Moy Ya Lim Yao vs. Commissoner of Immigration

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MOY YA LIM YAO alias EDILBERTO AGUINALDO LIM and LAU YUEN YEUNG, petitioners-appellants,

G.R. No. L-­21289
October 4, 1971


Petitioners seek the issuance of a writ of injunction against the Commissioner of Immigration, “restraining the latter and/or his authorized representative from ordering plaintiff Lau Yuen Yeung to leave the Philippines and causing her arrest and deportation and the confiscation of her bond, upon her failure to do so.”

On February 8, 1961, Lau Yuen Yeung applied for a passport visa to enter the Philippines as a non-­immigrant. In the interrogation made in connection with her application for a temporary visitor’s visa to enter the Philippines, she stated that she was a Chinese residing at Kowloon, Hongkong, and that she desired to take a pleasure trip to the Philippines to visit her great (grand) uncle Lau Ching Ping for a period of one month. She was permitted to come into the Philippines on March 13, 1961, and was permitted to stay for a period of one month which would expire on April 13, 1961.

On the date of her arrival, Asher Y. Cheng filed a bond in the amount of P1,000.00 to undertake, among others that said Lau Yuen Yeung would actually depart from the Philippines on or before the expiration of her authorized period of stay in this country or within the period as in his discretion the Commissioner of Immigration or his authorized representative might properly allow. After repeated extensions, petitioner Lau Yuen Yeung was allowed to stay in the Philippines up to February 13, 1962.

On January 25, 1962, she contracted marriage with Moy Ya Lim Yao alias Edilberto Aguinaldo Lim an alleged Filipino citizen. Because of the contemplated action of respondent to confiscate her bond and order her arrest and immediate deportation, after the expiration of her authorized stay, she brought this action for injunction with preliminary injunction. At the hearing which took place one and a half years after her arrival, it was admitted that petitioner Lau Yuen Yeung could not write either English or Tagalog. Except for a few words, she could not speak either English or Tagalog. She could not name any Filipino neighbor, with a Filipino name except one, Rosa. She did not know the names of her brothers-­in-­law, or sisters-in-­law.


Should Lau Yuen Yeung become ipso facto a Filipino citizen, upon her marriage to a Filipino citizen?


YES. The Court persuaded that it is in the best interest of all concerned that under Section 15 of Commonwealth Act 473, an alien woman marrying a Filipino, native born or naturalized, becomes ipso facto a Filipina provided she is not disqualified to be a citizen of the Philippines under Section 4 of the same law. Likewise, an alien woman married to an alien who is subsequently naturalized here follows the Philippine citizenship of her husband the moment he takes his oath as Filipino citizen, provided that she does not suffer from any of the disqualifications under said Section 4.

As under any other law rich in benefits for those coming under it, doubtless there will be instances where unscrupulous persons will attempt to take advantage of this provision of law by entering into fake and fictitious marriages or mala fide matrimonies. We cannot as a matter of law hold that just because of these possibilities, the construction of the provision should be otherwise than as dictated inexorably by more ponderous relevant considerations, legal, juridical and practical. There can always be means of discovering such undesirable practice and every case can be dealt with accordingly as it arises.

Sec. 15. Effect of the naturalization on wife and children. — Any woman who is now or may hereafter be married to a citizen of the Philippines, and who might herself be lawfully naturalized shall be deemed a citizen of the Philippines.

Accordingly, there is at least one decision of this Court, wherein it seems it is quite clearly implied that this Court is of the view that under Section 16 of the Naturalization Law, the widow and children of an applicant for naturalization who dies during the proceedings do not have to submit themselves to another naturalization proceeding in order to avail of the benefits of the proceedings involving the husband.

SEC. 16. Right of widow and children of petitioners who have died. — In case a petitioner should die before the final decision has been rendered, his widow and minor children may continue the proceedings. The decision rendered in the case shall, so far as the widow and minor children are concerned, produce the same legal effect as if it had been rendered during the life of the petitioner.

Section 16, as may be seen, is a parallel provision to Section 15. If the widow of an applicant for naturalization as Filipino, who dies during the proceedings, is not required to go through a naturalization preceeding, in order to be considered as a Filipino citizen hereof, it should follow that the wife of a living Filipino cannot be denied the same privilege. This is plain common sense and there is absolutely no evidence that the Legislature intended to treat them differently.

IN VIEW OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the judgment of the Court a quo dismissing appellants’ petition for injunction is hereby reversed and the Commissioner of Immigration and/or his authorized representative is permanently enjoined from causing the arrest and deportation and the confiscation of the bond of appellant Lau Yuen Yeung, who is hereby declared to have become a Filipino citizen from and by virtue of her marriage to her co-­appellant Moy Ya Lim Yao alias Edilberto Aguinaldo Lim, a Filipino citizen on January 25, 1962.

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