Political Law

Ramon Labo, Jr. vs Commission on Elections

image_printPrint this!

G.R. No. 86564 – 257 Phil. 1 – 176 SCRA 1 – Political Law – Law on Public Officers – Election Laws – Citizenship of a Public Officer – Dual Citizenship – Labo Doctrine 

In 1988, Ramon Labo, Jr. was elected as mayor of Baguio City. His rival, Luis Lardizabal, filed a petition for quo warranto against Labo as Lardizabal asserts that Labo is an Australian citizen hence disqualified; that he was naturalized as an Australian after he married an Australian. Labo avers that his marriage with an Australian did not make him an Australian; that at best he has dual citizenship, Australian and Filipino; that even if he indeed became an Australian when he married an Australian citizen, such citizenship was lost when his marriage with the Australian was later declared void for being bigamous. Labo further asserts that even if he’s considered as an Australian, his lack of citizenship is just a mere technicality which should not frustrate the will of the electorate of Baguio who voted for him by a vast majority.


1. Whether or not Labo can retain his public office.

2. Whether or not Lardizabal, who obtained the second highest vote in the mayoralty race, can replace Labo in the event Labo is disqualified.

HELD: 1. No. Labo did not question the authenticity of evidence presented against him. He was naturalized as an Australian in 1976. It was not his marriage to an Australian that made him an Australian. It was his act of subsequently swearing by taking an oath of allegiance to the government of Australia. He did not dispute that he needed an Australian passport to return to the Philippines in 1980; and that he was listed as an immigrant here. It cannot be said also that he is a dual citizen. Dual allegiance of citizens is inimical to the national interest and shall be dealt with by law. He lost his Filipino citizenship when he swore allegiance to Australia. He cannot also claim that when he lost his Australian citizenship, he became solely a Filipino. To restore his Filipino citizenship, he must be naturalized or repatriated or be declared as a Filipino through an act of Congress - none of this happened.

Labo, being a foreigner, cannot serve public office. His claim that his lack of citizenship should not overcome the will of the electorate is not tenable. The people of Baguio could not have, even unanimously, changed the requirements of the Local Government Code and the Constitution simply by electing a foreigner (curiously, would Baguio have voted for Labo had they known he is Australian). The electorate had no power to permit a foreigner owing his total allegiance to the Queen of Australia, or at least a stateless individual owing no allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines, to preside over them as mayor of their city. Only citizens of the Philippines have that privilege over their countrymen.

2. Lardizabal on the other hand cannot assert, through the quo warranto proceeding, that he should be declared the mayor by reason of Labo’s disqualification because Lardizabal obtained the second highest number of vote. It would be extremely repugnant to the basic concept of the constitutionally guaranteed right to suffrage if a candidate who has not acquired the majority or plurality of votes is proclaimed a winner and imposed as the representative of a constituency, the majority of which have positively declared through their ballots that they do not choose him. Sound policy dictates that public elective offices are filled by those who have received the highest number of votes cast in the election for that office, and it is a fundamental idea in all republican forms of government that no one can be declared elected and no measure can be declared carried unless he or it receives a majority or plurality of the legal votes cast in the election.

Read full text.

image_printPrint this!

Leave a Reply