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1. Yu vs. Defensor-Santiago [G.R. No.

83882, January 24, 1989]

Petitioner Willie Yu is a Portuguese National who acquired Philippine citizenship by naturalization
on February 10,1978. Despite his naturalization, he applied for and was issued a renewed Portuguese
Passport by the Consular Section of the Portuguese Embassy in Tokyo. Said Consular Office certifies that
his Portuguese passport expired on July 20, 1986. Being a naturalized Filipino, he signed commercial
documents stating his citizenship as Portuguese without the authentication of an appropriate Philippine
consul. He was then detained by the CID for obtaining a foreign passport while having a Filipino
citizenship. Yu then filed a petition for habeas corpus. An internal resolution of 7 November 1988 referred
the case to the Court en Banc. The Court en Banc denied the petition. He then filed a motion for
reconsideration with prayer for restraining order but it was denied. After denial, he filed a motion for
clarification with prayer for restraining order. On December 7,1988, the temporary Restraining Order
(TRO) was issued. The respondent filed a motion to lift the said TRO, contending that Yu was in full
knowledge and with legal capacity when he applied for Philippine citizenship through naturalization he
consequently recognizes, identifies and agrees to the oath taken which states to renounce “absolutely and
forever all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state or sovereignty” and pledged to
maintain true faith and allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines. Hence, petitioner then knows the
limitations or restrictions once solemnizing said oath and its succeeding consequences should they be

Was the petitioner’s act constituted a renunciation of his Philippine citizenship?

Yes, considering the facts stated, the Supreme Court ruled that the petitioner’s acts constitute an
express renunciation of his Philippine citizenship through naturalization. Express naturalization means
renunciation made known distinctly and explicitly, and not that which is implied. After acquiring Philippine
citizenship, with full knowledge, he resumed his prior status as a Portuguese citizen by applying for a
renewal of his Portuguese passport and representing himself as a Portuguese in official and commercial
documents. Such resumption or reacquisition of Portuguese citizenship is grossly inconsistent with his
maintenance of Philippine citizenship.
Philippine citizenship is not a commodity or were to be displayed when required and suppressed
when convenient.

2. In re: Application for Admission to the Bar of Vicente Ching [B.M. No.
914, October 1, 1999]

Vicente D. Ching, the legitimate son of the spouses Tat Ching, a Chinese citizen, and Prescila A.
Dulay, a Filipino, was born in Francia West, Tubao, La Union on 11 April 1964. Since his birth, Ching has
resided in the Philippines. In 1998, Vicente Ching finished his law degree at the Saint Louis University in
Baguio City. He eventually passed the bar but he was advised that he needs to show proof that he is a
Filipino citizen before he be allowed to take his oath.

Apparently, Ching’s father was a Chinese citizen but his mother was a Filipino citizen. His parents
were married before he was born in 1963. Under the 1935 Constitution, a legitimate child, whose one
parent is a foreigner, acquires the foreign citizenship of the foreign parent. Ching maintained that he has
always considered himself as a Filipino; that he is a certified public accountant – a profession reserved for
Filipinos; that he even served as a councilor in a municipality in La Union.

The Solicitor-General commented on the case by saying that as a legitimate child of a Chinese and
a Filipino, Ching should have elected Filipino citizenship upon reaching the age of majority. Ching did elect
Filipino citizenship, but he only did so when he was preparing for the bar in 1998 or 14 years after reaching
the age of majority. In conclusion, the OSG points out that Ching has not formally elected Philippine
citizenship and, if ever he does, it would already be beyond the "reasonable time" allowed by present
jurisprudence. However, due to the peculiar circumstances surrounding Ching's case, the OSG
recommends the relaxation of the standing rule on the construction of the phrase "reasonable period"
and the allowance of Ching to elect Philippine citizenship in accordance with C.A. No. 625 prior to taking
his oath as a member of the Philippine Bar.


Whether or not Ching should be allowed to take the lawyer’s oath.

No. In the present case, Ching was already thirty-five (35) years old when he complied with the
requirements of CA No. 625 or fourteen years after he had reached the age of majority. The age of
majority commenced upon reaching twenty-one (21) years. The Supreme Court noted that the period is
originally 3 years but it was extended to 7 years. (It seems it can’t be extended any further). Ching’s special
circumstances can’t be considered. It is not enough that he considered all his life that he is a Filipino; that
he is a professional and a public officer (was) serving this country. The rules for citizenship are in place.
Further, Ching didn’t give any explanation why he belatedly chose to elect Filipino citizenship (but I guess
it’s simply because he never thought he’s Chinese not until he applied to take the bar). The prescribed
procedure in electing Philippine citizenship is certainly not a tedious and painstaking process. All that is
required of the elector is to execute an affidavit of election of Philippine citizenship and, thereafter, file
the same with the nearest civil registry. Ching’s unreasonable and unexplained delay in making his election
cannot be simply glossed over.

SYNOPSIS Vicente D. Ching is the legitimate son of spouses Tat Ching, a Chinese citizen and Prescila A.
Dulay, a Filipino, Ching was born in Francia West, Tubao, La Union on 11 April 1964. Since birth, he
resided in the Philippines. He is also a Certified Public Accountant and a registered voter of Tubao, La
Union. In fact, he was elected as member of the Sangguniang Bayan of Tubao, La Union during the 12
May 1992 synchronized elections. On 17 July 1998, having completed a Bachelor of Laws course at the
St. Louis University, Baguio City, he :led an application to take the 1998 Bar Examinations. He was
conditionally admitted to take the Bar Examinations, subject to the condition that he must submit to the
Court proof of his Philippine citizenship. On 5 April 1999, the 1998 Bar Examinations were released and
Ching was one of the successful examinees. However, because of the questionable status of his
citizenship, he was not allowed to take his oath and instead, he was required to submit further proof of
his citizenship. In compliance therewith, on 27 July 1999, Ching :led a Manifestation with attached
A@davit of Election of Philippine Citizenship and Oath of Allegiance dated 15 July 1999. DSAEIT The
Court held that Ching failed to validly elect Philippine citizenship. The span of fourteen (14) years that
lapsed from the time he reached the age of majority until he :nally expressed his intention to elect
Philippine citizenship was clearly way beyond the contemplation of the requirement of electing "upon
reaching the age of majority." Moreover, Ching had offered no reason why he delayed his election of
Philippine citizenship. The prescribed procedure in electing Philippine citizenship is certainly not a
tedious and painstaking process. All that is required of the elector is to execute an a@davit of election of
Philippine citizenship and, thereafter, :le the same with the nearest civil registry. Ching's unreasonable
and unexplained delay in making his election cannot be simply glossed over.