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EN BANC

G.R. No. 142840 May 7, 2001

ANTONIO BENGSON III, petitioner,


vs.
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES ELECTORAL TRIBUNAL and TEODORO C.
CRUZ, respondents.

CONCURRING OPINION

DISSENTING OPINION

KAPUNAN, J.:

The citizenship of respondent Teodoro C. Cruz is at issue in this case, in view of the constitutional
requirement that "no person shall be a Member of the House of Representative unless he is a
natural-born citizen."1

Respondent Cruz was a natural-born citizen of the Philippines. He was born in San Clemente,
Tarlac, on April 27, 1960, of Filipino parents. The fundamental law then applicable was the 1935
Constitution.2

On November 5, 1985, however, respondent Cruz enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and
without the consent of the Republic of the Philippines, took an oath of allegiance to the United
States. As a Consequence, he lost his Filipino citizenship for under Commonwealth Act No. 63,
section 1(4), a Filipino citizen may lose his citizenship by, among other, "rendering service to or
accepting commission in the armed forces of a foreign country." Said provision of law reads:

SECTION 1. How citizenship may be lost. – A Filipino citizen may lose his citizenship in any
of the following ways and/or events:

xxx

(4) By rendering services to, or accepting commission in, the armed of a foreign
country: Provided, That the rendering of service to, or the acceptance of such commission in,
the armed forces of a foreign country, and the taking of an oath of allegiance incident
thereto, with the consent of the Republic of the Philippines, shall not divest a Filipino of his
Philippine citizenship if either of the following circumstances is present:

(a) The Republic of the Philippines has a defensive and/or offensive pact of alliance with said
foreign country; or

(b) The said foreign country maintains armed forces on Philippine territory with the consent
of the Republic of the Philippines: Provided, That the Filipino citizen concerned, at the time of
rendering said service, or acceptance of said commission, and taking the oath of allegiance
incident thereto, states that he does so only in connection with his service to said foreign
country; And provided, finally, That any Filipino citizen who is rendering service to, or is
commissioned in, the armed forces of a foreign country under any of the circumstances
mentioned in paragraph (a) or (b), shall not be Republic of the Philippines during the period
of his service to, or commission in, the armed forces of said country. Upon his discharge
from the service of the said foreign country, he shall be automatically entitled to the full
enjoyment of his civil and politically entitled to the full enjoyment of his civil political rights as
a Filipino citizen x x x.

1
Whatever doubt that remained regarding his loss of Philippine citizenship was erased by his
naturalization as a U.S. citizen on June 5, 1990, in connection with his service in the U.S. Marine
Corps.

On March 17, 1994, respondent Cruz reacquired his Philippine citizenship through repatriation under
Republic Act No. 2630.3 He ran for and was elected as the Representative of the Second District of
Pangasinan in the May 11, 1998 elections. He won by a convincing margin of 26,671 votes over
petitioner Antonio Bengson III, who was then running for reelection. 1âwphi1.nêt

Subsequently, petitioner filed a case for Quo Warranto Ad Cautelam with respondent House of
Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET) claiming that respondent Cruz was not qualified to
become a member of the House of Representatives since he is not a natural-born citizen as required
under Article VI, section 6 of the Constitution.4

On March 2, 2000, the HRET rendered its decision5 dismissing the petition for quo warranto and
declaring Cruz the duly elected Representative of the Second District of Pangasinan in the May
1998 elections. The HRET likewise denied petitioner's motion for reconsideration of the decision in
its resolution dated April 27, 2000.6

Petitioner thus filed the present petition for certiorari assailing the HRET's decision on the following
grounds:

1. The HRET committed serious errors and grave abuse of discretion, amounting to excess
of jurisdiction, when it ruled that private respondent is a natural-born citizen of the
Philippines despite the fact that he had ceased being such in view of the loss and
renunciation of such citizenship on his part.

2. The HRET committed serious errors and grave abuse of discretion, amounting to excess
of jurisdiction, when it considered private respondent as a citizen of the Philippines despite
the fact he did not validly acquire his Philippine citizenship.

3. Assuming that private respondent's acquisition of Philippine citizenship was invalid, the
HRET committed serious errors and grave abuse of discretion, amounting to excess of
jurisdiction, when it dismissed the petition despite the fact that such reacquisition could not
legally and constitutionally restore his natural-born status.7

The issue now before us is whether respondent Cruz, a natural-born Filipino who became an
American citizen, can still be considered a natural-born Filipino upon his reacquisition of Philippine
citizenship.

Petitioner asserts that respondent Cruz may no longer be considered a natural-born Filipino since he
lost h is Philippine citizenship when he swore allegiance to the United States in 1995, and had to
reacquire the same by repatriation. He insists that Article citizens are those who are from birth with
out having to perform any act to acquire or perfect such citizenship.

Respondent on the other hand contends that he reacquired his status as natural-born citizen when
he was repatriated since the phrase "from birth" in Article IV, Section 2 refers to the innate, inherent
and inborn characteristic of being a natural-born citizen.

The petition is without merit.

The 1987 Constitution enumerates who are Filipino citizens as follow:

(1) Those who are citizens of the Philippines at the time of the adoption of this Constitution;

(2) Those whose fathers or mothers are citizens of the Philippines;

(3) Those born before January 17, 1973 of Filipino mother, who elect Philippine citizenship
upon reaching the age of majority, and

(4) Those who are naturalized in accordance with law.8

2
There are two ways of acquiring citizenship: (1) by birth, and (2) by naturalization. These ways of
acquiring citizenship correspond to the two kinds of citizens: the natural-born citizen, and the
naturalized citizen. A person who at the time of his birth is a citizen of a particular country, is a
natural-born citizen thereof.9

As defined in the same Constitution, natural-born citizens "are those citizens of the Philippines from
birth without having to perform any act to acquire or perfect his Philippine citezenship."10

On the other hand, naturalized citizens are those who have become Filipino citizens through
naturalization, generally under Commonwealth Act No. 473, otherwise known as the Revised
Naturalization Law, which repealed the former Naturalization Law (Act No. 2927), and by Republic
Act No. 530.11 To be naturalized, an applicant has to prove that he possesses all the
qualifications12 and none of the disqualification13 provided by law to become a Filipino citizen. The
decision granting 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 interest of the nation or contrary to any Government announced policies.14

Filipino citizens who have lost their citizenship may however reacquire the same in the manner
provided by law. Commonwealth Act. No. (C.A. No. 63), enumerates the three modes by which
Philippine citizenship may be reacquired by a former citizen: (1) by naturalization, (2) by repatriation,
and (3) by direct act of Congress.15

Naturalization is mode for both acquisition and reacquisition of Philippine citizenship. As a mode of
initially acquiring Philippine citizenship, naturalization is governed by Commonwealth Act No. 473, as
amended. On the other hand, naturalization as a mode for reacquiring Philippine citizenship is
governed by Commonwealth Act No. 63.16 Under this law, a former Filipino citizen who wishes to
reacquire Philippine citizenship must possess certain qualifications17and none of the disqualification
mentioned in Section 4 of C.A. 473.18

Repatriation, on the other hand, may be had under various statutes by those who lost their
citizenship due to: (1) desertion of the armed forces;19 services in the armed forces of the allied
forces in World War II;20 (3) service in the Armed Forces of the United States at any other time,21 (4)
marriage of a Filipino woman to an alien;22 and (5) political economic necessity.23

As distinguished from the lengthy process of naturalization, repatriation simply consists of the taking
of an oath of allegiance to the Republic of the Philippine and registering said oath in the Local Civil
Registry of the place where the person concerned resides or last resided.

In Angat v. Republic,24 we held:

xxx. Parenthetically, under these statutes [referring to RA Nos. 965 and 2630], the person
desiring to reacquire Philippine citizenship would not even be required to file a petition in
court, and all that he had to do was to take an oath of allegiance to the Republic of the
Philippines and to register that fact with the civil registry in the place of his residence or
where he had last resided in the Philippines. [Italics in the original.25

Moreover, repatriation results in the recovery of the original nationality.26 This means that a
naturalized Filipino who lost his citizenship will be restored to his prior status as a naturalized Filipino
citizen. On the other hand, if he was originally a natural-born citizen before he lost his Philippine
citizenship, he will be restored to his former status as a natural-born Filipino.

In respondent Cruz's case, he lost his Filipino citizenship when he rendered service in the Armed
Forces of the United States. However, he subsequently reacquired Philippine citizenship under R.A.
No. 2630, which provides:

Section 1. Any person who had lost his Philippine citizenship by rendering service to, or
accepting commission in, the Armed Forces of the United States, or after separation from the
Armed Forces of the United States, acquired United States citizenship, may reacquire
Philippine citizenship by taking an oath of allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines and
registering the same with Local Civil Registry in the place where he resides or last resided in

3
the Philippines. The said oath of allegiance shall contain a renunciation of any other
citizenship.

Having thus taken the required oath of allegiance to the Republic and having registered the same in
the Civil Registry of Magantarem, Pangasinan in accordance with the aforecited provision,
respondent Cruz is deemed to have recovered his original status as a natural-born citizen, a status
which he acquired at birth as the son of a Filipino father.27 It bears stressing that the act of
repatriation allows him to recover, or return to, his original status before he lost his Philippine
citizenship.

Petitioner's contention that respondent Cruz is no longer a natural-born citizen since he had to
perform an act to regain his citizenship is untenable. As correctly explained by the HRET in its
decision, the term "natural-born citizen" was first defined in Article III, Section 4 of the 1973
Constitution as follows:

Sec. 4. A natural-born citizen is one who is a citizen of 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 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 who were naturalized and (2) those born before January 17,
1973,38 of Filipino mothers who, upon reaching the age of majority, elected Philippine citizenship.
Those "naturalized citizens" were not considered natural-born obviously because they were not
Filipino at birth and had to perform an act to acquire Philippine citizenship. Those born of Filipino
mothers before the effectively of the 1973 Constitution were likewise not considered natural-born
because they also had to perform an act to perfect their Philippines citizenship.

The present Constitution, however, now consider those born of Filipino mothers before the effectivity
of the 1973 Constitution and who elected Philippine citizenship upon reaching the majority age as
natural-born. After defining who re natural-born citizens, Section 2 of Article IV adds a sentence:
"Those who elect Philippine citizenship in accordance with paragraph (3), Section 1 hereof shall be
deemed natural-born citizens." Consequently, only naturalized Filipinos are considered not natural-
born citizens. It is apparent from the enumeration of who are citizens under the present Constitution
that 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 is not a naturalized Filipino, i.e., did not have to
undergo the process of naturalization to obtain Philippine citizenship, necessarily is natural-born
Filipino. Noteworthy is the absence in said enumeration of a separate category for persons who,
after losing Philippine citizenship, subsequently reacquire it. The reason therefor is clear: as to such
persons, they would either be natural-born or naturalized depending on the reasons for the loss of
their citizenship and the mode prescribed by the applicable law for the reacquisition thereof. As
respondent Cruz was not required by law to go through naturalization proceeding in order to
reacquire his citizenship, he is perforce a natural-born Filipino. As such, he possessed all the
necessary qualifications to be elected as member of the House of Representatives.

A final point. The HRET has been empowered by the Constitution to be the "sole judge" of all
contests relating to the election, returns, and qualifications of the members of the House.29 The
Court's jurisdiction over the HRET is merely to check "whether or not there has been a grave abuse
of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction" on the part of the latter.30 In the absence
thereof, there is no occasion for the Court to exercise its corrective power and annul the decision of
the HRET nor to substitute the Court's judgement for that of the latter for the simple reason that it is
not the office of a petition for certiorari to inquire into the correctness of the assailed
decision.31 There is no such showing of grave abuse of discretion in this case.

WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DISMISSED.

SO ORDERED.

Davide, Jr., C.J., Bellosillo, Puno, and JJ., concur.

Melo, Vitug, Mendoza, no part.

4
Panganiban, concurring opinion.

Quisumbing, Buena, De Leon, Jr., on leave.

Sandoval-Gutierrez, dissenting opinion.

Pardo, Gonzaga-Reyes, concur on this and the concurring opinion of J. Panganiban

Ynares-Santiago, certify majority opinion of J. Kapunan.

Facts: The citizenship of Teodoro Cruz, a member of the HOR, is being questioned on the ground that he
is not a natural-born citizen of the Philippines.

Cruz was born in the Philippines in 1960, the time when the acquisition of citizenship rule was still jus soli.
However, he enlisted to the US Marine Corps and he was naturalized as US citizen in connection
therewith. He reacquired Philippine citizenship through repatriation under RA 2630 and ran for and was
elected as a representative. When his nationality was questioned by petitioner, the HRET decided that
Cruz was a natural born citizen of the Philippines.

Issue: WON Cruz is a natural born citizen of the Philippines.

Held: YES. Natural-born citizens "are those citizens of the Philippines from birth without having to perform
any act to acquire or perfect his Philippine citezenship." On the other hand, naturalized citizens are those
who have become Filipino citizens through naturalization, generally under Commonwealth Act No. 473,
otherwise known as the Revised Naturalization Law, which repealed the former Naturalization Law (Act
No. 2927), and by Republic Act No. 530.11 To be naturalized, an applicant has to prove that he
possesses all the qualifications12 and none of the disqualification.

Filipino citizens who have lost their citizenship may however reacquire the same in the manner provided
by law. Commonwealth Act. No. (C.A. No. 63), enumerates the three modes by which Philippine
citizenship may be reacquired by a former citizen: (1) by naturalization, (2) by repatriation, and (3) by
direct act of Congress.

Naturalization is mode for both acquisition and reacquisition of Philippine citizenship. As a mode of
initially acquiring Philippine citizenship, naturalization is governed by Commonwealth Act No. 473, as
amended. On the other hand, naturalization as a mode for reacquiring Philippine citizenship is governed
by Commonwealth Act No. 63.16 Under this law, a former Filipino citizen who wishes to reacquire
Philippine citizenship must possess certain qualifications and none of the disqualification mentioned in
Section 4 of C.A. 473.

Repatriation, on the other hand, may be had under various statutes by those who lost their citizenship
due to: (1) desertion of the armed forces; services in the armed forces of the allied forces in World War II;
(3) service in the Armed Forces of the United States at any other time, (4) marriage of a Filipino woman to
an alien; and (5) political economic necessity.

As distinguished from the lengthy process of naturalization, repatriation simply consists of the taking of an
oath of allegiance to the Republic of the Philippine and registering said oath in the Local Civil Registry of
the place where the person concerned resides or last resided.

Moreover, repatriation results in the recovery of the original nationality. This means that a naturalized
Filipino who lost his citizenship will be restored to his prior status as a naturalized Filipino citizen. On the
other hand, if he was originally a natural-born citizen before he lost his Philippine citizenship, he will be
restored to his former status as a natural-born Filipino.

In respondent Cruz's case, he lost his Filipino citizenship when he rendered service in the Armed Forces
of the United States. However, he subsequently reacquired Philippine citizenship under R.A. No. 2630.

Having thus taken the required oath of allegiance to the Republic and having registered the same in the

5
Civil Registry of Magantarem, Pangasinan in accordance with the aforecited provision, respondent Cruz
is deemed to have recovered his original status as a natural-born citizen, a status which he acquired at
birth as the son of a Filipino father. It bears stressing that the act of repatriation allows him to recover, or
return to, his original status before he lost his Philippine citizenship

FACTS:
The citizenship of respondent Teodoro C. Cruz is at issue in this case, in view of the
constitutional requirement that "no person shall be a Member of the House of Representatives unless
he is a natural-born citizen."
Respondent Cruz was a natural-born citizen of the Philippines. He was born in San Clemente,
Tarlac, on April 27, 1960, of Filipino parents. The fundamental law then applicable was the 1935
Constitution.
On November 5, 1985, however, respondent Cruz enlisted in the United States Marine Corps
and, without the consent of the Republic of the Philippines, took an oath of allegiance to the United
States. As a consequence, he lost his Filipino citizenship for under Commonwealth Act No. 63, Section
1(4), a Filipino citizen may lose his citizenshipby, among others, "rendering service to or accepting
commission in the armed forces of a foreign country."
On March 17, 1994, respondent Cruz reacquired his Philippine citizenship through repatriation
under Republic Act No. 2630.[3] He ran for and was elected as the Representative of the Second District
of Pangasinan in the May 11, 1998 elections. Subsequently, petitioner filed a case for Quo Warranto Ad
Cautelam with respondent House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET) claiming that respondent
Cruz was not qualified to become a member of the House of Representatives since he is not a natural-
born citizen as required under Article VI, Section 6 of the Constitution.

ISSUE:
Whether or not respondent Cruz, a natural-born Filipino who became an American citizen, can
still be considered a natural-born Filipino upon his reacquisition of Philippine citizenship.

HELD:
YES. Repatriation results in the recovery of the original nationality. This means that a naturalized
Filipino who lost his citizenship will be restored to his prior status as a naturalized Filipino citizen. In
respondent Cruz's case, he lost his Filipino citizenship when he rendered service in the Armed Forces of
the United States. However, he subsequently reacquired Philippine citizenship under R.A. No. 2630.
Having thus taken the required oath of allegiance to the Republic and having registered the same in the
Civil Registry of Magantarem, Pangasinan in accordance with the aforecited provision, respondent Cruz
is deemed to have recovered his original status as a natural-born citizen, a status which he acquired at
birth as the son of a Filipino father. It bears stressing that the act of repatriation allows him to recover,
or return to, his original status before he lost his Philippine citizenship.
As respondent Cruz was not required by law to go through naturalization proceedings in order
to reacquire his citizenship, he is perforce a natural-born Filipino. As such, he possessed all the
necessary qualifications to be elected as member of the House of Representatives.
The petition is hereby DISMISSED.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila

EN BANC

G.R. No. L-48641 November 24, 1941

PEDRO GALLEGO, petitioner,


vs.
VICENTE VERRA, respondent.

OZAETA, J.:

This case is before us on petition for certiorari to review the decision of the Court of Appeals
affirming that of the Court of First Instance of Leyte, which declared illegal and with the petitioner's

6
election to the office of municipal mayor of Abuyog, Leyte, in the general elections of December,
1940, on the ground that he did not have the residence qualification, ordered that he be ousted from
said office. Respondent Vicente Verra (petitioner below) was the unsuccessful opponent of the
petitioner Pedro Gallego, who was declared elected by the municipal board of canvassers with a
majority of nearly 800 votes.

The undisputed facts as found by the trial court and the Court of Appeals may be briefly stated as
follows:

Pedro Gallego is a native of Abuyog, Leyte. After studying in the Catarman Agricultural School in the
province of Samar, he was employed as a school teacher in the municipality of Catarman, Samar, as
well as in the municipalities of Burawen, Dulag, and Abuyog, province of Leyte, and school teacher
of Abuyog, Leyte, and presented his candidacy for municipal mayor of his home town, but was
defeated. After his defeat in that election, finding himself in debt and unemployed, he went to
Mindanao in search of a job. He first went to Oriental Misamis, but finding no work there he
proceeded to the sitio of Kaato-an, municipality of Malaybalay, Bukidnon, whereat he arrived on
June 20, 1938, and immediately found employment as nurseryman in the chichona plantation of the
Bureau of Forestry. On July 30 of the same year he returned to Abuyog because he had been
offered an employment as teacher in the public school of the barrio of Union, municipality of Sogod,
Leyte; but as he did not accept the offer he returned to Kaato-an on August 23, 1938, and resumed
his employment there as nurseryman of the Bureau of Forestry. He stayed in the chinchona
plantation until he resigned in September 1940. But during the period of his stay, there, his wife and
children remained in Abuyog, and he visited them in the month of August of the years 1938, and
1940. Altho the Government offered him a free house in the chinchona plantation, he never took his
family there. Neither did he avail himself of the offer of the Government of a parcel of the hectares of
land within the reservation of the chinchona plantation. He and his wife own real property in Abuyog,
part of which he acquired during his stay in Malaybalay.

Nevertheless, On October 1, 1938 he registered himself as an elector in precinct No. 14 of


Lantapan, municipality of Malaybalay, Bukidnon, and voted there in the election for assemblymen
held in December, 1938. The trial court noted that in his voter's affidavit (exhibit B) he did not fill the
blank space corresponding to the length of time he had resided in Malaybalay. On January 20, 1940,
he obtained and paid for his residence certificate from the municipal treasurer of Malaybalay, in
which certificate it was stated that he had resided in said municipality for one year and a half.

Based upon the facts stated in the next preceding paragraph, namely, (1) registration as a voter, (2)
his having actually voted in Malaybalay in the 1938 election for assemblymen, and (3) his residence
certificate for 1940, the trial Court of Appeals declared that the herein petitioner Pedro Gallego had
acquired a residence or domicile of origin in the municipality of Malaybalay, Bukidnon, and had lost
his domicile of origin in the municipality of Abuyog, Leyte, at the time he was elected mayor of the
latter municipality, and, that, therefore, his election was void, following the decisions of this Court in
the cases of Tanseco vs. Arteche, 57 Phil., 227, and Nuval vs. Gutay, 52 Phil., 645.

In this Court the petitioner assigns the following errors:

1. The Court of Appeals erred in holding that the petitioner Pedro Gallego was a legal
resident of Malaybalay, Bukidon, and not of Abuyog, Leyte, at the time of his election as
municipal mayor of the latter municipality on December 10, 1940.

2. The Court of Appeals erred in affirming the decision of the trial court holding the election of
Pedro Gallego to the office of municipal mayor of Abuyog, Leyte, null and void and ordering
the exclusion of Gallego from the office to which he was elected.

The only question presented is whether or not Pedro Gallego had been resident of Abuyog for at one
year prior to December 10, 1940. That question may be approached from either of two angles: Did
he lose his domicile in Abuyog by the mere fact that he worked in Malaybalay as a government
employee, registered himself as a voter and voted there in the election for assemblymen in
December, 1938, and secured his residence certificate there for the year 1940; and assuming that
he did, had he reacquired his domicile of origin at least one year prior to his election as mayor of
Abuyog on December 10, 1040?

The term "residence" as used in the election law is synonymous with "domicile" which imports not
only intention to reside in a fixed place but also personal presence in that place, coupled with
conduct indicative of such intention (Nuval vs. Guray, 52 Phil., 645). In order to acquire a domicile by

7
choice, there must concur (1) residence or bodily presence in the new locality, (2) an intention to
remain there, and (3) an intention to abandon the old domicile. In other words, there must be
an animus non revertendi and an animus manendi. The purpose to remain in or at the domicile of
choice must be for an indefinite period of time. The acts of the person must conform with his
purpose. The change of residence must be voluntary; the residence at the place chosen for the
domicile must be actual; and to the fact of residence there must be added the animus manendi. (17
am. Jur., section 16, pages 599-601.)

In the light of these principles, we are persuaded that the facts of this case weigh heavily against the
theory that the petitioner had lost his residence or domicile in Abuyog. We believe he did not reside
in Malaybalay with the intention of remaining there indefinitely and of not returning to Abuyog. He is
a native of Abuyog. Notwithstanding his periodic absences from there previous to 1937, when he
was employed as teacher in Samar, Agusan, and other municipalities of Leyte, he always returned
there. In the year 1937 he resigned as a school teacher and presented his candidacy for the office of
mayor of said municipality. His departure therefrom after his defeat in that election was temporary
and only for purpose of looking for employment to make up for the financial drawback he had
suffered as a result of his defeat at the polls. After he had found employment in Malaybalay, he did
take his wife and children thereto. He bought the offer of a free house by the government. He bought
a piece of land in Abuyog and did not avail himself of the offer of the Government of ten hectares of
land within the chichona reservation in Malaybalay, where he worked as a nurseryman. During the
short period of about two years he stayed in Malaybalay as a government employee, he visited his
home town and his family no less than three times notwithstanding the great distance between the
two places.

The facts of his case are more analogous to those of Larena vs. Teves (61 Phil., 36), Yra vs.
Abaño (52 Phil., 380), and Vivero vs. Murillo (52 Phil., 694) than to those of Nuval vs. Guray (52
Phil., 645) and Tanseco vs. Arteche (57 Phil., 227) which were followed herein by the Court of
Appeals. In the Teves case this Court, in reversing the judgment of the trial court, among other
things said:

In this case the respondent-appellant, Pedro Teves, from the year 1904 has had his own
house in the municipality of Dumaguete, Oriental Negros, wherein he has constantly been
living with his family and he has never had any house in which he lived either alone or with
his family in the municipality of Bacong of said province. All that he has done in the latter
municipality was to register as elector in 1919, through an affidavit stating that he was a
resident of said municipality; run for representative for the second district of the province of
Oriental Negros and vote in said municipality in said year; run again for reelection in the year
1922; launch his candidacy for member of the provincial board of said province 1925, stating
under oath in all his certificates of candidacy that he was a resident of said municipality of
Bacong.

The affidavit made by him upon registering as elector in the municipality of Bacong in the
year 1919, stating that he was a resident of said municipality; his two certificates of
candidacy for the office of representative for the second district of the Province of Oriental
Negros, which were filed, the former in the year 1919 and the latter in the year 1922, and the
certificate of candidacy for the office of member of the provincial board filed by him in the
year 1925 in every one of which he stated that he was a resident of the municipality of
Bacong, are at most a prima facie evidence of the fact of his residence in the municipality of
Bacong, which is required by law in order that the corresponding officials could register him
as an elector and candidate, and not conclusive, and may be attacked in a corresponding
judicial proceeding. If, according to the ruling laid down in the case of Vivero vs.
Maurillo cited above, mere registration in a municipality in order to be an elector therein does
not make one a resident of said municipality; if, according to constant rulings the word
"residence" is synonymous with "home" or "domicile" and denotes a permanent dwelling
place, to which an absent person intends to return; if the right to vote in a municipality
requires the concurrence of two things, the act of residing coupled with the intention to do so;
and if the herein respondent-appellant, Pedro Teves, has always lived with his family in the
municipality of Dumaguete and never in that of Bacong, he has never lost his residence in
Dumaguete. The fact that his registration as elector in the municipality of Bacong was
cancelled only on April 5, 1934, upon his petition, did not disqualify him to be a candidate for
the office of municipal president of said municipality of Dumaguete on the ground that, as
has been stated in the case of Yra vs. Abaño cited above, registration in the list of voters is
not one of the conditions prescribed by section 431 of the Election Law in order to be an

8
elector; neither does failure to register as such constitute one of the disqualifications
prescribed in section 432 of said law. (61 Phil., 36, 39-41.)

Applying the foregoing pronouncements to the facts of present case, we find sufficient ground for the
revocation of the judgment appealed from. Petitioner also contends that even assuming that he had
lost his residence or domicile in Abuyog, he reacquired it more than one year prior to December 10,
1940. In support of that contention he invokes his letter or note, exhibit 9, addressed to
"Varel"(Valeriano Tupa), vice-president of the political faction to which petitioner belongs, in which
note he announced his intention to launch his candidacy again for municipal mayor of Abuyog as
early as the month of May, 1939. But we do not deem it necessary to pass upon said contention in
view of the conclusion we have reached that the petitioner did not lose his domicile of origin.

We might add that the manifest intent of the law in fixing a residence qualification is to exclude a
stranger or newcomer, unacquainted with the conditions and needs of a community and not
identified with the latter, from an elective office to serve that community; and when the evidence on
the alleged lack of residence qualification is weak or inconclusive and it clearly appears, as in the
instant case, that the purpose of the law would not be thwarted by upholding the right to the office,
the will of the electorate should be respected. Petitioner is a native of Abuyog, had run for the same
office of municipal mayor of said town in the election preceding the one in question, had only been
absent therefrom for about two years without losing contact with his townspeople and without
intention of remaining and residing indefinitely in the place of his employment; and he was elected
with an overwhelming majority of nearly 800 votes in a third-class municipality. These considerations
we cannot disregard without doing violence to the will of the people of said town.

Wherefore, the judgment of the court of appeals is reversed, with the costs of this instance against
the respondent. So ordered.

Diaz, Moran, and Horilleno, JJ., concur.


Abad Santos, J., concurs in the result.