Tabasa VS Court of Appeals, GR No. 125793, August 29, 2006 (CASE DIGEST)

For the Love of Law

Tabasa was a natural-born citizen of the Philippines. In 1968, when petitioner was 7 years old, his father Rodolfo Tabasa, became a naturalized citizen of the United States. By derivative naturalization, Joevani Tabasa acquired the citizenship of his father. Petitioner arrived in the Philippines in August 1995 and was admitted as “balikbayan” for one year. Petitioner was arrested and detained by agent Wilson Soluren of BID on May 23, 1996 in Aklan and was brought to BID Detention Center, Manila.
Petitioner was investigated by Special Prosecutor Atty. Donato and on the same day, petitioner was accused of violating Section 8, Chapter 3, Title 1, Book 3 of the 1987 Administrative Code. Petitioner’s passport was revoked by the US Department of State. Hence, respondent (petitioner Tabasa) is now an undocumented and undesirable alien and may be summarily deported pursuant to Law and Intelligence Instructions No. 53.
Petitioner’s passport was revoked due to federal charges filed against him. Federal charges are as follows:
In possession of a firearm and one count of sexual battery (all in violation of the California Penal Code)
Upon revocation of petitioner’s passport, he loses the privilege to remain in the country.
Petitioner filed before the CA a petition for habeas corpus. That he was not afforded due process; that no warrant of arrest for deportation may be issued by immigration authorities before a final order of deportation is made; that no notice of the cancellation of his passport was made by the U.S. Embassy; that he is entitled to admission or to a change of his immigration status as a non-quota immigrant because he is married to a Filipino citizen as provided in Section 13, paragraph (a) of the Philippine Immigration Act of 1940; and that he was a natural-born citizen of the Philippines prior to his derivative naturalization when he was seven years old due to the naturalization of his father, Rodolfo Tabasa, in 1968. At the time Tabasa filed the petition, he was 35 years old.
Tabasa then filed a supplementary petition alleging that he has acquired Filipino citizenship by repatriation in accordance with RA 8171 and because he is now a Filipino citizen, he can no longer be deported.
CA denied the petition on the grounds that he had only acquired citizenship to escape from the federal charges filed against him by the US and that he has not successfully acquired citizenship because he does not fall under any of the requirements under RA 8171.

WON petitioner has the privilege reacquire Filipino citizenship through RA 8171.


Petition is not meritorious.
RA 8171 provides repatriation to two classes of persons:
Filipino women who have lost their Philippine citizenship by marriage to aliens and natural-born Filipinos who have lost their Philippine citizenship, including their minor children, on account of political or economic necessity.
Petitioner does not fall under RA 8171 because what is referred in the second class of persons privileged with repatriation refers to his father.
Even if the Court would concede that petitioner can avail the benefit of RA 8171, he failed to follow procedure for reacquisition.
Procedure for reacquisition through repatriation is as follows:
SECTION 1. Composition. — The composition of the Special Committee on
Naturalization, with the Solicitor General as Chairman, the Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs and the Director-General of the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency, as members, shall remain as constituted.
SECTION 2. Procedure. — Any person desirous of repatriating or reacquiring
Filipino citizenship pursuant to R.A. No. 8171 shall file a petition with the
Special Committee on Naturalization which shall process the same. If their applications are approved[,] they shall take the necessary oath of allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines, after which they shall be deemed to have reacquired Philippine citizenship. The Commission on Immigration and Deportation shall thereupon cancel their certificate of registration (emphasis supplied).
SECTION 3. Implementing Rules. — The Special Committee is hereby authorized to promulgate rules and regulations and prescribe the appropriate forms and the required fees for the processing of petitions.
SECTION 4. Effectivity . — This Administrative Order shall take effect immediately.
Petitioner only took the oath of allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines then executed an affidavit of repatriation which he registered together with his birth certificate with the office of the Local Civil Registrar of Manila. The said office issued him a certificate of such registration.


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