ISSUE: Whether or not Ching should be allowed to take the lawyer’s oath
FACTS: Vicente D. Ching, the legitimate son of the spouses Tat Ching, a Chinese citizen, and Prescila A. Dulay, a Filipino, was born in Francia West, Tubao, La Union on 11 April 1964. Since his birth, Ching has resided in the Philippines. In 1998, Vicente Ching finished his law degree at the Saint Louis University in Baguio City. He eventually passed the bar but he was advised that he needs to show proof that he is a Filipino citizen before he be allowed to take his oath. Apparently, Ching’s father was a Chinese citizen but his mother was a Filipino citizen. His parents were married before he was born in 1963. Under the 1935 Constitution, a legitimate child, whose one parent is a foreigner, acquires the foreign citizenship of the foreign parent. Ching maintained that he has always considered himself as a Filipino; that he is a certified public accountant – a profession reserved for Filipinos; that he even served as a councilor in a municipality in La Union.
DECISION: The Court Resolves to DENY Vicente D. Ching's application for admission to the Philippine Bar.
RATIO DECIDENDI: No. In the present case, Ching was already thirty-five (35) years old when he complied with the requirements of CA No. 625 or fourteen years after he had reached the age of majority. The age of majority commenced upon reaching twenty-one (21) years. The Supreme Court noted that the period is originally 3 years but it was extended to 7 years. (It seems it can’t be extended any further). Ching’s special circumstances can’t be considered. It is not enough that he considered all his life that he is a Filipino; that he is a professional and a public officer (was) serving this country. The rules for citizenship are in place. Further, Ching didn’t give any explanation why he belatedly chose to elect Filipino citizenship (but I guess it’s simply because he never thought he’s Chinese not until he applied to take the bar). The prescribed procedure in electing Philippine citizenship is certainly not a tedious and painstaking process. All that is required of the elector is to execute an affidavit of election of Philippine citizenship and, thereafter, file the same with the nearest civil registry. Ching’s unreasonable and unexplained delay in making his election cannot be simply glossed over.