Tuesday, February 11, 2014

DUAL CITIZENSHIP

For election purposes, Filipinos holding dual citizenship are barred by law for running to any elective position in the country unless foreign citizenship was formally renounced and re-acquire Filipino citizenship.

Prior to the enactment of Republic Act No. 9225, the Citizenship Retention and Re-Acquisition Act, Filipinos with dual citizenship automatically renounces his or her foreign citizenship upon filing of Certificate of Candidacy for any elective public positions.

However, this former ruling was superseded by the said Act which provide accordingly that, "Failure to renounce citizenship in accordance with the exact tenor of Section 5(2) of Republic Act No. 9225 renders dual citizens ineligible to run for and hold any elective public office", the court said.   

Section 5(2) of Republic Act No. 9225 provides, thus, "Those seeking elective public office in the Philippines shall meet the qualification for holding such public office as required by the Constitution and existing laws and, at the time of the filing of Certificate of Candidacy, make a personal sworn renunciation of any and all foreign citizenship before any public officer authorized to administer an oath".       

The declaration of renunciation of foreign citizenship shall be done under oath in consonance with the above quoted provision of the law.

"The language and provision is plain and unambiguous. It express a single, definite and sensible meaning and thus must be read literally. The foreign citizenship must be formally rejected through an affidavit duly sworn before an officer authorized to administer oath', the high court said.

Thus, the court said further that, "The fact that petitioner won the elections cannot cure the defect of her candidacy...[since] garnering the most number of votes does not validate the election of a disqualified candidate because the application of the constitutional and statutory provisions on disqualification is not a matter of popularity."

Suppose a disqualifed candidate was proclaimed as winner in the elections? Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno opines, "The proclamation of a non-candidate cannot take away the power vested in the COMELEC to enforce and execute its decisions. It is a power that enjoys precedence over that emanating from any other authority, except the Supreme Court, and that which is issued in habeas corpus proceedings as provided in Sec. 52(f) of the Omnibus Election Code."

USE OF FOREIGN PASSPORT


De Leon v. Comelec

THE Supreme Court (SC) disqualified a mayoral candidate who used his US passport after he renounced his American citizenship. The SC cited the case of Maquiling v. Comelec wherein the court ruled that “by using his American passport after renouncing his American citizenship, the candidate is deemed to have recanted the oath of renunciation that he took.”

Accordingly, the High Tribunal opined, “Section 40 [d] of Republic Act 7160, otherwise known as the Local Government Code, applies to petitioner’s situation, thus disqualifying him from holding the subject local elective office as he could not have been even considered as a candidate for the local elections at all.”


 Maquiling v. Comelec


“Only natural-born Filipinos who owe total and undivided allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines could run for and hold elective public office,” the tribunal said through a ruling penned by Associate Justice Mariano Del Castillo.

The Court held that the use of a foreign passport after renouncing one’s foreign citizenship “is a positive and voluntary act of representation as to one’s nationality and citizenship” and “does not divest one of the reacquired Filipino citizenship but recants the oath of renunciation required to qualify one to run for an elective position.”

“By using his US passport, Arnado positively and voluntarily represented himself as an American, in effect, declaring before immigration authorities of both countries that he is an American citizen, with all attendant rights and privileges granted by the United States of America,” the high court said.

VOTERS' PLEDGE

I am a Responsible and Principled Citizen.

I will educate myself and others about the issues at hand so that my vote is a meaningful and relevant exercise of my right of suffrage.

I pledge to vote for candidates who will abide by the duly constituted rules on campaigning because I understand that those who refuse to obey the law in the little things are not likely to obey the law in the more important things;

I pledge to vote for candidates who, by word and action, renounce violence, coercion, vote-buying, and corruption as means for getting elected;

I pledge to vote for the candidates who listen to their constituents and are responsive to the needs and aspirations of those they seek to represent;

I pledge to vote as my conscience dictates in all elections.

I make these promises freely and upon my honor.

(This Voter Pledge was read at the Unity Walk of 13 January 2013, by COMELEC Commissioner Elias R. Yusoph)

SOURCE: NAMFREL