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Caasi v.

CA, 191 SCRA 317


Caasi v. CA GR No. 88831, 84508 November 8, 1990 Grino-Aquino, J. Doctrine: To be qualified to run for elective office in the Philippines, the law requires that the candidate who is a green card holder must have waived his status as a permanent resident or immigrant of a foreign country. Nature: Petition for review of the decision of the CA and Petition for certiorari to review the decision of the Commission on Election Facts: Merito Miguel was elected as municipal mayor of Bolinao, Pangasinan in the local elections of 1988. Petitions were filed for his disqualification under Sec 68 of the Omnibus Election Code, on the ground that he is a green card holder, hence, a permanent resident of the US, not of Bolinao o One of the petitioners is Mateo Caasi, his rival candidate for the position of mayor Miguel admitted that he holds a green card issued to him by the US Immigration Service, but he denied that he is a permanent resident of the US o He allegedly obtained the green card for convenience in order that he may freely enter the US for his periodic medical examination and to visit his children there. o He alleged that he is a permanent resident of Bolinao, Pangasinan that he voted in all previous elections. COMELEC dismissed the petitions, except for Commissioner Anacleto Badoy, Jr. o According to COMELEC, the possession of a green card by Miguel does not sufficiently establish that he had abandoned his residence in the Philippines o COMELEC said that as the respondent meets the basic requirements of citizenship and residence for candidates to elective local officials under Sec 42 of Local Govt. Code, there is no legal obstacle to his candidacy for mayor. o In the dissenting opinion of Commissioner Badoy, he opined that a green card holder, being a permanent resident of or an immigrant of a foreign country, under Sec. 68 of the Omnibus Election Code, has to prove that he has waived his status as a permanent resident or immigrant to be qualified to run for election office. Is green card a proof that the holder is a permanent resident of the US?

Issue: Yes.

Did Miguel waive his status as permanent resident or immigrant to US prior to the local elections? No. Is he disqualified to become a candidate of municipal mayor? Yes. Ruling: Miguels immigration to the US in 1984 constituted an abandonment of his domicile and residence in the Philippines o The intention to live there permanently is evidenced by his application for an immigrants visa. o Immigration removing into one place from another/entering into a country with the intention of residing in it. o Immigrant person who removes into a country for the purpose of permanent residence As a resident alien in the US, Miguel owes temporary and local allegiance to the US, in return for the protection given to him during the period of his residence. Sec 18, Art XI of the 1987 Constitution is not applicable to Miguel o Any public officer or employee who seeks to change his citizenship or acquire the status of an immigrant of another country during his tenure shall be dealt with by law o not applicable to Miguel for he acquired the status of an immigrant of US before he was elected to public office, not during his tenure as mayor Sec 68 of the Omnibus Election Code is the applicable law to him o Any person who is a permanent resident of or an immigrant to a foreign country shall not be qualified to run for any elective office under this Code, unless such person has waived his status as permanent resident or immigrant of a foreign country in accordance with the residence requirement provided for in the election laws o Residence in the municipality where he intends to run for elective office for at least 1 year at the time of filing his certificate of candidacy is one of the qualifications that a candidate for elective public office must possess. He resided in Bolinao for only 3 months after his return to the Phils and before he ran for mayor Clear policy of excluding from the right to hold elective public office those Philippine citizens who possess dual loyalties and allegiance, as such are incapable of the entire devotion to the interest and welfare of their homeland To be qualified to run for elective office in the Philippines, the law requires that the candidate who is a green card holder must have waived his status as a permanent resident or immigrant of a foreign country. o His act of filing a certificate of candidacy for elective office in the Philippines did not of itself constitute a waiver of his status as a permanent resident or immigrant of US o The waiver of green card should be manifested by some act or acts independent of and done prior to filing his candidacy for elective office

Without such prior waiver, he was disqualified to run for any elective office Miguels application for immigrant status and permanent residence in the US and his possession of a green card attesting to such status are conclusive proof that he is a permanent resident of US despite his occasional visits to the Philippines o Miguel filled up his application for Immigrant Visa in his own handwriting, answering Permanently on the question of his length of intended stay. o On its face, the green card identifies Miguel in clear bold letters as a Resident Alien SC annulled the election of Miguel as municipal mayor. o