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Nora Fe Sagun is the legitimate child of Albert S.

Chan, a Chinese national, and Marta Borromeo, a Filipino

citizen. She was born on August 8, 1959 in Baguio City and did not elect Philippine citizenship upon
reaching the age of majority. In 1992, at the age of 33 and after getting married to Alex Sagun, she
executed an Oath of Allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines. Said document was notarized but was
not recorded and registered with the Local Civil Registrar of Baguio City.

In 2005, Sagun applied for a Philippine passport. Her application was denied due to the citizenship of her
father and there being no annotation on her birth certificate that she has elected Philippine citizenship.
Consequently, she sought a judicial declaration of her election of Philippine citizenship averring that she
was raised as a Filipino and she is a registered voter in Baguio City and had voted in local and national
elections as shown in the Voter Certification. She asserted that by virtue of her positive acts, she has
effectively elected Philippine citizenship and such fact should be annotated on her record of birth so as to
entitle her to the issuance of a Philippine passport.

After hearing, the trial court granted the petition and declaring Sagun a Filipino citizen.

Petitioner, through the OSG, directly filed a petition for review on certiorari, pointing out that
while Sagun executed an oath of allegiance before a notary public, there was no affidavit of her election
of Philippine citizenship. Additionally, her oath of allegiance which was not registered with the nearest
local civil registry was executed when she was already 33 years old or 12 years after she reached the age
of majority.


1. Is an action or proceeding for judicial declaration of Philippine citizenship procedurally and

jurisdictionally permissible?

2. Has Norma complied with the procedural requirements in the election of Philippine citizenship?


1. No. There is no proceeding established by law, or the Rules for the judicial declaration of the citizenship
of an individual. There is no specific legislation authorizing the institution of a judicial proceeding to
declare that a given person is part of our citizenry. Clearly, it was erroneous for the trial court to make a
specific declaration of respondents Filipino citizenship as such pronouncement was not within the courts

2. When respondent was born on August 8, 1959, the governing charter was the 1935 Constitution, which
declares as citizens of the Philippines those whose mothers are citizens of the Philippines and elect
Philippine citizenship upon reaching the age of majority. Sec. 1, Art. IV of the 1935 Constitution reads:

Section 1. The following are citizens of the Philippines:

(4) Those whose mothers are citizens of the Philippines and, upon reaching the age of majority, elect
Philippine citizenship.
Under Article IV, Section 1(4) of the 1935 Constitution, the citizenship of a legitimate child born of a
Filipino mother and an alien father followed the citizenship of the father, unless, upon reaching the age
of majority, the child elected Philippine citizenship. Being a legitimate child, respondents citizenship
followed that of her father who is Chinese, unless upon reaching the age of majority, she elects Philippine
citizenship. For respondent to be considered a Filipino citizen, she must have validly elected Philippine
citizenship upon reaching the age of majority.

Commonwealth Act (C.A.) No. 625, enacted pursuant to Section 1(4), Article IV of the 1935 Constitution,
prescribes the procedure that should be followed in order to make a valid election of Philippine
citizenship, to wit:

Section 1. The option to elect Philippine citizenship in accordance with subsection (4), [S]ection 1, Article
IV, of the Constitution shall be expressed in a statement to be signed and sworn to by the party concerned
before any officer authorized to administer oaths, and shall be filed with the nearest civil registry. The
said party shall accompany the aforesaid statement with the oath of allegiance to the Constitution and
the Government of the Philippines.

Based on the foregoing, the statutory formalities of electing Philippine citizenship are: (1) a statement of
election under oath; (2) an oath of allegiance to the Constitution and Government of the Philippines; and
(3) registration of the statement of election and of the oath with the nearest civil registry.

Furthermore, no election of Philippine citizenship shall be accepted for registration under C.A. No. 625
unless the party exercising the right of election has complied with the requirements of the Alien
Registration Act of 1950. In other words, he should first be required to register as an alien. Pertinently,
the person electing Philippine citizenship is required to file a petition with the Commission of Immigration
and Deportation (now Bureau of Immigration) for the cancellation of his alien certificate of registration
based on his aforesaid election of Philippine citizenship and said Office will initially decide, based on the
evidence presented the validity or invalidity of said election. Afterwards, the same is elevated to the
Ministry (now Department) of Justice for final determination and review.

It should be stressed that there is no specific statutory or procedural rule which authorizes the direct filing
of a petition for declaration of election of Philippine citizenship before the courts. The special proceeding
provided under Section 2, Rule 108 of the Rules of Court on Cancellation or Correction of Entries in the
Civil Registry, merely allows any interested party to file an action for cancellation or correction of entry in
the civil registry, i.e., election, loss and recovery of citizenship, which is not the relief prayed for by the

Be that as it may, even if we set aside this procedural infirmity, still the trial courts conclusion that
respondent duly elected Philippine citizenship is erroneous since the records undisputably show that
respondent failed to comply with the legal requirements for a valid election. Specifically, respondent had
not executed a sworn statement of her election of Philippine citizenship. The only documentary evidence
submitted by respondent in support of her claim of alleged election was her oath of allegiance, executed
12 years after she reached the age of majority, which was unregistered. As aptly pointed out by the
petitioner, even assuming arguendo that respondents oath of allegiance suffices, its execution was not
within a reasonable time after respondent attained the age of majority and was not registered with the
nearest civil registry as required under Section 1 of C.A. No. 625. The phrase reasonable time has been
interpreted to mean that the election should be made generally within three (3) years from reaching the
age of majority. Moreover, there was no satisfactory explanation proffered by respondent for the delay
and the failure to register with the nearest local civil registry.


REPUBLIC GR L-34973, April 14, 1988
(J): 4 concur

This is an appeal by the Government seeking the reversal of the Decision of the then Court of First
Instance of South Cotabato, General Santos City dated December 7, 1971 granting the petition for
naturalization of Yung Uan Chu alias Lina Yung Yu Hui Tin.

After trial, a decision was rendered on December 7, 1971 finding petitioner Yung Uan Chu baptized as
Lina Yung, known in school in her registered name as Lina Uan Chu and now as Mrs. Lina Y. Cupang, as
possessed of all the qualifications and none of the disqualifications of a Filipino citizen and therefore
authorized to take her oath of allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines and to register the same in
the proper civil registrar.

The sole issue raised by appellant is whether or not the lower court erred in concluding that it has
jurisdiction to declare petitioner a Filipino citizen based on its conclusion that if administrative bodies
are possessed with such power (to determine the absence of disqualifications on the status of
citizenship), there is stronger reason for the court to have jurisdiction over the case."

The Government thru the Solicitor General submitted that in the case of
Moy Yu Lim Yao vs. Commissioner of Immigration,
this Court, while holding that an alien woman who marries a Filipino citizen ipso facto becomes a
Filipino provided she is not disqualified to be a citizen of the Philippines under Section 4,
Commonwealth Act No. 473, reiterated the rule that "a judicial declaration that the person is a Filipino
citizen cannot be made in a petition for naturalization and that, in this jurisdiction there can be no
independent action for the judicial declaration of citizenship of an individual."
Whether a judicial declaration that a person is a Filipino citizen can be made in a petition for naturalization

the sole and only purpose of the petitioner is to have the petitioner declared a Filipino citizen will be
grant, this court clearly stated: Under our laws, there can be no action or proceeding for the judicial
declaration of the citizenship of an individual. Courts of justice exist for settlement of justiciable
controversies, which imply a given right, legally demandable and enforceable, an act or omission
violative of said right, and a remedy, granted or sanctioned by law, for said breach of right. As an
incident only of the adjudication of the rights of the parties to a controversy, the court may pass upon,
and make a pronouncement relative to their status. Otherwise, such a pronouncement is beyond
judicial power. Thus, for instance, no action or proceeding may be instituted for a declaration to the
effect that plaintiff or petitioner is married, or single, or a legitimate child, although a finding thereon
may be made as necessary premise to justify a given relief available only to one enjoying said status.


Petitioner Wolfgang O. Roehr, a German citizen, married private respondent Carmen Rodriguez, a
Filipina, on December 11, 1980 in Germany. Their marriage was subsequently ratified on February 14,
1981 in Tayasan, Negros Oriental. Out of their union were born Carolynne and Alexandra Kristine.

Carmen filed a petition for declaration of nullity of marriage before the Makati Regional Trial Court
(RTC). Wolfgang filed a motion to dismiss, but it was denied.

Meanwhile, Wolfgang obtained a decree of divorce from the Court of First Instance of Hamburg-
Blankenese. Said decree also provides that the parental custody of the children should be vested to

Wolfgang filed another motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction as a divorce decree had already been
promulgated, and said motion was granted by Public Respondent RTC Judge Salonga.

Carmen filed a Motion for Partial Reconsideration, with a prayer that the case proceed for the purpose
of determining the issues of custody of children and the distribution of the properties between her and
Wolfgang. Judge Salonga partially set aside her previous order for the purpose of tackling the issues of
support and custody of their children.

2nd issue: W/N Judge Salonga's act was valid when she assumed and retained jurisdiction as regards
child custody and support.

Ruling: Yes.

As a general rule, divorce decrees obtained by foreigners in other countries are recognizable in our
jurisdiction. But the legal effects thereof, e.g. on custody, care and support of the children, must still be
determined by our courts.

Before our courts can give the effect of res judicata to a foreign judgment, such as the award of custody
to Wolfgang by the German court, it must be shown that the parties opposed to the judgment had been
given ample opportunity to do so on grounds allowed under Rule 39, Section 50 of the Rules of Court
(now Rule 39, Section 48, 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure).

In the present case, it cannot be said that private respondent was given the opportunity to challenge the
judgment of the German court so that there is basis for declaring that judgment as res judicata with
regard to the rights of Wolfgang to have parental custody of their two children. The proceedings in the
German court were summary. As to what was the extent of Carmen’s participation in the proceedings in
the German court, the records remain unclear.

Absent any finding that private respondent is unfit to obtain custody of the children, the trial court was
correct in setting the issue for hearing to determine the issue of parental custody, care, support and
education mindful of the best interests of the children.


VILLAREAL vs. CAG.R. No. 107314 September 17, 1998FACTS

The complaint to recover damages for killing petitioner's husband Jose Villareal was led
with the RTC of Makati, Metro Manila !t was found thatprior to the ling of the complaint, the "evillas
had abruptl# left the countr#and had started disposing of their properties in the $hilippines
%n &ugust ( , ) ( * * , p e t i t i o n e r s l e d a M o t i o n f o r + e a v e t o " e r v e
" u m m o n s b # $ublication which was later granted b# the trial court Meanwhile, at
theinstance of petitioner $atricia, an information charging private respondentsw i t h m u r d e r
was l e d o n % c t o b e r ) , ) ( * * w i t h t h e R T C o f M a k a t i -efendants were
declared in -efault for failure to le their &nswer within the. /da# period counted from the last da# of publication
and petitioners werethen allowed to present evidence
&fter presenting their evidence,petitioners amended their complaint to make it conform to the evidence Thetrial
court admitted the &mended Complaint and granted petitioners' Motionf o r 0 1 t r a / t e r r i t o r i a l
"ervice of "ummons &ccordingl#, summons was p u b l i s h e d o n c e a
w e e k f o r t h r e e c o n s e c u t i v e w e e k s i n t h e newspaper
Copies of the &mended Complaint, the summons, and the order were sent b# registered mail to the
last known addresses of privaterespondents at $ara2a3ue, Metro Manila and the 4nited "tates %n
5ebruar#6, )(( , counsel for private respondents, Teresita Marbibi, led a 7otice of &ppearance on their
behalf %n 5ebruar# )8, )(( , again through counsel,p r i v a t e r e s p o n d e n t s l e d a v e r i e d
M o t i o n t o + i f t % r d e r o f - e f a u l t w i t h Motion for Reconsideration %n March 96, )(( ,
the trial court issued ano r d e r d e n # i n g t h e M o t i o n t o + i f t % r d e r o f
- e f a u l t w i t h M o t i o n f o r Reconsideration, on the ground that private
respondents herein failed tocompl# with the re3uirements of Rule )* %n &pril 9, )(( ,
the trial courtrendered a decision nding private respondents liable for the killing of JoseVillareal
"ubse3uent motions, without 3uestioning court:s ;urisdiction, werelater led b# the private respondents
but were also later denied b# the trialcourt Thus o
n September 11, 1991, private respondents fled in the CA a petition or certiorari, prohibition,
and mandamus with preliminary injunction, alle in !1" that the trial court never ac#uired jurisdiction
over t h e m s i n c e t h e y a r e n o n - r e s i d e n t d e e n d a n t s a n d p e t i t i o n e r s $ a c t i o n
i s purely in personam and !%" that they were denied due process o law&
C&granted the petition $etitioners moved for reconsideration, but their motionwas denied b# the
appellate court in a resolution dated "eptember , )((9 <ence, this petition for review
=hether or not the trial court ac3uired ;urisdiction over the privaterespondents
!t is true that where the defendant in an action
in personam
is an o n / r e s i d e n t , a s i n t h i s c a s e , a n d r e f u s e s t o a p p e a r a n d s u b m i t t o
t h e ;urisdiction of the court, the ;urisdiction of the latter is limited to the propert#within the countr#
which the court ma# have ordered attached !n such ac a s e , t h e p r o p e r t # i t s e l f i s
> t h e s o l e t h i n g w h i c h i s i m p l e a d e d a n d i s t h e responsible ob;ect which is the sub;ect of
the ;udicial power > &ccordingl#,>the relief must be con ned to the
, and the court cannot lawfull# render apersonal ;udgment against him > ?ut the Court also acknowledged in
that if propert# is attached and later the defendant appears,>the cause becomes mainl# a suit
in personam
, with the added incident thatt h e p r o p e r t # a t t a c h e d r e m a i n s l i a b l e , u n d e r t h e c o n t r o l
o f t h e c o u r t , t o answer to an# demand which ma# be established against the defendant b#the
nal ;udgment of the court > !n this case, not onl# was propert# in the $ h i l i p p i n e s o f
p r i v a t e r e s p o n d e n t s a t t a c h e d , b u t , w h a t i s m o r e , p r i v a t e respondents
subse3uentl# appeared in the trial court and submitted to its ;urisdiction Conse3uentl#, the
;urisdiction of the trial court to render a ;udgment
in personam
against them is undoubted There can be no 3uestionr e g a r d i n g t h e t r i a l c o u r t ' s a c 3 u i s i t i o n
of ;urisdiction over the persons of respondents when the latter's counsel
e n t e r e d h e r a p p e a r a n c e o n t h e i r behalf on 5ebruar# 6, )(( Through counsel, private respondents
voluntaril#appeared b# ling a 7otice of &ppearance without 3uali cation and a Motionto +ift %rder of -
efault with Motion for Reconsideration, in which the# pra#edfor a@rmative reliefs, thus
submitting to the ;urisdiction of the court Thef o l l o w i n g i n s t a n c e s h a v e b e e n
c o n s i d e r e d v o l u n t a r # s u b m i s s i o n t o t h e ;urisdiction of the courtA the ling b# defendant of
a motion to admit answerBthe ling of a motion for reconsideration of the ;udgment b# defaultB and
the ling of a petition to set aside the ;udgment of default 7ot onl# did privaterespondents
voluntaril# submit themselves to the ;urisdiction of the trial court, the# never 3uestioned the validit#
of the mode of service of summons,t h a t i s , b # e 1 t r a t e r r i t o r i a l s e r v i c e u p o n t h e m & s
a l r e a d # s t a t e d , p r i v a t e respondents led a notice of appearance without 3uali cation