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Frivaldo vs COMELEC
Frivaldo, J. was elected as a Governor of the province of Sorsogon on January 22, 1988. On October 27, 1988 the League of Cities of Sorsogon President Salvador Estuye filed a petition to COMELEC requesting to disqualify Frivaldo from his office on the grounds that he was a naturalized citizen of the United States of America. Frivaldo was naturalized as an American citizen in Januray 20, 1983. Frivaldo admitted but said that he was only forced to do so since the time of Marcos regime he was considered as an enemy and he went to USA seeking refuge and his naturalization is not impressed with voluntariness as he went back after the Marcos Regime to the country to help the restoration of democracy. He implies that he reacquired his Philippine citizenship by participating in the election. The case was approved by COMELEC and motion to dismiss filed by Frivaldo was denied to which Frivaldo filed a motion for certiorari and prohibition to the court.
Whether or not Juan G. Frivaldo was a citizen of the Philippines at the time of his election on January 18, 1988.
No. Petition denied, Juan G. Frivaldo is not a citizen of the Philippines and disqualified from serving as the Governor of the Province of Sorsogon, vacancy shall be filled by the elected Vice-Governor. Local Government Code section 42 indicates that a candidate for local elective office must be a citizen of the Philippines and a qualified voter of the constituency where is running. - Omnibus Election Code section 117 states that a qualified voter, among other qualifications, must be a citizen of the Philippines. The Court rules that Frivaldo was not a citizen of the Philippines at the time of his election as the evidence shown from the certification of US District Court of North California stating that he is a citizen of the Philippines. Frivaldo’s argument that he reacquire his Philippine citizenship through the participation in the election which in his view repatriated him to which the Court refutes that there are proper methods to which one can reacquire citizen ship either through Direct Act of Congress, Naturalization or Repatriation to which Frivaldo did not access to. Only citizens of the Philippines which have one allegiance can run in local elective office.