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CONFLICT – CHOICE OF LAW – PERSONAL LAW – NATIONALITY Victorino X. Fornier, petitioner in G.R. No. 161824, entitled "Victorino X.

ioner in G.R. No. 161824, entitled "Victorino X. Fornier, Petitioner, versus


Hon. Commission on Elections and Ronald Allan Kelley Poe, also known as Fernando Poe, Jr.,
MARIA JEANETTE C. TECSON and FELIX B. DESIDERIO, JR., petitioners,
Respondents," initiated, on 09 January 2004, a petition docketed SPA No. 04-003 before the
vs.
Commission on Elections ("COMELEC") to disqualify FPJ and to deny due course or to cancel his
The COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, RONALD ALLAN KELLY POE (a.k.a. FERNANDO POE, JR.) and
certificate of candidacy upon the thesis that FPJ made a material misrepresentation in his
VICTORINO X. FORNIER, respondents.
certificate of candidacy by claiming to be a natural-born Filipino citizen when in truth, according to
x-----------------------------x Fornier, his parents were foreigners; his mother, Bessie Kelley Poe, was an American, and his
father, Allan Poe, was a Spanish national, being the son of Lorenzo Pou, a Spanish subject.
G.R. No. 161634 March 3, 2004 Granting, petitioner asseverated, that Allan F. Poe was a Filipino citizen, he could not have
ZOILO ANTONIO VELEZ, petitioner, transmitted his Filipino citizenship to FPJ, the latter being an illegitimate child of an alien mother.
vs. Petitioner based the allegation of the illegitimate birth of respondent on two assertions - first,
RONALD ALLAN KELLEY POE, a.k.a. FERNANDO POE, JR., respondent. Allan F. Poe contracted a prior marriage to a certain Paulita Gomez before his marriage to Bessie
Kelley and, second, even if no such prior marriage had existed, Allan F. Poe, married Bessie Kelly
x-----------------------------x only a year after the birth of respondent.
G. R. No. 161824 March 3, 2004
In the hearing before the Third Division of the COMELEC on 19 January 2004, petitioner, in support
VICTORINO X. FORNIER, petitioner,
of his claim, presented several documentary exhibits - 1) a copy of the certificate of birth of FPJ, 2)
vs.
a certified photocopy of an affidavit executed in Spanish by Paulita Poe y Gomez attesting to her
HON. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and RONALD ALLAN KELLEY POE, ALSO KNOWN AS
having filed a case for bigamy and concubinage against the father of respondent, Allan F. Poe, after
FERNANDO POE JR., respondents.
discovering his bigamous relationship with Bessie Kelley, 3) an English translation of the affidavit
aforesaid, 4) a certified photocopy of the certificate of birth of Allan F. Poe, 5) a certification issued
DECISION by the Director of the Records Management and Archives Office, attesting to the fact that there
was no record in the National Archives that a Lorenzo Poe or Lorenzo Pou resided or entered the
VITUG, J.: Philippines before 1907, and 6) a certification from the Officer-In-Charge of the Archives Division of
the National Archives to the effect that no available information could be found in the files of the
Citizenship is a treasured right conferred on those whom the state believes are deserving of the National Archives regarding the birth of Allan F. Poe.
privilege. It is a "precious heritage, as well as an inestimable acquisition," 1 that cannot be taken
lightly by anyone - either by those who enjoy it or by those who dispute it. On his part, respondent, presented twenty-two documentary pieces of evidence, the more
significant ones being - a) a certification issued by Estrella M. Domingo of the Archives Division of
Before the Court are three consolidated cases, all of which raise a single question of profound the National Archives that there appeared to be no available information regarding the birth of
importance to the nation. The issue of citizenship is brought up to challenge the qualifications of a Allan F. Poe in the registry of births for San Carlos, Pangasinan, b) a certification issued by the
presidential candidate to hold the highest office of the land. Our people are waiting for the Officer-In-Charge of the Archives Division of the National Archives that no available information
judgment of the Court with bated breath. Is Fernando Poe, Jr., the hero of silver screen, and now about the marriage of Allan F. Poe and Paulita Gomez could be found, c) a certificate of birth of
one of the main contenders for the presidency, a natural-born Filipino or is he not? Ronald Allan Poe, d) Original Certificate of Title No. P-2247 of the Registry of Deeds for the
Province of Pangasinan, in the name of Lorenzo Pou, e) copies of Tax Declaration No. 20844, No.
20643, No. 23477 and No. 23478 in the name of Lorenzo Pou, f) a copy of the certificate of death
The moment of introspection takes us face to face with Spanish and American colonial roots and of Lorenzo Pou, g) a copy of the purported marriage contract between Fernando Pou and Bessie
reminds us of the rich heritage of civil law and common law traditions, the fusion resulting in a Kelley, and h) a certification issued by the City Civil Registrar of San Carlos City, Pangasinan, stating
hybrid of laws and jurisprudence that could be no less than distinctly Filipino. that the records of birth in the said office during the period of from 1900 until May 1946 were
totally destroyed during World War II.
Antecedent Case Settings
On 23 January 2004, the COMELEC dismissed SPA No. 04-003 for lack of merit. Three days later, or
On 31 December 2003, respondent Ronald Allan Kelly Poe, also known as Fernando Poe, Jr. on 26 January 2004, Fornier filed his motion for reconsideration. The motion was denied on 06
(hereinafter "FPJ"), filed his certificate of candidacy for the position of President of the Republic of February 2004 by the COMELEC en banc. On 10 February 2004, petitioner assailed the decision of
the Philippines under the Koalisyon ng Nagkakaisang Pilipino (KNP) Party, in the forthcoming the COMELEC before this Court conformably with Rule 64, in relation to Rule 65, of the Revised
national elections. In his certificate of candidacy, FPJ, representing himself to be a natural-born Rules of Civil Procedure. The petition, docketed G. R. No. 161824, likewise prayed for a temporary
citizen of the Philippines, stated his name to be "Fernando Jr.," or "Ronald Allan" Poe, his date of restraining order, a writ of preliminary injunction or any other resolution that would stay the
birth to be 20 August 1939 and his place of birth to be Manila. finality and/or execution of the COMELEC resolutions.
The other petitions, later consolidated with G. R. No. 161824, would include G. R. No. 161434, "includes the duty of the courts of justice to settle actual controversies involving rights which are
entitled "Maria Jeanette C. Tecson, and Felix B. Desiderio, Jr., vs. The Commission on Elections, legally demandable and enforceable, and to determine whether or not there has been a grave
Ronald Allan Kelley Poe (a.k.a. ‘Fernando Poe, Jr.’), and Victorino X. Fornier," and the other, abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or
docketed G. R. No. 161634, entitled "Zoilo Antonio G. Velez, vs. Ronald Allan Kelley Poe, a.k.a. instrumentality of the Government."
Fernando Poe, Jr.," both challenging the jurisdiction of the COMELEC and asserting that, under
Article VII, Section 4, paragraph 7, of the 1987 Constitution, only the Supreme Court had original It is sufficiently clear that the petition brought up in G. R. No. 161824 was aptly elevated to, and
and exclusive jurisdiction to resolve the basic issue on the case. could well be taken cognizance of by, this Court. A contrary view could be a gross denial to our
people of their fundamental right to be fully informed, and to make a proper choice, on who could
Jurisdiction of the Court or should be elected to occupy the highest government post in the land.

In G. R. No. 161824 In G. R. No. 161434 and G. R. No. 161634

In seeking the disqualification of the candidacy of FPJ and to have the COMELEC deny due course Petitioners Tecson, et al., in G. R. No. 161434, and Velez, in G. R. No. 161634, invoke the provisions
to or cancel FPJ’s certificate of candidacy for alleged misrepresentation of a material fact (i.e., that of Article VII, Section 4, paragraph 7, of the 1987 Constitution in assailing the jurisdiction of the
FPJ was a natural-born citizen) before the COMELEC, petitioner Fornier invoked Section 78 of the COMELEC when it took cognizance of SPA No. 04-003 and in urging the Supreme Court to instead
Omnibus Election Code – take on the petitions they directly instituted before it. The Constitutional provision cited reads:

"Section 78. Petition to deny due course to or cancel a certificate of candidacy. --- A verified "The Supreme Court, sitting en banc, shall be the sole judge of all contests relating to the
petition seeking to deny due course or to cancel a certificate of candidacy may be filed by any election, returns, and qualifications of the President or Vice-President, and may promulgate its
person exclusively on the ground that any material representation contained therein as required rules for the purpose."
under Section 74 hereof is false" –
The provision is an innovation of the 1987 Constitution. The omission in the 1935 and the 1973
in consonance with the general powers of COMELEC expressed in Section 52 of the Omnibus Constitution to designate any tribunal to be the sole judge of presidential and vice-presidential
Election Code - contests, has constrained this Court to declare, in Lopez vs. Roxas, 4 as "not (being) justiciable"
controversies or disputes involving contests on the elections, returns and qualifications of the
"Section 52. Powers and functions of the Commission on Elections. In addition to the powers President or Vice-President. The constitutional lapse prompted Congress, on 21 June 1957, to
and functions conferred upon it by the Constitution, the Commission shall have exclusive charge enact Republic Act No. 1793, "An Act Constituting an Independent Presidential Electoral Tribunal
of the enforcement and administration of all laws relative to the conduct of elections for the to Try, Hear and Decide Protests Contesting the Election of the President-Elect and the Vice-
purpose of ensuring free, orderly and honest elections" - President-Elect of the Philippines and Providing for the Manner of Hearing the Same." Republic Act
1793 designated the Chief Justice and the Associate Justices of the Supreme Court to be the
members of the tribunal. Although the subsequent adoption of the parliamentary form of
and in relation to Article 69 of the Omnibus Election Code which would authorize "any
government under the 1973 Constitution might have implicitly affected Republic Act No. 1793, the
interested party" to file a verified petition to deny or cancel the certificate of candidacy of any
statutory set-up, nonetheless, would now be deemed revived under the present Section 4,
nuisance candidate.
paragraph 7, of the 1987 Constitution.

Decisions of the COMELEC on disqualification cases may be reviewed by the Supreme Court per
Ordinary usage would characterize a "contest" in reference to a post-election scenario. Election
Rule 642 in an action for certiorari under Rule 65 3 of the Revised Rules of Civil Procedure. Section 7,
contests consist of either an election protest or a quo warranto which, although two distinct
Article IX, of the 1987 Constitution also reads –
remedies, would have one objective in view, i.e., to dislodge the winning candidate from office. A
perusal of the phraseology in Rule 12, Rule 13, and Rule 14 of the "Rules of the Presidential
"Each Commission shall decide by a majority vote of all its Members any case or matter brought Electoral Tribunal," promulgated by the Supreme Court en banc on 18 April 1992, would support
before it within sixty days from the date of its submission for decision or resolution. A case or this premise -
matter is deemed submitted for decision or resolution upon the filing of the last pleading, brief,
or memorandum, required by the rules of the Commission or by the Commission itself. Unless
"Rule 12. Jurisdiction. - The Tribunal shall be the sole judge of all contests relating to the
otherwise provided by this Constitution or by law, any decision, order, or ruling of each
election, returns, and qualifications of the President or Vice-President of the Philippines.
Commission may be brought to the Supreme Court on certiorari by the aggrieved party within
thirty days from receipt of a copy thereof."
"Rule 13. How Initiated. - An election contest is initiated by the filing of an election protest or a
petition for quo warranto against the President or Vice-President. An election protest shall not
Additionally, Section 1, Article VIII, of the same Constitution provides that judicial power is vested
include a petition for quo warranto. A petition for quo warranto shall not include an election
in one Supreme Court and in such lower courts as may be established by law which power
protest.
"Rule 14. Election Protest. - Only the registered candidate for President or for Vice-President of There was no such term as "Philippine citizens" during the Spanish regime but "subjects of Spain"
the Philippines who received the second or third highest number of votes may contest the or "Spanish subjects."13 In church records, the natives were called 'indios', denoting a low regard
election of the President or the Vice-President, as the case may be, by filing a verified petition for the inhabitants of the archipelago. Spanish laws on citizenship became highly codified during
with the Clerk of the Presidential Electoral Tribunal within thirty (30) days after the proclamation the 19th century but their sheer number made it difficult to point to one comprehensive law. Not
of the winner." all of these citizenship laws of Spain however, were made to apply to the Philippine Islands except
for those explicitly extended by Royal Decrees.14
The rules categorically speak of the jurisdiction of the tribunal over contests relating to the
election, returns and qualifications of the "President" or "Vice-President", of the Philippines, and Spanish laws on citizenship were traced back to the Novisima Recopilacion, promulgated in Spain
not of "candidates" for President or Vice-President. A quo warranto proceeding is generally on 16 July 1805 but as to whether the law was extended to the Philippines remained to be the
defined as being an action against a person who usurps, intrudes into, or unlawfully holds or subject of differing views among experts;15 however, three royal decrees were undisputably made
exercises a public office. 5 In such context, the election contest can only contemplate a post- applicable to Spaniards in the Philippines - the Order de la Regencia of 14 August 1841, 16 the Royal
election scenario. In Rule 14, only a registered candidate who would have received either the Decree of 23 August 1868 specifically defining the political status of children born in the Philippine
second or third highest number of votes could file an election protest. This rule again presupposes Islands,17 and finally, the Ley Extranjera de Ultramar of 04 July 1870, which was expressly made
a post-election scenario. applicable to the Philippines by the Royal Decree of 13 July 1870. 18

It is fair to conclude that the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, defined by Section 4, paragraph 7, The Spanish Constitution of 1876 was never extended to the Philippine Islands because of the
of the 1987 Constitution, would not include cases directly brought before it, questioning the express mandate of its Article 89, according to which the provisions of the Ultramar among which
qualifications of a candidate for the presidency or vice-presidency before the elections are held. this country was included, would be governed by special laws. 19

Accordingly, G. R. No. 161434, entitled "Maria Jeanette C. Tecson, et al., vs. Commission on It was only the Civil Code of Spain, made effective in this jurisdiction on 18 December 1889, which
Elections et al.," and G. R. No. 161634, entitled "Zoilo Antonio Velez vs. Ronald Allan Kelley Poe came out with the first categorical enumeration of who were Spanish citizens. -
a.k.a. Fernando Poe, Jr." would have to be dismissed for want of jurisdiction.
"(a) Persons born in Spanish territory,
The Citizenship Issue
"(b) Children of a Spanish father or mother, even if they were born outside of Spain,
Now, to the basic issue; it should be helpful to first give a brief historical background on the
concept of citizenship. "(c) Foreigners who have obtained naturalization papers,

Perhaps, the earliest understanding of citizenship was that given by Aristotle, who, sometime in "(d) Those who, without such papers, may have become domiciled inhabitants of any town of
384 to 322 B.C., described the "citizen" to refer to a man who shared in the administration of the Monarchy."20
justice and in the holding of an office. 6 Aristotle saw its significance if only to determine the
constituency of the "State," which he described as being composed of such persons who would be
The year 1898 was another turning point in Philippine history. Already in the state of decline as a
adequate in number to achieve a self-sufficient existence. 7 The concept grew to include one who
superpower, Spain was forced to so cede her sole colony in the East to an upcoming world power,
would both govern and be governed, for which qualifications like autonomy, judgment and loyalty
the United States. An accepted principle of international law dictated that a change in sovereignty,
could be expected. Citizenship was seen to deal with rights and entitlements, on the one hand,
while resulting in an abrogation of all political laws then in force, would have no effect on civil
and with concomitant obligations, on the other.8 In its ideal setting, a citizen was active in public
laws, which would remain virtually intact.
life and fundamentally willing to submit his private interests to the general interest of society.

The Treaty of Paris was entered into on 10 December 1898 between Spain and the United States. 21
The concept of citizenship had undergone changes over the centuries. In the 18th century, the
Under Article IX of the treaty, the civil rights and political status of the native inhabitants of the
concept was limited, by and large, to civil citizenship, which established the rights necessary for
territories ceded to the United States would be determined by its Congress -
individual freedom, such as rights to property, personal liberty and justice. 9 Its meaning expanded
during the 19th century to include political citizenship, which encompassed the right to participate
in the exercise of political power. 10 The 20th century saw the next stage of the development of "Spanish subjects, natives of the Peninsula, residing in the territory over which Spain by the
social citizenship, which laid emphasis on the right of the citizen to economic well-being and social present treaty relinquishes or cedes her sovereignty may remain in such territory or may
security.11 The idea of citizenship has gained expression in the modern welfare state as it so remove therefrom, retaining in either event all their rights of property, including the right to sell
developed in Western Europe. An ongoing and final stage of development, in keeping with the or dispose of such property or of its proceeds; and they shall also have the right to carry on their
rapidly shrinking global village, might well be the internationalization of citizenship. 12 industry, commerce, and professions, being subject in respect thereof to such laws as are
applicable to foreigners. In case they remain in the territory they may preserve their allegiance
to the Crown of Spain by making, before a court of record, within a year from the date of the
The Local Setting - from Spanish Times to the Present
exchange of ratifications of this treaty, a declaration of their decision to preserve such With the adoption of the Philippine Bill of 1902, the concept of "Philippine citizens" had for the
allegiance; in default of which declaration they shall be held to have renounced it and to have first time crystallized. The word "Filipino" was used by William H. Taft, the first Civil Governor
adopted the nationality of the territory in which they reside. General in the Philippines when he initially made mention of it in his slogan, "The Philippines for
the Filipinos." In 1916, the Philippine Autonomy Act, also known as the Jones Law restated
Thus – virtually the provisions of the Philippine Bill of 1902, as so amended by the Act of Congress in 1912
-
"The civil rights and political status of the native inhabitants of the territories hereby ceded to
the United States shall be determined by the Congress."22 "That all inhabitants of the Philippine Islands who were Spanish subjects on the eleventh day of
April, eighteen hundred and ninety-nine, and then resided in said Islands, and their children
born subsequently thereto, shall be deemed and held to be citizens of the Philippine Islands,
Upon the ratification of the treaty, and pending legislation by the United States Congress on the
except such as shall have elected to preserve their allegiance to the Crown of Spain in
subject, the native inhabitants of the Philippines ceased to be Spanish subjects. Although they did
accordance with the provisions of the treaty of peace between the United States and Spain,
not become American citizens, they, however, also ceased to be "aliens" under American laws and
signed at Paris December tenth, eighteen hundred and ninety-eight and except such others as
were thus issued passports describing them to be citizens of the Philippines entitled to the
have since become citizens of some other country; Provided, That the Philippine Legislature,
protection of the United States.
herein provided for, is hereby authorized to provide for the acquisition of Philippine citizenship
by those natives of the Philippine Islands who do not come within the foregoing provisions, the
The term "citizens of the Philippine Islands" appeared for the first time in the Philippine Bill of natives of the insular possessions of the United States, and such other persons residing in the
1902, also commonly referred to as the Philippine Organic Act of 1902, the first comprehensive Philippine Islands who are citizens of the United States, or who could become citizens of the
legislation of the Congress of the United States on the Philippines - United States under the laws of the United States, if residing therein."

".... that all inhabitants of the Philippine Islands continuing to reside therein, who were Spanish Under the Jones Law, a native-born inhabitant of the Philippines was deemed to be a citizen of the
subjects on the 11th day of April, 1891, and then resided in said Islands, and their children born Philippines as of 11 April 1899 if he was 1) a subject of Spain on 11 April 1899, 2) residing in the
subsequent thereto, shall be deemed and held to be citizens of the Philippine Islands and as Philippines on said date, and, 3) since that date, not a citizen of some other country.
such entitled to the protection of the United States, except such as shall have elected to
preserve their allegiance to the Crown of Spain in accordance with the provisions of the treaty
While there was, at one brief time, divergent views on whether or not jus soli was a mode of
of peace between the United States and Spain, signed at Paris, December tenth eighteen
acquiring citizenship, the 1935 Constitution brought to an end to any such link with common law,
hundred and ninety eight."23
by adopting, once and for all, jus sanguinis or blood relationship as being the basis of Filipino
citizenship -
Under the organic act, a "citizen of the Philippines" was one who was an inhabitant of the
Philippines, and a Spanish subject on the 11 th day of April 1899. The term "inhabitant" was taken to
"Section 1, Article III, 1935 Constitution. The following are citizens of the Philippines -
include 1) a native-born inhabitant, 2) an inhabitant who was a native of Peninsular Spain, and 3)
an inhabitant who obtained Spanish papers on or before 11 April 1899. 24
"(1) Those who are citizens of the Philippine Islands at the time of the adoption of this
Constitution
Controversy arose on to the status of children born in the Philippines from 11 April 1899 to 01 July
1902, during which period no citizenship law was extant in the Philippines. Weight was given to
the view, articulated in jurisprudential writing at the time, that the common law principle of jus "(2) Those born in the Philippines Islands of foreign parents who, before the adoption of this
soli, otherwise also known as the principle of territoriality, operative in the United States and Constitution, had been elected to public office in the Philippine Islands.
England, governed those born in the Philippine Archipelago within that period. 25 More about this
later. "(3) Those whose fathers are citizens of the Philippines.

In 23 March 1912, the Congress of the United States made the following amendment to the "(4) Those whose mothers are citizens of the Philippines and upon reaching the age of majority,
Philippine Bill of 1902 - elect Philippine citizenship.

"Provided, That the Philippine Legislature is hereby authorized to provide by law for the "(5) Those who are naturalized in accordance with law."
acquisition of Philippine citizenship by those natives of the Philippine Islands who do not come
within the foregoing provisions, the natives of other insular possession of the United States, and Subsection (4), Article III, of the 1935 Constitution, taken together with existing civil law provisions
such other persons residing in the Philippine Islands who would become citizens of the United at the time, which provided that women would automatically lose their Filipino citizenship and
States, under the laws of the United States, if residing therein." 26 acquire that of their foreign husbands, resulted in discriminatory situations that effectively
incapacitated the women from transmitting their Filipino citizenship to their legitimate children
and required illegitimate children of Filipino mothers to still elect Filipino citizenship upon reaching The term "natural-born citizens," is defined to include "those who are citizens of the Philippines
the age of majority. Seeking to correct this anomaly, as well as fully cognizant of the newly found from birth without having to perform any act to acquire or perfect their Philippine citizenship." 27
status of Filipino women as equals to men, the framers of the 1973 Constitution crafted the
provisions of the new Constitution on citizenship to reflect such concerns - The date, month and year of birth of FPJ appeared to be 20 August 1939 during the regime of the
1935 Constitution. Through its history, four modes of acquiring citizenship - naturalization, jus soli,
"Section 1, Article III, 1973 Constitution - The following are citizens of the Philippines: res judicata and jus sanguinis28 – had been in vogue. Only two, i.e., jus soli and jus sanguinis, could
qualify a person to being a "natural-born" citizen of the Philippines. Jus soli, per Roa vs. Collector
"(1) Those who are citizens of the Philippines at the time of the adoption of this Constitution. of Customs29 (1912), did not last long. With the adoption of the 1935 Constitution and the reversal
of Roa in Tan Chong vs. Secretary of Labor 30 (1947), jus sanguinis or blood relationship would now
become the primary basis of citizenship by birth.
"(2) Those whose fathers or mothers are citizens of the Philippines.

Documentary evidence adduced by petitioner would tend to indicate that the earliest established
"(3) Those who elect Philippine citizenship pursuant to the provisions of the Constitution of
direct ascendant of FPJ was his paternal grandfather Lorenzo Pou, married to Marta Reyes, the
nineteen hundred and thirty-five.
father of Allan F. Poe. While the record of birth of Lorenzo Pou had not been presented in
evidence, his death certificate, however, identified him to be a Filipino, a resident of San Carlos,
"(4) Those who are naturalized in accordance with law." Pangasinan, and 84 years old at the time of his death on 11 September 1954. The certificate of
birth of the father of FPJ, Allan F. Poe, showed that he was born on 17 May 1915 to an Español
For good measure, Section 2 of the same article also further provided that – father, Lorenzo Pou, and a mestiza Español mother, Marta Reyes. Introduced by petitioner was an
"uncertified" copy of a supposed certificate of the alleged marriage of Allan F. Poe and Paulita
"A female citizen of the Philippines who marries an alien retains her Philippine citizenship, Gomez on 05 July 1936. The marriage certificate of Allan F. Poe and Bessie Kelley reflected the date
unless by her act or omission she is deemed, under the law to have renounced her citizenship." of their marriage to be on 16 September 1940. In the same certificate, Allan F. Poe was stated to
be twenty-five years old, unmarried, and a Filipino citizen, and Bessie Kelley to be twenty-two
years old, unmarried, and an American citizen. The birth certificate of FPJ, would disclose that he
The 1987 Constitution generally adopted the provisions of the 1973 Constitution, except for was born on 20 August 1939 to Allan F. Poe, a Filipino, twenty-four years old, married to Bessie
subsection (3) thereof that aimed to correct the irregular situation generated by the questionable Kelly, an American citizen, twenty-one years old and married.
proviso in the 1935 Constitution.

Considering the reservations made by the parties on the veracity of some of the entries on the
Section I, Article IV, 1987 Constitution now provides: birth certificate of respondent and the marriage certificate of his parents, the only conclusions that
could be drawn with some degree of certainty from the documents would be that -
"The following are citizens of the Philippines:
1. The parents of FPJ were Allan F. Poe and Bessie Kelley;
"(1) Those who are citizens of the Philippines at the time of the adoption of this Constitution.
2. FPJ was born to them on 20 August 1939;
"(2) Those whose fathers or mothers are citizens of the Philippines.
3. Allan F. Poe and Bessie Kelley were married to each other on 16 September, 1940;
"(3) Those born before January 17, 1973 of Filipino mothers, who elect Philippine citizenship
upon reaching the age of majority; and 4. The father of Allan F. Poe was Lorenzo Poe; and

"(4) Those who are naturalized in accordance with law." 5. At the time of his death on 11 September 1954, Lorenzo Poe was 84 years old.

The Case Of FPJ Would the above facts be sufficient or insufficient to establish the fact that FPJ is a natural-born
Filipino citizen? The marriage certificate of Allan F. Poe and Bessie Kelley, the birth certificate of
Section 2, Article VII, of the 1987 Constitution expresses: FPJ, and the death certificate of Lorenzo Pou are documents of public record in the custody of a
public officer. The documents have been submitted in evidence by both contending parties during
"No person may be elected President unless he is a natural-born citizen of the Philippines, a the proceedings before the COMELEC.
registered voter, able to read and write, at least forty years of age on the day of the election,
and a resident of the Philippines for at least ten years immediately preceding such election." The birth certificate of FPJ was marked Exhibit "A" for petitioner and Exhibit "3" for respondent.
The marriage certificate of Allan F. Poe to Bessie Kelley was submitted as Exhibit "21" for
respondent. The death certificate of Lorenzo Pou was submitted by respondent as his Exhibit "5." Under Civil Law.
While the last two documents were submitted in evidence for respondent, the admissibility
thereof, particularly in reference to the facts which they purported to show, i.e., the marriage Petitioner submits, in any case, that in establishing filiation (relationship or civil status of the child
certificate in relation to the date of marriage of Allan F. Poe to Bessie Kelley and the death to the father [or mother]) or paternity (relationship or civil status of the father to the child) of an
certificate relative to the death of Lorenzo Pou on 11 September 1954 in San Carlos, Pangasinan, illegitimate child, FPJ evidently being an illegitimate son according to petitioner, the mandatory
were all admitted by petitioner, who had utilized those material statements in his argument. All rules under civil law must be used.
three documents were certified true copies of the originals.
Under the Civil Code of Spain, which was in force in the Philippines from 08 December 1889 up
Section 3, Rule 130, Rules of Court states that - until the day prior to 30 August 1950 when the Civil Code of the Philippines took effect,
acknowledgment was required to establish filiation or paternity. Acknowledgment was either
"Original document must be produced; exceptions. - When the subject of inquiry is the contents judicial (compulsory) or voluntary. Judicial or compulsory acknowledgment was possible only if
of a document, no evidence shall be admissible other than the original document itself, except done during the lifetime of the putative parent; voluntary acknowledgment could only be had in a
in the following cases: record of birth, a will, or a public document. 32 Complementary to the new code was Act No. 3753
or the Civil Registry Law expressing in Section 5 thereof, that -
"x x x xxx xxx
"In case of an illegitimate child, the birth certificate shall be signed and sworn to jointly by the
"(d) When the original is a public record in the custody of a public office or is recorded in a parents of the infant or only by the mother if the father refuses. In the latter case, it shall not be
public office." permissible to state or reveal in the document the name of the father who refuses to
acknowledge the child, or to give therein any information by which such father could be
identified."
Being public documents, the death certificate of Lorenzo Pou, the marriage certificate of Allan F.
Poe and Bessie Kelly, and the birth certificate of FPJ, constitute prima facie proof of their contents.
Section 44, Rule 130, of the Rules of Court provides: In order that the birth certificate could then be utilized to prove voluntary acknowledgment of
filiation or paternity, the certificate was required to be signed or sworn to by the father. The failure
of such requirement rendered the same useless as being an authoritative document of
"Entries in official records. Entries in official records made in the performance of his duty by a
recognition.33 In Mendoza vs. Mella,34 the Court ruled -
public officer of the Philippines, or by a person in the performance of a duty specially enjoined
by law, are prima facie evidence of the facts therein stated."
"Since Rodolfo was born in 1935, after the registry law was enacted, the question here really is
whether or not his birth certificate (Exhibit 1), which is merely a certified copy of the registry
The trustworthiness of public documents and the value given to the entries made therein could be
record, may be relied upon as sufficient proof of his having been voluntarily recognized. No such
grounded on 1) the sense of official duty in the preparation of the statement made, 2) the penalty
reliance, in our judgment, may be placed upon it. While it contains the names of both parents,
which is usually affixed to a breach of that duty, 3) the routine and disinterested origin of most
there is no showing that they signed the original, let alone swore to its contents as required in
such statements, and 4) the publicity of record which makes more likely the prior exposure of such
Section 5 of Act No. 3753. For all that might have happened, it was not even they or either of
errors as might have occurred.31
them who furnished the data to be entered in the civil register. Petitioners say that in any event
the birth certificate is in the nature of a public document wherein voluntary recognition of a
The death certificate of Lorenzo Pou would indicate that he died on 11 September 1954, at the age natural child may also be made, according to the same Article 131. True enough, but in such a
of 84 years, in San Carlos, Pangasinan. It could thus be assumed that Lorenzo Pou was born case, there must be a clear statement in the document that the parent recognizes the child as
sometime in the year 1870 when the Philippines was still a colony of Spain. Petitioner would argue his or her own."
that Lorenzo Pou was not in the Philippines during the crucial period of from 1898 to 1902
considering that there was no existing record about such fact in the Records Management and
In the birth certificate of respondent FPJ, presented by both parties, nowhere in the document was
Archives Office. Petitioner, however, likewise failed to show that Lorenzo Pou was at any other
the signature of Allan F. Poe found. There being no will apparently executed, or at least shown to
place during the same period. In his death certificate, the residence of Lorenzo Pou was stated to
have been executed, by decedent Allan F. Poe, the only other proof of voluntary recognition
be San Carlos, Pangasinan. In the absence of any evidence to the contrary, it should be sound to
remained to be "some other public document." In Pareja vs. Pareja, 35 this Court defined what
conclude, or at least to presume, that the place of residence of a person at the time of his death
could constitute such a document as proof of voluntary acknowledgment:
was also his residence before death. It would be extremely doubtful if the Records Management
and Archives Office would have had complete records of all residents of the Philippines from 1898
to 1902. "Under the Spanish Civil Code there are two classes of public documents, those executed by
private individuals which must be authenticated by notaries, and those issued by competent
public officials by reason of their office. The public document pointed out in Article 131 as one
Proof of Paternity and Filiation
of the means by which recognition may be made belongs to the first class."
Let us leave it at that for the moment. "The action must be brought within the same period specified in Article 173, except when the
action is based on the second paragraph of Article 172, in which case the action may be brought
The 1950 Civil Code categorized the acknowledgment or recognition of illegitimate children into during the lifetime of the alleged parent."
voluntary, legal or compulsory. Voluntary recognition was required to be expressedly made in a
record of birth, a will, a statement before a court of record or in any authentic writing. Legal The provisions of the Family Code are retroactively applied; Article 256 of the code reads:
acknowledgment took place in favor of full blood brothers and sisters of an illegitimate child who
was recognized or judicially declared as natural. Compulsory acknowledgment could be demanded "Art. 256. This Code shall have retroactive effect insofar as it does not prejudice or impair vested
generally in cases when the child had in his favor any evidence to prove filiation. Unlike an action or acquired rights in accordance with the Civil Code or other laws."
to claim legitimacy which would last during the lifetime of the child, and might pass exceptionally
to the heirs of the child, an action to claim acknowledgment, however, could only be brought
Thus, in Vda. de Sy-Quia vs. Court of Appeals,36 the Court has ruled:
during the lifetime of the presumed parent.

"We hold that whether Jose was a voluntarily recognized natural child should be decided under
Amicus Curiae Ruben F. Balane defined, during the oral argument, "authentic writing," so as to be
Article 278 of the Civil Code of the Philippines. Article 2260 of that Code provides that 'the
an authentic writing for purposes of voluntary recognition, simply as being a genuine or
voluntary recognition of a natural child shall take place according to this Code, even if the child
indubitable writing of the father. The term would include a public instrument (one duly
was born before the effectivity of this body of laws' or before August 30, 1950. Hence, Article
acknowledged before a notary public or other competent official) or a private writing admitted by
278 may be given retroactive effect."
the father to be his.

It should be apparent that the growing trend to liberalize the acknowledgment or recognition of
The Family Code has further liberalized the rules; Article 172, Article 173, and Article 175 provide:
illegitimate children is an attempt to break away from the traditional idea of keeping well apart
legitimate and non-legitimate relationships within the family in favor of the greater interest and
"Art. 172. The filiation of legitimate children is established by any of the following: welfare of the child. The provisions are intended to merely govern the private and personal affairs
of the family. There is little, if any, to indicate that the legitimate or illegitimate civil status of the
"(1) The record of birth appearing in the civil register or a final judgment; or individual would also affect his political rights or, in general, his relationship to the State. While,
indeed, provisions on "citizenship" could be found in the Civil Code, such provisions must be taken
"(2) An admission of legitimate filiation in a public document or a private handwritten in the context of private relations, the domain of civil law; particularly -
instrument and signed by the parent concerned.
"Civil Law is that branch of law which has for its double purpose the organization of the family
"In the absence of the foregoing evidence, the legitimate filiation shall be proved by: and the regulation of property. It has thus [been] defined as the mass of precepts which
determine and regulate the relations of assistance, authority and obedience among members of
a family, and those which exist among members of a society for the protection of private
"(1) The open and continuous possession of the status of a legitimate child; or
interests."37

"(2) Any other means allowed by the Rules of Court and special laws.
In Yañez de Barnuevo vs. Fuster,38 the Court has held:

"Art. 173. The action to claim legitimacy may be brought by the child during his or her lifetime
"In accordance with Article 9 of the Civil Code of Spain, x x x the laws relating to family rights
and shall be transmitted to the heirs should the child die during minority or in a state of insanity.
and duties, or to the status, condition and legal capacity of persons, govern Spaniards although
In these cases, the heirs shall have a period of five years within which to institute the action.
they reside in a foreign country; that, in consequence, 'all questions of a civil nature, such as
those dealing with the validity or nullity of the matrimonial bond, the domicile of the husband
"The action already commenced by the child shall survive notwithstanding the death of either or and wife, their support, as between them, the separation of their properties, the rules
both of the parties. governing property, marital authority, division of conjugal property, the classification of their
property, legal causes for divorce, the extent of the latter, the authority to decree it, and, in
"x x x xxx x x x. general, the civil effects of marriage and divorce upon the persons and properties of the
spouses, are questions that are governed exclusively by the national law of the husband and
"Art. 175. Illegitimate children may establish their illegitimate filiation in the same way and on wife."
the same, evidence as legitimate children.
The relevance of "citizenship" or "nationality" to Civil Law is best exemplified in Article 15 of the
Civil Code, stating that -
"Laws relating to family rights and duties, or to the status, condition and legal capacity of "I, Ruby Kelley Mangahas, of legal age and sound mind, presently residing in Stockton,
persons are binding upon citizens of the Philippines, even though living abroad" - California, U.S.A., after being sworn in accordance with law do hereby declare that:

that explains the need to incorporate in the code a reiteration of the Constitutional provisions on "1. I am the sister of the late Bessie Kelley Poe.
citizenship. Similarly, citizenship is significant in civil relationships found in different parts of the
Civil Code,39 such as on successional rights and family relations. 40 In adoption, for instance, an "2. Bessie Kelley Poe was the wife of Fernando Poe, Sr.
adopted child would be considered the child of his adoptive parents and accorded the same rights
as their legitimate child but such legal fiction extended only to define his rights under civil law 41
"3. Fernando and Bessie Poe had a son by the name of Ronald Allan Poe, more popularly known
and not his political status.
in the Philippines as `Fernando Poe, Jr.,’ or `FPJ’.

Civil law provisions point to an obvious bias against illegitimacy. This discriminatory attitude may
"4. Ronald Allan Poe `FPJ’ was born on August 20, 1939 at St. Luke's Hospital, Magdalena Street,
be traced to the Spanish family and property laws, which, while defining proprietary and
Manila.
successional rights of members of the family, provided distinctions in the rights of legitimate and
illegitimate children. In the monarchial set-up of old Spain, the distribution and inheritance of titles
and wealth were strictly according to bloodlines and the concern to keep these bloodlines "x x x xxx xxx
uncontaminated by foreign blood was paramount.
"7. Fernando Poe Sr., and my sister Bessie, met and became engaged while they were students
These distinctions between legitimacy and illegitimacy were codified in the Spanish Civil Code, and at the University of the Philippines in 1936. I was also introduced to Fernando Poe, Sr., by my
the invidious discrimination survived when the Spanish Civil Code became the primary source of sister that same year.
our own Civil Code. Such distinction, however, remains and should remain only in the sphere of
civil law and not unduly impede or impinge on the domain of political law. "8. Fernando Poe, Sr., and my sister Bessie had their first child in 1938.

The proof of filiation or paternity for purposes of determining his citizenship status should thus be "9. Fernando Poe, Sr., my sister Bessie and their first three children, Elizabeth, Ronald, Allan and
deemed independent from and not inextricably tied up with that prescribed for civil law purposes. Fernando II, and myself lived together with our mother at our family's house on Dakota St. (now
The Civil Code or Family Code provisions on proof of filiation or paternity, although good law, do Jorge Bocobo St.), Malate until the liberation of Manila in 1945, except for some months
not have preclusive effects on matters alien to personal and family relations. The ordinary rules on between 1943-1944.
evidence could well and should govern. For instance, the matter about pedigree is not necessarily
precluded from being applicable by the Civil Code or Family Code provisions. "10. Fernando Poe, Sr., and my sister, Bessie, were blessed with four (4) more children after
Ronald Allan Poe.
Section 39, Rule 130, of the Rules of Court provides -
"x x x xxx xxx
"Act or Declaration about pedigree. The act or declaration of a person deceased, or unable to
testify, in respect to the pedigree of another person related to him by birth or marriage, may be "18. I am executing this Declaration to attest to the fact that my nephew, Ronald Allan Poe is a
received in evidence where it occurred before the controversy, and the relationship between the natural born Filipino, and that he is the legitimate child of Fernando Poe, Sr.
two persons is shown by evidence other than such act or declaration. The word `pedigree’
includes relationship, family genealogy, birth, marriage, death, the dates when and the places
where these facts occurred, and the names of the relatives. It embraces also facts of family "Done in City of Stockton, California, U.S.A., this 12th day of January 2004.
history intimately connected with pedigree."
Ruby Kelley Mangahas Declarant DNA Testing
For the above rule to apply, it would be necessary that (a) the declarant is already dead or unable
to testify, (b) the pedigree of a person must be at issue, (c) the declarant must be a relative of the In case proof of filiation or paternity would be unlikely to satisfactorily establish or would be
person whose pedigree is in question, (d) declaration must be made before the controversy has difficult to obtain, DNA testing, which examines genetic codes obtained from body cells of the
occurred, and (e) the relationship between the declarant and the person whose pedigree is in illegitimate child and any physical residue of the long dead parent could be resorted to. A positive
question must be shown by evidence other than such act or declaration. match would clear up filiation or paternity. In Tijing vs. Court of Appeals, 42 this Court has
acknowledged the strong weight of DNA testing -
Thus, the duly notarized declaration made by Ruby Kelley Mangahas, sister of Bessie Kelley Poe
submitted as Exhibit 20 before the COMELEC, might be accepted to prove the acts of Allan F. Poe, "Parentage will still be resolved using conventional methods unless we adopt the modern and
recognizing his own paternal relationship with FPJ, i.e, living together with Bessie Kelley and his scientific ways available. Fortunately, we have now the facility and expertise in using DNA test for
children (including respondent FPJ) in one house, and as one family - identification and parentage testing. The University of the Philippines Natural Science Research
Institute (UP-NSRI) DNA Analysis Laboratory has now the capability to conduct DNA typing using "Finally, Paa vs. Chan.46 This is a more complicated case. The case was about the citizenship of
short tandem repeat (STR) analysis. The analysis is based on the fact that the DNA of a Quintin Chan who was the son of Leoncio Chan. Quintin Chan claimed that his father, Leoncio,
child/person has two (2) copies, one copy from the mother and the other from the father. The DNA was the illegitimate son of a Chinese father and a Filipino mother. Quintin therefore argued that
from the mother, the alleged father and the child are analyzed to establish parentage. Of course, he got his citizenship from Leoncio, his father. But the Supreme Court said that there was no
being a novel scientific technique, the use of DNA test as evidence is still open to challenge. valid proof that Leoncio was in fact the son of a Filipina mother. The Court therefore concluded
Eventually, as the appropriate case comes, courts should not hesitate to rule on the admissibility of that Leoncio was not Filipino. If Leoncio was not Filipino, neither was his son Quintin. Quintin
DNA evidence. For it was said, that courts should apply the results of science when competently therefore was not only not a natural-born Filipino but was not even a Filipino.
obtained in aid of situations presented, since to reject said result is to deny progress."
"The Court should have stopped there. But instead it followed with an obiter dictum. The Court
Petitioner’s Argument For Jurisprudential Conclusiveness said obiter that even if Leoncio, Quintin's father, were Filipino, Quintin would not be Filipino
because Quintin was illegitimate. This statement about Quintin, based on a contrary to fact
Petitioner would have it that even if Allan F. Poe were a Filipino citizen, he could not have assumption, was absolutely unnecessary for the case. x x x It was obiter dictum, pure and
transmitted his citizenship to respondent FPJ, the latter being an illegitimate child. According to simple, simply repeating the obiter dictum in Morano vs. Vivo.
petitioner, prior to his marriage to Bessie Kelley, Allan F. Poe, on July 5, 1936, contracted marriage
with a certain Paulita Gomez, making his subsequent marriage to Bessie Kelley bigamous and "x x x xxx xxx
respondent FPJ an illegitimate child. The veracity of the supposed certificate of marriage between
Allan F. Poe and Paulita Gomez could be most doubtful at best. But the documentary evidence "Aside from the fact that such a pronouncement would have no textual foundation in the
introduced by no less than respondent himself, consisting of a birth certificate of respondent and a Constitution, it would also violate the equal protection clause of the Constitution not once but
marriage certificate of his parents showed that FPJ was born on 20 August 1939 to a Filipino father twice. First, it would make an illegitimate distinction between a legitimate child and an
and an American mother who were married to each other a year later, or on 16 September 1940. illegitimate child, and second, it would make an illegitimate distinction between the illegitimate
Birth to unmarried parents would make FPJ an illegitimate child. Petitioner contended that as an child of a Filipino father and the illegitimate child of a Filipino mother.
illegitimate child, FPJ so followed the citizenship of his mother, Bessie Kelley, an American citizen,
basing his stand on the ruling of this Court in Morano vs. Vivo, 43 citing Chiongbian vs. de Leo44 and
"The doctrine on constitutionally allowable distinctions was established long ago by People vs.
Serra vs. Republic.45
Cayat.47 I would grant that the distinction between legitimate children and illegitimate children
rests on real differences. x x x But real differences alone do not justify invidious distinction. Real
On the above score, the disquisition made by amicus curiae Joaquin G. Bernas, SJ, is most differences may justify distinction for one purpose but not for another purpose.
convincing; he states -
"x x x What is the relevance of legitimacy or illegitimacy to elective public service? What
"We must analyze these cases and ask what the lis mota was in each of them. If the possible state interest can there be for disqualifying an illegitimate child from becoming a public
pronouncement of the Court on jus sanguinis was on the lis mota, the pronouncement would be officer. It was not the fault of the child that his parents had illicit liaison. Why deprive the child
a decision constituting doctrine under the rule of stare decisis. But if the pronouncement was of the fullness of political rights for no fault of his own? To disqualify an illegitimate child from
irrelevant to the lis mota, the pronouncement would not be a decision but a mere obiter dictum holding an important public office is to punish him for the indiscretion of his parents. There is
which did not establish doctrine. I therefore invite the Court to look closely into these cases. neither justice nor rationality in that. And if there is neither justice nor rationality in the
distinction, then the distinction transgresses the equal protection clause and must be
"First, Morano vs. Vivo. The case was not about an illegitimate child of a Filipino father. It was reprobated."
about a stepson of a Filipino, a stepson who was the child of a Chinese mother and a Chinese
father. The issue was whether the stepson followed the naturalization of the stepfather. Nothing The other amici curiae, Mr. Justice Vicente Mendoza (a former member of this Court), Professor
about jus sanguinis there. The stepson did not have the blood of the naturalized stepfather. Ruben Balane and Dean Martin Magallona, at bottom, have expressed similar views. The thesis of
petitioner, unfortunately hinging solely on pure obiter dicta, should indeed fail.
"Second, Chiongbian vs. de Leon. This case was not about the illegitimate son of a Filipino father.
It was about a legitimate son of a father who had become Filipino by election to public office Where jurisprudence regarded an illegitimate child as taking after the citizenship of its mother, it
before the 1935 Constitution pursuant to Article IV, Section 1(2) of the 1935 Constitution. No did so for the benefit the child. It was to ensure a Filipino nationality for the illegitimate child of an
one was illegitimate here. alien father in line with the assumption that the mother had custody, would exercise parental
authority and had the duty to support her illegitimate child. It was to help the child, not to
"Third, Serra vs. Republic. The case was not about the illegitimate son of a Filipino father. Serra prejudice or discriminate against him.
was an illegitimate child of a Chinese father and a Filipino mother. The issue was whether one
who was already a Filipino because of his mother who still needed to be naturalized. There is The fact of the matter – perhaps the most significant consideration – is that the 1935 Constitution,
nothing there about invidious jus sanguinis. the fundamental law prevailing on the day, month and year of birth of respondent FPJ, can never
be more explicit than it is. Providing neither conditions nor distinctions, the Constitution states
that among the citizens of the Philippines are "those whose fathers are citizens of the Philippines." 1. G. R. No. 161434, entitled "Maria Jeanette C. Tecson and Felix B. Desiderio, Jr., Petitioners,
There utterly is no cogent justification to prescribe conditions or distinctions where there clearly versus Commission on Elections, Ronald Allan Kelley Poe (a.k.a. "Fernando Poe, Jr.,) and
are none provided. Victorino X. Fornier, Respondents," and G. R. No. 161634, entitled "Zoilo Antonio Velez,
Petitioner, versus Ronald Allan Kelley Poe, a.k.a. Fernando Poe, Jr., Respondent," for want of
In Sum – jurisdiction.

(1) The Court, in the exercise of its power of judicial review, possesses jurisdiction over the 2. G. R. No. 161824, entitled "Victorino X. Fornier, Petitioner, versus Hon. Commission on
petition in G. R. No. 161824, filed under Rule 64, in relation to Rule 65, of the Revised Rules of Elections and Ronald Allan Kelley Poe, also known as Fernando Poe, Jr.," for failure to show
Civil Procedure. G.R. No. 161824 assails the resolution of the COMELEC for alleged grave abuse grave abuse of discretion on the part of respondent Commission on Elections in dismissing the
of discretion in dismissing, for lack of merit, the petition in SPA No. 04-003 which has prayed for petition in SPA No. 04-003.
the disqualification of respondent FPJ from running for the position of President in the 10 th May
2004 national elections on the contention that FPJ has committed material representation in his No Costs.
certificate of candidacy by representing himself to be a natural-born citizen of the Philippines.
SO ORDERED.
(2) The Court must dismiss, for lack of jurisdiction and prematurity, the petitions in G. R. No.
161434 and No. 161634 both having been directly elevated to this Court in the latter’s capacity
as the only tribunal to resolve a presidential and vice-presidential election contest under the
Constitution. Evidently, the primary jurisdiction of the Court can directly be invoked only after,
not before, the elections are held.

(3) In ascertaining, in G.R. No. 161824, whether grave abuse of discretion has been committed
by the COMELEC, it is necessary to take on the matter of whether or not respondent FPJ is a
natural-born citizen, which, in turn, depended on whether or not the father of respondent, Allan
F. Poe, would have himself been a Filipino citizen and, in the affirmative, whether or not the
alleged illegitimacy of respondent prevents him from taking after the Filipino citizenship of his
putative father. Any conclusion on the Filipino citizenship of Lorenzo Pou could only be drawn
from the presumption that having died in 1954 at 84 years old, Lorenzo would have been born
sometime in the year 1870, when the Philippines was under Spanish rule, and that San Carlos,
Pangasinan, his place of residence upon his death in 1954, in the absence of any other evidence,
could have well been his place of residence before death, such that Lorenzo Pou would have
benefited from the "en masse Filipinization" that the Philippine Bill had effected in 1902. That
citizenship (of Lorenzo Pou), if acquired, would thereby extend to his son, Allan F. Poe, father of
respondent FPJ. The 1935 Constitution, during which regime respondent FPJ has seen first light,
confers citizenship to all persons whose fathers are Filipino citizens regardless of whether such
children are legitimate or illegitimate.

(4) But while the totality of the evidence may not establish conclusively that respondent FPJ is a
natural-born citizen of the Philippines, the evidence on hand still would preponderate in his
favor enough to hold that he cannot be held guilty of having made a material misrepresentation
in his certificate of candidacy in violation of Section 78, in relation to Section 74, of the Omnibus
Election Code. Petitioner has utterly failed to substantiate his case before the Court,
notwithstanding the ample opportunity given to the parties to present their position and
evidence, and to prove whether or not there has been material misrepresentation, which, as so
ruled in Romualdez-Marcos vs. COMELEC, 48 must not only be material, but also deliberate and
willful.

WHEREFORE, the Court RESOLVES to DISMISS –


CONFLICT – CHOICE OF LAW – PERSONAL LAW – NATIONALITY petitioner's new name and the name of her adoptive parents. 3 Without delay, petitioner's mother
executed an affidavit attesting to the lawyer's omission which she submitted to the OCR-Iloilo. On
G.R. No. 221697 4 May 2006, OCR-Iloilo issued a new Certificate of Live Birth in the name of Mary Grace Natividad
Sonora Poe.4
MARY GRACE NATIVIDAD S. POE-LLAMANZARES, Petitioners,
vs. Having reached the age of eighteen (18) years in 1986, petitioner registered as a voter with the
COMELEC AND ESTRELLA C. ELAMPARO Respondents. local COMELEC Office in San Juan City. On 13 December 1986, she received her COMELEC Voter's
Identification Card for Precinct No. 196 in Greenhills, San Juan, Metro Manila. 5
x-----------------------x
On 4 April 1988, petitioner applied for and was issued Philippine Passport No. F927287 6 by the
Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA). Subsequently, on 5 April 1993 and 19 May 1998, she renewed
G.R. No. 221698-700
her Philippine passport and respectively secured Philippine Passport Nos. L881511 and
DD156616.7
MARY GRACE NATIVIDAD S. POE-LLAMANZARES, Petitioners,
vs.
Initially, the petitioner enrolled and pursued a degree in Development Studies at the University of
COMELEC, FRANCISCO S. TATAD, ANTONIO P. CONTRERAS AND AMADO D. VALDEZ Respondents.
the Philippines8 but she opted to continue her studies abroad and left for the United States of
America (U.S.) in 1988. Petitioner graduated in 1991 from Boston College in Chestnuts Hill,
DECISION Massachusetts where she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Studies. 9

PEREZ, J.: On 27 July 1991, petitioner married Teodoro Misael Daniel V. Llamanzares (Llamanzares), a citizen
of both the Philippines and the U.S., at Sanctuario de San Jose Parish in San Juan City. 10 Desirous of
Before the Court are two consolidated petitions under Rule 64 in relation to Rule 65 of the Rules of being with her husband who was then based in the U.S., the couple flew back to the U.S. two days
Court with extremely urgent application for an ex parte issuance of temporary restraining after the wedding ceremony or on 29 July 1991. 11
order/status quo ante order and/or writ of preliminary injunction assailing the following: (1) 1
December 2015 Resolution of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) Second Division; (2) 23 While in the U.S., the petitioner gave birth to her eldest child Brian Daniel (Brian) on 16 April
December 2015 Resolution of the COMELEC En Banc, in SPA No. 15-001 (DC); (3) 11 December 1992.12 Her two daughters Hanna MacKenzie (Hanna) and Jesusa Anika (Anika) were both born in
2015 Resolution of the COMELEC First Division; and ( 4) 23 December 2015 Resolution of the the Philippines on 10 July 1998 and 5 June 2004, respectively. 13
COMELEC En Banc, in SPA No. 15-002 (DC), 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 14
On 18 October 2001, petitioner became a naturalized American citizen. She obtained U.S.
excess of jurisdiction.
Passport No. 017037793 on 19 December 2001. 15

The Facts
On 8 April 2004, the petitioner came back to the Philippines together with Hanna to support her
father's candidacy for President in the May 2004 elections. It was during this time that she gave
Mary Grace Natividad S. Poe-Llamanzares (petitioner) was found abandoned as a newborn infant birth to her youngest daughter Anika. She returned to the U.S. with her two daughters on 8 July
in the Parish Church of Jaro, Iloilo by a certain Edgardo Militar (Edgardo) on 3 September 1968. 2004. 16
Parental care and custody over petitioner was passed on by Edgardo to his relatives, Emiliano
Militar (Emiliano) and his wife. Three days after, 6 September 1968, Emiliano reported and
After a few months, specifically on 13 December 2004, petitioner rushed back to the Philippines
registered petitioner as a foundling with the Office of the Civil Registrar of Iloilo City (OCR-Iloilo). In
upon learning of her father's deteriorating medical condition. 17 Her father slipped into a coma and
her Foundling Certificate and Certificate of Live Birth, the petitioner was given the name "Mary
eventually expired. The petitioner stayed in the country until 3 February 2005 to take care of her
Grace Natividad Contreras Militar." 1
father's funeral arrangements as well as to assist in the settlement of his estate. 18

When petitioner was five (5) years old, celebrity spouses Ronald Allan Kelley Poe (a.k.a. Fenando
According to the petitioner, the untimely demise of her father was a severe blow to her entire
Poe, Jr.) and Jesusa Sonora Poe (a.k.a. Susan Roces) filed a petition for her adoption with the
family. In her earnest desire to be with her grieving mother, the petitioner and her husband
Municipal Trial Court (MTC) of San Juan City. On 13 May 1974, the trial court granted their petition
decided to move and reside permanently in the Philippines sometime in the first quarter of 2005. 19
and ordered that petitioner's name be changed from "Mary Grace Natividad Contreras Militar" to
The couple began preparing for their resettlement including notification of their children's schools
"Mary Grace Natividad Sonora Poe." Although necessary notations were made by OCR-Iloilo on
that they will be transferring to Philippine schools for the next semester; 20 coordination with
petitioner's foundling certificate reflecting the court decreed adoption, 2 the petitioner's adoptive
property movers for the relocation of their household goods, furniture and cars from the U.S. to
mother discovered only sometime in the second half of 2005 that the lawyer who handled
the Philippines;21 and inquiry with Philippine authorities as to the proper procedure to be followed
petitioner's adoption failed to secure from the OCR-Iloilo a new Certificate of Live Birth indicating
in bringing their pet dog into the country. 22 As early as 2004, the petitioner already quit her job in October 2010 petitioner submitted the said affidavit to the BI 46 and took her oath of office as
the U.S.23 Chairperson of the MTRCB.47 From then on, petitioner stopped using her American passport.48

Finally, petitioner came home to the Philippines on 24 May 2005 24 and without delay, secured a Tax On 12 July 2011, the petitioner executed before the Vice Consul of the U.S. Embassy in Manila an
Identification Number from the Bureau of Internal Revenue. Her three (3) children immediately "Oath/Affirmation of Renunciation of Nationality of the United States." 49 On that day, she
followed25 while her husband was forced to stay in the U.S. to complete pending projects as well as accomplished a sworn questionnaire before the U.S. Vice Consul wherein she stated that she had
to arrange the sale of their family home there.26 taken her oath as MTRCB Chairperson on 21 October 2010 with the intent, among others, of
relinquishing her American citizenship.50 In the same questionnaire, the petitioner stated that she
The petitioner and her children briefly stayed at her mother's place until she and her husband had resided outside of the U.S., specifically in the Philippines, from 3 September 1968 to 29 July
purchased a condominium unit with a parking slot at One Wilson Place Condominium in San Juan 1991 and from May 2005 to present.51
City in the second half of 2005.27 The corresponding Condominium Certificates of Title covering the
unit and parking slot were issued by the Register of Deeds of San Juan City to petitioner and her On 9 December 2011, the U.S. Vice Consul issued to petitioner a "Certificate of Loss of Nationality
husband on 20 February 2006. 28 Meanwhile, her children of school age began attending Philippine of the United States" effective 21 October 2010.52
private schools.
On 2 October 2012, the petitioner filed with the COMELEC her Certificate of Candidacy (COC) for
On 14 February 2006, the petitioner made a quick trip to the U.S. to supervise the disposal of Senator for the 2013 Elections wherein she answered "6 years and 6 months" to the question
some of the family's remaining household belongings. 29 She travelled back to the Philippines on 11 "Period of residence in the Philippines before May 13, 2013." 53 Petitioner obtained the highest
March 2006.30 number of votes and was proclaimed Senator on 16 May 2013. 54

In late March 2006, petitioner's husband officially informed the U.S. Postal Service of the family's On 19 December 2013, petitioner obtained Philippine Diplomatic Passport No. DE0004530. 55
change and abandonment of their address in the U.S. 31 The family home was eventually sold on 27
April 2006.32 Petitioner's husband resigned from his job in the U.S. in April 2006, arrived in the On 15 October 2015, petitioner filed her COC for the Presidency for the May 2016 Elections. 56 In
country on 4 May 2006 and started working for a major Philippine company in July 2006. 33 her COC, the petitioner declared that she is a natural-born citizen and that her residence in the
Philippines up to the day before 9 May 2016 would be ten (10) years and eleven (11) months
In early 2006, petitioner and her husband acquired a 509-square meter lot in Corinthian Hills, counted from 24 May 2005. 57 The petitioner attached to her COC an "Affidavit Affirming
Quezon City where they built their family home 34 and to this day, is where the couple and their Renunciation of U.S.A. Citizenship" subscribed and sworn to before a notary public in Quezon City
children have been residing. 35 A Transfer Certificate of Title covering said property was issued in on 14 October 2015. 58
the couple's name by the Register of Deeds of Quezon City on 1June 2006.
Petitioner's filing of her COC for President in the upcoming elections triggered the filing of several
On 7 July 2006, petitioner took her Oath of Allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines pursuant COMELEC cases against her which were the subject of these consolidated cases.
to Republic Act (R.A.) No. 9225 or the Citizenship Retention and Re-acquisition Act of 2003. 36
Under the same Act, she filed with the Bureau of Immigration (BI) a sworn petition to reacquire Origin of Petition for Certiorari in G.R. No. 221697
Philippine citizenship together with petitions for derivative citizenship on behalf of her three minor
children on 10 July 2006.37 As can be gathered from its 18 July 2006 Order, the BI acted favorably
A day after petitioner filed her COC for President, Estrella Elamparo (Elamparo) filed a petition to
on petitioner's petitions and declared that she is deemed to have reacquired her Philippine
deny due course or cancel said COC which was docketed as SPA No. 15-001 (DC) and raffled to the
citizenship while her children are considered as citizens of the Philippines. 38 Consequently, the BI
COMELEC Second Division.59 She is convinced that the COMELEC has jurisdiction over her
issued Identification Certificates (ICs) in petitioner's name and in the names of her three (3)
petition.60 Essentially, Elamparo's contention is that petitioner committed material
children. 39
misrepresentation when she stated in her COC that she is a natural-born Filipino citizen and that
she is a resident of the Philippines for at least ten (10) years and eleven (11) months up to the day
Again, petitioner registered as a voter of Barangay Santa Lucia, San Juan City on 31 August 2006. 40 before the 9 May 2016 Elections.61
She also secured from the DFA a new Philippine Passport bearing the No. XX4731999. 41 This
passport was renewed on 18 March 2014 and she was issued Philippine Passport No. EC0588861
On the issue of citizenship, Elamparo argued that petitioner cannot be considered as a natural-
by the DFA.42
born Filipino on account of the fact that she was a foundling. 62 Elamparo claimed that international
law does not confer natural-born status and Filipino citizenship on foundlings. 63 Following this line
On 6 October 2010, President Benigno S. Aquino III appointed petitioner as Chairperson of the of reasoning, petitioner is not qualified to apply for reacquisition of Filipino citizenship under R.A.
Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB). 43 Before assuming her post, No. 9225 for she is not a natural-born Filipino citizen to begin with. 64 Even assuming arguendo that
petitioner executed an "Affidavit of Renunciation of Allegiance to the United States of America and petitioner was a natural-born Filipino, she is deemed to have lost that status when she became a
Renunciation of American Citizenship" before a notary public in Pasig City on 20 October 2010, 44 in naturalized American citizen.65 According to Elamparo, natural-born citizenship must be continuous
satisfaction of the legal requisites stated in Section 5 of R.A. No. 9225. 45 The following day, 21 from birth.66
On the matter of petitioner's residency, Elamparo pointed out that petitioner was bound by the h. statement regarding the period of residence in her 2012 COC for Senator was an honest
sworn declaration she made in her 2012 COC for Senator wherein she indicated that she had mistake, not binding and should give way to evidence on her true date of reacquisition of
resided in the country for only six ( 6) years and six ( 6) months as of May 2013 Elections. Elamparo domicile;
likewise insisted that assuming arguendo that petitioner is qualified to regain her natural-born
status under R.A. No. 9225, she still fell short of the ten-year residency requirement of the i. Elamparo's petition is merely an action to usurp the sovereign right of the Filipino people to
Constitution as her residence could only be counted at the earliest from July 2006, when she decide a purely political question, that is, should she serve as the country's next leader. 68
reacquired Philippine citizenship under the said Act. Also on the assumption that petitioner is
qualified to reacquire lost Philippine Citizenship, Elamparo is of the belief that she failed to
After the parties submitted their respective Memoranda, the petition was deemed submitted for
reestablish her domicile in the Philippines. 67
resolution.

Petitioner seasonably filed her Answer wherein she countered that:


On 1 December 2015, the COMELEC Second Division promulgated a Resolution finding that
petitioner's COC, filed for the purpose of running for the President of the Republic of the
(1) the COMELEC did not have jurisdiction over Elamparo's petition as it was actually a petition Philippines in the 9 May 2016 National and Local Elections, contained material representations
for quo warranto which could only be filed if Grace Poe wins in the Presidential elections, and which are false. The fallo of the aforesaid Resolution reads:
that the Department of Justice (DOJ) has primary jurisdiction to revoke the BI's July 18, 2006
Order;
WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing considerations, the instant Petition to Deny Due Course
to or Cancel Certificate of Candidacy is hereby GRANTED. Accordingly, the Certificate of Candidacy
(2) the petition failed to state a cause of action because it did not contain allegations which, if for President of the Republic of the Philippines in the May 9, 2016 National and Local Elections
hypothetically admitted, would make false the statement in her COC that she is a natural-born filed by respondent Mary Grace Natividad Sonora Poe Llamanzares is hereby CANCELLED.69
Filipino citizen nor was there any allegation that there was a willful or deliberate intent to
misrepresent on her part;
Motion for Reconsideration of the 1 December 2015 Resolution was filed by petitioner which the
COMELEC En Banc resolved in its 23 December 2015 Resolution by denying the same. 70
(3) she did not make any material misrepresentation in the COC regarding her citizenship and
residency qualifications for:
Origin of Petition for Certiorari in G.R. Nos. 221698-700

a. the 1934 Constitutional Convention deliberations show that foundlings were considered
This case stemmed from three (3) separate petitions filed by Francisco S. Tatad (Tatad), Antonio P.
citizens;
Contreras (Contreras) and Amado D. Valdez (Valdez) against petitioner before the COMELEC which
were consolidated and raffled to its First Division.
b. foundlings are presumed under international law to have been born of citizens of the place
where they are found;
In his petition to disqualify petitioner under Rule 25 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure, 71
docketed as SPA No. 15-002 (DC), Tatad alleged that petitioner lacks the requisite residency and
c. she reacquired her natural-born Philippine citizenship under the provisions of R.A. No. citizenship to qualify her for the Presidency.72
9225;
Tatad theorized that since the Philippines adheres to the principle of jus sanguinis, persons of
d. she executed a sworn renunciation of her American citizenship prior to the filing of her COC unknown parentage, particularly foundlings, cannot be considered natural-born Filipino citizens
for President in the May 9, 2016 Elections and that the same is in full force and effect and has since blood relationship is determinative of natural-born status. 73 Tatad invoked the rule of
not been withdrawn or recanted; statutory construction that what is not included is excluded. He averred that the fact that
foundlings were not expressly included in the categories of citizens in the 193 5 Constitution is
e. the burden was on Elamparo in proving that she did not possess natural-born status; indicative of the framers' intent to exclude them. 74 Therefore, the burden lies on petitioner to
prove that she is a natural-born citizen.75
f. residence is a matter of evidence and that she reestablished her domicile in the Philippines
as early as May 24, 2005; Neither can petitioner seek refuge under international conventions or treaties to support her claim
that foundlings have a nationality.76 According to Tatad, international conventions and treaties are
g. she could reestablish residence even before she reacquired natural-born citizenship under not self-executory and that local legislations are necessary in order to give effect to treaty
R.A. No. 9225; obligations assumed by the Philippines. 77 He also stressed that there is no standard state practice
that automatically confers natural-born status to foundlings. 78
Similar to Elamparo's argument, Tatad claimed that petitioner cannot avail of the option to Third, the burden to prove that she is not a natural-born Filipino citizen is on the respondents. 93
reacquire Philippine citizenship under R.A. No. 9225 because it only applies to former natural-born Otherwise stated, she has a presumption in her favor that she is a natural-born citizen of this
citizens and petitioner was not as she was a foundling.79 country.

Referring to petitioner's COC for Senator, Tatad concluded that she did not comply with the ten Fourth, customary international law dictates that foundlings are entitled to a nationality and are
(10) year residency requirement. 80 Tatad opined that petitioner acquired her domicile in Quezon presumed to be citizens of the country where they are found. 94 Consequently, the petitioner is
City only from the time she renounced her American citizenship which was sometime in 2010 or considered as a natural-born citizen of the Philippines. 95
2011.81 Additionally, Tatad questioned petitioner's lack of intention to abandon her U.S. domicile as
evinced by the fact that her husband stayed thereat and her frequent trips to the U.S. 82 Fifth, she claimed that as a natural-born citizen, she has every right to be repatriated under R.A.
No. 9225 or the right to reacquire her natural-born status. 96 Moreover, the official acts of the
In support of his petition to deny due course or cancel the COC of petitioner, docketed as SPA No. Philippine Government enjoy the presumption of regularity, to wit: the issuance of the 18 July
15-139 (DC), Valdez alleged that her repatriation under R.A. No. 9225 did not bestow upon her the 2006 Order of the BI declaring her as natural-born citizen, her appointment as MTRCB Chair and
status of a natural-born citizen.83 He advanced the view that former natural-born citizens who are the issuance of the decree of adoption of San Juan RTC. 97 She believed that all these acts
repatriated under the said Act reacquires only their Philippine citizenship and will not revert to reinforced her position that she is a natural-born citizen of the Philippines. 98
their original status as natural-born citizens.84
Sixth, she maintained that as early as the first quarter of 2005, she started reestablishing her
He further argued that petitioner's own admission in her COC for Senator that she had only been a domicile of choice in the Philippines as demonstrated by her children's resettlement and schooling
resident of the Philippines for at least six (6) years and six (6) months prior to the 13 May 2013 in the country, purchase of a condominium unit in San Juan City and the construction of their
Elections operates against her. Valdez rejected petitioner's claim that she could have validly family home in Corinthian Hills.99
reestablished her domicile in the Philippines prior to her reacquisition of Philippine citizenship. In
effect, his position was that petitioner did not meet the ten (10) year residency requirement for Seventh, she insisted that she could legally reestablish her domicile of choice in the Philippines
President. even before she renounced her American citizenship as long as the three determinants for a
change of domicile are complied with.100 She reasoned out that there was no requirement that
Unlike the previous COMELEC cases filed against petitioner, Contreras' petition, 85 docketed as SPA renunciation of foreign citizenship is a prerequisite for the acquisition of a new domicile of
No. 15-007 (DC), limited the attack to the residency issue. He claimed that petitioner's 2015 COC choice.101
for President should be cancelled on the ground that she did not possess the ten-year period of
residency required for said candidacy and that she made false entry in her COC when she stated Eighth, she reiterated that the period appearing in the residency portion of her COC for Senator
that she is a legal resident of the Philippines for ten (10) years and eleven (11) months by 9 May was a mistake made in good faith.102
2016.86 Contreras contended that the reckoning period for computing petitioner's residency in the
Philippines should be from 18 July 2006, the date when her petition to reacquire Philippine
In a Resolution103 promulgated on 11 December 2015, the COMELEC First Division ruled that
citizenship was approved by the BI. 87 He asserted that petitioner's physical presence in the country
petitioner is not a natural-born citizen, that she failed to complete the ten (10) year residency
before 18 July 2006 could not be valid evidence of reacquisition of her Philippine domicile since
requirement, and that she committed material misrepresentation in her COC when she declared
she was then living here as an American citizen and as such, she was governed by the Philippine
therein that she has been a resident of the Philippines for a period of ten (10) years and eleven
immigration laws.88
(11) months as of the day of the elections on 9 May 2016. The COMELEC First Division concluded
that she is not qualified for the elective position of President of the Republic of the Philippines.
In her defense, petitioner raised the following arguments: The dispositive portion of said Resolution reads:

First, Tatad's petition should be dismissed outright for failure to state a cause of action. His petition WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Commission RESOLVED, as it hereby RESOLVES, to GRANT
did not invoke grounds proper for a disqualification case as enumerated under Sections 12 and 68 the Petitions and cancel the Certificate of Candidacy of MARY GRACE NATIVIDAD SONORA POE-
of the Omnibus Election Code. 89 Instead, Tatad completely relied on the alleged lack of residency LLAMANZARES for the elective position of President of the Republic of the Philippines in
and natural-born status of petitioner which are not among the recognized grounds for the connection with the 9 May 2016 Synchronized Local and National Elections.
disqualification of a candidate to an elective office.90
Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration seeking a reversal of the COMELEC First Division's
Second, the petitions filed against her are basically petitions for quo warranto as they focus on Resolution. On 23 December 2015, the COMELEC En Banc issued a Resolution denying petitioner's
establishing her ineligibility for the Presidency. 91 A petition for quo warranto falls within the motion for reconsideration.
exclusive jurisdiction of the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) and not the COMELEC. 92
Alarmed by the adverse rulings of the COMELEC, petitioner instituted the present petitions for
certiorari with urgent prayer for the issuance of an ex parte temporary restraining order/status
quo ante order and/or writ of preliminary injunction. On 28 December 2015, temporary restraining
orders were issued by the Court enjoining the COMELEC and its representatives from all contests involving elective municipal officials decided by trial courts of general jurisdiction, or
implementing the assailed COMELEC Resolutions until further orders from the Court. The Court involving elective barangay officials decided by trial courts of limited jurisdiction.
also ordered the consolidation of the two petitions filed by petitioner in its Resolution of 12
January 2016. Thereafter, oral arguments were held in these cases. Decisions, final orders, or rulings of the Commission on election contests involving elective
municipal and barangay offices shall be final, executory, and not appealable.
The Court GRANTS the petition of Mary Grace Natividad S. Poe-Llamanzares and to ANNUL and SET
ASIDE the: (3) Decide, except those involving the right to vote, all questions affecting elections, including
determination of the number and location of polling places, appointment of election officials
1. Resolution dated 1 December 2015 rendered through its Second Division, in SPA No. 15-001 and inspectors, and registration of voters.
(DC), entitled Estrella C. Elamparo, petitioner, vs. Mary Grace Natividad Sonora Poe-
Llamanzares. (4) Deputize, with the concurrence of the President, law enforcement agencies and
instrumentalities of the Government, including the Armed Forces of the Philippines, for the
2. Resolution dated 11 December 2015, rendered through its First Division, in the consolidated exclusive purpose of ensuring free, orderly, honest, peaceful, and credible elections.
cases SPA No. 15-002 (DC) entitled Francisco S. Tatad, petitioner, vs. Mary Grace Natividad
Sonora Poe-Llamanzares, respondent; SPA No. 15-007 (DC) entitled Antonio P. Contreras, (5) Register, after sufficient publication, political parties, organizations, or coalitions which, in
petitioner, vs. Mary Grace Natividad Sonora Poe-Llamanzares, respondent; and SPA No. 15-139 addition to other requirements, must present their platform or program of government; and
(DC) entitled Amado D. Valdez, petitioner, v. Mary Grace Natividad Sonora Poe-Llamanzares, accredit citizens' arms of the Commission on Elections. Religious denominations and sects shall
respondent. not be registered. Those which seek to achieve their goals through violence or unlawful means,
or refuse to uphold and adhere to this Constitution, or which are supported by any foreign
3. Resolution dated 23 December 2015 of the Commission En Banc, upholding the 1 December government shall likewise be refused registration.
2015 Resolution of the Second Division.
Financial contributions from foreign governments and their agencies to political parties,
4. Resolution dated 23 December 2015 of the Commission En Banc, upholding the 11 December organizations, coalitions, or candidates related to elections constitute interference in national
2015 Resolution of the First Division. affairs, and, when accepted, shall be an additional ground for the cancellation of their
registration with the Commission, in addition to other penalties that may be prescribed by law.
The procedure and the conclusions from which the questioned Resolutions emanated are tainted
with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction. The petitioner is a QUALIFIED (6) File, upon a verified complaint, or on its own initiative, petitions in court for inclusion or
CANDIDATE for President in the 9 May 2016 National Elections. exclusion of voters; investigate and, where appropriate, prosecute cases of violations of election
laws, including acts or omissions constituting election frauds, offenses, and malpractices.
The issue before the COMELEC is whether or not the COC of petitioner should be denied due
course or cancelled "on the exclusive ground" that she made in the certificate a false material (7) Recommend to the Congress effective measures to minimize election spending, including
representation. The exclusivity of the ground should hedge in the discretion of the COMELEC and limitation of places where propaganda materials shall be posted, and to prevent and penalize all
restrain it from going into the issue of the qualifications of the candidate for the position, if, as in forms of election frauds, offenses, malpractices, and nuisance candidacies.
this case, such issue is yet undecided or undetermined by the proper authority. The COMELEC
cannot itself, in the same cancellation case, decide the qualification or lack thereof of the (8) Recommend to the President the removal of any officer or employee it has deputized, or the
candidate. imposition of any other disciplinary action, for violation or disregard of, or disobedience to its
directive, order, or decision.
We rely, first of all, on the Constitution of our Republic, particularly its provisions in Article IX, C,
Section 2: (9) Submit to the President and the Congress a comprehensive report on the conduct of each
election, plebiscite, initiative, referendum, or recall.
Section 2. The Commission on Elections shall exercise the following powers and functions:
Not any one of the enumerated powers approximate the exactitude of the provisions of Article VI,
(1) Enforce and administer all laws and regulations relative to the conduct of an election, Section 17 of the same basic law stating that:
plebiscite, initiative, referendum, and recall.
The Senate and the House of Representatives shall each have an Electoral Tribunal which shall
(2) Exercise exclusive original jurisdiction over all contests relating to the elections, returns, and be the sole judge of all contests relating to the election, returns, and qualifications of their
qualifications of all elective regional, provincial, and city officials, and appellate jurisdiction over respective Members. Each Electoral Tribunal shall be composed of nine Members, three of
whom shall be Justices of the Supreme Court to be designated by the Chief Justice, and the
remaining six shall be Members of the Senate or the House of Representatives, as the case may Consequently, that an individual possesses the qualifications for a public office does not imply that
be, who shall be chosen on the basis of proportional representation from the political parties he is not disqualified from becoming a candidate or continuing as a candidate for a public office
and the parties or organizations registered under the party-list system represented therein. The and vice versa. We have this sort of dichotomy in our Naturalization Law. (C.A. No. 473) That an
senior Justice in the Electoral Tribunal shall be its Chairman. alien has the qualifications prescribed in §2 of the Law does not imply that he does not suffer from
any of [the] disqualifications provided in §4.
or of the last paragraph of Article VII, Section 4 which provides that:
Before we get derailed by the distinction as to grounds and the consequences of the respective
The Supreme Court, sitting en banc, shall be the sole judge of all contests relating to the proceedings, the importance of the opinion is in its statement that "the lack of provision for
election, returns, and qualifications of the President or Vice-President, and may promulgate its declaring the ineligibility of candidates, however, cannot be supplied by a mere rule". Justice
rules for the purpose. Mendoza lectured in Romualdez-Marcos that:

The tribunals which have jurisdiction over the question of the qualifications of the President, the Three reasons may be cited to explain the absence of an authorized proceeding for determining
Vice-President, Senators and the Members of the House of Representatives was made clear by the before election the qualifications of a candidate.
Constitution. There is no such provision for candidates for these positions.
First is the fact that unless a candidate wins and is proclaimed elected, there is no necessity for
Can the COMELEC be such judge? determining his eligibility for the office. In contrast, whether an individual should be disqualified as
a candidate for acts constituting election offenses (e.g., vote buying, over spending, commission of
prohibited acts) is a prejudicial question which should be determined lest he wins because of the
The opinion of Justice Vicente V. Mendoza in Romualdez-Marcos v. Commission on Elections, 104
very acts for which his disqualification is being sought. That is why it is provided that if the grounds
which was affirmatively cited in the En Banc decision in Fermin v. COMELEC105 is our guide. The
for disqualification are established, a candidate will not be voted for; if he has been voted for, the
citation in Fermin reads:
votes in his favor will not be counted; and if for some reason he has been voted for and he has
won, either he will not be proclaimed or his proclamation will be set aside.
Apparently realizing the lack of an authorized proceeding for declaring the ineligibility of
candidates, the COMELEC amended its rules on February 15, 1993 so as to provide in Rule 25 § 1,
Second is the fact that the determination of a candidates' eligibility, e.g., his citizenship or, as in
the following:
this case, his domicile, may take a long time to make, extending beyond the beginning of the term
of the office. This is amply demonstrated in the companion case (G.R. No. 120265, Agapito A.
Grounds for disqualification. - Any candidate who does not possess all the qualifications of a Aquino v. COMELEC) where the determination of Aquino's residence was still pending in the
candidate as provided for by the Constitution or by existing law or who commits any act COMELEC even after the elections of May 8, 1995. This is contrary to the summary character
declared by law to be grounds for disqualification may be disqualified from continuing as a proceedings relating to certificates of candidacy. That is why the law makes the receipt of
candidate. certificates of candidacy a ministerial duty of the COMELEC and its officers. The law is satisfied if
candidates state in their certificates of candidacy that they are eligible for the position which they
The lack of provision for declaring the ineligibility of candidates, however, cannot be supplied by a seek to fill, leaving the determination of their qualifications to be made after the election and only
mere rule. Such an act is equivalent to the creation of a cause of action which is a substantive in the event they are elected. Only in cases involving charges of false representations made in
matter which the COMELEC, in the exercise of its rule-making power under Art. IX, A, §6 of the certificates of candidacy is the COMELEC given jurisdiction.
Constitution, cannot do it. It is noteworthy that the Constitution withholds from the COMELEC
even the power to decide cases involving the right to vote, which essentially involves an inquiry Third is the policy underlying the prohibition against pre-proclamation cases in elections for
into qualifications based on age, residence and citizenship of voters. [Art. IX, C, §2(3)] President, Vice President, Senators and members of the House of Representatives. (R.A. No. 7166,
§ 15) The purpose is to preserve the prerogatives of the House of Representatives Electoral
The assimilation in Rule 25 of the COMELEC rules of grounds for ineligibility into grounds for Tribunal and the other Tribunals as "sole judges" under the Constitution of the election, returns
disqualification is contrary to the evident intention of the law. For not only in their grounds but and qualifications of members of Congress of the President and Vice President, as the case may
also in their consequences are proceedings for "disqualification" different from those for a be.106
declaration of "ineligibility." "Disqualification" proceedings, as already stated, are based on
grounds specified in § 12 and §68 of the Omnibus Election Code and in §40 of the Local To be sure, the authoritativeness of the Romualdez pronouncements as reiterated in Fermin, led to
Government Code and are for the purpose of barring an individual from becoming a candidate or the amendment through COMELEC Resolution No. 9523, on 25 September 2012 of its Rule 25.
from continuing as a candidate for public office. In a word, their purpose is to eliminate a This, the 15 February1993 version of Rule 25, which states that:
candidate from the race either from the start or during its progress. "Ineligibility," on the other
hand, refers to the lack of the qualifications prescribed in the Constitution or the statutes for
Grounds for disqualification. -Any candidate who does not possess all the qualifications of a
holding public office and the purpose of the proceedings for declaration of ineligibility is to remove
candidate as provided for by the Constitution or by existing law or who commits any act declared
the incumbent from office.
by law to be grounds for disqualification may be disqualified from continuing as a candidate. 107
was in the 2012 rendition, drastically changed to: shown that both of petitioner's parents were aliens. Her admission that she is a foundling did not
shift the burden to her because such status did not exclude the possibility that her parents were
Grounds. - Any candidate who, in action or protest in which he is a party, is declared by final Filipinos, especially as in this case where there is a high probability, if not certainty, that her
decision of a competent court, guilty of, or found by the Commission to be suffering from any parents are Filipinos.
disqualification provided by law or the Constitution.
The factual issue is not who the parents of petitioner are, as their identities are unknown, but
A Petition to Disqualify a Candidate invoking grounds for a Petition to Deny to or Cancel a whether such parents are Filipinos. Under Section 4, Rule 128:
Certificate of Candidacy or Petition to Declare a Candidate as a Nuisance Candidate, or a
combination thereof, shall be summarily dismissed. Sect. 4. Relevancy, collateral matters - Evidence must have such a relation to the fact in issue as to
induce belief in its existence or no-existence. Evidence on collateral matters shall not be allowed,
Clearly, the amendment done in 2012 is an acceptance of the reality of absence of an authorized except when it tends in any reasonable degree to establish the probability of improbability of the
proceeding for determining before election the qualifications of candidate. Such that, as presently fact in issue.
required, to disqualify a candidate there must be a declaration by a final judgment of a competent
court that the candidate sought to be disqualified "is guilty of or found by the Commission to be The Solicitor General offered official statistics from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) 111 that
suffering from any disqualification provided by law or the Constitution." from 1965 to 1975, the total number of foreigners born in the Philippines was 15,986 while the
total number of Filipinos born in the country was 10,558,278. The statistical probability that any
Insofar as the qualification of a candidate is concerned, Rule 25 and Rule 23 are flipsides of one to child born in the Philippines in that decade is natural-born Filipino was 99.83%. For her part,
the other. Both do not allow, are not authorizations, are not vestment of jurisdiction, for the petitioner presented census statistics for Iloilo Province for 1960 and 1970, also from the PSA. In
COMELEC to determine the qualification of a candidate. The facts of qualification must beforehand 1960, there were 962,532 Filipinos and 4,734 foreigners in the province; 99.62% of the population
be established in a prior proceeding before an authority properly vested with jurisdiction. The were Filipinos. In 1970, the figures were 1,162,669 Filipinos and 5,304 foreigners, or 99.55%. Also
prior determination of qualification may be by statute, by executive order or by a judgment of a presented were figures for the child producing ages (15-49). In 1960, there were 230,528 female
competent court or tribunal. Filipinos as against 730 female foreigners or 99.68%. In the same year, there were 210,349 Filipino
males and 886 male aliens, or 99.58%. In 1970, there were 270,299 Filipino females versus 1, 190
female aliens, or 99.56%. That same year, there were 245,740 Filipino males as against only 1,165
If a candidate cannot be disqualified without a prior finding that he or she is suffering from a
male aliens or 99.53%. COMELEC did not dispute these figures. Notably, Commissioner Arthur Lim
disqualification "provided by law or the Constitution," neither can the certificate of candidacy be
admitted, during the oral arguments, that at the time petitioner was found in 1968, the majority of
cancelled or denied due course on grounds of false representations regarding his or her
the population in Iloilo was Filipino.112
qualifications, without a prior authoritative finding that he or she is not qualified, such prior
authority being the necessary measure by which the falsity of the representation can be found.
The only exception that can be conceded are self-evident facts of unquestioned or unquestionable Other circumstantial evidence of the nationality of petitioner's parents are the fact that she was
veracity and judicial confessions. Such are, anyway, bases equivalent to prior decisions against abandoned as an infant in a Roman Catholic Church in Iloilo City. 1âwphi1 She also has typical
which the falsity of representation can be determined. Filipino features: height, flat nasal bridge, straight black hair, almond shaped eyes and an oval face.

The need for a predicate finding or final pronouncement in a proceeding under Rule 23 that deals There is a disputable presumption that things have happened according to the ordinary course of
with, as in this case, alleged false representations regarding the candidate's citizenship and nature and the ordinary habits of life. 113 All of the foregoing evidence, that a person with typical
residence, forced the COMELEC to rule essentially that since foundlings 108 are not mentioned in the Filipino features is abandoned in Catholic Church in a municipality where the population of the
enumeration of citizens under the 1935 Constitution, 109 they then cannot be citizens. As the Philippines is overwhelmingly Filipinos such that there would be more than a 99% chance that a
COMELEC stated in oral arguments, when petitioner admitted that she is a foundling, she said it all. child born in the province would be a Filipino, would indicate more than ample probability if not
This borders on bigotry. Oddly, in an effort at tolerance, the COMELEC, after saying that it cannot statistical certainty, that petitioner's parents are Filipinos. That probability and the evidence on
rule that herein petitioner possesses blood relationship with a Filipino citizen when "it is certain which it is based are admissible under Rule 128, Section 4 of the Revised Rules on Evidence.
that such relationship is indemonstrable," proceeded to say that "she now has the burden to
present evidence to prove her natural filiation with a Filipino parent." To assume otherwise is to accept the absurd, if not the virtually impossible, as the norm. In the
words of the Solicitor General:
The fact is that petitioner's blood relationship with a Filipino citizen is DEMONSTRABLE.
Second. It is contrary to common sense because foreigners do not come to the Philippines so they
At the outset, it must be noted that presumptions regarding paternity is neither unknown nor can get pregnant and leave their newborn babies behind. We do not face a situation where the
unaccepted in Philippine Law. The Family Code of the Philippines has a whole chapter on Paternity probability is such that every foundling would have a 50% chance of being a Filipino and a 50%
and Filiation.110 That said, there is more than sufficient evider1ce that petitioner has Filipino chance of being a foreigner. We need to frame our questions properly. What are the chances that
parents and is therefore a natural-born Filipino. Parenthetically, the burden of proof was on private the parents of anyone born in the Philippines would be foreigners? Almost zero. What are the
respondents to show that petitioner is not a Filipino citizen. The private respondents should have chances that the parents of anyone born in the Philippines would be Filipinos? 99.9%.
According to the Philippine Statistics Authority, from 2010 to 2014, on a yearly average, there were xxxx
1,766,046 children born in the Philippines to Filipino parents, as opposed to 1,301 children in the
President:
Philippines of foreign parents. Thus, for that sample period, the ratio of non-Filipino children to
[We] would like to request a clarification from the proponent of the amendment. The gentleman
natural born Filipino children is 1:1357. This means that the statistical probability that any child
refers to natural children or to any kind of illegitimate children?
born in the Philippines would be a natural born Filipino is 99.93%.
Sr. Rafols:
From 1965 to 1975, the total number of foreigners born in the Philippines is 15,986 while the total To all kinds of illegitimate children. It also includes natural children of unknown parentage, natural
number of Filipinos born in the Philippines is 15,558,278. For this period, the ratio of non-Filipino or illegitimate children of unknown parents.
children is 1:661. This means that the statistical probability that any child born in the Philippines Sr. Montinola:
on that decade would be a natural born Filipino is 99.83%. For clarification. The gentleman said "of unknown parents." Current codes consider them Filipino,
that is, I refer to the Spanish Code wherein all children of unknown parentage born in Spanish
We can invite statisticians and social anthropologists to crunch the numbers for us, but I am territory are considered Spaniards, because the presumption is that a child of unknown parentage
confident that the statistical probability that a child born in the Philippines would be a natural born is the son of a Spaniard. This may be applied in the Philippines in that a child of unknown
Filipino will not be affected by whether or not the parents are known. If at all, the likelihood that a parentage born in the Philippines is deemed to be Filipino, and there is no need ...
foundling would have a Filipino parent might even be higher than 99.9%. Filipinos abandon their
children out of poverty or perhaps, shame. We do not imagine foreigners abandoning their Sr. Rafols:
children here in the Philippines thinking those infants would have better economic opportunities There is a need, because we are relating the conditions that are [required] to be Filipino.
or believing that this country is a tropical paradise suitable for raising abandoned children. I Sr. Montinola:
certainly doubt whether a foreign couple has ever considered their child excess baggage that is But that is the interpretation of the law, therefore, there is no [more] need for amendment.
best left behind.
Sr. Rafols:
The amendment should read thus:
To deny full Filipino citizenship to all foundlings and render them stateless just because there may
"Natural or illegitimate of a foreign father and a Filipino mother recognized by one, or the children
be a theoretical chance that one among the thousands of these foundlings might be the child of
of unknown parentage."
not just one, but two, foreigners is downright discriminatory, irrational, and unjust. It just doesn't
make any sense. Given the statistical certainty - 99.9% - that any child born in the Philippines Sr. Briones:
would be a natural born citizen, a decision denying foundlings such status is effectively a denial of The amendment [should] mean children born in the Philippines of unknown parentage.
their birthright. There is no reason why this Honorable Court should use an improbable
Sr. Rafols:
hypothetical to sacrifice the fundamental political rights of an entire class of human beings. Your
The son of a Filipina to a Foreigner, although this [person] does not recognize the child, is not
Honor, constitutional interpretation and the use of common sense are not separate disciplines.
unknown.

As a matter of law, foundlings are as a class, natural-born citizens. While the 1935 Constitution's President:
enumeration is silent as to foundlings, there is no restrictive language which would definitely Does the gentleman accept the amendment or not?
exclude foundlings either. Because of silence and ambiguity in the enumeration with respect to Sr. Rafols:
foundlings, there is a need to examine the intent of the framers. In Nitafan v. Commissioner of I do not accept the amendment because the amendment would exclude the children of a Filipina
Internal Revenue,114 this Court held that: with a foreigner who does not recognize the child. Their parentage is not unknown and I think
those of overseas Filipino mother and father [whom the latter] does not recognize, should also be
The ascertainment of that intent is but in keeping with the fundamental principle of considered as Filipinos.
constitutional construction that the intent of the framers of the organic law and of the people
adopting it should be given effect. The primary task in constitutional construction is to ascertain President:
and thereafter assure the realization of the purpose of the framers and of the people in the The question in order is the amendment to the amendment from the Gentleman from Cebu, Mr.
adoption of the Constitution. It may also be safely assumed that the people in ratifying the Briones.
Constitution were guided mainly by the explanation offered by the framers. 115 Sr. Busion:
Mr. President, don't you think it would be better to leave this matter in the hands of the
As pointed out by petitioner as well as the Solicitor General, the deliberations of the 1934 Legislature?
Constitutional Convention show that the framers intended foundlings to be covered by the
Sr. Roxas:
enumeration. The following exchange is recorded:
Mr. President, my humble opinion is that these cases are few and far in between, that the
constitution need [not] refer to them. By international law the principle that children or people
Sr. Rafols: For an amendment. I propose that after subsection 2, the following is inserted: "The born in a country of unknown parents are citizens in this nation is recognized, and it is not
natural children of a foreign father and a Filipino mother not recognized by the father. necessary to include a provision on the subject exhaustively.116
Though the Rafols amendment was not carried out, it was not because there was any objection to highest priority to the enactment of measures that protect and enhance the right of all the people
the notion that persons of "unknown parentage" are not citizens but only because their number to human dignity, reduce social, economic, and political inequalities x x x" and Article XV, Section 3
was not enough to merit specific mention. Such was the account, 117 cited by petitioner, of delegate which requires the State to defend the "right of children to assistance, including proper care and
and constitution law author Jose Aruego who said: nutrition, and special protection from all forms of neglect, abuse, cruelty, exploitation, and other
conditions prejudicial to their development." Certainly, these provisions contradict an intent to
During the debates on this provision, Delegate Rafols presented an amendment to include as discriminate against foundlings on account of their unfortunate status.
Filipino citizens the illegitimate children with a foreign father of a mother who was a citizen of
the Philippines, and also foundlings; but this amendment was defeated primarily because the Domestic laws on adoption also support the principle that foundlings are Filipinos. These laws do
Convention believed that the cases, being too few to warrant the inclusion of a provision in the not provide that adoption confers citizenship upon the adoptee. Rather, the adoptee must be a
Constitution to apply to them, should be governed by statutory legislation. Moreover, it was Filipino in the first place to be adopted. The most basic of such laws is Article 15 of the Civil Code
believed that the rules of international law were already clear to the effect that illegitimate which provides that "[l]aws relating to family rights, duties, status, conditions, legal capacity of
children followed the citizenship of the mother, and that foundlings followed the nationality of persons are binding on citizens of the Philippines even though living abroad." Adoption deals with
the place where they were found, thereby making unnecessary the inclusion in the Constitution status, and a Philippine adoption court will have jurisdiction only if the adoptee is a Filipino. In Ellis
of the proposed amendment. and Ellis v. Republic, 119 a child left by an unidentified mother was sought to be adopted by aliens.
This Court said:
This explanation was likewise the position of the Solicitor General during the 16 February 2016
Oral Arguments: In this connection, it should be noted that this is a proceedings in rem, which no court may
entertain unless it has jurisdiction, not only over the subject matter of the case and over the
We all know that the Rafols proposal was rejected. But note that what was declined was the parties, but also over the res, which is the personal status of Baby Rose as well as that of
proposal for a textual and explicit recognition of foundlings as Filipinos. And so, the way to explain petitioners herein. Our Civil Code (Art. 15) adheres to the theory that jurisdiction over the status of
the constitutional silence is by saying that it was the view of Montinola and Roxas which prevailed a natural person is determined by the latter's nationality. Pursuant to this theory, we have
that there is no more need to expressly declare foundlings as Filipinos. jurisdiction over the status of Baby Rose, she being a citizen of the Philippines , but not over the
status of the petitioners, who are foreigners.120 (Underlining supplied)
Obviously, it doesn't matter whether Montinola's or Roxas' views were legally correct. Framers of a
constitution can constitutionalize rules based on assumptions that are imperfect or even wrong. Recent legislation is more direct. R.A. No. 8043 entitled "An Act Establishing the Rules to Govern
They can even overturn existing rules. This is basic. What matters here is that Montinola and Roxas the Inter-Country Adoption of Filipino Children and For Other Purposes" (otherwise known as the
were able to convince their colleagues in the convention that there is no more need to expressly "Inter-Country Adoption Act of 1995"), R.A. No. 8552, entitled "An Act Establishing the Rules and
declare foundlings as Filipinos because they are already impliedly so recognized. Policies on the Adoption of Filipino Children and For Other Purposes" (otherwise known as the
Domestic Adoption Act of 1998) and this Court's A.M. No. 02-6-02-SC or the "Rule on Adoption,"
all expressly refer to "Filipino children" and include foundlings as among Filipino children who may
In other words, the constitutional silence is fully explained in terms of linguistic efficiency and the
be adopted.
avoidance of redundancy. The policy is clear: it is to recognize foundlings, as a class, as Filipinos
under Art. IV, Section 1 (3) of the 1935 Constitution. This inclusive policy is carried over into the
1973 and 1987 Constitution. It is appropriate to invoke a famous scholar as he was paraphrased by It has been argued that the process to determine that the child is a foundling leading to the
Chief Justice Fernando: the constitution is not silently silent, it is silently vocal. 118 issuance of a foundling certificate under these laws and the issuance of said certificate are acts to
acquire or perfect Philippine citizenship which make the foundling a naturalized Filipino at best.
This is erroneous. Under Article IV, Section 2 "Natural-born citizens are those who are citizens of
The Solicitor General makes the further point that the framers "worked to create a just and
the Philippines from birth without having to perform any act to acquire or perfect their Philippine
humane society," that "they were reasonable patriots and that it would be unfair to impute upon
citizenship." In the first place, "having to perform an act" means that the act must be personally
them a discriminatory intent against foundlings." He exhorts that, given the grave implications of
done by the citizen. In this instance, the determination of foundling status is done not by the child
the argument that foundlings are not natural-born Filipinos, the Court must search the records of
but by the authorities.121 Secondly, the object of the process is the determination of the
the 1935, 1973 and 1987 Constitutions "for an express intention to deny foundlings the status of
whereabouts of the parents, not the citizenship of the child. Lastly, the process is certainly not
Filipinos. The burden is on those who wish to use the constitution to discriminate against
analogous to naturalization proceedings to acquire Philippine citizenship, or the election of such
foundlings to show that the constitution really intended to take this path to the dark side and
citizenship by one born of an alien father and a Filipino mother under the 1935 Constitution, which
inflict this across the board marginalization."
is an act to perfect it.

We find no such intent or language permitting discrimination against foundlings. On the contrary,
In this instance, such issue is moot because there is no dispute that petitioner is a foundling, as
all three Constitutions guarantee the basic right to equal protection of the laws. All exhort the
evidenced by a Foundling Certificate issued in her favor. 122 The Decree of Adoption issued on 13
State to render social justice. Of special consideration are several provisions in the present charter:
May 1974, which approved petitioner's adoption by Jesusa Sonora Poe and Ronald Allan Kelley
Article II, Section 11 which provides that the "State values the dignity of every human person and
Poe, expressly refers to Emiliano and his wife, Rosario Militar, as her "foundling parents," hence
guarantees full respect for human rights," Article XIII, Section 1 which mandates Congress to "give
effectively affirming petitioner's status as a foundling. 123
Foundlings are likewise citizens under international law. Under the 1987 Constitution, an 1. Every child shall have, without any discrimination as to race, colour, sex, language, religion,
international law can become part of the sphere of domestic law either by transformation or national or social origin, property or birth, the right, to such measures of protection as are
incorporation. The transformation method requires that an international law be transformed into a required by his status as a minor, on the part of his family, society and the State.
domestic law through a constitutional mechanism such as local legislation. 124 On the other hand,
generally accepted principles of international law, by virtue of the incorporation clause of the 2. Every child shall be registered immediately after birth and shall have a name.
Constitution, form part of the laws of the land even if they do not derive from treaty obligations.
Generally accepted principles of international law include international custom as evidence of a
3. Every child has the right to acquire a nationality.
general practice accepted as law, and general principles of law recognized by civilized nations. 125
International customary rules are accepted as binding as a result from the combination of two
elements: the established, widespread, and consistent practice on the part of States; and a The common thread of the UDHR, UNCRC and ICCPR is to obligate the Philippines to grant
psychological element known as the opinionjuris sive necessitates (opinion as to law or necessity). nationality from birth and ensure that no child is stateless. This grant of nationality must be at the
Implicit in the latter element is a belief that the practice in question is rendered obligatory by the time of birth, and it cannot be accomplished by the application of our present naturalization laws,
existence of a rule of law requiring it. 126 "General principles of law recognized by civilized nations" Commonwealth Act No. 473, as amended, and R.A. No. 9139, both of which require the applicant
are principles "established by a process of reasoning" or judicial logic, based on principles which to be at least eighteen (18) years old.
are "basic to legal systems generally," 127 such as "general principles of equity, i.e., the general
principles of fairness and justice," and the "general principle against discrimination" which is The principles found in two conventions, while yet unratified by the Philippines, are generally
embodied in the "Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, accepted principles of international law. The first is Article 14 of the 1930 Hague Convention on
Social and Cultural Rights, the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Certain Questions Relating to the Conflict of Nationality Laws under which a foundling is presumed
Discrimination, the Convention Against Discrimination in Education, the Convention (No. 111) to have the "nationality of the country of birth," to wit:
Concerning Discrimination in Respect of Employment and Occupation." 128 These are the same core
principles which underlie the Philippine Constitution itself, as embodied in the due process and Article 14
equal protection clauses of the Bill of Rights. 129

A child whose parents are both unknown shall have the nationality of the country of birth. If the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights ("UDHR") has been interpreted by this Court as part of the child's parentage is established, its nationality shall be determined by the rules applicable in cases
generally accepted principles of international law and binding on the State. 130 Article 15 thereof where the parentage is known.
states:

A foundling is, until the contrary is proved, presumed to have been born on the territory of the
1. Everyone has the right to a nationality. State in which it was found. (Underlining supplied)

2. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his The second is the principle that a foundling is presumed born of citizens of the country where he is
nationality. found, contained in Article 2 of the 1961 United Nations Convention on the Reduction of
Statelessness:
The Philippines has also ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). Article 7 of
the UNCRC imposes the following obligations on our country: Article 2

Article 7 A foundling found in the territory of a Contracting State shall, in the absence of proof to the
contrary, be considered to have been born within the territory of parents possessing the
1. The child shall be registered immediately after birth and shall have the right from birth to a nationality of that State.
name, the right to acquire a nationality and as far as possible, the right to know and be cared for
by his or her parents. That the Philippines is not a party to the 1930 Hague Convention nor to the 1961 Convention on
the Reduction of Statelessness does not mean that their principles are not binding. While the
2. States Parties shall ensure the implementation of these rights in accordance with their national Philippines is not a party to the 1930 Hague Convention, it is a signatory to the Universal
law and their obligations under the relevant international instruments in this field, in particular Declaration on Human Rights, Article 15(1) ofwhich 131 effectively affirms Article 14 of the 1930
where the child would otherwise be stateless. Hague Convention. Article 2 of the 1961 "United Nations Convention on the Reduction of
Statelessness" merely "gives effect" to Article 15(1) of the UDHR. 132 In Razon v. Tagitis, 133 this Court
In 1986, the country also ratified the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights noted that the Philippines had not signed or ratified the "International Convention for the
(ICCPR). Article 24 thereof provide for the right of every child "to acquire a nationality:" Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance." Yet, we ruled that the proscription against
enforced disappearances in the said convention was nonetheless binding as a "generally accepted
principle of international law." Razon v. Tagitis is likewise notable for declaring the ban as a
Article 24
generally accepted principle of international law although the convention had been ratified by only country which calls itself civilized and a member of the community of nations. The Solicitor
sixteen states and had not even come into force and which needed the ratification of a minimum General's warning in his opening statement is relevant:
of twenty states. Additionally, as petitioner points out, the Court was content with the practice of
international and regional state organs, regional state practice in Latin America, and State Practice .... the total effect of those documents is to signify to this Honorable Court that those treaties and
in the United States. conventions were drafted because the world community is concerned that the situation of
foundlings renders them legally invisible. It would be tragically ironic if this Honorable Court ended
Another case where the number of ratifying countries was not determinative is Mijares v. Ranada, up using the international instruments which seek to protect and uplift foundlings a tool to deny
134
where only four countries had "either ratified or acceded to" 135 the 1966 "Convention on the them political status or to accord them second-class citizenship. 138
Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Judgments in Civil and Commercial Matters" when the
case was decided in 2005. The Court also pointed out that that nine member countries of the The COMELEC also ruled139 that petitioner's repatriation in July 2006 under the provisions of R.A.
European Common Market had acceded to the Judgments Convention. The Court also cited U.S. No. 9225 did not result in the reacquisition of natural-born citizenship. The COMELEC reasoned
laws and jurisprudence on recognition of foreign judgments. In all, only the practices of fourteen that since the applicant must perform an act, what is reacquired is not "natural-born" citizenship
countries were considered and yet, there was pronouncement that recognition of foreign but only plain "Philippine citizenship."
judgments was widespread practice.
The COMELEC's rule arrogantly disregards consistent jurisprudence on the matter of repatriation
Our approach in Razon and Mijares effectively takes into account the fact that "generally accepted statutes in general and of R.A. No. 9225 in particular.
principles of international law" are based not only on international custom, but also on "general
principles of law recognized by civilized nations," as the phrase is understood in Article 38.1
In the seminal case of Bengson Ill v. HRET, 140 repatriation was explained as follows:
paragraph (c) of the ICJ Statute. Justice, fairness, equity and the policy against discrimination,
which are fundamental principles underlying the Bill of Rights and which are "basic to legal
systems generally,"136 support the notion that the right against enforced disappearances and the Moreover, repatriation results in the recovery of the original nationality. This means that a
recognition of foreign judgments, were correctly considered as "generally accepted principles of naturalized Filipino who lost his citizenship will be restored to his prior status as a naturalized
international law" under the incorporation clause. Filipino citizen. On the other hand, if he was originally a natural-born citizen before he lost his
Philippine citizenship, he will be restored to his former status as a natural-born Filipino.
Petitioner's evidence137 shows that at least sixty countries in Asia, North and South America, and
Europe have passed legislation recognizing foundlings as its citizen. Forty-two (42) of those R.A. No. 9225 is a repatriation statute and has been described as such in several cases. They
countries follow the jus sanguinis regime. Of the sixty, only thirty-three (33) are parties to the 1961 include Sobejana-Condon v. COMELEC141 where we described it as an "abbreviated repatriation
Convention on Statelessness; twenty-six (26) are not signatories to the Convention. Also, the Chief process that restores one's Filipino citizenship x x x." Also included is Parreno v. Commission on
Justice, at the 2 February 2016 Oral Arguments pointed out that in 166 out of 189 countries Audit,142 which cited Tabasa v. Court of Appeals,143 where we said that "[t]he repatriation of the
surveyed (or 87.83%), foundlings are recognized as citizens. These circumstances, including the former Filipino will allow him to recover his natural-born citizenship. Parreno v. Commission on
practice of jus sanguinis countries, show that it is a generally accepted principle of international Audit144 is categorical that "if petitioner reacquires his Filipino citizenship (under R.A. No. 9225), he
law to presume foundlings as having been born of nationals of the country in which the foundling will ... recover his natural-born citizenship."
is found.
The COMELEC construed the phrase "from birth" in the definition of natural citizens as implying
Current legislation reveals the adherence of the Philippines to this generally accepted principle of "that natural-born citizenship must begin at birth and remain uninterrupted and continuous from
international law. In particular, R.A. No. 8552, R.A. No. 8042 and this Court's Rules on Adoption, birth." R.A. No. 9225 was obviously passed in line with Congress' sole prerogative to determine
expressly refer to "Filipino children." In all of them, foundlings are among the Filipino children who how citizenship may be lost or reacquired. Congress saw it fit to decree that natural-born
could be adopted. Likewise, it has been pointed that the DFA issues passports to foundlings. citizenship may be reacquired even if it had been once lost. It is not for the COMELEC to disagree
Passports are by law, issued only to citizens. This shows that even the executive department, acting with the Congress' determination.
through the DFA, considers foundlings as Philippine citizens.
More importantly, COMELEC's position that natural-born status must be continuous was already
Adopting these legal principles from the 1930 Hague Convention and the 1961 Convention on rejected in Bengson III v. HRET145 where the phrase "from birth" was clarified to mean at the time
Statelessness is rational and reasonable and consistent with the jus sanguinis regime in our of birth: "A person who at the time of his birth, is a citizen of a particular country, is a natural-born
Constitution. The presumption of natural-born citizenship of foundlings stems from the citizen thereof." Neither is "repatriation" an act to "acquire or perfect" one's citizenship. In
presumption that their parents are nationals of the Philippines. As the empirical data provided by Bengson III v. HRET, this Court pointed out that there are only two types of citizens under the 1987
the PSA show, that presumption is at more than 99% and is a virtual certainty. Constitution: natural-born citizen and naturalized, and that there is no third category for
repatriated citizens:
In sum, all of the international law conventions and instruments on the matter of nationality of
foundlings were designed to address the plight of a defenseless class which suffers from a It is apparent from the enumeration of who are citizens under the present Constitution that there
misfortune not of their own making. We cannot be restrictive as to their application if we are a are only two classes of citizens: (1) those who are natural-born and (2) those who are naturalized
in accordance with law. A citizen who is not a naturalized Filipino, ie., did not have to undergo the Petitioner's claim that she will have been a resident for ten (10) years and eleven (11) months on
process of naturalization to obtain Philippine citizenship, necessarily is a natural-born Filipino. the day before the 2016 elections, is true.
Noteworthy is the absence in said enumeration of a separate category for persons who, after
losing Philippine citizenship, subsequently reacquire it. The reason therefor is clear: as to such The Constitution requires presidential candidates to have ten (10) years' residence in the
persons, they would either be natural-born or naturalized depending on the reasons for the loss of Philippines before the day of the elections. Since the forthcoming elections will be held on 9 May
their citizenship and the mode prescribed by the applicable law for the reacquisition thereof. As 2016, petitioner must have been a resident of the Philippines prior to 9 May 2016 for ten (10)
respondent Cruz was not required by law to go through naturalization proceedings in order to years. In answer to the requested information of "Period of Residence in the Philippines up to the
reacquire his citizenship, he is perforce a natural-born Filipino. As such, he possessed all the day before May 09, 2016," she put in "10 years 11 months" which according to her pleadings in
necessary qualifications to be elected as member of the House of Representatives. 146 these cases corresponds to a beginning date of 25 May 2005 when she returned for good from the
U.S.
The COMELEC cannot reverse a judicial precedent. That is reserved to this Court. And while we
may always revisit a doctrine, a new rule reversing standing doctrine cannot be retroactively When petitioner immigrated to the U.S. in 1991, she lost her original domicile, which is the
applied. In Morales v. Court of Appeals and Jejomar Erwin S. Binay, Jr.,147 where we decreed Philippines. There are three requisites to acquire a new domicile: 1. Residence or bodily presence
reversed the condonation doctrine, we cautioned that it "should be prospective in application for in a new locality; 2. an intention to remain there; and 3. an intention to abandon the old
the reason that judicial decisions applying or interpreting the laws of the Constitution, until domicile.152 To successfully effect a change of domicile, one must demonstrate an actual removal
reversed, shall form part of the legal system of the Philippines." This Court also said that "while the or an actual change of domicile; a bona fide intention of abandoning the former place of residence
future may ultimately uncover a doctrine's error, it should be, as a general rule, recognized as good and establishing a new one and definite acts which correspond with the purpose. In other words,
law prior to its abandonment. Consequently, the people's reliance thereupon should be there must basically be animus manendi coupled with animus non revertendi. The purpose to
respected."148 remain in or at the domicile of choice must be for an indefinite period of time; the change of
residence must be voluntary; and the residence at the place chosen for the new domicile must be
Lastly, it was repeatedly pointed out during the oral arguments that petitioner committed a actual.153
falsehood when she put in the spaces for "born to" in her application for repatriation under R.A.
No. 9225 the names of her adoptive parents, and this misled the BI to presume that she was a Petitioner presented voluminous evidence showing that she and her family abandoned their U.S.
natural-born Filipino. It has been contended that the data required were the names of her domicile and relocated to the Philippines for good. These evidence include petitioner's former U.S.
biological parents which are precisely unknown. passport showing her arrival on 24 May 2005 and her return to the Philippines every time she
travelled abroad; e-mail correspondences starting in March 2005 to September 2006 with a freight
This position disregards one important fact - petitioner was legally adopted. One of the effects of company to arrange for the shipment of their household items weighing about 28,000 pounds to
adoption is "to sever all legal ties between the biological parents and the adoptee, except when the Philippines; e-mail with the Philippine Bureau of Animal Industry inquiring how to ship their
the biological parent is the spouse of the adoptee." 149 Under R.A. No. 8552, petitioner was also dog to the Philippines; school records of her children showing enrollment in Philippine schools
entitled to an amended birth certificate "attesting to the fact that the adoptee is the child of the starting June 2005 and for succeeding years; tax identification card for petitioner issued on July
adopter(s)" and which certificate "shall not bear any notation that it is an amended issue." 150 That 2005; titles for condominium and parking slot issued in February 2006 and their corresponding tax
law also requires that "[a]ll records, books, and papers relating to the adoption cases in the files of declarations issued in April 2006; receipts dated 23 February 2005 from the Salvation Army in the
the court, the Department [of Social Welfare and Development], or any other agency or institution U.S. acknowledging donation of items from petitioner's family; March 2006 e-mail to the U.S.
participating in the adoption proceedings shall be kept strictly confidential." 151 The law therefore Postal Service confirming request for change of address; final statement from the First American
allows petitioner to state that her adoptive parents were her birth parents as that was what would Title Insurance Company showing sale of their U.S. home on 27 April 2006; 12 July 2011 filled-up
be stated in her birth certificate anyway. And given the policy of strict confidentiality of adoption questionnaire submitted to the U.S. Embassy where petitioner indicated that she had been a
records, petitioner was not obligated to disclose that she was an adoptee. Philippine resident since May 2005; affidavit from Jesusa Sonora Poe (attesting to the return of
petitioner on 24 May 2005 and that she and her family stayed with affiant until the condominium
Clearly, to avoid a direct ruling on the qualifications of petitioner, which it cannot make in the same was purchased); and Affidavit from petitioner's husband (confirming that the spouses jointly
case for cancellation of COC, it resorted to opinionatedness which is, moreover, erroneous. The decided to relocate to the Philippines in 2005 and that he stayed behind in the U.S. only to finish
whole process undertaken by COMELEC is wrapped in grave abuse of discretion. some work and to sell the family home).

On Residence The foregoing evidence were undisputed and the facts were even listed by the COMELEC,
particularly in its Resolution in the Tatad, Contreras and Valdez cases.
The tainted process was repeated in disposing of the issue of whether or not petitioner committed
false material representation when she stated in her COC that she has before and until 9 May 2016 However, the COMELEC refused to consider that petitioner's domicile had been timely changed as
been a resident of the Philippines for ten (10) years and eleven (11) months. of 24 May 2005. At the oral arguments, COMELEC Commissioner Arthur Lim conceded the
presence of the first two requisites, namely, physical presence and animus manendi, but
maintained there was no animus non-revertendi.154 The COMELEC disregarded the import of all the
evidence presented by petitioner on the basis of the position that the earliest date that petitioner
could have started residence in the Philippines was in July 2006 when her application under R.A. leave after one year. That visa-free period is obviously granted him to allow him to re-establish his
No. 9225 was approved by the BI. In this regard, COMELEC relied on Coquilla v. COMELEC,155 life and reintegrate himself into the community before he attends to the necessary formal and
Japzon v. COMELEC156 and Caballero v. COMELEC. 157 During the oral arguments, the private legal requirements of repatriation. And that is exactly what petitioner did - she reestablished life
respondents also added Reyes v. COMELEC.158 Respondents contend that these cases decree that here by enrolling her children and buying property while awaiting the return of her husband and
the stay of an alien former Filipino cannot be counted until he/she obtains a permanent resident then applying for repatriation shortly thereafter.
visa or reacquires Philippine citizenship, a visa-free entry under a balikbayan stamp being
insufficient. Since petitioner was still an American (without any resident visa) until her No case similar to petitioner's, where the former Filipino's evidence of change in domicile is
reacquisition of citizenship under R.A. No. 9225, her stay from 24 May 2005 to 7 July 2006 cannot extensive and overwhelming, has as yet been decided by the Court. Petitioner's evidence of
be counted. residence is unprecedented. There is no judicial precedent that comes close to the facts of
residence of petitioner. There is no indication in Coquilla v. COMELEC,166 and the other cases cited
But as the petitioner pointed out, the facts in these four cases are very different from her by the respondents that the Court intended to have its rulings there apply to a situation where the
situation. In Coquilla v. COMELEC,159 the only evidence presented was a community tax certificate facts are different. Surely, the issue of residence has been decided particularly on the facts-of-the
secured by the candidate and his declaration that he would be running in the elections. Japzon v. case basis.
COMELEC160 did not involve a candidate who wanted to count residence prior to his reacquisition
of Philippine citizenship. With the Court decreeing that residence is distinct from citizenship, the To avoid the logical conclusion pointed out by the evidence of residence of petitioner, the
issue there was whether the candidate's acts after reacquisition sufficed to establish residence. In COMELEC ruled that petitioner's claim of residence of ten (10) years and eleven (11) months by 9
Caballero v. COMELEC, 161 the candidate admitted that his place of work was abroad and that he May 2016 in her 2015 COC was false because she put six ( 6) years and six ( 6) months as "period of
only visited during his frequent vacations. In Reyes v. COMELEC,162 the candidate was found to be residence before May 13, 2013" in her 2012 COC for Senator. Thus, according to the COMELEC, she
an American citizen who had not even reacquired Philippine citizenship under R.A. No. 9225 or started being a Philippine resident only in November 2006. In doing so, the COMELEC
had renounced her U.S. citizenship. She was disqualified on the citizenship issue. On residence, the automatically assumed as true the statement in the 2012 COC and the 2015 COC as false.
only proof she offered was a seven-month stint as provincial officer. The COMELEC, quoted with
approval by this Court, said that "such fact alone is not sufficient to prove her one-year residency."
As explained by petitioner in her verified pleadings, she misunderstood the date required in the
2013 COC as the period of residence as of the day she submitted that COC in 2012. She said that
It is obvious that because of the sparse evidence on residence in the four cases cited by the she reckoned residency from April-May 2006 which was the period when the U.S. house was sold
respondents, the Court had no choice but to hold that residence could be counted only from and her husband returned to the Philippines. In that regard, she was advised by her lawyers in
acquisition of a permanent resident visa or from reacquisition of Philippine citizenship. In contrast, 2015 that residence could be counted from 25 May 2005.
the evidence of petitioner is overwhelming and taken together leads to no other conclusion that
she decided to permanently abandon her U.S. residence (selling the house, taking the children
Petitioner's explanation that she misunderstood the query in 2012 (period of residence before 13
from U.S. schools, getting quotes from the freight company, notifying the U.S. Post Office of the
May 2013) as inquiring about residence as of the time she submitted the COC, is bolstered by the
abandonment of their address in the U.S., donating excess items to the Salvation Army, her
change which the COMELEC itself introduced in the 2015 COC which is now "period of residence in
husband resigning from U.S. employment right after selling the U.S. house) and permanently
the Philippines up to the day before May 09, 2016." The COMELEC would not have revised the
relocate to the Philippines and actually re-established her residence here on 24 May 2005
query if it did not acknowledge that the first version was vague.
(securing T.I.N, enrolling her children in Philippine schools, buying property here, constructing a
residence here, returning to the Philippines after all trips abroad, her husband getting employed
here). Indeed, coupled with her eventual application to reacquire Philippine citizenship and her That petitioner could have reckoned residence from a date earlier than the sale of her U.S. house
family's actual continuous stay in the Philippines over the years, it is clear that when petitioner and the return of her husband is plausible given the evidence that she had returned a year before.
returned on 24 May 2005 it was for good. Such evidence, to repeat, would include her passport and the school records of her children.

In this connection, the COMELEC also took it against petitioner that she had entered the It was grave abuse of discretion for the COMELEC to treat the 2012 COC as a binding and
Philippines visa-free as a balikbayan. A closer look at R.A. No. 6768 as amended, otherwise known conclusive admission against petitioner. It could be given in evidence against her, yes, but it was by
as the "An Act Instituting a Balikbayan Program," shows that there is no overriding intent to treat no means conclusive. There is precedent after all where a candidate's mistake as to period of
balikbayans as temporary visitors who must leave after one year. Included in the law is a former residence made in a COC was overcome by evidence. In Romualdez-Marcos v. COMELEC,167 the
Filipino who has been naturalized abroad and "comes or returns to the Philippines." 163 The law candidate mistakenly put seven (7) months as her period of residence where the required period
institutes a balikbayan program "providing the opportunity to avail of the necessary training to was a minimum of one year. We said that "[i]t is the fact of residence, not a statement in a
enable the balikbayan to become economically self-reliant members of society upon their return certificate of candidacy which ought to be decisive in determining whether or not an individual has
to the country"164 in line with the government's "reintegration program." 165 Obviously, balikbayans satisfied the constitutions residency qualification requirement." The COMELEC ought to have
are not ordinary transients. looked at the evidence presented and see if petitioner was telling the truth that she was in the
Philippines from 24 May 2005. Had the COMELEC done its duty, it would have seen that the 2012
COC and the 2015 COC both correctly stated the pertinent period of residency.
Given the law's express policy to facilitate the return of a balikbayan and help him reintegrate into
society, it would be an unduly harsh conclusion to say in absolute terms that the balikbayan must
The COMELEC, by its own admission, disregarded the evidence that petitioner actually and purposes of compliance with the constitutional requirement of residency for election as President.
physically returned here on 24 May 2005 not because it was false, but only because COMELEC took It ignores the easily researched matter that cases on questions of residency have been decided
the position that domicile could be established only from petitioner's repatriation under R.A. No. favorably for the candidate on the basis of facts of residence far less in number, weight and
9225 in July 2006. However, it does not take away the fact that in reality, petitioner had returned substance than that presented by petitioner. 169 It ignores, above all else, what we consider as a
from the U.S. and was here to stay permanently, on 24 May 2005. When she claimed to have been primary reason why petitioner cannot be bound by her declaration in her COC for Senator which
a resident for ten (10) years and eleven (11) months, she could do so in good faith. declaration was not even considered by the SET as an issue against her eligibility for Senator. When
petitioner made the declaration in her COC for Senator that she has been a resident for a period of
For another, it could not be said that petitioner was attempting to hide anything. As already stated, six (6) years and six (6) months counted up to the 13 May 2013 Elections, she naturally had as
a petition for quo warranto had been filed against her with the SET as early as August 2015. The reference the residency requirements for election as Senator which was satisfied by her declared
event from which the COMELEC pegged the commencement of residence, petitioner's repatriation years of residence. It was uncontested during the oral arguments before us that at the time the
in July 2006 under R.A. No. 9225, was an established fact to repeat, for purposes of her senatorial declaration for Senator was made, petitioner did not have as yet any intention to vie for the
candidacy. Presidency in 2016 and that the general public was never made aware by petitioner, by word or
action, that she would run for President in 2016. Presidential candidacy has a length-of-residence
different from that of a senatorial candidacy. There are facts of residence other than that which
Notably, on the statement of residence of six (6) years and six (6) months in the 2012 COC,
was mentioned in the COC for Senator. Such other facts of residence have never been proven to be
petitioner recounted that this was first brought up in the media on 2 June 2015 by Rep. Tobias
false, and these, to repeat include:
Tiangco of the United Nationalist Alliance. Petitioner appears to have answered the issue
immediately, also in the press. Respondents have not disputed petitioner's evidence on this point.
From that time therefore when Rep. Tiangco discussed it in the media, the stated period of [Petitioner] returned to the Philippines on 24 May 2005. (petitioner's] husband however stayed in
residence in the 2012 COC and the circumstances that surrounded the statement were already the USA to finish pending projects and arrange the sale of their family home.
matters of public record and were not hidden.
Meanwhile [petitioner] and her children lived with her mother in San Juan City. [Petitioner]
Petitioner likewise proved that the 2012 COC was also brought up in the SET petition for quo enrolled Brian in Beacon School in Taguig City in 2005 and Hanna in Assumption College in Makati
warranto. Her Verified Answer, which was filed on 1 September 2015, admitted that she made a City in 2005. Anika was enrolled in Learning Connection in San Juan in 2007, when she was already
mistake in the 2012 COC when she put in six ( 6) years and six ( 6) months as she misunderstood old enough to go to school.
the question and could have truthfully indicated a longer period. Her answer in the SET case was a
matter of public record. Therefore, when petitioner accomplished her COC for President on 15 In the second half of 2005, [petitioner] and her husband acquired Unit 7F of One Wilson Place
October 2015, she could not be said to have been attempting to hide her erroneous statement in Condominium in San Juan. [Petitioner] and her family lived in Unit 7F until the construction of their
her 2012 COC for Senator which was expressly mentioned in her Verified Answer. family home in Corinthian Hills was completed.

The facts now, if not stretched to distortion, do not show or even hint at an intention to hide the Sometime in the second half of 2005, [petitioner's] mother discovered that her former lawyer who
2012 statement and have it covered by the 2015 representation. Petitioner, moreover, has on her handled [petitioner's] adoption in 1974 failed to secure from the Office of the Civil Registrar of
side this Court's pronouncement that: Iloilo a new Certificate of Live Birth indicating [petitioner's] new name and stating that her parents
are "Ronald Allan K. Poe" and "Jesusa L. Sonora."
Concededly, a candidate's disqualification to run for public office does not necessarily constitute
material misrepresentation which is the sole ground for denying due course to, and for the In February 2006, [petitioner] travelled briefly to the US in order to supervise the disposal of some
cancellation of, a COC. Further, as already discussed, the candidate's misrepresentation in his COC of the family's remaining household belongings.1a\^/phi1 [Petitioner] returned to the Philippines
must not only refer to a material fact (eligibility and qualifications for elective office), but should on 11 March 2006.
evince a deliberate intent to mislead, misinform or hide a fact which would otherwise render a
candidate ineligible. It must be made with an intention to deceive the electorate as to one's In late March 2006, [petitioner's] husband informed the United States Postal Service of the family's
qualifications to run for public office.168 abandonment of their address in the US.

In sum, the COMELEC, with the same posture of infallibilism, virtually ignored a good number of The family home in the US was sole on 27 April 2006.
evidenced dates all of which can evince animus manendi to the Philippines and animus non
revertedi to the United States of America. The veracity of the events of coming and staying home
In April 2006, [petitioner's] husband resigned from his work in the US. He returned to the
was as much as dismissed as inconsequential, the focus having been fixed at the petitioner's
Philippines on 4 May 2006 and began working for a Philippine company in July 2006.
"sworn declaration in her COC for Senator" which the COMELEC said "amounts to a declaration
and therefore an admission that her residence in the Philippines only commence sometime in
November 2006"; such that "based on this declaration, [petitioner] fails to meet the residency In early 2006, [petitioner] and her husband acquired a vacant lot in Corinthian Hills, where they
requirement for President." This conclusion, as already shown, ignores the standing jurisprudence eventually built their family home.170
that it is the fact of residence, not the statement of the person that determines residence for
In light of all these, it was arbitrary for the COMELEC to satisfy its intention to let the case fall
under the exclusive ground of false representation, to consider no other date than that mentioned
by petitioner in her COC for Senator.

All put together, in the matter of the citizenship and residence of petitioner for her candidacy as
President of the Republic, the questioned Resolutions of the COMELEC in Division and En Banc are,
one and all, deadly diseased with grave abuse of discretion from root to fruits.

WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The Resolutions, to wit:

1. dated 1 December 2015 rendered through the COMELEC Second Division, in SPA No. 15-001
(DC), entitled Estrella C. Elamparo, petitioner, vs. Mary Grace Natividad Sonora Poe-Llamanzares,
respondent, stating that:

[T]he Certificate of Candidacy for President of the Republic of the Philippines in the May 9, 2016
National and Local Elections filed by respondent Mary Grace Natividad Sonora Poe-Llamanzares is
hereby GRANTED.

2. dated 11 December 2015, rendered through the COMELEC First Division, in the consolidated
cases SPA No. 15-002 (DC) entitled Francisco S. Tatad, petitioner, vs. Mary Grace Natividad Sonora
Poe-Llamanzares, respondent; SPA No. 15-007 (DC) entitled Antonio P. Contreras, petitioner, vs.
Mary Grace Natividad Sonora Poe-Llamanzares, respondent; and SPA No. 15-139 (DC) entitled
Amado D. Valdez, petitioner, v. Mary Grace Natividad Sonora Poe-Llamanzares, respondent; stating
that:

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Commission RESOLVED, as it hereby RESOLVES, to GRANT


the petitions and cancel the Certificate of Candidacy of MARY GRACE NATIVIDAD SONORA POE-
LLAMANZARES for the elective position of President of the Republic of the Philippines in
connection with the 9 May 2016 Synchronized Local and National Elections.

3. dated 23 December 2015 of the COMELEC En Banc, upholding the 1 December 2015 Resolution
of the Second Division stating that:

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Commission RESOLVED, as it hereby RESOLVES, to DENY


the Verified Motion for Reconsideration of SENATOR MARY GRACE NATIVIDAD SONORA POE-
LLAMANZARES. The Resolution dated 11 December 2015 of the Commission First Division is
AFFIRMED.

4. dated 23 December 2015 of the COMELEC En Banc, upholding the 11 December 2015 Resolution
of the First Division.

are hereby ANNULED and SET ASIDE. Petitioner MARY GRACE NATIVIDAD SONORA POE-
LLAMANZARES is DECLARED QUALIFIED to be a candidate for President in the National and Local
Elections of 9 May 2016.

SO ORDERED.
CONFLICT – CHOICE OF LAW – PERSONAL LAW – NATIONALITY – LOSS AND REACQUISITION civil and politically entitled to the full enjoyment of his civil political rights as a Filipino citizen x x
x.
G.R. No. 142840 May 7, 2001
Whatever doubt that remained regarding his loss of Philippine citizenship was erased by his
ANTONIO BENGSON III, petitioner, naturalization as a U.S. citizen on June 5, 1990, in connection with his service in the U.S. Marine
vs. Corps.
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES ELECTORAL TRIBUNAL and TEODORO C. CRUZ, respondents.
On March 17, 1994, respondent Cruz reacquired his Philippine citizenship through repatriation
KAPUNAN, J.: under Republic Act No. 2630. 3 He ran for and was elected as the Representative of the Second
District of Pangasinan in the May 11, 1998 elections. He won by a convincing margin of 26,671
votes over petitioner Antonio Bengson III, who was then running for reelection.
The citizenship of respondent Teodoro C. Cruz is at issue in this case, in view of the constitutional
requirement that "no person shall be a Member of the House of Representative unless he is a
natural-born citizen."1 Subsequently, petitioner filed a case for Quo Warranto Ad Cautelam with respondent House of
Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET) claiming that respondent Cruz was not qualified to
become a member of the House of Representatives since he is not a natural-born citizen as
Respondent Cruz was a natural-born citizen of the Philippines. He was born in San Clemente,
required under Article VI, section 6 of the Constitution.4
Tarlac, on April 27, 1960, of Filipino parents. The fundamental law then applicable was the 1935
Constitution.2
On March 2, 2000, the HRET rendered its decision5 dismissing the petition for quo warranto and
declaring Cruz the duly elected Representative of the Second District of Pangasinan in the May
On November 5, 1985, however, respondent Cruz enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and
1998 elections. The HRET likewise denied petitioner's motion for reconsideration of the decision in
without the consent of the Republic of the Philippines, took an oath of allegiance to the United
its resolution dated April 27, 2000.6
States. As a Consequence, he lost his Filipino citizenship for under Commonwealth Act No. 63,
section 1(4), a Filipino citizen may lose his citizenship by, among other, "rendering service to or
accepting commission in the armed forces of a foreign country." Said provision of law reads: Petitioner thus filed the present petition for certiorari assailing the HRET's decision on the
following grounds:
SECTION 1. How citizenship may be lost. – A Filipino citizen may lose his citizenship in any of the
following ways and/or events: 1. The HRET committed serious errors and grave abuse of discretion, amounting to excess of
jurisdiction, when it ruled that private respondent is a natural-born citizen of the Philippines
despite the fact that he had ceased being such in view of the loss and renunciation of such
xxx
citizenship on his part.

(4) By rendering services to, or accepting commission in, the armed of a foreign country:
2. The HRET committed serious errors and grave abuse of discretion, amounting to excess of
Provided, That the rendering of service to, or the acceptance of such commission in, the armed
jurisdiction, when it considered private respondent as a citizen of the Philippines despite the
forces of a foreign country, and the taking of an oath of allegiance incident thereto, with the
fact he did not validly acquire his Philippine citizenship.
consent of the Republic of the Philippines, shall not divest a Filipino of his Philippine citizenship
if either of the following circumstances is present:
3. Assuming that private respondent's acquisition of Philippine citizenship was invalid, the HRET
committed serious errors and grave abuse of discretion, amounting to excess of jurisdiction,
(a) The Republic of the Philippines has a defensive and/or offensive pact of alliance with said
when it dismissed the petition despite the fact that such reacquisition could not legally and
foreign country; or
constitutionally restore his natural-born status.7

(b) The said foreign country maintains armed forces on Philippine territory with the consent of
The issue now before us is whether respondent Cruz, a natural-born Filipino who became an
the Republic of the Philippines: Provided, That the Filipino citizen concerned, at the time of
American citizen, can still be considered a natural-born Filipino upon his reacquisition of Philippine
rendering said service, or acceptance of said commission, and taking the oath of allegiance
citizenship.
incident thereto, states that he does so only in connection with his service to said foreign
country; And provided, finally, That any Filipino citizen who is rendering service to, or is
commissioned in, the armed forces of a foreign country under any of the circumstances Petitioner asserts that respondent Cruz may no longer be considered a natural-born Filipino since
mentioned in paragraph (a) or (b), shall not be Republic of the Philippines during the period of he lost h is Philippine citizenship when he swore allegiance to the United States in 1995, and had
his service to, or commission in, the armed forces of said country. Upon his discharge from the to reacquire the same by repatriation. He insists that Article citizens are those who are from birth
service of the said foreign country, he shall be automatically entitled to the full enjoyment of his with out having to perform any act to acquire or perfect such citizenship.
Respondent on the other hand contends that he reacquired his status as natural-born citizen when Repatriation, on the other hand, may be had under various statutes by those who lost their
he was repatriated since the phrase "from birth" in Article IV, Section 2 refers to the innate, citizenship due to: (1) desertion of the armed forces; 19 services in the armed forces of the allied
inherent and inborn characteristic of being a natural-born citizen. forces in World War II;20 (3) service in the Armed Forces of the United States at any other time, 21
(4) marriage of a Filipino woman to an alien; 22 and (5) political economic necessity.23
The petition is without merit.
As distinguished from the lengthy process of naturalization, repatriation simply consists of the
The 1987 Constitution enumerates who are Filipino citizens as follow: taking of an oath of allegiance to the Republic of the Philippine and registering said oath in the
Local Civil Registry of the place where the person concerned resides or last resided.
(1) Those who are citizens of the Philippines at the time of the adoption of this Constitution;
In Angat v. Republic,24 we held:
(2) Those whose fathers or mothers are citizens of the Philippines;
xxx. Parenthetically, under these statutes [referring to RA Nos. 965 and 2630], the person
desiring to reacquire Philippine citizenship would not even be required to file a petition in court,
(3) Those born before January 17, 1973 of Filipino mother, who elect Philippine citizenship upon
and all that he had to do was to take an oath of allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines and
reaching the age of majority, and
to register that fact with the civil registry in the place of his residence or where he had last
resided in the Philippines. [Italics in the original. 25
(4) Those who are naturalized in accordance with law.8
Moreover, repatriation results in the recovery of the original nationality. 26 This means that a
There are two ways of acquiring citizenship: (1) by birth, and (2) by naturalization. These ways of naturalized Filipino who lost his citizenship will be restored to his prior status as a naturalized
acquiring citizenship correspond to the two kinds of citizens: the natural-born citizen, and the Filipino citizen. On the other hand, if he was originally a natural-born citizen before he lost his
naturalized citizen. A person who at the time of his birth is a citizen of a particular country, is a Philippine citizenship, he will be restored to his former status as a natural-born Filipino.
natural-born citizen thereof.9
In respondent Cruz's case, he lost his Filipino citizenship when he rendered service in the Armed
As defined in the same Constitution, natural-born citizens "are those citizens of the Philippines Forces of the United States. However, he subsequently reacquired Philippine citizenship under R.A.
from birth without having to perform any act to acquire or perfect his Philippine citezenship." 10 No. 2630, which provides:

On the other hand, naturalized citizens are those who have become Filipino citizens through Section 1. Any person who had lost his Philippine citizenship by rendering service to, or
naturalization, generally under Commonwealth Act No. 473, otherwise known as the Revised accepting commission in, the Armed Forces of the United States, or after separation from the
Naturalization Law, which repealed the former Naturalization Law (Act No. 2927), and by Republic Armed Forces of the United States, acquired United States citizenship, may reacquire Philippine
Act No. 530.11 To be naturalized, an applicant has to prove that he possesses all the qualifications 12 citizenship by taking an oath of allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines and registering the
and none of the disqualification13 provided by law to become a Filipino citizen. The decision same with Local Civil Registry in the place where he resides or last resided in the Philippines.
granting Philippine citizenship becomes executory only after two (2) years from its promulgation The said oath of allegiance shall contain a renunciation of any other citizenship.
when the court is satisfied that during the intervening period, the applicant has (1) not left the
Philippines; (2) has dedicated himself to a lawful calling or profession; (3) has not been convicted
Having thus taken the required oath of allegiance to the Republic and having registered the same
of any offense or violation of Government promulgated rules; or (4) committed any act prejudicial
in the Civil Registry of Magantarem, Pangasinan in accordance with the aforecited provision,
to the interest of the nation or contrary to any Government announced policies. 14
respondent Cruz is deemed 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. 27 It bears stressing that the act of
Filipino citizens who have lost their citizenship may however reacquire the same in the manner repatriation allows him to recover, or return to, his original status before he lost his Philippine
provided by law. Commonwealth Act. No. (C.A. No. 63), enumerates the three modes by which citizenship.
Philippine citizenship may be reacquired by a former citizen: (1) by naturalization, (2) by
repatriation, and (3) by direct act of Congress.15
Petitioner's contention that respondent Cruz is no longer a natural-born citizen since he had to
perform an act to regain his citizenship is untenable. As correctly explained by the HRET in its
Naturalization is mode for both acquisition and reacquisition of Philippine citizenship. As a mode decision, the term "natural-born citizen" was first defined in Article III, Section 4 of the 1973
of initially acquiring Philippine citizenship, naturalization is governed by Commonwealth Act No. Constitution as follows:
473, as amended. On the other hand, naturalization as a mode for reacquiring Philippine
citizenship is governed by Commonwealth Act No. 63. 16 Under this law, a former Filipino citizen
Sec. 4. A natural-born citizen is one who is a citizen of the Philippines from birth without having
who wishes to reacquire Philippine citizenship must possess certain qualifications 17 and none of
to perform any act to acquire or perfect his Philippine citizenship.
the disqualification mentioned in Section 4 of C.A. 473.18
Two requisites must concur for a person to be considered as such: (1) a person must be a Filipino
citizen birth and (2) he does not have to perform any act to obtain or perfect his Philippine
citizenship.

Under the 1973 Constitution definition, there were two categories of Filipino citizens which were
not considered natural-born: (1) those who were naturalized and (2) those born before January 17,
1973,38 of Filipino mothers who, upon reaching the age of majority, elected Philippine citizenship.
Those "naturalized citizens" were not considered natural-born obviously because they were not
Filipino at birth and had to perform an act to acquire Philippine citizenship. Those born of Filipino
mothers before the effectively of the 1973 Constitution were likewise not considered natural-born
because they also had to perform an act to perfect their Philippines citizenship.

The present Constitution, however, now consider those born of Filipino mothers before the
effectivity of the 1973 Constitution and who elected Philippine citizenship upon reaching the
majority age as natural-born. After defining who re natural-born citizens, Section 2 of Article IV
adds a sentence: "Those who elect Philippine citizenship in accordance with paragraph (3), Section
1 hereof shall be deemed natural-born citizens." Consequently, only naturalized Filipinos are
considered not natural-born citizens. It is apparent from the enumeration of who are citizens
under the present Constitution that there are only two classes of citizens: (1) those who are
natural-born and (2) those who are naturalized in accordance with law. A citizen who is not a
naturalized Filipino, i.e., did not have to undergo the process of naturalization to obtain Philippine
citizenship, necessarily is natural-born Filipino. Noteworthy is the absence in said enumeration of a
separate category for persons who, after losing Philippine citizenship, subsequently reacquire it.
The reason therefor is clear: as to such persons, they would either be natural-born or naturalized
depending on the reasons for the loss of their citizenship and the mode prescribed by the
applicable law for the reacquisition thereof. As respondent Cruz was not required by law to go
through naturalization proceeding in order to reacquire his citizenship, he is perforce a natural-
born Filipino. As such, he possessed all the necessary qualifications to be elected as member of the
House of Representatives.

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 qualifications of the members of the House. 29 The
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 of jurisdiction" on the part of the latter. 30 In the absence
thereof, there is no occasion for the Court to exercise its corrective power and annul the decision
of the HRET nor to substitute the Court's judgement for that of the latter for the simple reason
that it is not the office of a petition for certiorari to inquire into the correctness of the assailed
decision.31 There is no such showing of grave abuse of discretion in this case.

WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DISMISSED.

SO ORDERED.
CONFLICT – CHOICE OF LAW – PERSONAL LAW – NATIONALITY – LOSS AND REACQUISITION WHEREFORE, the Commission hereby declares the respondent Eduardo Barrios Manzano
DISQUALIFIED as candidate for Vice-Mayor of Makati City.
G.R. No. 135083 May 26, 1999
On May 8, 1998, private respondent filed a motion for reconsideration. 3 The motion remained
ERNESTO S. MERCADO, petitioner, pending even until after the election held on May 11, 1998.
vs.
EDUARDO BARRIOS MANZANO and the COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, respondents. Accordingly, pursuant to Omnibus Resolution No. 3044, dated May 10, 1998, of the COMELEC, the
board of canvassers tabulated the votes cast for vice mayor of Makati City but suspended the
MENDOZA, J.: proclamation of the winner.

Petitioner Ernesto S. Mercado and private respondent Eduardo B. Manzano were candidates for On May 19, 1998, petitioner sought to intervene in the case for disqualification. 4 Petitioner's
vice mayor of the City of Makati in the May 11, 1998 elections. The other one was Gabriel V. Daza motion was opposed by private respondent.
III. The results of the election were as follows:
The motion was not resolved. Instead, on August 31, 1998, the COMELEC en banc rendered its
Eduardo B. Manzano 103,853 resolution. Voting 4 to 1, with one commissioner abstaining, the COMELEC en banc reversed the
Ernesto S. Mercado 100,894 ruling of its Second Division and declared private respondent qualified to run for vice mayor of the
Gabriel V. Daza III 54,2751 City of Makati in the May 11, 1998 elections. 5 The pertinent portions of the resolution of the
COMELEC en banc read:
The proclamation of private respondent was suspended in view of a pending petition for
disqualification filed by a certain Ernesto Mamaril who alleged that private respondent was not a As aforesaid, respondent Eduardo Barrios Manzano was born in San Francisco, California, U.S.A.
citizen of the Philippines but of the United States. He acquired US citizenship by operation of the United States Constitution and laws under the
principle of jus soli.
In its resolution, dated May 7, 1998, 2 the Second Division of the COMELEC granted the petition of
Mamaril and ordered the cancellation of the certificate of candidacy of private respondent on the He was also a natural born Filipino citizen by operation of the 1935 Philippine Constitution, as
ground that he is a dual citizen and, under §40(d) of the Local Government Code, persons with his father and mother were Filipinos at the time of his birth. At the age of six (6), his parents
dual citizenship are disqualified from running for any elective position. The COMELEC's Second brought him to the Philippines using an American passport as travel document. His parents also
Division said: registered him as an alien with the Philippine Bureau of Immigration. He was issued an alien
certificate of registration. This, however, did not result in the loss of his Philippine citizenship, as
he did not renounce Philippine citizenship and did not take an oath of allegiance to the United
What is presented before the Commission is a petition for disqualification of Eduardo Barrios
States.
Manzano as candidate for the office of Vice-Mayor of Makati City in the May 11, 1998 elections.
The petition is based on the ground that the respondent is an American citizen based on the
record of the Bureau of Immigration and misrepresented himself as a natural-born Filipino It is an undisputed fact that when respondent attained the age of majority, he registered himself
citizen. as a voter, and voted in the elections of 1992, 1995 and 1998, which effectively renounced his
US citizenship under American law. Under Philippine law, he no longer had U.S. citizenship.
In his answer to the petition filed on April 27, 1998, the respondent admitted that he is
registered as a foreigner with the Bureau of Immigration under Alien Certificate of Registration At the time of the May 11, 1998 elections, the resolution of the Second Division, adopted on
No. B-31632 and alleged that he is a Filipino citizen because he was born in 1955 of a Filipino May 7, 1998, was not yet final. Respondent Manzano obtained the highest number of votes
father and a Filipino mother. He was born in the United States, San Francisco, California, among the candidates for vice-mayor of Makati City, garnering one hundred three thousand
September 14, 1955, and is considered in American citizen under US Laws. But notwithstanding eight hundred fifty three (103,853) votes over his closest rival, Ernesto S. Mercado, who
his registration as an American citizen, he did not lose his Filipino citizenship. obtained one hundred thousand eight hundred ninety four (100,894) votes, or a margin of two
thousand nine hundred fifty nine (2,959) votes. Gabriel Daza III obtained third place with fifty
Judging from the foregoing facts, it would appear that respondent Manzano is born a Filipino
four thousand two hundred seventy five (54,275) votes. In applying election laws, it would be far
and a US citizen. In other words, he holds dual citizenship.
better to err in favor of the popular choice than be embroiled in complex legal issues involving
The question presented is whether under our laws, he is disqualified from the position for which private international law which may well be settled before the highest court (Cf. Frivaldo vs.
he filed his certificate of candidacy. Is he eligible for the office he seeks to be elected? Commission on Elections, 257 SCRA 727).

Under Section 40(d) of the Local Government Code, those holding dual citizenship are WHEREFORE, the Commission en banc hereby REVERSES the resolution of the Second Division,
disqualified from running for any elective local position. adopted on May 7, 1998, ordering the cancellation of the respondent's certificate of candidacy.
We declare respondent Eduardo Luis Barrios Manzano to be QUALIFIED as a candidate for the interest against both, or when he is so situated as to be adversely affected by such action or
position of vice-mayor of Makati City in the May 11, 1998, elections. proceeding.

ACCORDINGLY, the Commission directs the Makati City Board of Canvassers, upon proper notice xxx xxx xxx
to the parties, to reconvene and proclaim the respondent Eduardo Luis Barrios Manzano as the
winning candidate for vice-mayor of Makati City. Sec. 3. Discretion of Commission. — In allowing or disallowing a motion for intervention, the
Commission or the Division, in the exercise of its discretion, shall consider whether or not the
Pursuant to the resolution of the COMELEC en banc, the board of canvassers, on the evening of intervention will unduly delay or prejudice the adjudication of the rights of the original parties
August 31, 1998, proclaimed private respondent as vice mayor of the City of Makati. and whether or not the intervenor's rights may be fully protected in a separate action or
proceeding.
This is a petition for certiorari seeking to set aside the aforesaid resolution of the COMELEC en
banc and to declare private respondent disqualified to hold the office of vice mayor of Makati City. Private respondent argues that petitioner has neither legal interest in the matter in litigation nor
Petitioner contends that — an interest to protect because he is "a defeated candidate for the vice-mayoralty post of Makati
City [who] cannot be proclaimed as the Vice-Mayor of Makati City if the private respondent be
[T]he COMELEC en banc ERRED in holding that: ultimately disqualified by final and executory judgment."

A. Under Philippine law, Manzano was no longer a U.S. citizen when he: The flaw in this argument is it assumes that, at the time petitioner sought to intervene in the
proceedings before the COMELEC, there had already been a proclamation of the results of the
election for the vice mayoralty contest for Makati City, on the basis of which petitioner came out
1. He renounced his U.S. citizenship when he attained the age of majority when he was
only second to private respondent. The fact, however, is that there had been no proclamation at
already 37 years old; and,
that time. Certainly, petitioner had, and still has, an interest in ousting private respondent from the
race at the time he sought to intervene. The rule in Labo v. COMELEC,6 reiterated in several cases, 7
2. He renounced his U.S. citizenship when he (merely) registered himself as a voter and voted only applies to cases in which the election of the respondent is contested, and the question is
in the elections of 1992, 1995 and 1998. whether one who placed second to the disqualified candidate may be declared the winner. In the
present case, at the time petitioner filed a "Motion for Leave to File Intervention" on May 20,
B. Manzano is qualified to run for and or hold the elective office of Vice-Mayor of the City of 1998, there had been no proclamation of the winner, and petitioner's purpose was precisely to
Makati; have private respondent disqualified "from running for [an] elective local position" under §40(d) of
R.A. No. 7160. If Ernesto Mamaril (who originally instituted the disqualification proceedings), a
C. At the time of the May 11, 1998 elections, the resolution of the Second Division adopted on 7 registered voter of Makati City, was competent to bring the action, so was petitioner since the
May 1998 was not yet final so that, effectively, petitioner may not be declared the winner even latter was a rival candidate for vice mayor of Makati City.
assuming that Manzano is disqualified to run for and hold the elective office of Vice-Mayor of
the City of Makati. Nor is petitioner's interest in the matter in litigation any less because he filed a motion for
intervention only on May 20, 1998, after private respondent had been shown to have garnered the
We first consider the threshold procedural issue raised by private respondent Manzano — whether highest number of votes among the candidates for vice mayor. That petitioner had a right to
petitioner Mercado his personality to bring this suit considering that he was not an original party intervene at that stage of the proceedings for the disqualification against private respondent is
in the case for disqualification filed by Ernesto Mamaril nor was petitioner's motion for leave to clear from §6 of R.A. No. 6646, otherwise known as the Electoral Reform Law of 1987, which
intervene granted. provides:

I. PETITIONER'S RIGHT TO BRING THIS SUIT Any candidate who his been declared by final judgment to be disqualified shall not be voted for,
and the votes cast for him shall not be counted. If for any reason a candidate is not declared by
final judgment before an election to be disqualified and he is voted for and receives the winning
Private respondent cites the following provisions of Rule 8 of the Rules of Procedure of the number of votes in such election, the Court or Commission shall continue with the trial and
COMELEC in support of his claim that petitioner has no right to intervene and, therefore, cannot hearing of action, inquiry, or protest and, upon motion of the complainant or any intervenor,
bring this suit to set aside the ruling denying his motion for intervention: may during the pendency thereof order the suspension of the proclamation of such candidate
whenever the evidence of guilt is strong.
Sec. 1. When proper and when may be permitted to intervene. — Any person allowed to
initiate an action or proceeding may, before or during the trial of an action or proceeding, be Under this provision, intervention may be allowed in proceedings for disqualification even after
permitted by the Commission, in its discretion to intervene in such action or proceeding, if he election if there has yet been no final judgment rendered.
has legal interest in the matter in litigation, or in the success of either of the parties, or an
The failure of the COMELEC en banc to resolve petitioner's motion for intervention was With respect to dual allegiance, Article IV, §5 of the Constitution provides: "Dual allegiance of
tantamount to a denial of the motion, justifying petitioner in filing the instant petition for citizens is inimical to the national interest and shall be dealt with by law." This provision was
certiorari. As the COMELEC en banc instead decided the merits of the case, the present petition included in the 1987 Constitution at the instance of Commissioner Blas F. Ople who explained its
properly deals not only with the denial of petitioner's motion for intervention but also with the necessity as follows: 10
substantive issues respecting private respondent's alleged disqualification on the ground of dual
citizenship. . . . I want to draw attention to the fact that dual allegiance is not dual citizenship. I have
circulated a memorandum to the Bernas Committee according to which a dual allegiance — and
This brings us to the next question, namely, whether private respondent Manzano possesses dual I reiterate a dual allegiance — is larger and more threatening than that of mere double
citizenship and, if so, whether he is disqualified from being a candidate for vice mayor of Makati citizenship which is seldom intentional and, perhaps, never insidious. That is often a function of
City. the accident of mixed marriages or of birth on foreign soil. And so, I do not question double
citizenship at all.
II. DUAL CITIZENSHIP AS A GROUND FOR DISQUALIFICATION
What we would like the Committee to consider is to take constitutional cognizance of the
The disqualification of private respondent Manzano is being sought under §40 of the Local problem of dual allegiance. For example, we all know what happens in the triennial elections of
Government Code of 1991 (R.A. No. 7160), which declares as "disqualified from running for any the Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce which consists of about 600 chapters
elective local position: . . . (d) Those with dual citizenship." This provision is incorporated in the all over the country. There is a Peking ticket, as well as a Taipei ticket. Not widely known is the
Charter of the City of Makati. 8 fact chat the Filipino-Chinese community is represented in the Legislative Yuan of the Republic
of China in Taiwan. And until recently, sponsor might recall, in Mainland China in the People's
Republic of China, they have the Associated Legislative Council for overseas Chinese wherein all
Invoking the maxim dura lex sed lex, petitioner, as well as the Solicitor General, who sides with him
of Southeast Asia including some European and Latin countries were represented, which was
in this case, contends that through §40(d) of the Local Government Code, Congress has
dissolved after several years because of diplomatic friction. At that time, the Filipino-Chinese
"command[ed] in explicit terms the ineligibility of persons possessing dual allegiance to hold local
were also represented in that Overseas Council.
elective office."

When I speak of double allegiance, therefore, I speak of this unsettled kind of allegiance of
To begin with, dual citizenship is different from dual allegiance. The former arises when, as a result
Filipinos, of citizens who are already Filipinos but who, by their acts, may be said to be bound by
of the concurrent application of the different laws of two or more states, a person is
a second allegiance, either to Peking or Taiwan. I also took close note of the concern expressed
simultaneously considered a national by the said states.9 For instance, such a situation may arise
by some Commissioners yesterday, including Commissioner Villacorta, who were concerned
when a person whose parents are citizens of a state which adheres to the principle of jus sanguinis
about the lack of guarantees of thorough assimilation, and especially Commissioner Concepcion
is born in a state which follows the doctrine of jus soli. Such a person, ipso facto and without any
who has always been worried about minority claims on our natural resources.
voluntary act on his part, is concurrently considered a citizen of both states. Considering the
citizenship clause (Art. IV) of our Constitution, it is possible for the following classes of citizens of
the Philippines to possess dual citizenship: Dull allegiance can actually siphon scarce national capital to Taiwan, Singapore, China or
Malaysia, and this is already happening. Some of the great commercial places in downtown
Taipei are Filipino-owned, owned by Filipino-Chinese — it is of common knowledge in Manila. It
(1) Those born of Filipino fathers and/or mothers in foreign countries which follow the principle
can mean a tragic capital outflow when we have to endure a capital famine which also means
of jus soli;
economic stagnation, worsening unemployment and social unrest.
(2) Those born in the Philippines of Filipino mothers and alien fathers if by the laws of their
father's' country such children are citizens of that country;
(3) Those who marry aliens if by the laws of the latter's country the former are considered And so, this is exactly what we ask — that the Committee kindly consider incorporating a new
citizens, unless by their act or omission they are deemed to have renounced Philippine section, probably Section 5, in the article on Citizenship which will read as follows: DUAL
citizenship. ALLEGIANCE IS INIMICAL TO CITIZENSHIP AND SHALL BE DEALT WITH ACCORDING TO LAW.

There may be other situations in which a citizen of the Philippines may, without performing any In another session of the Commission, Ople spoke on the problem of these citizens with dual
act, be also a citizen of another state; but the above cases are clearly possible given the allegiance, thus: 11
constitutional provisions on citizenship.
. . . A significant number of Commissioners expressed their concern about dual citizenship in the
Dual allegiance, on the other hand, refers to the situation in which a person simultaneously owes, sense that it implies a double allegiance under a double sovereignty which some of us who
by some positive act, loyalty to two or more states. While dual citizenship is involuntary, dual spoke then in a freewheeling debate thought would be repugnant to the sovereignty which
allegiance is the result of an individual's volition. pervades the Constitution and to citizenship itself which implies a uniqueness and which
elsewhere in the Constitution is defined in terms of rights and obligations exclusive to that
citizenship including, of course, the obligation to rise to the defense of the State when it is
threatened, and back of this, Commissioner Bernas, is, of course, the concern for national SENATOR PIMENTEL. Well, the very fact that he is running for public office would, in effect, be
security. In the course of those debates, I think some noted the fact that as a result of the wave an election for him of his desire to be considered as a Filipino citizen.
of naturalizations since the decision to establish diplomatic relations with the People's Republic
SENATOR ENRILE. But, precisely, Mr. President, the Constitution does not require an election.
of China was made in 1975, a good number of these naturalized Filipinos still routinely go to
Under the Constitution, a person whose mother is a citizen of the Philippines is, at birth, a
Taipei every October 10; and it is asserted that some of them do renew their oath of allegiance
citizen without any overt act to claim the citizenship.
to a foreign government maybe just to enter into the spirit of the occasion when the anniversary
of the Sun Yat-Sen Republic is commemorated. And so, I have detected a genuine and deep SENATOR PIMENTEL. Yes. What we are saying, Mr. President, is: Under the Gentleman's
concern about double citizenship, with its attendant risk of double allegiance which is repugnant example, if he does not renounce his other citizenship, then he is opening himself to question.
to our sovereignty and national security. I appreciate what the Committee said that this could be So, if he is really interested to run, the first thing he should do is to say in the Certificate of
left to the determination of a future legislature. But considering the scale of the problem, the Candidacy that: "I am a Filipino citizen, and I have only one citizenship."
real impact on the security of this country, arising from, let us say, potentially great numbers of
double citizens professing double allegiance, will the Committee entertain a proposed SENATOR ENRILE. But we are talking from the viewpoint of Philippine law, Mr. President. He will
amendment at the proper time that will prohibit, in effect, or regulate double citizenship? always have one citizenship, and that is the citizenship invested upon him or her in the
Constitution of the Republic.

Clearly, in including §5 in Article IV on citizenship, the concern of the Constitutional Commission SENATOR PIMENTEL. That is true, Mr. President. But if he exercises acts that will prove that he
was not with dual citizens per se but with naturalized citizens who maintain their allegiance to also acknowledges other citizenships, then he will probably fall under this disqualification.
their countries of origin even after their naturalization. Hence, the phrase "dual citizenship" in R.A.
No. 7160, §40(d) and in R.A. No. 7854, §20 must be understood as referring to "dual allegiance." This is similar to the requirement that an applicant for naturalization must renounce "all allegiance
Consequently, persons with mere dual citizenship do not fall under this disqualification. Unlike and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty" 14 of which at the time he is a
those with dual allegiance, who must, therefore, be subject to strict process with respect to the subject or citizen before he can be issued a certificate of naturalization as a citizen of the
termination of their status, for candidates with dual citizenship, it should suffice if, upon the filing Philippines. In Parado v. Republic, 15 it was held:
of their certificates of candidacy, they elect Philippine citizenship to terminate their status as
persons with dual citizenship considering that their condition is the unavoidable consequence of
[W]hen a person applying for citizenship by naturalization takes an oath that he renounce, his
conflicting laws of different states. As Joaquin G. Bernas, one of the most perceptive members of
loyalty to any other country or government and solemnly declares that he owes his allegiance to
the Constitutional Commission, pointed out: "[D]ual citizenship is just a reality imposed on us
the Republic of the Philippines, the condition imposed by law is satisfied and compiled with. The
because we have no control of the laws on citizenship of other countries. We recognize a child of a
determination whether such renunciation is valid or fully complies with the provisions of our
Filipino mother. But whether she is considered a citizen of another country is something
Naturalization Law lies within the province and is an exclusive prerogative of our courts. The
completely beyond our control." 12
latter should apply the law duly enacted by the legislative department of the Republic. No
foreign law may or should interfere with its operation and application. If the requirement of the
By electing Philippine citizenship, such candidates at the same time forswear allegiance to the Chinese Law of Nationality were to be read into our Naturalization Law, we would be applying
other country of which they are also citizens and thereby terminate their status as dual citizens. It not what our legislative department has deemed it wise to require, but what a foreign
may be that, from the point of view of the foreign state and of its laws, such an individual has not government has thought or intended to exact. That, of course, is absurd. It must be resisted by
effectively renounced his foreign citizenship. That is of no moment as the following discussion on all means and at all cost. It would be a brazen encroachment upon the sovereign will and power
§40(d) between Senators Enrile and Pimentel clearly shows: 13 of the people of this Republic.

SENATOR ENRILE. Mr. President, I would like to ask clarification of line 41, page 17: "Any person III. PETITIONER'S ELECTION OF PHILIPPINE CITIZENSHIP
with dual citizenship" is disqualified to run for any elective local position. Under the present
Constitution, Mr. President, someone whose mother is a citizen of the Philippines but his father
The record shows that private respondent was born in San Francisco, California on September 4,
is a foreigner is a natural-born citizen of the Republic. There is no requirement that such a
1955, of Filipino parents. Since the Philippines adheres to the principle of jus sanguinis, while the
natural born citizen, upon reaching the age of majority, must elect or give up Philippine
United States follows the doctrine of jus soli, the parties agree that, at birth at least, he was a
citizenship.
national both of the Philippines and of the United States. However, the COMELEC en banc held
On the assumption that this person would carry two passports, one belonging to the country of that, by participating in Philippine elections in 1992, 1995, and 1998, private respondent
his or her father and one belonging to the Republic of the Philippines, may such a situation "effectively renounced his U.S. citizenship under American law," so that now he is solely a
disqualify the person to run for a local government position? Philippine national.

SENATOR PIMENTEL. To my mind, Mr. President, it only means that at the moment when he
would want to run for public office, he has to repudiate one of his citizenships. Petitioner challenges this ruling. He argues that merely taking part in Philippine elections is not
sufficient evidence of renunciation and that, in any event, as the alleged renunciation was made
SENATOR ENRILE. Suppose he carries only a Philippine passport but the country of origin or the when private respondent was already 37 years old, it was ineffective as it should have been made
country of the father claims that person, nevertheless, as a citizen? No one can renounce. There when he reached the age of majority.
are such countries in the world.
In holding that by voting in Philippine elections private respondent renounced his American These factual findings that Frivaldo has lost his foreign nationality long before the elections of
citizenship, the COMELEC must have in mind §349 of the Immigration and Nationality Act of the 1995 have not been effectively rebutted by Lee. Furthermore, it is basic that such findings of the
United States, which provided that "A person who is a national of the United States, whether by Commission are conclusive upon this Court, absent any showing of capriciousness or
birth or naturalization, shall lose his nationality by: . . . (e) Voting in a political election in a foreign arbitrariness or abuse.
state or participating in an election or plebiscite to determine the sovereignty over foreign
territory." To be sure this provision was declared unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in There is, therefore, no merit in petitioner's contention that the oath of allegiance contained in
Afroyim v. Rusk 16 as beyond the power given to the U.S. Congress to regulate foreign relations. private respondent's certificate of candidacy is insufficient to constitute renunciation that, to be
However, by filing a certificate of candidacy when he ran for his present post, private respondent effective, such renunciation should have been made upon private respondent reaching the age of
elected Philippine citizenship and in effect renounced his American citizenship. Private majority since no law requires the election of Philippine citizenship to be made upon majority age.
respondent's certificate of candidacy, filed on March 27, 1998, contained the following statements
made under oath:
Finally, much is made of the fact that private respondent admitted that he is registered as an
American citizen in the Bureau of Immigration and Deportation and that he holds an American
6. I AM A FILIPINO CITIZEN (STATE IF "NATURAL-BORN" OR "NATURALIZED") NATURAL-BORN passport which he used in his last travel to the United States on April 22, 1997. There is no merit in
xxx xxx xxx this. Until the filing of his certificate of candidacy on March 21, 1998, he had dual citizenship. The
acts attributed to him can be considered simply as the assertion of his American nationality before
10. I AM A REGISTERED VOTER OF PRECINCT NO. 747-A, BARANGAY SAN LORENZO, the termination of his American citizenship. What this Court said in Aznar v. COMELEC 18 applies
CITY/MUNICIPALITY OF MAKATI, PROVINCE OF NCR. mutatis mundatis to private respondent in the case at bar:
11. I AM NOT A PERMANENT RESIDENT OF, OR IMMIGRANT TO, A FOREIGN COUNTRY.
. . . Considering the fact that admittedly Osmeña was both a Filipino and an American, the mere
12. I AM ELIGIBLE FOR THE OFFICE I SEEK TO BE ELECTED. I WILL SUPPORT AND DEFEND THE fact that he has a Certificate staring he is an American does not mean that he is not still a
CONSTITUTION OF THE PHILIPPINES AND WILL MAINTAIN TRUE FAITH AND ALLEGIANCE Filipino. . . . [T]he Certification that he is an American does not mean that he is not still a
THERETO; THAT I WILL OBEY THE LAWS, LEGAL ORDERS AND DECREES PROMULGATED BY THE Filipino, possessed as he is, of both nationalities or citizenships. Indeed, there is no express
DULY CONSTITUTED AUTHORITIES OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES; AND THAT I IMPOSE renunciation here of Philippine citizenship; truth to tell, there is even no implied renunciation of
THIS OBLIGATION UPON MYSELF VOLUNTARILY, WITHOUT MENTAL RESERVATION OR PURPOSE said citizenship. When We consider that the renunciation needed to lose Philippine citizenship
OF EVASION. I HEREBY CERTIFY THAT THE FACTS STATED HEREIN ARE TRUE AND CORRECT OF MY must be "express," it stands to reason that there can be no such loss of Philippine citizenship
OWN PERSONAL KNOWLEDGE. when there is no renunciation, either "express" or "implied."

The filing of such certificate of candidacy sufficed to renounce his American citizenship, effectively To recapitulate, by declaring in his certificate of candidacy that he is a Filipino citizen; that he is not
removing any disqualification he might have as a dual citizen. Thus, in Frivaldo v. COMELEC it was a permanent resident or immigrant of another country; that he will defend and support the
held: 17 Constitution of the Philippines and bear true faith and allegiance thereto and that he does so
without mental reservation, private respondent has, as far as the laws of this country are
It is not disputed that on January 20, 1983 Frivaldo became an American. Would the concerned, effectively repudiated his American citizenship and anything which he may have said
retroactivity of his repatriation not effectively give him dual citizenship, which under Sec. 40 of before as a dual citizen.
the Local Government Code would disqualify him "from running for any elective local position?"
We answer this question in the negative, as there is cogent reason to hold that Frivaldo was On the other hand, private respondent's oath of allegiance to the Philippines, when considered
really STATELESS at the time he took said oath of allegiance and even before that, when he ran with the fact that he has spent his youth and adulthood, received his education, practiced his
for governor in 1988. In his Comment, Frivaldo wrote that he "had long renounced and had long profession as an artist, and taken part in past elections in this country, leaves no doubt of his
abandoned his American citizenship — long before May 8, 1995. At best, Frivaldo was stateless election of Philippine citizenship.
in the interim — when he abandoned and renounced his US citizenship but before he was
repatriated to his Filipino citizenship."
His declarations will be taken upon the faith that he will fulfill his undertaking made under oath.
Should he betray that trust, there are enough sanctions for declaring the loss of his Philippine
On this point, we quote from the assailed Resolution dated December 19, 1995: citizenship through expatriation in appropriate proceedings. In Yu v. Defensor-Santiago, 19 we
sustained the denial of entry into the country of petitioner on the ground that, after taking his
By the laws of the United States, petitioner Frivaldo lost his American citizenship when he oath as a naturalized citizen, he applied for the renewal of his Portuguese passport and declared in
took his oath of allegiance to the Philippine Government when he ran for Governor in 1988, commercial documents executed abroad that he was a Portuguese national. A similar sanction can
in 1992, and in 1995. Every certificate of candidacy contains an oath of allegiance to the be taken against any one who, in electing Philippine citizenship, renounces his foreign nationality,
Philippine Government. but subsequently does some act constituting renunciation of his Philippine citizenship.

WHEREFORE, the petition for certiorari is DISMISSED for lack of merit.


SO ORDERED.
CONFLICT – CHOICE OF LAW – PERSONAL LAW – NATIONALITY – LOSS AND REACQUISITION The citizenship of private respondent was once again raised as an issue when she ran for re-
election as governor of Davao Oriental in the May 11, 1998 elections. Her candidacy was
G.R. No. 137000 August 9, 2000 questioned by the herein petitioner, Cirilo Valles, in SPA No. 98-336.

CIRILO R. VALLES, petitioner, On July 17, 1998, the COMELEC’s First Division came out with a Resolution dismissing the petition,
vs. and disposing as follows:
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and ROSALIND YBASCO LOPEZ, respondents.
"Assuming arguendo that res judicata does not apply and We are to dispose the instant case on
DECISION the merits trying it de novo, the above table definitely shows that petitioner herein has presented
no new evidence to disturb the Resolution of this Commission in SPA No. 95-066. The present
petition merely restates the same matters and incidents already passed upon by this Commission
PURISIMA, J.:
not just in 1995 Resolution but likewise in the Resolution of EPC No. 92-54. Not having put forth
any new evidence and matter substantial in nature, persuasive in character or sufficiently
This is a petition for certiorari under Rule 65, pursuant to Section 2, Rule 64 of the 1997 Rules of provocative to compel reversal of such Resolutions, the dismissal of the present petition follows as
Civil Procedure, assailing Resolutions dated July 17, 1998 and January 15, 1999, respectively, of the a matter of course.
Commission on Elections in SPA No. 98-336, dismissing the petition for disqualification filed by the
herein petitioner, Cirilo R. Valles, against private respondent Rosalind Ybasco Lopez, in the May
xxx xxx xxx
1998 elections for governor of Davao Oriental.

"WHEREFORE, premises considered and there being no new matters and issues tendered, We find
Rosalind Ybasco Lopez was born on May 16, 1934 in Napier Terrace, Broome, Western Australia, to
no convincing reason or impressive explanation to disturb and reverse the Resolutions
the spouses, Telesforo Ybasco, a Filipino citizen and native of Daet, Camarines Norte, and Theresa
promulgated by this Commission in EPC 92-54 and SPA. 95-066. This Commission RESOLVES as it
Marquez, an Australian. In 1949, at the age of fifteen, she left Australia and came to settle in the
hereby RESOLVES to DISMISS the present petition.
Philippines.

SO ORDERED."2
On June 27, 1952, she was married to Leopoldo Lopez, a Filipino citizen, at the Malate Catholic
Church in Manila. Since then, she has continuously participated in the electoral process not only as
a voter but as a candidate, as well. She served as Provincial Board Member of the Sangguniang Petitioner interposed a motion for reconsideration of the aforesaid Resolution but to no avail. The
Panlalawigan of Davao Oriental. In 1992, she ran for and was elected governor of Davao Oriental. same was denied by the COMELEC in its en banc Resolution of January 15, 1999.
Her election was contested by her opponent, Gil Taojo, Jr., in a petition for quo warranto, docketed
as EPC No. 92-54, alleging as ground therefor her alleged Australian citizenship. However, finding Undaunted, petitioner found his way to this Court via the present petition; questioning the
no sufficient proof that respondent had renounced her Philippine citizenship, the Commission on citizenship of private respondent Rosalind Ybasco Lopez.
Elections en banc dismissed the petition, ratiocinating thus:
The Commission on Elections ruled that private respondent Rosalind Ybasco Lopez is a Filipino
"A cursory reading of the records of this case vis-a-vis the impugned resolution shows that citizen and therefore, qualified to run for a public office because (1) her father, Telesforo Ybasco, is
respondent was able to produce documentary proofs of the Filipino citizenship of her late father... a Filipino citizen, and by virtue of the principle of jus sanguinis she was a Filipino citizen under the
and consequently, prove her own citizenship and filiation by virtue of the Principle of Jus Sanguinis, 1987 Philippine Constitution; (2) she was married to a Filipino, thereby making her also a Filipino
the perorations of the petitioner to the contrary notwithstanding. citizen ipso jure under Section 4 of Commonwealth Act 473; (3) and that, she renounced her
Australian citizenship on January 15, 1992 before the Department of Immigration and Ethnic
On the other hand, except for the three (3) alleged important documents . . . no other evidence Affairs of Australia and her Australian passport was accordingly cancelled as certified to by the
substantial in nature surfaced to confirm the allegations of petitioner that respondent is an Australian Embassy in Manila; and (4) furthermore, there are the COMELEC Resolutions in EPC No.
Australian citizen and not a Filipino. Express renunciation of citizenship as a mode of losing 92-54 and SPA Case No. 95-066, declaring her a Filipino citizen duly qualified to run for the elective
citizenship under Commonwealth Act No. 63 is an equivocal and deliberate act with full awareness position of Davao Oriental governor.
of its significance and consequence. The evidence adduced by petitioner are inadequate, nay
meager, to prove that respondent contemplated renunciation of her Filipino citizenship". 1 Petitioner, on the other hand, maintains that the private respondent is an Australian citizen,
placing reliance on the admitted facts that:
In the 1995 local elections, respondent Rosalind Ybasco Lopez ran for re-election as governor of
Davao Oriental. Her opponent, Francisco Rabat, filed a petition for disqualification, docketed as a) In 1988, private respondent registered herself with the Bureau of Immigration as an
SPA No. 95-066 before the COMELEC, First Division, contesting her Filipino citizenship but the said Australian national and was issued Alien Certificate of Registration No. 404695 dated September
petition was likewise dismissed by the COMELEC, reiterating substantially its decision in EPC 92-54. 19, 1988;
b) On even date, she applied for the issuance of an Immigrant Certificate of Residence (ICR), and SEC. 4 xxx all inhabitants of the Philippine Islands continuing to reside therein who were Spanish
subjects on the eleventh day of April, eighteen hundred and ninety-nine, and then resided in the
c) She was issued Australian Passport No. H700888 on March 3, 1988. Philippine Islands, and their children born subsequent thereto, shall be deemed and held to be
citizens of the Philippine Islands and as such entitled to the protection of the United States, except
such as shall have elected to preserve their allegiance to the Crown of Spain in accordance with
Petitioner theorizes that under the aforestated facts and circumstances, the private respondent
the provisions of the treaty of peace between the United States and Spain signed at Paris
had renounced her Filipino citizenship. He contends that in her application for alien certificate of
December tenth, eighteen hundred and ninety-eight. (underscoring ours)
registration and immigrant certificate of residence, private respondent expressly declared under
oath that she was a citizen or subject of Australia; and said declaration forfeited her Philippine
citizenship, and operated to disqualify her to run for elective office. The Jones Law, on the other hand, provides:

As regards the COMELEC’s finding that private respondent had renounced her Australian SEC. 2 That all inhabitants of the Philippine Islands who were Spanish subjects on the eleventh day
citizenship on January 15, 1992 before the Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs of of April, eighteen hundred and ninety-nine, and then resided in said Islands, and their children
Australia and had her Australian passport cancelled on February 11, 1992, as certified to by the born subsequent thereto, shall be deemed and held to be citizens of the Philippine Islands , except
Australian Embassy here in Manila, petitioner argues that the said acts did not automatically such as shall have elected to preserve their allegiance to the Crown of Spain in accordance with
restore the status of private respondent as a Filipino citizen. According to petitioner, for the private the provisions of the treaty of peace between the United States and Spain, signed at Paris
respondent to reacquire Philippine citizenship she must comply with the mandatory requirements December tenth, eighteen hundred and ninety-eight, and except such others as have since become
for repatriation under Republic Act 8171; and the election of private respondent to public office citizens of some other country: Provided, That the Philippine Legislature, herein provided for, is
did not mean the restoration of her Filipino citizenship since the private respondent was not legally hereby authorized to provide by law for the acquisition of Philippine citizenship by those natives of
repatriated. Coupled with her alleged renunciation of Australian citizenship, private respondent the Philippine Islands who cannot come within the foregoing provisions, the natives of the insular
has effectively become a stateless person and as such, is disqualified to run for a public office in possessions of the United States, and such other persons residing in the Philippine Islands who are
the Philippines; petitioner concluded. citizens of the United States, or who could become citizens of the United States under the laws of
the United States if residing therein. (underscoring ours)
Petitioner theorizes further that the Commission on Elections erred in applying the principle of res
judicata to the case under consideration; citing the ruling in Moy Ya Lim Yao vs. Commissioner of Under both organic acts, all inhabitants of the Philippines who were Spanish subjects on April 11,
Immigration,3 that: 1899 and resided therein including their children are deemed to be Philippine citizens. Private
respondent’s father, Telesforo Ybasco, was born on January 5, 1879 in Daet, Camarines Norte, a
fact duly evidenced by a certified true copy of an entry in the Registry of Births. Thus, under the
"xxx Everytime the citizenship of a person is material or indispensable in a judicial or
Philippine Bill of 1902 and the Jones Law, Telesforo Ybasco was deemed to be a Philippine citizen.
administrative case, whatever the corresponding court or administrative authority decides therein
By virtue of the same laws, which were the laws in force at the time of her birth, Telesforo’s
as to such citizenship is generally not considered as res adjudicata, hence it has to be threshed out
daughter, herein private respondent Rosalind Ybasco Lopez, is likewise a citizen of the Philippines.
again and again as the occasion may demand. xxx"

The signing into law of the 1935 Philippine Constitution has established the principle of jus
The petition is unmeritorious.
sanguinis as basis for the acquisition of Philippine citizenship, to wit:

The Philippine law on citizenship adheres to the principle of jus sanguinis. Thereunder, a child
(1) Those who are citizens of the Philippine Islands at the time of the adoption of this
follows the nationality or citizenship of the parents regardless of the place of his/her birth, as
Constitution.
opposed to the doctrine of jus soli which determines nationality or citizenship on the basis of place
of birth.
(2) Those born in the Philippine Islands of foreign parents who, before the adoption of this
Constitution had been elected to public office in the Philippine Islands.
Private respondent Rosalind Ybasco Lopez was born on May 16, 1934 in Napier Terrace, Broome,
Western Australia, to the spouses, Telesforo Ybasco, a Filipino citizen and native of Daet,
Camarines Norte, and Theresa Marquez, an Australian. Historically, this was a year before the 1935 (3) Those whose fathers are citizens of the Philippines.
Constitution took into effect and at that time, what served as the Constitution of the Philippines
were the principal organic acts by which the United States governed the country. These were the (4) Those whose mothers are citizens of the Philippines and, upon reaching the age of majority,
Philippine Bill of July 1, 1902 and the Philippine Autonomy Act of August 29, 1916, also known as elect Philippine citizenship.
the Jones Law.
(5) Those who are naturalized in accordance with law.
Among others, these laws defined who were deemed to be citizens of the Philippine islands. The
Philippine Bill of 1902 defined Philippine citizens as:
So also, the principle of jus sanguinis, which confers citizenship by virtue of blood relationship, was Thus, the mere fact that private respondent Rosalind Ybasco Lopez was a holder of an Australian
subsequently retained under the 1973 4 and 19875 Constitutions. Thus, the herein private passport and had an alien certificate of registration are not acts constituting an effective
respondent, Rosalind Ybasco Lopez, is a Filipino citizen, having been born to a Filipino father. The renunciation of citizenship and do not militate against her claim of Filipino citizenship. For
fact of her being born in Australia is not tantamount to her losing her Philippine citizenship. If renunciation to effectively result in the loss of citizenship, the same must be express. 8 As held by
Australia follows the principle of jus soli, then at most, private respondent can also claim Australian this court in the aforecited case of Aznar, an application for an alien certificate of registration does
citizenship resulting to her possession of dual citizenship. not amount to an express renunciation or repudiation of one’s citizenship. The application of the
herein private respondent for an alien certificate of registration, and her holding of an Australian
Petitioner also contends that even on the assumption that the private respondent is a Filipino passport, as in the case of Mercado vs. Manzano, were mere acts of assertion of her Australian
citizen, she has nonetheless renounced her Philippine citizenship. To buttress this contention, citizenship before she effectively renounced the same. Thus, at the most, private respondent had
petitioner cited private respondent’s application for an Alien Certificate of Registration (ACR) and dual citizenship - she was an Australian and a Filipino, as well.
Immigrant Certificate of Residence (ICR), on September 19, 1988, and the issuance to her of an
Australian passport on March 3, 1988. Moreover, under Commonwealth Act 63, the fact that a child of Filipino parent/s was born in
another country has not been included as a ground for losing one’s Philippine citizenship. Since
Under Commonwealth Act No. 63, a Filipino citizen may lose his citizenship: private respondent did not lose or renounce her Philippine citizenship, petitioner’s claim that
respondent must go through the process of repatriation does not hold water.
(1) By naturalization in a foreign country;
Petitioner also maintains that even on the assumption that the private respondent had dual
citizenship, still, she is disqualified to run for governor of Davao Oriental; citing Section 40 of
(2) By express renunciation of citizenship;
Republic Act 7160 otherwise known as the Local Government Code of 1991, which states:

(3) By subscribing to an oath of allegiance to support the constitution or laws of a foreign


"SEC. 40. Disqualifications. The following persons are disqualified from running for any elective
country upon attaining twenty-one years of age or more;
local position:

(4) By accepting commission in the military, naval or air service of a foreign country;
xxx xxx xxx

(5) By cancellation of the certificate of naturalization;


(d) Those with dual citizenship;

(6) By having been declared by competent authority, a deserter of the Philippine armed forces in
xxx xxx xxx
time of war, unless subsequently, a plenary pardon or amnesty has been granted: and

Again, petitioner’s contention is untenable.


(7) In case of a woman, upon her marriage, to a foreigner if, by virtue of the laws in force in her
husband’s country, she acquires his nationality.
In the aforecited case of Mercado vs. Manzano, the Court clarified "dual citizenship" as used in the
Local Government Code and reconciled the same with Article IV, Section 5 of the 1987 Constitution
In order that citizenship may be lost by renunciation, such renunciation must be express.
on dual allegiance.9 Recognizing situations in which a Filipino citizen may, without performing any
Petitioner’s contention that the application of private respondent for an alien certificate of
act, and as an involuntary consequence of the conflicting laws of different countries, be also a
registration, and her Australian passport, is bereft of merit. This issue was put to rest in the case of
citizen of another state, the Court explained that dual citizenship as a disqualification must refer to
Aznar vs. COMELEC6 and in the more recent case of Mercado vs. Manzano and COMELEC.7
citizens with dual allegiance. The Court succinctly pronounced:

In the case of Aznar, the Court ruled that the mere fact that respondent Osmena was a holder of a
"xxx the phrase ‘dual citizenship’ in R.A. No. 7160, xxx 40 (d) and in R.A. No. 7854, xxx 20 must be
certificate stating that he is an American did not mean that he is no longer a Filipino, and that an
understood as referring to ‘dual allegiance’. Consequently, persons with mere dual citizenship do
application for an alien certificate of registration was not tantamount to renunciation of his
not fall under this disqualification."
Philippine citizenship.

Thus, the fact that the private respondent had dual citizenship did not automatically disqualify her
And, in Mercado vs. Manzano and COMELEC, it was held that the fact that respondent Manzano
from running for a public office. Furthermore, it was ruled that for candidates with dual
was registered as an American citizen in the Bureau of Immigration and Deportation and was
citizenship, it is enough that they elect Philippine citizenship upon the filing of their certificate of
holding an American passport on April 22, 1997, only a year before he filed a certificate of
candidacy, to terminate their status as persons with dual citizenship. 10 The filing of a certificate of
candidacy for vice-mayor of Makati, were just assertions of his American nationality before the
candidacy sufficed to renounce foreign citizenship, effectively removing any disqualification as a
termination of his American citizenship.
dual citizen.11 This is so because in the certificate of candidacy, one declares that he/she is a
Filipino citizen and that he/she will support and defend the Constitution of the Philippines and will SO ORDERED.
maintain true faith and allegiance thereto. Such declaration, which is under oath, operates as an
effective renunciation of foreign citizenship. Therefore, when the herein private respondent filed
her certificate of candidacy in 1992, such fact alone terminated her Australian citizenship.

Then, too, it is significant to note that on January 15 1992, private respondent executed a
Declaration of Renunciation of Australian Citizenship, duly registered in the Department of
Immigration and Ethnic Affairs of Australia on May 12, 1992. And, as a result, on February 11,
1992, the Australian passport of private respondent was cancelled, as certified to by Second
Secretary Richard F. Munro of the Embassy of Australia in Manila. As aptly appreciated by the
COMELEC, the aforesaid acts were enough to settle the issue of the alleged dual citizenship of
Rosalind Ybasco Lopez. Since her renunciation was effective, petitioner’s claim that private
respondent must go through the whole process of repatriation holds no water.

Petitioner maintains further that when citizenship is raised as an issue in judicial or administrative
proceedings, the resolution or decision thereon is generally not considered res judicata in any
subsequent proceeding challenging the same; citing the case of Moy Ya Lim Yao vs. Commissioner
of Immigration.12 He insists that the same issue of citizenship may be threshed out anew.

Petitioner is correct insofar as the general rule is concerned, i.e. the principle of res judicata
generally does not apply in cases hinging on the issue of citizenship. However, in the case of Burca
vs. Republic,13 an exception to this general rule was recognized. The Court ruled in that case that in
order that the doctrine of res judicata may be applied in cases of citizenship, the following must be
present:

1) a person’s citizenship be raised as a material issue in a controversy where said person is a


party;

2) the Solicitor General or his authorized representative took active part in the resolution
thereof, and

3) the finding on citizenship is affirmed by this Court.

Although the general rule was set forth in the case of Moy Ya Lim Yao, the case did not foreclose
the weight of prior rulings on citizenship. It elucidated that reliance may somehow be placed on
these antecedent official findings, though not really binding, to make the effort easier or simpler. 14
Indeed, there appears sufficient basis to rely on the prior rulings of the Commission on Elections in
SPA. No. 95-066 and EPC 92-54 which resolved the issue of citizenship in favor of the herein private
respondent. The evidence adduced by petitioner is substantially the same evidence presented in
these two prior cases. Petitioner failed to show any new evidence or supervening event to warrant
a reversal of such prior resolutions. However, the procedural issue notwithstanding, considered on
the merits, the petition cannot prosper.

WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DISMISSED and the COMELEC Resolutions, dated July 17, 1998
and January 15, 1999, respectively, in SPA No. 98-336 AFFIRMED.

Private respondent Rosalind Ybasco Lopez is hereby adjudged qualified to run for governor of
Davao Oriental. No pronouncement as to costs.
CONFLICT – CHOICE OF LAW – PERSONAL LAW – NATIONALITY – LOSS AND REACQUISITION Petitioner filed his compliance with the resolution of 15 December 1988 on 20 December 1988 16
followed by an earnest request for temporary release on 22 December 1988. Respondent filed on
G.R. No. L-83882 January 24, 1989
2 January 1989 her comment reiterating her previous motion to lift temporary restraining order.
IN RE PETITION FOR HABEAS CORPUS OF WILLIE YU, petitioner, Petitioner filed a reply thereto on 6 January 1989.
vs.
Petitioner's own compliance reveals that he was originally issued a Portuguese passport in 1971, 17
MIRIAM DEFENSOR-SANTIAGO, BIENVENIDO P. ALANO, JR., MAJOR PABALAN, DELEO
valid for five (5) years and renewed for the same period upon presentment before the proper
HERNANDEZ, BLODDY HERNANDEZ, BENNY REYES and JUN ESPIRITU SANTO, respondent.
Portuguese consular officer. Despite his naturalization as a Philippine citizen on 10 February 1978,
PADILLA, J.: on 21 July 1981, petitioner applied for and was issued Portuguese Passport No. 35/81 serial N.
1517410 by the Consular Section of the Portuguese Embassy in Tokyo. Said Consular Office
The present controversy originated with a petition for habeas corpus filed with the Court on 4 July certifies that his Portuguese passport expired on 20 July 1986. 18 While still a citizen of the
1988 seeking the release from detention of herein petitioner. 1 After manifestation and motion of Philippines who had renounced, upon his naturalization, "absolutely and forever all allegiance and
the Solicitor General of his decision to refrain from filing a return of the writ on behalf of the CID, fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state or sovereignty" and pledged to "maintain true faith
respondent Commissioner thru counsel filed the return. 2 Counsel for the parties were heard in and allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines," 19 he declared his nationality as Portuguese in
oral argument on 20 July 1988. The parties were allowed to submit marked exhibits, and to file commercial documents he signed, specifically, the Companies registry of Tai Shun Estate Ltd. 20
memoranda. 3 An internal resolution of 7 November 1988 referred the case to the Court en banc. filed in Hongkong sometime in April 1980.
In its 10 November 1988 resolution, denying the petition for habeas corpus, the Court disposed of
the pending issues of (1) jurisdiction of the CID over a naturalized Filipino citizen and (2) validity of To the mind of the Court, the foregoing acts considered together constitute an express
warrantless arrest and detention of the same person. renunciation of petitioner's Philippine citizenship acquired through naturalization. In Board of
Immigration Commissioners us, Go Gallano, 21 express renunciation was held to mean a
Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration with prayer for restraining order dated 24 November renunciation that is made known distinctly and explicitly and not left to inference or implication.
1988. 4 On 29 November 1988, the Court resolved to deny with finality the aforesaid motion for Petitioner, with full knowledge, and legal capacity, after having renounced Portuguese citizenship
reconsideration, and further resolved to deny the urgent motion for issuance of a restraining order upon naturalization as a Philippine citizen 22 resumed or reacquired his prior status as a Portuguese
dated 28 November 1988. 5 citizen, applied for a renewal of his Portuguese passport 23 and represented himself as such in
official documents even after he had become a naturalized Philippine citizen. Such resumption or
Undaunted, petitioner filed a motion for clarification with prayer for restraining order on 5 reacquisition of Portuguese citizenship is grossly inconsistent with his maintenance of Philippine
December 1988. citizenship.
Acting on said motion, a temporary restraining order was issued by the Court on 7 December This Court issued the aforementioned TRO pending hearings with the Board of Special Inquiry, CID.
1988. 6 Respondent Commissioner filed a motion to lift TRO on 13 December 1988, the basis of However, pleadings submitted before this Court after the issuance of said TRO have unequivocally
which is a summary judgment of deportation against Yu issued by the CID Board of Commissioners shown that petitioner has expressly renounced his Philippine citizenship. The material facts are not
on 2 December 1988. 7 Petitioner also filed a motion to set case for oral argument on 8 December only established by the pleadings — they are not disputed by petitioner. A rehearing on this point
1988. with the CID would be unnecessary and superfluous. Denial, if any, of due process was obviated
when petitioner was given by the Court the opportunity to show proof of continued Philippine
In the meantime, an urgent motion for release from arbitrary detention 8 was filed by petitioner on
citizenship, but he has failed.
13 December 1988. A memorandum in furtherance of said motion for release dated 14 December
1988 was filed on 15 December 1988 together with a vigorous opposition to the lifting of the TRO. While normally the question of whether or not a person has renounced his Philippine citizenship
should be heard before a trial court of law in adversary proceedings, this has become unnecessary
The lifting of the Temporary Restraining Order issued by the Court on 7 December 1988 is urgently
as this Court, no less, upon the insistence of petitioner, had to look into the facts and satisfy itself
sought by respondent Commissioner who was ordered to cease and desist from immediately
on whether or not petitioner's claim to continued Philippine citizenship is meritorious.
deporting petitioner Yu pending the conclusion of hearings before the Board of Special Inquiry,
CID. To finally dispose of the case, the Court will likewise rule on petitioner's motion for Philippine citizenship, it must be stressed, is not a commodity or were to be displayed when
clarification with prayer for restraining order dated 5 December 1988, 9 urgent motion for release required and suppressed when convenient. This then resolves adverse to the petitioner his motion
from arbitrary detention dated 13 December 1988, 10 the memorandum in furtherance of said for clarification and other motions mentioned in the second paragraph, page 3 of this Decision.
motion for release dated 14 December 1988, 11 motion to set case for oral argument dated 8
December 1988. 12 WHEREFORE, premises considered, petitioner's motion for release from detention is DENIED.
Respondent's motion to lift the temporary restraining order is GRANTED. This Decision is
Acting on the motion to lift the temporary restraining order (issued on 7 December 1988) dated 9 immediately executory.
December 1988, 13 and the vigorous opposition to lift restraining order dated 15 December 1988, 14
the Court resolved to give petitioner Yu a non-extendible period of three (3) days from notice SO ORDERED.
within which to explain and prove why he should still be considered a citizen of the Philippines
despite his acquisition and use of a Portuguese passport.15
CONFLICT – CHOICE OF LAW – PERSONAL LAW – NATIONALITY – LOSS AND REACQUISITION Notwithstanding the above finding and conclusion, however, the Court dismissed the case holding
that "the petitioners are citizens of the Republic of China and not being properly documented for
G.R. No. L-24530 October 31, 1968 entry into the Philippines as found by the Immigration Commissioner, the writ of preliminary
injunction heretofore issued by this Court shall be deemed dissolved upon finality of this decision."
The grounds upon which the Court based its decision were: (1) because petitioners stayed in China
BOARD OF IMMIGRATION COMMISSIONERS and COMMISSIONER OF IMMIGRATION, petitioners,
for a period of fifteen years before returning to the Philippines, they must be considered as citizens
vs.
of the Chinese Republic; (2) as petitioners were recognized by their alien father as his children,
BEATO GO CALLANO, MANUEL GO CALLANO, GONZALO GO CALLANO, JULIO GO CALLANO and
they became Chinese citizens under the Chinese law of nationality. While the Court also found that
THE COURT OF APPEALS, respondents.
the cable authorization mentioned heretofore was a forgery, it held that, for the purpose of the
petition before it, "it was immaterial to determine the genuineness or falsity of the cable
DIZON, J.: authorization. For if the petitioners are Filipino citizens, they are entitled to remain within the
territorial jurisdiction of the Republic in whatever way they might have entered."
On July 13, 1962, the Department of Foreign Affairs informed the Commissioner of Immigration
that, on the basis of the findings made by the National Bureau of Investigation, the signatures of After the denial of herein respondents' motion for re-consideration, they appealed to the Court of
former Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Felixberto M. Serrano, on certain documents, amongst them Appeals where they raised the following issues: (a) that being Filipino citizens by birth, they did not
cable authorization No. 2230-V (File No. 23617) authorizing the documentation of Beato Go lose their citizenship nor acquire Chinese citizenship, neither by their prolonged stay in China nor
Callano and others, were not authentic. Thereupon, the Department declared several documents by their alleged recognition by their Chinese father, and (b) that the cablegram authorization was
among them the cable authorization just mentioned to be null, void and of no effect, and the not a forgery.
documentation made by the Philippine Consulate General at Hongkong pursuant to said cable
authorization consisting of the certificates of registration and identity issued to Beato Go Callano
In due time the Court of Appeals rendered the decision now under review by certiorari, reversing
and his brothers Manuel, Gonzalo and Julio for travel to the Philippines were cancelled. All this was
that of the lower court.
done without previous notice served nor hearing granted to said parties.

Like the court of origin, the Court of Appeals found that herein respondents were the illegitimate
On August 21 of the same year, the Board of Immigration Commissioners, exercising its power of
children of Go Chiao Lin, a Chinese citizen, and Emilia Callano, a Filipino citizen, who started living
review under Section 27 (b) of Commonwealth Act No. 613, as amended, issued, also without any
maritally in Malitbog, Leyte, in 1934; that out of their illegitimate union were born the following:
previous notice and hearing, an order reversing the decision of the Board of Special Inquiry dated
Beato, in Sugod, Leyte, on September 28, 1936; Manuel, in Libagon, Leyte, on June 17, 1941;
January 4, 1962, admitting Beato and his three brothers for entry as citizens; ordering their
Gonzalo, in Malitbog, Leyte, on April 17, 1943, and Julio in Malitbog, Leyte, on January 31, 1945.
exclusion as aliens not properly documented for admission pursuant to Section 27 (a) (17) of the
The Court of Appeals also found that in 1946, Go Chiao Lin, Emilia and their four sons went to
Philippine Immigration Act of 1940, as amended, and ordering that they be returned to the port
Amoy, China, on vacation, but Go died there the same year. In 1948, Emilia had to return to the
whence they came or to the country of which they were nationals, upon the ground that they had
Philippines as the maid of Consul Eutiquio Sta. Romana because she was penniless, leaving her
been able "to enter this country and gain admission as Filipino citizens by the fraudulently secured
children behind. Subsequently the latter were able to go to Hongkong, where they sought and
authorization." On the same date (August 21, 1962) the Commissioner of Immigration issued a
obtained employment. In 1961, they applied with the Philippine Consul General in Hongkong for
warrant of exclusion commanding the deportation officer "to carry out the exclusion of the above-
entry into the Philippines as Filipino citizens. On December 12 of that year, the Consulate received
named applicants (the Go Callano brothers) on the first available transportation and on the same
a cablegram from the Department of Foreign Affairs authorizing it to investigate whether the
class of accommodation in which they arrived to the port whence they came or to the country of
petitioners for entry were the illegitimate children of Emilia Callano a Filipino citizen, and, if
which they are nationals."
satisfied, after a thorough screening, to issue the corresponding document certifying that they
were Filipino citizens. The Consulate made thereafter the appropriate investigation, and on the
The warrant of exclusion, for one reason or another, was not served immediately upon the parties basis of evidence presented consisting of the sworn statements of the applicants, their birth
ordered deported, who, on November 16, 1962, filed in the Court of First Instance of Manila an certificates and blood test reports, said office issued late that month a certificate of registration
action for injunction to restrain the Board of Immigration Commissioners and the Commissioner of and identity to the effect that the applicant had submitted sufficient evidence of their citizenship
Immigration from executing the order of exclusion or deportation already mentioned. They based and identity and had been allowed to register in the Consulate as Filipino citizens and to travel
their action on the following grounds: (1) that the Board had no jurisdiction to exclude them from directly to the Philippines.
the Philippines because they were not aliens but Filipino citizens, and (2) that the order of
exclusion was issued by the Board without due process and in violation of the Constitution.
On December 26 of the same year 1961, they arrived in Manila by plane from Hongkong. As the
Months later, the Court of First Instance issued a writ of preliminary injunction restraining the
Immigration Inspector at the airport was of the opinion that their travel documents did not
respondents in the case from deporting the petitioners. After trial, the Court rendered judgment
constitute conclusive proof of citizenship, he referred their case to the Board of Special Inquiry No.
finding that, according to petitioners' undisputed evidence, "the petitioners herein are the
2. Thereupon the latter conducted an investigation at which the respondents presented oral and
illegitimate children of Emilia Callano, a Filipino citizen, with her common-law husband — a
documentary evidence to sustain their right to admission as Filipinos (Exhs. B, D, E and H; pp. 93-
Chinese citizen," and concluding that "until the petitioners left for China in 1947, they must be
98; 99-100; 101-102; 104 of the Record). Upon these evidence, the Board on January 4, 1962,
considered as citizens of the Philippines as they were born of a Filipino mother and an alien father
promulgated a decision finding the Go Callano brothers to be the illegitimate children of Emilia
who, however, was not married to their mother."
Callano, a Filipino citizen, and entitled to admission, as they were in fact admitted, as Filipino Even if the competent proofs were presented showing that the questioned signature is a forgery,
citizens. the forgery of the signature on the cable authorization would not have nullified the
documentation of the petitioners by the consulate in Hongkong. We were not cited to any
That Go Chiao Lin, a Chinese citizen, and Emilia Callano a Filipino, lived maritally in several specific rule or regulation of the Department of Foreign Affairs stating that the prior
municipalities of Leyte since 1934 and that out of their union the four private respondents were authorization of this Department is necessary before the consular official abroad can act in
born, are facts found, after appropriate proceedings, first, by the Philippine Consulate General in documentation cases. On the other hand, as per resolution of the Cabinet of August 24, 1948,
Hongkong; second, by the Board of Special Inquiry who investigated their case in Manila upon the President suggested and the Cabinet "resolved to restore the prewar practice of entrusting
their arrival thereat in 1961; third, by the Court of First Instance of Manila, and lastly, by the Court to our respective consular officials abroad the duty of receiving all visa applications and
of Appeals. These facts, according to well settled jurisprudence, are not reviewable by Us in this investigating the qualifications of the applicants." (cited in Espina, Immigration Laws, 1956 Ed.,
appeal by certiorari. p. 142.) It is evident from the aforequoted resolution that the Executive branch of the
Government intended that the right to screen applicants for entry into this country should be
lodged in the consular officials abroad. Giving effect to this intention, the Supreme Court stated
In this appeal, the Board of Immigration Commissioners and the Commissioner of Immigration
in Ng Gioc Lin vs. The Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs , G.R. No. L-2175, March 31,
maintain the following propositions: (1) that, in view of the fact that the cable authorization
1950, "that although the foreign service has been placed under the over-all direction and
referred to heretofore is a forgery, all the proceedings had in connection therewith are void and, as
supervision of the Department of Foreign Affairs by Executive Order No. 18 (42 Off. Gaz., 2064),
a result, the private respondents must be deported as aliens not properly documented; (2) that,
this does not necessarily mean that the Department Secretary takes the place of the consular
granting that they were Filipino citizens when they left the Philippines in 1946, they lost that
officers abroad in the matter of the issuance of passport visas, for the Secretary cannot relieve
citizenship, firstly, by staying in China for a period of fifteen years, and secondly, because they were
those officers of their responsibility under the law. ... The reason of the law in conferring upon
recognized by their common-law father, they became citizens of the Republic of China in
the consuls themselves the duty and power to grant passports and visas is obvious. The
accordance with the Chinese Nationality Law.
applicant for visa is in a foreign country and the Philippine consular officer there is naturally in a
better position than the home office to determine through investigation conducted on the spot
The Court of First Instance of Manila declared the cablegram authorization a forgery on the whether or not the said applicant is qualified to enter the Philippines." It can be deduced from
strength of the testimony of Mr. Logan — a handwriting expert. This finding, however, was the foregoing that the documentation of the petitioners in Hongkong was not vitiated by a
reversed by the Court of Appeals, the pertinent portion of its decision being the following: substantial defect even assuming that it was done without prior authorization from the Foreign
Affairs Department.
The next question raised by the petitioners-appellants is whether the Government has
satisfactorily proved that the signature of the Secretary of Foreign Affairs on the cable It must be stated in this connection that the petitioners became Philippine citizens because of
authorization, Exhibit 1, is a forgery. Felipe P. Logan, chief of the questioned documents division their relation with their mother who is a Filipino. Their status was conferred on them neither by
of the National Bureau of Investigation, testified that he made a comparative examination of the the documentation by the consulate in Hongkong nor by the finding of the Board of Special
signature of the Department Secretary on Exhibit 1 and the signatures of the same official on Inquiry in Manila. Consequently, whatever defects there are in the proceedings before the
the detail orders, Exhibits 3-G to 3-L, and from the significant differences in the writing consulate and the board of inquiry cannot affect their status. Therefore, even assuming that the
characteristics which he observed and concluded that the signature on Exhibit 1 was not written petitioners were not properly documented, there is no basis for the finding of the respondent
by the Department Secretary. Board that they are aliens who can be excluded.

Before it can be said that the questioned signature is a forgery there must be competent proof Due, therefore, to the pronouncement made by the Court of Appeals regarding the insufficiency of
that the specimens are the genuine signature of the Secretary. According to witness, Logan, he the evidence presented by herein petitioners to prove the alleged forgery — again, a matter not
knows that the signatures on the detail orders are genuine "because they were submitted to me now within our power to review — the questioned cablegram must be deemed to be authentic.
by an agent who took them from the files of the Department of Foreign Affairs" (p. 52, But be that as it may, we agree with both the Court of First Instance of origin and the Court of
transcript). The foregoing testimony of the witness does not prove the genuineness of the Appeals that, even assuming that said document was forged, this would not automatically render
specimen signatures, more so because the agent who allegedly took the detail others from the void all the proceedings had before the Philippine Consulate in Hongkong and the Board of Special
files of the Foreign Affairs Department was not presented as a witness. The NBI expert Inquiry, both of which ended with a definite finding that the Callanos were Filipino citizens. That
concluded, from his observation that there are significant differences between the questioned these proceedings and finding can not be nullified by the Department of Foreign Affairs summarily
signature and the specimen signatures on the detail orders, that the former is a forgery. But the and without giving the parties concerned an opportunity to be heard is too evident to require any
conclusion is stultified by the admission of the same witness that even between the specimen demonstration.
signatures there are variations in the handwriting characteristics of the signatory (p. 24,
transcript). Our appreciation of the evidence showed that there are variations indeed between
To the other questions relied upon by herein petitioners, the following portions of the decision of
the specimen signatures (Exhibits S-1 to S-5); there are distinct similarities even between the
the Court of Appeals would seem to be sufficient answer:
questioned signature and the specimen signatures (cf. Q-5, S-4 and S-5). Upon the evidence
presented by the Government, it cannot be said that the forgery of the questioned signature has
been satisfactorily proven. The question, whether petitioners who are admittedly Filipino citizens at birth subsequently
acquired Chinese citizenship under the Chinese Law of Nationality by reason of recognition or a
prolonged stay in China, is a fit subject for the Chinese law and the Chinese court to determine, Lasty, petitioners claim that the private respondents are barred from questioning the decision of
which cannot be resolved by a Philippine court without encroaching on the legal system of the Board of Immigration Commissioners dated August 21, 1962 and the warrant of exclusion
China. For, the settled rule of international law, affirmed by the Hague Convention on Conflict of issued by the Commissioner of Immigration on the same date, because they did not appeal from
Nationality Laws of April 12, 1930 and by the International Court of Justice, is that "Any question either to the Secretary of Justice.
as to whether a person possesses the nationality of a particular state should be determined in
accordance with laws of that state ." (quoted in Salonga, Private International Law, 1957 Ed., p. We find this to be without merit for the reason that, as stated before, both orders were issued
112.) There was no necessity of deciding that question because so far as concerns the without previous notice and hearing and were, therefore, in violation of due process. As a matter
petitioners' status, the only question in this proceeding is: Did the petitioners lose their of fact, even in the case of an alien,decisions of the Board of Immigration Commissioners, like that
Philippine citizenship upon the performance of certain acts or the happening of certain events in of any other administrative body, do not constitute res judicata so as to bar a re-examination of
China? In deciding this question no foreign law can be applied. The petitioners are admittedly the alien's right to enter or stay (Ong Se Lun, et al. vs. Board of Immigration, G.R. No. L-6017,
Filipino citizens at birth, and their status must be governed by Philippine law wherever they may September 16, 1954), and the courts can grant relief if said Board abused its powers, or committed
be, in conformity with Article 15 (formerly Article 9) of the Civil Code which provides as follows: serious legal errors, or denied the alien a fair hearing (Lao Tang Bun vs. Fabre, 81 Phil. 682).
"Laws relating to family rights and duties, or to the status, conditions and legal capacity of
persons are binding upon citizens of the Philippines, even though living abroad." Under Article
WHEREFORE, the decision under review is hereby affirmed, with costs. It is so ordered.
IV, Section 2, of the Philippine Constitution, "Philippine citizenship may be lost or reacquired in
the manner provided by law," which implies that the question of whether a Filipino has lost his
Philippine citizenship shall be determined by no other than the Philippine law.

Section 1 of Commonwealth Act No. 63, as amended by Republic Act No. 106, provides that a
Filipino citizen may lose his citizenship by naturalization in a foreign country; express
renunciation of citizenship; subscribing to an oath of allegiance to support the constitution or
laws of a foreign country; rendering service to, or accepting a commission in, the armed forces
of a foreign country; cancellation of the certificate of naturalization; declaration by competent
authority that he is a deserter of the Philippine armed forces in time of war; in the case of a
woman by marriage to a foreigner if, by virtue of laws in force in her husband's country, she
acquires his nationality. Recognition of the petitioners by their alien father is not among the
ground for losing Philippine citizenship under Philippine law, and it cannot be said that the
petitioners lost their former status by reason of such recognition. About the only mode of losing
Philippine citizenship which closely bears on the petitioners is renunciation. But even
renunciation cannot be cited in support of the conclusion that petition lost their Philippine
citizenship because the law requires an express renunciation which means a renunciation that is
made known distinctly and explicitly and not left to inference or implication; a renunciation
manifested by direct and appropriate language, as distinguished from that which is inferred
from conduct. (Opinion No. 69 of the Secretary of Justice, Series of 1940.) Indeed, as the
Supreme Court held in U.S. v. Ong Tianse, 29 Phil. 332, a case for deportation, where Ong, a
natural child of a Filipino mother and a Chinese father, born in the Philippines, was brought by
his parents to China when he was 4 years old, where he remained for 18 or 19 years, returning
to the Philippines at 25 years of age, "The fact that a minor child in those conditions was taken
to China and remained there for several years is not sufficient ground upon which to hold that
he has changed his nationality, when, after reaching his majority, he did not express his desire to
choose the nationality of his father." The import of the foregoing pronouncement is that of itself
a protracted stay in a foreign country does not amount to renunciation. Moreover, herein
petitioners were all minors when they where brought to China in 1446. They were without legal
capacity to renounce their status. Upon their return to the Philippines only Beato Go Callano
had attained the age of majority, but even as to him there could not have been renunciation
because he did not manifest by direct and appropriate language that he was disclaiming
Philippine citizenship. On the contrary, after he has attained the age of majority, he applied for
registration as a Philippine citizen and sought entry into this country, which are clear indicia of
his intent to continue his former status. The foregoing shows that the petitioners have not lost
their Philippine citizenship.
CONFLICT – CHOICE OF LAW – PERSONAL LAW – NATIONALITY – DUAL CITIZENSHIP On January 8, 2008,6 the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor issued its Resolution 7 finding probable
cause to indict petitioner for violation of Article 172 of the RPC and recommending the filing of the
G.R. No. 199113 corresponding information in court. Petitioner challenged the said resolution in a petition for
review he filed before the Department of Justice (DOJ).
RENATO M. DAVID, Petitioner,
vs. On June 3, 2008, the CENRO issued an order rejecting petitioner’s MLA. It ruled that petitioner’s
EDITHA A. AGBAY and PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondents. subsequent re-acquisition of Philippine citizenship did not cure the defect in his MLA which was
void ab initio.8
DECISION
In the meantime, on July 26, 2010, the petition for review filed by petitioner was denied by the
DOJ which held that the presence of the elements of the crime of falsification of public document
VILLARAMA, JR., J.:
suffices to warrant indictment of the petitioner notwithstanding the absence of any proof that he
gained or intended to injure a third person in committing the act of falsification. 9 Consequently, an
This is a petition for review under Rule 45 seeking to reverse the Order1 dated October 8, 2011 of information for Falsification of Public Document was filed before the MTC (Criminal Case No. 2012)
the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Pinamalayan, Oriental Mindoro, which denied the petition for and a warrant of arrest was issued against the petitioner.
certiorari filed by Renato(petitioner)M. David. Petitioner assailed the Order 2 dated March 22, 2011
of the Municipal Trial Court (MTC) of Socorro, Oriental Mindoro denying his motion for
On February 11, 2011, after the filing of the Information and before his arrest, petitioner filed an
redetermination of probable cause.
Urgent Motion for Re-Determination of Probable Cause 10 in the MTC. Interpreting the provisions of
the law relied upon by petitioner, the said court denied the motion, holding that R.A. 9225 makes
The factual antecedents: a distinction between those who became foreign citizens during its effectivity, and those who lost
their Philippine citizenship before its enactment when the governing law was Commonwealth Act
In 1974, petitioner migrated to Canada where he became a Canadian citizen by naturalization. No. 6311 (CA 63). Since the crime for which petitioner was charged was alleged and admitted to
Upon their retirement, petitioner and his wife returned to the Philippines. Sometime in 2000, they have been committed on April 12, 2007 before he had re- acquired his Philippine citizenship, the
purchased a 600-square meter lot along the beach in Tambong, Gloria, Oriental Mindoro where MTC concluded that petitioner was at that time still a Canadian citizen. Thus, the MTC ordered:
they constructed a residential house. However, in the year 2004, they came to know that the
portion where they built their house is public land and part of the salvage zone. WHEREFORE, for lack of jurisdiction over the person of the accused, and for lack of merit, the
motion is DENIED.
On April 12, 2007, petitioner filed a Miscellaneous Lease Application 3 (MLA) over the subject land
with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) at the Community SO ORDERED.12
Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) in Socorro. In the said application, petitioner
indicated that he is a Filipino citizen.
In his motion for reconsideration,13 petitioner questioned the foregoing order denying him relief on
the ground of lack of jurisdiction and insisted that the issue raised is purely legal. He argued that
Private respondent Editha A. Agbay opposed the application on the ground that petitioner, a since his application had yet to receive final evaluation and action by the DENR Region IV-B office
Canadian citizen, is disqualified to own land. She also filed a criminal complaint for falsification of in Manila, it is academic to ask the citizenship of the applicant (petitioner) who had re-acquired
public documents under Article 172 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC) (I.S. No. 08-6463) against the Philippine citizenship six months after he applied for lease of public land. The MTC denied the
petitioner. motion for reconsideration.14

Meanwhile, petitioner re-acquired his Filipino citizenship under the provisions of Republic Act No. Dissatisfied, petitioner elevated the case to the RTC via a petition 15 for certiorari under Rule 65,
9225,4 (R.A. 9225) as evidenced by Identification Certificate No. 266-10-07 5 issued by the alleging grave abuse of discretion on the part of the MTC. He asserted that first, jurisdiction over
Consulate General of the Philippines (Toronto) on October 11, 2007. the person of an accused cannot be a pre-condition for the re-determination of probable cause by
the court that issues a warrant of arrest; and second, the March 22, 2011 Order disregarded the
In his defense, petitioner averred that at the time he filed his application, he had intended to re- legal fiction that once a natural-born Filipino citizen who had been naturalized in another country
acquire Philippine citizenship and that he had been assured by a CENRO officer that he could re-acquires his citizenship under R.A. 9225, his Filipino citizenship is thus deemed not to have been
declare himself as a Filipino. He further alleged that he bought the property from the Agbays who lost on account of said naturalization.
misrepresented to him that the subject property was titled land and they have the right and
authority to convey the same. The dispute had in fact led to the institution of civil and criminal In his Comment and Opposition,16 the prosecutor emphasized that the act of falsification was
suits between him and private respondent’s family. already consummated as petitioner has not yet re-acquired his Philippine citizenship, and his
subsequent oath to re-acquire Philippine citizenship will only affect his citizenship status and not
his criminal act which was long consummated prior to said oath of allegiance.
On October 8, 2011, the RTC issued the assailed Order denying the petition for certiorari after R.A. 9225, otherwise known as the "Citizenship Retention and Re- acquisition Act of 2003," was
finding no grave abuse of discretion committed by the lower court, thus: signed into law by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on August 29, 2003. Sections 2 and 3 of said
law read:
ACCORDINGLY, the petition is hereby DENIED. At any rate petitioner is not left without any remedy
or recourse because he can proceed to trial where he can make use of his claim to be a Filipino SEC. 2. Declaration of Policy.–It is hereby declared the policy of the State that all Philippine citizens
citizen as his defense to be adjudicated in a full blown trial, and in case of conviction, to appeal who become citizens of another country shall be deemed not to have lost their Philippine
such conviction. citizenship under the conditions of this Act.

SO ORDERED.17 SEC. 3. Retention of Philippine Citizenship.–Any provision of law to the contrary notwithstanding,
natural-born citizens of the Philippines who have lost their Philippine citizenship by reason of their
Petitioner is now before us arguing that – naturalization as citizens of a foreign country are hereby deemed to have reacquired Philippine
citizenship upon taking the following oath of allegiance to the Republic:
A. By supporting the prosecution of the petitioner for falsification, the lower court has
disregarded the undisputed fact that petitioner is a natural-born Filipino citizen, and that by re- "I ______________________, solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the
acquiring the same status under R.A. No. 9225 he was by legal fiction "deemed not to have lost" Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines and obey the laws and legal orders promulgated by
it at the time of his naturalization in Canada and through the time when he was said to have the duly constituted authorities of the Philippines; and I hereby declare that I recognize and accept
falsely claimed Philippine citizenship. the supreme authority of the Philippines and will maintain true faith and allegiance thereto; and
that I impose this obligation upon myself voluntarily without mental reservation or purpose of
evasion."
B. By compelling petitioner to first return from his legal residence in Canada and to surrender or
allow himself to be arrested under a warrant for his alleged false claim to Philippine citizenship,
the lower court has pre-empted the right of petitioner through his wife and counsel to question Natural-born citizens of the Philippines who, after the effectivity of this Act, become citizens of a
the validity of the said warrant of arrest against him before the same is implemented, which is foreign country shall retain their Philippine citizenship upon taking the aforesaid oath. (Emphasis
tantamount to a denial of due process.18 supplied)

In his Comment, the Solicitor General contends that petitioner’s argument regarding the While Section 2 declares the general policy that Filipinos who have become citizens of another
retroactivity of R.A. 9225 is without merit.1âwphi1 It is contended that this Court’s rulings in country shall be deemed "not to have lost their Philippine citizenship," such is qualified by the
Frivaldo v. Commission on Elections19 and Altarejos v. Commission on Elections20 on the retroactivity phrase "under the conditions of this Act." Section 3 lays down such conditions for two categories
of one’s re- acquisition of Philippine citizenship to the date of filing his application therefor cannot of natural-born Filipinos referred to in the first and second paragraphs. Under the first paragraph
be applied to the case of herein petitioner. Even assuming for the sake of argument that such are those natural-born Filipinos who have lost their citizenship by naturalization in a foreign
doctrine applies in the present situation, it will still not work for petitioner’s cause for the simple country who shall re-acquire their Philippine citizenship upon taking the oath of allegiance to the
reason that he had not alleged, much less proved, that he had already applied for reacquisition of Republic of the Philippines. The second paragraph covers those natural-born Filipinos who became
Philippine citizenship before he made the declaration in the Public Land Application that he is a foreign citizens after R.A. 9225 took effect, who shall retain their Philippine citizenship upon taking
Filipino. Moreover, it is stressed that in falsification of public document, it is not necessary that the the same oath. The taking of oath of allegiance is required for both categories of natural-born
idea of gain or intent to injure a third person be present. As to petitioner’s defense of good faith, Filipino citizens who became citizens of a foreign country, but the terminology used is different,
such remains to be a defense which may be properly raised and proved in a full- blown trial. "re-acquired" for the first group, and "retain" for the second group.

On the issue of jurisdiction over the person of accused (petitioner), the Solicitor General opines The law thus makes a distinction between those natural-born Filipinos who became foreign
that in seeking an affirmative relief from the MTC when he filed his Urgent Motion for Re- citizens before and after the effectivity of R.A. 9225. Although the heading of Section 3 is
determination of Probable Cause, petitioner is deemed to have submitted his person to the said "Retention of Philippine Citizenship", the authors of the law intentionally employed the terms "re-
court’s jurisdiction by his voluntary appearance. Nonetheless, the RTC correctly ruled that the acquire" and "retain" to describe the legal effect of taking the oath of allegiance to the Republic of
lower court committed no grave abuse of discretion in denying the petitioner’s motion after a the Philippines. This is also evident from the title of the law using both re-acquisition and
judicious, thorough and personal evaluation of the parties’ arguments contained in their respective retention.
pleadings, and the evidence submitted before the court.
In fine, for those who were naturalized in a foreign country, they shall be deemed to have re-
In sum, the Court is asked to resolve whether (1) petitioner may be indicted for falsification for acquired their Philippine citizenship which was lost pursuant to CA 63, under which naturalization
representing himself as a Filipino in his Public Land Application despite his subsequent re- in a foreign country is one of the ways by which Philippine citizenship may be lost. As its title
acquisition of Philippine citizenship under the provisions of R.A. 9225; and (2) the MTC properly declares, R.A. 9225 amends CA 63 by doing away with the provision in the old law which takes
denied petitioner’s motion for re-determination of probable cause on the ground of lack of away Philippine citizenship from natural-born Filipinos who become naturalized citizens of other
jurisdiction over the person of the accused (petitioner). countries and allowing dual citizenship,21 and also provides for the procedure for re-acquiring and
retaining Philippine citizenship. In the case of those who became foreign citizens after R.A. 9225 REP. JAVIER. Well, I’m just asking this question because we are here making distinctions between
took effect, they shall retain Philippine citizenship despite having acquired foreign citizenship natural-born citizens. Because this is very important for certain government positions, ‘no, because
provided they took the oath of allegiance under the new law. natural-born citizens are only qualified for a specific…

Petitioner insists we should not distinguish between re-acquisition and retention in R.A. 9225. He THE CHAIRMAN (SEN. DRILON). That is correct.
asserts that in criminal cases, that interpretation of the law which favors the accused is preferred
because it is consistent with the constitutional presumption of innocence, and in this case it REP. JAVIER. ...positions under the Constitution and under the law.
becomes more relevant when a seemingly difficult question of law is expected to have been
understood by the accused, who is a non-lawyer, at the time of the commission of the alleged
THE CHAIRMAN (SEN. DRILON). Yes. We can get to that later on. It’s one of the provisions, yes. But
offense. He further cites the letter-reply dated January 31, 2011 22 of the Bureau of Immigration (BI)
just for purposes of the explanation, Congressman Javier, that is our conceptualization.
to his query, stating that his status as a natural-born Filipino will be governed by Section 2 of R.A.
Reacquired for those who previously lost [Filipino citizenship] by virtue of Commonwealth Act
9225.
63, and retention for those in the future. (Emphasis supplied)

These contentions have no merit.


Considering that petitioner was naturalized as a Canadian citizen prior to the effectivity of R.A.
9225, he belongs to the first category of natural- born Filipinos under the first paragraph of Section
That the law distinguishes between re-acquisition and retention of Philippine citizenship was made 3 who lost Philippine citizenship by naturalization in a foreign country. As the new law allows dual
clear in the discussion of the Bicameral Conference Committee on the Disagreeing Provisions of citizenship, he was able to re-acquire his Philippine citizenship by taking the required oath of
House Bill No. 4720 and Senate Bill No. 2130 held on August 18, 2003, where Senator Franklin allegiance.
Drilon was responding to the query of Representative Exequiel Javier:
For the purpose of determining the citizenship of petitioner at the time of filing his MLA, it is not
REP. JAVIER. I have some questions in Section 3. Here, under Section 3 of the Senate version, "Any necessary to discuss the rulings in Frivaldo and Altarejos on the retroactivity of such reacquisition
provision of law on the contrary notwithstanding, natural-born citizens of the Philippines who, because R.A. 9225 itself treats those of his category as having already lost Philippine citizenship, in
after the effectivity of this Act, shall… and so forth, ano, shall retain their Philippine citizenship. contradistinction to those natural-born Filipinos who became foreign citizens after R.A. 9225 came
into force. In other words, Section 2 declaring the policy that considers Filipinos who became
Now in the second paragraph, natural-born citizens who have lost their citizenship by reason of foreign citizens as not to have lost their Philippine citizenship, should be read together with
their naturalization after the effectivity of this Act are deemed to have reacquired… Section 3, the second paragraph of which clarifies that such policy governs all cases after the new
law’s effectivity.
THE CHAIRMAN (SEN. DRILON). Prior to the effectivity.
As to the letter-reply of BI, it simply quoted Section 2 of R.A. 9225 without any reference to Section
REP. JAVIER. Well, you have two kinds of natural-born citizens here. Natural-born citizens who 3 on the particular application of reacquisition and retention to Filipinos who became foreign
acquired foreign citizenship after the effectivity of this act are considered to have retained their citizens before and after the effectivity of R.A. 9225.
citizenship. But natural-born citizens who lost their Filipino citizenship before the effectivity of this
act are considered to have reacquired. May I know the distinction? Do you mean to say that Petitioner’s plea to adopt the interpretation most favorable to the accused is likewise misplaced.
natural-born citizens who became, let’s say, American citizens after the effectivity of this act are Courts adopt an interpretation more favorable to the accused following the time-honored principle
considered natural-born? that penal statutes are construed strictly against the State and liberally in favor of the accused. 23
R.A. 9225, however, is not a penal law.
Now in the second paragraph are the natural-born citizens who lost their citizenship before the
effectivity of this act are no longer natural born citizens because they have just reacquired their Falsification of documents under paragraph 1, Article 172 24 in relation to Article 171 25 of the RPC
citizenship. I just want to know this distinction, Mr. Chairman. refers to falsification by a private individual, or a public officer or employee who did not take
advantage of his official position, of public, private, or commercial documents. The elements of
THE CHAIRMAN (SEN. DRILON). The title of the Senate version is precisely retention and falsification of documents under paragraph 1, Article 172 of the RPC are:
reacquisition. The reacquisition will apply to those who lost their Philippine citizenship by virtue
of Commonwealth Act 63. Upon the effectivity -- assuming that we can agree on this, upon the (1)that the offender is a private individual or a public officer or employee who did not take
effectivity of this new measure amending Commonwealth Act 63, the Filipinos who lost their advantage of his official position;
citizenship is deemed to have reacquired their Philippine citizenship upon the effectivity of the act.
(2)that he committed any of the acts of falsification enumerated in Article 171 of the RPC; and
The second aspect is the retention of Philippine citizenship applying to future instances. So that’s
the distinction. (3)that the falsification was committed in a public, official or commercial document. 26
Petitioner made the untruthful statement in the MLA, a public document, that he is a Filipino xxxx
citizen at the time of the filing of said application, when in fact he was then still a Canadian citizen.
Under CA 63, the governing law at the time he was naturalized as Canadian citizen, naturalization To recapitulate what we have discussed so far, in criminal cases, jurisdiction over the person of
in a foreign country was among those ways by which a natural-born citizen loses his Philippine the accused is deemed waived by the accused when he files any pleading seeking an affirmative
citizenship. While he re-acquired Philippine citizenship under R.A. 9225 six months later, the relief, except in cases when he invokes the special jurisdiction of the court by impugning such
falsification was already a consummated act, the said law having no retroactive effect insofar as his jurisdiction over his person. Therefore, in narrow cases involving special appearances, an accused
dual citizenship status is concerned. The MTC therefore did not err in finding probable cause for can invoke the processes of the court even though there is neither jurisdiction over the person nor
falsification of public document under Article 172, paragraph 1. custody of the law. However, if a person invoking the special jurisdiction of the court applies for
bail, he must first submit himself to the custody of the law. 29 (Emphasis supplied)
The MTC further cited lack of jurisdiction over the person of petitioner accused as ground for
denying petitioner’s motion for re- determination of probable cause, as the motion was filed prior Considering that petitioner sought affirmative relief in filing his motion for re-determination of
to his arrest. However, custody of the law is not required for the adjudication of reliefs other than probable cause, the MTC clearly erred in stating that it lacked jurisdiction over his person.
an application for bail.27 In Miranda v. Tuliao,28 which involved a motion to quash warrant of arrest, Notwithstanding such erroneous ground stated in the MTC's order, the RTC correctly ruled that no
this Court discussed the distinction between custody of the law and jurisdiction over the person, grave abuse of discretion was committed by the MTC in denying the said motion for lack of merit.
and held that jurisdiction over the person of the accused is deemed waived when he files any
pleading seeking an affirmative relief, except in cases when he invokes the special jurisdiction of
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The Order dated October 8, 2011 of the Regional Trial Court
the court by impugning such jurisdiction over his person. Thus:
of Pinamalayan, Oriental Mindoro in Civil Case No. SCA-07-11 (Criminal Case No. 2012) is hereby
AFFIRMED and UPHELD.
In arguing, on the other hand, that jurisdiction over their person was already acquired by their
filing of the above Urgent Motion, petitioners invoke our pronouncement, through Justice Florenz
With costs against the petitioner.
D. Regalado, in Santiago v. Vasquez:

SO ORDERED.
The voluntary appearance of the accused, whereby the court acquires jurisdiction over his person,
is accomplished either by his pleading to the merits (such as by filing a motion to quash or other
pleadings requiring the exercise of the court’s jurisdiction thereover, appearing for arraignment,
entering trial) or by filing bail. On the matter of bail, since the same is intended to obtain the
provisional liberty of the accused, as a rule the same cannot be posted before custody of the
accused has been acquired by the judicial authorities either by his arrest or voluntary surrender.

Our pronouncement in Santiago shows a distinction between custody of the law and jurisdiction
over the person. Custody of the law is required before the court can act upon the application for
bail, but is not required for the adjudication of other reliefs sought by the defendant where the
mere application therefor constitutes a waiver of the defense of lack of jurisdiction over the
person of the accused. Custody of the law is accomplished either by arrest or voluntary surrender,
while jurisdiction over the person of the accused is acquired upon his arrest or voluntary
appearance. One can be under the custody of the law but not yet subject to the jurisdiction of the
court over his person, such as when a person arrested by virtue of a warrant files a motion before
arraignment to quash the warrant. On the other hand, one can be subject to the jurisdiction of the
court over his person, and yet not be in the custody of the law, such as when an accused escapes
custody after his trial has commenced. Being in the custody of the law signifies restraint on the
person, who is thereby deprived of his own will and liberty, binding him to become obedient to the
will of the law. Custody of the law is literally custody over the body of the accused. It includes, but
is not limited to, detention.

xxxx

While we stand by our above pronouncement in Pico insofar as it concerns bail, we clarify that, as
a general rule, one who seeks an affirmative relief is deemed to have submitted to the
jurisdiction of the court. As we held in the aforecited case of Santiago, seeking an affirmative
relief in court, whether in civil or criminal proceedings, constitutes voluntary appearance.
CONFLICT – CHOICE OF LAW – PERSONAL LAW – NATIONALITY – DUAL CITIZENSHIP In his Answer9 dated 6 May 2007 and Position Paper 10 dated 8 May 2007, petitioner countered that
his Oath of Allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines made before the Los Angeles PCG and the
G.R. No. 179848 November 27, 2008 oath contained in his Certificate of Candidacy operated as an effective renunciation of his foreign
citizenship.
NESTOR A. JACOT, petitioner,
vs. In the meantime, the 14 May 2007 National and Local Elections were held. Petitioner garnered the
ROGEN T. DAL and COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, respondents. highest number of votes for the position of Vice Mayor.

DECISION On 12 June 2007, the COMELEC Second Division finally issued its Resolution 11 disqualifying the
petitioner from running for the position of Vice-Mayor of Catarman, Camiguin, for failure to make
the requisite renunciation of his US citizenship. The COMELEC Second Division explained that the
CHICO-NAZARIO, J.:
reacquisition of Philippine citizenship under Republic Act No. 9225 does not automatically bestow
upon any person the privilege to run for any elective public office. It additionally ruled that the
Petitioner Nestor A. Jacot assails the Resolution 1 dated 28 September 2007 of the Commission on filing of a Certificate of Candidacy cannot be considered as a renunciation of foreign citizenship.
Elections (COMELEC) En Banc in SPA No. 07-361, affirming the Resolution dated 12 June 2007 of The COMELEC Second Division did not consider Valles v. COMELEC12 and Mercado v. Manzano13
the COMELEC Second Division2 disqualifying him from running for the position of Vice-Mayor of applicable to the instant case, since Valles and Mercado were dual citizens since birth, unlike the
Catarman, Camiguin, in the 14 May 2007 National and Local Elections, on the ground that he failed petitioner who lost his Filipino citizenship by means of naturalization. The COMELEC, thus, decreed
to make a personal renouncement of his United States (US) citizenship. in the aforementioned Resolution that:

Petitioner was a natural born citizen of the Philippines, who became a naturalized citizen of the US ACCORDINGLY, NESTOR ARES JACOT is DISQUALIFIED to run for the position of Vice-Mayor of
on 13 December 1989. 3 Catarman, Camiguin for the May 14, 2007 National and Local Elections. If proclaimed,
respondent cannot thus assume the Office of Vice-Mayor of said municipality by virtue of such
Petitioner sought to reacquire his Philippine citizenship under Republic Act No. 9225, otherwise disqualification.14
known as the Citizenship Retention and Re-Acquisition Act. He filed a request for the
administration of his Oath of Allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines with the Philippine Petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration on 29 June 2007 reiterating his position that his Oath
Consulate General (PCG) of Los Angeles, California. The Los Angeles PCG issued on 19 June 2006 an of Allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines before the Los Angeles PCG and his oath in his
Order of Approval4 of petitioner’s request, and on the same day, petitioner took his Oath of Certificate of Candidacy sufficed as an effective renunciation of his US citizenship. Attached to the
Allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines before Vice Consul Edward C. Yulo. 5 On 27 September said Motion was an "Oath of Renunciation of Allegiance to the United States and Renunciation of
2006, the Bureau of Immigration issued Identification Certificate No. 06-12019 recognizing Any and All Foreign Citizenship" dated 27 June 2007, wherein petitioner explicitly renounced his
petitioner as a citizen of the Philippines.6 US citizenship.15 The COMELEC en banc dismissed petitioner’s Motion in a Resolution 16 dated 28
September 2007 for lack of merit.
Six months after, on 26 March 2007, petitioner filed his Certificate of Candidacy for the Position of
Vice-Mayor of the Municipality of Catarman, Camiguin. 7 Petitioner sought remedy from this Court via the present Special Civil Action for Certiorari under
Rule 65 of the Revised Rules of Court, where he presented for the first time an "Affidavit of
On 2 May 2007, respondent Rogen T. Dal filed a Petition for Disqualification 8 before the COMELEC Renunciation of Allegiance to the United States and Any and All Foreign Citizenship" 17 dated 7
Provincial Office in Camiguin against petitioner, arguing that the latter failed to renounce his US February 2007. He avers that he executed an act of renunciation of his US citizenship, separate
citizenship, as required under Section 5(2) of Republic Act No. 9225, which reads as follows: from the Oath of Allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines he took before the Los Angeles PCG
and his filing of his Certificate of Candidacy, thereby changing his theory of the case during the
Section 5. Civil and Political Rights and Liabilities.–Those who retain or reacquire Philippine appeal. He attributes the delay in the presentation of the affidavit to his former counsel, Atty.
citizenship under this Act shall enjoy full civil and political rights and be subject to all attendant Marciano Aparte, who allegedly advised him that said piece of evidence was unnecessary but who,
liabilities and responsibilities under existing laws of the Philippines and the following conditions: nevertheless, made him execute an identical document entitled "Oath of Renunciation of
Allegiance to the United States and Renunciation of Any and All Foreign Citizenship" on 27 June
2007 after he had already filed his Certificate of Candidacy. 18
xxxx

Petitioner raises the following issues for resolution of this Court:


(2) Those seeking elective public office in the Philippines shall meet the qualifications for holding
such public office as required by the Constitution and existing laws and, at the time of the filing
of the certificate of candidacy, make a personal and sworn renunciation of any and all foreign I
citizenship before any public officer authorized to administer an oath. WHETHER OR NOT PUBLIC RESPONDENT EXERCISED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION WHEN IT
HELD THAT PETITIONER FAILED TO COMPLY WITH THE PROVISIONS OF R.A. 9225, OTHERWISE
KNOWN AS THE "CITIZENSHIP RETENTION AND RE-ACQUISITION ACT OF 2003," SPECIFICALLY I am eligible for the office I seek to be elected. I will support and defend the Constitution of the
SECTION 5(2) AS TO THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THOSE SEEKING ELECTIVE PUBLIC OFFICE; Philippines and will maintain true faith and allegiance thereto; that I will obey the laws, legal
II orders and decrees promulgated by the duly constituted authorities of the Republic of the
WHETHER OR NOT PUBLIC RESPONDENT EXERCISED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION WHEN IT Philippines; and that I impose this obligation upon myself voluntarily, without mental
HELD THAT PETITIONER FAILED TO COMPLY WITH THE PROVISIONS OF THE COMELEC RULES OF reservation or purpose of evasion. I hereby certify that the facts stated herein are true and
PROCEDURE AS REGARDS THE PAYMENT OF THE NECESSARY MOTION FEES; AND correct of my own personal knowledge.
III
WHETHER OR NOT UPHOLDING THE DECISION OF PUBLIC RESPONDENT WOULD RESULT IN THE Now, Section 5(2) of Republic Act No. 9225 specifically provides that:
FRUSTRATION OF THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE OF CATARMAN, CAMIGUIN. 19
Section 5. Civil and Political Rights and Liabilities.–Those who retain or reacquire Philippine
The Court determines that the only fundamental issue in this case is whether petitioner is citizenship under this Act shall enjoy full civil and political rights and be subject to all attendant
disqualified from running as a candidate in the 14 May 2007 local elections for his failure to make a liabilities and responsibilities under existing laws of the Philippines and the following conditions:
personal and sworn renunciation of his US citizenship.
xxxx
This Court finds that petitioner should indeed be disqualified.
(2) Those seeking elective public office in the Philippines shall meet the qualifications for holding
Contrary to the assertions made by petitioner, his oath of allegiance to the Republic of the such public office as required by the Constitution and existing laws and, at the time of the filing
Philippines made before the Los Angeles PCG and his Certificate of Candidacy do not substantially of the certificate of candidacy, make a personal and sworn renunciation of any and all foreign
comply with the requirement of a personal and sworn renunciation of foreign citizenship because citizenship before any public officer authorized to administer an oath.
these are distinct requirements to be complied with for different purposes.
The law categorically requires persons seeking elective public office, who either retained their
Section 3 of Republic Act No. 9225 requires that natural-born citizens of the Philippines, who are Philippine citizenship or those who reacquired it, to make a personal and sworn renunciation of
already naturalized citizens of a foreign country, must take the following oath of allegiance to the any and all foreign citizenship before a public officer authorized to administer an oath
Republic of the Philippines to reacquire or retain their Philippine citizenship: simultaneous with or before the filing of the certificate of candidacy. 20

SEC. 3. Retention of Philippine Citizenship.–Any provision of law to the contrary notwithstanding, Hence, Section 5(2) of Republic Act No. 9225 compels natural-born Filipinos, who have been
natural-born citizens of the Philippines who have lost their Philippine citizenship by reason of naturalized as citizens of a foreign country, but who reacquired or retained their Philippine
their naturalization as citizens of a foreign country are hereby deemed to have reacquired citizenship (1) to take the oath of allegiance under Section 3 of Republic Act No. 9225, and (2) for
Philippine citizenship upon taking the following oath of allegiance to the Republic: those seeking elective public offices in the Philippines, to additionally execute a personal and
sworn renunciation of any and all foreign citizenship before an authorized public officer prior or
"I __________ solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the simultaneous to the filing of their certificates of candidacy, to qualify as candidates in Philippine
Republic of the Philippines and obey the laws and legal orders promulgated by the duly elections.
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 Clearly Section 5(2) of Republic Act No. 9225 (on the making of a personal and sworn renunciation
that I impose this obligation upon myself voluntarily, without mental reservation or purpose of of any and all foreign citizenship) requires of the Filipinos availing themselves of the benefits under
evasion." the said Act to accomplish an undertaking other than that which they have presumably complied
with under Section 3 thereof (oath of allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines). This is made
Natural-born citizens of the Philippines who, after the effectivity of this Act, become citizens of a clear in the discussion of the Bicameral Conference Committee on Disagreeing Provisions of House
foreign country shall retain their Philippine citizenship upon taking the aforesaid oath. Bill No. 4720 and Senate Bill No. 2130 held on 18 August 2003 (precursors of Republic Act No.
9225), where the Hon. Chairman Franklin Drilon and Hon. Representative Arthur Defensor
By the oath dictated in the afore-quoted provision, the Filipino swears allegiance to the explained to Hon. Representative Exequiel Javier that the oath of allegiance is different from the
Philippines, but there is nothing therein on his renunciation of foreign citizenship. Precisely, a renunciation of foreign citizenship:
situation might arise under Republic Act No. 9225 wherein said Filipino has dual citizenship by also
reacquiring or retaining his Philippine citizenship, despite his foreign citizenship. CHAIRMAN DRILON. Okay. So, No. 2. "Those seeking elective public office in the Philippines shall
meet the qualifications for holding such public office as required by the Constitution and existing
The afore-quoted oath of allegiance is substantially similar to the one contained in the Certificate laws and, at the time of the filing of the certificate of candidacy, make a personal and sworn
of Candidacy which must be executed by any person who wishes to run for public office in renunciation of any and all foreign citizenship before any public officer authorized to administer
Philippine elections. Such an oath reads: an oath." I think it’s very good, ha? No problem?
REP. JAVIER. … I think it’s already covered by the oath.
CHAIRMAN DRILON. Renouncing foreign citizenship. Lopez v. Commission on Elections24 is the more fitting precedent for this case since they both share
REP. JAVIER. Ah… but he has taken his oath already. the same factual milieu. In Lopez, therein petitioner Lopez was a natural-born Filipino who lost his
CHAIRMAN DRILON. No…no, renouncing foreign citizenship. Philippine citizenship after he became a naturalized US citizen. He later reacquired his Philippine
xxxx citizenship by virtue of Republic Act No. 9225. Thereafter, Lopez filed his candidacy for a local
CHAIRMAN DRILON. Can I go back to No. 2. What’s your problem, Boy? Those seeking elective elective position, but failed to make a personal and sworn renunciation of his foreign citizenship.
office in the Philippines. This Court unequivocally declared that despite having garnered the highest number of votes in the
REP. JAVIER. They are trying to make him renounce his citizenship thinking that ano… election, Lopez is nonetheless disqualified as a candidate for a local elective position due to his
CHAIRMAN DRILON. His American citizenship. failure to comply with the requirements of Section 5(2) of Republic Act No. 9225.
REP. JAVIER. To discourage him from running?
CHAIRMAN DRILON. No. Petitioner presents before this Court for the first time, in the instant Petition for Certiorari, an
REP. A.D. DEFENSOR. No. When he runs he will only have one citizenship. When he runs for "Affidavit of Renunciation of Allegiance to the United States and Any and All Foreign Citizenship," 25
office, he will have only one. (Emphasis ours.) which he supposedly executed on 7 February 2007, even before he filed his Certificate of
Candidacy on 26 March 2007. With the said Affidavit, petitioner puts forward in the Petition at bar
There is little doubt, therefore, that the intent of the legislators was not only for Filipinos a new theory of his case–that he complied with the requirement of making a personal and sworn
reacquiring or retaining their Philippine citizenship under Republic Act No. 9225 to take their oath renunciation of his foreign citizenship before filing his Certificate of Candidacy. This new theory
of allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines, but also to explicitly renounce their foreign constitutes a radical change from the earlier position he took before the COMELEC–that he
citizenship if they wish to run for elective posts in the Philippines. To qualify as a candidate in complied with the requirement of renunciation by his oaths of allegiance to the Republic of the
Philippine elections, Filipinos must only have one citizenship, namely, Philippine citizenship. Philippines made before the Los Angeles PCG and in his Certificate of Candidacy, and that there
was no more need for a separate act of renunciation.
By the same token, the oath of allegiance contained in the Certificate of Candidacy, which is
substantially similar to the one contained in Section 3 of Republic Act No. 9225, does not As a rule, no question will be entertained on appeal unless it has been raised in the proceedings
constitute the personal and sworn renunciation sought under Section 5(2) of Republic Act No. below. Points of law, theories, issues and arguments not brought to the attention of the lower
9225. It bears to emphasize that the said oath of allegiance is a general requirement for all those court, administrative agency or quasi-judicial body need not be considered by a reviewing court, as
who wish to run as candidates in Philippine elections; while the renunciation of foreign citizenship they cannot be raised for the first time at that late stage. Basic considerations of fairness and due
is an additional requisite only for those who have retained or reacquired Philippine citizenship process impel this rule.26 Courts have neither the time nor the resources to accommodate parties
under Republic Act No. 9225 and who seek elective public posts, considering their special who chose to go to trial haphazardly.27
circumstance of having more than one citizenship.
Likewise, this Court does not countenance the late submission of evidence. 28 Petitioner should
Petitioner erroneously invokes the doctrine in Valles21 and Mercado,22 wherein the filing by a have offered the Affidavit dated 7 February 2007 during the proceedings before the COMELEC.
person with dual citizenship of a certificate of candidacy, containing an oath of allegiance, was
already considered a renunciation of foreign citizenship. The ruling of this Court in Valles and Section 1 of Rule 43 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure provides that "In the absence of any
Mercado is not applicable to the present case, which is now specially governed by Republic Act No. applicable provisions of these Rules, the pertinent provisions of the Rules of Court in the
9225, promulgated on 29 August 2003. Philippines shall be applicable by analogy or in suppletory character and effect." Section 34 of Rule
132 of the Revised Rules of Court categorically enjoins the admission of evidence not formally
In Mercado, which was cited in Valles, the disqualification of therein private respondent Manzano presented:
was sought under another law, Section 40(d) of the Local Government Code, which reads:
SEC. 34. Offer of evidence. - The court shall consider no evidence which has not been formally
SECTION 40. Disqualifications. The following persons are disqualified from running for any offered. The purpose for which the evidence is offered must be specified.
elective local position:
Since the said Affidavit was not formally offered before the COMELEC, respondent had no
xxxx opportunity to examine and controvert it. To admit this document would be contrary to due
process. 29 Additionally, the piecemeal presentation of evidence is not in accord with orderly
(d) Those with dual citizenship. justice.30

The Court in the aforesaid cases sought to define the term "dual citizenship" vis-à-vis the concept The Court further notes that petitioner had already presented before the COMELEC an identical
of "dual allegiance." At the time this Court decided the cases of Valles and Mercado on 26 May document, "Oath of Renunciation of Allegiance to the United States and Renunciation of Any and
1999 and 9 August 2000, respectively, the more explicitly worded requirements of Section 5(2) of All Foreign Citizenship" executed on 27 June 2007, subsequent to his filing of his Certificate of
Republic Act No. 9225 were not yet enacted by our legislature. 23 Candidacy on 26 March 2007. Petitioner attached the said Oath of 27 June 2007 to his Motion for
Reconsideration with the COMELEC en banc. The COMELEC en banc eventually refused to
reconsider said document for being belatedly executed. What was extremely perplexing, not to Petitioner cites De Guzman v. Sandiganbayan,35 where therein petitioner De Guzman was unable
mention suspect, was that petitioner did not submit the Affidavit of 7 February 2007 or mention it to present a piece of evidence because his lawyer proceeded to file a demurrer to evidence,
at all in the proceedings before the COMELEC, considering that it could have easily won his case if despite the Sandiganbayan’s denial of his prior leave to do so. The wrongful insistence of the
it was actually executed on and in existence before the filing of his Certificate of Candidacy, in lawyer in filing a demurrer to evidence had totally deprived De Guzman of any chance to present
compliance with law. documentary evidence in his defense. This was certainly not the case in the Petition at bar.

The justification offered by petitioner, that his counsel had advised him against presenting this Herein, petitioner was in no way deprived of due process. His counsel actively defended his suit by
crucial piece of evidence, is lame and unconvincing. If the Affidavit of 7 February 2007 was in attending the hearings, filing the pleadings, and presenting evidence on petitioner’s behalf.
existence all along, petitioner’s counsel, and even petitioner himself, could have easily adduced it Moreover, petitioner’s cause was not defeated by a mere technicality, but because of a mistaken
to be a crucial piece of evidence to prove compliance with the requirements of Section 5(2) of reliance on a doctrine which is not applicable to his case. A case lost due to an untenable legal
Republic Act No. 9225. There was no apparent danger for petitioner to submit as much evidence position does not justify a deviation from the rule that clients are bound by the acts and mistakes
as possible in support of his case, than the risk of presenting too little for which he could lose. of their counsel.36

And even if it were true, petitioner’s excuse for the late presentation of the Affidavit of 7 February Petitioner also makes much of the fact that he received the highest number of votes for the
2007 will not change the outcome of petitioner’s case. position of Vice-Mayor of Catarman during the 2007 local elections. The fact that a candidate, who
must comply with the election requirements applicable to dual citizens and failed to do so,
It is a well-settled rule that a client is bound by his counsel’s conduct, negligence, and mistakes in received the highest number of votes for an elective position does not dispense with, or amount to
handling the case, and the client cannot be heard to complain that the result might have been a waiver of, such requirement. 37 The will of the people as expressed through the ballot cannot cure
different had his lawyer proceeded differently. 31 The only exceptions to the general rule -- that a the vice of ineligibility, especially if they mistakenly believed that the candidate was qualified. The
client is bound by the mistakes of his counsel -- which this Court finds acceptable are when the rules on citizenship qualifications of a candidate must be strictly applied. If a person seeks to serve
reckless or gross negligence of counsel deprives the client of due process of law, or when the the Republic of the Philippines, he must owe his loyalty to this country only, abjuring and
application of the rule results in the outright deprivation of one’s property through a technicality. 32 renouncing all fealty and fidelity to any other state. 38 The application of the constitutional and
These exceptions are not attendant in this case. statutory provisions on disqualification is not a matter of popularity. 39

The Court cannot sustain petitioner’s averment that his counsel was grossly negligent in deciding WHEREFORE, the instant appeal is DISMISSED. The Resolution dated 28 September 2007 of the
against the presentation of the Affidavit of 7 February 2007 during the proceedings before the COMELEC en banc in SPA No. 07-361, affirming the Resolution dated 12 June 2007 of the COMELEC
COMELEC. Mistakes of attorneys as to the competency of a witness; the sufficiency, relevancy or Second Division, is AFFIRMED. Petitioner is DISQUALIFIED to run for the position of Vice-Mayor of
irrelevancy of certain evidence; the proper defense or the burden of proof, failure to introduce Catarman, Camiguin in the 14 May 2007 National and Local Elections, and if proclaimed, cannot
evidence, to summon witnesses and to argue the case -- unless they prejudice the client and assume the Office of Vice-Mayor of said municipality by virtue of such disqualification. Costs
prevent him from properly presenting his case -- do not constitute gross incompetence or against petitioner.
negligence, such that clients may no longer be bound by the acts of their counsel. 33
SO ORDERED.
Also belying petitioner’s claim that his former counsel was grossly negligent was the fact that
petitioner continuously used his former counsel’s theory of the case. Even when the COMELEC
already rendered an adverse decision, he persistently argues even to this Court that his oaths of
allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines before the Los Angeles PCG and in his Certificate of
Candidacy amount to the renunciation of foreign citizenship which the law requires. Having
asserted the same defense in the instant Petition, petitioner only demonstrates his continued
reliance on and complete belief in the position taken by his former counsel, despite the former’s
incongruous allegations that the latter has been grossly negligent.

Petitioner himself is also guilty of negligence. If indeed he believed that his counsel was inept,
petitioner should have promptly taken action, such as discharging his counsel earlier and/or
insisting on the submission of his Affidavit of 7 February 2007 to the COMELEC, instead of waiting
until a decision was rendered disqualifying him and a resolution issued dismissing his motion for
reconsideration; and, thereupon, he could have heaped the blame on his former counsel.
Petitioner could not be so easily allowed to escape the consequences of his former counsel’s acts,
because, otherwise, it would render court proceedings indefinite, tentative, and subject to
reopening at any time by the mere subterfuge of replacing counsel. 34
CONFLICT – CHOICE OF LAW – PERSONAL LAW – NATIONALITY – DUAL CITIZENSHIP Soon thereafter, private respondents Robelito V. Picar, Wilma P. Pagaduan 7 and Luis M. Bautista,8
(private respondents) all registered voters of Caba, La Union, filed separate petitions for quo
G.R. No. 198742 August 10, 2012 warranto questioning the petitioner’s eligibility before the RTC. The petitions similarly sought the
petitioner’s disqualification from holding her elective post on the ground that she is a dual citizen
and that she failed to execute a "personal and sworn renunciation of any and all foreign citizenship
TEODORA SOBEJANA-CONDON, Petitioner,
before any public officer authorized to administer an oath" as imposed by Section 5(2) of R.A. No.
vs.
9225.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, LUIS M. BAUTISTA, ROBELITO V. PICAR and WILMA P. PAGADUAN,
Respondents.
The petitioner denied being a dual citizen and averred that since September 27, 2006, she ceased
to be an Australian citizen. She claimed that the Declaration of Renunciation of Australian
DECISION
Citizenship she executed in Australia sufficiently complied with Section 5(2), R.A. No. 9225 and that
her act of running for public office is a clear abandonment of her Australian citizenship.
REYES, J.:
Ruling of the RTC
Failure to renounce foreign citizenship in accordance with the exact tenor of Section 5(2) of
Republic Act (R.A.) No. 9225 renders a dual citizen ineligible to run for and thus hold any elective
In its consolidated Decision dated October 22, 2010, the trial court held that the petitioner’s failure
public office.
to comply with Section 5(2) of R.A. No. 9225 rendered her ineligible to run and hold public office.
As admitted by the petitioner herself during trial, the personal declaration of renunciation she filed
The Case in Australia was not under oath. The law clearly mandates that the document containing the
renunciation of foreign citizenship must be sworn before any public officer authorized to
At bar is a special civil action for certiorari 1 under Rule 64 of the Rules of Court seeking to nullify administer oath. Consequently, the RTC’s decision disposed as follows:
Resolution2 dated September 6, 2011 of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) en banc in EAC
(AE) No. A-44-2010. The assailed resolution (a) reversed the Order 3 dated November 30, 2010 of WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Court renders judgment in FAVOR of [private respondents]
COMELEC Second Division dismissing petitioner’s appeal; and (b) affirmed the consolidated and AGAINST (petitioner):
Decision4 dated October 22, 2010 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Bauang, La Union, Branch 33,
declaring petitioner Teodora Sobejana-Condon (petitioner) disqualified and ineligible to her
1) DECLARING [petitioner] TEODORA SOBEJANA-CONDON, disqualified and ineligible to hold the
position as Vice-Mayor of Caba, La Union.
office of Vice-Mayor of Caba, La Union;

The Undisputed Facts


2) NULLIFYING her proclamation as the winning candidate for Vice-Mayor of said municipality; and

The petitioner is a natural-born Filipino citizen having been born of Filipino parents on August 8,
3) DECLARING the position of Vice-Mayor in said municipality vacant.
1944. On December 13, 1984, she became a naturalized Australian citizen owing to her marriage to
a certain Kevin Thomas Condon.
SO ORDERED.9
On December 2, 2005, she filed an application to re-acquire Philippine citizenship before the
Philippine Embassy in Canberra, Australia pursuant to Section 3 of R.A. No. 9225 otherwise known Ruling of the COMELEC
as the "Citizenship Retention and Re-Acquisition Act of 2003." 5 The application was approved and
the petitioner took her oath of allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines on December 5, 2005. The petitioner appealed to the COMELEC but the appeal was dismissed by the Second Division in
its Order10 dated November 30, 2010 for failure to pay the docket fees within the prescribed
On September 18, 2006, the petitioner filed an unsworn Declaration of Renunciation of Australian period. On motion for reconsideration, the appeal was reinstated by the COMELEC en banc in its
Citizenship before the Department of Immigration and Indigenous Affairs, Canberra, Australia, Resolution11 dated September 6, 2011. In the same issuance, the substantive merits of the appeal
which in turn issued the Order dated September 27, 2006 certifying that she has ceased to be an were given due course. The COMELEC en banc concurred with the findings and conclusions of the
Australian citizen.6 RTC; it also granted the Motion for Execution Pending Appeal filed by the private respondents.

The petitioner ran for Mayor in her hometown of Caba, La Union in the 2007 elections. She lost in The decretal portion of the resolution reads:
her bid. She again sought elective office during the May 10, 2010 elections this time for the
position of Vice-Mayor. She obtained the highest numbers of votes and was proclaimed as the WHEREFORE, premises considered the Commission RESOLVED as it hereby RESOLVES as follows:
winning candidate. She took her oath of office on May 13, 2010.
1. To DISMISS the instant appeal for lack of merit;
2. To AFFIRM the DECISION dated 22 October 2010 of the court a quo; and Sec. 3. The Commission on Elections may sit en banc or in two divisions, and shall promulgate its
rules of procedure in order to expedite disposition of election cases, including pre-proclamation
3. To GRANT the Motion for Execution filed on November 12, 2010. controversies. All such election cases shall be heard and decided in division, provided that motions
for reconsideration of decisions shall be decided by the Commission en banc.
SO ORDERED.12 (Emphasis supplied)
A complementary provision is present in Section 5(c), Rule 3 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure,
to wit:
Hence, the present petition ascribing grave abuse of discretion to the COMELEC en banc.

Any motion to reconsider a decision, resolution, order or ruling of a Division shall be resolved by
The Petitioner’s Arguments
the Commission en banc except motions on interlocutory orders of the division which shall be
resolved by the division which issued the order.
The petitioner contends that since she ceased to be an Australian citizen on September 27, 2006,
she no longer held dual citizenship and was only a Filipino citizen when she filed her certificate of
Considering that the above cited provisos do not set any limits to the COMELEC en banc’s
candidacy as early as the 2007 elections. Hence, the "personal and sworn renunciation of foreign
prerogative in resolving a motion for reconsideration, there is nothing to prevent the body from
citizenship" imposed by Section 5(2) of R.A. No. 9225 to dual citizens seeking elective office does
directly adjudicating the substantive merits of an appeal after ruling for its reinstatement instead
not apply to her.
of remanding the same to the division that initially dismissed it.

She further argues that a sworn renunciation is a mere formal and not a mandatory requirement.
We thus see no impropriety much more grave abuse of discretion on the part of the COMELEC en
In support thereof, she cites portions of the Journal of the House of Representatives dated June 2
banc when it proceeded to decide the substantive merits of the petitioner’s appeal after ruling for
to 5, 2003 containing the sponsorship speech for House Bill (H.B.) No. 4720, the precursor of R.A.
its reinstatement.
No. 9225.

Further, records show that, in her motion for reconsideration before the COMELEC en banc, the
She claims that the private respondents are estopped from questioning her eligibility since they
petitioner not only proffered arguments on the issue on docket fees but also on the issue of her
failed to do so when she filed certificates of candidacy for the 2007 and 2010 elections.
eligibility. She even filed a supplemental motion for reconsideration attaching therewith
supporting documents13 to her contention that she is no longer an Australian citizen. The
Lastly, she disputes the power of the COMELEC en banc to: (a) take cognizance of the substantive petitioner, after obtaining an unfavorable decision, cannot be permitted to disavow the en banc’s
merits of her appeal instead of remanding the same to the COMELEC Second Division for the exercise of discretion on the substantial merits of her appeal when she herself invoked the same in
continuation of the appeal proceedings; and (b) allow the execution pending appeal of the RTC’s the first place.
judgment.
The fact that the COMELEC en banc had remanded similar appeals to the Division that initially
The Issues dismissed them cannot serve as a precedent to the disposition of the petitioner’s appeal. A
decision or resolution of any adjudicating body can be disposed in several ways. To sustain
Posed for resolution are the following issues: I) Whether the COMELEC en banc may resolve the petitioner’s argument would be virtually putting a straightjacket on the COMELEC en banc’s
merits of an appeal after ruling on its reinstatement; II) Whether the COMELEC en banc may order adjudicatory powers.
the execution of a judgment rendered by a trial court in an election case; III) Whether the private
respondents are barred from questioning the qualifications of the petitioner; and IV) For purposes More significantly, the remand of the appeal to the COMELEC Second Division would be
of determining the petitioner’s eligibility to run for public office, whether the "sworn renunciation unnecessarily circuitous and repugnant to the rule on preferential disposition of quo warranto
of foreign citizenship" in Section 5(2) of R.A. No. 9225 is a mere pro-forma requirement. cases espoused in Rule 36, Section 15 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure. 14

The Court’s Ruling II. The COMELEC en banc has the


power to order discretionary
I. An appeal may be simultaneously execution of judgment.
reinstated and definitively resolved
by the COMELEC en banc in a We cannot subscribe to petitioner’s submission that the COMELEC en banc has no power to order
resolution disposing of a motion for the issuance of a writ of execution and that such function belongs only to the court of origin.
reconsideration.

The power to decide motions for reconsideration in election cases is arrogated unto the COMELEC
en banc by Section 3, Article IX-C of the Constitution, viz:
There is no reason to dispute the COMELEC’s authority to order discretionary execution of The above remedies were both available to the private respondents and their failure to utilize
judgment in view of the fact that the suppletory application of the Rules of Court is expressly Section 78 of the Omnibus Election Code cannot serve to bar them should they opt to file, as they
sanctioned by Section 1, Rule 41 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure. 15 did so file, a quo warranto petition under Section 253.

Under Section 2, Rule 39 of the Rules of Court, execution pending appeal may be issued by an IV. Petitioner is disqualified from
appellate court after the trial court has lost jurisdiction. In Batul v. Bayron, 16 we stressed the import running for elective office for
of the provision vis-à-vis election cases when we held that judgments in election cases which may failure to renounce her Australian
be executed pending appeal includes those decided by trial courts and those rendered by the citizenship in accordance with
COMELEC whether in the exercise of its original or appellate jurisdiction. Section 5(2) of R.A. No. 9225.

III. Private respondents are not R.A. No. 9225 allows the retention and re-acquisition of Filipino citizenship for natural-born
estopped from questioning citizens who have lost their Philippine citizenship 18 by taking an oath of allegiance to the Republic,
petitioner’s eligibility to hold public thus:
office.
Section 3. Retention of Philippine Citizenship. – Any provision of law to the contrary
The fact that the petitioner’s qualifications were not questioned when she filed certificates of notwithstanding, natural-born citizens of the Philippines who have lost their Philippine citizenship
candidacy for 2007 and 2010 elections cannot operate as an estoppel to the petition for quo by reason of their naturalization as citizens of a foreign country are hereby deemed to have re-
warranto before the RTC. acquired Philippine citizenship upon taking the following oath of allegiance to the Republic:

Under the Batas Pambansa Bilang 881 (Omnibus Election Code), there are two instances where a "I, _____________________, solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the
petition questioning the qualifications of a registered candidate to run for the office for which his Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines and obey the laws and legal orders promulgated
certificate of candidacy was filed can be raised, to wit: 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
(1) Before election, pursuant to Section 78 thereof which provides that: thereto; and that I imposed this obligation upon myself voluntarily without mental reservation
or purpose of evasion."
Sec. 78. Petition to deny due course or to cancel a certificate of candidacy. – A verified petition
seeking to deny due course or to cancel a certificate of candidacy may be filed by any person Natural-born citizens of the Philippines who, after the effectivity of this Act, become citizens of a
exclusively on the ground that any material representation contained therein as required under foreign country shall retain their Philippine citizenship upon taking the aforesaid oath.
Section 74 hereof is false. The petition may be filed at any time not later than twenty-five days
from the time of the filing of the certificate of candidacy and shall be decided, after due notice and The oath is an abbreviated repatriation process that restores one’s Filipino citizenship and all civil
hearing, not later than fifteen days before the election; and and political rights and obligations concomitant therewith, subject to certain conditions imposed in
Section 5, viz:
(2) After election, pursuant to Section 253 thereof, viz:
Sec. 5. Civil and Political Rights and Liabilities. – Those who retain or re-acquire Philippine
Sec. 253. Petition for quo warranto. – Any voter contesting the election of any Member of the citizenship under this Act shall enjoy full civil and political rights and be subject to all attendant
Batasang Pambansa, regional, provincial, or city officer on the ground of ineligibility or of disloyalty liabilities and responsibilities under existing laws of the Philippines and the following conditions:
to the Republic of the Philippines shall file a sworn petition for quo warranto with the Commission
within ten days after the proclamation of the results of the election. (Emphasis ours) (1) Those intending to exercise their right of suffrage must meet the requirements under Section 1,
Article V of the Constitution, Republic Act No. 9189, otherwise known as "The Overseas Absentee
Hence, if a person qualified to file a petition to disqualify a certain candidate fails to file the Voting Act of 2003" and other existing laws;
petition within the twenty-five (25)-day period prescribed by Section 78 of the Omnibus Election
Code for whatever reasons, the elections laws do not leave him completely helpless as he has (2) Those seeking elective public office in the Philippines shall meet the qualification for holding
another chance to raise the disqualification of the candidate by filing a petition for quo warranto such public office as required by the Constitution and existing laws and, at the time of the filing of
within ten (10) days from the proclamation of the results of the election, as provided under the certificate of candidacy, make a personal and sworn renunciation of any and all foreign
Section 253 of the Omnibus Election Code.17 citizenship before any public officer authorized to administer an oath;
(3) Those appointed to any public office shall subscribe and swear to an oath of allegiance to the The same meaning was emphasized in Jacot v. Dal, 22 when we held that Filipinos re-acquiring or
Republic of the Philippines and its duly constituted authorities prior to their assumption of office: retaining their Philippine citizenship under R.A. No. 9225 must explicitly renounce their foreign
Provided, That they renounce their oath of allegiance to the country where they took that oath; citizenship if they wish to run for elective posts in the Philippines, thus:

(4) Those intending to practice their profession in the Philippines shall apply with the proper The law categorically requires persons seeking elective public office, who either retained their
authority for a license or permit to engage in such practice; and Philippine citizenship or those who reacquired it, to make a personal and sworn renunciation of
any and all foreign citizenship before a public officer authorized to administer an oath
(5) That right to vote or be elected or appointed to any public office in the Philippines cannot be simultaneous with or before the filing of the certificate of candidacy.
exercised by, or extended to, those who:
Hence, Section 5(2) of Republic Act No. 9225 compels natural-born Filipinos, who have been
(a) are candidates for or are occupying any public office in the country of which they are naturalized as citizens of a foreign country, but who reacquired or retained their Philippine
naturalized citizens; and/or citizenship (1) to take the oath of allegiance under Section 3 of Republic Act No. 9225, and (2) for
those seeking elective public offices in the Philippines, to additionally execute a personal and
sworn renunciation of any and all foreign citizenship before an authorized public officer prior or
(b) are in active service as commissioned or non-commissioned officers in the armed forces of the
simultaneous to the filing of their certificates of candidacy, to qualify as candidates in Philippine
country which they are naturalized citizens. (Emphasis ours)
elections.

Under the provisions of the aforementioned law, the petitioner has validly re-acquired her Filipino
Clearly Section 5(2) of Republic Act No. 9225 (on the making of a personal and sworn renunciation
citizenship when she took an Oath of Allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines on December 5,
of any and all foreign citizenship) requires of the Filipinos availing themselves of the benefits under
2005. At that point, she held dual citizenship, i.e., Australian and Philippine.
the said Act to accomplish an undertaking other than that which they have presumably complied
with under Section 3 thereof (oath of allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines). This is made
On September 18, 2006, or a year before she initially sought elective public office, she filed a clear in the discussion of the Bicameral Conference Committee on Disagreeing Provisions of House
renunciation of Australian citizenship in Canberra, Australia. Admittedly, however, the same was Bill No. 4720 and Senate Bill No. 2130 held on 18 August 2003 (precursors of Republic Act No.
not under oath contrary to the exact mandate of Section 5(2) that the renunciation of foreign 9225), where the Hon. Chairman Franklin Drilon and Hon. Representative Arthur Defensor
citizenship must be sworn before an officer authorized to administer oath. explained to Hon. Representative Exequiel Javier that the oath of allegiance is different from the
renunciation of foreign citizenship;
To obviate the fatal consequence of her inutile renunciation, the petitioner pleads the Court to
interpret the "sworn renunciation of any and all foreign citizenship" in Section 5(2) to be a mere xxxx
pro forma requirement in conformity with the intent of the Legislature. She anchors her
submission on the statement made by Representative Javier during the floor deliberations on H.B.
The intent of the legislators was not only for Filipinos reacquiring or retaining their Philippine
No. 4720, the precursor of R.A. No. 9225.
citizenship under Republic Act No. 9225 to take their oath of allegiance to the Republic of the
Philippines, but also to explicitly renounce their foreign citizenship if they wish to run for elective
At the outset, it bears stressing that the Court’s duty to interpret the law according to its true posts in the Philippines. To qualify as a candidate in Philippine elections, Filipinos must only have
intent is exercised only when the law is ambiguous or of doubtful meaning. The first and one citizenship, namely, Philippine citizenship.23 (Citation omitted and italics and underlining ours)
fundamental duty of the Court is to apply the law. As such, when the law is clear and free from any
doubt, there is no occasion for construction or interpretation; there is only room for application. 19
Hence, in De Guzman v. COMELEC, 24 we declared petitioner therein to be disqualified from running
Section 5(2) of R.A. No. 9225 is one such instance.
for the position of vice-mayor for his failure to make a personal and sworn renunciation of his
American citizenship.
Ambiguity is a condition of admitting two or more meanings, of being understood in more than
one way, or of referring to two or more things at the same time. For a statute to be considered
We find no reason to depart from the mandatory nature infused by the above rulings to the phrase
ambiguous, it must admit of two or more possible meanings. 20
"sworn renunciation". The language of the provision is plain and unambiguous. It expresses a
single, definite, and sensible meaning and must thus be read literally. 25 The foreign citizenship must
The language of Section 5(2) is free from any ambiguity. In Lopez v. COMELEC, 21 we declared its be formally rejected through an affidavit duly sworn before an officer authorized to administer
categorical and single meaning: a Filipino American or any dual citizen cannot run for any elective oath.
public position in the Philippines unless he or she personally swears to a renunciation of all foreign
citizenship at the time of filing the certificate of candidacy. We also expounded on the form of the
It is conclusively presumed to be the meaning that the Legislature has intended to convey. 26 Even a
renunciation and held that to be valid, the renunciation must be contained in an affidavit duly
resort to the Journal of the House of Representatives invoked by the petitioner leads to the same
executed before an officer of the law who is authorized to administer an oath stating in clear and
inference, viz:
unequivocal terms that affiant is renouncing all foreign citizenship.
INTERPELLATION OF REP. JAVIER In his rejoinder, Rep. Javier maintained that in this case, the sworn renunciation of a foreign
citizenship will only become a pro forma requirement.
Rep. Javier initially inquired whether under the Bill, dual citizenship is only limited to natural-born
Filipinos and not to naturalized Filipinos. On further queries of Rep. Javier, Rep. Libanan affirmed that natural-born Filipino citizens who
became foreign citizens and who have reacquired their Filipino citizenship under the Bill will be
Rep. Libanan replied in the affirmative. considered as natural-born citizens, and therefore qualified to run for the presidency, the vice-
presidency or for a seat in Congress. He also agreed with the observation of Rep. Javier that a
natural-born citizen is one who is a citizen of the country at the time of birth. He also explained
Rep. Javier subsequently adverted to Section 5 of the Bill which provides that natural-born
that the Bill will, in effect, return to a Filipino citizen who has acquired foreign citizenship, the
Filipinos who have dual citizenship shall continue to enjoy full civil and political rights. This being
status of being a natural-born citizen effective at the time he lost his Filipino citizenship.
the case, he sought clarification as to whether they can indeed run for public office provided that
they renounce their foreign citizenship.
As a rejoinder, Rep. Javier opined that doing so would be discriminating against naturalized Filipino
citizens and Filipino citizens by election who are all disqualified to run for certain public offices. He
Rep. Libanan replied in the affirmative, citing that these citizens will only have to make a personal
then suggested that the Bill be amended by not considering as natural-born citizens those Filipinos
and sworn renunciation of foreign citizenship before any authorized public officer.
who had renounced their Filipino citizenship and acquired foreign citizenship. He said that they
should be considered as repatriated citizens.
Rep. Javier sought further clarification on this matter, citing that while the Bill provides them with
full civil and political rights as Filipino citizens, the measure also discriminates against them since
In reply, Rep. Libanan assured Rep. Javier that the Committee will take note of the latter’s
they are required to make a sworn renunciation of their other foreign citizenship if and when they
comments on the matter. He however stressed that after a lengthy deliberation on the subject, the
run for public office. He thereafter proposed to delete this particular provision.
Committees on Justice, and Foreign Affairs had decided to revert back to the status of being
natural-born citizens those natural-born Filipino citizens who had acquired foreign citizenship but
In his rejoinder, Rep. Libanan explained that this serves to erase all doubts regarding any issues now wished to reacquire their Filipino citizenship.
that might be raised pertaining to the citizenship of any candidate. He subsequently cited the
case of Afroyim vs. Rusk, wherein the United States considered a naturalized American still as an
Rep. Javier then explained that a Filipina who loses her Filipino citizenship by virtue of her
American citizen even when he cast his vote in Israel during one of its elections.
marriage to a foreigner can regain her repatriated Filipino citizenship, upon the death of her
husband, by simply taking her oath before the Department of Justice (DOJ).
Rep. Javier however pointed out that the matter of voting is different because in voting, one is not
required to renounce his foreign citizenship. He pointed out that under the Bill, Filipinos who run
Rep. Javier said that he does not oppose the Bill but only wants to be fair to other Filipino citizens
for public office must renounce their foreign citizenship. He pointed out further that this is a
who are not considered natural-born. He reiterated that natural-born Filipino citizens who had
contradiction in the Bill.
renounced their citizenship by pledging allegiance to another sovereignty should not be allowed to
revert back to their status of being natural-born citizens once they decide to regain their Filipino
Thereafter, Rep. Javier inquired whether Filipino citizens who had acquired foreign citizenship and citizenship. He underscored that this will in a way allow such Filipinos to enjoy dual citizenship.
are now entitled to reacquire their Filipino citizenship will be considered as natural-born citizens.
As such, he likewise inquired whether they will also be considered qualified to run for the highest
On whether the Sponsors will agree to an amendment incorporating the position of Rep. Javier,
elective positions in the country.
Rep. Libanan stated that this will defeat the purpose of the Bill.

Rep. Libanan replied in the affirmative, citing that the only requirement is that they make a sworn
Rep. Javier disagreed therewith, adding that natural-born Filipino citizens who acquired foreign
renunciation of their foreign citizenship and that they comply with the residency and registration
citizenships and later decided to regain their Filipino citizenship, will be considered as repatriated
requirements as provided for in the Constitution.
citizens.

Whereupon, Rep. Javier noted that under the Constitution, natural-born citizens are those who are
Rep. Libanan cited the case of Bengzon vs. HRET wherein the Supreme Court had ruled that only
citizens at the time of birth without having to perform an act to complete or perfect his/her
naturalized Filipino citizens are not considered as natural-born citizens.
citizenship.

In reaction, Rep. Javier clarified that only citizens by election or those whose mothers are Filipino
Rep. Libanan agreed therewith, citing that this is the reason why the Bill seeks the repeal of CA No.
citizens under the 1935 Constitution and who elected Filipino citizenship upon reaching the age of
63. The repeal, he said, would help Filipino citizens who acquired foreign citizenship to retain their
maturity, are not deemed as natural-born citizens.
citizenship. With regard then to Section 5 of the Bill, he explained that the Committee had decided
to include this provision because Section 18, Article XI of the Constitution provides for the
accountability of public officers.
In response, Rep. Libanan maintained that in the Bengzon case, repatriation results in the recovery Indeed, the solemn promise, and the risk of punishment attached to an oath ensures truthfulness
of one’s original nationality and only naturalized citizens are not considered as natural-born to the prospective public officer’s abandonment of his adopted state and promise of absolute
citizens. allegiance and loyalty to the Republic of the Philippines.

On whether the Sponsors would agree to not giving back the status of being natural-born citizens To hold the oath to be a mere pro forma requirement is to say that it is only for ceremonial
to natural-born Filipino citizens who acquired foreign citizenship, Rep. Libanan remarked that the purposes; it would also accommodate a mere qualified or temporary allegiance from government
Body in plenary session will decide on the matter. 27 officers when the Constitution and the legislature clearly demand otherwise.

The petitioner obviously espouses an isolated reading of Representative Javier’s statement; she Petitioner contends that the Australian Citizenship Act of 1948, under which she is already deemed
conveniently disregards the preceding and succeeding discussions in the records. to have lost her citizenship, is entitled to judicial notice. We disagree.

The above-quoted excerpts of the legislative record show that Representative Javier’s statement Foreign laws are not a matter of judicial notice. Like any other fact, they must be alleged and
ought to be understood within the context of the issue then being discussed, that is – whether proven.29 To prove a foreign law, the party invoking it must present a copy thereof and comply with
former natural-born citizens who re-acquire their Filipino citizenship under the proposed law will Sections 24 and 25 of Rule 132 of the Revised Rules of Court which reads:
revert to their original status as natural-born citizens and thus be qualified to run for government
positions reserved only to natural-born Filipinos, i.e. President, Vice-President and Members of the Sec. 24. Proof of official record. – The record of public documents referred to in paragraph (a) of
Congress. Section 19, when admissible for any purpose, may be evidenced by an official publication thereof
or by a copy attested by the officer having the legal custody of the record, or by his deputy, and
It was Representative Javier’s position that they should be considered as repatriated Filipinos and accompanied, if the record is not kept in the Philippines, with a certificate that such officer has the
not as natural-born citizens since they will have to execute a personal and sworn renunciation of custody. If the office in which the record is kept is in a foreign country, the certificate may be made
foreign citizenship. Natural-born citizens are those who need not perform an act to perfect their by a secretary of the embassy or legation, consul general, consul, vice- consul, or consular agent or
citizenship. Representative Libanan, however, maintained that they will revert to their original by any officer in the foreign service of the Philippines stationed in the foreign country in which the
status as natural-born citizens. To reconcile the renunciation imposed by Section 5(2) with the record is kept, and authenticated by the seal of his office. (Emphasis ours)
principle that natural-born citizens are those who need not perform any act to perfect their
citizenship, Representative Javier suggested that the sworn renunciation of foreign citizenship be Sec. 25. What attestation of copy must state. – Whenever a copy of a document or record is
considered as a mere pro forma requirement. attested for the purpose of the evidence, the attestation must state, in substance, that the copy is
a correct copy of the original, or a specific part thereof, as the case may be. The attestation must
Petitioner’s argument, therefore, loses its point. The "sworn renunciation of foreign citizenship" be under the official seal of the attesting officer, if there be any, or if he be the clerk of a court
must be deemed a formal requirement only with respect to the re-acquisition of one’s status as a having a seal, under the seal of such court.
natural-born Filipino so as to override the effect of the principle that natural-born citizens need
not perform any act to perfect their citizenship. Never was it mentioned or even alluded to that, as The Court has admitted certain exceptions to the above rules and held that the existence of a
the petitioner wants this Court to believe, those who re-acquire their Filipino citizenship and foreign law may also be established through: (1) a testimony under oath of an expert witness such
thereafter run for public office has the option of executing an unsworn affidavit of renunciation. as an attorney-at-law in the country where the foreign law operates wherein he quotes verbatim a
section of the law and states that the same was in force at the time material to the facts at hand;
It is also palpable in the above records that Section 5 was intended to complement Section 18, and (2) likewise, in several naturalization cases, it was held by the Court that evidence of the law of
Article XI of the Constitution on public officers’ primary accountability of allegiance and loyalty, a foreign country on reciprocity regarding the acquisition of citizenship, although not meeting the
which provides: prescribed rule of practice, may be allowed and used as basis for favorable action, if, in the light of
all the circumstances, the Court is "satisfied of the authenticity of the written proof offered." Thus,
Sec. 18. – Public officers and employees owe the State and this Constitution allegiance at all times in a number of decisions, mere authentication of the Chinese Naturalization Law by the Chinese
and any public officer or employee who seeks to change his citizenship or acquire the status of an Consulate General of Manila was held to be a competent proof of that law. 30
immigrant of another country during his tenure shall be dealt with by law.
The petitioner failed to prove the Australian Citizenship Act of 1948 through any of the above
An oath is a solemn declaration, accompanied by a swearing to God or a revered person or thing, methods. As uniformly observed by the RTC and COMELEC, the petitioner failed to show proof of
that one’s statement is true or that one will be bound to a promise. The person making the oath the existence of the law during trial. Also, the letter issued by the Australian government showing
implicitly invites punishment if the statement is untrue or the promise is broken. The legal effect of that petitioner already renounced her Australian citizenship was unauthenticated hence, the
an oath is to subject the person to penalties for perjury if the testimony is false. 28 courts a quo acted judiciously in disregarding the same.

We are bound to arrive at a similar conclusion even if we were to admit as competent evidence
the said letter in view of the photocopy of a Certificate of Authentication issued by Consular
Section of the Philippine Embassy in Canberra, Australia attached to the petitioner’s motion for
reconsideration.

We have stressed in Advocates and Adherents of Social Justice for School Teachers and Allied
Workers (AASJS) Member v. Datumanong31 that the framers of R.A. No. 9225 did not intend the law
to concern itself with the actual status of the other citizenship.

This Court as the government branch tasked to apply the enactments of the legislature must do so
conformably with the wisdom of the latter sans the interference of any foreign law. If we were to
read the Australian Citizen Act of 1948 into the application and operation of R.A. No. 9225, we
would be applying not what our legislative department has deemed wise to require. To do so
would be a brazen encroachment upon the sovereign will and power of the people of this
Republic.32

The petitioner’s act of running for public office does not suffice to serve as an effective
renunciation of her Australian citizenship. While this Court has previously declared that the filing
by a person with dual citizenship of a certificate of candidacy is already considered a renunciation
of foreign citizenship,33 such ruling was already adjudged superseded by the enactment of R.A. No.
9225 on August 29, 2003 which provides for the additional condition of a personal and sworn
renunciation of foreign citizenship. 34

The fact that petitioner won the elections can not cure the defect of her candidacy. Garnering the
most number of votes does not validate the election of a disqualified candidate because the
application of the constitutional and statutory provisions on disqualification is not a matter of
popularity.35

In fine, R.A. No. 9225 categorically demands natural-born Filipinos who re-acquire their citizenship
and seek elective office, to execute a personal and sworn renunciation of any and all foreign
citizenships before an authorized public officer prior to or simultaneous to the filing of their
certificates of candidacy, to qualify as candidates in Philippine elections. 36 The rule applies to all
those who have re-acquired their Filipino citizenship, like petitioner, without regard as to whether
they are still dual citizens or not. It is a pre-requisite imposed for the exercise of the right to run for
public office.

Stated differently, it is an additional qualification for elective office specific only to Filipino citizens
who re-acquire their citizenship under Section 3 of R.A. No. 9225. It is the operative act that
restores their right to run for public office. The petitioner's failure to comply therewith in
accordance with the exact tenor of the law, rendered ineffectual the Declaration of Renunciation
of Australian Citizenship she executed on September 18, 2006. As such, she is yet to regain her
political right to seek elective office. Unless she executes a sworn renunciation of her Australian
citizenship, she is ineligible to run for and hold any elective office in the Philippines.

WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing, the petition is hereby DISMISSED. The Resolution dated
September 6, 2011 of the Commission on Elections en bane in EAC (AE) No. A-44-2010 is
AFFIRMED in toto.

SO ORDERED.
CONFLICT – CHOICE OF LAW – PERSONAL LAW – NATIONALITY – DUAL CITIZENSHIP I solemnly swear that all the foregoing statement is true and correct to the best of my knowledge
and belief.7
G.R. No. 195649 April 16, 2013
On 30 November 2009, Arnado filed his Certificate of Candidacy for Mayor of Kauswagan, Lanao
CASAN MACODE MAQUILING, Petitioner, del Norte, which contains, among others, the following statements:
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, ROMMEL ARNADO y CAGOCO, LINOG G. BALUA, Respondents. I am a natural born Filipino citizen / naturalized Filipino citizen.

DECISION I am not a permanent resident of, or immigrant to, a foreign country.

SERENO, CJ.: I am eligible for the office I seek to be elected to.

THE CASE I will support and defend the Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines and will maintain true
faith and allegiance thereto. I will obey the laws, legal orders and decrees promulgated by the duly
This is a Petition for Certiorari ender Rule 64 in conjunction with Rule 65 of the Rules of Court to constituted authorities.
review the Resolutions of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC). The Resolution 1 in SPA No. 10-
1 09(DC) of the COMELEC First Division dated 5 October 201 0 is being assailed for applying Section I impose this obligation upon myself voluntarily without mental reservation or purpose of evasion. 8
44 of the Local Government Code while the Resolution 2 of the COMELEC En Banc dated 2 February
2011 is being questioned for finding that respondent Rommel Arnado y Cagoco (respondent On 28 April 2010, respondent Linog C. Balua (Balua), another mayoralty candidate, filed a petition
Arnado/Arnado) is solely a Filipino citizen qualified to run for public office despite his continued to disqualify Arnado and/or to cancel his certificate of candidacy for municipal mayor of
use of a U.S. passport. Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte in connection with the 10 May 2010 local and national elections. 9

FACTS Respondent Balua contended that Arnado is not a resident of Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte and
that he is a foreigner, attaching thereto a certification issued by the Bureau of Immigration dated
Respondent Arnado is a natural born Filipino citizen. 3 However, as a consequence of his 23 April 2010 indicating the nationality of Arnado as "USA-American." 10To further bolster his claim
subsequent naturalization as a citizen of the United States of America, he lost his Filipino of Arnado’s US citizenship, Balua presented in his Memorandum a computer-generated travel
citizenship. Arnado applied for repatriation under Republic Act (R.A.) No. 9225 before the record11 dated 03 December 2009 indicating that Arnado has been using his US Passport No.
Consulate General of the Philippines in San Franciso, USA and took the Oath of Allegiance to the 057782700 in entering and departing the Philippines. The said record shows that Arnado left the
Republic of the Philippines on 10 July 2008. 4 On the same day an Order of Approval of his country on 14 April 2009 and returned on 25 June 2009, and again departed on 29 July 2009,
Citizenship Retention and Re-acquisition was issued in his favor. 5 arriving back in the Philippines on 24 November 2009.

The aforementioned Oath of Allegiance states: Balua likewise presented a certification from the Bureau of Immigration dated 23 April 2010,
certifying that the name "Arnado, Rommel Cagoco" appears in the available Computer
I, Rommel Cagoco Arnado, solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the Database/Passenger manifest/IBM listing on file as of 21 April 2010, with the following pertinent
Republic of the Philippines and obey the laws and legal orders promulgated by the duly constituted travel records:
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 DATE OF Arrival : 01/12/2010
this obligation upon myself voluntarily without mental reservation or purpose of evasion. 6 NATIONALITY : USA-AMERICAN
PASSPORT : 057782700
On 3 April 2009 Arnado again took his Oath of Allegiance to the Republic and executed an Affidavit DATE OF Arrival : 03/23/2010
of Renunciation of his foreign citizenship, which states: NATIONALITY : USA-AMERICAN
PASSPORT : 05778270012
I, Rommel Cagoco Arnado, do solemnly swear that I absolutely and perpetually renounce all
allegiance and fidelity to the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA of which I am a citizen, and I divest On 30 April 2010, the COMELEC (First Division) issued an Order 13 requiring the respondent to
myself of full employment of all civil and political rights and privileges of the United States of personally file his answer and memorandum within three (3) days from receipt thereof.
America.
After Arnado failed to answer the petition, Balua moved to declare him in default and to present
evidence ex-parte.
Neither motion was acted upon, having been overtaken by the 2010 elections where Arnado citizenship and renounced his US citizenship. As noted by the Supreme Court in the Yu case, "a
garnered the highest number of votes and was subsequently proclaimed as the winning candidate passport is defined as an official document of identity and nationality issued to a person intending
for Mayor of Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte. to travel or sojourn in foreign countries." Surely, one who truly divested himself of US citizenship
would not continue to avail of privileges reserved solely for US nationals. 19
It was only after his proclamation that Arnado filed his verified answer, submitting the following
documents as evidence:14 The dispositive portion of the Resolution rendered by the COMELEC

1. Affidavit of Renunciation and Oath of Allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines dated 03 First Division reads:
April 2009;
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the petition for disqualification and/or to cancel the
2. Joint-Affidavit dated 31 May 2010 of Engr. Virgil Seno, Virginia Branzuela, Leoncio Daligdig, certificate of candidacy of Rommel C. Arnado is hereby GRANTED. Rommel C. Arnado’s
and Jessy Corpin, all neighbors of Arnado, attesting that Arnado is a long-time resident of proclamation as the winning candidate for Municipal Mayor of Kauswagan, Lanao del Nore is
Kauswagan and that he has been conspicuously and continuously residing in his family’s hereby ANNULLED. Let the order of succession under Section 44 of the Local Government Code of
ancestral house in Kauswagan; 1991 take effect.20

3. Certification from the Punong Barangay of Poblacion, Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte dated 03 The Motion for Reconsideration and
June 2010 stating that Arnado is a bona fide resident of his barangay and that Arnado went to the Motion for Intervention
the United States in 1985 to work and returned to the Philippines in 2009;
Arnado sought reconsideration of the resolution before the COMELEC En Banc on the ground that
4. Certification dated 31 May 2010 from the Municipal Local Government Operations Office of "the evidence is insufficient to justify the Resolution and that the said Resolution is contrary to
Kauswagan stating that Dr. Maximo P. Arnado, Sr. served as Mayor of Kauswagan, from January law."21 He raised the following contentions:22
1964 to June 1974 and from 15 February 1979 to 15 April 1986; and
1. The finding that he is not a Filipino citizen is not supported by the evidence consisting of his
5. Voter Certification issued by the Election Officer of Kauswagan certifying that Arnado has Oath of Allegiance and the Affidavit of Renunciation, which show that he has substantially
been a registered voter of Kauswagan since 03 April 2009. complied with the requirements of R.A. No. 9225;

THE RULING OF THE COMELEC FIRST DIVISION 2. The use of his US passport subsequent to his renunciation of his American citizenship is not
tantamount to a repudiation of his Filipino citizenship, as he did not perform any act to swear
Instead of treating the Petition as an action for the cancellation of a certificate of candidacy based allegiance to a country other than the Philippines;
on misrepresentation,15 the COMELEC First Division considered it as one for disqualification.
Balua’s contention that Arnado is a resident of the United States was dismissed upon the finding 3. He used his US passport only because he was not informed of the issuance of his Philippine
that "Balua failed to present any evidence to support his contention," 16 whereas the First Division passport, and that he used his Philippine passport after he obtained it;
still could "not conclude that Arnado failed to meet the one-year residency requirement under the
Local Government Code."17 4. Balua’s petition to cancel the certificate of candidacy of Arnado was filed out of time, and the
First Division’s treatment of the petition as one for disqualification constitutes grave abuse of
In the matter of the issue of citizenship, however, the First Division disagreed with Arnado’s claim discretion amounting to excess of jurisdiction;23
that he is a Filipino citizen.18
5. He is undoubtedly the people’s choice as indicated by his winning the elections;
We find that although Arnado appears to have substantially complied with the requirements of
R.A. No. 9225, Arnado’s act of consistently using his US passport after renouncing his US 6. His proclamation as the winning candidate ousted the COMELEC from jurisdiction over the
citizenship on 03 April 2009 effectively negated his Affidavit of Renunciation. case; and

xxxx 7. The proper remedy to question his citizenship is through a petition for quo warranto, which
should have been filed within ten days from his proclamation.
Arnado’s continued use of his US passport is a strong indication that Arnado had no real intention
to renounce his US citizenship and that he only executed an Affidavit of Renunciation to enable Petitioner Casan Macode Maquiling (Maquiling), another candidate for mayor of Kauswagan, and
him to run for office. We cannot turn a blind eye to the glaring inconsistency between Arnado’s who garnered the second highest number of votes in the 2010 elections, intervened in the case
unexplained use of a US passport six times and his claim that he re-acquired his Philippine and filed before the COMELEC En Banc a Motion for Reconsideration together with an Opposition
to Arnado’s Amended Motion for Reconsideration. Maquiling argued that while the First Division to be its citizens. In the present case, respondent is not a naturalized citizen but a natural born
correctly disqualified Arnado, the order of succession under Section 44 of the Local Government citizen who chose greener pastures by working abroad and then decided to repatriate to
Code is not applicable in this case. Consequently, he claimed that the cancellation of Arnado’s supposedly help in the progress of Kauswagan. He did not apply for a US passport after his
candidacy and the nullification of his proclamation, Maquiling, as the legitimate candidate who renunciation. Thus the mentioned case is not on all fours with the case at bar.
obtained the highest number of lawful votes, should be proclaimed as the winner.
xxxx
Maquiling simultaneously filed his Memorandum with his Motion for Intervention and his Motion
for Reconsideration. Arnado opposed all motions filed by Maquiling, claiming that intervention is The respondent presented a plausible explanation as to the use of his US passport. Although he
prohibited after a decision has already been rendered, and that as a second-placer, Maquiling applied for a Philippine passport, the passport was only issued on June 18, 2009. However, he was
undoubtedly lost the elections and thus does not stand to be prejudiced or benefitted by the final not notified of the issuance of his Philippine passport so that he was actually able to get it about
adjudication of the case. three (3) months later. Yet as soon as he was in possession of his Philippine passport, the
respondent already used the same in his subsequent travels abroad. This fact is proven by the
RULING OF THE COMELEC EN BANC respondent’s submission of a certified true copy of his passport showing that he used the same for
his travels on the following dates: January 31, 2010, April 16, 2010, May 20, 2010, January 12,
In its Resolution of 02 February 2011, the COMELEC En Banc held that under Section 6 of Republic 2010, March 31, 2010 and June 4, 2010. This then shows that the use of the US passport was
Act No. 6646, the Commission "shall continue with the trial and hearing of the action, inquiry or because to his knowledge, his Philippine passport was not yet issued to him for his use. As
protest even after the proclamation of the candidate whose qualifications for office is questioned." probably pressing needs might be undertaken, the respondent used whatever is within his control
during that time.25
As to Maquiling’s intervention, the COMELEC En Banc also cited Section 6 of R.A. No. 6646 which
allows intervention in proceedings for disqualification even after elections if no final judgment has In his Separate Concurring Opinion, COMELEC Chairman Sixto Brillantes cited that the use of
been rendered, but went on further to say that Maquiling, as the second placer, would not be foreign passport is not one of the grounds provided for under Section 1 of Commonwealth Act No.
prejudiced by the outcome of the case as it agrees with the dispositive portion of the Resolution of 63 through which Philippine citizenship may be lost.
the First Division allowing the order of succession under Section 44 of the Local Government Code
to take effect. "The application of the more assimilative principle of continuity of citizenship is more appropriate
in this case. Under said principle, once a person becomes a citizen, either by birth or
The COMELEC En Banc agreed with the treatment by the First Division of the petition as one for naturalization, it is assumed that he desires to continue to be a citizen, and this assumption stands
disqualification, and ruled that the petition was filed well within the period prescribed by law, 24 until he voluntarily denationalizes or expatriates himself. Thus, in the instant case respondent after
having been filed on 28 April 2010, which is not later than 11 May 2010, the date of proclamation. reacquiring his Philippine citizenship should be presumed to have remained a Filipino despite his
use of his American passport in the absence of clear, unequivocal and competent proof of
expatriation. Accordingly, all doubts should be resolved in favor of retention of citizenship." 26
However, the COMELEC En Banc reversed and set aside the ruling of the First Division and granted
Arnado’s Motion for Reconsideration, on the following premises:
On the other hand, Commissioner Rene V. Sarmiento dissented, thus:
First:
Respondent evidently failed to prove that he truly and wholeheartedly abandoned his allegiance to
the United States. The latter’s continued use of his US passport and enjoyment of all the privileges
By renouncing his US citizenship as imposed by R.A. No. 9225, the respondent embraced his
of a US citizen despite his previous renunciation of the afore-mentioned citizenship runs contrary
Philippine citizenship as though he never became a citizen of another country. It was at that time,
to his declaration that he chose to retain only his Philippine citizenship. Respondent’s submission
April 3, 2009, that the respondent became a pure Philippine Citizen again.
with the twin requirements was obviously only for the purpose of complying with the
requirements for running for the mayoralty post in connection with the May 10, 2010 Automated
xxxx National and Local Elections.

The use of a US passport … does not operate to revert back his status as a dual citizen prior to his Qualifications for elective office, such as citizenship, are continuing requirements; once any of
renunciation as there is no law saying such. More succinctly, the use of a US passport does not them is lost during his incumbency, title to the office itself is deemed forfeited. If a candidate is not
operate to "un-renounce" what he has earlier on renounced. The First Division’s reliance in the a citizen at the time he ran for office or if he lost his citizenship after his election to office, he is
case of In Re: Petition for Habeas Corpus of Willy Yu v. Defensor-Santiago, et al. is misplaced. The disqualified to serve as such. Neither does the fact that respondent obtained the plurality of votes
petitioner in the said case is a naturalized citizen who, after taking his oath as a naturalized Filipino, for the mayoralty post cure the latter’s failure to comply with the qualification requirements
applied for the renewal of his Portuguese passport. Strict policy is maintained in the conduct of regarding his citizenship.
citizens who are not natural born, who acquire their citizenship by choice, thus discarding their
original citizenship. The Philippine State expects strict conduct of allegiance to those who choose
Since a disqualified candidate is no candidate at all in the eyes of the law, his having received the candidate who garnered the second highest number of votes, Maquiling contends that he has an
highest number of votes does not validate his election. It has been held that where a petition for interest in the disqualification case filed against Arnado, considering that in the event the latter is
disqualification was filed before election against a candidate but was adversely resolved against disqualified, the votes cast for him should be considered stray and the second-placer should be
him after election, his having obtained the highest number of votes did not make his election valid. proclaimed as the winner in the elections.
His ouster from office does not violate the principle of vox populi suprema est lex because the
application of the constitutional and statutory provisions on disqualification is not a matter of It must be emphasized that while the original petition before the COMELEC is one for cancellation
popularity. To apply it is to breath[e] life to the sovereign will of the people who expressed it when of the certificate of candidacy and / or disqualification, the COMELEC First Division and the
they ratified the Constitution and when they elected their representatives who enacted the law. 27 COMELEC En Banc correctly treated the petition as one for disqualification.

THE PETITION BEFORE THE COURT The effect of a disqualification case is enunciated in Section 6 of R.A. No. 6646:

Maquiling filed the instant petition questioning the propriety of declaring Arnado qualified to run Sec. 6. Effect of Disqualification Case. - Any candidate who has been declared by final judgment to
for public office despite his continued use of a US passport, and praying that Maquiling be be disqualified shall not be voted for, and the votes cast for him shall not be counted. If for any
proclaimed as the winner in the 2010 mayoralty race in Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte. reason a candidate is not declared by final judgment before an election to be disqualified and he is
voted for and receives the winning number of votes in such election, the Court or Commission
Ascribing both grave abuse of discretion and reversible error on the part of the COMELEC En Banc shall continue with the trial and hearing of the action, inquiry, or protest and, upon motion of the
for ruling that Arnado is a Filipino citizen despite his continued use of a US passport, Maquiling complainant or any intervenor, may during the pendency thereof order the suspension of the
now seeks to reverse the finding of the COMELEC En Banc that Arnado is qualified to run for public proclamation of such candidate whenever the evidence of his guilt is strong.
office.
Mercado v. Manzano28
Corollary to his plea to reverse the ruling of the COMELEC En Banc or to affirm the First Division’s
disqualification of Arnado, Maquiling also seeks the review of the applicability of Section 44 of the clarified the right of intervention in a disqualification case. In that case, the Court said:
Local Government Code, claiming that the COMELEC committed reversible error in ruling that "the
succession of the vice mayor in case the respondent is disqualified is in order."
That petitioner had a right to intervene at that stage of the proceedings for the disqualification
against private respondent is clear from Section 6 of R.A. No. 6646, otherwise known as the
There are three questions posed by the parties before this Court which will be addressed seriatim Electoral Reforms Law of 1987, which provides: Any candidate who has been declared by final
as the subsequent questions hinge on the result of the first. judgment to be disqualified shall not be voted for, and the votes cast for him shall not be counted.
If for any reason a candidate is not declared by final judgment before an election to be disqualified
The first question is whether or not intervention is allowed in a disqualification case. and he is voted for and receives the winning number of votes in such election, the Court or
Commission shall continue with the trial and hearing of the action, inquiry, or protest and, upon
The second question is whether or not the use of a foreign passport after renouncing foreign motion of the complainant or any intervenor, may during the pendency thereof order the
citizenship amounts to undoing a renunciation earlier made. suspension of the proclamation of such candidate whenever the evidence of guilt is strong. Under
this provision, intervention may be allowed in proceedings for disqualification even after election if
there has yet been no final judgment rendered.29
A better framing of the question though should be whether or not the use of a foreign passport
after renouncing foreign citizenship affects one’s qualifications to run for public office.
Clearly then, Maquiling has the right to intervene 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
The third question is whether or not the rule on succession in the Local Government Code is
second-placer rule set forth in Sinsuat v. COMELEC 30 are present and therefore would not be
applicable to this case.
prejudiced by the outcome of the case, does not deprive Maquiling of the right to elevate the
matter before this Court.
OUR RULING
Arnado’s claim that the main case has attained finality as the original petitioner and respondents
Intervention of a rival candidate in a therein have not appealed the decision of the COMELEC En Banc, cannot be sustained. The
disqualification case is proper when elevation of the case by the intervenor prevents it from attaining finality. It is only after this Court
there has not yet been any has ruled upon the issues raised in this instant petition that the disqualification case originally filed
proclamation of the winner. by Balua against Arnado will attain finality.

Petitioner Casan Macode Maquiling intervened at the stage when respondent Arnado filed a The use of foreign passport after renouncing one’s foreign citizenship is a positive and voluntary
Motion for Reconsideration of the First Division Resolution before the COMELEC En Banc. As the act of representation as to one’s nationality and citizenship; it does not divest Filipino citizenship
regained by repatriation but it recants the Oath of Renunciation required to qualify one to run Between 03 April 2009, the date he renounced his foreign citizenship, and 30 November 2009, the
for an elective position. date he filed his COC, he used his US passport four times, actions that run counter to the affidavit
of renunciation he had earlier executed. By using his foreign passport, Arnado positively and
Section 5(2) of The Citizenship Retention and Re-acquisition Act of 2003 provides: voluntarily represented himself as an American, in effect declaring before immigration authorities
of both countries that he is an American citizen, with all attendant rights and privileges granted by
the United States of America.
Those who retain or re-acquire Philippine citizenship under this Act shall enjoy full civil and
political rights and be subject to all attendant liabilities and responsibilities under existing laws of
the Philippines and the following conditions: The renunciation of foreign citizenship is not a hollow oath that can simply be professed at any
time, only to be violated the next day. It requires an absolute and perpetual renunciation of the
foreign citizenship and a full divestment of all civil and political rights granted by the foreign
xxxx
country which granted the citizenship.

(2)Those seeking elective public in the Philippines shall meet the qualification for holding such
Mercado v. Manzano34 already hinted at this situation when the Court declared:
public office as required by the Constitution and existing laws and, at the time of the filing of the
certificate of candidacy, make a personal and sworn renunciation of any and all foreign before any
public officer authorized to administer an oath. His declarations will be taken upon the faith that he will fulfill his undertaking made under oath.
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, we
x x x31
sustained the denial of entry into the country of petitioner on the ground that, after taking his
oath as a naturalized citizen, he applied for the renewal of his Portuguese passport and declared in
Rommel Arnado took all the necessary steps to qualify to run for a public office. He took the Oath commercial documents executed abroad that he was a Portuguese national. A similar sanction can
of Allegiance and renounced his foreign citizenship. There is no question that after performing be taken against anyone who, in electing Philippine citizenship, renounces his foreign nationality,
these twin requirements required under Section 5(2) of R.A. No. 9225 or the Citizenship Retention but subsequently does some act constituting renunciation of his Philippine citizenship.
and Re-acquisition Act of 2003, he became eligible to run for public office.
While the act of using a foreign passport is not one of the acts enumerated in Commonwealth Act
Indeed, Arnado took the Oath of Allegiance not just only once but twice: first, on 10 July 2008 No. 63 constituting renunciation and loss of Philippine citizenship, 35 it is nevertheless an act which
when he applied for repatriation before the Consulate General of the Philippines in San Francisco, repudiates the very oath of renunciation required for a former Filipino citizen who is also a citizen
USA, and again on 03 April 2009 simultaneous with the execution of his Affidavit of Renunciation. of another country to be qualified to run for a local elective position.
By taking the Oath of Allegiance to the Republic, Arnado re-acquired his Philippine citizenship. At
the time, however, he likewise possessed American citizenship. Arnado had therefore become a
When Arnado used his US passport on 14 April 2009, or just eleven days after he renounced his
dual citizen.
American citizenship, he recanted his Oath of Renunciation 36 that he "absolutely and perpetually
renounce(s) all allegiance and fidelity to the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" 37 and that he "divest(s)
After reacquiring his Philippine citizenship, Arnado renounced his American citizenship by himself of full employment of all civil and political rights and privileges of the United States of
executing an Affidavit of Renunciation, thus completing the requirements for eligibility to run for America."38
public office.
We agree with the COMELEC En Banc that such act of using a foreign passport does not divest
By renouncing his foreign citizenship, he was deemed to be solely a Filipino citizen, regardless of Arnado of his Filipino citizenship, which he acquired by repatriation. However, by representing
the effect of such renunciation under the laws of the foreign country. 32 himself as an American citizen, Arnado voluntarily and effectively reverted to his earlier status as a
dual citizen. Such reversion was not retroactive; it took place the instant Arnado represented
However, this legal presumption does not operate permanently and is open to attack when, after himself as an American citizen by using his US passport.
renouncing the foreign citizenship, the citizen performs positive acts showing his continued
possession of a foreign citizenship.33 This act of using a foreign passport after renouncing one’s foreign citizenship is fatal to Arnado’s
bid for public office, as it effectively imposed on him a disqualification to run for an elective local
Arnado himself subjected the issue of his citizenship to attack when, after renouncing his foreign position.
citizenship, he continued to use his US passport to travel in and out of the country before filing his
certificate of candidacy on 30 November 2009. The pivotal question to determine is whether he Arnado’s category of dual citizenship is that by which foreign citizenship is acquired through a
was solely and exclusively a Filipino citizen at the time he filed his certificate of candidacy, thereby positive act of applying for naturalization. This is distinct from those considered dual citizens by
rendering him eligible to run for public office. virtue of birth, who are not required by law to take the oath of renunciation as the mere filing of
the certificate of candidacy already carries with it an implied renunciation of foreign citizenship. 39
Dual citizens by naturalization, on the other hand, are required to take not only the Oath of
Allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines but also to personally renounce foreign citizenship in cannot agree with the COMELEC. Three months from June is September. If indeed, Arnado used his
order to qualify as a candidate for public office. Philippine passport as soon as he was in possession of it, he would not have used his US passport
on 24 November 2009.
By the time he filed his certificate of candidacy on 30 November 2009, Arnado was a dual citizen
enjoying the rights and privileges of Filipino and American citizenship. He was qualified to vote, Besides, Arnado’s subsequent use of his Philippine passport does not correct the fact that after he
but by the express disqualification under Section 40(d) of the Local Government Code, 40 he was renounced his foreign citizenship and prior to filing his certificate of candidacy, he used his US
not qualified to run for a local elective position. passport. In the same way that the use of his foreign passport does not undo his Oath of
Renunciation, his subsequent use of his Philippine passport does not undo his earlier use of his US
In effect, Arnado was solely and exclusively a Filipino citizen only for a period of eleven days, or passport.
from 3 April 2009 until 14 April 2009, on which date he first used his American passport after
renouncing his American citizenship. Citizenship is not a matter of convenience. It is a badge of identity that comes with attendant civil
and political rights accorded by the state to its citizens. It likewise demands the concomitant duty
This Court has previously ruled that: to maintain allegiance to one’s flag and country. While those who acquire dual citizenship by
choice are afforded the right of suffrage, those who seek election or appointment to public office
are required to renounce their foreign citizenship to be deserving of the public trust. Holding
Qualifications for public office are continuing requirements and must be possessed not only at the
public office demands full and undivided allegiance to the Republic and to no other.
time of appointment or election or assumption of office but during the officer's entire tenure.
Once any of the required qualifications is lost, his title may be seasonably challenged. x x x. 41
We therefore hold that Arnado, by using his US passport after renouncing his American citizenship,
has recanted the same Oath of Renunciation he took. Section 40(d) of the Local Government Code
The citizenship requirement for elective public office is a continuing one. It must be possessed not
applies to his situation. He is disqualified not only from holding the public office but even from
just at the time of the renunciation of the foreign citizenship but continuously. Any act which
becoming a candidate in the May 2010 elections.
violates the oath of renunciation opens the citizenship issue to attack.

We now resolve the next issue.


We agree with the pronouncement of the COMELEC First Division that "Arnado’s act of
consistently using his US passport effectively negated his "Affidavit of Renunciation." 42 This does
not mean, that he failed to comply with the twin requirements under R.A. No. 9225, for he in fact Resolving the third issue necessitates revisiting Topacio v. Paredes 45 which is the jurisprudential
did. spring of the principle that a second-placer cannot be proclaimed as the winner in an election
contest. This doctrine must be re-examined and its soundness once again put to the test to address
the ever-recurring issue that a second-placer who loses to an ineligible candidate cannot be
It was after complying with the requirements that he performed positive acts which effectively
proclaimed as the winner in the elections.
disqualified him from running for an elective public office pursuant to Section 40(d) of the Local
Government Code of 1991.
The Facts of the case are as follows:
The purpose of the Local Government Code in disqualifying dual citizens from running for any
elective public office would be thwarted if we were to allow a person who has earlier renounced On June 4, 1912, a general election was held in the town of Imus, Province of Cavite, to fill the
his foreign citizenship, but who subsequently represents himself as a foreign citizen, to hold any office of municipal president. The petitioner, Felipe Topacio, and the respondent, Maximo Abad,
public office. were opposing candidates for that office. Topacio received 430 votes, and Abad 281. Abad
contested the election upon the sole ground that Topacio was ineligible in that he was reelected
the second time to the office of the municipal president on June 4, 1912, without the four years
Arnado justifies the continued use of his US passport with the explanation that he was not notified
required by Act No. 2045 having intervened.46
of the issuance of his Philippine passport on 18 June 2009, as a result of which he was only able to
obtain his Philippine passport three (3) months later. 43
Abad thus questioned the eligibility of To p a c i o on the basis of a statutory prohibition for seeking
a second re-election absent the four year interruption.
The COMELEC En Banc differentiated Arnado from Willy Yu, the Portuguese national who sought
naturalization as a Filipino citizen and later applied for the renewal of his Portuguese passport.
That Arnado did not apply for a US passport after his renunciation does not make his use of a US The often-quoted phrase in Topacio v. Paredes is that "the wreath of victory cannot be transferred
passport less of an act that violated the Oath of Renunciation he took. It was still a positive act of from an ineligible candidate to any other candidate when the sole question is the eligibility of the
representation as a US citizen before the immigration officials of this country. one receiving a plurality of the legally cast ballots."47

The COMELEC, in ruling favorably for Arnado, stated "Yet, as soon as he was in possession of his This phrase is not even the ratio decidendi; it is a mere obiter dictum. The Court was comparing
Philippine passport, the respondent already used the same in his subsequent travels abroad." 44 We "the effect of a decision that a candidate is not entitled to the office because of fraud or
irregularities in the elections x x x with that produced by declaring a person ineligible to hold such rendered on respondents' answer to the order to show cause, unless respondents raised some
an office." new and additional issues, let judgment be entered accordingly in 5 days, without costs. So
ordered.49
The complete sentence where the phrase is found is part of a comparison and contrast between
the two situations, thus: On closer scrutiny, the phrase relied upon by a host of decisions does not even have a legal basis to
stand on. It was a mere pronouncement of the Court comparing one process with another and
Again, the effect of a decision that a candidate is not entitled to the office because of fraud or explaining the effects thereof. As an independent statement, it is even illogical.
irregularities in the elections is quite different from that produced by declaring a person ineligible
to hold such an office. In the former case the court, after an examination of the ballots may find Let us examine the statement:
that some other person than the candidate declared to have received a plurality by the board of
canvassers actually received the greater number of votes, in which case the court issues its "x x x the wreath of victory cannot be transferred from an ineligible candidate to any other
mandamus to the board of canvassers to correct the returns accordingly; or it may find that the candidate when the sole question is the eligibility of the one receiving a plurality of the legally cast
manner of holding the election and the returns are so tainted with fraud or illegality that it cannot ballots."
be determined who received a plurality of the legally cast ballots. In the latter case, no question as
to the correctness of the returns or the manner of casting and counting the ballots is before the
What prevents the transfer of the wreath of victory from the ineligible candidate to another
deciding power, and generally the only result can be that the election fails entirely. In the former,
candidate?
we have a contest in the strict sense of the word, because of the opposing parties are striving for
supremacy. If it be found that the successful candidate (according to the board of canvassers)
obtained a plurality in an illegal manner, and that another candidate was the real victor, the former When the issue being decided upon by the Court is the eligibility of the one receiving a plurality of
must retire in favor of the latter. In the other case, there is not, strictly speaking, a contest, as the the legally cast ballots and ineligibility is thereafter established, what stops the Court from
wreath of victory cannot be transferred from an ineligible candidate to any other candidate when adjudging another eligible candidate who received the next highest number of votes as the winner
the sole question is the eligibility of the one receiving a plurality of the legally cast ballots. In the and bestowing upon him that "wreath?"
one case the question is as to who received a plurality of the legally cast ballots; in the other, the
question is confined to the personal character and circumstances of a single individual. 48 (Emphasis An ineligible candidate who receives the highest number of votes is a wrongful winner. By express
supplied) legal mandate, he could not even have been a candidate in the first place, but by virtue of the lack
of material time or any other intervening circumstances, his ineligibility might not have been
Note that the sentence where the phrase is found starts with "In the other case, there is not, passed upon prior to election date. Consequently, he may have had the opportunity to hold
strictly speaking, a contest" in contrast to the earlier statement, "In the former, we have a contest himself out to the electorate as a legitimate and duly qualified candidate. However,
in the strict sense of the word, because of the opposing parties are striving for supremacy." notwithstanding the outcome of the elections, his ineligibility as a candidate remains unchanged.
Ineligibility does not only pertain to his qualifications as a candidate but necessarily affects his
right to hold public office. The number of ballots cast in his favor cannot cure the defect of failure
The Court in Topacio v. Paredes cannot be said to have held that "the wreath of victory cannot be
to qualify with the substantive legal requirements of eligibility to run for public office.
transferred from an ineligible candidate to any other candidate when the sole question is the
eligibility of the one receiving a plurality of the legally cast ballots."
The popular vote does not cure the
ineligibility of a candidate.
A proper reading of the case reveals that the ruling therein is that since the Court of First Instance
is without jurisdiction to try a disqualification case based on the eligibility of the person who
obtained the highest number of votes in the election, its jurisdiction being confined "to determine The ballot cannot override the constitutional and statutory requirements for qualifications and
which of the contestants has been duly elected" the judge exceeded his jurisdiction when he disqualifications of candidates. When the law requires certain qualifications to be possessed or
"declared that no one had been legally elected president of the municipality of Imus at the general that certain disqualifications be not possessed by persons desiring to serve as elective public
election held in that town on 4 June 1912" where "the only question raised was whether or not officials, those qualifications must be met before one even becomes a candidate. When a person
Topacio was eligible to be elected and to hold the office of municipal president." who is not qualified is voted for and eventually garners the highest number of votes, even the will
of the electorate expressed through the ballot cannot cure the defect in the qualifications of the
candidate. To rule otherwise is to trample upon and rent asunder the very law that sets forth the
The Court did not rule that Topacio was disqualified and that Abad as the second placer cannot be
qualifications and disqualifications of candidates. We might as well write off our election laws if
proclaimed in his stead. The Court therein ruled:
the voice of the electorate is the sole determinant of who should be proclaimed worthy to occupy
elective positions in our republic.
For the foregoing reasons, we are of the opinion and so hold that the respondent judge exceeded
his jurisdiction in declaring in those proceedings that no one was elected municipal president of
This has been, in fact, already laid down by the Court in Frivaldo v. COMELEC 50 when we
the municipality of Imus at the last general election; and that said order and all subsequent
pronounced:
proceedings based thereon are null and void and of no effect; and, although this decision is
x x x. The fact that he was elected by the people of Sorsogon does not excuse this patent violation the electorate’s voice spoken through the ballot is made to matter in the end, it precisely serves as
of the salutary rule limiting public office and employment only to the citizens of this country. The an open invitation for electoral anarchy to set in.1âwphi1
qualifications prescribed for elective office cannot be erased by the electorate alone.
Maquiling is not a second-placer as
The will of the people as expressed through the ballot cannot cure the vice of ineligibility, he obtained the highest number of
especially if they mistakenly believed, as in this case, that the candidate was qualified. Obviously, votes from among the qualified
this rule requires strict application when the deficiency is lack of citizenship. If a person seeks to candidates.
serve in the Republic of the Philippines, he must owe his total loyalty to this country only, abjuring
and renouncing all fealty and fidelity to any other state. 51 (Emphasis supplied) With Arnado’s disqualification, Maquiling then becomes the winner in the election as he obtained
the highest number of votes from among the qualified candidates.
This issue has also been jurisprudentially clarified in Velasco v. COMELEC 52 where the Court ruled
that the ruling in Quizon and Saya-ang cannot be interpreted without qualifications lest "Election We have ruled in the recent cases of Aratea v. COMELEC 54 and Jalosjos v. COMELEC55 that a void
victory x x x becomes a magic formula to bypass election eligibility requirements." 53 COC cannot produce any legal effect.

We have ruled in the past that a candidate’s victory in the election may be considered a sufficient Thus, the votes cast in favor of the ineligible candidate are not considered at all in determining the
basis to rule in favor of the candidate sought to be disqualified if the main issue involves defects in winner of an election.
the candidate’s certificate of candidacy. We said that while provisions relating to certificates of
candidacy are mandatory in terms, it is an established rule of interpretation as regards election
Even when the votes for the ineligible candidate are disregarded, the will of the electorate is still
laws, that mandatory provisions requiring certain steps before elections will be construed as
respected, and even more so. The votes cast in favor of an ineligible candidate do not constitute
directory after the elections, to give effect to the will of the people. We so ruled in Quizon v.
the sole and total expression of the sovereign voice. The votes cast in favor of eligible and
COMELEC and Saya-ang v. COMELEC:
legitimate candidates form part of that voice and must also be respected.

The present case perhaps presents the proper time and opportunity to fine-tune our above ruling.
As in any contest, elections are governed by rules that determine the qualifications and
We say this with the realization that a blanket and unqualified reading and application of this
disqualifications of those who are allowed to participate as players. When there are participants
ruling can be fraught with dangerous significance for the rule of law and the integrity of our
who turn out to be ineligible, their victory is voided and the laurel is awarded to the next in rank
elections. For one, such blanket/unqualified reading may provide a way around the law that
who does not possess any of the disqualifications nor lacks any of the qualifications set in the rules
effectively negates election requirements aimed at providing the electorate with the basic
to be eligible as candidates.
information to make an informed choice about a candidate’s eligibility and fitness for office.

There is no need to apply the rule cited in Labo v. COMELEC 56 that when the voters are well aware
The first requirement that may fall when an unqualified reading is made is Section 39 of the LGC
within the realm of notoriety of a candidate’s disqualification and still cast their votes in favor said
which specifies the basic qualifications of local government officials. Equally susceptive of being
candidate, then the eligible candidate obtaining the next higher number of votes may be deemed
rendered toothless is Section 74 of the OEC that sets out what should be stated in a COC. Section
elected. That rule is also a mere obiter that further complicated the rules affecting qualified
78 may likewise be emasculated as mere delay in the resolution of the petition to cancel or deny
candidates who placed second to ineligible ones.
due course to a COC can render a Section 78 petition useless if a candidate with false COC data
wins. To state the obvious, candidates may risk falsifying their COC qualifications if they know that
an election victory will cure any defect that their COCs may have. Election victory then becomes a The electorate’s awareness of the candidate’s disqualification is not a prerequisite for the
magic formula to bypass election eligibility requirements. (Citations omitted) disqualification to attach to the candidate. The very existence of a disqualifying circumstance
makes the candidate ineligible. Knowledge by the electorate of a candidate’s disqualification is not
necessary before a qualified candidate who placed second to a disqualified one can be proclaimed
What will stop an otherwise disqualified individual from filing a seemingly valid COC, concealing
as the winner. The second-placer in the vote count is actually the first-placer among the qualified
any disqualification, and employing every strategy to delay any disqualification case filed against
candidates.
him so he can submit himself to the electorate and win, if winning the election will guarantee a
disregard of constitutional and statutory provisions on qualifications and disqualifications of
candidates? That the disqualified candidate has already been proclaimed and has assumed office is of no
moment. The subsequent disqualification based on a substantive ground that existed prior to the
filing of the certificate of candidacy voids not only the COC but also the proclamation.
It is imperative to safeguard the expression of the sovereign voice through the ballot by ensuring
that its exercise respects the rule of law. To allow the sovereign voice spoken through the ballot to
trump constitutional and statutory provisions on qualifications and disqualifications of candidates Section 6 of R.A. No. 6646 provides:
is not democracy or republicanism. It is electoral anarchy. When set rules are disregarded and only
Section 6. Effect of Disqualification Case. - Any candidate who has been declared by final judgment Let a copy of this Decision be served personally upon the parties and the Commission on Elections.
to be disqualified shall not be voted for, and the votes cast for him shall not be counted. If for any
reason a candidate is not declared by final judgment before an election to be disqualified and he is No pronouncement as to costs.
voted for and receives the winning number of votes in such election, the Court or Commission
shall continue with the trial and hearing of the action, inquiry, or protest and, upon motion of the
SO ORDERED.
complainant or any intervenor, may during the pendency thereof order the suspension of the
proclamation of such candidate whenever the evidence of his guilt is strong.

There was no chance for Arnado’s proclamation to be suspended under this rule because Arnado
failed to file his answer to the petition seeking his disqualification. Arnado only filed his Answer on
15 June 2010, long after the elections and after he was already proclaimed as the winner.

The disqualifying circumstance surrounding Arnado’s candidacy involves his citizenship. It does not
involve the commission of election offenses as provided for in the first sentence of Section 68 of
the Omnibus Election Code, the effect of which is to disqualify the individual from continuing as a
candidate, or if he has already been elected, from holding the office.

The disqualifying circumstance affecting Arnado is his citizenship. As earlier discussed, Arnado was
both a Filipino and an American citizen when he filed his certificate of candidacy. He was a dual
citizen disqualified to run for public office based on Section 40(d) of the Local Government Code.

Section 40 starts with the statement "The following persons are disqualified from running for any
elective local position." The prohibition serves as a bar against the individuals who fall under any
of the enumeration from participating as candidates in the election.

With Arnado being barred from even becoming a candidate, his certificate of candidacy is thus
rendered void from the beginning. It could not have produced any other legal effect except that
Arnado rendered it impossible to effect his disqualification prior to the elections because he filed
his answer to the petition when the elections were conducted already and he was already
proclaimed the winner.

To hold that such proclamation is valid is to negate the prohibitory character of the disqualification
which Arnado possessed even prior to the filing of the certificate of candidacy. The affirmation of
Arnado's disqualification, although made long after the elections, reaches back to the filing of the
certificate of candidacy. Arnado is declared to be not a candidate at all in the May 201 0 elections.

Arnado being a non-candidate, the votes cast in his favor should not have been counted. This
leaves Maquiling as the qualified candidate who obtained the highest number of votes. Therefore,
the rule on succession under the Local Government Code will not apply.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Petition is GRANTED. The Resolution of the COMELEC En
Bane dated 2 February 2011 is hereby ANNULLED and SET ASIDE. Respondent ROMMEL ARNADO y
CAGOCO is disqualified from running for any local elective position. CASAN MACODE MAQUILING
is hereby DECLARED the duly elected Mayor of Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte in the 10 May 2010
elections.

This Decision is immediately executory.


CONFLICT – CHOICE OF LAW – PERSONAL LAW – NATIONALITY – DUAL CITIZENSHIP Adherence to rigid standards of mental fitness, maintenance of the highest degree of morality,
faithful observance of the rules of the legal profession, compliance with the mandatory continuing
B.M. No. 1678 December 17, 2007 legal education requirement and payment of membership fees to the Integrated Bar of the
Philippines (IBP) are the conditions required for membership in good standing in the bar and for
enjoying the privilege to practice law. Any breach by a lawyer of any of these conditions makes him
PETITION FOR LEAVE TO RESUME PRACTICE OF LAW,
unworthy of the trust and confidence which the courts and clients repose in him for the continued
BENJAMIN M. DACANAY, petitioner.
exercise of his professional privilege.4

RESOLUTION
Section 1, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court provides:

CORONA, J.:
SECTION 1. Who may practice law. – Any person heretofore duly admitted as a member of the
bar, or thereafter admitted as such in accordance with the provisions of this Rule, and who is in
This bar matter concerns the petition of petitioner Benjamin M. Dacanay for leave to resume the good and regular standing, is entitled to practice law.
practice of law.
Pursuant thereto, any person admitted as a member of the Philippine bar in accordance with the
Petitioner was admitted to the Philippine bar in March 1960. He practiced law until he migrated to statutory requirements and who is in good and regular standing is entitled to practice law.
Canada in December 1998 to seek medical attention for his ailments. He subsequently applied for
Canadian citizenship to avail of Canada’s free medical aid program. His application was approved
Admission to the bar requires certain qualifications. The Rules of Court mandates that an applicant
and he became a Canadian citizen in May 2004.
for admission to the bar be a citizen of the Philippines, at least twenty-one years of age, of good
moral character and a resident of the Philippines. 5 He must also produce before this Court
On July 14, 2006, pursuant to Republic Act (RA) 9225 (Citizenship Retention and Re-Acquisition Act satisfactory evidence of good moral character and that no charges against him, involving moral
of 2003), petitioner reacquired his Philippine citizenship. 1 On that day, he took his oath of turpitude, have been filed or are pending in any court in the Philippines. 6
allegiance as a Filipino citizen before the Philippine Consulate General in Toronto, Canada.
Thereafter, he returned to the Philippines and now intends to resume his law practice. There is a
Moreover, admission to the bar involves various phases such as furnishing satisfactory proof of
question, however, whether petitioner Benjamin M. Dacanay lost his membership in the Philippine
educational, moral and other qualifications; 7 passing the bar examinations; 8 taking the lawyer’s
bar when he gave up his Philippine citizenship in May 2004. Thus, this petition.
oath9 and signing the roll of attorneys and receiving from the clerk of court of this Court a
certificate of the license to practice.10
In a report dated October 16, 2007, the Office of the Bar Confidant cites Section 2, Rule 138
(Attorneys and Admission to Bar) of the Rules of Court:
The second requisite for the practice of law ― membership in good standing ― is a continuing
requirement. This means continued membership and, concomitantly, payment of annual
SECTION 2. Requirements for all applicants for admission to the bar. – Every applicant for membership dues in the IBP; 11 payment of the annual professional tax; 12 compliance with the
admission as a member of the bar must be a citizen of the Philippines, at least twenty- mandatory continuing legal education requirement;13 faithful observance of the rules and ethics of
one years of age, of good moral character, and a resident of the Philippines; and must the legal profession and being continually subject to judicial disciplinary control. 14
produce before the Supreme Court satisfactory evidence of good moral character, and
that no charges against him, involving moral turpitude, have been filed or are pending in
Given the foregoing, may a lawyer who has lost his Filipino citizenship still practice law in the
any court in the Philippines.
Philippines? No.

Applying the provision, the Office of the Bar Confidant opines that, by virtue of his reacquisition of
The Constitution provides that the practice of all professions in the Philippines shall be limited to
Philippine citizenship, in 2006, petitioner has again met all the qualifications and has none of the
Filipino citizens save in cases prescribed by law. 15 Since Filipino citizenship is a requirement for
disqualifications for membership in the bar. It recommends that he be allowed to resume the
admission to the bar, loss thereof terminates membership in the Philippine bar and, consequently,
practice of law in the Philippines, conditioned on his retaking the lawyer’s oath to remind him of
the privilege to engage in the practice of law. In other words, the loss of Filipino citizenship ipso
his duties and responsibilities as a member of the Philippine bar.
jure terminates the privilege to practice law in the Philippines. The practice of law is a privilege
denied to foreigners.16
We approve the recommendation of the Office of the Bar Confidant with certain modifications.
The exception is when Filipino citizenship is lost by reason of naturalization as a citizen of another
The practice of law is a privilege burdened with conditions. 2 It is so delicately affected with public country but subsequently reacquired pursuant to RA 9225. This is because "all Philippine citizens
interest that it is both a power and a duty of the State (through this Court) to control and regulate who become citizens of another country shall be deemed not to have lost their Philippine
it in order to protect and promote the public welfare. 3 citizenship under the conditions of [RA 9225]."17 Therefore, a Filipino lawyer who becomes a citizen
of another country is deemed never to have lost his Philippine citizenship if he reacquires it in
accordance with RA 9225. Although he is also deemed never to have terminated his membership
in the Philippine bar, no automatic right to resume law practice accrues.

Under RA 9225, if a person intends to practice the legal profession in the Philippines and he
reacquires his Filipino citizenship pursuant to its provisions "(he) shall apply with the proper
authority for a license or permit to engage in such practice." 18 Stated otherwise, before a lawyer
who reacquires Filipino citizenship pursuant to RA 9225 can resume his law practice, he must first
secure from this Court the authority to do so, conditioned on:

(a) the updating and payment in full of the annual membership dues in the IBP;

(b) the payment of professional tax;

(c) the completion of at least 36 credit hours of mandatory continuing legal education;
this is specially significant to refresh the applicant/petitioner’s knowledge of Philippine
laws and update him of legal developments and

(d) the retaking of the lawyer’s oath which will not only remind him of his duties and
responsibilities as a lawyer and as an officer of the Court, but also renew his pledge to
maintain allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines.

Compliance with these conditions will restore his good standing as a member of the Philippine bar.

WHEREFORE, the petition of Attorney Benjamin M. Dacanay is hereby GRANTED, subject to


compliance with the conditions stated above and submission of proof of such compliance to the
Bar Confidant, after which he may retake his oath as a member of the Philippine bar.

SO ORDERED.
CONFLICT – CHOICE OF LAW – PERSONAL LAW – NATIONALITY – STATELESSNESS moved to Olongapo, Zambales, where he resided for about a year, and from this place he went
to Iriga, Camarines Sur, where he established his permanent residence since May, 1925. He has
G.R. No. L-1812 August 27, 1948 remained a resident of this municipality, except for a brief period from 1942 to July, 1945, when
by reason of his underground activities he roamed mountains of Caramoan as a guerrilla officer.
After liberation he returned to Iriga where again he resides up to the present time.
EREMES KOOKOORITCHKIN, petitioner,
vs.
THE SOLICITOR GENERAL, oppositor. The applicant is married to a Filipino by the name of Concepcion Segovia, with whom he has
one son named Ronald Kookooritchkin. He is at present studying in Saint Agnes Academy, at
Legaspi, Albay, a school duly recognized by the Government.
First Assistant Solicitor General Roberto A. Gianzon and Solicitor Florencio Villamor for appellant.
L. D. Lockwood and Manuel O. Chan for appellee.
The applicant is shop superintendent of A. L. Ammen Transportation Company, with about
eighty Filipino employees working under him. He receives an annual salary of P13,200 with free
PERFECTO, J.:
quarters and house allowance. He also owns stocks and bonds of this and other companies.

In August, 1941, appellee filed with the lower court a petition for naturalization, accompanied with
The applicant speaks and writes English and the Bicol dialect. Socially he intermingles with the
supporting affidavits of two citizens, copy of a declaration of intention sworn in July, 1940, and
Filipinos, attending parties, dances and other social functions with his wife. He has a good moral
proper notice of the hearing. The petition was finally set for hearing on December 18, 1941, but it
character and believes in the principles underlying the Philippine Constitution. He has never
was held on that date because the province was invaded by the Japanese forces on December 14,
been accused of any crime. On the other hand, he has always conducted himself in a proper and
and the case remained pending until the records were destroyed during the military operations for
irreproachable manner during his entire period of residence in Camarines Sur, in his relations
liberation in March, 1945. The case was declared reconstituted on May 10, 1947, and the evidence
with the constituted authorities as well as with the community.
was presented on August 28 and September 30, 1947. On the same day resolution was issued
granting the petition.
Although he could have lived in ease by maintaining good relations with the enemy by reason of
his being Russian-born during the years preceding the declaration of war by Russia against
Although appellant was represented at the hearing and cross-examined the witnesses for the
Japan, the applicant of his own volition chose to cast his lot with the guerrilla movement and
petitioner, he did not file an opposition or presented any evidence.
fought the enemy in several encounters in the Province of Camarines Sur. He belonged to the
guerrilla outfit of Colonel Padua with rank of major. Upon the arrival of the forces of liberation
The lower court made the findings of fact in the following paragraphs of its resolution: he was attached to the American Army from April to June, 1945.

Eremes Kookooritchkin applies for Philippine citizenship naturalization under the provisions of Although a Russian by birth he is not a citizen of Soviet Russia. He disclaims allegiance to the
Commonwealth Act 473, as amended by Act 535. present Communist Government of Russia. He is, therefore, a stateless refugee in this country,
belonging to no State, much less to the present Government of the land of his birth to which he
The records shows that in August, 1941, he filed his petition for naturalization supported by the is uncompromisingly opposed. He is not against organized government or affiliated with any
affidavits of ex-Judge Jaime M. Reyes and Dr. Salvador Mariano, both residents of Camarines Sur. association which upholds and teaches doctrine opposing all organized governments. He does
In the preceding year, in July, 1940 to be precise, he filed his declaration of intention to become not believe in the necessity or propriety of violence, personal assault or assassination for the
a citizen of this country. Notice of the hearing was published as required by law. success or predominance of his ideas. Neither is he a polygamist or a believer in the practice of
polygamy. He is not suffering from any mental alienation or incurable contagious disease.
It was established at the hearing that the petitioner is a native-born Russian, having first seen
the light of day on November 4, 1897 in the old City of St. Petersburg, Russia. He grew up as a Appellant assigns four errors in the appealed resolution. We will consider them separately.
citizen of the defunct Imperial Russian Government under the Czars. World War I found him in
the military service of this Government. In 1915 he volunteered for the Imperial Russian navy I
and was sent to the Navy Aviation School. He fought with the Allies in the Baltic Sea, was later
transferred to the eastern front in Poland, and much later was sent as a navy flier to Asia Minor.
Appellant claims that the lower court erred in not finding that the declaration of intention to
In the latter part of the war, but before the Russian capitulation, he was transferred to the
become a Filipino citizen filed by appellee is invalid and insufficient as a basis for the petition of
British Air Force under which he served for fourteen months. When the revolution broke out in
naturalization. The question calls for the application of the following provision of section 5 of the
Russia in 1917, he joined the White Russian Army at Vladivostok and fought against the
Revised Naturalization Law:
Bolsheviks until 1922 when the White Russian Army was overwhelmed by the Bolsheviks. As he
refused to join the Bolshevik regime, he fled by sea from Vladivostok to Shanghai and from this
Chinese port he found his way to Manila, arriving at this port as a member of a group of White No declaration shall be valid until entry for permanent residence has been established and a
Russians under Admiral Stark in March, 1923. He stayed in Manila for about seven months, then certificate showing the date, place and manner of his arrival has been issued.
Appellant alleges that no documentary or testimonial evidence was introduced to establish the The first question has already been disposed of in the above discussion. Perusal of the testimonies
fact that appellee had lawfully been admitted into the Philippines for permanent residence. on record leads to the conclusion that petitioner has shown legal residence in the Philippines for a
continuous period of not less than ten years as required by section 2 of Commonwealth Act No.
In the reconstituted declaration (page 11, record on appeal) the following can be read: 473.

I arrived at the Port of Manila on or about the first day of March, 1923, as shown by the As to the next question, appellant alleges that in the oral test at the hearing, it was demonstrated
attached certificate of arrival or landing certificate of residence. that petitioner has only a smattering of Bicol, the Filipino language that petitioner alleges to know,
and he cannot speak it as he was not able to translate from English to Bicol questions asked by the
court and the provincial fiscal, although, in the continuation of the hearing on September 30,
The records of the Bureau of Justice, where the declarations of intention to become a Filipino
1947, "surprisingly enough, he succeeded answering correctly in Bicol the questions propounded
citizen were filed, had been lost or destroyed during the battle for the liberation of Manila, and the
by his counsel, however, he fumbled and failed to give the translation of such a common word as
certificate alluded to has not been reconstituted.
'love' which the fiscal asked of him.

Appellant's contention that attachment of the certificate of arrival is essential to the validity of a
The lower court made the finding of fact that applicant speaks and writes English and Bicol and
declaration finds no support in the wordings of the law, as the above-quoted section 5 of
there seems to be no question about the competency of the judge who made the pronouncement,
Commonwealth Act no. 473 uses the words "has been issued.
because he has shown by the appealed resolution and by his questions propounded to appellee,
that he has command of both English and Bicol.
Appellee suggests that we would not consider the question here raised by appellant, the latter
having failed to raise it in lower court and points out that there is testimonial evidence showing
The law has not set a specific standard of the principal Philippine languages. A great number of
appellee's arrival March, 1923, and that he was lawfully admitted for permanent residence, and
standards can be set. There are experts in English who say that Shakespeare has used in his works
the testimony of petitioner has not been refuted. Appellee's alleges that the office of the President
15,000 different English words, and the King's Bible about 10,000, while about 5,000 are used by
has certified that it is a matter of record that petitioner was one of the Russian refugees who
the better educated persons and about 3,000 by the average individual. While there may be
entered the Philippines under the command of Admiral Stark, the facts regarding arrival of the
persons ambitious enough to have a command of the about 600,000 words recorded in the
latter fleet being a matter of common knowledge, widely publicized in the newspapers at the time,
Webster's International Dictionary, there are authorities who would reduce basic English to a few
of which this Court may properly take judicial notice under section 5 of Rule 123. When the fleet
hundred words. Perhaps less than one hundred well selected words will be enough for the
entered the Philippine waters, it was met by a Governor General Wood who, later, took the matter
ordinary purposes of daily life.
up with the authorities in Washington in lengthy correspondence, and the 1,200 persons manning
the fleet were allowed to land and to remain in the Philippines or proceed to other countries,
except about 800 who were allowed to go to the United States and given free transportation on There is a reason to believe that the lower court's pronouncement is well taken considering the
the naval transport "Merritt." The ships of the fleet were sold in the Philippines. fact that, after he was liberated in 1942 from the Japanese in the Naga prison, petitioner joined
the guerrilla in the Bicol region, took part in encounters and skirmishes against the Japanese, and
remained with the guerrilla until the Americans liberated the Bicol provinces. If appellee with his
The undisputed fact that the petitioner has been continuously residing in the Philippines for about
smattering of Bicol was able to get along with his Bicol comrades in the hazardous life of the
25 years, without having been molested by the authorities, who are presumed to have been
resistance movement, we believe that his knowledge of the language satisfies the requirement of
regularly performing their duties and would have arrested petitioner if his residence is illegal, as
the law.
rightly contended by appellee, can be taken as evidence that he is enjoying permanent residence
legally. That a certificate of arrival has been issued is a fact that should be accepted upon the
petitioner's undisputed statement in his declaration of July, 1940, that the certificate cannot be But appellant contends that there is no piece of positive evidence to support petitioner's allegation
supposed that the receiving official would have accepted the declaration without the certificate that he can write too in the Bicol language. There, is, however, on record circumstantial evidence
mentioned therein as attached thereto. from which it can be concluded that petitioner ought to know also how to write Bicol. We know
that Bicol, as all the important Philippine languages, uses the same alphabet used in English, and it
is much easier to write Bicol than English, because it is phonetic. Vowels and consonants have in
We conclude that petitioner's declaration is valid under section 5 of the Naturalization Law, failure
them single and not interchangeable phonetic values, while English words deviate very often from
to reconstitute the certificate of arrival notwithstanding. What an unreconstituted document
the basic sounds of the alphabet. The ability to write cannot be denied to a person like petitioner,
intended to prove may be shown by other competent evidence.
who has undergone the exacting technical training to be able to render services as flier in the
Russian Naval Squadron in the Baltic Sea and in the British Air Forces during the first World War.
II The difference between the Cyrillic alphabet, as now used by Russians, and our Roman alphabet,
cannot weigh much to deny petitioner the ability to use the latter. A person who has shown the
The second assignment of error touches upon two questions, that the lower court erred (1) in not command of English which can be seen in his testimony on record can easily make use of an
finding that appellee has not established a legal residence in the Philippines, and (2) in not finding alphabet of twenty or more letters universally used in this country where he has been residing
that he cannot speak and write any of the principal Philippine languages. continuously for 25 years.
III

Appellant contends that the lower court erred in finding appellee stateless and not a Russian
citizen and in not finding that he has failed to establish that he is not disqualified for Philippine
citizenship under section 4 (h) of the Revised Naturalization Law.

It is contended that petitioner failed to show that under the laws of Russia, appellee has lost his
Russian citizenship and failed to show that Russia grants to Filipinos the right to become a
naturalized citizens or subjects thereof. The controversy centers on the question as to whether
petitioner is a Russian citizen or is stateless.

Petitioner testified categorically that he is not a Russian citizen and that he has no citizenship. His
testimony supports the lower court's pronouncement that petitioner is a stateless refugee in this
country.

Appellant points out that petitioner stated in his petition for naturalization that he is citizen or
subject of the Empire of Russia, but the Empire of Russia has ceased to exist since the Czars were
overthrown in 1917 by the Bolshevists, and the petitioner disclaims allegiance or connection with
the Soviet Government established after the overthrow of the Czarist Government.

We do not believe that the lower court erred in pronouncing appellee stateless. Appellee's
testimony, besides being uncontradicted, is supported by the well-known fact that the ruthlessness
of modern dictatorship has scattered throughout the world a large number of stateless refugees or
displaced persons, without country and without flag. The tyrannical intolerance of said
dictatorships toward all opposition induced them to resort to beastly oppression, concentration
camps and blood purges, and it is only natural that the not-so-fortunate ones who were able to
escape to foreign countries should feel the loss of all bonds of attachment to the hells which were
formerly their fatherland's. Petitioner belongs to that group of stateless refugees.

Knowing, as all cultured persons all over the world ought to know, the history, nature and
character of the Soviet dictatorship, presently the greatest menace to humanity and civilization, it
would be technically fastidious to require further evidence of petitioner's claim that he is stateless
than his testimony that he owes no allegiance to the Russian Communist Government and, is
because he has been at war with it, he fled from Russia to permanently reside in the Philippines.
After finding in this country economic security in a remunerative job, establishing a family by
marrying a Filipina with whom he has a son, and enjoying for 25 years the freedoms and blessings
of our democratic way of life, and after showing his resolution to retain the happiness he found in
our political system to the extent of refusing to claim Russian citizenship even to secure his release
from the Japanese and of casting his lot with that of our people by joining the fortunes and
misfortunes of our guerrillas, it would be beyond comprehension to support that the petitioner
could feel any bond of attachment to the Soviet dictatorship.

IV

The fourth and last assignment of error need not be discussed, it being only a sequel of the other
assignments and has necessarily been disposed of in their discussion.

The appealed resolution is affirmed.


CONFLICT – CHOICE OF LAW – PERSONAL LAW – DOMICILE Candidacy was the result of an "honest misinterpretation" 10 which she sought to rectify by adding
the words "since childhood" in her Amended/Corrected Certificate of Candidacy and that "she has
G.R. No. 119976 September 18, 1995 always maintained Tacloban City as her domicile or residence. 11 Impugning respondent's motive in
filing the petition seeking her disqualification, she noted that:
IMELDA ROMUALDEZ-MARCOS, petitioner,
vs. When respondent (petitioner herein) announced that she was intending to register as a voter in
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and CIRILO ROY MONTEJO, respondents. Tacloban City and run for Congress in the First District of Leyte, petitioner immediately opposed
her intended registration by writing a letter stating that "she is not a resident of said city but of
Barangay Olot, Tolosa, Leyte. After respondent had registered as a voter in Tolosa following
KAPUNAN, J.:
completion of her six month actual residence therein, petitioner filed a petition with the
COMELEC to transfer the town of Tolosa from the First District to the Second District and
A constitutional provision should be construed as to give it effective operation and suppress the pursued such a move up to the Supreme Court, his purpose being to remove respondent as
mischief at which it is aimed. 1 The 1987 Constitution mandates that an aspirant for election to the petitioner's opponent in the congressional election in the First District. He also filed a bill, along
House of Representatives be "a registered voter in the district in which he shall be elected, and a with other Leyte Congressmen, seeking the creation of another legislative district to remove the
resident thereof for a period of not less than one year immediately preceding the election." 2 The town of Tolosa out of the First District, to achieve his purpose. However, such bill did not pass
mischief which this provision — reproduced verbatim from the 1973 Constitution — seeks to the Senate. Having failed on such moves, petitioner now filed the instant petition for the same
prevent is the possibility of a "stranger or newcomer unacquainted with the conditions and needs objective, as it is obvious that he is afraid to submit along with respondent for the judgment and
of a community and not identified with the latter, from an elective office to serve that verdict of the electorate of the First District of Leyte in an honest, orderly, peaceful, free and
community."3 clean elections on May 8, 1995. 12

Petitioner Imelda Romualdez-Marcos filed her Certificate of Candidacy for the position of On April 24, 1995, the Second Division of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC), by a vote of 2
Representative of the First District of Leyte with the Provincial Election Supervisor on March 8, to 1, 13 came up with a Resolution 1) finding private respondent's Petition for Disqualification in
1995, providing the following information in item no. 8: 4 SPA 95-009 meritorious; 2) striking off petitioner's Corrected/Amended Certificate of Candidacy of
March 31, 1995; and 3) canceling her original Certificate of Candidacy. 14 Dealing with two primary
RESIDENCE IN THE CONSTITUENCY WHERE I SEEK TO BE ELECTED IMMEDIATELY PRECEDING THE issues, namely, the validity of amending the original Certificate of Candidacy after the lapse of the
ELECTION: __________ Years and seven Months. deadline for filing certificates of candidacy, and petitioner's compliance with the one year
residency requirement, the Second Division held:
On March 23, 1995, private respondent Cirilo Roy Montejo, the incumbent Representative of the
First District of Leyte and a candidate for the same position, filed a "Petition for Cancellation and Respondent raised the affirmative defense in her Answer that the printed word "Seven"
Disqualification"5 with the Commission on Elections alleging that petitioner did not meet the (months) was a result of an "honest misinterpretation or honest mistake" on her part and,
constitutional requirement for residency. In his petition, private respondent contended that Mrs. therefore, an amendment should subsequently be allowed. She averred that she thought that
Marcos lacked the Constitution's one year residency requirement for candidates for the House of what was asked was her "actual and physical" presence in Tolosa and not residence of origin or
Representatives on the evidence of declarations made by her in Voter Registration Record 94-No. domicile in the First Legislative District, to which she could have responded "since childhood." In
33497726 and in her Certificate of Candidacy. He prayed that "an order be issued declaring an accompanying affidavit, she stated that her domicile is Tacloban City, a component of the
(petitioner) disqualified and canceling the certificate of candidacy."7 First District, to which she always intended to return whenever absent and which she has never
abandoned. Furthermore, in her memorandum, she tried to discredit petitioner's theory of
On March 29, 1995, petitioner filed an Amended/Corrected Certificate of Candidacy, changing the disqualification by alleging that she has been a resident of the First Legislative District of Leyte
entry "seven" months to "since childhood" in item no. 8 of the amended certificate. 8 On the same since childhood, although she only became a resident of the Municipality of Tolosa for seven
day, the Provincial Election Supervisor of Leyte informed petitioner that: months. She asserts that she has always been a resident of Tacloban City, a component of the
First District, before coming to the Municipality of Tolosa.

[T]his office cannot receive or accept the aforementioned Certificate of Candidacy on the
ground that it is filed out of time, the deadline for the filing of the same having already lapsed Along this point, it is interesting to note that prior to her registration in Tolosa, respondent
on March 20, 1995. The Corrected/Amended Certificate of Candidacy should have been filed on announced that she would be registering in Tacloban City so that she can be a candidate for the
or before the March 20, 1995 deadline.9 District. However, this intention was rebuffed when petitioner wrote the Election Officer of
Tacloban not to allow respondent since she is a resident of Tolosa and not Tacloban. She never
disputed this claim and instead implicitly acceded to it by registering in Tolosa.
Consequently, petitioner filed the Amended/Corrected Certificate of Candidacy with the
COMELEC's Head Office in Intramuros, Manila on March 31, 1995. Her Answer to private
respondent's petition in SPA No. 95-009 was likewise filed with the head office on the same day. In This incident belies respondent's claim of "honest misinterpretation or honest mistake." Besides,
said Answer, petitioner averred that the entry of the word "seven" in her original Certificate of the Certificate of Candidacy only asks for RESIDENCE. Since on the basis of her Answer, she was
quite aware of "residence of origin" which she interprets to be Tacloban City, it is curious why
she did not cite Tacloban City in her Certificate of Candidacy. Her explanation that she thought presence in-that place, coupled with conduct indicative of such intention. Domicile denotes a
what was asked was her actual and physical presence in Tolosa is not easy to believe because fixed permanent residence to which when absent for business or pleasure, or for like reasons,
there is none in the question that insinuates about Tolosa. In fact, item no. 8 in the Certificate of one intends to return. (Perfecto Faypon vs. Eliseo Quirino, 96 Phil 294; Romualdez vs. RTC-
Candidacy speaks clearly of "Residency in the CONSTITUENCY where I seek to be elected Tacloban, 226 SCRA 408). In respondent's case, when she returned to the Philippines in 1991,
immediately preceding the election." Thus, the explanation of respondent fails to be persuasive. the residence she chose was not Tacloban but San Juan, Metro Manila. Thus, her animus
revertendi is pointed to Metro Manila and not Tacloban.
From the foregoing, respondent's defense of an honest mistake or misinterpretation, therefore,
is devoid of merit. This Division is aware that her claim that she has been a resident of the First District since
childhood is nothing more than to give her a color of qualification where she is otherwise
To further buttress respondent's contention that an amendment may be made, she cited the constitutionally disqualified. It cannot hold ground in the face of the facts admitted by the
case of Alialy v. COMELEC (2 SCRA 957). The reliance of respondent on the case of Alialy is respondent in her affidavit. Except for the time that she studied and worked for some years after
misplaced. The case only applies to the "inconsequential deviations which cannot affect the graduation in Tacloban City, she continuously lived in Manila. In 1959, after her husband was
result of the election, or deviations from provisions intended primarily to secure timely and elected Senator, she lived and resided in San Juan, Metro Manila where she was a registered
orderly conduct of elections." The Supreme Court in that case considered the amendment only voter. In 1965, she lived in San Miguel, Manila where she was again a registered voter. In 1978,
as a matter of form. But in the instant case, the amendment cannot be considered as a matter of she served as member of the Batasang Pambansa as the representative of the City of Manila
form or an inconsequential deviation. The change in the number of years of residence in the and later on served as the Governor of Metro Manila. She could not have served these positions
place where respondent seeks to be elected is a substantial matter which determines her if she had not been a resident of the City of Manila. Furthermore, when she filed her certificate
qualification as a candidacy, specially those intended to suppress, accurate material of candidacy for the office of the President in 1992, she claimed to be a resident of San Juan,
representation in the original certificate which adversely affects the filer. To admit the amended Metro Manila. As a matter of fact on August 24, 1994, respondent wrote a letter with the
certificate is to condone the evils brought by the shifting minds of manipulating candidate, of election officer of San Juan, Metro Manila requesting for the cancellation of her registration in
the detriment of the integrity of the election. the permanent list of voters that she may be re-registered or transferred to Barangay Olot,
Tolosa, Leyte. These facts manifest that she could not have been a resident of Tacloban City
since childhood up to the time she filed her certificate of candidacy because she became a
Moreover, to allow respondent to change the seven (7) month period of her residency in order
resident of many places, including Metro Manila. This debunks her claim that prior to her
to prolong it by claiming it was "since childhood" is to allow an untruthfulness to be committed
residence in Tolosa, Leyte, she was a resident of the First Legislative District of Leyte since
before this Commission. The arithmetical accuracy of the 7 months residency the respondent
childhood.
indicated in her certificate of candidacy can be gleaned from her entry in her Voter's
Registration Record accomplished on January 28, 1995 which reflects that she is a resident of
Brgy. Olot, Tolosa, Leyte for 6 months at the time of the said registration (Annex A, Petition). In this case, respondent's conduct reveals her lack of intention to make Tacloban her domicile.
Said accuracy is further buttressed by her letter to the election officer of San Juan, Metro She registered as a voter in different places and on several occasions declared that she was a
Manila, dated August 24, 1994, requesting for the cancellation of her registration in the resident of Manila. Although she spent her school days in Tacloban, she is considered to have
Permanent List of Voters thereat so that she can be re-registered or transferred to Brgy. Olot, abandoned such place when she chose to stay and reside in other different places. In the case of
Tolosa, Leyte. The dates of these three (3) different documents show the respondent's Romualdez vs. RTC (226 SCRA 408) the Court explained how one acquires a new domicile by
consistent conviction that she has transferred her residence to Olot, Tolosa, Leyte from Metro choice. There must concur: (1) residence or bodily presence in the new locality; (2) intention to
Manila only for such limited period of time, starting in the last week of August 1994 which on remain there; and (3) intention to abandon the old domicile. In other words there must basically
March 8, 1995 will only sum up to 7 months. The Commission, therefore, cannot be persuaded be animus manendi with animus non revertendi. When respondent chose to stay in Ilocos and
to believe in the respondent's contention that it was an error. later on in Manila, coupled with her intention to stay there by registering as a voter there and
expressly declaring that she is a resident of that place, she is deemed to have abandoned
Tacloban City, where she spent her childhood and school days, as her place of domicile.
xxx xxx xxx

Pure intention to reside in that place is not sufficient, there must likewise be conduct indicative
Based on these reasons the Amended/Corrected Certificate of Candidacy cannot be admitted by
of such intention. Respondent's statements to the effect that she has always intended to return
this Commission.
to Tacloban, without the accompanying conduct to prove that intention, is not conclusive of her
choice of residence. Respondent has not presented any evidence to show that her conduct, one
xxx xxx xxx year prior the election, showed intention to reside in Tacloban. Worse, what was evident was
that prior to her residence in Tolosa, she had been a resident of Manila.
Anent the second issue, and based on the foregoing discussion, it is clear that respondent has
not complied with the one year residency requirement of the Constitution. It is evident from these circumstances that she was not a resident of the First District of Leyte
"since childhood."
In election cases, the term "residence" has always been considered as synonymous with
"domicile" which imports not only the intention to reside in a fixed place but also personal
To further support the assertion that she could have not been a resident of the First District of Whether or not the COMELEC properly exercised its jurisdiction in disqualifying petitioner
Leyte for more than one year, petitioner correctly pointed out that on January 28, 1995 outside the period mandated by the Omnibus Election Code for disqualification cases under
respondent registered as a voter at precinct No. 18-A of Olot, Tolosa, Leyte. In doing so, she Article 78 of the said Code.
placed in her Voter Registration Record that she resided in the municipality of Tolosa for a
period of six months. This may be inconsequential as argued by the respondent since it refers b) After the Elections
only to her residence in Tolosa, Leyte. But her failure to prove that she was a resident of the First
District of Leyte prior to her residence in Tolosa leaves nothing but a convincing proof that she
Whether or not the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal assumed exclusive
had been a resident of the district for six months only. 15
jurisdiction over the question of petitioner's qualifications after the May 8, 1995 elections.

In a Resolution promulgated a day before the May 8, 1995 elections, the COMELEC en banc denied
I. Petitioner's qualification
petitioner's Motion for Reconsideration 16 of the April 24, 1995 Resolution declaring her not
qualified to run for the position of Member of the House of Representatives for the First Legislative
District of Leyte. 17 The Resolution tersely stated: A perusal of the Resolution of the COMELEC's Second Division reveals a startling confusion in the
application of settled concepts of "Domicile" and "Residence" in election law. While the COMELEC
seems to be in agreement with the general proposition that for the purposes of election law,
After deliberating on the Motion for Reconsideration, the Commission RESOLVED to DENY it, no
residence is synonymous with domicile, the Resolution reveals a tendency to substitute or mistake
new substantial matters having been raised therein to warrant re-examination of the resolution
the concept of domicile for actual residence, a conception not intended for the purpose of
granting the petition for disqualification. 18
determining a candidate's qualifications for election to the House of Representatives as required
by the 1987 Constitution. As it were, residence, for the purpose of meeting the qualification for an
On May 11, 1995, the COMELEC issued a Resolution allowing petitioner's proclamation should the elective position, has a settled meaning in our jurisdiction.
results of the canvass show that she obtained the highest number of votes in the congressional
elections in the First District of Leyte. On the same day, however, the COMELEC reversed itself and
Article 50 of the Civil Code decrees that "[f]or the exercise of civil rights and the fulfillment of civil
issued a second Resolution directing that the proclamation of petitioner be suspended in the event
obligations, the domicile of natural persons is their place of habitual residence." In Ong vs.
that she obtains the highest number of votes. 19
Republic 20 this court took the concept of domicile to mean an individual's "permanent home", "a
place to which, whenever absent for business or for pleasure, one intends to return, and depends
In a Supplemental Petition dated 25 May 1995, petitioner averred that she was the overwhelming on facts and circumstances in the sense that they disclose intent." 21 Based on the foregoing,
winner of the elections for the congressional seat in the First District of Leyte held May 8, 1995 domicile includes the twin elements of "the fact of residing or physical presence in a fixed place"
based on the canvass completed by the Provincial Board of Canvassers on May 14, 1995. Petitioner and animus manendi, or the intention of returning there permanently.
alleged that the canvass showed that she obtained a total of 70,471 votes compared to the 36,833
votes received by Respondent Montejo. A copy of said Certificate of Canvass was annexed to the
Residence, in its ordinary conception, implies the factual relationship of an individual to a certain
Supplemental Petition.
place. It is the physical presence of a person in a given area, community or country. The essential
distinction between residence and domicile in law is that residence involves the intent to leave
On account of the Resolutions disqualifying petitioner from running for the congressional seat of when the purpose for which the resident has taken up his abode ends. One may seek a place for
the First District of Leyte and the public respondent's Resolution suspending her proclamation, purposes such as pleasure, business, or health. If a person's intent be to remain, it becomes his
petitioner comes to this court for relief. domicile; if his intent is to leave as soon as his purpose is established it is residence. 22 It is thus,
quite perfectly normal for an individual to have different residences in various places. However, a
Petitioner raises several issues in her Original and Supplemental Petitions. The principal issues may person can only have a single domicile, unless, for various reasons, he successfully abandons his
be classified into two general areas: domicile in favor of another domicile of choice. In Uytengsu vs. Republic, 23 we laid this distinction
quite clearly:
I. The issue of Petitioner's qualifications
There is a difference between domicile and residence. "Residence" is used to indicate a place of
Whether or not petitioner was a resident, for election purposes, of the First District of Leyte abode, whether permanent or temporary; "domicile" denotes a fixed permanent residence to
for a period of one year at the time of the May 9, 1995 elections. which, when absent, one has the intention of returning. A man may have a residence in one
place and a domicile in another. Residence is not domicile, but domicile is residence coupled
with the intention to remain for an unlimited time. A man can have but one domicile for the
II. The Jurisdictional Issue
same purpose at any time, but he may have numerous places of residence. His place of
residence is generally his place of domicile, but it is not by any means necessarily so since no
a) Prior to the elections length of residence without intention of remaining will constitute domicile.
For political purposes the concepts of residence and domicile are dictated by the peculiar criteria It is the fact of residence, not a statement in a certificate of candidacy which ought to be decisive
of political laws. As these concepts have evolved in our election law, what has clearly and in determining whether or not and individual has satisfied the constitution's residency qualification
unequivocally emerged is the fact that residence for election purposes is used synonymously with requirement. The said statement becomes material only when there is or appears to be a
domicile. deliberate attempt to mislead, misinform, or hide a fact which would otherwise render a candidate
ineligible. It would be plainly ridiculous for a candidate to deliberately and knowingly make a
In Nuval vs. Guray, 24 the Court held that "the term residence. . . is synonymous with domicile statement in a certificate of candidacy which would lead to his or her disqualification.
which imports not only intention to reside in a fixed place, but also personal presence in that
place, coupled with conduct indicative of such intention." 25 Larena vs. Teves 26 reiterated the same It stands to reason therefore, that petitioner merely committed an honest mistake in jotting the
doctrine in a case involving the qualifications of the respondent therein to the post of Municipal word "seven" in the space provided for the residency qualification requirement. The circumstances
President of Dumaguete, Negros Oriental. Faypon vs. Quirino, 27 held that the absence from leading to her filing the questioned entry obviously resulted in the subsequent confusion which
residence to pursue studies or practice a profession or registration as a voter other than in the prompted petitioner to write down the period of her actual stay in Tolosa, Leyte instead of her
place where one is elected does not constitute loss of residence. 28 So settled is the concept (of period of residence in the First district, which was "since childhood" in the space provided. These
domicile) in our election law that in these and other election law cases, this Court has stated that circumstances and events are amply detailed in the COMELEC's Second Division's questioned
the mere absence of an individual from his permanent residence without the intention to abandon resolution, albeit with a different interpretation. For instance, when herein petitioner announced
it does not result in a loss or change of domicile. that she would be registering in Tacloban City to make her eligible to run in the First District,
private respondent Montejo opposed the same, claiming that petitioner was a resident of Tolosa,
The deliberations of the 1987 Constitution on the residence qualification for certain elective not Tacloban City. Petitioner then registered in her place of actual residence in the First District,
positions have placed beyond doubt the principle that when the Constitution speaks of which is Tolosa, Leyte, a fact which she subsequently noted down in her Certificate of Candidacy. A
"residence" in election law, it actually means only "domicile" to wit: close look at said certificate would reveal the possible source of the confusion: the entry for
residence (Item No. 7) is followed immediately by the entry for residence in the constituency
where a candidate seeks election thus:
Mr. Nolledo: With respect to Section 5, I remember that in the 1971 Constitutional Convention,
there was an attempt to require residence in the place not less than one year immediately
preceding the day of the elections. So my question is: What is the Committee's concept of 7. RESIDENCE (complete Address): Brgy. Olot, Tolosa, Leyte
residence of a candidate for the legislature? Is it actual residence or is it the concept of domicile POST OFFICE ADDRESS FOR ELECTION PURPOSES: Brgy. Olot, Tolosa, Leyte
or constructive residence? 8. RESIDENCE IN THE CONSTITUENCY WHERE I SEEK TO
Mr. Davide: Madame President, insofar as the regular members of the National Assembly are BE ELECTED IMMEDIATELY PRECEDING THE ELECTION:_________ Years and Seven Months.
concerned, the proposed section merely provides, among others, "and a resident thereof", that
is, in the district for a period of not less than one year preceding the day of the election. This Having been forced by private respondent to register in her place of actual residence in Leyte
was in effect lifted from the 1973 Constitution, the interpretation given to it was domicile. 29 instead of petitioner's claimed domicile, it appears that petitioner had jotted down her period of
xxx xxx xxx stay in her legal residence or domicile. The juxtaposition of entries in Item 7 and Item 8 — the first
Mrs. Rosario Braid: The next question is on Section 7, page 2. I think Commissioner Nolledo has requiring actual residence and the second requiring domicile — coupled with the circumstances
raised the same point that "resident" has been interpreted at times as a matter of intention surrounding petitioner's registration as a voter in Tolosa obviously led to her writing down an
rather than actual residence. unintended entry for which she could be disqualified. This honest mistake should not, however, be
Mr. De los Reyes: Domicile. allowed to negate the fact of residence in the First District if such fact were established by means
Ms. Rosario Braid: Yes, So, would the gentleman consider at the proper time to go back to actual more convincing than a mere entry on a piece of paper.
residence rather than mere intention to reside?
Mr. De los Reyes: But we might encounter some difficulty especially considering that a provision We now proceed to the matter of petitioner's domicile.
in the Constitution in the Article on Suffrage says that Filipinos living abroad may vote as
enacted by law. So, we have to stick to the original concept that it should be by domicile and not
In support of its asseveration that petitioner's domicile could not possibly be in the First District of
physical residence. 30
Leyte, the Second Division of the COMELEC, in its assailed Resolution of April 24,1995 maintains
that "except for the time when (petitioner) studied and worked for some years after graduation in
In Co vs. Electoral Tribunal of the House of Representatives, 31 this Court concluded that the Tacloban City, she continuously lived in Manila." The Resolution additionally cites certain facts as
framers of the 1987 Constitution obviously adhered to the definition given to the term residence indicative of the fact that petitioner's domicile ought to be any place where she lived in the last
in election law, regarding it as having the same meaning as domicile. 32 few decades except Tacloban, Leyte. First, according to the Resolution, petitioner, in 1959, resided
in San Juan, Metro Manila where she was also registered voter. Then, in 1965, following the
In the light of the principles just discussed, has petitioner Imelda Romualdez Marcos satisfied the election of her husband to the Philippine presidency, she lived in San Miguel, Manila where she as
residency requirement mandated by Article VI, Sec. 6 of the 1987 Constitution? Of what a voter. In 1978 and thereafter, she served as a member of the Batasang Pambansa and Governor
significance is the questioned entry in petitioner's Certificate of Candidacy stating her residence in of Metro Manila. "She could not, have served these positions if she had not been a resident of
the First Legislative District of Leyte as seven (7) months? Metro Manila," the COMELEC stressed. Here is where the confusion lies.
We have stated, many times in the past, that an individual does not lose his domicile even if he has of Representatives. In 1954, she married ex-President Ferdinand E. Marcos when he was still a
lived and maintained residences in different places. Residence, it bears repeating, implies a factual congressman of Ilocos Norte and registered there as a voter. When her husband was elected
relationship to a given place for various purposes. The absence from legal residence or domicile to Senator of the Republic in 1959, she and her husband lived together in San Juan, Rizal where she
pursue a profession, to study or to do other things of a temporary or semi-permanent nature does registered as a voter. In 1965, when her husband was elected President of the Republic of the
not constitute loss of residence. Thus, the assertion by the COMELEC that "she could not have Philippines, she lived with him in Malacanang Palace and registered as a voter in San Miguel,
been a resident of Tacloban City since childhood up to the time she filed her certificate of Manila.
candidacy because she became a resident of many places" flies in the face of settled jurisprudence
in which this Court carefully made distinctions between (actual) residence and domicile for [I]n February 1986 (she claimed that) she and her family were abducted and kidnapped to
election law purposes. In Larena vs. Teves, 33 supra, we stressed: Honolulu, Hawaii. In November 1991, she came home to Manila. In 1992, respondent ran for
election as President of the Philippines and filed her Certificate of Candidacy wherein she
[T]his court is of the opinion and so holds that a person who has his own house wherein he lives indicated that she is a resident and registered voter of San Juan, Metro Manila.
with his family in a municipality without having ever had the intention of abandoning it, and
without having lived either alone or with his family in another municipality, has his residence in Applying the principles discussed to the facts found by COMELEC, what is inescapable is that
the former municipality, notwithstanding his having registered as an elector in the other petitioner held various residences for different purposes during the last four decades. None of
municipality in question and having been a candidate for various insular and provincial these purposes unequivocally point to an intention to abandon her domicile of origin in Tacloban,
positions, stating every time that he is a resident of the latter municipality. Leyte. Moreover, while petitioner was born in Manila, as a minor she naturally followed the
domicile of her parents. She grew up in Tacloban, reached her adulthood there and eventually
More significantly, in Faypon vs. Quirino, 34 We explained that: established residence in different parts of the country for various reasons. Even during her
husband's presidency, at the height of the Marcos Regime's powers, petitioner kept her close ties
A citizen may leave the place of his birth to look for "greener pastures," as the saying goes, to to her domicile of origin by establishing residences in Tacloban, celebrating her birthdays and
improve his lot, and that, of course includes study in other places, practice of his avocation, or other important personal milestones in her home province, instituting well-publicized projects for
engaging in business. When an election is to be held, the citizen who left his birthplace to the benefit of her province and hometown, and establishing a political power base where her
improve his lot may desire to return to his native town to cast his ballot but for professional or siblings and close relatives held positions of power either through the ballot or by appointment,
business reasons, or for any other reason, he may not absent himself from his professional or always with either her influence or consent. These well-publicized ties to her domicile of origin are
business activities; so there he registers himself as voter as he has the qualifications to be one part of the history and lore of the quarter century of Marcos power in our country. Either they
and is not willing to give up or lose the opportunity to choose the officials who are to run the were entirely ignored in the COMELEC'S Resolutions, or the majority of the COMELEC did not know
government especially in national elections. Despite such registration, the animus revertendi to what the rest of the country always knew: the fact of petitioner's domicile in Tacloban, Leyte.
his home, to his domicile or residence of origin has not forsaken him. This may be the
explanation why the registration of a voter in a place other than his residence of origin has not Private respondent in his Comment, contends that Tacloban was not petitioner's domicile of origin
been deemed sufficient to constitute abandonment or loss of such residence. It finds because she did not live there until she was eight years old. He avers that after leaving the place in
justification in the natural desire and longing of every person to return to his place of birth. This 1952, she "abandoned her residency (sic) therein for many years and . . . (could not) re-establish
strong feeling of attachment to the place of one's birth must be overcome by positive proof of her domicile in said place by merely expressing her intention to live there again." We do not agree.
abandonment for another.
First, minor follows the domicile of his parents. As domicile, once acquired is retained until a new
From the foregoing, it can be concluded that in its above-cited statements supporting its one is gained, it follows that in spite of the fact of petitioner's being born in Manila, Tacloban,
proposition that petitioner was ineligible to run for the position of Representative of the First Leyte was her domicile of origin by operation of law. This domicile was not established only when
District of Leyte, the COMELEC was obviously referring to petitioner's various places of (actual) her father brought his family back to Leyte contrary to private respondent's averments.
residence, not her domicile. In doing so, it not only ignored settled jurisprudence on residence in
election law and the deliberations of the constitutional commission but also the provisions of the Second, domicile of origin is not easily lost. To successfully effect a change of domicile, one must
Omnibus Election Code (B.P. 881). 35 demonstrate: 37

What is undeniable, however, are the following set of facts which establish the fact of petitioner's 1. An actual removal or an actual change of domicile;
domicile, which we lift verbatim from the COMELEC's Second Division's assailed Resolution: 36
2. A bona fide intention of abandoning the former place of residence and establishing a new
In or about 1938 when respondent was a little over 8 years old, she established her domicile in one; and
Tacloban, Leyte (Tacloban City). She studied in the Holy Infant Academy in Tacloban from 1938
to 1949 when she graduated from high school. She pursued her college studies in St. Paul's
3. Acts which correspond with the purpose.
College, now Divine Word University in Tacloban, where she earned her degree in Education.
Thereafter, she taught in the Leyte Chinese School, still in Tacloban City. In 1952 she went to
Manila to work with her cousin, the late speaker Daniel Z. Romualdez in his office in the House
In the absence of clear and positive proof based on these criteria, the residence of origin should be The right of the husband to fix the actual residence is in harmony with the intention of the law to
deemed to continue. Only with evidence showing concurrence of all three requirements can the strengthen and unify the family, recognizing the fact that the husband and the wife bring into the
presumption of continuity or residence be rebutted, for a change of residence requires an actual marriage different domiciles (of origin). This difference could, for the sake of family unity, be
and deliberate abandonment, and one cannot have two legal residences at the same time. 38 In the reconciled only by allowing the husband to fix a single place of actual residence.
case at bench, the evidence adduced by private respondent plainly lacks the degree of
persuasiveness required to convince this court that an abandonment of domicile of origin in favor Very significantly, Article 110 of the Civil Code is found under Title V under the heading: RIGHTS
of a domicile of choice indeed occurred. To effect an abandonment requires the voluntary act of AND OBLIGATIONS BETWEEN HUSBAND AND WIFE. Immediately preceding Article 110 is Article
relinquishing petitioner's former domicile with an intent to supplant the former domicile with one 109 which obliges the husband and wife to live together, thus:
of her own choosing (domicilium voluntarium).
Art. 109. — The husband and wife are obligated to live together, observe mutual respect and
In this connection, it cannot be correctly argued that petitioner lost her domicile of origin by fidelity and render mutual help and support.
operation of law as a result of her marriage to the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos in 1952. For
there is a clearly established distinction between the Civil Code concepts of "domicile" and
The duty to live together can only be fulfilled if the husband and wife are physically together. This
"residence." 39 The presumption that the wife automatically gains the husband's domicile by
takes into account the situations where the couple has many residences (as in the case of the
operation of law upon marriage cannot be inferred from the use of the term "residence" in Article
petitioner). If the husband has to stay in or transfer to any one of their residences, the wife should
110 of the Civil Code because the Civil Code is one area where the two concepts are well
necessarily be with him in order that they may "live together." Hence, it is illogical to conclude that
delineated. Dr. Arturo Tolentino, writing on this specific area explains:
Art. 110 refers to "domicile" and not to "residence." Otherwise, we shall be faced with a situation
where the wife is left in the domicile while the husband, for professional or other reasons, stays in
In the Civil Code, there is an obvious difference between domicile and residence. Both terms one of their (various) residences. As Dr. Tolentino further explains:
imply relations between a person and a place; but in residence, the relation is one of fact while
in domicile it is legal or juridical, independent of the necessity of physical presence. 40
Residence and Domicile — Whether the word "residence" as used with reference to particular
matters is synonymous with "domicile" is a question of some difficulty, and the ultimate decision
Article 110 of the Civil Code provides: must be made from a consideration of the purpose and intent with which the word is used.
Sometimes they are used synonymously, at other times they are distinguished from one
Art. 110. — The husband shall fix the residence of the family. But the court may exempt the wife another.
from living with the husband if he should live abroad unless in the service of the Republic.
xxx xxx xxx
A survey of jurisprudence relating to Article 110 or to the concepts of domicile or residence as they
affect the female spouse upon marriage yields nothing which would suggest that the female Residence in the civil law is a material fact, referring to the physical presence of a person in a
spouse automatically loses her domicile of origin in favor of the husband's choice of residence place. A person can have two or more residences, such as a country residence and a city
upon marriage. residence. Residence is acquired by living in place; on the other hand, domicile can exist without
actually living in the place. The important thing for domicile is that, once residence has been
Article 110 is a virtual restatement of Article 58 of the Spanish Civil Code of 1889 which states: established in one place, there be an intention to stay there permanently, even if residence is
also established in some other place. 41
La mujer esta obligada a seguir a su marido donde quiera que fije su residencia. Los Tribunales,
sin embargo, podran con justa causa eximirla de esta obligacion cuando el marido transende su In fact, even the matter of a common residence between the husband and the wife during the
residencia a ultramar o' a pais extranjero. marriage is not an iron-clad principle; In cases applying the Civil Code on the question of a
common matrimonial residence, our jurisprudence has recognized certain situations 42 where the
Note the use of the phrase "donde quiera su fije de residencia" in the aforequoted article, which spouses could not be compelled to live with each other such that the wife is either allowed to
means wherever (the husband) wishes to establish residence. This part of the article clearly maintain a residence different from that of her husband or, for obviously practical reasons, revert
contemplates only actual residence because it refers to a positive act of fixing a family home or to her original domicile (apart from being allowed to opt for a new one). In De la Vina vs. Villareal
43
residence. Moreover, this interpretation is further strengthened by the phrase "cuando el marido this Court held that "[a] married woman may acquire a residence or domicile separate from that
translade su residencia" in the same provision which means, "when the husband shall transfer his of her husband during the existence of the marriage where the husband has given cause for
residence," referring to another positive act of relocating the family to another home or place of divorce." 44 Note that the Court allowed the wife either to obtain new residence or to choose a
actual residence. The article obviously cannot be understood to refer to domicile which is a fixed, new domicile in such an event. In instances where the wife actually opts, .under the Civil Code, to
fairly-permanent concept when it plainly connotes the possibility of transferring from one place to live separately from her husband either by taking new residence or reverting to her domicile of
another not only once, but as often as the husband may deem fit to move his family, a origin, the Court has held that the wife could not be compelled to live with her husband on pain of
circumstance more consistent with the concept of actual residence. contempt. In Arroyo vs. Vasques de Arroyo 45 the Court held that:
Upon examination of the authorities, we are convinced that it is not within the province of the any of these places as the conjugal residence, what petitioner gained upon marriage was actual
courts of this country to attempt to compel one of the spouses to cohabit with, and render residence. She did not lose her domicile of origin.
conjugal rights to, the other. Of course where the property rights of one of the pair are invaded,
an action for restitution of such rights can be maintained. But we are disinclined to sanction the On the other hand, the common law concept of "matrimonial domicile" appears to have been
doctrine that an order, enforcible (sic) by process of contempt, may be entered to compel the incorporated, as a result of our jurisprudential experiences after the drafting of the Civil Code of
restitution of the purely personal right of consortium. At best such an order can be effective for 1950, into the New Family Code. To underscore the difference between the intentions of the Civil
no other purpose than to compel the spouses to live under the same roof; and he experience of Code and the Family Code drafters, the term residence has been supplanted by the term domicile
those countries where the courts of justice have assumed to compel the cohabitation of married in an entirely new provision (Art. 69) distinctly different in meaning and spirit from that found in
people shows that the policy of the practice is extremely questionable. Thus in England, Article 110. The provision recognizes revolutionary changes in the concept of women's rights in the
formerly the Ecclesiastical Court entertained suits for the restitution of conjugal rights at the intervening years by making the choice of domicile a product of mutual agreement between the
instance of either husband or wife; and if the facts were found to warrant it, that court would spouses. 46
make a mandatory decree, enforceable by process of contempt in case of disobedience,
requiring the delinquent party to live with the other and render conjugal rights. Yet this practice
Without as much belaboring the point, the term residence may mean one thing in civil law (or
was sometimes criticized even by the judges who felt bound to enforce such orders, and in
under the Civil Code) and quite another thing in political law. What stands clear is that insofar as
Weldon v. Weldon (9 P.D. 52), decided in 1883, Sir James Hannen, President in the Probate,
the Civil Code is concerned-affecting the rights and obligations of husband and wife — the term
Divorce and Admiralty Division of the High Court of Justice, expressed his regret that the English
residence should only be interpreted to mean "actual residence." The inescapable conclusion
law on the subject was not the same as that which prevailed in Scotland, where a decree of
derived from this unambiguous civil law delineation therefore, is that when petitioner married the
adherence, equivalent to the decree for the restitution of conjugal rights in England, could be
former President in 1954, she kept her domicile of origin and merely gained a new home, not a
obtained by the injured spouse, but could not be enforced by imprisonment. Accordingly, in
domicilium necessarium.
obedience to the growing sentiment against the practice, the Matrimonial Causes Act (1884)
abolished the remedy of imprisonment; though a decree for the restitution of conjugal rights
can still be procured, and in case of disobedience may serve in appropriate cases as the basis of Even assuming for the sake of argument that petitioner gained a new "domicile" after her marriage
an order for the periodical payment of a stipend in the character of alimony. and only acquired a right to choose a new one after her husband died, petitioner's acts following
her return to the country clearly indicate that she not only impliedly but expressly chose her
domicile of origin (assuming this was lost by operation of law) as her domicile. This "choice" was
In the voluminous jurisprudence of the United States, only one court, so far as we can discover,
unequivocally expressed in her letters to the Chairman of the PCGG when petitioner sought the
has ever attempted to make a preemptory order requiring one of the spouses to live with the
PCGG's permission to "rehabilitate (our) ancestral house in Tacloban and Farm in Olot, Leyte. . . to
other; and that was in a case where a wife was ordered to follow and live with her husband,
make them livable for the Marcos family to have a home in our homeland." 47 Furthermore,
who had changed his domicile to the City of New Orleans. The decision referred to (Bahn v.
petitioner obtained her residence certificate in 1992 in Tacloban, Leyte, while living in her
Darby, 36 La. Ann., 70) was based on a provision of the Civil Code of Louisiana similar to article
brother's house, an act which supports the domiciliary intention clearly manifested in her letters to
56 of the Spanish Civil Code. It was decided many years ago, and the doctrine evidently has not
the PCGG Chairman. She could not have gone straight to her home in San Juan, as it was in a state
been fruitful even in the State of Louisiana. In other states of the American Union the idea of
of disrepair, having been previously looted by vandals. Her "homes" and "residences" following her
enforcing cohabitation by process of contempt is rejected. (21 Cyc., 1148).
arrival in various parts of Metro Manila merely qualified as temporary or "actual residences," not
domicile. Moreover, and proceeding from our discussion pointing out specific situations where the
In a decision of January 2, 1909, the Supreme Court of Spain appears to have affirmed an order female spouse either reverts to her domicile of origin or chooses a new one during the subsistence
of the Audiencia Territorial de Valladolid requiring a wife to return to the marital domicile, and of the marriage, it would be highly illogical for us to assume that she cannot regain her original
in the alternative, upon her failure to do so, to make a particular disposition of certain money domicile upon the death of her husband absent a positive act of selecting a new one where
and effects then in her possession and to deliver to her husband, as administrator of the situations exist within the subsistence of the marriage itself where the wife gains a domicile
ganancial property, all income, rents, and interest which might accrue to her from the property different from her husband.
which she had brought to the marriage. (113 Jur. Civ., pp. 1, 11) But it does not appear that this
order for the return of the wife to the marital domicile was sanctioned by any other penalty
In the light of all the principles relating to residence and domicile enunciated by this court up to
than the consequences that would be visited upon her in respect to the use and control of her
this point, we are persuaded that the facts established by the parties weigh heavily in favor of a
property; and it does not appear that her disobedience to that order would necessarily have
conclusion supporting petitioner's claim of legal residence or domicile in the First District of Leyte.
been followed by imprisonment for contempt.

II. The jurisdictional issue


Parenthetically when Petitioner was married to then Congressman Marcos, in 1954, petitioner was
obliged — by virtue of Article 110 of the Civil Code — to follow her husband's actual place of
residence fixed by him. The problem here is that at that time, Mr. Marcos had several places of Petitioner alleges that the jurisdiction of the COMELEC had already lapsed considering that the
residence, among which were San Juan, Rizal and Batac, Ilocos Norte. There is no showing which of assailed resolutions were rendered on April 24, 1995, fourteen (14) days before the election in
these places Mr. Marcos did fix as his family's residence. But assuming that Mr. Marcos had fixed violation of Section 78 of the Omnibus Election Code. 48 Moreover, petitioner contends that it is
the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal and not the COMELEC which has jurisdiction over
the election of members of the House of Representatives in accordance with Article VI Sec. 17 of questioned Resolutions dated April 24, May 7, May 11, and May 25, 1995 are hereby SET ASIDE.
the Constitution. This is untenable. Respondent COMELEC is hereby directed to order the Provincial Board of Canvassers to proclaim
petitioner as the duly elected Representative of the First District of Leyte.
It is a settled doctrine that a statute requiring rendition of judgment within a specified time is
generally construed to be merely directory, 49 "so that non-compliance with them does not SO ORDERED.
invalidate the judgment on the theory that if the statute had intended such result it would have
clearly indicated it." 50 The difference between a mandatory and a directory provision is often
made on grounds of necessity. Adopting the same view held by several American authorities, this
court in Marcelino vs. Cruz held that: 51

The difference between a mandatory and directory provision is often determined on grounds of
expediency, the reason being that less injury results to the general public by disregarding than
enforcing the letter of the law.

In Trapp v. Mc Cormick, a case calling for the interpretation of a statute containing a limitation of
thirty (30) days within which a decree may be entered without the consent of counsel, it was
held that "the statutory provisions which may be thus departed from with impunity, without
affecting the validity of statutory proceedings, are usually those which relate to the mode or
time of doing that which is essential to effect the aim and purpose of the Legislature or some
incident of the essential act." Thus, in said case, the statute under examination was construed
merely to be directory.

The mischief in petitioner's contending that the COMELEC should have abstained from rendering a
decision after the period stated in the Omnibus Election Code because it lacked jurisdiction, lies in
the fact that our courts and other quasi-judicial bodies would then refuse to render judgments
merely on the ground of having failed to reach a decision within a given or prescribed period.

In any event, with the enactment of Sections 6 and 7 of R.A. 6646 in relation to Section 78 of B.P.
881, 52 it is evident that the respondent Commission does not lose jurisdiction to hear and decide a
pending disqualification case under Section 78 of B.P. 881 even after the elections.

As to the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal's supposed assumption of jurisdiction over


the issue of petitioner's qualifications after the May 8, 1995 elections, suffice it to say that HRET's
jurisdiction as the sole judge of all contests relating to the elections, returns and qualifications of
members of Congress begins only after a candidate has become a member of the House of
Representatives. 53 Petitioner not being a member of the House of Representatives, it is obvious
that the HRET at this point has no jurisdiction over the question.

It would be an abdication of many of the ideals enshrined in the 1987 Constitution for us to either
to ignore or deliberately make distinctions in law solely on the basis of the personality of a
petitioner in a case. Obviously a distinction was made on such a ground here. Surely, many
established principles of law, even of election laws were flouted for the sake perpetuating power
during the pre-EDSA regime. We renege on these sacred ideals, including the meaning and spirit of
EDSA ourselves bending established principles of principles of law to deny an individual what he or
she justly deserves in law. Moreover, in doing so, we condemn ourselves to repeat the mistakes of
the past.

WHEREFORE, having determined that petitioner possesses the necessary residence qualifications
to run for a seat in the House of Representatives in the First District of Leyte, the COMELEC's
CONFLICT – CHOICE OF LAW – PERSONAL LAW – DOMICILE the COMELEC En Banc affirmed the Second Division’s decision, ruling that Jalosjos had been a mere
guest or transient visitor in his brother’s house and, for this reason, he cannot claim Ipil as his
G.R. No. 191970 April 24, 2012 domicile.

ROMMEL APOLINARIO JALOSJOS, Petitioner, Acting on Jalosjos’ prayer for the issuance of a temporary restraining order, the Court resolved on
vs. May 7, 2010 to issue a status quo ante order, enjoining the COMELEC from enforcing its February
THE COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and DAN ERASMO, SR., 11, 2010 decision pending further orders. Meanwhile, Jolosjos won the election and was
proclaimed winner of the 2010 gubernatorial race in the Province of Zamboanga Sibugay. 8
DECISION
The Issue Presented
ABAD, J.:
The sole issue presented in this case is whether or not the COMELEC acted with grave abuse of
discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in ruling that Jalosjos failed to present ample
This case is about the proof required to establish the domicile of a reinstated Filipino citizen who
proof of a bona fide intention to establish his domicile in Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay.
seeks election as governor of a province.

The Court’s Ruling


The Facts and the Case

The Local Government Code requires a candidate seeking the position of provincial governor to be
Petitioner Rommel Jalosjos was born in Quezon City on October 26, 1973. He migrated to Australia
a resident of the province for at least one year before the election. 9 For purposes of the election
in 1981 when he was eight years old and there acquired Australian citizenship. On November 22,
laws, the requirement of residence is synonymous with domicile, 10 meaning that a person must not
2008, at age 35, he decided to return to the Philippines and lived with his brother, Romeo, Jr., in
only intend to reside in a particular place but must also have personal presence in such place
Barangay Veteran’s Village, Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay. Four days upon his return, he took an oath of
coupled with conduct indicative of such intention.11
allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines, resulting in his being issued a Certificate of
Reacquisition of Philippine Citizenship by the Bureau of Immigration. 1 On September 1, 2009 he
renounced his Australian citizenship, executing a sworn renunciation of the same 2 in compliance There is no hard and fast rule to determine a candidate’s compliance with residency requirement
with Republic Act (R.A.) 9225.3 since the question of residence is a question of intention. 12 Still, jurisprudence has laid down the
following guidelines: (a) every person has a domicile or residence somewhere; (b) where once
established, that domicile remains until he acquires a new one; and (c) a person can have but one
From the time of his return, Jalosjos acquired a residential property in the same village where he
domicile at a time.13
lived and a fishpond in San Isidro, Naga, Zamboanga Sibugay. He applied for registration as a voter
in the Municipality of Ipil but respondent Dan Erasmo, Sr., the Barangay Captain of Barangay
Veteran’s Village, opposed the same. Acting on the application, the Election Registration Board It is inevitable under these guidelines and the precedents applying them that Jalosjos has met the
approved it and included Jalosjos’ name in the Commission on Elections’ (COMELEC’s) voters list residency requirement for provincial governor of Zamboanga Sibugay.
for Precinct 0051F of Barangay Veterans Village, Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay. 4
One. The COMELEC appears hasty in concluding that Jalosjos failed to prove that he successfully
Undaunted, Erasmo filed before the 1st Municipal Circuit Trial Court (MCTC) of Ipil-Tungawan-R.T. changed his domicile to Zamboanga Sibugay. The COMELEC points out that, since he was unable to
Lim in Ipil a petition for the exclusion of Jalosjos’ name from the official voters list. After hearing, discharge the burden of proving Zamboanga Sibugay to be his rightful domicile, it must be
the MCTC rendered a decision, denying the petition. 5 On appeal,6 the Regional Trial Court (RTC) assumed that his domicile is either Quezon City or Australia.
affirmed the MCTC decision. The RTC decision became final and executory.
But it is clear from the facts that Quezon City was Jalosjos’ domicile of origin, the place of his birth.
On November 28, 2009 Jalosjos filed his Certificate of Candidacy (COC) for Governor of Zamboanga It may be taken for granted that he effectively changed his domicile from Quezon City to Australia
Sibugay Province for the May 10, 2010 elections. Erasmo promptly filed a petition to deny due when he migrated there at the age of eight, acquired Australian citizenship, and lived in that
course or to cancel Jalosjos’ COC7 on the ground that the latter made material misrepresentation in country for 26 years. Australia became his domicile by operation of law and by choice. 14
the same since he failed to comply with (1) the requirements of R.A. 9225 and (2) the one-year
residency requirement of the Local Government Code. On the other hand, when he came to the Philippines in November 2008 to live with his brother in
Zamboanga Sibugay, it is evident that Jalosjos did so with intent to change his domicile for good.
After hearing, the Second Division of the COMELEC ruled that, while Jalosjos had regained He left Australia, gave up his Australian citizenship, and renounced his allegiance to that country. In
Philippine citizenship by complying with the requirements of R.A. 9225, he failed to prove the addition, he reacquired his old citizenship by taking an oath of allegiance to the Republic of the
residency requirement for a gubernatorial candidate. He failed to present ample proof of a bona Philippines, resulting in his being issued a Certificate of Reacquisition of Philippine Citizenship by
fide intention to establish his domicile in Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay. On motion for reconsideration, the Bureau of Immigration. By his acts, Jalosjos forfeited his legal right to live in Australia, clearly
proving that he gave up his domicile there. And he has since lived nowhere else except in Ipil,
Zamboanga Sibugay.

To hold that Jalosjos has not establish a new domicile in Zamboanga Sibugay despite the loss of his
domicile of origin (Quezon City) and his domicile of choice and by operation of law (Australia)
would violate the settled maxim that a man must have a domicile or residence somewhere.

Two. The COMELEC concluded that Jalosjos has not come to settle his domicile in Ipil since he has
merely been staying at his brother’s house. But this circumstance alone cannot support such
conclusion. Indeed, the Court has repeatedly held that a candidate is not required to have a house
in a community to establish his residence or domicile in a particular place. It is sufficient that he
should live there even if it be in a rented house or in the house of a friend or relative. 15 To insist
that the candidate own the house where he lives would make property a qualification for public
office. What matters is that Jalosjos has proved two things: actual physical presence in Ipil and an
intention of making it his domicile.

Jalosjos presented the affidavits of next-door neighbors, attesting to his physical presence at his
residence in Ipil. These adjoining neighbors are no doubt more credible since they have a better
chance of noting his presence or absence than his other neighbors, whose affidavits Erasmo
presented, who just sporadically passed by the subject residence. Further, it is not disputed that
Jalosjos bought a residential lot in the same village where he lived and a fish pond in San Isidro,
Naga, Zamboanga Sibugay. He showed correspondences with political leaders, including local and
national party-mates, from where he lived. Moreover, Jalosjos is a registered voter of Ipil by final
judgment of the Regional Trial Court of Zamboanga Sibugay.1âwphi1

Three. While the Court ordinarily respects the factual findings of administrative bodies like the
COMELEC, this does not prevent it from exercising its review powers to correct palpable
misappreciation of evidence or wrong or irrelevant considerations. 16 The evidence Jalosjos
presented is sufficient to establish Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay, as his domicile. The COMELEC gravely
abused its discretion in holding otherwise.

Four. Jalosjos won and was proclaimed winner in the 2010 gubernatorial race for Zamboanga
Sibugay. The Court will respect the decision of the people of that province and resolve all doubts
regarding his qualification in his favor to breathe life to their manifest will.

WHEREFORE, the Court GRANTS the petition and SETS ASIDE the Resolution of the COMELEC
Second Division dated February 11, 2010 and the Resolution of the COMELEC En Banc dated May
4, 2010 that disqualified petitioner Rommel Jalosjos from seeking election as Governor of
Zamboanga Sibugay.

SO ORDERED.
CONFLICT – CHOICE OF LAW – PERSONAL LAW – DOMICILE The COMELEC First Division did not discuss the procedural deficiency raised by petitioner as he was
already given a copy of the petition and also in consonance with the Commission's constitutional
G.R. No. 209835, September 22, 2015 duty of determining the qualifications of petitioner to run for elective office. It found that while
petitioner complied with the requirements of RA No. 9225 since he had taken his Oath of
Allegiance to the Philippines and had validly renounced his Canadian citizenship, he failed to
ROGELIO BATIN CABALLERO, Petitioner, v. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS AND JONATHAN
comply with the other requirements provided under RA No. 9225 for those seeking elective office,
ENRIQUE V. NANUD, JR., Respondents.
i.e., persons who renounced their foreign citizenship must still comply with the one year residency
requirement provided for under Section 39 of the Local Government Code. Petitioner's
DECISION naturalization as a Canadian citizen resulted in the abandonment of his domicile of origin in
Uyugan, Batanes; thus, having abandoned his domicile of origin, it is incumbent upon him to prove
PERALTA, J.: that he was able to reestablish his domicile in Uyugan for him to be eligible to run for elective
office in said locality which he failed to do.
Before us is a petition for certiorari with prayer for issuance of a temporary restraining order
seeking to set aside the Resolution1 dated November 6, 2013 of the Commission on Elections Elections were subsequently held on May 13, 2013 and the election returns showed that petitioner
(COMELEC) En Banc which affirmed in toto the Resolution2 dated May 3, 2013 of the COMELEC won over private respondent. 8 Private respondent filed an Urgent Ex-parte Motion to Defer
First Division canceling the Certificate of Candidacy (COC) of petitioner Rogelio Batin Caballero. Proclamation.9

Petitioner3 and private respondent Jonathan Enrique V. Nanud, Jr. 4 were both candidates for the On May 14, 2013, petitioner was proclaimed Mayor of Uyugan, Batanes.
mayoralty position of the Municipality of Uyugan, Province of Batanes in the May 13, 2013
elections. Private respondent filed a Petition 5 to deny due course to or cancellation of petitioner's On May 16, 2013, petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration with the COMELEC En Banc
certificate of candidacy alleging that the latter made a false representation when he declared in his assailing the May 3, 2013 Resolution issued by the COMELEC's First Division canceling his COC.
COC that he was eligible to run for Mayor of Uyugan, Batanes despite being a Canadian citizen and
a nonresident thereof.
On May 17, 2013, private respondent filed a Petition to Annul Proclamation. 10

During the December 10, 2012 conference, petitioner, through counsel, manifested that he was
On November 6, 2013, the COMELEC En Banc issued its assailed Resolution denying petitioner's
not properly served with a copy of the petition and the petition was served by registered mail not
motion for reconsideration.
in his address in Barangay Imnajbu, Uyugan, Batanes. He, however, received a copy of the petition
during the conference. Petitioner did not file an Answer but filed a Memorandum controverting
private respondent's substantial allegations in his petition. Petitioner filed with us the instant petition for certiorari with prayer for the issuance of a
temporary restraining order.
Petitioner argued that prior to the filing of his COC on October 3, 2012, he took an Oath of
Allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines before the Philippine Consul General in Toronto, In the meantime, private respondent filed a Motion for Execution 11 of the May 3, 2013 Resolution
Canada on September 13, 2012 and became a dual Filipino and Canadian citizen pursuant to of the COMELEC First Division as affirmed by the En Banc and prayed for the cancellation of
Republic Act (RA) No. 9225, otherwise known as the Citizenship Retention and Reacquisition Act of petitioner's COC, the appropriate correction of the certificate of canvas to reflect that all votes in
2003. Thereafter, he renounced his Canadian citizenship and executed an Affidavit of Renunciation favor of petitioner are stray votes, declaration of nullity of petitioner's proclamation and
before a Notary Public in Batanes on October 1, 2012 to conform with Section 5(2) of RA No. proclamation of private respondent as the duly-elected Mayor of Uyugan, Batanes in the May 13,
9225.6 He claimed that he did not lose his domicile of origin in Uyugan, Batanes despite becoming 2013 elections.
a Canadian citizen as he merely left Uyugan temporarily to pursue a brighter future for him and his
family; and that he went back to Uyugan during his vacation while working in Nigeria, California, On December 12, 2013, COMELEC Chairman Sixto S. Brillantes, Jr. issued a Writ of Execution. 12
and finally in Canada. Private respondent took his Oath of Office13 on December 20, 2013.

On May 3, 2013, the COMELEC First Division issued a Resolution finding that petitioner made a In the instant petition for certiorari, petitioner raises the following assignment of errors, to wit:
material misrepresentation in his COC when he declared that he is a resident of Barangay Imnajbu,
Uyugan, Batanes within one year prior to the election. The decretal portion of the resolution THE COMELEC EN BANC GRAVELY ERRED IN DISREGARDING THE CLEAR IMPORT OF
reads: PROCEDURAL RULES PROVIDED FOR UNDER COMELEC RESOLUTION NO. 9523 PROMULGATED
ON 25 SEPTEMBER 2012.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, this Commission RESOLVED, as it hereby RESOLVES to GRANT
the instant Petition. The Certificate of Candidacy of respondent Caballero is hereby CANCELLED. 7
THE COMELEC EN BANC GRAVELY ERRED IN FINDING THAT PETITIONER ABANDONED HIS powers and jurisdiction, as defined by its mandate to protect the integrity of elections, the
PHILIPPINE DOMICILE WHEN HE WORKED IN SEVERAL FOREIGN COUNTRIES FOR "GREENER COMELEC must not be straitjacketed by procedural rules in resolving election disputes."
PASTURE."
Settled is the rule that the COMELEC Rules of Procedure are subject to liberal construction. The
EVEN ASSUMING THAT PETITIONER HAS ABANDONED HIS PHILIPPINE DOMICILE WHEN HE COMELEC has the power to liberally interpret or even suspend its rules of procedure in the
BECAME A CANADIAN CITIZEN, HIS REACQUISITION OF HIS FILIPINO CITIZENSHIP, TAKING OATH interest of justice, including obtaining a speedy disposition of all matters pending before it. This
OF ALLEGIANCE TO THE PHILIPPINE GOVERNMENT NINE (9) MONTHS PRIOR TO HIS ELECTION liberality is for the purpose of promoting the effective and efficient implementation of its
ON 13 MAY 2013, IS A SUBSTANTIAL COMPLIANCE WITH THE LAW ON RESIDENCY. 14 objectives - ensuring the holding of free, orderly, honest, peaceful, and credible elections, as
well as achieving just, expeditious, and inexpensive determination and disposition of every
Petitioner contends that when private respondent filed a petition to deny due course or to cancel action and proceeding brought before the COMELEC. Unlike an ordinary civil action, an election
his COC with the Office of the Municipal Election Officer of Uyugan, Batanes, a copy thereof was contest is imbued with public interest. It involves not only the adjudication of private and
not personally served on him; that private respondent later sent a copy of the petition to him by pecuniary interests of rival candidates, but also the paramount need of dispelling the
registered mail without an attached affidavit stating the reason on why registered mail as a mode uncertainty which beclouds the real choice of the electorate. And the tribunal has the
of service was resorted to. Petitioner argues that private respondent violated Section 4, corresponding duty to ascertain, by all means within its command, whom the people truly chose
paragraphs (1)15 and (4),16 Rule 23 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure, as amended by COMELEC as their rightful leader.19
Resolution No. 9523, thus, his petition to deny due course or cancel petitioner's certificate of
candidacy should have been denied outright. Here, we find that the issue raised, i.e., whether petitioner had been a resident of Uyugan, Batanes
at least one (1) year before the elections held on May 13, 2013 as he represented in his COC,
We are not convinced. pertains to his qualification and eligibility to run for public office, therefore imbued with public
interest, which justified the COMELEC's suspension of its own rules. We adopt the COMELEC's s
ratiocination in accepting the petition, to wit:
While private respondent failed to comply with the above-mentioned requirements, the settled
rule, however, is that the COMELEC Rules of Procedure are subject to liberal construction.
Moreover, the COMELEC may exercise its power to suspend its own rules as provided under This Commission recognizes the failure of petitioner to comply strictly with the procedure for
Section 4, Rule 1 of their Rules of Procedure. filing a petition to deny due course to or cancel certificate of candidacy set forth in Section 4,
Rule 23 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure as amended by COMELEC Resolution No. 9523,
which requires service of a copy of the petition to respondent prior to its filing. But then, we
Sec. 4. Suspension of the Rules. - In the interest of justice and in order to obtain speedy
should also consider the efforts exerted by petitioner in serving a copy of his petition to
disposition of all matters pending before the Commission, these rules or any portion thereof
respondent after being made aware that such service is necessary. We should also take note of
may be suspended by the Commission.
the impossibility for petitioner to personally serve a copy of the petition to respondent since he
was in Canada at the time of its filing as shown in respondent's travel records.
Under this authority, the Commission is similarly enabled to cope with all situations without
concerning itself about procedural niceties that do not square with the need to do justice, in any
The very purpose of prior service of the petition to respondent is to afford the latter an
case without further loss of time, provided that the right of the parties to a full day in court is not
opportunity to answer the allegations contained in the petition even prior to the service of
substantially impaired.17
summons by the Commission to him. In this case, respondent was given a copy of the petition
during the conference held on 10 December 2012 and was ultimately accorded the occasion to
In Hayudini v. COMELEC,18 we sustained the COMELEC's liberal treatment of respondent's petition rebut all the allegations against him. He even filed a Memorandum containing his defenses to
to deny due course or cancel petitioner's COC despite its failure to comply with Sections 2 and 4 of petitioner's allegations. For all intents and purposes, therefore, respondent was never deprived
Rule 23 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure, as amended by Resolution No. 9523, i.e., pertaining of due process which is the very essence of this Commission's Rules of Procedure.
to the period to file petition and to provide sufficient explanation as to why his petition was not
served personally on petitioner, respectively, and held that:
Even the Supreme Court acknowledges the need for procedural rules to bow to substantive
considerations "through a liberal construction aimed at promoting their objective of securing a
As a general rule, statutes providing for election contests are to be liberally construed in order just, speedy and inexpensive disposition of every action and proceeding, x x x
that the will of the people in the choice of public officers may not be defeated by mere technical
objections. Moreover, it is neither fair nor just to keep in office, for an indefinite period, one
xxxx
whose right to it is uncertain and under suspicion. It is imperative that his claim be immediately
cleared, not only for the benefit of the winner but for the sake of public interest, which can only
be achieved by brushing aside technicalities of procedure that protract and delay the trial of an When a case is impressed with public interest, a relaxation of the application of the rules is in
ordinary action. This principle was reiterated in the cases of Tolentino v. Commission on order, x x x.
Elections and De Castro v. Commission on Elections, where the Court held that "in exercising its
Unquestionably, the instant case is impressed with public interest which warrants the relaxation SEC. 39. Qualifications. - (a) An elective local official must be a citizen of the Philippines; a
of the application of the [R]ules of [P]rocedure, consistent with the ruling of the Supreme Court registered voter in the barangay, municipality, city or province or, in the case of a member of
in several cases.20 the sangguniang panlalawigan, sangguniang panlungsod, or sanggunian bayan, the district
where he intends to be elected; a resident therein for at least one (1) year immediately
Petitioner next claims that he did not abandon his Philippine domicile. He argues that he was born preceding the day of the election; and able to read and write Filipino or any other local language
and baptized in Uyugan, Batanes; studied and had worked therein for a couple of years, and had or dialect.
paid his community tax certificate; and, that he was a registered voter and had exercised his right
of suffrage and even built his house therein. He also contends that he usually comes back to Clearly, the Local Government Code requires that the candidate must be a resident of the place
Uyugan, Batanes during his vacations from work abroad, thus, his domicile had not been lost. where he seeks to be elected at least one year immediately preceding the election day.
Petitioner avers that the requirement of the law in fixing the residence qualification of a candidate Respondent filed the petition for cancellation of petitioner's COC on the ground that the latter
running for public office is not strictly on the period of residence in the place where he seeks to be made material misrepresentation when he declared therein that he is a resident of Uyugan,
elected but on the acquaintance by the candidate on his constituents' vital needs for their Batanes for at least one year immediately preceeding the day of elections.
common welfare; and that his nine months of actual stay in Uyugan, Batanes prior to his election is
a substantial compliance with the law. Petitioner insists that the COMELEC gravely abused its The term "residence" is to be understood not in its common acceptation as referring to "dwelling"
discretion in canceling his COC. or "habitation," but rather to "domicile" or legal residence, 25 that is, "the place where a party
actually or constructively has his permanent home, where he, no matter where he may be found
We are not persuaded. at any given time, eventually intends to return and remain (animus manendi)."26 A domicile of
origin is acquired by every person at birth. It is usually the place where the child's parents reside
RA No. 9225, which is known as the Citizenship Retention and Reacquisition Act of 2003, declares and continues until the same is abandoned by acquisition of new domicile (domicile of choice). It
that natural-born citizens of the Philippines, who have lost their Philippine citizenship by reason of consists not only in the intention to reside in a fixed place but also personal presence in that place,
their naturalization as citizens of a foreign country, can re-acquire or retain his Philippine coupled with conduct indicative of such intention.27
citizenship under the conditions of the law. 21 The law does not provide for residency requirement
for the reacquisition or retention of Philippine citizenship; nor does it mention any effect of such Petitioner was a natural born Filipino who was born and raised in Uyugan, Batanes. Thus, it could
reacquisition or retention of Philippine citizenship on the current residence of the concerned be said that he had his domicile of origin in Uyugan, Batanes. However, he later worked in Canada
natural-born Filipino.22 and became a Canadian citizen. In Coquilla v. COMELEC28 we ruled that naturalization in a foreign
country may result in an abandonment of domicile in the Philippines. This holds true in petitioner's
RA No. 9225 treats citizenship independently of residence. 23 This is only logical and consistent with case as permanent resident status in Canada is required for the acquisition of Canadian
the general intent of the law to allow for dual citizenship. Since a natural-born Filipino may hold, at citizenship.29 Hence, petitioner had effectively abandoned his domicile in the Philippines and
the same time, both Philippine and foreign citizenships, he may establish residence either in the transferred his domicile of choice in Canada. His frequent visits to Uyugan, Batanes during his
Philippines or in the foreign country of which he is also a citizen. 24 However, when a natural-born vacation from work in Canada cannot be considered as waiver of such abandonment.
Filipino with dual citizenship seeks for an elective public office, residency in the Philippines
becomes material. Section 5(2) of FLA No. 9225 provides: The next question is what is the effect of petitioner's retention of his Philippine citizenship under
RA No. 9225 on his residence or domicile?
SEC. 5. Civil and Political Rights and Liabilities. - Those who retain or reacquire Philippine
citizenship under this Act shall enjoy full civil and political rights and be subject to all attendant In Japzon v. COMELEC,30 wherein respondent Ty reacquired his Philippine citizenship under RA No.
liabilities and responsibilities under existing laws of the Philippines and the following 9225 and run for Mayor of General Macarthur, Eastern Samar and whose residency in the said
conditions: place was put in issue, we had the occasion to state, thus:

xxxx [Petitioner's] reacquisition of his Philippine citizenship under Republic Act No. 9225 had no
automatic impact or effect on his residence/domicile. He could still retain his domicile in the
(2) Those seeking elective public office in the Philippines shall meet the qualifications for USA, and he did not necessarily regain his domicile in the Municipality of General Macarthur,
holding such public office as required by the Constitution and existing laws and, at the time of Eastern Samar, Philippines. Ty merely had the option to again establish his domicile in the
the filing of the certificate of candidacy, make a personal and sworn renunciation of any and Municipality of General Macarthur, Eastern Samar, Philippines, said place becoming his new
all foreign citizenship before any public officer authorized to administer an oath. domicile of choice. The length of his residence therein shall be determined from the time he
made it his domicile of choice, and it shall not retroact to the time of his birth. 31
Republic Act No. 7160, which is known as the Local Government Code of 1991, provides, among
others, for the qualifications of an elective local official. Section 39 thereof states: Hence, petitioner's retention of his Philippine citizenship under RA No. 9225 did not automatically
make him regain his residence in Uyugan, Batanes. He must still prove that after becoming a
Philippine citizen on September 13, 2012, he had reestablished Uyugan, Batanes as his new xxxx
domicile of choice which is reckoned from the time he made it as such.
SEC. 78. Petition to deny due course to or cancel a certificate of candidacy. - A verified petition
The COMELEC found that petitioner failed to present competent evidence to prove that he was seeking to deny due course or to cancel a certificate of candidacy may be filed by any person
able to reestablish his residence in Uyugan within a period of one year immediately preceding the exclusively on the ground that any material representation contained therein as required under
May 13, 2013 elections. It found that it was only after reacquiring his Filipino citizenship by virtue Section 74 hereof is false. The petition may be filed at any time not later than twenty-five days
of RA No. 9225 on September 13, 2012 that petitioner can rightfully claim that he re-established from the time of the filing of the certificate of candidacy and shall be decided, after due notice
his domicile in Uyugan, Batanes, if such was accompanied by physical presence thereat, coupled and hearing, not later than fifteen days before the election.
with an actual intent to reestablish his domicile there. However, the period from September 13,
2012 to May 12, 2013 was even less than the one year residency required by law. We have held that in order to justify the cancellation of COC under Section 78, it is essential that
the false representation mentioned therein pertains to a material matter for the sanction imposed
Doctrinally entrenched is the rule that in a petition for certiorari, findings of fact of administrative by this provision would affect the substantive rights of a candidate - the right to run for the
bodies, such as respondent COMELEC in the instant case, are final unless grave abuse of discretion elective post for which he filed the certificate of candidacy. 36 We concluded that material
has marred such factual determinations/~ Clearly, where there is no proof of grave abuse of representation contemplated by Section 78 refers to qualifications for elective office, such as the
discretion, arbitrariness, fraud or error of law in the questioned Resolutions, we may not review requisite residency, age, citizenship or any other legal qualification necessary to run for a local
the factual findings of COMELEC, nor substitute its own findings on the sufficiency of evidence. 33 elective office as provided for in the Local Government Code. 37 Furthermore, aside from the
requirement of materiality, the misrepresentation must consist of a deliberate attempt to mislead,
Records indeed showed that petitioner failed to prove that he had been a resident of Uyugan, misinform, or hide a fact which would otherwise render a candidate ineligible. 38 We, therefore,
Batanes for at least one year immediately preceding the day of elections as required under Section find no grave abuse of discretion committed by the COMELEC in canceling petitioner's COC for
39 of the Local Government Code. material misrepresentation.

WHEREFORE, the petition for certiorari is DISMISSED. The Resolution dated May 3, 2013 of the
Petitioner's argument that his nine (9) months of actual stay in Uyugan, Batanes, prior to the May
COMELEC First Division and the Resolution dated November 6, 2013 of the COMELEC En Banc and
13, 2013 local elections is a substantial compliance with the law, is not persuasive. In Aquino v.
are hereby AFFIRMED.
Commission on Elections,34 we held:

SO ORDERED.
x x x A democratic government is necessarily a government of laws. In a republican government
those laws are themselves ordained by the people. Through their representatives, they dictate
the qualifications necessary for service in government positions. And as petitioner clearly lacks
one of the essential qualifications for running for membership in the House of Representatives,
not even the will of a majority or plurality of the voters of the Second District of Makati City
would substitute for a requirement mandated by the fundamental law itself. 35

Petitioner had made a material misrepresentation by stating in his COC that he is a resident of
Uyugan, Batanes for at least one (1) year immediately proceeding the day of the election, thus, a
ground for a petition under Section 78 of the Omnibus Election Code. Section 74, in relation to
Section 78, of the OEC governs the cancellation of, and grant or denial of due course to COCs, to
wit:

SEC. 74. Contents of certificate of candidacy. - The certificate of candidacy shall state that the
person filing it is announcing his candidacy for the office stated therein and that he is eligible for
said office; if for Member of the Batasang Pambansa, the province, including its component
cities, highly urbanized city or district or sector which he seeks to represent; the political party
to which he belongs; civil status; his date of birth; residence; his post office address for all
election purposes; his profession or occupation; that he will support and defend the
Constitution of the Philippines and will maintain true faith and allegiance thereto; that he will
obey the laws, legal orders, and decrees promulgated by the duly constituted authorities; that
he is not a permanent resident or immigrant to a foreign country; that the obligation imposed
by his oath is assumed voluntarily, without mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that
the facts stated in the certificate of candidacy are true to the best of his knowledge.
CONFLICT – CHOICE OF LAW – PERSONAL LAW – DOMICILE provided for in Section 42 of the Local Government Code, there is no legal obstacle to his
candidacy for mayor of Bolinao, Pangasinan. (p. 12, Rollo, G.R. No. 84508).
G.R. No. 88831 November 8, 1990
In his dissenting opinion, Commissioner Badoy, Jr. opined that:
MATEO CAASI, petitioner,
vs. A green card holder being a permanent resident of or an immigrant of a foreign country and
THE HON. COURT OF APPEALS and MERITO C. MIGUEL, respondents. respondent having admitted that he is a green card holder, it is incumbent upon him, under
Section 68 of the Omnibus Election Code, to prove that he "has waived his status as a
G.R. No. 84508 November 13, 1990 permanent resident or immigrant" to be qualified to run for elected office. This respondent has
not done. (p. 13, Rollo, G.R. No. 84508.)
ANECITO CASCANTE petitioner,
vs. In G.R. No. 88831, "Mateo Caasi, petitioner vs. Court of Appeals and Merito Miguel, respondents,"
THE COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and MERITO C. MIGUEL, respondents. the petitioner prays for a review of the decision dated June 21, 1989 of the Court of Appeals in CA-
G.R. SP No. 14531 "Merito C. Miguel, petitioner vs. Hon. Artemio R. Corpus, etc., respondents,"
reversing the decision of the Regional Trial Court which denied Miguel's motion to dismiss the
GRIÑO-AQUINO, J.:
petition for quo warranto filed by Caasi. The Court of Appeals ordered the regional trial court to
dismiss and desist from further proceeding in the quo warranto case. The Court of Appeals held:
These two cases were consolidated because they have the same objective; the disqualification
under Section 68 of the Omnibus Election Code of the private respondent, Merito Miguel for the
... it is pointless for the Regional Trial Court to hear the case questioning the qualification of the
position of municipal mayor of Bolinao, Pangasinan, to which he was elected in the local elections
petitioner as resident of the Philippines, after the COMELEC has ruled that the petitioner meets
of January 18, 1988, on the ground that he is a green card holder, hence, a permanent resident of
the very basic requirements of citizenship and residence for candidates to elective local officials
the United States of America, not of Bolinao.
(sic) and that there is no legal obstacles (sic) for the candidacy of the petitioner, considering that
decisions of the Regional Trial Courts on quo warranto cases under the Election Code are
G.R. No. 84508 is a petition for review on certiorari of the decision dated January 13, 1988 of the appealable to the COMELEC. (p. 22, Rollo, G.R. No. 88831.)
COMELEC First Division, dismissing the three (3) petitions of Anecito Cascante (SPC No. 87-551),
Cederico Catabay (SPC No. 87-595) and Josefino C. Celeste (SPC No. 87-604), for the
These two cases pose the twin issues of: (1) whether or not a green card is proof that the holder is
disqualification of Merito C. Miguel filed prior to the local elections on January 18, 1988.
a permanent resident of the United States, and (2) whether respondent Miguel had waived his
status as a permanent resident of or immigrant to the U.S.A. prior to the local elections on January
G.R. No. 88831, Mateo Caasi vs. Court of Appeals, et al., is a petition for review of the decision 18, 1988.
dated June 21, 1989, of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 14531 dismissing the petition for
quo warranto filed by Mateo Caasi, a rival candidate for the position of municipal mayor of
Section 18, Article XI of the 1987 Constitution provides:
Bolinao, Pangasinan, also to disqualify Merito Miguel on account of his being a green card holder.

Sec. 18. Public officers and employees owe the State and this Constitution allegiance at all times,
In his answer to both petitions, Miguel admitted that he holds a green card issued to him by the US
and any public officer or employee who seeks to change his citizenship or acquire the status of
Immigration Service, but he denied that he is a permanent resident of the United States. He
an immigrant of another country during his tenure shall be dealt with by law.
allegedly obtained the green card for convenience in order that he may freely enter the United
States for his periodic medical examination and to visit his children there. He alleged that he is a
permanent resident of Bolinao, Pangasinan, that he voted in all previous elections, including the In the same vein, but not quite, Section 68 of the Omnibus Election Code of the Philippines (B.P.
plebiscite on February 2,1987 for the ratification of the 1987 Constitution, and the congressional Blg. 881) provides:
elections on May 18,1987.
SEC. 68. Disqualifications ... Any person who is a permanent resident of or an immigrant to a
After hearing the consolidated petitions before it, the COMELEC with the exception of foreign country shall not be qualified to run for any elective office under this Code, unless said
Commissioner Anacleto Badoy, Jr., dismissed the petitions on the ground that: person has waived his status as permanent resident or immigrant of a foreign country in
accordance with the residence requirement provided for in the election laws. (Sec. 25, 1971,
EC).
The possession of a green card by the respondent (Miguel) does not sufficiently establish that he
has abandoned his residence in the Philippines. On the contrary, inspite (sic) of his green card,
Respondent has sufficiently indicated his intention to continuously reside in Bolinao as shown by In view of current rumor that a good number of elective and appointive public officials in the
his having voted in successive elections in said municipality. As the respondent meets the basic present administration of President Corazon C. Aquino are holders of green cards in foreign
requirements of citizenship and residence for candidates to elective local officials (sic) as
countries, their effect on the holders' right to hold elective public office in the Philippines is a of the provision of the Fifth Amendment to the federal constitution that no person shall be
question that excites much interest in the outcome of this case. deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law. (3 CJS 529-530.)

In the case of Merito Miguel, the Court deems it significant that in the "Application for Immigrant Section 18, Article XI of the 1987 Constitution which provides that "any public officer or employee
Visa and Alien Registration" (Optional Form No. 230, Department of State) which Miguel filled up who seeks to change his citizenship or acquire the status of an immigrant of another country
in his own handwriting and submitted to the US Embassy in Manila before his departure for the during his tenure shall be dealt with by law" is not applicable to Merito Miguel for he acquired the
United States in 1984, Miguel's answer to Question No. 21 therein regarding his "Length of status of an immigrant of the United States before he was elected to public office, not "during his
intended stay (if permanently, so state)," Miguel's answer was, "Permanently." tenure" as mayor of Bolinao, Pangasinan.

On its face, the green card that was subsequently issued by the United States Department of The law applicable to him is Section 68 of the Omnibus Election Code (B.P. Blg. 881), which
Justice and Immigration and Registration Service to the respondent Merito C. Miguel identifies him provides:
in clear bold letters as a RESIDENT ALIEN. On the back of the card, the upper portion, the following
information is printed: xxx xxx xxx

Alien Registration Receipt Card. Any person who is a permanent resident of or an immigrant to a foreign country shall not be
qualified to run for any elective office under this Code, unless such person has waived his status
Person identified by this card is entitled to reside permanently and work in the United States." as permanent resident or immigrant of a foreign country in accordance with the residence
(Annex A pp. 189-190, Rollo of G.R. No. 84508.) requirement provided for in the election laws.'

Despite his vigorous disclaimer, Miguel's immigration to the United States in 1984 constituted an Did Miguel, by returning to the Philippines in November 1987 and presenting himself as a
abandonment of his domicile and residence in the Philippines. For he did not go to the United candidate for mayor of Bolinao in the January 18,1988 local elections, waive his status as a
States merely to visit his children or his doctor there; he entered the limited States with the permanent resident or immigrant of the United States?
intention to have there permanently as evidenced by his application for an immigrant's (not a
visitor's or tourist's) visa. Based on that application of his, he was issued by the U.S. Government To be "qualified to run for elective office" in the Philippines, the law requires that the candidate
the requisite green card or authority to reside there permanently. who is a green card holder must have "waived his status as a permanent resident or immigrant of a
foreign country." Therefore, his act of filing a certificate of candidacy for elective office in the
Immigration is the removing into one place from another; the act of immigrating the entering Philippines, did not of itself constitute a waiver of his status as a permanent resident or immigrant
into a country with the intention of residing in it. of the United States. The waiver of his green card should be manifested by some act or acts
independent of and done prior to filing his candidacy for elective office in this country. Without
An immigrant is a person who removes into a country for the purpose of permanent residence. such prior waiver, he was "disqualified to run for any elective office" (Sec. 68, Omnibus Election
As shown infra 84, however, statutes sometimes give a broader meaning to the term Code).
"immigrant." (3 CJS 674.)
Respondent Merito Miguel admits that he holds a green card, which proves that he is a permanent
As a resident alien in the U.S., Miguel owes temporary and local allegiance to the U.S., the country resident or immigrant it of the United States, but the records of this case are starkly bare of proof
in which he resides (3 CJS 527). This is in return for the protection given to him during the period that he had waived his status as such before he ran for election as municipal mayor of Bolinao on
of his residence therein. January 18, 1988. We, therefore, hold that he was disqualified to become a candidate for that
office.
Aliens reading in the limited States, while they are permitted to remain, are in general entitled
to the protection of the laws with regard to their rights of person and property and to their civil The reason for Section 68 of the Omnibus Election Code is not hard to find. Residence in the
and criminal responsibility. municipality where he intends to run for elective office for at least one (1) year at the time of filing
his certificate of candidacy, is one of the qualifications that a candidate for elective public office
must possess (Sec. 42, Chap. 1, Title 2, Local Government Code). Miguel did not possess that
In general, aliens residing in the United States, while they are permitted to remain are entitled
qualification because he was a permanent resident of the United States and he resided in Bolinao
to the safeguards of the constitution with regard to their rights of person and property and to
for a period of only three (3) months (not one year) after his return to the Philippines in November
their civil and criminal responsibility. Thus resident alien friends are entitled to the benefit of the
1987 and before he ran for mayor of that municipality on January 18, 1988.
provision of the Fourteenth Amendment to the federal constitution that no state shall deprive
"any person" of life liberty, or property without due process of law, or deny to any person the
equal protection of the law, and the protection of this amendment extends to the right to earn a In banning from elective public office Philippine citizens who are permanent residents or
livelihood by following the ordinary occupations of life. So an alien is entitled to the protection immigrants of a foreign country, the Omnibus Election Code has laid down a clear policy of
excluding from the right to hold elective public office those Philippine citizens who possess dual
loyalties and allegiance. The law has reserved that privilege for its citizens who have cast their lot
with our country "without mental reservations or purpose of evasion." The assumption is that
those who are resident aliens of a foreign country are incapable of such entire devotion to the
interest and welfare of their homeland for with one eye on their public duties here, they must
keep another eye on their duties under the laws of the foreign country of their choice in order to
preserve their status as permanent residents thereof.

Miguel insists that even though he applied for immigration and permanent residence in the United
States, he never really intended to live there permanently, for all that he wanted was a green card
to enable him to come and go to the U.S. with ease. In other words, he would have this Court
believe that he applied for immigration to the U.S. under false pretenses; that all this time he only
had one foot in the United States but kept his other foot in the Philippines. Even if that were true,
this Court will not allow itself to be a party to his duplicity by permitting him to benefit from it, and
giving him the best of both worlds so to speak.

Miguel's application for immigrant status and permanent residence in the U.S. and his possession
of a green card attesting to such status are conclusive proof that he is a permanent resident of the
U.S. despite his occasional visits to the Philippines. The waiver of such immigrant status should be
as indubitable as his application for it. Absent clear evidence that he made an irrevocable waiver of
that status or that he surrendered his green card to the appropriate U.S. authorities before he ran
for mayor of Bolinao in the local elections on January 18, 1988, our conclusion is that he was
disqualified to run for said public office, hence, his election thereto was null and void.

WHEREFORE, the appealed orders of the COMELEC and the Court of Appeals in SPC Nos. 87-551,
87-595 and 87-604, and CA-G.R. SP No. 14531 respectively, are hereby set aside. The election of
respondent Merito C. Miguel as municipal mayor of Bolinao, Pangasinan is hereby annulled. Costs
against the said respondent.

SO ORDERED.
CONFLICT – CHOICE OF LAW – PERSONAL LAW – DOMICILE proclaimed mayor of Oras by the Municipal Board of Canvassers. 8 He subsequently took his oath of
office.
G.R. No. 151914 July 31, 2002
On July 19, 2001, the Second Division of the COMELEC granted private respondent’s petition and
TEODULO M. COQUILLA, petitioner, ordered the cancellation of petitioner’s certificate of candidacy on the basis of the following
vs. findings:
THE HON. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and MR. NEIL M. ALVAREZ, respondents.
Respondent’s frequent or regular trips to the Philippines and stay in Oras, Eastern Samar after
MENDOZA, J.: his retirement from the U.S. Navy in 1985 cannot be considered as a waiver of his status as a
permanent resident or immigrant . . . of the U.S.A. prior to November 10, 2000 as would qualify
him to acquire the status of residency for purposes of compliance with the one-year residency
This is a petition for certiorari to set aside the resolution, 1 dated July 19, 2001, of the Second
requirement of Section 39(a) of the Local Government Code of 1991 in relation to Sections 65
Division of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC), ordering the cancellation of the certificate of
and 68 of the Omnibus Election Code. The one (1) year residency requirement contemplates of
candidacy of petitioner Teodulo M. Coquilla for the position of mayor of Oras, Eastern Samar in the
the actual residence of a Filipino citizen in the constituency where he seeks to be elected.
May 14, 2001 elections and the order, dated January 30, 2002, of the COMELEC en banc denying
petitioner’s motion for reconsideration.
All things considered, the number of years he claimed to have resided or stayed in Oras, Eastern
Samar since 1985 as an American citizen and permanent resident of the U.S.A. before
The facts are as follows:
November 10, 2000 when he reacquired his Philippine citizenship by [repatriation] cannot be
added to his actual residence thereat after November 10, 2000 until May 14, 2001 to cure his
Petitioner Coquilla was born on February 17, 1938 of Filipino parents in Oras, Eastern Samar. He deficiency in days, months, and year to allow or render him eligible to run for an elective office
grew up and resided there until 1965, when he joined the United States Navy. He was in the Philippines. Under such circumstances, by whatever formula of computation used,
subsequently naturalized as a U.S. citizen.2 From 1970 to 1973, petitioner thrice visited the respondent is short of the one-year residence requirement before the May 14, 2001 elections. 9
Philippines while on leave from the U.S. Navy. 3 Otherwise, even after his retirement from the U.S.
Navy in 1985, he remained in the United States.
Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration, but his motion was denied by the COMELEC en banc
on January 30, 2002. Hence this petition.
On October 15, 1998, petitioner came to the Philippines and took out a residence certificate,
although he continued making several trips to the United States, the last of which took place on
I.
July 6, 2000 and lasted until August 5, 2000. 4 Subsequently, petitioner applied for repatriation
under R.A. No. 81715 to the Special Committee on Naturalization. His application was approved on
November 7, 2000, and, on November 10, 2000, he took his oath as a citizen of the Philippines. Two questions must first be resolved before considering the merits of this case: (a) whether the
Petitioner was issued Certificate of Repatriation No. 000737 on November 10, 2000 and Bureau of 30-day period for appealing the resolution of the COMELEC was suspended by the filing of a
Immigration Identification Certificate No. 115123 on November 13, 2000. motion for reconsideration by petitioner and (b) whether the COMELEC retained jurisdiction to
decide this case notwithstanding the proclamation of petitioner.
On November 21, 2000, petitioner applied for registration as a voter of Butnga, Oras, Eastern
Samar. His application was approved by the Election Registration Board on January 12, 2001. 6 On A. With respect to the first question, private respondent contends that the petition in this case
February 27, 2001, he filed his certificate of candidacy stating therein that he had been a resident should be dismissed because it was filed late; that the COMELEC en banc had denied petitioner’s
of Oras, Eastern Samar for "two (2) years."7 motion for reconsideration for being pro forma; and that, pursuant to Rule 19, §4 of the COMELEC
Rules of Procedure, the said motion did not suspend the running of the 30-day period for filing this
petition. He points out that petitioner received a copy of the resolution, dated July 19, 2001, of the
On March 5, 2001, respondent Neil M. Alvarez, who was the incumbent mayor of Oras and who
COMELEC’s Second Division on July 28, 2001, so that he had only until August 27, 2001 within
was running for reelection, sought the cancellation of petitioner’s certificate of candidacy on the
which to file this petition. Since the petition in this case was filed on February 11, 2002, the same
ground that the latter had made a material misrepresentation in his certificate of candidacy by
should be considered as having been filed late and should be dismissed.
stating that he had been a resident of Oras for two years when in truth he had resided therein for
only about six months since November 10, 2000, when he took his oath as a citizen of the
Philippines. Private respondent’s contention has no merit.

The COMELEC was unable to render judgment on the case before the elections on May 14, 2001. Rule 19 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure provides in pertinent parts:
Meanwhile, petitioner was voted for and received the highest number of votes (6,131) against
private respondent’s 5,752 votes, or a margin of 379 votes. On May 17, 2001, petitioner was Sec. 2. Period for Filing Motions for Reconsideration. – A motion to reconsider a decision,
resolution, order, or ruling of a Division shall be filed within five days from the promulgation
thereof. Such motion, if not pro-forma, suspends the execution for implementation of the banc suffers from none of the foregoing defects, and it was error for the COMELEC en banc to rule
decision, resolution, order, or ruling. that petitioner’s motion for reconsideration was pro forma because the allegations raised therein
are a mere "rehash" of his earlier pleadings or did not raise "new matters." Hence, the filing of the
Sec. 4. Effect of Motion for Reconsideration on Period to Appeal. – A motion to reconsider a motion suspended the running of the 30-day period to file the petition in this case, which, as
decision, resolution, order, or ruling, when not pro-forma, suspends the running of the period to earlier shown, was done within the reglementary period provided by law.
elevate the matter to the Supreme Court.
B. As stated before, the COMELEC failed to resolve private respondent’s petition for cancellation of
The five-day period for filing a motion for reconsideration under Rule 19, §2 should be counted petitioner’s certificate of candidacy before the elections on May 14, 2001. In the meantime, the
from the receipt of the decision, resolution, order, or ruling of the COMELEC Division. 10 In this case, votes were canvassed and petitioner was proclaimed elected with a margin of 379 votes over
petitioner received a copy of the resolution of July 19, 2001 of the COMELEC’s Second Division on private respondent. Did the COMELEC thereby lose authority to act on the petition filed by private
July 28, 2001. Five days later, on August 2, 2001, he filed his motion for reconsideration. On respondent?
February 6, 2002, he received a copy of the order, dated January 30, 2002, of the COMELEC en
banc denying his motion for reconsideration. Five days later, on February 11, 2002, he filed this R.A. No. 6646 provides:
petition for certiorari. There is no question, therefore, that petitioner’s motion for reconsideration
of the resolution of the COMELEC Second Division, as well as his petition for certiorari to set aside SECTION 6. Effect of Disqualification Case. – Any candidate who has been declared by final
of the order of the COMELEC en banc, was filed within the period provided for in Rule 19, §2 of the judgment to be disqualified shall not be voted for, and the votes cast for him shall not be
COMELEC Rules of Procedure and in Art. IX(A), §7 of the Constitution. counted. If for any reason a candidate is not declared by final judgment before an election to be
disqualified and he is voted for and receives the winning number of votes in such election, the
It is contended, however, that petitioner’s motion for reconsideration before the COMELEC en Court or Commission shall continue with the trial and hearing of the action, inquiry, or protest
banc did not suspend the running of the period for filing this petition because the motion was pro and, upon motion of the complainant or any intervenor, may during the pendency thereof order
forma and, consequently, this petition should have been filed on or before August 27, 2001. It was the suspension of the proclamation of such candidate whenever the evidence of his guilt is
actually filed, however, only on February 11, 2002. Private respondent cites the finding of the strong. (Emphasis added)
COMELEC en banc that —
SECTION 7. Petition to Deny Due Course To or Cancel a Certificate of Candidacy. — The
An incisive examination of the allegations in the Motion for Reconsideration shows that the procedure hereinabove provided shall apply to petitions to deny due course to or cancel a
same [are] a mere rehash of his averments contained in his Verified Answer and Memorandum. certificate of candidacy as provided in Section 78 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 881.
Neither did respondent raise new matters that would sufficiently warrant a reversal of the
assailed resolution of the Second Division. This makes the said Motion pro forma.11 The rule then is that candidates who are disqualified by final judgment before the election shall
not be voted for and the votes cast for them shall not be counted. But those against whom no final
We do not think this contention is correct. The motion for reconsideration was not pro forma and judgment of disqualification had been rendered may be voted for and proclaimed, unless, on
its filing did suspend the period for filing the petition for certiorari in this case. The mere motion of the complainant, the COMELEC suspends their proclamation because the grounds for
reiteration in a motion for reconsideration of the issues raised by the parties and passed upon by their disqualification or cancellation of their certificates of candidacy are strong. Meanwhile, the
the court does not make a motion pro forma; otherwise, the movant’s remedy would not be a proceedings for disqualification of candidates or for the cancellation or denial of certificates of
reconsideration of the decision but a new trial or some other remedy. 12 But, as we have held in candidacy, which have been begun before the elections, should continue even after such elections
another case:13 and proclamation of the winners. In Abella v. COMELEC19 and Salcedo II v. COMELEC,20 the
candidates whose certificates of candidacy were the subject of petitions for cancellation were
Among the ends to which a motion for reconsideration is addressed, one is precisely to convince voted for and, having received the highest number of votes, were duly proclaimed winners. This
the court that its ruling is erroneous and improper, contrary to the law or the evidence; and in Court, in the first case, affirmed and, in the second, reversed the decisions of the COMELEC
doing so, the movant has to dwell of necessity upon the issues passed upon by the court. If a rendered after the proclamation of candidates, not on the ground that the latter had been
motion for reconsideration may not discuss these issues, the consequence would be that after a divested of jurisdiction upon the candidates’ proclamation but on the merits.
decision is rendered, the losing party would be confined to filing only motions for reopening and
new trial. II.

Indeed, in the cases where a motion for reconsideration was held to be pro forma, the motion was On the merits, the question is whether petitioner had been a resident of Oras, Eastern Samar at
so held because (1) it was a second motion for reconsideration, 14 or (2) it did not comply with the least one (1) year before the elections held on May 14, 2001 as he represented in his certificate of
rule that the motion must specify the findings and conclusions alleged to be contrary to law or not candidacy. We find that he had not.
supported by the evidence,15 or (3) it failed to substantiate the alleged errors, 15 or (4) it merely
alleged that the decision in question was contrary to law, 17 or (5) the adverse party was not given First, §39(a) of the Local Government Code (R.A No. 7160) provides:
notice thereof.18 The 16-page motion for reconsideration filed by petitioner in the COMELEC en
Qualifications. - (a) An elective local official must be a citizen of the Philippines; a registered Philippines. Until his reacquisition of Philippine citizenship on November 10, 2000, petitioner did
voter in the barangay, municipality, city, or province or, in the case of a member of the not reacquire his legal residence in this country.
sangguniang panlalawigan, sangguniang panlungsod, or sangguniang bayan, the district where
he intends to be elected; a resident therein for at least one (1) year immediately preceding the Second, it is not true, as petitioner contends, that he reestablished residence in this country in
day of the election; and able to read and write Filipino or any other local language or dialect. 1998 when he came back to prepare for the mayoralty elections of Oras by securing a Community
(Emphasis added) Tax Certificate in that year and by "constantly declaring" to his townmates of his intention to seek
repatriation and run for mayor in the May 14, 2001 elections. 27 The status of being an alien and a
The term "residence" is to be understood not in its common acceptation as referring to "dwelling" non-resident can be waived either separately, when one acquires the status of a resident alien
or "habitation,"21 but rather to "domicile" or legal residence, 22 that is, "the place where a party before acquiring Philippine citizenship, or at the same time when one acquires Philippine
actually or constructively has his permanent home, where he, no matter where he may be found citizenship. As an alien, an individual may obtain an immigrant visa under §13 28 of the Philippine
at any given time, eventually intends to return and remain (animus manendi)."23 A domicile of Immigration Act of 1948 and an Immigrant Certificate of Residence (ICR) 29 and thus waive his
origin is acquired by every person at birth. It is usually the place where the child’s parents reside status as a non-resident. On the other hand, he may acquire Philippine citizenship by naturalization
and continues until the same is abandoned by acquisition of new domicile (domicile of choice). 24 under C.A. No. 473, as amended, or, if he is a former Philippine national, he may reacquire
Philippine citizenship by repatriation or by an act of Congress, 30 in which case he waives not only
In the case at bar, petitioner lost his domicile of origin in Oras by becoming a U.S. citizen after his status as an alien but also his status as a non-resident alien.
enlisting in the U.S. Navy in 1965. From then on and until November 10, 2000, when he reacquired
Philippine citizenship, petitioner was an alien without any right to reside in the Philippines save as In the case at bar, the only evidence of petitioner’s status when he entered the country on October
our immigration laws may have allowed him to stay as a visitor or as a resident alien. 15, 1998, December 20, 1998, October 16, 1999, and June 23, 2000 is the statement "Philippine
Immigration [–] Balikbayan" in his 1998-2008 U.S. passport. As for his entry on August 5, 2000, the
Indeed, residence in the United States is a requirement for naturalization as a U.S. citizen. Title 8, stamp bore the added inscription "good for one year stay." 31 Under §2 of R.A. No. 6768 (An Act
§1427(a) of the United States Code provides: Instituting a Balikbayan Program), the term balikbayan includes a former Filipino citizen who had
been naturalized in a foreign country and comes or returns to the Philippines and, if so, he is
entitled, among others, to a "visa-free entry to the Philippines for a period of one (1) year" (§3(c)).
Requirements of naturalization. – Residence
It would appear then that when petitioner entered the country on the dates in question, he did so
as a visa-free balikbayan visitor whose stay as such was valid for one year only. Hence, petitioner
(a) No person, except as otherwise provided in this subchapter, shall be naturalized unless such can only be held to have waived his status as an alien and as a non-resident only on November 10,
applicant, (1) immediately preceding the date of filing his application for naturalization has 2000 upon taking his oath as a citizen of the Philippines under R.A. No. 8171. 32 He lacked the
resided continuously, after being lawfully admitted for permanent residence, within the United requisite residency to qualify him for the mayorship of Oras, Eastern, Samar.
States for at least five years and during the five years immediately preceding the date of filing
his petition has been physically present therein for periods totaling at least half of that time , and
Petitioner invokes the ruling in Frivaldo v. Commission on Elections 33 in support of his contention
who has resided within the State or within the district of the Service in the United States in
that the residency requirement in §39(a) of the Local Government Code includes the residency of
which the applicant filed the application for at least three months, (2) has resided continuously
one who is not a citizen of the Philippines. Residency, however, was not an issue in that case and
within the United States from the date of the application up to the time of admission to
this Court did not make any ruling on the issue now at bar. The question in Frivaldo was whether
citizenship, and (3) during all the period referred to in this subsection has been and still is a
petitioner, who took his oath of repatriation on the same day that his term as governor of
person of good moral character, attached to the principles of the Constitution of the United
Sorsogon began on June 30, 1995, complied with the citizenship requirement under §39(a). It was
States, and well disposed to the good order and happiness of the United States. (Emphasis
held that he had, because citizenship may be possessed even on the day the candidate assumes
added)
office. But in the case of residency, as already noted, §39(a) of the Local Government Code
requires that the candidate must have been a resident of the municipality "for at least one (1) year
In Caasi v. Court of Appeals,25 this Court ruled that immigration to the United States by virtue of a immediately preceding the day of the election."
"greencard," which entitles one to reside permanently in that country, constitutes abandonment
of domicile in the Philippines. With more reason then does naturalization in a foreign country
Nor can petitioner invoke this Court’s ruling in Bengzon III v. House of Representatives Electoral
result in an abandonment of domicile in the Philippines.
Tribunal.34 What the Court held in that case was that, upon repatriation, a former natural-born
Filipino is deemed to have recovered his original status as a natural-born citizen.
Nor can petitioner contend that he was "compelled to adopt American citizenship" only by reason
of his service in the U.S. armed forces. 26 It is noteworthy that petitioner was repatriated not under
Third, petitioner nonetheless says that his registration as a voter of Butnga, Oras, Eastern Samar in
R.A. No. 2630, which applies to the repatriation of those who lost their Philippine citizenship by
January 2001 is conclusive of his residency as a candidate because §117 of the Omnibus Election
accepting commission in the Armed Forces of the United States, but under R.A. No. 8171, which,
Code requires that a voter must have resided in the Philippines for at least one year and in the city
as earlier mentioned, provides for the repatriation of, among others, natural-born Filipinos who
or municipality wherein he proposes to vote for at least six months immediately preceding the
lost their citizenship on account of political or economic necessity. In any event, the fact is that, by
election. As held in Nuval v. Guray,35 however, registration as a voter does not bar the filing of a
having been naturalized abroad, he lost his Philippine citizenship and with it his residence in the
subsequent case questioning a candidate’s lack of residency.
Petitioner’s invocation of the liberal interpretation of election laws cannot avail him any. As held in that the candidate was a "natural-born" Filipino when in fact he had become an Australian citizen 38
Aquino v. Commission on Elections:36 constitutes a ground for the cancellation of a certificate of candidacy. On the other hand, we held
in Salcedo II v. COMELEC39 that a candidate who used her husband’s family name even though their
A democratic government is necessarily a government of laws. In a republican government marriage was void was not guilty of misrepresentation concerning a material fact. In the case at
those laws are themselves ordained by the people. Through their representatives, they dictate bar, what is involved is a false statement concerning a candidate’s qualification for an office for
the qualifications necessary for service in government positions. And as petitioner clearly lacks which he filed the certificate of candidacy. This is a misrepresentation of a material fact justifying
one of the essential qualifications for running for membership in the House of Representatives, the cancellation of petitioner’s certificate of candidacy. The cancellation of petitioner’s certificate
not even the will of a majority or plurality of the voters of the Second District of Makati City of candidacy in this case is thus fully justified.
would substitute for a requirement mandated by the fundamental law itself.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED and the resolution of the Second Division of the
Fourth, petitioner was not denied due process because the COMELEC failed to act on his motion to Commission on Elections, dated July 19, 2001, and the order, dated January 30, 2002 of the
be allowed to present evidence. Under §5(d), in relation to §7, of R.A. No. 6646 (Electoral Reforms Commission on Elections en banc are AFFIRMED.
Law of 1987), proceedings for denial or cancellation of a certificate of candidacy are summary in
nature. The holding of a formal hearing is thus not de rigeur. In any event, petitioner cannot claim SO ORDERED.
denial of the right to be heard since he filed a Verified Answer, a Memorandum and a
Manifestation, all dated March 19, 2001, before the COMELEC in which he submitted documents
relied by him in this petition, which, contrary to petitioner’s claim, are complete and intact in the
records.

III.

The statement in petitioner’s certificate of candidacy that he had been a resident of Oras, Eastern
Samar for "two years" at the time he filed such certificate is not true. The question is whether the
COMELEC was justified in ordering the cancellation of his certificate of candidacy for this reason.
We hold that it was. Petitioner made a false representation of a material fact in his certificate of
candidacy, thus rendering such certificate liable to cancellation. The Omnibus Election Code
provides:

SEC. 74. Contents of certificate of candidacy. – The certificate of candidacy shall state that the
person filing it is announcing his candidacy for the office stated therein and that he is eligible for
said office; if for Member of the Batasang Pambansa, the province, including its component
cities, highly urbanized city or district or sector which he seeks to represent; the political party
to which he belongs; civil status; his date of birth; residence; his post office address for all
election purposes; his profession or occupation; that he will support and defend the
Constitution of the Philippines and will maintain true faith and allegiance thereto; that he will
obey the laws, legal orders, and decrees promulgated by the duly constituted authorities; that
he is not a permanent resident or immigrant to a foreign country; that the obligation imposed
by his oath is assumed voluntarily, without mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that
the facts stated in the certificate of candidacy are true to the best of his knowledge.

SEC. 78. Petition to deny due course to or cancel a certificate of candidacy. – A verified petition
seeking to deny due course or to cancel a certificate of candidacy may be filed by any person
exclusively on the ground that any material representation contained therein as required under
Section 74 hereof is false. The petition may be filed at any time not later than twenty-five days
from the time of the filing of the certificate of candidacy and shall be decided, after due notice
and hearing, not later than fifteen days before the election.

Indeed, it has been held that a candidate’s statement in her certificate of candidacy for the
position of governor of Leyte that she was a resident of Kananga, Leyte when this was not so 37 or