To cite this online book, please use the following:

Dela Peña. 2023. "Principles and Cases in Private International Law: A Procedural Approach." Published by Project Jurisprudence - Philippines. Published: September 17, 2023. Link: [Insert link] Last accessed: [Insert date of access].



The modern conception of suffrage is that voting is a function of government. The right to vote is not a natural right but is a right created by law. Suffrage is a privilege granted by the state to such persons or classes as are most likely to exercise it for the public good. In the early stages of the evolution of the representative system of government, the exercise of the right of suffrage was limited to a small portion of the inhabitants. But with the spread of democratic ideas, the enjoyment of the franchise in the modern states has come to embrace the mass of the audit classes of persons are excluded from the franchise. Among the generally excluded classes are minors, the mentally challenged, paupers, and convicts.[1]

The right of the state to deprive persons to the right of suffrage by reason of their having been convicted of crime is beyond question. The manifest purpose of such restrictions upon this right is to preserve the purity of elections. The presumption is that one rendered infamous by conviction of felony, or other base offense indicative of moral turpitude is unfit to exercise the privilege of suffrage or to hold office. The exclusion must for this reason be adjudged a mere disqualification, imposed for protection and not for punishment, the withholding of a privilege and not the denial of a personal right.[2]

The juridical tie created between the Philippine State and a person born as a Filipino is, first and foremost, citizenship. One of the privileges of citizenship in a democratic state is the right to vote, including the right to express a preference for a candidate for a public position. Owing to this, suffrage may properly be categorized as a relationship between the state and the person.

In the same way that the state, or the laws of that state, is in the best position to determine which persons are members of its citizenry, it is also that state that determines who among its citizens should be allowed to vote. In the Philippines, suffrage may be exercised by all citizens of the Philippines, not otherwise disqualified by law, who are at least eighteen years of age, and who shall have resided in the Philippines for at least one year and in the place wherein they propose to vote, for at least six months immediately preceding the election. No literacy, property, or other substantive requirement shall be imposed on the exercise of suffrage.[3]

Hence, insofar as Philippine laws are concerned, foreigners (non-Filipinos) are not allowed to exercise the right of suffrage in Philippine elections. Other countries may extend such a right to mere residents and may provide limitations in the exercise of such right.

The other aspects surrounding suffrage such as capacity to act, residence, and naturalization are touched upon in other parts of this book.


[1] People v. Corral, G.R. No. L-42300, January 31, 1936.

[2] People v. Corral, G.R. No. L-42300, January 31, 1936, citing 9 R.C.L., 1042.

[3] Section 1 of Article V of the 1987 Constitution.