REAL PROPERTY OWNERSHIP and CITIZENSHIP
- Aliens are disqualified from acquiring public and private lands, except by hereditary succession (meaning, by inheritance). (Sec. 7, Art. XXII, 1987 Constitution).
- The prohibition from acquiring public and private lands applies even to an alien who is married to a Filipina under a regime of conjugal partnership. Thus, when a husband and wife decide to buy land where the husband is an alien, the latter does not have the right of a conjugal partner to consent or not to consent to the subsequent disposition of the land by the wife.
- On the other hand, a Filipina who is married to a foreigner, even under a regime of absolute community of property, continues to be qualified to acquire lands in her name and to have such acquisition registered with the Register of Deeds.
The disqualification to acquire land does not apply to former Filipinos who have lost their citizenship.
a) Any natural-born citizen of the Philippines who has lost his Philippine citizenship and who has the legal capacity to enter into a contract under Philippine laws may be a transferee of a private land up to a maximum area of one thousand (1,000) square meters, in case of urban land, or one (1) hectare in the case of rural land, to be used by him as his residence. (Sec. 2, BP Blg. 185, implementing Sec. 15, Art. XIV, 1973 Constitution, which is identical to Sec. 8, Art. XII, 1987 Constitution).
b) Any natural born citizen who has lost his Philippine citizenship and who has the legal capacity to enter into a contract under Philippine laws may be a transferee of a private land up to a maximum of five thousand (5,000) square meters in case of urban land or three (3) hectares in case of rural land to be used by him for business or other purpose. (Sec. 10, R.A. No. 7042, otherwise known as the “Foreign Investment Act of 1991,” as inserted by R.A. No. 8179).
c) In case of married couples, one of them may avail of the aforecited privilege. If both shall avail of the privilege, the total area acquired shall not exceed the maximum above prescribed. (Sec. 2, BP Blg. 185; Sec. 10, R.A. No. 7042, as amended by R.A. No. 8179).
d) In case the transferee already owns urban or rural lands, for residential or business purposes, as the case maybe, he shall be entitled to be a transferee of additional urban or rural lands for the same purpose which, when added to those already owned by him, shall not exceed the maximum areas above authorized. (Sec. 2, 2nd par., BP Blg. 185; Sec. 10, 2nd par., R.A. No. 7042, as amended by R.A. No. 8179).
e) A transferee may acquire not more than two (2) lots which should be situated in different municipalities or cities in the Philippines, provided that the total area thereof shall not exceed the maximum areas above authorized for the respective uses therein specified. A transferee who has already acquired urban land shall be disqualified from acquiring rural land, and vice-versa. (Sec. 3, BP Blg. 185, Sec. 10, 3rd par., R.A. No. 7042, as amended by R.A. No. 8179).
- A Filipino who later loses his Philippine citizenship and acquires the citizenship of another country does not lose his ownership of the land which he had acquired before he lost his Philippine citizenship. He continues to own the same even after he loses his Philippine citizenship and he may apply for registration of title over said land even when he is already a citizen of another country. (Republic of the Philippines v. Court of Appeals and Spouses Mario B. Lapina and Flor de Vega, 235 SCRA 567).
Natural-born citizens of the Philippines who have lost their Philippine citizenship by reason of their naturalization as citizens of a foreign country are deemed to have reacquired Philippine citizenship upon taking an oath of allegiance to the Republic.
Natural-born citizens of the Philippines who, after the effectivity of R.A. No. 9225 on September 18, 2003, became or become citizens of a foreign country shall retain their Philippine citizenship upon taking the oath of allegiance to the Republic. (Sec. 3, 2nd par., R.A. No. 9225).
Those who retain or reacquire Philippine citizenship under R.A. No. 9225 shall enjoy full civil and political rights, and be subject to all attendant liabilities and responsibilities under existing laws of the Philippines. (Sec. 5, R.A. 9225).
Republic Act No. 9225 is otherwise known as the “Citizenship Retention and Reacquisition Act of 2003”.
Who are natural-born Filipino citizens?
Natural-born Filipino citizens are those who are citizens from birth* without having to perform any act to acquire or perfect their Philippine citizenship. (Sec. 2 Article 4, Phil. Constitution)
* from birth via:
(1.) Jus soli (right of soil) – place of birth; and
(2) Jus sanguinis (right of blood) – nationality of the parent/s