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G.R. No.

L-21664

March 28, 1969

REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES and THE COMMISSIONER OF IMMIGRATION, petitioners,


vs.
HON. MANOLO L. MADDELA, as Judge of the Court of First Instance of Quezon, Branch II,
and MIGUELA TAN SUAT, respondents.
----------------------------G.R. No. L-21665

March 28, 1969

REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES and THE COMMISSIONER OF IMMIGRATION, petitioners,


vs.
HON. MANOLO L. MADDELA, as Judge of the Court of First Instance of Quezon, Branch II and
CHAN PO LAN, respondents.
First Assistant Solicitor General Esmeraldo Umali and Solicitor Bernardo P. Pardo for petitioners.
De Mesa and De Mesa for respondents.
MAKALINTAL, J.:
These are actually two (2) separate petitions for certiorari and prohibition with preliminary injunction
but are decided jointly because the issues presented proceed from the same factual background.
The pertinent facts are not disputed. On April 29, 1963 the Court of First Instance of Quezon
(Branch 11), Hon. Manolo L. Maddela presiding, rendered a decision in its Special Proceeding No.
4012, which is hereunder quoted in its entirety:
This is a petition to have the petitioner Miguela Tan Suat, a Chinese National, to be
declared a Filipino citizen. The Solicitor General has been represented by Assistant Fiscal
Jose Veluz. During the trial it has been established to the satisfaction of the Court that
sometime in the year 1937 petitioner was legally married to Sy Ing Seng, a Filipino citizen;
and that the petitioner has all the qualifications and none of the disqualifications to become a
Filipino citizen. After the submission of the evidence for the petitioner, the court inquired from
Fiscal Veluz if he has any opposition to the petition to which the Fiscal answered that he has
no opposition, neither has he any evidence to warrant opposition. The Court had it
announced to the public if there is any opposition to the petition of Miguela Tan Suat to be
declared a Filipino citizen and nobody in the crowded courtroom registered his opposition.
IN VIEW OF ALL THE FOREGOING, petitioner Miguela Tan Suat is hereby declared a
Filipino citizen by marriage and the Commissioner of Immigration is hereby ordered to cancel
the necessary alien certificate of registration and immigrant certificate of residence of the
petitioner and to issue the corresponding identification card.
lwphi1.et

On the same day the same court rendered another similarly worded, decision in its special
Proceeding No. 4013, this time in favor of Chan Po Lan. This second decision reads:

This is a petition to have the petitioner Chan Po Lan, a Chinese National, to be declared a
Filipino citizen. The Solicitor General has been represented by Assistant Fiscal Jose Veluz.
During the trial it has been established to the satisfaction of the Court that sometime in the
year 1961, petitioner was legally married to Cu Bon Piao, a Filipino citizen; and the petitioner
has all the qualifications and more of the disqualifications to become a Filipino citizen. After
the submission of the evidence for the petitioner, the court inquired from Fiscal Veluz if he
has any opposition to the petition to which the Fiscal answered that he has no opposition,
neither has he any evidence to warrant any opposition. The Court had it announced to the
public if there is any opposition to the petition of Chan Po Lan to be declared a Filipino
citizen and nobody in the crowded courtroom registered his position.
IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, petitioner Chan Po Lan is hereby declared a Filipino
citizen by marriage and the Commissioner of the Bureau of Immigration is hereby ordered to
cancel the necessary alien certificate of registration and immigrant certificate of residence of
the petitioner and to issue the corresponding identification card.
On July 1, 1963 the Solicitor General 1 filed separate notices of appeal from said decisions, at the
same time requesting an extension of ten (10) days within which to file the corresponding records on
appeal. However, because of the unexplained failure of the Clerk of Court of the Court of First
Instance of Quezon to forward the records immediately despite repeated requests therefor by the
Solicitor General, the latter, unable to prepare the records on appeal, filed the instant petitions
instead, including the Commissioner of Immigration as co-petitioner in view of the fact that the
dispositive parts of the decisions of the lower court are addressed to him for compliance.
On August 10, 1963 we issued in each case a writ of preliminary injunction to restrain execution
and enforcement of the judgment. Thereafter these two cases were submitted for decision without
any answer from the respondents.
Private respondents' identical prayer in the lower court was for a declaration of their Filipino
citizenship and for an order to compel the Commissioner of Immigration to cancel their respective
alien certificates of registration on the ground that they had married Filipino husbands. In granting
the said prayer the lower court was clearly in error. At that time jurisprudence had already set the
question at rest: no person claiming to be a citizen may get a judicial declaration of citizenship.
Under our laws, there can be no action or proceeding for the judicial declaration of the
citizenship of an individual. Courts of justice exist for the settlement of justiciable
controversies, which imply a given right, legally demandable and enforceable, an act or
omission violative of said right, and a remedy, granted or sanctioned by law, for said breach
of right. As an incident only of the adjudication of the right of the parties to a controversy, the
court may pass upon, and make a pronouncement relative to, their status. Otherwise, such a
pronouncement is beyond judicial power. Thus, for instance, no action or proceeding may be
instituted for a declaration to the effect that plaintiff or petitioner is married, or single, or a
legitimate child, although a finding thereon may be made as a necessary premise to justify a
given relief available only to one enjoying said status. At times, the law permits the
acquisition of a given status, such as naturalization by judicial decree. But there is no similar

legislation authorizing the institution of a judicial proceeding to declare that a given person is
part of our citizenry. (Tan v. Republic, L-14159, April 18, 1960). 2
Before these cases were submitted for decision, the Solicitor General filed a motion, dated
February 14, 1964, to cite the Clerk of Court of the Court of First Instance of Quezon for contempt by
reason of his failure to forward the records of these cases to this Court despite our resolution to that
effect. It appears, however, that after the said resolution was issued the Clerk did send those records
and the same were received here on January 24, 1964. The question of contempt has therefore
become moot.
WHEREFORE, the writs prayed for are hereby granted; the questioned decisions are set aside and
the writs of preliminary injunction previously issued are made permanent. Costs against private
respondents.
G.R. No. L-21289 October 4, 1971
MOY YA LIM YAO alias EDILBERTO AGUINALDO LIM and LAU YUEN YEUNG, petitionersappellants,
vs.
THE COMMISSIONER OF IMMIGRATION, respondent-appellee.
Aruego, Mamaril & Associates for petitioners-appellants.
Office of the Solicitor General Arturo A. Alafriz, Assistant Solicitor General Frine' C. Zaballero and
Solicitor Sumilang V. Bernardo for respondent-appellee.

BARREDO, J.:
Appeal from the following decision of the Court of First Instance of Manila in its Civil Case No. 49705
entitled Moy Ya Lim Yao, etc., et al. vs. The Commissioner of Immigration which, brief as it is,
sufficiently depicts the factual setting of and the fundamental issues involved in this case thus:
In the instant case, petitioners seek the issuance of a writ of injunction against the
Commissioner of Immigration, "restraining the latter and/or his authorized
representative from ordering plaintiff Lau Yuen Yeung to leave the Philippines and
causing her arrest and deportation and the confiscation of her bond, upon her failure
to do so."
The prayer for preliminary injunction embodied in the complaint, having been denied,
the case was heard on the merits and the parties submitted their respective
evidence.
The facts of the case, as substantially and correctly stated by the Solicitor General
are these:

On February 8, 1961, Lau Yuen Yeung applied for a passport visa to


enter the Philippines as a non-immigrant. In the interrogation made in
connection with her application for a temporary visitor's visa to enter
the Philippines, she stated that she was a Chinese residing at
Kowloon, Hongkong, and that she desired to take a pleasure trip to
the Philippines to visit her great (grand) uncle Lau Ching Ping for a
period of one month (Exhibits "l," "1-a," and "2"). She was permitted
to come into the Philippines on March 13, 1961, and was permitted to
stay for a period of one month which would expire on April 13, 1961.
On the date of her arrival, Asher Y, Cheng filed a bond in the amount
of P1,000.00 to undertake, among others that said Lau Yuen Yeung
would actually depart from the Philippines on or before the expiration
of her authorized period of stay in this country or within the period as
in his discretion the Commissioner of Immigration or his authorized
representative might properly allow. After repeated extensions,
petitioner Lau Yuen Yeung was allowed to stay in the Philippines up
to February 13, 1962 (Exhibit "4"). On January 25, 1962, she
contracted marriage with Moy Ya Lim Yao alias Edilberto Aguinaldo
Lim an alleged Filipino citizen. Because of the contemplated action of
respondent to confiscate her bond and order her arrest and
immediate deportation, after the expiration of her authorized stay, she
brought this action for injunction with preliminary injunction. At the
hearing which took place one and a half years after her arrival, it was
admitted that petitioner Lau Yuen Yeung could not write either English
or Tagalog. Except for a few words, she could not speak either
English or Tagalog. She could not name any Filipino neighbor, with a
Filipino name except one, Rosa. She did not know the names of her
brothers-in-law, or sisters-in-law.
Under the facts unfolded above, the Court is of the considered opinion, and so holds,
that the instant petition for injunction cannot be sustained for the same reason as set
forth in the Order of this Court, dated March 19, 1962, the pertinent portions of which
read:
First, Section 15 of the Revised Naturalization Law provides:
Effect of the naturalization on wife and children. Any woman who
is now or may hereafter be married to a citizen of the Philippines, and
who might herself be lawfully naturalized shall be deemed a citizen of
the Philippines.
The above-quoted provision is clear and its import unequivocal and hence it should
be held to mean what it plainly and explicitly expresses in unmistakable terms. The
clause "who might herself be lawfully naturalized" incontestably implies that an alien
woman may be deemed a citizen of the Philippines by virtue of her marriage to a
Filipino citizen only if she possesses all the qualifications and none of the

disqualifications specified in the law, because these are the explicit requisites
provided by law for an alien to be naturalized. (Lee Suan Ay, Alberto Tan and Lee
Chiao vs. Emilio Galang, etc., G. R. No. L-11855). However, from the allegation of
paragraph 3 of the complaint, to wit:
3. That plaintiff Lau Yuen Yeung, Chinese by birth, who might herself
be lawfully naturalized as a Filipino citizen (not being disqualified to
become such by naturalization), is a Filipino citizen by virtue of her
marriage on January 25, 1962 to plaintiff MOY YA LIM YAO alias
EDILBERTO AGUINALDO LIM, under the Naturalization Laws of the
Philippines.
it can be deduced beyond debate that petitioner Lau Yuen Yeung while claiming not
to be disqualified, does not and cannot allege that she possesses all the
qualifications to be naturalized, naturally because, having been admitted as a
temporary visitor only on March 13, 1961, it is obvious at once that she lacks at least,
the requisite length of residence in the Philippines (Revised Naturalization Law, Sec.
2, Case No. 2, Sec. 3, Case No. 3).
Were if the intention of the law that the alien woman, to be deemed a
citizen of the Philippines by virtue of marriage to a Filipino citizen,
need only be not disqualified under the Naturalization Law, it would
have been worded "and who herself is not disqualified to become a
citizen of the Philippines."
Second, Lau Yuen Yeung, a temporary Chinese woman visitor, whose authorized
stay in the Philippines, after repeated extensions thereof, was to expire last February
28, 1962, having married her co-plaintiff only on January 25, 1962, or just a little over
one month before the expiry date of her stay, it is evident that said marriage was
effected merely for convenience to defeat or avoid her then impending compulsory
departure, not to say deportation. This cannot be permitted.
Third, as the Solicitor General has well stated:
5. That petitioner Lau Yuen Yeung, having been admitted as a
temporary alien visitor on the strength of a deliberate and voluntary
representation that she will enter and stay only for a period of one
month and thereby secured a visa, cannot go back on her
representation to stay permanently without first departing from the
Philippines as she had promised. (Chung Tiao Bing, et al. vs.
Commissioner of Immigration, G. R. No. L-9966, September 29,
1956; Ong Se Lun vs. Board of Commissioners, G. R. No. L-6017,
September 16, 1954; Sec. 9, last par., Phil. Immigration Law).
The aforequoted argument of the Solicitor General is well buttressed not only by the
decided cases of the Supreme Court on the point mentioned above, but also on the

very provisions of Section 9, sub-paragraph (g) of the Philippine Immigration Act of


1940 which reads:
An alien who is admitted as a non-immigrant cannot remain in the
Philippines permanently. To obtain permanent admission, a nonimmigrant alien must depart voluntarily to some foreign country and
procure from the appropriate Philippine Consul the proper visa and
thereafter undergo examination by the Officers of the Bureau of
Immigration at a Philippine port of entry for determination of his
admissibility in accordance with the requirements of this Act. (This
paragraph is added by Republic Act 503). (Sec. 9, subparagraph (g)
of the Philippine Immigration Act of 1940).
And fourth, respondent Commissioner of Immigration is charged with the
administration of all laws relating to immigration (Sec. 3, Com. Act No. 613) and in
the performance of his duties in relation to alien immigrants, the law gives the
Commissioner of Immigration a wide discretion, a quasi-judicial function in
determining cases presented to him (Pedro Uy So vs. Commissioner of Immigration
CA-G. R. No. 23336-R, Dec. 15, 1960), so that his decision thereon may not be
disturbed unless he acted with abuse of discretion or in excess of his jurisdiction.
It may also be not amiss to state that wife Lau Yuen Yeung, while she barely and
insufficiently talk in broken Tagalog and English, she admitted that she cannot write
either language.
The only matter of fact not clearly passed upon by His Honor which could have some bearing in the
resolution of this appeal is the allegation in the brief of petitioners-appellants, not denied in the
governments brief, that "in the hearing ..., it was shown thru the testimony of the plaintiff Lau Yuen
Yeung that she does not possess any of the disqualifications for naturalization." Of course, as an
additional somehow relevant factual matter, it is also emphasized by said appellants that during the
hearing in the lower court, held almost ten months after the alleged marriage of petitioners, "Lau
Yuen Yeung was already carrying in her womb for seven months a child by her husband."
Appellants have assigned six errors allegedly committed by the court a quo, thus:
I
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THE CLAUSE "WHO MIGHT
HERSELF BE LAWFULLY NATURALIZED" (OF SECTION 15, REVISED
NATURALIZATION LAW) INCONTESTABLY IMPLIES THAT AN ALIEN WOMAN
MAY BE DEEMED A CITIZEN OF THE PHILIPPINES BY VIRTUE OF HER
MARRIAGE TO A FILIPINO CITIZEN, ONLY IF SHE POSSESSES ALL THE
QUALIFICATIONS AND NONE OF THE DISQUALIFICATIONS SPECIFIED IN THE
LAW.
II

THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN HOLDING THAT A WOMAN FOREIGNER WHO


DOES NOT POSSESS ANY OF THE DISQUALIFICATIONS FOR CITIZENSHIP
AND WHO MARRIED A FILIPINO CITIZEN IS STILL CONSIDERED AN ALIEN
EVEN AFTER SUCH MARRIAGE AS TO FALL WITHIN THE REQUIREMENT OF
SECTION 9, SUB-PARAGRAPH (9) OF THE PHILIPPINE IMMIGRATION ACT OF
1940.
III
THE COURT ERRED IN CONCLUDING THAT LAU YUEN YEUNG'S MARRIAGE
TO A FILIPINO CITIZEN WAS ONLY FOR CONVENIENCE, MERELY BECAUSE
THE SAME WAS CELEBRATED JUST OVER A MONTH BEFORE THE EXPIRY
DATE OF HER AUTHORIZED STAY.
IV
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN FAILING TO FIND THAT THE COMMISSIONER
OF IMMIGRATION ACTED WITH ABUSE OF DISCRETION OR IN EXCESS OF HIS
JURISDICTION WHEN SAID OFFICER THREATENED TO SEND OUT OF THE
COUNTRY PLAINTIFF LAU YUEN YEUNG WITH WARNING THAT HER FAILURE
TO DO SO WOULD MEAN CONFISCATION OF HER BOND, ARREST AND
IMMEDIATE DEPORTATION, IN SPITE OF THE FACT THAT LAU YUEN YEUNG IS
NOW A FILIPINO CITIZEN.
V
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN DISMISSING PLAINTIFFS-APPELLANTS'
COMPLAINT AND IN REFUSING TO PERMANENTLY ENJOIN THE
COMMISSIONER FROM ORDERING PLAINTIFF LAU YUEN YEUNG TO LEAVE
THE PHILIPPINES AS A TEMPORARY VISITOR WHICH SHE IS NOT.
VI
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN REFUSING TO GRANT PLAINTIFFSAPPELLANTS' MOTION FOR PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION EMBODIED IN THEIR
COMPLAINT, IN AN ORDER DATED MARCH 19, 1962. (PAGES 36-41, RECORD
ON APPEAL) .
We need not discuss these assigned errors separately. In effect, the above decision upheld the two
main grounds of objection of the Solicitor General to the petition in the court below, viz:
That petitioner Lau Yuen Yeung, having been admitted as a temporary alien visitor on
the strength of a deliberate and voluntary representation that she will enter and stay
only for a period of one month and thereby secured a visa, cannot go back on her
representation to stay permanently without first departing from the Philippines as she
had promised. (Chung Tiao Bing, et al. vs. Commissioner of Immigration, G.R. No. L-

9966, September 29, 1956; Ong Se Lun vs. Board of Commissioners, G.R. No. L6017, Sept. 16, 1954, Sec. 9, last par. Phil. Immigration Law);
That the mere marriage of a Filipino citizen to an alien does not automatically confer
on the latter Philippine citizenship. The alien wife must possess all the qualifications
required by law to become a Filipino citizen by naturalization and none of the
disqualifications. (Lee Suan Ay, Alberto Tan and Lee Chiao vs. Galang, etc., G. R.
No. L-11855, Dec. 25, 1959)
It is obvious from the nature of these objection that their proper resolution would necessarily cover
all the points raised in appellants' assignments of error, hence, We will base our discussions, more
or less, on said objections.
I
The first objection of the Solicitor General which covers the matters dealt with in appellants' second
and fourth assignments of error does not require any lengthy discussion. As a matter of fact, it seem
evident that the Solicitor General's pose that an alien who has been admitted into the Philippines as
a non-immigrant cannot remain here permanently unless he voluntarily leaves the country first and
goes to a foreign country to secure thereat from the appropriate Philippine consul the proper visa
and thereafter undergo examination by officers of the Bureau of Immigration at a Philippine port of
entry for determination of his admissibility in accordance with the requirements of the Philippine
Immigration Act of 1940, as amended by Republic Act 503, is premised on the assumption that
petitioner Lau Yuen Yeung is not a Filipino citizen. We note the same line of reasoning in the
appealed decision of the court a quo. Accordingly, it is but safe to assume that were the Solicitor
General and His Honor of the view that said petitioner had become ipso facto a Filipina by virtue of
her marriage to her Filipino husband, they would have held her as entitled to assume the status of a
permanent resident without having to depart as required of aliens by Section 9 (g) of the law.
In any event, to set this point at rest, We hereby hold that portion of Section 9 (g) of the Immigration
Act providing:
An alien who is admitted as a non-immigrant cannot remain in the Philippines
permanently. To obtain permanent admission, a non-immigrant alien must depart
voluntarily to some foreign country and procure from the appropriate Philippine
consul the proper visa and thereafter undergo examination by the officers of the
Bureau of Immigration at a Philippine port of entry for determination of his
admissibility in accordance with the requirements of this Act.
does not apply to aliens who after coming into the Philippines as temporary visitors, legitimately
become Filipino citizens or acquire Filipino citizenship. Such change of nationality naturally bestows
upon their the right to stay in the Philippines permanently or not, as they may choose, and if they
elect to reside here, the immigration authorities may neither deport them nor confiscate their bonds.
True it is that this Court has vehemently expressed disapproval of convenient ruses employed by
alien to convert their status from temporary visitors to permanent residents in circumvention of the
procedure prescribed by the legal provision already mentioned, such as in Chiong Tiao Bing vs.

Commissioner of Immigration, 99 Phil. 1020, wherein, thru Mr. Justice J.B.L. Reyes, the Court,
reiterating the ruling in Ong Se Lun vs. Board of Immigration Commissioners, 95 PMI. 785, said:
... It is clear that if an alien gains admission to the Islands on the strength of a
deliberate and voluntary representation that he will enter only for a limited time, and
thereby secures the benefit of a temporary visa, the law will not allow him
subsequently to go back on his representation and stay permanently, without first
departing from the Philippines as he had promised. No officer can relieve him of the
departure requirements of section 9 of the Immigration Act, under the guise of
"change" or "correction", for the law makes no distinctions, and no officer is above
the law. Any other ruling would, as stated in our previous decision, encourage aliens
to enter the Islands on false pretences; every alien so permitted to enter for a limited
time, might then claim a right to permanent admission, however flimsy such claim
should be, and thereby compel our government to spend time, money and effort to
examining and verifying whether or not every such alien really has a right to take up
permanent residence here. In the meanwhile, the alien would be able to prolong his
stay and evade his return to the port whence he came, contrary to what he promised
to do when he entered. The damages inherent in such ruling are self-evident.
On the other hand, however, We cannot see any reason why an alien who has been here as a
temporary visitor but who has in the meanwhile become a Filipino should be required to still leave
the Philippines for a foreign country, only to apply thereat for a re-entry here and undergo the
process of showing that he is entitled to come back, when after all, such right has become
incontestible as a necessary concomitant of his assumption of our nationality by whatever legal
means this has been conferred upon him. Consider for example, precisely the case of the minor
children of an alien who is naturalized. It is indubitable that they become ipso facto citizens of the
Philippines. Could it be the law that before they can be allowed permanent residence, they still have
to be taken abroad so that they may be processed to determine whether or not they have a right to
have permanent residence here? The difficulties and hardships which such a requirement entails
and its seeming unreasonableness argue against such a rather absurd construction. Indeed, as
early as 1957, in Ly Giok Ha vs. Galang, 101 Phil. 459, Mr. Justice Concepcion, our present Chief
Justice, already ruled thus:
... (P)etitioners allege that, upon her marriage to a Filipino, Ly Giok Ha became also
a citizen of the Philippines. Indeed, if this conclusion were correct, it would follow
that, in consequence of her marriage, she had been naturalized as such citizen, and,
hence the decision appealed from would have to be affirmed, for section 40(c) of
Commonwealth Act 613 provides that "in the event of the naturalization as a
Philippine citizen ... of the alien on whose behalf the bond deposit is given, the bond
shall be cancelled or the sum deposited shall be returned to the depositor or his legal
representative." (At. pp. 462-463)
In other words, the applicable statute itself more than implies that the naturalization of an alien visitor
as a Philippine citizen logically produces the effect of conferring upon him ipso facto all the rights of
citizenship including that of being entitled to permanently stay in the Philippines outside the orbit of
authority of the Commissioner of Immigration vis-a-vis aliens, if only because by its very nature and

express provisions, the Immigration Law is a law only for aliens and is inapplicable to citizens of the
Philippines. In the sense thus discussed therefore, appellants' second and fourth assignments of
error are well taken.
II
Precisely, the second objection, of the Solicitor General sustained by the trial judge is that appellant
Lau Yuen Yeung's marriage to appellant Moya Lim Yao alias Edilberto Aguinaldo whose Filipino
citizenship is not denied did not have the effect of making her a Filipino, since it has not been shown
that she "might herself be lawfully naturalized," it appearing clearly in the record that she does not
possess all the qualifications required of applicants for naturalization by the Revised Naturalization
Law, Commonwealth Act 473, even if she has proven that she does not suffer from any of the
disqualifications thereunder. In other words, the Solicitor General implicitly concedes that had it been
established in the proceedings below that appellant Lau Yuen Yeung possesses all the qualifications
required by the law of applicants for naturalization, she would have been recognized by the
respondent as a Filipino citizen in the instant case, without requiring her to submit to the usual
proceedings for naturalization.
To be sure, this position of the Solicitor General is in accord with what used to be the view of this
Court since Lee Suan Ay, et al. v. Emilio Galang, etc., et al., G.R. No. L-11855, promulgated
December 23, 1959, 106 Phil., 706,713, 1 for it was only in Zita Ngo Burca vs. Republic, G.R. NO. L24252 which was promulgated on January 30, 1967 (19 SCRA 186), that over the pen of Mr. Justice
Conrado Sanchez, this Court held that for an alien woman who marries a Filipino to be deemed a Filipina,
she has to apply for naturalization in accordance with the procedure prescribed by the Revised
Naturalization Law and prove in said naturalization proceeding not only that she has all the qualifications
and none of the disqualifications provided in the law but also that she has complied with all the formalities
required thereby like any other applicant for naturalization, 2 albeit said decision is not yet part of our
jurisprudence inasmuch as the motion for its reconsideration is still pending resolution. Appellants are in
effect urging Us, however, in their first and second assignments of error, not only to reconsider Burca but
to even reexamine Lee Suan Ay which, as a matter of fact, is the prevailing rule, having been reiterated in
all subsequent decisions up to Go Im Ty. 3
Actually, the first case in which Section 15 of the Naturalization Law, Commonwealth Act 473,
underwent judicial construction was in the first Ly Giok Ha case, 4 one almost identical to the one at
bar. Ly Giok Ha, a woman of Chinese nationality, was a temporary visitor here whose authority to stay
was to expire on March 14, 1956. She filed a bond to guaranty her timely departure. On March 8, 1956,
eight days before the expiration of her authority to stay, she married a Filipino by the name of Restituto
Lacasta. On March 9, 1956, her husband notified the Commissioner of Immigration of said marriage and,
contending that his wife had become a Filipina by reason of said marriage, demanded for the cancellation
of her bond, but instead of acceding to such request, the Commissioner required her to leave, and upon
her failure to do so, on March 16, 1956, the Commissioner confiscated her bond; a suit was filed for the
recovery of the bond; the lower court sustained her contention that she had no obligation to leave,
because she had become Filipina by marriage, hence her bond should be returned. The Commissioner
appealed to this Court. In the said appeal, Mr. Justice Roberto Concepcion, our present Chief Justice,
spoke for the Court, thus:

The next and most important question for determination is whether her marriage to a
Filipino justified or, at least, excused the aforesaid failure of Ly Giok Ha to depart
from the Philippines on or before March 14, 1956. In maintaining the affirmative view,
petitioners alleged that, upon her marriage to a Filipino, Ly Giok Ha became, also, a
citizen of the Philippines. Indeed, if this conclusion were correct, it would follow that,
in consequence of her marriage, she had been naturalized as such citizen, and,
hence, the decision appealed from would have to be affirmed, for section 40(c) of
Commonwealth Act No. 613 provides that "in the event of the naturalization as a
Philippine citizen ... of the alien on whose behalf the bond deposit is given, the bond
shall be cancelled or the sum deposited shall be returned to the depositor or his legal
representative." Thus the issue boils down to whether an alien female who marries a
male citizen of the Philippines follows ipso facto his political status.
The pertinent part of section 15 of Commonwealth Act No. 473, upon which
petitioners rely, reads:
Any woman who is now or may hereafter be married to a citizen of
the Philippines, and who might herself be lawfully naturalized shall be
deemed a citizen of the Philippines.
Pursuant thereto, marriage to a male Filipino does not vest Philippine citizenship to
his foreign wife, unless she "herself may be lawfully naturalized." As correctly held in
an opinion of the Secretary of Justice (Op. No. 52, series of 1950),* this limitation of
section 15 excludes, from the benefits of naturalization by marriage, those
disqualified from being naturalized as citizens of the Philippines under section 4 of
said Commonwealth Act No. 473, namely:
(a) Persons opposed to organized government or affiliated with any
association or group of persons who uphold and teach doctrines
opposing all organized governments;
(b) Persons defending or teaching the necessity or propriety of
violence, personal assault, or assassination for the success and
predominance of their ideas;
(c) Polygamists or believers in the practice of polygamy;
(d) Persons convicted of crimes involving moral turpitude;
(e) Persons suffering from mental alienation or incurable contagious
diseases;
(f) Persons who, during the period of their residence in the
Philippines, have not mingled socially with the Filipinos, or who have
not evinced a sincere desire to learn and embrace the customs,
traditions, and ideals of the Filipinos;

(g) Citizens or subjects of nations with whom the ... Philippines are at
war, during the period of such war;
(h) Citizens or subjects of a foreign country other than the United
States, whose laws does not grant Filipinos the right to become
naturalized citizens or subjects thereof.
In the case at bar, there is neither proof nor allegation in the pleadings that Ly Giok
Ha does not fall under any of the classes disqualified by law. Moreover, as the parties
who claim that, despite her failure to depart from the Philippines within the period
specified in the bond in question, there has been no breach thereof, petitioners have
the burden of proving her alleged change of political status, from alien to citizen.
Strictly speaking, petitioners have not made out, therefore a case against the
respondents-appellants.
Considering, however, that neither in the administrative proceedings, nor in the lower
court, had the parties seemingly felt that there was an issue on whether Ly Giok Ha
may "be lawfully naturalized," and this being a case of first impression in our courts,
we are of the opinion that, in the interest of equity and justice, the parties herein
should be given an opportunity to introduce evidence, if they have any, on said issue.
(At pp. 462-464.) .
As may be seen, although not specifically in so many words, no doubt was left in the above decision
as regards the following propositions: .
1. That under Section 15 of Commonwealth Act 473, the Revised Naturalization Law, the marriage of
an alien woman to a Filipino makes her a Filipina, if she "herself might be lawfully naturalized";
2. That this Court declared as correct the opinion of the Secretary of Justice that the limitation of
Section 15 of the Naturalization Law excludes from the benefits of naturalization by marriage, only
those disqualified from being naturalized under Section 4 of the law qouted in the decision;
3. That evidence to the effect that she is not disqualified may be presented in the action to recover
her bond confiscated by the Commissioner of Immigration;
4. That upon proof of such fact, she may be recognized as Filipina; and
5. That in referring to the disqualification enumerated in the law, the Court somehow left the
impression that no inquiry need be made as to qualifications, 5 specially considering that the decision
cited and footnotes several opinions of the Secretary of Justice, the immediate superior of the
Commissioner of Immigration, the most important of which are the following:
Paragraph (a), section 13 of Act No. 2927, as amended, (now section 15,
Commonwealth Act No. 473), provided that "any woman who is now or may hereafter
be married to a citizen of the Philippines, and who might herself be lawfully
naturalized shall be deemed a citizen of the Philippines." A similar provision in the

naturalization law of the United States has been construed as not requiring the
woman to have the qualifications of residence, good character, etc., as in the case of
naturalization by judicial proceedings, but merely that she is of the race of persons
who may be naturalized. (Kelly v. Owen [Dist. Col. 1868] 7 Wall 496, 5F, 11, 12; ex
parte Tryason [D. C. Wash. 1914] 215 F. 449, 27 Op. Atty. Gen. 507). (Op. No. 168,
s. 1940 of Justice Sec. Jose Abad Santos.)
In a previous opinion rendered for your Office, I stated that the clause "who might
herself be lawfully naturalized", should be construed as not requiring the woman to
have the qualifications of residence, good character, etc., as in cases of
naturalization by judicial proceedings, but merely that she is of the race of persons
who may be naturalized. (Op. No. 79, s. 1940)
Inasmuch as the race qualification has been removed by the Revised Naturalization
Law, it results that any woman who married a citizen of the Philippines prior to or
after June 17, 1939, and the marriage not having been dissolved, and on the
assumption that she possesses none of the disqualifications mentioned in Section 4
of Commonwealth Act No. 473, follows the citizenship of her husband. (Op. No. 176,
s. 1940 of Justice Sec. Jose Abad Santos.)
From the foregoing narration of facts, it would seem that the only material point of
inquiry is as to the citizenship of Arce Machura. If he shall be found to be a citizen of
the Philippines, his wife, Mrs. Lily James Machura, shall likewise be deemed a citizen
of the Philippines pursuant to the provision of Section 15, Commonwealth Act No.
473, which reads in part as follows:
Any woman who is now or may hereafter be married to a citizen of
the Philippines, and who might herself be lawfully naturalized shall be
deemed a citizen of the Philippines.
The phrase "who might herself be lawfully naturalized", as contained in the above
provision, means that the woman who is married to a Filipino citizen must not belong
to any of the disqualified classes enumerated in Section 4 of the Naturalization Law
(Ops., Sec. of Jus., No. 28, s. 1950; No. 43, s. 1948, No. 95, s. 1941; Nos. 79 and
168, s. 1940). Under the facts stated in the within papers, Mrs. Machura does not
appear to be among the disqualified classes mentioned in the law.
It having been shown that Arce Machura or Arsenio Guevara was born as an
illegitimate of a Filipino mother, he should be considered as a citizen of the
Philippines in consonance with the well-settled rule that an illegitimate child follows
the citizenship of his only legally recognized parent, the mother (Op., Sec. of Jus.,
Nos. 58, 98 & 281, s. 1948; No. 96, s. 1949). Her husband being a Filipino, Mrs.
Machura must necessarily be deemed as a citizen of the Philippines by marriage
(Sec. 15, Com. Act No. 473.) (Op. No. 52, s. 1950 of Justice Sec. Ricardo
Nepomuceno.)

The logic and authority of these opinions, compelling as they are, must have so appealed to this
Court that five days later, on May 22, 1957, in Ricardo Cua v. The Board of Commissioners, 101
Phil. 521, Mr. Justice J.B.L. Reyes, reiterated the same ruling on the basis of the following facts:
Tjioe Wu Suan, an Indonesian, arrived in Manila on November 1, 1952, but it turned out that her
passport was forged. On December 10, 1953, a warrant was issued for her arrest for purpose of
deportation. Later, on December 20, 1953, she married Ricardo Cua, a Filipino, and because of said
marriage, the Board of Special Inquiry considered her a Filipina. Upon a review of the case,
however, the Board of Immigration Commissioners insisted on continuing with the deportation
proceedings and so, the husband filed prohibition and mandamus proceedings. The lower court
denied the petition. Although this Court affirmed said decision, it held, on the other hand, that:
Granting the validity of marriage, this Court has ruled in the recent case of Ly Giok
Ha v. Galang, supra, p. 459, that the bare fact of a valid marriage to a citizen does
not suffice to confer his citizenship upon the wife. Section 15 of the Naturalization
Law requires that the alien woman who marries a Filipino must show, in addition, that
she "might herself be lawfully naturalized" as a Filipino citizen. As construed in the
decision cited, this last condition requires proof that the woman who married a
Filipino is herself not disqualified under section 4 of the Naturalization Law.
No such evidence appearing on record, the claim of assumption of Filipino
citizenship by Tjioe Wu Suan, upon her marriage to petitioner, is untenable. The
lower court, therefore, committed no error in refusing to interfere with the deportation
proceedings, where she can anyway establish the requisites indispensable for her
acquisition of Filipino citizenship, as well as the alleged validity of her Indonesian
passport. (Ricardo Cua v. The Board of Immigration Commissioners, G. R. No. L9997, May 22, 1957, 101 Phil. 521, 523.) [Emphasis supplied] .
For emphasis, it is reiterated that in the above two cases, this Court expressly gave the parties
concerned opportunity to prove the fact that they were not suffering from any of the disqualifications
of the law without the need of undergoing any judicial naturalization proceeding. It may be stated,
therefore, that according to the above decisions, the law in this country, on the matter of the effect of
marriage of an alien woman to a Filipino is that she thereby becomes a Filipina, if it can be proven
that at the time of such marriage, she does not possess any of the disqualifications enumerated in
Section 4 of the Naturalization Law, without the need of submitting to any naturalization proceedings
under said law.
It is to be admitted that both of the above decisions made no reference to qualifications, that is, as to
whether or not they need also to be proved, but, in any event, it is a fact that the Secretary of Justice
understood them to mean that such qualifications need not be possessed nor proven. Then
Secretary of Justice Jesus Barrera, who later became a distinguished member of this Court, 6 so
ruled in opinions rendered by him subsequent to Ly Giok Ha, the most illustrative of which held: .
At the outset it is important to note that an alien woman married to a Filipino citizen
needs only to show that she "might herself be lawfully naturalized" in order to acquire
Philippine citizenship. Compliance with other conditions of the statute, such as those

relating to the qualifications of an applicant for naturalization through judicial


proceedings, is not necessary. (See: Leonard v. Grant, 5 Fed. 11; 27 Ops. Atty. Gen
[U.S.] 507; Ops. Sec. of Justice, No. 776, s. 1940, and No. 111, s. 1953.
This view finds support in the case of Ly Giok Ha et al. v. Galang et al., G.R. No. L10760, promulgated May 17, 1957, where the Supreme Court, construing the
abovequoted section of the Naturalization Law, held that "marriage to a male Filipino
does not vest Philippine citizenship to his foreign wife," unless she "herself may be
lawfully naturalized," and that "this limitation of Section 15 excludes, from the
benefits of naturalization by marriage, those disqualified from being naturalized as
citizens of the Philippines under Section 4 of said Commonwealth Act No. 473." In
other words, disqualification for any of the causes enumerated in Section 4 of the Act
is the decisive factor that defeats the right of the foreign wife of a Philippine citizen to
acquire Philippine citizenship.
xxx xxx xxx
Does petitioner, Lim King Bian, belong to any of these groups The Commissioner of
Immigration does not say so but merely predicates his negative action on the ground
that a warrant of deportation for "overstaying" is pending against the petitioner.
We do not believe the position is well taken. Since the grounds for disqualification for
naturalization are expressly enumerated in the law, a warrant of deportation not
based on a finding of unfitness to become naturalized for any of those specified
causes may not be invoked to negate acquisition of Philippine citizenship by a
foreign wife of a Philippine citizen under Section 15 of the Naturalization Law.
(Inclusio unius est exclusio alterius) (Op. No. 12, s. 1958 of Justice Undersec. Jesus
G. Barrera.)
Regarding the steps that should be taken by an alien woman married to a Filipino
citizen in order to acquire Philippine citizenship, the procedure followed in the Bureau
of Immigration is as follows: The alien woman must file a petition for the cancellation
of her alien certificate of registration alleging, among other things, that she is married
to a Filipino citizen and that she is not disqualified from acquiring her husband's
citizenship pursuant to section 4 of Commonwealth Act No. 473, as amended. Upon
the filing of said petition, which should be accompanied or supported by the joint
affidavit of the petitioner and her Filipino husband to the effect that the petitioner
does not belong to any of the groups disqualified by the cited section from becoming
naturalized Filipino citizen (please see attached CEB Form 1), the Bureau of
Immigration conducts an investigation and thereafter promulgates its order or
decision granting or denying the petition. (Op. No. 38, s. 19058 of Justice Sec. Jesus
G. Barrera.)
This view finds support in the case of Ly Giok Ha et al., v. Galang et al. (G.R. No. L10760, promulgated May 17, 1957), where the Supreme Court, construing the
above-quoted section in the Revised Naturalization Law, held that "marriage to a

male Filipino does not vest Philippine citizenship to his foreign wife, unless she
herself may be lawfully naturalized," and that "this limitation of Section 15 excludes,
from the benefits of naturalization by marriage, those disqualified from being
naturalized as citizens of the Philippines under Section 4 of said Commonwealth Act
No. 473." In other words, disqualification for any of the causes enumerated in section
4 of the Act is the decisive factor that defeats the right of an alien woman married to
a Filipino citizen to acquire Philippine citizenship. (Op. 57, s. 1958 of Justice Sec.
Jesus G. Barrera.)
The contention is untenable. The doctrine enunciated in the Ly Giok Ha case is not a
new one. In that case, the Supreme Court held that under paragraph I of Section 15
Of Commonwealth Act No. 473, 'marriage to a male Filipino does not vest Philippine
citizenship to his foreign wife unless she "herself may be lawfully naturalized"', and,
quoting several earlier opinions of the Secretary of Justice, namely: No. 52, s. 1950;
No. 168, s. 1940; No. 95, s. 1941; No. 63, s. 1948; No. 28. s. 1950, "this limitation of
section 15 excludes from the benefits of naturalization by marriage, those disqualified
from being naturalized as citizens of the Philippines under section 4 of said
Commonwealth Act No. 473." (Op. 134, s. 1962 of Justice Undersec. Magno S.
Gatmaitan.)
It was not until more than two years later that, in one respect, the above construction of the law was
importantly modified by this Court in Lee Suan Ay, supra, in which the facts were as follows:
Upon expiration of the appellant Lee Suan Ay's authorized period of temporary stay
in the Philippines (25 March 1955), on 26 March 1955 the Commissioner of
Immigration asked the bondsman to present her to the Bureau of Immigration within
24 hours from receipt of notice, otherwise the bond will be confiscated(Annex 1). For
failure of the bondsman to comply with the foregoing order, on 1 April 1955. the
Commissioner of Immigration ordered the cash bond confiscated (Annex E).
Therefore, there was an order issued by the Commissioner of Immigration
confiscating or forfeiting the cash bond. Unlike in forfeiture of bail bonds in criminal
proceedings, where the Court must enter an order forfeiting the bail bond and the
bondsman must be given an opportunity to present his principal or give a satisfactory
reason for his inability to do so, before final judgment may be entered against the
bondsman,(section 15, Rule 110; U.S. v. Bonoan, 22 Phil. 1.) in forfeiture of bonds
posted for the temporary stay of an alien in the Philippines, no court proceeding is
necessary. Once a breach of the terms and conditions of the undertaking in the bond
is committed, the Commissioner of Immigration may, under the terms and conditions
thereof, declare it forfeited in favor of the Government. (In the meanwhile, on April 1,
1955, Lee Suan Ay and Alberto Tan, a Filipino, were joined in marriage by the Justice
of the Peace of Las Pias, Rizal.)
Mr. Justice Sabino Padilla speaking for a unanimous court which included Justices Concepcion and
Reyes who had penned Ly Giok Ha, and Ricardo Cua, ruled thus:

The fact that Lee Suan Ay (a Chinese) was married to a Filipino citizen does not
relieve the bondsman from his liability on the bond. The marriage took place on 1
April 1955, and the violation of the terms and conditions of the undertaking in the
bond failure to depart from the Philippines upon expiration of her authorized
period of temporary stay in the Philippines (25 March 1955) and failure to report to
the Commissioner of Immigration within 24 hours from receipt of notice were
committed before the marriage. Moreover, the marriage of a Filipino citizen to an
alien does not automatically confer Philippine citizenship upon the latter. She must
possess the qualifications required by law to become a Filipino citizen by
naturalization.* There is no showing that the appellant Lee Suan Ay possesses all the
qualifications and none of the disqualifications provided for by law to become a
Filipino citizen by naturalization.
Pertinently to be noted at once in this ruling, which, to be sure, is the one relied upon in the appealed
decision now before Us, is the fact that the footnote of the statement therein that the alien wife "must
possess the qualifications required by law to become a Filipino citizen by naturalization" makes
reference to Section 15, Commonwealth Act 473 and precisely, also to Ly Giok Ha v. Galang, supra.
As will be recalled, on the other hand, in the opinions of the Secretary of Justice explicitly adopted by
the Court in Ly Giok Ha, among them, Opinion No. 176, Series of 1940, above-quoted, it was clearly
held that "(I)n a previous opinion rendered for your Office, I stated that the clause "who might herself
be lawfully naturalized", should be construed as not requiring the woman to have the qualifications of
residence, good character, etc., as in cases of naturalization by judicial proceedingsbut merely that
she is of the race by persons who may be naturalized. (Op. No. 79, s. 1940)
Since Justice Padilla gave no reason at all for the obviously significant modification of the
construction of the law, it could be said that there was need for clarification of the seemingly new
posture of the Court. The occasion for such clarification should have been in Kua Suy, etc., et al. vs.
The Commissioner of Immigration, G.R. No. L-13790, October 31, 1963, penned by Mr. Justice
J.B.L. Reyes, who had rendered the opinion in Ricardo Cua,supra, which followed that in Ly Giok
Ha, supra, but apparently seeing no immediate relevancy in the case on hand then of the particular
point in issue now, since it was not squarely raised therein similarly as in Lee Suan Ay, hence,
anything said on the said matter would at best be no more than obiter dictum, Justice Reyes limited
himself to holding that "Under Section 15 of the Naturalization Act, the wife is deemed a citizen of the
Philippines only if she "might herself be lawfully naturalized," so that the fact of marriage to a citizen,
by itself alone, does not suffice to confer citizenship, as this Court has previously ruled in Ly Giok Ha
v. Galang, 54 O.G. 356, and in Cua v. Board of Immigration Commissioners, 53 O.G. 8567; and
there is here no evidence of record as to the qualifications or absence of disqualifications of appellee
Kua Suy", without explaining the apparent departure already pointed out from Ly Giok Ha and
Ricardo Cua. Even Justice Makalintal, who wrote a separate concurring and dissenting opinion
merely lumped together Ly Giok Ha, Ricardo Cua and Lee Suan Ay and opined that both
qualifications and non-disqualifications have to be shown without elucidating on what seemed to be
departure from the said first two decisions.
It was only on November 30, 1963 that to Mr. Justice Roberto Regala fell the task of rationalizing the
Court's position. In Lo San Tuang v. Galang, G.R. No. L-18775, November 30, 1963, 9 SCRA 638,
the facts were simply these: Lo San Tuang, a Chinese woman, arrived in the Philippines on July 1,

1960 as a temporary visitor with authority to stay up to June 30, 1961. She married a Filipino on
January 7, 1961, almost six months before the expiry date of her permit, and when she was
requested to leave after her authority to stay had expired, she refused to do so, claiming she had
become a Filipina by marriage, and to bolster her position, she submitted an affidavit stating
explicitly that she does not possess any of the disqualifications enumerated in the Naturalization
Law, Commonwealth Act 473. When the case reached the court, the trial judge held for the
government that in addition to not having any of the disqualifications referred to, there was need that
Lo San Tuang should have also possessed all the qualifications of residence, moral character,
knowledge of a native principal dialect, etc., provided by the law. Recognizing that the issue squarely
to be passed upon was whether or not the possession of all the qualifications were indeed needed to
be shown apart from non-disqualification, Justice Regala held affirmatively for the Court, reasoning
out thus: .
It is to be noted that the petitioner has anchored her claim for citizenship on the basis
of the decision laid down in the case of Leonard v. Grant, 5 Swy. 603, 5 F 11, where
the Circuit Court of Oregon held that it was only necessary that the woman "should
be a person of the class or race permitted to be naturalized by existing laws, and that
in respect of the qualifications arising out of her conduct or opinions, being the wife of
a citizen, she is to be regarded as qualified for citizenship, and therefore considered
a citizen." (In explanation of its conclusion, the Court said: "If, whenever during the
life of the woman or afterwards, the question of her citizenship arises in a legal
proceeding, the party asserting her citizenship by reason of her marriage with a
citizen must not only prove such marriage, but also that the woman then possessed
all the further qualifications necessary to her becoming naturalized under existing
laws, the statute will be practically nugatory, if not a delusion and a share. The proof
of the facts may have existed at the time of the marriage, but years after, when a
controversy arises upon the subject, it may be lost or difficult to find.")
In other words, all that she was required to prove was that she was a free white
woman or a woman of African descent or nativity, in order to be deemed an American
citizen, because, with respect to the rest of the qualifications on residence, moral
character, etc., she was presumed to be qualified.
Like the law in the United States, our former Naturalization Law (Act No. 2927, as
amended by Act No. 3448) specified the classes of persons who alone might become
citizens of the Philippines, even as it provided who were disqualified. Thus, the
pertinent provisions of that law provided:
Section 1. Who may become Philippine citizens Philippine
citizenship may be acquired by (a) natives of the Philippines who are
not citizens thereof under the Jones Law; (b) natives of the Insular
possessions of the United States; (c) citizens of the United States, or
foreigners who under the laws of the United States may become
citizens of said country if residing therein.

Section 2. Who are disqualified. The following cannot be


naturalized as Philippine citizens: (a) Persons opposed to organized
government or affiliated with any association or group of persons who
uphold and teach doctrines opposing all organized government; (b)
persons defending or teaching the necessity or propriety of violence,
personal assault or assassination for the success and predominance
of their ideas; (c) polygamists or believers in the practice of
polygamy; (d) persons convicted of crimes involving moral turpitude;
(e) persons suffering from mental alienation or incurable contagious
diseases; (f) citizens or subjects of nations with whom the United
States and the Philippines are at war, during the period of such war.
Section 3. Qualifications. The persons comprised in subsection (a)
of section one of this Act, in order to be able to acquire Philippine
citizenship, must be not less than twenty-one years of age on the day
of the hearing of their petition.
The persons comprised in subsections (b) and (c) of said section one
shall, in addition to being not less than twenty-one years of age on
the day of the hearing of the petition, have all and each of the
following qualifications:
First. Residence in the Philippine Islands for a continuous period of
not less than five years, except as provided in the next following
section;
Second. To have conducted themselves in a proper and
irreproachable manner during the entire period of their residence in
the Philippine Islands, in their relation with the constituted
government as well as with the community in which they are living;
Third. To hold in the Philippine Islands real estate worth not less than
one thousand pesos, Philippine currency, or have some known trade
or profession; and
Fourth. To speak and write English, Spanish, or some native tongue.
In case the petitioner is a foreign subject, he shall, besides, declare in
writing and under oath his intention of renouncing absolutely and
perpetually all faith and allegiance to the foreign authority, state or
sovereignty of which he was a native, citizen or subject.
Applying the interpretation given by Leonard v. Grant supra, to our law as it then
stood, alien women married to citizens of the Philippines must, in order to be deemed
citizens of the Philippines, be either (1) natives of the Philippines who were not
citizens thereof under the Jones Law, or (2) natives of other Insular possessions of

the United States, or (3) citizens of the United States or foreigners who under the
laws of the United States might become citizens of that country if residing therein.
With respect to the qualifications set forth in Section 3 of the former law, they were
deemed to have the same for all intents and purposes.
But, with the approval of the Revised Naturalization Law (Commonwealth Act No.
473) on June 17, 1939, Congress has since discarded class or racial consideration
from the qualifications of applicants for naturalization (according to its proponent, the
purpose in eliminating this consideration was, first, to remove the features of the
existing naturalization act which discriminated in favor of the Caucasians and against
Asiatics who are our neighbors, and are related to us by racial affinity and, second, to
foster amity with all nations [Sinco, Phil. Political Law 502 11 ed.]), even as it
retained in Section 15 the phrase in question. The result is that the phrase "who
might herself be lawfully naturalized" must be understood in the context in which it is
now found, in a setting so different from that in which it was found by the Court
in Leonard v. Grant.
The only logical deduction from the elimination of class or racial consideration is that,
as the Solicitor General points out, the phrase "who might herself be lawfully
naturalized" must now be understood as referring to those who under Section 2 of
the law are qualified to become citizens of the Philippines.
There is simply no support for the view that the phrase "who might herself be lawfully
naturalized" must now be understood as requiring merely that the alien woman must
not belong to the class of disqualified persons under Section 4 of the Revised
Naturalization Law. Such a proposition misreads the ruling laid down in Leonard v.
Grant. A person who is not disqualified is not necessarily qualified to become a
citizen of the Philippines, because the law treats "qualifications" and
"disqualifications" in separate sections. And then it must not be lost sight of that even
under the interpretation given to the former law, it was to be understood that the alien
woman was not disqualified under Section 2 of that law. Leonard v. Grant did not rule
that it was enough if the alien woman does not belong to the class of disqualified
persons in order that she may be deemed to follow the citizenship of her husband:
What that case held was that the phrase "who might herself be lawfully naturalized,
merely means that she belongs to the class or race of persons qualified to become
citizens by naturalization the assumption being always that she is not otherwise
disqualified.
We therefore hold that under the first paragraph of Section 15 of the Naturalization
Law, an alien woman, who is married to a citizen of the Philippines, acquires the
citizenship of her husband only if she has all the qualifications and none of the
disqualifications provided by law. Since there is no proof in this case that petitioner
has all the qualifications and is not in any way disqualified, her marriage to a Filipino
citizen does not automatically make her a Filipino citizen. Her affidavit to the effect
that she is not in any way disqualified to become a citizen of this country was
correctly disregarded by the trial court, the same being self-serving.

Naturally, almost a month later in Sun Peck Yong v. Commissioner of Immigration, G.R. No. L20784, December 27, 1963, 9 SCRA 875, wherein the Secretary of Foreign Affairs reversed a
previous resolution of the preceding administration to allow Sun Peck Yong and her minor son to
await the taking of the oath of Filipino citizenship of her husband two years after the decision
granting him nationalization and required her to leave and this order was contested in court, Justice
Barrera held:
In the case of Lo San Tuang v. Commissioner of Immigration (G.R. No. L-18775,
promulgated November 30, 1963; Kua Suy vs. Commissioner of Immigration, L13790, promulgated October 31, 1963), we held that the fact that the husband
became a naturalized citizen does not automatically make the wife a citizen of the
Philippines. It must also be shown that she herself possesses all the qualifications,
and none of the disqualifications, to become a citizen. In this case, there is no
allegation, much less showing, that petitioner-wife is qualified to become a Filipino
citizen herself. Furthermore, the fact that a decision was favorably made on the
naturalization petition of her husband is no assurance that he (the husband) would
become a citizen, as to make a basis for the extension of her temporary stay.
On the same day, in Tong Siok Sy v. Vivo, G.R. No. L-21136, December 27, 1963, 9 SCRA 876,
Justice Barrera reiterated the same ruling and citing particularly Lo San Tuang and Kua Suy, held
that the marriage of Tong Siok Sy to a Filipino on November 12, 1960 at Taichung, Taiwan and her
taking oath of Filipino citizenship before the Philippine Vice-Consul at Taipeh, Taiwan on January 6,
1961 did not make her a Filipino citizen, since she came here only in 1961 and obviously, she had
not had the necessary ten-year residence in the Philippines required by the law.
Such then was the status of the jurisprudential law on the matter under discussion when Justice
Makalintal sought a reexamination thereof in Choy King Tee v. Galang, G.R. No. L-18351, March 26,
1965, 13 SCRA 402. Choy King Tee's husband was granted Philippine citizenship on January 13,
1959 and took the oath on January 31 of the same year. Choy King Tee first came to the Philippines
in 1955 and kept commuting between Manila and Hongkong since then, her last visa before the case
being due to expire on February 14, 1961. On January 27, 1961, her husband asked the
Commissioner of Immigration to cancel her alien certificate of registration, as well as their child's, for
the reason that they were Filipinos, and when the request was denied as to the wife, a mandamus
was sought, which the trial court granted. Discussing anew the issue of the need for qualifications,
Justice Makalintal not only reiterated the arguments of Justice Regala in Lo San Tuang but added
further that the ruling is believed to be in line with the national policy of selective admission to
Philippine citizenship. 7
No wonder, upon this authority, in Austria v. Conchu, G.R. No. L-20716, June 22, 1965, 14 SCRA
336, Justice J.P. Bengzon readily reversed the decision of the lower court granting the writs of
mandamus and prohibition against the Commissioner of Immigration, considering that Austria's wife,
while admitting she did not possess all the qualifications for naturalization, had submitted only an
affidavit that she had none of the disqualifications therefor. So also did Justice Dizon similarly hold
eight days later in Brito v. Commissioner, G.R. No. L-16829, June 30, 1965, 14 SCRA 539.

Then came the second Ly Giok Ha case 8 wherein Justice J. B. L. Reyes took occasion to expand on
the reasoning of Choy King Tee by illustrating with examples "the danger of relying exclusively on the
absence of disqualifications, without taking into account the other affirmative requirements of the law." 9
Lastly, in Go Im Ty v. Republic, G.R. No. L-17919, decided on July 30, 1966, 10 Justice Zaldivar held
for the Court that an alien woman who is widowed during the dependency of the naturalization
proceedings of her husband, in order that she may be allowed to take the oath as Filipino, must, aside
from proving compliance with the requirements of Republic Act 530, show that she possesses all the
qualifications and does not suffer from any of the disqualifications under the Naturalization Law, citing in
the process the decision to such effect discussed above, 11 even as he impliedly reversed pro tanto the
ruling in Tan Lin v. Republic, G.R. No. L-13786, May 31, 1961, 2 SCRA 383.
Accordingly, in Burca, Justice Sanchez premised his opinion on the assumption that the point now
under discussion is settled law.
In the case now at bar, the Court is again called upon to rule on the same issue. Under Section 15 of
the Naturalization Law, Commonwealth Act 473, providing that:
SEC. 15. Effect of the naturalization on wife and children. Any woman, who is now
or may hereafter be married to a citizen of the Philippines, and who might herself be
lawfully naturalized shall be deemed a citizen of the Philippines.
Minor children of persons naturalized under this law who have been born in the
Philippines shall be considered citizens thereof.
A foreign-born minor child, if dwelling in the Philippines at the time of the
naturalization of the parent, shall automatically become a Philippine citizen, and a
foreign-born child, who is not in the Philippines at the time the parent is naturalized,
shall be deemed a Philippine citizen only during his minority, unless he begins to
reside permanently in the Philippines when still a minor, in which case, he will
continue to be a Philippine citizen even after becoming of age.
A child born outside of the Philippines after the naturalization of his parent, shall be
considered a Philippine citizen unless within one year after reaching the age of
majority he fails to register himself as a Philippine citizen at the American Consulate
of the country where he resides, and to take the necessary oath of allegiance.
is it necessary, in order that an alien woman who marries a Filipino or who is married to a man who
subsequently becomes a Filipino, may become a Filipino citizen herself, that, aside from not
suffering from any of the disqualifications enumerated in the law, she must also possess all the
qualifications required by said law? if nothing but the unbroken line from Lee Suan Ay to Go Im Ty,
as recounted above, were to be considered, it is obvious that an affirmative answer to the question
would be inevitable, specially, if it is noted that the present case was actually submitted for decision
on January 21, 1964 yet, shortly after Lo San Tuang, Tong Siok Sy and Sun Peck Yong, all supra,
and even before Choy King Tee, supra, were decided. There are other circumstances, however,
which make it desirable, if not necessary, that the Court take up the matter anew. There has been a
substantial change in the membership of the Court since Go Im Ty, and of those who were in the

Court already when Burca was decided, two members, Justice Makalintal and Castro concurred only
in the result, precisely, according to them, because (they wanted to leave the point now under
discussion open in so far as they are concerned. 12 Truth to tell, the views and arguments discussed at
length with copious relevant authorities, in the motion for reconsideration as well as in the memorandum
of the amici curae 13 in the Burca case cannot just be taken lightly and summarily ignored, since they
project in the most forceful manner, not only the legal and logical angles of the issue, but also the
imperative practical aspects thereof in the light of the actual situation of the thousands of alien wives of
Filipinos who have so long, even decades, considered themselves as Filipinas and have always lived and
acted as such, officially or otherwise, relying on the long standing continuous recognition of their status as
such by the administrative authorities in charge of the matter, as well as by the courts. Under these
circumstances, and if only to afford the Court an opportunity to consider the views of the five justices who
took no part in Go Im Ty (including the writer of this opinion), the Court decided to further reexamine the
matter. After all, the ruling first laid in Lee Suan Ay, and later in Lo San Tuang, Choy King Teestand the
second (1966) Ly Giok Ha, did not categorically repudiate the opinions of the Secretary of Justice relied
upon by the first (1959) Ly Giok Ha. Besides, some points brought to light during the deliberations in this
case would seem to indicate that the premises of the later cases can still bear further consideration.
Whether We like it or not, it is undeniably factual that the legal provision We are construing, Section
15, aforequoted, of the Naturalization Law has been taken directly, copied and adopted from its
American counterpart. To be more accurate, said provision is nothing less than a reenactment of the
American provision. A brief review of its history proves this beyond per adventure of doubt.
The first Naturalization Law of the Philippines approved by the Philippine Legislature under American
sovereignty was that of March 26, 1920, Act No. 2927. Before then, as a consequence of the Treaty
of Paris, our citizenship laws were found only in the Organic Laws, the Philippine Bill of 1902, the Act
of the United States Congress of March 23, 1912 and later the Jones Law of 1916. In fact, Act No.
2927 was enacted pursuant to express authority granted by the Jones Law. For obvious reasons, the
Philippines gained autonomy on the subjects of citizenship and immigration only after the effectivity
of the Philippine Independence Act. This made it practically impossible for our laws on said subject
to have any perspective or orientation of our own; everything was American.
The Philippine Bill of 1902 provided pertinently: .
SECTION 4. That all inhabitants of the Philippine Islands continuing to reside herein
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 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 the provisions
of the treaty of peace between the United States and Spain signed at Paris
December tenth, eighteen hundred and ninety-eight.
This Section 4 of the Philippine Bill of 1902 was amended by Act of Congress of March 23, 1912, by
adding a provision as follows:
Provided, That the Philippine Legislature is hereby authorized to provide by law for
the acquisition of Philippine citizenship by those natives of the Philippine Islands who

do not come within the foregoing provisions, the natives of other insular possessions
of the United States, and such other persons residing in the Philippine Islands who
would become citizens of the United States, under the laws of the United States, if
residing therein.
The Jones Law reenacted these provisions substantially: .
SECTION 2. 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 subsequent thereto, shall be deemed and held to
be citizens of the Philippine Islands, except such as shall have elected to preserve
their allegiance to the Crown of Spain in accordance with the provisions of the treaty
of peace between the United States and Spain, signed at Paris December tenth,
eighteen hundred and ninety-eight and except such others as have since become
citizens of some other country: Provided, That the Philippine Legislature, herein
provided for, is hereby authorized to provide by law for the acquisition of Philippine
citizenship by those natives of the Philippine Islands who do not come within the
foregoing provisions, the natives of the insular possessions of the United States, and
such other persons residing in the Philippine Islands who are citizens of the United
States under the laws of the United States if residing therein.
For aught that appears, there was nothing in any of the said organic laws regarding the effect of
marriage to a Filipino upon the nationality of an alien woman, albeit under the Spanish Civil Code
provisions on citizenship, Articles 17 to 27, which were, however, abrogated upon the change of
sovereignty, it was unquestionable that the citizenship of the wife always followed that of the
husband. Not even Act 2927 contained any provision regarding the effect of naturalization of an
alien, upon the citizenship of his alien wife, nor of the marriage of such alien woman with a native
born Filipino or one who had become a Filipino before the marriage, although Section 13 thereof
provided thus: .
SEC. 13. Right of widow and children of petitioners who have died. In case a
petitioner should die before the final decision has been rendered, his widow and
minor children may continue the proceedings. The decision rendered in the case
shall, so far as the widow and minor children are concerned, produce the same legal
effect as if it had been rendered during the life of the petitioner.
It was not until November 30, 1928, upon the approval of Act 3448, amending Act 2977, that the
following provisions were added to the above Section 13:
SECTION 1. The following new sections are hereby inserted between sections
thirteen and fourteen of Act Numbered Twenty-nine hundred and Twenty-seven:
SEC. 13(a). Any woman who is now or may hereafter be married to a
citizen of the Philippine Islands and who might herself be lawfully
naturalized, shall be deemed a citizen of the Philippine Islands.

SEC. 13(b). Children of persons who have been duly naturalized


under this law, being under the age of twenty-one years at the time of
the naturalization of their parents, shall, if dwelling in the Philippine
Islands, be considered citizens thereof.
SEC. 13(c). Children of persons naturalized under this law who have
been born in the Philippine Islands after the naturalization of their
parents shall be considered citizens thereof.
When Commonwealth Act 473, the current naturalization law, was enacted on June 17, 1939, the
above Section 13 became its Section 15 which has already been quoted earlier in this decision. As
can be seen, Section 13 (a) abovequoted was re-enacted practically word for word in the first
paragraph of this Section 15 except for the change of Philippine Islands to Philippines. And it could
not have been on any other basis than this legislative history of our naturalization law that each and
everyone of the decisions of this Court from the first Ly Giok Ha to Go Im Ty, discussed above, were
rendered.
As stated earlier, in the opinion of Chief Justice Concepcion in the first Ly Giok Ha, it was quite clear
that for an alien woman who marries a Filipino to become herself a Filipino citizen, there is no need
for any naturalization proceeding because she becomes a Filipina ipso facto from the time of such
marriage, provided she does not suffer any of the disqualifications enumerated in Section 4 of
Commonwealth Act 473, with no mention being made of whether or not the qualifications
enumerated in Section 2 thereof need be shown. It was only in Lee Suan Ay in 1959 that the
possession of qualifications were specifically required, but it was not until 1963, in Lo San Tuang,
that Justice Regala reasoned out why the possession of the qualifications provided by the law
should also be shown to be possessed by the alien wife of a Filipino, for her to become a Filipina by
marriage.
As may be recalled, the basic argument advanced by Justice Regala was briefly as follows: That
"like the law in the United States, our Naturalization Law specified the classes of persons who alone
might become citizens, even as it provided who were disqualified," and inasmuch as Commonwealth
Act 473, our Naturalization Law since 1939 did not reenact the section providing who might become
citizens, allegedly in order to remove racial discrimination in favor of Caucasians and against
Asiatics, "the only logical deduction ... is that the phrase "who might herself be lawfully naturalized"
must now be understood as referring to those who under Section 2 of the law are qualified to
become citizens of the Philippines" and "there is simply no support for the view that the phrase "who
might herself be lawfully naturalized" must now be understood as requiring merely that the alien
woman must not belong to the class of disqualified persons under Section 4 of the Revised
Naturalization Law." 14
A similar line of reasoning was followed in Choy King Tee, which for ready reference may be qouted:
The question has been settled by the uniform ruling of this Court in a number of
cases. The alien wife of a Filipino citizen must first prove that she has all the
qualifications required by Section 2 and none of the disqualifications enumerated in
Section 4 of the Naturalization Law before she may be deemed a Philippine citizen

(Lao Chay v. Galang, L-190977, Oct. 30, 1964, citing Lo San Tuang v. Galang, L18775, Nov. 30, 1963; Sun Peck Yong v. Commissioner of Immigration, L-20784,
December 27, 1963; Tong Siok Sy v. Vivo, L-21136, December 27, 1963). The writer
of this opinion has submitted the question anew to the court for a possible
reexamination of the said ruling in the light of the interpretation of a similar law in the
United States after which Section 15 of our Naturalization Law was patterned. That
law was section 2 of the Act of February 10, 1855 (Section 1994 of the Revised
Statutes of the U.S.). The local law, Act No. 3448, was passed on November 30,
1928 as an amendment to the former Philippine Naturalization Law, Act No. 2927,
which was approved on March 26, 1920. Under this Naturalization Law, acquisition of
Philippine citizenship was limited to three classes of persons, (a) Natives of the
Philippines who were not citizens thereof; (b) natives of the other insular possessions
of the United States; and (c) citizens of the United States, or foreigners who, under
the laws of the United States, may become citizens of the latter country if residing
therein. The reference in subdivision (c) to foreigners who may become American
Citizens is restrictive in character, for only persons of certain specified races were
qualified thereunder. In other words, in so far as racial restrictions were concerned
there was at the time a similarity between the naturalization laws of the two countries
and hence there was reason to accord here persuasive force to the interpretation
given in the United States to the statutory provision concerning the citizenship of
alien women marrying American citizens.
This Court, however, believes that such reason has ceased to exist since the
enactment of the Revised Naturalization Law, (Commonwealth Act No. 473) on June
17, 1939. The racial restrictions have been eliminated in this Act, but the provision
found in Act No. 3448 has been maintained. It is logical to presume that when
Congress chose to retain the said provision that to be deemed a Philippine citizen
upon marriage the alien wife must be one "who might herself be lawfully naturalized,"
the reference is no longer to the class or race to which the woman belongs, for class
or race has become immaterial, but to the qualifications and disqualifications for
naturalization as enumerated in Sections 2 and 4 of the statute. Otherwise the
requirement that the woman "might herself be lawfully naturalized" would be
meaningless surplusage, contrary to settled norms of statutory construction.
The rule laid down by this Court in this and in other cases heretofore decided is
believed to be in line with the national policy of selective admission to Philippine
citizenship, which after all is a privilege granted only to those who are found worthy
thereof, and not indiscriminately to anybody at all on the basis alone of marriage to a
man who is a citizen of the Philippines, irrespective of moral character, ideological
beliefs, and identification with Filipino ideals, customs and traditions.
Appellee here having failed to prove that she has all the qualifications for
naturalization, even, indeed, that she has none of the disqualifications, she is not
entitled to recognition as a Philippine citizen.

In the second Ly Giok Ha, the Court further fortified the arguments in favor of the same conclusion
thus:
On cross-examination, she (Ly Giok Ha) failed to establish that: (1) she has been
residing in the Philippines for a continuous period of at least (10) years (p. 27,
t.s.n., id.); (2) she has a lucrative trade, profession, or lawful occupation (p. 13,
t.s.n., id.); and (3) she can speak and write English, or any of the principal Philippine
languages (pp. 12, 13, t.s.n., id.).
While the appellant Immigration Commissioner contends that the words emphasized
indicate that the present Naturalization Law requires that an alien woman who
marries a Filipino husband must possess the qualifications prescribed by section 2 in
addition to not being disqualified under any of the eight ("a" to "h") subheadings of
section 4 of Commonwealth Act No. 473, in order to claim our citizenship by
marriage, both the appellee and the court below (in its second decision) sustain the
view that all that the law demands is that the woman be not disqualified under
section 4.
At the time the present case was remanded to the court of origin (1960) the question
at issue could be regarded as not conclusively settled, there being only the concise
pronouncement in Lee Suan Ay, et al. v. Galang, G. R. No. L-11855, Dec. 23, 1959,
to the effect that:
The marriage of a Filipino citizen to an alien does not automatically
confer Philippine citizenship upon the latter. She must possess the
qualifications required by law to become a Filipino citizen by
naturalization.
Since that time, however, a long line of decisions of this Court has firmly established
the rule that the requirement of section 15 of Commonwealth Act 473 (the
Naturalization Act), that an alien woman married to a citizen should be one who
"might herself be lawfully naturalized," means not only woman free from the
disqualifications enumerated in section 4 of the Act but also one who possesses the
qualifications prescribed by section 2 of Commonwealth Act 473 (San Tuan v.
Galang, L-18775, Nov. 30, 1963; Sun Peck Yong v. Com. of Immigration, L-20784,
Dee. 27, 1963; Tong Siok Sy v. Vivo, L-21136, Dec. 27, 1963; Austria v. Conchu, L20716, June 22, 1965; Choy King Tee v. Galang, L-18351, March 26, 1965; Brito v.
Com. of Immigration, L-16829, June 30, 1965).
Reflection will reveal why this must be so. The qualifications prescribed under
section 2 of the Naturalization Act, and the disqualifications enumerated in its section
4 are not mutually exclusive; and if all that were to be required is that the wife of a
Filipino be not disqualified under section 4, the result might well be that citizenship
would be conferred upon persons in violation of the policy of the statute. For
example, section 4 disqualifies only

(c) Polygamists or believers in the practice of polygamy; and


(d) Persons convicted of crimes involving moral turpitude,
so that a blackmailer, or a maintainer of gambling or bawdy houses, not previously
convicted by a competent court would not be thereby disqualified; still, it is certain
that the law did not intend such person to be admitted as a citizen in view of the
requirement of section 2 that an applicant for citizenship "must be of good moral
character."
Similarly, the citizen's wife might be a convinced believer in racial supremacy, in
government by certain selected classes, in the right to vote exclusively by certain
"herrenvolk", and thus disbelieve in the principles underlying the Philippine
Constitution; yet she would not be disqualified under section 4, as long as she is not
"opposed to organized government," nor affiliated to groups "upholding or teaching
doctrines opposing all organized governments", nor "defending or teaching the
necessity or propriety of violence, personal assault or assassination for the success
or predominance of their ideas." Et sic de caeteris.
The foregoing instances should suffice to illustrate the danger of relying exclusively
on the absence of disqualifications, without taking into account the other affirmative
requirements of the law, which, in the case at bar, the appellee Ly Giok Ha admittedly
does not possess.
As to the argument that the phrase "might herself be lawfully naturalized" was
derived from the U.S. Revised Statutes (section 1994) and should be given the same
territorial and racial significance given to it by American courts, this Court has
rejected the same in Lon San Tuang v. Galang, L-18775, November 30, 1963; and
in Choy King Tee v. Galang, L-18351, March 26, 1965.
It is difficult to minimize the persuasive force of the foregoing rationalizations, but a closer study
thereof cannot bat reveal certain relevant considerations which adversely affect the premises on
which they are predicated, thus rendering the conclusions arrived thereby not entirely unassailable.
1. The main proposition, for instance, that in eliminating Section 1 of Act 2927 providing who are
eligible for Philippine citizenship, the purpose of Commonwealth Act 473, the Revised Naturalization
Law, was to remove the racial requirements for naturalization, thereby opening the door of Filipino
nationality to Asiatics instead of allowing the admission thereto of Caucasians only, suffers from lack
of exact accuracy. It is important to note, to start with, that Commonwealth Act 473 did away with the
whole Section 1 of Act 2927 which reads, thus:
SECTION 1. Who may become Philippine citizens. Philippine citizenship may be
acquired by: (a) natives of the Philippines who are not citizens thereof under the
Jones Law; (b) natives of the other Insular possessions of the United States; (c)
citizens of the United States, or foreigners who under the laws of the United States
may become citizens of said country if residing therein.

and not only subdivision (c) thereof. Nowhere in this whole provision was there any mention of race
or color of the persons who were then eligible for Philippine citizenship. What is more evident from
said provision is that it reflected the inevitable subordination of our legislation during the preCommonwealth American regime to the understandable stations flowing from our staffs as a territory
of the United States by virtue of the Treaty of Paris. In fact, Section 1 of Act 2927 was precisely
approved pursuant to express authority without which it could not have been done, granted by an
amendment to Section 4 of the Philippine Bill of 1902 introduced by the Act of the United States
Congress of March 23, 1912 and which was reenacted as part of the Jones Law of 1916, the
pertinent provisions of which have already been footed earlier. In truth, therefore, it was because of
the establishment of the Philippine Commonwealth and in the exercise of our legislative autonomy
on citizenship matters under the Philippine Independence Act that Section 1 of Act 2927 was
eliminated, 15 and not purposely to eliminate any racial discrimination contained in our Naturalization Law.
The Philippine Legislature naturally wished to free our Naturalization Law from the impositions of
American legislation. In other words, the fact that such discrimination was removed was one of the effects
rather than the intended purpose of the amendment.
2. Again, the statement in Choy King Tee to the effect that "the reference in subdivision (c) (of
Section 1 of Act 2927) to foreigners who may become American citizens is restrictive in character, for
only persons of certain specified races were qualified thereunder" fails to consider the exact import
of the said subdivision. Explicitly, the thrust of the said subdivision was to confine the grant under it
of Philippine citizenship only to the three classes of persons therein mentioned, the third of which
were citizens of the United States and, corollarily, persons who could be American citizens under her
laws. The words used in the provision do not convey any idea of favoring aliens of any particular
race or color and of excluding others, but more accurately, they refer to all the disqualifications of
foreigners for American citizenship under the laws of the United States. The fact is that even as of
1906, or long before 1920, when our Act 2927 became a law, the naturalization, laws of the United
States already provided for the following disqualifications in the Act of the Congress of June 29,
1906:
SEC. 7. That no person who disbelieves in or who is opposed to organized
government, or who is a member of or affiliated with any organization entertaining
and teaching such disbelief in or opposition to organized government, or who
advocates or teaches the duty, necessity, or propriety of the unlawful assaulting or
killing of any officer or officers, either of specific individuals or of officers generally, of
the Government of the United States, or of any other organized government,
because of his or their official character, or who is a polygamist, shall be naturalized
or be made a citizen of the United States.
and all these disqualified persons were, therefore, ineligible for Philippine citizenship under Section 1
of Act 2927 even if they happened to be Caucasians. More importantly, as a matter of fact, said
American law, which was the first "Act to Establish a Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization and to
provide for a Uniform Rule for Naturalization of Aliens throughout the United States" contained no
racial disqualification requirement, except as to Chinese, the Act of May 6, 1882 not being among
the expressly repealed by this law, hence it is clear that when Act 2927 was enacted, subdivision (e)
of its Section 1 could not have had any connotation of racial exclusion necessarily, even if it were
traced back to its origin in the Act of the United States Congress of 1912 already mentioned

above. 16 Thus, it would seem that the rationalization in the qouted decisions predicated on the theory that
the elimination of Section 1 of Act 2927 by Commonwealth Act 473 was purposely for no other end than
the abolition of racial discrimination in our naturalization law has no clear factual basis. 17
3. In view of these considerations, there appears to be no cogent reason why the construction
adopted in the opinions of the Secretary of Justice referred to in the first Ly Giok Ha decision of the
Chief Justice should not prevail. It is beyond dispute that the first paragraph of Section 15 of
Commonwealth Act 473 is a reenactment of Section 13(a) of Act 2927, as amended by Act 3448,
and that the latter is nothing but an exact copy, deliberately made, of Section 1994 of the Raised
Statutes of the United States as it stood before its repeal in 1922. 18 Before such repeal, the phrase
"who might herself be lawfully naturalized" found in said Section 15 had a definite unmistakable
construction uniformly foIlowed in all courts of the United States that had occasion to apply the same and
which, therefore, must be considered, as if it were written in the statute itself. It is almost trite to say that
when our legislators enacted said section, they knew of its unvarying construction in the United States
and that, therefore, in adopting verbatim the American statute, they have in effect incorporated into the
provision, as thus enacted, the construction given to it by the American courts as well as the Attorney
General of the United States and all administrative authorities, charged with the implementation of the
naturalization and immigration laws of that country. (Lo Cham v. Ocampo, 77 Phil., 635 [1946]; Laxamana
v. Baltazar, 92 Phil., 32 [1952]; Hartley v. Commissioner, 295 U.S. 216, 79 L. ed. 1399, 55 S Ct. 756
[19353; Helvering v. Winmill, 305 U.S. 79, 83 L ed. 52, 59 S Ct. 45 [1938]; Helvering v. R. J. Reynolds
Tobacco Co., 306 U.S. 110, 83 L ed. 536, 59 S Ct. 423 [1939]. [p. 32, Memo of Amicus Curiae]).
A fairly comprehensive summary of the said construction by the American courts and administrative
authorities is contained in United States of America ex rel. Dora Sejnensky v. Robert E. Tod,
Commissioner of Immigration, Appt., 295 Fed. 523, decided November 14, 1922, 26 A. L. R. 1316 as
follows:
Section 1994 of the Revised Statutes (Comp. Stat. 3948, 2 Fed. Sta. Anno. 2d ed. p.
117) provides as follows: "Any woman who is now or may hereafter be married to a
citizen of the United States, and who might herself be lawfully naturalized, shall be
deemed a citizen."
Section 1944 of the Revised Stat. is said to originate in the Act of Congress of
February 10, 1855 (10 Stat. at L. 604, chap. 71), which in its second section provided
"that any woman, who might lawfully be naturalized under the existing laws, married,
or who shall be married to a citizen of the United States, shall be deemed and taken
to be a citizen."
And the American Statute of 1855 is substantially a copy of the earlier British Statute
7 & 8 Vict. chap. 66, s 16, 1844, which provided that "any woman married, or who
shall be married, to a natural-born subject or person naturalized, shall be deemed
and taken to be herself naturalized, and have all the rights and privileges of a natural
born subject."
The Act of Congress of September 22, 1922 (42 Stat. at L. 1021, chap. 411, Comp.
Stat. 4358b, Fed. Stat. Anno. Supp. 1922, p. 255), being "An Act Relative to the
Naturalization and Citizenship of Married Women," in 2, provides "that any woman

who marries a citizen of the United States after the passage of this Act, ... shall not
become a citizen of the United States by reason of such marriage ..."
Section 6 of the act also provides "that 1994 of the Revised Statutes ... are
repealed."
Section 6 also provides that `such repeal shall not terminate citizenship acquired or
retained under either of such sections, ..." meaning 2 and 6. So that this Act of
September 22, 1922, has no application to the facts of the present case, as the
marriage of the relator took place prior to its passage. This case, therefore, depends
upon the meaning to be attached to 1994 of the Revised Statutes.
In 1868 the Supreme Court, in Kelly v. Owen, 7 Wall. 496, 498, 19 L. ed. 283, 284,
construed this provision as found in the Act of 1855 as follows: "The term, "who might
lawfully be naturalized under the existing laws," only limits the application of the law
to free white women. The previous Naturalization Act, existing at the time, only
required that the person applying for its benefits should be "a free white person," and
not an alien enemy."
This construction limited the effect of the statute to those aliens who belonged to the
class or race which might be lawfully naturalized, and did not refer to any of the other
provisions of the naturalization laws as to residence or moral character, or to any of
the provisions of the immigration laws relating to the exclusion or deportation of
aliens.
In 1880, in Leonard v. Grant (C. C.) 5 Fed. 11, District Judge Deady also construed
the Act of 1855, declaring that "any woman who is now or may hereafter be married
to a citizen of the United States, and might herself be lawfully naturalized, shall be
deemed a citizen." He held that "upon the authorities, and the reason, if not the
necessity, of the case," the statute must be construed as in effect declaring that an
alien woman, who is of the class or race that may be lawfully naturalized under the
existing laws, and who marries a citizen of the United States, is such a citizen also,
and it was not necessary that it should appear affirmatively that she possessed the
other qualifications at the time of her marriage to entitle her to naturalization.
In 1882, the Act of 1855 came before Mr. Justice Harlan, sitting in the circuit court,
in United States v. Kellar, 13 Fed. 82. An alien woman, a subject of Prussia came to
the United States and married here a naturalized citizen. Mr. Justice Harlan, with the
concurrence of Judge Treat, held that upon her marriage she became ipso facto a
citizen of the United States as fully as if she had complied with all of the provisions of
the statutes upon the subject of naturalization. He added: "There can be no doubt of
this, in view of the decision of the Supreme Court of the United, States in Kelly v.
Owen, 7 Wall. 496, 19 L. ed. 283." The alien "belonged to the class of persons" who
might be lawfully naturalized.

In 1904, in Hopkins v. Fachant, 65 C. C. A. 1, 130 Fed. 839, an alien woman came to


the United States from France and entered the country contrary to the immigration
laws. The immigration authorities took her into custody at the port of New York, with
the view of deporting her. She applied for her release under a writ of habeas corpus,
and pending the disposition of the matter she married a naturalized American citizen.
The circuit court of appeals for the ninth Circuit held, affirming the court below, that
she was entitled to be discharged from custody. The court declared: "The rule is well
settled that her marriage to a naturalized citizen of the United States entitled her to
be discharged. The status of the wife follows that of her husband, ... and by virtue of
her marriage her husband's domicil became her domicil." .
In 1908, the circuit court for the district of Rhode Island in Re Rustigian, 165. Fed.
980, had before it the application of a husband for his final decree of naturalization. It
appeared that at that time his wife was held by the immigration authorities at New
York on the ground that she was afflicted with a dangerous and contagious disease.
Counsel on both sides agreed that the effect of the husband's naturalization would be
to confer citizenship upon the wife. In view of that contingency District Judge Brown
declined to pass upon the husband's application for naturalization, and thought it
best to wait until it was determined whether the wife's disease was curable. He
placed his failure to act on the express ground that the effect of naturalizing the
husband might naturalize her. At the same time he express his opinion that the
husband's naturalization would not effect her naturalization, as she was not one who
could become lawfully naturalized. "Her own capacity (to become naturalized)," the
court stated "is a prerequisite to her attaining citizenship. If herself lacking in that
capacity, the married status cannot confer it upon her." Nothing, however, was
actually decided in that case, and the views expressed therein are really nothing
more than mere dicta. But, if they can be regarded as something more than that, we
find ourselves, with all due respect for the learned judge, unable to accept them.
In 1909, in United States ex rel. Nicola v. Williams, 173 Fed. 626, District Judge
Learned Hand held that an alien woman, a subject of the Turkish Empire, who
married an American citizen while visiting Turkey, and then came to the United
States, could not be excluded, although she had, at the time of her entry, a disease
which under the immigration laws would have been sufficient ground for her
exclusion, if she bad not had the status of a citizen. The case was brought into this
court on appeal, and in 1911 was affirmed, in 106 C. C. A. 464, 184 Fed. 322. In that
case, however at the time the relators married, they might have been lawfully
naturalized, and we said: "Even if we assume the contention of the district attorney to
be correct that marriage will not make a citizen of a woman who would be excluded
under our immigration laws, it does not affect these relators."
We held that, being citizens, they could not be excluded as aliens; and it was also
said to be inconsistent with the policy of our law that the husband should be a citizen
and the wife an alien. The distinction between that case and the one now before the
court is that, in the former case, the marriage took place before any order of
exclusion had been made, while in this the marriage was celebrated after such an

order was made. But such an order is a mere administrative provision, and has not
the force of a judgment of a court, and works no estoppel. The administrative order is
based on the circumstances that existed at the time the order of exclusion was
made. If the circumstances change prior to the order being carried into effect, it
cannot be executed. For example, if an order of exclusion should be based on the
ground that the alien was at the time afflicted with a contagious disease, and it
should be made satisfactorily to appear, prior to actual deportation, that the alien had
entirely recovered from the disease, we think it plain that the order could not be
carried into effect. So, in this case, if, after the making of the order of exclusion and
while she is permitted temporarily to remain, she in good faith marries an American
citizen, we cannot doubt the validity of her marriage, and that she thereby acquired,
under international law and under 1994 of the Revised Statutes, American
citizenship, and ceased to be an alien. There upon, the immigration authorities lost
their jurisdiction over her, as that jurisdiction applies only to aliens, and not to
citizens.
In 1910, District Judge Dodge, in Ex parte Kaprielian, 188 Fed. 694, sustained the
right of the officials to deport a woman under the following circumstances: She
entered this country in July, 1910, being an alien and having been born in Turkey.
She was taken into custody by the immigration authorities in the following
September, and in October a warrant for her deportation was issued. Pending
hearings as to the validity of that order, she was paroled in the custody of her
counsel. The ground alleged for her deportation was that she was afflicted with a
dangerous and contagious disease at the time of her entry. One of the reasons
assigned to defeat deportation was that the woman had married a citizen of the
United States pending the proceedings for her deportation. Judge Dodge declared
himself unable to believe that a marriage under such circumstances "is capable of
having the effect claimed, in view of the facts shown." He held that it was no part of
the intended policy of 1994 to annul or override the immigration laws, so as to
authorize the admission into the country of the wife of a naturalized alien not
otherwise entitled to enter, and that an alien woman, who is of a class of persons
excluded by law from admission to the United States does not come within the
provisions of that section. The court relied wholly upon the dicta contained in the
Rustigian Case. No other authorities were cited.
In 1914, District Judge Neterer, in Ex parte Grayson, 215 Fed. 449, construed 1994
and held that where, pending proceedings to deport an alien native of France as an
alien prostitute, she was married to a citizen of the United States, she thereby
became a citizen, and was not subject to deportation until her citizenship was
revoked by due process of law. It was his opinion that if, as was contended, her
marriage was conceived in fraud, and was entered into for the purpose of evading
the immigration laws and preventing her deportation, such fact should be established
in a court of competent jurisdiction in an action commenced for the purpose. The
case was appealed and the appeal was dismissed. 134 C. C. A. 666, 219 Fed. 1022.

It is interesting also to observe the construction placed upon the language of the
statute by the Department of Justice. In 1874, Attorney General Williams, 14 Ops.
Atty. Gen. 402, passing upon the Act of February 10, 1855, held that residence within
the United States for the period required by the naturalization laws was riot
necessary in order to constitute an alien woman a citizen, she having married a
citizen of the United States abroad, although she never resided in the United States,
she and her husband having continued to reside abroad after the marriage.
In 1909, a similar construction was given to the Immigration Act of May 5, 1907, in an
opinion rendered by Attorney General Wickersham. It appeared an unmarried
woman, twenty-eight years of age and a native of Belgium, arrived in New York and
went at once to a town in Nebraska, where she continued to reside. About fifteen
months after her arrival she was taken before a United States commissioner by way
of instituting proceedings under the Immigration Act (34 Stat. at L. 898, chap. 1134,
Comp. Stat. 4242, 3 Fed. Stat. Anno. 2d ed. p. 637) for her deportation, on the
ground that she had entered this country for the purpose of prostitution, and had
been found an inmate of a house of prostitution and practicing the same within three
years after landing. It appeared, however, that after she was taken before the United
States commissioner, but prior to her arrest under a warrant by the Department of
Justice, she was lawfully married to a native-born citizen of the United States. The
woman professed at the time of her marriage an intention to abandon her previous
mode of life and to remove with her husband to his home in Pennsylvania. He knew
what her mode of life had been, but professed to believe in her good intentions. The
question was raised as to the right to deport her, the claim being advance that by her
marriage she bad become an American citizen and therefore could not be deported.
The Attorney General ruled against the right to deport her as she had become an
American citizen. He held that the words, "who might herself be lawfully naturalized,"
refer to a class or race who might be lawfully naturalized, and that compliance with
the other conditions of the naturalization laws was not required. 27 Ops. Atty. Gen.
507.
Before concluding this opinion, we may add that it has not escaped our observation
that Congress, in enacting the Immigration Act of 1917, so as to provide, in 19, "that
the marriage to an American citizen of a female of the sexually immoral classes ...
shall not invest such female with United States citizenship if the marriage of such
alien female shall be solemnized after her arrest or after the commission of acts
which make her liable to deportation under this act."
Two conclusions seem irresistibly to follow from the above change in the law:
(1) Congress deemed legislation essential to prevent women of the immoral class
avoiding deportation through the device of marrying an American citizen.
(2) If Congress intended that the marriage of an American citizen with an alien
woman of any other of the excluded classes, either before or after her detention,
should not confer upon her American citizenship, thereby entitling her to enter the

country, its intention would have been expressed, and 19 would not have been
confined solely to women of the immoral class.
Indeed, We have examined all the leading American decisions on the subject and We have found no
warrant for the proposition that the phrase "who might herself be lawfully naturalized" in Section
1994 of the Revised Statutes was meant solely as a racial bar, even if loose statements in some
decisions and other treaties and other writings on the subject would seem to give such impression.
The case of Kelley v. Owen, supra, which appears to be the most cited among the first of the
decisions 19 simply held:
As we construe this Act, it confers the privileges of citizenship upon women married
to citizens of the United States, if they are of the class of persons for whose
naturalization the previous Acts of Congress provide. The terms "married" or "who
shall be married," do not refer in our judgment, to the time when the ceremony of
marriage is celebrated, but to a state of marriage. They mean that, whenever a
woman, who under previous Acts might be naturalized, is in a state of marriage to a
citizen, whether his citizenship existed at the passage of the Act or subsequently, or
before or after the marriage, she becomes, by that fact, a citizen also. His citizenship,
whenever it exists, confers, under the Act, citizenship upon her. The construction
which would restrict the Act to women whose husbands, at the time of marriage, are
citizens, would exclude far the greater number, for whose benefit, as we think, the
Act was intended. Its object, in our opinion, was to allow her citizenship to follow that
of her husband, without the necessity of any application for naturalization on her part;
and, if this was the object, there is no reason for the restriction suggested.
The terms, "who might lawfully be naturalized under the existing laws," only limit the
application of the law to free white women. The previous Naturalization Act, existing
at the time only required that the person applying for its benefits should be "a free
white person," and not an alien enemy. Act of April 14th, 1802, 2 Stat. at L. 153.
A similar construction was given to the Act by the Court of Appeals of New York,
in Burton v. Burton, 40 N. Y. 373; and is the one which gives the widest extension to
its provisions.
Note that write the court did say that "the terms, "who might lawfully be naturalized under existing
laws" only limit the application to free white women" 20 it hastened to add that "the previous
Naturalization Act, existing at the time, ... required that the person applying for its benefits should be (not
only) a "free white person" (but also) ... not an alien enemy." This is simply because under the
Naturalization Law of the United States at the time the case was decided, the disqualification of enemy
aliens had already been removed by the Act of July 30, 1813, as may be seen in the corresponding
footnote hereof anon. In other words, if in the case of Kelly v. Owen only the race requirement was
mentioned, the reason was that there was no other non-racial requirement or no more alien enemy
disqualification at the time; and this is demonstrated by the fact that the court took care to make it clear
that under the previous naturalization law, there was also such requirement in addition to race. This is
impotent, since as stated in re Rustigian, 165 Fed. Rep. 980, "The expression used by Mr. Justice Field,
(in Kelly v. Owen) the terms "who might lawfully be naturalized under existing laws" only limit the
application of the law to free white women, must be interpreted in the application to the special facts and

to the incapacities under the then existing laws," (at p. 982) meaning that whether or not an alien wife
marrying a citizen would be a citizen was dependent, not only on her race and nothing more necessarily,
but on whether or not there were other disqualifications under the law in force at the time of her marriage
or the naturalization of her husband.

4. As already stated, in Lo San Tuang, Choy King Tee and the second Ly Giok Ha, the Court drew
the evidence that because Section 1 of Act 2927 was eliminated by Commonwealth Act 473, it
follows that in place of the said eliminated section particularly its subdivision (c), being the criterion
of whether or not an alien wife "may be lawfully naturalized," what should be required is not only that
she must not be disqualified under Section 4 but that she must also possess the qualifications
enumerated in Section 2, such as those of age, residence, good moral character, adherence to the
underlying principles of the Philippine Constitution, irreproachable conduct, lucrative employment or
ownership of real estate, capacity to speak and write English or Spanish and one of the principal
local languages, education of children in certain schools, etc., thereby implying that, in effect, sails
Section 2 has been purposely intended to take the place of Section 1 of Act 2927. Upon further
consideration of the proper premises, We have come, to the conclusion that such inference is not
sufficiently justified.
To begin with, nothing extant in the legislative history, which We have already explained above of the
mentioned provisions has been shown or can be shown to indicate that such was the clear intent of
the legislature. Rather, what is definite is that Section 15 is, an exact copy of Section 1994 of the
Revised Statutes of the United States, which, at the time of the approval of Commonwealth Act 473
had already a settled construction by American courts and administrative authorities.
Secondly, as may be gleaned from the summary of pertinent American decisions quoted above,
there can be no doubt that in the construction of the identically worded provision in the Revised
Statutes of the United States, (Section 1994, which was taken, from the Act of February 10, 1855) all
authorities in the United States are unanimously agreed that the qualifications of residence, good
moral character, adherence to the Constitution, etc. are not supposed to be considered, and that the
only eligibility to be taken into account is that of the race or class to which the subject belongs, the
conceptual scope of which, We have just discussed. 21 In the very case of Leonard v. Grant, supra,
discussed by Justice Regala in Lo San Tuang, the explanation for such posture of the American
authorities was made thus:
The phrase, "shall be deemed a citizen" in section 1994 Rev. St., or as it was in the
Act of 1855,supra, "shall be deemed and taken to be a citizen" while it may imply that
the person to whom it relates has not actually become a citizen by ordinary means or
in the usual way, as by the judgment of a competent court, upon a proper application
and proof, yet it does not follow that such person is on that account practically any
the less a citizen. The word "deemed" is the equivalent of "considered" or "judged";
and, therefore, whatever an act of Congress requires to be "deemed" or "taken" as
true of any person or thing, must, in law, be considered as having been duly
adjudged or established concerning "such person or thing, and have force and effect
accordingly. When, therefore, Congress declares that an alien woman shall, under
certain circumstances, be "deemed' an American citizen, the effect when the
contingency occurs, is equivalent to her being naturalized directly by an act of
Congress, or in the usual mode thereby prescribed.

Unless We disregard now the long settled familiar rule of statutory construction that in a situation like
this wherein our legislature has copied an American statute word for word, it is understood that the
construction already given to such statute before its being copied constitute part of our own law,
there seems to be no reason how We can give a different connotation or meaning to the provision in
question. At least, We have already seen that the views sustaining the contrary conclusion appear to
be based on in accurate factual premises related to the real legislative background of the framing of
our naturalization law in its present form.
Thirdly, the idea of equating the qualifications enumerated in Section 2 of Commonwealth Act 473
with the eligibility requirements of Section 1 of Act 2927 cannot bear close scrutiny from any point of
view. There is no question that Section 2 of Commonwealth Act 473 is more or less substantially the
same as Section 3 of Act 2927. In other words, Section 1 of Act 2927 co-existed already with
practically the same provision as Section 2 of Commonwealth Act 473. If it were true that the phrase
"who may be lawfully naturalized" in Section 13 (a) of Act 2927, as amended by Act 3448, referred to
the so-called racial requirement in Section 1 of the same Act, without regard to the provisions of
Section 3 thereof, how could the elimination of Section 1 have the effect of shifting the reference to
Section 3, when precisely, according to the American jurisprudence, which was prevailing at the time
Commonwealth Act 473 was approved, such qualifications as were embodied in said Section 3,
which had their counterpart in the corresponding American statutes, are not supposed to be taken
into account and that what should be considered only are the requirements similar to those provided
for in said Section 1 together with the disqualifications enumerated in Section 4?
Fourthly, it is difficult to conceive that the phrase "who might be lawfully naturalized" in Section 15
could have been intended to convey a meaning different than that given to it by the American courts
and administrative authorities. As already stated, Act 3448 which contained said phrase and from
which it was taken by Commonwealth Act 473, was enacted in 1928. By that, time, Section 1994 of
the Revised Statutes of the United States was no longer in force because it had been repealed
expressly the Act of September 22, 1922 which did away with the automatic naturalization of alien
wives of American citizens and required, instead, that they submit to regular naturalization
proceedings, albeit under more liberal terms than those of other applicants. In other words, when our
legislature adopted the phrase in question, which, as already demonstrated, had a definite
construction in American law, the Americans had already abandoned said phraseology in favor of a
categorical compulsion for alien wives to be natural judicially. Simple logic would seem to dictate
that, since our lawmakers, at the time of the approval of Act 3448, had two choices, one to adopt the
phraseology of Section 1994 with its settled construction and the other to follow the new posture of
the Americans of requiring judicial naturalization and it appears that they have opted for the first, We
have no alternative but to conclude that our law still follows the old or previous American Law On the
subject. Indeed, when Commonwealth Act 473 was approved in 1939, the Philippine Legislature,
already autonomous then from the American Congress, had a clearer chance to disregard the old
American law and make one of our own, or, at least, follow the trend of the Act of the U.S. Congress
of 1922, but still, our legislators chose to maintain the language of the old law. What then is
significantly important is not that the legislature maintained said phraseology after Section 1 of Act
2927 was eliminated, but that it continued insisting on using it even after the Americans had
amended their law in order to provide for what is now contended to be the construction that should
be given to the phrase in question. Stated differently, had our legislature adopted a phrase from an
American statute before the American courts had given it a construction which was acquiesced to by

those given upon to apply the same, it would be possible for Us to adopt a construction here
different from that of the Americans, but as things stand, the fact is that our legislature borrowed the
phrase when there was already a settled construction thereof, and what is more, it appears that our
legislators even ignored the modification of the American law and persisted in maintaining the old
phraseology. Under these circumstances, it would be in defiance of reason and the principles of
Statutory construction to say that Section 15 has a nationalistic and selective orientation and that it
should be construed independently of the previous American posture because of the difference of
circumstances here and in the United States. It is always safe to say that in the construction of a
statute, We cannot fall on possible judicial fiat or perspective when the demonstrated legislative
point of view seems to indicate otherwise.
5. Viewing the matter from another angle, there is need to emphasize that in reality and in effect, the
so called racial requirements, whether under the American laws or the Philippine laws, have hardly
been considered as qualifications in the same sense as those enumerated in Section 3 of Act 2927
and later in Section 2 of Commonwealth Act 473. More accurately, they have always been
considered as disqualifications, in the sense that those who did not possess them were the ones
who could not "be lawfully naturalized," just as if they were suffering from any of the disqualifications
under Section 2 of Act 2927 and later those under Section 4 of Commonwealth Act 473, which,
incidentally, are practically identical to those in the former law, except those in paragraphs (f) and (h)
of the latter. 22 Indeed, such is the clear impression anyone will surely get after going over all the
American decisions and opinions quoted and/or cited in the latest USCA (1970), Title 8, section 1430, pp.
598-602, and the first decisions of this Court on the matter, Ly Giok Ha (1959) and Ricardo Cua, citing
with approval the opinions of the secretary of Justice. 23 Such being the case, that is, that the so-called
racial requirements were always treated as disqualifications in the same light as the other disqualifications
under the law, why should their elimination not be viewed or understood as a subtraction from or a
lessening of the disqualifications? Why should such elimination have instead the meaning that what were
previously considered as irrelevant qualifications have become disqualifications, as seems to be the
import of the holding in Choy King Tee to the effect that the retention in Section 15 of Commonwealth Act
473 of the same language of what used to be Section 13 (a) of Act 2927 (as amended by Act 3448),
notwithstanding the elimination of Section 1 of the latter, necessarily indicates that the legislature had in
mind making the phrase in question "who may be lawfully naturalized" refer no longer to any racial
disqualification but to the qualification under Section 2 of Commonwealth Act 473? Otherwise stated,
under Act 2927, there were two groups of persons that could not be naturalized, namely, those falling
under Section 1 and those falling under Section 2, and surely, the elimination of one group, i.e. those
belonging to Section 1, could not have had, by any process of reasoning, the effect of increasing, rather
than decreasing, the disqualifications that used to be before such elimination. We cannot see by what
alchemy of logic such elimination could have convicted qualifications into disqualifications specially in the
light of the fact that, after all, these are disqualifications clearly set out as such in the law distinctly and
separately from qualifications and, as already demonstrated, in American jurisprudence, qualifications had
never been considered to be of any relevance in determining "who might be lawfully naturalized," as such
phrase is used in the statute governing the status of alien wives of American citizens, and our law on the
matter was merely copied verbatim from the American statutes.
6. In addition to these arguments based on the applicable legal provisions and judicial opinions,
whether here or in the United States, there are practical considerations that militate towards the
same conclusions. As aptly stated in the motion for reconsideration of counsel for petitioner-appellee
dated February 23, 1967, filed in the case ofZita Ngo Burca v. Republic, supra:

Unreasonableness of requiring alien wife to prove "qualifications"


There is one practical consideration that strongly militates against a construction that
Section 15 of the law requires that an alien wife of a Filipino must affirmatively prove
that she possesses the qualifications prescribed under Section 2, before she may be
deemed a citizen. Such condition, if imposed upon an alien wife, becomes
unreasonably onerous and compliance therewith manifestly difficult. The
unreasonableness of such requirement is shown by the following:
1. One of the qualifications required of an Applicant for naturalization
under Section 2 of the law is that the applicant "must have resided in
the Philippines for a continuous period of not less than ten years." If
this requirement is applied to an alien wife married to a Filipino
citizen, this means that for a period of ten years at least, she cannot
hope to acquire the citizenship of her husband. If the wife happens to
be a citizen of a country whose law declares that upon her marriage
to a foreigner she automatically loses her citizenship and acquires
the citizenship of her husband, this could mean that for a period of
ten years at least, she would be stateless. And even after having
acquired continuous residence in the Philippines for ten years, there
is no guarantee that her petition for naturalization will be granted, in
which case she would remain stateless for an indefinite period of
time.
2. Section 2 of the law likewise requires of the applicant for
naturalization that he "must own real estate in the Philippines worth
not less than five thousand pesos, Philippine currency, or must have
some known lucrative trade, profession, or lawful occupation."
Considering the constitutional prohibition against acquisition by an
alien of real estate except in cases of hereditary succession (Art. XIII,
Sec. 5, Constitution), an alien wife desiring to acquire the citizenship
of her husband must have to prove that she has a lucrative income
derived from a lawful trade, profession or occupation. The income
requirement has been interpreted to mean that the petitioner herself
must be the one to possess the said income. (Uy v. Republic, L19578, Oct. 27, 1964; Tanpa Ong vs. Republic, L-20605, June 30,
1965; Li Tong Pek v. Republic, L-20912, November 29, 1965). In
other words, the wife must prove that she has a lucrative income
derived from sources other than her husband's trade, profession or
calling. It is of common knowledge, and judicial notice may be taken
of the fact that most wives in the Philippines do not have gainful
occupations of their own. Indeed, Philippine law, recognizing the
dependence of the wife upon the husband, imposes upon the latter
the duty of supporting the former. (Art. 291, Civil Code). It should be
borne in mind that universally, it is an accepted concept that when a
woman marries, her primary duty is to be a wife, mother and

housekeeper. If an alien wife is not to be remiss in this duty, how can


she hope to acquire a lucrative income of her own to qualify her for
citizenship?
3. Under Section 2 of the law, the applicant for naturalization "must
have enrolled his minor children of school age, in any of the public
schools or private schools recognized by the Office of the Private
Education of the Philippines, where Philippine history, government
and civics are taught or prescribed as part of the school curriculum
during the entire period of residence in the Philippines required of him
prior to the hearing of his petition for naturalization as Philippine
citizen." If an alien woman has minor children by a previous marriage
to another alien before she marries a Filipino, and such minor
children had not been enrolled in Philippine schools during her period
of residence in the country, she cannot qualify for naturalization under
the interpretation of this Court. The reason behind the requirement
that children should be enrolled in recognized educational institutions
is that they follow the citizenship of their father. (Chan Ho Lay v.
Republic, L-5666, March 30, 1954; Tan Hi v. Republic, 88 Phil. 117
[1951]; Hao Lian Chu v. Republic, 87 Phil. 668 [1950]; Yap Chin v.
Republic, L-4177, May 29, 1953; Lim Lian Hong v. Republic, L-3575,
Dec. 26, 1950). Considering that said minor children by her first
husband generally follow the citizenship of their alien father, the basis
for such requirement as applied to her does not exist. Cessante
ratione legis cessat ipsa lex.
4. Under Section 3 of the law, the 10-year continuous residence
prescribed by Section 2 "shall be understood as reduced to five years
for any petitioner (who is) married to a Filipino woman." It is absurd
that an alien male married to a Filipino wife should be required to
reside only for five years in the Philippines to qualify for citizenship,
whereas an alien woman married to a Filipino husband must reside
for ten years.
Thus under the interpretation given by this Court, it is more difficult for an alien wife
related by marriage to a Filipino citizen to become such citizen, than for a foreigner
who is not so related. And yet, it seems more than clear that the general purpose of
the first paragraph of Section 15 was obviously to accord to an alien woman, by
reason of her marriage to a Filipino, a privilege not similarly granted to other aliens. It
will be recalled that prior to the enactment of Act No. 3448 in 1928, amending Act No.
2927 (the old Naturalization Law), there was no law granting any special privilege to
alien wives of Filipinos. They were treated as any other foreigner. It was precisely to
remedy this situation that the Philippine legislature enacted Act No. 3448. On this
point, the observation made by the Secretary of Justice in 1941 is enlightening:

It is true that under, Article 22 of the (Spanish) Civil Code, the wife
follows the nationality of the husband; but the Department of State of
the United States on October 31, 1921, ruled that the alien wife of a
Filipino citizen is not a Filipino citizen, pointing out that our Supreme
Court in the leading case of Roa v. Collector of Customs (23 Phil.
315) held that Articles 17 to 27 of the Civil Code being political have
been abrogated upon the cession of the Philippine Islands to the
United States. Accordingly, the stated taken by the Attorney-General
prior to the envictment of Act No. 3448, was that marriage of alien
women to Philippine citizens did not make the former citizens of this
counting. (Op. Atty. Gen., March 16, 1928) .
To remedy this anomalous condition, Act No. 3448 was enacted in
1928 adding section 13(a) to Act No. 2927 which provides that "any
woman who is now or may hereafter be married to a citizen of the
Philippine Islands, and who might herself be lawfully naturalized,
shall be deemed a citizen of the Philippine Islands. (Op. No. 22, s.
1941; emphasis ours).
If Section 15 of the, Revised Naturalization Law were to be interpreted, as this Court
did, in such a way as to require that the alien wife must prove the qualifications
prescribed in Section 2, the privilege granted to alien wives would become illusory. It
is submitted that such a construction, being contrary to the manifested object of the
statute must be rejected.
A statute is to be construed with reference to its manifest object, and
if the language is susceptible of two constructions, one which will
carry out and the other defeat such manifest object, it should receive
the former construction. (In re National Guard, 71 Vt. 493, 45 A. 1051;
Singer v. United States, 323 U.S. 338, 89 L. ed. 285. See also, U.S.
v. Navarro, 19 Phil. 134 [1911]; U. S. v. Toribio, 15 Phil. 85 [1910).
... A construction which will cause objectionable results should be
avoided and the court will, if possible, place on the statute a
construction which will not result in injustice, and in accordance with
the decisions construing statutes, a construction which will result in
oppression, hardship, or inconveniences will also be avoided, as will
a construction which will prejudice public interest, or construction
resulting in unreasonableness, as well as a construction which will
result in absurd consequences.
So a construction should, if possible, be avoided if the result would
be an apparent inconsistency in legislative intent, as has been
determined by the judicial decisions, or which would result in futility,
redundancy, or a conclusion not contemplated by the legislature; and
the court should adopt that construction which will be the least likely

to produce mischief. Unless plainly shown to have been the intention


of the legislature, an interpretation which would render the
requirements of the statute uncertain and vague is to be avoided, and
the court will not ascribe to the legislature an intent to confer an
illusory right. ... (82 C.J.S., Statutes, sec. 326, pp. 623-632).
7. In Choy King Tee and the second Ly Giok Ha, emphasis was laid on the need for aligning the
construction of Section 15 with "the national policy of selective admission to Philippine citizenship."
But the question may be asked, is it reasonable to suppose that in the pursuit of such policy, the
legislature contemplated to make it more difficult if not practically impossible in some instances, for
an alien woman marrying a Filipino to become a Filipina than any ordinary applicant for
naturalization, as has just been demonstrated above? It seems but natural and logical to assume
that Section 15 was intended to extend special treatment to alien women who by marrying a Filipino
irrevocably deliver themselves, their possessions, their fate and fortunes and all that marriage
implies to a citizen of this country, "for better or for worse." Perhaps there can and will be cases
wherein the personal conveniences and benefits arising from Philippine citizenship may motivate
such marriage, but must the minority, as such cases are bound to be, serve as the criterion for the
construction of law? Moreover, it is not farfetched to believe that in joining a Filipino family the alien
woman is somehow disposed to assimilate the customs, beliefs and ideals of Filipinos among whom,
after all, she has to live and associate, but surely, no one should expect her to do so even before
marriage. Besides, it may be considered that in reality the extension of citizenship to her is made by
the law not so much for her sake as for the husband. Indeed, We find the following observations
anent the national policy rationalization in Choy King Tee and Ly Giok Ha (the second) to be quite
persuasive:
We respectfully suggest that this articulation of the national policy begs the question.
The avowed policy of "selectives admission" more particularly refers to a case where
citizenship is sought to be acquired in a judicial proceeding for naturalization. In such
a case, the courts should no doubt apply the national policy of selecting only those
who are worthy to become citizens. There is here a choice between accepting or
rejecting the application for citizenship. But this policy finds no application in cases
where citizenship is conferred by operation of law. In such cases, the courts have no
choice to accept or reject. If the individual claiming citizenship by operation of law
proves in legal proceedings that he satisfies the statutory requirements, the courts
cannot do otherwise than to declare that he is a citizen of the Philippines. Thus, an
individual who is able to prove that his father is a Philippine citizen, is a citizen of the
Philippines, "irrespective of his moral character, ideological beliefs, and identification
with Filipino ideals, customs, and traditions." A minor child of a person naturalized
under the law, who is able to prove the fact of his birth in the Philippines, is likewise a
citizen, regardless of whether he has lucrative income, or he adheres to the
principles of the Constitution. So it is with an alien wife of a Philippine citizen. She is
required to prove only that she may herself be lawfully naturalized, i.e., that she is
not one of the disqualified persons enumerated in Section 4 of the law, in order to
establish her citizenship status as a fact.

A paramount policy consideration of graver import should not be overlooked in this


regard, for it explains and justifies the obviously deliberate choice of words. It is
universally accepted that a State, in extending the privilege of citizenship to an alien
wife of one of its citizens could have had no other objective than to maintain a unity
of allegiance among the members of the family. (Nelson v. Nelson, 113 Neb. 453,
203 N. W. 640 [1925]; see also "Convention on the Nationality of Married Women:
Historical Background and Commentary." UNITED NATIONS, Department of
Economic and Social Affairs E/CN, 6/399, pp. 8 et seq.). Such objective can only be
satisfactorily achieved by allowing the wife to acquire citizenship derivatively through
the husband. This is particularly true in the Philippines where tradition and law has
placed the husband as head of the family, whose personal status and decisions
govern the life of the family group. Corollary to this, our laws look with favor on the
unity and solidarity of the family (Art. 220, Civil Code), in whose preservation of State
as a vital and enduring interest. (See Art. 216, Civil Code). Thus, it has been said
that by tradition in our country, there is a theoretic identity of person and interest
between husband and wife, and from the nature of the relation, the home of one is
that of the other. (See De la Via v. Villareal, 41 Phil. 13). It should likewise be said
that because of the theoretic identity of husband and wife, and the primacy of the
husband, the nationality of husband should be the nationality of the wife, and the
laws upon one should be the law upon the other. For as the court, in Hopkins v.
Fachant (9th Cir., 1904) 65 C.C.A., 1, 130 Fed. 839, held: "The status of the wife
follows that of the husband, ... and by virtue of her marriage her husband's domicile
became her domicile." And the presumption under Philippine law being that
the property relations of husband and wife are under the regime of conjugal
partnership (Art. 119, Civil Code), the income of one is also that of the other.
It is, therefore, not congruent with our cherished traditions of family unity and identity
that a husband should be a citizen and the wife an alien, and that the national
treatment of one should be different from that of the other. Thus, it cannot be that the
husband's interests in property and business activities reserved by law to citizens
should not form part of the conjugal partnership and be denied to the wife, nor that
she herself cannot, through her own efforts but for the benefit of the partnership,
acquire such interests. Only in rare instances should the identity of husband and wife
be refused recognition, and we submit that in respect of our citizenship laws, it
should only be in the instances where the wife suffers from the disqualifications
stated in Section 4 of the Revised Naturalization Law. (Motion for
Reconsideration, Burca vs. Republic, supra.)
With all these considerations in mind, We are persuaded that it is in the best interest of all concerned
that Section 15 of the Naturalization Law be given effect in the same way as it was understood and
construed when the phrase "who may be lawfully naturalized," found in the American statute from
which it was borrowed and copied verbatim, was applied by the American courts and administrative
authorities. There is merit, of course in the view that Philippine statutes should be construed in the
light of Philippine circumstances, and with particular reference to our naturalization laws. We should
realize the disparity in the circumstances between the United States, as the so-called "melting pot"
of peoples from all over the world, and the Philippines as a developing country whose Constitution is

nationalistic almost in the come. Certainly, the writer of this opinion cannot be the last in rather
passionately insisting that our jurisprudence should speak our own concepts and resort to American
authorities, to be sure, entitled to admiration, and respect, should not be regarded as source of pride
and indisputable authority. Still, We cannot close our eyes to the undeniable fact that the provision of
law now under scrutiny has no local origin and orientation; it is purely American, factually taken
bodily from American law when the Philippines was under the dominating influence of statutes of the
United States Congress. It is indeed a sad commentary on the work of our own legislature of the late
1920's and 1930's that given the opportunity to break away from the old American pattern, it took no
step in that direction. Indeed, even after America made it patently clear in the Act of Congress of
September 22, 1922 that alien women marrying Americans cannot be citizens of the United States
without undergoing naturalization proceedings, our legislators still chose to adopt the previous
American law of August 10, 1855 as embodied later in Section 1994 of the Revised Statutes of 1874,
Which, it is worth reiterating, was consistently and uniformly understood as conferring American
citizenship to alien women marrying Americans ipso facto, without having to submit to any
naturalization proceeding and without having to prove that they possess the special qualifications of
residence, moral character, adherence to American ideals and American constitution, provided they
show they did not suffer from any of the disqualifications enumerated in the American Naturalization
Law. Accordingly, We now hold, all previous decisions of this Court indicating otherwise
notwithstanding, that under Section 15 of Commonwealth Act 473, an alien woman marrying a
Filipino, native born or naturalized, becomes ipso facto a Filipina provided she is not disqualified to
be a citizen of the Philippines under Section 4 of the same law. Likewise, an alien woman married to
an alien who is subsequently naturalized here follows the Philippine citizenship of her husband the
moment he takes his oath as Filipino citizen, provided that she does not suffer from any of the
disqualifications under said Section 4.
As under any other law rich in benefits for those coming under it, doubtless there will be instances
where unscrupulous persons will attempt to take advantage of this provision of law by entering into
fake and fictitious marriages or mala fide matrimonies. We cannot as a matter of law hold that just
because of these possibilities, the construction of the provision should be otherwise than as dictated
inexorably by more ponderous relevant considerations, legal, juridical and practical. There can
always be means of discovering such undesirable practice and every case can be dealt with
accordingly as it arises.
III.
The third aspect of this case requires necessarily a re-examination of the ruling of this Court in
Burca, supra, regarding the need of judicial naturalization proceedings before the alien wife of a
Filipino may herself be considered or deemed a Filipino. If this case which, as already noted, was
submitted for decision in 1964 yet, had only been decided earlier, before Go Im Ty, the foregoing
discussions would have been sufficient to dispose of it. The Court could have held that despite her
apparent lack of qualifications, her marriage to her co-petitioner made her a Filipina, without her
undergoing any naturalization proceedings, provided she could sustain, her claim that she is not
disqualified under Section 4 of the law. But as things stand now, with the Burca ruling, the question
We have still to decide is, may she be deemed a Filipina without submitting to a naturalization
proceeding?

Naturally, if Burca is to be followed, it is clear that the answer to this question must necessarily be in
the affirmative. As already stated, however, the decision in Burca has not yet become final because
there is still pending with Us a motion for its reconsideration which vigorously submits grounds
worthy of serious consideration by this Court. On this account, and for the reasons expounded
earlier in this opinion, this case is as good an occasion as any other to re-examine the issue.
In the said decision, Justice Sanchez held for the Court:
We accordingly rule that: (1) An alien woman married to a Filipino who desires to be
a citizen of this country must apply therefore by filing a petition for citizenship reciting
that she possesses all the qualifications set forth in Section 2 and none of the
disqualifications under Section 4, both of the Revised Naturalization Law; (2) Said
petition must be filed in the Court of First Instance where petitioner has resided at
least one year immediately preceding the filing of the petition; and (3) Any action by
any other office, agency, board or official, administrative or otherwise other than
the judgment of a competent court of justice certifying or declaring that an alien
wife of the Filipino citizen is also a Filipino citizen, is hereby declared null and void.
3. We treat the present petition as one for naturalization. Or, in the words of law, a
"petition for citizenship". This is as it should be. Because a reading of the petition will
reveal at once that efforts were made to set forth therein, and to prove afterwards,
compliance with Sections 2 and 4 of the Revised Naturalization law. The trial court
itself apparently considered the petition as one for naturalization, and, in fact,
declared petitioner "a citizen of the Philippines."
In other words, under this holding, in order for an alien woman marrying a Filipino to be vested with
Filipino citizenship, it is not enough that she possesses the qualifications prescribed by Section 2 of
the law and none of the disqualifications enumerated in its Section 4. Over and above all these, she
has to pass thru the whole process of judicial naturalization apparently from declaration of intention
to oathtaking, before she can become a Filipina. In plain words, her marriage to a Filipino is
absolutely of no consequence to her nationality vis-a-vis that of her Filipino husband; she remains to
be the national of the country to which she owed allegiance before her marriage, and if she desires
to be of one nationality with her husband, she has to wait for the same time that any other applicant
for naturalization needs to complete, the required period of ten year residence, gain the knowledge
of English or Spanish and one of the principle local languages, make her children study in Filipino
schools, acquire real property or engage in some lawful occupation of her own independently of her
husband, file her declaration of intention and after one year her application for naturalization, with
the affidavits of two credible witnesses of her good moral character and other qualifications, etc.,
etc., until a decision is ordered in her favor, after which, she has to undergo the two years of
probation, and only then, but not before she takes her oath as citizen, will she begin to be
considered and deemed to be a citizen of the Philippines. Briefly, she can become a Filipino citizen
only by judicial declaration.
Such being the import of the Court's ruling, and it being quite obvious, on the other hand, upon a
cursory reading of the provision, in question, that the law intends by it to spell out what is the "effect
of naturalization on (the) wife and children" of an alien, as plainly indicated by its title, and inasmuch

as the language of the provision itself clearly conveys the thought that some effect beneficial to the
wife is intended by it, rather than that she is not in any manner to be benefited thereby, it behooves
Us to take a second hard look at the ruling, if only to see whether or not the Court might have
overlooked any relevant consideration warranting a conclusion different from that complained
therein. It is undeniable that the issue before Us is of grave importance, considering its
consequences upon tens of thousands of persons affected by the ruling therein made by the Court,
and surely, it is for Us to avoid, whenever possible, that Our decision in any case should produce
any adverse effect upon them not contemplated either by the law or by the national policy it seeks to
endorse.
AMICI CURIAE in the Burca case, respectable and impressive by their number and standing in the
Bar and well known for their reputation for intellectual integrity, legal acumen and incisive and
comprehensive resourcefulness in research, truly evident in the quality of the memorandum they
have submitted in said case, invite Our attention to the impact of the decision therein thus:
The doctrine announced by this Honorable Court for the first time in the present case
-- that an alien woman who marries a Philippine citizen not only does not ipso
facto herself become a citizen but can acquire such citizenship only through ordinary
naturalization proceedings under the Revised Naturalization Law, and that all
administrative actions "certifying or declaring such woman to be a Philippine citizen
are null and void" has consequences that reach far beyond the confines of the
present case. Considerably more people are affected, and affected deeply, than
simply Mrs. Zita N. Burca. The newspapers report that as many as 15 thousand
women married to Philippine citizens are affected by this decision of the Court. These
are women of many and diverse nationalities, including Chinese, Spanish, British,
American, Columbian, Finnish, Japanese, Chilean, and so on. These members of the
community, some of whom have been married to citizens for two or three decades,
have all exercised rights and privileges reserved by law to Philippine citizens. They
will have acquired, separately or in conjugal partnership with their citizen husbands,
real property, and they will have sold and transferred such property. Many of these
women may be in professions membership in which is limited to citizens. Others are
doubtless stockholders or officers or employees in companies engaged in business
activities for which a certain percentage of Filipino equity content is prescribed by
law. All these married women are now faced with possible divestment of personal
status and of rights acquired and privileges exercised in reliance, in complete good
faith, upon a reading of the law that has been accepted as correct for more than two
decades by the very agencies of government charged with the administration of that
law. We must respectfully suggest that judicial doctrines which would visit such
comprehensive and far-reaching injury upon the wives and mothers of Philippine
citizens deserve intensive scrutiny and reexamination.
To be sure, this appeal can be no less than what this Court attended to in Gan Tsitung vs. Republic,
G.R. No. L-20819, Feb. 21, 1967, 19 SCRA 401 when Chief Justice Concepcion observed:
The Court realizes, however, that the rulings in the Barretto and Delgado cases
although referring to situations the equities of which are not identical to those

obtaining in the case at bar may have contributed materially to the irregularities
committed therein and in other analogous cases, and induced the parties concerned
to believe, although erroneously, that the procedure followed was valid under the law.
Accordingly, and in view of the implications of the issue under consideration, the
Solicitor General was required, not only, to comment thereon, but, also, to state "how
many cases there are, like the one at bar, in which certificates of naturalization have
been issued after notice of the filing of the petition for naturalization had been
published in the Official Gazette only once, within the periods (a) from January 28,
1950" (when the decision in Delgado v. Republic was promulgated) "to May 29,
1957" (when the Ong Son Cui was decided) "and (b) from May 29, 1957 to
November 29, 1965" (when the decision in the present case was rendered).
After mature deliberation, and in the light of the reasons adduced in appellant's
motion for reconsideration and in the reply thereto of the Government, as well as of
the data contained in the latter, the Court holds that the doctrine laid down in the Ong
Son Cui case shall apply and affect the validity of certificates of naturalization
issued after, not on or before May 29, 1957.
Here We are met again by the same problem. In Gan Tsitung, the Court had to expressly enjoin the
prospective application of its construction of the law made in a previous decision, 24 which had already
become final, to serve the ends of justice and equity. In the case at bar, We do not have to go that far. As
already observed, the decision in Burca still under reconsideration, while the ruling in Lee Suan Ay, Lo
San Tuang, Choy King Tee and others that followed them have at the most become the law of the case
only for the parties thereto. If there are good grounds therefor, all We have to do now is to reexamine the
said rulings and clarify or modify them.
For ready reference, We requote Section 15:
Sec. 15. Effect of the naturalization on wife and children. Any woman who is now
or may hereafter be married to a citizen of the Philippines, and who might herself be
lawfully naturalized shall be deemed a citizen of the Philippines.
Minor children of persons naturalized under this law who have been born in the
Philippines shall be considered citizens thereof.
A foreign-born minor child, if dwelling in the Philippines at the time of naturalization of
the parents, shall automatically become a Philippine citizen, and a foreign-born minor
child, who is not in the Philippines at the time the parent is naturalized, shall be
deemed a Philippine citizen only during his minority, unless he begins to reside
permanently in the Philippines when still a minor, in which case, he will continue to
be a Philippine citizen even after becoming of age.
A child born outside of the Philippines after the naturalization of his parent, shall be
considered a Philippine citizen, unless within one year after reaching the age of

majority, he fails to register himself as a Philippine citizen at the American Consulate


of the country where he resides, and to take the necessary oath of allegiance.
It is obvious that the main subject-matter and purpose of the statute, the Revised Naturalization Law
or Commonwealth Act 473, as a whole, is to establish a complete procedure for the judicial
conferment of the status of citizenship upon qualified aliens. After laying out such a procedure,
remarkable for its elaborate and careful inclusion of all safeguards against the possibility of any
undesirable persons becoming a part of our citizenry, it carefully but categorically states the
consequence of the naturalization of an alien undergoing such procedure it prescribes upon the
members of his immediate family, his wife and children, 25 and, to that end, in no uncertain terms it
ordains that: (a) all his minor children who have been born in the Philippines shall be "considered citizens"
also; (b) all such minor children, if born outside the Philippines but dwelling here at the time of such
naturalization "shall automatically become" Filipinos also, but those not born in the Philippines and not in
the Philippines at the time of such naturalization, are also redeemed citizens of this country provided that
they shall lose said status if they transfer their permanent residence to a foreign country before becoming
of age; (c) all such minor children, if born outside of the Philippines after such naturalization, shall also be
"considered" Filipino citizens, unless they expatriate themselves by failing to register as Filipinos at the
Philippine (American) Consulate of the country where they reside and take the necessary oath of
allegiance; and (d) as to the wife, she "shall be deemed a citizen of the Philippines" if she is one "who
might herself be lawfully naturalized". 26
No doubt whatever is entertained, so Burca holds very correctly, as to the point that the minor
children, falling within the conditions of place and time of birth and residence prescribed in the
provision, are vested with Philippine citizenship directly by legislative fiat or by force of the law itself
and without the need for any judicial proceeding or declaration. (At p. 192, 19 SCRA). Indeed, the
language of the provision, is not susceptible of any other interpretation. But it is claimed that the
same expression "shall be deemed a citizen of the Philippines" in reference to the wife, does not
necessarily connote the vesting of citizenship status upon her by legislative fiat because the
antecedent phrase requiring that she must be one "who might herself be lawfully naturalized" implies
that such status is intended to attach only after she has undergone the whole process of judicial
naturalization required of any person desiring to become a Filipino. Stated otherwise, the ruling
in Burca is that while Section 15 envisages and intends legislative naturalization as to the minor
children, the same section deliberately treats the wife differently and leaves her out for the ordinary
judicial naturalization.
Of course, it goes without saying that it is perfectly within the constitutional authority of the Congress
of the Philippines to confer or vest citizenship status by legislative fiat. (U.S. v. Wong Kim Ark, 169
U.S. 649, 42 L ed. 890 [1898]; See, 1 Taada & Carreon, Political Law of the Philippines 152 [1961
ed.]) In fact, it has done so for particular individuals, like two foreign religious prelates, 27 hence there
is no reason it cannot do it for classes or groups of persons under general conditions applicable to all of
the members of such class or group, like women who marry Filipinos, whether native-born or naturalized.
The issue before Us in this case is whether or not the legislature hag done so in the disputed provisions
of Section 15 of the Naturalization Law. And Dr. Vicente G. Sinco, one of the most respect authorities on
political law in the Philippines 28 observes in this connection thus: "A special form of naturalization is often
observed by some states with respect to women. Thus in the Philippines a foreign woman married to a
Filipino citizen becomes ipso facto naturalized, if she belongs to any of the classes who may apply for
naturalization under the Philippine Laws." (Sinco, Phil. Political Law 498-499 [10th ed. 1954]; emphasis

ours; this comment is substantially reiterated in the 1962 edition, citing Ly Giok Ha and Ricardo
Cua, supra.)

More importantly, it may be stated, at this juncture, that in construing the provision of the United
States statutes from which our law has been copied, 28a the American courts have held that the alien
wife does not acquire American citizenship by choice but by operation of law. "In the Revised Statutes the
words "and taken" are omitted. The effect of this statute is that every alien woman who marries a citizen
of the United States becomes perforce a citizen herself, without the formality of naturalization, and
regardless of her wish in that respect." (USCA 8, p. 601 [1970 ed.], citing Mackenzie v. Hare, 1913, 134 P.
713, 165 Cal. 766, affirmed 36 S. Ct. 106, 239 U.S. 299, 60 L ed. 297.) .
We need not recount here again how this provision in question was first enacted as paragraph (a) of
Section 13, by way of an insertion into Act 2927 by Act 3448 of November 30, 1928, and that, in turn,
and paragraph was copied verbatim from Section 1994 of the Revised Statutes of the United States,
which by that time already had a long accepted construction among the courts and administrative
authorities in that country holding that under such provision an alien woman who married a citizen
became, upon such marriage, likewise a citizen by force of law and as a consequence of the
marriage itself without having to undergo any naturalization proceedings, provided that, it could be
shown that at the time of such marriage, she was not disqualified to be naturalized under the laws
then in force. To repeat the discussion We already made of these undeniable facts would
unnecessarily make this decision doubly extensive. The only point which might be reiterated for
emphasis at this juncture is that whereas in the United States, the American Congress, recognizing
the construction, of Section 1994 of the Revised Statutes to be as stated above, and finding it
desirable to avoid the effects of such construction, approved the Act of September 22, 1922 Explicitly
requiring all such alien wives to submit to judicial naturalization albeit under more liberal terms than
those for other applicants for citizenship, on the other hand, the Philippine Legislature, instead of
following suit and adopting such a requirement, enacted Act 3448 on November 30, 1928 which
copied verbatim the aforementioned Section 1994 of the Revised Statutes, thereby indicating its
preference to adopt the latter law and its settled construction rather than the reform introduced by
the Act of 1922.
Obviously, these considerations leave Us no choice. Much as this Court may feel that as the United
States herself has evidently found it to be an improvement of her national policy vis-a-vis the alien
wives of her citizens to discontinue their automatic incorporation into the body of her citizenry without
passing through the judicial scrutiny of a naturalization proceeding, as it used to be before 1922, it
seems but proper, without evidencing any bit of colonial mentality, that as a developing country, the
Philippines adopt a similar policy, unfortunately, the manner in which our own legislature has enacted
our laws on the subject, as recounted above, provides no basis for Us to construe said law along the
line of the 1922 modification of the American Law. For Us to do so would be to indulge in judicial
legislation which it is not institutionally permissible for this Court to do. Worse, this court would be
going precisely against the grain of the implicit Legislative intent.
There is at least one decision of this Court before Burca wherein it seems it is quite clearly implied
that this Court is of the view that under Section 16 of the Naturalization Law, the widow and children
of an applicant for naturalization who dies during the proceedings do not have to submit themselves
to another naturalization proceeding in order to avail of the benefits of the proceedings involving the
husband. Section 16 provides: .

SEC. 16. Right of widow and children of petitioners who have died. In case a
petitioner should die before the final decision has been rendered, his widow and
minor children may continue the proceedings. The decision rendered in the case
shall, so far as the widow and minor children are concerned, produce the same legal
effect as if it had been rendered during the life of the petitioner.
In Tan Lin v. Republic, G.R. No. L-13706, May 31, 1961, 2 SCRA 383, this Court held:
Invoking the above provisions in their favor, petitioners-appellants argue (1) that
under said Sec. 16, the widow and minor children are allowed to continue the same
proceedings and are not substituted for the original petitioner; (2) that the
qualifications of the original petitioner remain to be in issue and not those of the
widow and minor children, and (3) that said Section 16 applies whether the petitioner
dies before or after final decision is rendered, but before the judgment becomes
executory.
There is force in the first and second arguments. Even the second sentence of said
Section 16 contemplate the fact that the qualifications of the original petitioner
remains the subject of inquiry, for the simple reason that it states that "The decision
rendered in the case shall, so far as the widow and minor children are concerned,
produce the same legal effect as if it had been rendered during the life of the
petitioner." This phraseology emphasizes the intent of the law to continue the
proceedings with the deceased as the theoretical petitioner, for if it were otherwise, it
would have been unnecessary to consider the decision rendered, as far as it affected
the widow and the minor children.
xxx xxx xxx
The Chua Chian case (supra), cited by the appellee, declared that a dead person
can not be bound to do things stipulated in the oath of allegiance, because an oath is
a personal matter. Therein, the widow prayed that she be allowed to take the oath of
allegiance for the deceased. In the case at bar, petitioner Tan Lin merely asked that
she be allowed to take the oath of allegiance and the proper certificate of
naturalization, once the naturalization proceedings of her deceased husband, shall
have been completed, not on behalf of the deceased but on her own behalf and of
her children, as recipients of the benefits of his naturalization. In other words, the
herein petitioner proposed to take the oath of allegiance, as a citizen of the
Philippines, by virtue of the legal provision that "any woman who is now or may
hereafter be married to a citizen of the Philippines and who might herself be lawfully
naturalized shall be deemed a citizen of the Philippines. Minor children of persons
naturalized under this law who have been born in the Philippines shall be considered
citizens thereof." (Section 15, Commonwealth Act No. 473). The decision granting
citizenship to Lee Pa and the record of the case at bar, do not show that the
petitioning widow could not have been lawfully naturalized, at the time Lee Pa filed
his petition, apart from the fact that his 9 minor children were all born in the
Philippines. (Decision, In the Matter of the Petition of Lee Pa to be admitted a citizen

of the Philippines, Civil Case No. 16287, CFI, Manila, Annex A; Record on Appeal,
pp. 8-11). The reference to Chua Chian case is, therefore, premature.
Section 16, as may be seen, is a parallel provision to Section 15. If the widow of an applicant for
naturalization as Filipino, who dies during the proceedings, is not required to go through a
naturalization preceeding, in order to be considered as a Filipino citizen hereof, it should follow that
the wife of a living Filipino cannot be denied the same privilege. This is plain common sense and
there is absolutely no evidence that the Legislature intended to treat them differently.
Additionally, We have carefully considered the arguments advanced in the motion for reconsideration
in Burca, and We see no reason to disagree with the following views of counsel: .
It is obvious that the provision itself is a legislative declaration of who may be
considered citizens of the Philippines. It is a proposition too plain to be disputed that
Congress has the power not only to prescribe the mode or manner under which
foreigners may acquire citizenship, but also the very power of conferring citizenship
by legislative fiat. (U. S. v. Wong Kim Ark, 169 U. S. 649, 42 L. Ed. 890 [1898] ; see 1
Taada and Carreon, Political Law of the Philippines 152 [1961 ed.]) The Constitution
itself recognizes as Philippine citizens "Those who are naturalized in accordance
with law" (Section 1[5], Article IV, Philippine Constitution). Citizens by naturalization,
under this provision, include not only those who are naturalized in accordance with
legal proceedings for the acquisition of citizenship, but also those who acquire
citizenship by "derivative naturalization" or by operation of law, as, for example, the
"naturalization" of an alien wife through the naturalization of her husband, or by
marriage of an alien woman to a citizen. (See Taada & Carreon, op. cit. supra, at
152, 172; Velayo, Philippine Citizenship and Naturalization 2 [1965 ed.]; 1 Paras,
Civil Code 186 [1967 ed.]; see also 3 Hackworth, Digest of International Law 3).
The phrase "shall be deemed a citizen of the Philippines" found in Section 14 of the
Revised Naturalization Law clearly manifests an intent to confer citizenship.
Construing a similar phrase found in the old U.S. naturalization law (Revised
Statutes, 1994), American courts have uniformly taken it to mean that upon her
marriage, the alien woman becomes by operation of law a citizen of the United
States as fully as if she had complied with all the provisions of the statutes upon the
subject of naturalization. (U.S. v. Keller, 13 F. 82; U.S. Opinions of the US Attorney
General dated June 4, 1874 [14 Op. 4021, July 20, 1909 [27 Op. 507], December 1,
1910 [28 Op. 508], Jan. 15, 1920 [32 Op. 2091 and Jan. 12, 1923 [23 398]).
The phrase "shall be deemed a citizen," in Section 1994 Revised
Statute (U.S. Comp. Stat. 1091, 1268) or as it was in the Act of 1855
(10 Stat. at L. 604, Chapt. 71, Sec. 2), "shall be deemed and taken to
be a citizens" while it may imply that the person to whom it relates
has not actually become a citizen by the ordinary means or in the
usual way, as by the judgment of a competent court, upon a proper
application and proof, yet it does not follow that such person is on
that account practically any the less a citizen. The word "deemed" is

the equivalent of "considered" or "judged," and therefore, whatever


an Act of Congress requires to be "deemed" or "taken" as true of any
person or thing must, in law, be considered as having been duly
adjudged or established concerning such person or thing, and have
force and effect accordingly. When, therefore, Congress declares that
an alien woman shall, under certain circumstances, be "deemed" an
American citizen, the effect when the contingency occurs, is
equivalent to her being naturalized directly by an Act of Congress or
in the usual mode thereby prescribed. (Van Dyne, Citizenship of the
United States 239, cited in Velayo, Philippine Citizenship and
Naturalization 146-147 [1965 ed.]; emphasis ours).
That this was likewise the intent of the Philippine legislature when it enacted the first
paragraph of Section 15 of the Revised Naturalization Law is shown by a textual
analysis of the entire statutory provision. In its entirety, Section 15 reads:
(See supra).
The phrases "shall be deemed" "shall be considered," and "shall automatically
become" as used in the above provision, are undoubtedly synonymous. The leading
idea or purpose of the provision was to confer Philippine citizenship by operation of
law upon certain classes of aliens as a legal consequence of their relationship, by
blood or by affinity, to persons who are already citizens of the Philippines. Whenever
the fact of relationship of the persons enumerated in the provision concurs with
the fact of citizenship of the person to whom they are related, the effect is for said
persons to become ipso facto citizens of the Philippines. "Ipso facto" as here used
does not mean that all alien wives and all minor children of Philippine citizens, from
the mere fact of relationship, necessarily become such citizens also. Those who do
not meet the statutory requirements do not ipso factobecome citizens; they must
apply for naturalization in order to acquire such status. What it does mean, however,
is that in respect of those persons enumerated in Section 15, the relationship to a
citizen of the Philippines is the operative fact which establishes the acquisition of
Philippine citizenship by them. Necessarily, it also determines the point of time at
which such citizenship commences. Thus, under the second paragraph of Section
15, a minor child of a Filipino naturalized under the law, who was born in the
Philippines, becomes ipso facto a citizen of the Philippines from the time the fact of
relationship concurs with the fact of citizenship of his parent, and the time when the
child became a citizen does not depend upon the time that he is able to prove that
he was born in the Philippines. The child may prove some 25 years after the
naturalization of his father that he was born in the Philippines and should, therefore,
be "considered" a citizen thereof. It does not mean that he became a Philippine
citizen only at that later time. Similarly, an alien woman who married a Philippine
citizen may be able to prove only some 25 years after her marriage (perhaps,
because it was only 25 years after the marriage that her citizenship status became in
question), that she is one who might herself be lawfully naturalized." It is not
reasonable to conclude that she acquired Philippine citizenship only after she had

proven that she "might herself be lawfully naturalized." It is not reasonable to


conclude that she acquired Philippine citizenship only after she had proven that she
"might herself be lawfully naturalized."
The point that bears emphasis in this regard is that in adopting the very phraseology
of the law, the legislature could not have intended that an alien wife should not be
deemed a Philippine citizenunless and until she proves that she might herself be
lawfully naturalized. Far from it, the law states in plain terms that she shall be
deemed a citizen of the Philippines if she is one "who might herself be lawfully
naturalized." The proviso that she must be one "who might herself be lawfully
naturalized" is not a condition precedent to the vesting or acquisition of citizenship; it
is only a condition or a state of fact necessary to establish her citizenship as
a factum probandum, i.e., as a fact established and proved in evidence. The word
"might," as used in that phrase, precisely replies that at the time of her marriage to a
Philippine citizen, the alien woman "had (the) power" to become such a citizen
herself under the laws then in force. (Owen v. Kelly, 6 DC 191 [1867], aff'd Kelly v.
Owen, 76 US 496, 19 L ed 283 [1869). That she establishes such power long after
her marriage does not alter the fact that at her marriage, she became a citizen.
(This Court has held) that "an alien wife of a Filipino citizen may not acquire the
status of a citizen of the Philippines unless there is proof that she herself may be
lawfully naturalized" (Decision, pp. 3-4). Under this view, the "acquisition" of
citizenship by the alien wife depends on her having proven her qualifications for
citizenship, that is, she is not a citizen unless and until she proves that she may
herself be lawfully naturalized. It is clear from the words of the law that the proviso
does not mean that she must first prove that she "might herself be lawfully
naturalized" before she shall be deemed (by Congress, not by the courts) a citizen.
Even the "uniform" decisions cited by this Court (at fn. 2) to support its holding did
not rule that the alien wife becomes a citizen only after she has proven her
qualifications for citizenship. What those decisions ruled was that the alien wives in
those cases failed to prove their qualifications and therefore they failed to establish
their claim to citizenship. Thus in Ly Giok Ha v. Galang, 101 Phil. 459 [l957], the case
was remanded to the lower court for determination of whether petitioner, whose claim
to citizenship by marriage to a Filipino was disputed by the Government, "might
herself be lawfully naturalized," for the purpose of " proving her alleged change of
political status from alien to citizen" (at 464). In Cua v. Board, 101 Phil. 521 [1957],
the alien wife who was being deported, claimed she was a Philippine citizen by
marriage to a Filipino. This Court finding that there was no proof that she was not
disqualified under Section 4 of the Revised Naturalization Law, ruled that: "No such
evidence appearing on record, the claim of assumption of Philippine citizenship by
Tijoe Wu Suan, upon her marriage to petitioner, is untenable." (at 523) It will be
observed that in these decisions cited by this Court, the lack of proof that the alien
wives "might (themselves) be lawfully naturalized" did not necessarily imply that they
did not become, in truth and in fact, citizens upon their marriage to Filipinos. What
the decisions merely held was that these wives failed to establish their claim to that
status as a proven fact.

In all instances where citizenship is conferred by operation of law, the time when
citizenship is conferred should not be confused with the time when citizenship status
is established as a proven fact. Thus, even a natural-born citizen of the Philippines,
whose citizenship status is put in issue in any proceeding would be required to prove,
for instance, that his father is a citizen of the Philippines in order to factually establish
his claim to citizenship.* His citizenship status commences from the time of birth,
although his claim thereto is established as a fact only at a subsequent time.
Likewise, an alien woman who might herself be lawfully naturalized becomes a
Philippine citizen at the time of her marriage to a Filipino husband, not at the time
she is able to establish that status as a proven fact by showing that she might herself
be lawfully naturalized. Indeed, there is no difference between a statutory declaration
that a person is deemed a citizen of the Philippines provided his father is such
citizen from a declaration that an alien woman married to a Filipino citizen of the
Philippines provided she might herself be lawfully naturalized. Both become citizens
by operation of law; the former becomes a citizen ipso facto upon birth; the later ipso
facto upon marriage.
It is true that unless and until the alien wife proves that she might herself be lawfully
naturalized, it cannot be said that she has established her status as a proven fact.
But neither can it be said that on that account, she did not become a citizen of the
Philippines. If her citizenship status is not questioned in any legal proceeding, she
obviously has no obligation to establish her status as a fact. In such a case, the
presumption of law should be that she is what she claims to be. (U.S. v. Roxas, 5
Phil. 375 [1905]; Hilado v. Assad, 51 O.G. 4527 [1955]). There is a presumption that
a representation shown to have been made is true. (Aetna Indemnity Co. v. George
A. Fuller, Co., 73 A. 738, 74 A. 369, 111 ME. 321).
The question that keeps bouncing back as a consequence of the foregoing views is, what substitute
is them for naturalization proceedings to enable the alien wife of a Philippine citizen to have the
matter of her own citizenship settled and established so that she may not have to be called upon to
prove it everytime she has to perform an act or enter in to a transaction or business or exercise a
right reserved only to Filipinos? The ready answer to such question is that as the laws of our country,
both substantive and procedural, stand today, there is no such procedure, but such paucity is no
proof that the citizenship under discussion is not vested as of the date of marriage or the husband's
acquisition of citizenship, as the case may be, for the truth is that the same situation objections even
as to native-born Filipinos. Everytime the citizenship of a person is material or indispensable in a
judicial or administrative case, whatever the corresponding court or administrative authority decides
therein as to such citizenship is generally not considered as res adjudicata, hence it has to be
threshed out again and again as the occasion may demand. This, as We view it, is the sense in
which Justice Dizon referred to "appropriate proceeding" in Brito v. Commissioner, supra. Indeed,
only the good sense and judgment of those subsequently inquiring into the matter may make the
effort easier or simpler for the persons concerned by relying somehow on the antecedent official
findings, even if these are not really binding.
It may not be amiss to suggest, however, that in order to have a good starting point and so that the
most immediate relevant public records may be kept in order, the following observations in Opinion

No. 38, series of 1958, of then Acting Secretary of Justice Jesus G. Barrera, may be considered as
the most appropriate initial step by the interested parties:
Regarding the steps that should be taken by an alien woman married to a Filipino
citizen in order to acquire Philippine citizenship, the procedure followed in the Bureau
of Immigration is as follows: The alien woman must file a petition for the cancellation
of her alien certificate of registration alleging, among other things, that she is married
to a Filipino, citizen and that she is not disqualified from acquiring her husband's
citizenship pursuant to section 4 of Commonwealth Act No. 473, as amended. Upon
the filing of said petition, which should be accompanied or supported by the joint
affidavit of the petitioner and her Filipino husband to the effect that the petitioner
does not belong to any of the groups disqualified by the cited section from becoming
naturalized Filipino citizen (please see attached CEB Form 1), the Bureau of
Immigration conducts an investigation and thereafter promulgates its order or
decision granting or denying the petition.
Once the Commissioner of Immigration cancels the subject's registration as an alien, there will
probably be less difficulty in establishing her Filipino citizenship in any other proceeding, depending
naturally on the substance and vigor of the opposition.
Before closing, it is perhaps best to clarify that this third issue We have passed upon was not
touched by the trial court, but as the point is decisive in this case, the Court prefers that the matter
be settled once and for all now.
IN VIEW OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the judgment of the Court a quo dismissing appellants' petition
for injunction is hereby reversed and the Commissioner of Immigration and/or his authorized
representative is permanently enjoined from causing the arrest and deportation and the confiscation
of the bond of appellant Lau Yuen Yeung, who is hereby declared to have become a Filipino citizen
from and by virtue of her marriage to her co-appellant Moy Ya Lim Yao alias Edilberto Aguinaldo Lim,
a Filipino citizen on January 25, 1962. No costs.
G.R. No. L-27429

August 27, 1969

IN THE MATTER OF THE PETITION FOR ADMISSION AS CITIZEN OF THE PHILIPPINES.


OH HEK HOW, petitioner appellee,
vs.
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, oppositor-appellant.
Eliezer M. Echavez for petitioner-appellee.
Office of the Solicitor General Antonio P. Barredo, Assistant Solicitor General Felicisimo R. Rosete
and Solicitor Santiago M. Kapunan for oppositor-appellant.
CONCEPCION, C.J.:
A decision granting his petition for naturalization as citizen of the Philippines having been rendered
on January 16, 1964, petitioner Oh Hek How filed, on January 17, 1966, a motion alleging that he

had complied with the requirements of Republic Act No. 530 and praying that he be allowed to take
his oath of allegiance as such citizen and issued the corresponding certificate of naturalization. Upon
petitioner's testimony, taken on February 9, 1966, the date set for the hearing of said motion, the
Court of First Instance of Zamboanga del Norte issued forthwith an order authorizing the taking of
said oath. On that same date, petitioner took it and the certificate of naturalization was issued to him.
The Government seasonably gave notice of its intention to appeal from said order of February 9,
1966 and filed its record on appeal. Before the same was approved, it also moved to cancel
petitioner's certificate of naturalization, upon the ground, among others, that it was issued and the
oath taken before said order of February 9, 1966, had become final and executory. Acting upon this
motion and petitioner's opposition thereto, the court issued, on October 3, 1966, an order granting
the motion, but, at the same time, authorizing the taking of a new oath by the petitioner and the
issuance in his favor of another certificate of naturalization, after thirty (30) days from notice to the
Solicitor General. Thereafter, or on November 26, 1966, the court approved the record on appeal
and, once more, authorized the petitioner to "take a new or proper oath to validate the first one made
on February 9, 1966." The case is now before us on said record on appeal filed by the Government.
At the outset, it is obvious that the oath of allegiance taken by petitioner on November 28, 1966, and
the certificate of naturalization issued to him in pursuance thereof, as well as the authority given
therefor by the lower court, are null and void. Indeed, the order of February 9, had not and up to
the present has not become final and executory in view of the appeal duly taken by the
Government. What is more, petitioner's second oath was taken, not only after the filing of the notice
of appeal 1 and the submission of the record on appeal, but also after the approval thereof. In other
words, the lower court had already lost its jurisdiction over the case. 2
Again, petitioner's net income in 1960 and 1961 was P3,945.65 and P5,105.79, respectively, or from
about P330 to P425 a month. His income tax return for 1962, filed subsequently to the institution of
this case, showed a net income of P6,485.50 for that year, or about P540 a month. Considering that
petitioner has a wife and three (3) children, one of them of school age, at the time of the filing of his
application for naturalization, his aforementioned income is not a lucrative one. Indeed, it has been
held that the following incomes are not lucrative, from the viewpoint of our naturalization laws,
namely: (1) P4,200 3 or P5,000 a year 4 for one married, with five (5) children; 5 (2) P6,000 a year for
one married, with two (2) minor children; 5 and (3) P6,000 6 or P6,300 a year 7 for one married, with
only one (1) child.
Lastly, it is conceded that petitioner has not required from the Minister of the Interior of Nationalist
China the permission required by the laws thereof for a valid renunciation of his Chinese citizenship.
In Go A. Leng v. Republic, 8 a decision granting the application for naturalization of a Chinese
national was reversed by this Court, upon the ground, among others, of "his failure to secure" the
aforementioned permission.
It is argued that the same is not required by our laws and that the naturalization of an alien, as a
citizen of the Philippines, is governed exclusively by such laws and cannot be controlled by any
foreign law. Section 12 of Commonwealth Act No. 473 provides, however, that before the
naturalization certificate is issued, the petitioner shall "solemnly swear," inter alia, that he renounces
"absolutely and forever all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate" and particularly to

the state "of which" he is "a subject or citizen." The obvious purpose of this requirement is to divest
him of his former nationality, before acquiring Philippine citizenship, because, otherwise, he would
have two nationalities and owe allegiance to two (2) distinct sovereignties, which our laws do not
permit, except that, pursuant to Republic Act No. 2639, "the acquisition of citizenship by a naturalborn Filipino citizen from one of the Iberian and any friendly democratic Ibero-American countries
shall not produce loss or forfeiture of his Philippine citizenship, if the law of that country grants the
same privilege to its citizens and such had been agreed upon by treaty between the Philippines and
the foreign country from which citizenship is acquired." The question of how a Chinese citizen may
strip himself of that status is necessarily governed pursuant to Articles 15 and 16 of our Civil Code
by the laws of China, not by those of the Philippines. 9 As a consequence, a Chinese national
cannot be naturalized as a citizen of the Philippines, unless he has complied with the laws of
Nationalist China requiring previous permission of its Minister of the Interior for the renunciation of
nationality.
The view to the contrary, adhered to in Parado v. Republic, 10 Chausintek v. Republic, 11 and Lim So
v. Republic12 has been superseded by our ruling in the subsequent case of Go A. Leng v.
Republic 13 which we hereby reiterate.
WHEREFORE, the order appealed from is reversed, and the oath of allegiance taken, on November
28, 1966, by petitioner Oh Hek How, as well as the certificate of naturalization issued in pursuance
thereto, are hereby declared null and void, with costs against said petitioner, who is, moreover,
directed to surrender the aforementioned certificate of naturalization to the Clerk of the Court of First
Instance of Zamboanga del Norte, within ten (10) days after this decision shall have become final. It
is so ordered.

[G.R. No. 161434. March 3, 2004]

MARIA JEANETTE C. TECSON and FELIX B. DESIDERIO,


JR., petitioners, vs. The COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, RONALD
ALLAN KELLY POE (a.k.a. FERNANDO POE, JR.) and
VICTORINO X. FORNIER, respondents.

[G.R. No. 161634. March 3, 2004]

ZOILO ANTONIO VELEZ, petitioner, vs. RONALD ALLAN KELLEY


POE, a.k.a. FERNANDO POE, JR., respondent.

[G. R. No. 161824. March 3, 2004]

VICTORINO X. FORNIER, petitioner, vs. HON. COMMISSION ON


ELECTIONS and RONALD ALLAN KELLEY POE, ALSO KNOWN
AS FERNANDO POE JR., respondents.
DECISION
VITUG, J.:

Citizenship is a treasured right conferred on those whom the state


believes are deserving of the privilege. It is a precious heritage, as well
as an inestimable acquisition, that cannot be taken lightly by anyone either by those who enjoy it or by those who dispute it.
[1]

Before the Court are three consolidated cases, all of which raise a single
question of profound importance to the nation. The issue of citizenship is
brought up to challenge the qualifications of a presidential candidate to hold
the highest office of the land. Our people are waiting for the judgment of the
Court with bated breath. Is Fernando Poe, Jr., the hero of silver screen, and
now one of the main contenders for the presidency, a natural-born Filipino or
is he not?
The moment of introspection takes us face to face with Spanish and
American colonial roots and reminds us of the rich heritage of civil law and
common law traditions, the fusion resulting in a hybrid of laws and
jurisprudence that could be no less than distinctly Filipino.
Antecedent Case Settings
On 31 December 2003, respondent Ronald Allan Kelly Poe, also known as
Fernando Poe, Jr. (hereinafter "FPJ"), filed his certificate of candidacy for the
position of President of the Republic of the Philippines under the Koalisyon ng
Nagkakaisang Pilipino (KNP) Party, in the forthcoming national elections. In
his certificate of candidacy, FPJ, representing himself to be a natural-born
citizen of the Philippines, stated his name to be "Fernando Jr.," or "Ronald
Allan" Poe, his date of birth to be 20 August 1939 and his place of birth to
be Manila.
Victorino X. Fornier, petitioner 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., Respondents," initiated, on 09


January 2004, a petition docketed SPA No. 04-003 before the Commission on
Elections ("COMELEC") to disqualify FPJ and to deny due course or to cancel
his certificate of candidacy upon the thesis that FPJ made a material
misrepresentation in his certificate of candidacy by claiming to be a naturalborn Filipino citizen when in truth, according to 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. Granting, petitioner asseverated, that Allan F. Poe was a Filipino
citizen, he could not have transmitted his Filipino citizenship to FPJ, the latter
being an illegitimate child of an alien mother. Petitioner based the allegation of
the illegitimate birth of respondent on two assertions - first, 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 only a year after the birth of respondent.
In the hearing before the Third Division of the COMELEC on 19 January
2004, petitioner, in support of his claim, presented several documentary
exhibits - 1) a copy of the certificate of birth of FPJ, 2) a certified photocopy of
an affidavit executed in Spanish by Paulita Poe y Gomez attesting to her
having filed a case for bigamy and concubinage against the father of
respondent, Allan F. Poe, after 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 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 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 National Archives regarding the birth of Allan F. Poe.
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 the National Archives that there
appeared to be no available information regarding the birth of Allan F. Poe in
the registry of births for San Carlos, Pangasinan, b) a certification issued by
the Officer-In-Charge of the Archives Division of the National Archives that no
available information about the marriage of Allan F. Poe and Paulita Gomez
could be found, c) a certificate of birth of 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 of Lorenzo Pou, g) a copy of the purported


marriage contract between Fernando Pou and Bessie Kelley, and h) a
certification issued by the City Civil Registrar of San Carlos City, Pangasinan,
stating 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.
On 23 January 2004, the COMELEC dismissed SPA No. 04-003 for lack of
merit. Three days later, or on 26 January 2004, Fornier filed his motion for
reconsideration. The motion was denied on 06 February 2004 by the
COMELEC en banc. On 10 February 2004, petitioner assailed the decision of
the COMELEC before this Court conformably with Rule 64, in relation to Rule
65, of the Revised Rules of Civil Procedure. The petition, docketed G. R. No.
161824, likewise prayed for a temporary restraining order, a writ of preliminary
injunction or any other resolution that would stay the finality and/or execution
of the COMELEC resolutions.
The other petitions, later consolidated with G. R. No. 161824, would
include G. R. No. 161434, entitled "Maria Jeanette C. Tecson, and Felix B.
Desiderio, Jr., vs. The Commission on Elections, Ronald Allan Kelley Poe
(a.k.a. Fernando Poe, Jr.), and Victorino X. Fornier," and the other, docketed
G. R. No. 161634, entitled "Zoilo Antonio G. Velez, vs. Ronald Allan Kelley
Poe, a.k.a. 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 and exclusive
jurisdiction to resolve the basic issue on the case.
Jurisdiction of the Court
In G. R. No. 161824
In seeking the disqualification of the candidacy of FPJ and to have the
COMELEC deny due course to or cancel FPJs certificate of candidacy for
alleged misrepresentation of a material fact (i.e., that FPJ was a natural-born
citizen) before the COMELEC, petitioner Fornier invoked Section 78 of the
Omnibus Election Code
Section 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

in consonance with the general powers of COMELEC expressed in Section 52


of the Omnibus Election Code Section 52. Powers and functions of the Commission on Elections. In addition to the
powers and functions conferred upon it by the Constitution, the Commission shall
have exclusive charge of the enforcement and administration of all laws relative to the
conduct of elections for the purpose of ensuring free, orderly and honest elections and in relation to Article 69 of the Omnibus Election Code which would
authorize "any interested party" to file a verified petition to deny or cancel the
certificate of candidacy of any nuisance candidate.
Decisions of the COMELEC on disqualification cases may be reviewed by
the Supreme Court per Rule 64 in an action for certiorari under Rule 65 of
the Revised Rules of Civil Procedure. Section 7, Article IX, of the 1987
Constitution also reads
[2]

[3]

"Each Commission shall decide by a majority vote of all its Members any case or
matter brought before it within sixty days from the date of its submission for decision
or resolution. A case or 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 otherwise provided by this
Constitution or by law, any decision, order, or ruling of each Commission may be
brought to the Supreme Court on certiorari by the aggrieved party within thirty days
from receipt of a copy thereof."
Additionally, Section 1, Article VIII, of the same Constitution provides that
judicial power is vested in one Supreme Court and in such lower courts as
may be established by law which power includes the duty of the courts of
justice to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally
demandable and enforceable, and to determine whether or not there has been
a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the
part of any branch or instrumentality of the Government.
It is sufficiently clear that the petition brought up in G. R. No. 161824 was
aptly elevated to, and 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 or should be
elected to occupy the highest government post in the land.
In G. R. No. 161434 and G. R. No. 161634
Petitioners Tecson, et al., in G. R. No. 161434, and Velez, in G. R. No.
161634, invoke the provisions of Article VII, Section 4, paragraph 7, of the

1987 Constitution in assailing the jurisdiction of the COMELEC when it took


cognizance of SPA No. 04-003 and in urging the Supreme Court to instead
take on the petitions they directly instituted before it. The Constitutional
provision cited reads:
"The Supreme Court, sitting en banc, shall be the sole judge of all contests relating to
the election, returns, and qualifications of the President or Vice-President, and may
promulgate its rules for the purpose."
The provision is an innovation of the 1987 Constitution. The omission in the
1935 and the 1973 Constitution to designate any tribunal to be the sole judge
of presidential and vice-presidential contests, has constrained this Court to
declare, in Lopez vs. Roxas, as not (being) justiciable controversies or
disputes involving contests on the elections, returns and qualifications of the
President or Vice-President. The constitutional lapse prompted Congress, on
21 June 1957, to enact Republic Act No. 1793, "An Act Constituting an
Independent Presidential Electoral Tribunal to Try, Hear and Decide Protests
Contesting the Election of the President-Elect and the Vice-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 government under the 1973 Constitution
might have implicitly affected Republic Act No. 1793, the statutory set-up,
nonetheless, would now be deemed revived under the present Section 4,
paragraph 7, of the 1987 Constitution.
[4]

Ordinary usage would characterize a "contest" in reference to a postelection scenario. Election contests consist of either an election protest or
a quo warranto which, although two distinct 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 Electoral Tribunal," promulgated by the Supreme Court en
banc on 18 April 1992, would support this premise Rule 12. Jurisdiction. - The Tribunal shall be the sole judge of all contests relating to
the election, returns, and qualifications of the President or Vice-President of
the Philippines.
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 include a petition for quo warranto. A petition for quo
warranto shall not include an election protest.

Rule 14. Election Protest. - Only the registered candidate for President or for VicePresident of the Philippines who received the second or third highest number of votes
may contest the election of the President or the Vice-President, as the case may be, by
filing a verified petition with the Clerk of the Presidential Electoral Tribunal within
thirty (30) days after the proclamation of the winner.
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 not of "candidates" for President or
Vice-President. A quo warranto proceeding is generally defined as being an
action against a person who usurps, intrudes into, or unlawfully holds or
exercises a public office. In such context, the election contest can only
contemplate a post-election scenario. In Rule 14, only a registered candidate
who would have received either the second or third highest number of votes
could file an election protest. This rule again presupposes a postelection scenario.
[5]

It is fair to conclude that the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, defined by


Section 4, paragraph 7, of the 1987 Constitution, would not include cases
directly brought before it, questioning the qualifications of a candidate for the
presidency or vice-presidency before the elections are held.
Accordingly, G. R. No. 161434, entitled "Maria Jeanette C. Tecson, et al.,
vs. Commission on Elections et al.," and G. R. No. 161634, entitled "Zoilo
Antonio Velez vs. Ronald Allan Kelley Poe a.k.a. Fernando Poe, Jr." would
have to be dismissed for want of jurisdiction.
The Citizenship Issue
Now, to the basic issue; it should be helpful to first give a brief historical
background on the concept of citizenship.
Perhaps, the earliest understanding of citizenship was that given by
Aristotle, who, sometime in 384 to 322 B.C., described the "citizen" to refer to
a man who shared in the administration of justice and in the holding of an
office. 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 adequate in number to achieve a self-sufficient existence. The
concept grew to include one who would both govern and be governed, for
which qualifications like autonomy, judgment and loyalty could be
expected. Citizenship was seen to deal with rights and entitlements, on the
one hand, and with concomitant obligations, on the other. In its ideal setting,
a citizen was active in public life and fundamentally willing to submit his
private interests to the general interest of society.
[6]

[7]

[8]

The concept of citizenship had undergone changes over the centuries. In


the 18th century, the concept was limited, by and large, to civil citizenship,
which established the rights necessary for individual freedom, such as rights
to property, personal liberty and justice. Its meaning expanded during the
19th century to include political citizenship, which encompassed the right to
participate in the exercise of political power. The 20th century saw the next
stage of the development of social citizenship, which laid emphasis on the
right of the citizen to economic well-being and social security. The idea of
citizenship has gained expression in the modern welfare state as it so
developed in Western Europe. An ongoing and final stage of development, in
keeping with the rapidly shrinking global village, might well be
the internationalization of citizenship.
[9]

[10]

[11]

[12]

The Local Setting - from Spanish


Times to the Present
There was no such term as "Philippine citizens" during the Spanish regime
but "subjects of Spain" or "Spanish subjects." In church records, the natives
were called 'indios', denoting a low regard for the inhabitants of the
archipelago. Spanish laws on citizenship became highly codified during the
19th century but their sheer number made it difficult to point to one
comprehensive law. Not all of these citizenship laws of Spain however, were
made to apply to the Philippine Islands except for those explicitly extended by
Royal Decrees.
[13]

[14]

Spanish laws on citizenship were traced back to the Novisima


Recopilacion, promulgated in Spain on 16 July 1805 but as to whether the law
was extended to the Philippines remained to be the subject of differing views
among experts; however, three royal decrees were undisputably made
applicable to Spaniards in the Philippines - the Order de la Regencia of 14
August 1841, the Royal Decree of 23 August 1868 specifically defining the
political status of children born in the Philippine Islands, and finally, the Ley
Extranjera de Ultramar of 04 July 1870, which was expressly made applicable
to the Philippines by the Royal Decree of 13 July 1870.
[15]

[16]

[17]

[18]

The Spanish Constitution of 1876 was never extended to the Philippine


Islands because of the express mandate of its Article 89, according to which
the provisions of the Ultramaramong which this country was included, would
be governed by special laws.
[19]

It was only the Civil Code of Spain, made effective in this jurisdiction on 18
December 1889, which came out with the first categorical enumeration of who
were Spanish citizens. (a) Persons born in Spanish territory,
(b) Children of a Spanish father or mother, even if they were born outside of
Spain,
(c) Foreigners who have obtained naturalization papers,
(d) Those who, without such papers, may have become domiciled inhabitants
of any town of the Monarchy.
[20]

The year 1898 was another turning point in Philippine history. Already in
the state of decline as a superpower, Spain was forced to so cede her sole
colony in the East to an upcoming world power, the United States. An
accepted principle of international law dictated that a change in sovereignty,
while resulting in an abrogation of all political laws then in force, would have
no effect on civil laws, which would remain virtually intact.
The Treaty of Paris was entered into on 10 December 1898 between
Spain and the United States. Under Article IX of the treaty, the civil rights and
political status of the native inhabitants of the territories ceded to the United
States would be determined by its Congress [21]

"Spanish subjects, natives of the Peninsula, residing in the territory over which Spain
by the present treaty relinquishes or cedes her sovereignty may remain in such
territory or may remove therefrom, retaining in either event all their rights of property,
including the right to sell or dispose of such property or of its proceeds; and they shall
also have the right to carry on their 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 exchange of
ratifications of this treaty, a declaration of their decision to preserve such allegiance;
in default of which declaration they shall be held to have renounced it and to have
adopted the nationality of the territory in which they reside.
Thus
"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]

Upon the ratification of the treaty, and pending legislation by the United States
Congress on the subject, the native inhabitants of the Philippines ceased to
be Spanish subjects. Although they did not become American citizens, they,
however, also ceased to be "aliens" under American laws and were thus
issued passports describing them to be citizens of the Philippines entitled to
the protection of the United States.
The term "citizens of the Philippine Islands" appeared for the first time in
the Philippine Bill of 1902, also commonly referred to as the Philippine
Organic Act of 1902, the first comprehensive legislation of the Congress of the
United States on the Philippines ".... that all inhabitants of the Philippine Islands continuing to reside therein, who
were Spanish subjects on the 11th day of April, 1891, and then resided in said 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 the provisions of the treaty of peace between the United States and
Spain, signed at Paris, December tenth eighteen hundred and ninety eight."
[23]

Under the organic act, a citizen of the Philippines was one who was an
inhabitant of the Philippines, and a Spanish subject on the 11th day of April
1899. The term inhabitant was taken to 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]

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 soli,
otherwise also known as the principle of territoriality, operative in the United
States and England, governed those born in the Philippine Archipelago within
that period. More about this later.
[25]

In 23 March 1912, the Congress of the United States made the following
amendment to the Philippine Bill of 1902 "Provided, That the Philippine Legislature is hereby authorized to provide by law for
the 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 such other persons residing in the Philippine Islands who would
become citizens of the United States, under the laws of the United States, if residing
therein."
[26]

With the adoption of the Philippine Bill of 1902, the concept of "Philippine
citizens" had for the first time crystallized. The word "Filipino" was used by
William H. Taft, the first Civil Governor 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
virtually the provisions of the Philippine Bill of 1902, as so amended by the Act
of Congress in 1912 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, except such as shall have elected to preserve
their allegiance to the Crown of Spain in accordance with the provisions of the treaty
of peace between the United States and Spain, signed at Paris December tenth,
eighteen hundred and ninety-eight and except such others as have since become
citizens of some other country; Provided, That the Philippine Legislature, 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 natives of the insular possessions of the United States, and
such other persons residing in the Philippine Islands who are citizens of the United
States, or who could become citizens of the United States under the laws of the United
States, if residing therein."
Under the Jones Law, a native-born inhabitant of the Philippines was
deemed to be a citizen of the Philippines as of 11 April 1899 if he was 1) a
subject of Spain on 11 April 1899, 2) residing in the Philippines on said date,
and, 3) since that date, not a citizen of some other country.
While there was, at one brief time, divergent views on whether or not jus
soli was a mode of acquiring citizenship, the 1935 Constitution brought to an
end to any such link with common law, by adopting, once and for all, jus
sanguinis or blood relationship as being the basis of Filipino citizenship Section 1, Article III, 1935 Constitution. The following are citizens of the Philippines
(1) Those who are citizens of the Philippine Islands at the time of the adoption of this
Constitution
(2) Those born in the Philippines Islands of foreign parents who, before the adoption
of this Constitution, had been elected to public office in the Philippine Islands.

(3) Those whose fathers are citizens of the Philippines.


(4) Those whose mothers are citizens of the Philippines and upon reaching the age of
majority, elect Philippine citizenship.
(5) Those who are naturalized in accordance with law.
Subsection (4), Article III, of the 1935 Constitution, taken together with
existing civil law provisions at the time, which provided that women would
automatically lose their Filipino citizenship and 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 age of majority. Seeking to correct this
anomaly, as well as fully cognizant of the newly found 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 Section 1, Article III, 1973 Constitution - The following are citizens of the
Philippines:
(1) Those who are citizens of the Philippines at the time of the adoption of this
Constitution.
(2) Those whose fathers or mothers are citizens of the Philippines.
(3) Those who elect Philippine citizenship pursuant to the provisions of the
Constitution of nineteen hundred and thirty-five.
(4) Those who are naturalized in accordance with law.
For good measure, Section 2 of the same article also further provided that
"A female citizen of the Philippines who marries an alien retains her Philippine
citizenship, unless by her act or omission she is deemed, under the law to have
renounced her citizenship."
The 1987 Constitution generally adopted the provisions of the 1973
Constitution, except for subsection (3) thereof that aimed to correct the
irregular situation generated by the questionable proviso in the 1935
Constitution.
Section I, Article IV, 1987 Constitution now provides:

The following are citizens of the Philippines:


(1) Those who are citizens of the Philippines at the time of the adoption of this
Constitution.
(2) Those whose fathers or mothers are citizens of the Philippines.
(3) Those born before January 17, 1973 of Filipino mothers, who elect Philippine
citizenship upon reaching the age of majority; and
(4) Those who are naturalized in accordance with law.
The Case Of FPJ
Section 2, Article VII, of the 1987 Constitution expresses:
"No person may be elected President unless he is a natural-born citizen of the
Philippines, a 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 term "natural-born citizens," is defined to include "those who are
citizens of the Philippines from birth without having to perform any act to
acquire or perfect their Philippine citizenship."
[27]

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, res judicata and jus
sanguinis 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 of Customs (1912), did not last long. With the
adoption of the 1935 Constitution and the reversal of Roa in Tan Chong vs.
Secretary of Labor (1947), jus sanguinis or blood relationship would now
become the primary basis of citizenship by birth.
[28]

[29]

[30]

Documentary evidence adduced by petitioner would tend to indicate that


the earliest established direct ascendant of FPJ was his paternal grandfather
Lorenzo Pou, married to Marta Reyes, the 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,
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 Espaol father, Lorenzo Pou, and a mestiza
Espaol mother, Marta Reyes. Introduced by petitioner was an uncertified copy
of a supposed certificate of the alleged marriage of Allan F. Poe and Paulita
Gomez on 05 July 1936. The marriage certificate of Allan F. Poe and Bessie
Kelley reflected the date 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 was born on 20 August 1939 to Allan F. Poe, a Filipino,
twenty-four years old, married to Bessie Kelly, an American citizen, twenty-one
years old and married.
Considering the reservations made by the parties on the veracity of some
of the entries on the 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 1. The parents of FPJ were Allan F. Poe and Bessie Kelley;
2. FPJ was born to them on 20 August 1939;
3. Allan F. Poe and Bessie Kelley were married to each other on 16
September, 1940;
4. The father of Allan F. Poe was Lorenzo Poe; and
5. At the time of his death on 11 September 1954, Lorenzo Poe was 84 years
old.
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 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 the proceedings before the COMELEC.
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." 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 certificate in relation to the date of marriage of Allan F.

Poe to Bessie Kelley and the death certificate relative to the death of Lorenzo
Pou on 11 September 1954 in San Carlos, Pangasinan, were all admitted by
petitioner, who had utilized those material statements in his argument. All
three documents were certified true copies of the originals.
Section 3, Rule 130, Rules of Court states that Original document must be produced; exceptions. - When the subject of inquiry is the
contents of a document, no evidence shall be admissible other than the original
document itself, except in the following cases:
xxxxxxxxx
(d) When the original is a public record in the custody of a public office or is recorded
in a public office.
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:
Entries in official records. Entries in official records made in the performance of his
duty by a 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.
The trustworthiness of public documents and the value given to the entries
made therein could be grounded on 1) the sense of official duty in the
preparation of the statement made, 2) the penalty which is usually affixed to a
breach of that duty, 3) the routine and disinterested origin of most such
statements, and 4) the publicity of record which makes more likely the prior
exposure of such errors as might have occurred.
[31]

The death certificate of Lorenzo Pou would indicate that he died on 11


September 1954, at the age of 84 years, in San Carlos, Pangasinan. It could
thus be assumed that Lorenzo Pou was born sometime in the year 1870 when
the Philippines was still a colony of Spain. Petitioner would argue 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 Archives Office. Petitioner, however, likewise failed to show
that Lorenzo Pou was at any other place during the same period. In his death
certificate, the residence of Lorenzo Pou was stated to be San Carlos,
Pangasinan. In the absence of any evidence to the contrary, it should be

sound to conclude, or at least to presume, that the place of residence of a


person at the time of his death 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.
Proof of Paternity and Filiation
Under Civil Law.
Petitioner submits, in any case, that in establishing filiation (relationship or
civil status of the child to the father [or mother]) or paternity (relationship or
civil status of the father to the child) of an illegitimate child, FPJ evidently
being an illegitimate son according to petitioner, the mandatory rules under
civil law must be used.
Under the Civil Code of Spain, which was in force in the Philippines from
08 December 1889 up 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 judicial (compulsory) or
voluntary. Judicial or compulsory acknowledgment was possible only if done
during the lifetime of the putative parent; voluntary acknowledgment could
only be had in a record of birth, a will, or a public document. Complementary
to the new code was Act No. 3753 or the Civil Registry Law expressing in
Section 5 thereof, that [32]

In case of an illegitimate child, the birth certificate shall be signed and sworn to
jointly by the parents of the infant or only by the mother if the father refuses. In the
latter case, it shall not be 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.
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 recognition.
In Mendoza vs. Mella, the Court ruled [33]

[34]

"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 record, may be relied upon as sufficient proof of his having been
voluntarily recognized. No such reliance, in our judgment, may be placed upon

it. While it contains the names of both parents, there is no showing that they signed
the original, let alone swore to its contents as required in Section 5 of Act No.
3753. For all that might have happened, it was not even they or either of 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 natural child may also be made, according to the same Article 131.
True enough, but in such a case, there must be a clear statement in the document that
the parent recognizes the child as his or her own."
In the birth certificate of respondent FPJ, presented by both parties,
nowhere in the document was the signature of Allan F. Poe found. There
being no will apparently executed, or at least shown to have been executed,
by decedent Allan F. Poe, the only other proof of voluntary recognition
remained to be "some other public document." In Pareja vs. Pareja, this
Court defined what could constitute such a document as proof of voluntary
acknowledgment:
[35]

"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 of the means by which recognition may be
made belongs to the first class."
Let us leave it at that for the moment.
The 1950 Civil Code categorized the acknowledgment or recognition of
illegitimate children into 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 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 generally in cases when the child had in his favor any
evidence to prove filiation. Unlike an action 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
during the lifetime of the presumed parent.
Amicus Curiae Ruben F. Balane defined, during the oral argument,
"authentic writing," so as to be an authentic writing for purposes of voluntary
recognition, simply as being a genuine or indubitable writing of the father. The
term would include a public instrument (one duly acknowledged before a
notary public or other competent official) or a private writing admitted by the
father to be his.

The Family Code has further liberalized the rules; Article 172, Article 173,
and Article 175 provide:
Art. 172. The filiation of legitimate children is established by any of the following:
(1) The record of birth appearing in the civil register or a final judgment; or
(2) An admission of legitimate filiation in a public document or a private handwritten
instrument and signed by the parent concerned.
In the absence of the foregoing evidence, the legitimate filiation shall be proved by:
(1) The open and continuous possession of the status of a legitimate child; or
(2) Any other means allowed by the Rules of Court and special laws.
Art. 173. The action to claim legitimacy may be brought by the child during his or her
lifetime and shall be transmitted to the heirs should the child die during minority or in
a state of insanity. In these cases, the heirs shall have a period of five years within
which to institute the action.
The action already commenced by the child shall survive notwithstanding the death of
either or both of the parties.
x x x x x x x x x.
Art. 175. Illegitimate children may establish their illegitimate filiation in the same
way and on the same, evidence as legitimate children.
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 during the lifetime of the alleged parent.
The provisions of the Family Code are retroactively applied; Article 256 of
the code reads:
"Art. 256. This Code shall have retroactive effect insofar as it does not prejudice or
impair vested or acquired rights in accordance with the Civil Code or other laws.
Thus, in Vda. de Sy-Quia vs. Court of Appeals, the Court has ruled:
[36]

"We hold that whether Jose was a voluntarily recognized natural child should be
decided under Article 278 of the Civil Code of the Philippines. Article 2260 of that

Code provides that 'the voluntary recognition of a natural child shall take place
according to this Code, even if the child was born before the effectivity of this body of
laws' or before August 30, 1950. Hence, Article 278 may be given retroactive effect."
It should be apparent that the growing trend to liberalize the
acknowledgment or recognition of illegitimate children is an attempt to break
away from the traditional idea of keeping well apart legitimate and nonlegitimate relationships within the family in favor of the greater interest and
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 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 in the context of private relations, the domain of civil law;
particularly "Civil Law is that branch of law which has for its double purpose the organization of
the family 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 interests."
[37]

In Yaez de Barnuevo vs. Fuster, the Court has held:


[38]

"In accordance with Article 9 of the Civil Code of Spain, x x x the laws relating to
family rights and duties, or to the status, condition and legal capacity of persons,
govern Spaniards although 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 and wife, their support, as between
them, the separation of their properties, the rules 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 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 wife."
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 persons are binding upon citizens of the Philippines, even though living
abroad" -

that explains the need to incorporate in the code a reiteration of the


Constitutional provisions on citizenship. Similarly, citizenship is significant in
civil relationships found in different parts of the Civil Code, such as on
successional rights and family relations. In adoption, for instance, an
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 and not his political status.
[39]

[40]

[41]

Civil law provisions point to an obvious bias against illegitimacy. This


discriminatory attitude may be traced to the Spanish family and property laws,
which, while defining proprietary and 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 uncontaminated by foreign blood was paramount.
These distinctions between legitimacy and illegitimacy were codified in the
Spanish Civil Code, and the invidious discrimination survived when the
Spanish Civil Code became the primary source of 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.
The proof of filiation or paternity for purposes of determining his citizenship
status should thus be deemed independent from and not inextricably tied up
with that prescribed for civil law purposes. The Civil Code or Family Code
provisions on proof of filiation or paternity, although good law, do not have
preclusive effects on matters alien to personal and family relations. The
ordinary rules on 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.
Section 39, Rule 130, of the Rules of Court provides 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 received in evidence where it occurred before the controversy, and
the relationship between the 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 history intimately connected
with pedigree.
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 person whose pedigree is in
question, (d) declaration must be made before the controversy has occurred,
and (e) the relationship between the declarant and the person whose pedigree
is in question must be shown by evidence other than such act or declaration.
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, recognizing his own
paternal relationship with FPJ, i.e, living together with Bessie Kelley and his
children (including respondent FPJ) in one house, and as one family "I, Ruby Kelley Mangahas, of legal age and sound mind, presently residing in
Stockton, California, U.S.A., after being sworn in accordance with law do hereby
declare that:
1. I am the sister of the late Bessie Kelley Poe.
2. Bessie Kelley Poe was the wife of Fernando Poe, Sr.
3. Fernando and Bessie Poe had a son by the name of Ronald Allan Poe, more
popularly known in the Philippines as `Fernando Poe, Jr., or `FPJ.
4. Ronald Allan Poe `FPJ was born on August 20, 1939 at St. Luke's Hospital,
Magdalena Street, Manila.
xxxxxxxxx
7. Fernando Poe Sr., and my sister Bessie, met and became engaged while
they were students at the University of the Philippines in 1936. I was
also introduced to Fernando Poe, Sr., by my sister that same year.
8. Fernando Poe, Sr., and my sister Bessie had their first child in 1938.
9. Fernando Poe, Sr., my sister Bessie and their first three children, Elizabeth,
Ronald, Allan and Fernando II, and myself lived together with our
mother at our family's house on Dakota St. (now Jorge Bocobo St.),
Malate until the liberation of Manila in 1945, except for some months
between 1943-1944.
10. Fernando Poe, Sr., and my sister, Bessie, were blessed with four (4) more
children after Ronald Allan Poe.
xxxxxxxxx

18. I am executing this Declaration to attest to the fact that my nephew,


Ronald Allan Poe is a natural born Filipino, and that he is the legitimate
child of Fernando Poe, Sr.
Done in City of Stockton, California, U.S.A., this 12th day of January 2004.
Ruby Kelley Mangahas
Declarant
DNA Testing
In case proof of filiation or paternity would be unlikely to satisfactorily
establish or would be difficult to obtain, DNA testing, which examines genetic
codes obtained from body cells of the illegitimate child and any physical
residue of the long dead parent could be resorted to. A positive match would
clear up filiation or paternity. In Tijing vs. Court of Appeals, this Court has
acknowledged the strong weight of DNA testing [42]

"Parentage will still be resolved using conventional methods unless we adopt the
modern and scientific ways available. Fortunately, we have now the facility and
expertise in using DNA test for 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 short tandem repeat
(STR) analysis. The analysis is based on the fact that the DNA of a child/person has
two (2) copies, one copy from the mother and the other from the father. The DNA
from the mother, the alleged father and the child are analyzed to establish
parentage. Of course, being a novel scientific technique, the use of DNA test as
evidence is still open to challenge. Eventually, as the appropriate case comes, courts
should not hesitate to rule on the admissibility of DNA evidence. For it was said, that
courts should apply the results of science when competently obtained in aid of
situations presented, since to reject said result is to deny progress."
Petitioners Argument For
Jurisprudential Conclusiveness
Petitioner would have it that even if Allan F. Poe were a Filipino citizen, he
could not have transmitted his citizenship to respondent FPJ, the latter being
an illegitimate child. According to 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 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 introduced by no less than
respondent himself, consisting of a birth certificate of respondent and a
marriage certificate of his parents showed that FPJ was born on 20 August
1939 to a Filipino father and an American mother who were married to each
other a year later, or on 16 September 1940. Birth to unmarried parents would
make FPJ an illegitimate child. Petitioner contended that as an illegitimate
child, FPJ so followed the citizenship of his mother, Bessie Kelley, an
American citizen, basing his stand on the ruling of this Court in Morano vs.
Vivo, citing Chiongbian vs. de Leon and Serra vs. Republic.
[43]

[44]

[45]

On the above score, the disquisition made by amicus curiae Joaquin G.


Bernas, SJ, is most convincing; he states "We must analyze these cases and ask what the lis mota was in each of them. If the
pronouncement of the Court on jus sanguinis was on the lis mota, the pronouncement
would be a decision constituting doctrine under the rule of stare decisis. But if the
pronouncement was irrelevant to the lis mota, the pronouncement would not be a
decision but a mere obiter dictum which did not establish doctrine. I therefore invite
the Court to look closely into these cases.
First, Morano vs. Vivo. The case was not about an illegitimate child of a Filipino
father. It was 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 about jus sanguinis there. The stepson did not
have the blood of the naturalized stepfather.
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 before the 1935 Constitution pursuant to Article IV, Section
1(2) of the 1935 Constitution. No one was illegitimate here.
Third, Serra vs. Republic. The case was not about the illegitimate son of a Filipino
father. Serra 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 nothing there about invidious jus sanguinis.
Finally, Paa vs. Chan. This is a more complicated case. The case was about the
citizenship of Quintin Chan who was the son of Leoncio Chan. Quintin Chan claimed
[46]

that his father, Leoncio, was the illegitimate son of a Chinese father and a Filipino
mother. Quintin therefore argued that he got his citizenship from Leoncio, his
father. But the Supreme Court said that there was no valid proof that Leoncio was in
fact the son of a Filipina mother. The Court therefore concluded that Leoncio was not
Filipino. If Leoncio was not Filipino, neither was his son Quintin. Quintin therefore
was not only not a natural-born Filipino but was not even a Filipino.
The Court should have stopped there. But instead it followed with an obiter
dictum. The Court 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 assumption, was absolutely unnecessary for the
case. x x x It was obiter dictum, pure and simple, simply repeating the obiter dictum
in Morano vs. Vivo.
xxxxxxxxx
"Aside from the fact that such a pronouncement would have no textual foundation in
the Constitution, it would also violate the equal protection clause of the Constitution
not once but twice. First, it would make an illegitimate distinction between a
legitimate child and an illegitimate child, and second, it would make an illegitimate
distinction between the illegitimate child of a Filipino father and the illegitimate child
of a Filipino mother.
The doctrine on constitutionally allowable distinctions was established long ago by
People vs. Cayat. 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 differences may justify distinction for one purpose
but not for another purpose.
[47]

x x x What is the relevance of legitimacy or illegitimacy to elective public


service? What possible state interest can there be for disqualifying an illegitimate
child from becoming a public officer. It was not the fault of the child that his parents
had illicit liaison. Why deprive the child of the fullness of political rights for no fault
of his own? To disqualify an illegitimate child from holding an important public office
is to punish him for the indiscretion of his parents. There is 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 reprobated.
The other amici curiae, Mr. Justice Vicente Mendoza (a former member of
this Court), Professor 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.

Where jurisprudence regarded an illegitimate child as taking after the


citizenship of its mother, it did so for the benefit the child. It was to ensure a
Filipino nationality for the illegitimate child of an alien father in line with the
assumption that the mother had custody, would exercise parental authority
and had the duty to support her illegitimate child. It was to help the child, not
to prejudice or discriminate against him.
The fact of the matter perhaps the most significant consideration is that
the 1935 Constitution, the fundamental law prevailing on the day, month and
year of birth of respondent FPJ, can never be more explicit than it
is. Providing neither conditions nor distinctions, the Constitution states that
among the citizens of the Philippines are those whose fathers are citizens of
the Philippines. There utterly is no cogent justification to prescribe conditions
or distinctions where there clearly are none provided.
In Sum
(1) The Court, in the exercise of its power of judicial review, possesses
jurisdiction over the petition in G. R. No. 161824, filed under Rule 64, in
relation to Rule 65, of the Revised Rules of Civil Procedure. G.R. No. 161824
assails the resolution of the COMELEC for alleged grave abuse of discretion
in dismissing, for lack of merit, the petition in SPA No. 04-003 which has
prayed for the disqualification of respondent FPJ from running for the position
of President in the 10th May 2004 national elections on the contention that FPJ
has committed material representation in his certificate of candidacy by
representing himself to be a natural-born citizen of the Philippines.
(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 latters 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, must not only be material, but also deliberate and willful.
[48]

WHEREFORE, the Court RESOLVES to DISMISS


1. G. R. No. 161434, entitled "Maria Jeanette C. Tecson and Felix B.
Desiderio, Jr., Petitioners, versus Commission on Elections, Ronald Allan
Kelley Poe (a.k.a. "Fernando Poe, Jr.,) and 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 jurisdiction.
2. 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., for failure to show grave abuse of discretion on the part of
respondent Commission on Elections in dismissing the petition in SPA No. 04003.
No Costs.
SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 160869

May 11, 2007

AASJS (ADVOCATES AND ADHERENTS OF SOCIAL JUSTICE FOR SCHOOL TEACHERS AND
ALLIED WORKERS) MEMBER - HECTOR GUMANGAN CALILUNG, Petitioner,
vs.
THE HONORABLE SIMEON DATUMANONG, in his official capacity as the Secretary of
Justice,Respondent.
DECISION
QUISUMBING, J.:
This is an original action for prohibition under Rule 65 of the 1997 Revised Rules of Civil Procedure.
Petitioner filed the instant petition against respondent, then Secretary of Justice Simeon
Datumanong, the official tasked to implement laws governing citizenship. 1 Petitioner prays that a writ
of prohibition be issued to stop respondent from implementing Republic Act No. 9225, entitled "An
Act Making the Citizenship of Philippine Citizens Who Acquire Foreign Citizenship Permanent,
Amending for the Purpose Commonwealth Act No. 63, As Amended, and for Other Purposes."
Petitioner avers that Rep. Act No. 9225 is unconstitutional as it violates Section 5, Article IV of the
1987 Constitution that states, "Dual allegiance of citizens is inimical to the national interest and shall
be dealt with by law."
Rep. Act No. 9225, signed into law by President Gloria M. Arroyo on August 29, 2003, reads:
SECTION 1. Short Title.-This Act shall be known as the "Citizenship Retention and Reacquisition Act
of 2003."
SEC. 2. Declaration of Policy.-It is hereby declared the policy of the State that all Philippine citizens
who become citizens of another country shall be deemed not to have lost their Philippine citizenship
under the conditions of this Act.
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
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:
"I ___________________________, solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the
Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines and obey the laws and legal orders promulgated by
the duly constituted authorities of the Philippines; and I hereby declare that I recognize and accept
the supreme authority of the Philippines and will maintain true faith and allegiance thereto; and that I
impose this obligation upon myself voluntarily without mental reservation or purpose of evasion."
Natural-born citizens of the Philippines who, after the effectivity of this Act, become citizens of a
foreign country shall retain their Philippine citizenship upon taking the aforesaid oath.

SEC. 4. Derivative Citizenship. - The unmarried child, whether legitimate, illegitimate or adopted,
below eighteen (18) years of age, of those who reacquire Philippine citizenship upon effectivity of
this Act shall be deemed citizens of the Philippines.
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
liabilities and responsibilities under existing laws of the Philippines and the following conditions:
(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 Voting Act of 2003" and other existing laws;
(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 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 Republic of the Philippines and its duly constituted authorities prior to their assumption of
office: Provided, That they renounce their oath of allegiance to the country where they took
that oath;
(4) Those intending to practice their profession in the Philippines shall apply with the proper
authority for a license or permit to engage in such practice; and
(5) That right to vote or be elected or appointed to any public office in the Philippines cannot
be exercised by, or extended to, those who:
(a) are candidates for or are occupying any public office in the country of which they are
naturalized citizens; and/or
(b) are in the active service as commissioned or noncommissioned officers in the armed
forces of the country which they are naturalized citizens.
SEC. 6. Separability Clause. - If any section or provision of this Act is held unconstitutional or invalid,
any other section or provision not affected thereby shall remain valid and effective.
SEC. 7. Repealing Clause. - All laws, decrees, orders, rules and regulations inconsistent with the
provisions of this Act are hereby repealed or modified accordingly.
SEC. 8. Effectivity Clause. - This Act shall take effect after fifteen (15) days following its publication
in the Official Gazette or two (2) newspapers of general circulation.
In this petition for prohibition, the following issues have been raised: (1) Is Rep. Act No. 9225
unconstitutional? (2) Does this Court have jurisdiction to pass upon the issue of dual allegiance?

We shall discuss these issues jointly.


Petitioner contends that Rep. Act No. 9225 cheapens Philippine citizenship. He avers that Sections 2
and 3 of Rep. Act No. 9225, together, allow dual allegiance and not dual citizenship. Petitioner
maintains that Section 2 allows all Filipinos, either natural-born or naturalized, who become foreign
citizens, to retain their Philippine citizenship without losing their foreign citizenship. Section 3 permits
dual allegiance because said law allows natural-born citizens of the Philippines to regain their
Philippine citizenship by simply taking an oath of allegiance without forfeiting their foreign
allegiance.2 The Constitution, however, is categorical that dual allegiance is inimical to the national
interest.
The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) claims that Section 2 merely declares as a state policy that
"Philippine citizens who become citizens of another country shall be deemed not to have lost their
Philippine citizenship." The OSG further claims that the oath in Section 3 does not allow dual
allegiance since the oath taken by the former Filipino citizen is an effective renunciation and
repudiation of his foreign citizenship. The fact that the applicant taking the oath recognizes and
accepts the supreme authority of the Philippines is an unmistakable and categorical affirmation of his
undivided loyalty to the Republic.3
In resolving the aforecited issues in this case, resort to the deliberations of Congress is necessary to
determine the intent of the legislative branch in drafting the assailed law. During the deliberations,
the issue of whether Rep. Act No. 9225 would allow dual allegiance had in fact been the subject of
debate. The record of the legislative deliberations reveals the following:
xxxx
Pursuing his point, Rep. Dilangalen noted that under the measure, two situations exist - - the
retention of foreign citizenship, and the reacquisition of Philippine citizenship. In this case, he
observed that there are two citizenships and therefore, two allegiances. He pointed out that under
the Constitution, dual allegiance is inimical to public interest. He thereafter asked whether with the
creation of dual allegiance by reason of retention of foreign citizenship and the reacquisition of
Philippine citizenship, there will now be a violation of the Constitution
Rep. Locsin underscored that the measure does not seek to address the constitutional injunction on
dual allegiance as inimical to public interest. He said that the proposed law aims to facilitate the
reacquisition of Philippine citizenship by speedy means. However, he said that in one sense, it
addresses the problem of dual citizenship by requiring the taking of an oath. He explained that the
problem of dual citizenship is transferred from the Philippines to the foreign country because the
latest oath that will be taken by the former Filipino is one of allegiance to the Philippines and not to
the United States, as the case may be. He added that this is a matter which the Philippine
government will have no concern and competence over.
Rep. Dilangalen asked why this will no longer be the country's concern, when dual allegiance is
involved.

Rep. Locsin clarified that this was precisely his objection to the original version of the bill, which did
not require an oath of allegiance. Since the measure now requires this oath, the problem of dual
allegiance is transferred from the Philippines to the foreign country concerned, he explained.
xxxx
Rep. Dilangalen asked whether in the particular case, the person did not denounce his foreign
citizenship and therefore still owes allegiance to the foreign government, and at the same time, owes
his allegiance to the Philippine government, such that there is now a case of dual citizenship and
dual allegiance.
Rep. Locsin clarified that by swearing to the supreme authority of the Republic, the person implicitly
renounces his foreign citizenship. However, he said that this is not a matter that he wishes to
address in Congress because he is not a member of a foreign parliament but a Member of the
House.
xxxx
Rep. Locsin replied that it is imperative that those who have dual allegiance contrary to national
interest should be dealt with by law. However, he said that the dual allegiance problem is not
addressed in the bill. He then cited the Declaration of Policy in the bill which states that "It is hereby
declared the policy of the State that all citizens who become citizens of another country shall be
deemed not to have lost their Philippine citizenship under the conditions of this Act." He stressed that
what the bill does is recognize Philippine citizenship but says nothing about the other citizenship.
Rep. Locsin further pointed out that the problem of dual allegiance is created wherein a natural-born
citizen of the Philippines takes an oath of allegiance to another country and in that oath says that he
abjures and absolutely renounces all allegiance to his country of origin and swears allegiance to that
foreign country. The original Bill had left it at this stage, he explained. In the present measure, he
clarified, a person is required to take an oath and the last he utters is one of allegiance to the
country. He then said that the problem of dual allegiance is no longer the problem of the Philippines
but of the other foreign country.4 (Emphasis supplied.)
From the above excerpts of the legislative record, it is clear that the intent of the legislature in
drafting Rep. Act No. 9225 is to do away with the provision in Commonwealth Act No. 63 5 which
takes away Philippine citizenship from natural-born Filipinos who become naturalized citizens of
other countries. What Rep. Act No. 9225 does is allow dual citizenship to natural-born Filipino
citizens who have lost Philippine citizenship by reason of their naturalization as citizens of a foreign
country. On its face, it does not recognize dual allegiance. By swearing to the supreme authority of
the Republic, the person implicitly renounces his foreign citizenship. Plainly, from Section 3, Rep. Act
No. 9225 stayed clear out of the problem of dual allegiance and shifted the burden of confronting the
issue of whether or not there is dual allegiance to the concerned foreign country. What happens to
the other citizenship was not made a concern of Rep. Act No. 9225.
Petitioner likewise advances the proposition that although Congress has not yet passed any law on
the matter of dual allegiance, such absence of a law should not be justification why this Court could

not rule on the issue. He further contends that while it is true that there is no enabling law yet on dual
allegiance, the Supreme Court, through Mercado v. Manzano, 6 already had drawn up the guidelines
on how to distinguish dual allegiance from dual citizenship. 7
For its part, the OSG counters that pursuant to Section 5, Article IV of the 1987 Constitution, dual
allegiance shall be dealt with by law. Thus, until a law on dual allegiance is enacted by Congress,
the Supreme Court is without any jurisdiction to entertain issues regarding dual allegiance. 8
To begin with, Section 5, Article IV of the Constitution is a declaration of a policy and it is not a selfexecuting provision. The legislature still has to enact the law on dual allegiance. In Sections 2 and 3
of Rep. Act No. 9225, the framers were not concerned with dual citizenship per se, but with the
status of naturalized citizens who maintain their allegiance to their countries of origin even after their
naturalization.9 Congress was given a mandate to draft a law that would set specific parameters of
what really constitutes dual allegiance.10 Until this is done, it would be premature for the judicial
department, including this Court, to rule on issues pertaining to dual allegiance.
Neither can we subscribe to the proposition of petitioner that a law is not needed since the case of
Mercado had already set the guidelines for determining dual allegiance. Petitioner
misreads Mercado. That case did not set the parameters of what constitutes dual allegiance but
merely made a distinction between dual allegiance and dual citizenship.
Moreover, in Estrada v. Sandiganbayan,11 we said that the courts must assume that the legislature is
ever conscious of the borders and edges of its plenary powers, and passed laws with full knowledge
of the facts and for the purpose of promoting what is right and advancing the welfare of the majority.
Hence, in determining whether the acts of the legislature are in tune with the fundamental law, we
must proceed with judicial restraint and act with caution and forbearance. 12 The doctrine of
separation of powers demands no less. We cannot arrogate the duty of setting the parameters of
what constitutes dual allegiance when the Constitution itself has clearly delegated the duty of
determining what acts constitute dual allegiance for study and legislation by Congress.
WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DISMISSED for lack of merit.
SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. L-30241

December 29, 1928

GREGORIO NUVAL, petitioner-appellant,


vs.
NORBERTO GURAY, ET AL., respondents.
NORBERTO GURAY, appelllee.
Mabanag and Primicias, Gibbs and McDonough, and Mariano Alisangco for appellant.
Sison and Siguion and Franciscco Ortega for appellee.

VILLA-REAL, J.:
This appeal was taken by the petitioner Gregorio Nuval from the judgment of the Court of First
Instance of La Union, upholding the defense of res judicata and dismissing the quo
warranto proceedings instituted by the said Gregorio Nuval against Norbeto Guray and others, with
costs against the petitioner.
In support of his appeal, the appellant assign the following alleged errors as committed by the trial
court in its judgment, to wit:
1. The lower court erred in holding that the judgment rendered upon Gregorio Nuval's
petition for the cancellation of Norbeto Guray's name on the election list of Luna is conclude
and constitutes res judiata in the present case.
2. The trial court erred in not holding that Norbeto Guray at the time of his election, was
ineligible for the office of the residence in said municipality.
3. The lower court erred in not finding in its judgment that the petitioner is entitled to hold the
office in question.
In regard to the first assignment of error, the evidence adduced during the trial of the case shows:
That on May 11, 1928, and within the period fixed by section 437 of the Administrative Code, as
amended by Act No. 3387, Gregorio Nuval filed, in civil case No. 1442 of the Court of First Instance
of La Union, in his dual capacity as a voter duly qualified and registered in the election list of the
municipality of Luna and as a duly registered candidate for the office of municipal president of said
municipality, a petition against Norberto Guray asking for the exclusion of his name from the election
list of said municipality, not being a qualified voter of said municipality sine he had not resided
therein for six months as required by section 431 of the said Administrative Code.
Proceedings were had upon the petition in accordance with sections 437 and 438 of the same Code,
as amended by Act No. 3387, and Judge E. Araneta Diaz, rendered judgment dismissing it because,
in his opinion, Norberto Guray was a bona fide resident of the municipality of Luna from Janury 1,
1927. As that order was not appealable, Norberto Guray's name remained in the election list of the
municipality of Luna.
The general election having been held on June 5, 1928, Norbeto Guray was elected to the office of
municipal president of Luna by a plurality of votes, Gregorio Nuval obtaining second place. On June
7, 1928, the municipal council of Luna, acting as the municipal, Norberto Guray, elected to the office
of municipal president of the said municipality of Luna for the next triennium.
On June 18, 1928, Gregorio Nuval filed the present action of quo warranto as provided in section
408 of the Administrative Code, as amended by Act No. 3387, asking that Norberto Guray be
declared ineligible had a legal residence of one year previuos to the election as required by section
2174 of the said Administrative Code in order to be eligible to an elective municipal office.

The question to be solved under the first assignment of error is whether or not the judgment
rendered in the case of the petition for the exclusion of Norberto Guray's name from the election list
of Luna, is res judicata, so as to prevent the institution and prosecution of an action in quo warranto,
which is now before us.
The procedure prescribed by section 437 of the Administrative Code, as amended by Act. No. 3387
is of a summary character and the judgment rendered therein is not appealable except when the
petition is tried before the justice of the peace of the capital or the circuit judge, in which case it may
be appealed to the judge of first instance, with whom said two lower judges have concurrent
jurisdiction.
The petition for execution was presented by Gregorio Nuval in his capacity as qualified voter of the
municipality of Luna, and as a duly registered candidate for the office of the president of said
municipality, against Norberto Guray as a registered voter in the election list of said municipality. The
present proceedings of quo warranto was intreposed by Gregorio Nuval in his capacity as a
registered candidate voted for the office of municipal president of Luna, against Norberto Guray, as
an elected candidate for the same office. Therefore, there is no identity of parties in the two cases,
since it is not enough that there be an identity of persons, but there must be an identity of capacities
in which said persons litigate. (Art. 1259 of the Civil Code; Bowler vs. Estate of Alvarez, 23 Phil.,
561; 34 Corpus Juris, p. 756, par. 1165.)
In said case for the petition for the exclusion, the object of the litigation, or the litigious matter was
the conclusion of Norberto Guray as a voter from the election list of the municipality of Luna, while in
the present quo warranto proceeding, the object of the litigation, or the litigious matter in his
exclusion or expulsion from the office to which he has been elected. Neither does there exist, then,
any identity in the object of the litigation, or the litigious matter.
In said case of the petition for exclusion, the cause of action was that Norberto Guray had not the six
months' legal residence in the municipality of Luna to be a qualified voter thereof, while in the
present proceedings of quo warranto, the case of this action is that Norberto Guray has not the one
year's legal residence required for the eligibility to the office of municipal president of Luna. Neither
does there exist, therefore, identity of causes of action.
In order that res judicata may exist the following are necessary: (a) Identity of parties; (b) identity of
things; and (c) identity of issues (Aquino vs. Director of Lands, 39 Phil., 850). And as in the case of
the petition for exclusion and in the present quo warranto proceeding, as there is no identity either of
parties, or of things or litigious matter, or of issues or causes of action, there is no res judicata.
1awphi1.net

For the above considerations, the trial court erred in holding that the judgment rendered in the case
on the petition of Gregorio Nuval asking for the cancellation of Norberto Guray's name in the election
list of Luna is conclusive and constitutes res judicata in the present case.
With respect to the second assignment of error, the evidence establishes the following facts:
Up to June 27, 1922, Norberto Guray had resided in the municipality of Luna, his birthplace, where
he had married and had held the office of municipal treasurer. On that date he was appointed

municipal treasurer of Balaoan, Province of La Union. The rules of the provincial treasurer of La
Union, to which Norberto Guray was subject as such municipal treasurer, require that municipality
treasurers live continuously in the municipality where they perform they official duties, in order to be
able to give an account of their acts as such treasurers at any time. In order to qualify and be in a
position to vote as an elector in Balaoan in the general election of 1925, Norberto Guray asked for
the cancellation of his name in the election lists of Luna, where he had voted in the general elections
of 1922, alleging as a ground therefore the following: "On the ground of transfer of any residence
which took place on the 28th day of June, 1922. My correct and new address is Poblacion, Balaoan,
La Union;" and in order to be registered in the subscribed affidavit Exhibit F-1 before the board of
election inspectors of precinct No. 1 of Balaoan, by virtue of which he was registered as an elector of
the said precinct, having made use of the right of suffrage in said municipality in the general
elections of 1925. In his cedula certificates issued by himself as municipal treasurer of Balaoan from
the year 1923 to 1928, included, he made it appear that his residence was the residential district of
Balaoan. In the year 1926, his wife and children who, up to that time, had lived in the municipality of
Balaoan, went back to live in the town of Luna in the house of his wife's parents, due to the high cost
of living in that municipality. Norberto Guray used to go home to Luna in the afternoons after office
hours, and there he passed the nights with his family. His children studied in the public school of
Luna. In January, 1927, he commenced the construction of a house of strong materials in Luna,
which has not yet been completed, and neither be nor his family has lived in it. On February 1, 1928,
Norberto Guray applied for and obtained vacation leave to be spent in Luna, and on the 16th of the
same month he filed his resignation by telegraph, which was accepted on the same day, also by
telegraph. Nothwithstanding that he was already provided with a cedula by himself as municipal
treasurer of Balaoan on January 31, 1928, declaring him resident of said town, he obtained another
cedula from the municipality of Luna on February 20, 1928, which was dated January 15, 1928, in
which it is presented that he resided in the barrio of Victoria, municipality of Luna, Province of La
Union. On February 23, 1928, Norberto Guray applied for and obtained the cancellation of his name
in the election list of the municipality of Balaoan, and on April 14, 1928, he applied for registration as
a voter in Luna, alleging that he had been residing in said municipality for thirty years. For this
purpose he made of the cedula certificate antedated.
In view of the facts just related, the question arises whether or not Norberto Guray had the legal
residence of one year immediately prior to the general elections of June 5, 1928, in order to be
eligible to the office of municipal president of Luna, Province of La Union.
There is no question but that when Norberto Guray accepted and assumed the office of municipal
treasurer of Balaoan, La Union, he transferred his residence from the municipality of Luna to that of
Balaoan.
The only question to determine refers to the date when he once more established his residence in
the municipality of Luna.
It is an established rule that "where a voter abandons his residence in a state and acquires one in
another state, he cannot again vote in the state of his former residence until he has qualified by a
new period of residence" (20 Corpus Juris, p. 71, par. 28). "The term 'residence' as so used is
synonymous with 'domicile,' 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." (People vs.
Bender, 144 N. Y. S., 145.)
Since Norberto Guray abandoned his first residence in the municipality of Luna and acquired
another in Balaoan, in order to vote and be a candidate in the municipality of Luna, he needed to
reacquire residence in the latter municipality for the length of time prescribed by the law, and for
such purpose, he needed not only the intention to do so, but his personal presence in said
municipality.
By reason of his office as municipal treasurer of Balaoan and on account of the rules of the
provincial treasurer of La Union, under whose jurisdiction was such municipality, Norberto Guray had
to reside and in fact resided in said municipality until the 6th of February, 1928 when he filed his
resignation from his office, which was accepted on the same date. The fact that his family moved to
the municipality of Luna in the year 1926 in order to live there in view of the high cost of living in
balaoan; the fact that his children studied in the public shool of said town; the fact that on afternoons
after hours he went home to the municipality of Luna and there passed the night with his family, are
not in themselves alone sufficient to show that from said year he had transfered his residence to said
municipality, since his wife and children lived with his father-in-law, in the latter's house that only in
the month of January, 1927, did he begin the construction of a house of strong materials, which is
not yet completed, nor occupied by himself or his family, His aftrenoon tips to Luna, according to his
own explanation given to the provincial treasurer, were made for purpose of visiting his sick father.
His own act in recording in his cedula certificates for the years 1927 and 1928 issued by himself in
his favor as municipal treasurer of Balaoan, that his place of residene was that municipality, and in
taking out a new cedula in the municipality of Luna of February 20, 1928, and having the date of its
issuance surreptitiuosly put back to January 15 1928, show that until the date of his resignation he
did not consider himself as a resident of the municipality of Luna. The fact that his wife and children
lived in Luna not in his own house but in that of his wife's father since the year 1926, cannot be
looked upon as a change of residence, since a change of residence requires an actual and
deliberate abandonment of the former (20 Corpus Juris, p. 71) and one cannot have two legal
residences at the same time.
The present case is different from that of Doctor Apacible cited by the appellee in his brief. Doctor
Apacible never had abandoned his legal residence in the Province of Batangas, nothwithstanding
that he had been living with his family in the City of Manila, taking out his cedula certificates here,
but he never exercised the right of suffrage here. Norberto Guray abandoned his legal residencce in
the municipality of Luna, transferring it to the municipality of Balaoan by reason and an account of
the requirements of the rules of the provincial treasurer of La Union, under whose jurisdiction is said
municipality, exercising his right of suffrage in the latter.
1awphi1.net

For the foregoing considerations, we are of opinion and so hold in fact and in law Norberto Guray
only abandoned his legal residence in the Municipality of Balaoan, and began to acquire another in
the municipality of Luna from Febraury 16, 1928, when he filed his resignation from the office of
municipal treasurer of Balaoan which he had been holding, and which resignation was accepted;
and on being elected municipal president of Luna in the general elections of June 5, 1928, he had
not reacquired the legal residence necessary to be validly elected to said office.

By virtue whereof, the election of respondent-appellee Norberto Guray to the office of municipal
president of Luna is hereby held to be unlawful and quashed and, in consequence, he has no right to
take possession of said office, petitioner Gregorio Nuval being the one legally elected to said office
with a right to take possession thereof, having secured second place in the election. With costs
against the respondent. So ordered.
[G.R. No. 43314. December 19, 1935.]
A. L. VELILLA, administrator of the estate of Arthur Graydon Moody, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. JUAN
POSADAS, JR., Collector of Internal Revenue, Defendant-Appellee.
Ohnick & Opisso for Appellant.
Solicitor-General Hilado for Appellee.
SYLLABUS
1. INHERITANCE TAX; DOMICILE OF TAXPAYER. To effect the abandonment of ones domicile, there must
be a deliberate and provable choice of a new domicile, coupled with actual residence in the place chosen,
with a declared or provable intent that it should be ones fixed and permanent place of abode, ones home.
There is a complete dearth of evidence in the record that M ever established a new domicile in a foreign
country.
2. INHERITANCE AND INCOME TAXES. As Ms legal domicile at the time of his death was the Philippine
Islands and his estate had its situs here, the inheritance and income taxes here involved were lawfully
collected.

DECISION

BUTTE, J.:

This is an appeal from a judgment of the Court of First Instance of Manila in an action to recover from the
defendant-appellee as Collector of Internal Revenue the sum of P77,018,39 as inheritance taxes and
P13,001.41 as income taxes assessed against the estate of Arthur G. Moody, deceased.
The parties submitted to the court an agreed statement of facts as follows:

jgc:chanrobles.com .ph

"I. That Arthur Graydon Moody died in Calcutta, India, on February 18, 1931.
"II. That Arthur Graydon Moody executed in the Philippine Islands a will, certified copy of which marked
Exhibit AA is hereto attached and made a part hereof, by virtue of which will, he bequeathed all his property
to his only sister, Ida M. Palmer, who then was and still is a citizen and resident of the State of New York,
United States of America.
"III. That on February 24, 1931, a petition for appointment of special administrator of the estate of the
deceased Arthur Graydon Moody was filed by W. Maxwell Thebaut with the Court of First Instance of Manila,
the same being designated as case No. 39113 of said court. Copy of said petition marked Exhibit BB is
hereto attached and made a part hereof.
"IV. That subsequently or on April 10, 1931, a petition was filed by Ida M. Palmer, asking for the probate of
said will of the deceased Arthur Graydon Moody, and the same was, after hearing, duly probated by the
court in a decree dated May 5, 1931. Copies of the petition and of the decree marked Exhibits CC and DD,
respectively, are hereto attached and made parts hereof.
"V. That on July 14, 1931, Ida M. Palmer was declared to be the sole and only heiress of the deceased Arthur
Graydon Moody by virtue of an order issued by the court in said case No. 39113, copy of which marked

Exhibit EE is hereto attached and made a part hereof; and that during the hearing for the declaration of
heirs, Ida M. Palmer presented as evidence a letter dated February 28, 1925, and addressed to her by
Arthur Graydon Moody, copy of which marked Exhibit FF is hereto attached and made a part hereof.
"VI. That the property left by the late Arthur Graydon Moody consisted principally of bonds and shares of
stock of corporations organized under the laws of the Philippine Islands, bank deposits and other personal
properties, as are more fully shown in the inventory of April 17, 1931, filed by the special administrator with
the court in said case No. 39113, certified copy of which inventory marked Exhibit GG is hereto attached and
made a part hereof. This stipulation does not, however, cover the respective values of said properties for the
purpose of the inheritance tax.
"VII. That on July 22, 1931, the Bureau of Internal Revenue prepared for the estate of the late Arthur
Graydon Moody an inheritance tax return, certified copy of which marked Exhibit HH is hereto attached and
made a part hereof.
"VIII. That on September 9, 1931, an income tax return for the fractional period from January 1, 1931 to
June 30, 1931, certified copy of which marked Exhibit II is hereto attached and made a part hereof, was also
prepared by the Bureau of Internal Revenue for the estate of the said deceased Arthur Graydon Moody.
"IX. That on December 3, 1931, the committee on claims and appraisals filed with the court its report,
certified copy of which marked Exhibit KK is hereto attached and made a part hereof.
"X. That on September 15, 1931, the Bureau of Internal Revenue addressed to the attorney for the
administratrix Ida M. Palmer a letter, copy of which marked Exhibit LL is hereto attached and made a part
hereof.
"XI. That on October 15, 1931, the attorney for Ida M. Palmer answered the letter of the Collector of
Internal Revenue referred to in the preceding paragraph. Said answer marked Exhibit MM is hereto attached
and made a part hereof.
"XII. That on November 4, 1931, and in answer to the letter mentioned in the preceding paragraph, the
Bureau of Internal Revenue addressed to the attorney for Ida M. Palmer another letter, copy of which
marked Exhibit NN is hereto attached and made a part hereof.
"XIII. That on December 7, 1931, the attorney for Ida M. Palmer again replied in a letter, marked Exhibit
OO, hereto attached and made a part hereof.
"XIV. That the estate of the late Arthur Graydon Moody paid under protest the sum of P50,000 on July 22,
1931, and the other sum of P40,019,75 on January 19, 1932, making a total of P90,019,75, of which
P77,018.39 covers the assessment for inheritance tax and the sum of P13,001.41 covers the assessment for
income tax against said estate.
"XV. That on January 21, 1932, the Collector of Internal Revenue overruled the protest made by Ida M.
Palmer through her attorney.
"XVI. The parties reserve their right to introduce additional evidence at the hearing of the present case.
"Manila, August 15, 1933."

cralaw virtua1aw library

In addition to the foregoing agreed statement of facts, both parties introduced oral and documentary
evidence from which it appears that Arthur G. Moody, an American citizen, came to the Philippine Islands in
1902 or 1903 and engaged actively in business in these Islands up to the time of his death in Calcutta,
India, on February 18, 1931. He had no business elsewhere and at the time of his death left an estate
consisting principally of bonds and shares of stock of corporations organized under the laws of the Philippine
Islands, bank deposits and other intangibles and personal property valued by the commissioners of appraisal
and claims at P609,767.58 and by the Collector of Internal Revenue for the purposes of inheritance tax at
P653,657.47. All of said property at the time of his death was located and had its situs within the Philippine
Islands. So far as this record shows, he left no property of any kind located anywhere else. In his will,
Exhibit AA, executed without date in Manila in accordance with the formalities of the Philippine law, in which
he bequeathed all his property to his sister, Ida M. Palmer, he stated:
jgc:chanrobles.com .ph

"I, Arthur G. Moody, a citizen of the United States of America, residing in the Philippine Islands, hereby

publish and declare the following as my last Will and Testament . . . ."

cralaw virtua1aw library

The substance of the plaintiffs cause of action is stated in paragraph 7 of his complaint as follows:

jgc:chanroble s.com.ph

"That there is no valid law or regulation of the Government of the Philippine Islands under or by virtue of
which any inheritance tax may be levied, assessed or collected upon transfer, by death and succession, of
intangible personal properties of a person not domiciled in the Philippine Islands, and the levy and collection
by defendant of inheritance tax computed upon the value of said stocks, bonds, credits and other intangible
properties as aforesaid constituted and constitutes the taking and deprivation of property without due
process of law contrary to the Bill of Rights and organic law of the Philippine Islands."
cralaw virtua1aw library

Section 1536 of the Revised Administrative Code (as amended) provides as follows:

jgc:chanrobles.com .ph

"SEC. 1536. Conditions and rate of taxation. Every transmission by virtue of inheritance, devise, bequest,
gift mortis causa or advance in anticipation of inheritance, devise, or bequest of real property located in the
Philippine Islands and real rights in such property; of any franchise which must be exercised in the Philippine
Islands; of any shares, obligations, or bonds issued by any corporation or sociedad anonima organized or
constituted in the Philippine Islands in accordance with its laws; of any shares or rights in any partnership,
business or industry established in the Philippine Islands or of any personal property located in the Philippine
Islands shall be subject to the following tax:"
x

It is alleged in the complaint that at the time of his death, Arthur G. Moody was a "non-resident of the
Philippine Islands." The answer, besides the general denial, sets up as a special defense that "Arthur G.
Moody, now deceased, was and prior to the date of his death, a resident in the City of Manila, Philippine
Islands, where he was engaged actively in business." Issue was thus joined on the question: Where was the
legal domicile of Arthur G. Moody at the time of his death?
The Solicitor-General raises a preliminary objection to the consideration of any evidence that Moodys
domicile was elsewhere than in Manila at the time of his death based on the proposition that as no such
objection was made before the Collector of Internal Revenue as one of the grounds of the protest against
the payment of the tax, this objection cannot be considered in a suit against the Collector to recover the
taxes paid under protest. He relies upon the decision in the case of W. C. Tucker v. A. C. Alexander, Collector
(15 Fed. [2], 356). We call attention, however, to the fact that this decision was reversed in 275 U. S., 232;
72 Law. ed., 256, and the case remanded for trial on the merits on the ground that the requirement that the
action shall be based upon the same grounds, and only such, as were presented in the protest had been
waived by the collector. In the case before us no copy of the taxpayers protest is included in the record and
we have no means of knowing its contents. We think, therefore, the preliminary objection made on behalf of
the appellee does not lie.
We proceed, therefore, to the consideration of the question on the merits as to whether Arthur G. Moody
was legally domiciled in the Philippine Islands on the day of his death. Moody was never married and there is
no doubt that he had his legal domicile in the Philippine Islands from 1902 or 1903 forward during which
time he accumulated a fortune from his business in the Philippine Islands. He lived in the Elks Club in Manila
for many years and was living there up to the date he left Manila the latter part of February, 1928, under the
following circumstances: He was afflicted with leprosy in an advanced stage and had been informed by Dr.
Wade that he would be reported to the Philippine authorities for confinement in the Culion Leper Colony as
required by the law. Distressed at the thought of being thus segregated and in violation of his promise to Dr.
Wade that he would voluntarily go to Culion, he surreptitiously left the Islands the latter part of February,
1928, under cover of night, on a freighter, without ticket, passport or tax clearance certificate. The record
does not show where Moody was during the remainder of the year 1928. He lived with a friend in Paris,
France, during the months of March and April of the year 1929 where he was receiving treatment for leprosy
at the Pasteur Institute. The record does not show where Moody was in the interval between April, 1929,
and November 26, 1930, on which latter date he wrote a letter, Exhibit B, to Harry Wendt of Manila, offering
to sell him his interest in the Camera Supply Company, a Philippine corporation, in which Moody owned 599
out of 603 shares. In this letter, among other things, he states: "Certainly Ill never return there to live or
enter business again." In this same letter he says:
jgc:chanroble s.com.ph

"I wish to know as soon as possible now (as to the purchase) for I have very recently decided either to sell
or put in a line of school or office supplies . . . before I go to the necessary investments in placing any side

lines. I concluded to get your definite reply to this . . . I have given our New York buying agent a conditional
order not to be executed until March and this will give you plenty of time . . . anything that kills a business is
to have it peddled around as being for sale and this is what I wish to avoid." He wrote letters dated
December 12, 1930, and January 3, 1931, along the same line to Wendt. As Moody died of leprosy less than
two months after these letters were written, there can be no doubt that he would have been immediately
segregated in the Culion Leper Colony had he returned to the Philippine Islands. He was, therefore, a
fugitive, not from justice, but from confinement in the Culion Leper Colony in accordance with the law of the
Philippine Islands.
There is no statement of Moody, oral or written, in the record that he had adopted a new domicile while he
was absent from Manila. Though he was physically present for some months in Calcutta prior to the date of
his death there, the appellant does not claim that Moody had a domicile there although it was precisely from
Calcutta that he wrote and cabled that he wished to sell his business in Manila and that he had no intention
to live there again. Much less plausible, it seems to us, is the claim that he established a legal domicile in
Paris in February, 1929. The record contains no writing whatever of Moody from Paris. There is no evidence
as to where in Paris he had any fixed abode that he intended to be his permanent home. There is no
evidence that he acquired any property in Paris or engaged in any settled business on his own account
there. There is no evidence of any affirmative factors that prove the establishment of a legal domicile there.
The negative evidence that he told Cooley that he did not intend to return to Manila does not prove that he
had established a domicile in Paris. His short stay of three months in Paris is entirely consistent with the
view that he was a transient in Paris for the purpose of receiving treatments at the Pasteur Institute. The
evidence in the record indicates clearly that Moodys continued absence from his legal domicile in the
Philippines was due to and reasonably accounted for by the same motive that caused his surreptitious
departure, namely, to evade confinement in the Culion Leper Colony; for he doubtless knew that on his
return he would be immediately confined, because his affliction became graver while he was absent than it
was on the day of his precipitous departure and he could not conceal himself in the Philippines where he was
well known, as he might do in foreign parts.
Our Civil Code (art. 40) defines the domicile of natural persons as "the place of their usual residence." The
record before us leaves no doubt in our minds that the "usual residence" of this unfortunate man, whom
appellant describes as a "fugitive" and "outcast", was in Manila where he had lived and toiled for more than
a quarter of a century, rather than in any foreign country he visited during his wanderings up to the date of
his death in Calcutta. To effect the abandonment of ones domicile, there must be a deliberate and provable
choice of a new domicile, coupled with actual residence in the place chosen, with a declared or provable
intent that it should be ones fixed and permanent place of abode, ones home. There is a complete dearth of
evidence in the record that Moody ever established a new domicile in a foreign country.
The contention under the appellants third assignment of error that the defendant collector illegally assessed
an income tax of P13,001.41 against the Moody estate is, in our opinion, untenable. The grounds for this
assessment, stated by the Collector of Internal Revenue in his letter, Exhibit NN, appear to us to be sound.
That the amount of P259,986.69 was received by the estate of Moody as dividends declared out of surplus
by the Camera Supply Company is clearly established by the evidence. The appellant contends that this
assessment involves triple taxation: First, because the corporation paid income tax on the same amount
during the years it was accumulated as surplus; second, that an inheritance tax on the same amount was
assessed against the estate, and third, the same amount is assessed as income of the estate. As to the first,
it appears from the collectors assessment, Exhibit II, that the collector allowed the estate a deduction of the
normal income tax on said amount because it had already been paid at the source by the Camera Supply
Company. The only income tax assessed against the estate was the additional tax or surtax that had not
been paid by the Camera Supply Company for which the estate, having actually received the income, is
clearly liable. As to the second alleged double taxation, it is clear that the inheritance tax and the additional
income tax in question are entirely distinct. They are assessed under different statutes and we are not
convinced by the appellants argument that the estate which received these dividends should not be held
liable for the payment of the income tax thereon because the operation was simply the conversion of the
surplus of the corporation into the property of the individual stockholders. (Cf. U. S. v. Phellis, 257 U. S.,
171, and Taft v. Bowers, 278 U. S., 460.) Section 4 of Act No. 2833 as amended, which is relied on by the
appellant, plainly provides that the income from exempt property shall be included as income subject to
tax.
Finding no merit in any of the assignments of error of the appellant, we affirm the judgment of the trial
court, first, because the property in the estate of Arthur G. Moody at the time of his death was located and
had its situs within the Philippine Islands and, second, because his legal domicile up to the time of his death
was within the Philippine Islands. Costs against the Appellant.

G.R. No. L-22041

May 19, 1966

MELECIO CLARINIO UJANO, petitioner and appellant,


vs.
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, oppositor and appellee.
Tagayuna, Arce and Tabaino for petitioner and appellant.
Office of the Solicitor General Arturo A. Alafriz, Assistant Solicitor F. C. Zaballero and Solicitor
Camilo D. Quiason for oppositor and appellee.
BAUTISTA ANGELO, J.:
Petitioner seeks to reacquire his Philippine citizenship in a petition filed before the Court of First
Instance of Ilocos Sur.
Petitioner was born 66 years ago of Filipino parents in Magsingal Ilocos Sur. He is married to
Maxima O. Ujano with whom he has one son, Prospero, who is now of legal age. He left the
Philippines for the United States of America in 1927 where after a residence of more than 20 years
he acquired American citizenship by naturalization. He returned to the Philippines on November 10,
1960 to which he was admitted merely for a temporary stay. He owns an agricultural land and a
residential house situated in Magsingal, Ilocos Sur worth not less than P5,000.00. He receives a
monthly pension of $115.00 from the Social Security Administration of the United States of America.
He has no record of conviction and it is his intention to renounce his allegiance to the U.S.A.
1wph1.t

After hearing, the court a quo rendered decision denying the petition on the ground that petitioner did
not have the residence required by law six months before he filed his petition for reacquisition of
Philippine citizenship. Hence the present appeal.
The court a quo, in denying the petition, made the following comment: "One of the qualifications for
reacquiring Philippine citizenship is that the applicant 'shall have resided in the Philippines at least
six months before he applies for naturalization' [Section 3(1), Commonwealth Act No. 63]. This
'residence' requirement in cases of naturalization, has already been interpreted to mean the actual
or constructive permanent home otherwise known as legal residence or domicile (Wilfredo Uytengsu
vs. Republic of the Philippines, 95 Phil. 890). A place in a country or state where he lives and stays
permanently, and to which he intends to return after a temporary absence, no matter how long, is his
domicile. In other words domicile is characterized by animus manendi. So an alien who has been
admitted into this country as a temporary visitor, either for business or pleasure, or for reasons of
health, though actually present in this country cannot be said to have established his domicile here
because the period of his stay is only temporary in nature and must leave when the purpose of his
coming is accomplished. In the present case, petitioner, who is presently a citizen of the United
States of America, was admitted into this country as a temporary visitor, a status he has maintained
at the time of the filing of the present petition for reacquisition of Philippine citizenship and which
continues up to the present. Such being the case, he has not complied with the specific requirement
of law regarding six months residence before filing his present petition."

We can hardly add to the foregoing comment of the court a quo. We find it to be a correct
interpretation [Section 3 (1) of Commonwealth Act No. 63] which requires that before a person may
reacquire his Philippine citizenship he "shall have resided in the Philippines at least six months
before he applies for naturalization." The word "residence" used therein imports not only an intention
to reside in a fixed place but also personal presence coupled with conduct indicative of such
intention (Yen vs. Republic, L-18885, January 31,1964; Nuval vs. Guray, 52 Phil. 645). Indeed, that
term cannot refer to the presence in this country of a person who has been admitted only on the
strength of a permit for temporary residence. In other words, the term residence used in said Act
should have the same connotation as that used in Commonwealth Act No. 473, the Revised
Naturalization Law, even if in approving the law permitting the reacquisition of Philippine citizenship
our Congress has liberalized its requirement by foregoing the qualifications and special
disqualifications prescribed therein. The only way by which petitioner can reacquire his lost
Philippine citizenship is by securing a quota for permanent residence so that he may come within the
purview of the residence requirement of Commonwealth Act No. 63.
Wherefore, the decision appealed from is affirmed. No costs.
G.R. No. 88831 November 8, 1990
MATEO CAASI, petitioner,
vs.
THE HON. COURT OF APPEALS and MERITO C. MIGUEL, respondents.
G.R. No. 84508 November 13, 1990
ANECITO CASCANTE petitioner,
vs.
THE COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and MERITO C. MIGUEL, respondents.
Ireneo B. Orlino for petitioner in G.R. Nos. 88831 & 84508.
Montemayor & Montemayor Law Office for private respondent.

GRIO-AQUINO, J.:
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
position of municipal mayor of Bolinao, Pangasinan, to which he was elected in the local elections of
January 18, 1988, on the ground that he is a green card holder, hence, a permanent resident of the
United States of America, not of Bolinao.
G.R. No. 84508 is a petition for review on certiorari of the decision dated January 13, 1988 of the
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
disqualification of Merito C. Miguel filed prior to the local elections on January 18, 1988.
G.R. No. 88831, Mateo Caasi vs. Court of Appeals, et al., is a petition for review of the decision
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
Bolinao, Pangasinan, also to disqualify Merito Miguel on account of his being a green card holder.
In his answer to both petitions, Miguel admitted that he holds a green card issued to him by the US
Immigration Service, but he denied that he is a permanent resident of the United States. He
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 plebiscite on
February 2,1987 for the ratification of the 1987 Constitution, and the congressional elections on May
18,1987.
After hearing the consolidated petitions before it, the COMELEC with the exception of Commissioner
Anacleto Badoy, Jr., dismissed the petitions on the ground that:
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 his having voted in successive elections
in said municipality. As the respondent meets the basic requirements of citizenship
and residence for candidates to elective local officials (sic) as 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).
In his dissenting opinion, Commissioner Badoy, Jr. opined that:
A green card holder being a permanent resident of or an immigrant of a foreign
country and 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 permanent resident or immigrant" to be qualified to
run for elected office. This respondent has not done. (p. 13, Rollo, G.R. No. 84508.)
In G.R. No. 88831, "Mateo Caasi, petitioner vs. Court of Appeals and Merito Miguel, respondents,"
the petitioner prays for a review of the decision dated June 21, 1989 of the Court of Appeals in CAG.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
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:
... it is pointless for the Regional Trial Court to hear the case questioning the
qualification of the petitioner as resident of the Philippines, after the COMELEC has
ruled that the petitioner meets the very basic requirements of citizenship and

residence for candidates to elective local officials (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 appealable
to the COMELEC. (p. 22, Rollo, G.R. No. 88831.)
These two cases pose the twin issues of: (1) whether or not a green card is proof that the holder is 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 18,
1988.
Section 18, Article XI of the 1987 Constitution provides:
Sec. 18. Public officers and employees owe the State and this Constitution
allegiance at all times, and any public officer or employee who seeks to change his
citizenship or acquire the status of an immigrant of another country during his
tenure shall be dealt with by law.
In the same vein, but not quite, Section 68 of the Omnibus Election Code of the Philippines (B.P. Blg.
881) provides:
SEC. 68. Disqualifications ... 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 said 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).
In view of current rumor that a good number of elective and appointive public officials in the present
administration of President Corazon C. Aquino are holders of green cards in foreign countries, their
effect on the holders' right to hold elective public office in the Philippines is a question that excites
much interest in the outcome of this case.
In the case of Merito Miguel, the Court deems it significant that in the "Application for Immigrant Visa
and Alien Registration" (Optional Form No. 230, Department of State) which Miguel filled up in his
own handwriting and submitted to the US Embassy in Manila before his departure for the United
States in 1984, Miguel's answer to Question No. 21 therein regarding his "Length of intended stay (if
permanently, so state)," Miguel's answer was,"Permanently."
On its face, the green card that was subsequently issued by the United States Department of Justice
and Immigration and Registration Service to the respondent Merito C. Miguel identifies him in clear
bold letters as a RESIDENT ALIEN. On the back of the card, the upper portion, the following
information is printed:
Alien Registration Receipt Card.

Person identified by this card is entitled to reside permanently and


work in the United States." (Annex A pp. 189-190, Rollo of G.R. No.
84508.)
Despite his vigorous disclaimer, Miguel's immigration to the United States in 1984 constituted an
abandonment of his domicile and residence in the Philippines. For he did not go to the United States
merely to visit his children or his doctor there; he entered the limited States with the 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 the requisite green card or
authority to reside there permanently.
Immigration is the removing into one place from another; the act of immigrating the
entering into a country with the intention of residing in it.
An immigrant is a person who removes into a country for the purpose of permanent
residence. As shown infra 84, however, statutes sometimes give a broader meaning
to the term "immigrant." (3 CJS 674.)
As a resident alien in the U.S., Miguel owes temporary and local allegiance to the U.S., the country
in which he resides (3 CJS 527). This is in return for the protection given to him during the period of
his residence therein.
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 and criminal responsibility.
In general, aliens residing in the United States, while they are permitted to remain
are entitled to the safeguards of the constitution with regard to their rights of person
and property and to their civil and criminal responsibility. Thus resident alien friends
are entitled to the benefit of the 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 livelihood by following the
ordinary occupations of life. So an alien is entitled to the protection of the provision of
the Fifth Amendment to the federal constitution that no person shall be deprived of
life, liberty, or property without due process of law. (3 CJS 529-530.)
Section 18, Article XI of the 1987 Constitution which provides that "any public officer or employee
who seeks to change his citizenship or acquire the status of an immigrant of another country during
his tenure shall be dealt with by law" is not applicable to Merito Miguel for he acquired the status of
an immigrant of the United Statesbefore he was elected to public office, not "during his tenure" as
mayor of Bolinao, Pangasinan.
The law applicable to him is Section 68 of the Omnibus Election Code (B.P. Blg. 881), which
provides:

xxx xxx xxx


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 as permanent resident or immigrant of a foreign country in
accordance with the residence requirement provided for in the election laws.'
Did Miguel, by returning to the Philippines in November 1987 and presenting himself as a candidate
for mayor of Bolinao in the January 18,1988 local elections, waive his status as a permanent
resident or immigrant of the United States?
To be "qualified to run for elective office" in the Philippines, the law requires that the candidate 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 Philippines, did
not of itself constitute a waiver of his status as a permanent resident or immigrant 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 such prior waiver, he was
"disqualified to run for any elective office" (Sec. 68, Omnibus Election Code).
Respondent Merito Miguel admits that he holds a green card, which proves that he is a permanent
resident or immigrant it of the United States, but the records of this case are starkly bare of proof
that he had waived his status as such before he ran for election as municipal mayor of Bolinao on
January 18, 1988. We, therefore, hold that he was disqualified to become a candidate for that office.
The reason for Section 68 of the Omnibus Election Code is not hard to find. Residence in the
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
qualification because he was a permanent resident of the United States and he resided in Bolinao
for a period of only three (3) months (not one year) after his return to the Philippines in November
1987 and before he ran for mayor of that municipality on January 18, 1988.
In banning from elective public office Philippine citizens who are permanent residents or 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. 87551, 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.
G.R. No. 119976 September 18, 1995
IMELDA ROMUALDEZ-MARCOS, petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and CIRILO ROY MONTEJO, respondents.

KAPUNAN, J.:
A constitutional provision should be construed as to give it effective operation and suppress the
mischief at which it is aimed. 1 The 1987 Constitution mandates that an aspirant for election to the House
of Representatives be "a registered voter in the district in which he shall be elected, and a resident
thereof for a period of not less than one year immediately preceding the election." 2 The mischief which
this provision reproduced verbatim from the 1973 Constitution seeks to prevent is the possibility of a
"stranger or newcomer unacquainted with the conditions and needs of a community and not identified
with the latter, from an elective office to serve that community." 3
Petitioner Imelda Romualdez-Marcos filed her Certificate of Candidacy for the position of
Representative of the First District of Leyte with the Provincial Election Supervisor on March 8, 1995,
providing the following information in item no. 8: 4
RESIDENCE IN THE CONSTITUENCY WHERE I SEEK TO BE ELECTED
IMMEDIATELY PRECEDING THE ELECTION: __________ Years
and seven Months.

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
Disqualification" 5 with the Commission on Elections alleging that petitioner did not meet the constitutional
requirement for residency. In his petition, private respondent contended that Mrs. Marcos lacked the
Constitution's one year residency requirement for candidates for the House of Representatives on the
evidence of declarations made by her in Voter Registration Record 94-No. 3349772 6and in her Certificate
of Candidacy. He prayed that "an order be issued declaring (petitioner) disqualified and canceling the
certificate of candidacy." 7
On March 29, 1995, petitioner filed an Amended/Corrected Certificate of Candidacy, changing the
entry "seven" months to "since childhood" in item no. 8 of the amended certificate. 8 On the same day,
the Provincial Election Supervisor of Leyte informed petitioner that:
[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 on March 20, 1995. The Corrected/Amended Certificate of Candidacy
should have been filed on or before the March 20, 1995 deadline. 9
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 said Answer, petitioner averred that the entry of the word
"seven" in her original Certificate of 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 always maintained Tacloban City as her
domicile or residence. 11 Impugning respondent's motive in filing the petition seeking her disqualification,
she noted that:
When respondent (petitioner herein) announced that she was intending to register as
a voter in 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 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 pursued such a move up to the
Supreme Court, his purpose being to remove respondent as petitioner's opponent in
the congressional election in the First District. He also filed a bill, along with other
Leyte Congressmen, seeking the creation of another legislative district to remove the
town of Tolosa out of the First District, to achieve his purpose. However, such bill did
not pass the Senate. Having failed on such moves, petitioner now filed the instant
petition for the same objective, as it is obvious that he is afraid to submit along with
respondent for the judgment and verdict of the electorate of the First District of Leyte
in an honest, orderly, peaceful, free and clean elections on May 8, 1995. 12
On April 24, 1995, the Second Division of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC), by a vote of 2
to 1, 13 came up with a Resolution 1) finding private respondent's Petition for Disqualification in SPA 95009 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 issues, namely,
the validity of amending the original Certificate of Candidacy after the lapse of the deadline for filing
certificates of candidacy, and petitioner's compliance with the one year residency requirement, the
Second Division held:

Respondent raised the affirmative defense in her Answer that the printed word
"Seven" (months) was a result of an "honest misinterpretation or honest mistake" on
her part and, therefore, an amendment should subsequently be allowed. She averred
that she thought that what was asked was her "actual and physical" presence in
Tolosa and not residence of origin or domicile in the First Legislative District, to which
she could have responded "since childhood." In an accompanying affidavit, she
stated that her domicile is Tacloban City, a component of the 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 disqualification by alleging that she has been a resident of the First
Legislative District of Leyte since childhood, although she only became a resident of
the Municipality of Tolosa for seven 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.
Along this point, it is interesting to note that prior to her registration in Tolosa,
respondent announced that she would be registering in Tacloban City so that she can
be a candidate for the 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.
This incident belies respondent's claim of "honest misinterpretation or honest
mistake." Besides, 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 what was asked was her
actual and physical presence in Tolosa is not easy to believe because there is none
in the question that insinuates about Tolosa. In fact, item no. 8 in the Certificate of
Candidacy speaks clearly of "Residency in the CONSTITUENCY where I seek to be
elected immediately preceding the election." Thus, the explanation of respondent
fails to be persuasive.
From the foregoing, respondent's defense of an honest mistake or misinterpretation,
therefore, is devoid of merit.
To further buttress respondent's contention that an amendment may be made, she
cited the case ofAlialy v. COMELEC (2 SCRA 957). The reliance of respondent on
the case of Alialy is misplaced. The case only applies to the "inconsequential
deviations which cannot affect the result of the election, or deviations from provisions
intended primarily to secure timely and orderly conduct of elections." The Supreme

Court in that case considered the amendment only as a matter of form. But in the
instant case, the amendment cannot be considered as a matter of form or an
inconsequential deviation. The change in the number of years of residence in the
place where respondent seeks to be elected is a substantial matter which determines
her qualification as a candidacy, specially those intended to suppress, accurate
material representation in the original certificate which adversely affects the filer. To
admit the amended certificate is to condone the evils brought by the shifting minds of
manipulating candidate, of the detriment of the integrity of the election.
Moreover, to allow respondent to change the seven (7) month period of her residency
in order to prolong it by claiming it was "since childhood" is to allow an untruthfulness
to be committed before this Commission. The arithmetical accuracy of the 7 months
residency the respondent 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). Said accuracy is further buttressed
by her letter to the election officer of San Juan, Metro Manila, dated August 24, 1994,
requesting for the cancellation of her registration in the Permanent List of Voters
thereat so that she can be re-registered or transferred to Brgy. Olot, Tolosa, Leyte.
The dates of these three (3) different documents show the respondent's consistent
conviction that she has transferred her residence to Olot, Tolosa, Leyte from Metro
Manila only for such limited period of time, starting in the last week of August 1994
which on March 8, 1995 will only sum up to 7 months. The Commission, therefore,
cannot be persuaded to believe in the respondent's contention that it was an error.
xxx xxx xxx
Based on these reasons the Amended/Corrected Certificate of Candidacy cannot be
admitted by this Commission.
xxx xxx xxx
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.
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 presence in-that place, coupled with conduct indicative of such intention.
Domicile denotes a fixed permanent residence to which when absent for business or
pleasure, or for like reasons, one intends to return. (Perfecto Faypon vs. Eliseo
Quirino, 96 Phil 294; Romualdez vs. RTC-Tacloban, 226 SCRA 408). In respondent's
case, when she returned to the Philippines in 1991, the residence she chose was not
Tacloban but San Juan, Metro Manila. Thus, her animus revertendi is pointed to
Metro Manila and not Tacloban.

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 constitutionally disqualified. It cannot hold ground in the face of the facts
admitted by the respondent in her affidavit. Except for the time that she studied and
worked for some years after graduation in Tacloban City, she continuously lived in
Manila. In 1959, after her husband was elected Senator, she lived and resided in San
Juan, Metro Manila where she was a registered voter. In 1965, she lived in San
Miguel, Manila where she was again a registered voter. In 1978, she served as
member of the Batasang Pambansa as the representative of the City of Manila and
later on served as the Governor of Metro Manila. She could not have served these
positions if she had not been a resident of the City of Manila. Furthermore, when she
filed her certificate of candidacy for the office of the President in 1992, she claimed to
be a resident of San Juan, Metro Manila. As a matter of fact on August 24, 1994,
respondent wrote a letter with the election officer of San Juan, Metro Manila
requesting for the cancellation of her registration in 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 resident of
many places, including Metro Manila. This debunks her claim that prior to her
residence in Tolosa, Leyte, she was a resident of the First Legislative District of Leyte
since childhood.
In this case, respondent's conduct reveals her lack of intention to make Tacloban her
domicile. She registered as a voter in different places and on several occasions
declared that she was a resident of Manila. Although she spent her school days in
Tacloban, she is considered to have abandoned such place when she chose to stay
and reside in other different places. In the case of Romualdez vs. RTC(226 SCRA
408) the Court explained how one acquires a new domicile by choice. There must
concur: (1) residence or bodily presence in the new locality; (2) intention to remain
there; and (3) intention to abandon the old domicile. In other words there must
basically be animus manendi withanimus non revertendi. When respondent chose to
stay in Ilocos and 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.
Pure intention to reside in that place is not sufficient, there must likewise be conduct
indicative of such intention. Respondent's statements to the effect that she has
always intended to return 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 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.
It is evident from these circumstances that she was not a resident of the First District
of Leyte "since childhood."

To further support the assertion that she could have not been a resident of the First
District of Leyte for more than one year, petitioner correctly pointed out that on
January 28, 1995 respondent registered as a voter at precinct No. 18-A of Olot,
Tolosa, Leyte. In doing so, she 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 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
had been a resident of the district for six months only. 15
In a Resolution promulgated a day before the May 8, 1995 elections, the COMELEC en banc denied
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:
After deliberating on the Motion for Reconsideration, the Commission RESOLVED to
DENY it, no new substantial matters having been raised therein to warrant reexamination of the resolution granting the petition for disqualification. 18
On May 11, 1995, the COMELEC issued a Resolution allowing petitioner's proclamation should the
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
issued a second Resolution directing that the proclamation of petitioner be suspended in the event
that she obtains the highest number of votes. 19
In a Supplemental Petition dated 25 May 1995, petitioner averred that she was the overwhelming
winner of the elections for the congressional seat in the First District of Leyte held May 8, 1995
based on the canvass completed by the Provincial Board of Canvassers on May 14, 1995. Petitioner
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
Supplemental Petition.
On account of the Resolutions disqualifying petitioner from running for the congressional seat of the
First District of Leyte and the public respondent's Resolution suspending her proclamation, petitioner
comes to this court for relief.
Petitioner raises several issues in her Original and Supplemental Petitions. The principal issues may
be classified into two general areas:
I. The issue of Petitioner's qualifications
Whether or not petitioner was a resident, for election purposes, of the First District of
Leyte for a period of one year at the time of the May 9, 1995 elections.
II. The Jurisdictional Issue

a) Prior to the elections


Whether or not the COMELEC properly exercised its jurisdiction in disqualifying
petitioner outside the period mandated by the Omnibus Election Code for
disqualification cases under Article 78 of the said Code.
b) After the Elections
Whether or not the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal assumed exclusive
jurisdiction over the question of petitioner's qualifications after the May 8, 1995
elections.
I. Petitioner's qualification
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,
residence is synonymous with domicile, the Resolution reveals a tendency to substitute or mistake
the concept of domicile for actual residence, a conception not intended for the purpose of
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
elective position, has a settled meaning in our jurisdiction.
Article 50 of the Civil Code decrees that "[f]or the exercise of civil rights and the fulfillment of civil
obligations, the domicile of natural persons is their place of habitual residence." In Ong
vs. 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 on facts and
circumstances in the sense that they disclose intent." 21 Based on the foregoing, domicile includes the twin
elements of "the fact of residing or physical presence in a fixed place" and animus manendi, or the
intention of returning there permanently.
Residence, in its ordinary conception, implies the factual relationship of an individual to a certain
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 when
the purpose for which the resident has taken up his abode ends. One may seek a place for purposes
such as pleasure, business, or health. If a person's intent be to remain, it becomes his 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 person can only have a
single domicile, unless, for various reasons, he successfully abandons his domicile in favor of another
domicile of choice. In Uytengsu vs. Republic, 23 we laid this distinction quite clearly:
There is a difference between domicile and residence. "Residence" is used to
indicate a place of abode, whether permanent or temporary; "domicile" denotes a
fixed permanent residence to 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 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 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 of
political laws. As these concepts have evolved in our election law, what has clearly and
unequivocally emerged is the fact that residence for election purposes is used synonymously with
domicile.
In Nuval vs. Guray, 24 the Court held that "the term residence. . . is synonymous with domicile 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 doctrine in a case
involving the qualifications of the respondent therein to the post of Municipal President of Dumaguete,
Negros Oriental. Faypon vs. Quirino, 27 held that the absence from residence to pursue studies or practice
a profession or registration as a voter other than in the place where one is elected does not constitute
loss of residence. 28 So settled is the concept (of domicile) in our election law that in these and other
election law cases, this Court has stated that the mere absence of an individual from his permanent
residence without the intention to abandon it does not result in a loss or change of domicile.
The deliberations of the 1987 Constitution on the residence qualification for certain elective positions
have placed beyond doubt the principle that when the Constitution speaks of "residence" in election
law, it actually means only "domicile" to wit:
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 residence of a candidate for the legislature? Is it actual
residence or is it the concept of domicile or constructive residence?
Mr. Davide: Madame President, insofar as the regular members of the National
Assembly are 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 was in effect lifted from the 1973 Constitution,
the interpretation given to it was domicile. 29
xxx xxx xxx

Mrs. Rosario Braid: The next question is on Section 7, page 2. I think Commissioner
Nolledo has raised the same point that "resident" has been interpreted at times as a
matter of intention rather than actual residence.
Mr. De los Reyes: Domicile.
Ms. Rosario Braid: Yes, So, would the gentleman consider at the proper time to go
back to actual residence rather than mere intention to reside?

Mr. De los Reyes: But we might encounter some difficulty especially considering that
a provision 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 physical residence. 30
In Co vs. Electoral Tribunal of the House of Representatives, 31 this Court concluded that the framers of
the 1987 Constitution obviously adhered to the definition given to the term residence in election law,
regarding it as having the same meaning as domicile. 32
In the light of the principles just discussed, has petitioner Imelda Romualdez Marcos satisfied the
residency requirement mandated by Article VI, Sec. 6 of the 1987 Constitution? Of what significance
is the questioned entry in petitioner's Certificate of Candidacy stating her residence in the First
Legislative District of Leyte as seven (7) months?
It is the fact of residence, not a statement in a certificate of candidacy which ought to be decisive in
determining whether or not and individual has satisfied the constitution's residency qualification
requirement. The said statement becomes material only when there is or appears to be a 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 statement in a
certificate of candidacy which would lead to his or her disqualification.
It stands to reason therefore, that petitioner merely committed an honest mistake in jotting the word
"seven" in the space provided for the residency qualification requirement. The circumstances leading
to her filing the questioned entry obviously resulted in the subsequent confusion which prompted
petitioner to write down the period of her actual stay in Tolosa, Leyte instead of her period of
residence in the First district, which was "since childhood" in the space provided. These
circumstances and events are amply detailed in the COMELEC's Second Division's questioned
resolution, albeit with a different interpretation. For instance, when herein petitioner announced 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, not
Tacloban City. Petitioner then registered in her place of actual residence in the First District, which is
Tolosa, Leyte, a fact which she subsequently noted down in her Certificate of Candidacy. A 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:
7. RESIDENCE (complete Address): Brgy. Olot, Tolosa, Leyte
POST OFFICE ADDRESS FOR ELECTION PURPOSES: Brgy. Olot, Tolosa, Leyte
8. RESIDENCE IN THE CONSTITUENCY WHERE I SEEK TO
BE ELECTED IMMEDIATELY PRECEDING THE ELECTION:_________ Years
and Seven Months.
Having been forced by private respondent to register in her place of actual residence in Leyte
instead of petitioner's claimed domicile, it appears that petitioner had jotted down her period of stay

in her legal residence or domicile. The juxtaposition of entries in Item 7 and Item 8 the first
requiring actual residence and the second requiring domicile coupled with the circumstances
surrounding petitioner's registration as a voter in Tolosa obviously led to her writing down an
unintended entry for which she could be disqualified. This honest mistake should not, however, be
allowed to negate the fact of residence in the First District if such fact were established by means
more convincing than a mere entry on a piece of paper.
We now proceed to the matter of petitioner's domicile.
In support of its asseveration that petitioner's domicile could not possibly be in the First District of
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
Tacloban City, she continuously lived in Manila." The Resolution additionally cites certain facts as
indicative of the fact that petitioner's domicile ought to be any place where she lived in the last 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 election of
her husband to the Philippine presidency, she lived in San Miguel, Manila where she as a voter. In
1978 and thereafter, she served as a member of the Batasang Pambansa and Governor of Metro
Manila. "She could not, have served these positions if she had not been a resident of 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
lived and maintained residences in different places. Residence, it bears repeating, implies a factual
relationship to a given place for various purposes. The absence from legal residence or domicile to
pursue a profession, to study or to do other things of a temporary or semi-permanent nature does
not constitute loss of residence. Thus, the assertion by the COMELEC 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 resident of many places" flies in the face of settled jurisprudence in which
this Court carefully made distinctions between (actual) residence and domicile for election law
purposes. In Larena vs. Teves, 33 supra, we stressed:
[T]his court is of the opinion and so holds that a person who has his own house
wherein he lives 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 the former municipality, notwithstanding his having
registered as an elector in the other municipality in question and having been a
candidate for various insular and provincial positions, stating every time that he is a
resident of the latter municipality.
More significantly, in Faypon vs. Quirino, 34 We explained that:
A citizen may leave the place of his birth to look for "greener pastures," as the saying
goes, to improve his lot, and that, of course includes study in other places, practice of
his avocation, or engaging in business. When an election is to be held, the citizen
who left his birthplace to improve his lot may desire to return to his native town to
cast his ballot but for professional or business reasons, or for any other reason, he

may not absent himself from his professional or business activities; so there he
registers himself as voter as he has the qualifications to be one and is not willing to
give up or lose the opportunity to choose the officials who are to run the government
especially in national elections. Despite such registration, the animus revertendi to
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 been deemed sufficient to constitute abandonment or loss of such
residence. It finds justification in the natural desire and longing of every person to
return to his place of birth. This strong feeling of attachment to the place of one's
birth must be overcome by positive proof of abandonment for another.
From the foregoing, it can be concluded that in its above-cited statements supporting its proposition
that petitioner was ineligible to run for the position of Representative of the First District of Leyte, the
COMELEC was obviously referring to petitioner's various places of (actual) 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 Omnibus Election Code
(B.P. 881). 35
What is undeniable, however, are the following set of facts which establish the fact of petitioner's
domicile, which we lift verbatim from the COMELEC's Second Division's assailed Resolution: 36
In or about 1938 when respondent was a little over 8 years old, she established her
domicile in 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 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 of
Representatives. In 1954, she married ex-President Ferdinand E. Marcos when he
was still a congressman of Ilocos Norte and registered there as a voter. When her
husband was elected Senator of the Republic in 1959, she and her husband lived
together in San Juan, Rizal where she registered as a voter. In 1965, when her
husband was elected President of the Republic of the Philippines, she lived with him
in Malacanang Palace and registered as a voter in San Miguel, Manila.
[I]n February 1986 (she claimed that) she and her family were abducted and
kidnapped to 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 indicated that she is a resident and registered
voter of San Juan, Metro Manila.
Applying the principles discussed to the facts found by COMELEC, what is inescapable is that
petitioner held various residences for different purposes during the last four decades. None of these
purposes unequivocally point to an intention to abandon her domicile of origin in Tacloban, 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 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 to her
domicile of origin by establishing residences in Tacloban, celebrating her birthdays and other
important personal milestones in her home province, instituting well-publicized projects for the
benefit of her province and hometown, and establishing a political power base where her siblings
and close relatives held positions of power either through the ballot or by appointment, always with
either her influence or consent. These well-publicized ties to her domicile of origin are part of the
history and lore of the quarter century of Marcos power in our country. Either they were entirely
ignored in the COMELEC'S Resolutions, or the majority of the COMELEC did not know what the rest
of the country always knew: the fact of petitioner's domicile in Tacloban, Leyte.
Private respondent in his Comment, contends that Tacloban was not petitioner's domicile of origin
because she did not live there until she was eight years old. He avers that after leaving the place in
1952, she "abandoned her residency (sic) therein for many years and . . . (could not) re-establish her
domicile in said place by merely expressing her intention to live there again." We do not agree.
First, minor follows the domicile of his parents. As domicile, once acquired is retained until a new
one is gained, it follows that in spite of the fact of petitioner's being born in Manila, Tacloban, Leyte
was her domicile of origin by operation of law. This domicile was not established only when her
father brought his family back to Leyte contrary to private respondent's averments.
Second, domicile of origin is not easily lost. To successfully effect a change of domicile, one must
demonstrate: 37
1. An actual removal or an actual change of domicile;
2. A bona fide intention of abandoning the former place of residence and establishing
a new one; and
3. Acts which correspond with the purpose.
In the absence of clear and positive proof based on these criteria, the residence of origin should be
deemed to continue. Only with evidence showing concurrence of all three requirements can the
presumption of continuity or residence be rebutted, for a change of residence requires an actual and
deliberate abandonment, and one cannot have two legal residences at the same time. 38 In the 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 of a domicile of choice
indeed occurred. To effect an abandonment requires the voluntary act of relinquishing petitioner's former
domicile with an intent to supplant the former domicile with one of her own choosing (domicilium
voluntarium).
In this connection, it cannot be correctly argued that petitioner lost her domicile of origin by 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 "residence." 39 The
presumption that the wife automatically gains the husband's domicile by operation of law upon marriage
cannot be inferred from the use of the term "residence" in Article 110 of the Civil Code because the Civil

Code is one area where the two concepts are well delineated. Dr. Arturo Tolentino, writing on this specific
area explains:

In the Civil Code, there is an obvious difference between domicile and residence.
Both terms 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
Article 110 of the Civil Code provides:
Art. 110. The husband shall fix the residence of the family. But the court may
exempt the wife from living with the husband if he should live abroad unless in the
service of the Republic.
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 spouse
automatically loses her domicile of origin in favor of the husband's choice of residence upon
marriage.
Article 110 is a virtual restatement of Article 58 of the Spanish Civil Code of 1889 which states:
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 residencia a ultramar o' a pais extranjero .
Note the use of the phrase "donde quiera su fije de residencia" in the aforequoted article, which
means wherever (the husband) wishes to establish residence. This part of the article clearly
contemplates only actual residence because it refers to a positive act of fixing a family home or
residence. Moreover, this interpretation is further strengthened by the phrase "cuando el marido
translade su residencia" in the same provision which means, "when the husband shall transfer his
residence," referring to another positive act of relocating the family to another home or place of
actual residence. The article obviously cannot be understood to refer to domicile which is a fixed,
fairly-permanent concept when it plainly connotes the possibility of transferring from one place to
another not only once, but as often as the husband may deem fit to move his family, a circumstance
more consistent with the concept of actual residence.
The right of the husband to fix the actual residence is in harmony with the intention of the law to
strengthen and unify the family, recognizing the fact that the husband and the wife bring into the
marriage different domiciles (of origin). This difference could, for the sake of family unity, be
reconciled only by allowing the husband to fix a single place of actual residence.
Very significantly, Article 110 of the Civil Code is found under Title V under the heading: RIGHTS
AND OBLIGATIONS BETWEEN HUSBAND AND WIFE. Immediately preceding Article 110 is Article
109 which obliges the husband and wife to live together, thus:

Art. 109. The husband and wife are obligated to live together, observe mutual
respect and fidelity and render mutual help and support.
The duty to live together can only be fulfilled if the husband and wife are physically together. This
takes into account the situations where the couple has many residences (as in the case of the
petitioner). If the husband has to stay in or transfer to any one of their residences, the wife should
necessarily be with him in order that they may "live together." Hence, it is illogical to conclude that
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
one of their (various) residences. As Dr. Tolentino further explains:
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 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 another.
xxx xxx xxx
Residence in the civil law is a material fact, referring to the physical presence of a
person in a place. A person can have two or more residences, such as a country
residence and a city 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 established in one place, there be an
intention to stay there permanently, even if residence is also established in some
other
place. 41
In fact, even the matter of a common residence between the husband and the wife during the
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 spouses could
not be compelled to live with each other such that the wife is either allowed to maintain a residence
different from that of her husband or, for obviously practical reasons, revert to her original domicile (apart
from being allowed to opt for a new one). In De la Vina vs. Villareal 43 this Court held that "[a] married
woman may acquire a residence or domicile separate from that of her husband during the existence of
the marriage where the husband has given cause for divorce." 44 Note that the Court allowed the wife
either to obtain new residence or to choose a new domicile in such an event. In instances where the wife
actually opts, .under the Civil Code, to live separately from her husband either by taking new residence or
reverting to her domicile of origin, the Court has held that the wife could not be compelled to live with her
husband on pain of contempt. In Arroyo vs. Vasques de Arroyo45 the Court held that:
Upon examination of the authorities, we are convinced that it is not within the
province of the courts of this country to attempt to compel one of the spouses to
cohabit with, and render 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 doctrine that an order, enforcible
(sic) by process of contempt, may be entered to compel the restitution of the purely

personal right of consortium. At best such an order can be effective for no other
purpose than to compel the spouses to live under the same roof; and he experience
of those countries where the courts of justice have assumed to compel the
cohabitation of married people shows that the policy of the practice is extremely
questionable. Thus in England, formerly the Ecclesiastical Court entertained suits for
the restitution of conjugal rights at the instance of either husband or wife; and if the
facts were found to warrant it, that court would 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 was
sometimes criticized even by the judges who felt bound to enforce such orders, and
in Weldon v. Weldon (9 P.D. 52), decided in 1883, Sir James Hannen, President in
the Probate, Divorce and Admiralty Division of the High Court of Justice, expressed
his regret that the English law on the subject was not the same as that which
prevailed in Scotland, where a decree of adherence, equivalent to the decree for the
restitution of conjugal rights in England, could be obtained by the injured spouse, but
could not be enforced by imprisonment. Accordingly, in 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 an order for the periodical payment of a stipend in the character of alimony.
In the voluminous jurisprudence of the United States, only one court, so far as we
can discover, has ever attempted to make a preemptory order requiring one of the
spouses to live with the other; and that was in a case where a wife was ordered to
follow and live with her husband, who had changed his domicile to the City of New
Orleans. The decision referred to (Bahn v. Darby, 36 La. Ann., 70) was based on a
provision of the Civil Code of Louisiana similar to article 56 of the Spanish Civil Code.
It was decided many years ago, and the doctrine evidently has not been fruitful even
in the State of Louisiana. In other states of the American Union the idea of enforcing
cohabitation by process of contempt is rejected. (21 Cyc., 1148).
In a decision of January 2, 1909, the Supreme Court of Spain appears to have
affirmed an order of the Audiencia Territorial de Valladolid requiring a wife to return to
the marital domicile, and in the alternative, upon her failure to do so, to make a
particular disposition of certain money and effects then in her possession and to
deliver to her husband, as administrator of the ganancial property, all income, rents,
and interest which might accrue to her from the property 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 than
the consequences that would be visited upon her in respect to the use and control of
her property; and it does not appear that her disobedience to that order would
necessarily have been followed by imprisonment for contempt.
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

residence, among which were San Juan, Rizal and Batac, Ilocos Norte. There is no showing which
of these places Mr. Marcos did fix as his family's residence. But assuming that Mr. Marcos had fixed
any of these places as the conjugal residence, what petitioner gained upon marriage was actual
residence. She did not lose her domicile of origin.
On the other hand, the common law concept of "matrimonial domicile" appears to have been
incorporated, as a result of our jurisprudential experiences after the drafting of the Civil Code of
1950, into the New Family Code. To underscore the difference between the intentions of the Civil
Code and the Family Code drafters, the term residence has been supplanted by the term domicile in
an entirely new provision (Art. 69) distinctly different in meaning and spirit from that found in Article
110. The provision recognizes revolutionary changes in the concept of women's rights in the
intervening years by making the choice of domicile a product of mutual agreement between the
spouses. 46
Without as much belaboring the point, the term residence may mean one thing in civil law (or under
the Civil Code) and quite another thing in political law. What stands clear is that insofar as the Civil
Code is concerned-affecting the rights and obligations of husband and wife the term residence
should only be interpreted to mean "actual residence." The inescapable conclusion derived from this
unambiguous civil law delineation therefore, is that when petitioner married the former President in
1954, she kept her domicile of origin and merely gained a new home, not a domicilium necessarium.
Even assuming for the sake of argument that petitioner gained a new "domicile" after her marriage
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 unequivocally
expressed in her letters to the Chairman of the PCGG when petitioner sought the PCGG's
permission to "rehabilitate (our) ancestral house in Tacloban and Farm in Olot, Leyte. . . to make
them livable for the Marcos family to have a home in our homeland." 47 Furthermore, petitioner
obtained her residence certificate in 1992 in Tacloban, Leyte, while living in her brother's house, an act
which supports the domiciliary intention clearly manifested in her letters to the PCGG Chairman. She
could not have gone straight to her home in San Juan, as it was in a state of disrepair, having been
previously looted by vandals. Her "homes" and "residences" following her 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 female spouse either reverts to her domicile of
origin or chooses a new one during the subsistence of the marriage, it would be highly illogical for us to
assume that she cannot regain her original domicile upon the death of her husband absent a positive act
of selecting a new one where situations exist within the subsistence of the marriage itself where the wife
gains a domicile different from her husband.
In the light of all the principles relating to residence and domicile enunciated by this court up to this
point, we are persuaded that the facts established by the parties weigh heavily in favor of a
conclusion supporting petitioner's claim of legal residence or domicile in the First District of Leyte.
II. The jurisdictional issue
Petitioner alleges that the jurisdiction of the COMELEC had already lapsed considering that the
assailed resolutions were rendered on April 24, 1995, fourteen (14) days before the election in

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 the
Constitution. This is untenable.
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 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 inMarcelino
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 preEDSA 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
questioned Resolutions dated April 24, May 7, May 11, and May 25, 1995 are hereby SET ASIDE.
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.
SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. L-12790

August 31, 1960

JOEL JIMENEZ, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
REMEDIOS CAIZARES, defendant.
Republic of the Philippines, intervenor-appellant.
Acting Solicitor General Guillermo E. Torres and Solicitor Pacifico P. de Castro for appellant.
Climaco, Ascarraga and Silang for appellee.
PADILLA, J.:
In a complaint filed on 7 June 1955 in the Court of First Instance of Zamboanga the plaintiff Joel
Jimenez prays for a decree annulling his marriage to the defendant Remedios Caizares contracted
on 3 August 1950 before a judge of the municipal court of Zamboanga City, upon the ground that the
office of her genitals or vagina was to small to allow the penetration of a male organ or penis for
copulation; that the condition of her genitals as described above existed at the time of marriage and
continues to exist; and that for that reason he left the conjugal home two nights and one day after
they had been married. On 14 June 1955 the wife was summoned and served a copy of the
complaint. She did not file an answer. On 29 September 1956, pursuant to the provisions of article
88 of the Civil Code, the Court directed the city attorney of Zamboanga to inquire whether there was
a collusion, to intervene for the State to see that the evidence for the plaintiff is not a frame-up,
concocted or fabricated. On 17 December 1956 the Court entered an order requiring the defendant
to submit to a physical examination by a competent lady physician to determine her physical
capacity for copulation and to submit, within ten days from receipt of the order, a medical certificate
on the result thereof. On 14 March 1957 the defendant was granted additional five days from notice
to comply with the order of 17 December 1956 with warning that her failure to undergo medical
examination and submit the required doctor's certificate would be deemed lack of interest on her part
in the case and that judgment upon the evidence presented by her husband would be rendered.
After hearing, at which the defendant was not present, on 11 April 1957 the Court entered a decree
annulling the marriage between the plaintiff and the defendant. On 26 April 1957 the city attorney
filed a motion for reconsideration of the decree thus entered, upon the ground, among others, that
the defendant's impotency has not been satisfactorily established as required by law; that she had
not been physically examined because she had refused to be examined; that instead of annulling the

marriage the Court should have punished her for contempt of court and compelled her to undergo a
physical examination and submit a medical certificate; and that the decree sought to be
reconsidered would open the door to married couples, who want to end their marriage to collude or
connive with each other by just alleging impotency of one of them. He prayed that the complaint be
dismissed or that the wife be subjected to a physical examination. Pending resolution of his motion,
the city attorney timely appealed from the decree. On 13 May 1957 the motion for reconsideration
was denied.
The question to determine is whether the marriage in question may be annulled on the strength only
of the lone testimony of the husband who claimed and testified that his wife was and is impotent.
The latter did not answer the complaint, was absent during the hearing, and refused to submit to a
medical examination.
Marriage in this country is an institution in which the community is deeply interested. The state has
surrounded it with safeguards to maintain its purity, continuity and permanence. The security and
stability of the state are largely dependent upon it. It is the interest of each and every member of the
community to prevent the bringing about of a condition that would shake its foundation and ultimately
lead to its destruction. The incidents of the status are governed by law, not by will of the parties. The
law specifically enumerates the legal grounds, that must be proved to exist by indubitable evidence,
to annul a marriage. In the case at bar, the annulment of the marriage in question was decreed upon
the sole testimony of the husband who was expected to give testimony tending or aiming at securing
the annulment of his marriage he sought and seeks. Whether the wife is really impotent cannot be
deemed to have been satisfactorily established, becase from the commencement of the proceedings
until the entry of the decree she had abstained from taking part therein. Although her refusal to be
examined or failure to appear in court show indifference on her part, yet from such attitude the
presumption arising out of the suppression of evidence could not arise or be inferred because
women of this country are by nature coy, bashful and shy and would not submit to a physical
examination unless compelled to by competent authority. This the Court may do without doing
violence to and infringing in this case is not self-incrimination. She is not charged with any offense.
She is not being compelled to be a witness against herself. 1 "Impotency being an abnormal condition
should not be presumed. The presumption is in favor of potency." 2 The lone testimony of the
husband that his wife is physically incapable of sexual intercourse is insufficient to tear asunder the
ties that have bound them together as husband and wife.
The decree appealed from is set aside and the case remanded to the lower court for further
proceedings in accordance with this decision, without pronouncement as to costs.
Paras, C.J., Bengzon, Bautista Angelo, Labrador, Concepcion, Reyes, J.B.L., Barrera, Gutierrez
David, and Dizon, JJ. concur.
G.R. No. L-7487 December 29, 1913
CONSTANZA YAEZ DE BARNUEVO, plaintiff and appellant,
vs.
GABRIEL FUSTER, defendant and appellant.

O'Brien & DeWitt for plaintiff.


Chicote & Miranda for defendant.

JOHNSON, J.:
On the 7th of February, 1875, Gabriel Fuster and Constanza Yaez were joined in a Catholic or
canonical marriage in the city of Malaga, Spain. In February of 1892, Gabriel Fuster came to the
Philippine Islands, settled, and acquired real and personal property. Toward the middle of 1896,
Constanza Yaez came to Manila, where her husband was residing, and here lived with him in
conjugal relations until the month of April, 1899. On the 4th day of that month and year they made an
agreement, in a public document, by which they "resolved to separate and live apart, both
consenting to such separation, and by virtue thereof the husband authorized the wife to move to
Spain, there to reside in such place as the said lady pleases." (B. of E., p. 13.) In the same
document, the husband undertook to send his wife the sum of 300 pesetas monthly for her support,
payable in Madrid, Spain, from the month of June of the said year 1899. The husband complied with
this obligation until August, 1899, after which time he ceased to make further payments.
In the beginning of March, 1909, the wife returned to the Philippines, but the husband had absented
himself therefrom in the early days of February of the same year. On the 11th of March, 1909, the
wife commenced divorce proceedings against her husband, alleging as cause of action the adultery
committed by him in or about the year 1899 with a certain woman that she named in the complaint
and with whom he had lived and cohabited and by whom he had had two children. She prayed that
she be granted a decree of divorce; that the court order the separation of the properties of the
plaintiff and the defendant, to date from the date of the said decree; that the conjugal society be
therefore liquidated, and after the amount of the conjugal property had been determined, that onehalf thereof be adjudicated to her; furthermore, as to the amount of pension owing for her support
but not paid to her, that the defendant be ordered to pay her the sum of 36,000 Spanish pesetas,
that is, 7,220 Spanish dollars, which, reduced to Philippine currency at the rate of exchange on the
date of the complaint, amounted to P12,959.90.
The defendant denied that either he or his wife was a resident of the city of Manila, as they had their
domicile in Barcelona, Spain, and he alleged that both of them were natives and subjects of Spain.
He admitted that he was married to Constanza Yaez; he also admitted having executed the
document of the 4th of April, 1899, in which he had undertaken to make an allowance for the support
of his wife in Madrid, but he denied the other paragraphs of the complaint. As a special defense with
regard to the allowance, he alleged: "That in or about the month of May, 1900, he wrote to his wife,
the plaintiff, instructing her to return to Manila, with a view of joining her husband and being
maintained by him in his own house; that the communication was ignored by the plaintiff, who
against the will of the defendant, continued to live separately from him that from the year 1901, the
defendant did not know her address; that since 1900, the plaintiff has lived in comfort and has known
where her husband resided; that the plaintiff, during all of the time referred to, in addition to
dispossing of valuable property belonging to her husband, possessed and still possesses property of
her own, acquired by her, in greater amount than that owned by her husband; and that in any case
the action has prescribed by operation of law."(B. of E., pp. 7 and 8.) As to the divorce, he admits

that he had by the plaintiff two children that have died. He expressly denied the contents of
paragraph 5 of the complaint, relating to the charge of adultery and also those of paragraphs 6, 7,
and 8, concerning the possession of real and personal property of the conjugal partnership, the
statement of their amount, and their qualification as being all conjugal property. As a special
defense, he alleged that prior to the year 1899 he conferred powers of attorney upon the plaintiff to
administer and collect property and credits pertaining to him to the value of about 200,000 pesos;
that the plaintiff accepted and exercised the said power of attorney, attached the property and
collected the credits without ever having rendered any account of them. As a special preferred
defense, he alleged that neither the trial court nor any other court in the Philippine Islands has
jurisdiction over the subject matter of the complaint, because, as to the allowance for support, since
neither the plaintiff nor the defendant are residents of Manila, or of any other place in the Philippine
Islands, the agreement upon the subject was neither celebrated, nor was it to be fulfilled, in the
Philippine Islands; and as to the divorce, because the action therefore ought to be tried by the
ecclesiastical courts. In conclusion, he prayed that the court find: That the court was without
jurisdiction over the two causes of action; that even if it had jurisdiction, it could not order the
payment of the sum claimed as arrears of alimony; that, after all, the action with regard to this cause
of action has prescribed; and as to the prayer for a decree of divorce, the defendant should be
acquitted, while on the other hand the plaintiff should be required to render to the defendant an
accounting, supported by proofs, of her operations as his attorney and administratrix of his property
in Spain.
In deciding the case, the Court of First Instance of the city of Manila held itself to have jurisdiction,
decreed the suspension of life in common between the plaintiff and defendant, ordered the latter to
pay the former P5,010.17, directed that the communal property be divided between the parties, with
costs against the defendant, and in event that the parties could not agree to the division, it was to be
effected by commissioners according to law.
Both parties appealed from this judgment, but notwithstanding the appeal, the partition of the
property, by means of commissioners, was proceeded with. These latter, after various vicissitudes,
rendered their report and account of the partition to the court, who then rendered final judgment,
from which, also, both parties appealed.
I. DEFENDANT'S APPEAL.
The first error assigned is the utter lack of jurisdiction of the trial court and of all other courts of the
Islands to try the case, either with regard to the fulfillment of the contract to furnish alimony, or to
decree a divorce or suspension of life in common between the spouses: lack of jurisdiction over the
persons and over the subject matter of the litigation; and over the persons of the contending parties,
because neither of the spouses was a resident of the Philippines on the date of the complaint.
The lower court did not commit this error attributed to him. The defendant had not proved that he
had elsewhere a legal domicile other than that which he manifestly had in the Philippines during the
seventeen years preceding the date of the complaint. On the contrary, it plainly appears, without
proof to the contrary, that during this not inconsiderable period, extending from the year 1892 until a
month prior to the arrival of his wife in the Philippines in March, 1909, he had constantly resided in
the said Islands, had kept open house, and had acquired in the city of Manila quite a little real

property which is now the object of the division of the conjugal society. It is also plainly shown,
without proof to the contrary, that his wife resided in this city of Manila from the middle of 1896 until
April, 1899, at which time she was permitted by him to change her residence. It is affirmed by the
defendant in point five of his answer to the complaint, that in May, 1900, he sent a
letter instructing the plaintiff to return to Manila to live with her husband and to be supported by him
in his house, but that the plaintiff, against the will of the defendant, continued to live part from him.
(B. of E., p. 7.) It is also affirmed in the said answer, that during all of the time referred to in the
complaint, and especially since 1900, the plaintiff knew where her husband resided. (B. of E., p. 7.) It
is also very evident that the contract, by virtue of which he authorized his wife to move to Spain
and residethere in such place as was agreeable to her, was executed in these Islands, "in the city of
Manila on the 4th of April, 1889," as is to be seen in the heading of the document. (B. of E., p. 12.)
Finally, at page 11 of his brief, he says that the record shows him to be a Spanish subject, inscribed
in the consulate of his nation, and cities article 26 of the Civil Code, the Treaty of Paris and the
Philippine Bill.
Granting these facts, there can be no doubt that the defendant, although a Spanish subject, was a
resident of these Islands. Article 26 of the Civil Code that he cites itself provides that "Spaniards who
change their domicile to a foreign country, where they may be considered as natives without other
conditions than that of residents therein, shall be required, in order to preserve the Spanish
nationality, to state that such is their wish before the Spanish diplomatic or consular agent, who must
record them in the registry of Spanish residents, as well as their spouses, should they be married,
and any children they may have." From this provision, which is the exclusive and irrefutable law
governing the defendant, we are to conclude that the domicile of the defendant and the plaintiff is
fully proven, irrespective of the Treaty of Paris. Without this supposition of having acquired his
domicile and residence in these Islands, he could not have required his wife to return to live with him
therein because this requirement could only be based on articles 58 of the Civil Code of Spain,
according to which the wife is obliged to follow her husband wherever he wishes to establish his
residence, or on article 48 of chapter 5 of the Marriage Law in force in the Philippines, which
imposes upon the wife the duty of obeying her husband, living in his company, or of following him to
wherever he transfers his domicile or residence. And just because he was absent for a month before
his wife returned to the Philippines, he cannot be understood to have surrendered his habitual
domicile of more than seventeen years, without having established any other afterwards, and without
making any declaration in legal form, before he absented himself, of it being his intention to change
his domicile, while at the same time he retains here his house, real property and all manner of
means of subsistence. Section 377 of the Code of Civil Procedure leaves to the election of the
plaintiff the bringing of a personal action like the one at bar either in the place where the defendant
may reside or be found, or in that where the plaintiff resides.
The litigating spouses have gained not only domicile (domicilio) but also residence (vecindad) in
Manila. In this litigation the defendant claims that, born as he says in Mallorca, in the Balearic
Islands, he is not subject, in his marriage, to the rules governing conjugal property, that are in force
in the territories of Spain that are governed by the common law of Castillo (as the Philippines in their
day), because they are opposed to the Foral Law in force in the said Islands and which is respected
by the Civil Code. Even if this defense could be sustained herein, paragraph 2 of article 15 of the
said Civil Code would be applicable. It provides: "For the purposes of this article, residence
(vecindad) will be acquired: By residence of ten years in common law provinces or territories, unless

before the termination of that time he manifests his will to the contrary; or by a residence of two
years, if the interested person declares this to be his will . . . In any case, the wife will follow the
condition of her husband. . . ." On no occasion had the defendant manifested his will to the contrary,
not even as he was leaving, after a residence of seventeen years, a month before the return of his
wife to these Islands. On the contrary, when he inscribed himself in the Spanish consulate, he
declared his intention of continuing to reside in the Islands as a Spaniard and not as a Mallorquin,
subject as such to the common law of Spain.
In an endeavor to demonstrate the lack of jurisdiction of the courts of these Islands over the subject
matter of the complaint that is to try an action for divorce between two Catholic Spaniards, he
alleges in his appeal: That both litigants are Spanish subjects and that they contracted a Catholic
marriage; that in accordance with article 9 of the Civil Code of Spain (the same as that of these
Islands) the laws relating to family rights and duties, or to the status, condition and legal capacity of
persons, govern Spaniards although 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 and wife, their support, as between them, the separation of their
properties, the rules 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 general, the civil effects of marriage and divorce upon the person and properties
of the spouses, are questions that are governed exclusively by the national law of the husband and
wife, and, in our case, by the Spanish law by virtue of article 9 as above set out." (Brief, p. 12.) The
appellant and defendant continues his argument, saying: That by the express provision of article 80
of the Civil Code of Spain, "jurisdiction in actions for divorce and nullification of canonical marriages
lies with ecclesiastical courts," while that of civil tribunals is limited to civil marriages; that this being
so, the action for divorce brought by the plaintiff in the cause does not fall within the jurisdiction of
the civil courts, according to his own law of persons, because these courts ought to apply the
Spanish law in accordance with the said article 9 of the Civil Cod of Spain, and this Spanish law
grants the jurisdiction over the present cause to the ecclesiastical courts, in the place of which no
tribunal of these Islands con subrogate itself. Says this appellant: "If a law of a foreign country were
of rigorous application in a given case, a North American tribunal would have no jurisdiction upon an
ecclesiastical court and therefore the North American tribunal in applying it would have to exercise a
faculty which that law reserved to the ecclesiastical court." (Brief, pp. 13, 14, and 15.)
Unless we take the question itself for granted, the foregoing reasoning cannot be upheld. The
question is precisely whether the courts of the Philippines are competent or have jurisdiction to
decree the divorce now on appeal, and it is taken for granted that the power to decree it is one of the
rights included in the personal statute, but appellant does not prove by any law or legal doctrine
whatever that the personal statute of a foreigner carries with it, to whether he transfers his domicile,
the authority established by the law of his nation to decree his divorce, which was what he had to
demonstrate.
The authority of jurisdictional power of courts to decree a divorce is not comprised within the
personal status of the husband and wife, simply because the whole theory of the statutes and of the
rights which belong to everyone does not go beyond the sphere of private law, and the authority and
jurisdiction of the courts are not a matter of the private law of persons, but of the public or political
law of the nation. "The jurisdiction of courts and other questions relating to procedure are considered

to be of a public nature and consequently are generally submitted to the territorial principle. . . . All
persons that have to demand justice in a case in which foreigners intervene, since they can gain
nothing by a simple declaration, should endeavor to apply to the tribunales of the state which have
coercive means (property situated in the territory) to enforce any decision they may render.
Otherwise, one would expose himself in the suit to making useless expenditures which, although he
won his case, would not contribute to secure his rights because of the court's lack of means to
enforce them." (Torres Campos, "Elementos de Derecho International Privado," p. 108.) "Justice,"
says the same professor, "is a principle superior to that of nations, and it should therefore be
administered without taking into any account whatsoever the state to which the litigants belong. . . .
In order to foster their relations and develop their commerce, all civilized nations are interested in
doing justice, not alone to their own people, but to those foreigners who contract within the country
or outside of it juridical ties which in some manner effect their sovereignty. (Ibid, p. 107.) Might its
courts, in some cases, in suits between foreigners residing in its territory, apply the personal law of
the parties, but abdicate their jurisdiction, refrain from administering justice because the personal law
of the foreigner gave the jurisdiction of the given case to some court that is not the territorial one of
the nation? This has never yet been claimed in any of the theories regarding the conflict of laws
arising out of questions of nationality and domicile; it would be equivalent to recognizing
extraterritorial law in favor of private persons. The provisions of article 80 of the Civil Law of Spain is
only binding within the dominions of Spain. It does not accompany the persons of the Spanish
subject wherever he may go. He could not successfully invoke it if he resided in Japan, in China, in
Hongkong or in any other territory not subject to the dominion of Spain. Foreign Catholics domiciled
in Spain, subject to the ecclesiastical courts in actions for divorce according to the said article 80 of
the Civil Code, could not allege lack of jurisdiction by invoking, as the law of their personal statute, a
law of their nation which gives jurisdiction in such a case to territorial courts, or to a certain court
within or without the territory of their nation.
1awphi1.net

It is a question that has already been settled in two decisions of the Supreme Court (Benedicto vs.
De la Rama, 3 Phil. Rep., 34, and Ibaez vs. Ortiz, 5 Phil. Rep., 325).
In the present action for divorce the Court of First Instance of the city of Manila did not lack
jurisdiction over the persons of the litigants, for, although Spanish Catholic subjects, they were
residents of this city and had their domicile herein.
The Courts of First Instance of the Philippine Islands have the power and jurisdiction to try actions
for divorce. That of the city of Manila did not lack jurisdiction by reason of the subject matter of the
litigation.
The second assignment of error is directed against the finding of the court that the defendant had
committed adultery with a certain woman in this city from the year 1899 until 1909; the third was
against the finding that the adultery was accompanied by public scandal and injured the dignity of his
wife; and the fourth for having decreed the divorce, suspension of the married life, and the
separation of the properties of the parties.
The evidence relating to the foregoing not being sent up on appeal, we are unable to review it, so we
accept the findings of the trial court.

There is a point of law regarding the claim that the adultery, even though it were proven would not be
a cause for divorce, because no public scandal resulted therefrom nor was there contempt displayed
for the wife. (Appellant's brief, p. 26.) The facts must be accepted by this tribunal as they were found
by the trial court, since the evidence cannot be reviewed; moreover, the appellee affirms the contrary
and maintains that it is a proven fact, public and notorious, an assertion that the trial court must have
found to be proven. (Appellee's brief, p. 5.) In law, it is not necessary that adultery, to be a cause for
divorce, should be accompanied by public scandal and contempt for the wife. There is no law that
requires this. Law 2, title 9, of the Fourth Partida does not require it.
The fifth and sixth assignments of error are directed against the finding of the trial court that there
exists conjugal property, a finding that the appellant maintains is without foundation, and that which
holds that the property in the hands of the receiver (that sought to be divided) is conjugal property, a
conclusion which the appellant claims to be contrary to the law which should be applied to the case
and according to which, as alleged in the tenth assignment of error, the whole of the property should
be adjudicated to the defendant as being exclusively his.
Facts: The appellant affirms that he is a native of Mallorca in the Balearic Islands and that is also the
condition of his wife, the plaintiff. Law: That although the rule of the Civil Code is that which legally
governs conjugal property, yet at the same time it admits, as an exception, the laws, usages, and
customs of the Foral Law, according to which, as applied in the Balearic Islands, the law of the family
is that of the division of property and that of conjugal property is not known; so that the property
pertains exclusively to the spouse who, by whatever title, has acquired it. In support of the facts,
appellant cites pages 27 to 37 and 39 to 41 in the bill of exceptions; and of the law, the doctrinal
authority of Manresa, Gutierrez, and Alcubilla.
The citation from pages 39 to 41 of the bill of exceptions, the only pertinent one, is but an affidavit
filed by the defendant in which, under oath, he himself testifies as to the Foral Law in the Balearic
Islands. The adverse party says with regard to this: "This affidavit was never presented in proof, was
never received by the trial judge, and cannot seriously be considered as an effort to establish the law
of a foreign jurisdiction. Sections 300, 301 and 302 of the Code of Civil Procedure, now in force in
these islands, indicate the method by which the law of a foreign country may be proved. We
maintain that the affidavit of a person not versed in the law, which was never submitted as proof,
never received by the trial court, and which has never been subjected to any cross-examination, is
not a means of proving a foreign law on which the defendant relies." (Brief, pp. 6 and 7.)
Furthermore, on the supposition that the defendant could invoke the Foral Law as the law of his
personal status in the matter of the regimen of his marriage, and that to allege this he be considered
as authorized by article 15 of the Civil Code, we have said before, in dealing with his law of domicile,
that paragraph 2 of this article 15 of the Civil Code would be entirely adverse to his claim, and if it be
advanced that there is a similar Foral Law in the Philippines by virtue of paragraph 1 of the said
article 15, it might be said, though there is not at present any need to say it, that it is not in force. The
two findings attacked are in perfect accord with the law. All the property of the marriage, says article
1407 of the Civil Code, shall be considered as conjugal property until it is proven that it belongs
exclusively to the husband or to the wife. No proof has been submitted to this effect.

As seventh assignment of error it is alleged that the court below erred in holding in the judgment that
the plaintiff had brought to the marriage a dowry of 30,000 Spanish dollars. But the defendant
himself adds that the court made no order or decree regarding the alleged dowry. On the other hand,
the plaintiff, in her fourth assignment of errors, claimed that the court erred in not confirming the
report of the commissioners which gave to the said plaintiff the sum of 30,000 Spanish dollars. It is
unnecessary to say anything further.
The eighth error consists in that the court below ordered the defendant to pay to the plaintiff
P56,010.17 Philippine currency, whereas the plaintiff had made no demand in her complaint with
respect to this sum; that no arrears of payment are owing for alimony, even though payments had
been stipulated in the contract, unless they are claimed by the person who had furnished the actual
support, and that alimony is due only when it is necessary; so that, as the plaintiff has had no need
of it for ten years, nor has she stated who has furnished it, there is no reason for awaring her the
amount of the arrears for all that time; that as she has allowed ten years to elapse before claiming it,
her action prescribed in 1904, that is to say, after five years.
The plaintiff acknowledges that there is no petition or prayer in her complaint as to this cause of
action, but she considers that in equity such an omission can be supplied.
Paragraph 3 of section 89 (90) of the Code of Civil Procedure determines one of the requisites of the
complaint: "A demand for the relief which the plaintiff claims." The section goes on to say: "If the
recovery of money or damages is demanded, the amount demanded must be stated. If special relief,
such as an order for the special restitution of property, etc., the ground of demanding such relief
must be stated and the special relief prayed for. But there may be added to the statement of the
specific relief demanded a general prayer for such further or other relief as shall be deemed
equitable."
In the complaint of the case at bar the provisions of paragraph 2 of the said section 89 [90] are
complied with by setting forth in its paragraphs 4 and 5 the relation of the cause of action, that is, the
contract of the 4th of April, 1899, by which the defendant obligated himself to send to the plaintiff in
Spain a certain amount of money monthly, for her support, and the failure to comply with this
obligation after the month of August, 1899. Paragraph 6, as a consequence of the promise
established in 4 and 5, says as follows: "That the defendant Gabriel Fuster y Fuster actually owes
the plaintiff the sum of 36,100 Spanish pesetas, that is, 7,220 dollars, which, reduced at the present
rate of exchange, amounts to the sum of P12,959.90, Philippine currency." (B. of E., p. 2.) In the
case of default on the part of the defendant "the court shall proceed to hear the plaintiff and his
witnesses and assess the damages or determine the other relief to which the plaintiff may be
entitled, including the costs of the action, and render final judgment for the plaintiff to recover such
sum or to receive such other relief as the pleadings and the facts warrant." The pleadings, not the
prayer of the complaint.
This court has recently decided that the pleadings, not the prayer, exactly, are the essential part of a
complaint.
It is not a question of alimony for the present, nor for the future, which constitutes the first cause of
action, but of certain sums stipulated in a contract. This contract is a law for the contracting parties, a

law which rises superior to those general laws which regulate the nature of the subject matter of the
contract (in the present case an entirely voluntary one) and which govern judicial action.
An action arising out of a contract of this nature does not prescribe like all personal ones, but, by the
provisions of article 1964 of the Civil Code, after fifteen years. But even though the provisions of
article 1966 were applicable, by which an action to compel the fulfillment of an agreement to pay
alimony prescribes in five years, yet by section 50 of the Code of Civil Procedure, "when payment
has been made upon any demand founded upon contract . . . an action may be brought . . . after
such payment. . . ." And the parties admit that on the 18th of August, 1908, the plaintiff secured the
payment of 6,365.68 pesetas by virtue of the contract of April 4, 1899. So that from August, 1908,
until March, 1909, the date of the complaint, the said period of five years had not elapsed.
The ninth assignment of error consists in that the court below erred in empowering the receiver to
proceed to the separation of the property and in appointing commissioners to make the partition and
distribution between the spouses, since the principal question in this action hinges upon the
classification of the property; that it was erroneously classified as conjugal property, whereas all of it
pertained to the husband alone and should be adjudicated to him for the reason that, as it reiterated
in the tenth assignment of error, the conjugal partnership was not subject to the provisions of the law
governing conjugal property, because such provision are totally foreign to the Foral Law of the
Balearic Islands.
The action of the trial court, by the terms of section 184 of the Code of Civil Procedure, was in
accordance with law. The only question before this court is the partition of real property. All that
referred to in the second decision appealed from, dated September 9, 1911, is urban real estate. Its
classification as conjugal property is in accordance with law, as is shown in the foregoing reasoning,
and that no consideration of the Foral Law enters into the question has also been demonstrated.
II. PLAINTIFF'S APPEAL.
As the trial court rendered judgment ordering the defendant to pay to the plaintiff only P5,010.17, the
petitioner here prays that the judgment be reversed and that in its place this court order the
defendant to pay to the plaintiff her claim of P12,959.90, plus the additional sum which the alimony
amounts to at the rate of P107.70 per month, dating from the 1st of August, 1909, until the date of
payment, with legal interest upon the said P12,959.90 from the date of the filing of the complaint until
the date of payment, and, furthermore, legal interest upon each of the monthly payments due after
the filing of the complaint, and which will continue to become due until the close of this litigation.
The trial court made the following findings: First, that the total amount of the alimony owing to the
plaintiff amounted to 34,200 pesetas; second, that of this sum the plaintiff had collected in Madrid
6,365.68; third, that the remainder, that is, 27,834.32, was equivalent to $5,566.86 Mexican
currency; fourth, that the Mexican peso was worth 90 centavos Philippine currency; fifth, that
therefore the sum of $5,566.86 Mexican currency was equivalent to P5,010 Philippine currency; and
finally, as there was no evidence as to the kind of pesetas agreed upon, it was to be presumed that it
was that current at the time and place where the agreement was made, which was Mexican pesetas.

In her appeal, the plaintiff contends that these findings are erroneous in that, firstly, the parties had
admitted that the pesetas referred to in the contract of the 4th of April, 1899, were Spanish, and in
view of this admission the court was not empowered to define them as being different from the kind
admitted by the parties; secondly, if he were so empowered, his interpretation should be governed
by the terms of the law.
With regard to the first error, the plaintiff says that the statement is made in her complaint that the
defendant had obligated himself to pay her a "monthly pension for her support of 300
Spanish pesetas, that is, 60 Spanish dollars, which, reduced to Philippine currency, amounts to
P107.70;" that the defendant had admitted this in hi answer to the complaint, and that by his finding
in a sense other than that accepted and not refuted in the answer of the defendant, the court violated
the provisions of section 94 of the Code of Civil Procedure.
The court has not incurred this error, because it does not appear that the defendant in his answer
accepted the fact in the manner alleged in the complaint. The defendant said that he admitted
having made the agreement referred to in paragraph 4 of the complaint, and that he stood upon its
contents. The contents of the document to which he refers is of the following tenor: "Mr. Fuster binds
and obligates himself to pay to his said wife the sum of 300 pesetas, monthly, payable de su
cuenta in the city and capital of Madrid, for her support. . . ." He did not therefore admit the matter of
the Spanish pesetas; that does not appear in the contents of the document the only thing he
admitted in his answer.
As to the second error, the court did not commit it in applying the rule contained in article 1287 of the
Civil Code. "The usages or customs of the country shall be taken into consideration in interpreting
ambiguity in contracts. . . ." If in the contract the word " pesetas," not being specific, was ambiguous,
then it was in harmony with this precept to interpret it as being the peseta then in use or current
when and where the agreement was made, Mexican being then the usual and current money in the
Philippines. Furthermore, the phrase de su cuenta clearly means that it was not "Spanish pesetas"
that the contracting parties had in mind, because if the agreement had been a specific one to pay
300 Spanish pesetas in Madrid, everyone would of course understand that the expense of following
the fluctuations of change and of the differences in value between the money current in the country,
and the Spanish pesetas, would have to be defrayed by the obligated party; whereas, if nothing
more than pesetaswas mentioned, it was necessary to decide which party should pay for the
difference in value so that the 300pesetas stipulated here should be 300 Spanish pesetas paid in
Madrid. Against the reasons of the court below for his decision this court can offer no legal grounds.
The rule of interpretation cited is the one applicable and it supports the reasoning of the decision
appealed from.
The appellant also alleges as error that the court did not adjudicate to her the 30,000 Spanish dollars
which the commissioners proposed in their report. First she characterizes this sum of 30,000 dollars
as the dowry of the wife delivered to the husband, then, later, as paraphernal property brought to the
marriage.
According to the last instructions of the court to the commissioners, this amount of 30,000 dollars
could not enter into the partition, and with reason. If, as was claimed, it was inherited by the plaintiff
from her uncle, it really constitutes paraphernal property under article 1381. "Paraphernal property is

that which the wife brings to the marriage without being included in the dowry and that she may
acquire after the creation of the same without being added thereto." But it is a provision of article
1384 that "The wife shall have the management of the paraphernal property unless she has
delivered the same to her husband, before a notary, in order that he may administer said property. In
such case the husband is obliged to create a mortgage for the value of the personal property he may
receive, or to secure said property, in the manner established for the dowry property." Not even was
there offered in evidence the public deed of delivery, nor the equally public mortgage deed that is
required by law. So that, therefore, the necessary proof of the obligation to return paraphernal
property as here demanded does not exist.
lawphil.net

The partition of property decreed in the judgment appealed from of the 9th of September, 1911,
should be and is hereby confirmed.
The two judgments appealed from are hereby affirmed, without special pronouncement of costs in
this instance.
G.R. No. 124862 December 22, 1998
FE D. QUITA, petitioner,
vs.
COURT OF APPEALS and BLANDINA DANDAN, * respondents.

BELLOSILLO, J.:
FE D. QUITA and Arturo T. Padlan, both Filipinos, were married in the Philippines on 18 May 1941.
They were not however blessed with children. Somewhere along the way their relationship soured.
Eventually Fe sued Arturo for divorce in San Francisco, California, U.S.A. She submitted in the
divorce proceedings a private writing dated 19 July 1950 evidencing their agreement to live
separately from each other and a settlement of their conjugal properties. On 23 July 1954 she
obtained a final judgment of divorce. Three (3) weeks thereafter she married a certain Felix Tupaz in
the same locality but their relationship also ended in a divorce. Still in the U.S.A., she married for the
third time, to a certain Wernimont.
On 16 April 1972 Arturo died. He left no will. On 31 August 1972 Lino Javier Inciong filed a petition
with the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City for issuance of letters of administration concerning the
estate of Arturo in favor of the Philippine Trust Company. Respondent Blandina Dandan (also
referred to as Blandina Padlan), claiming to be the surviving spouse of Arturo Padlan, and Claro,
Alexis, Ricardo, Emmanuel, Zenaida and Yolanda, all surnamed Padlan, named in the children of
Arturo Padlan opposed the petition and prayed for the appointment instead of Atty. Leonardo
Casaba, which was resolved in favor of the latter. Upon motion of the oppositors themselves, Atty.
Cabasal was later replaced by Higino Castillon. On 30 April 1973 the oppositors (Blandina and
Padlan children) submitted certified photocopies of the 19 July 1950 private writing and the final
judgment of divorce between petitioner and Arturo. Later Ruperto T. Padlan, claiming to be the sole
surviving brother of the deceased Arturo, intervened.

On 7 October 1987 petitioner moved for the immediate declaration of heirs of the decedent and the
distribution of his estate. At the scheduled hearing on 23 October 1987, private respondent as well
as the six (6) Padlan children and Ruperto failed to appear despite due notice. On the same day, the
trial court required the submission of the records of birth of the Padlan children within ten (10) days
from receipt thereof, after which, with or without the documents, the issue on the declaration of heirs
would be considered submitted for resolution. The prescribed period lapsed without the required
documents being submitted.
The trial court invoking Tenchavez v. Escao 1 which held that "a foreign divorce between Filipino citizens sought
and decreed after the effectivity of the present Civil Code (Rep. Act 386) was not entitled to recognition as valid in this

disregarded the divorce between petitioner and Arturo. Consecuently, it expressed the view
that their marriage subsisted until the death of Arturo in 1972. Neither did it consider valid their
extrajudicial settlement of conjugal properties due to lack of judicial approval. 3 On the other hand, it
opined that there was no showing that marriage existed between private respondent and Arturo, much
less was it shown that the alleged Padlan children had been acknowledged by the deceased as his
children with her. As regards Ruperto, it found that he was a brother of Arturo. On 27 November
1987 4 only petitioner and Ruperto were declared the intestate heirs of Arturo. Accordingly, equal
adjudication of the net hereditary estate was ordered in favor of the two intestate heirs. 5
jurisdiction," 2

On motion for reconsideration, Blandina and the Padlan children were allowed to present proofs that
the recognition of the children by the deceased as his legitimate children, except Alexis who was
recognized as his illegitimate child, had been made in their respective records of birth. Thus on 15
February 1988 6 partial reconsideration was granted declaring the Padlan children, with the exception of
Alexis, entitled to one-half of the estate to the exclusion of Ruperto Padlan, and petitioner to the other
half. 7 Private respondent was not declared an heir. Although it was stated in the aforementioned records
of birth that she and Arturo were married on 22 April 1947, their marriage was clearly void since it was
celebrated during the existence of his previous marriage to petitioner.
In their appeal to the Court of Appeals, Blandina and her children assigned as one of the errors
allegedly committed by the trial court the circumstance that the case was decided without a hearing,
in violation of Sec. 1, Rule 90, of the Rules of Court, which provides that if there is a controversy
before the court as to who are the lawful heirs of the deceased person or as to the distributive
shares to which each person is entitled under the law, the controversy shall be heard and decided as
in ordinary cases.
Respondent appellate court found this ground alone sufficient to sustain the appeal; hence, on 11
September 1995 it declared null and void the 27 November 1987 decision and 15 February 1988
order of the trial court, and directed the remand of the case to the trial court for further
proceedings. 8 On 18 April 1996 it denied reconsideration.9
Should this case be remanded to the lower court for further proceedings? Petitioner insists that there
is no need because, first, no legal or factual issue obtains for resolution either as to the heirship of
the Padlan children or as to the decedent; and, second, the issue as to who between petitioner and
private respondent is the proper hier of the decedent is one of law which can be resolved in the
present petition based on establish facts and admissions of the parties.

We cannot sustain petitioner. The provision relied upon by respondent court is clear: If there is
a controversybefore the court as to who are the lawful heirs of the deceased person or as to the
distributive shares to which each person is entitled under the law, the controversy shall be heard and
decided as in ordinary cases.
We agree with petitioner that no dispute exists either as to the right of the six (6) Padlan children to
inherit from the decedent because there are proofs that they have been duly acknowledged by him
and petitioner herself even recognizes them as heirs of Arturo Padlan; 10 nor as to their respective
hereditary shares. But controversy remains as to who is the legitimate surviving spouse of Arturo. The trial
court, after the parties other than petitioner failed to appear during the scheduled hearing on 23 October
1987 of the motion for immediate declaration of heirs and distribution of estate, simply issued an order
requiring the submission of the records of birth of the Padlan children within ten (10) days from receipt
thereof, after which, with or without the documents, the issue on declaration of heirs would be deemed
submitted for resolution.
We note that in her comment to petitioner's motion private respondent raised, among others, the
issue as to whether petitioner was still entitled to inherit from the decedent considering that she had
secured a divorce in the U.S.A. and in fact had twice remarried. She also invoked the above quoted
procedural rule. 11 To this, petitioner replied that Arturo was a Filipino and as such remained legally
married to her in spite of the divorce they obtained. 12Reading between the lines, the implication is that
petitioner was no longer a Filipino citizen at the time of her divorce from Arturo. This should have
prompted the trial court to conduct a hearing to establish her citizenship. The purpose of a hearing is to
ascertain the truth of the matters in issue with the aid of documentary and testimonial evidence as well as
the arguments of the parties either supporting or opposing the evidence. Instead, the lower court
perfunctorily settled her claim in her favor by merely applying the ruling in Tenchavez v. Escao.
Then in private respondent's motion to set aside and/or reconsider the lower court's decision she
stressed that the citizenship of petitioner was relevant in the light of the ruling in Van Dorn v. Romillo
Jr. 13 that aliens may obtain divorces abroad, which may be recognized in the Philippines, provided they
are valid according to their national law. She prayed therefore that the case be set for
hearing. 14 Petitioner opposed the motion but failed to squarely address the issue on her
citizenship. 15 The trial court did not grant private respondent's prayer for a hearing but proceeded to
resolve her motion with the finding that both petitioner and Arturo were "Filipino citizens and were married
in the Philippines." 16 It maintained that their divorce obtained in 1954 in San Francisco, California, U.S.A.,
was not valid in Philippine jurisdiction. We deduce that the finding on their citizenship pertained solely to
the time of their marriage as the trial court was not supplied with a basis to determine petitioner's
citizenship at the time of their divorce. The doubt persisted as to whether she was still a Filipino citizen
when their divorce was decreed. The trial court must have overlooked the materiality of this aspect. Once
proved that she was no longer a Filipino citizen at the time of their divorce, Van Dorn would become
applicable and petitioner could very well lose her right to inherit from Arturo.
Respondent again raised in her appeal the issue on petitioner's citizenship; 17 it did not merit
enlightenment however from petitioner. 18 In the present proceeding, petitioner's citizenship is brought
anew to the fore by private respondent. She even furnishes the Court with the transcript of stenographic
notes taken on 5 May 1995 during the hearing for the reconstitution of the original of a certain transfer
certificate title as well as the issuance of new owner's duplicate copy thereof before another trial court.
When asked whether she was an American citizen petitioner answered that she was since
1954. 19 Significantly, the decree of divorce of petitioner and Arturo was obtained in the same year.

Petitioner however did not bother to file a reply memorandum to erase the uncertainty about her
citizenship at the time of their divorce, a factual issue requiring hearings to be conducted by the trial court.
Consequently, respondent appellate court did not err in ordering the case returned to the trial court for
further proceedings.

We emphasize however that the question to be determined by the trial court should be limited only to
the right of petitioner to inherit from Arturo as his surviving spouse. Private respondent's claim to
heirship was already resolved by the trial court. She and Arturo were married on 22 April 1947 while
the prior marriage of petitioner and Arturo was subsisting thereby resulting in a bigamous marriage
considered void from the beginning under Arts. 80 and 83 of the Civil Code. Consequently, she is not
a surviving spouse that can inherit from him as this status presupposes a legitimate relationship. 20
As regards the motion of private respondent for petitioner and a her counsel to be declared in
contempt of court and that the present petition be dismissed for forum shopping, 21 the same lacks
merit. For forum shopping to exist the actions must involve the same transactions and same essential
facts and circumstances. There must also be identical causes of action, subject matter and issue. 22 The
present petition deals with declaration of heirship while the subsequent petitions filed before the three (3)
trial courts concern the issuance of new owner's duplicate copies of titles of certain properties belonging
to the estate of Arturo. Obviously, there is no reason to declare the existence of forum shopping.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The decision of respondent Court of Appeals ordering the
remand of the case to the court of origin for further proceedings and declaring null and void its
decision holding petitioner Fe D. Quita and Ruperto T. Padlan as intestate heirs is AFFIRMED. The
order of the appellate court modifying its previous decision by granting one-half (1/2) of the net
hereditary estate to the Padlan children, namely, Claro, Ricardo, Emmanuel, Zenaida and Yolanda,
with the exception of Alexis, all surnamed Padlan, instead of Arturo's brother Ruperto Padlan, is
likewise AFFIRMED. The Court however emphasizes that the reception of evidence by the trial
court should he limited to the hereditary rights of petitioner as the surviving spouse of Arturo Padlan.
The motion to declare petitioner and her counsel in contempt of court and to dismiss the present
petition for forum shopping is DENIED.
SO ORDERED.