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Board of Commissioners (Commission on Immigration and Deportation),

Board of Special Inquiry, Commissioner Andrea D. Domingo, Associate


Commissioner Jorge V. Sarmiento, Acting Associate Commissioner Regino
R. Santiago, Members of the Board of Special Inquiry, Estanislao Canta, Leo
Magahom and Benjamin Kalaw, petitioners, versus Hon. Joselito dela Rosa,
Presiding Judge, RTC Manila, Branch 29, William T. Gatchalian,
respondents.
G. R. Nos. 95122.23 May 31, 1991

Facts:

On July 12, 1960, Santiago Gatchalian, grandfather of William Gatchalian, was recognized
by the Bureau of Immigration as a native born Filipino citizen following the citizenship of
his natural born mother, Marciana Gatchalian.

On June 27, 1961, William Gatchalian, then a twelve-year old minor, arrived in Manila
from Hongkong together with Gloria, Francisco and Johnson Gatchalian. They had with
them Certificate of Registration and Identity issued by the Philippine Consulate in
Hongkong based on a cablegram bearing the signature of the then Secretary of Foreign
Affairs, Felixberto Serrano, and sought admission as Filipino citizens. After investigation,
the Board of Special Inquiry No. 1 rendered a decision dated July 5, 1961, admitting
William Gatchalian and his companions as Filipino citizens and was issued Identification
Certificates.

On January 24, 1962, the then Secretary of Justice issued Memorandum No. 9 setting
aside all decisions purporting to have been rendered by the Board of Commissioners on
appeal or on review motu proprio of decisions of the Board of Special Inquiry. The same
memorandum directed the Board of Commissioners to review all cases where entry was
allowed on the ground that the entrant was a Philippine citizen. Among those cases was
that of William and others.On July 6, 1962, the new Board of Commissioners, reversed
the decision of the Board of Special Inquiry and ordered the exclusion of, among others,
respondent Gatchalian.
Sometime in 1973, respondent Gatchalian, as well as the others covered by the July 6,
1961 warrant of exclusion, filed a motion for re-hearing with the Board of Special Inquiry
where the deportation case against them was assigned.

On March 15, 1973, Acting Commissioner Nituda issued an order reaffirming the July 6,
1961 decision of the Board of Special Inquiry thereby admitting respondent Gatchalian as
a Filipino citizen and recalled the warrant of arrest issued against him.
On June 7, 1990, the acting director of the National Bureau of Investigation wrote the
Secretary of Justice recommending that the respondent Gatchalian along with the other
applicants covered by the warrant of exclusion be charged with violation against the
Immigration Act of 1940.

On August 1, 1990, the Secretary of Justice indorsed the recommendation of the NBI to
the Commissioner of Immigration for investigation and immediate action.
On August 15, 1990, petitioner Domingo of the Commission of Immigration and
Deportation issued a mission order commanding the arrest of respondent William
Gatchalian. The latter appeared before Commissioner Domingo on August 20, 1990 and
was released on the same day upon posting P200,000.00 cash bond.

On August 29, 1990, William Gatchalian filed a petition for certiorari and prohibition with
injunction before the Regional Trial Court of Manila, presided by respondent Judge dela
Rosa. On September 4, 1990, petitioners filed a motion to dismiss the case alleging that
respondent judge has no jurisdiction over the Board of Commissioners and/or the Board
of Special Inquiry.

On September 6, 1990, respondent’s wife and minor children filed before the Regional
Trial Court of Valenzuela for injunction with writ of preliminary injunction. That
petitioners acted without or in excess of jurisdiction in the institution of deportation
proceedings against William. Respondent Capulong issued the questioned temporary
restraining order restraining petitioners from continuing with the deportation
proceedings against William Gatchalian.

Issue:

Whether or not William Gatchalian is a Filipino citizen.

Held:

The very basis of the Board of Commissioners in reversing the decision of the Board of
Special Inquiry was due to a forged cablegram by the then Secretary of Foreign Affairs,
which was dispatched to the Philippine Consulate in Hong Kong authorizing the
registration of applicants as P.I. citizens.

In matters of implementing the Immigration Act insofar as deportation of aliens are


concerned, the Commissioner of Immigration may issue warrants of arrest only after a
determination by the Board of Commissioners of the existence of the ground for
deportation as charged against the alien. A warrant of arrest issued by the Commissioner
of Immigration for the purpose of investigation only, as in the case at bar, is null and void
for being unconstitutional.

Philippine law, following lex loci celebrationis, adheres to the rule that a marriage
formally valid where celebrated is valid everywhere. Having declared the assailed
marriages as valid, respondent William Gatchalian follows the citizenship of his father
Francisco, a Filipino, as a legitimate child of the latter. Francisco, in turn, is likewise a
Filipino being the legitimate child of Santiago Gatchalian who is admittedly a Filipino
citizen whose Philippine citizenship was recognized by the Bureau of Immigration in an
order dated July 12, 1960.

Finally, respondent William Gatchalian belongs to the class of Filipino citizens


contemplated under Section 1, Article IV of the Consititution.