JUST as he had feared, Jesse Robredo has been declared a non-Filipino citizen by the Commission on Elections in the quo warranto case filed against him by losing Naga City mayoralty candidate Jojo Villafuerte in 2004.

Mayor Jesse RobredoVoting to reverse an earlier en banc ruling of the poll body in 2003 were members of the First Division, Commissioners Romeo Brawner, the ponente, and Nicodemo Ferrer. Commissioner Resurreccion Borra was the lone dissenter, maintaining his original position that Robredo is a natural-born Filipino.

The Comelec decision deemed Robredo to be of Chinese descent as his grandfather, Lim Teng (later christened Juan Robredo), remained a Chinese citizen in the absence of any proof that he established permanent residence in the country. Further, the decision claimed that Robredo has forfeited his privilege of availing a Philippine citizenship by not performing any act showing his intention to become Filipino in all his 49 years, even denying such acts as his having been born in the country and his filing of certificates of candidacy.

Read the majority decision penned by Commissioner Brawner here.

This now paves the way for Robredo’s eventual disqualification from the mayoralty race as Villafuerte, barangay captain of Peñafrancia and a nephew of Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Villafuerte, filed a new case with the poll body based on the same grounds assailing Robredo’s citizenship last April 3.

Robredo anticipates a swift decision on the case to come out anytime before May 13 as it has been assigned to the same Comelec division. The incumbent mayor says he will be filing a motion for reconsideration but is not expecting an impartial judgment. Two of the commissioners who ruled against him in the quo warranto case, he says, have close ties to Luis Villafuerte — Brawner, a law classmate at the University of the Philippines, and Ferrer, a former law office partner.

Robredo had asked that the two inhibit from his case, but his request was denied. In the decision, Brawner argued that the reasons Robredo cited do not warrant inhibition on his part and Ferrer’s as their past association with Villafuerte is “not indicative of any bias or partiality with respect to the resolution of the case.”

Saying he has made it his personal battle “to see the issue on my citizenship settled once and for all,” the Naga city mayor will appeal the decision on the quo warranto case all the way to the Supreme Court.

As for his candidacy, Robredo is still discussing with his family, partymates and advisers on what best move to take next. In anticipation of the disqualification case, his wife, Ma. Leonor, had reluctantly agreed to file her certificate of candidacy for mayor at the last minute. Though still reluctant, she might just continue her husband’s fight in the mayoralty race against Villafuerte.

This is actually the fifth election (see table) that Robredo has had to contend with a citizenship case assailing his being Filipino on the basis of allegations that his grandfather and father were Chinese. In 1992, running against Villafuerte’s sister, Pura Luisa Villafuerte-Magtuto, he had to face two cases filed against him by Orlando Tan, a known supporter of Villafuerte.

Robredo grappled with three more citizenship cases lodged against him by another Villafuerte-anointed candidate, Rodolfo Fortuno, a former city councilor who opposed him during the 2001 mayoral race. In 2004, two more cases were filed by his two-time mayoralty rival, Jojo Villafuerte, with the Comelec.

It was only in 1988 and 1995, when Robredo ran unopposed for his initial third term as mayor, that no citizenship case was filed against him. All the cases have since been dismissed by various government agencies that heard them — the Bureau of Immigration and Deportation, Comelec (thrice, including the 2003 en banc ruling), and the Supreme Court — until this recent decision.

Nagueños are not at all surprised. The only way anybody can defeat Robredo, they say, is to kick him out of the race.

As Robredo also observes: “No one has even bothered to take a look at my citizenship until I decided to run for public office and until I opposed them. It’s very ironic because when I was their candidate, I was a Filipino citizen. When I became their opponent, I was not a Filipino citizen anymore.”

Robredo severed ties with Luis Villafuerte months after he won as mayor for the first time as his uncle’s chosen candidate in 1988. The fallling out was a result of the latter’s intervention with how the former would run the city, particularly in the choice of Naga’s chief of police.

Senator Aquilino Pimentel Jr. says this latest Comelec decision is a travesty of justice and an oppressive act against Naga Cty voters who elected Robredo. He hopes the Supreme Court will rectify the error.

13 Responses to Comelec declares Robredo a ‘non-Filipino’



May 8th, 2007 at 12:21 pm

Hey! Is this some kind of political joke? Coz my sintido kumon don’t get it.

Let’s figure out the characters.

Who’s Brawner? Mr webster says brawn means muscular strength, he must be of american origin. What is he doing with the Comelec then?

How about Villafuerte? The name implies a Spanish conquistadores.

Ferrer sounds familiar. Isn’t this the screen name of the famous actor turn politician?

Finally, Robredo. Not even wikipedia can define this world. But the word was regarded as the 2000 Ramon Magsaysay Awardee for Government Service. Very impressive!

How about the first name – Juan. Juan is a typical Filipino name. Therefore, he must be a Filipino.

But wait, the ancestors name is Lim Teng? That was unarguably Chinese! But why would a Chinese serve the Filipinos in Naga City intead of China?

All of this characters are Foreigners! And who is the real Filipino? Perhaps the aeta people in the mountains who’ve been in this country all along?

This is very confusing.

I wonder if i’m a Filipino. Am I a Filipino? My father’s father was a war veteran during the Japanese invasion. My mother’s father was a farmer. How about the father of my father’s and mother’s father?

Perhaps the Comelec can tell me if i’m a Filipino. After all, they seem to be good at everything. After all, they have instituted their own laws higher than the fundamental laws of this land.



May 8th, 2007 at 5:30 pm

Further, the decision claimed that Robredo has forfeited his privilege of availing a Philippine citizenship by not performing any act showing his intention to become Filipino in all his 49 years, even denying such acts as his having been born in the country and his filing of certificates of candidacy

All the cases have since been dismissed by various government agencies that heard themthe Bureau of Immigration and Deportation, COMELEC (THRICE, including the 2003 en banc ruling), and the Supreme Court — until this recent decision.

thrice in the COMELEC! now a fourth! what happened to the “no to double jeopardy” rule?

even so, the BID has ruled that robredo is a filipino. given that they deal with immigrants et al, shouldn’t they know best?

even the supreme court, the court with the final say, said that robredo is a filipino.

apparently the commission on electoral fraud thinks that it is a judicial body higher than the supreme court.

such arrogance, even hypocrisy, on brawner’s part, given that this honorable gentleman’s citizenship itself could be questioned on the same grounds applied to robredo. go to baguio city, the answers to where brawner’s from will underscore his hubris.



May 8th, 2007 at 10:56 pm

honest, i do not know whether to laugh or to cry on the latest Comelec’s frolic on the absurd.

sanity continues to desert on whatever is left of the Pinoy’s electoral body and filthy hands have definitely taken the steer.

how much money have transferred hands, i wonder, for such a jaw-dropping decision?

senile idiots; who love to play tempest with the peoples’s patience ought to be banished with a hard-kick in their respective backsides on the way-out.


Diego K. Guerrero

May 9th, 2007 at 12:59 am

What do we expect from a partisan election body-COMELEC? It has a low trust ratings based on surveys. Comelec is big joke under Abalos leadership.



May 9th, 2007 at 3:09 am

I was thinking all along that a person is a citizen (automatically) of his/her country of birth, no matter if the parents are Martians. And then upon reaching the age of Majority can either chose the citizenship of one of the parents or if a country allows multiple citizenship, or both if the parents happens to be of different citizenships. And by Gosh, why can’t the country start having only one class of citizen, be a native born, naturalized, or however it is legally acquired? So everyone can have equal rights to every opportunity.



May 9th, 2007 at 10:49 am

no, naykika, not necessarily. philippine citizenship is basically jus saguinis (by blood), and not jus soli (of birthplace). thus, one can be born in the philippines but is not automatically a filipino citizen.

nonetheless, this COMELEC decision is flawed and farcical.



May 9th, 2007 at 4:21 pm

the past few days, mr. willy b. prilles, jr. posted a series on mayor robredo’s predicament:








they can be read at his blog A Nagueño in the Blogosphere



May 10th, 2007 at 8:12 pm

stinking comelec. no wonder why robredo after winning previously against the same case never felt confident about winning this time. all because of the new breed of people now running the comelec.

“Further, the decision claimed that Robredo has forfeited his privilege of availing a Philippine citizenship by not performing any act showing his intention to become Filipino in all his 49 years…”

not peforming any act showing his intention to become filipino? what are these idiots thinking? is 15 years in public service not enough proof?



May 11th, 2007 at 12:09 am


i wouldn’t entirely say Rodolfo Fortuno vs Jesse Robredo (GR No. 159493), the petition for review on certiorari filed at the supreme court, is a WIN…

in this SC minute resolution re: the aforementioned case (dated 18 January 2005), Robredo’s prayer in his motion for reconsideration for the Supreme Court to affirm and/or declare that he is a Filipino citizen was DENIED with FINALITY. therefore, only the comelec (the 2nd Division on 21 June 2001 and en banc on 05 August 2003) declared him a Filipino, not YET the SC.

it’s just unfortunate that we don’t get to read on the Comelec’s 2nd Division’s resolution on Rodolfo Fortuno vs Jesse Robredo (SPA Case No. 2001-020) and Comelec en banc’s decision on Rodolfo Fortuno vs Jesse Robredo (EPC Case No. 2001-2). we won’t be able to compare/contrast them from the laughable Brawner Doctrine.

what’s worthy of note, though, is that the 2nd Division’s declaration that mayor robredo is indeed a Filipino citizen employs the doctrine of implied election of citizenship (as exemplified in these cases: Mallare, Ong, and Ching). this may mean that the mayor’s father is acknowledged to be an alien (a Chinese, for that matter) and his mother a natural-born Filipina.

how come from the statement of facts in the brawner doctrine, mayor robredo traces his Filipino roots from his grandfather? hence, election of citizenship is NOT required because he is already a Filipino by birth!



May 11th, 2007 at 5:32 am

I always thought the national government is mostly run by moron and pathetic automatons (let’s not call these entities persons – usually a person have conscience. I think they don’t have one) – Comelec included. But I think exemplary local government leaders like Robredo makes the people in malacanang look bad. Maybe that’s why they would like to install automatons at the local governments as well. That’s Arrovo’s concept of good governance for you.

For their action of theirs – unlawfully suspending the best executive leader in this God-forsaken country, I will no longer vote for anyone from Team Unity.


Comelec declares Robredo a ‘non-Filipino’ : vote/smart/nagueño

May 11th, 2007 at 5:59 pm

[…] by Alecks P. Pabico PCIJ Blog […]


Alecks P. Pabico

May 13th, 2007 at 12:39 am

Baycas is right about the SC resolution not being exactly a win in favor of Robredo as the Court dismissed the petition for being moot and academic and didn’t touch on Robredo’s questioned citizenship at all.

For the benefit of everyone interested, especially Baycas, I have posted the June 21, 2001 resolution (which unfortunately, I believe, has a missing page) of the Comelec’s Second Division regarding Rodolfo Fortuno’s petition against Robredo, as well as the Comelec en banc resolution dated August 5, 2003.

The first resolution denied Fortuno’s petition, declaring Robredo a Filipino citizen by implied election.

The en banc resolution dismissed the petition for lack of merit. It declared that Robredo’s greatgrandfather (Serafin Robredo) and grandfather (Juan Lim Robredo) were “citizens of the Philippines under the Philippine Bill of 1902 because they are inhabitants of Nueva Caceres (Naga City) and therefore Spanish subjects as of 11 April 1899.”

Following the principle of jus sanguinis, the Comelec en banc maintained that Robredo’s father (Jose Robredo) is also a Filipino. It also follows that Robredo is also a Filipino, being the legitimate child of Jose Robredo and Marcelina Manalastas.

The resolution added that the Ching case — Fortuno’s argument — cannot apply in Robredo’s case because Ching’s father is a Chinese citizen.



May 13th, 2007 at 1:42 am


thanks a heap. haven’t read them yet, though.

btw, kindly check the link to the brawner doctrine above.

again, you’re really great!

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