used the same in his subsequent travels Felipe Topacio, and the respondent, Maximo
abroad."44 We cannot agree with the COMELEC. Abad, were opposing candidates for that office.
Three months from June is September. If indeed, Topacio received 430 votes, and Abad 281. Abad
Arnado used his Philippine passport as soon as he contested the election upon the sole ground that
was in possession of it, he would not have used Topacio was ineligible in that he was reelected
his US passport on 24 November 2009. the second time to the office of the municipal
president on June 4, 1912, without the four years
Besides, Arnados subsequent use of his required by Act No. 2045 having intervened. 46
Philippine passport does not correct the fact that
after he renounced his foreign citizenship and Abad thus questioned the eligibility of To p a c i o
prior to filing his certificate of candidacy, he used on the basis of a statutory prohibition for seeking
his US passport. In the same way that the use of a second re-election absent the four year
his foreign passport does not undo his Oath of interruption.
Renunciation, his subsequent use of his Philippine
passport does not undo his earlier use of his US The often-quoted phrase in Topacio v. Paredes is
passport. that "the wreath of victory cannot be transferred
from an ineligible candidate to any other
Citizenship is not a matter of convenience. It is a candidate when the sole question is the eligibility
badge of identity that comes with attendant civil of the one receiving a plurality of the legally cast
and political rights accorded by the state to its ballots."47
citizens. It likewise demands the concomitant
duty to maintain allegiance to ones flag and This phrase is not even the ratio decidendi; it is a
country. While those who acquire dual citizenship mere obiter dictum. The Court was comparing
by choice are afforded the right of suffrage, those "the effect of a decision that a candidate is not
who seek election or appointment to public office entitled to the office because of fraud or
are required to renounce their foreign citizenship irregularities in the elections x x x with that
to be deserving of the public trust. Holding public produced by declaring a person ineligible to hold
office demands full and undivided allegiance to such an office."
the Republic and to no other.
The complete sentence where the phrase is found
We therefore hold that Arnado, by using his US is part of a comparison and contrast between the
passport after renouncing his American two situations, thus:
citizenship, has recanted the same Oath of
Renunciation he took. Section 40(d) of the Local Again, the effect of a decision that a candidate is
Government Code applies to his situation. He is not entitled to the office because of fraud or
disqualified not only from holding the public office irregularities in the elections is quite different
but even from becoming a candidate in the May from that produced by declaring a person
2010 elections. ineligible to hold such an office. In the former
case the court, after an examination of the ballots
We now resolve the next issue. may find that some other person than the
candidate declared to have received a plurality
Resolving the third issue necessitates revisiting by the board of canvassers actually received the
Topacio v. Paredes45 which is the jurisprudential greater number of votes, in which case the court
spring of the principle that a second-placer issues its mandamus to the board of canvassers
cannot be proclaimed as the winner in an election to correct the returns accordingly; or it may find
contest. This doctrine must be re-examined and that the manner of holding the election and the
returns are so tainted with fraud or illegality that The Court did not rule that Topacio was
it cannot be determined who received a plurality disqualified and that Abad as the second placer
of the legally cast ballots. In the latter case, no cannot be proclaimed in his stead. The Court
question as to the correctness of the returns or therein ruled:
the manner of casting and counting the ballots is
before the deciding power, and generally the only For the foregoing reasons, we are of the opinion
result can be that the election fails entirely. In the and so hold that the respondent judge exceeded
former, we have a contest in the strict sense of his jurisdiction in declaring in those proceedings
the word, because of the opposing parties are that no one was elected municipal president of
striving for supremacy. If it be found that the the municipality of Imus at the last general
successful candidate (according to the board of election; and that said order and all subsequent
canvassers) obtained a plurality in an illegal proceedings based thereon are null and void and
manner, and that another candidate was the real of no effect; and, although this decision is
victor, the former must retire in favor of the rendered on respondents' answer to the order to
latter. In the other case, there is not, strictly show cause, unless respondents raised some new
speaking, a contest, as the wreath of victory and additional issues, let judgment be entered
cannot be transferred from an ineligible accordingly in 5 days, without costs. So ordered.49
candidate to any other candidate when the sole
question is the eligibility of the one receiving a On closer scrutiny, the phrase relied upon by a
plurality of the legally cast ballots. In the one host of decisions does not even have a legal basis
case the question is as to who received a plurality to stand on. It was a mere pronouncement of the
of the legally cast ballots; in the other, the Court comparing one process with another and
question is confined to the personal character explaining the effects thereof. As an independent
and circumstances of a single statement, it is even illogical.
individual.48 (Emphasis supplied)
Let us examine the statement:
Note that the sentence where the phrase is found
starts with "In the other case, there is not, strictly "x x x the wreath of victory cannot be transferred
speaking, a contest" in contrast to the earlier from an ineligible candidate to any other
statement, "In the former, we have a contest in candidate when the sole question is the eligibility
the strict sense of the word, because of the of the one receiving a plurality of the legally cast
opposing parties are striving for supremacy." ballots."

The Court in Topacio v. Paredes cannot be said to What prevents the transfer of the wreath of
have held that "the wreath of victory cannot be victory from the ineligible candidate to another
transferred from an ineligible candidate to any candidate?
other candidate when the sole question is the
eligibility of the one receiving a plurality of the
When the issue being decided upon by the Court
legally cast ballots."
is the eligibility of the one receiving a plurality of
the legally cast ballots and ineligibility is
A proper reading of the case reveals that the thereafter established, what stops the Court from
ruling therein is that since the Court of First adjudging another eligible candidate who
Instance is without jurisdiction to try a received the next highest number of votes as the
disqualification case based on the eligibility of the winner and bestowing upon him that "wreath?"
person who obtained the highest number of votes
in the election, its jurisdiction being confined "to
An ineligible candidate who receives the highest
determine which of the contestants has been duly
number of votes is a wrongful winner. By express
elected" the judge exceeded his jurisdiction when
legal mandate, he could not even have been a
he "declared that no one had been legally elected
candidate in the first place, but by virtue of the
president of the municipality of Imus at the
lack of material time or any other intervening
general election held in that town on 4 June
circumstances, his ineligibility might not have
1912" where "the only question raised was
been passed upon prior to election date.
whether or not Topacio was eligible to be elected
Consequently, he may have had the opportunity
and to hold the office of municipal president."
to hold himself out to the electorate as a
legitimate and duly qualified candidate. However,
notwithstanding the outcome of the elections, his
ineligibility as a candidate remains unchanged. interpreted without qualifications lest "Election
Ineligibility does not only pertain to his victory x x x becomes a magic formula to bypass
qualifications as a candidate but necessarily election eligibility requirements."53
affects his right to hold public office. The number
of ballots cast in his favor cannot cure the defect We have ruled in the past that a candidates
of failure to qualify with the substantive legal victory in the election may be considered a
requirements of eligibility to run for public office. sufficient basis to rule in favor of the candidate
sought to be disqualified if the main issue
The popular vote does not cure the involves defects in the candidates certificate of
ineligibility of a candidate. candidacy. We said that while provisions relating
to certificates of candidacy are mandatory in
The ballot cannot override the constitutional and terms, it is an established rule of interpretation as
statutory requirements for qualifications and regards election laws, that mandatory provisions
disqualifications of candidates. When the law requiring certain steps before elections will be
requires certain qualifications to be possessed or construed as directory after the elections, to give
that certain disqualifications be not possessed by effect to the will of the people. We so ruled in
persons desiring to serve as elective public Quizon v. COMELEC and Saya-ang v. COMELEC:
officials, those qualifications must be met before
one even becomes a candidate. When a person The present case perhaps presents the proper
who is not qualified is voted for and eventually time and opportunity to fine-tune our above
garners the highest number of votes, even the ruling. We say this with the realization that a
will of the electorate expressed through the ballot blanket and unqualified reading and application
cannot cure the defect in the qualifications of the of this ruling can be fraught with dangerous
candidate. To rule otherwise is to trample upon significance for the rule of law and the integrity of
and rent asunder the very law that sets forth the our elections. For one, such blanket/unqualified
qualifications and disqualifications of candidates. reading may provide a way around the law that
We might as well write off our election laws if the effectively negates election requirements aimed
voice of the electorate is the sole determinant of at providing the electorate with the basic
who should be proclaimed worthy to occupy information to make an informed choice about a
elective positions in our republic. candidates eligibility and fitness for office.

This has been, in fact, already laid down by the The first requirement that may fall when an
Court in Frivaldo v. COMELEC50 when we unqualified reading is made is Section 39 of the
pronounced: LGC which specifies the basic qualifications of
local government officials. Equally susceptive of
x x x. The fact that he was elected by the people being rendered toothless is Section 74 of the OEC
of Sorsogon does not excuse this patent violation that sets out what should be stated in a COC.
of the salutary rule limiting public office and Section 78 may likewise be emasculated as mere
employment only to the citizens of this country. delay in the resolution of the petition to cancel or
The qualifications prescribed for elective office deny due course to a COC can render a Section
cannot be erased by the electorate alone. 78 petition useless if a candidate with false COC
data wins. To state the obvious, candidates may
The will of the people as expressed through the risk falsifying their COC qualifications if they
ballot cannot cure the vice of ineligibility, know that an election victory will cure any defect
especially if they mistakenly believed, as in this that their COCs may have. Election victory then
case, that the candidate was qualified. Obviously, becomes a magic formula to bypass election
this rule requires strict application when the eligibility requirements. (Citations omitted)
deficiency is lack of citizenship. If a person seeks
to serve in the Republic of the Philippines, he What will stop an otherwise disqualified individual
must owe his total loyalty to this country only, from filing a seemingly valid COC, concealing any
abjuring and renouncing all fealty and fidelity to disqualification, and employing every strategy to
any other state.51(Emphasis supplied) delay any disqualification case filed against him
so he can submit himself to the electorate and
This issue has also been jurisprudentially clarified win, if winning the election will guarantee a
in Velasco v. COMELEC52 where the Court ruled disregard of constitutional and statutory
that the ruling in Quizon and Saya-ang cannot be
provisions on qualifications and disqualifications within the realm of notoriety of a candidates
of candidates? disqualification and still cast their votes in favor
said candidate, then the eligible candidate
It is imperative to safeguard the expression of the obtaining the next higher number of votes may
sovereign voice through the ballot by ensuring be deemed elected. That rule is also a mere
that its exercise respects the rule of law. To allow obiter that further complicated the rules affecting
the sovereign voice spoken through the ballot to qualified candidates who placed second to
trump constitutional and statutory provisions on ineligible ones.
qualifications and disqualifications of candidates
is not democracy or republicanism. It is electoral The electorates awareness of the candidates
anarchy. When set rules are disregarded and only disqualification is not a prerequisite for the
the electorates voice spoken through the ballot is disqualification to attach to the candidate. The
made to matter in the end, it precisely serves as very existence of a disqualifying circumstance
an open invitation for electoral anarchy to set makes the candidate ineligible. Knowledge by the
in.1wphi1 electorate of a candidates disqualification is not
necessary before a qualified candidate who
Maquiling is not a second-placer as placed second to a disqualified one can be
he obtained the highest number of proclaimed as the winner. The second-placer in
votes from among the qualified the vote count is actually the first-placer among
candidates. the qualified candidates.

With Arnados disqualification, Maquiling then That the disqualified candidate has already been
becomes the winner in the election as he proclaimed and has assumed office is of no
obtained the highest number of votes from moment. The subsequent disqualification based
among the qualified candidates. on a substantive ground that existed prior to the
filing of the certificate of candidacy voids not only
We have ruled in the recent cases of Aratea v. the COC but also the proclamation.
COMELEC54 and Jalosjos v. COMELEC55 that a void
COC cannot produce any legal effect. Section 6 of R.A. No. 6646 provides:

Thus, the votes cast in favor of the ineligible Section 6. Effect of Disqualification Case. - Any
candidate are not considered at all in determining candidate who has been declared by final
the winner of an election. judgment to be disqualified shall not be voted for,
and the votes cast for him shall not be counted. If
Even when the votes for the ineligible candidate for any reason a candidate is not declared by final
are disregarded, the will of the electorate is still judgment before an election to be disqualified
respected, and even more so. The votes cast in and he is voted for and receives the winning
favor of an ineligible candidate do not constitute number of votes in such election, the Court or
the sole and total expression of the sovereign Commission shall continue with the trial and
voice. The votes cast in favor of eligible and hearing of the action, inquiry, or protest and,
legitimate candidates form part of that voice and upon motion of the complainant or any
must also be respected. intervenor, may during the pendency thereof
order the suspension of the proclamation of such
As in any contest, elections are governed by rules candidate whenever the evidence of his guilt is
that determine the qualifications and strong.
disqualifications of those who are allowed to
participate as players. When there are There was no chance for Arnados proclamation
participants who turn out to be ineligible, their to be suspended under this rule because Arnado
victory is voided and the laurel is awarded to the failed to file his answer to the petition seeking his
next in rank who does not possess any of the disqualification. Arnado only filed his Answer on
disqualifications nor lacks any of the 15 June 2010, long after the elections and after
qualifications set in the rules to be eligible as he was already proclaimed as the winner.
candidates.
The disqualifying circumstance surrounding
There is no need to apply the rule cited in Labo v. Arnados candidacy involves his citizenship. It
COMELEC56 that when the voters are well aware does not involve the commission of election
offenses as provided for in the first sentence of This Decision is immediately executory.
Section 68 of the Omnibus Election Code, the
effect of which is to disqualify the individual from Let a copy of this Decision be served personally
continuing as a candidate, or if he has already upon the parties and the Commission on
been elected, from holding the office. Elections.

The disqualifying circumstance affecting Arnado No pronouncement as to costs.


is his citizenship. As earlier discussed, Arnado
was both a Filipino and an American citizen when SO ORDERED.
he filed his certificate of candidacy. He was a dual
citizen disqualified to run for public office based FOUNDLING ~ NATURAL BORN THEREFORE
on Section 40(d) of the Local Government Code. QUALIFIED TO RUN FOR PRESIDENT

Section 40 starts with the statement "The


following persons are disqualified from running
for any elective local position." The prohibition Grace Poe vs COMELEC
serves as a bar against the individuals who fall (Case Digest: GR 221697, GR 221698-700
under any of the enumeration from participating
March 8, 2016)
as candidates in the election.

With Arnado being barred from even becoming a Facts:


candidate, his certificate of candidacy is thus
rendered void from the beginning. It could not In her COC for presidency for the May 2016
have produced any other legal effect except that
elections, Grace Poe declared that she is a
Arnado rendered it impossible to effect his
disqualification prior to the elections because he natural-born citizen and that her residence in the
filed his answer to the petition when the elections Philippines up to the day before 9 May 2016
were conducted already and he was already
would be 10 years and 11 months counted from
proclaimed the winner.
24 May 2005.
To hold that such proclamation is valid is to
negate the prohibitory character of the May 24, 2005 was the day she came to the
disqualification which Arnado possessed even
Philippines after deciding to stay in the PH for
prior to the filing of the certificate of candidacy.
The affirmation of Arnado's disqualification, good. Before that however, and even afterwards,
although made long after the elections, reaches she has been going to and fro between US and
back to the filing of the certificate of candidacy.
Philippines. She was born in 1968, found as
Arnado is declared to be not a candidate at all in
the May 201 0 elections. newborn infant in Iloilo, and was legally adopted.
She immigrated to the US in 1991 and was
Arnado being a non-candidate, the votes cast in naturalized as American citizen in 2001. On July
his favor should not have been counted. This
18, 2006, the BI granted her petition declaring
leaves Maquiling as the qualified candidate who
obtained the highest number of votes. Therefore, that she had reacquired her Filipino citizenship
the rule on succession under the Local under RA 9225. She registered as a voter and
Government Code will not apply.
obtained a new Philippine passport. In 2010,

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Petition is before assuming her post as an appointed
GRANTED. The Resolution of the COMELEC En chairperson of the MTRCB, she renounced her
Bane dated 2 February 2011 is hereby ANNULLED American citizenship to satisfy the RA 9225
and SET ASIDE. Respondent ROMMEL ARNADO y
CAGOCO is disqualified from running for any local requirement . From then on, she stopped using
elective position. CASAN MACODE MAQUILING is her American passport.
hereby DECLARED the duly elected Mayor of
Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte in the 10 May 2010 Petitions were filed before the COMELEC to deny
elections.
or cancel her candidacy on the ground
particularly, among others, that she cannot be Hence, the COMELEC committed grave abuse of
considered a natural-born Filipino citizen since discretion when it decided on the qualification
she cannot prove that her biological parents or issue of Grace as a candidate in the same case
either of them were Filipinos. The COMELEC en for cancellation of her COC.
banc cancelled her candidacy on the ground that
she is in want of citizenship and residence Issue 2: W/N Grace Poe-Llamanzares is a
requirements, and that she committed material natural-born Filipino citizen (Read Dissent)
misrepresentations in her COC.
Held:
On certiorari, the SC reversed the ruling and held
Yes, Grace Poe might be and is considerably a
(9-6 votes) that Poe is qualified as a candidate for
natural-born Filipino. For that, she satisfies one of
Presidency. Three justices, however, abstained to
the constitutional requirements that only natural-
vote on the natural-born citizenship issue.
born Filipinos may run for presidency.
Issue 1: W/N the COMELEC has jurisdiction to
First, there is a high probability that Grace Poes
rule on the issue of qualifications of
parents are Filipinos. Her physical features are
candidates (Read Dissent)
typical of Filipinos. The fact that she was
Held: abandoned as an infant in a municipality where
the population of the Philippines is
No. Article IX-C, Sec 2 of the Constitution overwhelmingly Filipinos such that there would be
provides for the powers and functions of the more than 99% chance that a child born in such
COMELEC, and deciding on the qualifications or province is a Filipino is also a circumstantial
lack thereof of a candidate is not one among evidence of her parents nationality. That
them. probability and the evidence on which it is based
are admissible under Rule 128, Section 4 of the
In contrast, the Constitution provides that only Revised Rules on Evidence. To assume otherwise
the SET and HRET tribunals have sole jurisdiction is to accept the absurd, if not the virtually
over the election contests, returns, and impossible, as the norm.
qualifications of their respective members,
whereas over the President and Vice President, Second, by votes of 7-5, the SC pronounced
only the SC en banc has sole jurisdiction. As for that foundlings are as a class, natural-born
the qualifications of candidates for such positions, citizens. This is based on the finding that
the Constitution is silent. There is simply no the deliberations of the 1934 Constitutional
authorized proceeding in determining Convention show that the framers intended
the ineligibility of candidates before elections. foundlings to be covered by the
Such lack of provision cannot be supplied by a enumeration. While the 1935 Constitutions
mere rule, and for the COMELEC to assimilate enumeration is silent as to foundlings,
grounds for ineligibility into grounds there is no restrictive language which would
for disqualification in Rule 25 in its rules of definitely exclude foundlings either.
procedures would be contrary to the intent of the Because of silence and ambiguity in the
Constitution. enumeration with respect to foundlings, the
SC felt the need to examine the intent of
the framers.
Third, that foundlings are automatically conferred citizenship and residency because such facts
with natural-born citizenship is supported by refer to grounds for ineligibility in which the
treaties and the general principles of COMELEC has no jurisdiction to decide upon.
international law. Although the Philippines is not Only when there is a prior authority finding that
a signatory to some of these treaties, it adheres a candidate is suffering from a disqualification
to the customary rule to presume foundlings as provided by law or the Constitution that the
having born of the country in which the foundling COMELEC may deny due course or cancel her
is found. candidacy on ground of false representations
regarding her qualifications.
Issue 3: W/N Grace Poe satisfies the 10-year
residency requirement In this case, by authority of the Supreme Court
Grace Poe is now pronounced qualified as a
Held: candidate for the presidency. Hence, there
cannot be any false representations in her COC
Yes. Grace Poe satisfied the requirements of regarding her citizenship and residency. ##
animus manendi coupled with animus revertendi
in acquiring a new domicile. G.R. No. 221697

MARY GRACE NATIVIDAD S. POE-


Grace Poes domicile had been timely changed as LLAMANZARES, Petitioners,
of May 24, 2005, and not on July 18, 2006 when vs.
COMELEC AND ESTRELLA C.
her application under RA 9225 was approved by
ELAMPARO Respondents.
the BI. COMELECs reliance on cases which
decree that an aliens stay in the country cannot x-----------------------x
be counted unless she acquires a permanent
G.R. No. 221698-700
resident visa or reacquires her Filipino citizenship
is without merit. Such cases are different from MARY GRACE NATIVIDAD S. POE-
the circumstances in this case, in which Grace LLAMANZARES, Petitioners,
vs.
Poe presented an overwhelming evidence of her COMELEC, FRANCISCO S. TATAD, ANTONIO P.
actual stay and intent to abandon permanently CONTRERAS AND AMADO D.
VALDEZ Respondents.
her domicile in the US. Coupled with her
eventual application to reacquire Philippine DECISION
citizenship and her familys actual continuous
PEREZ, J.:
stay in the Philippines over the years, it is clear
that when Grace Poe returned on May 24, 2005, it Before the Court are two consolidated petitions
was for good. under Rule 64 in relation to Rule 65 of the Rules
of Court with extremely urgent application for
an ex parte issuance of temporary
Issue 4: W/N the Grace Poes candidacy should restraining order/status quo ante order and/or
be denied or cancelled for committing material writ of preliminary injunction assailing the
following: (1) 1 December 2015 Resolution of the
misrepresentations in her COC
Commission on Elections (COMELEC) Second
Division; (2) 23 December 2015 Resolution of the
Held: COMELEC En Banc, in SPA No. 15-001 (DC); (3) 11
December 2015 Resolution of the COMELEC First
Division; and ( 4) 23 December 2015 Resolution
No. The COMELEC cannot cancel her COC on the of the COMELEC En Banc, in SPA No. 15-002 (DC),
ground that she misrepresented facts as to her SPA No. 15-007 (DC) and SPA No. 15-139 (DC) for
having been issued without jurisdiction or with
grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or of the Philippines8but she opted to continue her
excess of jurisdiction. studies abroad and left for the United States of
America (U.S.) in 1988. Petitioner graduated in
The Facts 1991 from Boston College in Chestnuts Hill,
Massachusetts where she earned her Bachelor of
Mary Grace Natividad S. Poe-Llamanzares Arts degree in Political Studies.9
(petitioner) was found abandoned as a newborn
infant in the Parish Church of Jaro, Iloilo by a On 27 July 1991, petitioner married Teodoro
certain Edgardo Militar (Edgardo) on 3 September Misael Daniel V. Llamanzares (Llamanzares), a
1968. Parental care and custody over petitioner citizen of both the Philippines and the U.S., at
was passed on by Edgardo to his relatives, Sanctuario de San Jose Parish in San Juan
Emiliano Militar (Emiliano) and his wife. Three City. 10 Desirous of being with her husband who
days after, 6 September 1968, Emiliano reported was then based in the U.S., the couple flew back
and registered petitioner as a foundling with the to the U.S. two days after the wedding ceremony
Office of the Civil Registrar of Iloilo City (OCR- or on 29 July 1991. 11
Iloilo). In her Foundling Certificate and Certificate
of Live Birth, the petitioner was given the name While in the U.S., the petitioner gave birth to her
"Mary Grace Natividad Contreras Militar." 1 eldest child Brian Daniel (Brian) on 16 April
1992.12 Her two daughters Hanna MacKenzie
When petitioner was five (5) years old, celebrity (Hanna) and Jesusa Anika (Anika) were both born
spouses Ronald Allan Kelley Poe (a.k.a. Fenando in the Philippines on 10 July 1998 and 5 June
Poe, Jr.) and Jesusa Sonora Poe (a.k.a. Susan 2004, respectively. 13
Roces) filed a petition for her adoption with the
Municipal Trial Court (MTC) of San Juan City. On 13 On 18 October 2001, petitioner became a
May 1974, the trial court granted their petition naturalized American citizen. 14 She obtained U.S.
and ordered that petitioner's name be changed Passport No. 017037793 on 19 December 2001. 15
from "Mary Grace Natividad Contreras Militar" to
"Mary Grace Natividad Sonora Poe." Although On 8 April 2004, the petitioner came back to the
necessary notations were made by OCR-Iloilo on Philippines together with Hanna to support her
petitioner's foundling certificate reflecting the father's candidacy for President in the May 2004
court decreed adoption,2 the petitioner's adoptive elections. It was during this time that she gave
mother discovered only sometime in the second birth to her youngest daughter Anika. She
half of 2005 that the lawyer who handled returned to the U.S. with her two daughters on 8
petitioner's adoption failed to secure from the July 2004. 16
OCR-Iloilo a new Certificate of Live Birth
indicating petitioner's new name and the name of After a few months, specifically on 13 December
her adoptive parents. 3 Without delay, petitioner's 2004, petitioner rushed back to the Philippines
mother executed an affidavit attesting to the upon learning of her father's deteriorating
lawyer's omission which she submitted to the medical condition. 17 Her father slipped into a
OCR-Iloilo. On 4 May 2006, OCR-Iloilo issued a coma and eventually expired. The petitioner
new Certificate of Live Birth in the name of Mary stayed in the country until 3 February 2005 to
Grace Natividad Sonora Poe.4 take care of her father's funeral arrangements as
well as to assist in the settlement of his estate.18
Having reached the age of eighteen (18) years in
1986, petitioner registered as a voter with the According to the petitioner, the untimely demise
local COMELEC Office in San Juan City. On 13 of her father was a severe blow to her entire
December 1986, she received her COMELEC family. In her earnest desire to be with her
Voter's Identification Card for Precinct No. 196 in grieving mother, the petitioner and her husband
Greenhills, San Juan, Metro Manila.5 decided to move and reside permanently in the
Philippines sometime in the first quarter of
On 4 April 1988, petitioner applied for and was 2005.19 The couple began preparing for their
issued Philippine Passport No. F9272876 by the resettlement including notification of their
Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA). children's schools that they will be transferring to
Subsequently, on 5 April 1993 and 19 May 1998, Philippine schools for the next
she renewed her Philippine passport and semester;20 coordination with property movers for
respectively secured Philippine Passport Nos. the relocation of their household goods, furniture
L881511 and DD156616.7 and cars from the U.S. to the Philippines;21 and
inquiry with Philippine authorities as to the proper
Initially, the petitioner enrolled and pursued a procedure to be followed in bringing their pet dog
degree in Development Studies at the University
into the country.22 As early as 2004, the petitioner her Philippine citizenship while her children are
already quit her job in the U.S.23 considered as citizens of the
Philippines.38 Consequently, the BI issued
Finally, petitioner came home to the Philippines Identification Certificates (ICs) in petitioner's
on 24 May 200524 and without delay, secured a name and in the names of her three (3)
Tax Identification Number from the Bureau of children. 39
Internal Revenue. Her three (3) children
immediately followed25 while her husband was Again, petitioner registered as a voter
forced to stay in the U.S. to complete pending of Barangay Santa Lucia, San Juan City on 31
projects as well as to arrange the sale of their August 2006.40 She also secured from the DFA a
family home there.26 new Philippine Passport bearing the No.
XX4731999.41 This passport was renewed on 18
The petitioner and her children briefly stayed at March 2014 and she was issued Philippine
her mother's place until she and her husband Passport No. EC0588861 by the DFA.42
purchased a condominium unit with a parking slot
at One Wilson Place Condominium in San Juan On 6 October 2010, President Benigno S. Aquino
City in the second half of 2005.27 The III appointed petitioner as Chairperson of the
corresponding Condominium Certificates of Title Movie and Television Review and Classification
covering the unit and parking slot were issued by Board (MTRCB).43 Before assuming her post,
the Register of Deeds of San Juan City to petitioner executed an "Affidavit of Renunciation
petitioner and her husband on 20 February of Allegiance to the United States of America and
2006.28 Meanwhile, her children of school age Renunciation of American Citizenship" before a
began attending Philippine private schools. notary public in Pasig City on 20 October
2010,44 in satisfaction of the legal requisites
On 14 February 2006, the petitioner made a quick stated in Section 5 of R.A. No. 9225.45 The
trip to the U.S. to supervise the disposal of some following day, 21 October 2010 petitioner
of the family's remaining household submitted the said affidavit to the BI46 and took
belongings.29 She travelled back to the Philippines her oath of office as Chairperson of the
on 11 March 2006.30 MTRCB.47 From then on, petitioner stopped using
her American passport.48
In late March 2006, petitioner's husband officially
informed the U.S. Postal Service of the family's On 12 July 2011, the petitioner executed before
change and abandonment of their address in the the Vice Consul of the U.S. Embassy in Manila an
U.S.31 The family home was eventually sold on 27 "Oath/Affirmation of Renunciation of Nationality of
April 2006.32 Petitioner's husband resigned from the United States."49 On that day, she
his job in the U.S. in April 2006, arrived in the accomplished a sworn questionnaire before the
country on 4 May 2006 and started working for a U.S. Vice Consul wherein she stated that she had
major Philippine company in July 2006.33 taken her oath as MTRCB Chairperson on 21
October 2010 with the intent, among others, of
In early 2006, petitioner and her husband relinquishing her American citizenship.50 In the
acquired a 509-square meter lot in Corinthian same questionnaire, the petitioner stated that
Hills, Quezon City where they built their family she had resided outside of the U.S., specifically in
home34 and to this day, is where the couple and the Philippines, from 3 September 1968 to 29 July
their children have been residing.35 A Transfer 1991 and from May 2005 to present.51
Certificate of Title covering said property was
issued in the couple's name by the Register of On 9 December 2011, the U.S. Vice Consul issued
Deeds of Quezon City on 1June 2006. to petitioner a "Certificate of Loss of Nationality of
the United States" effective 21 October 2010.52
On 7 July 2006, petitioner took her Oath of
Allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines On 2 October 2012, the petitioner filed with the
pursuant to Republic Act (R.A.) No. 9225 or the COMELEC her Certificate of Candidacy (COC) for
Citizenship Retention and Re-acquisition Act of Senator for the 2013 Elections wherein she
2003.36 Under the same Act, she filed with the answered "6 years and 6 months" to the question
Bureau of Immigration (BI) a sworn petition to "Period of residence in the Philippines before May
reacquire Philippine citizenship together with 13, 2013."53 Petitioner obtained the highest
petitions for derivative citizenship on behalf of number of votes and was proclaimed Senator on
her three minor children on 10 July 2006.37 As can 16 May 2013. 54
be gathered from its 18 July 2006 Order, the BI
acted favorably on petitioner's petitions and On 19 December 2013, petitioner obtained
declared that she is deemed to have reacquired Philippine Diplomatic Passport No. DE0004530. 55
On 15 October 2015, petitioner filed her COC for requirement of the Constitution as her residence
the Presidency for the May 2016 Elections. 56 In could only be counted at the earliest from July
her COC, the petitioner declared that she is a 2006, when she reacquired Philippine citizenship
natural-born citizen and that her residence in the under the said Act. Also on the assumption that
Philippines up to the day before 9 May 2016 petitioner is qualified to reacquire lost Philippine
would be ten (10) years and eleven (11) months Citizenship, Elamparo is of the belief that she
counted from 24 May 2005.57 The petitioner failed to reestablish her domicile in the
attached to her COC an "Affidavit Affirming Philippines.67
Renunciation of U.S.A. Citizenship" subscribed
and sworn to before a notary public in Quezon Petitioner seasonably filed her Answer wherein
City on 14 October 2015. 58 she countered that:

Petitioner's filing of her COC for President in the (1) the COMELEC did not have jurisdiction
upcoming elections triggered the filing of several over Elamparo's petition as it was actually
COMELEC cases against her which were the a petition for quo warranto which could
subject of these consolidated cases. only be filed if Grace Poe wins in the
Presidential elections, and that the
Origin of Petition for Certiorari in G.R. No. Department of Justice (DOJ) has primary
221697 jurisdiction to revoke the BI's July 18, 2006
Order;
A day after petitioner filed her COC for President,
Estrella Elamparo (Elamparo) filed a petition to (2) the petition failed to state a cause of
deny due course or cancel said COC which was action because it did not contain
docketed as SPA No. 15-001 (DC) and raffled to allegations which, if hypothetically
the COMELEC Second Division.59She is convinced admitted, would make false the statement
that the COMELEC has jurisdiction over her in her COC that she is a natural-born
petition.60 Essentially, Elamparo's contention is Filipino citizen nor was there any
that petitioner committed material allegation that there was a willful or
misrepresentation when she stated in her COC deliberate intent to misrepresent on her
that she is a natural-born Filipino citizen and that part;
she is a resident of the Philippines for at least ten
(10) years and eleven (11) months up to the day (3) she did not make any material
before the 9 May 2016 Elections.61 misrepresentation in the COC regarding
her citizenship and residency
On the issue of citizenship, Elamparo argued that qualifications for:
petitioner cannot be considered as a natural-born
Filipino on account of the fact that she was a a. the 1934 Constitutional
foundling.62 Elamparo claimed that international Convention deliberations show that
law does not confer natural-born status and foundlings were considered
Filipino citizenship on foundlings.63 Following this citizens;
line of reasoning, petitioner is not qualified to
apply for reacquisition of Filipino citizenship under b. foundlings are presumed under
R.A. No. 9225 for she is not a natural-born Filipino international law to have been born
citizen to begin with.64 Even of citizens of the place where they
assuming arguendo that petitioner was a natural- are found;
born Filipino, she is deemed to have lost that
status when she became a naturalized American
citizen.65 According to Elamparo, natural-born c. she reacquired her natural-born
citizenship must be continuous from birth. 66 Philippine citizenship under the
provisions of R.A. No. 9225;
On the matter of petitioner's residency, Elamparo
pointed out that petitioner was bound by the d. she executed a sworn
sworn declaration she made in her 2012 COC for renunciation of her American
Senator wherein she indicated that she had citizenship prior to the filing of her
resided in the country for only six ( 6) years and COC for President in the May 9,
six ( 6) months as of May 2013 Elections. 2016 Elections and that the same
Elamparo likewise insisted that is in full force and effect and has
assuming arguendo that petitioner is qualified to not been withdrawn or recanted;
regain her natural-born status under R.A. No.
9225, she still fell short of the ten-year residency
e. the burden was on Elamparo in This case stemmed from three (3) separate
proving that she did not possess petitions filed by Francisco S. Tatad (Tatad),
natural-born status; Antonio P. Contreras (Contreras) and Amado D.
Valdez (Valdez) against petitioner before the
f. residence is a matter of evidence COMELEC which were consolidated and raffled to
and that she reestablished her its First Division.
domicile in the Philippines as early
as May 24, 2005; In his petition to disqualify petitioner under Rule
25 of the COMELEC Rules of
g. she could reestablish residence Procedure,71 docketed as SPA No. 15-002 (DC),
even before she reacquired natural- Tatad alleged that petitioner lacks the requisite
born citizenship under R.A. No. residency and citizenship to qualify her for the
9225; Presidency.72

h. statement regarding the period Tatad theorized that since the Philippines adheres
of residence in her 2012 COC for to the principle of jus sanguinis, persons of
Senator was an honest mistake, not unknown parentage, particularly foundlings,
binding and should give way to cannot be considered natural-born Filipino
evidence on her true date of citizens since blood relationship is determinative
reacquisition of domicile; of natural-born status.73 Tatad invoked the rule of
statutory construction that what is not included is
i. Elamparo's petition is merely an excluded. He averred that the fact that foundlings
action to usurp the sovereign right were not expressly included in the categories of
of the Filipino people to decide a citizens in the 193 5 Constitution is indicative of
purely political question, that is, the framers' intent to exclude them.74 Therefore,
should she serve as the country's the burden lies on petitioner to prove that she is
next leader.68 a natural-born citizen.75

After the parties submitted their respective Neither can petitioner seek refuge under
Memoranda, the petition was deemed submitted international conventions or treaties to support
for resolution. her claim that foundlings have a
nationality.76 According to Tatad, international
conventions and treaties are not self-executory
On 1 December 2015, the COMELEC Second and that local legislations are necessary in order
Division promulgated a Resolution finding that to give effect to treaty obligations assumed by
petitioner's COC, filed for the purpose of running the Philippines.77 He also stressed that there is no
for the President of the Republic of the Philippines standard state practice that automatically confers
in the 9 May 2016 National and Local Elections, natural-born status to foundlings.78
contained material representations which are
false. The fallo of the aforesaid Resolution reads:
Similar to Elamparo's argument, Tatad claimed
that petitioner cannot avail of the option to
WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing reacquire Philippine citizenship under R.A. No.
considerations, the instant Petition to Deny Due 9225 because it only applies to former natural-
Course to or Cancel Certificate of Candidacy is born citizens and petitioner was not as she was a
hereby GRANTED. Accordingly, the Certificate of foundling.79
Candidacy for President of the Republic of the
Philippines in the May 9, 2016 National and Local
Elections filed by respondent Mary Grace Referring to petitioner's COC for Senator, Tatad
Natividad Sonora Poe Llamanzares is concluded that she did not comply with the ten
hereby CANCELLED.69 (10) year residency requirement.80 Tatad opined
that petitioner acquired her domicile in Quezon
City only from the time she renounced her
Motion for Reconsideration of the 1 December American citizenship which was sometime in
2015 Resolution was filed by petitioner which the 2010 or 2011.81 Additionally, Tatad questioned
COMELEC En Banc resolved in its 23 December petitioner's lack of intention to abandon her U.S.
2015 Resolution by denying the same.70 domicile as evinced by the fact that her husband
stayed thereat and her frequent trips to the U.S.82
Origin of Petition for Certiorari in G.R. Nos.
221698-700 In support of his petition to deny due course or
cancel the COC of petitioner, docketed as SPA No.
15-139 (DC), Valdez alleged that her repatriation
under R.A. No. 9225 did not bestow upon her the within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Presidential
status of a natural-born citizen.83 He advanced Electoral Tribunal (PET) and not the COMELEC.92
the view that former natural-born citizens who
are repatriated under the said Act reacquires only Third, the burden to prove that she is not a
their Philippine citizenship and will not revert to natural-born Filipino citizen is on the
their original status as natural-born citizens.84 respondents.93 Otherwise stated, she has a
presumption in her favor that she is a natural-
He further argued that petitioner's own admission born citizen of this country.
in her COC for Senator that she had only been a
resident of the Philippines for at least six (6) Fourth, customary international law dictates that
years and six (6) months prior to the 13 May foundlings are entitled to a nationality and are
2013 Elections operates against her. Valdez presumed to be citizens of the country where
rejected petitioner's claim that she could have they are found.94 Consequently, the petitioner is
validly reestablished her domicile in the considered as a natural-born citizen of the
Philippines prior to her reacquisition of Philippine Philippines.95
citizenship. In effect, his position was that
petitioner did not meet the ten (10) year Fifth, she claimed that as a natural-born citizen,
residency requirement for President. she has every right to be repatriated under R.A.
No. 9225 or the right to reacquire her natural-
Unlike the previous COMELEC cases filed against born status.96 Moreover, the official acts of the
petitioner, Contreras' petition,85 docketed as SPA Philippine Government enjoy the presumption of
No. 15-007 (DC), limited the attack to the regularity, to wit: the issuance of the 18 July 2006
residency issue. He claimed that petitioner's 2015 Order of the BI declaring her as natural-born
COC for President should be cancelled on the citizen, her appointment as MTRCB Chair and the
ground that she did not possess the ten-year issuance of the decree of adoption of San Juan
period of residency required for said candidacy RTC.97 She believed that all these acts reinforced
and that she made false entry in her COC when her position that she is a natural-born citizen of
she stated that she is a legal resident of the the Philippines.98
Philippines for ten (10) years and eleven (11)
months by 9 May 2016.86 Contreras contended Sixth, she maintained that as early as the first
that the reckoning period for computing quarter of 2005, she started reestablishing her
petitioner's residency in the Philippines should be domicile of choice in the Philippines as
from 18 July 2006, the date when her petition to demonstrated by her children's resettlement and
reacquire Philippine citizenship was approved by schooling in the country, purchase of a
the BI.87 He asserted that petitioner's physical condominium unit in San Juan City and the
presence in the country before 18 July 2006 could construction of their family home in Corinthian
not be valid evidence of reacquisition of her Hills.99
Philippine domicile since she was then living here
as an American citizen and as such, she was
governed by the Philippine immigration laws.88 Seventh, she insisted that she could legally
reestablish her domicile of choice in the
Philippines even before she renounced her
In her defense, petitioner raised the following American citizenship as long as the three
arguments: determinants for a change of domicile are
complied with.100 She reasoned out that there was
First, Tatad's petition should be dismissed no requirement that renunciation of foreign
outright for failure to state a cause of action. His citizenship is a prerequisite for the acquisition of
petition did not invoke grounds proper for a a new domicile of choice.101
disqualification case as enumerated under
Sections 12 and 68 of the Omnibus Election Eighth, she reiterated that the period appearing
Code.89 Instead, Tatad completely relied on the in the residency portion of her COC for Senator
alleged lack of residency and natural-born status was a mistake made in good faith.102
of petitioner which are not among the recognized
grounds for the disqualification of a candidate to
an elective office.90 In a Resolution103 promulgated on 11 December
2015, the COMELEC First Division ruled that
petitioner is not a natural-born citizen, that she
Second, the petitions filed against her are failed to complete the ten (10) year residency
basically petitions for quo warranto as they focus requirement, and that she committed material
on establishing her ineligibility for the misrepresentation in her COC when she declared
Presidency.91 A petition for quo warranto falls therein that she has been a resident of the
Philippines for a period of ten (10) years and
eleven (11) months as of the day of the elections 3. Resolution dated 23 December 2015 of
on 9 May 2016. The COMELEC First Division the Commission En Banc, upholding the 1
concluded that she is not qualified for the elective December 2015 Resolution of the Second
position of President of the Republic of the Division.
Philippines. The dispositive portion of said
Resolution reads: 4. Resolution dated 23 December 2015 of
the Commission En Banc, upholding the
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the 11 December 2015 Resolution of the First
Commission RESOLVED, as it hereby RESOLVES, Division.
to GRANT the Petitions and cancel the Certificate
of Candidacy of MARY GRACE NATIVIDAD The procedure and the conclusions from which
SONORA POE-LLAMANZARES for the elective the questioned Resolutions emanated are tainted
position of President of the Republic of the with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack
Philippines in connection with the 9 May 2016 of jurisdiction. The petitioner is a QUALIFIED
Synchronized Local and National Elections. CANDIDATE for President in the 9 May 2016
National Elections.
Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration
seeking a reversal of the COMELEC First Division's The issue before the COMELEC is whether or not
Resolution. On 23 December 2015, the the COC of petitioner should be denied due
COMELEC En Banc issued a Resolution denying course or cancelled "on the exclusive ground"
petitioner's motion for reconsideration. that she made in the certificate a false material
representation. The exclusivity of the ground
Alarmed by the adverse rulings of the COMELEC, should hedge in the discretion of the COMELEC
petitioner instituted the present petitions and restrain it from going into the issue of the
for certiorari with urgent prayer for the issuance qualifications of the candidate for the position, if,
of an ex parte temporary restraining order/status as in this case, such issue is yet undecided or
quo ante order and/or writ of preliminary undetermined by the proper authority. The
injunction. On 28 December 2015, temporary COMELEC cannot itself, in the same cancellation
restraining orders were issued by the Court case, decide the qualification or lack thereof of
enjoining the COMELEC and its representatives the candidate.
from implementing the assailed COMELEC
Resolutions until further orders from the Court. We rely, first of all, on the Constitution of our
The Court also ordered the consolidation of the Republic, particularly its provisions in Article IX, C,
two petitions filed by petitioner in its Resolution Section 2:
of 12 January 2016. Thereafter, oral arguments
were held in these cases. Section 2. The Commission on Elections shall
exercise the following powers and functions:
The Court GRANTS the petition of Mary Grace
Natividad S. Poe-Llamanzares and to ANNUL and (1) Enforce and administer all laws
SET ASIDE the: and regulations relative to the
conduct of an election, plebiscite,
1. Resolution dated 1 December 2015 initiative, referendum, and recall.
rendered through its Second Division, in
SPA No. 15-001 (DC), (2) Exercise exclusive original
entitled Estrella C. Elamparo, petitioner, jurisdiction over all contests
vs. Mary Grace Natividad Sonora Poe- relating to the elections, returns,
Llamanzares. and qualifications of all elective
regional, provincial, and city
2. Resolution dated 11 December 2015, officials, and appellate jurisdiction
rendered through its First Division, in the over all contests involving elective
consolidated cases SPA No. 15-002 (DC) municipal officials decided by trial
entitled Francisco S. Tatad, petitioner, vs. courts of general jurisdiction, or
Mary Grace Natividad Sonora Poe- involving elective barangay officials
Llamanzares, respondent; SPA No. 15-007 decided by trial courts of limited
(DC) entitled Antonio P. Contreras, jurisdiction.
petitioner, vs. Mary Grace Natividad
Sonora Poe-Llamanzares, respondent; and Decisions, final orders, or rulings of
SPA No. 15-139 (DC) entitled Amado D. the Commission on election
Valdez, petitioner, v. Mary Grace Natividad contests involving elective
Sonora Poe-Llamanzares, respondent. municipal and barangay offices
shall be final, executory, and not (7) Recommend to the Congress
appealable. effective measures to minimize
election spending, including
(3) Decide, except those involving limitation of places where
the right to vote, all questions propaganda materials shall be
affecting elections, including posted, and to prevent and
determination of the number and penalize all forms of election
location of polling places, frauds, offenses, malpractices, and
appointment of election officials nuisance candidacies.
and inspectors, and registration of
voters. (8) Recommend to the President
the removal of any officer or
(4) Deputize, with the concurrence employee it has deputized, or the
of the President, law enforcement imposition of any other disciplinary
agencies and instrumentalities of action, for violation or disregard of,
the Government, including the or disobedience to its directive,
Armed Forces of the Philippines, for order, or decision.
the exclusive purpose of ensuring
free, orderly, honest, peaceful, and (9) Submit to the President and the
credible elections. Congress a comprehensive report
on the conduct of each election,
(5) Register, after sufficient plebiscite, initiative, referendum, or
publication, political parties, recall.
organizations, or coalitions which,
in addition to other requirements, Not any one of the enumerated powers
must present their platform or approximate the exactitude of the provisions of
program of government; and Article VI, Section 17 of the same basic law
accredit citizens' arms of the stating that:
Commission on Elections. Religious
denominations and sects shall not The Senate and the House of
be registered. Those which seek to Representatives shall each have an
achieve their goals through Electoral Tribunal which shall be the sole
violence or unlawful means, or judge of all contests relating to the
refuse to uphold and adhere to this election, returns, and qualifications of
Constitution, or which are their respective Members. Each Electoral
supported by any foreign Tribunal shall be composed of nine
government shall likewise be Members, three of whom shall be Justices
refused registration. of the Supreme Court to be designated by
the Chief Justice, and the remaining six
Financial contributions from foreign shall be Members of the Senate or the
governments and their agencies to House of Representatives, as the case
political parties, organizations, may be, who shall be chosen on the basis
coalitions, or candidates related to of proportional representation from the
elections constitute interference in political parties and the parties or
national affairs, and, when organizations registered under the party-
accepted, shall be an additional list system represented therein. The senior
ground for the cancellation of their Justice in the Electoral Tribunal shall be its
registration with the Commission, Chairman.
in addition to other penalties that
may be prescribed by law. or of the last paragraph of Article VII, Section 4
which provides that:
(6) File, upon a verified complaint,
or on its own initiative, petitions in The Supreme Court, sitting en banc, shall
court for inclusion or exclusion of be the sole judge of all contests relating to
voters; investigate and, where the election, returns, and qualifications of
appropriate, prosecute cases of the President or Vice-President, and may
violations of election laws, promulgate its rules for the purpose.
including acts or omissions
constituting election frauds, The tribunals which have jurisdiction over the
offenses, and malpractices. question of the qualifications of the President, the
Vice-President, Senators and the Members of the Constitution or the statutes for holding public
House of Representatives was made clear by the office and the purpose of the proceedings for
Constitution. There is no such provision for declaration of ineligibility is to remove the
candidates for these positions. incumbent from office.

Can the COMELEC be such judge? Consequently, that an individual possesses the
qualifications for a public office does not imply
The opinion of Justice Vicente V. Mendoza that he is not disqualified from becoming a
in Romualdez-Marcos v. Commission on candidate or continuing as a candidate for a
Elections,104 which was affirmatively cited in public office and vice versa. We have this sort of
the En Banc decision in Fermin v. COMELEC105 is dichotomy in our Naturalization Law. (C.A. No.
our guide. The citation in Fermin reads: 473) That an alien has the qualifications
prescribed in 2 of the Law does not imply that he
Apparently realizing the lack of an authorized does not suffer from any of [the] disqualifications
proceeding for declaring the ineligibility of provided in 4.
candidates, the COMELEC amended its rules on
February 15, 1993 so as to provide in Rule 25 1, Before we get derailed by the distinction as to
the following: grounds and the consequences of the respective
proceedings, the importance of the opinion is in
Grounds for disqualification. - Any its statement that "the lack of provision for
candidate who does not possess all declaring the ineligibility of candidates, however,
the qualifications of a candidate as cannot be supplied by a mere rule". Justice
provided for by the Constitution or Mendoza lectured in Romualdez-Marcos that:
by existing law or who commits any
act declared by law to be grounds Three reasons may be cited to explain the
for disqualification may be absence of an authorized proceeding for
disqualified from continuing as a determining before election the qualifications of a
candidate. candidate.

The lack of provision for declaring the ineligibility First is the fact that unless a candidate wins and
of candidates, however, cannot be supplied by a is proclaimed elected, there is no necessity for
mere rule. Such an act is equivalent to the determining his eligibility for the office. In
creation of a cause of action which is a contrast, whether an individual should be
substantive matter which the COMELEC, in the disqualified as a candidate for acts constituting
exercise of its rule-making power under Art. IX, A, election offenses (e.g., vote buying, over
6 of the Constitution, cannot do it. It is spending, commission of prohibited acts) is a
noteworthy that the Constitution withholds from prejudicial question which should be determined
the COMELEC even the power to decide cases lest he wins because of the very acts for which
involving the right to vote, which essentially his disqualification is being sought. That is why it
involves an inquiry into qualifications based is provided that if the grounds for disqualification
on age, residence and citizenship of voters. [Art. are established, a candidate will not be voted for;
IX, C, 2(3)] if he has been voted for, the votes in his favor will
not be counted; and if for some reason he has
The assimilation in Rule 25 of the COMELEC rules been voted for and he has won, either he will not
of grounds for ineligibility into grounds for be proclaimed or his proclamation will be set
disqualification is contrary to the evident aside.
intention of the law. For not only in their grounds
but also in their consequences are proceedings Second is the fact that the determination of a
for "disqualification" different from those for a candidates' eligibility, e.g., his citizenship or, as
declaration of "ineligibility." "Disqualification" in this case, his domicile, may take a long time to
proceedings, as already stated, are based on make, extending beyond the beginning of the
grounds specified in 12 and 68 of the Omnibus term of the office. This is amply demonstrated in
Election Code and in 40 of the Local Government the companion case (G.R. No. 120265, Agapito A.
Code and are for the purpose of barring an Aquino v. COMELEC) where the determination of
individual from becoming a candidate or from Aquino's residence was still pending in the
continuing as a candidate for public office. In a COMELEC even after the elections of May 8,
word, their purpose is to eliminate a candidate 1995. This is contrary to the summary character
from the race either from the start or during its proceedings relating to certificates of candidacy.
progress. "Ineligibility," on the other hand, refers That is why the law makes the receipt of
to the lack of the qualifications prescribed in the certificates of candidacy a ministerial duty of the
COMELEC and its officers. The law is satisfied if found by the Commission to be suffering from
candidates state in their certificates of candidacy any disqualification provided by law or the
that they are eligible for the position which they Constitution."
seek to fill, leaving the determination of their
qualifications to be made after the election and Insofar as the qualification of a candidate is
only in the event they are elected. Only in cases concerned, Rule 25 and Rule 23 are flipsides of
involving charges of false representations made one to the other. Both do not allow, are not
in certificates of candidacy is the COMELEC given authorizations, are not vestment of jurisdiction,
jurisdiction. for the COMELEC to determine the qualification of
a candidate. The facts of qualification must
Third is the policy underlying the prohibition beforehand be established in a prior proceeding
against pre-proclamation cases in elections for before an authority properly vested with
President, Vice President, Senators and members jurisdiction. The prior determination of
of the House of Representatives. (R.A. No. 7166, qualification may be by statute, by executive
15) The purpose is to preserve the prerogatives order or by a judgment of a competent court or
of the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal tribunal.
and the other Tribunals as "sole judges" under the
Constitution of the election, If a candidate cannot be disqualified without a
returns and qualifications of members of prior finding that he or she is suffering from a
Congress of the President and Vice President, as disqualification "provided by law or the
the case may be.106 Constitution," neither can the certificate of
candidacy be cancelled or denied due course on
To be sure, the authoritativeness of grounds of false representations regarding his or
the Romualdez pronouncements as reiterated her qualifications, without a prior authoritative
in Fermin, led to the amendment through finding that he or she is not qualified, such prior
COMELEC Resolution No. 9523, on 25 September authority being the necessary measure by which
2012 of its Rule 25. This, the 15 February1993 the falsity of the representation can be found.
version of Rule 25, which states that: The only exception that can be conceded are self-
evident facts of unquestioned or unquestionable
Grounds for disqualification. -Any candidate who veracity and judicial confessions. Such are,
does not possess all the qualifications of a anyway, bases equivalent to prior decisions
candidate as provided for by the Constitution or against which the falsity of representation can be
by existing law or who commits any act declared determined.
by law to be grounds for disqualification may be
disqualified from continuing as a candidate.107 The need for a predicate finding or final
pronouncement in a proceeding under Rule 23
was in the 2012 rendition, drastically changed to: that deals with, as in this case, alleged false
representations regarding the candidate's
Grounds. - Any candidate who, in action or citizenship and residence, forced the COMELEC to
protest in which he is a party, is declared by final rule essentially that since foundlings108 are not
decision of a competent court, guilty of, or found mentioned in the enumeration of citizens under
by the Commission to be suffering from any the 1935 Constitution,109 they then cannot be
disqualification provided by law or the citizens. As the COMELEC stated in oral
Constitution. arguments, when petitioner admitted that she is
a foundling, she said it all. This borders on
bigotry. Oddly, in an effort at tolerance, the
A Petition to Disqualify a Candidate invoking COMELEC, after saying that it cannot rule that
grounds for a Petition to Deny to or Cancel a herein petitioner possesses blood relationship
Certificate of Candidacy or Petition to Declare a with a Filipino citizen when "it is certain that such
Candidate as a Nuisance Candidate, or a relationship is indemonstrable," proceeded to say
combination thereof, shall be summarily that "she now has the burden to present evidence
dismissed. to prove her natural filiation with a Filipino
parent."
Clearly, the amendment done in 2012 is an
acceptance of the reality of absence of an The fact is that petitioner's blood relationship
authorized proceeding for determining before with a Filipino citizen is DEMONSTRABLE.
election the qualifications of candidate. Such
that, as presently required, to disqualify a
candidate there must be a declaration by a final At the outset, it must be noted that presumptions
judgment of a competent court that the regarding paternity is neither unknown nor
candidate sought to be disqualified "is guilty of or unaccepted in Philippine Law. The Family Code of
the Philippines has a whole chapter on Paternity abandoned as an infant in a Roman Catholic
and Filiation.110 That said, there is more than Church in Iloilo City.1wphi1 She also has typical
sufficient evider1ce that petitioner has Filipino Filipino features: height, flat nasal bridge, straight
parents and is therefore a natural-born Filipino. black hair, almond shaped eyes and an oval face.
Parenthetically, the burden of proof was on
private respondents to show that petitioner is not There is a disputable presumption that things
a Filipino citizen. The private respondents should have happened according to the ordinary course
have shown that both of petitioner's parents were of nature and the ordinary habits of life.113 All of
aliens. Her admission that she is a foundling did the foregoing evidence, that a person with typical
not shift the burden to her because such status Filipino features is abandoned in Catholic Church
did not exclude the possibility that her parents in a municipality where the population of the
were Filipinos, especially as in this case where Philippines is overwhelmingly Filipinos such that
there is a high probability, if not certainty, that there would be more than a 99% chance that a
her parents are Filipinos. child born in the province would be a Filipino,
would indicate more than ample probability if not
The factual issue is not who the parents of statistical certainty, that petitioner's parents are
petitioner are, as their identities are unknown, Filipinos. That probability and the evidence on
but whether such parents are Filipinos. Under which it is based are admissible under Rule 128,
Section 4, Rule 128: Section 4 of the Revised Rules on Evidence.

Sect. 4. Relevancy, collateral matters - Evidence To assume otherwise is to accept the absurd, if
must have such a relation to the fact in issue as not the virtually impossible, as the norm. In the
to induce belief in its existence or no-existence. words of the Solicitor General:
Evidence on collateral matters shall not be
allowed, except when it tends in any reasonable Second. It is contrary to common sense because
degree to establish the probability of foreigners do not come to the Philippines so they
improbability of the fact in issue. can get pregnant and leave their newborn babies
behind. We do not face a situation where the
The Solicitor General offered official statistics probability is such that every foundling would
from the Philippine Statistics Authority have a 50% chance of being a Filipino and a 50%
(PSA)111 that from 1965 to 1975, the total number chance of being a foreigner. We need to frame
of foreigners born in the Philippines was 15,986 our questions properly. What are the chances that
while the total number of Filipinos born in the the parents of anyone born in the Philippines
country was 10,558,278. The statistical would be foreigners? Almost zero. What are the
probability that any child born in the Philippines chances that the parents of anyone born in the
in that decade is natural-born Filipino Philippines would be Filipinos? 99.9%.
was 99.83%. For her part, petitioner presented
census statistics for Iloilo Province for 1960 and According to the Philippine Statistics Authority,
1970, also from the PSA. In 1960, there were from 2010 to 2014, on a yearly average, there
962,532 Filipinos and 4,734 foreigners in the were 1,766,046 children born in the Philippines to
province; 99.62% of the population were Filipino parents, as opposed to 1,301 children in
Filipinos. In 1970, the figures were 1,162,669 the Philippines of foreign parents. Thus, for that
Filipinos and 5,304 foreigners, or 99.55%. Also sample period, the ratio of non-Filipino children to
presented were figures for the child producing natural born Filipino children is 1:1357. This
ages (15-49). In 1960, there were 230,528 female means that the statistical probability that any
Filipinos as against 730 female foreigners child born in the Philippines would be a natural
or 99.68%. In the same year, there were 210,349 born Filipino is 99.93%.
Filipino males and 886 male aliens, or 99.58%. In
1970, there were 270,299 Filipino females versus From 1965 to 1975, the total number of
1, 190 female aliens, or 99.56%. That same foreigners born in the Philippines is 15,986 while
year, there were 245,740 Filipino males as the total number of Filipinos born in the
against only 1,165 male aliens Philippines is 15,558,278. For this period, the
or 99.53%. COMELEC did not dispute these ratio of non-Filipino children is 1:661. This means
figures. Notably, Commissioner Arthur Lim that the statistical probability that any child born
admitted, during the oral arguments, that at the in the Philippines on that decade would be a
time petitioner was found in 1968, the majority of natural born Filipino is 99.83%.
the population in Iloilo was Filipino.112
We can invite statisticians and social
Other circumstantial evidence of the nationality anthropologists to crunch the numbers for us, but
of petitioner's parents are the fact that she was I am confident that the statistical probability that
a child born in the Philippines would be a natural As pointed out by petitioner as well as the
born Filipino will not be affected by whether or Solicitor General, the deliberations of the 1934
not the parents are known. If at all, the likelihood Constitutional Convention show that the framers
that a foundling would have a Filipino parent intended foundlings to be covered by the
might even be higher than 99.9%. Filipinos enumeration. The following exchange is recorded:
abandon their children out of poverty or perhaps,
shame. We do not imagine foreigners abandoning Sr. Rafols: For an amendment. I propose that after
their children here in the Philippines thinking subsection 2, the following is inserted: "The
those infants would have better economic natural children of a foreign father and a Filipino
opportunities or believing that this country is a mother not recognized by the father.
tropical paradise suitable for raising abandoned
children. I certainly doubt whether a foreign xxxx
couple has ever considered their child excess
baggage that is best left behind.
President:
[We] would like to request a clarification from the
To deny full Filipino citizenship to all foundlings proponent of the amendment. The gentleman
and render them stateless just because there refers to natural children or to any kind of
may be a theoretical chance that one among the illegitimate children?
thousands of these foundlings might be the child
of not just one, but two, foreigners is downright
discriminatory, irrational, and unjust. It just Sr. Rafols:
doesn't make any sense. Given the statistical To all kinds of illegitimate children. It also includes
certainty - 99.9% - that any child born in the natural children of unknown parentage, natural or
Philippines would be a natural born citizen, a illegitimate children of unknown parents.
decision denying foundlings such status is
effectively a denial of their birthright. There is no Sr. Montinola:
reason why this Honorable Court should use an For clarification. The gentleman said "of unknown
improbable hypothetical to sacrifice the parents." Current codes consider them Filipino,
fundamental political rights of an entire class of that is, I refer to the Spanish Code wherein all
human beings. Your Honor, constitutional children of unknown parentage born in Spanish
interpretation and the use of common sense are territory are considered Spaniards, because the
not separate disciplines. presumption is that a child of unknown parentage
is the son of a Spaniard. This may be applied in
As a matter of law, foundlings are as a class, the Philippines in that a child of unknown
natural-born citizens. While the 1935 parentage born in the Philippines is deemed to be
Constitution's enumeration is silent as to Filipino, and there is no need ...
foundlings, there is no restrictive language which
would definitely exclude foundlings either. Sr. Rafols:
Because of silence and ambiguity in the There is a need, because we are relating the
enumeration with respect to foundlings, there is a conditions that are [required] to be Filipino.
need to examine the intent of the framers.
In Nitafan v. Commissioner of Internal Sr. Montinola:
Revenue,114 this Court held that: But that is the interpretation of the law, therefore,
there is no [more] need for amendment.
The ascertainment of that intent is but in
keeping with the fundamental principle of Sr. Rafols:
constitutional construction that the intent The amendment should read thus:
of the framers of the organic law and of "Natural or illegitimate of a foreign father and a
the people adopting it should be given Filipino mother recognized by one, or the children
effect. The primary task in constitutional of unknown parentage."
construction is to ascertain and thereafter
assure the realization of the purpose of Sr. Briones:
the framers and of the people in the The amendment [should] mean children born in
adoption of the Constitution. It may also the Philippines of unknown parentage.
be safely assumed that the people in
ratifying the Constitution were guided Sr. Rafols:
mainly by the explanation offered by the The son of a Filipina to a Foreigner, although this
framers.115 [person] does not recognize the child, is not
unknown.
President: thereby making unnecessary the
Does the gentleman accept the amendment or inclusion in the Constitution of the
not? proposed amendment.

Sr. Rafols: This explanation was likewise the position of the


I do not accept the amendment because the Solicitor General during the 16 February 2016
amendment would exclude the children of a Oral Arguments:
Filipina with a foreigner who does not recognize
the child. Their parentage is not unknown and I We all know that the Rafols proposal was
think those of overseas Filipino mother and father rejected. But note that what was declined was the
[whom the latter] does not recognize, should also proposal for a textual and explicit recognition of
be considered as Filipinos. foundlings as Filipinos. And so, the way to explain
the constitutional silence is by saying that it was
President: the view of Montinola and Roxas which prevailed
The question in order is the amendment to the that there is no more need to expressly declare
amendment from the Gentleman from Cebu, Mr. foundlings as Filipinos.
Briones.
Obviously, it doesn't matter whether Montinola's
Sr. Busion: or Roxas' views were legally correct. Framers of a
Mr. President, don't you think it would be better constitution can constitutionalize rules based on
to leave this matter in the hands of the assumptions that are imperfect or even wrong.
Legislature? They can even overturn existing rules. This is
basic. What matters here is that Montinola and
Sr. Roxas: Roxas were able to convince their colleagues in
Mr. President, my humble opinion is that these the convention that there is no more need to
cases are few and far in between, that the expressly declare foundlings as Filipinos because
constitution need [not] refer to them. By they are already impliedly so recognized.
international law the principle that children or
people born in a country of unknown parents are In other words, the constitutional silence is fully
citizens in this nation is recognized, and it is not explained in terms of linguistic efficiency and the
necessary to include a provision on the subject avoidance of redundancy. The policy is clear: it is
exhaustively.116 to recognize foundlings, as a class, as Filipinos
under Art. IV, Section 1 (3) of the 1935
Though the Rafols amendment was not carried Constitution. This inclusive policy is carried over
out, it was not because there was any objection into the 1973 and 1987 Constitution. It is
to the notion that persons of "unknown appropriate to invoke a famous scholar as he was
parentage" are not citizens but only because their paraphrased by Chief Justice Fernando: the
number was not enough to merit specific constitution is not silently silent, it is silently
mention. Such was the account,117 cited by vocal. 118
petitioner, of delegate and constitution law
author Jose Aruego who said: The Solicitor General makes the further point that
the framers "worked to create a just and humane
During the debates on this provision, society," that "they were reasonable patriots and
Delegate Rafols presented an amendment that it would be unfair to impute upon them a
to include as Filipino citizens the discriminatory intent against foundlings." He
illegitimate children with a foreign father exhorts that, given the grave implications of the
of a mother who was a citizen of the argument that foundlings are not natural-born
Philippines, and also foundlings; but this Filipinos, the Court must search the records of the
amendment was defeated primarily 1935, 1973 and 1987 Constitutions "for an
because the Convention believed that the express intention to deny foundlings the status of
cases, being too few to warrant the Filipinos. The burden is on those who wish to use
inclusion of a provision in the Constitution the constitution to discriminate against
to apply to them, should be governed by foundlings to show that the constitution really
statutory legislation. Moreover, it was intended to take this path to the dark side and
believed that the rules of international law inflict this across the board marginalization."
were already clear to the effect that
illegitimate children followed the We find no such intent or language permitting
citizenship of the mother, and discrimination against foundlings. On the
that foundlings followed the nationality of contrary, all three Constitutions guarantee the
the place where they were found, basic right to equal protection of the laws. All
exhort the State to render social justice. Of expressly refer to "Filipino children" and include
special consideration are several provisions in the foundlings as among Filipino children who may be
present charter: Article II, Section 11 which adopted.
provides that the "State values the dignity of
every human person and guarantees full respect It has been argued that the process to determine
for human rights," Article XIII, Section 1 which that the child is a foundling leading to the
mandates Congress to "give highest priority to issuance of a foundling certificate under these
the enactment of measures that protect and laws and the issuance of said certificate are acts
enhance the right of all the people to human to acquire or perfect Philippine citizenship which
dignity, reduce social, economic, and political make the foundling a naturalized Filipino at best.
inequalities x x x" and Article XV, Section 3 which This is erroneous. Under Article IV, Section 2
requires the State to defend the "right of children "Natural-born citizens are those who are citizens
to assistance, including proper care and nutrition, of the Philippines from birth without having to
and special protection from all forms of neglect, perform any act to acquire or perfect their
abuse, cruelty, exploitation, and other conditions Philippine citizenship." In the first place, "having
prejudicial to their development." Certainly, these to perform an act" means that the act must be
provisions contradict an intent to discriminate personally done by the citizen. In this instance,
against foundlings on account of their the determination of foundling status is done not
unfortunate status. by the child but by the authorities.121 Secondly,
the object of the process is the determination of
Domestic laws on adoption also support the the whereabouts of the parents, not the
principle that foundlings are Filipinos. These laws citizenship of the child. Lastly, the process is
do not provide that adoption confers citizenship certainly not analogous to naturalization
upon the adoptee. Rather, the adoptee must be a proceedings to acquire Philippine citizenship, or
Filipino in the first place to be adopted. The most the election of such citizenship by one born of an
basic of such laws is Article 15 of the Civil Code alien father and a Filipino mother under the 1935
which provides that "[l]aws relating to family Constitution, which is an act to perfect it.
rights, duties, status, conditions, legal capacity of
persons are binding on citizens of the Philippines In this instance, such issue is moot because there
even though living abroad." Adoption deals with is no dispute that petitioner is a foundling, as
status, and a Philippine adoption court will have evidenced by a Foundling Certificate issued in her
jurisdiction only if the adoptee is a Filipino. In Ellis favor.122 The Decree of Adoption issued on 13 May
and Ellis v. Republic,119 a child left by an 1974, which approved petitioner's adoption by
unidentified mother was sought to be adopted by Jesusa Sonora Poe and Ronald Allan Kelley Poe,
aliens. This Court said: expressly refers to Emiliano and his wife, Rosario
Militar, as her "foundling parents," hence
In this connection, it should be noted that this is a effectively affirming petitioner's status as a
proceedings in rem, which no court may entertain foundling.123
unless it has jurisdiction, not only over the
subject matter of the case and over the Foundlings are likewise citizens under
parties, but also over the res, which is the international law. Under the 1987 Constitution, an
personal status of Baby Rose as well as that of international law can become part of the sphere
petitioners herein. Our Civil Code (Art. 15) of domestic law either by transformation or
adheres to the theory that jurisdiction over the incorporation. The transformation method
status of a natural person is determined by the requires that an international law be transformed
latter's nationality. Pursuant to this theory, we into a domestic law through a constitutional
have jurisdiction over the status of Baby Rose, mechanism such as local legislation.124 On the
she being a citizen of the Philippines, but not over other hand, generally accepted principles of
the status of the petitioners, who are international law, by virtue of the incorporation
foreigners.120 (Underlining supplied) clause of the Constitution, form part of the laws
of the land even if they do not derive from treaty
Recent legislation is more direct. R.A. No. 8043 obligations. Generally accepted principles of
entitled "An Act Establishing the Rules to Govern international law include international custom as
the Inter-Country Adoption of Filipino Children and evidence of a general practice accepted as law,
For Other Purposes" (otherwise known as the and general principles of law recognized by
"Inter-Country Adoption Act of 1995"), R.A. No. civilized nations.125 International customary rules
8552, entitled "An Act Establishing the Rules and are accepted as binding as a result from the
Policies on the Adoption of Filipino Children and combination of two elements: the established,
For Other Purposes" (otherwise known as the widespread, and consistent practice on the part
Domestic Adoption Act of 1998) and this Court's of States; and a psychological element known as
A.M. No. 02-6-02-SC or the "Rule on Adoption," all the opinionjuris sive necessitates (opinion as to
law or necessity). Implicit in the latter element is Article 24
a belief that the practice in question is rendered
obligatory by the existence of a rule of law 1. Every child shall have, without any
requiring it.126 "General principles of law discrimination as to race, colour, sex, language,
recognized by civilized nations" are principles religion, national or social origin, property or
"established by a process of reasoning" or judicial birth, the right, to such measures of protection as
logic, based on principles which are "basic to are required by his status as a minor, on the part
legal systems generally,"127 such as "general of his family, society and the State.
principles of equity, i.e., the general principles of
fairness and justice," and the "general principle 2. Every child shall be registered immediately
against discrimination" which is embodied in the after birth and shall have a name.
"Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the
International Covenant on Economic, Social and
Cultural Rights, the International Convention on 3. Every child has the right to acquire a
the Elimination of All Forms of Racial nationality.
Discrimination, the Convention Against
Discrimination in Education, the Convention (No. The common thread of the UDHR, UNCRC and
111) Concerning Discrimination in Respect of ICCPR is to obligate the Philippines to grant
Employment and Occupation."128 These are the nationality from birth and ensure that no child is
same core principles which underlie the Philippine stateless. This grant of nationality must be at the
Constitution itself, as embodied in the due time of birth, and it cannot be accomplished by
process and equal protection clauses of the Bill of the application of our present naturalization laws,
Rights.129 Commonwealth Act No. 473, as amended, and
R.A. No. 9139, both of which require the applicant
Universal Declaration of Human Rights ("UDHR") to be at least eighteen (18) years old.
has been interpreted by this Court as part of the
generally accepted principles of international law The principles found in two conventions, while yet
and binding on the State.130 Article 15 thereof unratified by the Philippines, are generally
states: accepted principles of international law. The first
is Article 14 of the 1930 Hague Convention on
1. Everyone has the right to a nationality. Certain Questions Relating to the Conflict of
Nationality Laws under which a foundling is
presumed to have the "nationality of the country
2. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of of birth," to wit:
his nationality nor denied the right to
change his nationality.
Article 14
The Philippines has also ratified the UN
Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). A child whose parents are both unknown shall
Article 7 of the UNCRC imposes the following have the nationality of the country of birth. If the
obligations on our country: child's parentage is established, its nationality
shall be determined by the rules applicable in
cases where the parentage is known.
Article 7
A foundling is, until the contrary is proved,
1. The child shall be registered immediately after presumed to have been born on the territory of
birth and shall have the right from birth to a the State in which it was found. (Underlining
name, the right to acquire a nationality and as far supplied)
as possible, the right to know and be cared for by
his or her parents.
The second is the principle that a foundling
is presumed born of citizens of the country where
2. States Parties shall ensure the implementation he is found, contained in Article 2 of the 1961
of these rights in accordance with their national United Nations Convention on the Reduction of
law and their obligations under the relevant Statelessness:
international instruments in this field, in
particular where the child would otherwise be
stateless. Article 2

In 1986, the country also ratified the 1966 A foundling found in the territory of a Contracting
International Covenant on Civil and Political State shall, in the absence of proof to the
Rights (ICCPR). Article 24 thereof provide for the contrary, be considered to have been born within
right of every child "to acquire a nationality:"
the territory of parents possessing the nationality that the right against enforced disappearances
of that State. and the recognition of foreign judgments, were
correctly considered as "generally accepted
That the Philippines is not a party to the 1930 principles of international law" under the
Hague Convention nor to the 1961 Convention on incorporation clause.
the Reduction of Statelessness does not mean
that their principles are not binding. While the Petitioner's evidence137 shows that at least sixty
Philippines is not a party to the 1930 Hague countries in Asia, North and South America, and
Convention, it is a signatory to the Universal Europe have passed legislation recognizing
Declaration on Human Rights, Article 15(1) foundlings as its citizen. Forty-two (42) of those
ofwhich131effectively affirms Article 14 of the 1930 countries follow the jus sanguinis regime. Of the
Hague Convention. Article 2 of the 1961 "United sixty, only thirty-three (33) are parties to the
Nations Convention on the Reduction of 1961 Convention on Statelessness; twenty-six
Statelessness" merely "gives effect" to Article (26) are not signatories to the Convention. Also,
15(1) of the UDHR.132 In Razon v. Tagitis, 133 this the Chief Justice, at the 2 February 2016 Oral
Court noted that the Philippines had not signed or Arguments pointed out that in 166 out of 189
ratified the "International Convention for the countries surveyed (or 87.83%), foundlings are
Protection of All Persons from Enforced recognized as citizens. These circumstances,
Disappearance." Yet, we ruled that the including the practice of jus sanguinis countries,
proscription against enforced disappearances in show that it is a generally accepted principle of
the said convention was nonetheless binding as a international law to presume foundlings as having
"generally accepted principle of international been born of nationals of the country in which the
law." Razon v. Tagitis is likewise notable for foundling is found.
declaring the ban as a generally accepted
principle of international law although the Current legislation reveals the adherence of the
convention had been ratified by only sixteen Philippines to this generally accepted principle of
states and had not even come into force and international law. In particular, R.A. No. 8552, R.A.
which needed the ratification of a minimum of No. 8042 and this Court's Rules on Adoption,
twenty states. Additionally, as petitioner points expressly refer to "Filipino children." In all of
out, the Court was content with the practice of them, foundlings are among the Filipino children
international and regional state organs, regional who could be adopted. Likewise, it has been
state practice in Latin America, and State Practice pointed that the DFA issues passports to
in the United States. foundlings. Passports are by law, issued only to
citizens. This shows that even the executive
Another case where the number of ratifying department, acting through the DFA, considers
countries was not determinative is Mijares v. foundlings as Philippine citizens.
Ranada, 134 where only four countries had "either
ratified or acceded to"135 the 1966 "Convention on Adopting these legal principles from the 1930
the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Hague Convention and the 1961 Convention on
Judgments in Civil and Commercial Matters" when Statelessness is rational and reasonable and
the case was decided in 2005. The Court also consistent with the jus sanguinis regime in our
pointed out that that nine member countries of Constitution. The presumption of natural-born
the European Common Market had acceded to citizenship of foundlings stems from the
the Judgments Convention. The Court also cited presumption that their parents are nationals of
U.S. laws and jurisprudence on recognition of the Philippines. As the empirical data provided by
foreign judgments. In all, only the practices of the PSA show, that presumption is at more than
fourteen countries were considered and yet, there 99% and is a virtual certainty.
was pronouncement that recognition of foreign
judgments was widespread practice. In sum, all of the international law conventions
and instruments on the matter of nationality of
Our approach in Razon and Mijares effectively foundlings were designed to address the plight of
takes into account the fact that "generally a defenseless class which suffers from a
accepted principles of international law" are misfortune not of their own making. We cannot
based not only on international custom, but also be restrictive as to their application if we are a
on "general principles of law recognized by country which calls itself civilized and a member
civilized nations," as the phrase is understood in of the community of nations. The Solicitor
Article 38.1 paragraph (c) of the ICJ Statute. General's warning in his opening statement is
Justice, fairness, equity and the policy against relevant:
discrimination, which are fundamental principles
underlying the Bill of Rights and which are "basic
to legal systems generally,"136 support the notion
.... the total effect of those documents is to It is not for the COMELEC to disagree with the
signify to this Honorable Court that those treaties Congress' determination.
and conventions were drafted because the world
community is concerned that the situation of More importantly, COMELEC's position that
foundlings renders them legally invisible. It would natural-born status must be continuous was
be tragically ironic if this Honorable Court ended already rejected in Bengson III v. HRET145 where
up using the international instruments which seek the phrase "from birth" was clarified to mean at
to protect and uplift foundlings a tool to deny the time of birth: "A person who at the time of his
them political status or to accord them second- birth, is a citizen of a particular country, is a
class citizenship.138 natural-born citizen thereof." Neither is
"repatriation" an act to "acquire or perfect" one's
The COMELEC also ruled139 that petitioner's citizenship. In Bengson III v. HRET, this Court
repatriation in July 2006 under the provisions of pointed out that there are only two types of
R.A. No. 9225 did not result in the reacquisition of citizens under the 1987 Constitution: natural-born
natural-born citizenship. The COMELEC reasoned citizen and naturalized, and that there is no third
that since the applicant must perform an act, category for repatriated citizens:
what is reacquired is not "natural-born"
citizenship but only plain "Philippine citizenship." It is apparent from the enumeration of who are
citizens under the present Constitution that there
The COMELEC's rule arrogantly disregards are only two classes of citizens: (1) those who are
consistent jurisprudence on the matter of natural-born and (2) those who are naturalized in
repatriation statutes in general and of R.A. No. accordance with law. A citizen who is not a
9225 in particular. naturalized Filipino, ie., did not have to undergo
the process of naturalization to obtain Philippine
In the seminal case of Bengson Ill v. citizenship, necessarily is a natural-born Filipino.
HRET, 140 repatriation was explained as follows: Noteworthy is the absence in said enumeration of
a separate category for persons who, after losing
Moreover, repatriation results in the recovery of Philippine citizenship, subsequently reacquire it.
the original nationality. This means that a The reason therefor is clear: as to such persons,
naturalized Filipino who lost his citizenship will be they would either be natural-born or naturalized
restored to his prior status as a naturalized depending on the reasons for the loss of their
Filipino citizen. On the other hand, if he was citizenship and the mode prescribed by the
originally a natural-born citizen before he lost his applicable law for the reacquisition thereof. As
Philippine citizenship, he will be restored to his respondent Cruz was not required by law to go
former status as a natural-born Filipino. through naturalization proceedings in order to
reacquire his citizenship, he is perforce a natural-
born Filipino. As such, he possessed all the
R.A. No. 9225 is a repatriation statute and has necessary qualifications to be elected as member
been described as such in several cases. They of the House of Representatives.146
include Sobejana-Condon v. COMELEC141 where
we described it as an "abbreviated repatriation
process that restores one's Filipino citizenship x x The COMELEC cannot reverse a judicial
x." Also included is Parreno v. Commission on precedent. That is reserved to this Court. And
Audit,142 which cited Tabasa v. Court of while we may always revisit a doctrine, a new
Appeals,143where we said that "[t]he repatriation rule reversing standing doctrine cannot be
of the former Filipino will allow him to recover his retroactively applied. In Morales v. Court of
natural-born citizenship. Parreno v. Commission Appeals and Jejomar Erwin S. Binay, Jr.,147 where
on Audit144 is categorical that "if petitioner we decreed reversed the condonation doctrine,
reacquires his Filipino citizenship (under R.A. No. we cautioned that it "should be prospective in
9225), he will ... recover his natural- application for the reason that judicial decisions
born citizenship." applying or interpreting the laws of the
Constitution, until reversed, shall form part of the
legal system of the Philippines." This Court also
The COMELEC construed the phrase "from birth" said that "while the future may ultimately
in the definition of natural citizens as implying uncover a doctrine's error, it should be, as a
"that natural-born citizenship must begin at birth general rule, recognized as good law prior to its
and remain uninterrupted and continuous from abandonment. Consequently, the people's
birth." R.A. No. 9225 was obviously passed in line reliance thereupon should be respected."148
with Congress' sole prerogative to determine how
citizenship may be lost or reacquired. Congress
saw it fit to decree that natural-born citizenship Lastly, it was repeatedly pointed out during the
may be reacquired even if it had been once lost. oral arguments that petitioner committed a
falsehood when she put in the spaces for "born In answer to the requested information of "Period
to" in her application for repatriation under R.A. of Residence in the Philippines up to the day
No. 9225 the names of her adoptive parents, and before May 09, 2016," she put in "10 years 11
this misled the BI to presume that she was a months" which according to her pleadings in
natural-born Filipino. It has been contended that these cases corresponds to a beginning date of
the data required were the names of her 25 May 2005 when she returned for good from
biological parents which are precisely unknown. the U.S.

This position disregards one important fact - When petitioner immigrated to the U.S. in 1991,
petitioner was legally adopted. One of the effects she lost her original domicile, which is the
of adoption is "to sever all legal ties between the Philippines. There are three requisites to acquire
biological parents and the adoptee, except when a new domicile: 1. Residence or bodily presence
the biological parent is the spouse of the in a new locality; 2. an intention to remain there;
adoptee."149 Under R.A. No. 8552, petitioner was and 3. an intention to abandon the old
also entitled to an amended birth certificate domicile.152 To successfully effect a change of
"attesting to the fact that the adoptee is the child domicile, one must demonstrate an actual
of the adopter(s)" and which certificate "shall not removal or an actual change of domicile; a bona
bear any notation that it is an amended fide intention of abandoning the former place of
issue."150 That law also requires that "[a]ll residence and establishing a new one and
records, books, and papers relating to the definite acts which correspond with the purpose.
adoption cases in the files of the court, the In other words, there must basically be animus
Department [of Social Welfare and Development], manendi coupled with animus non
or any other agency or institution participating in revertendi. The purpose to remain in or at the
the adoption proceedings shall be kept strictly domicile of choice must be for an indefinite
confidential."151 The law therefore allows period of time; the change of residence must be
petitioner to state that her adoptive parents were voluntary; and the residence at the place chosen
her birth parents as that was what would be for the new domicile must be actual.153
stated in her birth certificate anyway. And given
the policy of strict confidentiality of adoption Petitioner presented voluminous evidence
records, petitioner was not obligated to disclose showing that she and her family abandoned their
that she was an adoptee. U.S. domicile and relocated to the Philippines for
good. These evidence include petitioner's former
Clearly, to avoid a direct ruling on the U.S. passport showing her arrival on 24 May 2005
qualifications of petitioner, which it cannot make and her return to the Philippines every time she
in the same case for cancellation of COC, it travelled abroad; e-mail correspondences starting
resorted to opinionatedness which is, in March 2005 to September 2006 with a freight
moreover, erroneous. The whole process company to arrange for the shipment of their
undertaken by COMELEC is wrapped in grave household items weighing about 28,000 pounds
abuse of discretion. to the Philippines; e-mail with the Philippine
Bureau of Animal Industry inquiring how to ship
On Residence their dog to the Philippines; school records of her
children showing enrollment in Philippine schools
The tainted process was repeated in disposing of starting June 2005 and for succeeding years; tax
the issue of whether or not petitioner committed identification card for petitioner issued on July
false material representation when she stated in 2005; titles for condominium and parking slot
her COC that she has before and until 9 May 2016 issued in February 2006 and their corresponding
been a resident of the Philippines for ten (10) tax declarations issued in April 2006; receipts
years and eleven (11) months. dated 23 February 2005 from the Salvation Army
in the U.S. acknowledging donation of items from
petitioner's family; March 2006 e-mail to the U.S.
Petitioner's claim that she will have been a Postal Service confirming request for change of
resident for ten (10) years and eleven (11) address; final statement from the First American
months on the day before the 2016 elections, is Title Insurance Company showing sale of their
true. U.S. home on 27 April 2006; 12 July 2011 filled-up
questionnaire submitted to the U.S. Embassy
The Constitution requires presidential candidates where petitioner indicated that she had been a
to have ten (10) years' residence in the Philippine resident since May 2005; affidavit from
Philippines before the day of the elections. Since Jesusa Sonora Poe (attesting to the return of
the forthcoming elections will be held on 9 May petitioner on 24 May 2005 and that she and her
2016, petitioner must have been a resident of the family stayed with affiant until the condominium
Philippines prior to 9 May 2016 for ten (10) years. was purchased); and Affidavit from petitioner's
husband (confirming that the spouses jointly COMELEC, quoted with approval by this Court,
decided to relocate to the Philippines in 2005 and said that "such fact alone is not sufficient to
that he stayed behind in the U.S. only to finish prove her one-year residency."
some work and to sell the family home).
It is obvious that because of the sparse evidence
The foregoing evidence were undisputed and the on residence in the four cases cited by the
facts were even listed by the COMELEC, respondents, the Court had no choice but to hold
particularly in its Resolution in the Tatad, that residence could be counted only from
Contreras and Valdez cases. acquisition of a permanent resident visa or from
reacquisition of Philippine citizenship. In contrast,
However, the COMELEC refused to consider that the evidence of petitioner is overwhelming and
petitioner's domicile had been timely changed as taken together leads to no other conclusion that
of 24 May 2005. At the oral arguments, COMELEC she decided to permanently abandon her U.S.
Commissioner Arthur Lim conceded the presence residence (selling the house, taking the children
of the first two requisites, namely, physical from U.S. schools, getting quotes from the freight
presence and animus manendi, but maintained company, notifying the U.S. Post Office of the
there was no animus non-revertendi.154 The abandonment of their address in the U.S.,
COMELEC disregarded the import of all the donating excess items to the Salvation Army, her
evidence presented by petitioner on the basis of husband resigning from U.S. employment right
the position that the earliest date that petitioner after selling the U.S. house) and permanently
could have started residence in the Philippines relocate to the Philippines and actually re-
was in July 2006 when her application under R.A. established her residence here on 24 May 2005
No. 9225 was approved by the BI. In this regard, (securing T.I.N, enrolling her children in Philippine
COMELEC relied on Coquilla v. schools, buying property here, constructing a
COMELEC,155 Japzon v. COMELEC156 and Caballero residence here, returning to the Philippines after
v. COMELEC. 157 During the oral arguments, the all trips abroad, her husband getting employed
private respondents also added Reyes v. here). Indeed, coupled with her eventual
COMELEC.158 Respondents contend that these application to reacquire Philippine citizenship and
cases decree that the stay of an alien former her family's actual continuous stay in the
Filipino cannot be counted until he/she obtains a Philippines over the years, it is clear that when
permanent resident visa or reacquires Philippine petitioner returned on 24 May 2005 it was for
citizenship, a visa-free entry under good.
a balikbayan stamp being insufficient. Since
petitioner was still an American (without any In this connection, the COMELEC also took it
resident visa) until her reacquisition of citizenship against petitioner that she had entered the
under R.A. No. 9225, her stay from 24 May 2005 Philippines visa-free as a balikbayan. A closer
to 7 July 2006 cannot be counted. look at R.A. No. 6768 as amended, otherwise
known as the "An Act Instituting a Balikbayan
But as the petitioner pointed out, the facts in Program," shows that there is no overriding intent
these four cases are very different from her to treat balikbayans as temporary visitors who
situation. In Coquilla v. COMELEC,159 the only must leave after one year. Included in the law is a
evidence presented was a community tax former Filipino who has been naturalized abroad
certificate secured by the candidate and his and "comes or returns to the Philippines." 163 The
declaration that he would be running in the law institutes a balikbayan program "providing
elections. Japzon v. COMELEC160 did not involve a the opportunity to avail of the necessary training
candidate who wanted to count residence prior to to enable the balikbayan to become economically
his reacquisition of Philippine citizenship. With the self-reliant members of society upon their return
Court decreeing that residence is distinct from to the country"164 in line with the government's
citizenship, the issue there was whether the "reintegration
candidate's acts after reacquisition sufficed to program."165 Obviously, balikbayans are not
establish residence. In Caballero v. ordinary transients.
COMELEC, 161 the candidate admitted that his
place of work was abroad and that he only visited Given the law's express policy to facilitate the
during his frequent vacations. In Reyes v. return of a balikbayan and help him reintegrate
COMELEC,162 the candidate was found to be an into society, it would be an unduly harsh
American citizen who had not even reacquired conclusion to say in absolute terms that
Philippine citizenship under R.A. No. 9225 or had the balikbayan must leave after one year. That
renounced her U.S. citizenship. She was visa-free period is obviously granted him to allow
disqualified on the citizenship issue. On him to re-establish his life and reintegrate himself
residence, the only proof she offered was a into the community before he attends to the
seven-month stint as provincial officer. The necessary formal and legal requirements of
repatriation. And that is exactly what petitioner That petitioner could have reckoned residence
did - she reestablished life here by enrolling her from a date earlier than the sale of her U.S. house
children and buying property while awaiting the and the return of her husband is plausible given
return of her husband and then applying for the evidence that she had returned a year before.
repatriation shortly thereafter. Such evidence, to repeat, would include her
passport and the school records of her children.
No case similar to petitioner's, where the former
Filipino's evidence of change in domicile is It was grave abuse of discretion for the COMELEC
extensive and overwhelming, has as yet been to treat the 2012 COC as a binding and
decided by the Court. Petitioner's evidence of conclusive admission against petitioner. It could
residence is unprecedented. There is no judicial be given in evidence against her, yes, but it was
precedent that comes close to the facts of by no means conclusive. There is precedent after
residence of petitioner. There is no indication all where a candidate's mistake as to period of
in Coquilla v. COMELEC,166 and the other cases residence made in a COC was overcome by
cited by the respondents that the Court intended evidence. In Romualdez-Marcos v.
to have its rulings there apply to a situation COMELEC,167 the candidate mistakenly put seven
where the facts are different. Surely, the issue of (7) months as her period of residence where the
residence has been decided particularly on the required period was a minimum of one year. We
facts-of-the case basis. said that "[i]t is the fact of residence, not a
statement in a certificate of candidacy which
To avoid the logical conclusion pointed out by the ought to be decisive in determining whether or
evidence of residence of petitioner, the COMELEC not an individual has satisfied the constitutions
ruled that petitioner's claim of residence of ten residency qualification requirement." The
(10) years and eleven (11) months by 9 May 2016 COMELEC ought to have looked at the evidence
in her 2015 COC was false because she put six presented and see if petitioner was telling the
( 6) years and six ( 6) months as "period of truth that she was in the Philippines from 24 May
residence before May 13, 2013" in her 2012 COC 2005. Had the COMELEC done its duty, it would
for Senator. Thus, according to the COMELEC, she have seen that the 2012 COC and the 2015
started being a Philippine resident only in COC both correctly stated the pertinent period of
November 2006. In doing so, the COMELEC residency.
automatically assumed as true the statement in
the 2012 COC and the 2015 COC as false. The COMELEC, by its own admission, disregarded
the evidence that petitioner actually and
As explained by petitioner in her verified physically returned here on 24 May 2005 not
pleadings, she misunderstood the date required because it was false, but only because COMELEC
in the 2013 COC as the period of residence as of took the position that domicile could be
the day she submitted that COC in 2012. She said established only from petitioner's repatriation
that she reckoned residency from April-May 2006 under R.A. No. 9225 in July 2006. However, it
which was the period when the U.S. house was does not take away the fact that in reality,
sold and her husband returned to the Philippines. petitioner had returned from the U.S. and was
In that regard, she was advised by her lawyers in here to stay permanently, on 24 May 2005. When
2015 that residence could be counted from 25 she claimed to have been a resident for ten (10)
May 2005. years and eleven (11) months, she could do so in
good faith.
Petitioner's explanation that she misunderstood
the query in 2012 (period of residence before 13 For another, it could not be said that petitioner
May 2013) as inquiring about residence as of the was attempting to hide anything. As already
time she submitted the COC, is bolstered by the stated, a petition for quo warranto had been filed
change which the COMELEC itself introduced in against her with the SET as early as August 2015.
the 2015 COC which is now "period of residence The event from which the COMELEC pegged the
in the Philippines up to the day before May 09, commencement of residence, petitioner's
2016." The COMELEC would not have revised the repatriation in July 2006 under R.A. No. 9225, was
query if it did not acknowledge that the first an established fact to repeat, for purposes of her
version was vague. senatorial candidacy.

Notably, on the statement of residence of six (6)


years and six (6) months in the 2012 COC,
petitioner recounted that this was first brought up
in the media on 2 June 2015 by Rep. Tobias
Tiangco of the United Nationalist Alliance.
Petitioner appears to have answered the issue standing jurisprudence that it is the fact of
immediately, also in the press. Respondents have residence, not the statement of the person that
not disputed petitioner's evidence on this point. determines residence for purposes of compliance
From that time therefore when Rep. Tiangco with the constitutional requirement of residency
discussed it in the media, the stated period of for election as President. It ignores the easily
residence in the 2012 COC and the circumstances researched matter that cases on questions of
that surrounded the statement were already residency have been decided favorably for the
matters of public record and were not hidden. candidate on the basis of facts of residence far
less in number, weight and substance than that
Petitioner likewise proved that the 2012 COC was presented by petitioner.169 It ignores, above all
also brought up in the SET petition for quo else, what we consider as a primary reason why
warranto. Her Verified Answer, which was filed on petitioner cannot be bound by her declaration in
1 September 2015, admitted that she made a her COC for Senator which declaration was not
mistake in the 2012 COC when she put in six ( 6) even considered by the SET as an issue against
years and six ( 6) months as she misunderstood her eligibility for Senator. When petitioner made
the question and could have truthfully indicated a the declaration in her COC for Senator that she
longer period. Her answer in the SET case was a has been a resident for a period of six (6) years
matter of public record. Therefore, when and six (6) months counted up to the 13 May
petitioner accomplished her COC for President on 2013 Elections, she naturally had as reference
15 October 2015, she could not be said to have the residency requirements for election as
been attempting to hide her erroneous statement Senator which was satisfied by her declared years
in her 2012 COC for Senator which was expressly of residence. It was uncontested during the oral
mentioned in her Verified Answer. arguments before us that at the time the
declaration for Senator was made, petitioner did
The facts now, if not stretched to distortion, do not have as yet any intention to vie for the
not show or even hint at an intention to hide the Presidency in 2016 and that the general public
2012 statement and have it covered by the 2015 was never made aware by petitioner, by word or
representation. Petitioner, moreover, has on her action, that she would run for President in 2016.
side this Court's pronouncement that: Presidential candidacy has a length-of-residence
different from that of a senatorial candidacy.
There are facts of residence other than that which
Concededly, a candidate's disqualification to run was mentioned in the COC for Senator. Such
for public office does not necessarily constitute other facts of residence have never been proven
material misrepresentation which is the sole to be false, and these, to repeat include:
ground for denying due course to, and for the
cancellation of, a COC. Further, as already
discussed, the candidate's misrepresentation in [Petitioner] returned to the Philippines on 24 May
his COC must not only refer to a material fact 2005. (petitioner's] husband however stayed in
(eligibility and qualifications for elective office), the USA to finish pending projects and arrange
but should evince a deliberate intent to mislead, the sale of their family home.
misinform or hide a fact which would otherwise
render a candidate ineligible. It must be made Meanwhile [petitioner] and her children lived with
with an intention to deceive the electorate as to her mother in San Juan City. [Petitioner] enrolled
one's qualifications to run for public office.168 Brian in Beacon School in Taguig City in 2005 and
Hanna in Assumption College in Makati City in
In sum, the COMELEC, with the same posture of 2005. Anika was enrolled in Learning Connection
infallibilism, virtually ignored a good number of in San Juan in 2007, when she was already old
evidenced dates all of which can evince animus enough to go to school.
manendi to the Philippines and animus non
revertedi to the United States of America. The In the second half of 2005, [petitioner] and her
veracity of the events of coming and staying husband acquired Unit 7F of One Wilson Place
home was as much as dismissed as Condominium in San Juan. [Petitioner] and her
inconsequential, the focus having been fixed at family lived in Unit 7F until the construction of
the petitioner's "sworn declaration in her COC for their family home in Corinthian Hills was
Senator" which the COMELEC said "amounts to a completed.
declaration and therefore an admission that her
residence in the Philippines only commence Sometime in the second half of 2005,
sometime in November 2006"; such that "based [petitioner's] mother discovered that her former
on this declaration, [petitioner] fails to meet the lawyer who handled [petitioner's] adoption in
residency requirement for President." This 1974 failed to secure from the Office of the Civil
conclusion, as already shown, ignores the Registrar of Iloilo a new Certificate of Live Birth
indicating [petitioner's] new name and stating Grace Natividad Sonora Poe-Llamanzares,
that her parents are "Ronald Allan K. Poe" and respondent; SPA No. 15-007 (DC) entitled Antonio
"Jesusa L. Sonora." P. Contreras, petitioner, vs. Mary Grace Natividad
Sonora Poe-Llamanzares, respondent; and SPA
In February 2006, [petitioner] travelled briefly to No. 15-139 (DC) entitled Amado D. Valdez,
the US in order to supervise the disposal of some petitioner, v. Mary Grace Natividad Sonora Poe-
of the family's remaining household Llamanzares, respondent; stating that:
belongings.1a\^/phi1 [Petitioner] returned to the
Philippines on 11 March 2006. WHEREFORE, premises considered, the
Commission RESOLVED, as it hereby RESOLVES,
In late March 2006, [petitioner's] husband to GRANT the petitions and cancel the Certificate
informed the United States Postal Service of the of Candidacy of MARY GRACE NATIVIDAD SONORA
family's abandonment of their address in the US. POE-LLAMANZARES for the elective position of
President of the Republic of the Philippines in
The family home in the US was sole on 27 April connection with the 9 May 2016 Synchronized
2006. Local and National Elections.

In April 2006, [petitioner's] husband resigned 3. dated 23 December 2015 of the COMELEC En
from his work in the US. He returned to the Banc, upholding the 1 December 2015 Resolution
Philippines on 4 May 2006 and began working for of the Second Division stating that:
a Philippine company in July 2006.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the
In early 2006, [petitioner] and her husband Commission RESOLVED, as it hereby RESOLVES,
acquired a vacant lot in Corinthian Hills, where to DENY the Verified Motion for Reconsideration of
they eventually built their family home.170 SENATOR MARY GRACE NATIVIDAD SONORA POE-
LLAMANZARES. The Resolution dated 11
December 2015 of the Commission First Division
In light of all these, it was arbitrary for the is AFFIRMED.
COMELEC to satisfy its intention to let the case
fall under the exclusive ground of false
representation, to consider no other date than 4. dated 23 December 2015 of the COMELEC En
that mentioned by petitioner in her COC for Banc, upholding the 11 December 2015
Senator. Resolution of the First Division.

All put together, in the matter of the citizenship are hereby ANNULED and SET ASIDE. Petitioner
and residence of petitioner for her candidacy as MARY GRACE NATIVIDAD SONORA POE-
President of the Republic, the questioned LLAMANZARES is DECLARED QUALIFIED to be a
Resolutions of the COMELEC in Division and En candidate for President in the National and Local
Banc are, one and all, deadly diseased with grave Elections of 9 May 2016.
abuse of discretion from root to fruits.
SO ORDERED.
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The
Resolutions, to wit: The Grace Poe Case Simplified
A further digest of another digest by Vena V.
1. dated 1 December 2015 rendered through the Verga, presented in a way laymen would better
COMELEC Second Division, in SPA No. 15-001 understand. It is for you to be informed of what
(DC), entitled Estrella C. Elamparo, petitioner, vs. netizens are raging about.
Mary Grace Natividad Sonora Poe-Llamanzares,
respondent, stating that:
GRACE POE vs. COMELEC
The Case
[T]he Certificate of Candidacy for President of the Grace Poe was found abandoned as a newborn
Republic of the Philippines in the May 9, 2016 infant in the Parish Church of Jaro, Iloilo by
National and Local Elections filed by respondent Edgardo Militar in 1968. Parental care and
Mary Grace Natividad Sonora Poe-Llamanzares is custody over her was passed on by Edgardo to
hereby GRANTED. his relatives, Emiliano Militar and his wife.
Emiliano reported and registered Grace Poe as a
2. dated 11 December 2015, rendered through foundling with the Office of the Civil Registrar of
the COMELEC First Division, in the consolidated Iloilo City. Fenando Poe, Jr. and Susan Roces
cases SPA No. 15-002 (DC) adopted Grace Poe.
entitled Francisco S. Tatad, petitioner, vs. Mary
1991 Poe went to the US to be a of nature. On this basis, it is safer to assume that
permanent resident therein Poes parents are Filipinos. To assume otherwise
2001 She became a naturalized US citizen is to accept the absurd.
First quarter of 2005 she came back to
the Philippines to permanently reside herein
February 14, 2006- she went back to the Legislation
US to dispose family belongings Foundlings are as a class, natural born citizens.
July 18, 2006 she re-acquired Filipino The amendment to the Constitution proposed by
citizenship constitutionalist Rafols to include foundlings as
According to Poe in her 2013 COC for natural born citizens was not carried out, not
Senator, before the May 13, 2013 election, she because there was any objection to the notion
has been a resident of the Philippines for 6 years that persons of unknown parentage are not
and 6 months (reckoned from year 2006 when citizens, but only because their number was not
she re-acquired her Filipino citizenship under RA enough to merit specific mention. There was no
9225). intent or language that would permit
Poe filed her COC for Presidency for the May discrimination against foundlings. On the
9, 2016 elections (hence, computing from May, contrary, all three Constitutions guarantee the
2013, she has been a resident in the Philippines basic right to equal protection of the laws.
for 9 years and 6 months only) Likewise, domestic laws on adoption support
However, in her COC, Poe declared that she is the principle that foundlings are Filipinos. These
a natural born and her residence in the Philippine laws do not provide that adoption confers
up to the day before election would be 10 years citizenship upon the adoptee, rather, the adoptee
and 11 months counted from May 24, must be Filipino in the first place to be adopted.
2005 (when she returned from the US to the Recent legislation all expressly refer to Filipino
Philippines for good). children and include foundlings as among Filipino
children who may be adopted.
RULING OF THE SUPREME COURT
Poe is qualified to be a candidate for President in
the National and Local Election on May 9, 2016. Generally accepted principles of
international law
1) Is Poe, a foundling, a natural-born The common thread of the Universal Declaration
citizen? Yes, based on: of Human Rights, the Convention on the
a) Circumstantial evidence Rights of the Child and the International
b) Legislation Convent on Civil and Political
c) Generally accepted principles of international Rights obligates the Philippines to grant
law nationality from birth and to ensure that no child
is stateless. The principles stated in the:
1. Hague Convention on Certain Questions
Circumstantial evidence Relation to the Conflict of Nationality laws (that a
There is more than sufficient evidence that Poe foundling is presumed to have the nationality of
has Filipino parents and is therefore a natural- the country of birth)
born Filipino. xxx. [T]here is a high probability 2. Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness
that her parents are Filipinos. The Solicitor (foundling is presumed born of citizens of the
General offered official Statistics from the country where he is found)
Philippine Statistics office that from 1965 to 1975, bind the Philippines although we are not
the total number of foreigners born in the signatory to these conventions.
Philippines was 15,985. While the Filipinos born in
the country were more than 10 Million. On this Poes evidence shows that at least 60 countries in
basis, there is a 99% chance that the child born in Asia, North and South America and Europe have
the Philippines would be a Filipino which in turn, passed legislation recognizing foundlings as its
would indicate more than ample probability that citizens. 166 out of 189 countries accept that
Poes parents are Filipinos. foundlings are recognized as citizens. Hence,
there is a generally accepted principle of
Other circumstantial evidence of the nationality international law to presume foundlings as having
of Poes parents are the fact that: been born and a national of the country in which
1. She was abandoned in a Roman Catholic it is found.
Church in Iloilo
2. She has typical Filipino features.
2) After renouncing her American citizenship and
There are disputable presumptions that things after having taken her Oath of Allegiance to the
have happened according to the ordinary course Republic of the Philippines, has Poe re-acquired
her status as a natural-born Filipino citizen? Yes, law of the land; whatever it says, binds us all
Poes repatriation resulted to reacquisition Filipinos, even our children yet to be born unless
of natural born citizenship. it has decided differently in another subsequent
case.
A natural born citizen before he lost his Philippine
nationality will be restored to his former status as
natural born Filipino after repatriation (Benson v. Classic display of power and personal interests,
HRET, Pareno v. Commission on Audit etc). well-executed but of course, highly doubted. This
is a shameless disregard of the most fundamental
law, a revolutionary turn-around from the rule of
3) Has Poe satisfied the 10 year residency law, slavery to the should-be infallible, thief to
requirement? Yes, she will have been a lawyers and aspirants, the downfall of a highly
resident for 10 years and 11 months on the respected profession, an evidence of the evils of
day of the election. corruption. What else could happen in this
country?
[T]here is overwhelming evidence that leads to
no to other conclusion that Poe decided to As a law student, I am deeply frustrated but this
permanently abandon her US residence and is more reason for me to be one of the lawyers
reside in the Philippines as early as May 24, 2005. who stand for and by the law, inviolable as it is,
sacred in its letters and spirit. Never shall I play
Poe presented voluminous evidence showing that blind, never shall I be blinded.
she and her family abandoned their US domicile
and relocated to the Philippines for good. These As it ever was and should always be--dura lex
evidence include former US passport showing her sed lex.
arrival on May 24, 2005 and her return to the
Philippines every time she travelled abroad, email
correspondences with freight company to arrange
for the shipment of household items as well as
NATURALIZATION: 3 WAYS FOR ALIENS TO
with the pet Bureau; school records of her
children showing enrolment in the Philippine to BECOME PH CITIZENS
the Philippine schools starting on June 2005 etc.
xxx These evidence, coupled with her eventual
application to reacquire Philippine citizenship is Consti II case digest: EDISON SO, Petitioner, vs.
clear that when she returned in May 2005, it was REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondent.
for good.
Facts:
Poe was able to prove that her statement in her He was born on February 17, 1982, in Manila; he
2013 COC was only a mistake in good faith. As is a Chinese citizen who has lived in No. 528
explained by Grace Poe, she misunderstood the Lavezares St., Binondo, Manila, since birth; as an
date required in the 2013 COC as the period of employee, he derives an average annual income
residence as of the day she submitted that COC of around P100,000.00 with free board and
in 2012. She said that she reckoned residency lodging and other benefits; he is single, able to
from April-May 2006 which was the period when speak and write English, Chinese and Tagalog; he
the U.S. house was sold and her husband is exempt from the filing of Declaration of
returned to the Philippines. In that regard, she Intention to become a citizen of the Philippines
was advised by her lawyers in 2015 that pursuant to Section 6 of Commonwealth Act
residence could be counted from 25 May 2005. (C.A.) No. 473.
Such a mistake could be given in evidence On March 22, 2002, the RTC issued an
against her but it was by no means conclusive Order8 setting the petition for hearing at 8:30
considering the overwhelming evidence a.m. of December 12 and 17, 2002 during which
submitted by Poe. all persons concerned were enjoined to show
cause, if any, why the petition should not be
-------------------------------------- granted. The entire petition and its annexes,
end----------------------------------------------- including the order, were ordered published once
a week for three consecutive weeks in the Official
NOTE: The Supreme Court is the highest court in Gazette and also in a newspaper of general
the Philippines. It is the court of last resort, which circulation in the City of Manila. The RTC likewise
means that it gives the final disposition to a case ordered that copies of the petition and notice be
which cannot be overturned by any other court posted in public and conspicuous places in the
but itself. In short, it resolves controversies once Manila City Hall Building.9
and for all. Whatever it says, forms part of the
During the hearing, petitioner presented Atty. implication is that, a native born alien has the
Adasa, Jr. who testified that he came to know choice to apply for judicial or administrative
petitioner in 1991 as the legal consultant and naturalization, subject to the prescribed
adviser of the So familys business. He would qualifications and disqualifications.
usually attend parties and other social functions In naturalization proceedings, it is the burden of
hosted by petitioners family. He knew petitioner the applicant to prove not only his own good
to be obedient, hardworking, and possessed of moral character but also the good moral
good moral character, including all the character of his/her witnesses, who must be
qualifications mandated by law. credible persons.56 Within the purview of the
Another witness for petitioner, Mark Salcedo, naturalization law, a "credible person" is not only
testified that he has known petitioner for ten (10) an individual who has not been previously
years; they first met at a birthday party in 1991. convicted of a crime; who is not a police
He and petitioner were classmates at the character and has no police record; who has not
University of Santo Tomas (UST) where they took perjured in the past; or whose affidavit or
up Pharmacy. Petitioner was a member of some testimony is not incredible. What must be
school organizations and mingled well with credible is not the declaration made but the
friends. person making it. This implies that such person
The RTC granted the petition on June 4, 2003. must have a good standing in the community;
Respondent Republic of the Philippines, through that he is known to be honest and upright; that
the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), he is reputed to be trustworthy and reliable; and
appealed the decision to the CA on the following that his word may be taken on its face value, as a
grounds: good warranty of the applicants worthiness.
Issue: e do not agree with petitioners argument that
W/N Edison So did meet all the qualification respondent is precluded from questioning the RTC
needed to be a naturalized Filipino citizen. decision because of its failure to oppose the
Ruling: petition. A naturalization proceeding is not a
The petition is denied for lack of merit. judicial adversary proceeding, and the decision
Naturalization signifies the act of formally rendered therein does not constitute res judicata.
adopting a foreigner into the political body of a A certificate of naturalization may be cancelled if
nation by clothing him or her with the privileges it is subsequently discovered that the applicant
of a citizen.44 Under current and existing laws, obtained it by misleading the court upon any
there are three ways by which an alien may material fact. Law and jurisprudence even
become a citizen by naturalization: (a) authorize the cancellation of a certificate of
administrative naturalization pursuant to R.A. No. naturalization upon grounds or conditions arising
9139; (b) judicial naturalization pursuant to C.A. subsequent to the granting of the certificate.59 If
No. 473, as amended; and (c) legislative the government can challenge a final grant of
naturalization in the form of a law enacted by citizenship, with more reason can it appeal the
Congress bestowing Philippine citizenship to an decision of the RTC within the reglementary
alien. period despite its failure to oppose the petition
First. C.A. No. 473 and R.A. No. 9139 are separate before the lower court.
and distinct laws the former covers all aliens
regardless of class while the latter covers native- IN LIGHT OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the petition is
born aliens who lived here in the Philippines all DENIED for lack of merit.
their lives, who never saw any other country and
all along thought that they were Filipinos; who
have demonstrated love and loyalty to the
Philippines and affinity to the customs and
G.R. No. 170603 January 29, 2007
traditions.52 To reiterate, the intention of the
legislature in enacting R.A. No. 9139 was to make
the process of acquiring Philippine citizenship less EDISON SO, Petitioner,
tedious, less technical and more encouraging vs.
which is administrative rather than judicial in REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondent.
nature. Thus, although the legislature believes
that there is a need to liberalize the DECISION
naturalization law of the Philippines, there is
nothing from which it can be inferred that C.A.
CALLEJO, SR., J.:
No. 473 was intended to be amended or repealed
by R.A. No. 9139. What the legislature had in
mind was merely to prescribe another mode of Assailed in this Petition for Review on Certiorari is
acquiring Philippine citizenship which may be the Decision1 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-
availed of by native born aliens. The only G.R. CV No. 80437 which reversed the
Decision2 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of prince, potentate, state or sovereignty, and
Manila, Branch 8, in Naturalization Case No. 02- particularly to China; and he will reside
102984. Likewise assailed is the appellate courts continuously in the Philippines from the time of
Resolution denying the Motion for the filing of the petition up to the time of his
Reconsideration of its Decision. admission as citizen of the Philippines. The
petition was docketed as Naturalization Case No.
Antecedents 02-102984.

On February 28, 2002, petitioner Edison So filed Attached to the petition were the Joint
before the RTC a Petition for Naturalization3 under Affidavit4 of Atty. Artemio Adasa, Jr. and Mark B.
Commonwealth Act (C.A.) No. 473, otherwise Salcedo; and petitioners Certificate of Live
known as the Revised Naturalization Law, as Birth,5 Alien Certificate of Registration,6 and
amended. He alleged the following in his petition: Immigrant Certificate of Residence.7

He was born on February 17, 1982, in Manila; he On March 22, 2002, the RTC issued an
is a Chinese citizen who has lived in No. 528 Order8 setting the petition for hearing at 8:30
Lavezares St., Binondo, Manila, since birth; as an a.m. of December 12 and 17, 2002 during which
employee, he derives an average annual income all persons concerned were enjoined to show
of around P100,000.00 with free board and cause, if any, why the petition should not be
lodging and other benefits; he is single, able to granted. The entire petition and its annexes,
speak and write English, Chinese and Tagalog; he including the order, were ordered published once
is exempt from the filing of Declaration of a week for three consecutive weeks in the Official
Intention to become a citizen of the Philippines Gazette and also in a newspaper of general
pursuant to Section 6 of Commonwealth Act circulation in the City of Manila. The RTC likewise
(C.A.) No. 473, as amended, because he was born ordered that copies of the petition and notice be
in the Philippines, and studied in a school posted in public and conspicuous places in the
recognized by the Government where Philippine Manila City Hall Building.9
history, government and culture are taught; he is
a person of good moral character; he believes in Petitioner thus caused the publication of the
the principles underlying the Philippine above order, as well as the entire petition and its
constitution; he has conducted himself in a annexes, in the Official Gazette on May 20,
proper and irreproachable manner during the 200210 and May 27, 2002,11 and in Today, a
entire period of his residence in the Philippines in newspaper of general circulation in the City of
his relation with the constituted government as Manila, on May 25, 2002 and June 1, 2002.
well as with the community in which he is living;
he has mingled socially with the Filipinos and has No one opposed the petition. During the hearing,
evinced a sincere desire to learn and embrace the petitioner presented Atty. Adasa, Jr. who testified
customs, traditions and ideals of the Filipino that he came to know petitioner in 1991 as the
people; he has all the qualifications provided legal consultant and adviser of the So familys
under Section 2 and none of the disqualifications business. He would usually attend parties and
under Section 4 of C.A. No. 473, as amended; he other social functions hosted by petitioners
is not opposed to organized government or family. He knew petitioner to be obedient,
affiliated with any association or group of persons hardworking, and possessed of good moral
who uphold and teach doctrines opposing all character, including all the qualifications
organized governments; he is not defending or mandated by law. Atty. Adasa, Jr. further testified
teaching the necessity or propriety of violence, that petitioner was gainfully employed and
personal assault or assassination for the success presently resides at No. 528 Lavezares Street,
or predominance of mens ideas; he is not a Binondo, Manila; petitioner had been practicing
polygamist or a believer in the practice of Philippine tradition and those embodied in the
polygamy; he has not been convicted of any Constitution; petitioner had been socially active,
crime involving moral turpitude; he is not mingled with some of his neighbors and had
suffering from any incurable contagious diseases conducted himself in a proper and irreproachable
or from mental alienation; the nation of which he manner during his entire stay in the Philippines;
is a citizen is not at war with the Philippines; it is and petitioner and his family observed Christmas
his intention in good faith to become a citizen of and New Year and some occasions such as
the Philippines and to renounce absolutely and fiestas. According to the witness, petitioner was
forever all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign
not disqualified under C.A. No. 473 to become a WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered
Filipino citizen: he is not opposed to organized GRANTING the petition and declaring that
government or believes in the use of force; he is petitioner EDISON SO has all the qualifications
not a polygamist and has not been convicted of a and none of the disqualifications to become a
crime involving moral turpitude; neither is he Filipino citizen and he is hereby admitted as
suffering from any mental alienation or any citizen of the Philippines, after taking the
incurable disease.12 necessary oath of allegiance, as soon as this
decision becomes final, subject to payment of
Another witness for petitioner, Mark Salcedo, cost of P30,000.00.
testified that he has known petitioner for ten (10)
years; they first met at a birthday party in 1991. SO ORDERED.26
He and petitioner were classmates at the
University of Santo Tomas (UST) where they took The trial court ruled that the witnesses for
up Pharmacy. Petitioner was a member of some petitioner had known him for the period required
school organizations and mingled well with by law, and they had affirmed that petitioner had
friends.13Salcedo further testified that he saw all the qualifications and none of the
petitioner twice a week, and during fiestas and disqualifications to become a Filipino citizen.
special occasions when he would go to Thus, the court concluded that petitioner had
petitioners house. He has known petitioner to satisfactorily supported his petition with
have resided in Manila since birth. Petitioner is evidence.
intelligent, a person of good moral character, and
believes in the principles of the Philippine Respondent Republic of the Philippines, through
Constitution. Petitioner has a gainful occupation, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG),
has conducted himself in a proper and appealed the decision to the CA on the following
irreproachable manner and has all the grounds:
qualifications to become a Filipino citizen.
I.
Petitioner also testified and attempted to prove
that he has all the qualifications and none of the THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN GRANTING THE
disqualifications to become a citizen of the PETITION FOR NATURALIZATION DESPITE THE
Philippines. FACT THAT THE TWO (2) CHARACTER WITNESSES,
NAMELY: ARTEMIO ADASA, JR. AND MARK
At the conclusion of his testimonial evidence, SALCEDO WERE NOT QUALIFIED CHARACTER
petitioner offered in evidence the following WITNESSES.
documents: (1) Certificate of Live Birth;14 (2) Alien
Certificate of Registration;15 (3) Immigrant II.
Certificate of Residence;16 (4) Elementary
Pupils17 and High School Students18 Permanent
PETITIONER IS NOT QUALIFIED TO BE ADMITTED
Record issued by Chang Kai Shek College; (5)
AS CITIZEN OF THE PHILIPPINES.27
Transcript of Record issued by the University of
Santo Tomas;19 (6) Certification of Part-Time
Respondent contended that based on the
Employment dated November 20, 2002;20 (7)
evidence on record, appellee failed to prove that
Income Tax Returns and Certificate of Withholding
he possesses all the qualifications under Section
Tax for the year 2001;21 (8) Certification from
2 and none of the disqualifications under Section
Metrobank that petitioner is a depositor;22 (9)
4 of C.A. No. 473. It insisted that his two (2)
Clearances that he has not been charged or
character witnesses did not know him well
convicted of any crime involving moral
enough to vouch for his fitness to become a
turpitude;23 and (10) Medical Certificates and
Filipino citizen; they merely made general
Psychiatric Evaluation issued by the Philippine
statements without giving specific details about
General Hospital.24 The RTC admitted all these in
his character and moral conduct.28The witnesses
evidence.
did not even reside in the same place as
petitioner.29 Respondent likewise argued that
The RTC granted the petition on June 4,
petitioner himself failed to prove that he is
2003.25 The fallo of the decision reads:
qualified to become a Filipino citizen because he
did not give any explanation or specific answers
to the questions propounded by his lawyer. He
merely answered "yes" or "no" or gave general however, that it was not its intention to forever
statements in answer to his counsels questions. close the door to any future application for
Thus, petitioner was unable to prove that he had naturalization which petitioner would file, and
all the qualifications and none of the that it believes that he would make a good
disqualifications required by law to be a Filipino citizen in due time, a decided asset to this
naturalized Filipino citizen.30 country.37

On the other hand, petitioner averred that he Petitioners motion for reconsideration38 was
graduated cum laude from the UST with the denied in a Resolution39 dated November 24,
degree of Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy. He is 2005; hence, the present petition grounded on
now on his second year as a medical student at the sole issue:
the UST Medicine and Surgery. He avers that the
requirements for naturalization under C.A. No. WHETHER OR NOT THE HONORABLE COURT OF
473, as amended by LOI 270, in relation to APPEALS COMMITTED REVERSIBLE ERROR WHEN
Presidential Decree Nos. 836 and 1379, had been IT REVERSED THE DECISION OF THE REGIONAL
relaxed after the Philippine government entered TRIAL COURT OF MANILA.40
into diplomatic relations with the Peoples
Republic of China; the requirements were further In support of his petition, petitioner reiterates the
relaxed when Republic Act (R.A.) No. 9139 was arguments he set forth in the Brief filed before
signed into law.31 Petitioner pointed out that the the CA.
petition, with all its annexes, was published in the
official gazette and a newspaper of general In its Comment41 on the petition, respondent
circulation; notices were likewise sent to the countered that R.A. No. 9139 (which took effect
National Bureau of Investigation, Department of on August 8, 2001 and where the applicants age
Justice, Department of Foreign Affairs, and the requirement was lowered to eighteen (18) years
OSG. But none from these offices came forward old), refers only to administrative naturalization
to oppose the petition before the lower filed with the Special Committee on
court.32 Petitioner insisted that he has all the Naturalization; it does not apply to judicial
qualifications and none of the disqualifications to naturalization before the court, as in the present
become Filipino. This was clearly established by case.42 Respondent, through the OSG, avers that
his witnesses. its failure to oppose the petition before the court
a quo does not preclude it from appealing the
In its Reply Brief, respondent alleged that R.A. No. decision of the RTC to the CA; it is even
9139 applies to administrative naturalization filed authorized to question an already final decision
with the Special Committee on Naturalization. It by filing a petition for cancellation of
insisted that even in the absence of any citizenship.43 Lastly, respondent reiterates its
opposition, a petition for naturalization may be argument that petitioners character witnesses
dismissed. are not qualified to prove the formers
qualifications.
In its Decision33 dated August 4, 2005, the CA set
aside the ruling of the RTC and dismissed the In determining whether or not an applicant for
petition for naturalization without naturalization is entitled to become a Filipino
prejudice.34 According to the CA, petitioners two citizen, it is necessary to resolve the following
(2) witnesses were not credible because they issues: (1) whether or not R.A. No. 9139 applies
failed to mention specific details of petitioners to petitions for naturalization by judicial act; and
life or character to show how well they knew him; (2) whether or not the witnesses presented by
they merely "parroted" the provisions of the petitioner are "credible" in accordance with the
Naturalization Act without clearly explaining their jurisprudence and the definition and guidelines
applicability to petitioners case.35 The appellate set forth in C.A. No. 473.
court likewise ruled that petitioner failed to
comply with the requirement of the law that the The petition is denied for lack of merit.
applicant must not be less than 21 years of age
on the day of the hearing of the petition; during
Naturalization signifies the act of formally
the first hearing on December 12, 2002,
adopting a foreigner into the political body of a
petitioner was only twenty (20) years, nine (9)
nation by clothing him or her with the privileges
months, and twenty five (25) days old, falling
of a citizen.44 Under current and existing laws,
short of the requirement.36 The CA stated,
there are three ways by which an alien may naturalization, subject to the prescribed
become a citizen by naturalization: (a) qualifications and disqualifications.
administrative naturalization pursuant to R.A. No.
9139; (b) judicial naturalization pursuant to C.A. In the instant case, petitioner applied for
No. 473, as amended; and (c) legislative naturalization by judicial act, though at the time
naturalization in the form of a law enacted by of the filing of his petition, administrative
Congress bestowing Philippine citizenship to an naturalization under R.A. No. 9139 was already
alien.45 available. Consequently, his application should be
governed by C.A. No. 473.
Petitioners contention that the qualifications an
applicant for naturalization should possess are Second. If the qualifications prescribed in R.A. No.
those provided for in R.A. No. 9139 and not those 9139 would be made applicable even to judicial
set forth in C.A. No. 473 is barren of merit. The naturalization, the coverage of the law would be
qualifications and disqualifications of an applicant broadened since it would then apply even to
for naturalization by judicial act are set forth in aliens who are not native born. It must be
Sections 246 and 447 of C.A. No. 473. On the other stressed that R.A. No. 9139 applies only to aliens
hand, Sections 348 and 449 of R.A. No. 9139 who were born in the Philippines and have been
provide for the qualifications and disqualifications residing here.
of an applicant for naturalization
by administrative act. Third. Applying the provisions of R.A. No. 9139 to
judicial naturalization is contrary to the intention
Indeed, R.A. No. 9139 was enacted as a remedial of the legislature to liberalize the naturalization
measure intended to make the process of procedure in the country. One of the qualifications
acquiring Philippine citizenship less tedious, less set forth in R.A. No. 9139 is that the applicant
technical and more encouraging.50 It likewise was born in the Philippines and should have been
addresses the concerns of degree holders who, residing herein since birth. Thus, one who was
by reason of lack of citizenship requirement, born here but left the country, though resided for
cannot practice their profession, thus promoting more than ten (10) years from the filing of the
"brain gain" for the Philippines.51 These however, application is also disqualified. On the other hand,
do not justify petitioners contention that the if we maintain the distinct qualifications under
qualifications set forth in said law apply even to each of the two laws, an alien who is not qualified
applications for naturalization by judicial act. under R.A. No. 9139 may still be naturalized
under C.A. No. 473.
First. C.A. No. 473 and R.A. No. 9139 are separate
and distinct laws the former covers all aliens Thus, absent a specific provision expressly
regardless of class while the latter covers native- amending C.A. No. 473, the law stands and the
born aliens who lived here in the Philippines all qualifications and disqualifications set forth
their lives, who never saw any other country and therein are maintained.
all along thought that they were Filipinos; who
have demonstrated love and loyalty to the In any event, petitioner failed to prove that the
Philippines and affinity to the customs and witnesses he presented were competent to vouch
traditions.52 To reiterate, the intention of the for his good moral character, and are themselves
legislature in enacting R.A. No. 9139 was to make possessed of good moral character. It must be
the process of acquiring Philippine citizenship less stressed that character witnesses in
tedious, less technical and more encouraging naturalization proceedings stand as insurers of
which is administrative rather than judicial in the applicants conduct and character. Thus, they
nature. Thus, although the legislature believes ought to testify on specific facts and events
that there is a need to liberalize the justifying the inference that the applicant
naturalization law of the Philippines, there is possesses all the qualifications and none of the
nothing from which it can be inferred that C.A. disqualifications provided by law.53
No. 473 was intended to be amended or repealed
by R.A. No. 9139. What the legislature had in Petitioners witnesses, Atty. Adasa and Salcedo,
mind was merely to prescribe another mode of did not testify on his specific acts; they did not
acquiring Philippine citizenship which may be elaborate on his traits. Their testimonies do not
availed of by native born aliens. The only convince the Court that they personally know
implication is that, a native born alien has the petitioner well and are therefore in a position to
choice to apply for judicial or administrative
vouch for his qualifications. As correctly found by a Well ah (sic) I have personally known him to be
the CA, the witnesses testimonies consisted obedient and hard working individual and ah (sic)
mainly of general statements in answer to the he has a good moral character and he has been
leading questions propounded by his counsel. ah (sic) no adverse report concerning the
What they conveniently did was to enumerate the character of the petitioner.
qualifications as set forth in the law without
giving specific details. The pertinent portion of q In your opinion does the petitioner has the
Atty. Adasas testimony follows: qualifications necessary to become [a] citizen of
the Philippines?
q Do you know the petitioner Edison So?
a Yes.
a Yes, Sir.
q Can you tell us why do you say so?
q Will you please tell us how did you come to
know him? a I would say Your Honor that petitioner has
posses (sic) all the qualifications mandated by
a Well I came to know him[,] the petitioner[,] law and presently he is more than 21 years old
when I was the legal consultant and adviser of and he has resided in the Philippines particularly
their family business and I used to ah (sic) me[e]t in the City of Manila contin[u]ously for more than
him during my visit to their place way back in ten (10) years and that since his birth; and that
1991 to 1992. he has good moral character and I have observed
that ah (sic) he has been practicing Philippine
q From that day of 1991 up to the present, is your traditions and ah (sic) those embodied in the
relationship with the petitioner more or less Philippine constitution and he has been socially
contin[u]ous? active and meddle (sic) some of his neighbors
and ah (sic) I am sure he has desire to embrace
a Yes, sir, because aside from the usual and learn the customs and ideas and traditions in
professional visit that I did to their family some the Philippine[s] and as I earlier mentioned that
social function was sponsored normally and I am he conducted himself in proper and approachable
(sic) invited and I used to attend. (sic) manner during his entire residence in our
country and he has a gainful occupation.
q During the birthday party of the petitioner, did
you usually attend petitioners birthday? q Will you please tell us what are these customs
which the petitioner embraced?
a On several occasions I attend the birthday.
a Well I have observed that ah (sic) together with
q Will you please tell us where the petitioner his family they used to ah observed (sic) the
resides at present? usual Filipino celebration during Christmas and
new year and some occasions such as fiestas.
a At present the petitioner resides at No. 528
Lavezares Street, Binondo, Manila. q And do you know whether petitioner is not
disqualified under Commonwealth Act to become
Filipino citizen of the Philippines (sic)?
q Do you know for how long the petitioner resides
in the Philippines?
a Ah there has been no incident or occasion
which I learned that would disqualify of coming
a As far as I personally known (sic) Your Honor is
(sic) the citizen of the Republic of the Philippines.
that since birth.
I have noticed that ah (sic) he is qualified under
Commonwealth Act 473 as amended because he
q During all the times that you have know[n] the
is not opposed to ah (sic) organized government.
petitioner, what is your impression of his
His family and himself does not believed (sic) in
conduct?
the use of force in the success of his ideas and ah
(sic) he is not a poligamist (sic) or believer in the
practice of illegal and he has not been convicted
in any crime involving him in any crime (sic). and
he is not suffering from any mental alienation or
any incurable contidious (sic) disease. as q Do you go to church together?
provided for.
a Yes, Sir.
q Will you please tell us why you know all these
stage? q During fiestas in your place, did the petitioner
go?
a Because of ah (sic) the personal attachment
with his family we have continuously having ah a Yes, Sir.
(sic) the usual contact with his family.54
q How about during fiestas in the place where the
It can thus be inferred that Atty. Adasa is close to petitioner reside[s], did you also go during
petitioners family, but not specifically to fiestas?
petitioner. Atty. Adasas statements refer to his
observations on the familys practices and not to a Yes, Sir.
petitioner in particular. Nothing in his testimony
suggests that he was close to petitioner and q During occasion in the house of the petitioner,
knew him well enough to vouch for his are you invited?
qualifications.
a Yes, Sir.
Salcedo, on the other hand, testified thus:
q How many time[s] did you go to his (sic)
q Now do you know the petitioner in this case residence of the petitioner?
Edison So?
a Twice a week, sir.
a Yes, Sir.
q Will you please tell us where the petitioner
q Are you personally acquainted with him? resides?

a Yes, Sir. a The petitioner resides at 528 Lavezares Street,


Tondo, Manila, Sir.
q How long have you known the petitioner?
q For how long does the petitioner reside in that
a I have known him for about ten (10) years, Sir. address?

q Will you please inform the Honorable court a Since birth, Sir.
under what circumstances did you come to know
the petitioner? q During all the times that you have known the
petitioner, will you please tell us your impression
a I met him in a birthday party in 1991, Sir. of his conduct?

q And from 1991 up to the present is your a He is a person of good moral, sir, and he
relationship with the petitioner more or less believed in the principles of the Philippines (sic)
contin[u]ous? Constitution.

a Yes, Sir. q Will you please cite one or two of these


principles underlined the principles (sic) of the
q How often did you see the petitioner? Philippines (sic) Constitution?

a I see him twice a week, Sir. a Ah the Philippines is a Republican of the (sic)
state, sovereignty preside (sic) over the people
q And during this time that you met the and the government authority emanate from
petitioner, what did you usually do? within; and the other one is the civilian
government is not supreme over the military.
a We play some games, Sir. We play Patentero
(sic).
q Now in your opinion does the petitioner have all q So when you said he was the secretary he only
the qualifications necessary to become a citizen works as part time secretary?
of the Philippines?
a Yes, Sir.
a Yes, Sir.
q You said the petitioner meddle (sic) socially with
q What are these qualifications? the Filipinos?

a He is at least 21 years old, he is a person of a Yes, Sir.


good moral and has been residing in the
Philippines since birth. q Will you please name at least one of those
Filipinos the petitioner meddle (sic) with?
q What else?
a Samuel Falmera, Sir, Marlon Kahocom, Sir.
a He must be a Filipino and ah must practice the
traditions and customs, Sir. q Who else?

q Do you know whether the petitioner conducted a Elmer Ramos, Sir.


himself in a proper and appraochable (sic)
manner during the period of his residence in the q Who else?
Philippines?
a Sharmaine Santos, Sir.
a Yes, Sir.
q You said the petitioner is of good moral
q Do you know if the petitioner has a gainful character?
occupation?
a Yes, Sir.
a Yes, Sir.
q Why do you know that?
q What is the occupation of the petitioner?
a As a classmate I can see him I go with him and
a Ah (sic) he is the secretary in a wood factory in ah (sic) I can see that he has ah better
Commonwealth, Sir. approached (sic) with other people and I can see
that he mixed very well with friends.
q And aside from being the secretary, what else
did the petitioner do? q So during school days you see him everyday?

a He help (sic) in the factory cargo, Sir. a Yes, Sir.

q Is the petitioner still a student? q When there are no classes during the vacation
you see the petitioner twice a week?
a Yes, Sir.
a Yes, Sir.
q Where is he studying?
q Does the petitioner (sic), do you think the
a In UST, Sir. petitioner is not disqualified to become the citizen
of the Republic of the Philippines?
q Is he your classmate?
a Yes, Sir, he is not disqualified, Sir.
a Yes, Sir.
q Why do you say that he is not disqualified?
q What was his course?
a Because he abide [by] any law in the
a Pharmacy, Sir. government, sir, ah (sic) he is not polygamus and
he is not convicted of any crime, Sir.
q Do you know ever the petitioner oppose to any In naturalization proceedings, it is the burden of
organized government? the applicant to prove not only his own good
moral character but also the good moral
a No, Sir. character of his/her witnesses, who must be
credible persons.56 Within the purview of the
q Do you know whether he believe[s] in the use naturalization law, a "credible person" is not only
of force in any such ideas? an individual who has not been previously
convicted of a crime; who is not a police
a No, Sir. character and has no police record; who has not
perjured in the past; or whose affidavit or
testimony is not incredible. What must be
q Do you know if the petitioner is a believer in the
credible is not the declaration made but the
practice of polygamy?
person making it. This implies that such person
must have a good standing in the community;
a No, Sir.
that he is known to be honest and upright; that
he is reputed to be trustworthy and reliable; and
q Do you know whether the petitioner suffer[s] that his word may be taken on its face value, as a
from mental alienation or incurable disease good warranty of the applicants worthiness.57
illnesses?
The records likewise do not show that the
a No, Sir. character witnesses of petitioner are persons of
good standing in the community; that they are
q Why do you know? honest and upright, or reputed to be trustworthy
and reliable. The most that was established was
a I know him personally, sir, I have been with him the educational attainment of the witnesses;
as my classmate, sir and ah (sic) he is a very however, this cannot be equated with their
intelligent person, Sir. credibility. In fine, petitioner focused on
presenting evidence tending to build his own
q Is the petitioner a member also of any good moral character and neglected to establish
organization or association in your school? the credibility and good moral character of his
witnesses.58
a Yes, Sir.
We do not agree with petitioners argument that
q What organization? respondent is precluded from questioning the RTC
decision because of its failure to oppose the
a He is a member of Wishten and a member of petition. A naturalization proceeding is not a
starget, Sir. judicial adversary proceeding, and the decision
rendered therein does not constitute res judicata.
q What does starget means? A certificate of naturalization may be cancelled if
it is subsequently discovered that the applicant
obtained it by misleading the court upon any
a Starget is an organization of Chinese
material fact. Law and jurisprudence even
community in UST, Sir.
authorize the cancellation of a certificate of
naturalization upon grounds or conditions arising
q How about the other one which you mentioned? subsequent to the granting of the certificate.59 If
the government can challenge a final grant of
a Ah (sic) these are twisting, sir he represents the citizenship, with more reason can it appeal the
ah the (sic) school intercollegiate, Sir.55 decision of the RTC within the reglementary
period despite its failure to oppose the petition
Again, Salcedo did not give specific details on before the lower court.
petitioners qualifications.
Thus, petitioner failed to show full and complete
In sum, petitioners witnesses clearly did not compliance with the requirements of
personally know him well enough; their naturalization law. For this reason, we affirm the
testimonies do not satisfactorily establish that decision of the CA denying the petition for
petitioner has all the qualifications and none of naturalization without prejudice.
the disqualifications prescribed by law.
It must be stressed that admission to citizenship IN LIGHT OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the petition is
is one of the highest privileges that the Republic DENIED for lack of merit.
of the Philippines can confer upon an alien. It is a
privilege that should not be conferred except SO ORDERED.
upon persons fully qualified for it, and upon strict
compliance with the law.60