Title II – Citizenship and Domicile (Book II, Civil Code)

Note: The following are annotations or notes on legal provisions. They are intended to be as a helping guide to better understanding the law. They are, however, not sources of law nor authorities. (Please refer to our full Disclaimer.)

Article 48. [NB: This is superseded by Section 1, Article IV, 1987 Constitution]


1) Article 48 of the Civil Code provided for a list as to who were considered Filipino citizens. Since the Civil Code became effective on August 30, 1950, the subsequent adoption of the 1987 Constitution effectively superseded the provisions on citizenship. Under the present Constitution, Article IV enumerates who are considered Filipino citizens, to wit:


SECTION 1. The following are citizens of the Philippines:

(1) Those who are citizens of the Philippines at the time of the adoption of this Constitution;

(2) Those whose fathers or mothers are citizens of the Philippines;

(3) Those born before January 17, 1973, of Filipino mothers, who elect Philippine citizenship upon reaching the age of majority; and

(4) Those who are naturalized in accordance with law.

SECTION 2. Natural-born citizens are those who are citizens of the Philippines from birth without having to perform any act to acquire or perfect their Philippine citizenship. Those who elect Philippine citizenship in accordance with paragraph (3), Section 1 hereof shall be deemed natural-born citizens.

2) Notwithstanding the above, it should be noted that any legal issue related to citizenship will depend on what was the applicable law then. To be clear, if the legal issue predates the effectivity of the 1987 Constitution, then the applicable provision would be Article 48 of the Civil Code.

Article 49. Naturalization and the loss and reacquisition of citizenship of the Philippines are governed by special laws.


1) The 1987 Constitution has a similar provision under Article IV, viz:

SECTION 3. Philippine citizenship may be lost or reacquired in the manner provided by law.

2) Currently, the following are the special laws on naturalization and re-acquisition of Philippine citizenship:

(a) Republic Act No. 9225 or the Citizenship Retention and Re-Acquisition Act of 2003; and

(b) RA 9139 – Administrative Naturalization Law of 2000

Article 50. For the exercise of civil rights and the fulfillment of civil obligations, the domicile of natural persons is the place of their habitual residence.


1) This article specifically applies to civil rights and fulfillment of civil obligations. Civil rights are a bundle of rights related to personal or family matters, as well as private transactions (i.e. not involving the Government), such as marriage, succession, property, inheritance, and contractual relations, to name a few.

2) Civil rights are to be distinguished from political rights, which are also a bundle of rights specific and related to citizenship and its corresponding rights and obligations, from voting, referendum, representation in the legislative body, and so on.

3) For the purposes of this article, the domicile of natural persons – for matters concerning civil rights and fulfillment of civil obligations – is their place of habitual residence.

4) Thus, this provision does not apply if the legal issue concerns or relates to political rights.

Article 51. When the law creating or recognizing them, or any other provision does not fix the domicile of juridical persons, the same shall be understood to be the place where their legal representation is established or where they exercise their principal functions.


1) This is the domicile provision for juridical persons in case such is not provided for by the creating or recognizing them.

2) Phrase. “Where their legal representation is established” – may refer to where they may have been created or formed.

3) Phrase. “Where they exercise their principal functions” – may refer to their principal place of business.


Title I, Book I, R.A. 386, Civil Code

/Updated: April 1, 2023

Disclaimer: All information is for educational and general information only. These should not be taken as professional legal advice or opinion. Please consult a competent lawyer to address your specific concerns. Any statements or opinions of the author are solely his own and do not reflect that of any organization he may be connected.

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