So v Republic 513 SCRA 268 (2007)
ISSUE: Whether or not Edison So did meet all the qualification needed to be a naturalized Filipino citizen
FACTS: He was born on February 17, 1982, in Manila; he is a Chinese citizen who has lived in No. 528 Lavezares St., Binondo, Manila, since birth; as an employee, he derives an average annual income of around P100,000.00 with free board and lodging and other benefits; he is single, able to speak and write English, Chinese and Tagalog; he is exempt from the filing of Declaration of Intention to become a citizen of the Philippines pursuant to Section 6 of Commonwealth Act (C.A.) No. 473. On March 22, 2002, the RTC issued an Order8 setting the petition for hearing at 8:30 a.m. of December 12 and 17, 2002 during which all persons concerned were enjoined to show cause, if any, why the petition should not be granted. The entire petition and its annexes, including the order, were ordered published once a week for three consecutive weeks in the Official Gazette and also in a newspaper of general circulation in the City of Manila. The RTC likewise ordered that copies of the petition and notice be posted in public and conspicuous places in the Manila City Hall Building.9 During the hearing, petitioner presented Atty. Adasa, Jr. who testified that he came to know petitioner in 1991 as the legal consultant and adviser of the So family’s business. He would usually attend parties and other social functions hosted by petitioner’s family. He knew petitioner to be obedient, hardworking, and possessed of good moral character, including all the qualifications mandated by law. Another witness for petitioner, Mark Salcedo, testified that he has known petitioner for ten (10) years; they first met at a birthday party in 1991. He and petitioner were classmates at the University of Santo Tomas (UST) where they took up Pharmacy. Petitioner was a member of some school organizations and mingled well with friends. The RTC granted the petition on June 4, 2003.
RATIO DECIDENDI: Naturalization signifies the act of formally adopting a foreigner into the political body of a nation by clothing him or her with the privileges of a citizen.44 Under current and existing laws, there are three ways by which an alien may become a citizen by naturalization: (a) administrative naturalization pursuant to R.A. No. 9139; (b) judicial naturalization pursuant to C.A. No. 473, as amended; and (c) legislative naturalization in the form of a law enacted by Congress bestowing Philippine citizenship to an alien. First. C.A. No. 473 and R.A. No. 9139 are separate and distinct laws – the former covers all aliens regardless of class while the latter covers native-born aliens who lived here in the Philippines all their lives, who never saw any other country and all along thought that they were Filipinos; who have demonstrated love and loyalty to the Philippines and affinity to the customs and traditions.52 To reiterate, the intention of the legislature in enacting R.A. No. 9139 was to make the process of acquiring Philippine citizenship less tedious, less technical and more encouraging which is administrative rather than judicial in nature. Thus, although the legislature believes that there is a need to liberalize the naturalization law of the Philippines, there is nothing from which it can be inferred that C.A. No. 473 was intended to be amended or repealed by R.A. No. 9139. What the legislature had in mind was merely to prescribe another mode of acquiring Philippine citizenship which may be availed of by native born aliens. The only implication is that, a native born alien has the choice to apply for judicial or administrative naturalization, subject to the prescribed qualifications and disqualifications. In naturalization proceedings, it is the burden of the applicant to prove not only his own good moral character but also the good moral character of his/her witnesses, who must be credible persons.56 Within the purview of the naturalization law, a "credible person" is not only an individual who has not been previously convicted of a crime; who is not a police character and has no police record; who has not perjured in the past; or whose affidavit or testimony is not incredible. What must be credible is not the declaration made but the person making it. This implies that such person must have a good standing in the community; that he is known to be honest and upright; that he is reputed to be trustworthy and reliable; and that his word may be taken on its face value, as a good warranty of the applicant’s worthiness. e do not agree with petitioner’s argument that respondent is precluded from questioning the RTC decision because of its failure to oppose the petition. A naturalization proceeding is not a judicial adversary proceeding, and the decision rendered therein does not constitute res judicata. A certificate of naturalization may be cancelled if it is subsequently discovered that the applicant obtained it by misleading the court upon any material fact. Law and jurisprudence even authorize the cancellation of a certificate of naturalization upon grounds or conditions arising subsequent to the granting of the certificate.59 If the government can challenge a final grant of citizenship, with more reason can it appeal the decision of the RTC within the reglementary period despite its failure to oppose the petition before the lower court.