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MAQUILING vs COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS
Arnado was a natural born Filipino citizen but lost his citizenship upon naturalization as citizen of United States of America. Sometime in 2008 and 2009, his repatriation was granted, and he subsequently executed an Affidavit of Renunciation of foreign citizenship. In November 2009, Arnando filed for a certificate of candidacy and won the said election. But prior from his declaration as winner, a pending action for disqualification was filed by Balua, one of the contenders for the position. Balua alleged that Arnando was not a citizen of the Philippines, with a certification issued by the Bureau of Immigration that Arnando’s nationality is USA-American and a certified true copy of computer-generated travel record that he has been using his American passport even after renunciation of American citizenship. A division of the COMELEC ruled against Arnando but this decision was reversed by the COMELEC en Banc stating that continued use of foreign passport is not one of the grounds provided for under Section 1 of Commonwealth Act No. 63 through which Philippine citizenship may be lost. Meanwhile, Maquiling petition that should be declared winner as he gained the second highest number of votes.
Whether or not continued use of a foreign passport after renouncing foreign citizenship affects one’s qualifications to run for public office.
Yes. The use of foreign passport after renouncing one’s foreign citizenship is a positive and voluntary act of representation as to one’s nationality and citizenship; it does not divest Filipino citizenship regained by repatriation, but it recants the Oath of Renunciation required to qualify one to run for an elective position which makes him dual citizen. Citizenship is not a matter of convenience. It is a badge of identity that comes with attendant civil and political rights accorded by the state to its citizens. It likewise demands the concomitant duty to maintain allegiance to one’s flag and country. While those who acquire dual citizenship by choice are afforded the right of suffrage, those who seek election or appointment to public office are required to renounce their foreign citizenship to be deserving of the public trust. Holding public office demands full and undivided allegiance to the Republic and to no other. It is a continuing requirement that must be possessed not only at the time of appointment or election or assumption of office but during the officer's entire tenure. Once any of the required qualifications is lost, his title may be seasonably challenged. Therefore, the Court held Arnando disqualified for any local elective position as provided by express disqualification under Section 40(d) of the Local Government Code. Popular vote does not cure this ineligibility of the candidate. Otherwise, substantive requirements set by the Constitution are nugatory. Furthermore, there is no second placer to speak of because as reiterated in the case of Jalosjos v. COMELEC, when the ineligibility was held to be void ab initio, no legal effect is produced. Hence among the qualified candidates for position, Maquiling who garnered the highest votes should be declared as winner.