Philippines Supreme Court dismisses petition against dual citizenship law

May. 16, 2007

MANILA — The Supreme Court recently dismissed for lack of merit a petition for prohibition seeking to prevent the implementation of RA 9225, on the ground that it violates the Art. IV, 5 of the Constitution stating that Dual allegiance of citizens is inimical to the national interest and shall be dealt with by law.

Under 3 of RA 9225, entitled An Act Making the Citizenship of the Philippine Citizens Who Acquire Foreign Citizenship Permanent, Amending for the Purpose Commonwealth Act No. 63, As Amended, and for Other Purposes, natural-born citizens of the Philippine citizens who have lost their Philippine citizenship by reason of their naturalization as citizens of a foreign country are hereby deemed to have reacquired Philippine citizenship upon taking an oath of allegiance to the Republic.

In nine-page unanimous decision penned by Senior Associate Justice Leonardo A. Quisumbing, the Court en banc held that What Rep. Act No. 9225 does is allow dual citizenship to natural-born Filipino citizens who have lost Philippine citizenship by reason of their naturalization as citizens of a foreign country. On its face, it does not recognize dual allegiance. By swearing to the supreme authority of the Republic, the person implicitly renounces his foreign citizenship. Plainly, from Section 3, Rep. Act No. 9225 stayed clear out of the problem of dual allegiance and shifted the burden of confronting the issue of whether or not there is dual allegiance to the concerned foreign country.

Relying on the records of the legislative deliberations, the Court pointed out that the laws framers were not concerned with dual citizenship per se, but with the status of naturalized citizens who maintain their allegiance to their countries of origin even after their naturalization.

The Court also noted that Art. IV, 5 of the Constitution is a declaration of policy and not a self-executing provision and that Congress still has to enact the law on dual allegiance. It stressed that Congress was given a mandate to draft a law that would set specific parameters of what really constitutes dual allegiance. Until this is done, it would be premature for the judicial department, including this Court, to rule on issues pertaining to dual allegiance.We cannot arrogate the duty of setting the parameters of what constitutes dual allegiance when the Constitution itself has clearly delegated the duty of determining what acts constitute dual allegiance for study and legislation by Congress.

It gave short shrift to petitioner Hector Gumangan Calilungs argument that no law on dual allegiance is needed since the case of Mercado v. Manzano, GR No. 135082, May 26, 1999 had already set the guidelines for determining dual allegiance. Petitioner misreads Mercado. That case did not set the parameters of what constitutes dual allegiance but merely made a distinction between dual allegiance and dual citizenship, the Court ruled.
Concurring were Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno and Associate Justices Consuelo Ynares-Santiago, Angelina Sandoval Gutierrez, Antonio T. Carpio, Conchita Carpio Morales, Adolfo S. Azcuna, Dante O. Tinga, Minita V. Chico-Nazario, Presbitero J. Velasco, Jr., and Antonio Eduardo B. Nachura.
Justices Ma. Alicia Austria-Martinez and Renato C. Corona were on leave. (GR No. 160869, Calilung vs. Datumanong, May 11, 2007)

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