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[ GR No. L-13661, Nov 28, 1959 ]



106 Phil. 661

[ G.R. No. L-13661, November 28, 1959 ]




Appeal from  a decision of the Court of First Instance of Manila,  Hon. Gregorio S.  Narvasa, presiding, granting the petition of  Ko Wai Me to be admitted to the country as a temporary visitor.

The record discloses that on June 28, 1956,  Chua  Tao, alleged husband  of the petitioner, asked the Department of Foreign Affairs, through the Bureau  of  Immigration, for the. issuance of a temporary visitor's visa in favor of his alleged wife,' petitioner  herein Ko  Wai  Me.  In its indorsement  dated July 7, 1956, the Bureau  of Immigration,  through  Commissioner  Emilio  L. Galang,  recommended denial of said application.   He called attention to the decision of the Board of Commissioners dated September 29, 1954, finding petitioner  herein Ko Wai Me guilty of violation of the provisions of the Immigration Act, for having  slipped into the  country surreptitiously while a passenger aboard  the S. S.  President  Cleveland, which arrived in Manila on January 9, 1953, without inspection and admission by, or permission of, the immigration authorities she failed to appear before the  departure  control officer when said  vessel  left port  on January  10,  1959 (Annex "B", p. 14, Record).   Inspite of this adverse comment the Secretary  of  Foreign Affairs  authorized the issuance of a visitor's visa to petitioner Ko Wai  Me, provided she is in possession of a valid Chinese Nationalist passport, a round trip plane or ship ticket to Hongkong  and re-entry permit to Hongkong valid at least 6 months,  and that the Philippine Consulate is satisfied after thorough screening that she is the wife of Chua Tao, a Chinese resident of the Philippines, and is otherwise  admissible and  without any derogatory information against her (Annex "C", p.  15, Record).  Because of this order of the Secretary of Foreign Affairs, petitioner was granted  a visa and she arrived in the port of Manila aboard a Cathay plane on September  28, 1956.

On  October. 1,  1956, an  inquiry  was made  by the Board of Special  Inquiry and,  thereafter, on October 4, 1956, the Board  recommended  that she be admitted for entry (Annex "G", p.  19, Record).  It is to be noted that the Board expressly stated that a warrant for her arrest and deportation was issued on January 19, 1953, for having entered the country without inspection  and admission  by the  immigration  authorities and ordered deported  in a decision  of the Board of Commissioners on September 5, 1954, at her own expense.  It stated that  as  she had not been deported as shown in her acts, she could be admitted as temporary visitor for 3 months from date of her arrival. The report of the Board of Special Inquiry passed through the  hands of  First Deputy  Commissioner Francisco de la Rosa, who made the following  note  to Commissioner Galang:
"KO WAI ME qualifies for entry as a  temporary visitor  under the Cabinet policy in view of the satisfactory evidence showing her marriage to a local resident alien.  In  view of her proper documentation as she possesses a valid passport and a valid visa for entry into  the Philippines and the fact that she is applying for temporary admission only,  her  case falls under Section  29 (b)  (2) in which the Commissioner is given the discretion to permit her entry."   (Exhibit "1", par. I).
The second  Deputy Commissioner, according to Commissioner de la Rosa, was of the opinion that  since the petitioner was a previous deportee who may be admitted only in the discretion of the Commissioner,  the case should be referred to Commissioner Galang.  So they  endorsed the papers to  the  Commissioner, with the notation that appellant may be admitted only in the discretion of Commissioner Galang (t. s. n., p. 7-de la Rosa).

Upon receipt of the note or indorsement of the deputy commissioners, respondent Commissioner Galang on September 18, 1959, decided  petitioner's exclusion and ordered his first deputy commissioner to effect  exclusion (Exhibit "1-a").   Commissioner de la Rosa did then issue, in accordance with his superior's instructions, an order for  petitioner's exclusion.  The order is as follows:

"It appearing  that the Commissioner of  Immigration did not permit Ko Wai  Me, Chinese, female, 31 years of age,  to enter as a temporary visitor, in the exercise of his discretion under Section 29 (b) (2)  of the Philippine Immigration Act of 1940, as amended, and it further  appearing that he manifested his decision to  effect the  exclusion of the above-mentioned applicant, per  his instruction to the First Deputy Commissioner in his note to him of October 18, 1956,  and in compliance therewith,  it  is hereby ordered that said Ko Wai Me be excluded in accordance with law."  (Exhibit "2").

The legal ground upon which the  exclusion was based is the provision of Section 29 (6)  (2) of the Philippine Immigration Act of 1940, as amended.

The  court below held that as the  order  of exclusion issued for Commissioner Galang by First Deputy Commissioner de la Rosa has nothing to support it and that on the other hand, the Board of Special Inquiry had rendered a favorable decision upon the  right of petitioner to enter, the  Board  of Commissioners rendered  their  unanimous decision  disapproving  the application  without  nothing  to support it and said decision is  a  nullity.
"We have shown  that  the Order of Exclusion  of the petitioner dated October 19, 1956 has  nothing to  support  it. On the  other hand, we have clearly established by documentary evidence that the Board of  Special  Inquiry of the Bureau of Immigration has rendered a favorable  decision upon  the question of the right  of the petitioner  to enter the  Philippines.  Such decision has become final, there having been no appeal and there being no showing that the three members of the  Board who rendered a unanimous decision abused their authority.  This Honorable Court therefore has jurisdiction to review the Order of Exclusion in  this  case with nothing to support it and which Order is therefore a nullity, it being directly attacked  in  this  proceedings.  Much  more  so,  when  there  is  no showing, as in this instant case, that the Board of Special Inquiry abused its  authority when it found  in  its  decision that the petitioner has a right to enter the Philippines.   In relation to administrative decisions,  it has been held:

'A verdict  or  decision with nothing to  support it is a nullity, at least when directly attacked.   In such case, this court has jurisdiction to review, though, as we have generally held, the decision of the administrative officers upon the question of the right of an alien  to  enter the Philippine Islands is final when no abuse of authority is shown.'  (Edwards vs. McCoy, 22 Philippine 598; Ngo Yao & Chua Eng Cheng vs. Sheriff of Manila 27 Phil., 378)".
There are no grounds legal or factual to support the conclusion  arrived at  by his Honor,  the judge below.   The report  of  the  Board of Special  Inquiry,  Exhibit  "E", expressly mentions the fact that petitioner  herein had by a final  decision of the Board  of  Immigration. Commissioners (Annex "B") been ordered arrested on a warrant of arrest dated June  18,  1953,  for entry without inspection  and admission, but that she left the country voluntarily at her own expense.  On these facts, contained in the very decision of the Board of Special Inquiry, this Board concluded that petitioner had not been deported within the purview of the Philippine Immigration Act.  This  conclusion, i. e., of the Board of Special Inquiry  that the voluntary departure of an alien ordered by a final  decision of the Commissioners of Immigration to be deported is not deportation or exclusion if deportee leaves the country voluntarily  and at her own expense, is, indeed, error.   The mere fact that the petitioner herein voluntarily left the Islands at  her own  expense did not have the effect of revoking the final order of deportation and the decision supporting the same.  The mere fact that she voluntarily departed at her own expense did not erase the fact that she had  entered the country surreptitiously and without permit from  the proper  authorities and with proper documents and is subject to deportation.  Evidently, the first deputy commissioner,  in believing that the petitioner could only be admitted in the discretion of Commissioner, actually reversed the legal conclusion of the Board of Special Inquiry, that by the petitioner's voluntary  exit from  the Philippines at her own expense,  the  offense that had been committed against the Immigration laws had been completely wiped out.  This  principle, that voluntary departure  of a deportee sentenced to  deportation did not operate to revoke the final decision of deportation, is the reason or ground why the deputy commissioners had decided that petitioner  may  only  be authorized  entry under the provisions of sub-paragraph (2), paragraph (b), Section 29 of the Immigration Act, as amended, which is as follows: "
Sec. 29. (a) The  following classes of aliens shall be  excluded from entry into the Philippines:

*     *       *      *      *       *       *

'(15) Persons who have been excluded  or deported from the Philippines, but this provision may be waived  in the discretion of the Commissioner of Immigration:  Provided, however, That the Commissioner of Immigration  shall not exercise his discretion in favor of aliens excluded  or  deported on the ground of conviction for any crime involving  moral  turpitude or for any crime  penalized under sections forty-five and forty-six of this Act or  on the ground of having engaged  in  hoarding, black-marketing or profiteering unless such aliens have previously resided in the Philippines immediately before  his exclusion or deportation  for  a period of ten  years or more or are married to native Filipino women."  (Pp. 15-16, Brief for the appellants). 
Even  admitting arguendo that as the petitioner herein is not a deportee because she had not been deported, because she voluntarily left  the country at  her own  expense, then at least she is a person who  has been excluded from the Philippines within  the meaning of the first  paragraph of the above section.  The decision of the Board of Immigration Commissioners  ordering her deportation is conclusive evidence of this fact.  As such she can only be admitted when the Commissioner waives the application of the law in favor of allowing the alien to enter the Philippines.

We find that the decision appealed from is not supported by the law, and we hereby  set it aside  dismissing  the petition for habeas  corpus, with costs in both instances against the petitioner-appellee.

Paras, C. J., Bengzon,  Padilla, Montemayor, Bautista Angelo,  Endencia, Barrera, and Gutierrez David, JJ., concur.