Should courts review deportation cases?

Cases involving issues on citizenship are sui generis, meaning: they are in a class of their own. Thus, in cases where the citizenship of a person is material or indispensable in a judicial or administrative case and whatever the corresponding court or administrative authority decides therein, citizenship is not considered as res judicata and can be retried again and again. Res judicata may only be applied in cases of citizenship when the following concur:
  1. A person's citizenship must be raised as a material issue in a controversy where said person is a party;
  2. The Solicitor General or his authorized representative took active part in the resolution thereof; and
  3. The finding or citizenship is affirmed by the Supreme Court.[1]
Since the abovementioned requisites for res judicata did not concur in Go, Sr. v. Ramos[2] being a deportation case, it was the lone dissenter's opinion that the Supreme Court should, therefore, not be precluded from reviewing the findings of the Bureau of Immigration through judicial review when present are substantial grounds and evidence which show the conclusiveness of the citizenship of a deportee.[3] The right to immediate review of the case of a deportee should be recognized to afford the deportee the chance to prove his or her citizenship prior to a possible mistaken deportation to another country.

In his dissenting opinion, Justice Velasco, Jr. said that the majority resolved to dismiss the petition for review, thereby effectively opening the way for the deportation of aliens without giving utmost consideration to documents and circumstances evidencing his Filipino citizenship or at least affording him the right to prove his Filipino citizenship. Particularly, the dissent zeroed in on the consequent situation that peremptorily denies one, who was born and has lived all his life in the country and is about to be deported, a review of his case prior to a possible mistaken deportation to another country.

[1] Burca v. Republic, No. L-24252, June 15, 1973, 51 SCRA 248, 259-260.

[2] Go, Sr. v. Ramos, G.R. Nos. 167569, 167570 & 171946, September 4, 2009.

[3] Department of Justice Secretary Raul M. Gonzalez , Bureau of Immigration Commissioner and Board of Commissioners Chairman Alipio F. Fernandez, Jr., and Immigration Associate Commissioners and Board of Commissioners Members Arthel B. Caronongan, Teodoro B. Delarmente, Jose D.L. Cabohan, and Franklin Z. Littua v. Michael Alfio Pennisi, G.R. No. 169958, March 5, 2010.