Philippine Supreme Court Jurisprudence


Philippine Supreme Court Jurisprudence > Year 1966 > January 1966 Decisions > G.R. No. L-21333 January 31, 1966 YU AN KIONG v. REPUBLIC OF THE PHIL.:




PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

EN BANC

[G.R. No. L-21333. January 31, 1966.]

YU AN KIONG, Petitioner-Appellee, v. REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, Oppositor-Appellant.

Solicitor General for the oppositor and Appellant.

Ignacio M. Orendain for the petitioner and appellee.


SYLLABUS


1. NATURALIZATION; REQUIREMENTS; CHARACTER WITNESSES; WITNESSES TO TESTIFY ON PETITIONER’S CONDUCT DURING THE ENTIRE PERIOD OF RESIDENCE IN THE COUNTRY. — Pursuant to the Naturalization Law, character witnesses must be in a position to testify that petitioner is of good moral character and has conducted himself in a proper and irreproachable manner during the entire period of his residence in the Philippines in his relation with the constituted government and the community in which he lives in order to qualify themselves as credible witnesses. The witnesses’ meager acquaintance with the petitioner acquired during their periodic visits at the latter’s residence do not make them competent to vouch for the petitioner’s good moral character and irreproachable conduct, aside from the fact that they were ignorant of petitioner’s reputation in the vicinity.

2. ID.; ID.; RESIDENCE; FAILURE TO REVEAL ALL PREVIOUS PLACES OF RESIDENCE, FATAL. — Non-disclosure of all former places of petitioner’s residence, as where his petition mentioned only his present and one former place of residence but the exhibits show that petitioner had been residing in several places during his entire stay in the country but were not disclosed, is a fatal defect to applicant’s petition for Filipino citizenship.


D E C I S I O N


BARRERA, J.:


This is an appeal from the decision of the Court of First Instance of Manila (Judge Luis B. Reyes, Presiding) rendered on June 22, 1960, adjudging petitioner-appellee herein entitled to be naturalized as a citizen of the Philippines and from the order of the same court of April 5, 1963, allowing petitioner to take his oath of allegiance.

The Solicitor General has appealed from said decision and order assigning the following as errors committed by the trial court:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

1. The trial court erred in not holding that the petitioner- appellee’s two character witnesses are incompetent and not credible persons within the meaning of the revised naturalization law.

2. The trial court erred in not declaring that the petitioner- appellee failed to prove that he has met the requirements of the revised naturalization law regarding the ability to speak and write English and Tagalog (one of the principal Philippine Languages).

3. The trial court erred in finding that the petitioner-appellee has a lucrative trade or occupation.

4. The trial court erred in not declaring that for his failure to state in his petition and clarify in the records of proceedings his former and present addresses, the petitioner-appellee violated Section 7 of the Revised Naturalization Law.

5. The trial court erred in declaring in its decision dated June 22, 1960 that the petitioner-appellee has all the qualifications and none of the disqualifications provided by law to become a Filipino citizen.

6. The trial court erred in issuing the order of April 5, 1963 allowing the petitioner-appellee to take his oath of allegiance as a Filipino citizen and directing the clerk of court to issue in his favor the corresponding certificate of naturalization.

7. The trial court erred in not dismissing the present case.

With respect to the competency and credibility of the two witnesses presented by the petitioner, the trial court found as follows:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

"From the testimony of the character witness Jose B. Ramos, it appears that he came to know the petitioner through petitioner’s father and mother in 1947 when he was a private tutor of the family, the petitioner then being only 12 years old; that he taught the petitioner English and Tagalog from 1947 to 1952; that the petitioner was under him in the Philippine Chinese High School when the petitioner was studying in the elementary department; that as such tutor, he used to go to the house of the petitioner three times a week and stayed there from one to one and a half hours; that he has not heard of any trouble that the petitioner has met around the vicinity in which the latter lives; and that, according to his observation, the petitioner is a very good fellow, a good and an honest boy.

From the testimony of the character witness, Pedro B. Reyes, it appears that he came to know petitioner’s father in 1947 when the latter used to send cablegrams to the United States once a week via the RCA radio communications of America where he was then employed as clerk; that from then on they have become friends, and on the occasion of the 12th birthday party of the petitioner, his father invited him and then and there he met the petitioner; that since then he has been going to the house of the petitioner for lunch or blowout upon the invitation of petitioner’s father; that as the petitioner grew older, they have become intimate friends, and the petitioner used to pick him up from his house to go to the movies and other places such as the Aristocrat and the Modern Restaurants; that he has not met or spoken with petitioner’s brothers and sister, because when he used to go to petitioner’s house, some of them are in school; that he knows the name of petitioner’s mother as Lim Biok Hua; and that petitioner has not done anything to destroy his association with him."cralaw virtua1aw library

A perusal of the findings of the trial court would readily disclose that the meager acquaintance of the character witnesses with the petitioner does not qualify them as "the credible witnesses" contemplated in our naturalization law. As we have said in the case of Chan Pong v. Republic of the Philippines, G.R. No. L-9153, May 17, 1957,

"One of the qualifications prescribed by our law is that petitioner must be of good moral character and must have conducted himself in a proper and irreproachable manner during the entire period of his residence in the Philippines in his relation with the constituted government and the community in which he lives."cralaw virtua1aw library

To establish this, the witnesses must be in a position to testify on the character and good conduct of the petitioner during the entire period of petitioner’s stay in the Philippines as provided by law. The fact that the character witnesses in the present case knew the petitioner only during their periodic visits to his house, is certainly not sufficient to make them competent to vouch for his good moral character and irreproachable conduct. In fact they admitted that they have no knowledge of petitioner’s reputation in the vicinity where he lives as both witnesses reside elsewhere.

But there is a further reason why the decision and order appeared from should be reversed. Petitioner, in his application for naturalization mentioned in paragraph 2 thereof.

"That his present place of residence is at 425 San Fernando, Manila and that his former place of residence was at 908 San Nicolas street, Manila."cralaw virtua1aw library

The exhibits presented however, show that in addition to these places mentioned in his application, he has resided at 827 San Fernando, Manila (Exh. "M-3, "H." , "A." , "Q") and also at 1045 Folgueras, Manila (See Income tax returns for 1958, 1959, 1960 and 1961 and the 1961 Statement of Assets and Liabilities. (Exhs. "E", "F", "Fl", "B", "C" & "N"). We have repeatedly ruled that this defect is fatal to the application for naturalization.

Wherefore, the decision and order appealed from are hereby reversed and the petition for naturalization is hereby denied. So ordered.

Bengzon, C.J., Bautista Angelo, Reyes, J.B.L., Bengzon, J.P. and Zaldivar, JJ., concur.

Concepcion, Dizon, Regala, Makalintal and Sanchez, JJ., took no part.




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