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CITIZENSHIP:

Section 4. A natural-born citizen is one who is a citizenof the


Philippines from birth without having to perform any act to
acquire or perfect his Philippine citizenship.

Two requisites must concur for a person to be considered as


such:

(1) a person must be a Filipino citizen from birth, and

(2) he does not have to perform any act to obtain or perfect his Philippine
citizenship.

Under the 1973 Constitution definition, there were two


categories of Filipino citizens which were not considered
natural-born:

(1) those w ho w er e n at ur al i z ed , a nd

( 2) tho se bo r n be fo r e Ja nu ar y 1 7, 19 73 (the date of


effectivity of the 1973 Constitution), of Filipino mothers
who,u p o n reaching the age of majority, elected
Philippine citizenship.

 Those “naturalized citizens” were not considered natural-


born obviously because they were not Filipinos at birth
and had to perform an act to acquire Philippine
citizenship. Those born of Filipino mothers before the
effectivity of the 1973 Constitution were likewise not
considered natural-born because they also had to perform
an act to perfect theirPhilippine citizenship.

 T he pr e s en t C o ns ti t u ti o n, ho w e ve r , no w c o n s i d e r s
t ho se bo r n o f F i l i p i no mo t he r s b e fo r e t he ef fe c t i v i t y
o f t he 1 97 3 C o ns ti tu ti o n an d w ho el ec te d P hi l i p p i n e
c i ti z e ns hi p upo n r e ac hi ng th e ma jo r i ty ag e a s natural-
born.

After defining who are natural-born citizens, Section 2 of Article IV


adds a sentence: “Those who elect Philippine citizenshipi n
a c c o r d a nc e w i t h p ar ag r ap h ( 3 ) , S ec ti o n 1 h e r eo f s h al l b e
d ee me d natural-born citizens.” Consequently, only naturalized
Filipinos are considered not natural-born citizens.

. It is apparent from the e nu m e r a ti o n o f w ho a r e c i t i z en s


u nd er t he pr e se nt C o n sti tu ti o n t ha t there are only two
classes of citizens:

(1) those who are natural-born, and

(2) those who are naturalized in accordance with law.

A citizen who i s n o t a n a t u r a l i z e d F i l i p i n o , i . e . , d i d n o t
h a v e t o u n d e r g o t h e process of naturalization to obtain
Philippine citizenship, necessarily is a natural-born Filipino.
. N o t e w o r t h y i s t h e a b s e n c e i n t h e s a i d enumeration of a
separate category for persons who, after losing Philippine
citizenship, subsequently reacquire it. The reason therefore is
clear: as to such persons, they would either be natural-b o r n o r
n at ur al i z e d d ep en di ng o n t h e r e a so ns f o r th e l o s s o f th e i r
c i t i z en s hi p an d th e m o d e p r e sc r i b e d b y th e a p p l i c ab l e l a w
f o r th e reacquisition thereof.

. As r es po n de nt C r uz w a s no t r eq ui r ed b y l aw t o go through
naturalization proceedings in order to reacquire his c i t i z e n s h i p ,
he is perforce a natural-born Filipino. As such,
h e possessed all the necessary qualifications to be elected as
member ofth e Ho us e o f R ep r e se nt at i v es . ( Antonio Bengson
III v. HRET , G . R . N o . 142840, May 7, 2001, En Banc [Kapunan])

Distinguish dual citizenship from dual allegiance.

Held: DUAL CITIZENSHIP – arises when, as a result of theconcurrent


application of the different laws of two or more states, aperson is
simultaneously considered a national by the said states.

* For i n st an c e , su c h a s i t ua ti o n ma y a r i se w he n a p er s o n
w ho s e pa r e nt s a r e citizens of a state which adheres to the
principle of jus sanguinis is born in a state which follows the
doctrine of jus soli. Such a person, ipso facto and without any
voluntary act on his part, is concurrently considered a citizen of
both states.

DUAL ALLEGIANCE- o n t h e o t h e r h a n d , r e f e r s t o a
s i t u a t i o n i n which a person simultaneously owes, by some
positive act, loyalty to t w o o r m o r e s ta t e s. Wh i l e d ua l
c i ti z e ns hi p i s i n vo l un t ar y , d ua l a llegiance is the result of an
individual’s volition. (Mercado v.Manzano, 307 SCRA 630, May 26,
1999, En Banc [Mendoza])

What is the main concern of Section 5, Article IV,


1987 Constitution, on citizenship? Consequently, are persons
with mere d ua l c i t i z en sh i p d i s q u al i fi e d to r un fo r e l ec ti v e
l o c a l po si ti o n s under Section 40(d) of the Local Government
Code?

- The concern of the Constitutional Commission was


not with dual citizens per se but with naturalized
citizens who maintain their allegiance to their
countries of origin even after their naturalization.
Hence, the phrase“ dual citizenship” in R.A. No.
7160, Section 40(d) (Local GovernmentCode)
must be understood as referring to “dual allegiance.”
Consequently, persons with mere dual
citizenship do not fall under this disqualification.

- Unlike those with dual allegiance, who must, x x x, be


subject to strict process with respect to the termination of
their st at us , f o r c a nd i d at es w i th d u al c i ti z en sh i p , i t s ho ul d
s uf fi c e i f , upon the filing of their certificate of candidacy, they elect
Philippine citizenship to terminate their status as persons with
dualcitizenship considering that their condition is the unavoidable
consequence of conflicting laws of different states.
By electing Philippine citizenship, such candidates at the sametime
for swear allegiance to the other country of which they are also
citizens and thereby terminate their status as dual citizens.
I t m a y be that, from the point of view of the foreign state and
of its laws, such an individual has not effectively renounced his
foreignc i t i z e n s h i p . T h a t i s o f n o m o m e n t . ( Mercado v.
Manzano, G . R . N o . 135083, 307 SCRA 630, May 26, 1999
[Mendoza])

Instances when a citizen of the Philippines may possess


dual citizenship considering the citizenship clause (Article IV)
of the Constitution.

1) Those born of Filipino fathers and/or mothers in foreign


countries which follow the principle of jus soli;

2) Those born in the Philippines of Filipino mothers and alien


fathers if by the laws of their father’s country such childrenare
citizens of that country;

3) T ho s e w h o m a r r y a l i e n s i f b y t h e l a w s o f t h e
l a t t e r ’ s country the former are considered citizens,
unless by their act or omission they are deemed to have
renounced Philippine citizenship. (Mercado v. Manzano,
G.R. No. 135083, 307 SCRA 630, May 26,
1 9 9 9 [Mendoza])

Does res judicata apply in cases hinging on the issue


of citizenship?

- The principle of res judicata generally does not


apply in caseshinging on the issue of citizenship.

- However, in the case of Burca v. Republic ( 5 1 S C R A 24 8


[ 19 73 ] ) , an exception to th i s g e ne r a l r ul e w as r e c o g n i z e d .
The Court ruled in that case that in order that the
doctrine of res judicata m ay b e a p p l i e d i n c a se s o f
c i ti z e ns hi p, t he following must be present:

1) a pe r s o n’ s c i ti z en s hi p b e r ai se d a s a m at er i al i s su e
i n a controversy where said person is a party;

2) the Solicitor General or his authorized representative


took active part in the resolution thereof, and

3) the finding on citizenship is affirmed by this Court

Although the general rule was set forth in the case of Moy Ya LimYao,
the case did not foreclose the weight of prior rulings on c i ti z e ns hi p .
I t el u c i da t ed th at r el i an c e ma y so me ho w b e p l a c e d o n
these antecedent official findings, though not really binding, to
make the effort easier or simpler. (Valles v. COMELEC, 33 7 SC RA
5 43 , Aug. 9, 2000, En Banc [Purisima])
RE: APPLICATION FOR ADMISSION TO THE PHILIPPINE BAR Vs. VICENTE
D. CHING (BAR MATTER No. 914 October 1, 1999)

Can a legitimate child born under the 1935


C o n s t i t u t i o n o f a Filipino mother and an alien father
validly elect Philippine Ci t i z e n s h i p f o u r t e e n ( 1 4 ) y e a r s
a f t e r h e h a s r e a c h e d t h e a g e o f majority?

- Under Article IV, Section 1(3) o f t h e 1935


Constitution, the citizenship of a legitimate child, born of a
Filipino mother and an a l i e n f a t h e r , f o l l o w e d t h e
c i t i z e n s h i p o f t h e f a t h e r u n l e s s , u p o n reaching the
age of majority, the child elected Philippine citizenship.

- C.A. No. 625 which was enacted pursuant to


Section 1(3), Article IV of the 1935 Constitu tion,
prescribes the procedure that should be followed in order
to make a valid election of Philippine citizenship.
However, the 1935 Constitution and C.A. No. 625 did not
prescribe a time period wit h in w hic h the election of
P hi li ppine cit ize nship should be mad e .

- The 1935 Charter only provides that the election


should be made “upon reaching the age of majority.” The age
of majority then commenced upon re aching tw e nt y-one
(21) ye ar s.

- I n the opinion s of t he Sec r etar y of J u s t i c e o n


cases involving the validity of election of
P h i l i p p i n e citizenship, this dilemma was resolved by
basing the time period on the decisions of this Court prior to
the effectivity of the 1935 C o n s t i t u t i o n .

In these decisions, the proper period for


e l e c t i n g Philippine citizenship was, in turn, based on the
pronouncements of the the Department of State of the United
States Government to the effect that the election should
be made within a "reasonable time" after attaining
the age of majority. The phrase "reasonable time "
has been interpreted to mean that the election
should be made within three (3) years from
reaching the age of majority.

- The span of fourteen (14) years that lapsed from the


time he reached the age of majority until he finally expressed
his intention to elect Philippine citizenship is clearly way
beyond the contemplation of the requirement of electing "upon
reaching the age of majority." Moreover, Ching has offered no
reason why he delayed his election of Philippines. 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.
Philippine Citizenship can never be treated like a
commodity that can be claimed when needed and suppressed
when convenient. One who is privileged to elect Philippine
citizenship has only an inchoate right to such citizenship.
As such, he should avail of the right with fervor, enthusiasm and
promptitude. Sadly, in this case, Ching slept on his opportunity to
elect Philippine citizenship and, as a result, this golden privilege
slipped away from his grasp.

********************************************************

G.R. No. 167569 September 4, 2009

CARLOS T. GO, SR., Petitioner,


vs.
LUIS T. RAMOS, Respondent.

x - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -x

G.R. No. 167570

JIMMY T. GO, Petitioner,


vs.
LUIS T. RAMOS, Respondent.

x - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -x

G.R. No. 171946

HON. ALIPIO F. FERNANDEZ, JR., in his capacity as the Commissioner of the


BUREAU OF IMMIGRATION; ATTY. FAISAL HUSSIN and ANSARI M.
MACAAYAN, in their capacity as Intelligence Officers of the BUREAU OF
IMMIGRATION, Petitioners,
vs.
JIMMY T. GO a.k.a. JAIME T. GAISANO, Respondent.

X _______________________ X

Carlos and Jimmy’s claim that the cause of action of the Bureau
has prescribed is untenable.

– Cases involving issues on citizenship are sui generis.


Once the citizenship of an individual is put into question, it
necessarily has to be threshed out and decided upon.

In the case of Frivaldo v. Commission on Elections, we


said that decisions declaring the acquisition or denial of
citizenship cannot govern a person’s future status with finality.
This is because a person may subsequently reacquire, or for
that matter, lose his citizenship under any of the modes
recognized by law for the purpose. Indeed, if the issue of one’s
citizenship, after it has been passed upon by the courts, leaves
it still open to future adjudication, then there is more reason
why the government should not be precluded from questioning
one’s claim to Philippine citizenhip, especially so when the
same has never been threshed out by any tribunal.
- As to the issue of whether Carlos is an indispensable
party, we reiterate that an indispensable party is a party in
interest without whom no final determination can be had of an
action, and who shall be joined either as plaintiff or defendant.

- To be indispensable, a person must first be a real party


in interest, that is, one who stands to be benefited or injured
by the judgment of the suit, or the party entitled to the avails
of the suit.

- Carlos clearly is not an indispensable party as he does


not stand to be benefited or injured by the judgment of the
suit. What is sought is the deportation of Jimmy on the ground
that he is an alien. Hence, the principal issue that will be
decided on is the propriety of his deportation. To recall, Jimmy
claims that he is a Filipino under Section 1(3), Article IV of the
1935 Constitution, because Carlos, his father, is allegedly a
citizen. Since his citizenship hinges on that of his father’s, it
becomes necessary to pass upon the citizenship of the latter.
However, whatever will be the findings as to Carlos’ citizenship
will in no way prejudice him.

- Citizenship proceedings, as aforestated, are a class of


its own, in that, unlike other cases, res judicata does not
obtain as a matter of course. In a long line of decisions, this
Court said that every time the citizenship of a person is
material or indispensable in a judicial or administrative case,
whatever the corresponding court or administrative authority
decides therein as to such citizenship is generally not
considered as res judicata; hence, it has to be threshed out
again and again as the occasion may demand.

- Res judicata may be applied in cases of citizenship only


if the following concur:

1. a person’s citizenship must be raised as a material


issue in a controversy where said person is a party;

2. the Solicitor General or his authorized representative


took active part in the resolution thereof; and

3. the finding or citizenship is affirmed by this Court.

In the event that the citizenship of Carlos will be questioned,


or his deportation sought, the same has to be ascertained once
again as the decision which will be rendered hereinafter shall
have no preclusive effect upon his citizenship. As neither injury
nor benefit will redound upon Carlos, he cannot be said to be
an indispensable party in this case.

- One of the arguments raised to sustain Carlos’ claim


to Philippine citizenship is the doctrine of jus soli, or the
doctrine or principle of citizenship by place of birth. To recall,
both the trial court and the Court of Appeals ruled that the
doctrine of jus soli was never extended to the Philippines. We
agree. The doctrine of jus soli was for a time the prevailing
rule in the acquisition of one’s citizenship.70 However, the
Supreme Court abandoned the principle of jus soli in the case
of Tan Chong v. Secretary of Labor.71 Since then, said doctrine
only benefited those who were individually declared to be
citizens of the Philippines by a final court decision on the
mistaken application of jus soli.72

Neither will the Philippine Bill of 190273 nor the Jones Law of
191674 make Carlos a citizen of the Philippines. His bare claim
that his father, Go Yin An, was a resident of the Philippines at
the time of the passage of the said laws, without any
supporting evidence whatsoever will not suffice.

It is a settled rule that only legitimate children follow the


citizenship of the father and that illegitimate children are
under the parental authority of the mother and follow her
nationality.75 Moreover, we have also ruled that an illegitimate
child of a Filipina need not perform any act to confer upon him
all the rights and privileges attached to citizens of the
Philippines; he automatically becomes a citizen himself. 76
However, it is our considered view that absent any evidence
proving that Carlos is indeed an illegitimate son of a Filipina,
the aforestated established rule could not be applied to him.

As to the question of whether the election of Philippine


citizenship conferred on Carlos Filipino citizenship, we find
that the appellate court correctly found that it did not.

Com. Act No. 625 which was enacted pursuant to Section 1(4),
Article IV of the 1935 Constitution, prescribes the procedure
that should be followed in order to make a valid election of
Philippine citizenship. Under Section 1 thereof, legitimate
children born of Filipino mothers may elect Philippine
citizenship by expressing such intention "in a statement to be
signed and sworn to by the party concerned before any officer
authorized to administer oaths, and shall be filed with the
nearest civil registry. The said party shall accompany the
aforesaid statement with the oath of allegiance to the
Constitution and the Government of the Philippines." 77

However, the 1935 Constitution and Com. Act No. 625 did not
prescribe a time period within which the election of Philippine
citizenship should be made. The 1935 Charter only provides
that the election should be made "upon reaching the age of
majority." The age of majority then commenced upon reaching
21 years. In the opinions of the then Secretary of Justice on
cases involving the validity of election of Philippine
citizenship, this dilemma was resolved by basing the time
period on the decisions of this Court prior to the effectivity of
the 1935 Constitution. In these decisions, the proper period for
electing Philippine citizenship was, in turn, based on the
pronouncements of the Department of State of the United
States Government to the effect that the election should be
made within a "reasonable time" after attaining the age of
majority. The phrase "reasonable time" has been interpreted to
mean that the election should be made within three (3) years
from reaching the age of majority. 78

It is true that we said that the 3-year period for electing


Philippine citizenship may be extended as when the person has
always regarded himself as a Filipino. Be that as it may, it is
our considered view that not a single circumstance was
sufficiently shown meriting the extension of the 3-year period.
The fact that Carlos exercised his right of suffrage in 1952 and
1955 does not demonstrate such belief, considering that the
acts were done after he elected Philippine citizenship. On the
other hand, the mere fact that he was able to vote does not
validate his irregular election of Philippine citizenship. At
most, his registration as a voter indicates his desire to
exercise a right appertaining exclusively to Filipino citizens but
does not alter his real citizenship, which, in this jurisdiction, is
determined by blood (jus sanguinis). The exercise of the rights
and privileges granted only to Filipinos is not conclusive proof
of citizenship, because a person may misrepresent himself to
be a Filipino and thus enjoy the rights and privileges of
citizens of this country.79

It is incumbent upon one who claims Philippine citizenship to


prove to the satisfaction of the court that he is really a
Filipino. No presumption can be indulged in favor of the
claimant of Philippine citizenship, and any doubt regarding
citizenship must be resolved in favor of the state.80

As Carlos and Jimmy neither showed conclusive proof of their


citizenship nor presented substantial proof of the same, we
have no choice but to sustain the Board’s jurisdiction over the
deportation proceedings. This is not to say that we are ruling
that they are not Filipinos, for that is not what we are called
upon to do. This Court necessarily has to pass upon the issue
of citizenship only to determine whether the proceedings may
be enjoined in order to give way to a judicial determination of
the same. And we are of the opinion that said proceedings
should not be enjoined.

In our considered view, the allegation of Jimmy that due


process was not observed in the deportation proceedings must
likewise fail.

Deportation proceedings are administrative in character,


summary in nature, and need not be conducted strictly in
accordance with the rules of ordinary court proceedings.81 The
essence of due process is simply an opportunity to be heard,
or as applied to administrative proceedings, an opportunity to
explain one’s side or an opportunity to seek reconsideration of
the action or ruling complained of. 82 As long as the parties are
given the opportunity to be heard before judgment is
rendered, the demands of due process are sufficiently met. 83
Although Jimmy was not furnished with a copy of the subject
Resolution and Charge Sheet as alleged by him, the trial court
found that he was given ample opportunity to explain his side
and present controverting evidence, thus:

x x x It must be stressed that after receiving the Order dated


September 11, 2001 signed by BSI Chief Ronaldo P. Ledesma
on October 4, 2001, petitioner Jimmy T. Go admitted that when
his representative went to the B.I.D. to inquire about the said
Order, the latter chanced upon the Resolution dated February
14, 2001 and March 8, 2001 as well as the Charge Sheet dated
July 3, 2001. Hence on October 5, 2001, he filed a "Motion for
Extension of Time to File Memorandum" and as such, was
allowed by Ronaldo P. Ledesma an extension of ten (10) days
to submit his required memorandum. x x x84

This circumstance satisfies the demands of administrative due


process.
As regards the petition in G.R. No. 171946, petitioners contend
that the appellate tribunal erred in enjoining Jimmy’s
deportation.85

Petitioners question the remedy availed of by Jimmy. They


argue that the existence of the remedy of an ordinary appeal
proscribes the filing of the petition for certiorari as was done
in this case. They point out that the appeal period in habeas
corpus cases is only 48 hours, compared to a special civil
action under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court which is 60 days.
This clearly shows that an ordinary appeal is the more plain,
speedy and adequate remedy; hence, it must be the one
availed of.86 Since the decision of the trial court was not
properly appealed, the same may be said to have attained
finality, and may no longer be disturbed.87

They maintain that the dismissal of the petition for habeas


corpus by the trial court was proper. A petition for habeas
corpus has for its purpose only the determination of whether
or not there is a lawful ground for Jimmy’s apprehension and
continued detention. They urge that the decision of the Board
dated April 17, 2002 that ordered Jimmy’s deportation has
already attained finality by reason of the belated appeal taken
by Jimmy from the said decision on April 2, 2004 before the
Office of the President, or after almost two years from the time
the decision was rendered. Said decision of the Board, they
insist, is the lawful ground that sanctions Jimmy’s
apprehension and detention.88

Petitioners in G.R. No. 171946 also argue that Jimmy cannot


rely on the bail on recognizance he was previously granted to
question his subsequent apprehension and detention. Under
the Philippine Immigration Act of 1940, the power to grant bail
can only be exercised while the alien is still under
investigation, and not when the order of deportation had
already been issued by the Board. 89 Hence, the bail granted
was irregular as it has no legal basis. Furthermore, they said
the petition for habeas corpus necessarily has to be dismissed
because the same is no longer proper once the applicant
thereof has been charged before the Board, which is the case
with Jimmy.90 Nonetheless, they claim that the habeas corpus
case is rendered moot and academic as Jimmy is no longer
being detained.91

On the other hand, Jimmy counters that the instant petition for
certiorari and prohibition is the most appropriate, speedy and
adequate remedy in spite of the availability of ordinary appeal
considering that what is involved in this case is his cherished
liberty. Grave abuse of discretion on the part of the petitioners
in ordering his arrest and detention, he argues, all the more
justifies the avails of the extraordinary writ.92 Contrary to the
petitioners’ stand, Jimmy argues that the April 17, 2002
Decision of the Board has not attained finality owing to the
availability of various remedies, one of which is an appeal, and
in fact is actually void because it was rendered without due
process.93 He also insists that the bail issued to him is valid
and effective until the final determination of his citizenship
before the proper courts.94 Moreover, he maintains that the
petition for habeas corpus was proper since its object is to
inquire into the legality of one’s detention, and if found illegal,
to order the release of the detainee. 95 As in his petition in G.R.
No. 167570, Jimmy also contends that the proceedings before
the Board is void for failure to implead therein his father, and
that he should have been given a full blown trial before a
regular court where he can prove his citizenship.96

G.R. No. 183133 July 26, 2010

BALGAMELO CABILING MA, FELIX CABILING MA, JR., AND VALERIANO


CABILING MA, Petitioners,
vs.
COMMISSIONER ALIPIO F. FERNANDEZ, JR., ASSOCIATE COMMISSIONER
ARTHEL B. CARONOÑGAN, ASSOCIATE COMMISSIONER JOSE DL.
CABOCHAN, ASSOCIATE COMMISSIONER TEODORO B. DELARMENTE
AND ASSOCIATE COMMISSIONER FRANKLIN Z. LITTAUA, in their capacities
as Chairman and Members of the Board of Commissioners (Bureau of
Immigration), and MAT G. CATRAL, Respondents.

it:

Section 1. The option to elect Philippine citizenship in accordance with subsection (4),
Section 1, Article IV, of the Constitution shall be expressed in a statement to be signed
and sworn to by the party concerned before any officer authorized to administer oaths,
and shall be filed with the nearest civil registry. The said party shall accompany the
aforesaid statement with the oath of allegiance to the Constitution and the Government
of the Philippines.

The statutory formalities of electing Philippine citizenship are: (1) a statement of


election under oath; (2) an oath of allegiance to the Constitution and Government of the
Philippines; and (3) registration of the statement of election and of the oath with the
nearest civil registry.

** **** ***

The instant case presents a different factual setting. Petitioners complied with the first
and second requirements upon reaching the age of majority. It was only the registration of
the documents of election with the civil registry that was belatedly done.

We rule that under the facts peculiar to the petitioners, the right to elect Philippine
citizenship has not been lost and they should be allowed to complete the statutory
requirements for such election.

Such conclusion, contrary to the finding of the Court of Appeals, is in line with our
decisions in In Re:Florencio Mallare,47 Co v. Electoral Tribunal of the House of
Representatives,48 and Re:Application for Admission to the Philippine Bar, Vicente D.
Ching.49

In Mallare, Esteban’s exercise of the right of suffrage when he came of age was deemed
to be a positive act of election of Philippine citizenship.50 The Court of Appeals,
however, said that the case cannot support herein petitioners’ cause, pointing out that,
unlike petitioner, Esteban is a natural child of a Filipina, hence, no other act would be
necessary to confer on him the rights and privileges of a Filipino citizen,51 and that
Esteban was born in 192952 prior to the adoption of the 1935 Constitution and the
enactment of Commonwealth Act No. 625.53

In the Co case, Jose Ong, Jr. did more than exercise his right of suffrage, as he established
his life here in the Philippines.54 Again, such circumstance, while similar to that of herein
petitioners’, was not appreciated because it was ruled that any election of Philippine
citizenship on the part of Ong would have resulted in absurdity, because the law itself
had already elected Philippine citizenship for him55 as, apparently, while he was still a
minor, a certificate of naturalization was issued to his father.56

In Ching, it may be recalled that we denied his application for admission to the
Philippine Bar because, in his case, all the requirements, to wit: (1) a statement of
election under oath; (2) an oath of allegiance to the Constitution and Government of the
Philippines; and (3) registration of the statement of election and of the oath with the
nearest civil registry were complied with only fourteen (14) years after he reached the age
of majority. Ching offered no reason for the late election of Philippine citizenship.57

In all, the Court of Appeals found the petitioners’ argument of good faith and "informal
election" unacceptable and held:

Their reliance in the ruling contained in Re:Application for Admission to the Philippine
Bar, Vicente D. Ching, [which was decided on 1 October 1999], is obviously flawed. It
bears emphasis that the Supreme Court, in said case, did not adopt the doctrine laid
down in In Re: Florencio Mallare. On the contrary, the Supreme Court was emphatic in
pronouncing that "the special circumstances invoked by Ching, i.e., his continuous and
uninterrupted stay in the Philippines and his being a certified public accountant, a
registered voter and a former elected public official, cannot vest in him Philippine
citizenship as the law specifically lays down the requirements for acquisition of
Philippine citizenship by election.58

We are not prepared to state that the mere exercise of suffrage, being elected public
official, continuous and uninterrupted stay in the Philippines, and other similar acts
showing exercise of Philippine citizenship can take the place of election of citizenship.
What we now say is that where, as in petitioners’ case, the election of citizenship has in
fact been done and documented within the constitutional and statutory timeframe, the
registration of the documents of election beyond the frame should be allowed if in the
meanwhile positive acts of citizenship have publicly, consistently, and continuously been
done. The actual exercise of Philippine citizenship, for over half a century by the herein
petitioners, is actual notice to the Philippine public which is equivalent to formal
registration of the election of Philippine citizenship.

For what purpose is registration?

In Pascua v. Court of Appeals,59 we elucidated the principles of civil law on registration:

To register is to record or annotate. American and Spanish authorities are unanimous on


the meaning of the term "to register" as "to enter in a register; to record formally and
distinctly; to enroll; to enter in a list."60 In general, registration refers to any entry made in
the books of the registry, including both registration in its ordinary and strict sense, and
cancellation, annotation, and even the marginal notes. In strict acceptation, it pertains to
the entry made in the registry which records solemnly and permanently the right of
ownership and other real rights.61 Simply stated, registration is made for the purpose of
notification.62

Actual knowledge may even have the effect of registration as to the person who has
knowledge thereof. Thus, "[i]ts purpose is to give notice thereof to all persons (and it)
operates as a notice of the deed, contract, or instrument to others."63 As pertinent is the
holding that registration "neither adds to its validity nor converts an invalid instrument
into a valid one between the parties."64 It lays emphasis on the validity of an unregistered
document.
Comparable jurisprudence may be consulted.

In a contract of partnership, we said that the purpose of registration is to give notice to


third parties; that failure to register the contract does not affect the liability of the
partnership and of the partners to third persons; and that neither does such failure affect
the partnership’s juridical personality.65 An unregistered contract of partnership is valid as
among the partners, so long as it has the essential requisites, because the main purpose of
registration is to give notice to third parties, and it can be assumed that the members
themselves knew of the contents of their contract.66 The non-registration of a deed of
donation does not also affect its validity. Registration is not a requirement for the
validity of the contract as between the parties, for the effect of registration serves chiefly
to bind third persons.67

Likewise relevant is the pronouncement that registration is not a mode of acquiring a


right. In an analogous case involving an unrecorded deed of sale, we reiterated the settled
rule that registration is not a mode of acquiring ownership.

Registration does not confer ownership. It is not a mode of acquiring dominion, but only
a means of confirming the fact of its existence with notice to the world at large.68

Registration, then, is the confirmation of the existence of a fact. In the instant case,
registration is the confirmation of election as such election. It is not the registration of
the act of election, although a valid requirement under Commonwealth Act No. 625, that
will confer Philippine citizenship on the petitioners. It is only a means of confirming the
fact that citizenship has been claimed.

Indeed, we even allow the late registration of the fact of birth and of marriage.69 Thus, has
it been admitted through existing rules that the late registration of the fact of birth of a
child does not erase the fact of birth. Also, the fact of marriage cannot be declared void
solely because of the failure to have the marriage certificate registered with the
designated government agency.

Notably, the petitioners timely took their oath of allegiance to the Philippines. This was a
serious undertaking. It was commitment and fidelity to the state coupled with a pledge "to
renounce absolutely and forever all allegiance" to any other state. This was unqualified
acceptance of their identity as a Filipino and the complete disavowal of any other
nationality.

Petitioners have passed decades of their lives in the Philippines as Filipinos. Their present
status having been formed by their past, petitioners can no longer have any national
identity except that which they chose upon reaching the age of reason.

Corollary to this fact, we cannot agree with the view of the Court of Appeals that since
the ACR presented by the petitioners are no longer valid on account of the new
requirement to present an E-series ACR, they are deemed not properly documented.70 On
the contrary, petitioners should not be expected to secure E-series ACR because it would
be inconsistent with the election of citizenship and its constructive registration through
their acts made public, among others, their exercise of suffrage, election as public
official, and continued and uninterrupted stay in the Philippines since birth. The failure to
register as aliens is, obviously, consistent with petitioners’ election of Philippine
citizenship.

The leanings towards recognition of the citizenship of children of Filipino mothers have
been indicated not alone by the jurisprudence that liberalized the requirement on time of
election, and recognized positive acts of Philippine citizenship.

The favor that is given to such children is likewise evident in the evolution of the
constitutional provision on Philippine citizenship.

Thus, while the 1935 Constitution requires that children of Filipino mothers elect
Philippine citizenship upon reaching their age of majority,71 upon the effectivity of the
1973 Constitution, they automatically become Filipinos72 and need not elect Philippine
citizenship upon reaching the age of majority. The 1973 provision reads:

Section 1. The following are citizens of the Philippines:

(1) xxx.

(2) Those whose fathers and mothers are citizens of the Philippines.73

Better than the relaxation of the requirement, the 1987 Constitution now classifies them
as natural-born citizens upon election of Philippine citizenship. Thus, Sec. 2, Article IV
thereof provides:

Section 2. Natural-born citizens are those who are citizens of the Philippines from birth
without having to perform any act to acquire or perfect their Philippine citizenship.
Those who elect Philippine citizenship in accordance with paragraph (3), Section 1
hereof74 shall be deemed natural-born citizens. (Emphasis supplied.)

The constitutional bias is reflected in the deliberations of the 1986 Constitutional


Commission.

MR. CONCEPCION. x x x.

xxxx

x x x x As regards those born of Filipino mothers, the 1935 Constitution merely gave
them the option to choose Philippine citizenship upon reaching the age of majority,
even, apparently, if the father were an alien or unknown. Upon the other hand, under the
1973 Constitution, children of mixed marriages involving an alien father and a Filipino
mother are Filipino citizens, thus liberalizing the counterpart provision in the 1935
Constitution by dispensing with the need to make a declaration of intention upon
reaching the age of majority. I understand that the committee would further liberalize this
provision of the 1935 Constitution. The Committee seemingly proposes to further
liberalize the policy of the 1935 Constitution by making those who became citizens of
the Philippines through a declaration of intention to choose their mother’s citizenship
upon reaching the majority age by declaring that such children are natural-born citizens
of the Philippines.75

xxxx

xxx Why does the draft resolution adopt the provision of the 1973 Constitution and not
that of the 1935? 76

xxxx

FR. BERNAS. x x x Precisely, the reason behind the modification of the 1935 rule on
citizenship was a recognition of the fact that it reflected a certain male chauvinism, and it
was for the purpose of remedying that this proposed provision was put in. The idea was
that we should not penalize the mother of a child simply because she fell in love with a
foreigner. Now, the question on what citizenship the child would prefer arises. We really
have no way of guessing the preference of the infant. But if we recognize the right of the
child to choose, then let him choose when he reaches the age of majority. I think dual
citizenship is just a reality imposed on us because we have no control of the laws on
citizenship of other countries. We recognize a child of a Filipino mother. But whether or
not she is considered a citizen of another country is something completely beyond our
control. But certainly it is within the jurisdiction of the Philippine government to require
that [at] a certain point, a child be made to choose. But I do not think we should penalize
the child before he is even able to choose. I would, therefore, support the retention of the
modification made in 1973 of the male chauvinistic rule of the 1935 Constitution.77

xxxx
MR. REGALADO. With respect to a child who became a Filipino citizen by election,
which the Committee is now planning to consider a natural-born citizen, he will be so the
moment he opts for Philippine citizenship. Did the Committee take into account the fact
that at the time of birth, all he had was just an inchoate right to choose Philippine
citizenship, and yet, by subsequently choosing Philippine citizenship, it would appear
that his choice retroacted to the date of his birth so much so that under the Gentleman’s
proposed amendment, he would be a natural-born citizen?78

FR. BERNAS. But the difference between him and the natural-born who lost his status is
that the natural-born who lost his status, lost it voluntarily; whereas, this individual in the
situation contemplated in Section 1, paragraph 3 never had the chance to choose.79

xxxx

[on the period within which to elect Philippine citizenship]

MR. RODRIGO. [T]his provision becomes very, very important because his election of
Philippine citizenship makes him not only a Filipino citizen but a natural-born Filipino
citizen, entitling him to run for Congress, to be a Justice of the Supreme Court x x x.80

We are guided by this evolvement from election of Philippine citizenship upon reaching
the age of majority under the 1935 Philippine Constitution to dispensing with the
election requirement under the 1973 Philippine Constitution to express classification of
these children as natural-born citizens under the 1987 Constitution towards the
conclusion that the omission of the 1941 statutory requirement of registration of the
documents of election should not result in the obliteration of the right to Philippine
citizenship.1avvphi1

Having a Filipino mother is permanent. It is the basis of the right of the petitioners to
elect Philippine citizenship. Petitioners elected Philippine citizenship in form and
substance. The failure to register the election in the civil registry should not defeat the
election and resultingly negate the permanent fact that they have a Filipino mother. The
lacking requirements may still be complied with subject to the imposition of appropriate
administrative penalties, if any. The documents they submitted supporting their
allegations that they have already registered with the civil registry, although belatedly,
should be examined for validation purposes by the appropriate agency, in this case, the
Bureau of Immigration. Other requirements embodied in the administrative orders and
other issuances of the Bureau of Immigration and the Department of Justice shall be
complied with within a reasonable time.

WHEREFORE, the Decision dated 29 August 2007, and the Resolution dated 29 May
2008 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 89532 affirming the Judgment dated 2
February 2005, and the Resolution dated 8 April 2005 of the Bureau of Immigration in
BSI-D.C. No. AFF-04-574 OC-STF-04-09/23-1416 are hereby SET ASIDE with respect
to petitioners Balgamelo Cabiling Ma, Felix Cabiling Ma, Jr., and Valeriano Cabiling Ma.
Petitioners are given ninety (90) days from notice within which to COMPLY with the
requirements of the Bureau of Immigration embodied in its Judgment of 2 February 2005.
The Bureau of Immigration shall ENSURE that all requirements, including the payment
of their financial obligations to the state, if any, have been complied with subject to the
imposition of appropriate administrative fines; REVIEW the documents submitted by the
petitioners; and ACT thereon in accordance with the decision of this Court.

**** **** **** **** **** **** **** **** **** **** **** **** ****

To be natural ized , what must an ap pl icant p rove?

Whe n a nd what are the conditions before the decision


granting Philippine citizenship becomes executory?
- To b e n a t u r a l i z e d , a n a p p l i c a n t h a s t o p r o v e
t h a t h e possesse s all the quali fi cations and non e of
the d isqu ali fi cations p rov ided by la w to become a
Filip ino citizen.

- The decisi on gran ting Philippine citizenship


becomes executory only after two (2) years from its
promulgation when the court is satisfied that during the
intervening period, the applicant has:

(1) not left the Philippines;

(2) has dedicated himself to a lawful calling or profession;

(3) has not been convicted of any offense or violation of


government
promulgated rules; or

(4) committed any act prejudicial to the inter est of the


nation or contrary to any government announced policies
( Sec tion 1, R.A. 530). (Antonio Bengson III v. HRET, G.R. No.
142840, May 7, 2001,En Banc [Kapunan])

What QUALIFICATIONS must be possessed by an applicant


for naturalization?

Section 2, Act 473 provides the following QUALIFICATIONS:

(a) He must be not less than 21 years of ag e on the


d ay of the hearing of the petition;
(b) H e m u s t h a v e resid ed in the Philip pi nes for a
conti nuous period of not less than ten years;
(c) He must be of good moral character and believes in the
principles underlying the Philippine Constitution, a n d m u s t
have conducted himself in a proper and irreproachable manner
during the entire period of his residence in the Philippines in
his relat ion with the constituted governm ent as w ell
a s with the community in which he is living;
(d) He must own real estate in the Philippines worth not less
thanfive thousand pesos, Phil ipp ine currency, or must
have some known lucrative trade, profession , or lawful
occupation;
e) He must be able to speak and write English or Spanish
and anyof the principal languages; and

(f) He must have enrolled his minor children of school age, in


anyof the public schools or private schools recognized by
theBureau of Private Schools of the Philippines where
Philippinehistory, government and civic are taught or
prescribed as partof the sc hoo l curricul um, dur ing the
ent ire p e riod of the res id enc e in the Phi li pp ines
req ui red of him pri or to the hearing of his petition for
naturalization as Philippine citizen. (Antonio Bengson III v.
HRET, G.R. No. 142840, M ay 7, 2001, En
B a n c [Kapunan])

W h a t a r e t h e D I S Q UA L I F I C A T I O N S u n d e r S e c t i o n 4 ,
A c t 4 7 3 , i n a n application for naturalization?
Section 4, Act 473, provides the following
DISQUALIFICATIONS :

(a) He must not be opposed to organized government or


affiliated with
any association or group of persons who uphold and teach
doctrines
opposing all organized governments;
(b) He must not be defending or teaching the necessity or
propriety of violence, personal assault, or assassination forthe
success and predominance of their ideas;
(c) He must not be a polygamist or believer in the
practice of polygamy;
(d) He must not have been convicted of any crime involving
moral turpitude;
(e) He must not be suffering from mental alienation or
incurable contagious diseases;
(f) H e m u s t h a v e , d u r i n g t h e p e r i o d o f h i s
r e s i d e n c e i n t h e Philippines (or not le ss than six
m onths bef ore fi ling his application), mingled socially with
the Filipinos, or who havenot evinced a sincere desire to learn
and embrace the customs, traditions and ideals of the Filipinos;
(g) He must not be a citizen or subject of a nation with whom
the Philippines is at war, during the period of such war;
(h) He must not be a citizen or subject of a foreign country whose
laws do not grant Filipinos the right to become
naturalized citizens or subjects thereof. (Antonio Bengson III
v. HRET, G.R. No. 142840, M ay 7, 2001, En
B a n c [Kapunan])