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JOCELYN SY LIMKAICHONG, Petitioner,

vs.COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, NAPOLEON N. CAMERO and RENALD F.


VILLANDO, Respondents.G.R. Nos. 178831-32 April 1, 2009

On March 26, 2007, Limkaichong filed with the COMELEC her Certificate of Candidacy (COC)
for the position of Representative of the First District of Negros Oriental. In the following weeks,
two (2) petitions for her disqualification were instituted before the COMELEC by concerned
citizens coming from her locality. On April 4, 2007, Napoleon Camero, a registered voter of La
Libertad, Negros Oriental, filed the petition for her disqualification on the ground that she lacked
the citizenship requirement of a Member of the House of Representatives. It alleged that she is
not a natural-born Filipino because her parents were Chinese citizens at the time of her birth. On
April 11, 2007, Renald F. Villando, also a registered voter of the same locality, filed the second
petition on the same ground of citizenship, docketed as SPA (PES) No. A07-007. 6 He claimed
that when Limkaichong was born, her parents were still Chinese citizens as the proceedings for
the naturalization of Julio Ong Sy, her father, never attained finality due to procedural and
substantial defects. Both petitions prayed for the cancellation of Limkaichong's COC and for the
COMELEC to strike out her name from the list of qualified candidates for the Representative of
the First District of Negros Oriental.

Limkaichong claimed that she is a natural-born Filipino since she was born to a naturalized
Filipino father and a natural-born Filipino mother, who had reacquired her status as such due
to her husband's naturalization. Thus, at the time of her birth on November 9, 1959, nineteen (19)
days had already passed after her father took his Oath of Allegiance on October 21, 1959 and
after he was issued a Certificate of Naturalization on the same day.

After the casting, counting and canvassing of votes in the said elections, Limkaichong emerged
as the winner with 65,708 votes19 or by a margin of 7,746 votes over another congressional
candidate, Olivia Paras20 (Paras), who obtained 57,962.
The COMELEC Second Division granted the petitions in the disqualification cases, disqualified
Limkaichong as a candidate for Representative of the First District of Negros Oriental, directed
the Provincial Supervisor of the COMELEC to strike out her name from the list of eligible
candidates, and for the Provincial Board of Canvassers (PBOC) to suspend her proclamation. In
this decision, COMELEC said:
An examination of the records of Special Case No. 1043 would reveal that the
Office of the Solicitor General was deprived of its participation in all the
stages of the proceedings therein, as required under Commonwealth Act No.
473 or the Revised Naturalization Law and Republic Act No. 530, An Act Making
Additional Provisions for Naturalization.
xxx
The documents presented by petitioners showed that the OSG was not furnished
copies of two material orders of the trial court in the said proceedings. One
was the July 9, 1957 Order granting his petition for naturalization and the other
was the September 21, 1959 Order declaring Julio Ong Sy as a Filipino citizen.
Moreover, from a perusal of the same page 171 of the OSG logbook, we have
determined that the OSG did not receive a notice for the hearing conducted by
the trial court on July 9, 1959, prior to its issuance of the September 12, 1959
Order declaring Julio Ong Sy as a Filipino citizen.
As correctly pointed out by petitioners, this was fatal to the naturalization
proceedings of Julio Ong Sy, and prevented the same from gaining finality.

XXX
From all the foregoing, therefore, it could be seen that Julio Ong Sy did not
acquire Filipino citizenship through the naturalization proceedings in Special
Case No. 1043. Thus, he was only able to transmit to his offspring, Chinese
citizenship.

The following day, or on May 18, 2007, the COMELEC En Banc issued Resolution No. 806225
adopting the policy-guidelines of not suspending the proclamation of winning candidates
with pending disqualification cases which shall be without prejudice to the continuation of the
hearing and resolution of the involved cases. Thus, Limkaichong was proclaimed by the Prov.
Board of canvassers since her case is not yet executory because it can still be appealed to
COMELEC en banc. Of course Olivia protested. (I am not including election related issues like
Quo Warranto, etc. Just remember that since she was already proclaimed, HRET has jurisdiction
on Citizenship issue and not COMELEC.)

ISSUE: The issue here in relation sa conflict of laws is who has the right to question
Naturalization proceedings. (Vis a vis) Whether the COMELEC Second Division and the
COMELEC En Banc correctly disqualified Limkaichong on the ground that she is not a
natural-born Filipino citizen.

RULING:
In assailing the citizenship of the father, the proper proceeding should be in accordance with
Section 18 of Commonwealth Act No. 473 which provides that:
Sec. 18. Cancellation of Naturalization Certificate Issued: - Upon motion made in the proper
proceedings by the Solicitor General or his representative, or by the proper provincial
fiscal, the competent judge may cancel the naturalization certificate issued and its
registration in the Civil Register:
1. If it is shown that said naturalization certificate was obtained fraudulently or illegally;
2. If the person naturalized shall, within five years next following the issuance of said
naturalization certificate, return to his native country or to some foreign country and
establish his permanent residence there: Provided, That the fact of the person naturalized
remaining more than one year in his native country or the country of his former
nationality, or two years in any other foreign country, shall be considered as prima facie
evidence of his intention of taking up his permanent residence in the same:
3. If the petition was made on an invalid declaration of intention;
4. If it is shown that the minor children of the person naturalized failed to graduate from a
public or private high schools recognized by the Office of Private Education [now Bureau
of Private Schools] of the Philippines, where Philippine history, government or civics are
taught as part of the school curriculum, through the fault of their parents either by
neglecting to support them or by transferring them to another school or schools. A
certified copy of the decree canceling the naturalization certificate shall be forwarded by
the Clerk of Court of the Department of Interior [now Office of the President] and the
Bureau of Justice [now Office of the Solicitor General];
5. If it is shown that the naturalized citizen has allowed himself to be used as a dummy in
violation of the constitutional or legal provisions requiring Philippine citizenship as a
requisite for the exercise, use or enjoyment of a right, franchise or privilege. (Emphasis
supplied)
As early as the case of Queto v. Catolico,68 where the Court of First Instance judge motu proprio
and not in the proper denaturalization proceedings called to court various grantees of certificates
of naturalization (who had already taken their oaths of allegiance) and cancelled their certificates
of naturalization due to procedural infirmities, the Court held that:
x x x It may be true that, as alleged by said respondents, that the proceedings for
naturalization were tainted with certain infirmities, fatal or otherwise, but that is beside the
point in this case. The jurisdiction of the court to inquire into and rule upon such infirmities must
be properly invoked in accordance with the procedure laid down by law. Such procedure is the
cancellation of the naturalization certificate. [Section 1(5), Commonwealth Act No. 63], in the
manner fixed in Section 18 of Commonwealth Act No. 473, hereinbefore quoted, namely, "upon
motion made in the proper proceedings by the Solicitor General or his representatives, or by the
proper provincial fiscal." In other words, the initiative must come from these officers,
presumably after previous investigation in each particular case. (Emphasis supplied)
Clearly, under law and jurisprudence, it is the State, through its representatives designated by
statute, that may question the illegally or invalidly procured certificate of naturalization in the
appropriate denaturalization proceedings. It is plainly not a matter that may be raised by private
persons in an election case involving the naturalized citizens descendant.

In resolving the disqualification cases, the COMELEC Second Division relied on the entries in
the docket book of the OSG,69 the only remaining record of the naturalization proceedings,70 and
ruled on the basis thereof that the naturalization proceedings of Julio Ong Sy, Limkaichongs
father, in Special Case No. 1043, were null and void. The COMELEC Second Division adopted
Villando and Cameros arguments that the OSG was deprived of its participation in the said case
for it was not furnished copies of the following: (a) the July 9, 1957 Order of the Court of First
Instance (CFI) granting the petition for naturalization; and (b) the September 21, 1959 Order of
the CFI declaring Julio Ong Sy a Filipino citizen. Thus, when the latter took his oath of
allegiance on October 21, 1959, it was exactly 30 days after his declaration as a naturalized
Filipino, or one day short of the reglementary period required under Sections 11 and 12 of
Commonwealth Act No. 473. Such defects were fatal to the naturalization proceedings of Julio
Ong Sy and prevented the same from gaining finality. The COMELEC Second Division
concluded that since Julio Ong Sy did not acquire Philippine citizenship through the said
naturalization proceedings, it follows that Limkaichong remains a Chinese national and is
disqualified to run as candidate and be elected as a Member of the House of Representatives.
We cannot resolve the matter of Limkaichongs citizenship as the same should have been
challenged in appropriate proceedings as earlier stated.
(in the end, the issue on her citizenship is not actually answered because of the improper
proceeding. Im not sure ha, ngano gi.brought mani nga proceeding, d ba if you file
disqualification case against candidates based on citizenship, that gives na the comelec
jurisdiction to resolve it.) This case is somehow differently decided if you read cases with issues
on citizenship.