Philippine Supreme Court Jurisprudence


Philippine Supreme Court Jurisprudence > Year 1966 > January 1966 Decisions > G.R. No. L-20375 January 31, 1966 IN RE: RAFAEL PE v. REPUBLIC OF THE PHIL.:




PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

EN BANC

[G.R. No. L-20375. January 31, 1966.]

IN THE MATTER OF THE PETITION FOR NATURALIZATION OF RAFAEL PE, Petitioner-Appellee, v. REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, Oppositor-Appellant.

Solicitor General for the oppositor and Appellant.

C. Lopez, Jr. for the petitioner appellee.


SYLLABUS


1. IMPORTATION; CHECKING CHARGES, REFUND OF; CASE AT BAR. — Plaintiff imported into the Philippines bulk palm oil, tallow and coconut fatty alcohol products. Before the same were discharged into lighters, plaintiff was required by the arrastre operator to pay checking charges, in addition to sales tax, duties, wharfage and other fees collected by the Commissioner of Customs on the importations. The products were checked before they were discharged from the carrying vessel to determine whether or not there had been any loss during the voyage from the loading ports. Held: The issue herein is substantially identical to that involved in Caltex (Philippines) Inc. v. Delgado Brothers, L-5439, December 29, 1954, wherein it was held that defendants had no right to collect checking charges. In both cases, there is a difference between the quantity discharged from the carrying vessel into the lighters and that discharged from the lighters into plaintiff’s shoretanks; checkers of the arrastre contractor took the ullage, specific gravity and temperature of the cargo on board the vessel; and plaintiff was required to pay checking charges before the discharge of the products from the carrying vessels. The lower court did not, therefore, err in sentencing defendants, jointly and severally, to refund to plaintiff the sum paid by the latter for checking charges.

2. ID.; ID.; PROTEST NOT NECESSARY. — There is no law requiring that a protest be made before payment of what has been exacted, but not due, may be recovered.

3. ID.; ID.; ID.; NATURE OF FUNCTIONS PERFORMED BY MANILA PORT SERVICE. — Although the Manila Port Service is an instrumentality of the government, it operates as a private corporation or entity performing proprietary, not political, governmental or sovereign functions. Hence, the principle applicable to the collection of charges made by a private corporation also applies to collections made by the said arrastre contractor.


D E C I S I O N


ZALDIVAR, J.:


This is an appeal by the Republic of the Philippines from the two orders of the Court of First Instance of Manila; one, dated June 23, 1962, denying the opposition of the Republic of the Philippines to the motion of petitioner to take the oath of allegiance as a naturalized Filipino citizen; and the other, dated June 30, 1962, which had authorized the oath-taking of said petitioner. Likewise, this appeal seeks the reversal of the decision dated December 26, 1959 granting the petition for naturalization, and the nullification of the oath of allegiance taken by the petitioner pursuant to the order of June 30, 1962.

On October 18, 1958 petitioner, Rafael Pe, filed a petition for naturalization before the Court of First Instance of Manila, which was docketed as Civil Case No. 38176. In his petition, which more or less followed the usual form in petitions for naturalization, petitioner alleged, among others, that his present place of residence is 989 Folgueras St., Tondo, Manila; and that his trade or profession is that of an employee from which he derives an average annual income of P1,800.00.

The records show that the requirements regarding the jurisdiction of the lower court to hear the petition had been complied with.

The evidence shows that the petitioner was born in Manila on October 23, 1936; that since his birth he has been residing continuously in the Philippines, particularly in Manila, except for two occasions when in 1955 he went to Hongkong and in 1956 he went to Formosa as a member of the Far Eastern University football team; that he is possessed of the required alien certificate of registration and the certificate that he is a native-born resident; that he finished his primary and elementary education in the Anglo-Chinese school, and his high school course in the Far Eastern University; that he speaks and writes the English, Tagalog and Chinese languages; that he is single, and is employed at the Standard Commercial Enterprise Co., Inc. with an annual income of around P2,000.00 that he is exempted from filing a declaration of intention to become a citizen of the Philippines by reason of his birth in this country and of having received his primary and secondary education in schools recognized by the government and not limited to any race, creed or nationality; that he believes in the principle underlying the Constitution of the Philippines; that he is not opposed to organized governments or affiliated with any associations or group of persons who uphold and teach doctrines opposing organized government; that he does not defend or teach the necessity or propriety of violence, personal assault or assassination for the success and predominance of men’s ideas; that he is not a polygamist, nor does he believe in the practice of polygamy; that he has never been convicted of any offense involving moral turpitude; that he is not suffering from any incurable disease or mental alienation; that he has conducted himself in a proper manner during the entire period of his residence in the Philippines in relations with the constituted authorities and with the community in which he lives; that he has mingled socially with Filipinos and he sincerely desires to learn and embrace their customs, traditions and ideals; that it is his intention in good faith to become a Filipino citizen and for that matter he renounces absolutely and forever all allegiance to any foreign prince, potentate, state or sovereignty particularly to the Republic of China of which he is a citizen.

The petitioner presented two character witnesses, Enrique S. Llanos and Romeo Geda Lacson, who testified in support of the affidavit of witnesses that was attached to the petition for naturalization.

Upon the evidence presented during the hearing, the lower court declared that the petitioner has all the qualifications and none of the disqualifications to become a Filipino citizen as provided in the Revised Naturalization Law. The court thereby declared the petitioner eligible for Philippine citizenship by naturalization. The court, however, declared that the decision should not become final and executory until after the expiration of two years from its promulgation and until after the requirements of Sec. 1 of Republic Act 530 shall have been complied with.

The decision of the Court of First Instance of Manila was promulgated on December 26, 1959. On December 29, 1961, the petitioner filed a motion to set for hearing the petition for the reception of additional evidence as required by Republic Act 530 and to authorize the taking of the oath of allegiance after it has been shown that the requirements of the law had been complied with.

On February 16,1962, after the petitioner had presented evidence in support of his motion to take the oath of allegiance the Government, through the Solicitor General, filed an opposition to the motion to take the oath and prayed that the motion to take the oath and the petition for naturalization be altogether denied. The opposition of the Solicitor General was based on two grounds: (1) that the petitioner does not have a lucrative income; (2) that the petition is fatally defective for failure to state therein all the former places of residence of the applicant.

On June 23, 1962 the lower court issued an order denying the opposition of the Solicitor General to the motion to take the oath of allegiance; and on June 30, 1962 it also issued an order authorizing the taking of the oath of allegiance by the petitioner as a Filipino citizen. The petitioner actually took his oath on June 30, 1962.

Hence this appeal by the Solicitor General in behalf of the Republic of the Philippines. This appeal is in accordance with the provisions of Republic Act 530. Under this law a decision granting an application for naturalization shall not become final and executory until after two years from the promulgation of the decision and after another hearing is conducted to determine whether or not the applicant has complied with the requirements of Section 1 of said law. Before the order of the court authorizing the taking of the oath of allegiance of the applicant for citizenship becomes final any question affecting the qualifications of the applicant may be raised, and an appeal may be taken from the order of the court sustaining or denying the objection to the qualifications of the applicant. (Lim Hok Albano v. Republic, L-10912, Oct. 31, 1958; Ong Ching Guan v. Republic, L-15691, March 27, 1961; Fong v. Republic, 61 O.G. 1670.)

The Solicitor General assigns three errors as having been committed by the lower court, namely: (1) that the lower court erred in not holding that the petitioner does not have a lucrative income; (2) that the lower court erred in not holding that the petition is fatally defective for failure to state therein all the former places of residence of the petitioner; and (3) that the lower court erred in issuing the order allowing the petitioner to take his oath of allegiance as a citizen of the Philippines and in not dismissing the petition instead.

We find the assignments of error meritorious.

In the very petition for naturalization itself, which was filed on October 18, 1958, the petitioner alleged, under oath, that he had an annual income of P1,800 which he derived from his work as an employee of a commercial entity. This Court has decided that in determining the circumstance of whether an applicant for Philippine citizenship has a lucrative trade or profession his income as of the time he filed the petition for naturalization is the determining factor (Ong Tan v. Republic, G.R. No. L-19418, December 23, 1964).

In the hearing of this case on February 1, 1962 the income tax returns of the petitioner for the calendar years 1959 and 1960 were presented. In the income tax return for 1959 it appears that petitioner’s income for that year consisted of his salary as an employee of the Standard Commercial Enterprise Co., Inc. amounting to P1,680.00 and other earnings (bonus) amounting to P350.00, so that his total gross income for 1959 was P2,030.00. In his income tax return for 1960 it appears that the income of the petitioner for that year consisted of his salary as an employee of the Standard Commercial Enterprise Co., Inc. amounting to P1,920 and other earnings consisting of commissions amounting to P1,049.67, or a total income of P2,969.67. It can be seen, therefore, that the steady income of the petitioner simply consisted of his salary as an employee of the Standard Commercial Enterprise Co., Inc. which was P1,680 in 1959 and P1,920 in 1960. When the petitioner declared in his petition under oath that his annual income was P1,800 he presumably indicated therein his income derived from his salary as an employee of the same firm for the years 1957 and 1958. The additional income consisting of bonus and commission is so unsteady and unreliable as to be considered a basis for determining the regular financial capability of the petitioner. It is not shown that the petitioner owned any real property. It may well be said that the steady income of the petitioner is not more than P200.00 a month. This Court, in a series of recent decisions, considering the high cost of living that has been prevailing and the low-buying power of the Philippine currency, has declared that an applicant for Philippine citizenship who is single and has a monthly income of only around P200.00 cannot be considered as having a lucrative trade or profession as would qualify him for admission to Philippine citizenship. (Albert Ong Lin Chuan v. Republic of the Philippines G.R. No. L-18550, February 28, 1964; Koh Chet Hianchit S. Chua v. Republic of the Philippines, G.R. No. L-17223, June 30, 1964; Tan v. Republic of the Philippines, G.R. No. L-19580, April 30,1965; Yap v. Republic of the Philippines, G.R. No. L-19649, April 30, 1965; Lim Uy v. Republic of the Philippines, G.R. No. L-19916, June 23, 1965.)

The Solicitor General points out that the petition for citizenship filed by the petitioner is fatally defective because it does not state all the former places of residence of the petitioner. We find that in the petition for citizenship petitioner alleged that his present place of residence is 989 Folgueras St., Tondo, Manila. The evidence, however, shows that there was a time when the petitioner lived at San Fernando St., Binondo, Manila. This was testified to by the petitioner himself. In the alien certificate of registration of the petitioner, dated October 16, 1950 (Exh. D-O) it appears that his local residence and address is 821 Folgueras, Manila. In his native- born certificate of residence dated August 29, 1953 (Exh. D-O-2) it appears that his address is 113 Elcano, Manila. It is clear, therefore, that the petitioner had addresses or places of residence before he filed his petition for naturalization different from the place of residence that he had stated in his petition. This failure of the petitioner to state in his petition for citizenship his former places of residence violates Sec. 7 of the Revised Naturalization Law, (Commonwealth Act 473, as amended) which requires that the petition for citizenship shall set forth not only the present but also the former places of residence. In the case of Keng Giok v. Republic of the Philippines, G.R. No. L-13347, August 31, 1961, this Court said:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

". . . Appellant’s argument that it was needless for him to state his said former places of residence because they were all in Manila anyway, cannot stand in the face of the aforementioned express requirement of Section 7 that petitioner must state in his petition his present as well as former places of residence if any. Where the law does not distinguish, no distinction is to be made."cralaw virtua1aw library

Having upheld the contention of the Solicitor General that the petitioner-appellee does not have a lucrative trade or profession and that his petition was fatally defective for failure to state in it his former places of residence, We also have to uphold his contention that the lower court erred in issuing the order allowing the petitioner to take his oath of allegiance and in not dismissing the petition instead.

Wherefore, the decision of the lower court dated December 26, 1959 granting Philippine citizenship to the petitioner-appellee is reversed; the order of the lower court of June 23, 1962 denying the opposition of the Solicitor General to the motion for the oath-taking of the petitioner-appellee, and the order of June 30, 1962 authorizing the oath taking of the petitioner-appellee are set aside; and the oath of allegiance taken by the petitioner-appellee, on June 30, 1962 pursuant to said order of June 30, 1962 is declared null and void. The petitioner-appellee should pay the costs.

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




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