Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Citizenship and Domicile

248 SCRA 300 / G.R. No. 119976
September 18, 1995

                        On 8 March 1995, petitioner Imelda filed a Certificate of Candidacy for the position of Representative of the First District of Leyte where she claimed that she was a domiciliary there for ‘seven months’. Later, she submitted an Amended/Corrected Certificate of Candidacy that she was a domiciliary of Leyte ‘since childhood’. The respondent filed a petition to nullify her candidacy, and to disqualify her as the winner in the elections since she did not meet the requirement as having domiciliary in the First District of Leyte for at least a year as she have had stayed in Ilocos Norte, San Juan, and later on in Malaca├▒ang.

1.        Whether or not petitioner was a resident, for election purposes, of the First District of Leyte for a period of one year at the time of the May 9, 1995 elections.
2.        Whether or not petitioner lost her domicile of origin by operation of law as a result of her marriage to the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos in 1952.

1.        Yes. Petitioner was a resident of Tolosa, Leyte when she filed her Certificate of Candidacy for the May 9, 1995 elections. It is the fact of residence, not a statement in a certificate of candidacy which ought to be decisive in determining whether or not an individual has satisfied the constitution's residency qualification requirement. The said statement becomes material only when there is or appears to be a deliberate attempt to mislead, misinform, or hide a fact which would otherwise render a candidate ineligible. It would be plainly ridiculous for a candidate to deliberately and knowingly make a statement in a certificate of candidacy which would lead to his or her disqualification.
2.        No. It cannot be correctly argued that petitioner lost her domicile of origin by operation of law as a result of her marriage to the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos in 1952. For there is a clearly established distinction between the Civil Code concepts of "domicile" and "residence." The presumption that the wife automatically gains the husband's domicile by operation of law upon marriage cannot be inferred from the use of the term "residence" in Article 110 of the Civil Code because the Civil Code is one area where the two concepts are well delineated. The Court is persuaded that the facts established by the parties weigh heavily in favor of a conclusion supporting petitioner’s claim of legal residence or domicile in the First District of Leyte.
                        WHEREFORE, having determined that petitioner possesses the necessary residence qualifications to run for a seat in the House of Representatives in the First District of Leyte, the COMELEC's questioned Resolutions dated April 24, May 7, May 11, and May 25, 1995 are hereby SET ASIDE. Respondent COMELEC is hereby directed to order the Provincial Board of Canvassers to proclaim petitioner as the duly elected Representative of the First District of Leyte.
                        SO ORDERED.

JUAN G. FRIVALDO, petitioner, vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, and RAUL R. LEE, respondents.
G.R. No. 120295                    
June 28, 1996

                This is a petition filed by herein petitioner to annul three Resolutions of the respondent Commission that which disqualified him from running for governor of Sorsogon, and suspended the proclamation of Frivaldo as the governor-elect of Sorsogon.
                Juan G. Frivaldo filed for candidacy for governorship. This was contested by Raul Lee who filed a petition with the COMELEC praying that Frivaldo be disqualified because he was not a Filipino citizen. Second Division of the COMELEC promulgated a Resolution granting petition. The Motion for Reconsideration filed by Frivaldo remained unacted upon until after the elections. His candidacy continued and he was voted. Three days after, the COMELEC affirmed the previous Resolution. The Board of Canvassers completed the canvass of the election and determined that Frivaldo garnered the largest number of votes, followed by Lee. Lee filed another petition praying for his proclamation as Governor and his petition was granted. Frivaldo filed a new petition. He alleged that he already took his oath of allegiance on June 30, 1995 and that there was no more legal impediment his proclamation as governor. On December 19, 1995, the COMELEC First Division annulled the proclamation of Lee and proclaimed Frivaldo as rightful governor. Lee filed a motion for reconsideration which COMELEC denied. Lee filed a petition questioning the Frivaldo’s proclamation when his (Frivaldo) “judicially declared disqualification is a continuing condition and rendered him ineligible to run for, to be elected to and to hold the Office of Governor.”

                Whether or not petitioner’s “judicially declared” disqualification for lack of Filipino citizenship bar him to run for, be elected to or hold the governorship of Sorsogon.

                No. The decision of the Supreme Court declaring “Frivaldo was not a Filipino citizen” and his disqualification was for the purpose of the 1988 and 1992 elections; and that there is no “final judgment” of his disqualification for the May 8, 1995 elections. Moreover, his Filipino citizenship was restored, and his previous registration as a voter was likewise validated as of the day he was repatriated, and that was on August 17, 1994.
                Indeed, 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.

WHEREFORE, the petition in G.R. No. 120295 is also DISMISSED for being moot and academic. In any event, it has no merit.
No costs.

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