Rogelio Batin Caballero v COMELEC Gr no. 209835 Sept 22, 2015...
G.R. No. 209835
September 22, 2015
ROGELIO BATIN CABALLERO vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS AND JONATHAN ENRIQUE V. NANUD, JR. Political Law; Qualifications of an elective local official : SEC. 39. Qualifications. - (a) An elective local official must be a citizen of the Philippines; a registered voter in the barangay, municipality, city or province or, in the case of a member of the sangguniang panlalawigan, sangguniang panlungsod, or sanggunian bayan, the district where he intends to be elected; a resident therein for at least one (1) year immediately preceding the day of the election; and able to read and write Filipino or any other local language or dialect. PERALTA, J.: FACTS: Rogelio Batin Caballero, the petitioner and Jonathan Enrique V. Nanud, Jr., the respondent were both candidates for the mayoralty position of the Municipality of Uyugan, Province of Batanes in the May 13, 2013 elections. The private respondent filed a petition for the cancellation of petitioner's certificate of candidacy claiming that he was not eligible eligible to run for Mayor of Uyugan, Batanes. However, the petitioner argued that prior to the filing of his COC on October 3, 2012, he took an Oath of Allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines before the Philippine Consul General in Toronto, Canada on September 13, 2012 and became a dual Filipino and Canadian citizen pursuant to Republic Act (RA) No. 9225.Furthermore, he asserted that he did not lose his domicile of origin in Uyugan, Batanes despite becoming a Canadian citizen. On May 3, 2013, the COMELEC First Division issued a Resolution that the Certificate of Candidacy of respondent Caballero was cancelled. Petitioner was proclaimed Mayor of Uyugan, Batanes, on May 14, 2013. On May 16, 2013, petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration with the COMELEC En Banc but the same was denied. Thus, on December 12, 2013, COMELEC Chairman Sixto S. Brillantes, Jr. issued a Writ of Execution and private respondent took his Oath of Office on December 20, 2013. Hence this appeal.
ISSUE: Whether or not the petitioner was eligible to run for Mayor of Uyugan, Batanes. HELD: NEGATIVE. The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) En Banc canceling the Certificate of Candidacy (COC) of petitioner Rogelio Batin Caballero. Upon the numerous claims of the petitioner, the court was not persuaded. It is true that the petitioner was a natural born Filipino who was born and raised in Uyugan, Batanes. Thus he had his domicile of origin in Uyugan, Batanes. Nevertheless, he later worked in Canada and became a Canadian citizen. It is settled ruled that naturalization in a foreign country may result in an abandonment of domicile in the Philippines. In the case at bar, the petitioner permanent resident status in Canada is required for the acquisition of Canadian citizenship. Therefore, he had in effect abandoned his domicile in the Philippines and transferred his domicile of choice in Canada. Furthermore, the court held that the frequent visits of the petitioner visits to Uyugan, Batanes during his vacation from work in Canada cannot be considered as waiver of such abandonment. More so, in this case, the records showed that petitioner failed to prove that he had been a resident of Uyugan, Batanes for at least one year immediately preceding the day of elections as required under Section 39 of the Local Government Code. The Citizenship Retention and Reacquisition Act of 2003 or RA No. 9225 , declares that natural-born citizens of the Philippines, who have lost their Philippine citizenship by reason of their naturalization as citizens of a foreign country, can re-acquire or retain his Philippine citizenship under the conditions of the law. However, it does not mention any effect of such reacquisition or retention of Philippine citizenship on the current residence of the concerned natural-born Filipino. The petitioner's retention of his Philippine citizenship under RA No. 9225 did not automatically make him regain his residence in Uyugan, Batanes.