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G.R. No.

26795 July 31, 1970 own for all purposes favorable to it, as explicitly provided in Article 40 of the
Civil Code of the Philippines. The unborn child, therefore, has a right to support
CARMEN QUIMIGUING, Suing through her parents, ANTONIO from its progenitors, particularly of the defendant-appellee (whose paternity is
QUIMIGUING and JACOBA CABILIN,plaintiffs-appellants, deemed admitted for the purpose of the motion to dismiss), even if the said
vs. child is only "en ventre de sa mere;" just as a conceived child, even if as yet
FELIX ICAO, defendant-appellee. unborn, may receive donations as prescribed by Article 742 of the same Code,
Torcuato L. Galon for plaintiffs-appellants. and its being ignored by the parent in his testament may result in preterition of
a forced heir that annuls the institution of the testamentary heir, even if such
Godardo Jacinto for defendant-appellee. child should be born after the death of the testator Article 854, Civil Code).

ART. 742. Donations made to conceived and unborn children may be


accepted by those persons who would legally represent them if they were
REYES, J.B.L., J.:
already born.
Appeal on points of law from an order of the Court of First Instance of
ART. 854. The preterition or omission of one, some, or all of the compulsory
Zamboanga del Norte (Judge Onofre Sison Abalos, presiding), in its Civil Case
heirs in the direct line, whether living at the time of the execution of the will or
No. 1590, dismissing a complaint for support and damages, and another order
born after the death of the testator, shall annul the institution of heir; but the
denying amendment of the same pleading.
devises and legacies shall be valid insofar as they are not inofficious.
The events in the court of origin can be summarized as follows:
If the omitted compulsory heirs should die before the testator, the institution
Appellant, Carmen Quimiguing, assisted by her parents, sued Felix Icao in the shall be effectual, without prejudice to the right of 'representation.
court below. In her complaint it was averred that the parties were neighbors in
It is thus clear that the lower court's theory that Article 291 of the Civil Code
Dapitan City, and had close and confidential relations; that defendant Icao,
declaring that support is an obligation of parents and illegitimate children "does
although married, succeeded in having carnal intercourse with plaintiff several
not contemplate support to children as yet unborn," violates Article 40
times by force and intimidation, and without her consent; that as a result she
aforesaid, besides imposing a condition that nowhere appears in the text of
became pregnant, despite efforts and drugs supplied by defendant, and
Article 291. It is true that Article 40 prescribing that "the conceived child shall
plaintiff had to stop studying. Hence, she claimed support at P120.00 per
be considered born for all purposes that are favorable to it" adds further
month, damages and attorney's fees.
"provided it be born later with the conditions specified in the following article"
Duly summoned, defendant Icao moved to dismiss for lack of cause of action (i.e., that the foetus be alive at the time it is completely delivered from the
since the complaint did not allege that the child had been born; and after mother's womb). This proviso, however, is not a condition precedent to the
hearing arguments, the trial judge sustained defendant's motion and dismissed right of the conceived child; for if it were, the first part of Article 40 would
the complaint. become entirely useless and ineffective. Manresa, in his Commentaries (5th
Ed.) to the corresponding Article 29 of the Spanish Civil Code, clearly points
Thereafter, plaintiff moved to amend the complaint to allege that as a result of this out:
the intercourse, plaintiff had later given birth to a baby girl; but the court,
sustaining defendant's objection, ruled that no amendment was allowable, Los derechos atribuidos al nasciturus no son simples expectativas, ni aun en
since the original complaint averred no cause of action. Wherefore, the plaintiff el sentido tecnico que la moderna doctrina da a esta figura juridica sino que
appealed directly to this Court. constituyen un caso de los propiamente Ilamados 'derechos en estado de
pendenci'; el nacimiento del sujeto en las condiciones previstas por el art. 30,
We find the appealed orders of the court below to be untenable. A conceived no determina el nacimiento de aquellos derechos (que ya existian de
child, although as yet unborn, is given by law a provisional personality of its
1
antemano), sino que se trata de un hecho que tiene efectos declarativos. (1 Mariano H. de Joya for petitioner.
Manresa, Op. cit., page 271) A.P. Salvador for respondents.

A second reason for reversing the orders appealed from is that for a married REYES, J.B.L., J.:
man to force a woman not his wife to yield to his lust (as averred in the original
complaint in this case) constitutes a clear violation of the rights of his victim This petition for certiorari brings up for review question whether the husband
that entitles her to claim compensation for the damage caused. Says Article of a woman, who voluntarily procured her abortion, could recover damages
21 of the Civil Code of the Philippines: from physician who caused the same.

ART. 21. Any person who wilfully causes loss or injury to another in a manner The litigation was commenced in the Court of First Instance of Manila by
that is contrary to morals, good customs or public policy shall compensate the respondent Oscar Lazo, the of Nita Villanueva, against petitioner Antonio
latter for the damage. Geluz, a physician. Convinced of the merits of the complaint upon the evidence
adduced, the trial court rendered judgment favor of plaintiff Lazo and against
The rule of Article 21 is supported by Article 2219 of the same Code: defendant Geluz, ordering the latter to pay P3,000.00 as damages, P700.00
attorney's fees and the costs of the suit. On appeal, Court of Appeals, in a
ART 2219. Moral damages may be recovered in the following and analogous special division of five, sustained the award by a majority vote of three justices
cases: as against two, who rendered a separate dissenting opinion.
(3) Seduction, abduction, rape or other lascivious acts: The facts are set forth in the majority opinion as follows:
xxx xxx xxx Nita Villanueva came to know the defendant (Antonio Geluz) for the first time
(10) Acts and actions referred to in Articles 21, 26, 27, 28 .... in 1948 — through her aunt Paula Yambot. In 1950 she became pregnant by
her present husband before they were legally married. Desiring to conceal her
Thus, independently of the right to Support of the child she was carrying, pregnancy from her parent, and acting on the advice of her aunt, she had
plaintiff herself had a cause of action for damages under the terms of the herself aborted by the defendant. After her marriage with the plaintiff, she
complaint; and the order dismissing it for failure to state a cause of action was again became pregnant. As she was then employed in the Commission on
doubly in error. Elections and her pregnancy proved to be inconvenient, she had herself
aborted again by the defendant in October 1953. Less than two years later,
WHEREFORE, the orders under appeal are reversed and set aside. Let the
she again became pregnant. On February 21, 1955, accompanied by her
case be remanded to the court of origin for further proceedings conformable
sister Purificacion and the latter's daughter Lucida, she again repaired to the
to this decision. Costs against appellee Felix Icao. So ordered.
defendant's clinic on Carriedo and P. Gomez streets in Manila, where the three
Concepcion, C.J., Dizon, Makalintal, Zaldivar, Castro, Fernando, Teehankee, met the defendant and his wife. Nita was again aborted, of a two-month old
Barredo and Villamor, JJ., concur. foetus, in consideration of the sum of fifty pesos, Philippine currency. The
plaintiff was at this time in the province of Cagayan, campaigning for his
election to the provincial board; he did not know of, nor gave his consent, to
the abortion.
G.R. No. L-16439 July 20, 1961
It is the third and last abortion that constitutes plaintiff's basis in filing this action
ANTONIO GELUZ, petitioner,
and award of damages. Upon application of the defendant Geluz we
vs.
granted certiorari.
THE HON. COURT OF APPEALS and OSCAR LAZO, respondents.

2
The Court of Appeals and the trial court predicated the award of damages in evidently because the appellee's indifference to the previous abortions of his
the sum of P3,000.06 upon the provisions of the initial paragraph of Article wife, also caused by the appellant herein, clearly indicates that he was
2206 of the Civil Code of the Philippines. This we believe to be error, for the unconcerned with the frustration of his parental hopes and affections. The
said article, in fixing a minimum award of P3,000.00 for the death of a person, lower court expressly found, and the majority opinion of the Court of Appeals
does not cover the case of an unborn foetus that is not endowed with did not contradict it, that the appellee was aware of the second abortion; and
personality. Under the system of our Civil Code, "la criatura abortiva no the probabilities are that he was likewise aware of the first. Yet despite the
alcanza la categoria de persona natural y en consscuencia es un ser no nacido suspicious repetition of the event, he appeared to have taken no steps to
a la vida del Derecho" (Casso-Cervera, "Diccionario de Derecho Privado", Vol. investigate or pinpoint the causes thereof, and secure the punishment of the
1, p. 49), being incapable of having rights and obligations. responsible practitioner. Even after learning of the third abortion, the appellee
does not seem to have taken interest in the administrative and criminal cases
Since an action for pecuniary damages on account of personal injury or death against the appellant. His only concern appears to have been directed at
pertains primarily to the one injured, it is easy to see that if no action for such obtaining from the doctor a large money payment, since he sued for
damages could be instituted on behalf of the unborn child on account of the P50,000.00 damages and P3,000.00 attorney's fees, an "indemnity" claim that,
injuries it received, no such right of action could derivatively accrue to its under the circumstances of record, was clearly exaggerated.
parents or heirs. In fact, even if a cause of action did accrue on behalf of the
unborn child, the same was extinguished by its pre-natal death, since no The dissenting Justices of the Court of Appeals have aptly remarked that:
transmission to anyone can take place from on that lacked juridical personality
(or juridical capacity as distinguished from capacity to act). It is no answer to It seems to us that the normal reaction of a husband who righteously feels
invoke the provisional personality of a conceived child (conceptus pro nato outraged by the abortion which his wife has deliberately sought at the hands
habetur) under Article 40 of the Civil Code, because that same article of a physician would be highminded rather than mercenary; and that his
expressly limits such provisional personality by imposing the condition that the primary concern would be to see to it that the medical profession was purged
child should be subsequently born alive: "provided it be born later with the of an unworthy member rather than turn his wife's indiscretion to personal
condition specified in the following article". In the present case, there is no profit, and with that idea in mind to press either the administrative or the
dispute that the child was dead when separated from its mother's womb. criminal cases he had filed, or both, instead of abandoning them in favor of a
civil action for damages of which not only he, but also his wife, would be the
The prevailing American jurisprudence is to the same effect; and it is generally beneficiaries.
held that recovery can not had for the death of an unborn child (Stafford vs.
Roadway Transit Co., 70 F. Supp. 555; Dietrich vs. Northampton, 52 Am. Rep. It is unquestionable that the appellant's act in provoking the abortion of
242; and numerous cases collated in the editorial note, 10 ALR, (2d) 639). appellee's wife, without medical necessity to warrant it, was a criminal and
morally reprehensible act, that can not be too severely condemned; and the
This is not to say that the parents are not entitled to collect any damages at consent of the woman or that of her husband does not excuse it. But the
all. But such damages must be those inflicted directly upon them, as immorality or illegality of the act does not justify an award of damage that,
distinguished from the injury or violation of the rights of the deceased, his right under the circumstances on record, have no factual or legal basis.
to life and physical integrity. Because the parents can not expect either help,
support or services from an unborn child, they would normally be limited to The decision appealed from is reversed, and the complaint ordered dismissed.
moral damages for the illegal arrest of the normal development of thespes Without costs.
hominis that was the foetus, i.e., on account of distress and anguish attendant Let a copy of this decision be furnished to the Department of Justice and the
to its loss, and the disappointment of their parental expectations (Civ. Code Board of Medical Examiners for their information and such investigation and
Art. 2217), as well as to exemplary damages, if the circumstances should action against the appellee Antonio Geluz as the facts may warrant.
warrant them (Art. 2230). But in the case before us, both the trial court and the
Court of Appeals have not found any basis for an award of moral damages,
3
Bengzon, C.J., Padilla, Labrador, Barrera, Paredes, Dizon and Natividad, years, was taken on as cashier in this barber shop. Syquia was not long in
JJ., concur. making her acquaintance and amorous relations resulted, as a consequence
Concepcion, J., took no part. of which Antonia was gotten with child and a baby boy was born on June 17,
De Leon, J., took no part. 1931. The defendant was a constant visitor at the home of Antonia in the early
months of her pregnancy, and in February, 1931, he wrote and placed in her
hands a note directed to the padre who has expected to christen the baby.
G.R. No. L-39110 November 28, 1933 This note was as follows:

ANTONIA L. DE JESUS, ET AL., plaintiff-appellant, Saturday, 1:30 p. m.


vs. February 14, 1931
CESAR SYQUIA, defendant-appellant. Rev. FATHER,
Jose Sotelo for plaintiffs-appellants. The baby due in June is mine and I should like for my name to be given to it.
Vicente J. Francisco for defendant-appellant.
CESAR SYQUIA

The occasion for writing this note was that the defendant was on the eve of his
STREET, J.: departure on a trip to China and Japan; and while he was abroad on this visit
This action was instituted in the Court of First Instance of Manila by Antonia he wrote several letters to Antonia showing a paternal interest in the situation
Loanco de Jesus in her own right and by her mother, Pilar Marquez, as next that had developed with her, and cautioning her to keep in good condition in
friend and representative of Ismael and Pacita Loanco, infants, children of the order that "junior" (meaning the baby to be, "Syquia, Jr.") might be strong, and
first-named plaintiff, for the purpose of recovering from the defendant, Cesar promising to return to them soon. The baby arrived at the time expected, and
Syquia, the sum of thirty thousand pesos as damages resulting to the first- all necessary anticipatory preparations were made by the defendant. To this
named plaintiff from breach of a marriage promise, to compel the defendant to he employed his friend Dr. Crescenciano Talavera to attend at the birth, and
recognize Ismael and Pacita as natural children begotten by him with Antonia, made arrangements for the hospitalization of the mother in Saint Joseph's
and to pay for the maintenance of the three the amount of five hundred pesos Hospital of the City of Manila, where she was cared for during confinement.
per month, together with costs. Upon hearing the cause, after answer of the When Antonio was able to leave the hospital, Syquia took her, with her mother
defendant, the trial court erred a decree requiring the defendant to recognize and the baby, to a house at No. 551 Camarines Street, Manila, where they
Ismael Loanco as his natural child and to pay maintenance for him at the rate lived together for about a year in regular family style, all household expenses,
of fifty pesos per month, with costs, dismissing the action in other respects. including gas and electric light, being defrayed by Syquia. In course of time,
From this judgment both parties appealed, the plaintiffs from so much of the however, the defendant's ardor abated and, when Antonia began to show
decision as denied part of the relief sought by them, and the defendant from signs of a second pregnancy the defendant decamped, and he is now married
that feature of the decision which required him to recognize Ismael Loanco to another woman. A point that should here be noted is that when the time
and to pay for his maintenance. came for christening the child, the defendant, who had charge of the
At the time with which we are here concerned, the defendant, Cesar Syquia arrangement for this ceremony, caused the name Ismael Loanco to be given
was of the age of twenty-three years, and an unmarried scion of the prominent to him, instead of Cesar Syquia, Jr., as was at first planned.
family in Manila, being possessed of a considerable property in his own right. The first question that is presented in the case is whether the note to the padre,
His brother-in-law, Vicente Mendoza is the owner of a barber shop in Tondo, quoted above, in connection with the letters written by the defendant to the
where the defendant was accustomed to go for tonsorial attention. In the mother during pregnancy, proves an acknowledgment of paternity, within the
month of June Antonia Loanco, a likely unmarried girl of the age of twenty
4
meaning of subsection 1 of article 135 of the Civil Code. Upon this point we The second question that presents itself in this case is whether the trial court
have no hesitancy in holding that the acknowledgment thus shown is sufficient. erred in holding that Ismael Loanco had been in the uninterrupted possession
It is a universal rule of jurisprudence that a child, upon being conceived, of the status of a natural child, justified by the conduct of the father himself,
becomes a bearer of legal rights and capable of being dealt with as a living and that as a consequence, the defendant in this case should be compelled to
person. The fact that it is yet unborn is no impediment to the acquisition of acknowledge the said Ismael Loanco, under No. 2 of article 135 of the Civil
rights. The problem here presented of the recognition of unborn child is really Code. The facts already stated are sufficient, in our opinion, to justify the
not different from that presented in the ordinary case of the recognition of a conclusion of the trial court on this point, and we may add here that our
child already born and bearing a specific name. Only the means and resources conclusion upon the first branch of the case that the defendant had
of identification are different. Even a bequest to a living child requires oral acknowledged this child in writings above referred to must be taken in
evidence to connect the particular individual intended with the name used. connection with the facts found by the court upon the second point. It is
undeniable that from the birth of this child the defendant supplied a home for
It is contended however, in the present case that the words of description used it and the mother, in which they lived together with the defendant. This situation
in the writings before us are not legally sufficient to indemnify the child now continued for about a year, and until Antonia became enciente a second time,
suing as Ismael Loanco. This contention is not, in our opinion, well founded. when the idea entered the defendant's head of abandoning her. The law fixes
The words of recognition contained in the note to the padre are not capable of no period during which a child must be in the continuous possession of the
two constructions. They refer to a baby then conceived which was expected to status of a natural child; and the period in this case was long enough to evince
be born in June and which would thereafter be presented for christening. The the father's resolution to concede the status. The circumstance that he
baby came, and though it was in the end given the name of Ismael Loanco abandoned the mother and child shortly before this action was started is
instead of Cesar Syquia, Jr., its identity as the child which the defendant unimportant. The word "continuous" in subsection 2 of article 135 of the Civil
intended to acknowledge is clear. Any doubt that might arise on this point is Code does not mean that the concession of status shall continue forever, but
removed by the letters Exhibit F, G, H, and J. In these letters the defendant only that it shall not be of an intermittent character while it continues.
makes repeated reference to junior as the baby which Antonia, to whom the
letters were addressed, was then carrying in her womb, and the writer urged What has been said disposes of the principal feature of the defendant's appeal.
Antonia to eat with good appetite in order that junior might be vigorous. In the With respect to the appeal of the plaintiffs, we are of the opinion that the trial
last letter (Exhibit J) written only a few days before the birth of the child, the court was right in refusing to give damages to the plaintiff, Antonia Loanco, for
defendant urged her to take good care of herself and of junior also. supposed breach of promise to marry. Such promise is not satisfactorily
proved, and we may add that the action for breach of promise to marry has no
It seems to us that the only legal question that can here arise as to the standing in the civil law, apart from the right to recover money or property
sufficiency of acknowledgment is whether the acknowledgment contemplated advanced by the plaintiff upon the faith of such promise. This case exhibits
in subsection 1 of article 135 of the Civil Code must be made in a single none of the features necessary to maintain such an action. Furthermore, there
document or may be made in more than one document, of indubitable is no proof upon which a judgment could be based requiring the defendant to
authenticity, written by the recognizing father. Upon this point we are of the recognize the second baby, Pacita Loanco.
opinion that the recognition can be made out by putting together the
admissions of more than one document, supplementing the admission made Finally, we see no necessity or propriety in modifying the judgment as to the
in one letter by an admission or admissions made in another. In the case amount of the maintenance which the trial court allowed to Ismael Loanco. And
before us the admission of paternity is contained in the note to the padreand in this connection we merely point out that, as conditions change, the Court of
the other letters suffice to connect that admission with the child then being First Instance will have jurisdiction to modify the order as to the amount of the
carried by Antonia L. de Jesus. There is no requirement in the law that the pension as circumstances will require.
writing shall be addressed to one, or any particular individual. It is merely
required that the writing shall be indubitable. The judgment appealed from is in all respects affirmed, without costs. So
ordered.
5
Malcolm, Abad Santos, Hull, Vickers, and butte, JJ., concur. Exhibit H, March 25, 1931: "Toni, cuida tu bien a junior y cuidate bien, y come
tu mucho. ... ."

Exhibit J, June 1, 1931: "Cuidate bien y junior tambien . ..."

Article 135, number 1, provides as follows:

ART. 135. The father may be compelled to acknowledge his natural child in
Separate Opinions the following cases:

1. When an indisputable paper written by him, expressly acknowledging his


VILLA-REAL, J., dissenting: paternity, is in existence.

The majority opinion is predicated on two grounds: First, that the defendant- Maresa (Codigo Civil, Vol. 1, page 596, 4th ed.) commenting on said article,
appellant Cesar Syquia has expressly acknowledged his paternity of the child says:
Ismael Loanco in an indubitable writing of his; and secondly, that said child Con arreglo al articulo que comentamos, no puede haber cuestion acerca de
has enjoyed the uninterrupted possession of the status of a natural son of said si es posible admitir por otro medio la prueba de la paternidad natural.
defendant-appellant Cesar Syquia, justified by his acts, as required by article Entendemos que no, porquel el articulo es terminante y la intencion de la ley
135 of the Civil Code. mas terminante aun. Se establecio en la base 5.a que "no se admitira
The first conclusion is drawn from Exhibits C, F, G, H, and J. investigacion de la paternidad sino en los casos de delito, o cuando exista
escrito del padre en el que conste su voluntad indubitada de reconocer por
Exhibit C, which is in the handwriting of any signed by the defendant-appellant suyo al hijo, deliberadamente expresada con ese fin, o cuando medie
Cesar Syquia, reads as follows: posesion de estado", y esto mismo es lo que se ordena en el presente articulo.
Sabado, 1.30 p. m. — 14 febrero, 1931 No puede, pues, prosperar la demanda para obligar al padre al
reconocimiento de un hijo natural, aunque solo se limite a pedir alimentos, si
Rev. PADRE:
no se funda en el reconocimiento expreso del padre hecho por escrito, en la
La criatura que vendra el junio es mio y que yo quisiera mi nombre que se de posesion constante de estado de hijo natural o en sentencia firme recaida en
a la criatura. causa por de delito violacin, estupro o rapto. El escrito y la sentencia habran
de acompañarse a la demandada, y no puede admitirse otra prueba que la
(Fdo.) CESAR SYQUIA conducente a justificar que el escrito es indubitadamente del padre que en el
reconozca su paternidad, o la relativa a los actos directos del mismo padre o
Exhibit F, G, H, and j, which are letters written by the said defendant-appellant
de su familia, que demuestren la posesion continua de dicho estado. Para la
Cesar Syquia to plaintiff-appellee Antonia L. de Jesus prior to the birth of the
prueba de estos dos hechos podran utilizarse todos los medios que permite
child contain the following expressions:
la Ley de Enjuiciamiento Civil, debiendo el juez rechazar la que por cualquier
Exhibit F, Feb. 18, 1931: "No hagas nada malo; ni manches mi nombre y el otro concepto se dirija a la investigacion de la paternidad.
de junior tambien no lo manches. A cuerdate muy bien Toni que es por ti y
xxx xxx xxx
por junior volvere alli pronto. ..."
En cuanto al otro requisito de ser expreso el reconocimiento, tengase presente
Exhibit G. Feb. 24, 1931: "Toni por favor cuida bien a junior eh? . ..."
que no basta hacerlo por incidencia; es indespensable que se consigne en el
escrito la voluntad indubitada, clara y terminante del padre, de reconocer por
6
suyo al hijo, deliberadamente expresada con este fin, como se ordena an la Either taken alone therefore, or in connection with Exhibits F, G, H, and J,
base 5.a antes citada, de las aprobadas por la Ley de 11 de mayo de 1888; Exhibit C is insufficient to constitute a "indubitable writing of Cesar Syquia, in
de suerte que el escrito, aunque contenga otros particulares, como sucede en which he expressly acknowledges his paternity of the child Ismael Loanco," as
los testamentos, ha de tener por objecto el reconocimiento deliberado y required by number 1 of article 135 of the Civil Code.
expreso del hijo natural. No llena, pues, ese objecto la manifestacion que
incidentalmente haga el padre de ser hijo natural suyo la persona a quien se As to the second ground of the decision of the majority, number 2 of article
refiera, y mucho menos el dar a una persona el titulo y tratamiento de hijo en 135 of the Civil Code provides:
cartas familiares. Sin embrago, en cada caso decidiran los un modo ART. 135. The father may be compelled to acknowledge his natural child in
suficientemente expresivo la paternidad, servira de base para acreditar, en the following cases:
union con otros datos, la posesion contante del estado del hijo a los efectos
de este articulo, y con arreglo a su numero 2.º xxx xxx xxx

Let it first be noted that the law prohibits the investigation of paternity (Borres 2. When the child has been in the uninterrupted possession of the status of a
and Barza vs. Municipality of Panay, 42 Phil., 643; Donado vs. Menendez natural child of the defendant father, justified by the conduct of the father
Donado, 55 Phil., 861). The only exceptions to this rule are those established himself or that of his family.
in article 135 of the Civil Code quoted above, the first of which is that the father
The majority decision bases its connection on the second point on Exhibits C,
may be compelled to acknowledge his paternity, "When an indubitable writing
F, G, H, and J and the following facts, as found by the lower court in its
of his exists in which he expressly acknowledge his paternity." The writing that
decision:
is required by said provision must be complete in itself and by itself, and must
contain all the statements that are necessary to constitute a full and clear Cuando la demandante Antonia L. de Jesus estaba para dar a luz, el
acknowledgment by a father of his paternity of a child, in order that it may serve demandado Cesar Syquia llamo a su comprovinciano Dr. Crescenciano
as a basis for compelling him to acknowledge said child should be afterwards Talavera, medico que entonces ejercia su profesion en la Ciudad de Manila,
deny his paternity. If several writings put together, each not being complete in para que asistiera a aquella en su parto y a ese efecto llevo a la demandante
itself, should be necessary in order to obtain a full and complete expression of Antonia L. de Jesus acompañado del Dr. Talavera al Hospital San Jose, de
acknowledgment by a father of his paternity of a child, the general prohibition esta Ciudad, donde ella dio a luz el 17 de junio de 1931 asistida por dicho Dr.
to investigate paternity would be violated. Talavera, que firmo el certificado de necimiento Exhibit E.
By the mere reading of all said letters, the one addressed to a priest and the Despues del nacimiento del demandante Ismael Loanco, el demandado
others to the herein plaintiff-appellee, Antonia L. de Jesus, the reader cannot estuvo viviendo con este y con la demandante Antonio L. de Jesus en la casa
ascertain which is the "creature that is coming on June", which the defendant- No. 551 de la Calle Camarines, Manila, entregando a dicha demandante el
appellant, Cesar Syquia, says in the said letter addressed to the priest is his, dinero para los gastos de casa y el pago del consumo de gas y luz electrica,
nor who is the "junior" that he recommends to said Antonia L. de Jesus to take habiendo firmado el contrato para el suministro del fluido electrico en dicha
good care of, as there is nothing in anyone of said letters from which it may be casa.
inferred that Antonia L. de Jesus was enciente at the time, that the "junior" was
the being she was carrying in her womb, and that it was the "creature that is Exhibit, C, F, G, H, and J, are inadmissible in evidence the purpose of showing
coming in June." To connect all these facts it was necessary to prove that that Ismael Loanco has enjoyed the continuous possession of the status of a
Cesar Syquia had had illicit relations with Antonia L. de Jesus, that as a result natural child, because being of prior date to the birth of said child they can not
of such relations the woman became pregnant, and that she gave birth to a be considered as direct acts of Cesar Syquia showing possession of the status
boy in June 1931. All this certainly constitutes an investigation of the paternity of natural child, as no human being can enjoy such possession until he be born
of Cesar Syquia of said child outside of the documents, which is prohibited by with legal capacity for acquiring civil rights (Infante vs. Figueras, 4 Phil., 738;
law.
7
Granados vs. Leynes, G.R. No. 31224, promulgated September 9, 1929, not ostensible de tener y tratar al hijo como tal en las relaciones sociales y de la
reported). vida, y esto no accidentalmente, sino continuedamente, porque en tal
supuesto los actos tiene el mismo valor que el reconocimiento
It must also be stated that Cesar Syquia refused to allow his name to be given expreso.lawphil.net
to the child Ismael when it was baptized, so that the name of its mother,
Loanco, had to be given to it. En el mismo criterio restrictivo se inspira la de 12 de octubre de 1907, que
estima que el hecho de que dos nodrizas criaron a otros tantos niños,
The facts which were found by the court below to have been proved by the sufragando el gasto el demandado, quien ademas iba a casa de la
testimony of the witnesses during the trial, are not sufficient to constitute the demandante, los besada, los llamaba hijos y encargaba para los mismos el
uninterrupted possession of the status of Ismael Loanco as natural child of mayor cuidado; el de que subvenia a las necesidades de la madre y de los
said Cesar Syquia, in the light of the following authorities: seis hijos que la nacieron, el primero de los cuales se llamaba como el padre;
In the case of Buenaventura vs. Urbano (5 Phil., 1, 9), this court said: y el de que los porteros de la casa donde vivio la actora sabian que el finado
visitaba a esta, se lamentaba de la mucha familia que tenia y era tenido en el
. . . Confining ourselves to the acts proved to have been performed by Don concepto publico como padre de los menores, no son suficientes para fundar
Telesforo, we find that he visited the mother of the plaintiff; that he paid money la declaracion de paternidad, pues no es legal confundir actos que puedan
for her support; that he paid money for the support of the plaintiff; that he hold revelar mas o menos la presuncion o convencimiento en que una persona
one witness that the plaintiff was his son; that the plaintiff called him "Papa," este de su paternidad con relacion a hijos naturales, con los que demuestren
and that Don Telesforo answered to this designation; that when the plaintiff su proposito de poner a estos hijos en la posesion de tal estado.
visited Don Telesforo he kissed his hand; that Don Telesforo wrote letters to
him; that he paid his fees for instruction in school, and secured him a position It will thus be seen from the foregoing discussion and authorities that the herein
in a commercial house. defendant-appellant Cesar Syquia cannot be compelled to acknowledge the
child Ismael Loanco as his natural son because there exists not an indubitable
xxx xxx xxx writing of his in which he expressly acknowledges his paternity of said child,
and because the said child has not enjoyed the uninterrupted possession of
All these facts taken together are not sufficient to show that plaintiff possesses
the status of a natural child of the said
continuously the status of a natural child. They may have a tendency to show
defendant-appellant, justified by his own conduct or that of his family, as
that Don Telesforo was the father of the child, but that it is not sufficient. It is
required by article 135 of the Civil Code.
not sufficient that the father recognize the child as his. By the express terms
of article 135 that recognition must appear either in writing, made by the father, The decision appealed from should, therefore, be reversed and the complaint
or it must appear in acts which show that the son has possessed continuously dismissed.
the status of a natural child. No recognition by the father of the child which
comes short of the requirements of these two paragraphs is sufficient. It must
appear that it was the intention of the father to recognize the child as to give Avanceña, C.J. and Imperial, J., concur.
him that status, and that the acts performed by him were done with that
intention.

Manresa (Codigo Civil, Vol. 1, page 602, 4th ed.) in citing some decisions of
the Supreme Court of Spain says:
G.R. No. L-770 April 27, 1948
En la sentencia de 5 de junio de 1906 declarase que para justificar la posesion
de estado de hijo natural se requiere que los actos sean de tal naturaleza que
revelen, a la vez que el convencimiento de la paternidad, la voluntad
8
ANGEL T. LIMJOCO, petitioner, 4. The decision of the Public Service Commission is an unwarranted departure
vs. from its announced policy with respect to the establishment and operation of
INTESTATE ESTATE OF PEDRO O. FRAGRANTE, deceased, respondent. ice plant. (Pp. 1-2, petitioner's brief.)

Angel Limjoco, Jr. and Delfin L. Gonzales for petitioner. In his argument petitioner contends that it was error on the part of the
Bienvenido A. Tan for respondent. commission to allow the substitution of the legal representative of the estate
of Pedro O. Fragante for the latter as party applicant in the case then pending
HILADO, J.: before the commission, and in subsequently granting to said estate the
Under date of May 21, 1946, the Public Service Commission, through Deputy certificate applied for, which is said to be in contravention of law.
Commissioner Fidel Ibañez, rendered its decision in case No. 4572 of Pedro If Pedro O. Fragante had not died, there can be no question that he would
O. Fragante, as applicant for a certificate of public convenience to install, have had the right to prosecute his application before the commission to its
maintain and operate an ice plant in San Juan, Rizal, whereby said final conclusion. No one would have denied him that right. As declared by the
commission held that the evidence therein showed that the public interest and commission in its decision, he had invested in the ice plant in question P
convenience will be promoted in a proper and suitable manner "by authorizing 35,000, and from what the commission said regarding his other properties and
the operation and maintenance of another ice plant of two and one-half (2-½) business, he would certainly have been financially able to maintain and
tons in the municipality of San Juan; that the original applicant Pedro O. operate said plant had he not died. His transportation business alone was
Fragante was a Filipino Citizen at the time of his death; and that his intestate netting him about P1,440 a month. He was a Filipino citizen and continued to
estate is financially capable of maintaining the proposed service". The be such till his demise. The commission declared in its decision, in view of the
commission, therefore, overruled the opposition filed in the case and ordered evidence before it, that his estate was financially able to maintain and operate
"that under the provisions of section 15 of Commonwealth Act No. 146, as the ice plant. The aforesaid right of Pedro O. Fragante to prosecute said
amended a certificate of public convenience be issued to the Intestate Estate application to its conclusion was one which by its nature did not lapse through
of the deceased Pedro Fragante, authorizing said Intestate Estate through its his death. Hence, it constitutes a part of the assets of his estate, for which a
Special or Judicial Administrator, appointed by the proper court of competent right was property despite the possibility that in the end the commission might
jurisdiction, to maintain and operate an ice plant with a daily productive have denied application, although under the facts of the case, the commission
capacity of two and one-half (2-1/2) tons in the Municipality of San Juan and granted the application in view of the financial ability of the estate to maintain
to sell the ice produced from said plant in the said Municipality of San Juan and operate the ice plant. Petitioner, in his memorandum of March 19, 1947,
and in the Municipality of Mandaluyong, Rizal, and in Quezon City", subject to admits (page 3) that the certificate of public convenience once granted "as a
the conditions therein set forth in detail (petitioner's brief, pp. 33-34). rule, should descend to his estate as an asset". Such certificate would certainly
Petitioner makes four assignments of error in his brief as follows: be property, and the right to acquire such a certificate, by complying with the
requisites of the law, belonged to the decedent in his lifetime, and survived to
1. The decision of the Public Service Commission is not in accordance with his estate and judicial administrator after his death.
law.
If Pedro O. Fragrante had in his lifetime secured an option to buy a piece of
2. The decision of the Public Service Commission is not reasonably supported land and during the life of the option he died, if the option had been given him
by evidence. in the ordinary course of business and not out of special consideration for his
person, there would be no doubt that said option and the right to exercise it
3. The Public Service Commission erred in not giving petitioner and the Ice
would have survived to his estate and legal representatives. In such a case
and Cold Storage Industries of the Philippines, Inc., as existing operators, a
there would also be the possibility of failure to acquire the property should he
reasonable opportunity to meet the increased demand.
or his estate or legal representative fail to comply with the conditions of the
option. In the case at bar Pedro O. Fragrante's undoubted right to apply for
9
and acquire the desired certificate of public convenience — the evidence empowered and entitled in behalf of the estate to make the right effective in
established that the public needed the ice plant — was under the law that proceeding.
conditioned only upon the requisite citizenship and economic ability to
maintain and operate the service. Of course, such right to acquire or obtain Manresa (Vol. III, 6th ed., p. 11) says that No. 10 of article 334 and article 336
such certificate of public convenience was subject to failure to secure its of the Civil Code, respectively, consider as immovable and movable
objective through nonfulfillment of the legal conditions, but the situation here things rights which are not material. The same eminent commentator says in
is no different from the legal standpoint from that of the option in the illustration the cited volume (p. 45) that article 336 of the Civil Code has been deficiently
just given. drafted in that it is not sufficiently expressive of all incorporeal rights which are
also property for juridical purposes.
Rule 88, section 2, provides that the executor or administrator may bring or
defend actions, among other cases, for the protection of the property or rights Corpus Juris (Vol. 50, p. 737) states that in the broad sense of the term,
of the deceased which survive, and it says that such actions may be brought property includes, among other things, "an option", and "the certificate of the
or defended "in the right of the deceased". railroad commission permitting the operation of a bus line", and on page 748
of the same volume we read:
Rule 82, section 1, paragraph (a), mentions among the duties of the executor
or administrator, the making of an inventory of all goods, chattels, rights, However, these terms (real property, as estate or interest) have also been
credits, and estate of the deceased which shall come to his possession or declared to include every species of title, inchoate or complete, and
knowledge, or to the possession of any other person for him. embrace rights which lie in contract, whether executory or executed.
(Emphasis supplied.)
In his commentaries on the Rules of Court (Volume II, 2nd ed., pages 366,
367) the present chief Justice of this Court draws the following conclusion from Another important question raised by petitioner is whether the estate of Pedro
the decisions cited by him: O. Fragrante is a "person" within the meaning of the Public Service Act.

Therefore, unless otherwise expressly provided by law, any action affecting Words and Phrases, First Series, (Vol. 6, p, 5325), states the following doctrine
the property or rights(emphasis supplied) of a deceased person which may be in the jurisdiction of the State of Indiana:
brought by or against him if he were alive, may likewise be instituted and As the estate of the decedent is in law regarded as a person, a forgery
prosecuted by or against the administrator, unless the action is for recovery of committed after the death of the man whose name purports to be signed to the
money, debt or interest thereon, or unless, by its very nature, it cannot survive, instrument may be prosecuted as with the intent to defraud the estate.
because death extinguishes the right . . . . Billings vs. State, 107 Ind., 54, 55, 6 N. E. 914, 7 N. E. 763, 57 Am. Rep. 77.
It is true that a proceeding upon the application for a certificate of public The Supreme Court of Indiana in the decision cited above had before it a case
convenience before the Public Service Commission is not an "action". But the of forgery committed after the death of one Morgan for the purpose of
foregoing provisions and citations go to prove that the decedent's rights which defrauding his estate. The objection was urged that the information did not
by their nature are not extinguished by death go to make up a part and parcel aver that the forgery was committed with the intent to defraud any person. The
of the assets of his estate which, being placed under the control and Court, per Elliott, J., disposed of this objection as follows:
management of the executor or administrator, can not be exercised but by him
in representation of the estate for the benefit of the creditors, devisees or . . . The reason advanced in support of this proposition is that the law does not
legatees, if any, and the heirs of the decedent. And if the right involved regard the estate of a decedent as a person. This intention (contention) cannot
happens to consist in the prosecution of an unfinished proceeding upon an prevail. The estate of the decedent is a person in legal contemplation. "The
application for a certificate of public convenience of the deceased before the word "person" says Mr. Abbot, "in its legal signification, is a generic term, and
Public Service Commission, it is but logical that the legal representative be includes artificial as well as natural persons," 2 Abb. Dict. 271; Douglas vs.
Pacific, etc. Co., 4 Cal. 304; Planters', etc., Bank vs. Andrews, 8 Port. (Ala.)
10
404. It said in another work that 'persons are of two kinds: natural and artificial. Court gave judgment in favor of said estate along with the other plaintiffs in
A natural person is a human being. Artificial persons include (1) a collection or these words:
succession of natural persons forming a corporation; (2) a collection of
property to which the law attributes the capacity of having rights and duties. . . . the judgment appealed from must be affirmed so far as it holds that
The latter class of artificial persons is recognized only to a limited extent in our defendants Concepcion and Whitaker are indebted to he plaintiffs in the
law. "Examples are the estate of a bankrupt or deceased person." 2 Rapalje & amount of P245,804.69 . . . .
L. Law Dict. 954. Our own cases inferentially recognize the correctness of the Under the regime of the Civil Code and before the enactment of the Code of
definition given by the authors from whom we have quoted, for they declare Civil Procedure, the heirs of a deceased person were considered in
that it is sufficient, in pleading a claim against a decedent's estate, to designate contemplation of law as the continuation of his personality by virtue of the
the defendant as the estate of the deceased person, naming him. Ginn vs. provision of article 661 of the first Code that the heirs succeed to all the rights
Collins, 43 Ind. 271. Unless we accept this definition as correct, there would and obligations of the decedent by the mere fact of his death. It was so held
be a failure of justice in cases where, as here, the forgery is committed after by this Court in Barrios vs. Dolor, 2 Phil., 44, 46. However, after the enactment
the death of a person whose name is forged; and this is a result to be avoided of the Code of Civil Procedure, article 661 of the Civil Code was abrogated, as
if it can be done consistent with principle. We perceive no difficulty in avoiding held in Suiliong & Co. vs. Chio-Taysan, 12 Phil., 13, 22. In that case, as well
such a result; for, to our minds, it seems reasonable that the estate of a as in many others decided by this Court after the innovations introduced by
decedent should be regarded as an artificial person. It is the creation of law for the Code of Civil Procedure in the matter of estates of deceased persons, it
the purpose of enabling a disposition of the assets to be properly made, and, has been the constant doctrine that it is the estate or the mass of property,
although natural persons as heirs, devises, or creditors, have an interest in the rights and assets left by the decedent, instead of the heirs directly, that
property, the artificial creature is a distinct legal entity. The interest which becomes vested and charged with his rights and obligations which survive
natural persons have in it is not complete until there has been a due after his demise.
administration; and one who forges the name of the decedent to an instrument
purporting to be a promissory note must be regarded as having intended to The heirs were formerly considered as the continuation of the decedent's
defraud the estate of the decedent, and not the natural persons having diverse personality simply by legal fiction, for they might not have been flesh and blood
interests in it, since ha cannot be presumed to have known who those persons — the reason was one in the nature of a legal exigency derived from the
were, or what was the nature of their respective interest. The fraudulent intent principle that the heirs succeeded to the rights and obligations of the decedent.
is against the artificial person, — the estate — and not the natural persons Under the present legal system, such rights and obligations as survive after
who have direct or contingent interest in it. (107 Ind. 54, 55, 6 N.E. 914-915.) death have to be exercised and fulfilled only by the estate of the deceased.
And if the same legal fiction were not indulged, there would be no juridical
In the instant case there would also be a failure of justice unless the estate of basis for the estate, represented by the executor or administrator, to exercise
Pedro O. Fragrante is considered a "person", for quashing of the proceedings those rights and to fulfill those obligations of the deceased. The reason and
for no other reason than his death would entail prejudicial results to his purpose for indulging the fiction is identical and the same in both cases. This
investment amounting to P35,000.00 as found by the commission, not is why according to the Supreme Court of Indiana in Billings vs. State, supra,
counting the expenses and disbursements which the proceeding can be citing 2 Rapalje & L. Dictionary, 954, among the artificial persons recognized
presumed to have occasioned him during his lifetime, let alone those defrayed by law figures "a collection of property to which the law attributes the capacity
by the estate thereafter. In this jurisdiction there are ample precedents to show of having rights and duties", as for instance, the estate of a bankrupt or
that the estate of a deceased person is also considered as having legal deceased person.
personality independent of their heirs. Among the most recent cases may be
mentioned that of "Estate of Mota vs. Concepcion, 56 Phil., 712, 717, wherein Petitioner raises the decisive question of whether or not the estate of Pedro O.
the principal plaintiff was the estate of the deceased Lazaro Mota, and this Fragrante can be considered a "citizen of the Philippines" within the meaning
of section 16 of the Public Service Act, as amended, particularly the proviso

11
thereof expressly and categorically limiting the power of the commission to How about the point of citizenship? If by legal fiction his personality is
issue certificates of public convenience or certificates of public convenience considered extended so that any debts or obligations left by, and surviving,
and necessity "only to citizens of the Philippines or of the United States or to him may be paid, and any surviving rights may be exercised for the benefit of
corporations, copartnerships, associations, or joint-stock companies his creditors and heirs, respectively, we find no sound and cogent reason for
constituted and organized under the laws of the Philippines", and the further denying the application of the same fiction to his citizenship, and for not
proviso that sixty per centum of the stock or paid-up capital of such entities considering it as likewise extended for the purposes of the aforesaid unfinished
must belong entirely to citizens of the Philippines or of the United States. proceeding before the Public Service Commission. The outcome of said
proceeding, if successful, would in the end inure to the benefit of the same
Within the Philosophy of the present legal system, the underlying reason for creditors and the heirs. Even in that event petitioner could not allege any
the legal fiction by which, for certain purposes, the estate of the deceased prejudice in the legal sense, any more than he could have done if Fragrante
person is considered a "person" is the avoidance of injustice or prejudice had lived longer and obtained the desired certificate. The fiction of such
resulting from the impossibility of exercising such legal rights and fulfilling such extension of his citizenship is grounded upon the same principle, and
legal obligations of the decedent as survived after his death unless the fiction motivated by the same reason, as the fiction of the extension of personality.
is indulged. Substantially the same reason is assigned to support the same The fiction is made necessary to avoid the injustice of subjecting his estate,
rule in the jurisdiction of the State of Indiana, as announced in Billings vs. creditors and heirs, solely by reason of his death to the loss of the investment
State, supra, when the Supreme Court of said State said: amounting to P35,000, which he has already made in the ice plant, not
. . . It seems reasonable that the estate of a decedent should be regarded as counting the other expenses occasioned by the instant proceeding, from the
an artificial person. it is the creation of law for the purpose of enabling a Public Service Commission of this Court.
disposition of the assets to be properly made . . . . We can perceive no valid reason for holding that within the intent of the
Within the framework and principles of the constitution itself, to cite just one constitution (Article IV), its provisions on Philippine citizenship exclude the
example, under the bill of rights it seems clear that while the civil rights legal principle of extension above adverted to. If for reasons already stated our
guaranteed therein in the majority of cases relate to natural persons, the term law indulges the fiction of extension of personality, if for such reasons the
"person" used in section 1 (1) and (2) must be deemed to include artificial or estate of Pedro O. Fragrante should be considered an artificial or juridical
juridical persons, for otherwise these latter would be without the constitutional person herein, we can find no justification for refusing to declare a like fiction
guarantee against being deprived of property without due process of law, or as to the extension of his citizenship for the purposes of this proceeding.
the immunity from unreasonable searches and seizures. We take it that it was Pedro O. Fragrante was a Filipino citizen, and as such, if he had lived, in view
the intendment of the framers to include artificial or juridical, no less than of the evidence of record, he would have obtained from the commission the
natural, persons in these constitutional immunities and in others of similar certificate for which he was applying. The situation has suffered but one
nature. Among these artificial or juridical persons figure estates of deceased change, and that is, his death. His estate was that of a Filipino citizen. And its
persons. Hence, we hold that within the framework of the Constitution, the economic ability to appropriately and adequately operate and maintain the
estate of Pedro O. Fragrante should be considered an artificial or juridical service of an ice plant was the same that it received from the decedent himself.
person for the purposes of the settlement and distribution of his estate which, In the absence of a contrary showing, which does not exist here, his heirs may
of course, include the exercise during the judicial administration thereof of be assumed to be also Filipino citizens; and if they are not, there is the simple
those rights and the fulfillment of those obligations of his which survived after expedient of revoking the certificate or enjoining them from inheriting it.
his death. One of those rights was the one involved in his pending application
before the Public Service Commission in the instant case, consisting in the Upon the whole, we are of the opinion that for the purposes of the prosecution
prosecution of said application to its final conclusion. As stated above, an of said case No. 4572 of the Public Service Commission to its final conclusion,
injustice would ensue from the opposite course. both the personality and citizenship of Pedro O. Fragrante must be deemed

12
extended, within the meaning and intent of the Public Service Act, as The estate, therefore, has only a representative value. What the law calls
amended, in harmony with the constitution: it is so adjudged and decreed. estate is, a matter of fact, intended to designate the heirs of the deceased. The
question, therefore, in this case, boils down to the citizenship of the heirs of
Decision affirmed, without costs. So ordered. Fragrante.
Moran, C.J., Pablo, Bengzon, Briones, Padilla and Tuason, JJ., concur. There is nothing in the record to show conclusively the citizenship of the heirs
Paras, J., I hereby certify that Mr. Justice Feria voted with the majority. of Fragrante. If they are Filipino citizens, the action taken by the Public Service
Commission should be affirmed. If they are not, it should be reversed.

Petitioner alleges that the estate is just a front or dummy for aliens to go around
Separate Opinions the citizenship constitutional provision. It is alleged that Gaw Suy, the special
administrator of the estate, is an alien.
PERFECTO, J., dissenting:
We are of the opinion that the citizenship of the heirs of Fragrante should be
Commonwealth Act No. 146 reserves to Filipino citizens the right to obtain a determined by the Commission upon evidence that the party should be
certificate of public convenience to operate an ice plant in San Juan, Rizal. present. It should also determine the dummy question raised by the petitioner.
The limitation is in accordance with section 8 of Article XIV of the Constitution
which provides We are of opinion and so vote that the decision of the Public Service
Commission of May 21, 1946, be set aside and that the Commission be
No franchise, certificate, or any other form of authorization for the operation of instructed to receive evidence of the above factual questions and render a new
a public utility shall be granted except to citizens of the Philippines or to decision accordingly.
corporations or other entities organized under the laws of the Philippines, sixty
per centum of the capital of which is owned by citizens of the Philippines, nor
such franchise, certificate or authorization be exclusive in character or for a G.R. No. L-27956 April 30, 1976
longer period than fifty years. No franchise granted to any individual, firm or
corporation, except under the condition that it shall be subject to amendment, DIONISIO DUMLAO, in his own behalf and in his capacity as
alteration, or repeal by Congress when the public interest so requires. Administrator of the Testate Estate of the late Pedro Oria; FAUSTA
DUMLAO, AMADO DUMLAO, and BENJAMIN DUMLAO, plaintiffs-
The main question in this case is whether the estate of Pedro O. Fragrante appellants,
fulfills the citizenship requirement. To our mind, the question can be restated vs.
by asking whether the heirs of Pedro O. Fragrante fulfill the citizenship QUALITY PLASTIC PRODUCTS, INC., defendant-appellee.
requirement of the law.
Castillo & Castillo for appellants.
The estate is an abstract entity. As such, its legal value depends on what it
represents. It is a device by which the law gives a kind of personality and unity Eugenio T. Estavillo for appellee.
to undetermined tangible persons, the heirs. They inherit and replace the
deceased at the very moment of his death. As there are procedural requisites
for their identification and determination that need time for their compliance, a AQUINO, J.:p
legal fiction has been devised to represent them. That legal fiction is the estate,
a liquid condition in process of solidification. On February 28, 1962 the Court of First Instance of Pangasinan in Civil Case
No.
T-662 rendered a judgment ordering defendants Vicente Soliven, Pedro Oria,

13
Santiago Laurencio, Marcelino Sumalbag and Juana Darang to pay solidarity that Oria was already dead at the time the prior case, Civil Case No. T-662,
Quality Plastic Products, Inc. the sum of P3,667.03 plus the legal rate of was filed.
interest from November, 1958. The lower court directed that in case the
defendants failed to pay the said amount before its decision became final, then Quality Plastic Products, Inc. in its answer alleged that Oria's heirs were aware
Quality Plastic Products, Inc. "is hereby authorized to foreclose the bond, of the suit against Soliven and his sureties and that the said heirs were
Exhibit A, in accordance with law, for the satisfaction of the judgment". (Under estopped to question the court's jurisdiction over Oria.
that bond the four sureties bound themselves to answer solidarity for the After hearing the lower court held that it acquired jurisdiction over Soliven and
obligations of the principal, Vicente Soliven and certain real properties of the the other defendants in Civil Case No. T-662 by reason of their voluntary
sureties were "given as security for" their undertaking). appearance. It reasoned out that Soliven acted in bad faith because he did not
Upon defendants' failure to pay the amount of the judgment and after the apprise the court that Oria was dead. It specifically ruled that "it had acquired
decision had become final, the lower court, on motion of Quality Plastic jurisdiction over the person" of Oria and that the judgment was valid as to him.
Products, Inc., ordered the "foreclosure" of the surety bond and the sale at From that decision the plaintiffs appealed.
public auction of the land of Pedro Oria which he had given as security under The four assignments of error of appellants Dumlao may be boiled down to the
the bond. Oria's land, which was covered by Original Certificate of Title No. issue as to the validity of the lower court's judgment against the deceased
28732 and has an area of nine and six-tenths hectares, was levied upon and Pedro Oria who, being already in the other world, was never served with
sold by the sheriff at public auction on September 24, 1962. The sale was summons.
confirmed by the lower court in its order of November 20, 1962.
There is no difficulty in resolving that issue. Since no jurisdiction was acquired
It turned out that Oria died on April 23, 1959 or long before June 13, 1960 over Oria, the judgment against him is a patent nullity (Ang Lam vs. Rosillosa
when the action was filed. Oria's death was not known to Quality Plastic and Santiago, 86 Phil. 447; Asuncion vs. Nieto, 4 Phil. 97; Gorostiaga vs.
Products, Inc. Nor were the representatives of Quality Plastic Products, Inc. Sarte, 68 Phil. 4).
aware that in the same Tayug court Special Proceeding No. T-212, Testate
Estate of the deceased Pedro Oria, was pending. As far as Oria was concerned, the lower court's judgment against him in Civil
Case No. T-662 is void for lack of jurisdiction over his person. He was not, and
The summons and copies of the complaint for the five defendants in Civil Case he could not have been, validly served with summons. He had no more civil
No. personality. His juridical capacity, which is the fitness to be the subject of legal
T-662 had been personally served on June 24, 1960 by a deputy sheriff on relations, was lost through death. (Arts. 37 and 42, Civil Code).
Soliven, the principal in the bond, who acknowledged such service by signing
on the back of the original summons in his own behalf and again signing for The lower court erred in ruling that since Soliven's counsel also appeared as
his co-defendants. counsel for Oria, there was a voluntary appearance which enabled the court
to acquire jurisdiction over Oria, as contemplated in section 23, Rule 14 of the
On March 1, 1963 Dionisio, Fausta, Amado and Benjamin, all surnamed Revised Rules of Court. Soliven's counsel could not have validly appeared for
Dumlao and all testamentary heirs in Oria's duly probated will, sued Quality a dead co-defendant. Estoppel has no application to this case.
Plastic Products, Inc., also in the Tayug court for the annulment of the
judgment against Oria and the execution against his land. (Dionisio Dumlao But from the fact that appellants Dumlao had to sue Quality Plastic Products,
also sued in his capacity as administrator of Oria's testate estate). Inc. in order to annul the judgment against Oria, it does not follow that they are
entitled to claim attorney's fees against that corporation. The parties herein
The ground for annulment was lack of jurisdiction over the person of the agreed in their stipulation of facts that Quality Plastic Products, Inc. was
deceased Oria (Civil Case No. T- 873). It was only when Quality Plastic unaware of Oria's death. Appellants Dumlao in effect conceded that the
Products, Inc. received the summons in Civil Case No. T-873 that it learned appellee acted in good faith in joining Oria as a co-defendant.

14
WHEREFORE, the lower court's decision is reversed and set aside. Its The facts of the case, as substantially and correctly stated by the Solicitor
judgment in Civil Case No. T-662 against Pedro Oria is declared void for lack General are these:
of jurisdiction. The execution sale of Oria's land covered by OCT No. 28732 is
also void. No costs. 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
SO ORDERED. 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
Fernando, Barredo, Antonio and Concepcion, Jr., JJ., concur. 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
G.R. No. L-21289 October 4, 1971 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
MOY YA LIM YAO alias EDILBERTO AGUINALDO LIM and LAU YUEN
undertake, among others that said Lau Yuen Yeung would actually depart from
YEUNG, petitioners-appellants,
the Philippines on or before the expiration of her authorized period of stay in
vs.
this country or within the period as in his discretion the Commissioner of
THE COMMISSIONER OF IMMIGRATION, respondent-appellee.
Immigration or his authorized representative might properly allow. After
Aruego, Mamaril & Associates for petitioners-appellants. 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
Office of the Solicitor General Arturo A. Alafriz, Assistant Solicitor General contracted marriage with Moy Ya Lim Yao alias Edilberto Aguinaldo Lim an
Frine' C. Zaballero and Solicitor Sumilang V. Bernardo for respondent- alleged Filipino citizen. Because of the contemplated action of respondent to
appellee. 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
BARREDO, J.: 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
Appeal from the following decision of the Court of First Instance of Manila in English or Tagalog. She could not name any Filipino neighbor, with a Filipino
its Civil Case No. 49705 entitled Moy Ya Lim Yao, etc., et al. vs. The name except one, Rosa. She did not know the names of her brothers-in-law,
Commissioner of Immigration which, brief as it is, sufficiently depicts the or sisters-in-law.
factual setting of and the fundamental issues involved in this case thus:
Under the facts unfolded above, the Court is of the considered opinion, and so
In the instant case, petitioners seek the issuance of a writ of injunction against holds, that the instant petition for injunction cannot be sustained for the same
the Commissioner of Immigration, "restraining the latter and/or his authorized reason as set forth in the Order of this Court, dated March 19, 1962, the
representative from ordering plaintiff Lau Yuen Yeung to leave the Philippines pertinent portions of which read:
and causing her arrest and deportation and the confiscation of her bond, upon
her failure to do so." First, Section 15 of the Revised Naturalization Law provides:

The prayer for preliminary injunction embodied in the complaint, having been Effect of the naturalization on wife and children. — Any woman who is now or
denied, the case was heard on the merits and the parties submitted their may hereafter be married to a citizen of the Philippines, and who might herself
respective evidence. 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
15
terms. The clause "who might herself be lawfully naturalized" incontestably Se Lun vs. Board of Commissioners, G. R. No. L-6017, September 16, 1954;
implies that an alien woman may be deemed a citizen of the Philippines by Sec. 9, last par., Phil. Immigration Law).
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 The aforequoted argument of the Solicitor General is well buttressed not only
these are the explicit requisites provided by law for an alien to be naturalized. by the decided cases of the Supreme Court on the point mentioned above, but
(Lee Suan Ay, Alberto Tan and Lee Chiao vs. Emilio Galang, etc., G. R. No. also on the very provisions of Section 9, sub-paragraph (g) of the Philippine
L-11855). However, from the allegation of paragraph 3 of the complaint, to wit: Immigration Act of 1940 which reads:

3. That plaintiff Lau Yuen Yeung, Chinese by birth, who might herself be An alien who is admitted as a non-immigrant cannot remain in the Philippines
lawfully naturalized as a Filipino citizen (not being disqualified to become such permanently. To obtain permanent admission, a non-immigrant alien must
by naturalization), is a Filipino citizen by virtue of her marriage on January 25, depart voluntarily to some foreign country and procure from the appropriate
1962 to plaintiff MOY YA LIM YAO alias EDILBERTO AGUINALDO LIM, under Philippine Consul the proper visa and thereafter undergo examination by the
the Naturalization Laws of the Philippines. Officers of the Bureau of Immigration at a Philippine port of entry for
determination of his admissibility in accordance with the requirements of this
it can be deduced beyond debate that petitioner Lau Yuen Yeung while Act. (This paragraph is added by Republic Act 503). (Sec. 9, subparagraph (g)
claiming not to be disqualified, does not and cannot allege that she possesses of the Philippine Immigration Act of 1940).
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 And fourth, respondent Commissioner of Immigration is charged with the
that she lacks at least, the requisite length of residence in the Philippines administration of all laws relating to immigration (Sec. 3, Com. Act No. 613)
(Revised Naturalization Law, Sec. 2, Case No. 2, Sec. 3, Case No. 3). 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
Were if the intention of the law that the alien woman, to be deemed a citizen function in determining cases presented to him (Pedro Uy So vs.
of the Philippines by virtue of marriage to a Filipino citizen, need only be not Commissioner of Immigration CA-G. R. No. 23336-R, Dec. 15, 1960), so that
disqualified under the Naturalization Law, it would have been worded "and who his decision thereon may not be disturbed unless he acted with abuse of
herself is not disqualified to become a citizen of the Philippines." discretion or in excess of his jurisdiction.

Second, Lau Yuen Yeung, a temporary Chinese woman visitor, whose It may also be not amiss to state that wife Lau Yuen Yeung, while she barely
authorized stay in the Philippines, after repeated extensions thereof, was to and insufficiently talk in broken Tagalog and English, she admitted that she
expire last February 28, 1962, having married her co-plaintiff only on January cannot write either language.
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 The only matter of fact not clearly passed upon by His Honor which could have
avoid her then impending compulsory departure, not to say deportation. This some bearing in the resolution of this appeal is the allegation in the brief of
cannot be permitted. 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
Third, as the Solicitor General has well stated: does not possess any of the disqualifications for naturalization." Of course, as
an additional somehow relevant factual matter, it is also emphasized by said
5. That petitioner Lau Yuen Yeung, having been admitted as a temporary alien appellants that during the hearing in the lower court, held almost ten months
visitor on the strength of a deliberate and voluntary representation that she will after the alleged marriage of petitioners, "Lau Yuen Yeung was already
enter and stay only for a period of one month and thereby secured a visa, carrying in her womb for seven months a child by her husband."
cannot go back on her representation to stay permanently without first
departing from the Philippines as she had promised. (Chung Tiao Bing, et al. Appellants have assigned six errors allegedly committed by the court a quo,
vs. Commissioner of Immigration, G. R. No. L-9966, September 29, 1956; Ong thus:
16
I LEAVE THE PHILIPPINES AS A TEMPORARY VISITOR WHICH SHE IS
NOT.
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THE CLAUSE "WHO
MIGHT HERSELF BE LAWFULLY NATURALIZED" (OF SECTION 15, VI
REVISED NATURALIZATION LAW) INCONTESTABLY IMPLIES THAT AN
ALIEN WOMAN MAY BE DEEMED A CITIZEN OF THE PHILIPPINES BY THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN REFUSING TO GRANT PLAINTIFFS-
VIRTUE OF HER MARRIAGE TO A FILIPINO CITIZEN, ONLY IF SHE APPELLANTS' MOTION FOR PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION EMBODIED IN
POSSESSES ALL THE QUALIFICATIONS AND NONE OF THE THEIR COMPLAINT, IN AN ORDER DATED MARCH 19, 1962. (PAGES 36-
DISQUALIFICATIONS SPECIFIED IN THE LAW. 41, RECORD ON APPEAL) .

II 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 LOWER COURT ERRED IN HOLDING THAT A WOMAN FOREIGNER the petition in the court below, viz:
WHO DOES NOT POSSESS ANY OF THE DISQUALIFICATIONS FOR
CITIZENSHIP AND WHO MARRIED A FILIPINO CITIZEN IS STILL That petitioner Lau Yuen Yeung, having been admitted as a temporary alien
CONSIDERED AN ALIEN EVEN AFTER SUCH MARRIAGE AS TO FALL visitor on the strength of a deliberate and voluntary representation that she will
WITHIN THE REQUIREMENT OF SECTION 9, SUB-PARAGRAPH (9) OF enter and stay only for a period of one month and thereby secured a visa,
THE PHILIPPINE IMMIGRATION ACT OF 1940. cannot go back on her representation to stay permanently without first
departing from the Philippines as she had promised. (Chung Tiao Bing, et al.
III vs. Commissioner of Immigration, G.R. No. L-9966, September 29, 1956; Ong
Se Lun vs. Board of Commissioners, G.R. No. L-6017, Sept. 16, 1954, Sec. 9,
THE COURT ERRED IN CONCLUDING THAT LAU YUEN YEUNG'S last par. Phil. Immigration Law);
MARRIAGE TO A FILIPINO CITIZEN WAS ONLY FOR CONVENIENCE,
MERELY BECAUSE THE SAME WAS CELEBRATED JUST OVER A That the mere marriage of a Filipino citizen to an alien does not automatically
MONTH BEFORE THE EXPIRY DATE OF HER AUTHORIZED STAY. 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
IV none of the disqualifications. (Lee Suan Ay, Alberto Tan and Lee Chiao vs.
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN FAILING TO FIND THAT THE Galang, etc., G. R. No. L-11855, Dec. 25, 1959)
COMMISSIONER OF IMMIGRATION ACTED WITH ABUSE OF It is obvious from the nature of these objection that their proper resolution
DISCRETION OR IN EXCESS OF HIS JURISDICTION WHEN SAID would necessarily cover all the points raised in appellants' assignments of
OFFICER THREATENED TO SEND OUT OF THE COUNTRY PLAINTIFF error, hence, We will base our discussions, more or less, on said objections.
LAU YUEN YEUNG WITH WARNING THAT HER FAILURE TO DO SO
WOULD MEAN CONFISCATION OF HER BOND, ARREST AND I
IMMEDIATE DEPORTATION, IN SPITE OF THE FACT THAT LAU YUEN
YEUNG IS NOW A FILIPINO CITIZEN. 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
V 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
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN DISMISSING PLAINTIFFS-APPELLANTS' non-immigrant cannot remain here permanently unless he voluntarily leaves
COMPLAINT AND IN REFUSING TO PERMANENTLY ENJOIN THE the country first and goes to a foreign country to secure thereat from the
COMMISSIONER FROM ORDERING PLAINTIFF LAU YUEN YEUNG TO appropriate Philippine consul the proper visa and thereafter undergo
examination by officers of the Bureau of Immigration at a Philippine port of
17
entry for determination of his admissibility in accordance with the requirements officer is above the law. Any other ruling would, as stated in our previous
of the Philippine Immigration Act of 1940, as amended by Republic Act 503, is decision, encourage aliens to enter the Islands on false pretences; every alien
premised on the assumption that petitioner Lau Yuen Yeung is not a Filipino so permitted to enter for a limited time, might then claim a right to permanent
citizen. We note the same line of reasoning in the appealed decision of the admission, however flimsy such claim should be, and thereby compel our
court a quo. Accordingly, it is but safe to assume that were the Solicitor government to spend time, money and effort to examining and verifying
General and His Honor of the view that said petitioner had become ipso facto a whether or not every such alien really has a right to take up permanent
Filipina by virtue of her marriage to her Filipino husband, they would have held residence here. In the meanwhile, the alien would be able to prolong his stay
her as entitled to assume the status of a permanent resident without having to and evade his return to the port whence he came, contrary to what he
depart as required of aliens by Section 9 (g) of the law. promised to do when he entered. The damages inherent in such ruling are
self-evident.
In any event, to set this point at rest, We hereby hold that portion of Section 9
(g) of the Immigration Act providing: 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
An alien who is admitted as a non-immigrant cannot remain in the Philippines Filipino should be required to still leave the Philippines for a foreign country,
permanently. To obtain permanent admission, a non-immigrant alien must only to apply thereat for a re-entry here and undergo the process of showing
depart voluntarily to some foreign country and procure from the appropriate that he is entitled to come back, when after all, such right has become
Philippine consul the proper visa and thereafter undergo examination by the incontestible as a necessary concomitant of his assumption of our nationality
officers of the Bureau of Immigration at a Philippine port of entry for by whatever legal means this has been conferred upon him. Consider for
determination of his admissibility in accordance with the requirements of this example, precisely the case of the minor children of an alien who is
Act. naturalized. It is indubitable that they become ipso facto citizens of the
does not apply to aliens who after coming into the Philippines as temporary Philippines. Could it be the law that before they can be allowed permanent
visitors, legitimately become Filipino citizens or acquire Filipino citizenship. residence, they still have to be taken abroad so that they may be processed to
Such change of nationality naturally bestows upon their the right to stay in the determine whether or not they have a right to have permanent residence here?
Philippines permanently or not, as they may choose, and if they elect to reside The difficulties and hardships which such a requirement entails and its
here, the immigration authorities may neither deport them nor confiscate their seeming unreasonableness argue against such a rather absurd construction.
bonds. True it is that this Court has vehemently expressed disapproval of Indeed, as early as 1957, in Ly Giok Ha vs. Galang, 101 Phil. 459, Mr. Justice
convenient ruses employed by alien to convert their status from temporary Concepcion, our present Chief Justice, already ruled thus:
visitors to permanent residents in circumvention of the procedure prescribed ... (P)etitioners allege that, upon her marriage to a Filipino, Ly Giok Ha became
by the legal provision already mentioned, such as in Chiong Tiao Bing vs. also a citizen of the Philippines. Indeed, if this conclusion were correct, it would
Commissioner of Immigration, 99 Phil. 1020, wherein, thru Mr. Justice J.B.L. follow that, in consequence of her marriage, she had been naturalized as such
Reyes, the Court, reiterating the ruling in Ong Se Lun vs. Board of Immigration citizen, and, hence the decision appealed from would have to be affirmed, for
Commissioners, 95 PMI. 785, said: section 40(c) of Commonwealth Act 613 provides that "in the event of the
... It is clear that if an alien gains admission to the Islands on the strength of a naturalization as a Philippine citizen ... of the alien on whose behalf the bond
deliberate and voluntary representation that he will enter only for a limited time, deposit is given, the bond shall be cancelled or the sum deposited shall be
and thereby secures the benefit of a temporary visa, the law will not allow him returned to the depositor or his legal representative." (At. pp. 462-463)
subsequently to go back on his representation and stay permanently, without In other words, the applicable statute itself more than implies that the
first departing from the Philippines as he had promised. No officer can relieve naturalization of an alien visitor as a Philippine citizen logically produces the
him of the departure requirements of section 9 of the Immigration Act, under effect of conferring upon him ipso facto all the rights of citizenship including
the guise of "change" or "correction", for the law makes no distinctions, and no that of being entitled to permanently stay in the Philippines outside the orbit of
18
authority of the Commissioner of Immigration vis-a-vis aliens, if only because Actually, the first case in which Section 15 of the Naturalization Law,
by its very nature and express provisions, the Immigration Law is a law only Commonwealth Act 473, underwent judicial construction was in the first Ly
for aliens and is inapplicable to citizens of the Philippines. In the sense thus Giok Ha case, 4 one almost identical to the one at bar. Ly Giok Ha, a woman
discussed therefore, appellants' second and fourth assignments of error are of Chinese nationality, was a temporary visitor here whose authority to stay
well taken. 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
II to stay, she married a Filipino by the name of Restituto Lacasta. On March 9,
Precisely, the second objection, of the Solicitor General sustained by the trial 1956, her husband notified the Commissioner of Immigration of said marriage
judge is that appellant Lau Yuen Yeung's marriage to appellant Moya Lim Yao and, contending that his wife had become a Filipina by reason of said
alias Edilberto Aguinaldo whose Filipino citizenship is not denied did not have marriage, demanded for the cancellation of her bond, but instead of acceding
the effect of making her a Filipino, since it has not been shown that she "might to such request, the Commissioner required her to leave, and upon her failure
herself be lawfully naturalized," it appearing clearly in the record that she does to do so, on March 16, 1956, the Commissioner confiscated her bond; a suit
not possess all the qualifications required of applicants for naturalization by was filed for the recovery of the bond; the lower court sustained her contention
the Revised Naturalization Law, Commonwealth Act 473, even if she has that she had no obligation to leave, because she had become Filipina by
proven that she does not suffer from any of the disqualifications thereunder. In marriage, hence her bond should be returned. The Commissioner appealed to
other words, the Solicitor General implicitly concedes that had it been this Court. In the said appeal, Mr. Justice Roberto Concepcion, our present
established in the proceedings below that appellant Lau Yuen Yeung Chief Justice, spoke for the Court, thus:
possesses all the qualifications required by the law of applicants for The next and most important question for determination is whether her
naturalization, she would have been recognized by the respondent as a marriage to a Filipino justified or, at least, excused the aforesaid failure of Ly
Filipino citizen in the instant case, without requiring her to submit to the usual Giok Ha to depart from the Philippines on or before March 14, 1956. In
proceedings for naturalization. maintaining the affirmative view, petitioners alleged that, upon her marriage to
To be sure, this position of the Solicitor General is in accord with what used to a Filipino, Ly Giok Ha became, also, a citizen of the Philippines. Indeed, if this
be the view of this Court since Lee Suan Ay, et al. v. Emilio Galang, etc., et conclusion were correct, it would follow that, in consequence of her marriage,
al., G.R. No. L-11855, promulgated December 23, 1959, 106 Phil., she had been naturalized as such citizen, and, hence, the decision appealed
706,713, 1 for it was only in Zita Ngo Burca vs. Republic, G.R. NO. L-24252 from would have to be affirmed, for section 40(c) of Commonwealth Act No.
which was promulgated on January 30, 1967 (19 SCRA 186), that over the 613 provides that "in the event of the naturalization as a Philippine citizen ...
pen of Mr. Justice Conrado Sanchez, this Court held that for an alien woman of the alien on whose behalf the bond deposit is given, the bond shall be
who marries a Filipino to be deemed a Filipina, she has to apply for cancelled or the sum deposited shall be returned to the depositor or his legal
naturalization in accordance with the procedure prescribed by the Revised representative." Thus the issue boils down to whether an alien female who
Naturalization Law and prove in said naturalization proceeding not only that marries a male citizen of the Philippines follows ipso facto his political status.
she has all the qualifications and none of the disqualifications provided in the The pertinent part of section 15 of Commonwealth Act No. 473, upon which
law but also that she has complied with all the formalities required thereby like petitioners rely, reads:
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 Any woman who is now or may hereafter be married to a citizen of the
resolution. Appellants are in effect urging Us, however, in their first and second Philippines, and who might herself be lawfully naturalized shall be deemed a
assignments of error, not only to reconsider Burca but to even reexamine Lee citizen of the Philippines.
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 Pursuant thereto, marriage to a male Filipino does not vest Philippine
citizenship to his foreign wife, unless she "herself may be lawfully naturalized."

19
As correctly held in an opinion of the Secretary of Justice (Op. No. 52, series and justice, the parties herein should be given an opportunity to introduce
of 1950),* this limitation of section 15 excludes, from the benefits of evidence, if they have any, on said issue. (At pp. 462-464.) .
naturalization by marriage, those disqualified from being naturalized as
citizens of the Philippines under section 4 of said Commonwealth Act No. As may be seen, although not specifically in so many words, no doubt was left
473, namely: in the above decision as regards the following propositions: .

(a) Persons opposed to organized government or affiliated with any 1. That under Section 15 of Commonwealth Act 473, the Revised
association or group of persons who uphold and teach doctrines opposing all Naturalization Law, the marriage of an alien woman to a Filipino makes her a
organized governments; Filipina, if she "herself might be lawfully naturalized";

(b) Persons defending or teaching the necessity or propriety of violence, 2. That this Court declared as correct the opinion of the Secretary of Justice
personal assault, or assassination for the success and predominance of their that the limitation of Section 15 of the Naturalization Law excludes from the
ideas; benefits of naturalization by marriage, only those disqualified from being
naturalized under Section 4 of the law qouted in the decision;
(c) Polygamists or believers in the practice of polygamy;
3. That evidence to the effect that she is not disqualified may be presented in
(d) Persons convicted of crimes involving moral turpitude; the action to recover her bond confiscated by the Commissioner of
Immigration;
(e) Persons suffering from mental alienation or incurable contagious diseases;
4. That upon proof of such fact, she may be recognized as Filipina; and
(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 5. That in referring to the disqualification enumerated in the law, the Court
desire to learn and embrace the customs, traditions, and ideals of the Filipinos; somehow left the impression that no inquiry need be made as to
qualifications, 5 specially considering that the decision cited and footnotes
(g) Citizens or subjects of nations with whom the ... Philippines are at war, several opinions of the Secretary of Justice, the immediate superior of the
during the period of such war; Commissioner of Immigration, the most important of which are the following:
(h) Citizens or subjects of a foreign country other than the United States, Paragraph (a), section 13 of Act No. 2927, as amended, (now section 15,
whose laws does not grant Filipinos the right to become naturalized citizens or Commonwealth Act No. 473), provided that "any woman who is now or may
subjects thereof. hereafter be married to a citizen of the Philippines, and who might herself be
In the case at bar, there is neither proof nor allegation in the pleadings that Ly lawfully naturalized shall be deemed a citizen of the Philippines." A similar
Giok Ha does not fall under any of the classes disqualified by law. Moreover, provision in the naturalization law of the United States has been construed as
as the parties who claim that, despite her failure to depart from the Philippines not requiring the woman to have the qualifications of residence, good
within the period specified in the bond in question, there has been no breach character, etc., as in the case of naturalization by judicial proceedings, but
thereof, petitioners have the burden of proving her alleged change of political merely that she is of the race of persons who may be naturalized. (Kelly v.
status, from alien to citizen. Strictly speaking, petitioners have not made out, Owen [Dist. Col. 1868] 7 Wall 496, 5F, 11, 12; ex parte Tryason [D. C. Wash.
therefore a case against the respondents-appellants. 1914] 215 F. 449, 27 Op. Atty. Gen. 507). (Op. No. 168, s. 1940 of Justice
Sec. Jose Abad Santos.)
Considering, however, that neither in the administrative proceedings, nor in
the lower court, had the parties seemingly felt that there was an issue on In a previous opinion rendered for your Office, I stated that the clause "who
whether Ly Giok Ha may "be lawfully naturalized," and this being a case of first might herself be lawfully naturalized", should be construed as not requiring the
impression in our courts, we are of the opinion that, in the interest of equity woman to have the qualifications of residence, good character, etc., as in

20
cases of naturalization by judicial proceedings, but merely that she is of the Tjioe Wu Suan, an Indonesian, arrived in Manila on November 1, 1952, but it
race of persons who may be naturalized. (Op. No. 79, s. 1940) 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,
Inasmuch as the race qualification has been removed by the Revised 1953, she married Ricardo Cua, a Filipino, and because of said marriage, the
Naturalization Law, it results that any woman who married a citizen of the Board of Special Inquiry considered her a Filipina. Upon a review of the case,
Philippines prior to or after June 17, 1939, and the marriage not having been however, the Board of Immigration Commissioners insisted on continuing with
dissolved, and on the assumption that she possesses none of the the deportation proceedings and so, the husband filed prohibition and
disqualifications mentioned in Section 4 of Commonwealth Act No. 473, mandamus proceedings. The lower court denied the petition. Although this
follows the citizenship of her husband. (Op. No. 176, s. 1940 of Justice Sec. Court affirmed said decision, it held, on the other hand, that:
Jose Abad Santos.)
Granting the validity of marriage, this Court has ruled in the recent case of Ly
From the foregoing narration of facts, it would seem that the only material point Giok Ha v. Galang, supra, p. 459, that the bare fact of a valid marriage to a
of inquiry is as to the citizenship of Arce Machura. If he shall be found to be a citizen does not suffice to confer his citizenship upon the wife. Section 15 of
citizen of the Philippines, his wife, Mrs. Lily James Machura, shall likewise be the Naturalization Law requires that the alien woman who marries a Filipino
deemed a citizen of the Philippines pursuant to the provision of Section 15, must show, in addition, that she "might herself be lawfully naturalized" as a
Commonwealth Act No. 473, which reads in part as follows: Filipino citizen. As construed in the decision cited, this last condition requires
Any woman who is now or may hereafter be married to a citizen of the proof that the woman who married a Filipino is herself not disqualified under
Philippines, and who might herself be lawfully naturalized shall be deemed a section 4 of the Naturalization Law.
citizen of the Philippines. No such evidence appearing on record, the claim of assumption of Filipino
The phrase "who might herself be lawfully naturalized", as contained in the citizenship by Tjioe Wu Suan, upon her marriage to petitioner, is untenable.
above provision, means that the woman who is married to a Filipino citizen The lower court, therefore, committed no error in refusing to interfere with the
must not belong to any of the disqualified classes enumerated in Section 4 of deportation proceedings, where she can anyway establish the requisites
the Naturalization Law (Ops., Sec. of Jus., No. 28, s. 1950; No. 43, s. 1948, indispensable for her acquisition of Filipino citizenship, as well as the alleged
No. 95, s. 1941; Nos. 79 and 168, s. 1940). Under the facts stated in the within validity of her Indonesian passport. (Ricardo Cua v. The Board of Immigration
papers, Mrs. Machura does not appear to be among the disqualified classes Commissioners, G. R. No. L-9997, May 22, 1957, 101 Phil. 521, 523.)
mentioned in the law. [Emphasis supplied] .

It having been shown that Arce Machura or Arsenio Guevara was born as an For emphasis, it is reiterated that in the above two cases, this Court expressly
illegitimate of a Filipino mother, he should be considered as a citizen of the gave the parties concerned opportunity to prove the fact that they were not
Philippines in consonance with the well-settled rule that an illegitimate child suffering from any of the disqualifications of the law without the need of
follows the citizenship of his only legally recognized parent, the mother (Op., undergoing any judicial naturalization proceeding. It may be stated, therefore,
Sec. of Jus., Nos. 58, 98 & 281, s. 1948; No. 96, s. 1949). Her husband being that according to the above decisions, the law in this country, on the matter of
a Filipino, Mrs. Machura must necessarily be deemed as a citizen of the the effect of marriage of an alien woman to a Filipino is that she thereby
Philippines by marriage (Sec. 15, Com. Act No. 473.) (Op. No. 52, s. 1950 of becomes a Filipina, if it can be proven that at the time of such marriage, she
Justice Sec. Ricardo Nepomuceno.) does not possess any of the disqualifications enumerated in Section 4 of the
Naturalization Law, without the need of submitting to any naturalization
The logic and authority of these opinions, compelling as they are, must have proceedings under said law.
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, It is to be admitted that both of the above decisions made no reference to
reiterated the same ruling on the basis of the following facts: qualifications, that is, as to whether or not they need also to be proved, but, in

21
any event, it is a fact that the Secretary of Justice understood them to mean Regarding the steps that should be taken by an alien woman married to a
that such qualifications need not be possessed nor proven. Then Secretary of Filipino citizen in order to acquire Philippine citizenship, the procedure followed
Justice Jesus Barrera, who later became a distinguished member of this in the Bureau of Immigration is as follows: The alien woman must file a petition
Court, 6 so ruled in opinions rendered by him subsequent to Ly Giok Ha, the for the cancellation of her alien certificate of registration alleging, among other
most illustrative of which held: . 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
At the outset it is important to note that an alien woman married to a Filipino Commonwealth Act No. 473, as amended. Upon the filing of said petition,
citizen needs only to show that she "might herself be lawfully naturalized" in which should be accompanied or supported by the joint affidavit of the
order to acquire Philippine citizenship. Compliance with other conditions of the petitioner and her Filipino husband to the effect that the petitioner does not
statute, such as those relating to the qualifications of an applicant for belong to any of the groups disqualified by the cited section from becoming
naturalization through judicial proceedings, is not necessary. (See: Leonard v. naturalized Filipino citizen (please see attached CEB Form 1), the Bureau of
Grant, 5 Fed. 11; 27 Ops. Atty. Gen [U.S.] 507; Ops. Sec. of Justice, No. 776, Immigration conducts an investigation and thereafter promulgates its order or
s. 1940, and No. 111, s. 1953. decision granting or denying the petition. (Op. No. 38, s. 19058 of Justice Sec.
This view finds support in the case of Ly Giok Ha et al. v. Galang et al., G.R. Jesus G. Barrera.)
No. L-10760, promulgated May 17, 1957, where the Supreme Court, This view finds support in the case of Ly Giok Ha et al., v. Galang et al. (G.R.
construing the abovequoted section of the Naturalization Law, held that No. L-10760, promulgated May 17, 1957), where the Supreme Court,
"marriage to a male Filipino does not vest Philippine citizenship to his foreign construing the above-quoted section in the Revised Naturalization Law, held
wife," unless she "herself may be lawfully naturalized," and that "this limitation that "marriage to a male Filipino does not vest Philippine citizenship to his
of Section 15 excludes, from the benefits of naturalization by marriage, those foreign wife, unless she herself may be lawfully naturalized," and that "this
disqualified from being naturalized as citizens of the Philippines under Section limitation of Section 15 excludes, from the benefits of naturalization by
4 of said Commonwealth Act No. 473." In other words, disqualification for any marriage, those disqualified from being naturalized as citizens of the
of the causes enumerated in Section 4 of the Act is the decisive factor that Philippines under Section 4 of said Commonwealth Act No. 473." In other
defeats the right of the foreign wife of a Philippine citizen to acquire Philippine words, disqualification for any of the causes enumerated in section 4 of the Act
citizenship. is the decisive factor that defeats the right of an alien woman married to a
xxx xxx xxx Filipino citizen to acquire Philippine citizenship. (Op. 57, s. 1958 of Justice
Sec. Jesus G. Barrera.)
Does petitioner, Lim King Bian, belong to any of these groups The
Commissioner of Immigration does not say so but merely predicates his The contention is untenable. The doctrine enunciated in the Ly Giok Ha case
negative action on the ground that a warrant of deportation for "overstaying" is is not a new one. In that case, the Supreme Court held that under paragraph I
pending against the petitioner. 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
We do not believe the position is well taken. Since the grounds for lawfully naturalized"', and, quoting several earlier opinions of the Secretary of
disqualification for naturalization are expressly enumerated in the law, a Justice, namely: No. 52, s. 1950; No. 168, s. 1940; No. 95, s. 1941; No. 63, s.
warrant of deportation not based on a finding of unfitness to become 1948; No. 28. s. 1950, "this limitation of section 15 excludes from the benefits
naturalized for any of those specified causes may not be invoked to negate of naturalization by marriage, those disqualified from being naturalized as
acquisition of Philippine citizenship by a foreign wife of a Philippine citizen citizens of the Philippines under section 4 of said Commonwealth Act No. 473."
under Section 15 of the Naturalization Law. (Inclusio unius est exclusio (Op. 134, s. 1962 of Justice Undersec. Magno S. Gatmaitan.)
alterius) (Op. No. 12, s. 1958 of Justice Undersec. Jesus G. Barrera.)

22
It was not until more than two years later that, in one respect, the above Pertinently to be noted at once in this ruling, which, to be sure, is the one relied
construction of the law was importantly modified by this Court in Lee Suan upon in the appealed decision now before Us, is the fact that the footnote of
Ay, supra, in which the facts were as follows: the statement therein that the alien wife "must possess the qualifications
required by law to become a Filipino citizen by naturalization" makes reference
Upon expiration of the appellant Lee Suan Ay's authorized period of temporary to Section 15, Commonwealth Act 473 and precisely, also to Ly Giok Ha v.
stay in the Philippines (25 March 1955), on 26 March 1955 the Commissioner Galang, supra. As will be recalled, on the other hand, in the opinions of the
of Immigration asked the bondsman to present her to the Bureau of Secretary of Justice explicitly adopted by the Court in Ly Giok Ha, among
Immigration within 24 hours from receipt of notice, otherwise the bond will be them, Opinion No. 176, Series of 1940, above-quoted, it was clearly held that
confiscated(Annex 1). For failure of the bondsman to comply with the foregoing "(I)n a previous opinion rendered for your Office, I stated that the clause "who
order, on 1 April 1955. the Commissioner of Immigration ordered the cash might herself be lawfully naturalized", should be construed as not requiring the
bond confiscated (Annex E). Therefore, there was an order issued by the woman to have the qualifications of residence, good character, etc., as in
Commissioner of Immigration confiscating or forfeiting the cash bond. Unlike cases of naturalization by judicial proceedingsbut merely that she is of the race
in forfeiture of bail bonds in criminal proceedings, where the Court must enter by persons who may be naturalized. (Op. No. 79, s. 1940)
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 Since Justice Padilla gave no reason at all for the obviously significant
to do so, before final judgment may be entered against the bondsman,(section modification of the construction of the law, it could be said that there was need
15, Rule 110; U.S. v. Bonoan, 22 Phil. 1.) in forfeiture of bonds posted for the for clarification of the seemingly new posture of the Court. The occasion for
temporary stay of an alien in the Philippines, no court proceeding is necessary. such clarification should have been in Kua Suy, etc., et al. vs. The
Once a breach of the terms and conditions of the undertaking in the bond is Commissioner of Immigration, G.R. No. L-13790, October 31, 1963, penned
committed, the Commissioner of Immigration may, under the terms and by Mr. Justice J.B.L. Reyes, who had rendered the opinion in Ricardo
conditions thereof, declare it forfeited in favor of the Government. (In the Cua,supra, which followed that in Ly Giok Ha, supra, but apparently seeing no
meanwhile, on April 1, 1955, Lee Suan Ay and Alberto Tan, a Filipino, were immediate relevancy in the case on hand then of the particular point in issue
joined in marriage by the Justice of the Peace of Las Piñas, Rizal.) 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
Mr. Justice Sabino Padilla speaking for a unanimous court which included dictum, Justice Reyes limited himself to holding that "Under Section 15 of the
Justices Concepcion and Reyes who had penned Ly Giok Ha, and Ricardo Naturalization Act, the wife is deemed a citizen of the Philippines only if she
Cua, ruled thus: "might herself be lawfully naturalized," so that the fact of marriage to a citizen,
The fact that Lee Suan Ay (a Chinese) was married to a Filipino citizen does by itself alone, does not suffice to confer citizenship, as this Court has
not relieve the bondsman from his liability on the bond. The marriage took previously ruled in Ly Giok Ha v. Galang, 54 O.G. 356, and in Cua v. Board of
place on 1 April 1955, and the violation of the terms and conditions of the Immigration Commissioners, 53 O.G. 8567; and there is here no evidence of
undertaking in the bond — failure to depart from the Philippines upon record as to the qualifications or absence of disqualifications of appellee Kua
expiration of her authorized period of temporary stay in the Philippines (25 Suy", without explaining the apparent departure already pointed out from Ly
March 1955) and failure to report to the Commissioner of Immigration within Giok Ha and Ricardo Cua. Even Justice Makalintal, who wrote a separate
24 hours from receipt of notice — were committed before the marriage. concurring and dissenting opinion merely lumped together Ly Giok Ha,
Moreover, the marriage of a Filipino citizen to an alien does not automatically Ricardo Cua and Lee Suan Ay and opined that both qualifications and non-
confer Philippine citizenship upon the latter. She must possess the disqualifications have to be shown without elucidating on what seemed to be
qualifications required by law to become a Filipino citizen by departure from the said first two decisions.
naturalization.* There is no showing that the appellant Lee Suan Ay possesses It was only on November 30, 1963 that to Mr. Justice Roberto Regala fell the
all the qualifications and none of the disqualifications provided for by law to task of rationalizing the Court's position. In Lo San Tuang v. Galang, G.R. No.
become a Filipino citizen by naturalization. L-18775, November 30, 1963, 9 SCRA 638, the facts were simply these: Lo
23
San Tuang, a Chinese woman, arrived in the Philippines on July 1, 1960 as a Section 1. Who may become Philippine citizens — Philippine citizenship may
temporary visitor with authority to stay up to June 30, 1961. She married a be acquired by (a) natives of the Philippines who are not citizens thereof under
Filipino on January 7, 1961, almost six months before the expiry date of her the Jones Law; (b) natives of the Insular possessions of the United States; (c)
permit, and when she was requested to leave after her authority to stay had citizens of the United States, or foreigners who under the laws of the United
expired, she refused to do so, claiming she had become a Filipina by marriage, States may become citizens of said country if residing therein.
and to bolster her position, she submitted an affidavit stating explicitly that she
does not possess any of the disqualifications enumerated in the Naturalization Section 2. Who are disqualified. — The following cannot be naturalized as
Law, Commonwealth Act 473. When the case reached the court, the trial judge Philippine citizens: (a) Persons opposed to organized government or affiliated
held for the government that in addition to not having any of the with any association or group of persons who uphold and teach doctrines
disqualifications referred to, there was need that Lo San Tuang should have opposing all organized government; (b) persons defending or teaching the
also possessed all the qualifications of residence, moral character, knowledge necessity or propriety of violence, personal assault or assassination for the
of a native principal dialect, etc., provided by the law. Recognizing that the success and predominance of their ideas; (c) polygamists or believers in the
issue squarely to be passed upon was whether or not the possession of all the practice of polygamy; (d) persons convicted of crimes involving moral
qualifications were indeed needed to be shown apart from non-disqualification, turpitude; (e) persons suffering from mental alienation or incurable contagious
Justice Regala held affirmatively for the Court, reasoning out thus: . diseases; (f) citizens or subjects of nations with whom the United States and
the Philippines are at war, during the period of such war.
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. Section 3. Qualifications. — The persons comprised in subsection (a) of
603, 5 F 11, where the Circuit Court of Oregon held that it was only necessary section one of this Act, in order to be able to acquire Philippine citizenship,
that the woman "should be a person of the class or race permitted to be must be not less than twenty-one years of age on the day of the hearing of
naturalized by existing laws, and that in respect of the qualifications arising out their petition.
of her conduct or opinions, being the wife of a citizen, she is to be regarded as The persons comprised in subsections (b) and (c) of said section one shall, in
qualified for citizenship, and therefore considered a citizen." (In explanation of addition to being not less than twenty-one years of age on the day of the
its conclusion, the Court said: "If, whenever during the life of the woman or hearing of the petition, have all and each of the following qualifications:
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 First. Residence in the Philippine Islands for a continuous period of not less
not only prove such marriage, but also that the woman then possessed all the than five years, except as provided in the next following section;
further qualifications necessary to her becoming naturalized under existing
Second. To have conducted themselves in a proper and irreproachable
laws, the statute will be practically nugatory, if not a delusion and a share. The
manner during the entire period of their residence in the Philippine Islands, in
proof of the facts may have existed at the time of the marriage, but years after,
their relation with the constituted government as well as with the community in
when a controversy arises upon the subject, it may be lost or difficult to find.")
which they are living;
In other words, all that she was required to prove was that she was a free white
Third. To hold in the Philippine Islands real estate worth not less than one
woman or a woman of African descent or nativity, in order to be deemed an
thousand pesos, Philippine currency, or have some known trade or profession;
American citizen, because, with respect to the rest of the qualifications on
and
residence, moral character, etc., she was presumed to be qualified.
Fourth. To speak and write English, Spanish, or some native tongue.
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 In case the petitioner is a foreign subject, he shall, besides, declare in writing
might become citizens of the Philippines, even as it provided who were and under oath his intention of renouncing absolutely and perpetually all faith
disqualified. Thus, the pertinent provisions of that law provided:
24
and allegiance to the foreign authority, state or sovereignty of which he was a alien woman does not belong to the class of disqualified persons in order that
native, citizen or subject. 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
Applying the interpretation given by Leonard v. Grant supra, to our law as it means that she belongs to the class or race of persons qualified to become
then stood, alien women married to citizens of the Philippines must, in order citizens by naturalization — the assumption being always that she is not
to be deemed citizens of the Philippines, be either (1) natives of the Philippines otherwise disqualified.
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 We therefore hold that under the first paragraph of Section 15 of the
or foreigners who under the laws of the United States might become citizens Naturalization Law, an alien woman, who is married to a citizen of the
of that country if residing therein. With respect to the qualifications set forth in Philippines, acquires the citizenship of her husband only if she has all the
Section 3 of the former law, they were deemed to have the same for all intents qualifications and none of the disqualifications provided by law. Since there is
and purposes. 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
But, with the approval of the Revised Naturalization Law (Commonwealth Act her a Filipino citizen. Her affidavit to the effect that she is not in any way
No. 473) on June 17, 1939, Congress has since discarded class or racial disqualified to become a citizen of this country was correctly disregarded by
consideration from the qualifications of applicants for naturalization (according the trial court, the same being self-serving.
to its proponent, the purpose in eliminating this consideration was, first, to
remove the features of the existing naturalization act which discriminated in Naturally, almost a month later in Sun Peck Yong v. Commissioner of
favor of the Caucasians and against Asiatics who are our neighbors, and are Immigration, G.R. No. L-20784, December 27, 1963, 9 SCRA 875, wherein
related to us by racial affinity and, second, to foster amity with all nations the Secretary of Foreign Affairs reversed a previous resolution of the preceding
[Sinco, Phil. Political Law 502 — 11 ed.]), even as it retained in Section 15 the administration to allow Sun Peck Yong and her minor son to await the taking
phrase in question. The result is that the phrase "who might herself be lawfully of the oath of Filipino citizenship of her husband two years after the decision
naturalized" must be understood in the context in which it is now found, in a granting him nationalization and required her to leave and this order was
setting so different from that in which it was found by the Court in Leonard v. contested in court, Justice Barrera held:
Grant.
In the case of Lo San Tuang v. Commissioner of Immigration (G.R. No. L-
The only logical deduction from the elimination of class or racial consideration 18775, promulgated November 30, 1963; Kua Suy vs. Commissioner of
is that, as the Solicitor General points out, the phrase "who might herself be Immigration, L-13790, promulgated October 31, 1963), we held that the fact
lawfully naturalized" must now be understood as referring to those who under that the husband became a naturalized citizen does not automatically make
Section 2 of the law are qualified to become citizens of the Philippines. 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
There is simply no support for the view that the phrase "who might herself be a citizen. In this case, there is no allegation, much less showing, that petitioner-
lawfully naturalized" must now be understood as requiring merely that the alien wife is qualified to become a Filipino citizen herself. Furthermore, the fact that
woman must not belong to the class of disqualified persons under Section 4 of a decision was favorably made on the naturalization petition of her husband is
the Revised Naturalization Law. Such a proposition misreads the ruling laid no assurance that he (the husband) would become a citizen, as to make a
down in Leonard v. Grant. A person who is not disqualified is not necessarily basis for the extension of her temporary stay.
qualified to become a citizen of the Philippines, because the law treats
"qualifications" and "disqualifications" in separate sections. And then it must On the same day, in Tong Siok Sy v. Vivo, G.R. No. L-21136, December 27,
not be lost sight of that even under the interpretation given to the former law, 1963, 9 SCRA 876, Justice Barrera reiterated the same ruling and citing
it was to be understood that the alien woman was not disqualified under particularly Lo San Tuang and Kua Suy, held that the marriage of Tong Siok
Section 2 of that law. Leonard v. Grant did not rule that it was enough if the Sy to a Filipino on November 12, 1960 at Taichung, Taiwan and her taking

25
oath of Filipino citizenship before the Philippine Vice-Consul at Taipeh, Taiwan show that she possesses all the qualifications and does not suffer from any of
on January 6, 1961 did not make her a Filipino citizen, since she came here the disqualifications under the Naturalization Law, citing in the process the
only in 1961 and obviously, she had not had the necessary ten-year residence decision to such effect discussed above, 11 even as he impliedly reversed pro
in the Philippines required by the law. tanto the ruling in Tan Lin v. Republic, G.R. No. L-13786, May 31, 1961, 2
SCRA 383.
Such then was the status of the jurisprudential law on the matter under
discussion when Justice Makalintal sought a reexamination thereof in Choy Accordingly, in Burca, Justice Sanchez premised his opinion on the
King Tee v. Galang, G.R. No. L-18351, March 26, 1965, 13 SCRA 402. Choy assumption that the point now under discussion is settled law.
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 In the case now at bar, the Court is again called upon to rule on the same
to the Philippines in 1955 and kept commuting between Manila and Hongkong issue. Under Section 15 of the Naturalization Law, Commonwealth Act 473,
since then, her last visa before the case being due to expire on February 14, providing that:
1961. On January 27, 1961, her husband asked the Commissioner of SEC. 15. Effect of the naturalization on wife and children. — Any woman, who
Immigration to cancel her alien certificate of registration, as well as their child's, is now or may hereafter be married to a citizen of the Philippines, and who
for the reason that they were Filipinos, and when the request was denied as might herself be lawfully naturalized shall be deemed a citizen of the
to the wife, a mandamus was sought, which the trial court granted. Discussing Philippines.
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 Minor children of persons naturalized under this law who have been born in
that the ruling is believed to be in line with the national policy of selective the Philippines shall be considered citizens thereof.
admission to Philippine citizenship. 7
A foreign-born minor child, if dwelling in the Philippines at the time of the
No wonder, upon this authority, in Austria v. Conchu, G.R. No. L-20716, June naturalization of the parent, shall automatically become a Philippine citizen,
22, 1965, 14 SCRA 336, Justice J.P. Bengzon readily reversed the decision of and a foreign-born child, who is not in the Philippines at the time the parent is
the lower court granting the writs of mandamus and prohibition against the naturalized, shall be deemed a Philippine citizen only during his minority,
Commissioner of Immigration, considering that Austria's wife, while admitting unless he begins to reside permanently in the Philippines when still a minor,
she did not possess all the qualifications for naturalization, had submitted only in which case, he will continue to be a Philippine citizen even after becoming
an affidavit that she had none of the disqualifications therefor. So also did of age.
Justice Dizon similarly hold eight days later in Brito v. Commissioner, G.R. No.
A child born outside of the Philippines after the naturalization of his parent,
L-16829, June 30, 1965, 14 SCRA 539.
shall be considered a Philippine citizen unless within one year after reaching
Then came the second Ly Giok Ha case 8 wherein Justice J. B. L. Reyes took the age of majority he fails to register himself as a Philippine citizen at the
occasion to expand on the reasoning of Choy King Tee by illustrating with American Consulate of the country where he resides, and to take the
examples "the danger of relying exclusively on the absence of necessary oath of allegiance.
disqualifications, without taking into account the other affirmative requirements
is it necessary, in order that an alien woman who marries a Filipino or who is
of the law." 9
married to a man who subsequently becomes a Filipino, may become a Filipino
Lastly, in Go Im Ty v. Republic, G.R. No. L-17919, decided on July 30, citizen herself, that, aside from not suffering from any of the disqualifications
1966, 10 Justice Zaldivar held for the Court that an alien woman who is enumerated in the law, she must also possess all the qualifications required
widowed during the dependency of the naturalization proceedings of her by said law? if nothing but the unbroken line from Lee Suan Ay to Go Im Ty,
husband, in order that she may be allowed to take the oath as Filipino, must, as recounted above, were to be considered, it is obvious that an affirmative
aside from proving compliance with the requirements of Republic Act 530, answer to the question would be inevitable, specially, if it is noted that the

26
present case was actually submitted for decision on January 21, 1964 yet, 1916. In fact, Act No. 2927 was enacted pursuant to express authority granted
shortly after Lo San Tuang, Tong Siok Sy and Sun Peck Yong, all supra, and by the Jones Law. For obvious reasons, the Philippines gained autonomy on
even before Choy King Tee, supra, were decided. There are other the subjects of citizenship and immigration only after the effectivity of the
circumstances, however, which make it desirable, if not necessary, that the Philippine Independence Act. This made it practically impossible for our laws
Court take up the matter anew. There has been a substantial change in the on said subject to have any perspective or orientation of our own; everything
membership of the Court since Go Im Ty, and of those who were in the Court was American.
already when Burca was decided, two members, Justice Makalintal and Castro
concurred only in the result, precisely, according to them, because (they The Philippine Bill of 1902 provided pertinently: .
wanted to leave the point now under discussion open in so far as they are SECTION 4. That all inhabitants of the Philippine Islands continuing to reside
concerned. 12 Truth to tell, the views and arguments discussed at length with herein who were Spanish subjects on the eleventh day of April, eighteen-
copious relevant authorities, in the motion for reconsideration as well as in the hundred and ninety-nine, and then resided in said Islands, and their children
memorandum of the amici curae 13 in the Burca case cannot just be taken born subsequent thereto, shall be deemed and held to be citizens of the
lightly and summarily ignored, since they project in the most forceful manner, Philippine Islands and as such entitled to the protection of the United States,
not only the legal and logical angles of the issue, but also the imperative except such as shall have elected to preserve their allegiance to the Crown of
practical aspects thereof in the light of the actual situation of the thousands of Spain in accordance with the provisions of the treaty of peace between the
alien wives of Filipinos who have so long, even decades, considered United States and Spain signed at Paris December tenth, eighteen hundred
themselves as Filipinas and have always lived and acted as such, officially or and ninety-eight.
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 This Section 4 of the Philippine Bill of 1902 was amended by Act of Congress
the courts. Under these circumstances, and if only to afford the Court an of March 23, 1912, by adding a provision as follows:
opportunity to consider the views of the five justices who took no part in Go Im
Provided, That the Philippine Legislature is hereby authorized to provide by
Ty (including the writer of this opinion), the Court decided to further reexamine
law for the acquisition of Philippine citizenship by those natives of the
the matter. After all, the ruling first laid in Lee Suan Ay, and later in Lo San
Philippine Islands who do not come within the foregoing provisions, the natives
Tuang, Choy King Tee stand the second (1966) Ly Giok Ha, did not
of other insular possessions of the United States, and such other persons
categorically repudiate the opinions of the Secretary of Justice relied upon by
residing in the Philippine Islands who would become citizens of the United
the first (1959) Ly Giok Ha. Besides, some points brought to light during the
States, under the laws of the United States, if residing therein.
deliberations in this case would seem to indicate that the premises of the later
cases can still bear further consideration. The Jones Law reenacted these provisions substantially: .
Whether We like it or not, it is undeniably factual that the legal provision We SECTION 2. That all inhabitants of the Philippine Islands who were Spanish
are construing, Section 15, aforequoted, of the Naturalization Law has been subjects on the eleventh day of April, eighteen hundred and ninety-nine, and
taken directly, copied and adopted from its American counterpart. To be more then resided in said islands, and their children born subsequent thereto, shall
accurate, said provision is nothing less than a reenactment of the American be deemed and held to be citizens of the Philippine Islands, except such as
provision. A brief review of its history proves this beyond per adventure of shall have elected to preserve their allegiance to the Crown of Spain in
doubt. accordance with the provisions of the treaty of peace between the United
States and Spain, signed at Paris December tenth, eighteen hundred and
The first Naturalization Law of the Philippines approved by the Philippine
ninety-eight and except such others as have since become citizens of some
Legislature under American sovereignty was that of March 26, 1920, Act No.
other country: Provided, That the Philippine Legislature, herein provided for, is
2927. Before then, as a consequence of the Treaty of Paris, our citizenship
hereby authorized to provide by law for the acquisition of Philippine citizenship
laws were found only in the Organic Laws, the Philippine Bill of 1902, the Act
by those natives of the Philippine Islands who do not come within the foregoing
of the United States Congress of March 23, 1912 and later the Jones Law of
27
provisions, the natives of the insular possessions of the United States, and been quoted earlier in this decision. As can be seen, Section 13 (a)
such other persons residing in the Philippine Islands who are citizens of the abovequoted was re-enacted practically word for word in the first paragraph of
United States under the laws of the United States if residing therein. 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
For aught that appears, there was nothing in any of the said organic laws naturalization law that each and everyone of the decisions of this Court from
regarding the effect of marriage to a Filipino upon the nationality of an alien the first Ly Giok Ha to Go Im Ty, discussed above, were rendered.
woman, albeit under the Spanish Civil Code provisions on citizenship, Articles
17 to 27, which were, however, abrogated upon the change of sovereignty, it As stated earlier, in the opinion of Chief Justice Concepcion in the first Ly Giok
was unquestionable that the citizenship of the wife always followed that of the Ha, it was quite clear that for an alien woman who marries a Filipino to become
husband. Not even Act 2927 contained any provision regarding the effect of herself a Filipino citizen, there is no need for any naturalization proceeding
naturalization of an alien, upon the citizenship of his alien wife, nor of the because she becomes a Filipina ipso facto from the time of such marriage,
marriage of such alien woman with a native born Filipino or one who had provided she does not suffer any of the disqualifications enumerated in Section
become a Filipino before the marriage, although Section 13 thereof provided 4 of Commonwealth Act 473, with no mention being made of whether or not
thus: . 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
SEC. 13. Right of widow and children of petitioners who have died. — In case required, but it was not until 1963, in Lo San Tuang, that Justice Regala
a petitioner should die before the final decision has been rendered, his widow reasoned out why the possession of the qualifications provided by the law
and minor children may continue the proceedings. The decision rendered in should also be shown to be possessed by the alien wife of a Filipino, for her to
the case shall, so far as the widow and minor children are concerned, produce become a Filipina by marriage.
the same legal effect as if it had been rendered during the life of the petitioner.
As may be recalled, the basic argument advanced by Justice Regala was
It was not until November 30, 1928, upon the approval of Act 3448, amending briefly as follows: That "like the law in the United States, our Naturalization
Act 2977, that the following provisions were added to the above Section 13: Law specified the classes of persons who alone might become citizens, even
SECTION 1. The following new sections are hereby inserted between sections as it provided who were disqualified," and inasmuch as Commonwealth Act
thirteen and fourteen of Act Numbered Twenty-nine hundred and Twenty- 473, our Naturalization Law since 1939 did not reenact the section providing
seven: who might become citizens, allegedly in order to remove racial discrimination
in favor of Caucasians and against Asiatics, "the only logical deduction ... is
SEC. 13(a). Any woman who is now or may hereafter be married to a citizen that the phrase "who might herself be lawfully naturalized" must now be
of the Philippine Islands and who might herself be lawfully naturalized, shall understood as referring to those who under Section 2 of the law are qualified
be deemed a citizen of the Philippine Islands. 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
SEC. 13(b). Children of persons who have been duly naturalized under this
understood as requiring merely that the alien woman must not belong to the
law, being under the age of twenty-one years at the time of the naturalization
class of disqualified persons under Section 4 of the Revised Naturalization
of their parents, shall, if dwelling in the Philippine Islands, be considered
Law." 14
citizens thereof.
A similar line of reasoning was followed in Choy King Tee, which for ready
SEC. 13(c). Children of persons naturalized under this law who have been
reference may be qouted:
born in the Philippine Islands after the naturalization of their parents shall be
considered citizens thereof. 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
When Commonwealth Act 473, the current naturalization law, was enacted on
qualifications required by Section 2 and none of the disqualifications
June 17, 1939, the above Section 13 became its Section 15 which has already
28
enumerated in Section 4 of the Naturalization Law before she may be deemed are found worthy thereof, and not indiscriminately to anybody at all on the basis
a Philippine citizen (Lao Chay v. Galang, L-190977, Oct. 30, 1964, citing Lo alone of marriage to a man who is a citizen of the Philippines, irrespective of
San Tuang v. Galang, L-18775, Nov. 30, 1963; Sun Peck Yong v. moral character, ideological beliefs, and identification with Filipino ideals,
Commissioner of Immigration, L-20784, December 27, 1963; Tong Siok Sy v. customs and traditions.
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 Appellee here having failed to prove that she has all the qualifications for
in the light of the interpretation of a similar law in the United States after which naturalization, even, indeed, that she has none of the disqualifications, she is
Section 15 of our Naturalization Law was patterned. That law was section 2 of not entitled to recognition as a Philippine citizen.
the Act of February 10, 1855 (Section 1994 of the Revised Statutes of the In the second Ly Giok Ha, the Court further fortified the arguments in favor of
U.S.). The local law, Act No. 3448, was passed on November 30, 1928 as an the same conclusion thus:
amendment to the former Philippine Naturalization Law, Act No. 2927, which
was approved on March 26, 1920. Under this Naturalization Law, acquisition On cross-examination, she (Ly Giok Ha) failed to establish that: (1) she has
of Philippine citizenship was limited to three classes of persons, (a) Natives of been residing in the Philippines for a continuous period of at least (10) years
the Philippines who were not citizens thereof; (b) natives of the other insular (p. 27, t.s.n., id.); (2) she has a lucrative trade, profession, or lawful occupation
possessions of the United States; and (c) citizens of the United States, or (p. 13, t.s.n., id.); and (3) she can speak and write English, or any of the
foreigners who, under the laws of the United States, may become citizens of principal Philippine languages (pp. 12, 13, t.s.n., id.).
the latter country if residing therein. The reference in subdivision (c) to
While the appellant Immigration Commissioner contends that the words
foreigners who may become American Citizens is restrictive in character, for
emphasized indicate that the present Naturalization Law requires that an alien
only persons of certain specified races were qualified thereunder. In other
woman who marries a Filipino husband must possess the qualifications
words, in so far as racial restrictions were concerned there was at the time a
prescribed by section 2 in addition to not being disqualified under any of the
similarity between the naturalization laws of the two countries and hence there
eight ("a" to "h") subheadings of section 4 of Commonwealth Act No. 473, in
was reason to accord here persuasive force to the interpretation given in the
order to claim our citizenship by marriage, both the appellee and the court
United States to the statutory provision concerning the citizenship of alien
below (in its second decision) sustain the view that all that the law demands is
women marrying American citizens.
that the woman be not disqualified under section 4.
This Court, however, believes that such reason has ceased to exist since the
At the time the present case was remanded to the court of origin (1960) the
enactment of the Revised Naturalization Law, (Commonwealth Act No. 473)
question at issue could be regarded as not conclusively settled, there being
on June 17, 1939. The racial restrictions have been eliminated in this Act, but
only the concise pronouncement in Lee Suan Ay, et al. v. Galang, G. R. No.
the provision found in Act No. 3448 has been maintained. It is logical to
L-11855, Dec. 23, 1959, to the effect that:
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 The marriage of a Filipino citizen to an alien does not automatically confer
might herself be lawfully naturalized," the reference is no longer to the class or Philippine citizenship upon the latter. She must possess the qualifications
race to which the woman belongs, for class or race has become immaterial, required by law to become a Filipino citizen by naturalization.
but to the qualifications and disqualifications for naturalization as enumerated
in Sections 2 and 4 of the statute. Otherwise the requirement that the woman Since that time, however, a long line of decisions of this Court has firmly
"might herself be lawfully naturalized" would be meaningless surplusage, established the rule that the requirement of section 15 of Commonwealth Act
contrary to settled norms of statutory construction. 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
The rule laid down by this Court in this and in other cases heretofore decided from the disqualifications enumerated in section 4 of the Act but also one who
is believed to be in line with the national policy of selective admission to possesses the qualifications prescribed by section 2 of Commonwealth Act
Philippine citizenship, which after all is a privilege granted only to those who
29
473 (San Tuan v. Galang, L-18775, Nov. 30, 1963; Sun Peck Yong v. Com. of Court has rejected the same in Lon San Tuang v. Galang, L-18775, November
Immigration, L-20784, Dee. 27, 1963; Tong Siok Sy v. Vivo, L-21136, Dec. 27, 30, 1963; and in Choy King Tee v. Galang, L-18351, March 26, 1965.
1963; Austria v. Conchu, L-20716, June 22, 1965; Choy King Tee v. Galang,
L-18351, March 26, 1965; Brito v. Com. of Immigration, L-16829, June 30, It is difficult to minimize the persuasive force of the foregoing rationalizations,
1965). but a closer study thereof cannot bat reveal certain relevant considerations
which adversely affect the premises on which they are predicated, thus
Reflection will reveal why this must be so. The qualifications prescribed under rendering the conclusions arrived thereby not entirely unassailable.
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 1. The main proposition, for instance, that in eliminating Section 1 of Act 2927
the wife of a Filipino be not disqualified under section 4, the result might well providing who are eligible for Philippine citizenship, the purpose of
be that citizenship would be conferred upon persons in violation of the policy Commonwealth Act 473, the Revised Naturalization Law, was to remove the
of the statute. For example, section 4 disqualifies only — racial requirements for naturalization, thereby opening the door of Filipino
nationality to Asiatics instead of allowing the admission thereto of Caucasians
(c) Polygamists or believers in the practice of polygamy; and 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
(d) Persons convicted of crimes involving moral turpitude, which reads, thus:
so that a blackmailer, or a maintainer of gambling or bawdy houses, not SECTION 1. Who may become Philippine citizens. — Philippine citizenship
previously convicted by a competent court would not be thereby disqualified; may be acquired by: (a) natives of the Philippines who are not citizens thereof
still, it is certain that the law did not intend such person to be admitted as a under the Jones Law; (b) natives of the other Insular possessions of the United
citizen in view of the requirement of section 2 that an applicant for citizenship States; (c) citizens of the United States, or foreigners who under the laws of
"must be of good moral character." the United States may become citizens of said country if residing therein.
Similarly, the citizen's wife might be a convinced believer in racial supremacy, and not only subdivision (c) thereof. Nowhere in this whole provision was there
in government by certain selected classes, in the right to vote exclusively by any mention of race or color of the persons who were then eligible for
certain "herrenvolk", and thus disbelieve in the principles underlying the Philippine citizenship. What is more evident from said provision is that it
Philippine Constitution; yet she would not be disqualified under section 4, as reflected the inevitable subordination of our legislation during the pre-
long as she is not "opposed to organized government," nor affiliated to groups Commonwealth American regime to the understandable stations flowing from
"upholding or teaching doctrines opposing all organized governments", nor our staffs as a territory of the United States by virtue of the Treaty of Paris. In
"defending or teaching the necessity or propriety of violence, personal assault fact, Section 1 of Act 2927 was precisely approved pursuant to express
or assassination for the success or predominance of their ideas." Et sic de authority without which it could not have been done, granted by an amendment
caeteris. to Section 4 of the Philippine Bill of 1902 introduced by the Act of the United
The foregoing instances should suffice to illustrate the danger of relying States Congress of March 23, 1912 and which was reenacted as part of the
exclusively on the absence of disqualifications, without taking into account the Jones Law of 1916, the pertinent provisions of which have already been footed
other affirmative requirements of the law, which, in the case at bar, the earlier. In truth, therefore, it was because of the establishment of the Philippine
appellee Ly Giok Ha admittedly does not possess. Commonwealth and in the exercise of our legislative autonomy on citizenship
matters under the Philippine Independence Act that Section 1 of Act 2927 was
As to the argument that the phrase "might herself be lawfully naturalized" was eliminated, 15 and not purposely to eliminate any racial discrimination
derived from the U.S. Revised Statutes (section 1994) and should be given contained in our Naturalization Law. The Philippine Legislature naturally
the same territorial and racial significance given to it by American courts, this wished to free our Naturalization Law from the impositions of American

30
legislation. In other words, the fact that such discrimination was removed was Act 2927 by Commonwealth Act 473 was purposely for no other end than the
one of the effects rather than the intended purpose of the amendment. abolition of racial discrimination in our naturalization law has no clear factual
basis. 17
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 3. In view of these considerations, there appears to be no cogent reason why
American citizens is restrictive in character, for only persons of certain the construction adopted in the opinions of the Secretary of Justice referred to
specified races were qualified thereunder" fails to consider the exact import of in the first Ly Giok Ha decision of the Chief Justice should not prevail. It is
the said subdivision. Explicitly, the thrust of the said subdivision was to confine beyond dispute that the first paragraph of Section 15 of Commonwealth Act
the grant under it of Philippine citizenship only to the three classes of persons 473 is a reenactment of Section 13(a) of Act 2927, as amended by Act 3448,
therein mentioned, the third of which were citizens of the United States and, and that the latter is nothing but an exact copy, deliberately made, of Section
corollarily, persons who could be American citizens under her laws. The words 1994 of the Raised Statutes of the United States as it stood before its repeal
used in the provision do not convey any idea of favoring aliens of any particular in 1922. 18 Before such repeal, the phrase "who might herself be lawfully
race or color and of excluding others, but more accurately, they refer to all the naturalized" found in said Section 15 had a definite unmistakable construction
disqualifications of foreigners for American citizenship under the laws of the uniformly foIlowed in all courts of the United States that had occasion to apply
United States. The fact is that even as of 1906, or long before 1920, when our the same and which, therefore, must be considered, as if it were written in the
Act 2927 became a law, the naturalization, laws of the United States already statute itself. It is almost trite to say that when our legislators enacted said
provided for the following disqualifications in the Act of the Congress of June section, they knew of its unvarying construction in the United States and that,
29, 1906: therefore, in adopting verbatim the American statute, they have in effect
incorporated into the provision, as thus enacted, the construction given to it by
SEC. 7. That no person who disbelieves in or who is opposed to organized the American courts as well as the Attorney General of the United States and
government, or who is a member of or affiliated with any organization all administrative authorities, charged with the implementation of the
entertaining and teaching such disbelief in or opposition to organized naturalization and immigration laws of that country. (Lo Cham v. Ocampo, 77
government, or who advocates or teaches the duty, necessity, or propriety of Phil., 635 [1946]; Laxamana v. Baltazar, 92 Phil., 32 [1952]; Hartley v.
the unlawful assaulting or killing of any officer or officers, either of specific Commissioner, 295 U.S. 216, 79 L. ed. 1399, 55 S Ct. 756 [19353; Helvering
individuals or of officers generally, of the Government of the United States, or v. Winmill, 305 U.S. 79, 83 L ed. 52, 59 S Ct. 45 [1938]; Helvering v. R. J.
of any other organized government, because of his or their official character, Reynolds Tobacco Co., 306 U.S. 110, 83 L ed. 536, 59 S Ct. 423 [1939]. [p.
or who is a polygamist, shall be naturalized or be made a citizen of the United 32, Memo of Amicus Curiae]).
States.
A fairly comprehensive summary of the said construction by the American
and all these disqualified persons were, therefore, ineligible for Philippine courts and administrative authorities is contained in United States of America
citizenship under Section 1 of Act 2927 even if they happened to be ex rel. Dora Sejnensky v. Robert E. Tod, Commissioner of Immigration, Appt.,
Caucasians. More importantly, as a matter of fact, said American law, which 295 Fed. 523, decided November 14, 1922, 26 A. L. R. 1316 as follows:
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 Section 1994 of the Revised Statutes (Comp. Stat. 3948, 2 Fed. Sta. Anno. 2d
States" contained no racial disqualification requirement, except as to Chinese, ed. p. 117) provides as follows: "Any woman who is now or may hereafter be
the Act of May 6, 1882 not being among the expressly repealed by this law, married to a citizen of the United States, and who might herself be lawfully
hence it is clear that when Act 2927 was enacted, subdivision (e) of its Section naturalized, shall be deemed a citizen."
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 Section 1944 of the Revised Stat. is said to originate in the Act of Congress of
already mentioned above. 16 Thus, it would seem that the rationalization in the February 10, 1855 (10 Stat. at L. 604, chap. 71), which in its second section
qouted decisions predicated on the theory that the elimination of Section 1 of provided "that any woman, who might lawfully be naturalized under the existing

31
laws, married, or who shall be married to a citizen of the United States, shall lawfully naturalized, shall be deemed a citizen." He held that "upon the
be deemed and taken to be a citizen." 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
And the American Statute of 1855 is substantially a copy of the earlier British race that may be lawfully naturalized under the existing laws, and who marries
Statute 7 & 8 Vict. chap. 66, s 16, 1844, which provided that "any woman a citizen of the United States, is such a citizen also, and it was not necessary
married, or who shall be married, to a natural-born subject or person that it should appear affirmatively that she possessed the other qualifications
naturalized, shall be deemed and taken to be herself naturalized, and have all at the time of her marriage to entitle her to naturalization.
the rights and privileges of a natural born subject."
In 1882, the Act of 1855 came before Mr. Justice Harlan, sitting in the circuit
The Act of Congress of September 22, 1922 (42 Stat. at L. 1021, chap. 411, court, in United States v. Kellar, 13 Fed. 82. An alien woman, a subject of
Comp. Stat. 4358b, Fed. Stat. Anno. Supp. 1922, p. 255), being "An Act Prussia came to the United States and married here a naturalized citizen. Mr.
Relative to the Naturalization and Citizenship of Married Women," in 2, Justice Harlan, with the concurrence of Judge Treat, held that upon her
provides "that any woman who marries a citizen of the United States after the marriage she became ipso facto a citizen of the United States as fully as if she
passage of this Act, ... shall not become a citizen of the United States by had complied with all of the provisions of the statutes upon the subject of
reason of such marriage ..." naturalization. He added: "There can be no doubt of this, in view of the decision
Section 6 of the act also provides "that 1994 of the Revised Statutes ... are of the Supreme Court of the United, States in Kelly v. Owen, 7 Wall. 496, 19
repealed." L. ed. 283." The alien "belonged to the class of persons" who might be lawfully
naturalized.
Section 6 also provides that `such repeal shall not terminate citizenship
acquired or retained under either of such sections, ..." meaning 2 and 6. So In 1904, in Hopkins v. Fachant, 65 C. C. A. 1, 130 Fed. 839, an alien woman
that this Act of September 22, 1922, has no application to the facts of the came to the United States from France and entered the country contrary to the
present case, as the marriage of the relator took place prior to its passage. immigration laws. The immigration authorities took her into custody at the port
This case, therefore, depends upon the meaning to be attached to 1994 of the of New York, with the view of deporting her. She applied for her release under
Revised Statutes. 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
In 1868 the Supreme Court, in Kelly v. Owen, 7 Wall. 496, 498, 19 L. ed. 283, held, affirming the court below, that she was entitled to be discharged from
284, construed this provision as found in the Act of 1855 as follows: "The term, custody. The court declared: "The rule is well settled that her marriage to a
"who might lawfully be naturalized under the existing laws," only limits the naturalized citizen of the United States entitled her to be discharged. The
application of the law to free white women. The previous Naturalization Act, status of the wife follows that of her husband, ... and by virtue of her marriage
existing at the time, only required that the person applying for its benefits her husband's domicil became her domicil." .
should be "a free white person," and not an alien enemy."
In 1908, the circuit court for the district of Rhode Island in Re Rustigian, 165.
This construction limited the effect of the statute to those aliens who belonged Fed. 980, had before it the application of a husband for his final decree of
to the class or race which might be lawfully naturalized, and did not refer to naturalization. It appeared that at that time his wife was held by the immigration
any of the other provisions of the naturalization laws as to residence or moral authorities at New York on the ground that she was afflicted with a dangerous
character, or to any of the provisions of the immigration laws relating to the and contagious disease. Counsel on both sides agreed that the effect of the
exclusion or deportation of aliens. 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
In 1880, in Leonard v. Grant (C. C.) 5 Fed. 11, District Judge Deady also
application for naturalization, and thought it best to wait until it was determined
construed the Act of 1855, declaring that "any woman who is now or may
whether the wife's disease was curable. He placed his failure to act on the
hereafter be married to a citizen of the United States, and might herself be
express ground that the effect of naturalizing the husband might naturalize her.
32
At the same time he express his opinion that the husband's naturalization Statutes, American citizenship, and ceased to be an alien. There upon, the
would not effect her naturalization, as she was not one who could become immigration authorities lost their jurisdiction over her, as that jurisdiction
lawfully naturalized. "Her own capacity (to become naturalized)," the court applies only to aliens, and not to citizens.
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 In 1910, District Judge Dodge, in Ex parte Kaprielian, 188 Fed. 694, sustained
actually decided in that case, and the views expressed therein are really the right of the officials to deport a woman under the following circumstances:
nothing more than mere dicta. But, if they can be regarded as something more She entered this country in July, 1910, being an alien and having been born in
than that, we find ourselves, with all due respect for the learned judge, unable Turkey. She was taken into custody by the immigration authorities in the
to accept them. 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
In 1909, in United States ex rel. Nicola v. Williams, 173 Fed. 626, District custody of her counsel. The ground alleged for her deportation was that she
Judge Learned Hand held that an alien woman, a subject of the Turkish was afflicted with a dangerous and contagious disease at the time of her entry.
Empire, who married an American citizen while visiting Turkey, and then came One of the reasons assigned to defeat deportation was that the woman had
to the United States, could not be excluded, although she had, at the time of married a citizen of the United States pending the proceedings for her
her entry, a disease which under the immigration laws would have been deportation. Judge Dodge declared himself unable to believe that a marriage
sufficient ground for her exclusion, if she bad not had the status of a citizen. under such circumstances "is capable of having the effect claimed, in view of
The case was brought into this court on appeal, and in 1911 was affirmed, in the facts shown." He held that it was no part of the intended policy of 1994 to
106 C. C. A. 464, 184 Fed. 322. In that case, however at the time the relators annul or override the immigration laws, so as to authorize the admission into
married, they might have been lawfully naturalized, and we said: "Even if we the country of the wife of a naturalized alien not otherwise entitled to enter,
assume the contention of the district attorney to be correct that marriage will and that an alien woman, who is of a class of persons excluded by law from
not make a citizen of a woman who would be excluded under our immigration admission to the United States does not come within the provisions of that
laws, it does not affect these relators." section. The court relied wholly upon the dicta contained in the Rustigian Case.
No other authorities were cited.
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 In 1914, District Judge Neterer, in Ex parte Grayson, 215 Fed. 449, construed
be a citizen and the wife an alien. The distinction between that case and the 1994 and held that where, pending proceedings to deport an alien native of
one now before the court is that, in the former case, the marriage took place France as an alien prostitute, she was married to a citizen of the United States,
before any order of exclusion had been made, while in this the marriage was she thereby became a citizen, and was not subject to deportation until her
celebrated after such an order was made. But such an order is a mere citizenship was revoked by due process of law. It was his opinion that if, as
administrative provision, and has not the force of a judgment of a court, and was contended, her marriage was conceived in fraud, and was entered into for
works no estoppel. The administrative order is based on the circumstances the purpose of evading the immigration laws and preventing her deportation,
that existed at the time the order of exclusion was made. If the circumstances such fact should be established in a court of competent jurisdiction in an action
change prior to the order being carried into effect, it cannot be executed. For commenced for the purpose. The case was appealed and the appeal was
example, if an order of exclusion should be based on the ground that the alien dismissed. 134 C. C. A. 666, 219 Fed. 1022.
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 It is interesting also to observe the construction placed upon the language of
recovered from the disease, we think it plain that the order could not be carried the statute by the Department of Justice. In 1874, Attorney General Williams,
into effect. So, in this case, if, after the making of the order of exclusion and 14 Ops. Atty. Gen. 402, passing upon the Act of February 10, 1855, held that
while she is permitted temporarily to remain, she in good faith marries an residence within the United States for the period required by the naturalization
American citizen, we cannot doubt the validity of her marriage, and that she laws was riot necessary in order to constitute an alien woman a citizen, she
thereby acquired, under international law and under 1994 of the Revised having married a citizen of the United States abroad, although she never
33
resided in the United States, she and her husband having continued to reside (2) If Congress intended that the marriage of an American citizen with an alien
abroad after the marriage. woman of any other of the excluded classes, either before or after her
detention, should not confer upon her American citizenship, thereby entitling
In 1909, a similar construction was given to the Immigration Act of May 5, her to enter the country, its intention would have been expressed, and 19
1907, in an opinion rendered by Attorney General Wickersham. It appeared an would not have been confined solely to women of the immoral class.
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 Indeed, We have examined all the leading American decisions on the subject
reside. About fifteen months after her arrival she was taken before a United and We have found no warrant for the proposition that the phrase "who might
States commissioner by way of instituting proceedings under the Immigration herself be lawfully naturalized" in Section 1994 of the Revised Statutes was
Act (34 Stat. at L. 898, chap. 1134, Comp. Stat. 4242, 3 Fed. Stat. Anno. 2d meant solely as a racial bar, even if loose statements in some decisions and
ed. p. 637) for her deportation, on the ground that she had entered this country other treaties and other writings on the subject would seem to give such
for the purpose of prostitution, and had been found an inmate of a house of impression. The case of Kelley v. Owen, supra, which appears to be the most
prostitution and practicing the same within three years after landing. It cited among the first of the decisions 19 simply held:
appeared, however, that after she was taken before the United States
commissioner, but prior to her arrest under a warrant by the Department of As we construe this Act, it confers the privileges of citizenship upon women
Justice, she was lawfully married to a native-born citizen of the United States. married to citizens of the United States, if they are of the class of persons for
The woman professed at the time of her marriage an intention to abandon her whose naturalization the previous Acts of Congress provide. The terms
previous mode of life and to remove with her husband to his home in "married" or "who shall be married," do not refer in our judgment, to the time
Pennsylvania. He knew what her mode of life had been, but professed to when the ceremony of marriage is celebrated, but to a state of marriage. They
believe in her good intentions. The question was raised as to the right to deport mean that, whenever a woman, who under previous Acts might be naturalized,
her, the claim being advance that by her marriage she bad become an is in a state of marriage to a citizen, whether his citizenship existed at the
American citizen and therefore could not be deported. The Attorney General passage of the Act or subsequently, or before or after the marriage, she
ruled against the right to deport her as she had become an American citizen. becomes, by that fact, a citizen also. His citizenship, whenever it exists,
He held that the words, "who might herself be lawfully naturalized," refer to a confers, under the Act, citizenship upon her. The construction which would
class or race who might be lawfully naturalized, and that compliance with the restrict the Act to women whose husbands, at the time of marriage, are
other conditions of the naturalization laws was not required. 27 Ops. Atty. Gen. citizens, would exclude far the greater number, for whose benefit, as we think,
507. 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
Before concluding this opinion, we may add that it has not escaped our naturalization on her part; and, if this was the object, there is no reason for the
observation that Congress, in enacting the Immigration Act of 1917, so as to restriction suggested.
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 The terms, "who might lawfully be naturalized under the existing laws," only
citizenship if the marriage of such alien female shall be solemnized after her limit the application of the law to free white women. The previous Naturalization
arrest or after the commission of acts which make her liable to deportation Act, existing at the time only required that the person applying for its benefits
under this act." should be "a free white person," and not an alien enemy. Act of April 14th,
1802, 2 Stat. at L. 153.
Two conclusions seem irresistibly to follow from the above change in the law:
A similar construction was given to the Act by the Court of Appeals of New
(1) Congress deemed legislation essential to prevent women of the immoral York, in Burton v. Burton, 40 N. Y. 373; and is the one which gives the widest
class avoiding deportation through the device of marrying an American citizen. extension to its provisions.

34
Note that write the court did say that "the terms, "who might lawfully be to indicate that such was the clear intent of the legislature. Rather, what is
naturalized under existing laws" only limit the application to free white definite is that Section 15 is, an exact copy of Section 1994 of the Revised
women" 20 it hastened to add that "the previous Naturalization Act, existing at Statutes of the United States, which, at the time of the approval of
the time, ... required that the person applying for its benefits should be (not Commonwealth Act 473 had already a settled construction by American courts
only) a "free white person" (but also) ... not an alien enemy." This is simply and administrative authorities.
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 Secondly, as may be gleaned from the summary of pertinent American
by the Act of July 30, 1813, as may be seen in the corresponding footnote decisions quoted above, there can be no doubt that in the construction of the
hereof anon. In other words, if in the case of Kelly v. Owen only the race identically worded provision in the Revised Statutes of the United States,
requirement was mentioned, the reason was that there was no other non-racial (Section 1994, which was taken, from the Act of February 10, 1855) all
requirement or no more alien enemy disqualification at the time; and this is authorities in the United States are unanimously agreed that the qualifications
demonstrated by the fact that the court took care to make it clear that under of residence, good moral character, adherence to the Constitution, etc. are not
the previous naturalization law, there was also such requirement in addition to supposed to be considered, and that the only eligibility to be taken into account
race. This is impotent, since as stated in re Rustigian, 165 Fed. Rep. 980, "The is that of the race or class to which the subject belongs, the conceptual scope
expression used by Mr. Justice Field, (in Kelly v. Owen) the terms "who might of which, We have just discussed. 21 In the very case of Leonard v.
lawfully be naturalized under existing laws" only limit the application of the law Grant, supra, discussed by Justice Regala in Lo San Tuang, the explanation
to free white women, must be interpreted in the application to the special facts for such posture of the American authorities was made thus:
and to the incapacities under the then existing laws," (at p. 982) meaning that The phrase, "shall be deemed a citizen" in section 1994 Rev. St., or as it was
whether or not an alien wife marrying a citizen would be a citizen was in the Act of 1855,supra, "shall be deemed and taken to be a citizen" while it
dependent, not only on her race and nothing more necessarily, but on whether may imply that the person to whom it relates has not actually become a citizen
or not there were other disqualifications under the law in force at the time of by ordinary means or in the usual way, as by the judgment of a competent
her marriage or the naturalization of her husband. court, upon a proper application and proof, yet it does not follow that such
4. As already stated, in Lo San Tuang, Choy King Tee and the second Ly Giok person is on that account practically any the less a citizen. The word "deemed"
Ha, the Court drew the evidence that because Section 1 of Act 2927 was is the equivalent of "considered" or "judged"; and, therefore, whatever an act
eliminated by Commonwealth Act 473, it follows that in place of the said of Congress requires to be "deemed" or "taken" as true of any person or thing,
eliminated section particularly its subdivision (c), being the criterion of whether must, in law, be considered as having been duly adjudged or established
or not an alien wife "may be lawfully naturalized," what should be required is concerning "such person or thing, and have force and effect accordingly.
not only that she must not be disqualified under Section 4 but that she must When, therefore, Congress declares that an alien woman shall, under certain
also possess the qualifications enumerated in Section 2, such as those of age, circumstances, be "deemed' an American citizen, the effect when the
residence, good moral character, adherence to the underlying principles of the contingency occurs, is equivalent to her being naturalized directly by an act of
Philippine Constitution, irreproachable conduct, lucrative employment or Congress, or in the usual mode thereby prescribed.
ownership of real estate, capacity to speak and write English or Spanish and Unless We disregard now the long settled familiar rule of statutory construction
one of the principal local languages, education of children in certain schools, that in a situation like this wherein our legislature has copied an American
etc., thereby implying that, in effect, sails Section 2 has been purposely statute word for word, it is understood that the construction already given to
intended to take the place of Section 1 of Act 2927. Upon further consideration such statute before its being copied constitute part of our own law, there seems
of the proper premises, We have come, to the conclusion that such inference to be no reason how We can give a different connotation or meaning to the
is not sufficiently justified. provision in question. At least, We have already seen that the views sustaining
To begin with, nothing extant in the legislative history, which We have already the contrary conclusion appear to be based on in accurate factual premises
explained above of the mentioned provisions has been shown or can be shown
35
related to the real legislative background of the framing of our naturalization was approved in 1939, the Philippine Legislature, already autonomous then
law in its present form. 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
Thirdly, the idea of equating the qualifications enumerated in Section 2 of of the U.S. Congress of 1922, but still, our legislators chose to maintain the
Commonwealth Act 473 with the eligibility requirements of Section 1 of Act language of the old law. What then is significantly important is not that the
2927 cannot bear close scrutiny from any point of view. There is no question legislature maintained said phraseology after Section 1 of Act 2927 was
that Section 2 of Commonwealth Act 473 is more or less substantially the same eliminated, but that it continued insisting on using it even after the Americans
as Section 3 of Act 2927. In other words, Section 1 of Act 2927 co-existed had amended their law in order to provide for what is now contended to be the
already with practically the same provision as Section 2 of Commonwealth Act construction that should be given to the phrase in question. Stated differently,
473. If it were true that the phrase "who may be lawfully naturalized" in Section had our legislature adopted a phrase from an American statute before the
13 (a) of Act 2927, as amended by Act 3448, referred to the so-called racial American courts had given it a construction which was acquiesced to by those
requirement in Section 1 of the same Act, without regard to the provisions of given upon to apply the same, it would be possible for Us to adopt a
Section 3 thereof, how could the elimination of Section 1 have the effect of construction here different from that of the Americans, but as things stand, the
shifting the reference to Section 3, when precisely, according to the American fact is that our legislature borrowed the phrase when there was already a
jurisprudence, which was prevailing at the time Commonwealth Act 473 was settled construction thereof, and what is more, it appears that our legislators
approved, such qualifications as were embodied in said Section 3, which had even ignored the modification of the American law and persisted in maintaining
their counterpart in the corresponding American statutes, are not supposed to the old phraseology. Under these circumstances, it would be in defiance of
be taken into account and that what should be considered only are the reason and the principles of Statutory construction to say that Section 15 has
requirements similar to those provided for in said Section 1 together with the a nationalistic and selective orientation and that it should be construed
disqualifications enumerated in Section 4? independently of the previous American posture because of the difference of
Fourthly, it is difficult to conceive that the phrase "who might be lawfully circumstances here and in the United States. It is always safe to say that in
naturalized" in Section 15 could have been intended to convey a meaning the construction of a statute, We cannot fall on possible judicial fiat or
different than that given to it by the American courts and administrative perspective when the demonstrated legislative point of view seems to indicate
authorities. As already stated, Act 3448 which contained said phrase and from otherwise.
which it was taken by Commonwealth Act 473, was enacted in 1928. By that, 5. Viewing the matter from another angle, there is need to emphasize that in
time, Section 1994 of the Revised Statutes of the United States was no longer reality and in effect, the so called racial requirements, whether under the
in force because it had been repealed expressly the Act of September 22, 1922 American laws or the Philippine laws, have hardly been considered as
which did away with the automatic naturalization of alien wives of American qualifications in the same sense as those enumerated in Section 3 of Act 2927
citizens and required, instead, that they submit to regular naturalization and later in Section 2 of Commonwealth Act 473. More accurately, they have
proceedings, albeit under more liberal terms than those of other applicants. In always been considered as disqualifications, in the sense that those who did
other words, when our legislature adopted the phrase in question, which, as not possess them were the ones who could not "be lawfully naturalized," just
already demonstrated, had a definite construction in American law, the as if they were suffering from any of the disqualifications under Section 2 of
Americans had already abandoned said phraseology in favor of a categorical Act 2927 and later those under Section 4 of Commonwealth Act 473, which,
compulsion for alien wives to be natural judicially. Simple logic would seem to incidentally, are practically identical to those in the former law, except those in
dictate that, since our lawmakers, at the time of the approval of Act 3448, had paragraphs (f) and (h) of the latter. 22 Indeed, such is the clear impression
two choices, one to adopt the phraseology of Section 1994 with its settled anyone will surely get after going over all the American decisions and opinions
construction and the other to follow the new posture of the Americans of quoted and/or cited in the latest USCA (1970), Title 8, section 1430, pp. 598-
requiring judicial naturalization and it appears that they have opted for the first, 602, and the first decisions of this Court on the matter, Ly Giok Ha (1959) and
We have no alternative but to conclude that our law still follows the old or Ricardo Cua, citing with approval the opinions of the secretary of
previous American Law On the subject. Indeed, when Commonwealth Act 473
36
Justice. 23 Such being the case, that is, that the so-called racial requirements therewith manifestly difficult. The unreasonableness of such requirement is
were always treated as disqualifications in the same light as the other shown by the following:
disqualifications under the law, why should their elimination not be viewed or
understood as a subtraction from or a lessening of the disqualifications? Why 1. One of the qualifications required of an Applicant for naturalization under
should such elimination have instead the meaning that what were previously Section 2 of the law is that the applicant "must have resided in the Philippines
considered as irrelevant qualifications have become disqualifications, as for a continuous period of not less than ten years." If this requirement is applied
seems to be the import of the holding in Choy King Tee to the effect that the to an alien wife married to a Filipino citizen, this means that for a period of ten
retention in Section 15 of Commonwealth Act 473 of the same language of years at least, she cannot hope to acquire the citizenship of her husband. If
what used to be Section 13 (a) of Act 2927 (as amended by Act 3448), the wife happens to be a citizen of a country whose law declares that upon her
notwithstanding the elimination of Section 1 of the latter, necessarily indicates marriage to a foreigner she automatically loses her citizenship and acquires
that the legislature had in mind making the phrase in question "who may be the citizenship of her husband, this could mean that for a period of ten years
lawfully naturalized" refer no longer to any racial disqualification but to the at least, she would be stateless. And even after having acquired continuous
qualification under Section 2 of Commonwealth Act 473? Otherwise stated, residence in the Philippines for ten years, there is no guarantee that her
under Act 2927, there were two groups of persons that could not be petition for naturalization will be granted, in which case she would remain
naturalized, namely, those falling under Section 1 and those falling under stateless for an indefinite period of time.
Section 2, and surely, the elimination of one group, i.e. those belonging to 2. Section 2 of the law likewise requires of the applicant for naturalization that
Section 1, could not have had, by any process of reasoning, the effect of he "must own real estate in the Philippines worth not less than five thousand
increasing, rather than decreasing, the disqualifications that used to be before pesos, Philippine currency, or must have some known lucrative trade,
such elimination. We cannot see by what alchemy of logic such elimination profession, or lawful occupation." Considering the constitutional prohibition
could have convicted qualifications into disqualifications specially in the light against acquisition by an alien of real estate except in cases of hereditary
of the fact that, after all, these are disqualifications clearly set out as such in succession (Art. XIII, Sec. 5, Constitution), an alien wife desiring to acquire the
the law distinctly and separately from qualifications and, as already citizenship of her husband must have to prove that she has a lucrative income
demonstrated, in American jurisprudence, qualifications had never been derived from a lawful trade, profession or occupation. The income requirement
considered to be of any relevance in determining "who might be lawfully has been interpreted to mean that the petitioner herself must be the one to
naturalized," as such phrase is used in the statute governing the status of alien possess the said income. (Uy v. Republic, L-19578, Oct. 27, 1964; Tanpa Ong
wives of American citizens, and our law on the matter was merely copied vs. Republic, L-20605, June 30, 1965; Li Tong Pek v. Republic, L-20912,
verbatim from the American statutes. November 29, 1965). In other words, the wife must prove that she has a
6. In addition to these arguments based on the applicable legal provisions and lucrative income derived from sources other than her husband's trade,
judicial opinions, whether here or in the United States, there are practical profession or calling. It is of common knowledge, and judicial notice may be
considerations that militate towards the same conclusions. As aptly stated in taken of the fact that most wives in the Philippines do not have gainful
the motion for reconsideration of counsel for petitioner-appellee dated occupations of their own. Indeed, Philippine law, recognizing the dependence
February 23, 1967, filed in the case ofZita Ngo Burca v. Republic, supra: 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
Unreasonableness of requiring alien wife to prove "qualifications" — 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,
There is one practical consideration that strongly militates against a how can she hope to acquire a lucrative income of her own to qualify her for
construction that Section 15 of the law requires that an alien wife of a Filipino citizenship?
must affirmatively prove that she possesses the qualifications prescribed
under Section 2, before she may be deemed a citizen. Such condition, if 3. Under Section 2 of the law, the applicant for naturalization "must have
imposed upon an alien wife, becomes unreasonably onerous and compliance enrolled his minor children of school age, in any of the public schools or private
37
schools recognized by the Office of the Private Education of the Philippines, v. Collector of Customs (23 Phil. 315) held that Articles 17 to 27 of the Civil
where Philippine history, government and civics are taught or prescribed as Code being political have been abrogated upon the cession of the Philippine
part of the school curriculum during the entire period of residence in the Islands to the United States. Accordingly, the stated taken by the Attorney-
Philippines required of him prior to the hearing of his petition for naturalization General prior to the envictment of Act No. 3448, was that marriage of alien
as Philippine citizen." If an alien woman has minor children by a previous women to Philippine citizens did not make the former citizens of this counting.
marriage to another alien before she marries a Filipino, and such minor (Op. Atty. Gen., March 16, 1928) .
children had not been enrolled in Philippine schools during her period of
residence in the country, she cannot qualify for naturalization under the To remedy this anomalous condition, Act No. 3448 was enacted in 1928
interpretation of this Court. The reason behind the requirement that children adding section 13(a) to Act No. 2927 which provides that "any woman who is
should be enrolled in recognized educational institutions is that they follow the now or may hereafter be married to a citizen of the Philippine Islands, and who
citizenship of their father. (Chan Ho Lay v. Republic, L-5666, March 30, 1954; might herself be lawfully naturalized, shall be deemed a citizen of the
Tan Hi v. Republic, 88 Phil. 117 [1951]; Hao Lian Chu v. Republic, 87 Phil. 668 Philippine Islands. (Op. No. 22, s. 1941; emphasis ours).
[1950]; Yap Chin v. Republic, L-4177, May 29, 1953; Lim Lian Hong v. If Section 15 of the, Revised Naturalization Law were to be interpreted, as this
Republic, L-3575, Dec. 26, 1950). Considering that said minor children by her Court did, in such a way as to require that the alien wife must prove the
first husband generally follow the citizenship of their alien father, the basis for qualifications prescribed in Section 2, the privilege granted to alien wives
such requirement as applied to her does not exist. Cessante ratione legis would become illusory. It is submitted that such a construction, being contrary
cessat ipsa lex. to the manifested object of the statute must be rejected.
4. Under Section 3 of the law, the 10-year continuous residence prescribed by A statute is to be construed with reference to its manifest object, and if the
Section 2 "shall be understood as reduced to five years for any petitioner (who language is susceptible of two constructions, one which will carry out and the
is) married to a Filipino woman." It is absurd that an alien male married to a other defeat such manifest object, it should receive the former construction.
Filipino wife should be required to reside only for five years in the Philippines (In re National Guard, 71 Vt. 493, 45 A. 1051; Singer v. United States, 323
to qualify for citizenship, whereas an alien woman married to a Filipino U.S. 338, 89 L. ed. 285. See also, U.S. v. Navarro, 19 Phil. 134 [1911]; U. S.
husband must reside for ten years. v. Toribio, 15 Phil. 85 [1910).
Thus under the interpretation given by this Court, it is more difficult for an alien ... A construction which will cause objectionable results should be avoided and
wife related by marriage to a Filipino citizen to become such citizen, than for a the court will, if possible, place on the statute a construction which will not
foreigner who is not so related. And yet, it seems more than clear that the result in injustice, and in accordance with the decisions construing statutes, a
general purpose of the first paragraph of Section 15 was obviously to accord construction which will result in oppression, hardship, or inconveniences will
to an alien woman, by reason of her marriage to a Filipino, a privilege not also be avoided, as will a construction which will prejudice public interest, or
similarly granted to other aliens. It will be recalled that prior to the enactment construction resulting in unreasonableness, as well as a construction which
of Act No. 3448 in 1928, amending Act No. 2927 (the old Naturalization Law), will result in absurd consequences.
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 So a construction should, if possible, be avoided if the result would be an
that the Philippine legislature enacted Act No. 3448. On this point, the apparent inconsistency in legislative intent, as has been determined by the
observation made by the Secretary of Justice in 1941 is enlightening: judicial decisions, or which would result in futility, redundancy, or a conclusion
not contemplated by the legislature; and the court should adopt that
It is true that under, Article 22 of the (Spanish) Civil Code, the wife follows the construction which will be the least likely to produce mischief. Unless plainly
nationality of the husband; but the Department of State of the United States shown to have been the intention of the legislature, an interpretation which
on October 31, 1921, ruled that the alien wife of a Filipino citizen is not a would render the requirements of the statute uncertain and vague is to be
Filipino citizen, pointing out that our Supreme Court in the leading case of Roa
38
avoided, and the court will not ascribe to the legislature an intent to confer an person naturalized under the law, who is able to prove the fact of his birth in
illusory right. ... (82 C.J.S., Statutes, sec. 326, pp. 623-632). 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
7. In Choy King Tee and the second Ly Giok Ha, emphasis was laid on the wife of a Philippine citizen. She is required to prove only that she may herself
need for aligning the construction of Section 15 with "the national policy of be lawfully naturalized, i.e., that she is not one of the disqualified persons
selective admission to Philippine citizenship." But the question may be asked, enumerated in Section 4 of the law, in order to establish her citizenship status
is it reasonable to suppose that in the pursuit of such policy, the legislature as a fact.
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 A paramount policy consideration of graver import should not be overlooked
any ordinary applicant for naturalization, as has just been demonstrated in this regard, for it explains and justifies the obviously deliberate choice of
above? It seems but natural and logical to assume that Section 15 was words. It is universally accepted that a State, in extending the privilege of
intended to extend special treatment to alien women who by marrying a Filipino citizenship to an alien wife of one of its citizens could have had no other
irrevocably deliver themselves, their possessions, their fate and fortunes and objective than to maintain a unity of allegiance among the members of the
all that marriage implies to a citizen of this country, "for better or for worse." family. (Nelson v. Nelson, 113 Neb. 453, 203 N. W. 640 [1925]; see also
Perhaps there can and will be cases wherein the personal conveniences and "Convention on the Nationality of Married Women: Historical Background and
benefits arising from Philippine citizenship may motivate such marriage, but Commentary." UNITED NATIONS, Department of Economic and Social Affairs
must the minority, as such cases are bound to be, serve as the criterion for the E/CN, 6/399, pp. 8 et seq.). Such objective can only be satisfactorily achieved
construction of law? Moreover, it is not farfetched to believe that in joining a by allowing the wife to acquire citizenship derivatively through the husband.
Filipino family the alien woman is somehow disposed to assimilate the This is particularly true in the Philippines where tradition and law has placed
customs, beliefs and ideals of Filipinos among whom, after all, she has to live the husband as head of the family, whose personal status and decisions
and associate, but surely, no one should expect her to do so even before govern the life of the family group. Corollary to this, our laws look with favor on
marriage. Besides, it may be considered that in reality the extension of the unity and solidarity of the family (Art. 220, Civil Code), in whose
citizenship to her is made by the law not so much for her sake as for the preservation of State as a vital and enduring interest. (See Art. 216, Civil
husband. Indeed, We find the following observations anent the national policy Code). Thus, it has been said that by tradition in our country, there is a
rationalization in Choy King Tee and Ly Giok Ha (the second) to be quite theoretic identity of person and interest between husband and wife, and from
persuasive: the nature of the relation, the home of one is that of the other. (See De la Viña
v. Villareal, 41 Phil. 13). It should likewise be said that because of the theoretic
We respectfully suggest that this articulation of the national policy begs the identity of husband and wife, and the primacy of the husband, the nationality
question. The avowed policy of "selectives admission" more particularly refers of husband should be the nationality of the wife, and the laws upon one should
to a case where citizenship is sought to be acquired in a judicial proceeding be the law upon the other. For as the court, in Hopkins v. Fachant (9th Cir.,
for naturalization. In such a case, the courts should no doubt apply the national 1904) 65 C.C.A., 1, 130 Fed. 839, held: "The status of the wife follows that of
policy of selecting only those who are worthy to become citizens. There is here the husband, ... and by virtue of her marriage her husband's domicile became
a choice between accepting or rejecting the application for citizenship. But this her domicile." And the presumption under Philippine law being that
policy finds no application in cases where citizenship is conferred by operation the property relations of husband and wife are under the regime of conjugal
of law. In such cases, the courts have no choice to accept or reject. If the partnership (Art. 119, Civil Code), the income of one is also that of the other.
individual claiming citizenship by operation of law proves in legal proceedings
that he satisfies the statutory requirements, the courts cannot do otherwise It is, therefore, not congruent with our cherished traditions of family unity and
than to declare that he is a citizen of the Philippines. Thus, an individual who identity that a husband should be a citizen and the wife an alien, and that the
is able to prove that his father is a Philippine citizen, is a citizen of the national treatment of one should be different from that of the other. Thus, it
Philippines, "irrespective of his moral character, ideological beliefs, and cannot be that the husband's interests in property and business activities
identification with Filipino ideals, customs, and traditions." A minor child of a reserved by law to citizens should not form part of the conjugal partnership
39
and be denied to the wife, nor that she herself cannot, through her own efforts the American Naturalization Law. Accordingly, We now hold, all previous
but for the benefit of the partnership, acquire such interests. Only in rare decisions of this Court indicating otherwise notwithstanding, that under Section
instances should the identity of husband and wife be refused recognition, and 15 of Commonwealth Act 473, an alien woman marrying a Filipino, native born
we submit that in respect of our citizenship laws, it should only be in the or naturalized, becomes ipso facto a Filipina provided she is not disqualified to
instances where the wife suffers from the disqualifications stated in Section 4 be a citizen of the Philippines under Section 4 of the same law. Likewise, an
of the Revised Naturalization Law. (Motion for Reconsideration, Burca vs. alien woman married to an alien who is subsequently naturalized here follows
Republic, supra.) 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
With all these considerations in mind, We are persuaded that it is in the best disqualifications under said Section 4.
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 As under any other law rich in benefits for those coming under it, doubtless
"who may be lawfully naturalized," found in the American statute from which it there will be instances where unscrupulous persons will attempt to take
was borrowed and copied verbatim, was applied by the American courts and advantage of this provision of law by entering into fake and fictitious marriages
administrative authorities. There is merit, of course in the view that Philippine or mala fide matrimonies. We cannot as a matter of law hold that just because
statutes should be construed in the light of Philippine circumstances, and with of these possibilities, the construction of the provision should be otherwise
particular reference to our naturalization laws. We should realize the disparity than as dictated inexorably by more ponderous relevant considerations, legal,
in the circumstances between the United States, as the so-called "melting pot" juridical and practical. There can always be means of discovering such
of peoples from all over the world, and the Philippines as a developing country undesirable practice and every case can be dealt with accordingly as it arises.
whose Constitution is nationalistic almost in the come. Certainly, the writer of
this opinion cannot be the last in rather passionately insisting that our III.
jurisprudence should speak our own concepts and resort to American The third aspect of this case requires necessarily a re-examination of the ruling
authorities, to be sure, entitled to admiration, and respect, should not be of this Court in Burca, supra, regarding the need of judicial naturalization
regarded as source of pride and indisputable authority. Still, We cannot close proceedings before the alien wife of a Filipino may herself be considered or
our eyes to the undeniable fact that the provision of law now under scrutiny deemed a Filipino. If this case which, as already noted, was submitted for
has no local origin and orientation; it is purely American, factually taken bodily decision in 1964 yet, had only been decided earlier, before Go Im Ty, the
from American law when the Philippines was under the dominating influence foregoing discussions would have been sufficient to dispose of it. The Court
of statutes of the United States Congress. It is indeed a sad commentary on could have held that despite her apparent lack of qualifications, her marriage
the work of our own legislature of the late 1920's and 1930's that given the to her co-petitioner made her a Filipina, without her undergoing any
opportunity to break away from the old American pattern, it took no step in that naturalization proceedings, provided she could sustain, her claim that she is
direction. Indeed, even after America made it patently clear in the Act of not disqualified under Section 4 of the law. But as things stand now, with the
Congress of September 22, 1922 that alien women marrying Americans Burca ruling, the question We have still to decide is, may she be deemed a
cannot be citizens of the United States without undergoing naturalization Filipina without submitting to a naturalization proceeding?
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 Naturally, if Burca is to be followed, it is clear that the answer to this question
1874, Which, it is worth reiterating, was consistently and uniformly understood must necessarily be in the affirmative. As already stated, however, the decision
as conferring American citizenship to alien women marrying Americans ipso in Burca has not yet become final because there is still pending with Us a
facto, without having to submit to any naturalization proceeding and without motion for its reconsideration which vigorously submits grounds worthy of
having to prove that they possess the special qualifications of residence, moral serious consideration by this Court. On this account, and for the reasons
character, adherence to American ideals and American constitution, provided expounded earlier in this opinion, this case is as good an occasion as any
they show they did not suffer from any of the disqualifications enumerated in other to re-examine the issue.

40
In the said decision, Justice Sanchez held for the Court: Philippines. Briefly, she can become a Filipino citizen only by judicial
declaration.
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 Such being the import of the Court's ruling, and it being quite obvious, on the
citizenship reciting that she possesses all the qualifications set forth in Section other hand, upon a cursory reading of the provision, in question, that the law
2 and none of the disqualifications under Section 4, both of the Revised intends by it to spell out what is the "effect of naturalization on (the) wife and
Naturalization Law; (2) Said petition must be filed in the Court of First Instance children" of an alien, as plainly indicated by its title, and inasmuch as the
where petitioner has resided at least one year immediately preceding the filing language of the provision itself clearly conveys the thought that some effect
of the petition; and (3) Any action by any other office, agency, board or official, beneficial to the wife is intended by it, rather than that she is not in any manner
administrative or otherwise — other than the judgment of a competent court of to be benefited thereby, it behooves Us to take a second hard look at the ruling,
justice — certifying or declaring that an alien wife of the Filipino citizen is also if only to see whether or not the Court might have overlooked any relevant
a Filipino citizen, is hereby declared null and void. consideration warranting a conclusion different from that complained therein.
It is undeniable that the issue before Us is of grave importance, considering its
3. We treat the present petition as one for naturalization. Or, in the words of consequences upon tens of thousands of persons affected by the ruling
law, a "petition for citizenship". This is as it should be. Because a reading of therein made by the Court, and surely, it is for Us to avoid, whenever possible,
the petition will reveal at once that efforts were made to set forth therein, and that Our decision in any case should produce any adverse effect upon them
to prove afterwards, compliance with Sections 2 and 4 of the Revised not contemplated either by the law or by the national policy it seeks to endorse.
Naturalization law. The trial court itself apparently considered the petition as
one for naturalization, and, in fact, declared petitioner "a citizen of the AMICI CURIAE in the Burca case, respectable and impressive by their number
Philippines." and standing in the Bar and well known for their reputation for intellectual
integrity, legal acumen and incisive and comprehensive resourcefulness in
In other words, under this holding, in order for an alien woman marrying a research, truly evident in the quality of the memorandum they have submitted
Filipino to be vested with Filipino citizenship, it is not enough that she in said case, invite Our attention to the impact of the decision therein thus:
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, The doctrine announced by this Honorable Court for the first time in the present
she has to pass thru the whole process of judicial naturalization apparently case -- that an alien woman who marries a Philippine citizen not only does
from declaration of intention to oathtaking, before she can become a Filipina. not ipso facto herself become a citizen but can acquire such citizenship only
In plain words, her marriage to a Filipino is absolutely of no consequence to through ordinary naturalization proceedings under the Revised Naturalization
her nationality vis-a-vis that of her Filipino husband; she remains to be the Law, and that all administrative actions "certifying or declaring such woman to
national of the country to which she owed allegiance before her marriage, and be a Philippine citizen are null and void" — has consequences that reach far
if she desires to be of one nationality with her husband, she has to wait for the beyond the confines of the present case. Considerably more people are
same time that any other applicant for naturalization needs to complete, the affected, and affected deeply, than simply Mrs. Zita N. Burca. The newspapers
required period of ten year residence, gain the knowledge of English or report that as many as 15 thousand women married to Philippine citizens are
Spanish and one of the principle local languages, make her children study in affected by this decision of the Court. These are women of many and diverse
Filipino schools, acquire real property or engage in some lawful occupation of nationalities, including Chinese, Spanish, British, American, Columbian,
her own independently of her husband, file her declaration of intention and Finnish, Japanese, Chilean, and so on. These members of the community,
after one year her application for naturalization, with the affidavits of two some of whom have been married to citizens for two or three decades, have
credible witnesses of her good moral character and other qualifications, etc., all exercised rights and privileges reserved by law to Philippine citizens. They
etc., until a decision is ordered in her favor, after which, she has to undergo will have acquired, separately or in conjugal partnership with their citizen
the two years of probation, and only then, but not before she takes her oath as husbands, real property, and they will have sold and transferred such property.
citizen, will she begin to be considered and deemed to be a citizen of the Many of these women may be in professions membership in which is limited
41
to citizens. Others are doubtless stockholders or officers or employees in As already observed, the decision in Burca still under reconsideration, while
companies engaged in business activities for which a certain percentage of the ruling in Lee Suan Ay, Lo San Tuang, Choy King Tee and others that
Filipino equity content is prescribed by law. All these married women are now followed them have at the most become the law of the case only for the parties
faced with possible divestment of personal status and of rights acquired and thereto. If there are good grounds therefor, all We have to do now is to
privileges exercised in reliance, in complete good faith, upon a reading of the reexamine the said rulings and clarify or modify them.
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 For ready reference, We requote Section 15:
respectfully suggest that judicial doctrines which would visit such Sec. 15. Effect of the naturalization on wife and children. — Any woman who
comprehensive and far-reaching injury upon the wives and mothers of is now or may hereafter be married to a citizen of the Philippines, and who
Philippine citizens deserve intensive scrutiny and reexamination. might herself be lawfully naturalized shall be deemed a citizen of the
To be sure, this appeal can be no less than what this Court attended to in Gan Philippines.
Tsitung vs. Republic, G.R. No. L-20819, Feb. 21, 1967, 19 SCRA 401 — when Minor children of persons naturalized under this law who have been born in
Chief Justice Concepcion observed: the Philippines shall be considered citizens thereof.
The Court realizes, however, that the rulings in the Barretto and Delgado cases A foreign-born minor child, if dwelling in the Philippines at the time of
— although referring to situations the equities of which are not identical to naturalization of the parents, shall automatically become a Philippine citizen,
those obtaining in the case at bar — may have contributed materially to the and a foreign-born minor child, who is not in the Philippines at the time the
irregularities committed therein and in other analogous cases, and induced the parent is naturalized, shall be deemed a Philippine citizen only during his
parties concerned to believe, although erroneously, that the procedure minority, unless he begins to reside permanently in the Philippines when still
followed was valid under the law. a minor, in which case, he will continue to be a Philippine citizen even after
Accordingly, and in view of the implications of the issue under consideration, becoming of age.
the Solicitor General was required, not only, to comment thereon, but, also, to A child born outside of the Philippines after the naturalization of his parent,
state "how many cases there are, like the one at bar, in which certificates of shall be considered a Philippine citizen, unless within one year after reaching
naturalization have been issued after notice of the filing of the petition for the age of majority, he fails to register himself as a Philippine citizen at the
naturalization had been published in the Official Gazette only once, within the American Consulate of the country where he resides, and to take the
periods (a) from January 28, 1950" (when the decision in Delgado v. Republic necessary oath of allegiance.
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 It is obvious that the main subject-matter and purpose of the statute, the
present case was rendered). Revised Naturalization Law or Commonwealth Act 473, as a whole, is to
establish a complete procedure for the judicial conferment of the status of
After mature deliberation, and in the light of the reasons adduced in appellant's citizenship upon qualified aliens. After laying out such a procedure, remarkable
motion for reconsideration and in the reply thereto of the Government, as well for its elaborate and careful inclusion of all safeguards against the possibility
as of the data contained in the latter, the Court holds that the doctrine laid of any undesirable persons becoming a part of our citizenry, it carefully but
down in the Ong Son Cui case shall apply and affect the validity of certificates categorically states the consequence of the naturalization of an alien
of naturalization issued after, not on or before May 29, 1957. undergoing such procedure it prescribes upon the members of his immediate
Here We are met again by the same problem. In Gan Tsitung, the Court had family, his wife and children, 25 and, to that end, in no uncertain terms it ordains
to expressly enjoin the prospective application of its construction of the law that: (a) all his minor children who have been born in the Philippines shall be
made in a previous decision, 24 which had already become final, to serve the "considered citizens" also; (b) all such minor children, if born outside the
ends of justice and equity. In the case at bar, We do not have to go that far. Philippines but dwelling here at the time of such naturalization "shall
42
automatically become" Filipinos also, but those not born in the Philippines and in the Philippines a foreign woman married to a Filipino citizen becomes ipso
not in the Philippines at the time of such naturalization, are also redeemed facto naturalized, if she belongs to any of the classes who may apply for
citizens of this country provided that they shall lose said status if they transfer naturalization under the Philippine Laws." (Sinco, Phil. Political Law 498-499
their permanent residence to a foreign country before becoming of age; (c) all [10th ed. 1954]; emphasis ours; this comment is substantially reiterated in the
such minor children, if born outside of the Philippines after such naturalization, 1962 edition, citing Ly Giok Ha and Ricardo Cua, supra.)
shall also be "considered" Filipino citizens, unless they expatriate themselves
by failing to register as Filipinos at the Philippine (American) Consulate of the More importantly, it may be stated, at this juncture, that in construing the
country where they reside and take the necessary oath of allegiance; and (d) provision of the United States statutes from which our law has been
as to the wife, she "shall be deemed a citizen of the Philippines" if she is one copied, 28a the American courts have held that the alien wife does not acquire
"who might herself be lawfully naturalized". 26 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
No doubt whatever is entertained, so Burca holds very correctly, as to the point every alien woman who marries a citizen of the United States becomes
that the minor children, falling within the conditions of place and time of birth perforce a citizen herself, without the formality of naturalization, and regardless
and residence prescribed in the provision, are vested with Philippine of her wish in that respect." (USCA 8, p. 601 [1970 ed.], citing Mackenzie v.
citizenship directly by legislative fiat or by force of the law itself and without the Hare, 1913, 134 P. 713, 165 Cal. 766, affirmed 36 S. Ct. 106, 239 U.S. 299,
need for any judicial proceeding or declaration. (At p. 192, 19 SCRA). Indeed, 60 L ed. 297.) .
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 We need not recount here again how this provision in question was first
Philippines" in reference to the wife, does not necessarily connote the vesting enacted as paragraph (a) of Section 13, by way of an insertion into Act 2927
of citizenship status upon her by legislative fiat because the antecedent phrase by Act 3448 of November 30, 1928, and that, in turn, and paragraph was
requiring that she must be one "who might herself be lawfully naturalized" copied verbatim from Section 1994 of the Revised Statutes of the United
implies that such status is intended to attach only after she has undergone the States, which by that time already had a long accepted construction among
whole process of judicial naturalization required of any person desiring to the courts and administrative authorities in that country holding that under such
become a Filipino. Stated otherwise, the ruling in Burca is that while Section provision an alien woman who married a citizen became, upon such marriage,
15 envisages and intends legislative naturalization as to the minor children, likewise a citizen by force of law and as a consequence of the marriage itself
the same section deliberately treats the wife differently and leaves her out for without having to undergo any naturalization proceedings, provided that, it
the ordinary judicial naturalization. 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
Of course, it goes without saying that it is perfectly within the constitutional already made of these undeniable facts would unnecessarily make this
authority of the Congress of the Philippines to confer or vest citizenship status decision doubly extensive. The only point which might be reiterated for
by legislative fiat. (U.S. v. Wong Kim Ark, 169 U.S. 649, 42 L ed. 890 [1898]; emphasis at this juncture is that whereas in the United States, the American
See, 1 Tañada & Carreon, Political Law of the Philippines 152 [1961 ed.]) In Congress, recognizing the construction, of Section 1994 of the Revised
fact, it has done so for particular individuals, like two foreign religious Statutes to be as stated above, and finding it desirable to avoid the effects of
prelates, 27 hence there is no reason it cannot do it for classes or groups of such construction, approved the Act of September 22, 1922 Explicitly requiring
persons under general conditions applicable to all of the members of such all such alien wives to submit to judicial naturalization albeit under more liberal
class or group, like women who marry Filipinos, whether native-born or terms than those for other applicants for citizenship, on the other hand, the
naturalized. The issue before Us in this case is whether or not the legislature Philippine Legislature, instead of following suit and adopting such a
hag done so in the disputed provisions of Section 15 of the Naturalization Law. requirement, enacted Act 3448 on November 30, 1928 which copied verbatim
And Dr. Vicente G. Sinco, one of the most respect authorities on political law the aforementioned Section 1994 of the Revised Statutes, thereby indicating
in the Philippines 28 observes in this connection thus: "A special form of its preference to adopt the latter law and its settled construction rather than
naturalization is often observed by some states with respect to women. Thus the reform introduced by the Act of 1922.
43
Obviously, these considerations leave Us no choice. Much as this Court may children are concerned, produce the same legal effect as if it had been
feel that as the United States herself has evidently found it to be an rendered during the life of the petitioner." This phraseology emphasizes the
improvement of her national policy vis-a-vis the alien wives of her citizens to intent of the law to continue the proceedings with the deceased as the
discontinue their automatic incorporation into the body of her citizenry without theoretical petitioner, for if it were otherwise, it would have been unnecessary
passing through the judicial scrutiny of a naturalization proceeding, as it used to consider the decision rendered, as far as it affected the widow and the minor
to be before 1922, it seems but proper, without evidencing any bit of colonial children.
mentality, that as a developing country, the Philippines adopt a similar policy,
unfortunately, the manner in which our own legislature has enacted our laws xxx xxx xxx
on the subject, as recounted above, provides no basis for Us to construe said The Chua Chian case (supra), cited by the appellee, declared that a dead
law along the line of the 1922 modification of the American Law. For Us to do person can not be bound to do things stipulated in the oath of allegiance,
so would be to indulge in judicial legislation which it is not institutionally because an oath is a personal matter. Therein, the widow prayed that she be
permissible for this Court to do. Worse, this court would be going precisely allowed to take the oath of allegiance for the deceased. In the case at bar,
against the grain of the implicit Legislative intent. petitioner Tan Lin merely asked that she be allowed to take the oath of
There is at least one decision of this Court before Burca wherein it seems it is allegiance and the proper certificate of naturalization, once the naturalization
quite clearly implied that this Court is of the view that under Section 16 of the proceedings of her deceased husband, shall have been completed, not on
Naturalization Law, the widow and children of an applicant for naturalization behalf of the deceased but on her own behalf and of her children, as recipients
who dies during the proceedings do not have to submit themselves to another of the benefits of his naturalization. In other words, the herein petitioner
naturalization proceeding in order to avail of the benefits of the proceedings proposed to take the oath of allegiance, as a citizen of the Philippines, by virtue
involving the husband. Section 16 provides: . 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
SEC. 16. Right of widow and children of petitioners who have died. — In case shall be deemed a citizen of the Philippines. Minor children of persons
a petitioner should die before the final decision has been rendered, his widow naturalized under this law who have been born in the Philippines shall be
and minor children may continue the proceedings. The decision rendered in considered citizens thereof." (Section 15, Commonwealth Act No. 473). The
the case shall, so far as the widow and minor children are concerned, produce decision granting citizenship to Lee Pa and the record of the case at bar, do
the same legal effect as if it had been rendered during the life of the petitioner. 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
In Tan Lin v. Republic, G.R. No. L-13706, May 31, 1961, 2 SCRA 383, this were all born in the Philippines. (Decision, In the Matter of the Petition of Lee
Court held: Pa to be admitted a citizen of the Philippines, Civil Case No. 16287, CFI,
Invoking the above provisions in their favor, petitioners-appellants argue (1) Manila, Annex A; Record on Appeal, pp. 8-11). The reference to Chua Chian
that under said Sec. 16, the widow and minor children are allowed to continue case is, therefore, premature.
the same proceedings and are not substituted for the original petitioner; (2) Section 16, as may be seen, is a parallel provision to Section 15. If the widow
that the qualifications of the original petitioner remain to be in issue and not of an applicant for naturalization as Filipino, who dies during the proceedings,
those of the widow and minor children, and (3) that said Section 16 applies is not required to go through a naturalization preceeding, in order to be
whether the petitioner dies before or after final decision is rendered, but before considered as a Filipino citizen hereof, it should follow that the wife of a living
the judgment becomes executory. Filipino cannot be denied the same privilege. This is plain common sense and
There is force in the first and second arguments. Even the second sentence there is absolutely no evidence that the Legislature intended to treat them
of said Section 16 contemplate the fact that the qualifications of the original differently.
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
44
Additionally, We have carefully considered the arguments advanced in the of Congress requires to be "deemed" or "taken" as true of any person or thing
motion for reconsideration in Burca, and We see no reason to disagree with must, in law, be considered as having been duly adjudged or established
the following views of counsel: . concerning such person or thing, and have force and effect accordingly. When,
therefore, Congress declares that an alien woman shall, under certain
It is obvious that the provision itself is a legislative declaration of who may be circumstances, be "deemed" an American citizen, the effect when the
considered citizens of the Philippines. It is a proposition too plain to be contingency occurs, is equivalent to her being naturalized directly by an Act of
disputed that Congress has the power not only to prescribe the mode or Congress or in the usual mode thereby prescribed. (Van Dyne, Citizenship of
manner under which foreigners may acquire citizenship, but also the very the United States 239, cited in Velayo, Philippine Citizenship and
power of conferring citizenship by legislative fiat. (U. S. v. Wong Kim Ark, 169 Naturalization 146-147 [1965 ed.]; emphasis ours).
U. S. 649, 42 L. Ed. 890 [1898] ; see 1 Tañada and Carreon, Political Law of
the Philippines 152 [1961 ed.]) The Constitution itself recognizes as Philippine That this was likewise the intent of the Philippine legislature when it enacted
citizens "Those who are naturalized in accordance with law" (Section 1[5], the first paragraph of Section 15 of the Revised Naturalization Law is shown
Article IV, Philippine Constitution). Citizens by naturalization, under this by a textual analysis of the entire statutory provision. In its entirety, Section 15
provision, include not only those who are naturalized in accordance with legal reads:
proceedings for the acquisition of citizenship, but also those who acquire
citizenship by "derivative naturalization" or by operation of law, as, for (See supra).
example, the "naturalization" of an alien wife through the naturalization of her The phrases "shall be deemed" "shall be considered," and "shall automatically
husband, or by marriage of an alien woman to a citizen. (See Tañada & become" as used in the above provision, are undoubtedly synonymous. The
Carreon, op. cit. supra, at 152, 172; Velayo, Philippine Citizenship and leading idea or purpose of the provision was to confer Philippine citizenship by
Naturalization 2 [1965 ed.]; 1 Paras, Civil Code 186 [1967 ed.]; see also 3 operation of law upon certain classes of aliens as a legal consequence of their
Hackworth, Digest of International Law 3). relationship, by blood or by affinity, to persons who are already citizens of the
The phrase "shall be deemed a citizen of the Philippines" found in Section 14 Philippines. Whenever the fact of relationship of the persons enumerated in
of the Revised Naturalization Law clearly manifests an intent to confer the provision concurs with the fact of citizenship of the person to whom they
citizenship. Construing a similar phrase found in the old U.S. naturalization law are related, the effect is for said persons to become ipso facto citizens of the
(Revised Statutes, 1994), American courts have uniformly taken it to mean Philippines. "Ipso facto" as here used does not mean that all alien wives and
that upon her marriage, the alien woman becomes by operation of law a citizen all minor children of Philippine citizens, from the mere fact of relationship,
of the United States as fully as if she had complied with all the provisions of necessarily become such citizens also. Those who do not meet the statutory
the statutes upon the subject of naturalization. (U.S. v. Keller, 13 F. 82; U.S. requirements do not ipso factobecome citizens; they must apply for
Opinions of the US Attorney General dated June 4, 1874 [14 Op. 4021, July naturalization in order to acquire such status. What it does mean, however, is
20, 1909 [27 Op. 507], December 1, 1910 [28 Op. 508], Jan. 15, 1920 [32 Op. that in respect of those persons enumerated in Section 15, the relationship to
2091 and Jan. 12, 1923 [23 398]). a citizen of the Philippines is the operative fact which establishes the
acquisition of Philippine citizenship by them. Necessarily, it also determines
The phrase "shall be deemed a citizen," in Section 1994 Revised Statute (U.S. the point of time at which such citizenship commences. Thus, under the
Comp. Stat. 1091, 1268) or as it was in the Act of 1855 (10 Stat. at L. 604, second paragraph of Section 15, a minor child of a Filipino naturalized under
Chapt. 71, Sec. 2), "shall be deemed and taken to be a citizens" while it may the law, who was born in the Philippines, becomes ipso facto a citizen of the
imply that the person to whom it relates has not actually become a citizen by Philippines from the time the fact of relationship concurs with the fact of
the ordinary means or in the usual way, as by the judgment of a competent citizenship of his parent, and the time when the child became a citizen does
court, upon a proper application and proof, yet it does not follow that such not depend upon the time that he is able to prove that he was born in the
person is on that account practically any the less a citizen. The word "deemed" Philippines. The child may prove some 25 years after the naturalization of his
is the equivalent of "considered" or "judged," and therefore, whatever an Act father that he was born in the Philippines and should, therefore, be
45
"considered" a citizen thereof. It does not mean that he became a Philippine the lower court for determination of whether petitioner, whose claim to
citizen only at that later time. Similarly, an alien woman who married a citizenship by marriage to a Filipino was disputed by the Government, "might
Philippine citizen may be able to prove only some 25 years after her marriage herself be lawfully naturalized," for the purpose of " proving her alleged change
(perhaps, because it was only 25 years after the marriage that her citizenship of political status from alien to citizen" (at 464). In Cua v. Board, 101 Phil. 521
status became in question), that she is one who might herself be lawfully [1957], the alien wife who was being deported, claimed she was a Philippine
naturalized." It is not reasonable to conclude that she acquired Philippine citizen by marriage to a Filipino. This Court finding that there was no proof that
citizenship only after she had proven that she "might herself be lawfully she was not disqualified under Section 4 of the Revised Naturalization Law,
naturalized." It is not reasonable to conclude that she acquired Philippine ruled that: "No such evidence appearing on record, the claim of assumption of
citizenship only after she had proven that she "might herself be lawfully Philippine citizenship by Tijoe Wu Suan, upon her marriage to petitioner, is
naturalized." 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
The point that bears emphasis in this regard is that in adopting the very naturalized" did not necessarily imply that they did not become, in truth and in
phraseology of the law, the legislature could not have intended that an alien fact, citizens upon their marriage to Filipinos. What the decisions merely held
wife should not be deemed a Philippine citizenunless and until she proves that was that these wives failed to establish their claim to that status as a proven
she might herself be lawfully naturalized. Far from it, the law states in plain fact.
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 In all instances where citizenship is conferred by operation of law, the time
might herself be lawfully naturalized" is not a condition precedent to the vesting when citizenship is conferred should not be confused with the time when
or acquisition of citizenship; it is only a condition or a state of fact necessary citizenship status is established as a proven fact. Thus, even a natural-born
to establish her citizenship as a factum probandum, i.e., as a fact established citizen of the Philippines, whose citizenship status is put in issue in any
and proved in evidence. The word "might," as used in that phrase, precisely proceeding would be required to prove, for instance, that his father is a citizen
replies that at the time of her marriage to a Philippine citizen, the alien woman of the Philippines in order to factually establish his claim to citizenship.* His
"had (the) power" to become such a citizen herself under the laws then in force. citizenship status commences from the time of birth, although his claim thereto
(Owen v. Kelly, 6 DC 191 [1867], aff'd Kelly v. Owen, 76 US 496, 19 L ed 283 is established as a fact only at a subsequent time. Likewise, an alien woman
[1869). That she establishes such power long after her marriage does not alter who might herself be lawfully naturalized becomes a Philippine citizen at the
the fact that at her marriage, she became a citizen. 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
(This Court has held) that "an alien wife of a Filipino citizen may not acquire the lawfully naturalized. Indeed, there is no difference between a statutory
status of a citizen of the Philippines unless there is proof that she herself may declaration that a person is deemed a citizen of the Philippines provided his
be lawfully naturalized" (Decision, pp. 3-4). Under this view, the "acquisition" father is such citizen from a declaration that an alien woman married to a
of citizenship by the alien wife depends on her having proven her qualifications Filipino citizen of the Philippines provided she might herself be lawfully
for citizenship, that is, she is not a citizen unless and until she proves that she naturalized. Both become citizens by operation of law; the former becomes a
may herself be lawfully naturalized. It is clear from the words of the law that citizen ipso facto upon birth; the later ipso facto upon marriage.
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 It is true that unless and until the alien wife proves that she might herself be
courts) a citizen. Even the "uniform" decisions cited by this Court (at fn. 2) to lawfully naturalized, it cannot be said that she has established her status as a
support its holding did not rule that the alien wife becomes a citizen proven fact. But neither can it be said that on that account, she did not become
only after she has proven her qualifications for citizenship. What those a citizen of the Philippines. If her citizenship status is not questioned in any
decisions ruled was that the alien wives in those cases failed to prove their legal proceeding, she obviously has no obligation to establish her status as a
qualifications and therefore they failed to establish their claim to citizenship. fact. In such a case, the presumption of law should be that she is what she
Thus in Ly Giok Ha v. Galang, 101 Phil. 459 [l957], the case was remanded to claims to be. (U.S. v. Roxas, 5 Phil. 375 [1905]; Hilado v. Assad, 51 O.G. 4527
46
[1955]). There is a presumption that a representation shown to have been belong to any of the groups disqualified by the cited section from becoming
made is true. (Aetna Indemnity Co. v. George A. Fuller, Co., 73 A. 738, 74 A. naturalized Filipino citizen (please see attached CEB Form 1), the Bureau of
369, 111 ME. 321). Immigration conducts an investigation and thereafter promulgates its order or
decision granting or denying the petition.
The question that keeps bouncing back as a consequence of the foregoing
views is, what substitute is them for naturalization proceedings to enable the Once the Commissioner of Immigration cancels the subject's registration as
alien wife of a Philippine citizen to have the matter of her own citizenship an alien, there will probably be less difficulty in establishing her Filipino
settled and established so that she may not have to be called upon to prove it citizenship in any other proceeding, depending naturally on the substance and
everytime she has to perform an act or enter in to a transaction or business or vigor of the opposition.
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 Before closing, it is perhaps best to clarify that this third issue We have passed
today, there is no such procedure, but such paucity is no proof that the upon was not touched by the trial court, but as the point is decisive in this case,
citizenship under discussion is not vested as of the date of marriage or the the Court prefers that the matter be settled once and for all now.
husband's acquisition of citizenship, as the case may be, for the truth is that IN VIEW OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the judgment of the Court a
the same situation objections even as to native-born Filipinos. Everytime the quo dismissing appellants' petition for injunction is hereby reversed and the
citizenship of a person is material or indispensable in a judicial or Commissioner of Immigration and/or his authorized representative is
administrative case, whatever the corresponding court or administrative permanently enjoined from causing the arrest and deportation and the
authority decides therein as to such citizenship is generally not considered as confiscation of the bond of appellant Lau Yuen Yeung, who is hereby declared
res adjudicata, hence it has to be threshed out again and again as the to have become a Filipino citizen from and by virtue of her marriage to her co-
occasion may demand. This, as We view it, is the sense in which Justice Dizon appellant Moy Ya Lim Yao alias Edilberto Aguinaldo Lim, a Filipino citizen on
referred to "appropriate proceeding" in Brito v. Commissioner, supra. Indeed, January 25, 1962. No costs.
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 Dizon, Castro, Teehankee and Villamor, JJ., concur.
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 Footnotes
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 1 Followed in Kua Suy, etc., et al. vs. The Commissioner of Immigration, G.R.
appropriate initial step by the interested parties: No. L-13790, promulgated Oct. 31, 1963, 9 SCRA 300; Lu Choy Fa vs.
Commissioner, G.R. No. L-20597, Nov. 29, 1963, 9 SCRA 604; the other
Regarding the steps that should be taken by an alien woman married to a cases are discussed in the opinion.
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 2 Justices Makalintal and Castro concurred only in the result.
for the cancellation of her alien certificate of registration alleging, among other
3 Kua Suy v. Commissioner, G.R. No. L-13790, Oct. 31, 1963, 9 SCRA 300;
things, that she is married to a Filipino, citizen and that she is not disqualified
Lo San Tuang v. Galang, G. R. No. L-18775, Nov. 30, 1963, 9 SCRA 638; Sun
from acquiring her husband's citizenship pursuant to section 4 of
Peck Yong v. Commissioner, G.R. No. L-20784, Dec. 27, 1963, 9 SCRA 874;
Commonwealth Act No. 473, as amended. Upon the filing of said petition,
Tong Siok Sy v. Vivo, G.R. No. L-21136, Dec. 27, 1963, 9 SCRA 876; Choy
which should be accompanied or supported by the joint affidavit of the
King Tee v. Galang, G.R. No. L-18351, March 26, 1965, 13 SCRA 402; Austria
petitioner and her Filipino husband to the effect that the petitioner does not
47
v. Conchu, G.R. No. L-20716, June 22, 1965, 14 SCRA 336; Brito v. 16 For ready reference, attached as an appendix of this decision is a brief
Commissioner, G.R. No. L-16829, June 30, 1965, 14 SCRA 539; Ly Giok Ha study of all the naturalization laws of the United States from 1790 to 1970
v. Galang (2nd), G. R. No. L-21332, March 18, 1966, 16 SCRA 414; Go Im Ty showing how the matter of qualifications and disqualifications, whether racial
v. Rep., G.R. No. L-17919, July 30, 1966, 17 SCRA 797. or otherwise, have been treated in the said statutes, from which it can be
readily seen that the disqualification of alien wives from becoming citizens has
4 Supra. (101 Phil. 459). not been always exclusively on racial grounds during the period that the Act of
* See, also Ops. Sec. of Justice, No. 28, s. 1950; No. 96, s. 1949; Nos. 43, 58, Feb. 10, 1855 and, later, section 1994 of the Revised Statutes were in force.
98 and 281, s. 1948; No. 95, s. 1941; Nos. 79 and 168, s. 1940. 17 The statement in Sinco's book cited by Justice Regala in Lo San Tuang
5 In the deliberations, Chief Justice Concepcion explained that his opinion was does not indicate any authoritative source. In any event, for the reasons
not meant to give that impression. already stated the racial motive could at most be only one of the reasons for
the elimination of Section 1.
6 Justice Barrera penned the decision in Sun Peck Yong, supra, and Tong
Siok Sy v. Vivo, supra. 18 A more extensive discussion of the relevance of this repeal of 1922 is made
further in this opinion.
* Section 15, Commonwealth Act No. 473; Ly Giok Ha @ Wy Giok Ha v.
Galang, 54 Off. Gaz., 356. 19 Decided, April 15, 1869, next to Burton v. Burton, 40 N. Y. 373.

7 To avoid repetition, the pertinent portions of the opinion will be quoted in a 20 More accurately, the phrase "free white persons," does not only refer to
more appropriate place later in this decision. people of the white race but also to non-slaves.

8 G.R. No. L-21332, March 18, 1966, 16 SCRA 414. 21 In this connection, it is to be noted that all the naturalization laws of the
United States from 1790 provided for such qualifications of residence, good
9 Pertinent portions of the opinion of Justice Reyes will be quoted later in a moral character, adherence to the Constitution.
more appropriate place in this decision.
22 (f) Persons who, during the period of their residence in the Philippines, have
10 17 SCRA 797. 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;
11 See id., pp. 801-804.
(h) Citizens or subjects of a foreign country other than the United States,
12 One can easily perceive from the language of Justice Makalintal in Choy
whose laws do not grant Filipinos the right to become naturalized citizens or
King Tee that he was expressing the consensus of the Court's membership
subjects thereof.
then rather than his own personal views.
23 After Ly Giok Ha and Cua, the Secretary of Justice found more reason to
13 The law firms PAREDES, POBLADOR & NAZARENO; LICHAUCO,
sustain the previous view of the Department on the matter. See opinions
PICAZO & AGCAOLI; MEER, MEER & MEER; PONCE ENRILE, SIGUION
already cited.
REYNA, MONTECILLO & BELO; RAMIREZ & ORTIGAS; SALVA, CHUA &
ASSO.; and SYCIP, SALAZAR, LUNA, MANALO & FELICIANO. 24 Og Son Cui v. Republic, G.R. No. L-9858, May 29, 1957, 101 Phil. 649.
14 See quotation from Lo San Tuang earlier on pp. 27-32 of this opinion. 25 Somehow, the language of the whole law conveys the idea that only male
aliens are contemplated for judicial naturalization.
15 See opinion of the Secretary of Justice, No. 79, s. 1940.
26 Three possible situations are contemplated, namely: (a) the woman is
already married to the alien before the latter's naturalization; (b) she marries
48
him after such naturalization; or (c) she marries a native-born Filipino; in all (iii) The incumbent Vice-Governor, Oscar G. Deri, who obviously was not voted
these instances, the effect of marriage is the same. directly to the position of governor, but who according to prevailing
jurisprudence should take over the said post inasmuch as, by the ineligibility
27 Brother Cannon of La Salle College and Father Moran of Ateneo University. of Frivaldo, a "permanent vacancy in the contested office has occurred"?
28 Former Dean of the College of Law, U.P. and later President of the In ruling for Frivaldo, the Court lays down new doctrines on repatriation,
University, now delegate to the Constitutional Convention of 1971. clarifies/reiterates/amplifies existing jurisprudence on citizenship and
28a Sec. 1994 Revised Statutes. elections, and upholds the superiority of substantial justice over pure
legalisms.
* It should be observed, parenthetically, that by its very nature, citizenship is
one of the most difficult facts to prove. G.R. No. 123755

This is a special civil action under Rules 65 and 58 of the Rules of Court
for certiorari and preliminary injunction to review and annul a Resolution of the
G.R. No. 120295 June 28, 1996 respondent Commission on Elections (Comelec), First Division, 1 promulgated
on December 19, 1995 2 and another Resolution of the Comelec en
JUAN G. FRIVALDO, petitioner,
banc promulgated February 23, 1996 3 denying petitioner's motion for
vs.
reconsideration.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, and RAUL R. LEE, respondents.
The Facts
G.R. No. 123755 June 28, 1996
On March 20, 1995, private respondent Juan G. Frivaldo filed his Certificate of
RAUL R. LEE, petitioner,
Candidacy for the office of Governor of Sorsogon in the May 8, 1995 elections.
vs.
On March 23, 1995, petitioner Raul R. Lee, another candidate, filed a
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and JUAN G. FRIVALDO, respondents.
petition 4 with the Comelec docketed as SPA No. 95-028 praying that Frivaldo
"be disqualified from seeking or holding any public office or position by reason
of not yet being a citizen of the Philippines", and that his Certificate of
PANGANIBAN, J.:p Candidacy be canceled. On May 1, 1995, the Second Division of the Comelec
promulgated a Resolution 5granting the petition with the following disposition 6:
The ultimate question posed before this Court in these twin cases is: Who
should be declared the rightful governor of Sorsogon - WHEREFORE, this Division resolves to GRANT the petition and declares that
respondent is DISQUALIFIED to run for the Office of Governor of Sorsogon on
(i) Juan G. Frivaldo, who unquestionably obtained the highest number of votes
the ground that he is NOT a citizen of the Philippines. Accordingly,
in three successive elections but who was twice declared by this Court to be
respondent's certificate of candidacy is canceled.
disqualified to hold such office due to his alien citizenship, and who now claims
to have re-assumed his lost Philippine citizenship thru repatriation; The Motion for Reconsideration filed by Frivaldo remained unacted upon until
after the May 8, 1995 elections. So, his candidacy continued and he was voted
(ii) Raul R. Lee, who was the second placer in the canvass, but who claims
for during the elections held on said date. On May 11, 1995, the Comelec en
that the votes cast in favor of Frivaldo should be considered void; that the
banc 7 affirmed the aforementioned Resolution of the Second Division.
electorate should be deemed to have intentionally thrown away their ballots;
and that legally, he secured the most number of valid votes; or The Provincial Board of Canvassers completed the canvass of the election
returns and a Certificate of Votes 8dated May 27, 1995 was issued showing

49
the following votes obtained by the candidates for the position of Governor of PREMISES CONSIDERED, the Commission (First Division), therefore
Sorsogon: RESOLVES to GRANT the Petition.

Antonio H. Escudero, Jr. 51,060 Consistent with the decisions of the Supreme Court, the proclamation of Raul
R. Lee as Governor of Sorsogon is hereby ordered annulled, being contrary to
Juan G. Frivaldo 73,440 law, he not having garnered the highest number of votes to warrant his
Raul R. Lee 53,304 proclamation.

Isagani P. Ocampo 1,925 Upon the finality of the annulment of the proclamation of Raul R. Lee, the
Provincial Board of Canvassers is directed to immediately reconvene and, on
On June 9, 1995, Lee filed in said SPA No. 95-028, a (supplemental) the basis of the completed canvass, proclaim petitioner Juan G. Frivaldo as
petition 9 praying for his proclamation as the duly-elected Governor of the duly elected Governor of Sorsogon having garnered the highest number of
Sorsogon. votes, and he having reacquired his Filipino citizenship by repatriation on June
30, 1995 under the provisions of Presidential Decree No. 725 and, thus,
In an order 10 dated June 21, 1995, but promulgated according to the petition
qualified to hold the office of Governor of Sorsogon.
"only on June 29, 1995," the Comelec en banc directed "the Provincial Board
of Canvassers of Sorsogon to reconvene for the purpose of proclaiming Conformably with Section 260 of the Omnibus Election Code (B.P. Blg. 881),
candidate Raul Lee as the winning gubernatorial candidate in the province of the Clerk of the Commission is directed to notify His Excellency the President
Sorsogon on June 29, 1995 . . ." Accordingly, at 8:30 in the evening of June of the Philippines, and the Secretary of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of the
30, 1995, Lee was proclaimed governor of Sorsogon. Province of Sorsogon of this resolution immediately upon the due
implementation thereof.
On July 6, 1995, Frivaldo filed with the Comelec a new petition, 11 docketed as
SPC No. 95-317, praying for the annulment of the June 30, 1995 proclamation On December 26, 1995, Lee filed a motion for reconsideration which was
of Lee and for his own proclamation. He alleged that on June 30, 1995, at 2:00 denied by the Comelec en banc in its Resolution 14 promulgated on February
in the afternoon, he took his oath of allegiance as a citizen of the Philippines 23, 1996. On February 26, 1996, the present petition was filed. Acting on the
after "his petition for repatriation under P.D. 725 which he filed with the Special prayer for a temporary restraining order, this Court issued on February 27,
Committee on Naturalization in September 1994 had been granted". As such, 1996 a Resolution which inter alia directed the parties "to maintain the status
when "the said order (dated June 21, 1995) (of the Comelec) . . . was released quo prevailing prior to the filing of this petition."
and received by Frivaldo on June 30, 1995 at 5:30 o'clock in the evening, there
was no more legal impediment to the proclamation (of Frivaldo) as governor . The Issues in G.R. No. 123755
. ." In the alternative, he averred that pursuant to the two cases of Labo Petitioner Lee's "position on the matter at hand may briefly be capsulized in
vs. Comelec, 12 the Vice-Governor - not Lee - should occupy said position of the following propositions" 15:
governor.
First -- The initiatory petition below was so far insufficient in form and
On December 19, 1995, the Comelec First Division promulgated the herein substance to warrant the exercise by the COMELEC of its jurisdiction with the
assailed Resolution 13 holding that Lee, "not having garnered the highest result that, in effect, the COMELEC acted without jurisdiction in taking
number of votes," was not legally entitled to be proclaimed as duly-elected cognizance of and deciding said petition;
governor; and that Frivaldo, "having garnered the highest number of votes,
and . . . having reacquired his Filipino citizenship by repatriation on June 30, Second -- The judicially declared disqualification of respondent was a
1995 under the provisions of Presidential Decree No. 725 . . . (is) qualified to continuing condition and rendered him ineligible to run for, to be elected to and
hold the office of governor of Sorsogon"; thus: to hold the Office of Governor;

50
Third -- The alleged repatriation of respondent was neither valid nor is the election as provided by law is a jurisdictional defect which renders the said
effect thereof retroactive as to cure his ineligibility and qualify him to hold the Resolutions null and void.
Office of Governor; and
By Resolution on March 12, 1996, the Court consolidated G.R. Nos. 120295
Fourth -- Correctly read and applied, the Labo Doctrine fully supports the and 123755 since they are intimately related in their factual environment and
validity of petitioner's proclamation as duly elected Governor of Sorsogon. are identical in the ultimate question raised, viz., who should occupy the
position of governor of the province of Sorsogon.
G.R. No. 120295
On March 19, 1995, the Court heard oral argument from the parties and
This is a petition to annul three Resolutions of the respondent Comelec, the required them thereafter to file simultaneously their respective memoranda.
first two of which are also at issue in G.R. No. 123755, as follows:
The Consolidated Issues
1. Resolution 16 of the Second Division, promulgated on May 1, 1995,
disqualifying Frivaldo from running for governor of Sorsogon in the May 8, From the foregoing submissions, the consolidated issues may be restated as
1995 elections "on the ground that he is not a citizen of the Philippines"; follows:

2. Resolution 17 of the Comelec en banc, promulgated on May 11, 1995; and 1. Was the repatriation of Frivaldo valid and legal? If so, did it seasonably cure
his lack of citizenship as to qualify him to be proclaimed and to hold the Office
3. Resolution 18 of the Comelec en banc, promulgated also on May 11, 1995 of Governor? If not, may it be given retroactive effect? If so, from when?
suspending the proclamation of, among others, Frivaldo.
2. Is Frivaldo's "judicially declared" disqualification for lack of Filipino
The Facts and the Issue citizenship a continuing bar to his eligibility to run for, be elected to or hold the
The facts of this case are essentially the same as those in G.R. No. 123755. governorship of Sorsogon?
However, Frivaldo assails the above-mentioned resolutions on a different 3. Did the respondent Comelec have jurisdiction over the initiatory petition in
ground: that under Section 78 of the Omnibus Election Code, which is SPC No. 95-317 considering that said petition is not "a pre-proclamation case,
reproduced hereinunder: an election protest or a quo warranto case"?
Sec. 78. Petition to deny due course or to cancel a certificate of candidacy. -- 4. Was the proclamation of Lee, a runner-up in the election, valid and legal in
A verified petition seeking to deny due course or to cancel a certificate of light of existing jurisprudence?
candidacy may be filed by any person exclusively on the ground that any
material representation contained therein as required under Section 74 hereof 5. Did the respondent Commission on Elections exceed its jurisdiction in
is false. The petition may be filed at any time not later than twenty-five days promulgating the assailed Resolutions, all of which prevented Frivaldo from
from the time of the filing of the certificate of candidacy and shall be decided, assuming the governorship of Sorsogon, considering that they were not
after notice and hearing, not later than fifteen days before the election. rendered within the period referred to in Section 78 of the Omnibus Election
(Emphasis supplied.) Code, viz., "not later than fifteen days before the elections"?

the Comelec had no jurisdiction to issue said Resolutions because they were The First Issue: Frivaldo's Repatriation
not rendered "within the period allowed by law" i.e., "not later than fifteen days
before the election." The validity and effectivity of Frivaldo's repatriation is the lis mota, the
threshold legal issue in this case. All the other matters raised are secondary
Otherwise stated, Frivaldo contends that the failure of the Comelec to act on to this.
the petition for disqualification within the period of fifteen days prior to the

51
The Local Government Code of 1991 19 expressly requires Philippine the Solicitor General himself, who was the prime opposing counsel in the
citizenship as a qualification for elective local officials, including that of previous cases he lost, this time, as counsel for co-respondent Comelec,
provincial governor, thus: arguing the validity of his cause (in addition to his able private counsel Sixto
S. Brillantes, Jr.). That he took his oath of allegiance under the provisions of
Sec. 39. Qualifications. -- (a) An elective local official must be a citizen of the said Decree at 2:00 p.m. on June 30, 1995 is not disputed. Hence, he insists
Philippines; a registered voter in the barangay, municipality, city, or province that he -- not Lee -- should have been proclaimed as the duly-elected governor
or, in the case of a member of the sangguniang panlalawigan, sangguniang of Sorsogon when the Provincial Board of Canvassers met at 8:30 p.m. on the
panlungsod, or sangguniang bayan, the district where he intends to be elected; said date since, clearly and unquestionably, he garnered the highest number
a resident therein for at least one (1) year immediately preceding the day of of votes in the elections and since at that time, he already reacquired his
the election; and able to read and write Filipino or any other local language or citizenship.
dialect.
En contrario, Lee argues that Frivaldo's repatriation is tainted with serious
(b) Candidates for the position of governor, vice governor or member of the defects, which we shall now discuss in seriatim.
sangguniang panlalawigan, or mayor, vice mayor or member of the
sangguniang panlungsod of highly urbanized cities must be at least twenty- First, Lee tells us that P.D. No. 725 had "been effectively repealed", asserting
three (23) years of age on election day. that "then President Corazon Aquino exercising legislative powers under the
Transitory Provisions of the 1987 Constitution, forbade the grant of citizenship
xxx xxx xxx by Presidential Decree or Executive Issuances as the same poses a serious
Inasmuch as Frivaldo had been declared by this Court 20 as a non-citizen, it is and contentious issue of policy which the present government, in the exercise
therefore incumbent upon him to show that he has reacquired citizenship; in of prudence and sound discretion, should best leave to the judgment of the
fine, that he possesses the qualifications prescribed under the said statute first Congress under the 1987 Constitution", adding that in her memorandum
(R.A. 7160). dated March 27, 1987 to the members of the Special Committee on
Naturalization constituted for purposes of Presidential Decree No. 725,
Under Philippine law, 21 citizenship may be reacquired by direct act of President Aquino directed them "to cease and desist from undertaking any and
Congress, by naturalization or by repatriation. Frivaldo told this Court in G.R. all proceedings within your functional area of responsibility as defined under
No. 104654 22 and during the oral argument in this case that he tried to resume Letter of Instructions (LOI) No. 270 dated April 11, 1975, as amended." 23
his citizenship by direct act of Congress, but that the bill allowing him to do so
"failed to materialize, notwithstanding the endorsement of several members of This memorandum dated March 27, 1987 24 cannot by any stretch of legal
the House of Representatives" due, according to him, to the "maneuvers of his hermeneutics be construed as a law sanctioning or authorizing a repeal of P.D.
political rivals." In the same case, his attempt at naturalization was rejected by No. 725. Laws are repealed only by subsequent ones 25 and a repeal may be
this Court because of jurisdictional, substantial and procedural defects. express or implied. It is obvious that no express repeal was made because
then President Aquino in her memorandum -- based on the copy furnished us
Despite his lack of Philippine citizenship, Frivaldo was overwhelmingly elected by Lee -- did not categorically and/or impliedly state that P.D. 725 was being
governor by the electorate of Sorsogon, with a margin of 27,000 votes in the repealed or was being rendered without any legal effect. In fact, she did not
1988 elections, 57,000 in 1992, and 20,000 in 1995 over the same opponent even mention it specifically by its number or text. On the other hand, it is a
Raul Lee. Twice, he was judicially declared a non-Filipino and thus twice basic rule of statutory construction that repeals by implication are not favored.
disqualified from holding and discharging his popular mandate. Now, he An implied repeal will not be allowed "unless it is convincingly and
comes to us a third time, with a fresh vote from the people of Sorsogon and a unambiguously demonstrated that the two laws are clearly repugnant and
favorable decision from the Commission on Elections to boot. Moreover, he patently inconsistent that they cannot co-exist". 26
now boasts of having successfully passed through the third and last mode of
reacquiring citizenship: by repatriation under P.D. No. 725, with no less than
52
The memorandum of then President Aquino cannot even be regarded as a successfully rebutted by Lee. The mere fact that the proceedings were
legislative enactment, for not every pronouncement of the Chief Executive speeded up is by itself not a ground to conclude that such proceedings were
even under the Transitory Provisions of the 1987 Constitution can nor should necessarily tainted. After all, the requirements of repatriation under P.D. No.
be regarded as an exercise of her law-making powers. At best, it could be 725 are not difficult to comply with, nor are they tedious and cumbersome. In
treated as an executive policy addressed to the Special Committee to halt the fact, P.D.
acceptance and processing of applications for repatriation pending whatever 725 29 itself requires very little of an applicant, and even the rules and
"judgment the first Congress under the 1987 Constitution" might make. In other regulations to implement the said decree were left to the Special Committee
words, the former President did not repeal P.D. 725 but left it to the first to promulgate. This is not unusual since, unlike in naturalization where an alien
Congress -- once created -- to deal with the matter. If she had intended to covets a first-timeentry into Philippine political life, in repatriation the applicant
repeal such law, she should have unequivocally said so instead of referring is a former natural-born Filipino who is merely seeking to reacquire his
the matter to Congress. The fact is she carefully couched her presidential previous citizenship. In the case of Frivaldo, he was undoubtedly a natural-
issuance in terms that clearly indicated the intention of "the present born citizen who openly and faithfully served his country and his province prior
government, in the exercise of prudence and sound discretion" to leave the to his naturalization in the United States -- a naturalization he insists was made
matter of repeal to the new Congress. Any other interpretation of the said necessary only to escape the iron clutches of a dictatorship he abhorred and
Presidential Memorandum, such as is now being proffered to the Court by Lee, could not in conscience embrace -- and who, after the fall of the dictator and
would visit unmitigated violence not only upon statutory construction but on the re-establishment of democratic space, wasted no time in returning to his
common sense as well. country of birth to offer once more his talent and services to his people.

Second, Lee also argues that "serious congenital irregularities flawed the So too, the fact that ten other persons, as certified to by the Solicitor General,
repatriation proceedings," asserting that Frivaldo's application therefor was were granted repatriation argues convincingly and conclusively against the
"filed on June 29, 1995 . . . (and) was approved in just one day or on June 30, existence of favoritism vehemently posited by Raul Lee. At any rate, any
1995 . . .", which "prevented a judicious review and evaluation of the merits contest on the legality of Frivaldo's repatriation should have been pursued
thereof." Frivaldo counters that he filed his application for repatriation with the before the Committee itself, and, failing there, in the Office of the President,
Office of the President in Malacañang Palace on August 17, 1994. This is pursuant to the doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies.
confirmed by the Solicitor General. However, the Special Committee was
reactivated only on June 8, 1995, when presumably the said Committee Third, Lee further contends that assuming the assailed repatriation to be valid,
started processing his application. On June 29, 1995, he filled up and re- nevertheless it could only be effective as at 2:00 p.m. of June 30, 1995
submitted the FORM that the Committee required. Under these whereas the citizenship qualification prescribed by the Local Government
circumstances, it could not be said that there was "indecent haste" in the Code "must exist on the date of his election, if not when the certificate of
processing of his application. candidacy is filed," citing our decision in G.R. 104654 30 which held that "both
the Local Government Code and the Constitution require that only Philippine
Anent Lee's charge that the "sudden reconstitution of the Special Committee citizens can run and be elected to public office." Obviously, however, this was
on Naturalization was intended solely for the personal interest of a mere obiter as the only issue in said case was whether Frivaldo's
respondent," 27 the Solicitor General explained during the oral argument on naturalization was valid or not -- and NOT the effective date thereof. Since the
March 19, 1996 that such allegation is simply baseless as there were many Court held his naturalization to be invalid, then the issue of when an aspirant
others who applied and were considered for repatriation, a list of whom was for public office should be a citizen was NOT resolved at all by the Court. Which
submitted by him to this Court, through a Manifestation 28 filed on April 3, 1996. question we shall now directly rule on.

On the basis of the parties' submissions, we are convinced that the Under Sec. 39 of the Local Government Code, "(a)n elective local official must
presumption of regularity in the performance of official duty and the be:
presumption of legality in the repatriation of Frivaldo have not been
53
* a citizen of the Philippines; ensure that our people and country do not end up being governed by
aliens,i.e., persons owing allegiance to another nation, that aim or purpose
* a registered voter in the barangay, municipality, city, or province . . . where would not be thwarted but instead achieved by construing the citizenship
he intends to be elected; qualification as applying to the time of proclamation of the elected official and
* a resident therein for at least one (1) year immediately preceding the day of at the start of his term.
the election; But perhaps the more difficult objection was the one raised during the oral
* able to read and write Filipino or any other local language or dialect. argument 34 to the effect that the citizenship qualification should be possessed
at the time the candidate (or for that matter the elected official) registered as a
* In addition, "candidates for the position of governor . . . must be at least voter. After all, Section 39, apart from requiring the official to be a citizen, also
twenty-three (23) years of age on election day. specifies as another item of qualification, that he be a "registered voter". And,
under the law 35 a "voter" must be a citizen of the Philippines. So therefore,
From the above, it will be noted that the law does not specify any particular
Frivaldo could not have been a voter -- much less a validly registered one -- if
date or time when the candidate must possess citizenship, unlike that for
he was not a citizen at the time of such registration.
residence (which must consist of at least one year's residency immediately
preceding the day of election) and age (at least twenty three years of age on The answer to this problem again lies in discerning the purpose of the
election day). requirement. If the law intended thecitizenship qualification to be possessed
prior to election consistent with the requirement of being a registered voter,
Philippine citizenship is an indispensable requirement for holding an elective
then it would not have made citizenship a SEPARATE qualification. The law
public office, 31 and the purpose of the citizenship qualification is none other
abhors a redundancy. It therefore stands to reason that the law intended
than to ensure that no alien, i.e., no person owing allegiance to another nation,
CITIZENSHIP to be a qualification distinct from being a VOTER, even if being
shall govern our people and our country or a unit of territory thereof. Now, an
a voter presumes being a citizen first. It also stands to reason that the voter
official begins to govern or to discharge his functions only upon his
requirement was included as another qualification (aside from "citizenship"),
proclamation and on the day the law mandates his term of office to begin.
not to reiterate the need for nationality but to require that the official be
Since Frivaldo re-assumed his citizenship on June 30, 1995 -- the very
registered as a voter IN THE AREA OR TERRITORY he seeks to govern, i.e.,
day 32 the term of office of governor (and other elective officials) began -- he
the law states: "a registered voter in the barangay, municipality, city, or
was therefore already qualified to be proclaimed, to hold such office and to
province . . . where he intends to be elected." It should be emphasized that the
discharge the functions and responsibilities thereof as of said date. In short, at
Local Government Code requires an elective official to be a registered voter.
that time, he was already qualified to govern his native Sorsogon. This is the
It does not require him to vote actually. Hence, registration -- not the actual
liberal interpretation that should give spirit, life and meaning to our law on
voting -- is the core of this "qualification". In other words, the law's purpose in
qualifications consistent with the purpose for which such law was enacted. So
this second requirement is to ensure that the prospective official is actually
too, even from a literal (as distinguished from liberal) construction, it should be
registered in the area he seeks to govern -- and not anywhere else.
noted that Section 39 of the Local Government Code speaks of "Qualifications"
of "ELECTIVE OFFICIALS", not of candidates. Why then should such Before this Court, Frivaldo has repeatedly emphasized -- and Lee has not
qualification be required at the time of election or at the time of the filing of the disputed -- that he "was and is a registered voter of Sorsogon, and his
certificates of candidacies, as Lee insists? Literally, such qualifications -- registration as a voter has been sustained as valid by judicial declaration . . .
unless otherwise expressly conditioned, as in the case of age and residence - In fact, he cast his vote in his precinct on May 8, 1995." 36
- should thus be possessed when the "elective [or elected] official" begins to
govern, i.e., at the time he is proclaimed and at the start of his term -- in this So too, during the oral argument, his counsel steadfastly maintained that "Mr.
case, on June 30, 1995. Paraphrasing this Court's ruling in Vasquez vs. Giap Frivaldo has always been a registered voter of Sorsogon. He has voted in
and Li Seng Giap & Sons, 33 if the purpose of the citizenship requirement is to 1987, 1988, 1992, then he voted again in 1995. In fact, his eligibility as a voter

54
was questioned, but the court dismissed (sic) his eligibility as a voter and he "healing acts . . . curing defects and adding to the means of enforcing existing
was allowed to vote as in fact, he voted in all the previous elections including obligations . . . (and) are intended to supply defects, abridge superfluities in
on May 8, 1995." 37 existing laws, and curb certain evils. . . . By their very nature, curative statutes
are retroactive . . . (and) reach back to past events to correct errors or
It is thus clear that Frivaldo is a registered voter in the province where he irregularities and to render valid and effective attempted acts which would be
intended to be elected. otherwise ineffective for the purpose the parties intended."
There is yet another reason why the prime issue of citizenship should be On the other hand, remedial or procedural laws, i.e., those statutes relating to
reckoned from the date of proclamation, not necessarily the date of election or remedies or modes of procedure, which do not create new or take away vested
date of filing of the certificate of candidacy. Section 253 of the Omnibus rights, but only operate in furtherance of the remedy or confirmation of such
Election Code 38 gives any voter, presumably including the defeated rights, ordinarily do not come within the legal meaning of a retrospective law,
candidate, the opportunity to question the ELIGIBILITY (or the disloyalty) of a nor within the general rule against the retrospective operation of statutes. 43
candidate. This is the only provision of the Code that authorizes a remedy on
how to contest before the Comelec an incumbent's ineligibility arising from A reading of P.D. 725 immediately shows that it creates a new right, and also
failure to meet the qualifications enumerated under Sec. 39 of the Local provides for a new remedy, thereby filling certain voids in our laws. Thus, in its
Government Code. Such remedy of Quo Warranto can be availed of "within preamble, P.D. 725 expressly recognizes the plight of "many Filipino women
ten days after proclamation" of the winning candidate. Hence, it is only at such (who) had lost their Philippine citizenship by marriage to aliens" and who could
time that the issue of ineligibility may be taken cognizance of by the not, under the existing law (C.A. No. 63, as amended) avail of repatriation until
Commission. And since, at the very moment of Lee's proclamation (8:30 p.m., "after the death of their husbands or the termination of their marital status" and
June 30, 1995), Juan G. Frivaldo was already and indubitably a citizen, having who could neither be benefitted by the 1973 Constitution's new provision
taken his oath of allegiance earlier in the afternoon of the same day, then he allowing "a Filipino woman who marries an alien to retain her Philippine
should have been the candidate proclaimed as he unquestionably garnered citizenship . . ." because "such provision of the new Constitution does not apply
the highest number of votes in the immediately preceding elections and such to Filipino women who had married aliens before said constitution took effect."
oath had already cured his previous "judicially-declared" alienage. Hence, at Thus, P.D. 725 granted a new right to these women -- the right to re-acquire
such time, he was no longer ineligible. Filipino citizenship even during their marital coverture, which right did not exist
prior to P.D. 725. On the other hand, said statute also provided a new
But to remove all doubts on this important issue, we also hold that the remedyand a new right in favor of other "natural born Filipinos who (had) lost
repatriation of Frivaldo RETROACTED to the date of the filing of his application their Philippine citizenship but now desire to re-acquire Philippine citizenship",
on August 17, 1994. because prior to the promulgation of P.D. 725 such former Filipinos would have
It is true that under the Civil Code of the Philippines, 39 "(l)aws shall have no had to undergo the tedious and cumbersome process of naturalization, but
retroactive effect, unless the contrary is provided." But there are settled with the advent of P.D. 725 they could now re-acquire their Philippine
exceptions 40 to this general rule, such as when the statute is CURATIVE or citizenship under the simplified procedure of repatriation.
REMEDIAL in nature or when it CREATES NEW RIGHTS. The Solicitor General 44 argues:
According to Tolentino, 41 curative statutes are those which undertake to cure By their very nature, curative statutes are retroactive, (DBP vs. CA, 96 SCRA
errors and irregularities, thereby validating judicial or administrative 342), since they are intended to supply defects, abridge superfluities in existing
proceedings, acts of public officers, or private deeds and contracts which laws (Del Castillo vs. Securities and Exchange Commission, 96 Phil. 119) and
otherwise would not produce their intended consequences by reason of some curb certain evils (Santos vs. Duata, 14 SCRA 1041).
statutory disability or failure to comply with some technical requirement. They
operate on conditions already existing, and are necessarily retroactive in In this case, P.D. No. 725 was enacted to cure the defect in the existing
operation. Agpalo, 42 on the other hand, says that curative statutes are naturalization law, specifically C.A. No. 63 wherein married Filipino women are
55
allowed to repatriate only upon the death of their husbands, and natural-born even before the law came into being -- in order to benefit the greatest number
Filipinos who lost their citizenship by naturalization and other causes faced the of former Filipinos possible thereby enabling them to enjoy and exercise the
difficulty of undergoing the rigid procedures of C.A. 63 for reacquisition of constitutionally guaranteed right of citizenship, and such legislative intention is
Filipino citizenship by naturalization. to be given the fullest effect and expression, then there is all the more reason
to have the law apply in a retroactive or retrospective manner to situations,
Presidential Decree No. 725 provided a remedy for the aforementioned legal events and transactions subsequent to the passage of such law. That is, the
aberrations and thus its provisions are considered essentially remedial and repatriation granted to Frivaldo on June 30, 1995 can and should be made to
curative. take effect as of date of his application. As earlier mentioned, there is nothing
In light of the foregoing, and prescinding from the wording of the preamble, it in the law that would bar this or would show a contrary intention on the part of
is unarguable that the legislative intent was precisely to give the statute the legislative authority; and there is no showing that damage or prejudice to
retroactive operation. "(A) retrospective operation is given to a statute or anyone, or anything unjust or injurious would result from giving retroactivity to
amendment where the intent that it should so operate clearly appears from a his repatriation. Neither has Lee shown that there will result the impairment of
consideration of the act as a whole, or from the terms thereof." 45 It is obvious any contractual obligation, disturbance of any vested right or breach of some
to the Court that the statute was meant to "reach back" to those persons, constitutional guaranty.
events and transactions not otherwise covered by prevailing law and Being a former Filipino who has served the people repeatedly, Frivaldo
jurisprudence. And inasmuch as it has been held that citizenship is a political deserves a liberal interpretation of Philippine laws and whatever defects there
and civil right equally as important as the freedom of speech, liberty of abode, were in his nationality should now be deemed mooted by his repatriation.
the right against unreasonable searches and seizures and other guarantees
enshrined in the Bill of Rights, therefore the legislative intent to give Another argument for retroactivity to the date of filing is that it would prevent
retrospective operation to P.D. 725 must be given the fullest effect possible. prejudice to applicants. If P.D. 725 were not to be given retroactive effect, and
"(I)t has been said that a remedial statute must be so construed as to make it the Special Committee decides not to act, i.e., to delay the processing of
effect the evident purpose for which it was enacted, so that if the reason of the applications for any substantial length of time, then the former Filipinos who
statute extends to past transactions, as well as to those in the future, then it may be stateless, as Frivaldo -- having already renounced his American
will be so applied although the statute does not in terms so direct, unless to do citizenship -- was, may be prejudiced for causes outside their control. This
so would impair some vested right or violate some constitutional should not be. In case of doubt in the interpretation or application of laws, it is
guaranty." 46 This is all the more true of P.D. 725, which did not specify any to be presumed that the law-making body intended right and justice to
restrictions on or delimit or qualify the right of repatriation granted therein. prevail. 47

At this point, a valid question may be raised: How can the retroactivity of P.D. And as experience will show, the Special Committee was able to process, act
725 benefit Frivaldo considering that said law was enacted on June 5, 1975, upon and grant applications for repatriation within relatively short spans of time
while Frivaldo lost his Filipino citizenship much later, on January 20, 1983, and after the same were filed. 48 The fact that such interregna were relatively
applied for repatriation even later, on August 17, 1994? insignificant minimizes the likelihood of prejudice to the government as a result
of giving retroactivity to repatriation. Besides, to the mind of the Court, direct
While it is true that the law was already in effect at the time that Frivaldo prejudice to the government is possible only where a person's repatriation has
became an American citizen, nevertheless, it is not only the law itself (P.D. the effect of wiping out a liability of his to the government arising in connection
725) which is to be given retroactive effect, but even the repatriation granted with or as a result of his being an alien, and accruing only during the
under said law to Frivaldo on June 30, 1995 is to be deemed to have retroacted interregnum between application and approval, a situation that is not present
to the date of his application therefor, August 17, 1994. The reason for this is in the instant case.
simply that if, as in this case, it was the intent of the legislative authority that
the law should apply to past events -- i.e., situations and transactions existing

56
And it is but right and just that the mandate of the people, already twice The Second Issue: Is Lack of Citizenship
frustrated, should now prevail. Under the circumstances, there is nothing a Continuing Disqualification?
unjust or iniquitous in treating Frivaldo's repatriation as having become
effective as of the date of his application, i.e., on August 17, 1994. This being Lee contends that the May 1, 1995 Resolution 53 of the Comelec Second
so, all questions about his possession of the nationality qualification -- whether Division in SPA No. 95-028 as affirmed in totoby Comelec En Banc in its
at the date of proclamation (June 30, 1995) or the date of election (May 8, Resolution of May 11, 1995 "became final and executory after five (5) days or
1995) or date of filing his certificate of candidacy (March 20, 1995) would on May 17, 1995, no restraining order having been issued by this Honorable
become moot. Court. 54 Hence, before Lee "was proclaimed as the elected governor on June
30, 1995, there was already a final and executory judgment disqualifying"
Based on the foregoing, any question regarding Frivaldo's status as a Frivaldo. Lee adds that this Court's two rulings (which Frivaldo now concedes
registered voter would also be deemed settled. Inasmuch as he is considered were legally "correct") declaring Frivaldo an alien have also become final and
as having been repatriated -- i.e., his Filipino citizenship restored -- as of executory way before the 1995 elections, and these "judicial pronouncements
August 17, 1994, his previous registration as a voter is likewise deemed of his political status as an American citizen absolutely and for all time
validated as of said date. disqualified (him) from running for, and holding any public office in the
Philippines."
It is not disputed that on January 20, 1983 Frivaldo became an American.
Would the retroactivity of his repatriation not effectively give him dual We do not agree.
citizenship, which under Sec. 40 of the Local Government Code would
disqualify him "from running for any elective local position?" 49 We answer this It should be noted that our first ruling in G.R. No. 87193 disqualifying Frivaldo
question in the negative, as there is cogent reason to hold that Frivaldo was was rendered in connection with the 1988 elections while that in G.R. No.
really STATELESS at the time he took said oath of allegiance and even before 104654 was in connection with the 1992 elections. That he was disqualified
that, when he ran for governor in 1988. In his Comment, Frivaldo wrote that he for such elections is final and can no longer be changed. In the words of the
"had long renounced and had long abandoned his American citizenship -- long respondent Commission (Second Division) in its assailed Resolution: 55
before May 8, 1995. At best, Frivaldo was stateless in the interim -- when he The records show that the Honorable Supreme Court had decided that
abandoned and renounced his US citizenship but before he was repatriated to Frivaldo was not a Filipino citizen and thus disqualified for the purpose of the
his Filipino citizenship." 50 1988 and 1992 elections. However, there is no record of any "final judgment"
On this point, we quote from the assailed Resolution dated December 19, of the disqualification of Frivaldo as a candidate for the May 8, 1995 elections.
1995: 51 What the Commission said in its Order of June 21, 1995 (implemented on June
30, 1995), directing the proclamation of Raul R. Lee, was that Frivaldo was not
By the laws of the United States, petitioner Frivaldo lost his American a Filipino citizen "having been declared by the Supreme Court in its Order
citizenship when he took his oath of allegiance to the Philippine Government dated March 25, 1995, not a citizen of the Philippines." This declaration of the
when he ran for Governor in 1988, in 1992, and in 1995. Every certificate of Supreme Court, however, was in connection with the 1992 elections.
candidacy contains an oath of allegiance to the Philippine Government."
Indeed, decisions declaring the acquisition or denial of citizenship cannot
These factual findings that Frivaldo has lost his foreign nationality long before govern a person's future status with finality. This is because a person may
the elections of 1995 have not been effectively rebutted by Lee. Furthermore, subsequently reacquire, or for that matter lose, his citizenship under any of the
it is basic that such findings of the Commission are conclusive upon this Court, modes recognized by law for the purpose. Hence, in Lee vs. Commissioner of
absent any showing of capriciousness or arbitrariness or Immigration, 56 we held:
abuse. 52
Everytime the citizenship of a person is material or indispensable in a judicial
or administrative case, whatever the corresponding court or administrative
57
authority decides therein as to such citizenship is generally not considered res The Fourth Issue: Was Lee's Proclamation Valid?
judicata, hence it has to be threshed out again and again, as the occasion
demands. Frivaldo assails the validity of the Lee proclamation. We uphold him for the
following reasons:
The Third Issue: Comelec's Jurisdiction
Over The Petition in SPC No. 95-317 First. To paraphrase this Court in Labo vs. COMELEC, 60 "the fact remains that
he (Lee) was not the choice of the sovereign will," and
Lee also avers that respondent Comelec had no jurisdiction to entertain the in Aquino vs. COMELEC, 61 Lee is "a second placer, . . . just that, a second
petition in SPC No. 95-317 because the only "possible types of proceedings placer."
that may be entertained by the Comelec are a pre-proclamation case, an
election protest or a quo warranto case". Again, Lee reminds us that he was In spite of this, Lee anchors his claim to the governorship on the
proclaimed on June 30, 1995 but that Frivaldo filed SPC No. 95-317 pronouncement of this Court in the aforesaid Labo 62 case, as follows:
questioning his (Lee's) proclamation only on July 6, 1995 -- "beyond the 5-day The rule would have been different if the electorate fully aware in fact and in
reglementary period." Hence, according to him, Frivaldo's "recourse was to file law of a candidate's disqualification so as to bring such awareness within the
either an election protest or a quo warranto action." realm of notoriety, would nonetheless cast their votes in favor of the ineligible
This argument is not meritorious. The Constitution 57 has given the Comelec candidate. In such case, the electorate may be said to have waived the validity
ample power to "exercise exclusive original jurisdiction over all contests and efficacy of their votes by notoriously misapplying their franchise or
relating to the elections, returns and qualifications of all elective . . . provincial throwing away their votes, in which case, the eligible candidate obtaining the
. . . officials." Instead of dwelling at length on the various petitions that next higher number of votes may be deemed elected.
Comelec, in the exercise of its constitutional prerogatives, may entertain, But such holding is qualified by the next paragraph, thus:
suffice it to say that this Court has invariably recognized the Commission's
authority to hear and decide petitions for annulment of proclamations -- of But this is not the situation obtaining in the instant dispute. It has not been
which SPC No. 95-317 obviously is one. 58 Thus, in Mentang shown, and none was alleged, that petitioner Labo was notoriously known as
vs.COMELEC, 59 we ruled: an ineligible candidate, much less the electorate as having known of such fact.
On the contrary, petitioner Labo was even allowed by no less than the
The petitioner argues that after proclamation and assumption of office, a pre- Comelec itself in its resolution dated May 10, 1992 to be voted for the office of
proclamation controversy is no longer viable. Indeed, we are aware of cases the city Payor as its resolution dated May 9, 1992 denying due course to
holding that pre-proclamation controversies may no longer be entertained by petitioner Labo's certificate of candidacy had not yet become final and subject
the COMELEC after the winning candidate has been proclaimed. to the final outcome of this case.
(citing Gallardo vs. Rimando, 187 SCRA 463; Salvacion vs. COMELEC, 170
SCRA 513; Casimiro vs. COMELEC, 171 SCRA 468.) This rule, however, is The last-quoted paragraph in Labo, unfortunately for Lee, is the ruling
premised on an assumption that the proclamation is no proclamation at all and appropriate in this case because Frivaldo was in 1995 in an identical situation
the proclaimed candidate's assumption of office cannot deprive the COMELEC as Labo was in 1992 when the Comelec's cancellation of his certificate of
of the power to make such declaration of nullity. (citing Aguam vs. COMELEC, candidacy was not yet final on election day as there was in both cases a
23 SCRA 883; Agbayani vs. COMELEC, 186 SCRA 484.) pending motion for reconsideration, for which reason Comelec issued an
(omnibus) resolution declaring that Frivaldo (like Labo in 1992) and several
The Court however cautioned that such power to annul a proclamation must others can still be voted for in the May 8, 1995 election, as in fact, he was.
"be done within ten (10) days following the proclamation." Inasmuch as
Frivaldo's petition was filed only six (6) days after Lee's proclamation, there is Furthermore, there has been no sufficient evidence presented to show that the
no question that the Comelec correctly acquired jurisdiction over the same. electorate of Sorsogon was "fully aware in fact and in law" of Frivaldo's alleged
disqualification as to "bring such awareness within the realm of notoriety;" in
58
other words, that the voters intentionally wasted their ballots knowing that, in Sec. 6. Effect of Disqualification Case. -- Any candidate who has been
spite of their voting for him, he was ineligible. If Labo has any relevance at all, declared by final judgment to be disqualified shall not be voted for, and the
it is that the vice-governor -- and not Lee -- should be pro- claimed, since in votes cast for him shall not be counted. If for any reason a candidate is not
losing the election, Lee was, to paraphrase Labo again, "obviously not the declared by final judgment before an election to be disqualified and he is voted
choice of the people" of Sorsogon. This is the emphatic teaching of Labo: for and receives the winning number of votes in such election, the Court or
Commission shall continue with the trial and hearing of the action, inquiry or
The rule, therefore, is: the ineligibility of a candidate receiving majority votes protest and upon motion of the complainant or any intervenor, may during the
does not entitle the eligible candidate receiving the next highest number of pendency thereof order the suspension of the proclamation of such candidate
votes to be declared elected. A minority or defeated candidate cannot be whenever the evidence of his guilt is strong. (emphasis supplied)
deemed elected to the office.
Refutation of
Second. As we have earlier declared Frivaldo to have seasonably reacquired Mr. Justice Davide's Dissent
his citizenship and inasmuch as he obtained the highest number of votes in
the 1995 elections, he -- not Lee -- should be proclaimed. Hence, Lee's In his dissenting opinion, the esteemed Mr. Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr.
proclamation was patently erroneous and should now be corrected. argues that President Aquino's memorandum dated March 27, 1987 should be
viewed as a suspension (not a repeal, as urged by Lee) of P.D. 725. But
The Fifth Issue: Is Section 78 of the whether it decrees a suspension or a repeal is a purely academic distinction
Election Code Mandatory? because the said issuance is not a statute that can amend or abrogate an
In G.R. No. 120295, Frivaldo claims that the assailed Resolution of the existing law.
Comelec (Second Division) dated May 1, 1995 and the confirmatory en The existence and subsistence of P.D. 725 were recognized in the first
banc Resolution of May 11, 1995 disqualifying him for want of citizenship Frivaldo case; 64 viz., "(u)nder CA No. 63 as amended by CA No. 473
should be annulled because they were rendered beyond the fifteen (15) day and P.D. No. 725, Philippine citizenship maybe reacquired by . . . repatriation".
period prescribed by Section 78, of the Omnibus Election Code which reads He also contends that by allowing Frivaldo to register and to remain as a
as follows: registered voter, the Comelec and in effect this Court abetted a "mockery" of
our two previous judgments declaring him a non-citizen. We do not see such
Sec. 78. Petition to deny due course or to cancel a certificate of candidacy. -- abetting or mockery. The retroactivity of his repatriation, as discussed earlier,
A verified petition seeking to deny due course or to cancel a certificate of legally cured whatever defects there may have been in his registration as a
candidacy may be filed by any person exclusively on the ground that any voter for the purpose of the 1995 elections. Such retroactivity did not change
material representation contained therein as required under Section 74 hereof his disqualifications in 1988 and 1992, which were the subjects of such
is false. The petition may be filed at any time not later than twenty-five days previous rulings.
from the time of the filing of the certificate of candidacy and shall be decided
after notice and hearing, not later than fifteen days before the election. Mr. Justice Davide also believes that Quo Warranto is not the sole remedy to
(Emphasis supplied.) question the ineligibility of a candidate, citing the Comelec's authority under
Section 78 of the Omnibus Election Code allowing the denial of a certificate of
This claim is now moot and academic inasmuch as these resolutions are candidacy on the ground of a false material representation therein as required
deemed superseded by the subsequent ones issued by the Commission (First by Section 74. Citing Loong, he then states his disagreement with our holding
Division) on December 19, 1995, affirmed en banc 63 on February 23, 1996; that Section 78 is merely directory. We really have no quarrel. Our point is that
which both upheld his election. At any rate, it is obvious that Section 78 is Frivaldo was in error in his claim in G.R. No. 120295 that the Comelec
merely directory as Section 6 of R.A. No. 6646 authorizes the Commission to Resolutions promulgated on May 1, 1995 and May 11, 1995 were invalid
try and decide petitions for disqualifications even after the elections, thus: because they were issued "not later than fifteen days before the election" as
prescribed by Section 78. In dismissing the petition in G.R. No. 120295, we
59
hold that the Comelec did not commit grave abuse of discretion because deliberating on his nationality before, during and after the 1995 elections. How
"Section 6 of R.A. 6646 authorizes the Comelec to try and decide then can there be such "public" knowledge?
disqualifications even after the elections." In spite of his disagreement with us
on this point, i.e., that Section 78 "is merely directory", we note that just like Mr. Justice Davide submits that Section 39 of the Local Government Code
us, Mr. Justice Davide nonetheless votes to "DISMISS G.R. No. 120295". One refers to the qualifications of electivelocal officials, i.e., candidates, and
other point. Loong, as quoted in the dissent, teaches that a petition to deny not elected officials, and that the citizenship qualification [under par. (a) of that
due course under Section 78 must be filed within the 25-day period prescribed section] must be possessed by candidates, not merely at the commencement
therein. The present case however deals with the period during which the of the term, but by election day at the latest. We see it differently. Section 39,
Comelec may decide such petition. And we hold that it may be decided even par. (a) thereof speaks of "elective local official" while par. (b) to (f) refer to
after thefifteen day period mentioned in Section 78. Here, we rule that a "candidates". If the qualifications under par. (a) were intended to apply to
decision promulgated by the Comelec even after the elections is valid "candidates" and not elected officials, the legislature would have said so,
but Loong held that a petition filed beyond the 25-day period is out of time. instead of differentiating par. (a) from the rest of the paragraphs. Secondly, if
There is no inconsistency nor conflict. Congress had meant that the citizenship qualification should be possessed at
election day or prior thereto, it would have specifically stated such detail, the
Mr. Justice Davide also disagrees with the Court's holding that, given the same way it did in pars. (b) to (f) far other qualifications of candidates for
unique factual circumstances of Frivaldo, repatriation may be given retroactive governor, mayor, etc.
effect. He argues that such retroactivity "dilutes" our holding in the first Frivaldo
case. But the first (and even the second Frivaldo) decision did not directly Mr. Justice Davide also questions the giving of retroactive effect to Frivaldo's
involve repatriation as a mode of acquiring citizenship. If we may repeat, there repatriation on the ground, among others, that the law specifically provides
is no question that Frivaldo was not a Filipino for purposes of determining his that it is only after taking the oath of allegiance that applicants shall be deemed
qualifications in the 1988 and 1992 elections. That is settled. But his to have reacquired Philippine citizenship. We do not question what the
supervening repatriation has changed his political status -- not in 1988 or 1992, provision states. We hold however that the provision should be understood
but only in the 1995 elections. thus: that after taking the oath of allegiance the applicant is deemed to have
reacquired Philippine citizenship, which reacquisition (or repatriation) is
Our learned colleague also disputes our holding that Frivaldo was stateless deemed for all purposes and intents to have retroacted to the date of his
prior to his repatriation, saying that "informal renunciation or abandonment is application therefor.
not a ground to lose American citizenship". Since our courts are charged only
with the duty of determining who are Philippine nationals, we cannot rule on In any event, our "so too" argument regarding the literal meaning of the word
the legal question of who are or who are not Americans. It is basic in "elective" in reference to Section 39 of the Local Authority Code, as well as
international law that a State determines ONLY those who are its own citizens regarding Mr. Justice Davide's thesis that the very wordings of P.D. 725
-- not who are the citizens of other countries. 65 The issue here is: the Comelec suggest non-retroactivity, were already taken up rather extensively earlier in
made a finding of fact that Frivaldo was stateless and such finding has not this Decision.
been shown by Lee to be arbitrary or whimsical. Thus, following settled case Mr. Justice Davide caps his paper with a clarion call: "This Court must be the
law, such finding is binding and final. first to uphold the Rule of Law." We agree -- we must all follow the rule of law.
The dissenting opinion also submits that Lee who lost by chasmic margins to But that is NOT the issue here. The issue is how should the law be interpreted
Frivaldo in all three previous elections, should be declared winner because and applied in this case so it can be followed, so it can rule!
"Frivaldo's ineligibility for being an American was publicly known". First, there At balance, the question really boils down to a choice of philosophy and
is absolutely no empirical evidence for such "public" knowledge. Second, even perception of how to interpret and apply laws relating to elections: literal or
if there is, such knowledge can be true post facto only of the last two previous liberal; the letter or the spirit, the naked provision or its ultimate purpose; legal
elections. Third, even the Comelec and now this Court were/are still syllogism or substantial justice; in isolation or in the context of social
60
conditions; harshly against or gently in favor of the voters' obvious choice. In . . . (L)aws governing election contests must be liberally construed to the end
applying election laws, it would be far better to err in favor of popular that the will of the people in the choice of public officials may not be defeated
sovereignty than to be right in complex but little understood legalisms. Indeed, by mere technical objections (citations omitted). 67
to inflict a thrice rejected candidate upon the electorate of Sorsogon would
constitute unmitigated judicial tyranny and an unacceptable assault upon this The law and the courts must accord Frivaldo every possible protection,
Court's conscience. defense and refuge, in deference to the popular will. Indeed, this Court has
repeatedly stressed the importance of giving effect to the sovereign will in
EPILOGUE order to ensure the survival of our democracy. In any action involving the
possibility of a reversal of the popular electoral choice, this Court must exert
In sum, we rule that the citizenship requirement in the Local Government Code utmost effort to resolve the issues in a manner that would give effect to the will
is to be possessed by an elective official at the latest as of the time he is of the majority, for it is merely sound public policy to cause elective offices to
proclaimed and at the start of the term of office to which he has been elected. be filled by those who are the choice of the majority. To successfully challenge
We further hold P.D. No. 725 to be in full force and effect up to the present, a winning candidate's qualifications, the petitioner must clearly demonstrate
not having been suspended or repealed expressly nor impliedly at any time, that the ineligibility is so patently antagonistic 68 to constitutional and legal
and Frivaldo's repatriation by virtue thereof to have been properly granted and principles that overriding such ineligibility and thereby giving effect to the
thus valid and effective. Moreover, by reason of the remedial or curative nature apparent will of the people, would ultimately create greater prejudice to the
of the law granting him a new right to resume his political status and the very democratic institutions and juristic traditions that our Constitution and
legislative intent behind it, as well as his unique situation of having been forced laws so zealously protect and promote. In this undertaking, Lee has miserably
to give up his citizenship and political aspiration as his means of escaping a failed.
regime he abhorred, his repatriation is to be given retroactive effect as of the
date of his application therefor, during the pendency of which he was stateless, In Frivaldo's case. it would have been technically easy to find fault with his
he having given up his U.S. nationality. Thus, in contemplation of law, he cause. The Court could have refused to grant retroactivity to the effects of his
possessed the vital requirement of Filipino citizenship as of the start of the repatriation and hold him still ineligible due to his failure to show his citizenship
term of office of governor, and should have been proclaimed instead of Lee. at the time he registered as a voter before the 1995 elections. Or, it could have
Furthermore, since his reacquisition of citizenship retroacted to August 17, disputed the factual findings of the Comelec that he was stateless at the time
1994, his registration as a voter of Sorsogon is deemed to have been validated of repatriation and thus hold his consequent dual citizenship as a
as of said date as well. The foregoing, of course, are precisely consistent with disqualification "from running for any elective local position." But the real
our holding that lack of the citizenship requirement is not a continuing disability essence of justice does not emanate from quibblings over patchwork legal
or disqualification to run for and hold public office. And once again, we technicality. It proceeds from the spirit's gut consciousness of the dynamic role
emphasize herein our previous rulings recognizing the Comelec's authority of law as a brick in the ultimate development of the social edifice. Thus, the
and jurisdiction to hear and decide petitions for annulment of proclamations. Court struggled against and eschewed the easy, legalistic, technical and
sometimes harsh anachronisms of the law in order to evoke substantial justice
This Court has time and again liberally and equitably construed the electoral in the larger social context consistent with Frivaldo's unique situation
laws of our country to give fullest effect to the manifest will of our people, 66 for approximating venerability in Philippine political life. Concededly, he sought
in case of doubt, political laws must be interpreted to give life and spirit to the American citizenship only to escape the clutches of the dictatorship. At this
popular mandate freely expressed through the ballot. Otherwise stated, legal stage, we cannot seriously entertain any doubt about his loyalty and dedication
niceties and technicalities cannot stand in the way of the sovereign will. to this country. At the first opportunity, he returned to this land, and sought to
Consistently, we have held: serve his people once more. The people of Sorsogon overwhelmingly voted
for him three times. He took an oath of allegiance to this Republic every time
he filed his certificate of candidacy and during his failed naturalization bid. And
let it not be overlooked, his demonstrated tenacity and sheer determination to
61
re-assume his nationality of birth despite several legal set-backs speak more Separate Opinions
loudly, in spirit, in fact and in truth than any legal technicality, of his consuming
intention and burning desire to re-embrace his native Philippines even now at
the ripe old age of 81 years. Such loyalty to and love of country as well as PUNO, J., concurring:
nobility of purpose cannot be lost on this Court of justice and equity. Mortals
of lesser mettle would have given up. After all, Frivaldo was assured of a life I concur with the path-breaking ponencia of Mr. Justice Panganiban which is
of ease and plenty as a citizen of the most powerful country in the world. But pro-people and pierces the myopia of legalism. Upholding the sovereign will of
he opted, nay, single-mindedly insisted on returning to and serving once more the people which is the be-all and the end-all of republicanism, it rests on a
his struggling but beloved land of birth. He therefore deserves every liberal foundation that will endure time and its tempest.
interpretation of the law which can be applied in his favor. And in the final
The sovereignty of our people is the primary postulate of the 1987
analysis, over and above Frivaldo himself, the indomitable people of Sorsogon
Constitution. For this reason, it appears as thefirst in our declaration of
most certainly deserve to be governed by a leader of their overwhelming
principles and state policies. Thus, section 1 of Article II of our fundamental
choice.
law proclaims that "[t]he Philippines is a democratic and republican State.
WHEREFORE, in consideration of the foregoing: Sovereignty resides in the people and all government authority emanates from
them." The same principle served as the bedrock of our 1973 and 1935
(1) The petition in G.R. No. 123755 is hereby DISMISSED. The assailed Constitutions. 1 It is one of the few principles whose truth has been cherished
Resolutions of the respondent Commission are AFFIRMED. by the Americans as self-evident. Section 4, Article IV of the U.S. Constitution
(2) The petition in G.R. No. 120295 is also DISMISSED for being moot and makes it a duty of the Federal government to guarantee to every state a
academic. In any event, it has no merit. "republican form of government." With understandable fervor, the American
authorities imposed republicanism as the cornerstone of our 1935 Constitution
No costs. then being crafted by its Filipino framers. 2

SO ORDERED. Borne out of the 1986 people power EDSA revolution, our 1987 Constitution
is more people-oriented. Thus, section 4 of Article II provides as a state policy
Padilla, Regalado, Romero, Bellosillo, Francisco, Hermosisima, Jr. and that the prime duty of the Government is "to serve and protect the people."
Torres, Jr., JJ., concur. Section 1, Article XI also provides that ". . . public officers . . . must at all times
Melo, Vitug and Kapunan, JJ., concurs in the result. be accountable to the people . . ." Sections 15 and 1 of Article XIII define the
role and rights of people's organizations. Section 5(2) of Article XVI mandates
Narvasa, C.J. and Mendoza, J., took no part. that "[t]he state shall strengthen the patriotic spirit and nationalist
consciousness of the military, and respect for people's rights in the
performance of their duty." And section 2 of Article XVII provides that
"amendments to
this Constitution may likewise be directly proposed by the people through
initiative . . ." All these provisions and more are intended to breathe more life
to the sovereignty of our people.

To be sure, the sovereignty of our people is not a kabalistic principle whose


dimensions are buried in mysticism. Its metes and bounds are familiar to the
framers of our Constitutions. They knew that in its broadest sense, sovereignty
is meant to be supreme, the jus summi imperu, the absolute right to
62
govern. 3 Former Dean Vicente Sinco 4 states that an essential quality of for our councilors. Also, the entire electorate votes for our President and Vice-
sovereignty is legal omnipotence, viz.: "Legal theory establishes certain President but only our provincial electorates vote for our governors, only our
essential qualities inherent in the nature of sovereignty. The first is legal city electorates vote for our mayors, and only our municipal electorates vote
omnipotence. This means that the sovereign is legally omnipotent and for our mayors. By defining and delimiting the classes of voters who can
absolute in relation to other legal institutions. It has the power to determine exercise the sovereignty of the people in a given election, it cannot be claimed
exclusively its legal competence. Its powers are original, not derivative. It is that said sovereignty has been fragmented.
the sole judge of what it should do at any given time." 5 Citing Barker, 6 he adds
that a more amplified definition of sovereignty is that of "a final power of final It is my respectful submission that the issue in the case at bar is not whether
legal adjustment of all legal issues." The U.S. Supreme Court expressed the the people of Sorsogon should be given the right to defy the law by allowing
same thought in the landmark case of Yick Wo v. Hopkins, 7 where it held that Frivaldo to sit as their governor. Rather, the issue is: whether the will of the
". . . sovereignty itself is, of course, not subject to law, for it is the author and voters of Sorsogon clearly choosing Frivaldo as governor ought to be given
source of law; but in our system, while sovereign powers are delegated to the a decisive value considering theuncertainty of the law on when a candidate
agencies of government, sovereignty itself remains with the people, by whom ought to satisfy the qualification of citizenship. The uncertainty of law and
and for whom all government exists and acts." jurisprudence, both here and abroad, on this legal issue cannot be denied. In
the United States, 10 there are two (2) principal schools of thought on the
In our Constitution, the people established a representative democracy as matter. One espouses the view that a candidate must possess the
distinguished from a pure democracy. Justice Isagani Cruz explains: 8 qualifications for office at the time of his election. The other ventures the view
that the candidate should satisfy the qualifications at the time he assumes the
xxx xxx xxx powers of the office. I am unaware of any Philippine decision that has squarely
A republic is a representative government, a government run by and for the resolved this difficult question of law. The ponencia of Mr. Justice Panganiban
people. It is not a pure democracy where the people govern themselves adhered to the second school of thought while Mr. Justice Davide dissents.
directly. The essence of republicanism is representation and renovation, the I emphasize the honest-to-goodness difference in interpreting our law on the
selection by the citizenry of a corps of public functionaries who derive their matter for this is vital to dispel the fear of Mr. Justice Davide that my opinion
mandate from the people and act on their behalf, serving for a limited period can bring about ill effects to the State. Mr. Justice Davide's fear is based on
only, after which they are replaced or retained, at the option of their the assumption that Frivaldo continues to be disqualified and we cannot allow
principal. Obviously, a republican government is a responsible government him to sit as governor without transgressing the law. I do not concede this
whose officials hold and discharge their position as a public trust and shall, assumption for as stressed above, courts have been sharply divided by this
according to the Constitution, "at all times be accountable to the people" they mind boggling issue. Given this schism, I do not see how we can derogate on
are sworn to serve. The purpose of a republican government it is almost the sovereignty of the people by according more weight to the votes of the
needless to state, is the promotion of the common welfare according to the will people of Sorsogon.
of the people themselves.
Mr. Justice Davide warns that should the people of Batanes stage a rebellion,
I appreciate the vigorous dissent of Mr. Justice Davide. I agree that sovereignty we cannot prosecute them "because of the doctrine of people's sovereignty."
is indivisible but it need not always be exercised by the people together, all the With due respect, the analogy is not appropriate. In his hypothetical case,
time. 9 For this reason, the Constitution and our laws provide when the entire rebellion is concededly a crime, a violation of Article 134 of the Revised Penal
electorate or only some of them can elect those who make our laws and those Code, an offense against the sovereignty of our people. In the case at bar, it
who execute our laws. Thus, the entire electorate votes for our senators but cannot be held with certitude that the people of Sorsogon violated the law by
only our district electorates vote for our congressmen, only our provincial voting for Frivaldo as governor. Frivaldo's name was in the list of candidates
electorates vote for the members of our provincial boards, only our city allowed by COMELEC to run for governor. At that time too, Frivaldo was taking
electorates vote for our city councilors, and only our municipal electorates vote all steps to establish his Filipino citizenship. And even our jurisprudence has
63
not settled the issue when a candidate should possess the qualification of In view of the foregoing, you as Chairman and members of the Special
citizenship. Since the meaning of the law is arguable then and now, I cannot Committee on Naturalization, are hereby directed to cease and desist from
imagine how it will be disastrous for the State if we tilt the balance in the case undertaking any and all proceedings within your functional area of
at bar in favor of the people of Sorsogon. responsibility, as defined in Letter of Instruction No. 270 dated April 11, 1975,
as amended, Presidential Decree No. 836 dated December 3, 1975, as
In sum, I respectfully submit that the sovereign will of our people should be amended, and Presidential Decree No. 1379 dated May 17, 1978, relative to
resolutory of the case at bar which is one of its kind, unprecedented in our the grant of citizenship under the said laws, and any other related laws, orders,
political history. For three (3) times, Frivaldo ran as governor of the province issuances and rules and regulations. (emphasis supplied)
of Sorsogon. For two (2) times, he was disqualified on the ground of
citizenship. The people of Sorsogon voted for him as their governor despite It is self-evident that the underscored clause can only refer to those related to
his disqualification. The people never waffled in their support for Frivaldo. In LOI No. 270, P.D. No. 836, and P.D. No. 1379. There is no doubt in my mind
1988, they gave him a winning margin of 27,000; in 1992, they gave him a that P.D. No. 725 is one such "related law" as it involves the reacquisition of
winning spread of 57,000; in 1995, he posted a margin of 20,000. Clearly then, Philippine citizenship by repatriation and designates the Special Committee
Frivaldo is the overwhelming choice of the people of Sorsogon. In election on Naturalization created under LOI No. 270 to receive and act on (i.e.,
cases, we should strive to align the will of the legislature as expressed in its approve or disapprove) applications under the said decree. The power of
law with the will of the sovereign people as expressed in their ballots. For law President Aquino to suspend these issuances by virtue of the 27 March 1987
to reign, it must respect the will of the people. For in the eloquent prose of Mr. memorandum is beyond question considering that under Section 6, Article
Justice Laurel, ". . . an enfranchised citizen is a particle of popular sovereignty XVIII of the 1987 Constitution, she exercised legislative power until the
and is the ultimate source of established authority." 11 The choice of the Congress established therein convened on the fourth Monday of July 1987.
governed on who shall be their governor merits the highest consideration by
all agencies of government. In cases where the sovereignty of the people is at I disagree with the view expressed in the ponencia that the memorandum of
stake, we must not only be legally right but also politically correct. We cannot 27 March 1987 was merely a declaration of "executive policy," and not an
fail by making the people succeed. exercise of legislative power. LOI No. 270, P.D. No. 836, P.D. No. 1379 and
"any other related laws," such as P.D. No. 725, were issued by President
DAVIDE, JR., J., dissenting: Ferdinand E. Marcos in the exercise of his legislative powers -- not executive
power. These laws relate to the acquisition (by naturalization) and
After deliberating on the re-formulated issues and the conclusions reached by reacquisition (by repatriation) of Philippine citizenship, and in light of Sections
my distinguished colleague, Mr. Justice Artemio V. Panganiban, I find myself 1(4) and 3, Article IV of the 1987 Constitution (naturalization and reacquisition
unable to join him. of Philippine citizenship shall be in accordance with law), it is indubitable that
I these subjects are a matter of legislative prerogative. In the same vein, the
creation of the Special Committee on Naturalization by LOI No. 270 and the
I agree with petitioner Lee that Frivaldo's repatriation was void, but not on the conferment of the power to accept and act on applications under P.D. No. 725
ground that President Corazon C. Aquino's 27 March 1987 memorandum are clearly legislative acts.
"effectively repealed" P.D. No. 725. In my view, the said memorandum
only suspended the implementation of the latter decree by divesting the Accordingly, the revocation of the cease and desist order and
Special Committee on Naturalization of its authority to further act on grants of the reactivation or revival of the Committee can be done only by legislative
citizenship under LOI No. 270, as amended, P.D. No. 836, as amended; P.D. fiat, i.e., by Congress, since the President had long lost his authority to
No. 1379; and "any other related laws, orders, issuances and rules and exercise "legislative power." Considering that Congress has not seen it fit to
regulations." A reading of the last paragraph of the memorandum can lead to do so, the President cannot, in the exercise of executive power, lift the cease
no other conclusion, thus: and desist order nor reactivate/reconstitute/revive the Committee. A multo

64
fortiori, the Committee cannot validly accept Frivaldo's application for (d) Candidates for the position of member of the sangguniang panlungsod or
repatriation and approve it. sangguniang bayan must be at least eighteen (18) years of age on election
day.
II
(e) Candidates for the position of punong barangay or member of the
Even assuming arguendo that Frivaldo's repatriation is valid, it did not "cure sangguniang barangay must be at least eighteen (18) years of age on election
his lack of citizenship." I depart from the view in the ponencia that Section 39 day.
of the Local Government Code of 1991 does not specify the time when the
citizenship requirement must be met, and that being the case, then it suffices (f) Candidates for the sangguniang kabataan must be at least fifteen (15) years
that citizenship be possessed upon commencement of the term of the office of age but not more than twenty-one (21) years of age on election day
involved; therefore, since Frivaldo "re-assumed" his Philippine citizenship at (emphasis supplied)
2:00 p.m. on 30 June 1995 and the term of office of Governor commenced at
12:00 noon of that day, he had, therefore, complied with the citizenship It is thus obvious that Section 39 refers to no other than the qualifications of
requirement. candidates for elective local offices and their election. Hence, in no way may
the section be construed to mean that possession of qualifications should be
In the first place, Section 39 actually prescribes the qualifications reckoned from the commencement of the term of office of the elected
of elective local officials and not those of anelected local official. These candidate.
adjectives are not synonymous, as the ponencia seems to suggest. The first
refers to the nature of the office, which requires the process of voting by the For another, it is not at all true that Section 39 does not specify the time when
electorate involved; while the second refers to a victorious candidate for an the citizenship requirement must be possessed. I submit that the requirement
elective office. The section unquestionably refers to elective -- not elected -- must be satisfied, or that Philippine citizenship must be possessed, not merely
local officials. It falls under Title Two entitled ELECTIVE OFFICIALS; under at the commencement of the term, but at an earlier time, the latest being
Chapter 1 entitled Qualifications and Election; and paragraph (a) thereof election day itself. Section 39 is not at all ambiguous nor uncertain that it meant
begins with the phrase "An elective local official," while paragraphs (b) to (f) this to be, as one basic qualification of an elective local official is that he be "A
thereof speak of candidates. It reads as follows: REGISTERED VOTER IN THE BARANGAY, MUNICIPALITY, CITY OR
PROVINCE . . . WHERE HE INTENDS TO VOTE." This simply means that he
Sec. 39. Qualifications. -- (a) An elective local official must be a citizen of the possesses all the qualifications to exercise the right of suffrage. The
Philippines; a registered voter in the barangay, municipality, city, or province fundamental qualification for the exercise of this sovereign right is the
or, in the case of a member of the sangguniang panlalawigan, sangguniang possession of Philippine citizenship. No less than the Constitution makes it the
panlungsod, or sangguniang bayan, the district where he intends to be elected; first qualification, as Section 1, Article V thereof provides:
a resident therein for at least one (1) year immediately preceding the day of
the election; and able to read and write Filipino or any other local language or Sec. 1. Suffrage may be exercised by all citizens of the Philippines not
dialect. otherwise disqualified by law, who are at least eighteen years of age, and who
shall have resided in the Philippines for at least one year and in the place
(b) Candidates for the position of governor, vice governor or member of the wherein they propose to vote for at least six months immediately preceding
sangguniang panlalawigan, or mayor, vice mayor or member of the the election. . . . (emphasis supplied)
sangguniang panlungsod of highly urbanized cities must be at least twenty-
three (23) years of age on election day. And Section 117 of the Omnibus Election Code of the Philippines (B.P. Blg.
881) expressly provides for the qualifications of a voter. Thus:
(c) Candidates for the position of mayor or vice mayor of independent
component cities, component cities, or municipalities must be at least twenty- Sec. 117 Qualifications of a voter. -- Every citizen of the Philippines, not
one (21) years of age on election day. otherwise disqualified by law, eighteen years of age or over, who shall have

65
resided in the Philippines for one year and in the city or municipality wherein Clearly, quo warranto is not the sole remedy available to question a
he proposes to vote for at least six months immediately preceding the election, candidate's ineligibility for public office. Section 78 of the Omnibus Election
may be a registered voter. (emphasis supplied) Code allows the filing of a petition to deny due course to or cancel the
certificate of candidacy on the ground that any material representation
It is undisputed that this Court twice voided Frivaldo's election as Governor in contained therein, as required by Section 74, is false. Section 74, in turn,
the 1988 and 1992 elections on the ground that for lack of Philippine requires that the person filing the certificate of candidacy must state, inter alia,
citizenship -- he being a naturalized citizen of the United States of America -- that he is eligible for the office, which means that he has all the qualifications
he was DISQUALIFIED to be elected as such and to serve the position (including, of course, fulfilling the citizenship requirement) and none of the
(Frivaldo vs. Commission on Elections, 174 SCRA 245 [1989]; Republic of the disqualifications as provided by law. The petition under Section 78 may be
Philippines vs. De la Rosa, 232 SCRA 785 [1994]). This disqualification filed at any time not later than 25 days from the filing of the certificate of
inexorably nullified Frivaldo's registration as a voter and declared it void ab candidacy. The section reads in full as follows:
initio. Our judgments therein were self-executory and no further act, e.g., a
COMELEC order to cancel his registration as a voter or the physical Sec. 78. Petition to deny due course to or cancel a certificate of candidacy. --
destruction of his voter's certificate, was necessary for the ineffectivity. Thus, A verified petition seeking to deny due course or to cancel a certificate of
he was never considered a registered voter for the elections of May 1992, and candidacy may be filed by any person exclusively on the ground that any
May 1995, as there is no showing that Frivaldo registered anew as a voter for material representation contained therein as required under Section 74 hereof
the latter elections. Even if he did -- in obvious defiance of his decreed is false. The petition may be filed at any time not later than twenty-five days
disqualification -- this did not make him a Filipino citizen, hence it was equally from the time of the filing of the certificate of candidacy and shall be decided,
void ab initio. That he filed his certificate of candidacy for the 1995 elections after due notice and hearing, not later than fifteen days before the election.
and was even allowed to vote therein were of no moment. Neither act made
him a Filipino citizen nor nullified the judgments of this Court. On the contrary, This remedy was recognized in Loong vs. Commission on Elections (216
said acts made a mockery of our judgments. For the Court now to validate SCRA 760, 768 [1992]), where this Court held:
Frivaldo's registration as a voter despite the judgments of disqualification is to Thus, if a person qualified to file a petition to disqualify a certain candidate fails
modify the said judgments by making their effectivity and enforceability to file the petition within the 25-day period Section 78 of the Code for whatever
dependent on a COMELEC order cancelling his registration as a voter, or on reasons, the election laws do not leave him completely helpless as he has
the physical destruction of his certificate of registration as a voter which, of another chance to raise the disqualification of the candidate by filing a petition
course, was never our intention. Moreover, to sanction Frivaldo's registration for quo warranto within ten (10) days from the proclamation of the results of
as a voter would be to sacrifice substance in favor of form (the piece of paper the election, as provided under Section 253 of the Code. Section 1, Rule 21 of
that is the book of voters or list of voters or voter's ID), and abet the the Comelec Rules of Procedure similarly provides that any voter contesting
COMELEC's incompetence in failing to cancel Frivaldo's registration and the election of any regional, provincial or city official on the ground of
allowing him to vote. ineligibility or of disloyalty to the Republic of the Philippines may file a petition
The second reason in the ponencia as to why the citizenship disqualification for quo warranto with the Electoral Contest Adjudication Department. The
should be reckoned not from the date of the election nor the filing of the petition may be filed within ten (10) days from the date the respondent is
certificate of candidacy, but from the date of proclamation, is that the only proclaimed (Section 2).
available remedy to question the ineligibility (or disloyalty) of a candidate is a Likewise, Rule 25 of the Revised COMELEC Rules of Procedure allows the
petition for quo warranto which, under Section 253 of the Omnibus Election filing of a petition for disqualification on the ground of failure to possess all the
Code, may be filed only within ten days from proclamation and not earlier. qualifications of a candidate as provided by the Constitution or by existing
I beg to differ. laws, "any day after the last day for filing of certificates of candidacy but not
later than the date of proclamation." Sections 1 and 3 thereof provide:

66
Rule 25 -- Disqualification of Candidates It will be noted that nothing in Sections 6 or 7 modifies or alters the 25- day
period prescribed by Section 78 of the Code for filing the appropriate action to
Sec. 1. Grounds for Disqualification. Any candidate who does not possess all cancel a certificate of candidacy on account of any false representation made
the qualifications of a candidate as provided for by the Constitution or by therein. On the contrary, said Section 7 affirms and reiterates Section 78 of
existing law or who commits any act declared by law to be grounds for the Code.
disqualification may be disqualified from continuing as a candidate.
We note that Section 6 refers only to the effects of a disqualification case
xxx xxx xxx which may be based on grounds other than that provided under Section 78 of
Sec. 3. Period to File Petition. The petition shall be filed any day after the last the Code. But Section 7 of Rep. Act No. 6646 also makes the effects referred
day for filing of certificates of candidacy but not later than the date of to in Section 6 applicable to disqualification cases filed under Section 78 of the
proclamation. Code. Nowhere in Sections 6 and 7 of Rep. Act No. 6646 is mention made of
the period within which these disqualification cases may be filed. This is
While the validity of this rule insofar as it concerns petitions for disqualification because there are provisions in the Code which supply the periods within
on the ground of lack of all qualifications may be doubtful, its invalidity is not which a petition relating to disqualification of candidates must be filed, such as
in issue here. Section 78, already discussed, and Section 253 on petitions for quo warranto.
In this connection, it would seem appropriate to take up the last issue grappled I then disagree with the asseveration in the ponencia that Section 78 is merely
within the ponencia, viz., is Section 78 of the Omnibus Election Code directory because Section 6 of R.A. No. 6646 authorizes the COMELEC to try
mandatory? The answer is provided in Loong. and decide petitions for disqualification even after elections. I submit that
Section 6 refers to disqualifications under Sections 12 and 68 of the Omnibus
We also do not find merit in the contention of respondent Commission that in
Election Code and consequently modifies Section 72 thereof. As such, the
the light of the provisions of Sections 6 and 7 of Rep. Act No. 6646, a petition
proper court or the COMELEC are granted the authority to continue hearing
to deny due course to or cancel a certificate of candidacy may be filed even
the case after the election, and during the pendency of the case, suspend the
beyond the 25-day period prescribed by Section 78 of the Code, as long as it
proclamation of the victorious candidate, if the evidence against him is strong.
is filed within a reasonable time from the discovery of the ineligibility.
Sections 12, 68, and 72 of the Code provide:
Sections 6 and 7 of Rep. Act No. 6646 are here re-quoted:
Sec. 12. Disqualifications. Any person who has been declared by competent
Sec. 6. Effect of Disqualification case. Any candidate who has been declared authority insane or incompetent, or has been sentenced by final judgment for
by final judgment to be disqualified shall not be voted for, and the votes cast subversion, insurrection, rebellion or for any offense for which he has been
for him shall not be counted. If for any reason a candidate is not declared by sentenced to a penalty of more than eighteen months or for a crime involving
final judgment before an election to be disqualified and he is voted for and moral turpitude, shall be disqualified to be a candidate and to hold any office,
receives the winning number of votes in such election, the Court or unless he has been given plenary pardon or granted amnesty.
Commission shall continue with the trial and hearing of the action, inquiry or
The disqualifications to be a candidate herein provided shall be deemed
protest and, upon motion of the complainant or any intervenor, may during the
removed upon declaration by competent authority that said insanity or
pendency thereof order the suspension of the proclamation of such candidate
incompetence had been removed or after the expiration of a period of five
whenever the evidence of his guilt is strong.
years from his service of sentence, unless within the same period he again
Sec. 7. Petition to Deny Due Course To or Cancel a Certificate of Candidacy. becomes disqualified.
The procedure hereinabove provided shall apply to petitions to deny due
xxx xxx xxx
course to or cancel a certificate of candidacy as provided in Section 78 of
Batas Pambansa Blg. 881.
67
Sec. 68. Disqualifications. Any candidate who, in an action or protest in which who lost their Philippine citizenship but subsequently desired to reacquire the
he is a party is declared by final decision of a competent court guilty of, or latter.
found by the Commission of having (a) given money or other material
consideration to influence, induce or corrupt the voters or public officials Turning now to the letter of the law, P.D. No. 725 expressly provides that
performing electoral functions; (b) committed acts of terrorism to enhance his repatriation takes effect only after taking the oath of allegiance to the Republic
candidacy; (c) spent in his election campaign an amount in excess of that of the Philippines, thus:
allowed by this Code; (d) solicited, received or made any contribution . . . may reacquire Philippine citizenship . . . by applying with the Special
prohibited under Sections 89, 95, 96, 97 and 104; or (e) violated any of Committee on Naturalization created by Letter of Instruction No. 270, and, if
Sections 80, 83, 85, 86 and 261, paragraphs d, e, k, v, and cc, sub-paragraph their applications are approved, taking the necessary oath of allegiance to the
6, shall be disqualified from continuing as a candidate, or if he has been Republic of the Philippines, AFTER WHICH THEY SHALL BE DEEMED TO
elected, from holding the office. Any person who is a permanent resident of or HAVE REACQUIRED PHILIPPINE CITIZENSHIP. (emphasis and
an immigrant to a foreign country shall not be qualified to run for any elective capitalization supplied)
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 Clearly then, the steps to reacquire Philippine citizenship by repatriation under
requirement provided for in the election laws. (Sec. 25, 1971 EC) the decree are: (1) filing the application; (2) action by the committee; and (3)
taking of the oath of allegiance if the application is approved. It is only UPON
Sec. 72. Effects of disqualification cases and priority. The Commission and the TAKING THE OATH OF ALLEGIANCE that the applicant is deemed ipso
courts shall give priority to cases of disqualification by reason of violation of jure to have reacquired Philippine citizenship. If the decree had intended the
this Act to the end that a final decision shall be rendered not later than seven oath taking to retroact to the date of the filing of the application, then it should
days before the election in which the disqualification is sought. not have explicitly provided otherwise.
Any candidate who has been declared by final judgment to be disqualified shall This theory in the ponencia likewise dilutes this Court's pronouncement in the
not be voted for, and the votes cast for him shall not be counted. Nevertheless, first Frivaldo case that what reacquisition of Filipino citizenship requires is an
if for any reason, a candidate is not declared by final judgment before an act "formally rejecting [the] adopted state and reaffirming . . . allegiance to the
election to be disqualified and he is voted for and receives the winning number Philippines." That act meant nothing less than taking of the oath of allegiance
of votes in such election, his violation of the provisions of the preceding to the Republic of the Philippines. If we now take this revision of doctrine to its
sections shall not prevent his proclamation and assumption to office. logical end, then it would also mean that if Frivaldo had chosen and reacquired
III Philippine citizenship by naturalization or through Congressional action, such
would retroact to the filing of the petition for naturalization or the bill granting
Still assuming that the repatriation is valid, I am not persuaded by the him Philippine citizenship. This is a proposition which both the first and second
arguments in support of the thesis that Frivaldo's repatriation may be given Frivaldo cases soundly rejected.
retroactive effect, as such goes against the spirit and letter of P.D. No. 725.
The spirit adheres to the principle that acquisition or re-acquisition of Philippine The other reason adduced in the ponencia in support of the proposition that
citizenship is not a right, but a mere privilege. Before the advent of P.D. No. P.D. No. 725 can be given retroactive effect is its alleged curative or remedial
725, only the following could apply for repatriation: (a) Army, Navy, or Air Corps nature.
deserters; and (b) a woman who lost her citizenship by reason of her marriage Again, I disagree. In the first place, by no stretch of legal hermeneutics may
to an alien after the death of her spouse (Section 2[2], C.A. No. 63). P.D. NO. P.D. No. 725 be characterized as a curative or remedial statute:
725 expanded this to include Filipino women who lost their Philippine
citizenship by marriage to aliens even before the death of their alien husbands, Curative or remedial statutes are healing acts. They are remedial by curing
or the termination of their marital status and to natural-born Filipino citizens defects and adding to the means of enforcing existing obligations. The rule in

68
regard to curative statutes is that if the thing omitted or failed to be done, and IV
which constitutes the defect sought to be removed or made harmless, is
something the legislature might have dispensed with by a previous statute, it Assuming yet again, for the sake of argument, that taking the oath of allegiance
may do so by a subsequent one. retroacted to the date of Frivaldo's application for repatriation, the same could
not be said insofar as it concerned the United States of America, of which he
Curative statutes are intended to supply defects, abridge superfluities in was a citizen. For under the laws of the United States of America, Frivaldo
existing laws, and curb certain evils. They are intended to enable a person to remained an American national until he renounced his citizenship and
carry into effect that which they have designed and intended, but has failed of allegiance thereto at 2:00 p.m. on 30 June 1995, when he took his oath of
expected legal consequence by reason of some statutory disability or allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines. Section 401 of the Nationality Act
irregularity in their own action. They make valid that which, before the of 1940 of the United States of America provides that a person who is a
enactment of the statute, was invalid. (RUBEN E. AGPALO, Statutory national of the United States of America, whether by birth or naturalization,
Construction, Second ed. [1990], 270-271, citations omitted). loses his nationality by, inter alia, "(b) Taking an oath or making an affirmation
or other formal declaration of allegiance to a foreign state" (SIDNEY KANSAS,
P.D. No. 725 provides for the reacquisition of Philippine citizenship lost through U.S. Immigration Exclusion and Deportation and Citizenship of the United
the marriage of a Filipina to an alien and through naturalization in a foreign States of America, Third ed., [1948] 341-342). It follows then that on election
country of natural-born Filipino citizens. It involves then the substantive, nay day and until the hour of the commencement of the term for which he was
primordial, right of citizenship. To those for whom it is intended, it means, in elected - noon of 30 June 1995 as per Section 43 of the Local Government
reality, the acquisition of "a new right," as the ponencia cannot but concede. Code - Frivaldo possessed dual citizenship, viz., (a) as an American citizen;
Therefore, it may not be said to merely remedy or cure a defect considering and (b) as a Filipino citizen through the adoption of the theory that the effects
that one who has lost Philippine citizenship does not have the right to reacquire of his taking the oath of allegiance were retrospective. Hence, he was
it. As earlier stated, the Constitution provides that citizenship, once lost, may disqualified to run for Governor for yet another reason: possession of dual
only be reacquired in the manner provided by law. Moreover, it has also been citizenship, in accordance with Section 40 (d) of the Local Government Code.
observed that:
V
The idea is implicit from many of the cases that remedial statutes are statutes
relating to procedure and not substantive rights. (Sutherland, Statutory The assertion in the ponencia that Frivaldo may be considered STATELESS
Construction, Vol. 3, Third ed. [1943], §5704 at 74, citations omitted). on the basis of his claim that he "had long renounced and had long abandoned
his American citizenship - long before May 8, 1985" - is untenable, for the
If we grant for the sake of argument, however, that P.D. No. 725 is curative or following reasons: first, it is based on Frivaldo's unproven, self-serving
remedial statute, it would be an inexcusable error to give it a retroactive effect allegation; second, informal renunciation or abandonment is not a ground to
since it explicitly provides the date of its effectivity. Thus: lose American citizenship; and third, simply put, never did the status of a
This Decree shall take effect immediately. STATELESS person attach to Frivaldo.

Done in the city of Manila, this 5th day of June, in the year of Our Lord, Statelessness may be either de jure, which is the status of individuals stripped
nineteen hundred and seventy five. of their nationality by their former government without having an opportunity to
acquire another; or de facto, which is the status of individuals possessed of a
Nevertheless, if the retroactivity is to relate only to the reacquisition of nationality whose country does not give them protection outside their own
Philippine citizenship, then nothing therein supports such theory, for as the country, and who are commonly, albeit imprecisely, referred to as refugees
decree itself unequivocally provides, it is only after taking the oath of (JORGE R. COQUIA, et al., Conflict of Laws Cases, Materials and Comments,
allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines that the applicant is DEEMED TO 1995 ed., 290).
HAVE REACQUIRED PHILIPPINE CITIZENSHIP.

69
Specifically, under Chapter 1, Article 1 of the United Nations Convention ineffective and inutile. To illustrate the evil, we may consider the enforcement
Regarding the Status of Stateless Persons (Philippine Treaty Series, Compiled of laws or the pursuit of a national policy by the executive branch of the
and Annotated by Haydee B. Yorac, vol. III, 363), a stateless person is defined government, or the execution of a judgment by the courts. If these are opposed
as "a person who is not considered as a national by any State under the by the overwhelming majority of the people of a certain province, or even a
operation of its law." However, it has not been shown that the United States of municipality, it would necessarily follow that the law, national policy, or
America ever ceased to consider Frivaldo its national at any time before he judgment must not be enforced, implemented, or executed in the said province
took his oath of allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines on 30 June 1995. or municipality. More concretely, if, for instance, the vast majority of the people
of Batanes rise publicly and take up arms against the Government for the
VI purpose of removing from the allegiance to the said Government or its laws,
Finally, I find it in order to also express my view on the concurring opinion of the territory of the Republic of the Philippines or any part thereof, or any body
Mr. Justice Reynato S. Puno. I am absolutely happy to join him in his statement of land, naval, or other armed forces, or depriving the Chief Executive or the
that "[t]he sovereignty of our people is the primary postulate of the 1987 Legislature, wholly or partially, of any of their powers or prerogatives, then
Constitution" and that the said Constitution is "more people-oriented," "borne those who did so -- and which are composed of the vast majority of the people
[as it is] out of the 1986 people power EDSA revolution." I would even go of Batanes -- a political subdivision -- cannot be prosecuted for or be held guilty
further by saying that this Constitution is pro-God (Preamble), pro- of rebellion in violation of Article 134 of the Revised Penal Code because of
people (Article II, Sections 1, 3, 4, 5, 9, 15, 16; Article XI, Section 1, Article XII, the doctrine of peoples' sovereignty. Indeed, the expansion of the doctrine of
Sections 1, 6; Article XIII, Sections 1, 11, 15, 16, 18; Article XVI, Sections 5(2), sovereignty by investing upon the people of a mere political subdivision that
6), pro-Filipino (Article XII, Sections 1, 2, 10, 11, 12, 14; Article XIV, Sections which the Constitution places in the entire Filipino people, may be disastrous
1, 4(2), 13; Article XVI, Section 11), pro-poor (Article II, Sections 9, 10, 18, 21; to the Nation.
Article XII, Sections 1, 2(3); Article XIII, Sections 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, So it is in this case if we follow the thesis in the concurring opinion. Thus,
13), pro-life (Article II, Section 12), and pro-family (Article II, Section 12; Article simply because Frivaldo had obtained a margin of 20,000 votes over his
XV). closest rival, Lee, i.e., a vast majority of the voters of Sorsogon had expressed
Nevertheless, I cannot be with him in carrying out the principle of sovereignty their sovereign will for the former, then this Court must yield to that will and
beyond what I perceive to be the reasonable constitutional parameters. The must, therefore, allow to be set aside, for Frivaldo, not just the laws on
doctrine of people's sovereignty is founded on the principles of democracy and qualifications of candidates and elective officials and naturalization and
republicanism and refers exclusively to the sovereignty of the people of the reacquisition of Philippine citizenship, but even the final and binding decisions
Philippines. Section 1 of Article II is quite clear on this, thus: of this Court affecting him.

Sec. 1. The Philippines is a democratic and republican State. Sovereignty This Court must be the first to uphold the Rule of Law. I vote then to DISMISS
resides in the people and all government authority emanates from them. G.R. No. 120295 and GRANT G.R. No. 123755.

And the Preamble makes it clear when it solemnly opens it with a clause
"We, the sovereign Filipino people. . ." Thus, this sovereignty is an attribute of Separate Opinions
the Filipino people as one people, one body.
PUNO, J., concurring:
That sovereign power of the Filipino people cannot be fragmentized by looking
at it as the supreme authority of the people of any of the political subdivisions I concur with the path-breaking ponencia of Mr. Justice Panganiban which is
to determine their own destiny; neither can we convert and treat every pro-people and pierces the myopia of legalism. Upholding the sovereign will of
fragment as the whole. In such a case, this Court would provide the formula the people which is the be-all and the end-all of republicanism, it rests on a
for the division and destruction of the State and render the Government foundation that will endure time and its tempest.
70
The sovereignty of our people is the primary postulate of the 1987 ". . . sovereignty itself is, of course, not subject to law, for it is the author and
Constitution. For this reason, it appears as thefirst in our declaration of source of law; but in our system, while sovereign powers are delegated to the
principles and state policies. Thus, section 1 of Article II of our fundamental agencies of government, sovereignty itself remains with the people, by whom
law proclaims that "[t]he Philippines is a democratic and republican State. and for whom all government exists and acts."
Sovereignty resides in the people and all government authority emanates from
them." The same principle served as the bedrock of our 1973 and 1935 In our Constitution, the people established a representative democracy as
Constitutions. 1 It is one of the few principles whose truth has been cherished distinguished from a pure democracy. Justice Isagani Cruz explains: 8
by the Americans as self-evident. Section 4, Article IV of the U.S. Constitution xxx xxx xxx
makes it a duty of the Federal government to guarantee to every state a
"republican form of government." With understandable fervor, the American A republic is a representative government, a government run by and for the
authorities imposed republicanism as the cornerstone of our 1935 Constitution people. It is not a pure democracy where the people govern themselves
then being crafted by its Filipino framers. 2 directly. The essence of republicanism is representation and renovation, the
selection by the citizenry of a corps of public functionaries who derive their
Borne out of the 1986 people power EDSA revolution, our 1987 Constitution mandate from the people and act on their behalf, serving for a limited period
is more people-oriented. Thus, section 4 of Article II provides as a state policy only, after which they are replaced or retained, at the option of their
that the prime duty of the Government is "to serve and protect the people." principal. Obviously, a republican government is a responsible government
Section 1, Article XI also provides that ". . . public officers . . . must at all times whose officials hold and discharge their position as a public trust and shall,
be accountable to the people . . ." Sections 15 and 1 of Article XIII define the according to the Constitution, "at all times be accountable to the people" they
role and rights of people's organizations. Section 5(2) of Article XVI mandates are sworn to serve. The purpose of a republican government it is almost
that "[t]he state shall strengthen the patriotic spirit and nationalist needless to state, is the promotion of the common welfare according to the will
consciousness of the military, and respect for people's rights in the of the people themselves.
performance of their duty." And section 2 of Article XVII provides that
"amendments to I appreciate the vigorous dissent of Mr. Justice Davide. I agree that sovereignty
this Constitution may likewise be directly proposed by the people through is indivisible but it need not always be exercised by the people together, all the
initiative . . ." All these provisions and more are intended to breathe more life time. 9 For this reason, the Constitution and our laws provide when the entire
to the sovereignty of our people. electorate or only some of them can elect those who make our laws and those
who execute our laws. Thus, the entire electorate votes for our senators but
To be sure, the sovereignty of our people is not a kabalistic principle whose only our district electorates vote for our congressmen, only our provincial
dimensions are buried in mysticism. Its metes and bounds are familiar to the electorates vote for the members of our provincial boards, only our city
framers of our Constitutions. They knew that in its broadest sense, sovereignty electorates vote for our city councilors, and only our municipal electorates vote
is meant to be supreme, the jus summi imperu, the absolute right to for our councilors. Also, the entire electorate votes for our President and Vice-
govern. 3 Former Dean Vicente Sinco 4 states that an essential quality of President but only our provincial electorates vote for our governors, only our
sovereignty is legal omnipotence, viz.: "Legal theory establishes certain city electorates vote for our mayors, and only our municipal electorates vote
essential qualities inherent in the nature of sovereignty. The first is legal for our mayors. By defining and delimiting the classes of voters who can
omnipotence. This means that the sovereign is legally omnipotent and exercise the sovereignty of the people in a given election, it cannot be claimed
absolute in relation to other legal institutions. It has the power to determine that said sovereignty has been fragmented.
exclusively its legal competence. Its powers are original, not derivative. It is
the sole judge of what it should do at any given time." 5 Citing Barker, 6 he adds It is my respectful submission that the issue in the case at bar is not whether
that a more amplified definition of sovereignty is that of "a final power of final the people of Sorsogon should be given the right to defy the law by allowing
legal adjustment of all legal issues." The U.S. Supreme Court expressed the Frivaldo to sit as their governor. Rather, the issue is: whether the will of the
same thought in the landmark case of Yick Wo v. Hopkins, 7 where it held that voters of Sorsogon clearly choosing Frivaldo as governor ought to be given
71
a decisive value considering theuncertainty of the law on when a candidate 1988, they gave him a winning margin of 27,000; in 1992, they gave him a
ought to satisfy the qualification of citizenship. The uncertainty of law and winning spread of 57,000; in 1995, he posted a margin of 20,000. Clearly then,
jurisprudence, both here and abroad, on this legal issue cannot be denied. In Frivaldo is the overwhelming choice of the people of Sorsogon. In election
the United States, 10 there are two (2) principal schools of thought on the cases, we should strive to align the will of the legislature as expressed in its
matter. One espouses the view that a candidate must possess the law with the will of the sovereign people as expressed in their ballots. For law
qualifications for office at the time of his election. The other ventures the view to reign, it must respect the will of the people. For in the eloquent prose of Mr.
that the candidate should satisfy the qualifications at the time he assumes the Justice Laurel, ". . . an enfranchised citizen is a particle of popular sovereignty
powers of the office. I am unaware of any Philippine decision that has squarely and is the ultimate source of established authority." 11 The choice of the
resolved this difficult question of law. The ponencia of Mr. Justice Panganiban governed on who shall be their governor merits the highest consideration by
adhered to the second school of thought while Mr. Justice Davide dissents. all agencies of government. In cases where the sovereignty of the people is at
stake, we must not only be legally right but also politically correct. We cannot
I emphasize the honest-to-goodness difference in interpreting our law on the fail by making the people succeed.
matter for this is vital to dispel the fear of Mr. Justice Davide that my opinion
can bring about ill effects to the State. Mr. Justice Davide's fear is based on DAVIDE, JR., J., dissenting:
the assumption that Frivaldo continues to be disqualified and we cannot allow
him to sit as governor without transgressing the law. I do not concede this After deliberating on the re-formulated issues and the conclusions reached by
assumption for as stressed above, courts have been sharply divided by this my distinguished colleague, Mr. Justice Artemio V. Panganiban, I find myself
mind boggling issue. Given this schism, I do not see how we can derogate on unable to join him.
the sovereignty of the people by according more weight to the votes of the I
people of Sorsogon.
I agree with petitioner Lee that Frivaldo's repatriation was void, but not on the
Mr. Justice Davide warns that should the people of Batanes stage a rebellion, ground that President Corazon C. Aquino's 27 March 1987 memorandum
we cannot prosecute them "because of the doctrine of people's sovereignty." "effectively repealed" P.D. No. 725. In my view, the said memorandum
With due respect, the analogy is not appropriate. In his hypothetical case, only suspended the implementation of the latter decree by divesting the
rebellion is concededly a crime, a violation of Article 134 of the Revised Penal Special Committee on Naturalization of its authority to further act on grants of
Code, an offense against the sovereignty of our people. In the case at bar, it citizenship under LOI No. 270, as amended, P.D. No. 836, as amended; P.D.
cannot be held with certitude that the people of Sorsogon violated the law by No. 1379; and "any other related laws, orders, issuances and rules and
voting for Frivaldo as governor. Frivaldo's name was in the list of candidates regulations." A reading of the last paragraph of the memorandum can lead to
allowed by COMELEC to run for governor. At that time too, Frivaldo was taking no other conclusion, thus:
all steps to establish his Filipino citizenship. And even our jurisprudence has
not settled the issue when a candidate should possess the qualification of In view of the foregoing, you as Chairman and members of the Special
citizenship. Since the meaning of the law is arguable then and now, I cannot Committee on Naturalization, are hereby directed to cease and desist from
imagine how it will be disastrous for the State if we tilt the balance in the case undertaking any and all proceedings within your functional area of
at bar in favor of the people of Sorsogon. responsibility, as defined in Letter of Instruction No. 270 dated April 11, 1975,
as amended, Presidential Decree No. 836 dated December 3, 1975, as
In sum, I respectfully submit that the sovereign will of our people should be amended, and Presidential Decree No. 1379 dated May 17, 1978, relative to
resolutory of the case at bar which is one of its kind, unprecedented in our the grant of citizenship under the said laws, and any other related laws, orders,
political history. For three (3) times, Frivaldo ran as governor of the province issuances and rules and regulations. (emphasis supplied)
of Sorsogon. For two (2) times, he was disqualified on the ground of
citizenship. The people of Sorsogon voted for him as their governor despite It is self-evident that the underscored clause can only refer to those related to
his disqualification. The people never waffled in their support for Frivaldo. In LOI No. 270, P.D. No. 836, and P.D. No. 1379. There is no doubt in my mind
72
that P.D. No. 725 is one such "related law" as it involves the reacquisition of 12:00 noon of that day, he had, therefore, complied with the citizenship
Philippine citizenship by repatriation and designates the Special Committee requirement.
on Naturalization created under LOI No. 270 to receive and act on (i.e.,
approve or disapprove) applications under the said decree. The power of In the first place, Section 39 actually prescribes the qualifications
President Aquino to suspend these issuances by virtue of the 27 March 1987 of elective local officials and not those of anelected local official. These
memorandum is beyond question considering that under Section 6, Article adjectives are not synonymous, as the ponencia seems to suggest. The first
XVIII of the 1987 Constitution, she exercised legislative power until the refers to the nature of the office, which requires the process of voting by the
Congress established therein convened on the fourth Monday of July 1987. electorate involved; while the second refers to a victorious candidate for an
elective office. The section unquestionably refers to elective -- not elected --
I disagree with the view expressed in the ponencia that the memorandum of local officials. It falls under Title Two entitled ELECTIVE OFFICIALS; under
27 March 1987 was merely a declaration of "executive policy," and not an Chapter 1 entitled Qualifications and Election; and paragraph (a) thereof
exercise of legislative power. LOI No. 270, P.D. No. 836, P.D. No. 1379 and begins with the phrase "An elective local official," while paragraphs (b) to (f)
"any other related laws," such as P.D. No. 725, were issued by President thereof speak of candidates. It reads as follows:
Ferdinand E. Marcos in the exercise of his legislative powers -- not executive
power. These laws relate to the acquisition (by naturalization) and Sec. 39. Qualifications. -- (a) An elective local official must be a citizen of the
reacquisition (by repatriation) of Philippine citizenship, and in light of Sections Philippines; a registered voter in the barangay, municipality, city, or province
1(4) and 3, Article IV of the 1987 Constitution (naturalization and reacquisition or, in the case of a member of the sangguniang panlalawigan, sangguniang
of Philippine citizenship shall be in accordance with law), it is indubitable that panlungsod, or sangguniang bayan, the district where he intends to be elected;
these subjects are a matter of legislative prerogative. In the same vein, the a resident therein for at least one (1) year immediately preceding the day of
creation of the Special Committee on Naturalization by LOI No. 270 and the the election; and able to read and write Filipino or any other local language or
conferment of the power to accept and act on applications under P.D. No. 725 dialect.
are clearly legislative acts. (b) Candidates for the position of governor, vice governor or member of the
Accordingly, the revocation of the cease and desist order and sangguniang panlalawigan, or mayor, vice mayor or member of the
the reactivation or revival of the Committee can be done only by legislative sangguniang panlungsod of highly urbanized cities must be at least twenty-
fiat, i.e., by Congress, since the President had long lost his authority to three (23) years of age on election day.
exercise "legislative power." Considering that Congress has not seen it fit to (c) Candidates for the position of mayor or vice mayor of independent
do so, the President cannot, in the exercise of executive power, lift the cease component cities, component cities, or municipalities must be at least twenty-
and desist order nor reactivate/reconstitute/revive the Committee. A multo one (21) years of age on election day.
fortiori, the Committee cannot validly accept Frivaldo's application for
repatriation and approve it. (d) Candidates for the position of member of the sangguniang panlungsod or
sangguniang bayan must be at least eighteen (18) years of age on election
II day.
Even assuming arguendo that Frivaldo's repatriation is valid, it did not "cure (e) Candidates for the position of punong barangay or member of the
his lack of citizenship." I depart from the view in the ponencia that Section 39 sangguniang barangay must be at least eighteen (18) years of age on election
of the Local Government Code of 1991 does not specify the time when the day.
citizenship requirement must be met, and that being the case, then it suffices
that citizenship be possessed upon commencement of the term of the office (f) Candidates for the sangguniang kabataan must be at least fifteen (15) years
involved; therefore, since Frivaldo "re-assumed" his Philippine citizenship at of age but not more than twenty-one (21) years of age on election day
2:00 p.m. on 30 June 1995 and the term of office of Governor commenced at (emphasis supplied)

73
It is thus obvious that Section 39 refers to no other than the qualifications of COMELEC order to cancel his registration as a voter or the physical
candidates for elective local offices and their election. Hence, in no way may destruction of his voter's certificate, was necessary for the ineffectivity. Thus,
the section be construed to mean that possession of qualifications should be he was never considered a registered voter for the elections of May 1992, and
reckoned from the commencement of the term of office of the elected May 1995, as there is no showing that Frivaldo registered anew as a voter for
candidate. the latter elections. Even if he did -- in obvious defiance of his decreed
disqualification -- this did not make him a Filipino citizen, hence it was equally
For another, it is not at all true that Section 39 does not specify the time when void ab initio. That he filed his certificate of candidacy for the 1995 elections
the citizenship requirement must be possessed. I submit that the requirement and was even allowed to vote therein were of no moment. Neither act made
must be satisfied, or that Philippine citizenship must be possessed, not merely him a Filipino citizen nor nullified the judgments of this Court. On the contrary,
at the commencement of the term, but at an earlier time, the latest being said acts made a mockery of our judgments. For the Court now to validate
election day itself. Section 39 is not at all ambiguous nor uncertain that it meant Frivaldo's registration as a voter despite the judgments of disqualification is to
this to be, as one basic qualification of an elective local official is that he be "A modify the said judgments by making their effectivity and enforceability
REGISTERED VOTER IN THE BARANGAY, MUNICIPALITY, CITY OR dependent on a COMELEC order cancelling his registration as a voter, or on
PROVINCE . . . WHERE HE INTENDS TO VOTE." This simply means that he the physical destruction of his certificate of registration as a voter which, of
possesses all the qualifications to exercise the right of suffrage. The course, was never our intention. Moreover, to sanction Frivaldo's registration
fundamental qualification for the exercise of this sovereign right is the as a voter would be to sacrifice substance in favor of form (the piece of paper
possession of Philippine citizenship. No less than the Constitution makes it the that is the book of voters or list of voters or voter's ID), and abet the
first qualification, as Section 1, Article V thereof provides: COMELEC's incompetence in failing to cancel Frivaldo's registration and
Sec. 1. Suffrage may be exercised by all citizens of the Philippines not allowing him to vote.
otherwise disqualified by law, who are at least eighteen years of age, and who The second reason in the ponencia as to why the citizenship disqualification
shall have resided in the Philippines for at least one year and in the place should be reckoned not from the date of the election nor the filing of the
wherein they propose to vote for at least six months immediately preceding certificate of candidacy, but from the date of proclamation, is that the only
the election. . . . (emphasis supplied) available remedy to question the ineligibility (or disloyalty) of a candidate is a
And Section 117 of the Omnibus Election Code of the Philippines (B.P. Blg. petition for quo warranto which, under Section 253 of the Omnibus Election
881) expressly provides for the qualifications of a voter. Thus: Code, may be filed only within ten days from proclamation and not earlier.

Sec. 117 Qualifications of a voter. -- Every citizen of the Philippines, not I beg to differ.
otherwise disqualified by law, eighteen years of age or over, who shall have Clearly, quo warranto is not the sole remedy available to question a
resided in the Philippines for one year and in the city or municipality wherein candidate's ineligibility for public office. Section 78 of the Omnibus Election
he proposes to vote for at least six months immediately preceding the election, Code allows the filing of a petition to deny due course to or cancel the
may be a registered voter. (emphasis supplied) certificate of candidacy on the ground that any material representation
It is undisputed that this Court twice voided Frivaldo's election as Governor in contained therein, as required by Section 74, is false. Section 74, in turn,
the 1988 and 1992 elections on the ground that for lack of Philippine requires that the person filing the certificate of candidacy must state, inter alia,
citizenship -- he being a naturalized citizen of the United States of America -- that he is eligible for the office, which means that he has all the qualifications
he was DISQUALIFIED to be elected as such and to serve the position (including, of course, fulfilling the citizenship requirement) and none of the
(Frivaldo vs. Commission on Elections, 174 SCRA 245 [1989]; Republic of the disqualifications as provided by law. The petition under Section 78 may be
Philippines vs. De la Rosa, 232 SCRA 785 [1994]). This disqualification filed at any time not later than 25 days from the filing of the certificate of
inexorably nullified Frivaldo's registration as a voter and declared it void ab candidacy. The section reads in full as follows:
initio. Our judgments therein were self-executory and no further act, e.g., a
74
Sec. 78. Petition to deny due course to or cancel a certificate of candidacy. -- While the validity of this rule insofar as it concerns petitions for disqualification
A verified petition seeking to deny due course or to cancel a certificate of on the ground of lack of all qualifications may be doubtful, its invalidity is not
candidacy may be filed by any person exclusively on the ground that any in issue here.
material representation contained therein as required under Section 74 hereof
is false. The petition may be filed at any time not later than twenty-five days In this connection, it would seem appropriate to take up the last issue grappled
from the time of the filing of the certificate of candidacy and shall be decided, within the ponencia, viz., is Section 78 of the Omnibus Election Code
after due notice and hearing, not later than fifteen days before the election. mandatory? The answer is provided in Loong.

This remedy was recognized in Loong vs. Commission on Elections (216 We also do not find merit in the contention of respondent Commission that in
SCRA 760, 768 [1992]), where this Court held: the light of the provisions of Sections 6 and 7 of Rep. Act No. 6646, a petition
to deny due course to or cancel a certificate of candidacy may be filed even
Thus, if a person qualified to file a petition to disqualify a certain candidate fails beyond the 25-day period prescribed by Section 78 of the Code, as long as it
to file the petition within the 25-day period Section 78 of the Code for whatever is filed within a reasonable time from the discovery of the ineligibility.
reasons, the election laws do not leave him completely helpless as he has
another chance to raise the disqualification of the candidate by filing a petition Sections 6 and 7 of Rep. Act No. 6646 are here re-quoted:
for quo warranto within ten (10) days from the proclamation of the results of Sec. 6. Effect of Disqualification case. Any candidate who has been declared
the election, as provided under Section 253 of the Code. Section 1, Rule 21 of by final judgment to be disqualified shall not be voted for, and the votes cast
the Comelec Rules of Procedure similarly provides that any voter contesting for him shall not be counted. If for any reason a candidate is not declared by
the election of any regional, provincial or city official on the ground of final judgment before an election to be disqualified and he is voted for and
ineligibility or of disloyalty to the Republic of the Philippines may file a petition receives the winning number of votes in such election, the Court or
for quo warranto with the Electoral Contest Adjudication Department. The Commission shall continue with the trial and hearing of the action, inquiry or
petition may be filed within ten (10) days from the date the respondent is protest and, upon motion of the complainant or any intervenor, may during the
proclaimed (Section 2). pendency thereof order the suspension of the proclamation of such candidate
Likewise, Rule 25 of the Revised COMELEC Rules of Procedure allows the whenever the evidence of his guilt is strong.
filing of a petition for disqualification on the ground of failure to possess all the Sec. 7. Petition to Deny Due Course To or Cancel a Certificate of Candidacy.
qualifications of a candidate as provided by the Constitution or by existing The procedure hereinabove provided shall apply to petitions to deny due
laws, "any day after the last day for filing of certificates of candidacy but not course to or cancel a certificate of candidacy as provided in Section 78 of
later than the date of proclamation." Sections 1 and 3 thereof provide: Batas Pambansa Blg. 881.
Rule 25 -- Disqualification of Candidates It will be noted that nothing in Sections 6 or 7 modifies or alters the 25- day
Sec. 1. Grounds for Disqualification. Any candidate who does not possess all period prescribed by Section 78 of the Code for filing the appropriate action to
the qualifications of a candidate as provided for by the Constitution or by cancel a certificate of candidacy on account of any false representation made
existing law or who commits any act declared by law to be grounds for therein. On the contrary, said Section 7 affirms and reiterates Section 78 of
disqualification may be disqualified from continuing as a candidate. the Code.

xxx xxx xxx We note that Section 6 refers only to the effects of a disqualification case
which may be based on grounds other than that provided under Section 78 of
Sec. 3. Period to File Petition. The petition shall be filed any day after the last the Code. But Section 7 of Rep. Act No. 6646 also makes the effects referred
day for filing of certificates of candidacy but not later than the date of to in Section 6 applicable to disqualification cases filed under Section 78 of the
proclamation. Code. Nowhere in Sections 6 and 7 of Rep. Act No. 6646 is mention made of

75
the period within which these disqualification cases may be filed. This is office under this Code, unless said person has waived his status as permanent
because there are provisions in the Code which supply the periods within resident or immigrant of a foreign country in accordance with the residence
which a petition relating to disqualification of candidates must be filed, such as requirement provided for in the election laws. (Sec. 25, 1971 EC)
Section 78, already discussed, and Section 253 on petitions for quo warranto.
Sec. 72. Effects of disqualification cases and priority. The Commission and the
I then disagree with the asseveration in the ponencia that Section 78 is merely courts shall give priority to cases of disqualification by reason of violation of
directory because Section 6 of R.A. No. 6646 authorizes the COMELEC to try this Act to the end that a final decision shall be rendered not later than seven
and decide petitions for disqualification even after elections. I submit that days before the election in which the disqualification is sought.
Section 6 refers to disqualifications under Sections 12 and 68 of the Omnibus
Election Code and consequently modifies Section 72 thereof. As such, the Any candidate who has been declared by final judgment to be disqualified shall
proper court or the COMELEC are granted the authority to continue hearing not be voted for, and the votes cast for him shall not be counted. Nevertheless,
the case after the election, and during the pendency of the case, suspend the if for any reason, a candidate is not declared by final judgment before an
proclamation of the victorious candidate, if the evidence against him is strong. election to be disqualified and he is voted for and receives the winning number
Sections 12, 68, and 72 of the Code provide: of votes in such election, his violation of the provisions of the preceding
sections shall not prevent his proclamation and assumption to office.
Sec. 12. Disqualifications. Any person who has been declared by competent
authority insane or incompetent, or has been sentenced by final judgment for III
subversion, insurrection, rebellion or for any offense for which he has been Still assuming that the repatriation is valid, I am not persuaded by the
sentenced to a penalty of more than eighteen months or for a crime involving arguments in support of the thesis that Frivaldo's repatriation may be given
moral turpitude, shall be disqualified to be a candidate and to hold any office, retroactive effect, as such goes against the spirit and letter of P.D. No. 725.
unless he has been given plenary pardon or granted amnesty. The spirit adheres to the principle that acquisition or re-acquisition of Philippine
The disqualifications to be a candidate herein provided shall be deemed citizenship is not a right, but a mere privilege. Before the advent of P.D. No.
removed upon declaration by competent authority that said insanity or 725, only the following could apply for repatriation: (a) Army, Navy, or Air Corps
incompetence had been removed or after the expiration of a period of five deserters; and (b) a woman who lost her citizenship by reason of her marriage
years from his service of sentence, unless within the same period he again to an alien after the death of her spouse (Section 2[2], C.A. No. 63). P.D. NO.
becomes disqualified. 725 expanded this to include Filipino women who lost their Philippine
citizenship by marriage to aliens even before the death of their alien husbands,
xxx xxx xxx or the termination of their marital status and to natural-born Filipino citizens
who lost their Philippine citizenship but subsequently desired to reacquire the
Sec. 68. Disqualifications. Any candidate who, in an action or protest in which latter.
he is a party is declared by final decision of a competent court guilty of, or
found by the Commission of having (a) given money or other material Turning now to the letter of the law, P.D. No. 725 expressly provides that
consideration to influence, induce or corrupt the voters or public officials repatriation takes effect only after taking the oath of allegiance to the Republic
performing electoral functions; (b) committed acts of terrorism to enhance his of the Philippines, thus:
candidacy; (c) spent in his election campaign an amount in excess of that
allowed by this Code; (d) solicited, received or made any contribution . . . may reacquire Philippine citizenship . . . by applying with the Special
prohibited under Sections 89, 95, 96, 97 and 104; or (e) violated any of Committee on Naturalization created by Letter of Instruction No. 270, and, if
Sections 80, 83, 85, 86 and 261, paragraphs d, e, k, v, and cc, sub-paragraph their applications are approved, taking the necessary oath of allegiance to the
6, shall be disqualified from continuing as a candidate, or if he has been Republic of the Philippines, AFTER WHICH THEY SHALL BE DEEMED TO
elected, from holding the office. Any person who is a permanent resident of or HAVE REACQUIRED PHILIPPINE CITIZENSHIP. (emphasis and
an immigrant to a foreign country shall not be qualified to run for any elective capitalization supplied)
76
Clearly then, the steps to reacquire Philippine citizenship by repatriation under P.D. No. 725 provides for the reacquisition of Philippine citizenship lost through
the decree are: (1) filing the application; (2) action by the committee; and (3) the marriage of a Filipina to an alien and through naturalization in a foreign
taking of the oath of allegiance if the application is approved. It is only UPON country of natural-born Filipino citizens. It involves then the substantive, nay
TAKING THE OATH OF ALLEGIANCE that the applicant is deemed ipso primordial, right of citizenship. To those for whom it is intended, it means, in
jure to have reacquired Philippine citizenship. If the decree had intended the reality, the acquisition of "a new right," as the ponencia cannot but concede.
oath taking to retroact to the date of the filing of the application, then it should Therefore, it may not be said to merely remedy or cure a defect considering
not have explicitly provided otherwise. that one who has lost Philippine citizenship does not have the right to reacquire
it. As earlier stated, the Constitution provides that citizenship, once lost, may
This theory in the ponencia likewise dilutes this Court's pronouncement in the only be reacquired in the manner provided by law. Moreover, it has also been
first Frivaldo case that what reacquisition of Filipino citizenship requires is an observed that:
act "formally rejecting [the] adopted state and reaffirming . . . allegiance to the
Philippines." That act meant nothing less than taking of the oath of allegiance The idea is implicit from many of the cases that remedial statutes are statutes
to the Republic of the Philippines. If we now take this revision of doctrine to its relating to procedure and not substantive rights. (Sutherland, Statutory
logical end, then it would also mean that if Frivaldo had chosen and reacquired Construction, Vol. 3, Third ed. [1943], §5704 at 74, citations omitted).
Philippine citizenship by naturalization or through Congressional action, such
would retroact to the filing of the petition for naturalization or the bill granting If we grant for the sake of argument, however, that P.D. No. 725 is curative or
him Philippine citizenship. This is a proposition which both the first and second remedial statute, it would be an inexcusable error to give it a retroactive effect
Frivaldo cases soundly rejected. since it explicitly provides the date of its effectivity. Thus:

The other reason adduced in the ponencia in support of the proposition that This Decree shall take effect immediately.
P.D. No. 725 can be given retroactive effect is its alleged curative or remedial Done in the city of Manila, this 5th day of June, in the year of Our Lord,
nature. nineteen hundred and seventy five.
Again, I disagree. In the first place, by no stretch of legal hermeneutics may Nevertheless, if the retroactivity is to relate only to the reacquisition of
P.D. No. 725 be characterized as a curative or remedial statute: Philippine citizenship, then nothing therein supports such theory, for as the
Curative or remedial statutes are healing acts. They are remedial by curing decree itself unequivocally provides, it is only after taking the oath of
defects and adding to the means of enforcing existing obligations. The rule in allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines that the applicant is DEEMED TO
regard to curative statutes is that if the thing omitted or failed to be done, and HAVE REACQUIRED PHILIPPINE CITIZENSHIP.
which constitutes the defect sought to be removed or made harmless, is IV
something the legislature might have dispensed with by a previous statute, it
may do so by a subsequent one. Assuming yet again, for the sake of argument, that taking the oath of allegiance
retroacted to the date of Frivaldo's application for repatriation, the same could
Curative statutes are intended to supply defects, abridge superfluities in not be said insofar as it concerned the United States of America, of which he
existing laws, and curb certain evils. They are intended to enable a person to was a citizen. For under the laws of the United States of America, Frivaldo
carry into effect that which they have designed and intended, but has failed of remained an American national until he renounced his citizenship and
expected legal consequence by reason of some statutory disability or allegiance thereto at 2:00 p.m. on 30 June 1995, when he took his oath of
irregularity in their own action. They make valid that which, before the allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines. Section 401 of the Nationality Act
enactment of the statute, was invalid. (RUBEN E. AGPALO, Statutory of 1940 of the United States of America provides that a person who is a
Construction, Second ed. [1990], 270-271, citations omitted). national of the United States of America, whether by birth or naturalization,
loses his nationality by, inter alia, "(b) Taking an oath or making an affirmation

77
or other formal declaration of allegiance to a foreign state" (SIDNEY KANSAS, Constitution" and that the said Constitution is "more people-oriented," "borne
U.S. Immigration Exclusion and Deportation and Citizenship of the United [as it is] out of the 1986 people power EDSA revolution." I would even go
States of America, Third ed., [1948] 341-342). It follows then that on election further by saying that this Constitution is pro-God (Preamble), pro-
day and until the hour of the commencement of the term for which he was people (Article II, Sections 1, 3, 4, 5, 9, 15, 16; Article XI, Section 1, Article XII,
elected - noon of 30 June 1995 as per Section 43 of the Local Government Sections 1, 6; Article XIII, Sections 1, 11, 15, 16, 18; Article XVI, Sections 5(2),
Code - Frivaldo possessed dual citizenship, viz., (a) as an American citizen; 6), pro-Filipino (Article XII, Sections 1, 2, 10, 11, 12, 14; Article XIV, Sections
and (b) as a Filipino citizen through the adoption of the theory that the effects 1, 4(2), 13; Article XVI, Section 11), pro-poor (Article II, Sections 9, 10, 18, 21;
of his taking the oath of allegiance were retrospective. Hence, he was Article XII, Sections 1, 2(3); Article XIII, Sections 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11,
disqualified to run for Governor for yet another reason: possession of dual 13), pro-life (Article II, Section 12), and pro-family (Article II, Section 12; Article
citizenship, in accordance with Section 40 (d) of the Local Government Code. XV).

V Nevertheless, I cannot be with him in carrying out the principle of sovereignty


beyond what I perceive to be the reasonable constitutional parameters. The
The assertion in the ponencia that Frivaldo may be considered STATELESS doctrine of people's sovereignty is founded on the principles of democracy and
on the basis of his claim that he "had long renounced and had long abandoned republicanism and refers exclusively to the sovereignty of the people of the
his American citizenship - long before May 8, 1985" - is untenable, for the Philippines. Section 1 of Article II is quite clear on this, thus:
following reasons: first, it is based on Frivaldo's unproven, self-serving
allegation; second, informal renunciation or abandonment is not a ground to Sec. 1. The Philippines is a democratic and republican State. Sovereignty
lose American citizenship; and third, simply put, never did the status of a resides in the people and all government authority emanates from them.
STATELESS person attach to Frivaldo.
And the Preamble makes it clear when it solemnly opens it with a clause
Statelessness may be either de jure, which is the status of individuals stripped "We, the sovereign Filipino people. . ." Thus, this sovereignty is an attribute of
of their nationality by their former government without having an opportunity to the Filipino people as one people, one body.
acquire another; or de facto, which is the status of individuals possessed of a
nationality whose country does not give them protection outside their own That sovereign power of the Filipino people cannot be fragmentized by looking
country, and who are commonly, albeit imprecisely, referred to as refugees at it as the supreme authority of the people of any of the political subdivisions
(JORGE R. COQUIA, et al., Conflict of Laws Cases, Materials and Comments, to determine their own destiny; neither can we convert and treat every
1995 ed., 290). fragment as the whole. In such a case, this Court would provide the formula
for the division and destruction of the State and render the Government
Specifically, under Chapter 1, Article 1 of the United Nations Convention ineffective and inutile. To illustrate the evil, we may consider the enforcement
Regarding the Status of Stateless Persons (Philippine Treaty Series, Compiled of laws or the pursuit of a national policy by the executive branch of the
and Annotated by Haydee B. Yorac, vol. III, 363), a stateless person is defined government, or the execution of a judgment by the courts. If these are opposed
as "a person who is not considered as a national by any State under the by the overwhelming majority of the people of a certain province, or even a
operation of its law." However, it has not been shown that the United States of municipality, it would necessarily follow that the law, national policy, or
America ever ceased to consider Frivaldo its national at any time before he judgment must not be enforced, implemented, or executed in the said province
took his oath of allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines on 30 June 1995. or municipality. More concretely, if, for instance, the vast majority of the people
of Batanes rise publicly and take up arms against the Government for the
VI purpose of removing from the allegiance to the said Government or its laws,
Finally, I find it in order to also express my view on the concurring opinion of the territory of the Republic of the Philippines or any part thereof, or any body
Mr. Justice Reynato S. Puno. I am absolutely happy to join him in his statement of land, naval, or other armed forces, or depriving the Chief Executive or the
that "[t]he sovereignty of our people is the primary postulate of the 1987 Legislature, wholly or partially, of any of their powers or prerogatives, then

78
those who did so -- and which are composed of the vast majority of the people Frivaldo "not a citizen of the Philippines and therefore DISQUALIFIED from
of Batanes -- a political subdivision -- cannot be prosecuted for or be held guilty serving as Governor of the Province of Sorsogon." On February 28, 1992, the
of rebellion in violation of Article 134 of the Revised Penal Code because of Regional Trial Court of Manila granted the petition for naturalization of Frivaldo.
the doctrine of peoples' sovereignty. Indeed, the expansion of the doctrine of However, the Supreme Court in G.R. No. 104654, Republic of the Philippines
sovereignty by investing upon the people of a mere political subdivision that vs. De la Rosa, et al., 232 SCRA 785 (June 6, 1994), overturned this grant,
which the Constitution places in the entire Filipino people, may be disastrous and Frivaldo was "declared not a citizen of the Philippines" and ordered to
to the Nation. vacate his office. On the basis of this latter Supreme Court ruling, the Comelec
disqualified Frivaldo in SPA No. 95-028.
So it is in this case if we follow the thesis in the concurring opinion. Thus,
simply because Frivaldo had obtained a margin of 20,000 votes over his 7 Signed by Chairman Bernardo P. Pardo and the six incumbent
closest rival, Lee, i.e., a vast majority of the voters of Sorsogon had expressed commissioners, namely, Regalado E. Maambong, Remedios A. Salazar-
their sovereign will for the former, then this Court must yield to that will and Fernando, Manolo B. Gorospe, Graduacion A. Reyes-Claravall, Julio F.
must, therefore, allow to be set aside, for Frivaldo, not just the laws on Desamito and Teresita Dy-Liaco Flores; rollo, pp. 56-57.
qualifications of candidates and elective officials and naturalization and
reacquisition of Philippine citizenship, but even the final and binding decisions 8 Rollo, p. 60.
of this Court affecting him. 9 Rollo, pp. 61-67.
This Court must be the first to uphold the Rule of Law. I vote then to DISMISS 10 Rollo, pp. 86-87. The Comelec considered the votes cast for Frivaldo as
G.R. No. 120295 and GRANT G.R. No. 123755. "stray votes", and thus Lee was held as having garnered the "highest number
1 Composed of Pres. CoFootnotesmm. Regalado E. Maambong, ponente; of votes."
Comm. Graduacion A.R. Claravall, concurring, and Comm. Julio F. Desamito, 11 Rollo, pp. 88-97. This is the forerunner of the present case.
dissenting.
12 211 SCRA 297 (July 3, 1992) and 176 SCRA 1 (August 1, 1989).
2 In SPC No. 95-317, entitled Juan G. Frivaldo, petitioner, vs. Raul R. Lee,
respondent; rollo, pp. 110-129. 13 Rollo, pp. 110-128.

3 Signed by Chairman Bernardo P. Pardo, Comms. Regalado E. Maambong, 14 Rollo, pp. 159-170.
Remedios A. Salazar-Fernando, Manolo B. Gorospe and Teresita Dy-Liaco
15 Rollo, pp. 16-17; petition, pp. 14-15.
Flores. Chairman Pardo certified that "Commissioner Julio F. Desamito was
on official travel at the time of the deliberation and resolution of this case. 16 Rollo, pp. 10-15. This is the same resolution referred to in footnote no. 5.
However, the Commission has reserved to Comm. Desamito the right to
submit a dissenting opinion." Rollo, pp. 159-171. 17 Rollo, pp. 16-17. This is the same resolution referred to in footnote no. 7.

4 Rollo, pp. 46-49. 18 Rollo, pp. 18-21. This is signed also by the Chairman and the six other
Comelec Commissioners.
5 Rollo, pp. 50-55. The Second Division was composed of Pres. Comm.
Remedios A. Salazar-Fernando,ponente; Comm. Teresita Dy-Liaco Flores, 19 Republic Act No. 7160.
concurring, and Comm. Manolo B. Gorospe ("on official business").
20 See footnote no. 6, supra.
6 Frivaldo was naturalized as an American citizen on January 20, 1983. In
21 In debunking Frivaldo's claim of citizenship, this Court in G.R. No.
G.R. No. 87193, Frivaldo vs. Commission on Elections, 174 SCRA 245 (June
87193, supra, p. 254, observed that "(i)f he (Frivaldo) really wanted to disavow
23, 1989), the Supreme Court, by reason of such naturalization, declared
79
his American citizenship and reacquire Philippine citizenship, petitioner should 28 The aforesaid Manifestation reads as follows:
have done so in accordance with the laws of our country. Under C.A. No. 63
as amended by C.A. No. 473 and P.D. 725, Philippine citizenship may be MANIFESTATION
reacquired by direct act of Congress, by naturalization, or by repatriation." The Solicitor General, as Chairman of the Special Committee on
22 Supra, p. 794. Naturalization, hereby manifests that the following persons have been
repatriated by virtue of Presidential Decree No. 725, since June 8, 1995:
23 Petition, p. 27; rollo, p. 29.
1. Juan Gallanosa Frivaldo R-000900
24 The full text of said memorandum reads as follows:
2. Manuel Reyes Sanchez 901
MEMORANDUM
3. Ma. Nelly Dessalla Ty 902
TO : The Solicitor General
4. Terry Herrera and
The Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs
Antonio Ching 903
The Director-General
5. Roberto Salas Benedicto 904
National Intelligence Coordinating Agency
6. Winthrop Santos Liwag 905
The previous administration's practice of granting citizenship by Presidential
Decree or any other executive issuance, and the derivative administrative 7. Samuel M. Buyco 906
authority thereof, poses a serious and contentious issue of policy which the 8. Joselito Holganza Ruiz 907
present government, in the exercise of prudence and sound discretion, should
best leave to the judgment of the first Congress under the 1987 Constitution. 9. Samuel Villanueva 908

In view of the foregoing, you as Chairman and members of the Special 10. Juan Leonardo Collas, Jr. 909
Committee on Naturalization, are hereby directed to cease and desist from
11. Felicilda Otilla Sacnanas-Chua 910
undertaking any and all proceedings within your functional area of
responsibility, as defined in Letter of Instructions No. 270 dated April 11, 1975, 29 The text of P.D. 725 is reproduced below:
as amended, Presidential Decree No. 836 dated December 3, 1975, as
amended, and Presidential Decree No. 1379 dated May 17, 1978, relative to PRESIDENTIAL DECREE No. 725
the grant of citizenship under the said laws, and any other related laws, orders,
PROVIDING FOR REPATRIATION OF FILIPINO WOMEN WHO HAD LOST
issuances and rules and regulations.
THEIR PHILIPPINE CITIZENSHIP BY MARRIAGE TO ALIENS AND OF
(Sgd.) Corazon C. Aquino NATURAL BORN FILIPINOS.

Manila, March 27, 1987. WHEREAS, there are many Filipino women who had lost their Philippine
citizenship by marriage to aliens;
25 Art. 7, Civil Code of the Philippines.
WHEREAS, while the new Constitution allows a Filipino woman who marries
26 Cf. Ty, et al. vs. Trampe, et al., G.R. No. 117577 (December 1, 1995). an alien to retain her Philippine citizenship unless by her act or omission, she
is deemed under the law to have renounced her Philippine citizenship, such
27 Petition, p. 28; rollo, p. 30.

80
provision of the new Constitution does not apply to Filipino women who had JUSTICE PANGANIBAN: Mr. Counsel, it is your position then that the
married aliens before said constitution took effect; candidate should be a citizen at the time of proclamation?

WHEREAS, the existing law (C.A. No. 63, as amended) allows the repatriation ATTY. BRILLANTES: Yes, Your Honor, it is required that he must be a citizen
of Filipino women who lost their citizenship by reason of their marriage to at the time of proclamation and not only that, at the time that he assumes the
aliens only after the death of their husbands or the termination of their marital office he must have the continuing qualification as a citizen.
status; and
JUSTICE PANGANIBAN: Should that not be reckoned from the time of filing
WHEREAS, there are natural born Filipinos who have lost their Philippine of certificate of candidacy or at least the day of the election?
citizenship but now desire to re-acquire Philippine citizenship;
ATTY. BRILLANTES: Yes, Your Honor, there are positions taken that it should
Now, THEREFORE, I, FERDINAND E. MARCOS, President of the Philippines, be reckoned from the date of certificate of candidacy as in the case of
by virtue of the powers in me vested by the Constitution, do hereby decree and qualification for Batasang Pambansa before under B.P. 53 - it says that for
order that: (1) Filipino women who lost their Philippine citizenship by marriage purposes of residence it must be reckoned . . . from the time of the filing of the
to aliens; and (3) natural born Filipinos who have lost their Philippine certificate, for purposes of age, from the time of the date of the election. But
citizenship may reacquire Philippine citizenship through repatriation by when we go over all the provisions of law under current laws, Your Honor,
applying with the Special Committee on Naturalization created by Letter of there is no qualification requirement insofar as citizenship is concern(ed) as to
Instructions No. 270, and, if their applications are approved, taking the when, as to when you should be a citizen of the Philippines and we say that if
necessary oath of allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines, after which there is no provision under any existing law which requires that you have to be
they shall be deemed to have reacquired Philippine citizenship. The a citizen of the Philippines on the date of the filing or on the date of election
Commission on Immigration and Deportation shall thereupon cancel their then it has to be equitably interpreted to mean that if you are already qualified
certificate of registration. at the time that the office is supposed to be assumed then you should be
allowed to assume the office.
The aforesaid Special Committee is hereby authorized to promulgate rules and
regulations and prescribe the appropriate forms and the required fees for the JUSTICE PANGANIBAN: Is it not also true that under the Local Autonomy
effective implementation of this Decree. Code the candidate should also be a registered voter and to be a registered
voter one must be a citizen?
This Decree shall take effect immediately.
ATTY. BRILLANTES: Yes, Your Honor, in fact, Mr. Frivaldo has always been
Done in the City of Manila, this 5th day of June, in the year of Our Lord, a registered voter of Sorsogon. He has voted in 1987, 1988, 1992, then he
nineteen hundred and seventy-five. voted again in 1995. In fact, his eligibility as a voter was questioned but the
30 See footnote no. 6, supra. Court dismissed (sic) his eligibility as a voter and he was allowed to vote as in
fact, he voted in all the previous elections including on May 8, 1995.
31 Cf. Labo, Jr. vs. Comelec, 211 SCRA 297 (July 3, 1992).
JUSTICE PANGANIBAN: But the fact that he voted does not make him a
32 The term of office of all local elective officials elected after the effectivity of citizen. The fact is, he was declared not a citizen by this Court twice.
this Code shall be three (3) years, starting from noon of June 30, 1992 or such
date as may be provided for by law, . . ." Sec. 43, Local Government Code. ATTY. BRILLANTES: That is true, Your Honor, we admit that he has been
twice declared not citizen and we admit the ruling of the Supreme Court is
33 96 Phil. 447, 453 (1955). correct but the fact is, Your Honor, the matter of his eligibility to vote as being
a registered voter was likewise questioned before the judiciary. There was a
34 The following are excerpts from the transcript of stenographic notes of the
oral argument held on March 19, 1996:
81
ruling by the Municipal Court, there was a ruling by the Regional Trial Court or municipal trial court, respectively, within ten days after the proclamation of
and he was sustained as a valid voter, so he voted. the results of the election. (Art. XVIII, Sec. 189, par. 2, 1978 EC).

JUSTICE PANGANIBAN: I raised this question in connection with your 39 Art. 4, New Civil Code. See also Gallardo vs. Borromeo, 161 SCRA 500
contention that citizenship should be determined as of the time of proclamation (May 25, 1988), and Nilo vs. Court of Appeals, 128 SCRA 519 (April 2, 1984).
and not as of the time of the election or at the time of the filing of the certificate
of candidacy. 40 Tolentino, Commentaries and Jurisprudence on the Civil Code of the
Philippines, Vol. I, 1990 ed., p. 23 states:
ATTY. BRILLANTES: That is true, Your Honor.
Exceptions to Rule. -- Statutes can be given retroactive effect in the following
JUSTICE PANGANIBAN: And is it your contention that under the law, cases: (1) when the law itself so expressly provides, (2) in case of remedial
particularly the Local Autonomy Code, the law does not specify when statutes, (3) in case of curative statutes, (4) in case of laws interpreting others,
citizenship should be possessed by the candidate, is that not correct? and (5) in case of laws creating new rights.

ATTY. BRILLANTES: That is right, Your Honor, there is no express provision. 41 Id., p. 25.

JUSTICE PANGANIBAN: I am also asking you that under the Local Autonomy 42 Agpalo, Statutory Construction, 1990 ed., pp. 270-271.
Code the candidate for governor or for other local positions should be a voter
and to be a voter one must be a citizen? 43 73 Am Jur 2d, Sec. 354, p. 489, cited in Castro vs. Sagales, 94 Phil. 208,
210 (1953).
ATTY. BRILLANTES: That is right, Your Honor, but the fact of voting is not an
issue here because he was allowed to vote and he did in fact vote and in fact, 44 Memorandum, p. 9.
he was a registered voter. (TSN, March 19, 1996.) 45 73 Am Jur 2d, Sec. 351, p. 488.
35 Section 117, Batas Pambansa Blg. 881, otherwise known as "The Omnibus 46 73 Am Jur 2d, Sec. 354, p. 490; emphasis supplied.
Election Code of the Philippines", as amended, provides for the various
qualifications of voters, one of which is Filipino citizenship. 47 Art. 10, Civil Code of the Philippines.

36 Comment, p. 11; rollo, p. 259. 48 Based on the "Corrected Compliance" dated May 16, 1996 filed by the
Solicitor General, it appears that, excluding the case of Frivaldo, the longest
37 See footnote no. 33. interval between date of filing of an application for repatriation and its approval
38 Section 253 reads as follows: was three months and ten days; the swiftest action was a same-day approval.

Sec. 253. Petition for quo warranto. -- Any voter contesting the election of any 49 Sec. 40. Disqualifications. -- The following persons are disqualified from
member of the Congress, regional, provincial, or city officer on the ground of running for any elective local position:
ineligibility or of disloyalty to the Republic of the Philippines shall file a sworn xxx xxx xxx
petition for quo warranto with the Commission within ten days after the
proclamation of the results of the election. (Art. XIV, Sec. 60, BP 697; Art. (d) Those with dual citizenship;"
XVIII, Sec. 189, par. 2, 1978 EC).
50 p. 11; rollo, p. 259.
Any voter contesting the election of any municipal or barangay officer on the
51 Resolution, p. 12; rollo, p. 121.
ground of ineligibility or of disloyalty to the Republic of the Philippines shall file
a sworn petition for quo warranto with the regional trial court or metropolitan

82
52 Cf. Navarro vs. Commission on Elections, 228 SCRA 596 (December 17, 65 Salonga and Yap, Public International Law, 1966 ed., p. 239.
1993); Arao vs. Commission on Elections, 210 SCRA 290 (June 23, 1992).
66 In Espinosa vs. Aquino, (Electoral Case No. 9, Senate Electoral Tribunal
53 The dispositive portion of said Resolution reads: [SET]), the election of the late Senator Benigno S. Aquino, Jr. was upheld,
despite his not being of the required age on the day of the election, although
WHEREFORE, this Division resolves to GRANT the petition and declares that he celebrated his thirty-fifth birthday before his proclamation. Much later, in
respondent is DISQUALIFIED to run for the office of Provincial Governor of 1990, this Court held inAznar vs. Comelec (185 SCRA 703, May 25, 1990) that
Sorsogon on the ground that he is not a citizen of the Philippines. Accordingly even if Emilio "Lito" Osmeña held an Alien Certificate of Registration as an
respondent's certificate of candidacy is cancelled. American citizen, he was still not disqualified from occupying the local elective
54 Petition, p. 19; rollo, p. 21. post of governor, since such certificate did not preclude his being "still a
Filipino." The holding in Aquino was subsequently nullified by the adoption of
55 Resolution promulgated on December 19, 1995, p. 7; rollo, p. 116. the 1987 Constitution (Art. VI, Sec. 3), which specified that the age qualification
must be possessed on the day of the elections, and not on the day of the
56 42 SCRA 561, 565 (December 20, 1971), citing Moy Ya Lim Yao vs.
proclamation of the winners by the board of canvassers. On the other hand,
Commissioner of Immigration, L-21289, October 4, 1971.
Sec. 40 of Republic Act No. 7160 (Local Government Code of 1991) which
57 Art. IX, Sec. 2. took effect on January 1, 1992, provides that those with dual citizenship are
disqualified from running for any elective local position, and effectively
58 SPC No. 95-317 is entitled "Annulment of Proclamation" and contains the overturns the ruling in Aznar. But the point is that to the extent possible, and
following prayer: unless there exist provisions to the contrary, the laws have always been
interpreted to give fullest effect to the political will.
WHEREFORE, it is most respectfully prayed of this Honorable Commission
that after due notice and hearing an Oder (sic) /Resolution/Decision be issued 67 Benito vs. Commission on Elections, 235 SCRA 436, 442 (August 17,
as follows: 1994).
a) Annulling/setting aside the 30 June 1995 proclamation of respondent as the 68 This antagonism was clearly present in the two earlier cases involving
duly election (sic), Governor of Sorsogon for being contrary to law; Frivaldo. See footnote no. 6.
b) Ordering the proclamation of the petitioner as duly elected governor of PUNO, J., concurring:
Sorsogon;
1 The 1987 Constitution added the word "democratic" in the statement of the
xxx xxx xxx principle.
59 229 SCRA 666, 674 (February 4, 1994). 2 Section 24(a) of the Tydings-McDuffie Law which authorized the Filipino
people to draft a Constitution in 1934 required that the "constitution formulated
60 211 SCRA 297, 309 (July 3, 1992).
and drafted shall be republican in form."
61 G.R. No. 120265, September 18, 1995.
This Court has observed that even before the Tydings-McDuffie Law, the
62 Supra, at p. 312. Philippine Bill and the Jones Law have ". . . extended the powers of a
republican form of government modeled after that of the United States to the
63 See footnotes 2 and 3. Philippines." Roa v. Collector of Customs, 23 Phil. 315, 340 [1912], Severino
v. Gov. General, 16 Phil. 366, 383 [1910], US v. Bull, 15 Phil. 7, 27 [1910].
64 174 SCRA 245, 254 (June 23, 1959).

83
3 Words and Phrases, Vol. 39 A., p. 68 citing Cherokee Nation v. Southern Election Supervisor on March 8, 1995, providing the following information in
Kan. R. Co., 33 F. 900, 906. item no. 8: 4

4 Dean of the UP College of Law; later President of U.P., and Delegate to the RESIDENCE IN THE CONSTITUENCY WHERE I SEEK TO BE ELECTED
1971 Constitutional Convention. IMMEDIATELY PRECEDING THE ELECTION: __________ Years
and seven Months.
5 Since, Philippine Political Law, Principles and Concepts, 1954, ed., p. 22.
On March 23, 1995, private respondent Cirilo Roy Montejo, the incumbent
6 Barker, Principles of Social and Political Theory, p. 59 (1952 ed.). Representative of the First District of Leyte and a candidate for the same
7 118 US 356. position, filed a "Petition for Cancellation and Disqualification" 5 with the
Commission on Elections alleging that petitioner did not meet the constitutional
8 Cruz, Philippine Political Law, p. 49, [1991 ed.]. requirement for residency. In his petition, private respondent contended that
Mrs. Marcos lacked the Constitution's one year residency requirement for
9 Sinco, op. cit., pp. 23-24.
candidates for the House of Representatives on the evidence of declarations
10 3 AM JUR 2d 889-890; 63 AM JUR 2d 653; 67 CSJ 926. made by her in Voter Registration Record 94-No. 3349772 6and in her
Certificate of Candidacy. He prayed that "an order be issued declaring
11 Moya v. del Fierro, 69 Phil. 199. (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.
G.R. No. 119976 September 18, 1995
8 of the amended certificate. 8 On the same day, the Provincial Election
IMELDA ROMUALDEZ-MARCOS, petitioner, Supervisor of Leyte informed petitioner that:
vs.
[T]his office cannot receive or accept the aforementioned Certificate of
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and CIRILO ROY MONTEJO, respondents.
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,
KAPUNAN, J.: 1995 deadline. 9
A constitutional provision should be construed as to give it effective operation Consequently, petitioner filed the Amended/Corrected Certificate of Candidacy
and suppress the mischief at which it is aimed. 1 The 1987 Constitution with the COMELEC's Head Office in Intramuros, Manila on
mandates that an aspirant for election to the House of Representatives be "a March 31, 1995. Her Answer to private respondent's petition in SPA No. 95-
registered voter in the district in which he shall be elected, and a resident 009 was likewise filed with the head office on the same day. In said Answer,
thereof for a period of not less than one year immediately preceding the petitioner averred that the entry of the word "seven" in her original Certificate
election." 2 The mischief which this provision — reproduced verbatim from the of Candidacy was the result of an "honest misinterpretation" 10 which she
1973 Constitution — seeks to prevent is the possibility of a "stranger or sought to rectify by adding the words "since childhood" in her
newcomer unacquainted with the conditions and needs of a community and Amended/Corrected Certificate of Candidacy and that "she has always
not identified with the latter, from an elective office to serve that community." 3 maintained Tacloban City as her domicile or residence. 11 Impugning
respondent's motive in filing the petition seeking her disqualification, she noted
Petitioner Imelda Romualdez-Marcos filed her Certificate of Candidacy for the
that:
position of Representative of the First District of Leyte with the Provincial

84
When respondent (petitioner herein) announced that she was intending to Tacloban City, a component of the First District, before coming to the
register as a voter in Tacloban City and run for Congress in the First District of Municipality of Tolosa.
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, Along this point, it is interesting to note that prior to her registration in Tolosa,
Tolosa, Leyte. After respondent had registered as a voter in Tolosa following respondent announced that she would be registering in Tacloban City so that
completion of her six month actual residence therein, petitioner filed a petition she can be a candidate for the District. However, this intention was rebuffed
with the COMELEC to transfer the town of Tolosa from the First District to the when petitioner wrote the Election Officer of Tacloban not to allow respondent
Second District and pursued such a move up to the Supreme Court, his since she is a resident of Tolosa and not Tacloban. She never disputed this
purpose being to remove respondent as petitioner's opponent in the claim and instead implicitly acceded to it by registering in Tolosa.
congressional election in the First District. He also filed a bill, along with other This incident belies respondent's claim of "honest misinterpretation or honest
Leyte Congressmen, seeking the creation of another legislative district to mistake." Besides, the Certificate of Candidacy only asks for RESIDENCE.
remove the town of Tolosa out of the First District, to achieve his purpose. Since on the basis of her Answer, she was quite aware of "residence of origin"
However, such bill did not pass the Senate. Having failed on such moves, which she interprets to be Tacloban City, it is curious why she did not cite
petitioner now filed the instant petition for the same objective, as it is obvious Tacloban City in her Certificate of Candidacy. Her explanation that she thought
that he is afraid to submit along with respondent for the judgment and verdict what was asked was her actual and physical presence in Tolosa is not easy to
of the electorate of the First District of Leyte in an honest, orderly, peaceful, believe because there is none in the question that insinuates about Tolosa. In
free and clean elections on May 8, 1995. 12 fact, item no. 8 in the Certificate of Candidacy speaks clearly of "Residency in
On April 24, 1995, the Second Division of the Commission on Elections the CONSTITUENCY where I seek to be elected immediately preceding the
(COMELEC), by a vote of 2 to 1, 13 came up with a Resolution 1) finding private election." Thus, the explanation of respondent fails to be persuasive.
respondent's Petition for Disqualification in SPA 95-009 meritorious; 2) striking From the foregoing, respondent's defense of an honest mistake or
off petitioner's Corrected/Amended Certificate of Candidacy of March 31, misinterpretation, therefore, is devoid of merit.
1995; and 3) canceling her original Certificate of Candidacy. 14 Dealing with
two primary issues, namely, the validity of amending the original Certificate of To further buttress respondent's contention that an amendment may be made,
Candidacy after the lapse of the deadline for filing certificates of candidacy, she cited the case ofAlialy v. COMELEC (2 SCRA 957). The reliance of
and petitioner's compliance with the one year residency requirement, the respondent on the case of Alialy is misplaced. The case only applies to the
Second Division held: "inconsequential deviations which cannot affect the result of the election, or
deviations from provisions intended primarily to secure timely and orderly
Respondent raised the affirmative defense in her Answer that the printed word conduct of elections." The Supreme Court in that case considered the
"Seven" (months) was a result of an "honest misinterpretation or honest amendment only as a matter of form. But in the instant case, the amendment
mistake" on her part and, therefore, an amendment should subsequently be cannot be considered as a matter of form or an inconsequential deviation. The
allowed. She averred that she thought that what was asked was her "actual change in the number of years of residence in the place where respondent
and physical" presence in Tolosa and not residence of origin or domicile in the seeks to be elected is a substantial matter which determines her qualification
First Legislative District, to which she could have responded "since childhood." as a candidacy, specially those intended to suppress, accurate material
In an accompanying affidavit, she stated that her domicile is Tacloban City, a representation in the original certificate which adversely affects the filer. To
component of the First District, to which she always intended to return admit the amended certificate is to condone the evils brought by the shifting
whenever absent and which she has never abandoned. Furthermore, in her minds of manipulating candidate, of the detriment of the integrity of the
memorandum, she tried to discredit petitioner's theory of disqualification by election.
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 Moreover, to allow respondent to change the seven (7) month period of her
Tolosa for seven months. She asserts that she has always been a resident of residency in order to prolong it by claiming it was "since childhood" is to allow
85
an untruthfulness to be committed before this Commission. The arithmetical time that she studied and worked for some years after graduation in Tacloban
accuracy of the 7 months residency the respondent indicated in her certificate City, she continuously lived in Manila. In 1959, after her husband was elected
of candidacy can be gleaned from her entry in her Voter's Registration Record Senator, she lived and resided in San Juan, Metro Manila where she was a
accomplished on January 28, 1995 which reflects that she is a resident of Brgy. registered voter. In 1965, she lived in San Miguel, Manila where she was again
Olot, Tolosa, Leyte for 6 months at the time of the said registration (Annex A, a registered voter. In 1978, she served as member of the Batasang Pambansa
Petition). Said accuracy is further buttressed by her letter to the election officer as the representative of the City of Manila and later on served as the Governor
of San Juan, Metro Manila, dated August 24, 1994, requesting for the of Metro Manila. She could not have served these positions if she had not been
cancellation of her registration in the Permanent List of Voters thereat so that a resident of the City of Manila. Furthermore, when she filed her certificate of
she can be re-registered or transferred to Brgy. Olot, Tolosa, Leyte. The dates candidacy for the office of the President in 1992, she claimed to be a resident
of these three (3) different documents show the respondent's consistent of San Juan, Metro Manila. As a matter of fact on August 24, 1994, respondent
conviction that she has transferred her residence to Olot, Tolosa, Leyte from wrote a letter with the election officer of San Juan, Metro Manila requesting for
Metro Manila only for such limited period of time, starting in the last week of the cancellation of her registration in the permanent list of voters that she may
August 1994 which on March 8, 1995 will only sum up to 7 months. The be re-registered or transferred to Barangay Olot, Tolosa, Leyte. These facts
Commission, therefore, cannot be persuaded to believe in the respondent's manifest that she could not have been a resident of Tacloban City since
contention that it was an error. 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
xxx xxx xxx claim that prior to her residence in Tolosa, Leyte, she was a resident of the
Based on these reasons the Amended/Corrected Certificate of Candidacy First Legislative District of Leyte since childhood.
cannot be admitted by this Commission. In this case, respondent's conduct reveals her lack of intention to make
xxx xxx xxx 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
Anent the second issue, and based on the foregoing discussion, it is clear that spent her school days in Tacloban, she is considered to have abandoned such
respondent has not complied with the one year residency requirement of the place when she chose to stay and reside in other different places. In the case
Constitution. 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 election cases, the term "residence" has always been considered as
in the new locality; (2) intention to remain there; and (3) intention to abandon
synonymous with "domicile" which imports not only the intention to reside in a
the old domicile. In other words there must basically be animus
fixed place but also personal presence in-that place, coupled with conduct
manendi withanimus non revertendi. When respondent chose to stay in Ilocos
indicative of such intention. Domicile denotes a fixed permanent residence to
and later on in Manila, coupled with her intention to stay there by registering
which when absent for business or pleasure, or for like reasons, one intends
as a voter there and expressly declaring that she is a resident of that place,
to return. (Perfecto Faypon vs. Eliseo Quirino, 96 Phil 294; Romualdez vs.
she is deemed to have abandoned Tacloban City, where she spent her
RTC-Tacloban, 226 SCRA 408). In respondent's case, when she returned to
childhood and school days, as her place of domicile.
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 Pure intention to reside in that place is not sufficient, there must likewise be
and not Tacloban. conduct indicative of such intention. Respondent's statements to the effect that
she has always intended to return to Tacloban, without the accompanying
This Division is aware that her claim that she has been a resident of the First
conduct to prove that intention, is not conclusive of her choice of residence.
District since childhood is nothing more than to give her a color of qualification
Respondent has not presented any evidence to show that her conduct, one
where she is otherwise constitutionally disqualified. It cannot hold ground in
year prior the election, showed intention to reside in Tacloban. Worse, what
the face of the facts admitted by the respondent in her affidavit. Except for the
86
was evident was that prior to her residence in Tolosa, she had been a resident On account of the Resolutions disqualifying petitioner from running for the
of Manila. congressional seat of the First District of Leyte and the public respondent's
Resolution suspending her proclamation, petitioner comes to this court for
It is evident from these circumstances that she was not a resident of the First relief.
District of Leyte "since childhood."
Petitioner raises several issues in her Original and Supplemental Petitions.
To further support the assertion that she could have not been a resident of the The principal issues may be classified into two general areas:
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- I. The issue of Petitioner's qualifications
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. Whether or not petitioner was a resident, for election purposes, of the First
This may be inconsequential as argued by the respondent since it refers only District of Leyte for a period of one year at the time of the May 9, 1995
to her residence in Tolosa, Leyte. But her failure to prove that she was a elections.
resident of the First District of Leyte prior to her residence in Tolosa leaves II. The Jurisdictional Issue
nothing but a convincing proof that she had been a resident of the district for
six months only. 15 a) Prior to the elections

In a Resolution promulgated a day before the May 8, 1995 elections, the Whether or not the COMELEC properly exercised its jurisdiction in
COMELEC en banc denied petitioner's Motion for Reconsideration 16 of the disqualifying petitioner outside the period mandated by the Omnibus Election
April 24, 1995 Resolution declaring her not qualified to run for the position of Code for disqualification cases under Article 78 of the said Code.
Member of the House of Representatives for the First Legislative District of
b) After the Elections
Leyte. 17 The Resolution tersely stated:
Whether or not the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal assumed
After deliberating on the Motion for Reconsideration, the Commission
exclusive jurisdiction over the question of petitioner's qualifications after the
RESOLVED to DENY it, no new substantial matters having been raised therein
May 8, 1995 elections.
to warrant re-examination of the resolution granting the petition for
disqualification. 18 I. Petitioner's qualification
On May 11, 1995, the COMELEC issued a Resolution allowing petitioner's A perusal of the Resolution of the COMELEC's Second Division reveals a
proclamation should the results of the canvass show that she obtained the startling confusion in the application of settled concepts of "Domicile" and
highest number of votes in the congressional elections in the First District of "Residence" in election law. While the COMELEC seems to be in agreement
Leyte. On the same day, however, the COMELEC reversed itself and issued with the general proposition that for the purposes of election law, residence is
a second Resolution directing that the proclamation of petitioner be suspended synonymous with domicile, the Resolution reveals a tendency to substitute or
in the event that she obtains the highest number of votes. 19 mistake the concept of domicile for actual residence, a conception not
intended for the purpose of determining a candidate's qualifications for election
In a Supplemental Petition dated 25 May 1995, petitioner averred that she was
to the House of Representatives as required by the 1987 Constitution. As it
the overwhelming winner of the elections for the congressional seat in the First
were, residence, for the purpose of meeting the qualification for an elective
District of Leyte held May 8, 1995 based on the canvass completed by the
position, has a settled meaning in our jurisdiction.
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 Article 50 of the Civil Code decrees that "[f]or the exercise of civil rights and
36,833 votes received by Respondent Montejo. A copy of said Certificate of the fulfillment of civil obligations, the domicile of natural persons is their place
Canvass was annexed to the Supplemental Petition. of habitual residence." In Ong vs. Republic 20 this court took the concept of
87
domicile to mean an individual's "permanent home", "a place to which, post of Municipal President of Dumaguete, Negros Oriental. Faypon
whenever absent for business or for pleasure, one intends to return, and vs. Quirino, 27 held that the absence from residence to pursue studies or
depends on facts and circumstances in the sense that they disclose practice a profession or registration as a voter other than in the place where
intent." 21 Based on the foregoing, domicile includes the twin elements of "the one is elected does not constitute loss of residence. 28 So settled is the
fact of residing or physical presence in a fixed place" and animus manendi, or concept (of domicile) in our election law that in these and other election law
the intention of returning there permanently. 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
Residence, in its ordinary conception, implies the factual relationship of an loss or change of domicile.
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 The deliberations of the 1987 Constitution on the residence qualification for
domicile in law is that residence involves the intent to leave when the purpose certain elective positions have placed beyond doubt the principle that when
for which the resident has taken up his abode ends. One may seek a place for the Constitution speaks of "residence" in election law, it actually means only
purposes such as pleasure, business, or health. If a person's intent be to "domicile" to wit:
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 Mr. Nolledo: With respect to Section 5, I remember that in the 1971
individual to have different residences in various places. However, a person Constitutional Convention, there was an attempt to require residence in the
can only have a single domicile, unless, for various reasons, he successfully place not less than one year immediately preceding the day of the elections.
abandons his domicile in favor of another domicile of choice. In Uytengsu So my question is: What is the Committee's concept of residence of a
vs. Republic, 23 we laid this distinction quite clearly: candidate for the legislature? Is it actual residence or is it the concept of
domicile or constructive residence?
There is a difference between domicile and residence. "Residence" is used to
indicate a place of abode, whether permanent or temporary; "domicile" Mr. Davide: Madame President, insofar as the regular members of the National
denotes a fixed permanent residence to which, when absent, one has the Assembly are concerned, the proposed section merely provides, among
intention of returning. A man may have a residence in one place and a domicile others, "and a resident thereof", that is, in the district for a period of not less
in another. Residence is not domicile, but domicile is residence coupled with than one year preceding the day of the election. This was in effect lifted from
the intention to remain for an unlimited time. A man can have but one domicile the 1973 Constitution, the interpretation given to it was domicile. 29
for the same purpose at any time, but he may have numerous places of xxx xxx xxx
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 Mrs. Rosario Braid: The next question is on Section 7, page 2. I think
remaining will constitute domicile. Commissioner Nolledo has raised the same point that "resident" has been
interpreted at times as a matter of intention rather than actual residence.
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 Mr. De los Reyes: Domicile.
election law, what has clearly and unequivocally emerged is the fact that
Ms. Rosario Braid: Yes, So, would the gentleman consider at the proper time
residence for election purposes is used synonymously with domicile.
to go back to actual residence rather than mere intention to reside?
In Nuval vs. Guray, 24 the Court held that "the term residence. . . is
Mr. De los Reyes: But we might encounter some difficulty especially
synonymous with domicile which imports not only intention to reside in a fixed
considering that a provision in the Constitution in the Article on Suffrage says
place, but also personal presence in that place, coupled with conduct
that Filipinos living abroad may vote as enacted by law. So, we have to stick
indicative of such intention." 25 Larena vs. Teves 26 reiterated the same
to the original concept that it should be by domicile and not physical
doctrine in a case involving the qualifications of the respondent therein to the
residence. 30
88
In Co vs. Electoral Tribunal of the House of Representatives, 31 this Court POST OFFICE ADDRESS FOR ELECTION PURPOSES: Brgy. Olot, Tolosa,
concluded that the framers of the 1987 Constitution obviously adhered to the Leyte
definition given to the term residence in election law, regarding it as having the
same meaning as domicile. 32 8. RESIDENCE IN THE CONSTITUENCY WHERE I SEEK TO
BE ELECTED IMMEDIATELY PRECEDING THE ELECTION:_________
In the light of the principles just discussed, has petitioner Imelda Romualdez Years and Seven Months.
Marcos satisfied the residency requirement mandated by Article VI, Sec. 6 of
the 1987 Constitution? Of what significance is the questioned entry in Having been forced by private respondent to register in her place of actual
petitioner's Certificate of Candidacy stating her residence in the First residence in Leyte instead of petitioner's claimed domicile, it appears that
Legislative District of Leyte as seven (7) months? 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
It is the fact of residence, not a statement in a certificate of candidacy which residence and the second requiring domicile — coupled with the
ought to be decisive in determining whether or not and individual has satisfied circumstances surrounding petitioner's registration as a voter in Tolosa
the constitution's residency qualification requirement. The said statement obviously led to her writing down an unintended entry for which she could be
becomes material only when there is or appears to be a deliberate attempt to disqualified. This honest mistake should not, however, be allowed to negate
mislead, misinform, or hide a fact which would otherwise render a candidate the fact of residence in the First District if such fact were established by means
ineligible. It would be plainly ridiculous for a candidate to deliberately and more convincing than a mere entry on a piece of paper.
knowingly make a statement in a certificate of candidacy which would lead to
his or her disqualification. We now proceed to the matter of petitioner's domicile.

It stands to reason therefore, that petitioner merely committed an honest In support of its asseveration that petitioner's domicile could not possibly be in
mistake in jotting the word "seven" in the space provided for the residency the First District of Leyte, the Second Division of the COMELEC, in its assailed
qualification requirement. The circumstances leading to her filing the Resolution of April 24,1995 maintains that "except for the time when
questioned entry obviously resulted in the subsequent confusion which (petitioner) studied and worked for some years after graduation in Tacloban
prompted petitioner to write down the period of her actual stay in Tolosa, Leyte City, she continuously lived in Manila." The Resolution additionally cites certain
instead of her period of residence in the First district, which was "since facts as indicative of the fact that petitioner's domicile ought to be any place
childhood" in the space provided. These circumstances and events are amply where she lived in the last few decades except Tacloban, Leyte. First,
detailed in the COMELEC's Second Division's questioned resolution, albeit according to the Resolution, petitioner, in 1959, resided in San Juan, Metro
with a different interpretation. For instance, when herein petitioner announced Manila where she was also registered voter. Then, in 1965, following the
that she would be registering in Tacloban City to make her eligible to run in the election of her husband to the Philippine presidency, she lived in San Miguel,
First District, private respondent Montejo opposed the same, claiming that Manila where she as a voter. In 1978 and thereafter, she served as a member
petitioner was a resident of Tolosa, not Tacloban City. Petitioner then of the Batasang Pambansa and Governor of Metro Manila. "She could not,
registered in her place of actual residence in the First District, which is Tolosa, have served these positions if she had not been a resident of Metro Manila,"
Leyte, a fact which she subsequently noted down in her Certificate of the COMELEC stressed. Here is where the confusion lies.
Candidacy. A close look at said certificate would reveal the possible source of We have stated, many times in the past, that an individual does not lose his
the confusion: the entry for residence (Item No. 7) is followed immediately by domicile even if he has lived and maintained residences in different places.
the entry for residence in the constituency where a candidate seeks election Residence, it bears repeating, implies a factual relationship to a given place
thus: for various purposes. The absence from legal residence or domicile to pursue
7. RESIDENCE (complete Address): Brgy. Olot, Tolosa, Leyte 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
89
childhood up to the time she filed her certificate of candidacy because she What is undeniable, however, are the following set of facts which establish the
became a resident of many places" flies in the face of settled jurisprudence in fact of petitioner's domicile, which we lift verbatim from the COMELEC's
which this Court carefully made distinctions between (actual) residence and Second Division's assailed Resolution: 36
domicile for election law purposes. In Larena vs. Teves, 33 supra, we stressed:
In or about 1938 when respondent was a little over 8 years old, she established
[T]his court is of the opinion and so holds that a person who has his own house her domicile in Tacloban, Leyte (Tacloban City). She studied in the Holy Infant
wherein he lives with his family in a municipality without having ever had the Academy in Tacloban from 1938 to 1949 when she graduated from high
intention of abandoning it, and without having lived either alone or with his school. She pursued her college studies in St. Paul's College, now Divine
family in another municipality, has his residence in the former municipality, Word University in Tacloban, where she earned her degree in Education.
notwithstanding his having registered as an elector in the other municipality in Thereafter, she taught in the Leyte Chinese School, still in Tacloban City. In
question and having been a candidate for various insular and provincial 1952 she went to Manila to work with her cousin, the late speaker Daniel Z.
positions, stating every time that he is a resident of the latter municipality. 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
More significantly, in Faypon vs. Quirino, 34 We explained that: Norte and registered there as a voter. When her husband was elected Senator
A citizen may leave the place of his birth to look for "greener pastures," as the of the Republic in 1959, she and her husband lived together in San Juan, Rizal
saying goes, to improve his lot, and that, of course includes study in other where she registered as a voter. In 1965, when her husband was elected
places, practice of his avocation, or engaging in business. When an election President of the Republic of the Philippines, she lived with him in Malacanang
is to be held, the citizen who left his birthplace to improve his lot may desire to Palace and registered as a voter in San Miguel, Manila.
return to his native town to cast his ballot but for professional or business [I]n February 1986 (she claimed that) she and her family were abducted and
reasons, or for any other reason, he may not absent himself from his kidnapped to Honolulu, Hawaii. In November 1991, she came home to Manila.
professional or business activities; so there he registers himself as voter as he In 1992, respondent ran for election as President of the Philippines and filed
has the qualifications to be one and is not willing to give up or lose the her Certificate of Candidacy wherein she indicated that she is a resident and
opportunity to choose the officials who are to run the government especially in registered voter of San Juan, Metro Manila.
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 Applying the principles discussed to the facts found by COMELEC, what is
the explanation why the registration of a voter in a place other than his inescapable is that petitioner held various residences for different purposes
residence of origin has not been deemed sufficient to constitute abandonment during the last four decades. None of these purposes unequivocally point to
or loss of such residence. It finds justification in the natural desire and longing an intention to abandon her domicile of origin in Tacloban, Leyte. Moreover,
of every person to return to his place of birth. This strong feeling of attachment while petitioner was born in Manila, as a minor she naturally followed the
to the place of one's birth must be overcome by positive proof of abandonment domicile of her parents. She grew up in Tacloban, reached her adulthood there
for another. and eventually established residence in different parts of the country for
various reasons. Even during her husband's presidency, at the height of the
From the foregoing, it can be concluded that in its above-cited statements Marcos Regime's powers, petitioner kept her close ties to her domicile of origin
supporting its proposition that petitioner was ineligible to run for the position of by establishing residences in Tacloban, celebrating her birthdays and other
Representative of the First District of Leyte, the COMELEC was obviously important personal milestones in her home province, instituting well-publicized
referring to petitioner's various places of (actual) residence, not her domicile. projects for the benefit of her province and hometown, and establishing a
In doing so, it not only ignored settled jurisprudence on residence in election political power base where her siblings and close relatives held positions of
law and the deliberations of the constitutional commission but also the power either through the ballot or by appointment, always with either her
provisions of the Omnibus Election Code (B.P. 881). 35 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
90
country. Either they were entirely ignored in the COMELEC'S Resolutions, or presumption that the wife automatically gains the husband's domicile by
the majority of the COMELEC did not know what the rest of the country always operation of law upon marriage cannot be inferred from the use of the term
knew: the fact of petitioner's domicile in Tacloban, Leyte. "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
Private respondent in his Comment, contends that Tacloban was not this specific area explains:
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 In the Civil Code, there is an obvious difference between domicile and
residency (sic) therein for many years and . . . (could not) re-establish her residence. Both terms imply relations between a person and a place; but in
domicile in said place by merely expressing her intention to live there again." residence, the relation is one of fact while in domicile it is legal or juridical,
We do not agree. independent of the necessity of physical presence. 40

First, minor follows the domicile of his parents. As domicile, once acquired is Article 110 of the Civil Code provides:
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 Art. 110. — The husband shall fix the residence of the family. But the court
operation of law. This domicile was not established only when her father may exempt the wife from living with the husband if he should live abroad
brought his family back to Leyte contrary to private respondent's averments. unless in the service of the Republic.

Second, domicile of origin is not easily lost. To successfully effect a change of A survey of jurisprudence relating to Article 110 or to the concepts of domicile
domicile, one must demonstrate: 37 or residence as they affect the female spouse upon marriage yields nothing
which would suggest that the female spouse automatically loses her domicile
1. An actual removal or an actual change of domicile; of origin in favor of the husband's choice of residence upon marriage.

2. A bona fide intention of abandoning the former place of residence and Article 110 is a virtual restatement of Article 58 of the Spanish Civil Code of
establishing a new one; and 1889 which states:

3. Acts which correspond with the purpose. 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
In the absence of clear and positive proof based on these criteria, the esta obligacion cuando el marido transende su residencia a ultramar o' a pais
residence of origin should be deemed to continue. Only with evidence showing extranjero.
concurrence of all three requirements can the presumption of continuity or
residence be rebutted, for a change of residence requires an actual and Note the use of the phrase "donde quiera su fije de residencia" in the
deliberate abandonment, and one cannot have two legal residences at the aforequoted article, which means wherever (the husband) wishes to establish
same time. 38 In the case at bench, the evidence adduced by private residence. This part of the article clearly contemplates only actual residence
respondent plainly lacks the degree of persuasiveness required to convince because it refers to a positive act of fixing a family home or residence.
this court that an abandonment of domicile of origin in favor of a domicile of Moreover, this interpretation is further strengthened by the phrase "cuando el
choice indeed occurred. To effect an abandonment requires the voluntary act marido translade su residencia" in the same provision which means, "when the
of relinquishing petitioner's former domicile with an intent to supplant the husband shall transfer his residence," referring to another positive act of
former domicile with one of her own choosing (domicilium voluntarium). 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,
In this connection, it cannot be correctly argued that petitioner lost her domicile fairly-permanent concept when it plainly connotes the possibility of transferring
of origin by operation of law as a result of her marriage to the late President from one place to another not only once, but as often as the husband may
Ferdinand E. Marcos in 1952. For there is a clearly established distinction
between the Civil Code concepts of "domicile" and "residence." 39 The
91
deem fit to move his family, a circumstance more consistent with the concept is also established in some other
of actual residence. place. 41

The right of the husband to fix the actual residence is in harmony with the In fact, even the matter of a common residence between the husband and the
intention of the law to strengthen and unify the family, recognizing the fact that wife during the marriage is not an iron-clad principle; In cases applying the
the husband and the wife bring into the marriage different domiciles (of origin). Civil Code on the question of a common matrimonial residence, our
This difference could, for the sake of family unity, be reconciled only by jurisprudence has recognized certain situations 42 where the spouses could
allowing the husband to fix a single place of actual residence. 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
Very significantly, Article 110 of the Civil Code is found under Title V under the practical reasons, revert to her original domicile (apart from being allowed to
heading: RIGHTS AND OBLIGATIONS BETWEEN HUSBAND AND WIFE. opt for a new one). In De la Vina vs. Villareal 43 this Court held that "[a] married
Immediately preceding Article 110 is Article 109 which obliges the husband woman may acquire a residence or domicile separate from that of her husband
and wife to live together, thus: during the existence of the marriage where the husband has given cause for
Art. 109. — The husband and wife are obligated to live together, observe divorce." 44 Note that the Court allowed the wife either to obtain new residence
mutual respect and fidelity and render mutual help and support. 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
The duty to live together can only be fulfilled if the husband and wife are by taking new residence or reverting to her domicile of origin, the Court has
physically together. This takes into account the situations where the couple held that the wife could not be compelled to live with her husband on pain of
has many residences (as in the case of the petitioner). If the husband has to contempt. In Arroyo vs. Vasques de Arroyo45 the Court held that:
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 Upon examination of the authorities, we are convinced that it is not within the
conclude that Art. 110 refers to "domicile" and not to "residence." Otherwise, province of the courts of this country to attempt to compel one of the spouses
we shall be faced with a situation where the wife is left in the domicile while to cohabit with, and render conjugal rights to, the other. Of course where the
the husband, for professional or other reasons, stays in one of their (various) property rights of one of the pair are invaded, an action for restitution of such
residences. As Dr. Tolentino further explains: 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
Residence and Domicile — Whether the word "residence" as used with the restitution of the purely personal right of consortium. At best such an order
reference to particular matters is synonymous with "domicile" is a question of can be effective for no other purpose than to compel the spouses to live under
some difficulty, and the ultimate decision must be made from a consideration the same roof; and he experience of those countries where the courts of justice
of the purpose and intent with which the word is used. Sometimes they are have assumed to compel the cohabitation of married people shows that the
used synonymously, at other times they are distinguished from one another. policy of the practice is extremely questionable. Thus in England, formerly the
Ecclesiastical Court entertained suits for the restitution of conjugal rights at the
xxx xxx xxx
instance of either husband or wife; and if the facts were found to warrant it,
Residence in the civil law is a material fact, referring to the physical presence that court would make a mandatory decree, enforceable by process of
of a person in a place. A person can have two or more residences, such as a contempt in case of disobedience, requiring the delinquent party to live with
country residence and a city residence. Residence is acquired by living in the other and render conjugal rights. Yet this practice was sometimes criticized
place; on the other hand, domicile can exist without actually living in the place. even by the judges who felt bound to enforce such orders, and in Weldon
The important thing for domicile is that, once residence has been established v. Weldon (9 P.D. 52), decided in 1883, Sir James Hannen, President in the
in one place, there be an intention to stay there permanently, even if residence 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
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the decree for the restitution of conjugal rights in England, could be obtained On the other hand, the common law concept of "matrimonial domicile" appears
by the injured spouse, but could not be enforced by imprisonment. to have been incorporated, as a result of our jurisprudential experiences after
Accordingly, in obedience to the growing sentiment against the practice, the the drafting of the Civil Code of 1950, into the New Family Code. To
Matrimonial Causes Act (1884) abolished the remedy of imprisonment; though underscore the difference between the intentions of the Civil Code and the
a decree for the restitution of conjugal rights can still be procured, and in case Family Code drafters, the term residence has been supplanted by the term
of disobedience may serve in appropriate cases as the basis of an order for domicile in an entirely new provision (Art. 69) distinctly different in meaning
the periodical payment of a stipend in the character of alimony. 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
In the voluminous jurisprudence of the United States, only one court, so far as the choice of domicile a product of mutual agreement between the spouses. 46
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 Without as much belaboring the point, the term residence may mean one thing
was ordered to follow and live with her husband, who had changed his domicile in civil law (or under the Civil Code) and quite another thing in political law.
to the City of New Orleans. The decision referred to (Bahn v. Darby, 36 La. What stands clear is that insofar as the Civil Code is concerned-affecting the
Ann., 70) was based on a provision of the Civil Code of Louisiana similar to rights and obligations of husband and wife — the term residence should only
article 56 of the Spanish Civil Code. It was decided many years ago, and the be interpreted to mean "actual residence." The inescapable conclusion derived
doctrine evidently has not been fruitful even in the State of Louisiana. In other from this unambiguous civil law delineation therefore, is that when petitioner
states of the American Union the idea of enforcing cohabitation by process of married the former President in 1954, she kept her domicile of origin and
contempt is rejected. (21 Cyc., 1148). merely gained a new home, not a domicilium necessarium.

In a decision of January 2, 1909, the Supreme Court of Spain appears to have Even assuming for the sake of argument that petitioner gained a new
affirmed an order of the Audiencia Territorial de Valladolid requiring a wife to "domicile" after her marriage and only acquired a right to choose a new one
return to the marital domicile, and in the alternative, upon her failure to do so, after her husband died, petitioner's acts following her return to the country
to make a particular disposition of certain money and effects then in her clearly indicate that she not only impliedly but expressly chose her domicile of
possession and to deliver to her husband, as administrator of the ganancial origin (assuming this was lost by operation of law) as her domicile. This
property, all income, rents, and interest which might accrue to her from the "choice" was unequivocally expressed in her letters to the Chairman of the
property which she had brought to the marriage. (113 Jur. Civ., pp. 1, 11) But PCGG when petitioner sought the PCGG's permission to "rehabilitate (our)
it does not appear that this order for the return of the wife to the marital domicile ancestral house in Tacloban and Farm in Olot, Leyte. . . to make them livable
was sanctioned by any other penalty than the consequences that would be for the Marcos family to have a home in our homeland." 47 Furthermore,
visited upon her in respect to the use and control of her property; and it does petitioner obtained her residence certificate in 1992 in Tacloban, Leyte, while
not appear that her disobedience to that order would necessarily have been living in her brother's house, an act which supports the domiciliary intention
followed by imprisonment for contempt. 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
Parenthetically when Petitioner was married to then Congressman Marcos, in been previously looted by vandals. Her "homes" and "residences" following
1954, petitioner was obliged — by virtue of Article 110 of the Civil Code — to her arrival in various parts of Metro Manila merely qualified as temporary or
follow her husband's actual place of residence fixed by him. The problem here "actual residences," not domicile. Moreover, and proceeding from our
is that at that time, Mr. Marcos had several places of residence, among which discussion pointing out specific situations where the female spouse either
were San Juan, Rizal and Batac, Ilocos Norte. There is no showing which of reverts to her domicile of origin or chooses a new one during the subsistence
these places Mr. Marcos did fix as his family's residence. But assuming that of the marriage, it would be highly illogical for us to assume that she cannot
Mr. Marcos had fixed any of these places as the conjugal residence, what regain her original domicile upon the death of her husband absent a positive
petitioner gained upon marriage was actual residence. She did not lose her act of selecting a new one where situations exist within the subsistence of the
domicile of origin. marriage itself where the wife gains a domicile different from her husband.
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In the light of all the principles relating to residence and domicile enunciated In any event, with the enactment of Sections 6 and 7 of R.A. 6646 in relation
by this court up to this point, we are persuaded that the facts established by to Section 78 of B.P. 881, 52 it is evident that the respondent Commission does
the parties weigh heavily in favor of a conclusion supporting petitioner's claim not lose jurisdiction to hear and decide a pending disqualification case under
of legal residence or domicile in the First District of Leyte. Section 78 of B.P. 881 even after the elections.

II. The jurisdictional issue 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
Petitioner alleges that the jurisdiction of the COMELEC had already lapsed elections, suffice it to say that HRET's jurisdiction as the sole judge of all
considering that the assailed resolutions were rendered on April 24, 1995, contests relating to the elections, returns and qualifications of members of
fourteen (14) days before the election in violation of Section 78 of the Omnibus Congress begins only after a candidate has become a member of the House
Election Code. 48 Moreover, petitioner contends that it is the House of of Representatives. 53 Petitioner not being a member of the House of
Representatives Electoral Tribunal and not the COMELEC which has Representatives, it is obvious that the HRET at this point has no jurisdiction
jurisdiction over the election of members of the House of Representatives in over the question.
accordance with Article VI Sec. 17 of the Constitution. This is untenable.
It would be an abdication of many of the ideals enshrined in the 1987
It is a settled doctrine that a statute requiring rendition of judgment within a Constitution for us to either to ignore or deliberately make distinctions in law
specified time is generally construed to be merely directory, 49 "so that non- solely on the basis of the personality of a petitioner in a case. Obviously a
compliance with them does not invalidate the judgment on the theory that if distinction was made on such a ground here. Surely, many established
the statute had intended such result it would have clearly indicated it." 50 The principles of law, even of election laws were flouted for the sake perpetuating
difference between a mandatory and a directory provision is often made on power during the pre-EDSA regime. We renege on these sacred ideals,
grounds of necessity. Adopting the same view held by several American including the meaning and spirit of EDSA ourselves bending established
authorities, this court inMarcelino vs. Cruz held that: 51 principles of principles of law to deny an individual what he or she justly
The difference between a mandatory and directory provision is often deserves in law. Moreover, in doing so, we condemn ourselves to repeat the
determined on grounds of expediency, the reason being that less injury results mistakes of the past.
to the general public by disregarding than enforcing the letter of the law. WHEREFORE, having determined that petitioner possesses the necessary
In Trapp v. Mc Cormick, a case calling for the interpretation of a statute residence qualifications to run for a seat in the House of Representatives in
containing a limitation of thirty (30) days within which a decree may be entered the First District of Leyte, the COMELEC's questioned Resolutions dated April
without the consent of counsel, it was held that "the statutory provisions which 24, May 7, May 11, and May 25, 1995 are hereby SET ASIDE. Respondent
may be thus departed from with impunity, without affecting the validity of COMELEC is hereby directed to order the Provincial Board of Canvassers to
statutory proceedings, are usually those which relate to the mode or time of proclaim petitioner as the duly elected Representative of the First District of
doing that which is essential to effect the aim and purpose of the Legislature Leyte.
or some incident of the essential act." Thus, in said case, the statute under SO ORDERED.
examination was construed merely to be directory.
Feliciano, J., is on leave.
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.
94
Separate Opinions alone did not cause her to lose her Tacloban domicile. Article 110 of the Civil
Code merely gave the husband the right to fix the domicile of the family. In the
exercise of the right, the husband may explicitly choose the prior domicile of
PUNO, J., concurring: his wife, in which case, the wife's domicile remains unchanged. The husband
can also implicitly acquiesce to his wife's prior domicile even if it is different.
It was Aristotle who taught mankind that things that are alike should be treated So we held in de la Viña, 6
alike, while things that are unalike should be treated unalike in proportion to
their unalikeness. 1 Like other candidates, petitioner has clearly met the . . . . When married women as well as children subject to parental authority
residence requirement provided by Section 6, Article VI of the live, with the acquiescence of their husbands or fathers, in a place distinct from
Constitution. 2 We cannot disqualify her and treat her unalike, for the where the latter live, they have their own independent domicile. . . .
Constitution guarantees equal protection of the law. I proceed from the It is not, therefore, the mere fact of marriage but the deliberate choice of a
following factual and legal propositions: different domicile by the husband that will change the domicile of a wife from
First. There is no question that petitioner's original domicile is in Tacloban, what it was prior to their marriage. The domiciliary decision made by the
Leyte. Her parents were domiciled in Tacloban. Their ancestral house is in husband in the exercise of the right conferred by Article 110 of the Civil Code
Tacloban. They have vast real estate in the place. Petitioner went to school binds the wife. Any and all acts of a wife during her coverture contrary to the
and thereafter worked there. I consider Tacloban as her initial domicile, both domiciliary choice of the husband cannot change in any way the domicile
her domicile of origin and her domicile of choice. Her domicile of origin as it legally fixed by the husband. These acts are void not only because the wife
was the domicile of her parents when she was a minor; and her domicile of lacks the capacity to choose her domicile but also because they are contrary
choice, as she continued living there even after reaching the age of majority. to law and public policy.

Second. There is also no question that in May, 1954, petitioner married the In the case at bench, it is not disputed that former President Marcos exercised
late President Ferdinand E. Marcos. By contracting marriage, her domicile his right to fix the family domicile and established it in Batac, Ilocos Norte,
became subject to change by law, and the right to change it was given by where he was then the congressman. At that particular point of time and
Article 110 of the Civil Code provides: throughout their married life, petitioner lost her domicile in Tacloban, Leyte.
Since petitioner's Batac domicile has been fixed by operation of law, it was not
Art. 110. The husband shall fix the residence of the family. But the court may affected in 1959 when her husband was elected as Senator, when they lived
exempt the wife from living with the husband if he should live abroad unless in in San Juan, Rizal and where she registered as a voter. It was not also affected
the service of the Republic. 3 (Emphasis supplied) in 1965 when her husband was elected President, when they lived in
Malacañang Palace, and when she registered as a voter in San Miguel,
In De la Viña v. Villareal and Geopano, 4 this Court explained why the domicile
Manila. Nor was it affected when she served as a member of the Batasang
of the wife ought to follow that of the husband. We held: "The reason is founded
Pambansa, Minister of Human Settlements and Governor of Metro Manila
upon the theoretic identity of person and interest between the husband and
during the incumbency of her husband as President of the nation. Under Article
the wife, and the presumption that, from the nature of the relation, the home of
110 of the Civil Code, it was only her husband who could change the family
one is the home of the other. It is intended to promote, strengthen, and secure
domicile in Batac and the evidence shows he did not effect any such change.
their interests in this relation, as it ordinarily exists, where union and harmony
To a large degree, this follows the common law that "a woman on her marriage
prevail." 5 In accord with this objective, Article 109 of the Civil Code also
loses her own domicile and by operation of law, acquires that of her
obligated the husband and wife "to live together."
husband, no matter where the wife actually lives or what she believes or
Third. The difficult issues start as we determine whether intends." 7
petitioner's marriage to former President Marcos ipso facto resulted in the loss
of her Tacloban domicile. I respectfully submit that her marriage by itself
95
Fourth. The more difficult task is how to interpret the effect of the death on rights of married women to their husbands based on the dubious theory of the
September 28, 1989 of former President Marcos on petitioner's Batac parties' theoretic oneness. The Corpus Juris Secundum editors did not miss
domicile. The issue is of first impression in our jurisdiction and two (2) schools the relevance of this revolution on women's right as they observed: "However,
of thought contend for acceptance. One is espoused by our distinguished it has been declared that under modern statutes changing the status of
colleague, Mr. Justice Davide, Jr., heavily relying on American authorities. 8 He married women and departing from the common law theory of marriage, there
echoes the theory that after the husband's death, the wife retains the last is no reason why a wife may not acquire a separate domicile for every purpose
domicile of her husband until she makes an actual change. known to the law." 19 In publishing in 1969 theRestatement of the Law, Second
(Conflict of Laws 2d), the reputable American Law Institute also categorically
I do not subscribe to this submission. The American case law that the wife still stated that the view of Blackstone ". . . is no longer held. As the result of
retains her dead husband's domicile is based on ancient common law which statutes and court decisions, a wife now possesses practically the same rights
we can no longer apply in the Philippine setting today. The common law and powers as her unmarried sister." 20
identified the domicile of a wife as that of the husband and denied to her the
power of acquiring a domicile of her own separate and apart from him. 9 Legal In the case at bench, we have to decide whether we should continue clinging
scholars agree that two (2) reasons support this common law doctrine. to the anachronistic common lawthat demeans women, especially married
The first reason as pinpointed by the legendary Blackstone is derived from the women. I submit that the Court has no choice except to break away from this
view that "the very being or legal existence of the woman is suspended during common law rule, the root of the many degradations of Filipino women. Before
the marriage, or at least is incorporated and consolidated into that of the 1988, our laws particularly the Civil Code, were full of gender discriminations
husband." 10 The second reason lies in "the desirability of having the interests against women. Our esteemed colleague, Madam Justice Flerida Ruth
of each member of the family unit governed by the same Romero, cited a few of them as follows: 21
law." 11 The presumption that the wife retains the domicile of her deceased
husband is an extension of this common law concept. The concept and its xxx xxx xxx
extension have provided some of the most iniquitous jurisprudence against Legal Disabilities Suffered by Wives
women. It was under common law that the 1873 American case of Bradwell
v. Illinois 12 was decided where women were denied the right to practice law. Not generally known is the fact that under the Civil Code, wives suffer under
It was unblushingly ruled that "the natural and proper timidity and delicacy certain restrictions or disabilities. For instance, the wife cannot accept gifts
which belongs to the female sex evidently unfits it for many of the occupations from others, regardless of the sex of the giver or the value of the gift, other
of civil life . . . This is the law of the Creator." Indeed, the rulings relied upon than from her very close relatives, without her husband's consent. She may
by Mr. Justice Davide in CJS 13and AM JUR 2d 14 are American state court accept only from, say, her parents, parents-in-law, brothers, sisters and the
decisions handed down between the years 1917 15 and 1938, 16 or before the relatives within the so-called fourth civil degree. She may not exercise her
time when women were accorded equality of rights with men. Undeniably, the profession or occupation or engage in business if her husband objects on
women's liberation movement resulted in far-ranging state legislations in the serious grounds or if his income is sufficient to support their family in
United States to eliminate gender inequality. 17 Starting in the decade of the accordance with their social standing. As to what constitutes "serious grounds"
seventies, the courts likewise liberalized their rulings as they started for objecting, this is within the discretion of the husband.
invalidating laws infected with gender-bias. It was in 1971 when the US
xxx xxx xxx
Supreme Court in Reed v. Reed, 18 struck a big blow for women equality when
it declared as unconstitutional an Idaho law that required probate courts to Because of the present inequitable situation, the amendments to the Civil Law
choose male family members over females as estate administrators. It held being proposed by the University of the Philippines Law Center would allow
that mere administrative inconvenience cannot justify a sex-based absolute divorce which severes the matrimonial ties, such that the divorced
distinction. These significant changes both in law and in case law on the status spouses are free to get married a year after the divorce is decreed by the
of women virtually obliterated the iniquitous common law surrendering the courts. However, in order to place the husband and wife on an equal footing
96
insofar as the bases for divorce are concerned, the following are specified as The court may exempt one spouse from living with the other if the latter should
the grounds for absolute divorce: (1) adultery or having a paramour committed live abroad or there are other valid and compelling reasons for the exemption.
by the respondent in any of the ways specified in the Revised Penal Code or However, such exemption shall not apply if the same is not compatible with
(2) an attempt by the respondent against the life of the petitioner which the solidarity of the family. (Emphasis supplied)
amounts to attempted parricide under the Revised Penal Code; (3)
abandonment of the petitioner by the respondent without just cause for a Article 69 repealed Article 110 of the Civil Code. Commenting on the duty of
period of three consecutive years; or (4) habitual maltreatment. the husband and wife to live together, former Madam Justice Alice Sempio-
Diy of the Court of Appeals specified the instances when a wife may now
With respect to property relations, the husband is automatically the refuse to live with her husband, thus: 28
administrator of the conjugal property owned in common by the married couple
even if the wife may be the more astute or enterprising partner. The law does (2) The wife has the duty to live with her husband, but she may refuse to do
not leave it to the spouses to decide who shall act as such administrator. so in certain cases like:
Consequently, the husband is authorized to engage in acts and enter into (a) If the place chosen by the husband as family residence is dangerous to her
transactions beneficial to the conjugal partnership. The wife, however, cannot Life;
similarly bind the partnership without the husband's consent.
(b) If the husband subjects her to maltreatment or abusive conduct or insults,
And while both exercise joint parental authority over their children, it is the making common life impossible;
father whom the law designates as the legal administrator of the property
pertaining to the unemancipated child. (c) If the husband compels her to live with his parents, but she cannot get along
with her mother-in-law and they have constant quarrels (Del Rosario v. Del
Taking the lead in Asia, our government exerted efforts, principally through Rosario, CA, 46 OG 6122);
legislations, to eliminate inequality between men and women in our land. The
watershed came on August 3, 1988 when our Family Code took effect which, (d) Where the husband has continuously carried illicit relations for 10 years
among others, terminated the unequal treatment of husband and wife as to with different women and treated his wife roughly and without consideration.
their rights and responsibilities. 22 (Dadivas v. Villanueva, 54 Phil. 92);

The Family Code attained this elusive objective by giving new rights to married (e) Where the husband spent his time in gambling, giving no money to his
women and by abolishing sex-based privileges of husbands. Among others, family for food and necessities, and at the same time insulting his wife and
married women are now given the joint right to administer the family property, laying hands on her. (Panuncio v. Sula, CA, 34 OG 129);
whether in the absolute community system or in the system of conjugal
(f) If the husband has no fixed residence and lives a vagabond life as a tramp
partnership; 23 joint parental authority over their minor children, both over their
(1 Manresa 329);
persons as well as their properties; 24 joint responsibility for the support of the
family; 25 the right to jointly manage the household; 26 and, the right to object to (g) If the husband is carrying on a shameful business at home (Gahn v. Darby,
their husband's exercise of profession, occupation, business or activity. 27 Of 38 La. Ann. 70).
particular relevance to the case at bench is Article 69 of the Family Code which
took away the exclusive right of the husband to fix the family domicile and gave The inescapable conclusion is that our Family Code has completely
it jointly to the husband and the wife, thus: emancipated the wife from the control of the husband, thus abandoning the
parties' theoretic identity of interest. No less than the late revered Mr. Justice
Art. 69. The husband and wife shall fix the family domicile. In case of J.B.L. Reyes who chaired the Civil Code Revision Committee of the UP Law
disagreement, the court shall decide. Center gave this insightful view in one of his rare lectures after retirement: 29

xxx xxx xxx


97
The Family Code is primarily intended to reform the family law so as to and protected by the Constitution. Likewise, I cannot see the fairness of the
emancipate the wife from the exclusive control of the husband and to place common law requiring petitioner to choose again her Tacloban domicile before
her at parity with him insofar as the family is concerned. The wife and the she could be released from her Batac domicile. She lost her Tacloban domicile
husband are now placed on equal standing by the Code. They are now joint not through her act but through the act of her deceased husband when he fixed
administrators of the family properties and exercise joint authority over the their domicile in Batac. Her husband is dead and he cannot rule her beyond
persons and properties of their children. This means a dual authority in the the grave. The law disabling her to choose her own domicile has been
family. The husband will no longer prevail over the wife but she has to agree repealed. Considering all these, common law should not put the burden on
on all matters concerning the family. (Emphasis supplied) petitioner to prove she has abandoned her dead husband's domicile. There is
neither rhyme nor reason for this gender-based burden.
In light of the Family Code which abrogated the inequality between husband
and wife as started and perpetuated by the common law, there is no reason in But even assuming arguendo that there is need for convincing proof that
espousing the anomalous rule that the wife still retains the domicile of her dead petitioner chose to reacquire her Tacloban domicile, still, the records reveal
husband. Article 110 of the Civil Code which provides the statutory support for ample evidence to this effect. In her affidavit submitted to the respondent
this stance has been repealed by Article 69 of the Family Code. By its repeal, COMELEC, petitioner averred:
it becomes a dead-letter law, and we are not free to resurrect it by giving it
further effect in any way or manner such as by ruling that the petitioner is still xxx xxx xxx
bound by the domiciliary determination of her dead husband. 36. In November, 1991, I came home to our beloved country, after several
Aside from reckoning with the Family Code, we have to consider our requests for my return were denied by President Corazon C. Aquino, and after
Constitution and its firm guarantees of due process and equal protection of I filed suits for our Government to issue me my passport.
law. 30 It can hardly be doubted that the common law imposition on a married 37. But I came home without the mortal remains of my beloved husband,
woman of her dead husband's domicile even beyond his grave is patently President Ferdinand E. Marcos, which the Government considered a threat to
discriminatory to women. It is a gender-based discrimination and is not the national security and welfare.
rationally related to the objective of promoting family solidarity. It cannot
survive a constitutional challenge. Indeed, compared with our previous 38. Upon my return to the country, I wanted to immediately live and reside in
fundamental laws, the 1987 Constitution is more concerned with equality Tacloban City or in Olot, Tolosa, Leyte, even if my residences there were not
between sexes as it explicitly commands that the State ". . . shall ensure livable as they had been destroyed and cannibalized. The PCGG, however,
fundamental equality before the law of women and men." To be exact, section did not permit and allow me.
14, Article II provides: "The State recognizes the role of women in nation
39. As a consequence, I had to live at various times in the Westin Philippine
building, and shall ensure fundamental equality before the law of women and
Plaza in Pasay City, a friend's apartment on Ayala Avenue, a house in South
men. We shall be transgressing the sense and essence of this constitutional
Forbes Park which my daughter rented, and Pacific Plaza, all in Makati.
mandate if we insist on giving our women the caveman's treatment.
40. After the 1992 Presidential Elections, I lived and resided in the residence
Prescinding from these premises, I respectfully submit that the better stance
of my brother in San Jose, Tacloban City, and pursued my negotiations with
is to rule that petitioner reacquired her Tacloban domicile upon the death of
PCGG to recover my sequestered residences in Tacloban City and Barangay
her husband in 1989. This is the necessary consequence of the view that
Olot, Tolosa, Leyte.
petitioner's Batac dictated domicile did not continue after her husband's death;
otherwise, she would have no domicile and that will violate the universal rule 40.1 In preparation for my observance of All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day
that no person can be without a domicile at any point of time. This stance also that year, I renovated my parents' burial grounds and entombed their bones
restores the right of petitioner to choose her domicile before it was taken away which had been excalvated, unearthed and scattered.
by Article 110 of the Civil Code, a right now recognized by the Family Code
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41. On November 29, 1993, I formally wrote PCGG Chairman Magtanggol The evidence presented by the private respondent to negate the Tacloban
Gunigundo for permissions to — domicile of petitioner is nil. He presented petitioner's Voter's Registration
Record filed with the Board of Election Inspectors of Precinct 10-A of Barangay
. . . rehabilitate . . . (o)ur ancestral house in Tacloban and farmhouse in Olot, Olot, Tolosa, Leyte wherein she stated that her period of residence in said
Leyte . . . to make them livable for us the Marcos family to have a home in our barangay was six (6) months as of the date of her filing of said Voter's
own motherland. Registration Record on January 28, 1995. 31 This statement in petitioner's
xxx xxx xxx Voter's Registration Record is a non-prejudicial admission. The Constitution
requires at least one (1) year residence in thedistrict in which the candidate
42. It was only on 06 June 1994, however, when PCGG Chairman Gunigundo, shall be elected. In the case at bench, the reference is the First District of
in his letter to Col. Simeon Kempis, Jr., PCGG Region 8 Representative, Leyte. Petitioner's statement proved that she resided in Olot six (6) months
allowed me to repair and renovate my Leyte residences. I quote part of his before January 28, 1995 but did not disprove that she has also resided in
letter: Tacloban City starting 1992. As aforestated, Olot and Tacloban City are both
within the First District of Leyte, hence, her six (6) months residence in Olot
Dear Col. Kempis,
should be counted not against, but in her favor. Private respondent also
Upon representation by Mrs. Imelda R. Marcos to this Commission, that she presented petitioner's Certificate of Candidacy filed on March 8, 1995 32 where
intends to visit our sequestered properties in Leyte, please allow her access she placed seven (7) months after Item No. 8 which called for information
thereto. She may also cause repairs and renovation of the sequestered regarding "residence in the constituency where I seek to be elected
properties, in which event, it shall be understood that her undertaking said immediately preceding the election." Again, this original certificate of
repairs is not authorization for her to take over said properties, and that all candidacy has no evidentiary value because an March 1, 1995 it was corrected
expenses shall be for her account and not reimbursable. Please extend the by petitioner. In her Amended/Corrected Certificate of Candidacy, 33 petitioner
necessary courtesy to her. wrote "since childhood" after Item No. 8. The amendment of a certificate of
candidacy to correct a bona fide mistake has been allowed by this Court as a
xxx xxx xxx matter of course and as a matter of right. As we held in Alialy
v. COMELEC, 34 viz.:
43. I was not permitted, however, to live and stay in the Sto. Niño Shrine
residence in Tacloban City where I wanted to stay and reside, after repairs and xxx xxx xxx
renovations were completed. In August 1994, I transferred from San Jose,
Tacloban City, to my residence in Barangay Olot, Tolosa, Leyte, when PCGG The absence of the signature of the Secretary of the local chapter N.P in the
permitted me to stay and live there. original certificate of candidacy presented before the deadline September 11,
1959, did not render the certificate invalid.The amendment of the certificate,
It is then clear that in 1992 petitioner reestablished her domicile in the First although at a date after the deadline, but before the election, was substantial
District of Leyte. It is not disputed that in 1992, she first lived at the house of compliance with the law, and the defect was cured.
her brother in San Jose, Tacloban City and later, in August 1994, she
transferred her residence in Barangay Olot, Tolosa, Leyte. Both Tacloban City It goes without saying that petitioner's erroneous Certificate of Candidacy filed
and the municipality of Olot are within the First District of Leyte. Since on March 8, 1995 cannot be used as evidence against her. Private
petitioner reestablished her old domicile in 1992 in the First District of Leyte, respondent's petition for the disqualification of petitioner rested alone on these
she more than complied with the constitutional requirement of residence two (2) brittle pieces of documentary evidence — petitioner's Voter's
". . . for a period of not less than one year immediately preceding the day of Registration Record and her original Certificate of Candidacy. Ranged against
the election," i.e., the May 8, 1995 elections. the evidence of the petitioner showing her ceaseless contacts with Tacloban,
private respondent's two (2) pieces of evidence are too insufficient to disqualify

99
petitioner, more so, to deny her the right to represent the people of the First Prior to the registration date — January 28, 1995 the petitioner (herein private
District of Leyte who have overwhelmingly voted for her. respondent Montejo) wrote the Election Officer of Tacloban City not to allow
respondent (petitioner herein) to register thereat since she is a resident of
Fifth. Section 10, Article IX-C of the Constitution mandates that "bona Tolosa and not Tacloban City. The purpose of this move of the petitioner
fide candidates for any public office shall be free from any form of harassment (Montejo) is not lost to (sic) the Commission. In UND No. 95-001 (In the matter
and discrimination." 35 A detached reading of the records of the case at bench of the Legislative Districts of the Provinces of Leyte, Iloilo, and South Cotabato,
will show that all forms of legal and extra-legal obstacles have been thrown Out of Which the New Provinces of Biliran, Guimaras and Saranggani Were
against petitioner to prevent her from running as the people's representative Respectively Created), . . . Hon. Cirilo Roy G. Montejo, Representative, First
in the First District of Leyte. In petitioner's Answer to the petition to disqualify District of Leyte, wanted the Municipality of Tolosa, in the First District of Leyte,
her, she averred: 36 transferred to the Second District of Leyte. The Hon. Sergio A.F. Apostol,
xxx xxx xxx Representative of the Second District of Leyte, opposed the move of the
petitioner (Montejo). Under Comelec Resolution No. 2736 (December 29,
10. Petitioner's (herein private respondent Montejo) motive in filing the instant 1994), the Commission on Elections refused to make the proposed transfer.
petition is devious. When respondent (petitioner herein) announced that she Petitioner (Montejo) filed "Motion for Reconsideration of Resolution
was intending to register as a voter in Tacloban City and run for Congress in No. 2736" which the Commission denied in a Resolution promulgated on
the First District of Leyte, petitioner (Montejo) immediately opposed her February 1, 1995. Petitioner (Montejo) filed a petition for certiorari before the
intended registration by writing a letter stating that "she is not a resident of said Honorable Supreme Court (Cirilo Roy G. Montejo vs. Commission on
city but of Barangay Olot, Tolosa, Leyte." (Annex "2" of respondent's affidavit, Elections, G.R. No. 118702) questioning the resolution of the Commission.
Annex "2"). After respondent (petitioner herein) had registered as a voter in Believing that he could get a favorable ruling from the Supreme Court,
Tolosa following completion of her six-month actual residence therein, petitioner (Montejo) tried to make sure that the respondent (petitioner herein)
petitioner (Montejo) filed a petition with the COMELEC to transfer the town of will register as a voter in Tolosa so that she will be forced to run as
Tolosa from the First District to the Second District and pursued such move up Representative not in the First but in the Second District.
to the Supreme Court in G.R. No. 118702, his purpose being to remove
respondent (petitioner herein) as petitioner's (Montejo's) opponent in the It did not happen. On March 16, 1995, the Honorable Supreme Court
congressional election in the First District. He also filed a bill, along with other unanimously promulgated a "Decision," penned by Associate Justice Reynato
Leyte Congressmen, seeking to create another legislative district, to remove S. Puno, the dispositive portion of which reads:
the town of Tolosa out of the First District and to make it a part of the new IN VIEW WHEREOF, Section 1 of Resolution No. 2736 insofar as it transferred
district, to achieve his purpose. However, such bill did not pass the Senate. the municipality of Capoocan of the Second District and the municipality of
Having, failed on such moves, petitioner now filed the instant petition, for the Palompon of the Fourth District to the Third District of the province of Leyte, is
same objective, as it is obvious that he is afraid to submit himself along with annulled and set aside. We also deny the Petition praying for the transfer of
respondent (petitioner herein) for the judgment and verdict of the electorate of the municipality of Tolosa from the First District to the Second District of the
the First District of Leyte in an honest, orderly, peaceful, free and clean province of Leyte. No costs.
elections on May 8, 1995.
Petitioner's (Montejo's) plan did not work. But the respondent (petitioner
These allegations which private respondent did not challenge were not lost herein) was constrained to register in the Municipality of Tolosa where her
to the perceptive eye of Commissioner Maambong who in his Dissenting house is instead of Tacloban City, her domicile. In any case, both Tacloban
Opinion, 37 held: City and Tolosa are in the First Legislative District.
xxx xxx xxx All these attempts to misuse our laws and legal processes are forms of rank
harassments and invidious discriminations against petitioner to deny her equal

100
access to a public office. We cannot commit any hermeneutic violence to the FRANCISCO, J., concurring:
Constitution by torturing the meaning of equality, the end result of which will
allow the harassment and discrimination of petitioner who has lived a I concur with Mr. Justice Kapunan's ponencia finding petitioner qualified for the
controversial life, a past of alternating light and shadow. There is but one position of Representative of the First Congressional District of Leyte. I wish,
Constitution for all Filipinos. Petitioner cannot be adjudged by a "different" however, to express a few comments on the issue of petitioner's domicile.
Constitution, and the worst way to interpret the Constitution is to inject in its Domicile has been defined as that place in which a person's habitation is fixed,
interpretation, bile and bitterness. without any present intention of removing therefrom, and that place is properly
Sixth. In Gallego v. Vera, 38 we explained that the reason for this residence the domicile of a person in which he has voluntarily fixed his abode, or
requirement is "to exclude a stranger or newcomer, unacquainted, with the habitation, not for a mere special or temporary purpose, but with a present
conditions and needs of a community and not identified with the latter, from an intention of making it his permanent home (28 C.J.S. §1). It denotes a fixed
elective office to serve that community . . . ." Petitioner's lifetime contacts with permanent residence to which when absent for business, or pleasure, or for
the First District of Leyte cannot be contested. Nobody can claim that she is like reasons one intends to return, and depends on facts and circumstances,
not acquainted with its problems because she is a stranger to the place. None in the sense that they disclose intent. (Ong Huan Tin v. Republic, 19 SCRA
can argue she cannot satisfy the intent of the Constitution. 966, 969)

Seventh. In resolving election cases, a dominant consideration is the need to Domicile is classified into domicile of origin and domicile of choice. The law
effectuate the will of the electorate. The election results show that petitioner attributes to every individual a domicile of origin, which is the domicile of his
received Seventy Thousand Four Hundred Seventy-one (70,471) votes, while parents, or of the head of his family, or of the person on whom he is legally
private respondent got only Thirty-Six Thousand Eight Hundred Thirty-Three dependent at the time of his birth. While the domicile of origin is generally the
(36,833) votes. Petitioner is clearly the overwhelming choice of the electorate place where one is born or reared, it maybe elsewhere (28 C.J.S. §5). Domicile
of the First District of Leyte and this is not a sleight of statistics. We cannot of choice, on the other hand, is the place which the person has elected and
frustrate this sovereign will on highly arguable technical considerations. In chosen for himself to displace his previous domicile; it has for its true basis or
case of doubt, we should lean towards a rule that will give life to the people's foundation the intention of the person (28 C.J.S. §6). In order to hold that a
political judgment. person has abandoned his domicile and acquired a new one called domicile
of choice, the following requisites must concur, namely, (a) residence or bodily
A final point. The case at bench provides the Court with the rare opportunity to presence in the new locality, (b) intention to remain there or animus manendi,
rectify the inequality of status between women and men by rejecting the and (c) an intention to abandon the old domicile oranimus non
iniquitous common law precedents on the domicile of married women and by revertendi (Romualdez v. RTC, Br. 7, Tacloban City, 226 SCRA 408, 415). A
redefining domicile in accord with our own culture, law, and Constitution. To third classification is domicile by operation of law which attributes to a person
rule that a married woman is eternally tethered to the domicile dictated by her a domicile independent of his own intention or actual residence, ordinarily
dead husband is to preserve the anachronistic and anomalous balance of resulting from legal domestic relations, as that of the wife arising from
advantage of a husband over his wife. We should not allow the dead to govern marriage, or the relation of a parent and a child (28 C.J.S. §7).
the living even if the glories of yesteryears seduce us to shout long live the
dead! The Family Code buried this gender-based discrimination against In election law, when our Constitution speaks of residence for election
married women and we should not excavate what has been entombed. More purposes it means domicile (Co v. Electoral Tribunal of the House of
importantly, the Constitution forbids it. Representatives, 199 SCRA 692, 713; Nuval v. Guray, 52 Phil. 645, 651). To
my mind, public respondent Commission on Elections misapplied this concept,
I vote to grant the petition. of domicile which led to petitioner's disqualification by ruling that petitioner
failed to comply with the constitutionally mandated one-year residence
Bellosillo and Melo, JJ., concur. requirement. Apparently, public respondent Commission deemed as

101
conclusive petitioner's stay and registration as voter in many places as conduct petitioner has acquired whether voluntarily or involuntarily, a new domicile to
disclosing her intent to abandon her established domicile of origin in Tacloban, replace her domicile of origin.
Leyte. In several decisions, though, the Court has laid down the rule that
registration of a voter in a place other than his place of origin is not sufficient The records, on the contrary, clearly show that petitioner has complied with
to constitute abandonment or loss of such residence (Faypon v. Quirino, 96 the constitutional one-year residence requirement. After her exile abroad, she
Phil. 294, 300). Respondent Commission offered no cogent reason to depart returned to the Philippines in 1991 to reside in Olot, Tolosa, Leyte, but the
from this rule except to surmise petitioner's intent of abandoning her domicile Presidential Commission on Good Government which sequestered her
of origin. residential house and other properties forbade her necessitating her transient
stay in various places in Manila (Affidavit p.6, attached as Annex I of the
It has been suggested that petitioner's domicile of origin was supplanted by a Petition). In 1992, she ran for the position of president writing in her certificate
new domicile due to her marriage, a domicile by operation of law. The of candidacy her residence as San Juan, Metro Manila. After her loss therein,
proposition is that upon the death of her husband in 1989 she retains her she went back to Tacloban City, acquired her residence certificate 2 and
husband's domicile, i.e., Batac, Ilocos Norte, until she makes an actual change resided with her brother in San Jose. She resided in San Jose, Tacloban City
thereof. I find this proposition quite untenable. until August of 1994 when she was allowed by the PCGG to move and reside
in her sequestered residential house in Olot, Tolosa, Leyte (Annex I, p. 6). 3 It
Tacloban, Leyte, is petitioner's domicile of origin which was involuntarily was in the same month of August when she applied for the cancellation of her
supplanted with another, i.e., Batac, Ilocos Norte, upon her marriage in 1954 previous registration in San Juan, Metro Manila in order to register anew as
with then Congressman Marcos. By legal fiction she followed the domicile of voter of Olot, Tolosa, Leyte, which she did on January 28, 1995. From this
her husband. In my view, the reason for the law is for the spouses to fully and sequence of events, I find it quite improper to use as the reckoning period of
effectively perform their marital duties and obligations to one another. 1 The the one-year residence requirement the date when she applied for the
question of domicile, however, is not affected by the fact that it was the legal cancellation of her previous registration in San Juan, Metro Manila. The fact
or moral duty of the individual to reside in a given place (28 C.J.S. §11). Thus, which private respondent never bothered to disprove is that petitioner
while the wife retains her marital domicile so long as the marriage subsists, transferred her residence after the 1992 presidential election from San Juan,
she automatically loses it upon the latter's termination, for the reason behind Metro Manila to San Jose, Tacloban City, and resided therein until August of
the law then ceases. Otherwise, petitioner, after her marriage was ended by 1994. She later transferred to Olot, Tolosa, Leyte (Annex I, p. 7). It appearing
the death of her husband, would be placed in a quite absurd and unfair that both Tacloban City and Tolosa, Leyte are within the First Congressional
situation of having been freed from all wifely obligations yet made to hold on District of Leyte, it indubitably stands that she had more than a year of
to one which no longer serves any meaningful purpose. residence in the constituency she sought to be elected. Petitioner, therefore,
It is my view therefore that petitioner reverted to her original domicile of has satisfactorily complied with the one-year qualification required by the 1987
Tacloban, Leyte upon her husband's death without even signifying her Constitution.
intention to that effect. It is for the private respondent to prove, not for petitioner I vote to grant the petition.
to disprove, that petitioner has effectively abandoned Tacloban, Leyte for
Batac, Ilocos Norte or for some other place/s. The clear rule is that it is the ROMERO, J., separate opinion:
party (herein private respondent) claiming that a person has abandoned or lost
his residence of origin who must show and prove preponderantly such Petitioner has appealed to this Court for relief after the COMELEC ruled that
abandonment or loss (Faypon v. Quirino, supra at 298; 28 C.J.S. §16), she was disqualified from running for Representative of her District and that,
because the presumption is strongly in favor of an original or former domicile, in the event that she should, nevertheless, muster a majority vote, her
as against an acquired one (28 C.J.S. §16). Private respondent unfortunately proclamation should be suspended. Not by a straightforward ruling did the
failed to discharge this burden as the record is devoid of convincing proof that COMELEC pronounce its decision as has been its unvarying practice in the
past, but by a startling succession of "reverse somersaults." Indicative of its

102
shifting stance vis-a-vis petitioner's certificate of candidacy were first, the At the other extreme is the position that the widow automatically reverts to her
action of its Second Division disqualifying her and canceling her original domicile of origin upon the demise of her husband. Does the law so abhor a
Certificate of Candidacy by a vote of 2-1 on April 24, 1995; then the denial by vacuum that the widow has to be endowed somehow with a domicile? To
the COMELEC en banc of her Motion for Reconsideration on May 7, 1995, a answer this question which is far from rhetorical, one will have to keep in mind
day before the election; then because she persisted in running, its decision on the basic principles of domicile. Everyone must have a domicile. Then one
May 11, 1995 or three days after the election, allowing her proclamation in the must have only a single domicile for the same purpose at any given time. Once
event that the results of the canvass should show that she obtained the highest established, a domicile remains until a new one is acquired, for no person lives
number of votes (obviously noting that petitioner had won overwhelmingly over who has no domicile, as defined by the law be is subject to.
her opponent), but almost simultaneously reversing itself by directing that even
if she wins, her proclamation should nonetheless be suspended. At this juncture, we are confronted with an unexplored legal terrain in this
jurisdiction, rendered more murky by the conflicting opinions of foreign legal
Crucial to the resolution of the disqualification issue presented by the case at authorities. This being the state of things, it is imperative as it is opportune to
bench is the interpretation to be given to the one-year residency requirement illumine the darkness with the beacon light of truth, as dictated by experience
imposed by the Constitution on aspirants for a Congressional seat. 1 and the necessity of according petitioner her right to choose her domicile in
keeping with the enlightened global trend to recognize and protect the human
Bearing in mind that the term "resident" has been held to be synonymous with rights of women, no less than men.
"domicile" for election purposes, it is important to determine whether
petitioner's domicile was in the First District of Leyte and if so, whether she Admittedly, the notion of placing women at par with men, insofar as civil,
had resided there for at least a period of one year. Undisputed is her domicile political and social rights are concerned, is a relatively recent phenomenon
of origin, Tacloban, where her parents lived at the time of her birth. Depending that took seed only in the middle of this century. It is a historical fact that for
on what theory one adopts, the same may have been changed when she over three centuries, the Philippines had been colonized by Spain, a
married Ferdinand E. Marcos, then domiciled in Batac, by operation of law. conservative, Catholic country which transplanted to our shores the Old World
Assuming it did, his death certainly released her from the obligation to live with cultures, mores and attitudes and values. Through the imposition on our
him at the residence fixed by him during his lifetime. What may confuse the government of the Spanish Civil Code in 1889, the people, both men and
layman at this point is the fact that the term "domicile" may refer to "domicile women, had no choice but to accept such concepts as the husband's being
of origin," "domicile of choice," or "domicile by operation of law," which subject the head of the family and the wife's subordination to his authority. In such
we shall not belabor since it has been amply discussed by the ponente and in role, his was the right to make vital decisions for the family. Many instances
the other separate opinions. come to mind, foremost being what is related to the issue before us, namely,
that "the husband shall fix the residence of the family." 3 Because he is made
In any case, what assumes relevance is the divergence of legal opinion as to responsible for the support of the wife and the rest of the family, 4 he is also
the effect of the husband's death on the domicile of the widow. Some scholars empowered to be the administrator of the conjugal property, with a few
opine that the widow's domicile remains unchanged; that the deceased exceptions 5 and may, therefore, dispose of the conjugal partnership property
husband's wishes perforce still bind the wife he has left behind. Given this for the purposes specified under the law; 6 whereas, as a general rule, the wife
interpretation, the widow cannot possibly go far enough to sever the domiciliary cannot bind the conjugal partnership without the husband's consent. 7 As
tie imposed by her husband. regards the property pertaining to the children under parental authority, the
It is bad enough to interpret the law as empowering the husband unilaterally father is the legal administrator and only in his absence may the mother
to fix the residence or domicile of the family, as laid down in the Civil assume his powers. 8 Demeaning to the wife's dignity are certain strictures on
Code, 2 but to continue giving obeisance to his wishes even after the rationale her personal freedoms, practically relegating her to the position of minors and
underlying the mutual duty of the spouses to live together has ceased, is to disabled persons. To illustrate a few: The wife cannot, without the husband's
close one's eyes to the stark realities of the present. consent, acquire any gratuitous title, except from her ascendants,
descendants, parents-in-law, and collateral relatives within the fourth
103
degree. 9 With respect to her employment, the husband wields a veto power in Code, 15 both of which were speedily approved by the first lady President of
the case the wife exercises her profession or occupation or engages in the country, Corazon C. Aquino. Notable for its emphasis on the human rights
business, provided his income is sufficient for the family, according to its social of all individuals and its bias for equality between the sexes are the following
standing and his opposition is founded on serious and valid grounds. 10 Most provisions: "The State values the dignity of every human person and
offensive, if not repulsive, to the liberal-minded is the effective prohibition upon guarantees full respect for human rights" 16 and "The State recognizes the role
a widow to get married till after three hundred days following the death of her of women in nation-building, and shall ensure the fundamental equality before
husband, unless in the meantime, she has given birth to a child. 11 The mother the law of women and men." 17
who contracts a subsequent marriage loses the parental authority over her
children, unless the deceased husband, father of the latter, has expressly A major accomplishment of women in their quest for equality with men and the
provided in his will that his widow might marry again, and has ordered that in elimination of discriminatory provisions of law was the deletion in the Family
such case she should keep and exercise parental authority over their Code of almost all of the unreasonable strictures on wives and the grant to
children. 12 Again, an instance of a husband's overarching influence from them of personal rights equal to that of their husbands. Specifically, the
beyond the grave. husband and wife are now giventhe right jointly to fix the family
domicile; 18 concomitant to the spouses' being jointly responsible for the
All these indignities and disabilities suffered by Filipino wives for hundreds of support of the family is the right and duty of both spouses to manage the
years evoked no protest from them until the concept of human rights and household; 19 the administration and the enjoyment of the community property
equality between and among nations and individuals found hospitable shall belong to both spouses jointly; 20 the father and mother shall now jointly
lodgment in the United Nations Charter of which the Philippines was one of exercise legal guardianship over the property of their unemancipated common
the original signatories. By then, the Spanish "conquistadores" had been child 21 and several others.
overthrown by the American forces at the turn of the century. The bedrock of
the U.N. Charter was firmly anchored on this credo: "to reaffirm faith in the Aware of the hiatus and continuing gaps in the law, insofar as women's rights
fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in are concerned, Congress passed a law popularly known as "Women in
the equal rights of men and women." (Emphasis supplied) Development and Nation Building Act" 22 Among the rights given to married
women evidencing their capacity to act in contracts equal to that of men are:
It took over thirty years before these egalitarian doctrines bore fruit, owing
largely to the burgeoning of the feminist movement. What may be regarded as (1) Women shall have the capacity to borrow and obtain loans and execute
the international bill of rights for women was implanted in the Convention on security and credit arrangements under the same conditions as men;
the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) (2) Women shall have equal access to all government and private sector
adopted by the U.N. General Assembly which entered into force as an programs granting agricultural credit, loans and non material resources and
international treaty on September 3, 1981. In ratifying the instrument, the shall enjoy equal treatment in agrarian reform and land resettlement programs;
Philippines bound itself to implement its liberating spirit and letter, for its
Constitution, no less, declared that "The Philippines. . . adopts the generally (3) Women shall have equal rights to act as incorporators and enter into
accepted principles of international law as part of the law of the land and insurance contracts; and
adheres to the policy of peace, equality, justice, freedom, cooperation, and
(4) Married women shall have rights equal to those of married men in applying
amity with all nations." 13 One such principle embodied in the CEDAW is
for passports, secure visas and other travel documents, without need to secure
granting to men and women "the same rights with regard to the law relating to
the consent of their spouses.
the movement of persons and the freedom to choose their residence and
domicile."14 (Emphasis supplied). As the world draws the curtain on the Fourth World Conference of Women in
Beijing, let this Court now be the first to respond to its clarion call that
CEDAW's pro-women orientation which was not lost on Filipino women was
"Women's Rights are Human Rights" and that "All obstacles to women's full
reflected in the 1987 Constitution of the Philippines and later, in the Family
104
participation in decision-making at all levels, including the family" should be Constitutional provisions must be taken to be mandatory in character unless,
removed. Having been herself a Member of the Philippine Delegation to the either by express statement or by necessary implication, a different intention
International Women's Year Conference in Mexico in 1975, this writer is only is manifest (see Marcelino vs. Cruz, 121 SCRA 51).
too keenly aware of the unremitting struggle being waged by women the world
over, Filipino women not excluded, to be accepted as equals of men and to The two provisions initially brought to focus are Section 6 and Section 17 of
tear down the walls of discrimination that hold them back from their proper Article VI of the fundamental law. These provisions read:
places under the sun. Sec. 6. No person shall be a Member of the House of Representatives unless
In light of the inexorable sweep of events, local and global, legislative, he is a natural-born citizen of the Philippines and, on the day of the election,
executive and judicial, according more rights to women hitherto denied them is at least twenty-five years of age, able to read and write, and, except the
and eliminating whatever pockets of discrimination still exist in their civil, party-list representatives, a registered voter in the district in which he shall be
political and social life, can it still be insisted that widows are not at liberty to elected, and a resident thereof for a period of not less than one year
choose their domicile upon the death of their husbands but must retain the immediately preceding the day of the election.
same, regardless? Sec. 17. The Senate and the House of Representatives shall each have an
I submit that a widow, like the petitioner and others similarly situated, can no Electoral Tribunal which shall be the sole judge of all contests relating to the
longer be bound by the domicile of the departed husband, if at all she was election, returns, and qualifications of their respective Members. Each
before. Neither does she automatically revert to her domicile of origin, but Electoral Tribunal shall be composed of nine Members, three of whom shall
exercising free will, she may opt to reestablish her domicile of origin. In be Justices of the Supreme Court to be designated by the Chief Justice, and
returning to Tacloban and subsequently, to Barangay Olot, Tolosa, both of the remaining six shall be Members of the Senate or the House of
which are located in the First District of Leyte, petitioner amply demonstrated Representatives, as the case may be, who shall be chosen on the basis of
by overt acts, her election of a domicile of choice, in this case, a reversion to proportional representation from the political parties and the parties or
her domicile of origin. Added together, the time when she set up her domicile organizations registered under the party-list system represented therein. The
in the two places sufficed to meet the one-year requirement to run as senior Justice in the Electoral Tribunal shall be its Chairman.
Representative of the First District of Leyte. The Commission on Election (the "COMELEC") is constitutionally bound to
In view of the foregoing expatiation, I vote to GRANT the petition. enforce and administer "all laws and regulations relative to the conduct of
election . . ." (Art. IX, C, Sec. 2, Constitution) that, there being nothing said to
VITUG, J., separate opinion: the contrary, should include its authority to pass upon the qualification and
disqualification prescribed by law ofcandidates to an elective office. Indeed,
The case at bench deals with explicit Constitutional mandates. pre-proclamation controversies are expressly placed under the COMELEC's
The Constitution is not a pliable instrument. It is a bedrock in our legal system jurisdiction to hear and resolve (Art. IX, C, Sec. 3, Constitution).
that sets up ideals and directions and render steady our strides hence. It only The matter before us specifically calls for the observance of the constitutional
looks back so as to ensure that mistakes in the past are not repeated. A one-year residency requirement. The issue (whether or not there is here such
compliant transience of a constitution belittles its basic function and weakens compliance), to my mind, is basically a question of fact or at least inextricably
its goals. A constitution may well become outdated by the realities of time. linked to such determination. The findings and judgment of the COMELEC, in
When it does, it must be changed but while it remains, we owe it respect and accordance with the long established rule and subject only to a number of
allegiance. Anarchy, open or subtle, has never been, nor must it ever be, the exceptions under the basic heading of "grave abuse of discretion," are not
answer to perceived transitory needs, let alone societal attitudes, or the reviewable by this Court.
Constitution might lose its very essence.

105
I do not find much need to do a complex exercise on what seems to me to be and conditions such as may be required by law before a proclamation is
a plain matter. Generally, the term "residence" has a broader connotation that properly done.
may mean permanent (domicile), official (place where one's official duties may
require him to stay) or temporary (the place where he sojourns during a The Court, on its part, should, in my view at least, refrain from any undue
considerable length of time). For civil law purposes, i.e., as regards the encroachment on the ultimate exercise of authority by the Electoral Tribunals
exercise of civil rights and the fulfillment of civil obligations, the domicile of a on matters which, by no less than a constitutional fiat, are explicitly within their
natural person is the place of his habitual residence (see Article 50, Civil exclusive domain. The nagging question, if it were otherwise, would be the
Code). In election cases, the controlling rule is that heretofore announced by effect of the Court's peremptory pronouncement on the ability of the Electoral
this Court in Romualdez vs. Regional Trial Court, Branch 7, Tacloban City Tribunal to later come up with its own judgment in a contest "relating to the
(226 SCRA 408, 409); thus: election, returns and qualification" of its members.

In election cases, the Court treats domicile and residence as synonymous Prescinding from all the foregoing, I should like to next touch base on the
terms, thus: "(t)he term "residence" as used in the election law is synonymous applicability to this case of Section 6 of Republic Act No. 6646, in relation to
with "domicile," which imports not only an intention to reside in a fixed place Section 72 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 881, each providing thusly:
but also personal presence in that place, coupled with conduct indicative of REPUBLIC ACT NO. 6646
such intention." "Domicile" denotes a fixed permanent residence to which
when absent for business or pleasure, or for like reasons, one intends to xxx xxx xxx
return. . . . . Residence thus acquired, however, may be lost by adopting
Sec. 6. Effect of Disqualification Case. — Any candidate who has been
another choice of domicile. In order, in turn, to acquire a new domicile by
declared by final judgment to be disqualified shall not be voted for, and the
choice, there must concur (1) residence or bodily presence in the new locality,
votes cast for him shall not be counted. If for any reason a candidate is not
(2) an intention to remain there, and (3) an intention to abandon the old
declared by final judgment before an election to be disqualified and he is voted
domicile. In other words, there must basically be animus manendi coupled
for and receives the winning number of votes in such election, the Court or
with animus non revertendi. The purpose to remain in or at the domicile of
Commission shall continue with the trial and hearing of the action, inquiry or
choice must be for an indefinite period of time; the change of residence must
protest and, upon motion of the complainant or any intervenor, may during the
be voluntary; and the residence at the place chosen for the new domicile must
pendency thereof order the suspension of the proclamation of such candidate
be actual.
whenever the evidence of his guilt is strong.
Using the above tests, I am not convinced that we can charge the COMELEC
BATAS PAMBANSA BLG. 881
with having committed grave abuse of discretion in its assailed resolution.
xxx xxx xxx
The COMELEC's jurisdiction, in the case of congressional elections, ends
when the jurisdiction of the Electoral Tribunal concerned begins. It signifies Sec. 72. Effects of disqualification cases and priority. — The Commission and
that the protestee must have theretofore been duly proclaimed and has since the courts shall give priority to cases of disqualification by reason of violation
become a "member" of the Senate or the House of Representatives. The of this Act to the end that a final decision shall be rendered not later than seven
question can be asked on whether or not the proclamation of a candidate is days before the election in which the disqualification is sought.
just a ministerial function of the Commission on Elections dictated solely on
the number of votes cast in an election exercise. I believe, it is not. A ministerial Any candidate who has been declared by final judgment to be disqualified shall
duty is an obligation the performance of which, being adequately defined, does not be voted for, and the votes cast for him shall not be counted. Nevertheless,
not allow the use of further judgment or discretion. The COMELEC, in its if for any reason, a candidate is not declared by final, judgment before an
particular case, is tasked with the full responsibility of ascertaining all the facts election to be disqualified, and he is voted for and receives the winning number

106
of votes in such election, his violation of the provisions of the preceding which represents the more logical and democratic rule. That case, which
sections shall not prevent his proclamation and assumption to office. reiterated the doctrine first announced in 1912 in Topacio v.Paredes, (23 Phil.
238) was supported by ten members of the Court, (Gutierrez, Jr., ponente, with
I realize that in considering the significance of the law, it may be preferable to Teehankee, Abad Santos, Melencio-Herrera, Plana, Escolin, Relova, De la
look for not so much the specific instances they ostensibly would cover as the Fuente, Cuevas and Alampay, JJ., concurring) without any dissent, although
principle they clearly convey. Thus, I will not scoff at the argument that it should one reserved his vote, (Makasiar, J.) another took no part, (Aquino, J.) and two
be sound to say that votes cast in favor of the disqualified candidate, whenever others were on leave. (Fernando, C.J. and Concepcion, Jr., J.) There the
ultimately declared as such, should not be counted in his or her favor and must Court held:
accordingly be considered to be stray votes. The argument, nevertheless, is
far outweighed by the rationale of the now prevailing doctrine first enunciated . . . it would be extremely repugnant to the basic concept of the constitutionally
in the case of Topacio vs. Paredes (23 Phil. 238 [1912]) which, although later guaranteed right to suffrage if a candidate who has not acquired the majority
abandoned in Ticzon vs. Comelec (103 SCRA 687 [1981]), and Santos or plurality of votes is proclaimed a winner and imposed as the representative
vs. COMELEC (137 SCRA 740 [1985]), was restored, along with the interim of a constituency, the majority of which have positively declared through their
case of Geronimo vs. Ramos (136 SCRA 435 [1985]), by the Labo (176 SCRA ballots that they do not choose him.
1 (1989]), Abella (201 SCRA 253 [1991]), Labo (211 SCRA 297 [1992]) and,
most recently, Benito (235 SCRA 436 [1994]) rulings. Benito vs.Comelec was Sound policy dictates that public elective offices are filled by those who have
a unanimous decision penned by Justice Kapunan and concurred in by Chief received the highest number of votes cast in the election for that office, and it
Justice Narvasa, Justices Feliciano, Padilla, Bidin, Regalado, Davide, is a fundamental idea in all republican forms of government that no one can
Romero, Melo, Quiason, Puno, Vitug and Mendoza (Justices Cruz and be declared elected and no measure can be declared carried unless he or it
Bellosillo were on official leave). For easy reference, let me quote from the receives a majority or plurality of the legal votes cast in the election. (20 Corpus
first Labo decision: Juris 2nd, S 243, p. 676.)

Finally, there is the question of whether or not the private respondent, who The fact that the candidate who obtained the highest number of votes is later
filed the quo warrantopetition, can replace the petitioner as mayor. He cannot. declared to be disqualified or not eligible for the office to which he was elected
The simple reason is that as he obtained only the second highest number of does not necessarily entitle the candidate who obtained the second highest
votes in the election, he was obviously not the choice of the people of Baguio number of votes to be declared the winner of the elective office. The votes cast
City. for a dead, disqualified, or non-eligible person may not be valid to vote the
winner into office or maintain him there. However, in the absence of a statute
The latest ruling of the Court on this issue is Santos v. Commission on which clearly asserts a contrary political and legislative policy on the matter, if
Elections, (137 SCRA 740) decided in 1985. In that case, the candidate who the votes were cast in the sincere belief that the candidate was alive, qualified,
placed second was proclaimed elected after the votes for his winning rival, or eligible, they should not be treated as stray, void or meaningless. (at pp. 20-
who was disqualified as a turncoat and considered a non-candidate, were all 21)
disregard as stray. In effect, the second placer won by default. That decision
was supported by eight members of the Court then, (Cuevas, J., ponente, with Considering all the foregoing, I am constrained to vote for the dismissal of the
Makasiar, Concepcion, Jr., Escolin, Relova, De la Fuente, Alampay and petition.
Aquino, JJ., concurring.) with three dissenting (Teehankee, Acting C.J., Abad MENDOZA, J., separate opinion:
Santos and Melencio-Herrera, JJ.) and another two reserving their vote.
(Plana and Gutierrez, Jr., JJ.) One was on official leave. (Fernando, C.J.) In my view the issue in this case is whether the Commission on Elections has
the power to disqualify candidates on the ground that they lack eligibility for
Re-examining that decision, the Court finds, and so holds, that it should be the office to which they seek to be elected. I think that it has none and that the
reversed in favor of the earlier case of Geronimo v. Ramos, (136 SCRA 435) qualifications of candidates may be questioned only in the event they are
107
elected, by filing a petition forquo warranto or an election protest in the found by the Commission of having (a) given money or other material
appropriate forum, not necessarily in the COMELEC but, as in this case, in the consideration to influence, induce or corrupt the voters or public officials
House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal. That the parties in this case took performing electoral functions; (b) committed acts of terrorism to enhance his
part in the proceedings in the COMELEC is of no moment. Such proceedings candidacy; (c) spent in his election campaign an amount in excess of that
were unauthorized and were not rendered valid by their agreement to submit allowed by this Code; (d) solicited, received or made any contribution
their dispute to that body. prohibited under Sections 89, 95, 96, 97 and 104; or (e) violated any of
Sections 80, 83, 85, 86 and 261, paragraphs d, e, k, v, and cc, sub-paragraph
The various election laws will be searched in vain for authorized proceedings 6, shall be disqualifiedfrom continuing as a candidate, or if he has been
for determining a candidate's qualifications for an office before his election. elected, from holding the office. Any person who is a permanent resident of or
There are none in the Omnibus Election Code (B.P. Blg. 881), in the Electoral an immigrant to a foreign country shall not be qualified to run for any elective
Reforms Law of 1987 (R.A. No. 6646), or in the law providing for synchronized office under this Code, unless said person has waived his status as permanent
elections (R.A. No. 7166). There are, in other words, no provisions for pre- resident or immigrant of a foreign country in accordance with the residence
proclamation contests but only election protests or quo warranto proceedings requirement provided for in the election laws. (Emphasis added)
against winning candidates.
§ 78. Petition to deny due course to or cancel a certificate of
To be sure, there are provisions denominated for "disqualification," but they candidacy. — A verified petition seeking to deny due course or to cancel a
are not concerned with a declaration of the ineligibility of a candidate. These certificate of candidacy may be filed by any person exclusively on the ground
provisions are concerned with the incapacity (due to insanity, incompetence that any material representation contained therein as required under Section
or conviction of an offense) of a person either to be a candidate or to continue 74 hereof is false. The petition may be filed at any time not later than twenty-
as a candidate for public office. There is also a provision for the denial or five days from the time of the filing of the certificate of candidacy and shall be
cancellation of certificates of candidacy, but it applies only to cases involving decided, after due notice and hearing, not later than fifteen days before the
false representations as to certain matters required by law to be stated in the election. (Emphasis added)
certificates.
the Electoral Reforms Law of 1987 (R.A. No. 6646):
These provisions are found in the following parts of the Omnibus Election
Code: § 6. Effect of Disqualification Case. — Any candidate who has been declared
by final judgment to be disqualified shall not be voted for, and the votes cast
§ 12. Disqualifications. — Any person who has been declared by competent for him shall not be counted. If for any reason a candidate is not declared by
authority insane or incompetent, or has been sentenced by final judgment for final judgment before an election to be disqualified and he is voted for and
subversion, insurrection, rebellion or for any offense for which he has been receives the winning number of votes in such election, the Court or
sentenced to a penalty of more than eighteen months or for a crime involving Commission shall continue with the trial and hearing of the action, inquiry or
moral turpitude, shall be disqualified to be a candidate and to hold any office, protest and; upon motion for the complainant or any intervenor, may during
unless he has been given plenary pardon or granted amnesty. the pendency thereof order the suspension of the proclamation of such
The disqualifications to be a candidate herein provided shall be deemed candidate whenever the evidence of his guilt is strong. (Emphasis added).
removed upon the declaration by competent authority that said insanity or § 7. Petition to Deny Due Course to or Cancel a Certificate of Candidacy. —
incompetence had been removed or after the expiration of a period of five The procedure hereinabove provided shall apply to petitions to deny due
years from his service of sentence, unless within the same period he again course to or cancel a certificate of candidacy as provided in Section 78 of
becomes disqualified. (Emphasis added) Batas Pambansa Blg. 881.
§ 68. Disqualifications. — Any candidate who, in an action or protest in which and the Local Government Code of 1991 (R.A. No. 7160):
he is a party is declared by final decision of a competent court guilty of, or
108
§ 40. Disqualifications. — The following persons are disqualified from running a candidate, whereas quo warranto proceedings have for their purpose to
for any elective local position: disqualify a person from holding public office. Jurisdiction over quo
warranto proceedings involving members of the House of Representatives is
(a) Those sentenced by final judgment for an offense involving moral turpitude vested in the Electoral Tribunal of that body.
or for an offense punishable by one (1) year or more of imprisonment, within
two (2) years after serving sentence; Indeed, in the only cases in which this Court dealt with petitions for the
cancellation of certificates of candidacy, the allegations were that the
(b) Those removed from office as a result of on administrative case; respondent candidates had made false representations in their certificates of
(c) Those convicted by final judgment for violating the oath of allegiance to the candidacy with regard to their citizenship, 1 age, 2 or residence. 3 But in the
Republic; generality of cases in which this Court passed upon the qualifications of
respondents for office, this Court did so in the context of election
(d) Those with dual citizenship; protests 4 or quo warranto proceedings 5 filed after the proclamation of the
respondents or protestees as winners.
(e) Fugitive from justice in criminal or nonpolitical cases here or abroad;
Three reasons may be cited to explain the absence of an authorized
(f) Permanent residents in a foreign country or those who have acquired the
proceeding for determining before electionthe qualifications of a candidate.
right to reside abroad and continue to avail of the same right after the effectivity
of this Code; and First is the fact that unless a candidate wins and is proclaimed elected, there
is no necessity for determining his eligibility for the office. In contrast, whether
(g) The insane or feeble-minded.
an individual should be disqualified as a candidate for acts constituting election
The petition filed by private respondent Cirilo Roy Montejo in the COMELEC, offenses (e.g., vote buying, over spending, commission of prohibited acts) is a
while entitled "For Cancellation and Disqualification," contained no allegation prejudicial question which should be determined lest he wins because of the
that private respondent Imelda Romualdez-Marcos made material very acts for which his disqualification is being sought. That is why it is
representations in her certificate of candidacy which were false, it sought her provided that if the grounds for disqualification are established, a candidate
disqualification on the ground that "on the basis of her Voter Registration will not be voted for; if he has been voted for, the votes in his favor will not be
Record and Certificate of Candidacy, [she] is disqualified from running for the counted; and if for some reason he has been voted for and he has won, either
position of Representative, considering that on election day, May 8, 1995, he will not be proclaimed or his proclamation will be set aside. 6
[she] would have resided less than ten (10) months in the district where she is
Second is the fact that the determination of a candidate's eligibility, e.g., his
seeking to be elected." For its part, the COMELEC's Second Division, in its
citizenship or, as in this case, his domicile, may take a long time to make,
resolution of April 24, 1995, cancelled her certificate of candidacy and
extending beyond the beginning of the term of the office. This is amply
corrected certificate of candidacy on the basis of its finding that petitioner is
demonstrated in the companion case (G.R. No. 120265, Agapito A. Aquino v.
"not qualified to run for the position of Member of the House of Representatives
COMELEC) where the determination of Aquino's residence was still pending
for the First Legislative District of Leyte" and not because of any finding that
in the COMELEC even after the elections of May 8, 1995. This is contrary to
she had made false representations as to material matters in her certificate of
the summary character of proceedings relating to certificates of candidacy.
candidacy.
That is why the law makes the receipt of certificates of candidacy a ministerial
Montejo's petition before the COMELEC was therefore not a petition for duty of the COMELEC and its officers. 7 The law is satisfied if candidates state
cancellation of certificate of candidacy under § 78 of the Omnibus Election in their certificates of candidacy that they are eligible for the position which
Code, but essentially a petition to declare private respondent ineligible. It is they seek to fill, leaving the determination of their qualifications to be made
important to note this, because, as will presently be explained, proceedings after the election and only in the event they are elected. Only in cases involving
under § 78 have for their purpose to disqualify a person from being
109
charges of false representations made in certificates of candidacy is the Local Government Code and are for the purpose of barring an individual
COMELEC given jurisdiction. from becoming a candidate or from continuing as a candidate for public office.
In a word, their purpose is to eliminate a candidate from the race either from
Third is the policy underlying the prohibition against pre-proclamation cases in the start or during its progress. "Ineligibility," on the other hand, refers to the
elections for President, Vice President, Senators and members of the House lack of the qualifications prescribed in the Constitution or the statutes for
of Representatives. (R.A. No. 7166, § 15) The purpose is to preserve the holding public office and the purpose of the proceedings for declaration of
prerogatives of the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal and the other ineligibility is to remove the incumbent from office.
Tribunals as "sole judges" under the Constitution of
the election, returns and qualifications of members of Congress or of the Consequently, that an individual possesses the qualifications for a public office
President and Vice President, as the case may be. does not imply that he is not disqualified from becoming a candidate or
continuing as a candidate for a public office and vice versa. We have this sort
By providing in § 253 for the remedy of quo warranto for determining an of dichotomy in our Naturalization Law. (C.A. No. 473) That an alien has the
elected official's qualifications after the results of elections are proclaimed, qualifications prescribed in § 2 of the law does not imply that he does not suffer
while being conspicuously silent about a pre-proclamation remedy based on from any of disqualifications provided in § 4.
the same ground, the Omnibus Election Code, or OEC, by its silence
underscores the policy of not authorizing any inquiry into the qualifications of Indeed, provisions for disqualifications on the ground that the candidate is
candidates unless they have been elected. guilty of prohibited election practices or offenses, like other pre-proclamation
remedies, are aimed at the detestable practice of "grabbing the proclamation
Apparently realizing the lack of an authorized proceeding for declaring the and prolonging the election protest," 8 through the use of "manufactured"
ineligibility of candidates, the COMELEC amended its rules on February 15, election returns or resort to other trickery for the purpose of altering the results
1993 so as to provide in Rule 25, § 1 the following: of the election. This rationale does not apply to cases for determining a
Grounds for disqualification. — Any candidate who does not possess all the candidate's qualifications for office before the election. To the contrary, it is the
qualifications of a candidate as provided for by the Constitution or by existing candidate against whom a proceeding for disqualification is brought who could
law or who commits any act declared by law to be grounds for disqualification be prejudiced because he could be prevented from assuming office even
may be disqualified from continuing as a candidate. though in end he prevails.

The lack of provision for declaring the ineligibility of candidates, however, To summarize, the declaration of ineligibility of a candidate may only be sought
cannot be supplied by a mere rule. Such an act is equivalent to the creation of in an election protest or action forquo warranto filed pursuant to § 253 of the
a cause of action which is a substantive matter which the COMELEC, in the Omnibus Election Code within 10 days after his proclamation. With respect to
exercise of its rulemaking power under Art. IX, A, § 6 of the Constitution, elective local officials (e.g., Governor, Vice Governor, members of the
cannot do. It is noteworthy that the Constitution withholds from the COMELEC Sangguniang Panlalawigan, etc.) such petition must be filed either with the
even the power to decide cases involving the right to vote, which essentially COMELEC, the Regional Trial Courts, or Municipal Trial Courts, as provided
involves an inquiry into qualifications based on age, in Art. IX, C, § 2(2) of the Constitution. In the case of the President and Vice
residence and citizenship of voters. (Art. IX, C, § 2(3)) President, the petition must be filed with the Presidential Electoral Tribunal
(Art. VII, § 4, last paragraph), and in the case of the Senators, with the Senate
The assimilation in Rule 25 of the COMELEC rules of grounds for ineligibility Electoral Tribunal, and in the case of Congressmen, with the House of
into grounds for disqualification is contrary to the evident intention of the law. Representatives Electoral Tribunal. (Art. VI, § 17) There is greater reason for
For not only in their grounds but also in their consequences are proceedings not allowing before the election the filing of disqualification proceedings based
for "disqualification" different from those for a declaration of "ineligibility." on alleged ineligibility in the case of candidates for President, Vice President,
"Disqualification" proceedings, as already stated, are based on grounds Senators and members of the House of Representatives, because of the same
specified in §§ 12 and 68 of the Omnibus Election Code and in § 40 of the policy prohibiting the filing of pre-proclamation cases against such candidates.
110
For these reasons, I am of the opinion that the COMELEC had no jurisdiction the intention to reside therein is manifest with his personal presence in the
over SPA No. 95-009; that its proceedings in that case, including its questioned place, coupled with conduct indicative of such intention.
orders, are void; and that the eligibility of petitioner Imelda Romualdez-Marcos
for the office of Representative of the First District of Leyte may only be With this basic thesis in mind, it would not be difficult to conceive of different
inquired into by the HRET. modalities within which the phrase "a resident thereof (meaning, the legislative
district) for a period of not less than one year" would fit.
Accordingly, I vote to grant the petition and to annul the proceedings of the
Commission on Elections in SPA No. 95-009, including its questioned orders The first instance is where a person's residence and domicile coincide in which
doted April 24, 1995, May 7, 1995, May 11, 1995 and May 25, 1995, declaring case a person only has to prove that he has been domiciled in a permanent
petitioner Imelda Romualdez-Marcos ineligible and ordering her proclamation location for not less than a year before the election.
as Representative of the First District of Leyte suspended. To the extent that A second situation is where a person maintains a residence apart from his
Rule 25 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure authorizes proceedings for the domicile in which case he would have the luxury of district shopping, provided
disqualification of candidates on the ground of ineligibility for the office, it of course, he satisfies the one-year residence period in the district as the
should considered void. minimum period for eligibility to the position of congressional representative
The provincial board of canvassers should now proceed with the proclamation for the district.
of petitioner. In either case, one would not be constitutionally disqualified for abandoning
Narvasa, C.J., concurs. his residence in order to return to his domicile of origin, or better still, domicile
of choice; neither would one be disqualified for abandoning altogether his
PADILLA, J., dissenting: domicile in favor of his residence in the district where he desires to be a
candidate.
I regret that I cannot join the majority opinion as expressed in the well-written
ponencia of Mr. Justice Kapunan. The most extreme circumstance would be a situation wherein a person
maintains several residences in different districts. Since his domicile of origin
As in any controversy arising out of a Constitutional provision, the inquiry must continues as an option as long as there is no effective abandonment (animus
begin and end with the provision itself. The controversy should not be blurred non revertendi), he can practically choose the district most advantageous for
by what, to me, are academic disquisitions. In this particular controversy, the him.
Constitutional provision on point states that — "no person shall be a member
of the House of Representatives unless he is a natural-born citizen of the All these theoretical scenarios, however, are tempered by the unambiguous
Philippines, and on the day of the election, is at least twenty-five (25) years of limitation that "for a period of not less than one year immediately preceding the
age, able to read and write, and except the party list representatives, a day of the election", he must be a resident in the district where he desires to
registered voter in the district in which he shall be elected, and a resident be elected.
thereof for a period of not less than one year immediately preceding the day
of the election." (Article VI, section 6) To my mind, the one year residence period is crucial regardless of whether or
not the term "residence" is to be synonymous with "domicile." In other words,
It has been argued that for purposes of our election laws, the the candidate's intent and actual presence in one district must in allsituations
term residence has been understood as synonymous with domicile. This satisfy the length of time prescribed by the fundamental law. And this, because
argument has been validated by no less than the Court in numerous of a definite Constitutional purpose. He must be familiar with the environment
cases 1where significantly the factual circumstances clearly and convincingly and problems of a district he intends to represent in Congress and the one-
proved that a person does not effectively lose his domicile of origin if year residence in said district would be the minimum period to acquire such
familiarity, if not versatility.

111
In the case of petitioner Imelda R. Marcos, the operative facts are distinctly set On March 8, 1995, respondent filed with the Office of the Provincial Election
out in the now assailed decision of the Comelec 2nd Division dated 24 April Supervisor, Leyte, a Certificate of Candidacy for the position of Representative
1995 (as affirmed by the Comelec en banc) — of the First District of Leyte wherein she also alleged that she has been a
resident in the constituency where she seeks to be elected for a period of 7
In or about 1938 when respondent was a little over 8 years old, she established months. The pertinent entries therein are as follows:
her domicile in Tacloban, Leyte (Tacloban City). She studied in the Holy Infant
Academy in Tacloban from 1938 to 1948 when she graduated from high 7. PROFESSION OR OCCUPATION: House-wife/ Teacher/ Social Worker
school. She pursued her college studies in St. Paul's College, now Divine
Word University of Tacloban, where she earned her degree in Education. 8. RESIDENCE (complete address): Brgy. Olot, Tolosa, Leyte
Thereafter, she taught in the Leyte Chinese High School, still in Tacloban City. Post Office Address for election purposes: Brgy. Olot, Tolosa, Leyte
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 9. RESIDENCE IN THE CONSTITUENCY WHEREIN I SEEK TO BE
ex-president Ferdinand Marcos when he was still a congressman of Ilocos ELECTED IMMEDIATELY PRECEDING ELECTION: ________
Norte. She lived with him in Batac, Ilocos Norte and registered there as a voter. Years SevenMonths
When her husband was elected Senator of the Republic in 1959, she and her
10. I AM NOT A PERMANENT RESIDENT OF, OR IMMIGRANT TO, A
husband lived together in San Juan, Rizal where she registered as a voter. In
FOREIGN COUNTRY.
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 THAT I AM ELIGIBLE for said office; That I will support and defend the
in San Miguel, Manila. Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines and will maintain true faith and
allegiance thereto; That I will obey the laws, legal orders and decrees
During the Marcos presidency, respondent served as a Member of the
promulgated by the duly-constituted authorities; That the obligation imposed
Batasang Pambansa, Minister of Human Settlements and Governor of Metro
by my oath is assumed voluntarily, without mental reservation or purpose of
Manila. She claimed that in February 1986, she and her family were abducted
evasion; and That the facts stated herein are true to the best of my knowledge.
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 (Sgd.) Imelda Romualdez-Marcos
filed her Certificate of Candidacy wherein she indicated that she is a resident (Signature of Candidate) 2
and registered voter of San Juan, Metro Manila. On August 24, 1994,
respondent filed a letter with the election officer of San Juan, Metro Manila, Petitioner's aforestated certificate of candidacy filed on 8 March 1995 contains
requesting for cancellation of her registration in the Permanent List of Voters the decisive component or seed of her disqualification. It is contained in her
in Precinct No. 157 of San Juan, Metro Manila, in order that she may be re- answer under oath of "seven months" to the query of "residence in the
registered or transferred to Brgy. Olot, Tolosa, Leyte. (Annex 2-B, Answer). constituency wherein I seek to be elected immediately preceding the election."
On August 31, 1994, respondent filed her Sworn Application for Cancellation
It follows from all the above that the Comelec committed no grave abuse of
of Voter's Previous Registration (Annex 2-C, Answer) stating that she is a duly
discretion in holding that petitioner is disqualified from the position of
registered voter in 157-A, Brgy. Maytunas, San Juan, Metro that she intends
representative for the 1st congressional district of Leyte in the elections of
to register at Brgy. Olot, Tolosa, Leyte.
8 May 1995, for failure to meet the "not less than one-year residence in the
On January 28, 1995 respondent registered as a voter at Precinct No. 18-A of constituency (1st district, Leyte) immediately preceding the day of election
Olot, Tolosa, Leyte. She filed with the Board of Election Inspectors CE Form (8 May 1995)."
No. 1, Voter Registration Record No. 94-3349772, wherein she alleged that
Having arrived at petitioner's disqualification to be a representative of the first
she has resided in the municipality of Tolosa for a period of 6 months (Annex
district of Leyte, the next important issue to resolve is whether or not the
A, Petition).
112
Comelec can order the Board of Canvassers to determine and proclaim the the legislative policy does not limit its concern with the effect of a final
winner out of the remaining qualified candidates for representative in said judgement of disqualification only before the election, but even during or after
district. the election. The law is clear that in all situations, the votes cast for a
disqualified candidate SHALL NOT BE COUNTED. The law has also validated
I am not unaware of the pronouncement made by this Court in the case of Labo the jurisdiction of the Court or Commission on Election to continue hearing the
vs. Comelec, G.R. 86564, August 1, 1989, 176 SCRA 1 which gave the petition for disqualification in case a candidate is voted for and receives the
rationale as laid down in the early 1912 case of Topacio vs. Paredes, 23 Phil. highest number of votes, if for any reason, he is not declared by final judgment
238 that: before an election to be disqualified.
. . . . Sound policy dictates that public elective offices are filled by those who Since the present case is an after election scenario, the power to suspend
have received the highest number of votes cast in the election for that office, proclamation (when evidence of his guilt is strong) is also explicit under the
and it is a fundamental idea in all republican forms of government that no one law. What happens then when after the elections are over, one is declared
can be declared elected and no measure can be declared carried unless he or disqualified? Then, votes cast for him "shall not be counted" and in legal
it receives a majority or plurality of the legal votes cast in the election. (20 contemplation, he no longer received the highest number of votes.
Corpus Juris 2nd, S 243, p. 676)
It stands to reason that Section 6 of RA 6646 does not make the second placer
The fact that the candidate who obtained the highest number of votes is later the winner simply because a "winning candidate is disqualified," but that the
declared to be disqualified or not eligible for the office to which he was elected law considers him as the candidate who had obtained the highest number of
does not necessarily entitle the candidate who obtained the second highest votes as a result of the votes cast for the disqualified candidate not being
number of votes to be declared the winner of the elective office. The votes cast counted or considered.
for a dead, disqualified, or non-eligible person may not be valid to vote the
winner into office or maintain him there. However, in the absence of a As this law clearly reflects the legislative policy on the matter, then there is no
statute which clearly asserts a contrary political and legislative policy on the reason why this Court should not re-examine and consequently abandon the
matter, if the votes were cast in the sincere belief that the candidate was alive, doctrine in the Jun Labo case. It has been stated that "the qualifications
qualified, or eligible, they should not be treated as stray, void or meaningless. prescribed for elective office cannot be erased by the electorate alone. The
will of the people as expressed through the ballot cannot cure the vice of
Under Sec. 6 RA 6646, (An Act Introducing Additional Reforms in the Electoral ineligibility" most especially when it is mandated by no less than the
System and for other purposes) (84 O.G. 905, 22 February 1988) it is provided Constitution.
that:
ACCORDINGLY, I vote to DISMISS the petition and to order the Provincial
. . . — Any candidate who has been declared by final judgment to be Board of Canvassers of Leyte to proclaim the candidate receiving the highest
disqualified shall not be voted for, and the votes cast for him shall not be number of votes, from among the qualified candidates, as the duly elected
counted. If for any reason a candidate is not declared by final judgment before representative of the 1st district of Leyte.
an election to be disqualified and he is voted for and receives the winning
number of votes in such election, the Court or Commission shall continue with Hermosisima, Jr. J., dissent.
the trial and hearing of the action, inquiry or protest and, upon motion of the
complainant or any intervenor, may, during the pendency thereof order the REGALADO, J., dissenting:
suspension of the proclamation of such candidate whenever the evidence of While I agree with same of the factual bases of the majority opinion, I cannot
his guilt is strong. arrive conjointly at the same conclusion drawn therefrom Hence, this dissent
There is no need to indulge in legal hermeneutics to sense the plain and which assuredly is not formulated "on the basis of the personality of a petitioner
unambiguous meaning of the provision quoted above. As the law now stands, in a case."

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I go along with the majority in their narration of antecedent facts, insofar as the 9. On January 28, 1995, petitioner registered as a voter at Precinct No. 18-A
same are pertinent to this case, and which I have simplified as follows: of Olot, Tolosa, Leyte, for which purpose she filed with the therein Board of
Election Inspectors a voter's registration record form alleging that she had
1. Petitioner, although born in Manila, resided during her childhood in the resided in that municipality for six months.
present Tacloban City, she being a legitimate daughter of parents who appear
to have taken up permanent residence therein. She also went to school there 10. On March 8, 1995, petitioner filed her certificate of candidacy for the
and, for a time, taught in one of the schools in that city. position of Representative of the First District of Leyte wherein she alleged that
she had been a resident for "Seven Months" of the constituency where she
2. When she married then Rep. Ferdinand E. Marcos who was then domiciled sought to be elected.
in Batac, Ilocos Norte, by operation of law she acquired a new domicile in that
place in 1954. 11. On March 29, 1995, she filed an "Amended/Corrected Certificate of
Candidacy" wherein her answer in the original certificate of candidacy to item
3. In the successive years and during the events that happened thereafter, her "8. RESIDENCE IN THE CONSTITUENCY WHERE I SEEK, TO BE
husband having been elected as a Senator and then as President, she lived ELECTED IMMEDIATELY PRECEDING THE ELECTION:" was changed or
with him and their family in San Juan, Rizal and then in Malacanang Palace in replaced with a new entry reading "SINCE CHILDHOOD."
San Miguel, Manila.
The sole issue for resolution is whether, for purposes of her candidacy,
4. Over those years, she registered as a voter and actually voted in Batac, petitioner had complied with the residency requirement of one year as
Ilocos Norte, then in San Juan, Rizal, and also in San Miguel, Manila, all these mandated by no less than Section 6, Article VI of the 1987 Constitution.
merely in the exercise of the right of suffrage.
I do not intend to impose upon the time of my colleagues with a dissertation
5. It does not appear that her husband, even after he had assumed those lofty on the difference between residence and domicile. We have had enough of
positions successively, ever abandoned his domicile of origin in Batac, Ilocos that and I understand that for purposes of political law and, for that matter of
Norte where he maintained his residence and invariably voted in all elections. international law, residence is understood to be synonymous with domicile.
6. After the ouster of her husband from the presidency in 1986 and the sojourn That is so understood in our jurisprudence and in American Law, in
of the Marcos family in Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S.A., she eventually returned to contradistinction to the concept of residence for purposes of civil, commercial
the Philippines in 1991 and resided in different places which she claimed to and procedural laws whenever an issue thereon is relevant or controlling.
have been merely temporary residences. Consequently, since in the present case the question of petitioner's residence
7. In 1992, petitioner ran for election as President of the Philippines and in her is integrated in and inseparable from her domicile, I am addressing the issue
certificate of candidacy she indicated that she was then a registered voter and from the standpoint of the concept of the latter term, specifically its
resident of San Juan, Metro Manila. permutations into the domicile of origin, domicile of choice and domicile by
operation of law, as understood in American law from which for this case we
8. On August 24, 1994, she filed a letter for the cancellation of her registration have taken our jurisprudential bearings.
in the Permanent List of Voters in Precinct No. 157 of San Juan, Metro Manila
in order that she may "be re-registered or transferred to Brgy. Olot, Tolosa, My readings inform me that the domicile of the parents at the time of birth, or
Leyte." On August 31, 1994, she followed this up with her Sworn Application what is termed the "domicile of origin," constitutes the domicile of an infant
for Cancellation of Voter's Previous Registration wherein she stated that she until abandoned, or until the acquisition of a new domicile in a different
was a registered voter in Precinct No. 157-A, Brgy. Maytunas, San Juan, Metro place. 1 In the instant case, we may grant that petitioner's domicile of
Manila and that she intended to register in Brgy. Olot, Tolosa, Leyte. origin, 2 at least as of 1938, was what is now Tacloban City.

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Now, as I have observed earlier, domicile is said to be of three kinds, that is, if at all, can be the object of legal change under the contingencies of the case
domicile by birth, domicile by choice, and domicile by operation of law. The at bar.
first is the common case of the place of birth or domicilium originis, the second
is that which is voluntarily acquired by a party or domicilium propio motu; the To get out of this quandary, the majority decision echoes the dissenting opinion
last which is consequential, as that of a wife arising from marriage, 3 is of Commissioner Regalado E. Maambong in SPA 95-009 of the Commission
sometimes called domicilium necesarium. There is no debate that the domicile on Elections, 7 and advances this novel proposition.
of origin can be lost or replaced by a domicile of choice or a domicile by It may be said that petitioner lost her domicile of origin by operation of law as
operation of law subsequently acquired by the party. a result of her marriage to the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos in 1952 (sic,
When petitioner contracted marriage in 1954 with then Rep. Marcos, by 1954). By operation of law (domicilium necesarium), her legal domicile at the
operation of law, not only international or American but of our own time of her marriage became Batac, Ilocos Norte although there were no
enactment, 4 she acquired her husband's domicile of origin in Batac, Ilocos indications of an intention on her part to abandon her domicile of origin.
Norte and correspondingly lost her own domicile of origin in Tacloban City. Because of her husband's subsequent death and through the operation of the
provisions of the New Family Code already in force at the time, however, her
Her subsequent changes of residence — to San Juan, Rizal, then to San legal domicile automatically reverted to her domicile of origin. . . . (Emphasis
Miguel, Manila, thereafter to Honolulu, Hawaii, and back to now San Juan, supplied).
Metro Manila — do not appear to have resulted in her thereby acquiring new
domiciles of choice. In fact, it appears that her having resided in those places Firstly, I am puzzled why although it is conceded that petitioner had acquired
was by reason of the fortunes or misfortunes of her husband and his a domicilium necesarium in Batac, Ilocos Norte, the majority insists on making
peregrinations in the assumption of new official positions or the loss of them. a qualification that she did not intend to abandon her domicile of origin. I find
Her residence in Honolulu and, of course, those after her return to the this bewildering since, in this situation, it is the law that declares where
Philippines were, as she claimed, against her will or only for transient purposes petitioner's domicile is at any given time, and not her self-serving or putative
which could not have invested them with the status of domiciles of choice. 5 intent to hold on to her former domicile. Otherwise, contrary to their own
admission that one cannot have more than one domicile at a time, 8 the
After petitioner's return to the Philippines in 1991 and up to the present majority would be suggesting that petitioner retained Tacloban City as (for lack
imbroglio over her requisite residency in Tacloban City or Olot, Tolosa, Leyte, of a term in law since it does not exist therein) the equivalent of what is fancied
there is no showing that she ever attempted to acquire any other domicile of as a reserved, dormant, potential, or residual domicile.
choice which could have resulted in the abandonment of her legal domicile in
Batac, Ilocos Norte. On that score, we note the majority's own Secondly, domicile once lost in accordance with law can only be recovered
submission 6 that, to successfully effect a change of domicile, one must likewise in accordance with law. However, we are here being titillated with the
demonstrate (a) an actual removal or an actual change of domicile, (b) a bona possibility of an automatic reversion to or reacquisition of a domicile of origin
fide intention of abandoning the former place of residence and establishing a after the termination of the cause for its loss by operation of law. The majority
new one, and (c) acts which correspond with the purpose. agrees that since petitioner lost her domicile of origin by her marriage, the
termination of the marriage also terminates that effect thereof. I am impressed
We consequently have to also note that these requirements for the acquisition by the ingeniousness of this theory which proves that, indeed, necessity is the
of a domicile of choice apply whether what is sought to be changed or mother of inventions. Regretfully, I find some difficulty in accepting either the
substituted is a domicile of origin (domicilium originis) or a domicile by logic or the validity of this argument.
operation of law (domicilium necesarium). Since petitioner had lost
her domicilium originis which had been replaced by her domicilium If a party loses his domicile of origin by obtaining a new domicile of choice, he
necesarium, it is therefore her continuing domicile in Batac, Ilocos Norte which, thereby voluntarily abandons the former in favor of the latter. If, thereafter, he
abandons that chosen domicile, he does not per se recover his original
domicile unless, by subsequent acts legally indicative thereof, he evinces his
115
intent and desire to establish the same as his new domicile, which is precisely death of her husband, and each of her children having gotten married and
what petitioner belatedly and, evidently just for purposes of her candidacy, established their own respective domiciles, the exercise of that joint power was
unsuccessfully tried to do. and is no longer called for or material in the present factual setting of this
controversy. Instead, what is of concern in petitioner's case was the matter of
One's subsequent abandonment of his domicile of choice cannot automatically her having acquired or not her own domicile of choice.
restore his domicile of origin, not only because there is no legal authority
therefor but because it would be absurd Pursued to its logical consequence, I agree with the majority's discourse on the virtues of the growing and
that theory of ipso jure reversion would rule out the fact that said party could expanded participation of women in the affairs of the nation, with equal rights
already very well have obtained another domicile, either of choice or by and recognition by Constitution and statutory conferment. However, I have
operation of law, other than his domicile of origin. Significantly and obviously searched in vain for a specific law or judicial pronouncement which either
for this reason, the Family Code, which the majority inexplicably invokes, expressly or by necessary implication supports the majority's desired theory of
advisedly does not regulate this contingency since it would impinge on one's automatic reacquisition of or reversion to the domicilium originis of petitioner.
freedom of choice. Definitely, as between the settled and desirable legal norms that should
govern this issue, there is a world of difference; and, unquestionably, this
Now, in the instant case, petitioner not only voluntarily abandoned her domicile should be resolved by legislative articulation but not by the eloquence of the
of choice (unless we assume that she entered into the marital state against well-turned phrase.
her will) but, on top of that, such abandonment was further affirmed through
her acquisition of a new domicile by operation of law. In fact, this is even a In sum, petitioner having lost Tacloban City as her domicile of origin since 1954
case of both voluntary andlegal abandonment of a domicile of origin. With and not having automatically reacquired any domicile therein, she cannot
much more reason, therefore, should we reject the proposition that with the legally claim that her residency in the political constituency of which it is a part
termination of her marriage in 1989, petitioner had supposedly per se and ipso continued since her birth up to the present. Respondent commission was,
facto reacquired her domicile of origin which she lost in 1954. Otherwise, this therefore, correct in rejecting her pretension to that effect in her
would be tantamount to saying that during the period of marital coverture, she amended/corrected certificate of candidacy, and in holding her to her
was simultaneously in possession and enjoyment of a domicile of origin which admission in the original certificate that she had actually resided in that
was only in a state of suspended animation. constituency for only seven months prior to the election. These considerations
render it unnecessary to further pass upon the procedural issues raised by
Thus, the American rule is likewise to the effect that while after the husband's petitioner.
death the wife has the right to elect her own domicile, 9 she nevertheless
retains the last domicile of her deceased husband until she makes an actual ON THE FOREGOING PREMISES, I vote to DISMISS the petition for lack of
change.10 In the absence of affirmative evidence, to the contrary, the merit.
presumption is that a wife's domicile or legal residence follows that of her
husband and will continue after his death. 11 DAVIDE, JR., J., dissenting:

I cannot appreciate the premises advanced in support of the majority's theory I respectfully dissent from the opinion of the majority written by Mr. Justice
based on Articles 68 and 69 of the Family Code. All that is of any relevance Santiago M. Kapunan, more particularly on the issue of the petitioner's
therein is that under this new code, the right and power to fix the family domicile qualification.
is now shared by the spouses. I cannot perceive how that joint right, which in Under Section 7, Subdivision A, Article IX of the Constitution, decisions,
the first place was never exercised by the spouses, could affect the domicile orders, or rulings of the COMELEC may be brought to this Court only by the
fixed by the law for petitioner in 1954 and, for her husband, long prior thereto. special civil action for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court (Aratuc vs.
It is true that a wife now has the coordinate power to determine COMELEC, 88 SCRA 251 [1979]; Dario vs. Mison, 176 SCRA 84 [1989]).
the conjugal or family domicile, but that has no bearing on this case. With the

116
Accordingly, a writ of certiorari may be granted only if the COMELEC has Art. 110. The husband shall fix the residence of the family. But the court may
acted without or in excess of jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion exempt the wife from living with the husband if he should live abroad unless in
(Section 1, Rule 65, Rules of Court). Since the COMELEC has, undoubtedly, the service of the Republic.
jurisdiction over the private respondent's petition, the only issue left is whether
it acted with grave abuse of discretion in disqualifying the petitioner. Commenting thereon, civilist Arturo M. Tolentino states:

My careful and meticulous perusal of the challenged resolution of 24 April 1995 Although the duty of the spouses to live together is mutual, the husband has a
of the COMELEC Second Division and the En Banc resolution of 7 May 1995 predominant right because he is empowered by law to fix the family residence.
discloses total absence of abuse of discretion, much less grave abuse thereof. This right even predominates over some rights recognized by law in the wife.
The resolution of the Second Division dispassionately and objectively For instance, under article 117 the wife may engage in business or practice a
discussed in minute details the facts which established beyond cavil that profession or occupation. But because of the power of the husband to fix
herein petitioner was disqualified as a candidate on the ground of lack of the family domicile he may fix it at such a place as would make it impossible
residence in the First Congressional District of Leyte. It has not misapplied, for the wife to continue in business or in her profession. For justifiable reasons,
miscomprehended, or misunderstood facts or circumstances of substance however, the wife may be exempted from living in the residence chosen by the
pertinent to the issue of her residence. husband. The husband cannot validly allege desertion by the wife who refuses
to follow him to a new place of residence, when it appears that they have lived
The majority opinion, however, overturned the COMELEC's findings of fact for for years in a suitable home belonging to the wife, and that his choice of a
lack of proof that the petitioner has abandoned Tolosa as her domicile of origin, different home is not made in good faith. (Commentaries and Jurisprudence
which is allegedly within the First Congressional District of Leyte. on the Civil Code of the Philippines, vol. 1, 1985 ed., 339).

I respectfully submit that the petitioner herself has provided the COMELEC, Under common law, a woman upon her marriage loses her own domicile and,
either by admission or by documentary evidence, overwhelming proof of the by operation of law, acquires that of her husband, no matter where the wife
loss or abandonment of her domicile of origin, which is Tacloban City and not actually lives or what she believes or intends. Her domicile is fixed in the sense
Tolosa, Leyte. Assuming that she decided to live again in her domicile of origin, that it is declared to be the same as his, and subject to certain limitations, he
that became her second domicile of choice, where her stay, unfortunately, was can change her domicile by changing his own (25 Am Jur 2d Domicile § 48,
for only seven months before the day of the election. She was then disqualified 37).
to be a candidate for the position of Representative of the First Congressional
District of Leyte. A holding to the contrary would be arbitrary. It must, however, be pointed out that under Article 69 of the Family Code, the
fixing of the family domicile is no longer the sole prerogative of the husband,
It may indeed be conceded that the petitioner's domicile of choice was either but is now a joint decision of the spouses, and in case of disagreement the
Tacloban City or Tolosa, Leyte. Nevertheless, she lost it by operation of law court shall decide. The said article uses the term "family domicile," and not
sometime in May 1954 upon her marriage to the then Congressman (later, family residence, as "the spouses may have multiple residences, and the wife
President) Ferdinand E. Marcos. A domicile by operation of law is that domicile may elect to remain in one of such residences, which may destroy the duty of
which the law attributes to a person, independently of his own intention or the spouses to live together and its corresponding benefits" (ALICIA V.
actual residence, as results from legal domestic relations as that of the wife SEMPIO-DIY, Handbook on the Family Code of the Philippines, [1988], 102).
arising from marriage (28 C.J.S. Domicile § 7, 11). Under the governing law
then, Article 110 of the Civil Code, her new domicile or her domicile of choice The theory of automatic restoration of a woman's domicile of origin upon the
was the domicile of her husband, which was Batac, Ilocos Norte. Said Article death of her husband, which the majority opinion adopts to overcome the legal
reads as follows: effect of the petitioner's marriage on her domicile, is unsupported by law and
by jurisprudence. The settled doctrine is that after the husband's death the wife
has a right to elect her own domicile, but she retains the last domicile of her
husband until she makes an actual change (28 C.J.S. Domicile § 12, 27). Or,
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on the death of the husband, the power of the wife to acquire her own domicile forty-one years had already lapsed since she had lost or abandoned her
is revived, but until she exercises the power her domicile remains that of the domicile of origin by virtue of marriage and that such length of time diminished
husband at the time of his death (25 Am Jur 2d Domicile § 62, 45). Note that her power of recollection or blurred her memory.
what is revived is not her domicile of origin but her power to acquire her own
domicile. I find to be misplaced the reliance by the majority opinion on Faypon
vs. Quirino (96 Phil. 294 [1954]), and the subsequent cases which established
Clearly, even after the death of her husband, the petitioner's domicile was that the principle that absence from original residence or domicile of origin to
of her husband at the time of his death — which was Batac, Ilocos Norte, since pursue studies, practice one's profession, or engage in business in other
their residences in San Juan, Metro Manila, and San Miguel, Manila, were their states does not constitute loss of such residence or domicile. So is the reliance
residences for convenience to enable her husband to effectively perform his on Section 117 of the Omnibus Election Code which provides that transfer of
official duties. Their residence in San Juan was a conjugal home, and it was residence to any other place by reason of one's "occupation; profession;
there to which she returned in 1991 when she was already a widow. In her employment in private and public service; educational activities; work in
sworn certificate of candidacy for the Office of the President in the military or naval reservations; service in the army, navy or air force, the
synchronized elections of May 1992, she indicated therein that she was a constabulary or national police force; or confinement or detention in
resident of San Juan, Metro Manila. She also voted in the said elections in that government institutions in accordance with law" is not deemed as loss of
place. original residence. Those cases and legal provision do not include marriage of
a woman. The reason for the exclusion is, of course, Article 110 of the Civil
On the basis of her evidence, it was only on 24 August 1994 when she Code. If it were the intention of this Court or of the legislature to consider the
exercised her right as a widow to acquire her own domicile in Tolosa, Leyte, marriage of a woman as a circumstance which would not operate as an
through her sworn statement requesting the Election Officer of San Juan, abandonment of domicile (of origin or of choice), then such cases and legal
Metro Manila, to cancel her registration in the permanent list of voters in provision should have expressly mentioned the same.
Precinct 157 thereat and praying that she be "re-registered or transferred to
Brgy. Olot, Tolosa, Leyte, the place of [her] birth and permanent residence" This Court should not accept as gospel truth the self-serving claim of the
(photocopy of Exhibit "B," attached as Annex "2" of private respondent petitioner in her affidavit (Annex "A" of her Answer in COMELEC SPA No. 95-
Montejo's Comment). Notably, she contradicted this sworn statement 009; Annex "I" of Petition) that her "domicile or residence of origin is Tacloban
regarding her place of birth when, in her Voter's Affidavit sworn to on 15 March City," and that she "never intended to abandon this domicile or residence of
1992 (photocopy of Exhibit "C," attached as Annex "3," Id.), her Voter origin to which [she] always intended to return whenever absent." Such a claim
Registration Record sworn to on 28 January 1995 (photocopy of Exhibit "E," of intention cannot prevail over the effect of Article 110 of the Civil Code.
attached as Annex "5," Id.), and her Certificate of Candidacy sworn to on 8 Besides, the facts and circumstances or the vicissitudes of the petitioner's life
March 1995 (photocopy of Exhibit "A," attached as Annex "1," Id.), she after her marriage in 1954 conclusively establish that she had indeed
solemnly declared that she was born in Manila. abandoned her domicile of origin and had acquired a new oneanimo et
facto (KOSSUTH KENT KENNAN, A Treatise on Residence and Domicile,
The petitioner is even uncertain as to her domicile of origin. Is it Tacloban City [1934], 214, 326).
or Tolosa, Leyte? In the affidavit attached to her Answer to the petition for
disqualification (Annex "I" of Petition), she declared under oath that her Neither should this Court place complete trust on the petitioner's claim that she
"domicile or residence is Tacloban City." If she did intend to return to such "merely committed an honest mistake" in writing down the word "seven" in the
domicile or residence of origin why did she inform the Election Officer of San space provided for the residency qualification requirement in the certificate of
Juan that she would transfer to Olot, Tolosa, Leyte, and indicate in her Voter's candidacy. Such a claim is self-serving and, in the light of the foregoing
Registration Record and in her certificate of candidacy that her residence is disquisitions, would be all sound and fury signifying nothing. To me, she did
Olot, Tolosa, Leyte? While this uncertainty is not important insofar as not commit any mistake, honest or otherwise; what she stated was the truth.
residence in the congressional district is concerned, it nevertheless proves that
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The majority opinion also disregards a basic rule in evidence that he who Art. 110. The husband shall fix the residence of the family. But the court may
asserts a fact or the affirmative of an issue has the burden of proving it exempt the wife from living with the husband if he should live abroad unless in
(Imperial Victory Shipping Agency vs. NLRC, 200 SCRA 178 [1991]; P.T. the service of the Republic. 3 (Emphasis supplied)
Cerna Corp. vs. Court of Appeals, 221 SCRA 19 [1993]). Having admitted
marriage to the then Congressman Marcos, the petitioner could not deny the In De la Viña v. Villareal and Geopano, 4 this Court explained why the domicile
legal consequence thereof on the change of her domicile to that of her of the wife ought to follow that of the husband. We held: "The reason is founded
husband. The majority opinion rules or at least concludes that "[b]y operation upon the theoretic identity of person and interest between the husband and
of law (domicilium necesarium), her legal domicile at the time of her marriage the wife, and the presumption that, from the nature of the relation, the home of
automatically became Batac, Ilocos Norte." That conclusion is consistent with one is the home of the other. It is intended to promote, strengthen, and secure
Article 110 of the Civil Code. Since she is presumed to retain her deceased their interests in this relation, as it ordinarily exists, where union and harmony
husband's domicile until she exercises her revived power to acquire her own prevail." 5 In accord with this objective, Article 109 of the Civil Code also
domicile, the burden is upon her to prove that she has exercised her right to obligated the husband and wife "to live together."
acquire her own domicile. She miserably failed to discharge that burden. Third. The difficult issues start as we determine whether
I vote to deny the petition. petitioner's marriage to former President Marcos ipso facto resulted in the loss
of her Tacloban domicile. I respectfully submit that her marriage by itself
Separate Opinions alone did not cause her to lose her Tacloban domicile. Article 110 of the Civil
Code merely gave the husband the right to fix the domicile of the family. In the
PUNO, J., concurring: exercise of the right, the husband may explicitly choose the prior domicile of
It was Aristotle who taught mankind that things that are alike should be treated his wife, in which case, the wife's domicile remains unchanged. The husband
alike, while things that are unalike should be treated unalike in proportion to can also implicitly acquiesce to his wife's prior domicile even if it is different.
their unalikeness. 1 Like other candidates, petitioner has clearly met the So we held in de la Viña, 6
residence requirement provided by Section 6, Article VI of the . . . . When married women as well as children subject to parental authority
Constitution. 2 We cannot disqualify her and treat her unalike, for the live, with the acquiescence of their husbands or fathers, in a place distinct from
Constitution guarantees equal protection of the law. I proceed from the where the latter live, they have their own independent domicile. . . .
following factual and legal propositions:
It is not, therefore, the mere fact of marriage but the deliberate choice of a
First. There is no question that petitioner's original domicile is in Tacloban, different domicile by the husband that will change the domicile of a wife from
Leyte. Her parents were domiciled in Tacloban. Their ancestral house is in what it was prior to their marriage. The domiciliary decision made by the
Tacloban. They have vast real estate in the place. Petitioner went to school husband in the exercise of the right conferred by Article 110 of the Civil Code
and thereafter worked there. I consider Tacloban as her initial domicile, both binds the wife. Any and all acts of a wife during her coverture contrary to the
her domicile of origin and her domicile of choice. Her domicile of origin as it domiciliary choice of the husband cannot change in any way the domicile
was the domicile of her parents when she was a minor; and her domicile of legally fixed by the husband. These acts are void not only because the wife
choice, as she continued living there even after reaching the age of majority. lacks the capacity to choose her domicile but also because they are contrary
Second. There is also no question that in May, 1954, petitioner married the to law and public policy.
late President Ferdinand E. Marcos. By contracting marriage, her domicile In the case at bench, it is not disputed that former President Marcos exercised
became subject to change by law, and the right to change it was given by his right to fix the family domicile and established it in Batac, Ilocos Norte,
Article 110 of the Civil Code provides: where he was then the congressman. At that particular point of time and
throughout their married life, petitioner lost her domicile in Tacloban, Leyte.
Since petitioner's Batac domicile has been fixed by operation of law, it was not
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affected in 1959 when her husband was elected as Senator, when they lived by Mr. Justice Davide in CJS 13and AM JUR 2d 14 are American state court
in San Juan, Rizal and where she registered as a voter. It was not also affected decisions handed down between the years 1917 15 and 1938, 16 or before the
in 1965 when her husband was elected President, when they lived in time when women were accorded equality of rights with men. Undeniably, the
Malacañang Palace, and when she registered as a voter in San Miguel, women's liberation movement resulted in far-ranging state legislations in the
Manila. Nor was it affected when she served as a member of the Batasang United States to eliminate gender inequality. 17 Starting in the decade of the
Pambansa, Minister of Human Settlements and Governor of Metro Manila seventies, the courts likewise liberalized their rulings as they started
during the incumbency of her husband as President of the nation. Under Article invalidating laws infected with gender-bias. It was in 1971 when the US
110 of the Civil Code, it was only her husband who could change the family Supreme Court in Reed v. Reed, 18 struck a big blow for women equality when
domicile in Batac and the evidence shows he did not effect any such change. it declared as unconstitutional an Idaho law that required probate courts to
To a large degree, this follows the common law that "a woman on her marriage choose male family members over females as estate administrators. It held
loses her own domicile and by operation of law, acquires that of her that mere administrative inconvenience cannot justify a sex-based
husband, no matter where the wife actually lives or what she believes or distinction. These significant changes both in law and in case law on the status
intends." 7 of women virtually obliterated the iniquitous common law surrendering the
rights of married women to their husbands based on the dubious theory of the
Fourth. The more difficult task is how to interpret the effect of the death on parties' theoretic oneness. The Corpus Juris Secundum editors did not miss
September 28, 1989 of former President Marcos on petitioner's Batac the relevance of this revolution on women's right as they observed: "However,
domicile. The issue is of first impression in our jurisdiction and two (2) schools it has been declared that under modern statutes changing the status of
of thought contend for acceptance. One is espoused by our distinguished married women and departing from the common law theory of marriage, there
colleague, Mr. Justice Davide, Jr., heavily relying on American authorities. 8 He is no reason why a wife may not acquire a separate domicile for every purpose
echoes the theory that after the husband's death, the wife retains the last known to the law." 19 In publishing in 1969 theRestatement of the Law, Second
domicile of her husband until she makes an actual change. (Conflict of Laws 2d), the reputable American Law Institute also categorically
I do not subscribe to this submission. The American case law that the wife still stated that the view of Blackstone ". . . is no longer held. As the result of
retains her dead husband's domicile is based on ancient common law which statutes and court decisions, a wife now possesses practically the same rights
we can no longer apply in the Philippine setting today. The common law and powers as her unmarried sister." 20
identified the domicile of a wife as that of the husband and denied to her the In the case at bench, we have to decide whether we should continue clinging
power of acquiring a domicile of her own separate and apart from him. 9 Legal to the anachronistic common lawthat demeans women, especially married
scholars agree that two (2) reasons support this common law doctrine. women. I submit that the Court has no choice except to break away from this
The first reason as pinpointed by the legendary Blackstone is derived from the common law rule, the root of the many degradations of Filipino women. Before
view that "the very being or legal existence of the woman is suspended during 1988, our laws particularly the Civil Code, were full of gender discriminations
the marriage, or at least is incorporated and consolidated into that of the against women. Our esteemed colleague, Madam Justice Flerida Ruth
husband." 10 The second reason lies in "the desirability of having the interests Romero, cited a few of them as follows: 21
of each member of the family unit governed by the same
law." 11 The presumption that the wife retains the domicile of her deceased xxx xxx xxx
husband is an extension of this common law concept. The concept and its
extension have provided some of the most iniquitous jurisprudence against Legal Disabilities Suffered by Wives
women. It was under common law that the 1873 American case of Bradwell Not generally known is the fact that under the Civil Code, wives suffer under
v. Illinois 12 was decided where women were denied the right to practice law. certain restrictions or disabilities. For instance, the wife cannot accept gifts
It was unblushingly ruled that "the natural and proper timidity and delicacy from others, regardless of the sex of the giver or the value of the gift, other
which belongs to the female sex evidently unfits it for many of the occupations than from her very close relatives, without her husband's consent. She may
of civil life . . . This is the law of the Creator." Indeed, the rulings relied upon
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accept only from, say, her parents, parents-in-law, brothers, sisters and the married women are now given the joint right to administer the family property,
relatives within the so-called fourth civil degree. She may not exercise her whether in the absolute community system or in the system of conjugal
profession or occupation or engage in business if her husband objects on partnership; 23 joint parental authority over their minor children, both over their
serious grounds or if his income is sufficient to support their family in persons as well as their properties; 24 joint responsibility for the support of the
accordance with their social standing. As to what constitutes "serious grounds" family; 25 the right to jointly manage the household; 26 and, the right to object to
for objecting, this is within the discretion of the husband. their husband's exercise of profession, occupation, business or activity. 27 Of
particular relevance to the case at bench is Article 69 of the Family Code which
xxx xxx xxx took away the exclusive right of the husband to fix the family domicile and gave
Because of the present inequitable situation, the amendments to the Civil Law it jointly to the husband and the wife, thus:
being proposed by the University of the Philippines Law Center would allow Art. 69. The husband and wife shall fix the family domicile. In case of
absolute divorce which severes the matrimonial ties, such that the divorced disagreement, the court shall decide.
spouses are free to get married a year after the divorce is decreed by the
courts. However, in order to place the husband and wife on an equal footing The court may exempt one spouse from living with the other if the latter should
insofar as the bases for divorce are concerned, the following are specified as live abroad or there are other valid and compelling reasons for the exemption.
the grounds for absolute divorce: (1) adultery or having a paramour committed However, such exemption shall not apply if the same is not compatible with
by the respondent in any of the ways specified in the Revised Penal Code or the solidarity of the family. (Emphasis supplied)
(2) an attempt by the respondent against the life of the petitioner which
amounts to attempted parricide under the Revised Penal Code; (3) Article 69 repealed Article 110 of the Civil Code. Commenting on the duty of
abandonment of the petitioner by the respondent without just cause for a the husband and wife to live together, former Madam Justice Alice Sempio-
period of three consecutive years; or (4) habitual maltreatment. Diy of the Court of Appeals specified the instances when a wife may now
refuse to live with her husband, thus: 28
With respect to property relations, the husband is automatically the
administrator of the conjugal property owned in common by the married couple (2) The wife has the duty to live with her husband, but she may refuse to do
even if the wife may be the more astute or enterprising partner. The law does so in certain cases like:
not leave it to the spouses to decide who shall act as such administrator. (a) If the place chosen by the husband as family residence is dangerous to her
Consequently, the husband is authorized to engage in acts and enter into Life;
transactions beneficial to the conjugal partnership. The wife, however, cannot
similarly bind the partnership without the husband's consent. (b) If the husband subjects her to maltreatment or abusive conduct or insults,
making common life impossible;
And while both exercise joint parental authority over their children, it is the
father whom the law designates as the legal administrator of the property (c) If the husband compels her to live with his parents, but she cannot get along
pertaining to the unemancipated child. with her mother-in-law and they have constant quarrels (Del Rosario v. Del
Rosario, CA, 46 OG 6122);
Taking the lead in Asia, our government exerted efforts, principally through
legislations, to eliminate inequality between men and women in our land. The (d) Where the husband has continuously carried illicit relations for 10 years
watershed came on August 3, 1988 when our Family Code took effect which, with different women and treated his wife roughly and without consideration.
among others, terminated the unequal treatment of husband and wife as to (Dadivas v. Villanueva, 54 Phil. 92);
their rights and responsibilities. 22
(e) Where the husband spent his time in gambling, giving no money to his
The Family Code attained this elusive objective by giving new rights to married family for food and necessities, and at the same time insulting his wife and
women and by abolishing sex-based privileges of husbands. Among others, laying hands on her. (Panuncio v. Sula, CA, 34 OG 129);
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(f) If the husband has no fixed residence and lives a vagabond life as a tramp 14, Article II provides: "The State recognizes the role of women in nation
(1 Manresa 329); building, and shall ensure fundamental equality before the law of women and
men. We shall be transgressing the sense and essence of this constitutional
(g) If the husband is carrying on a shameful business at home (Gahn v. Darby, mandate if we insist on giving our women the caveman's treatment.
38 La. Ann. 70).
Prescinding from these premises, I respectfully submit that the better stance
The inescapable conclusion is that our Family Code has completely is to rule that petitioner reacquired her Tacloban domicile upon the death of
emancipated the wife from the control of the husband, thus abandoning the her husband in 1989. This is the necessary consequence of the view that
parties' theoretic identity of interest. No less than the late revered Mr. Justice petitioner's Batac dictated domicile did not continue after her husband's death;
J.B.L. Reyes who chaired the Civil Code Revision Committee of the UP Law otherwise, she would have no domicile and that will violate the universal rule
Center gave this insightful view in one of his rare lectures after retirement: 29 that no person can be without a domicile at any point of time. This stance also
xxx xxx xxx restores the right of petitioner to choose her domicile before it was taken away
by Article 110 of the Civil Code, a right now recognized by the Family Code
The Family Code is primarily intended to reform the family law so as to and protected by the Constitution. Likewise, I cannot see the fairness of the
emancipate the wife from the exclusive control of the husband and to place common law requiring petitioner to choose again her Tacloban domicile before
her at parity with him insofar as the family is concerned. The wife and the she could be released from her Batac domicile. She lost her Tacloban domicile
husband are now placed on equal standing by the Code. They are now joint not through her act but through the act of her deceased husband when he fixed
administrators of the family properties and exercise joint authority over the their domicile in Batac. Her husband is dead and he cannot rule her beyond
persons and properties of their children. This means a dual authority in the the grave. The law disabling her to choose her own domicile has been
family. The husband will no longer prevail over the wife but she has to agree repealed. Considering all these, common law should not put the burden on
on all matters concerning the family. (Emphasis supplied) petitioner to prove she has abandoned her dead husband's domicile. There is
neither rhyme nor reason for this gender-based burden.
In light of the Family Code which abrogated the inequality between husband
and wife as started and perpetuated by the common law, there is no reason in But even assuming arguendo that there is need for convincing proof that
espousing the anomalous rule that the wife still retains the domicile of her dead petitioner chose to reacquire her Tacloban domicile, still, the records reveal
husband. Article 110 of the Civil Code which provides the statutory support for ample evidence to this effect. In her affidavit submitted to the respondent
this stance has been repealed by Article 69 of the Family Code. By its repeal, COMELEC, petitioner averred:
it becomes a dead-letter law, and we are not free to resurrect it by giving it
further effect in any way or manner such as by ruling that the petitioner is still xxx xxx xxx
bound by the domiciliary determination of her dead husband. 36. In November, 1991, I came home to our beloved country, after several
Aside from reckoning with the Family Code, we have to consider our requests for my return were denied by President Corazon C. Aquino, and after
Constitution and its firm guarantees of due process and equal protection of I filed suits for our Government to issue me my passport.
law. 30 It can hardly be doubted that the common law imposition on a married 37. But I came home without the mortal remains of my beloved husband,
woman of her dead husband's domicile even beyond his grave is patently President Ferdinand E. Marcos, which the Government considered a threat to
discriminatory to women. It is a gender-based discrimination and is not the national security and welfare.
rationally related to the objective of promoting family solidarity. It cannot
survive a constitutional challenge. Indeed, compared with our previous 38. Upon my return to the country, I wanted to immediately live and reside in
fundamental laws, the 1987 Constitution is more concerned with equality Tacloban City or in Olot, Tolosa, Leyte, even if my residences there were not
between sexes as it explicitly commands that the State ". . . shall ensure livable as they had been destroyed and cannibalized. The PCGG, however,
fundamental equality before the law of women and men." To be exact, section did not permit and allow me.
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39. As a consequence, I had to live at various times in the Westin Philippine Tacloban City, to my residence in Barangay Olot, Tolosa, Leyte, when PCGG
Plaza in Pasay City, a friend's apartment on Ayala Avenue, a house in South permitted me to stay and live there.
Forbes Park which my daughter rented, and Pacific Plaza, all in Makati.
It is then clear that in 1992 petitioner reestablished her domicile in the First
40. After the 1992 Presidential Elections, I lived and resided in the residence District of Leyte. It is not disputed that in 1992, she first lived at the house of
of my brother in San Jose, Tacloban City, and pursued my negotiations with her brother in San Jose, Tacloban City and later, in August 1994, she
PCGG to recover my sequestered residences in Tacloban City and Barangay transferred her residence in Barangay Olot, Tolosa, Leyte. Both Tacloban City
Olot, Tolosa, Leyte. and the municipality of Olot are within the First District of Leyte. Since
petitioner reestablished her old domicile in 1992 in the First District of Leyte,
40.1 In preparation for my observance of All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day she more than complied with the constitutional requirement of residence
that year, I renovated my parents' burial grounds and entombed their bones ". . . for a period of not less than one year immediately preceding the day of
which had been excalvated, unearthed and scattered. the election," i.e., the May 8, 1995 elections.
41. On November 29, 1993, I formally wrote PCGG Chairman Magtanggol The evidence presented by the private respondent to negate the Tacloban
Gunigundo for permissions to — domicile of petitioner is nil. He presented petitioner's Voter's Registration
. . . rehabilitate . . . (o)ur ancestral house in Tacloban and farmhouse in Olot, Record filed with the Board of Election Inspectors of Precinct 10-A of Barangay
Leyte . . . to make them livable for us the Marcos family to have a home in our Olot, Tolosa, Leyte wherein she stated that her period of residence in said
own motherland. barangay was six (6) months as of the date of her filing of said Voter's
Registration Record on January 28, 1995. 31 This statement in petitioner's
xxx xxx xxx Voter's Registration Record is a non-prejudicial admission. The Constitution
requires at least one (1) year residence in thedistrict in which the candidate
42. It was only on 06 June 1994, however, when PCGG Chairman Gunigundo,
shall be elected. In the case at bench, the reference is the First District of
in his letter to Col. Simeon Kempis, Jr., PCGG Region 8 Representative,
Leyte. Petitioner's statement proved that she resided in Olot six (6) months
allowed me to repair and renovate my Leyte residences. I quote part of his
before January 28, 1995 but did not disprove that she has also resided in
letter:
Tacloban City starting 1992. As aforestated, Olot and Tacloban City are both
Dear Col. Kempis, within the First District of Leyte, hence, her six (6) months residence in Olot
should be counted not against, but in her favor. Private respondent also
Upon representation by Mrs. Imelda R. Marcos to this Commission, that she presented petitioner's Certificate of Candidacy filed on March 8, 1995 32 where
intends to visit our sequestered properties in Leyte, please allow her access she placed seven (7) months after Item No. 8 which called for information
thereto. She may also cause repairs and renovation of the sequestered regarding "residence in the constituency where I seek to be elected
properties, in which event, it shall be understood that her undertaking said immediately preceding the election." Again, this original certificate of
repairs is not authorization for her to take over said properties, and that all candidacy has no evidentiary value because an March 1, 1995 it was corrected
expenses shall be for her account and not reimbursable. Please extend the by petitioner. In her Amended/Corrected Certificate of Candidacy, 33 petitioner
necessary courtesy to her. wrote "since childhood" after Item No. 8. The amendment of a certificate of
candidacy to correct a bona fide mistake has been allowed by this Court as a
xxx xxx xxx
matter of course and as a matter of right. As we held in Alialy
43. I was not permitted, however, to live and stay in the Sto. Niño Shrine v. COMELEC, 34 viz.:
residence in Tacloban City where I wanted to stay and reside, after repairs and
xxx xxx xxx
renovations were completed. In August 1994, I transferred from San Jose,

123
The absence of the signature of the Secretary of the local chapter N.P in the district, to achieve his purpose. However, such bill did not pass the Senate.
original certificate of candidacy presented before the deadline September 11, Having, failed on such moves, petitioner now filed the instant petition, for the
1959, did not render the certificate invalid.The amendment of the certificate, same objective, as it is obvious that he is afraid to submit himself along with
although at a date after the deadline, but before the election, was substantial respondent (petitioner herein) for the judgment and verdict of the electorate of
compliance with the law, and the defect was cured. the First District of Leyte in an honest, orderly, peaceful, free and clean
elections on May 8, 1995.
It goes without saying that petitioner's erroneous Certificate of Candidacy filed
on March 8, 1995 cannot be used as evidence against her. Private These allegations which private respondent did not challenge were not lost
respondent's petition for the disqualification of petitioner rested alone on these to the perceptive eye of Commissioner Maambong who in his Dissenting
two (2) brittle pieces of documentary evidence — petitioner's Voter's Opinion, 37 held:
Registration Record and her original Certificate of Candidacy. Ranged against
the evidence of the petitioner showing her ceaseless contacts with Tacloban, xxx xxx xxx
private respondent's two (2) pieces of evidence are too insufficient to disqualify Prior to the registration date — January 28, 1995 the petitioner (herein private
petitioner, more so, to deny her the right to represent the people of the First respondent Montejo) wrote the Election Officer of Tacloban City not to allow
District of Leyte who have overwhelmingly voted for her. respondent (petitioner herein) to register thereat since she is a resident of
Fifth. Section 10, Article IX-C of the Constitution mandates that "bona Tolosa and not Tacloban City. The purpose of this move of the petitioner
fide candidates for any public office shall be free from any form of harassment (Montejo) is not lost to (sic) the Commission. In UND No. 95-001 (In the matter
and discrimination." 35 A detached reading of the records of the case at bench of the Legislative Districts of the Provinces of Leyte, Iloilo, and South Cotabato,
will show that all forms of legal and extra-legal obstacles have been thrown Out of Which the New Provinces of Biliran, Guimaras and Saranggani Were
against petitioner to prevent her from running as the people's representative Respectively Created), . . . Hon. Cirilo Roy G. Montejo, Representative, First
in the First District of Leyte. In petitioner's Answer to the petition to disqualify District of Leyte, wanted the Municipality of Tolosa, in the First District of Leyte,
her, she averred: 36 transferred to the Second District of Leyte. The Hon. Sergio A.F. Apostol,
Representative of the Second District of Leyte, opposed the move of the
xxx xxx xxx petitioner (Montejo). Under Comelec Resolution No. 2736 (December 29,
1994), the Commission on Elections refused to make the proposed transfer.
10. Petitioner's (herein private respondent Montejo) motive in filing the instant Petitioner (Montejo) filed "Motion for Reconsideration of Resolution
petition is devious. When respondent (petitioner herein) announced that she No. 2736" which the Commission denied in a Resolution promulgated on
was intending to register as a voter in Tacloban City and run for Congress in February 1, 1995. Petitioner (Montejo) filed a petition for certiorari before the
the First District of Leyte, petitioner (Montejo) immediately opposed her Honorable Supreme Court (Cirilo Roy G. Montejo vs. Commission on
intended registration by writing a letter stating that "she is not a resident of said Elections, G.R. No. 118702) questioning the resolution of the Commission.
city but of Barangay Olot, Tolosa, Leyte." (Annex "2" of respondent's affidavit, Believing that he could get a favorable ruling from the Supreme Court,
Annex "2"). After respondent (petitioner herein) had registered as a voter in petitioner (Montejo) tried to make sure that the respondent (petitioner herein)
Tolosa following completion of her six-month actual residence therein, will register as a voter in Tolosa so that she will be forced to run as
petitioner (Montejo) filed a petition with the COMELEC to transfer the town of Representative not in the First but in the Second District.
Tolosa from the First District to the Second District and pursued such move up
to the Supreme Court in G.R. No. 118702, his purpose being to remove It did not happen. On March 16, 1995, the Honorable Supreme Court
respondent (petitioner herein) as petitioner's (Montejo's) opponent in the unanimously promulgated a "Decision," penned by Associate Justice Reynato
congressional election in the First District. He also filed a bill, along with other S. Puno, the dispositive portion of which reads:
Leyte Congressmen, seeking to create another legislative district, to remove
the town of Tolosa out of the First District and to make it a part of the new IN VIEW WHEREOF, Section 1 of Resolution No. 2736 insofar as it transferred
the municipality of Capoocan of the Second District and the municipality of
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Palompon of the Fourth District to the Third District of the province of Leyte, is rule that a married woman is eternally tethered to the domicile dictated by her
annulled and set aside. We also deny the Petition praying for the transfer of dead husband is to preserve the anachronistic and anomalous balance of
the municipality of Tolosa from the First District to the Second District of the advantage of a husband over his wife. We should not allow the dead to govern
province of Leyte. No costs. the living even if the glories of yesteryears seduce us to shout long live the
dead! The Family Code buried this gender-based discrimination against
Petitioner's (Montejo's) plan did not work. But the respondent (petitioner married women and we should not excavate what has been entombed. More
herein) was constrained to register in the Municipality of Tolosa where her importantly, the Constitution forbids it.
house is instead of Tacloban City, her domicile. In any case, both Tacloban
City and Tolosa are in the First Legislative District. I vote to grant the petition.

All these attempts to misuse our laws and legal processes are forms of rank Bellosillo and Melo, JJ., concur.
harassments and invidious discriminations against petitioner to deny her equal
access to a public office. We cannot commit any hermeneutic violence to the FRANCISCO, J., concurring:
Constitution by torturing the meaning of equality, the end result of which will I concur with Mr. Justice Kapunan's ponencia finding petitioner qualified for the
allow the harassment and discrimination of petitioner who has lived a position of Representative of the First Congressional District of Leyte. I wish,
controversial life, a past of alternating light and shadow. There is but one however, to express a few comments on the issue of petitioner's domicile.
Constitution for all Filipinos. Petitioner cannot be adjudged by a "different"
Constitution, and the worst way to interpret the Constitution is to inject in its Domicile has been defined as that place in which a person's habitation is fixed,
interpretation, bile and bitterness. without any present intention of removing therefrom, and that place is properly
the domicile of a person in which he has voluntarily fixed his abode, or
Sixth. In Gallego v. Vera, 38 we explained that the reason for this residence habitation, not for a mere special or temporary purpose, but with a present
requirement is "to exclude a stranger or newcomer, unacquainted, with the intention of making it his permanent home (28 C.J.S. §1). It denotes a fixed
conditions and needs of a community and not identified with the latter, from an permanent residence to which when absent for business, or pleasure, or for
elective office to serve that community . . . ." Petitioner's lifetime contacts with like reasons one intends to return, and depends on facts and circumstances,
the First District of Leyte cannot be contested. Nobody can claim that she is in the sense that they disclose intent. (Ong Huan Tin v. Republic, 19 SCRA
not acquainted with its problems because she is a stranger to the place. None 966, 969)
can argue she cannot satisfy the intent of the Constitution.
Domicile is classified into domicile of origin and domicile of choice. The law
Seventh. In resolving election cases, a dominant consideration is the need to attributes to every individual a domicile of origin, which is the domicile of his
effectuate the will of the electorate. The election results show that petitioner parents, or of the head of his family, or of the person on whom he is legally
received Seventy Thousand Four Hundred Seventy-one (70,471) votes, while dependent at the time of his birth. While the domicile of origin is generally the
private respondent got only Thirty-Six Thousand Eight Hundred Thirty-Three place where one is born or reared, it maybe elsewhere (28 C.J.S. §5). Domicile
(36,833) votes. Petitioner is clearly the overwhelming choice of the electorate of choice, on the other hand, is the place which the person has elected and
of the First District of Leyte and this is not a sleight of statistics. We cannot chosen for himself to displace his previous domicile; it has for its true basis or
frustrate this sovereign will on highly arguable technical considerations. In foundation the intention of the person (28 C.J.S. §6). In order to hold that a
case of doubt, we should lean towards a rule that will give life to the people's person has abandoned his domicile and acquired a new one called domicile
political judgment. of choice, the following requisites must concur, namely, (a) residence or bodily
A final point. The case at bench provides the Court with the rare opportunity to presence in the new locality, (b) intention to remain there or animus manendi,
rectify the inequality of status between women and men by rejecting the and (c) an intention to abandon the old domicile oranimus non
iniquitous common law precedents on the domicile of married women and by revertendi (Romualdez v. RTC, Br. 7, Tacloban City, 226 SCRA 408, 415). A
redefining domicile in accord with our own culture, law, and Constitution. To third classification is domicile by operation of law which attributes to a person
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a domicile independent of his own intention or actual residence, ordinarily It is my view therefore that petitioner reverted to her original domicile of
resulting from legal domestic relations, as that of the wife arising from Tacloban, Leyte upon her husband's death without even signifying her
marriage, or the relation of a parent and a child (28 C.J.S. §7). intention to that effect. It is for the private respondent to prove, not for petitioner
to disprove, that petitioner has effectively abandoned Tacloban, Leyte for
In election law, when our Constitution speaks of residence for election Batac, Ilocos Norte or for some other place/s. The clear rule is that it is the
purposes it means domicile (Co v. Electoral Tribunal of the House of party (herein private respondent) claiming that a person has abandoned or lost
Representatives, 199 SCRA 692, 713; Nuval v. Guray, 52 Phil. 645, 651). To his residence of origin who must show and prove preponderantly such
my mind, public respondent Commission on Elections misapplied this concept, abandonment or loss (Faypon v. Quirino, supra at 298; 28 C.J.S. §16),
of domicile which led to petitioner's disqualification by ruling that petitioner because the presumption is strongly in favor of an original or former domicile,
failed to comply with the constitutionally mandated one-year residence as against an acquired one (28 C.J.S. §16). Private respondent unfortunately
requirement. Apparently, public respondent Commission deemed as failed to discharge this burden as the record is devoid of convincing proof that
conclusive petitioner's stay and registration as voter in many places as conduct petitioner has acquired whether voluntarily or involuntarily, a new domicile to
disclosing her intent to abandon her established domicile of origin in Tacloban, replace her domicile of origin.
Leyte. In several decisions, though, the Court has laid down the rule that
registration of a voter in a place other than his place of origin is not sufficient The records, on the contrary, clearly show that petitioner has complied with
to constitute abandonment or loss of such residence (Faypon v. Quirino, 96 the constitutional one-year residence requirement. After her exile abroad, she
Phil. 294, 300). Respondent Commission offered no cogent reason to depart returned to the Philippines in 1991 to reside in Olot, Tolosa, Leyte, but the
from this rule except to surmise petitioner's intent of abandoning her domicile Presidential Commission on Good Government which sequestered her
of origin. residential house and other properties forbade her necessitating her transient
stay in various places in Manila (Affidavit p.6, attached as Annex I of the
It has been suggested that petitioner's domicile of origin was supplanted by a Petition). In 1992, she ran for the position of president writing in her certificate
new domicile due to her marriage, a domicile by operation of law. The of candidacy her residence as San Juan, Metro Manila. After her loss therein,
proposition is that upon the death of her husband in 1989 she retains her she went back to Tacloban City, acquired her residence certificate 2 and
husband's domicile, i.e., Batac, Ilocos Norte, until she makes an actual change resided with her brother in San Jose. She resided in San Jose, Tacloban City
thereof. I find this proposition quite untenable. until August of 1994 when she was allowed by the PCGG to move and reside
Tacloban, Leyte, is petitioner's domicile of origin which was involuntarily in her sequestered residential house in Olot, Tolosa, Leyte (Annex I, p. 6). 3 It
supplanted with another, i.e., Batac, Ilocos Norte, upon her marriage in 1954 was in the same month of August when she applied for the cancellation of her
with then Congressman Marcos. By legal fiction she followed the domicile of previous registration in San Juan, Metro Manila in order to register anew as
her husband. In my view, the reason for the law is for the spouses to fully and voter of Olot, Tolosa, Leyte, which she did on January 28, 1995. From this
effectively perform their marital duties and obligations to one another. 1 The sequence of events, I find it quite improper to use as the reckoning period of
question of domicile, however, is not affected by the fact that it was the legal the one-year residence requirement the date when she applied for the
or moral duty of the individual to reside in a given place (28 C.J.S. §11). Thus, cancellation of her previous registration in San Juan, Metro Manila. The fact
while the wife retains her marital domicile so long as the marriage subsists, which private respondent never bothered to disprove is that petitioner
she automatically loses it upon the latter's termination, for the reason behind transferred her residence after the 1992 presidential election from San Juan,
the law then ceases. Otherwise, petitioner, after her marriage was ended by Metro Manila to San Jose, Tacloban City, and resided therein until August of
the death of her husband, would be placed in a quite absurd and unfair 1994. She later transferred to Olot, Tolosa, Leyte (Annex I, p. 7). It appearing
situation of having been freed from all wifely obligations yet made to hold on that both Tacloban City and Tolosa, Leyte are within the First Congressional
to one which no longer serves any meaningful purpose. District of Leyte, it indubitably stands that she had more than a year of
residence in the constituency she sought to be elected. Petitioner, therefore,

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has satisfactorily complied with the one-year qualification required by the 1987 In any case, what assumes relevance is the divergence of legal opinion as to
Constitution. the effect of the husband's death on the domicile of the widow. Some scholars
opine that the widow's domicile remains unchanged; that the deceased
I vote to grant the petition. husband's wishes perforce still bind the wife he has left behind. Given this
ROMERO, J., separate opinion: interpretation, the widow cannot possibly go far enough to sever the domiciliary
tie imposed by her husband.
Petitioner has appealed to this Court for relief after the COMELEC ruled that
she was disqualified from running for Representative of her District and that, It is bad enough to interpret the law as empowering the husband unilaterally
in the event that she should, nevertheless, muster a majority vote, her to fix the residence or domicile of the family, as laid down in the Civil
proclamation should be suspended. Not by a straightforward ruling did the Code, 2 but to continue giving obeisance to his wishes even after the rationale
COMELEC pronounce its decision as has been its unvarying practice in the underlying the mutual duty of the spouses to live together has ceased, is to
past, but by a startling succession of "reverse somersaults." Indicative of its close one's eyes to the stark realities of the present.
shifting stance vis-a-vis petitioner's certificate of candidacy were first, the At the other extreme is the position that the widow automatically reverts to her
action of its Second Division disqualifying her and canceling her original domicile of origin upon the demise of her husband. Does the law so abhor a
Certificate of Candidacy by a vote of 2-1 on April 24, 1995; then the denial by vacuum that the widow has to be endowed somehow with a domicile? To
the COMELEC en banc of her Motion for Reconsideration on May 7, 1995, a answer this question which is far from rhetorical, one will have to keep in mind
day before the election; then because she persisted in running, its decision on the basic principles of domicile. Everyone must have a domicile. Then one
May 11, 1995 or three days after the election, allowing her proclamation in the must have only a single domicile for the same purpose at any given time. Once
event that the results of the canvass should show that she obtained the highest established, a domicile remains until a new one is acquired, for no person lives
number of votes (obviously noting that petitioner had won overwhelmingly over who has no domicile, as defined by the law be is subject to.
her opponent), but almost simultaneously reversing itself by directing that even
if she wins, her proclamation should nonetheless be suspended. At this juncture, we are confronted with an unexplored legal terrain in this
jurisdiction, rendered more murky by the conflicting opinions of foreign legal
Crucial to the resolution of the disqualification issue presented by the case at authorities. This being the state of things, it is imperative as it is opportune to
bench is the interpretation to be given to the one-year residency requirement illumine the darkness with the beacon light of truth, as dictated by experience
imposed by the Constitution on aspirants for a Congressional seat. 1 and the necessity of according petitioner her right to choose her domicile in
Bearing in mind that the term "resident" has been held to be synonymous with keeping with the enlightened global trend to recognize and protect the human
"domicile" for election purposes, it is important to determine whether rights of women, no less than men.
petitioner's domicile was in the First District of Leyte and if so, whether she Admittedly, the notion of placing women at par with men, insofar as civil,
had resided there for at least a period of one year. Undisputed is her domicile political and social rights are concerned, is a relatively recent phenomenon
of origin, Tacloban, where her parents lived at the time of her birth. Depending that took seed only in the middle of this century. It is a historical fact that for
on what theory one adopts, the same may have been changed when she over three centuries, the Philippines had been colonized by Spain, a
married Ferdinand E. Marcos, then domiciled in Batac, by operation of law. conservative, Catholic country which transplanted to our shores the Old World
Assuming it did, his death certainly released her from the obligation to live with cultures, mores and attitudes and values. Through the imposition on our
him at the residence fixed by him during his lifetime. What may confuse the government of the Spanish Civil Code in 1889, the people, both men and
layman at this point is the fact that the term "domicile" may refer to "domicile women, had no choice but to accept such concepts as the husband's being
of origin," "domicile of choice," or "domicile by operation of law," which subject the head of the family and the wife's subordination to his authority. In such
we shall not belabor since it has been amply discussed by the ponente and in role, his was the right to make vital decisions for the family. Many instances
the other separate opinions. come to mind, foremost being what is related to the issue before us, namely,

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that "the husband shall fix the residence of the family." 3 Because he is made adopted by the U.N. General Assembly which entered into force as an
responsible for the support of the wife and the rest of the family, 4 he is also international treaty on September 3, 1981. In ratifying the instrument, the
empowered to be the administrator of the conjugal property, with a few Philippines bound itself to implement its liberating spirit and letter, for its
exceptions 5 and may, therefore, dispose of the conjugal partnership property Constitution, no less, declared that "The Philippines. . . adopts the generally
for the purposes specified under the law; 6 whereas, as a general rule, the wife accepted principles of international law as part of the law of the land and
cannot bind the conjugal partnership without the husband's consent. 7 As adheres to the policy of peace, equality, justice, freedom, cooperation, and
regards the property pertaining to the children under parental authority, the amity with all nations." 13 One such principle embodied in the CEDAW is
father is the legal administrator and only in his absence may the mother granting to men and women "the same rights with regard to the law relating to
assume his powers. 8 Demeaning to the wife's dignity are certain strictures on the movement of persons and the freedom to choose their residence and
her personal freedoms, practically relegating her to the position of minors and domicile."14 (Emphasis supplied).
disabled persons. To illustrate a few: The wife cannot, without the husband's
consent, acquire any gratuitous title, except from her ascendants, CEDAW's pro-women orientation which was not lost on Filipino women was
descendants, parents-in-law, and collateral relatives within the fourth reflected in the 1987 Constitution of the Philippines and later, in the Family
degree. 9 With respect to her employment, the husband wields a veto power in Code, 15 both of which were speedily approved by the first lady President of
the case the wife exercises her profession or occupation or engages in the country, Corazon C. Aquino. Notable for its emphasis on the human rights
business, provided his income is sufficient for the family, according to its social of all individuals and its bias for equality between the sexes are the following
standing and his opposition is founded on serious and valid grounds. 10 Most provisions: "The State values the dignity of every human person and
offensive, if not repulsive, to the liberal-minded is the effective prohibition upon guarantees full respect for human rights" 16 and "The State recognizes the role
a widow to get married till after three hundred days following the death of her of women in nation-building, and shall ensure the fundamental equality before
husband, unless in the meantime, she has given birth to a child. 11 The mother the law of women and men." 17
who contracts a subsequent marriage loses the parental authority over her A major accomplishment of women in their quest for equality with men and the
children, unless the deceased husband, father of the latter, has expressly elimination of discriminatory provisions of law was the deletion in the Family
provided in his will that his widow might marry again, and has ordered that in Code of almost all of the unreasonable strictures on wives and the grant to
such case she should keep and exercise parental authority over their them of personal rights equal to that of their husbands. Specifically, the
children. 12 Again, an instance of a husband's overarching influence from husband and wife are now giventhe right jointly to fix the family
beyond the grave. domicile; 18 concomitant to the spouses' being jointly responsible for the
All these indignities and disabilities suffered by Filipino wives for hundreds of support of the family is the right and duty of both spouses to manage the
years evoked no protest from them until the concept of human rights and household; 19 the administration and the enjoyment of the community property
equality between and among nations and individuals found hospitable shall belong to both spouses jointly; 20 the father and mother shall now jointly
lodgment in the United Nations Charter of which the Philippines was one of exercise legal guardianship over the property of their unemancipated common
the original signatories. By then, the Spanish "conquistadores" had been child 21 and several others.
overthrown by the American forces at the turn of the century. The bedrock of Aware of the hiatus and continuing gaps in the law, insofar as women's rights
the U.N. Charter was firmly anchored on this credo: "to reaffirm faith in the are concerned, Congress passed a law popularly known as "Women in
fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in Development and Nation Building Act" 22 Among the rights given to married
the equal rights of men and women." (Emphasis supplied) women evidencing their capacity to act in contracts equal to that of men are:
It took over thirty years before these egalitarian doctrines bore fruit, owing (1) Women shall have the capacity to borrow and obtain loans and execute
largely to the burgeoning of the feminist movement. What may be regarded as security and credit arrangements under the same conditions as men;
the international bill of rights for women was implanted in the Convention on
the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)
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(2) Women shall have equal access to all government and private sector VITUG, J., separate opinion:
programs granting agricultural credit, loans and non material resources and
shall enjoy equal treatment in agrarian reform and land resettlement programs; The case at bench deals with explicit Constitutional mandates.

(3) Women shall have equal rights to act as incorporators and enter into The Constitution is not a pliable instrument. It is a bedrock in our legal system
insurance contracts; and that sets up ideals and directions and render steady our strides hence. It only
looks back so as to ensure that mistakes in the past are not repeated. A
(4) Married women shall have rights equal to those of married men in applying compliant transience of a constitution belittles its basic function and weakens
for passports, secure visas and other travel documents, without need to secure its goals. A constitution may well become outdated by the realities of time.
the consent of their spouses. When it does, it must be changed but while it remains, we owe it respect and
allegiance. Anarchy, open or subtle, has never been, nor must it ever be, the
As the world draws the curtain on the Fourth World Conference of Women in answer to perceived transitory needs, let alone societal attitudes, or the
Beijing, let this Court now be the first to respond to its clarion call that Constitution might lose its very essence.
"Women's Rights are Human Rights" and that "All obstacles to women's full
participation in decision-making at all levels, including the family" should be Constitutional provisions must be taken to be mandatory in character unless,
removed. Having been herself a Member of the Philippine Delegation to the either by express statement or by necessary implication, a different intention
International Women's Year Conference in Mexico in 1975, this writer is only is manifest (see Marcelino vs. Cruz, 121 SCRA 51).
too keenly aware of the unremitting struggle being waged by women the world
over, Filipino women not excluded, to be accepted as equals of men and to The two provisions initially brought to focus are Section 6 and Section 17 of
tear down the walls of discrimination that hold them back from their proper Article VI of the fundamental law. These provisions read:
places under the sun. Sec. 6. No person shall be a Member of the House of Representatives unless
In light of the inexorable sweep of events, local and global, legislative, he is a natural-born citizen of the Philippines and, on the day of the election,
executive and judicial, according more rights to women hitherto denied them is at least twenty-five years of age, able to read and write, and, except the
and eliminating whatever pockets of discrimination still exist in their civil, party-list representatives, a registered voter in the district in which he shall be
political and social life, can it still be insisted that widows are not at liberty to elected, and a resident thereof for a period of not less than one year
choose their domicile upon the death of their husbands but must retain the immediately preceding the day of the election.
same, regardless? Sec. 17. The Senate and the House of Representatives shall each have an
I submit that a widow, like the petitioner and others similarly situated, can no Electoral Tribunal which shall be the sole judge of all contests relating to the
longer be bound by the domicile of the departed husband, if at all she was election, returns, and qualifications of their respective Members. Each
before. Neither does she automatically revert to her domicile of origin, but Electoral Tribunal shall be composed of nine Members, three of whom shall
exercising free will, she may opt to reestablish her domicile of origin. In be Justices of the Supreme Court to be designated by the Chief Justice, and
returning to Tacloban and subsequently, to Barangay Olot, Tolosa, both of the remaining six shall be Members of the Senate or the House of
which are located in the First District of Leyte, petitioner amply demonstrated Representatives, as the case may be, who shall be chosen on the basis of
by overt acts, her election of a domicile of choice, in this case, a reversion to proportional representation from the political parties and the parties or
her domicile of origin. Added together, the time when she set up her domicile organizations registered under the party-list system represented therein. The
in the two places sufficed to meet the one-year requirement to run as senior Justice in the Electoral Tribunal shall be its Chairman.
Representative of the First District of Leyte. The Commission on Election (the "COMELEC") is constitutionally bound to
In view of the foregoing expatiation, I vote to GRANT the petition. enforce and administer "all laws and regulations relative to the conduct of
election . . ." (Art. IX, C, Sec. 2, Constitution) that, there being nothing said to

129
the contrary, should include its authority to pass upon the qualification and Using the above tests, I am not convinced that we can charge the COMELEC
disqualification prescribed by law ofcandidates to an elective office. Indeed, with having committed grave abuse of discretion in its assailed resolution.
pre-proclamation controversies are expressly placed under the COMELEC's
jurisdiction to hear and resolve (Art. IX, C, Sec. 3, Constitution). The COMELEC's jurisdiction, in the case of congressional elections, ends
when the jurisdiction of the Electoral Tribunal concerned begins. It signifies
The matter before us specifically calls for the observance of the constitutional that the protestee must have theretofore been duly proclaimed and has since
one-year residency requirement. The issue (whether or not there is here such become a "member" of the Senate or the House of Representatives. The
compliance), to my mind, is basically a question of fact or at least inextricably question can be asked on whether or not the proclamation of a candidate is
linked to such determination. The findings and judgment of the COMELEC, in just a ministerial function of the Commission on Elections dictated solely on
accordance with the long established rule and subject only to a number of the number of votes cast in an election exercise. I believe, it is not. A ministerial
exceptions under the basic heading of "grave abuse of discretion," are not duty is an obligation the performance of which, being adequately defined, does
reviewable by this Court. not allow the use of further judgment or discretion. The COMELEC, in its
particular case, is tasked with the full responsibility of ascertaining all the facts
I do not find much need to do a complex exercise on what seems to me to be and conditions such as may be required by law before a proclamation is
a plain matter. Generally, the term "residence" has a broader connotation that properly done.
may mean permanent (domicile), official (place where one's official duties may
require him to stay) or temporary (the place where he sojourns during a The Court, on its part, should, in my view at least, refrain from any undue
considerable length of time). For civil law purposes, i.e., as regards the encroachment on the ultimate exercise of authority by the Electoral Tribunals
exercise of civil rights and the fulfillment of civil obligations, the domicile of a on matters which, by no less than a constitutional fiat, are explicitly within their
natural person is the place of his habitual residence (see Article 50, Civil exclusive domain. The nagging question, if it were otherwise, would be the
Code). In election cases, the controlling rule is that heretofore announced by effect of the Court's peremptory pronouncement on the ability of the Electoral
this Court in Romualdez vs. Regional Trial Court, Branch 7, Tacloban City Tribunal to later come up with its own judgment in a contest "relating to the
(226 SCRA 408, 409); thus: election, returns and qualification" of its members.

In election cases, the Court treats domicile and residence as synonymous Prescinding from all the foregoing, I should like to next touch base on the
terms, thus: "(t)he term "residence" as used in the election law is synonymous applicability to this case of Section 6 of Republic Act No. 6646, in relation to
with "domicile," which imports not only an intention to reside in a fixed place Section 72 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 881, each providing thusly:
but also personal presence in that place, coupled with conduct indicative of
such intention." "Domicile" denotes a fixed permanent residence to which REPUBLIC ACT NO. 6646
when absent for business or pleasure, or for like reasons, one intends to xxx xxx xxx
return. . . . . Residence thus acquired, however, may be lost by adopting
another choice of domicile. In order, in turn, to acquire a new domicile by Sec. 6. Effect of Disqualification Case. — Any candidate who has been
choice, there must concur (1) residence or bodily presence in the new locality, declared by final judgment to be disqualified shall not be voted for, and the
(2) an intention to remain there, and (3) an intention to abandon the old votes cast for him shall not be counted. If for any reason a candidate is not
domicile. In other words, there must basically be animus manendi coupled declared by final judgment before an election to be disqualified and he is voted
with animus non revertendi. The purpose to remain in or at the domicile of for and receives the winning number of votes in such election, the Court or
choice must be for an indefinite period of time; the change of residence must Commission shall continue with the trial and hearing of the action, inquiry or
be voluntary; and the residence at the place chosen for the new domicile must protest and, upon motion of the complainant or any intervenor, may during the
be actual. pendency thereof order the suspension of the proclamation of such candidate
whenever the evidence of his guilt is strong.

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BATAS PAMBANSA BLG. 881 The latest ruling of the Court on this issue is Santos v. Commission on
Elections, (137 SCRA 740) decided in 1985. In that case, the candidate who
xxx xxx xxx placed second was proclaimed elected after the votes for his winning rival,
Sec. 72. Effects of disqualification cases and priority. — The Commission and who was disqualified as a turncoat and considered a non-candidate, were all
the courts shall give priority to cases of disqualification by reason of violation disregard as stray. In effect, the second placer won by default. That decision
of this Act to the end that a final decision shall be rendered not later than seven was supported by eight members of the Court then, (Cuevas, J., ponente, with
days before the election in which the disqualification is sought. Makasiar, Concepcion, Jr., Escolin, Relova, De la Fuente, Alampay and
Aquino, JJ., concurring.) with three dissenting (Teehankee, Acting C.J., Abad
Any candidate who has been declared by final judgment to be disqualified shall Santos and Melencio-Herrera, JJ.) and another two reserving their vote.
not be voted for, and the votes cast for him shall not be counted. Nevertheless, (Plana and Gutierrez, Jr., JJ.) One was on official leave. (Fernando, C.J.)
if for any reason, a candidate is not declared by final, judgment before an
election to be disqualified, and he is voted for and receives the winning number Re-examining that decision, the Court finds, and so holds, that it should be
of votes in such election, his violation of the provisions of the preceding reversed in favor of the earlier case of Geronimo v. Ramos, (136 SCRA 435)
sections shall not prevent his proclamation and assumption to office. which represents the more logical and democratic rule. That case, which
reiterated the doctrine first announced in 1912 in Topacio v.Paredes, (23 Phil.
I realize that in considering the significance of the law, it may be preferable to 238) was supported by ten members of the Court, (Gutierrez, Jr., ponente, with
look for not so much the specific instances they ostensibly would cover as the Teehankee, Abad Santos, Melencio-Herrera, Plana, Escolin, Relova, De la
principle they clearly convey. Thus, I will not scoff at the argument that it should Fuente, Cuevas and Alampay, JJ., concurring) without any dissent, although
be sound to say that votes cast in favor of the disqualified candidate, whenever one reserved his vote, (Makasiar, J.) another took no part, (Aquino, J.) and two
ultimately declared as such, should not be counted in his or her favor and must others were on leave. (Fernando, C.J. and Concepcion, Jr., J.) There the
accordingly be considered to be stray votes. The argument, nevertheless, is Court held:
far outweighed by the rationale of the now prevailing doctrine first enunciated
in the case of Topacio vs. Paredes (23 Phil. 238 [1912]) which, although later . . . it would be extremely repugnant to the basic concept of the constitutionally
abandoned in Ticzon vs. Comelec (103 SCRA 687 [1981]), and Santos guaranteed right to suffrage if a candidate who has not acquired the majority
vs. COMELEC (137 SCRA 740 [1985]), was restored, along with the interim or plurality of votes is proclaimed a winner and imposed as the representative
case of Geronimo vs. Ramos (136 SCRA 435 [1985]), by the Labo (176 SCRA of a constituency, the majority of which have positively declared through their
1 (1989]), Abella (201 SCRA 253 [1991]), Labo (211 SCRA 297 [1992]) and, ballots that they do not choose him.
most recently, Benito (235 SCRA 436 [1994]) rulings. Benito vs.Comelec was Sound policy dictates that public elective offices are filled by those who have
a unanimous decision penned by Justice Kapunan and concurred in by Chief received the highest number of votes cast in the election for that office, and it
Justice Narvasa, Justices Feliciano, Padilla, Bidin, Regalado, Davide, is a fundamental idea in all republican forms of government that no one can
Romero, Melo, Quiason, Puno, Vitug and Mendoza (Justices Cruz and be declared elected and no measure can be declared carried unless he or it
Bellosillo were on official leave). For easy reference, let me quote from the receives a majority or plurality of the legal votes cast in the election. (20 Corpus
first Labo decision: Juris 2nd, S 243, p. 676.)
Finally, there is the question of whether or not the private respondent, who The fact that the candidate who obtained the highest number of votes is later
filed the quo warrantopetition, can replace the petitioner as mayor. He cannot. declared to be disqualified or not eligible for the office to which he was elected
The simple reason is that as he obtained only the second highest number of does not necessarily entitle the candidate who obtained the second highest
votes in the election, he was obviously not the choice of the people of Baguio number of votes to be declared the winner of the elective office. The votes cast
City. for a dead, disqualified, or non-eligible person may not be valid to vote the
winner into office or maintain him there. However, in the absence of a statute

131
which clearly asserts a contrary political and legislative policy on the matter, if § 12. Disqualifications. — Any person who has been declared by competent
the votes were cast in the sincere belief that the candidate was alive, qualified, authority insane or incompetent, or has been sentenced by final judgment for
or eligible, they should not be treated as stray, void or meaningless. (at pp. 20- subversion, insurrection, rebellion or for any offense for which he has been
21) sentenced to a penalty of more than eighteen months or for a crime involving
moral turpitude, shall be disqualified to be a candidate and to hold any office,
Considering all the foregoing, I am constrained to vote for the dismissal of the unless he has been given plenary pardon or granted amnesty.
petition.
The disqualifications to be a candidate herein provided shall be deemed
MENDOZA, J., separate opinion: removed upon the declaration by competent authority that said insanity or
In my view the issue in this case is whether the Commission on Elections has incompetence had been removed or after the expiration of a period of five
the power to disqualify candidates on the ground that they lack eligibility for years from his service of sentence, unless within the same period he again
the office to which they seek to be elected. I think that it has none and that the becomes disqualified. (Emphasis added)
qualifications of candidates may be questioned only in the event they are § 68. Disqualifications. — Any candidate who, in an action or protest in which
elected, by filing a petition forquo warranto or an election protest in the he is a party is declared by final decision of a competent court guilty of, or
appropriate forum, not necessarily in the COMELEC but, as in this case, in the found by the Commission of having (a) given money or other material
House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal. That the parties in this case took consideration to influence, induce or corrupt the voters or public officials
part in the proceedings in the COMEL