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A. Kinds of citizenship, purpose of distinguishing citizenship and kinds of citizenship

Citizenship is a treasured right conferred on those whom the state believes are deserving of the privilege. It is a “precious heritage, as well as an inestimable acquisition,” that cannot be taken lightly by anyone – either by those who enjoy it or by those who dispute it. (Tecson v. COMELEC, En Banc,G.R. Nos. 161434, 161634, 161824, 03 March 2004)

Citizenship is personal and, more or less a permanent membership in a political community. It denotes possession within that particular political community of full civil and political rights subject to special disqualifications. Reciprocally, it imposes the duty of allegiance to the political community. The core of citizenship is the capacity to enjoy political rights, that is, the right to participate in government principally through the right to vote, the right to hold public office and the right to petition the government for redress of grievance. (Republic v. Karbasi, G.R. No. 210412, 29 July 2015)


a. Natural-born

Natural-born citizens are those who are citizens of the Philippines from birth without having to perform any act to acquire or perfect their Philippine citizenship. Those who elect Philippine citizenship in accordance with paragraph (3), Section 1 hereof shall be deemed natural-born citizens. (Section 2, Article IV, 1987 Constitution)

1) Nature and concept

Natural-born citizens are Filipino citizens from birth. They do not need to do any positive act to acquire or perfect their Philippine citizenship.

2) No judicial declaration of citizenship

Under our laws, there can be no action or proceeding for the judicial declaration of the citizenship of an individual. Courts of justice exist for the settlement of justiciable controversies, which imply a given right, legally demandable and enforceable, an act or omission violative of said right, and a remedy granted or sanctioned by law, for said breach of right. As an incident only of the adjudication of the rights of the parties to a controversy, the court may pass upon, and make a pronouncement relative to, their status. Otherwise, such a pronouncement is beyond judicial power. Thus, for instance, no action or proceeding may be instituted for a declaration to the effect that plaintiff or petitioner is married, or single, or a legitimate child, although a finding thereon may be made as a necessary premise to justify a given relief available only to one enjoying said status. At times, the law permits the acquisition of a given status, such as naturalization, by judicial decree. But, there is no similar legislation authorizing the institution of a judicial proceeding to declare that a given person is part of our citizenry. (Danilo Channie Tan v. Republic, En Banc, G.R. No. L-14159, 18 April 1960)

3) Natural-born allowed to run public office after reacquiring citizenship

Natural-born citizens of the Philippines who have lost their citizenship by reason of their naturalization as citizens of a foreign country may qualify to run for public office upon taking the Oath of Allegiance and making a sworn renunciation of their foreign citizenship. (Arnado v. COMELEC, En Banc, G.R. No. 210164, 18 August 2015)

b. Naturalized

These are foreigners who elected to become Filipino citizens via the process of naturalization.

NB: For more discussions, see Part IV – Citizenship > D. Modes of acquiring citizenship > b. Naturalization


a. Natural-born required in certain Government positions

Under the 1987 Constitution, certain Government positions require natural-born citizenship, such as the President, Senator, Member of the House of Representative, Member of the Supreme Court, Chairman and Commissioners of the Civil Service Commission, Chairman and Commissioners of the Commission on Elections, Chairman and Commissioners of the Commission on Audit, Ombudsman and Deputies of the Office of the Ombudsman, Members of the Central Monetary Authority / Banko Sentral ng Pilipinas, and Chairman and Members of the Commission on Human Rights.

b. Natural-born who lost citizenship may be transferee of private properties

Save in cases of hereditary succession, no private lands shall be transferred or conveyed except to individuals, corporations, or associations qualified to acquire or hold lands of the public domain. (Section 7, Article XII, Ibid.)

Notwithstanding the provisions of Section 7 of this Article, a natural-born citizen of the Philippines who has lost his Philippine citizenship may be a transferee of private lands, subject to limitations provided by law. (Section 8, Article XII, Ibid.)

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