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G.R. No. 168877 - REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES v. MICHAEL A. HONG

G.R. No. 168877 - REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES v. MICHAEL A. HONG

PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

FIRST DIVISION

[G.R. NO. 168877 : March 24, 2006]

REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, Petitioner, v. MICHAEL A. HONG, Respondent.

D E C I S I O N

YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.:

Assailed in this Petition for Review on Certiorari is the July 6, 2005 Decision1 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 71924, which affirmed in toto the June 19, 2001 Decision2 of the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 49, granting the petition for naturalization filed by respondent Michael Ang Hong in Nat. Case No. 99-94814.

The undisputed facts show that on August 20, 1999, respondent filed a petition for naturalization under Commonwealth Act No. 473 (CA 473), otherwise known as the Revised Naturalization Law, as amended. He alleged that he is single; a citizen of China; that he was born in the Philippines on April 23, 1976 and have resided since birth at No. 2935 Samat Street, Manuguit, Tondo, Manila; that he was a graduate of the University of Sto. Tomas with a degree of Bachelor of Fine Arts Major in Advertising and presently employed with a salary of P72,000.00 per annum;3 that he received primary, secondary and tertiary education in Philippine schools and is able to speak and write English, Tagalog and Chinese; that he is a person of good moral character; that he believes in the principles underlying the Philippine Constitution and he has conducted himself in a proper and irreproachable manner; that he has mingled socially with Filipinos and has evinced a sincere desire to embrace and learn the customs, traditions and ideals of the Filipinos; that he possesses all the qualifications under Section 2 and none of the disqualifications under Section 4 of CA 473; that he is not opposed to organized government or affiliated with any association or group of persons who uphold and teach doctrines opposing all organized governments; that he is not defending or teaching the necessity or propriety of violence, personal assault, or assassination for the success or predominance of men's ideas; that he is not a polygamist or a believer in the practice of polygamy; that he is not suffering from any mental alienation or incurable contagious disease and that the nation of which he is a subject is not at war with the Philippines; that he has not been convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude and that it is his intention to become a citizen of the Philippines and to renounce absolutely and forever any and all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign state, specially to the Republic of China; and that he will reside continuously in the Philippines from the date of the filing of the petition up to the time of his admission to Philippine citizenship.

The petition was accompanied by the joint affidavit of the witnesses of respondent, namely Patrocinio M. Ayson, and spouses Eduardo Y. Aguilar and Adelina A. Aguilar. At the trial, however, only Patrocinio M. Ayson and Eduardo Y. Aguilar testified for respondent.

On August 30, 1999, the trial court issued an order stating that:

A verified petition having been filed by Michael A. Hong, said to be born in Manila on April 23, 1976 and resided since birth at No. 2935 Samat St., Manuguit, Tondo, Manila, to be admitted as citizen of the Philippines, said petition, which was filed with this Court on August 20, 1999, together with a copy of this Order, shall have to be published once a week for three (3) consecutive weeks in the Official Gazette and in a newspaper of general circulation in the City of Manila where he is a resident.

Set the petition for hearing on July 26, 2000 at 8:30 in the morning at Room 512, Fifth Floor, Arroceros Wing of the City Hall Building, Manila.

It is likewise ordered that a copy of the petition and of this Order be posted in a conspicuous place in the City Hall Building of Manila for the same duration as the publication.

The Solicitor General shall appear and represent the government in the hearing of this case.

Accordingly, send notice of this Order and the petition to the Solicitor General as well as to the petitioner and counsel.

SO ORDERED.4

Said August 30, 1999 order/notice of hearing together with the copy of the petition and the joint affidavit of the witnesses were published in the October 11, 18 and 25, 1999 issues of the Public View, a newspaper of general circulation in the City of Manila5 and in the December 6, 13 and 20, 1999 issues of the Official Gazette.6 The same order/notice of hearing, petition and joint affidavit were posted in the Bulletin Board of the Manila RTC Sheriff's Office, Manila City Assessor's Office and of the Office of the Manila Register of Deeds.7

On July 26, 2000, the trial court issued an order allowing respondent to present his witnesses because the jurisdictional requirements had already been satisfied. Pertinent portion thereof reads:

After petitioner's (respondent herein) counsel established the jurisdictional requirements of the petition, he prayed that he be allowed to present at least the petitioner's character witnesses, which the Court granted.

Let the proceeding continue on August 23, 2000 at 8:30 A.M. for the Solicitor General to cross-examine the character witnesses and for the petitioner to testify.8

On August 23, 2000, the Republic through the Solicitor General filed a motion for reconsideration9 pointing out that the trial court did not acquire jurisdiction over the case because the notice of hearing or the August 30, 1999 order failed to state the names of the witnesses of respondent; and prayed that a new order containing the omitted detail be issued for publication and posting anew.

On June 19, 2001, the trial court rendered the assailed decision granting the petition for naturalization. It ratiocinated that it is the publication of the petition and the order setting the hearing which vests the trial court with jurisdiction; that the statement of the names of the witnesses has nothing to do with the conferment of jurisdiction. It further held that the respondent's witnesses are competent to vouch for his good moral character having known him since childhood. The dispositive portion thereof, reads:

WHEREFORE, petitioner (respondent) MICHAEL A. HONG is hereby declared a Filipino citizen by naturalization and admitted as such.

However, pursuant to Section 1 of Republic Act No. 530, this Decision shall not become executory until after two (2) years from its promulgation and after the Court, on proper hearing, with the attendance of the Solicitor General or his representative, is satisfied, and so finds, that during the intervening time the applicant has (1) not left the Philippines; (2) has dedicated himself continuously to lawful calling or profession; (3) has not been convicted of any offense or violation of Government promulgated rules; (4) or committed any act prejudicial to the interest of the nation or contrary to any government announced policies.

As soon as this decision shall have become final and executory, as provided under Section 1 of RA No. 530, the Clerk of Court of this Court is hereby directed to issue to the petitioner a Naturalization Certificate, after the petitioner shall have subscribed to an Oath, in accordance with Section 12 of Commonwealth Act No. 473, as amended. The Local Civil Registry of the City of Manila is, likewise directed to register the Naturalization Certificate in the proper Civil Registry.

SO ORDERED.10

The Republic appealed to the Court of Appeals which affirmed in toto the decision of the trial court.

Hence, the Republic filed the instant petition, contending that the trial court did not acquire jurisdiction over the case because the notice or order setting the petition for hearing failed to state the names of the witnesses sought to be presented by respondent.

The petition is meritorious.

The law in point is CA 473 as modified by Republic Act No. 530, particularly, Section 9 thereof which provides:

Sec. 9. Notification and appearance. - Immediately upon the filing of a petition, it shall be the duty of the clerk of court to publish the same at the petitioner's expense, once a week for three consecutive weeks, in the Official Gazette, and in one of the newspapers of general circulation in the province where the petitioner resides, and to have copies of said petition and a general notice of the hearing posted in a public and conspicuous place in his office or in the building where said office is located, setting forth in such notice the name, birthplace and residence of petitioner, the date and place of his arrival in the Philippines, the names of the witnesses whom the petitioner proposes to introduce in support of his petition, and the date of the hearing of the petition, which hearing shall not be held until after six months from the date of the last publication of the notice. The clerk shall, as soon as possible, forward copies of the petition, the sentence, the naturalization certificate, and other pertinent data to the Department of Interior [now Office of the President] the Bureau of Justice [now Office of the Solicitor General], the Provincial Inspector of the Philippine Constabulary [now the Provincial Commander] of the province and the justice of the peace [now Municipal Trial Judge] of the municipality wherein the petitioner resides.

To be a valid publication, the following requisites must concur: (a) the petition and notice of hearing must be published; (b) the publication must be once a week for three consecutive weeks; and, (c) the publication must be in the Official Gazette and in a newspaper of general circulation in the province where the applicant resides. The said provision also requires that copies of the petition and notice of hearing must be posted in the office of the clerk of court or in the building where the office is located.11 The same notice must also indicate, among others, the names of the witnesses whom petitioner proposes to introduce at the trial.

In Gan Tsitung v. Republic,12 the Court held that non-compliance with Section 9 of CA 473, relative to the publication of the notice once a week for three consecutive weeks is fatal for it impairs the very root or foundation of the authority to decide the case, regardless of whether the one to blame is the clerk of court or the petitioner or his counsel. This doctrine equally applies to the determination of the sufficiency of the contents of the notice of hearing or the petition itself because an incomplete notice or petition even if published, is no publication at all. Thus in Sy v. Republic,13 it was held that the requirement under Section 9 that the copy of the petition to be posted and published should be a textual or verbatim restatement of the petition filed, is jurisdictional.

In the same vein, the failure to state all the required details in the notice of hearing, like the name of applicant's witnesses, as in the instant case, constitutes a fatal defect. The publication of the affidavit of said witnesses did not cure the omission of their names in the notice of hearing. It is a settled rule that naturalization laws should be rigidly enforced and strictly construed in favor of the government and against the applicant.14

In Ong Chia v. Republic,15 the petitioner failed to indicate in his petition the address appearing in his Immigrant Certificate of Residence. He thus prayed that the publication of his Immigrant Certificate of Residence as an annex to his petition be considered as a substantial compliance with the rules. In denying the petition for naturalization, the Court stressed that the rule of strict application of the law in naturalization cases defeat petitioner's argument of "substantial compliance" with the requirement under the Revised Naturalization Law. Verily, naturalization proceedings are impressed with the highest public interest, involving as it does an inquiry as to when an alien should be allowed to enjoy the coveted boon of Filipino citizenship. It is for this reason that the burden of proof is upon the applicant to show full and complete compliance with the requirements of the law.16

Moreover, even if the rule on substantial compliance as to the contents of the notice of hearing be applied in this case, the petition would still be denied because respondent failed to prove that the witnesses presented were competent to vouch for his good moral character and that said witnesses are of themselves possessed of good moral character.

Vouching witnesses stand as insurers of the applicant's conduct and character. For this reason, they are expected to testify on specific facts and events justifying the inference that applicant - as personally known to them - possesses all the qualifications and none of the disqualifications provided by law for purposes of naturalization.17

In the instant case, the witnesses did not testify on specific acts nor elaborate on the traits of respondent that would convince the Court that they know respondent well and are therefore in the position to vouch for his good moral character. At the most, the witnesses were shown to be close to the father of respondent but not to the latter. Witness Eduardo Aguilar, is a Supervising Labor and Employment Officer of the Department of Labor and Employment (NCR)18 with whom respondent's father occasionally turns for advice on labor standards matters in relation to his business. He testified that he sees respondent more than three times a month whenever he visits their house but admitted that he does not know where respondent obtained his primary and secondary education. In all said visits, he chanced upon respondent working on the computer. Except for casual greetings, however, Aguilar never mentioned any conversation he had with respondent. Also, his declarations as to the character of respondent are mere recitals of the required qualifications under Section 219 and the absence of the disqualifications under Section 4,20 of CA 473, and not supported by factual basis. Pertinent portions of his testimony are as follows:

ATTY. CHING, JR.:

Do you know the petitioner here?cralawlibrary

WITNESS:

Yes, sir.

ATTY. CHING, JR.:

How did you come to know him?cralawlibrary

WITNESS:

I know him for more than ten (10) years, since birth, through the parents, sir.

x x x

ATTY. CHING, JR.:

How often do you see him?cralawlibrary

WITNESS:

Frequently, sir. More than three (3) times a month.

ATTY. CHING, JR.:

What do you usually do during the time you meet him?cralawlibrary

WITNESS:

I always say "hello" to him during that time when he was still a little boy up to now that he has grown up already, sir.

ATTY. CHING, JR.:

Where does the petitioner resides?cralawlibrary

WITNESS:

He resides in Samat St., Tondo, Manila, sir.

ATTY. CHING, JR.:

During all the time that you have known him, what is your impression of him?cralawlibrary

WITNESS:

I have an impression that he is a good son to his parents and he is friendly especially to his neighbors and sometimes when I see him in school, in their office, he usually entertains these friends of his, sir.

ATTY. CHING, JR.:

In your opinion, does the petitioner have all the qualifications necessary to become a citizen of the Philippines?cralawlibrary

WITNESS:

Yes, sir.

ATTY. CHING, JR.:

Why do you say that?cralawlibrary

WITNESS:

Because he is more than 21 years old. He has resided in the Philippines and in the City of Manila continuously for more than ten years, in fact, since his birth. He is of good moral character and believes in the principles underlying the Philippine Constitution. He has mingled socially with the Filipino (sic) and has evinced a sincere desire to learn and embrace the customs, ideals and traditions of the Filipino people. He has conducted himself in a proper and irreproachable manner during the entire period of his residence in the Philippines in his relations with the constituted government as well as with the community in which he is living, sir. And, also, he has a gainful occupation.

ATTY. CHING, JR.:

And do you know whether the petitioner is not disqualified to become the (sic) citizen of the Philippines?cralawlibrary

WITNESS:

Yes, sir.

ATTY. CHING, JR.:

Will you please tell us why?cralawlibrary

WITNESS:

He is not disqualified because he is not opposed to organized government, he does not believe in the use of force for the success of his ideas, he is not a polygamist or a believer in the practice of polygamy. He has not been convicted of any crime involving moral turpitude and he is not suffering from mental alienation or incurable contagious disease, sir.

x x x x.21

COURT:

How close are you to the petitioner? Why are you a witness here now in this naturalization petition?cralawlibrary

WITNESS:

Because I am close to the parents, Your Honor, and I frequently visit their place that is why I know the petitioner.

x x x x22

COURT:

How long have you known the parents?cralawlibrary

WITNESS:

More or less by 1975 (sic), Your Honor.

COURT:

What made you close to them that long?cralawlibrary

WITNESS:

Because I am working in the government, Your Honor.

x x x x

Department of Labor, Your Honor.

x x x x23

SOLICITOR NON:

Do you know what is the profession of the petitioner?cralawlibrary

WITNESS:

Yes, ma'am.

x x x x

He is related to the company of his father. Whenever I saw him, he d been (sic) working with the computer, ma'am.

x x x

SOLICITOR NON:

Do you know what course was taken up by petitioner?

x x x x

WITNESS:

Fine arts, major in advertising, ma'am,

SOLICITOR NON:

Do you know where petitioner obtained his primary and secondary education?cralawlibrary

WITNESS:

I don't think so, ma'am, but I know he studied.

SOLICITOR NON:

You do not know because you are more close to the parents of the petitioner?cralawlibrary

WITNESS:

Yes, ma'am.

SOLICITOR NON:

You are more close to the parents of the petitioner. You do not know much of the petitioner?cralawlibrary

WITNESS:

I know them but maybe I do not know the details of his studies, ma'am. But what I know is that, he was studying but the school he went to, I don't intend to know.24

On the other hand, Patrocinio Ayson is an accountant of respondent's father. She holds office near the house of respondent, and sees him twice a month25 or during tax seasons.26 Like Aguilar, however, Ayson merely reiterated the contents of her affidavit and recited the qualifications and disqualifications of an applicant under CA 473. Her assessment of respondent's moral character did not come from her own personal observation of his character but only from what she heard from respondent's parents and friends. As to who those friends are and as to what are those specific instances, events or acts of respondent that led her to conclude that said respondent is fit to become a Filipino citizen, were not specified by Ayson. Thus'

ATTY. CHING, JR.:

In your opinion, does the petitioner have all the qualifications necessary to become a citizen of the Philippines?cralawlibrary

WITNESS:

Yes, sir.

ATTY. CHING, JR.:

What made you consider that, as you have said, the petitioner has all the qualifications to become a citizen of the Philippines?cralawlibrary

WITNESS:

Because he is now 23 yeas old and he resides in the Philippines since birth. He believes in the Filipino traditions and ideals. He also has a gainable income and he is of good moral character. He mingles socially with the Filipinos, and has evinced a sincere desire to learn and embrace the customs, ideals, and traditions of the Filipino people, sir. He has conducted himself in a proper and irreproachable manner during the entire period of his residence in the Philippines in his relations with the constituted government as well as with the community in which he is living.

ATTY. CHING, JR.:

Do you know whether the petitioner is not disqualified to become a citizen of the Philippines?cralawlibrary

WITNESS:

Yes, sir.

x x x x

Because petitioner is not opposed to organized government, sir. He does not believe in the use of force for the success of his ideas; he is not a polygamist or a believer in the practice of polygamy; he has not been convicted of any crime involving moral turpitude and he is not suffering from mental alienation or incurable contagious diseases.

COURT:

Seemingly, your statement is coming from someone who has known the petitioner for such a long time to be able to have knowledge of all these matters which are too personal to the petitioner. What do you say to that? How long have you known the petitioner?cralawlibrary

WITNESS:

I have known him, Your Honor, since 1977. Since the baptism of the child.

COURT:

Why do you know? Do you have that proximity to the petitioner, at least the place where you live? Is it close to one another that you can closely monitor these things that have happened to the petitioner's life?cralawlibrary

WITNESS:

My office is very near to his house, Your Honor.

COURT:

And you as an office girl, how come that you know all the things that you have testified? You were embroiled in your office work. How were you able to know the things that you have testified?cralawlibrary

WITNESS:

I usually talk to the parents through phone during my free time, Your Honor.

COURT:

It was through the parents that you came to know these?cralawlibrary

WITNESS:

Yes, Your Honor.

COURT:

Don't you think these are hearsay?cralawlibrary

WITNESS:

No, Your Honor.

COURT:

Aside from the parents, from whom did you know these things, meaning, those that you have testified on?cralawlibrary

WITNESS:

I know his friends and I know the petitioner, Your Honor. I know his circle of friends and I was able to talk to them too and confirmed what I learned from his parents.27

Moreover, 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."28

In Yap v. Republic,29 the Court defined the phrase "credible person" and held that the petitioner therein failed to present evidence that his witnesses fall within the definition. Thus'

Then again, Section 7 of the Naturalization Law requires that each petition for naturalization be supported by the affidavit of two (2) "credible persons." Referring to the meaning of this phrase, we had occasion to say, as early as May 30, 1958:

"*** Within the purview of the Naturalization Law, a 'credible' person is, to our mind, 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 worthiness of the petitioner. Thus, in Cu v. Republic, G.R. No. L-3018 (decided on June 18, 1951), we declared that said affiant 'are in a way insurers of the character of the candidate concerned.' Indeed, by their affidavits, they do not merely make the statements herein contained. They also vouch for the applicant, attest to the merits of his petition and sort of underwrite the same." (Ong v. Republic, 103 Phil. 964.)

The attesting witnesses of petitioner herein do not appear to belong to this category. One of them, Leticia C. Alvarez, is a teacher in the Zamboanga Chinese School, in which he had been her pupil for two (2) years in the elementary department. The other, Catalino C. Pantaleon, is shop superintendent of the Bureau of Public Highways, Zamboanga City. Without, in the least, underrating the profession or occupation of each, the fact is that there is absolutely nothing in the record to indicate, even if remotely, that any of them has the status contemplated in the Naturalization Act. This is not to cast any doubt upon the moral fabric of said witnesses. It simply indicates that their honesty and integrity-even if the same were assumed to be a fact - are insufficient to place them within the class envisaged by law. It is, also, necessary that each one possesses such a high degree of reputation in the community for honesty and integrity that "his word may be taken on its face value as a good warranty of the worthiness of the petitioner."

In the case at bar, respondent did not present testimonial or documentary evidence to prove that his witnesses are "credible persons" as defined under the Naturalization Law. The Court does not intend to cast any aspersion upon the character of these witnesses. This simply means that the respondent focused on presenting evidence tending to build his own good moral character and neglected to establish the credibility and good moral character of his witnesses.

Finally, the Court notes the testimony30 of respondent that he is employed by the company of his father, the "Filcycle Industrial Sales," who as President thereof certified that respondent was employed by the company as graphic artist/production manager from 1999 up to the date of the issuance of the certification on August 23, 2000. However, the Income Tax Returns for the years 1997, 1998 and 1999, which respondent submitted in support of his testimony, show that his employer is "The New Elpo Merchandise Mark Corp.," and not the "Filcycle Industrial Sales Corp." This, notwithstanding, respondent failed to explain the discrepancy and to fortify his allegations.

In sum, respondent failed to show full and complete compliance with the requirements of the Naturalization Law. For this reason, his petition for naturalization must be denied.

WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The July 6, 2005 Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. No. CV No. 71924, which affirmed in toto the June 19, 2001 Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 49, is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The petition for naturalization in Nat. Case No. 99-94814, is DISMISSED.

SO ORDERED.


Endnotes:


1 Penned by Associate Justice Rosalinda Asuncion-Vicente and concurred in by Associate Justices Godardo A. Jacinto and Bienvenido L. Reyes; rollo, pp. 39-52.

2 Penned by Judge Concepcion S. Alarcon-Vergara; rollo, pp. 68-77.

3 This amount was based on the Income Tax Return of petitioner for the year 1998. At the trial, he presented his Income Tax Return for the period January 1, 1999 to December 31, 1999, showing that his Gross Taxable Compensation Income is P103,950.00; records, pp. 69-70.

4 Rollo, p. 62.

5 Exhibit "F" (Publisher's Affidavit), records, p. 22; and exhibits "G," "H," and "I" (October 11, 18 and 25, 1999 issues of Public View), records, pp. 23-36.

6 Exhibit "J" (Certificate of Publication), records, p. 37; and exhibits "K," "L," and "M" (copies of Official Gazette).

7 Affidavit of Gerry C. Duncan, Sheriff, IV of the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 49; records, p. 19.

8 Rollo, p. 63.

9 Id. at 64-67.

10 Id. at 76-77.

11 Republic v. Hamilton Tan Keh, G.R. No. 144742, November 11, 2004, 442 SCRA 203, 211.

12 122 Phil. 805, 807 (1965).

13 154 Phil. 673, 678 (1974).

14 Ong Chia v. Republic, G.R. No. 127240, March 27, 2000, 328 SCRA 749, 759.

15 Id.

16 Sy v. Republic, supra at 677-678.

17 Tse Viw v. Republic, 124 Phil. 1311, 1313 (1966).

18 TSN, November 8, 2000, pp. 38-39.

19 SEC. 2. Qualifications. - Subject to Section four of this Act, any person having the following qualifications may become a citizen of the Philippines by naturalization:

First. He must be not less than twenty-one years of age on the day of the hearing of the petition;

Second. He must have resided in the Philippines for a continuous period of not less than ten years;

Third. He must be of good moral character and believes in the principles underlying the Philippine Constitution, and must have conducted himself in a proper and irreproachable manner during the entire period of his residence in the Philippines in his relation with the constituted government as well as with the community in which he is living;

Fourth. He must own real estate in the Philippines worth not less than five thousand pesos, Philippine currency, or must have some known lucrative trade, profession, or lawful occupation;

Fifth. He must be able to speak and write English or Spanish and any one of the principal Philippine languages; andcralawlibrary

Sixth. He must have enrolled his minor children of school age, in any of the public schools recognized by the Office of Private Education of the Philippines (now Dept. of Education, Culture and Sports), where Philippine history, government and civics are taught or prescribed as part of the school curriculum, during the entire period of residence in the Philippines required of him prior to the hearing of his petition for naturalization as Philippine citizen.

20 SEC. 4. Who are disqualified. - The following cannot be naturalized as Philippine citizens:

(a) Persons opposed to organized government or affiliated with any association or group of persons who uphold and teach doctrines opposing all organized governments;

(b) Persons defending or teaching the necessity or propriety of violence, personal assault, or assassination of the success and predominance of their ideas;

(c) Polygamist or believers in the practice of polygamy;

(d) Persons convicted of crimes involving moral turpitude;

(e) Persons suffering from mental alienation or incurable contagious diseases;

(f) Persons who, during the period of their residence in the Philippines, have not mingled socially with the Filipinos, or who have not evinced a sincere desire to learn and embrace the customs, traditions, and ideals of the Filipinos;

(g) Citizens or subjects of nations with whom the United States and the Philippines are at war, during the period of such war; [and]

(h) Citizens or subject of a foreign country other than United States, whose laws do not grant Filipinos the right to become naturalized citizens or subjects thereof.

21 TSN, July 26, 2000, pp. 23-26.

22 TSN, November 8, 2000, pp. 20-21.

23 Id. at 22-23.

24 Id. at 25-27.

25 TSN, July 26, 2000, p. 11.

26 TSN, December 11, 2000, p. 7.

27 TSN, July 26, 2000, pp. 14-18.

28 Section 7 of RA 473:

SEC. 7 Petition for citizenship. - x x x The petition must be signed by the applicant in his own handwriting and be supported by the affidavit of at least two credible persons, stating that they are citizens of the Philippines and personally know the petitioner to be a resident of the Philippines for the period of time required by this Act and person of good repute and morally irreproachable, and that said petitioner has in their opinion all the qualifications necessary to become a citizen of the Philippines and is not in any way disqualified under the provisions of this Act. The petition shall also set forth the names and post office address of such witness as the petitioner may desire to introduce at the hearing of the case. x x x

29 126 Phil. 345, 347-348 (1967), citing Ong v. Republic, 103 Phil. 964 (1958).

30 TSN, August 23, 2000, p. 19 and September 20, 2000, p. 3.

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