Citizenship is membership in a political community with all its concomitant rights and responsibilities. The most common method of acquisition of citizenship is by birth, either by virtue of blood relationship (jus sanguinis) or by virtue of the place of birth (jus soli). The jus sanguinis is still the basis for the acquisition of Philippine citizenship.

Under the present 1987 Constitution, the following are considered citizens of the Philippines: (Sec.1)

1. Those who are citizens of the Philippines at the time of the adoption of this Constitution.

Included in the above are those born in the Philippine Islands of foreign parents who, prior to the adoption of the Commonwealth Constitution, had been elected to public office in the Philippine islands.

2. Those whose fathers or mothers are citizens of the Philippines.

The Filipino citizenship of the mother will now also confer natural-born Philippine citizenship upon the child, without the necessity of election as before upon attaining majority age. This innovation has prospective application only, beginning on the date of the effective of the 1973 Constitution (Jan. 17, 1973), where it was first adopted.

3. Those born before January 17, 1973 of the Filipino mothers who elect Philippine citizenship upon attaining the age of majority.

This right of election may be exercised ordinarily only within 3 years from the attainment of the majority age of 18. In Re Mallari, 59 SCRA 45, an illegitimate child of a Filipino mother need not elect Philippine citizenship upon reaching the age of majority. He follows the citizenship of his mother. As stated in the case of Torres v. Tan Chim, 69 Phil. 518, for this provision to apply, the mother need not be a Filipino citizen at the time she gave birth to the child. It is sufficient that she was a Filipino citizen at the time of her marriage. Otherwise, the number of persons who would be benefited by the foregoing provision would be limited.

4. Those who are naturalized in accordance with law.

Naturalization is a process by which a foreigner acquires voluntary or by operation of law, the citizenship of another state.

Naturalization may be:

a. Direct naturalization is effected by individual proceedings, usually judicial, under general naturalization laws; by special act of the legislature, often in favor of distinguished foreigners who have rendered some notable service of the local state; by collective change of nationality (naturalization en masse) as a result of cession or subjugation; and in some case, by adoption of orphan minors as nationals of the State where they are born.

b. Derivative naturalization in turn is conferred on the wife of the naturalized husband; on the minor children of the naturalized parent; and on the alien woman upon marriage to a national. Derivative naturalization does not always follow as a matter of course, for it is usually made subject to stringent restrictions and conditions. Our own laws provide that an alien woman married to a Filipino shall acquire her citizenship only if she herself might be lawfully naturalized.

If the petitioner is able to prove that he has all the qualifications and none of the disqualification for naturalization, his petition shall be granted and the decision shall become final after 30 days from notice. However, it shall become executory only after the period of 2 years during which the petitioner shall continue to be under probation.

Naturalization vest Philippine citizenship upon his wife if she might herself be lawfully naturalized. His minor children born in the Philippines shall also be considered citizens of the Philippines. The minor child born outside the Philippines who was residing in this country at the time of the naturalization of the petitioner shall also be considered a Filipino. If born outside the Philippines before his parent’s naturalization, the minor child shall be considered a citizen of the Philippines only during his minority unless he begins to reside permanently in the Philippines while still a minor. If the child was born outside the Philippines after his parent’s naturalization, he shall be considered a citizen of the Philippines provided he registers as such before any

Philippine Consulate within one year after attaining majority age and takes the oath of allegiance.

Naturalization is not an incontestable or irrevocable status. As held in Republic v. Li Yao, 214 SCRA 748, a certificate of naturalization may be cancelled at any time if it was fraudulently obtained by misleading the court regarding the moral character of the petitioner. On the assumption that he left a family, the death of the petitioner pending the hearing of the petition for cancellation of his certificate does not render the petition moot, the outcome of the case will affect his wife and children.

Citizens of the Philippines who marry aliens shall retain their Philippine citizenship, unless by their act or omission they deemed, under the law, to have renounced it. (Sec. 4) An alien woman marrying a Filipino, native born or naturalized, becomes ipso facto a Filipina provided she is not disqualified to be a citizen of the Philippines. (Moya Lim Yao v. Comm. of Immigration)

Philippine citizenship is lost:

1. Naturalization in a foreign country.

2. Express renunciation.

In Aznar v. Comelec, 185 SCRA 703, a person who possesses both Philippine and American citizenship is still a Filipino and does not lose his Philippine citizenship unless he renounces it. The mere fact that a person with dual citizenship registered as an alien with the Commission on Immigration and Deportation does not necessarily mean that he is renouncing his Philippine citizenship. As held in Kawakita v. US, 343 US 717, since a person with dual citizenship has the rights of citizenship in both countries, the use of a passport issued by one country is not inconsistent with his citizenship in the other country.

3. Subscribing to an oath of allegiance to support the Constitution or laws of a foreign country upon attaining 21 years of age or more.

4. Rendering service to or accepting commission in the armed forces of a foreign country, provided the Philippines has no defensive and/or offensive pact of allegiance with the said foreign country and that said foreign country does not maintain armed forces in the Philippine territory with the consent of the Republic.

5. Cancellation of the certificate of naturalization.

6. Declared by the competent authority, a deserter of the armed forces in time of war, unless subsequently, a plenary pardon or amnesty has been granted.

Philippine citizenship may be reacquired by:

1. Naturalization
2. Repatriation of deserters, provided that a woman who lost her citizenship by reason of marriage to an alien may be repatriated after the termination of the marital status.
3. Direct act of Congress.

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 par. (3) of Section 1 hereof shall be deemed natural-born citizens.

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