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MANUEL B. JAPZON VS COMELEC and JAIME S.

TY
G.R. NO. 180088
January 19, 2009
FACTS: Manuel B. Japzon (Japzon) and Jaime S. Ty (Ty) were candidates for Mayor of the
Municipality of Gen. Macarthur, Eastern Samar in the elections of May 14, 2007. Japzon filed a
petition to disqualify Ty on the ground of material misrepresentation.
Japzon averred that:
1. Ty was a former natural-born Filipino, born in what was then Pambujan Sur, Hernani Eastern
Samar (now Gen. Macarthur, Easter Samar) to a Chinese father and a Filipino mother.
2. Ty migrated to the USA, became a citizen thereof, and resided therein for the last 25 years.
3. Ty falsely represented in his COC that he was a resident of Gen. Macarthur for one year prior
to elections, and was not a permanent resident or immigrant of any foreign country.
4. While Ty may have applied for reacquisition of his Philippine citizenship, he never actually
resided Gen Macarthur, Eastern Samar, for a period of 1 year immediately preceding the date
of election as required under the Local Government Code.
5. Ty continued traveling to the USA and comporting himself as a US citizen even after filing his
COC and taking his Oath of Allegiance.
6. He failed to renounce his foreign citizenship as required by RA No. 9225 (Citizenship
Retention and Reacquisition Act of 2003).
Ty responded to wit:
1. He was a natural-born Filipino who went to the USA to work and subsequently became a
naturalized American citizen. However, prior to filing his COC, he already filed with the
Philippine Consulate General in Los Angeles, California, USA, an application for the
reacquisition of his Philippine citizenship.
2. He executed an Oath of Allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines before the Vice Consul
of the Philippine Consulate
3. He applied for and was issued a Philippine passport indicating that his residence in the
Philippines was at A. Mabini St., Barangay 6, Poblacion, General Macarthur, Eastern Samar.
4. He personally secured his Community Tax Certificate (CTC) in Gen. Macarthur, Eastern
Samar.
5. He was registered as a voter at Gen Macarthur, Eastern Samar.
6. He executed on 19 March 2007 a duly notarized Renunciation of Foreign Citizenship.
Ty won the elections and was proclaimed Mayor of Gen Macarthur by the BOC in the interim.
The COMELEC found that Ty complied with all the requirements of RA 9225 and dismissed the
petition. Evidence revealed that Ty executed an Oath of Allegiance in the USA and a Renunciation of
Foreign Citizenship on March 19, 2007, in compliance with R.A. No. 9225. There was no material
misrepresentation in his COC. Although Ty has lost his domicile when he was naturalized as U.S.
citizen, the reacquisition of Philippine citizenship and subsequent acts proved that he has been a
resident of Barangay 6, Poblacion, General Macarthur, Eastern Samar for at least 1 year prior to
elections as stated in his COC.
COMELEC went on to explain that the term residence is to be understood not in its common
acceptation as referring to dwelling or habitation, but rather to domicile or legal residence or the place
where a party actually or constructively has his permanent home, where he, no matter where he may
be found at any given time, eventually intends to return and remain (animus manendi). A domicile of

origin is acquired by every person at birth until the same is abandoned by acquisition of new domicile
(domicile of choice).
Japzons motion for reconsideration was denied, in the same manner as his petition with the
COMELEC En Banc failed.
The COMELEC En Banc held that a Natural born Filipino who obtains foreign citizenship, and
subsequently renounces the same, constitutes acts of repatriation and hence becomes qualified to run
as a candidate for any local post.
ISSUE: Did the COMELEC err in its ruling by disregarding the parameters for the acquisition of a
new domicile of choice and residence? Did the COMELEC err in refusing to cancel Tys COC and to
declare Japzon as the duly elected Mayor?
HELD: No
Japzons arguments:
1. When Ty became a naturalized American citizen, he lost his domicile of origin.
2. Ty did not establish his residence in Gen Macarthur, Eastern Samar, just because he
reacquired his Philippine citizenship. He failed to prove that he established a new domicile of
choice.
3. Ty did not become a resident of Gen. Macarthur by merely executing the Oath of Allegiance
under Republic Act No. 9225.
4. Ty did not meet the one-year residency requirement for running as mayor.
5. Japzon is the only placer in the elections and should be declared as the duly elected mayor.
Tys arguments:
1. COMELEC already found sufficient evidence to prove that Ty was a resident of the Gen
Macarthur, Eastern Samar, 1 year prior to the local elections. Findings of fact of the
COMELEC are binding on the Court.
2. Even if Ty is indeed disqualified from running, Japzon as the second placer cannot take his
place.
OSGs position:
Ty failed to meet the one-year residency requirement. He was unable to prove that he intended to
remain in the Philippines for good and make it his new domicile. The OSG still prays for the dismissal
of the petition considering that Japzon cannot be declared the duly elected Mayor even if Ty is found
to be disqualified.
RATIO: Ty was a natural-born Filipino. Even if he left to work in the USA and eventually became an
American citizen, he reacquired his Philippine citizenship by taking his Oath of Allegiance to the
Republic before the Vice Consul in Los Angeles, California in accordance with RA No. 9225. He then,
became a dual citizen. It was only on March 19, 2007 that he renounced his American citizenship
before a notary public and became a pure Philippine citizen again.
RA No 9225 imposes no residency requirement for the reacquisition or retention of Philippine
citizenship; nor does it mention any effect of reacquisition or retention of Philippine citizenship on the
current residence of the natural-born Filipino. Citizenship and residence are independently treated in
RA No 9225. Residency only becomes relevant when the natural-born Filipino with dual citizenship
runs for public office. He must: (1) meet the qualifications for holding such public office as required
by the Constitution and existing laws; and (2) make a personal and sworn renunciation of any and
all foreign citizenships before any public officer authorized to administer an oath.

Ty complied with the second requirement when he personally executed a Renunciation of Foreign
Citizenship on March 19, 2007 before a notary public. By the time he filed his COC on March 28, 2007,
he had already effectively renounced his American citizenship.
Under Section 39 of the Local Government Code (RA No 7160), it is required that an elective
official be a resident of the independent component cities, component cities, or municipalites
where he intends to be elected for at least 1 year immediately preceding the day of the
election.
Ty admitted that he became a naturalized American citizen, which meant he must have abandoned
Gen Macarthur, Eastern Samar as his domicile of origin and transferred to the USA as his domicile of
choice. His reacquisition of Philippine citizenship had no impact on his residence/domicile. He did
not necessarily regain his domicile in Gen. Macarthur, but merely had the option to establish his
domicile of choice therein. The length of his residence shall be determined from the time he made it
his domicile of choice and shall not retroact to the time of his birth.
Under Papandayan Jr., vs COMELEC, it is the fact of residence that is the decisive factor. The principle
of animus revertendi has been used to determine whether a candidate has an intention to return to the
place where he seeks to be elected. Thus, it is important to determine whether there has been an
abandonment of his former residence. Absence from residence to pursue studies or practice his
profession does not constitute loss of residence.
In order to acquire a new domicile by choice, there must concur (1) residence or bodily presence in
the new locality, (2) an intention to remain there, and (3) an intention to abandon the old
domicile. There must be animus manendi coupled with animus non revertendi. The purpose to remain in
or at the domicile of choice must be for an indefinite period of time; the change of residence must be
voluntary; and the residence at the place chosen for the new domicile must be actual.
The COMELEC found that Ty had been a resident of Gen Macarthur 1 year prior to the elections.
Factual findings of administrative agencies, such as the COMELEC, are binding and conclusive on the
SC, most especially since the Constitution intended to place the COMELEC on a level higher that
other administrative organs.
Tys intent to establish a new domicile of choice became apparent when, immediately after
reacquiring his Philippine citizenship on October 2, 2005, he applied for a Philippine passport
indicating his address at A. Mabini St., Barangay 6, Poblacion, Gen Macarthur, Eastern Samar. He paid
his community tax, securing CTCs and stating his address in Gen Macarthur. Thereafter, Ty applied
for and was registered as a voter on July 17, 2006 in the same town. He has also been bodily present in
the municipality since his arrival on May 4, 2006. His trips abroad are further manifestations of
his animus manendi and animus revertendi. Even with his trips to other countries, Ty was actually
present in Gen Macarthur, for at least 9 of the 12 months preceding the local elections.
There is nothing wrong in an individual changing residences so he could run for an elective post, for
as long as he is able to prove that he has effected a change of residence for election law purposes for
the period required by law. Ty has proven that he had established residence/domicile a little over a
year prior to the local elections, in which he ran for Mayor and in which he garnered the most number
of votes.