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Jun 5, 2009

G.R. No. 177721, July 3, 2007

  • Only natural-born Filipino citizens may be appointed as justice of the Supreme Court
  • Decision of administrative body (Bureau of Immigration) declaring one a natural-born citizen is not binding upon the courts when there are circumstances that entail factual assertions that need to be threshed out in proper judicial proceedings


This case arose when respondent Gregory S. Ong was appointed by Executive Secretary, in representation of the Office of the President, as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. Petitioners contended that respondent Ong is a Chinese citizen, born on May 25, 1953 to Chinese parents. They further added that even if it were granted that eleven years after respondent Ong’s birth, his father was finally granted Filipino citizenship by naturalization, that, by itself, would not make respondent Ong a natural-born citizen. For his part, respondent Ong contended that he is a natural-born citizen and presented a certification from the Bureau of Immigration and the DOJ declaring him to be such.


  • Whether or not respondent Ong is a natural-born Filipino citizen


xxx respondent Ong is a naturalized Filipino citizen. The alleged subsequent recognition of his natural-born status by the Bureau of Immigration and the DOJ cannot amend the final decision of the trial court stating that respondent Ong and his mother were naturalized along with his father.

The series of events and long string of alleged changes in the nationalities of respondent Ong's ancestors, by various births, marriages and deaths, all entail factual assertions that need to be threshed out in proper judicial proceedings so as to correct the existing records on his birth and citizenship. The chain of evidence would have to show that Dy Guiok Santos, respondent Ong's mother, was a Filipino citizen, contrary to what still appears in the records of this Court. Respondent Ong has the burden of proving in court his alleged ancestral tree as well as his citizenship under the time-line of three Constitutions. Until this is done, respondent Ong cannot accept an appointment to this Court as that would be a violation of the Constitution. For this reason, he can be prevented by injunction from doing so.


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