Philippine Supreme Court Jurisprudence


Philippine Supreme Court Jurisprudence > Year 1963 > December 1963 Decisions > G.R. No. L-18898 December 24, 1963 - IN RE: WONG KIT KENG v. REPUBLIC OF THE PHIL. :




PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

EN BANC

[G.R. No. L-18898. December 24, 1963.]

IN THE MATTER OF THE PETITION OF WONG KIT KENG TO BE ADMITTED A CITIZEN OF THE PHILIPPINES, WONG KIT KENG, Petitioner-Appellant, v. REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, Oppositor-Appellee.

Climaco & Climaco for Petitioner-Appellant.

Solicitor General for Oppositor-Appellee.


SYLLABUS


1. CITIZENSHIP; NATURALIZATION; QUALIFICATIONS; KNOWLEDGE OF PRINCIPLES UNDERLYING THE CONSTITUTION AND KNOWLEDGE OF A NATIVE DIALECT. — The circumstance that while the petitioner correctly answered the questions propounded by his lawyer about the principles underlying the Constitution he could not answer correctly those propounded by the City Attorney and the Judge, leads the Court to believe that petitioner-appellant must have been trained to answer the questions propounded by his counsel. As to those asked by the Judge and the City Attorney, his answers were not correct. Held: that petitioner’s application for citizenship was properly denied by the lower court for lack of knowledge of the Constitution and of a local dialect.

2. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; LOWER COURT’S APPRAISAL OF PETITIONERS KNOWLEDGE IS PRIMA FACIE CORRECT. — As the trial judge had the opportunity to observe how the petitioner-appellant acted and gave his answers, and there is nothing in the record to enable this Court to declare that the lower judge’s appraisal is incorrect, the findings of the lower court must be sustained.


D E C I S I O N


LABRADOR, J.:


This is an appeal from a decision of the Court of First Instance, City of Zamboanga, Hon. Gregorio Montejo, presiding, dismissing the petition for naturalization of Wong Kit Keng for failure of the latter to prove that he has an adequate knowledge of the Constitution and that he knows how to read and write a Filipino dialect.

At the trial of the case, some questions were directed to petitioner-appellant on the Bill of Rights of the Constitution, asking him to mention some of the provisions of the said Bill, and he answered that anyone "can live in any place within the Philippines; that citizens can vote; that citizens can choose the best man to any position by election." To another question he answered that the Executive Department can declare war with the consent of the Supreme Court, and to another, that the members of the Supreme Court and Congress can be subject to impeachment, etc.

On being asked to write down a statement about the Constitution and thereafter to translate same to Chavacano, he answered that he cannot write in Chavacano.

In arriving at the conclusion that the petitioner does not possess the necessary qualifications, the court below says:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

"The Court believes that the petitioner Wong Kit Keng has not established, at the hearing of this petition, that he has all the qualifications and none of the disqualifications as provided for in the Revised Naturalization Law. The evidence of petitioner to show that he has a fair knowledge of the principles underlying the Constitution of the Philippines is rather inadequate as is shown by a portion of the transcript of hearing embodied in the written Opposition of the City Attorney. Likewise, his ability and knowledge to speak and write ‘Chavacano’, the principal dialect which he claims to command, is rather scanty as shown by Exh.’1’, wherein petitioner was not able to translate into the Chavacano dialect the Constitutional provision written by him as requested by the City Attorney in order to test his knowledge and ability of the dialect.

"After carefully considering the evidence presented by the petitioner, both oral and documentary, in support of the petition; and the opposition thereto, the Court is of the opinion that petitioner Wong Kit Keng does not possess all the qualifications under Commonwealth Act No. 473, as amended and that he has not complied with all the requisites of the Naturalization Law, and therefore, hereby declare Wong Kit Keng, not eligible for naturalization as a citizen of the Republic of the Philippines."cralaw virtua1aw library

In this Court petitioner-appellant argues that the lower court erred in declaring (1) that petitioner-appellant has an inadequate knowledge of the principles underlying the Constitution of the Philippines, and (2) that petitioner-appellant’s knowledge of Chavacano is scanty.

The brief for petitioner-appellant quotes extensively from the record on the questions propounded by his attorney and by the City Attorney, and We find that while he answered the questions propounded by his lawyer, he could not answer correctly those propounded by the City Attorney and the Judge. We are inclined to believe that petitioner-appellant must have been trained to answer certain questions and these he answered fairly; but as to those asked by the Judge and the City Attorney, his answers were not correct. So it is with the questions directed to him to prove that he has knowledge of a dialect and can write it.

It should be remembered that the judge below had the opportunity to observe how the petitioner-appellant acted and gave his answers. The manner in which a party answers the questions would readily show his real knowledge or ability. Thus if he stammers, or hesitates, or doubts his answers — these do not appear in the record, but are visible to the presiding judge. And taking these circumstances into account, We can not find anything in the record to enable Us to declare that the judge’s appraisal of the knowledge of petitioner- appellant is incorrect, and that its finding that petitioner-appellant does not in fact possess all the necessary qualifications for admission as a citizen is also incorrect.

WHEREFORE, the decision should be, as it is hereby, affirmed, with costs against petitioner-appellant. So ordered.

Bengzon, C.J., Padilla, Bautista Angelo, Concepcion, Reyes, J.B.L., Barrera, Paredes, Dizon, Regala and Makalintal, JJ., concur.




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