Imelda Romualdez-Marcos vs. Commission on Elections.
G.R. No. 119976 September 18, 1995.
- For political purposes the concepts of residence and domicile are dictated by the peculiar criteria of political laws. In Nuval vs. Guray, the Court held that “the term residence . . . is synonymous with domicile which imports not only intention to reside in a fixed place, but also personal presence in that place, coupled with conduct indicative of such Domicile means an individual’s “permanent home,” “a place to which, whenever absent for business or for pleasure, one intends to return, and depends on facts and circumstances in the sense that they disclose intent.” Based on the foregoing, domicile includes the twin elements of “the fact of residing or physical presence in a fixed place” and animus manendi, or the intention of returning there permanently.
Petitioner Imelda Romualdez-Marcos filed her COC for the position of Representative of the First District of Leyte. However, she provided in the information that she is a resident in the constituency for “Years and 7 months.”
Montejo, the incumbent Representative and a candidate for the same position, filed a “Petition for Cancellation and Disqualification” with the COMELEC alleging that petitioner did not meet the constitutional requirement for residency.
Petitioner filed an Amended/Corrected Certificate of Candidacy, changing the entry “seven” months to “since childhood”. She contended that it was an “honest mistake” and that she has always maintained Tacloban City as her domicile or residence.”
Petitioner won the election, however, COMELEC suspended her proclamation. COMELEC stressed that Marcos could not have been a resident of Tacloban City since childhood up to the time she filed her certificate of candidacy because
- She became a resident of many places
- She lost her domicile of origin by operation of law as a result of her marriage to the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos
Whether or not petitioner was a resident, for election purposes, of the First District of Leyte for a period of one year at the time of the May 9, 1995 elections.
YES. An individual does not lose his domicile even if he has lived and maintained residences in different places. Residence implies a factual relationship to a given place for various purposes. The absence from legal residence or domicile to pursue a profession, to study or to do other things of a temporary or semi permanent nature does not constitute loss of residence. COMELEC was obviously referring to the petitioner’s various places of (actual) residence, not her domicile. In doing so, it not only ignored settled jurisprudence on residence in election law and the deliberations of the constitutional commission but also the provisions of the Omnibus Election Code (B.P. 881)
While petitioner was born in Manila, as a minor she naturally followed the domicile of her parents. First, domicile, once acquired is retained until a new one is gained, it follows that in spite of the fact of petitioner’s being born in Manila, Tacloban, Leyte was her domicile of origin by operation of law. This domicile was not established only when she reached the age of eight years old, when her father brought his family back to Leyte contrary to private respondent’s averments.
Second, domicile of origin is not easily lost. To successfully effect a change of domicile, one must demonstrate: 1.An actual removal or an actual change of domicile; 2.A bona fide intention of abandoning the former place of residence and establishing a new one; and 3.Acts which correspond with the purpose. In the absence of clear and positive proof based on these criteria, the residence of origin should be deemed to continue. Only with evidence showing concurrence of all three requirements can the presumption of continuity or residence be rebutted, for a change of residence requires an actual and deliberate abandonment, and one cannot have two legal residences at the same time.
The term residence may mean one thing in civil law (or under the Civil Code) and quite another thing in political law. What stands clear is that insofar as the Civil Code is concerned—affecting the rights and obligations of husband and wife—the term residence should only be interpreted to mean “actual residence.” The duty to live together can only be fulfilled if the husband and wife are physically together. If the husband has to stay in or transfer to any one of their residences, the wife should necessarily be with him in order that they may “live together.” Hence, it is illogical to conclude that Art. 110 refers to “domicile” and not to “residence.” Otherwise, we shall be faced with a situation where the wife is left in the domicile while the husband, for professional or other reasons, stays in one of their (various) residences.
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