The congressional race in the first district is heating up.
The contest is between incumbent Jocelyn S. Limkaichong and former Rep. Jacinto Paras.
The camp of Paras has filed a disqualification case against Rep. Limkaichong.
The ground is essentially the same as the disqualification case filed in the previous election: that Rep. Limkaichong is not a natural born Filipino.
The constitution requires that a member of the house of representatives must be a natural born Filipino.
The Supreme Court has said that a congressman must be a natural born citizen not only on the day of the election, but must be so, during the entire tenure of office (Limkaichong v Comelec, G.R. 178831-32, April 1, 2009) .
What is important is that when it comes to citizenship of a member of congress, or any elective official for that matter, it can be questioned anytime, according to the Supreme Court.
For instance, in Frivaldo v Comelec, the Supreme Court ruled that a petition to disqualify an elective official, on the ground that he is not a Filipino citizen, may be file at anytime
Thus, legally raising again the issue of the citizenship of Rep. Limkaichong comes not as a surprise.
But what is surprising is the manner of questioning her citizenship
The Supreme Court has already ruled in the Limkaichong case (Limkaichong v Comelec July 30, 2009) that Rep. Limkaichong’s qualification cannot be attacked before any tribunal or government institution.
“It is not enough that one's qualification, or lack of it, to hold an office requiring one to be a natural-born citizen, be attacked and questioned before any tribunal or government institution,..” the Court said.
There must be proper proceedings required by law.
The proper proceeding, as the Supreme Court itself has spelled out, is denaturalization proceedings.
The Supreme Court cited Section 18 Commonwealth Act 473.
The basis for questioning Rep. Limkaichong’s citizenship is the alleged defects in the naturalization of her father Julio Ong Sy a long time ago.
Under the law, the Solicitor general, his representative or the provincial fiscal can file a motion in court to cancel the naturalization certificate of a naturalized person, in this case Rep. Limkaichong’s father Julio Ong Sy.
The Supreme Court has already ruled that not even private persons, in an election contest, can seek a declaration of Rep. Limkaichong’s non-qualification.
Denaturalization “is plainly not a matter that may be raised by private persons in an election case involving the naturalized citizen’s (Juilo Sy’s) descendant (Rep. Limkaichong)”, said the Supreme Court.
This is decision of the Supreme Court .
It is the law of the case.
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