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G.R. No. 125793. August 29, 2006
1. Petitioner Joevanie Tabasa was a natural-born citizen of the PH.
2. In 1968, when Tabasa was 7 yrs. old, his father became a
naturalized citizen of the US. And by derivative naturalization
(citizenship derived from that of another as from a person who holds
citizenship by virtue of naturalization), he also acquired American
3. In 1995, he arrived at the PH for 1 year as a balikbayan. He was then
arrested and detained by agent Soluren of the Bureau of Immigration
and Deportation (BID) pursuant to a BID Mission Order.
4. Petitioner was charged with 1 count of felon in possession of firearm
and 1 count of sexual battery both of which violates the California
Penal Code
5. Due to this, the Consul General of the US filed a request with the BID
to apprehend and deport Tabasa due to the standing warrant for
several federal charges issued to him and Tabasas American
passport has been revoked.
6. According to the BID, due to that revocation, Tabasa is now
considered undocumented & undesirable alien and may be
summarily deported to his country of origin, the US.
7. *Note that when Tabasa filed this petitioner, he was already 35 yrs.
Contention of CA & BID:

There is no evidence showing that Tabasa lost his Philippine

citizenship due to political or economic necessity as provided in Sec.
1 of RA 8171 (law governing repatriation of natural-born Filipinos
who lost their citizenship)
The affidavit executed by Tabas did not state the compelling reason
for his parents to give up their Filipino citizenship in 1968.
Tabasa did not dispute the truth of the letter from the Consul General
regarding the various warrants issued for his arrest by the US court.

The court also noted that:

Aug. 3, 1995- he arrived in the PH
May 29, 1996 - Tabasa was ordered deported by the BID
June 6, 1996 - he then executed an Affidavit of Repatriation
June 13, 1996 - he took an oath of allegiance to the RP.

The court takes it as a last ditch effort to avoid deportation and

prosecution in the US.

Contention of Tabasa:

He alleged that he already acquired Filipino citizenship by

repatriation in accordance with RA 8171 because he is a child of
natural-born Filipino and that he lost his Philippine citizenship by
derivative naturalization when he was a minor
He already took an oath of allegiance of the RP, executed an affidavit
of repatriation which he registered together with the certificate of live
birth with the Office of the Local Civil Registrar of Manila. To which
said office issued a certificate of such registration.
With regard the procedure of proving that the applicant lost his
Philippine citizenship on account of political or economic necessity,
Tabasa asserts that the reference to political or economic reasons is
merely descriptive, not restrictive, of the widely accepted reasons for
naturalization in a foreign country.
He contends that it is not necessary to prove his political or economic
reasons because the act itself of renouncing allegiance to ones
native country necessarily means shifting of his political allegiance
and his fathers loss of Philippine citizenship through naturalization
implies that its reason is due to political or economic necessity.
He also contends that since he is now a Filipino citizen, he cannot be
deported or detained by the Bureau.

(1) Did Tabasa validly reacquire his Philippine citizenship under RA
8171? NO.
(2) Was there a valid repatriation? None.
(1) No. He is not one of those people qualified for repatriation under RA
Persons qualified for repatriation under RA 8171
a. Filipino women who lost their Philippine citizenship by marriage to
aliens; and
b. Natural-born Filipinos including their minor children who lost their
Philippine citizenship on account of political or economic necessity.

The privilege of repatriation is available only to natural-born Filipino

who lost their citizenship due to political and economic necessity
AND to MINOR children of said natural-born Filipinos.

To claim the benefit of RA 8171, the child must be a MINOR at the

time of the petition for repatriation which is filed by the parent. This
benefit also includes a former Filipino who subsequently had children
while a naturalized citizen of a foreign country.
The repatriation of the former Filipino will allow him to recover his
natural-born citizenship and automatically vest Philippine citizenship
on his children of jus sanguinis or blood relationship: the children
acquire the citizenship of their parent(s) who are natural-born

The privilege of repatriation under RA 8171 is extended directly to

the natural-born Filipinos who could prove that they acquired
citizenship of a foreign country due to political and economic
reasons, and extended indirectly to the minor children at the time of

IN THE CASE AT BAR, Tabas was no longer a minor at the time of

his alleged repatriation on June 13, 1996. And when Tabas lost his
Philippine citizenship this was due to operation of law and not due to
political or economic exigencies.

Also, while it is true that renunciation of allegiance to ones native

country is necessarily a political act, it does not follow that the act is
inevitably politically or economically motivated.

(2) There was no valid repatriation since Tabas did not comply with the
procedure prescribed by law.

Repatriation is not a matter of right, but it is a privilege granted by the

State. This is mandated under Sec 3, Article IV of the 1987
Consitution, which provides that citizenship ma be lost or reacquired
in the manner provided by the law.
It is the inherent power of the State to prescribe by law the
qualifications and requirements for repatriation and has the power to
choose who will be citizens and who can reacquire citizenship once it
is lost.
And the State has the power to reject the petition for repatriation if
the applicant failed to comply with the requirements prescribed by

Since Tabas seeks for repatriation under RA 8171, he should file a

petition with the Special Committee on Naturalization (SCN). If the
application is approved, the applicant will then take the oath of
allegiance to the RP and after which they shall be deemed to have
reacquired Philippine citizenship.

In this case, he failed to follow the proper procedure for reacquisition

of Philippine citizenship since he merely executed an affidavit of
repatriation and registered it in the local civil registry.

ALSO, in the case of Schonemann v. Defensor Santiago, et al., the court held
that if an alien wants to stay in the Philippines, he must possess the
necessary documents, one of which is a valid passport. And an alien whose
passport is canceled after his admission into the country, becomes an
undocumented alien who can be summarily deported.

Since Tabasas passport was subsequently cancelled after he

entered in the Philippines, he became an undocumented alien who
can be summarily deported.
His subsequent alleged repatriation cannot bar such deportation
especially considering that he has no legal and valid reacquisition of
Philippine citizenship.