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Moy Ya Lim Yao v Commissioner, Gr no L-21289, 04 October 1971

Lau Yuen Yeung applied for a passport visa to enter the Philippines as a non-immigrant on 8
February 1961. In the interrogation made in connection with her application for a temporary
visitor's visa to enter the Philippines, she stated that she was a Chinese residing at Kowloon,
Hongkong, and that she desired to take a pleasure trip to the Philippines to visit her great grand
uncle, Lau Ching Ping. She was permitted to come into the Philippines on 13 March 1961 for a
period of one month.

On the date of her arrival, Asher Y. Cheng filed a bond in the amount of P1,000.00 to undertake,
among others, that said Lau Yuen Yeung would actually depart from the Philippines on or before
the expiration of her authorized period of stay in this country or within the period as in his
discretion the Commissioner of Immigration or his authorized representative might properly allow.

After repeated extensions, Lau Yuen Yeung was allowed to stay in the Philippines up to 13
February 1962. On 25 January 1962, she contracted marriage with Moy Ya Lim Yao alias
Edilberto Aguinaldo Lim an alleged Filipino citizen. Because of the contemplated action of the
Commissioner of Immigration to confiscate her bond and order her arrest and immediate
deportation, after the expiration of her authorized stay, she brought an action for injunction. At the
hearing which took place one and a half years after her arrival, it was admitted that Lau Yuen
Yeung could not write and speak either English or Tagalog, except for a few words. She could not
name any Filipino neighbor, with a Filipino name except one, Rosa. She did not know the names
of her brothers-in-law, or sisters-in-law. As a result, the Court of First Instance of Manila denied
the prayer for preliminary injunction. Moya Lim Yao and Lau Yuen Yeung appealed.

Whether or not Lau Yuen Yeung ipso facto became a Filipino citizen upon her marriage to a
Filipino citizen.

Yes. Under Section 15 of Commonwealth Act 473, an alien woman marrying a Filipino, native born
or naturalized, becomes ipso facto a Filipina provided she is not disqualified to be a citizen of the
Philippines under Section 4 of the same law. Likewise, an alien woman married to an alien who is
subsequently naturalized here follows the Philippine citizenship of her husband the moment he
takes his oath as Filipino citizen, provided that she does not suffer from any of the disqualifications
under said Section 4. Whether the alien woman requires to undergo the naturalization
proceedings, Section 15 is a parallel provision to Section 16. Thus, if the widow of an applicant for
naturalization as Filipino, who dies during the proceedings, is not required to go through a
naturalization proceedings, in order to be considered as a Filipino citizen hereof, it should follow
that the wife of a living Filipino cannot be denied the same privilege.

This is plain common sense and there is absolutely no evidence that the Legislature intended to
treat them differently. As the laws of our country, both substantive and procedural, stand today,
there is no such procedure (a substitute for naturalization proceeding to enable the alien wife of a
Philippine citizen to have the matter of her own citizenship settled and established so that she may
not have to be called upon to prove it everytime she has to perform an act or enter into a
transaction or business or exercise a right reserved only to Filipinos), but such is no proof that the
citizenship is not vested as of the date of marriage or the husband's acquisition of citizenship, as
the case may be, for the truth is that the situation obtains even as to native-born Filipinos.
Everytime the citizenship of a person is material or indispensible in a judicial or administrative
case. Whatever the corresponding court or administrative authority decides therein as to such
citizenship is generally not considered as res adjudicata, hence it has to be threshed out again
and again as the occasion may demand. Lau Yuen Yeung, was declared to have become a
Filipino citizen from and by virtue of her marriage to Moy Ya Lim Yao as Edilberto Aguinaldo Lim,
a Filipino citizen of 25 January 1962.