(Question B.19, Political Law, 2019 Bar Exam)
Candidate X, a naturalized Filipino citizen, ran for Congressman for the Lone District of Batanes. After a close electoral contest, he won by a slim margin of 500 votes. His sole opponent, Y, filed an election protest before the Commission on Election (COMELEC), claiming that X should be disqualified to run for said position because he is not a natural-born citizen. While the case was pending, X was proclaimed by the Provincial Election Supervisor of Batanes as the duly elected Congressman of the province.
(a) Distinguish between natural-born and naturalized citizen under the 1987 Constitution, (2%)
(b) Is X qualified to run for Congress? Explain. (1%)
(c) Did X’s proclamation divest the COMELEC of its jurisdiction to decide the case and vest the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET) jurisdiction to hear the case? Explain. (2%)
(a) 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. On the other hand, naturalized citizens are those who acquired or elected to become Filipino citizens via the legal process of naturalization.
(b) No. Answer
Under the 1987 Constitution, only a natural-born Filipino citizen may run and hold office as a Member of the House of Representatives. Rule
In the case at bar, X is a naturalized citizen and not a natural-born Filipino. Accordingly, he is disqualified from running and holding office as a Members of the House of Representative. Apply
Thus, X is not qualified to run for Congress. Conclusion
(c) No. Answer
Under jurisprudence, HRET has jurisdiction of an election contest against a Member of the House Representatives if once all of the following requisites are met: (1) a valid proclamation; (2) a proper oath, and, (3) assumption of office. Rule
In the case at bar, X has not yet taken oath and assumed office. Accordingly, COMELEC still has jurisdiction. Apply
Thus, the proclamation of X did not divest COMELEC of its jurisdiction to decide the case. Conclusion
(Notice: The suggested answers simulate those that a bar examinee may provide, and thus specific citations are not provided. Notwithstanding, in the reviewers, the bar exam question is answered under the appropriate topic which discusses the concepts and principles, as well as provide for specific citations. Accordingly, please refer to it on the reviewer or in the Library.)
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