Political Law

Kilosbayan vs. Ermita, Ong G.R. No. 177721 July 3, 2007 Citizenship, Naturalization

FACTS:

Respondent announced an appointment in favor of respondent Ong as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court to fill up the vacancy created by the of Associate Justice R. J. Callejo, Sr. Petitioners claim that respondent Ong is a Chinese citizen, that this fact is plain and incontestable, and that his own birth certificate indicates his Chinese citizenship. Petitioners contend that the appointment extended to respondent Ong through respondent Executive Secretary is patently unconstitutional and issued with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction.

 

ISSUE:

Is Sandiganbayan Justice Ong a natural born Filipino citizen?

 

RULING:

No. It is clear from the records of the Court that respondent Ong is a naturalized Filipino citizen. The alleged subsequent recognition of his natural-born status by the Bureau of Immigration and the DOJ cannot amend the final decision of the trial court stating that respondent Ong and his mother were naturalized along with his father. Furthermore, no substantial change or correction in an entry in a civil register can be made without a judicial order, and, under the law, a change in citizenship status is a substantial change.

 

The series of events and long string of alleged changes in the nationalities of respondent Ong’s ancestors, by various births, marriages and deaths, all entail factual assertions that need to be threshed out in proper judicial proceedings so as to correct the existing records on his birth and citizenship. The chain of evidence would have to show that Dy Guiok Santos, respondent Ong’s mother, was a Filipino citizen, contrary to what still appears in the records of this Court. Respondent Ong has the burden of proving in court his alleged ancestral tree as well as his citizenship under the time-line of three Constitutions. Until this is done, respondent Ong cannot accept an appointment to this Court as that would be a violation of the Constitution. For this reason, he can be prevented by injunction from doing so.

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