Philippine Supreme Court Jurisprudence


Philippine Supreme Court Jurisprudence > Year 1966 > January 1966 Decisions > G.R. No. L-21828 January 22, 1966 IN RE: ALFRED BUN THO KHU v. REPUBLIC OF THE PHIL.:




PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

EN BANC

[G.R. No. L-21828. January 22, 1966.]

IN THE MATTER OF THE PETITION OF ALFRED BUN THO KHU, TO BE ADMITTED A CITIZEN OF THE PHILIPPINES. ALFRED BUN THO KHU, Petitioner-Appellant, v. REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, Oppositor-Appellee.

R. Encarnacion, Jr. for the petitioner and Appellant.

Solicitor General for the oppositor and appellee.


SYLLABUS


1. NATURALIZATION; GOOD MORAL CHARACTER REQUIREMENT; LEAVING THE PHILIPPINES AFTER FILING THE PETITION FOR NATURALIZATION. — Appellant stated in his sworn petition for naturalization that he will reside continuously in the Philippines from the date of the filing of his petition up to the time of his admission to Philippine citizenship. It follows that by leaving the Philippines and staying abroad for more than four months after filing his aforesaid petition, appellant reneged on a solemn commitment required by law, entered into by him under oath. Petitioner’s violation of the law as well as of his explicit promise under oath reflects adversely on his moral character, and therefore on his qualification for acquiring Philippine citizenship.

2. ID.; NO RES JUDICATA ON MATTER OF APPLICANT’S QUALIFICATION. — Appellant’s claim that the matter of his qualifications is already res judicata at the stage of the hearing preparatory to oath-taking, is untenable. It is settled that during the hearing on the petition to take oath, any question affecting the qualifications of the applicant may be invoked (Lim Hok Albano v. Republic, L-10912, October 31, 1958; Ong Ching Guan v. Republic, L-15691, March 27, 1961).


D E C I S I O N


BENGZON, J. P., J.:


Petitioner Alfred Bun Tho Khu appeals from an order in naturalization proceedings denying his motion to take oath as Filipino citizen.

Stated briefly the facts are: On January 21, 1958, Alfred Bun Tho Khu filed a petition for naturalization in the Court of First Instance of Manila. The petition was thereafter scheduled to be heard on December 19, 1959. Prior to the arrival of said date — or on June 7, 1959 — petitioner left for the United States. Petitioner returned on October 15, 1959, that is, in time for the initial hearing set for December 19, 1959, later reset for March 5, 1960. After hearing, decision was rendered on April 19, 1960 granting the petition for naturalization. And on July 18, 1962 petitioner filed the motion to take oath. The Republic opposed said motion on October 10, 1962, upon the ground, inter alia, that petitioner is not of good moral character because he has violated his sworn petition that he will reside continuously in the Philippines from the date of the filing of his petition up to the time of his admission to Philippine citizenship. The court a quo, as stated, denied the motion for oath-taking, in its order of May 7, 1963, on the ground that petitioner’s absence from the Philippines from June 7, 1959 to October 15, 1959 was in violation of Section 7 of the Revised Naturalization Law.

Section 7 of the Revised Naturalization Law requires the applicant for naturalization to state in his petition for citizenship "that he will reside continuously in the Philippines from the date of the filing of the petition up to the time of his admission to Philippine citizenship." Appellant stated in his sworn petition for naturalization: "I will reside continuously in the Philippines from the date of the filing of my petition up to the time of my admission to Philippine citizenship." (Petition, par. 10). It follows that by leaving the Philippines and staying abroad for more than four months after filing his aforesaid petition, appellant reneged on a solemn commitment required by law, entered into by him under oath. In Uytengsu v. Republic, 95 Phil. 890, 896-897, this Court ruled that the aforesaid provision of Section 7 of the Naturalization Law refers to actual and substantial residence and that said requirement is not complied with where petitioner leaves the Philippines for three months during the period intervening between the filing of his petition and the hearing.

Petitioner’s violation of the law as well as of his explicit promise under oath reflects adversely on his moral character, and therefore on his qualification for acquiring Philippine citizenship.

Appellant’s claim that the matter of his qualifications is already res judicata, at the stage of the hearing preparatory to oath- taking, is untenable. It is settled that during the hearing on the petition to take oath, any question affecting the qualifications of the applicant may be invoked (Lim Hok Albano v. Republic, L-10912, October 31, 1958; Ong Ching Guan v. Republic, L-15691, March 27, 1961).

Wherefore, motion to take oath as Filipino citizen is denied, thereby affirming the order appealed from, with costs against appellant. So ordered.

Bengzon, C.J., Bautista Angelo, Concepcion, Reyes, J.B.L., Barrera, Regala and Zaldivar, JJ., concur.

Dizon and Makalintal, JJ., took no part.




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