G.R. No. 120295, 28 June 1996
Petitioner Juan G. Frivaldo was proclaimed governor-elect and assume office in due time. The League of Municipalities filed with the COMELEC a petition for annulment of Frivaldo’s election and proclamation on the ground that he was not a Filipino citizen, having been naturalized in the United States. Frivaldo admitted the allegation but pleaded the special and affirmative defenses that his naturalization was merely forced upon himself as a means of survival against the unrelenting prosecution by the Martial Law Dictator’s agent abroad.
Whether or not Frivaldo was a citizen of the Philippines at the time of his election.
No. Section 117 of the Omnibus Election Code provides that a qualified voter must be, among other qualifications, a citizen of the Philippines, this being an indispensable requirement for suffrage under Article V, Section 1, of the Constitution.
He claims that he has reacquired Philippine citizenship by virtue of valid repatriation. He claims that by actively participating in the local elections, he automatically forfeited American citizenship under the laws of the United States of America. The Court stated that that the alleged forfeiture was between him and the US. If he really wanted to drop his American citizenship, he could do so in accordance with CA No. 63 as amended by CA No. 473 and PD 725. Philippine citizenship may be reacquired by direct act of Congress, by naturalization, or by repatriation.
* Case digest by Liezel O. Lagare, LLB-1, Andres Bonifacio Law School, SY 2017-2018