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MERCADO vs. MANZANO
G.R. No. 135083. May 26, 1999
Ernesto Mamaril filed a disqualification case against vice-mayoralty candidate Manzano on the ground that he is not a citizen of the Philippines but of the United States. In its resolution, the second division of the COMELEC granted the petition of Mamaril and ordered the cancellation of the certificate of candidacy of Manzano on the ground that he is a dual citizen and, under Section 40(d) of the Local Government Code and the Makati charter, persons with dual citizenship are disqualified from running for any elective position. The Commission found out that Manzano was born in 1955, of a Filipino father and a Filipino mother, in San Francisco, California, in the United States. Hence, he is an American citizen, following the jus soli rule, and at the same time, a Filipino citizen for being born of Filipino parents.
Manzano filed a motion for reconsideration. Pending such motion, the 1998 elections was held and Manzano garnered the highest number of votes for vice-mayor in the city of Makati. His proclamation was suspended, pending resolution of the case. Petitioner Mercado, who garnered the second highest number of votes to Manzano, intervened in the disqualification case. Without resolving Manzano's motion, the COMELEC en banc reversed the ruling of the COMELEC second division and declared Manzano qualified to run for vice-mayor. Hence, Mercado filed a petition for certiorari to the Supreme Court seeking to set aside the resolution of the COMELEC en banc.
Whether or not dual citizenship is a ground for disqualification.
No. To begin with, dual citizenship is different from dual allegiance. The former arises when, as a result of the concurrent application of the different laws of two or more states, a person is simultaneously considered a national by the said states. For instance, such a situation may arise when a person whose parents are citizens of a state which adheres to the principle of jus sanguinis is born in a state which follows the doctrine of jus soli. Such a person, ipso facto and without any voluntary act on his part, is concurrently considered a citizen of both states. Considering the citizenship clause (Art. IV) of our Constitution, it is possible for the following classes of citizens of the Philippines to possess dual citizenship:
(1) Those born of Filipino fathers and/or mothers in foreign countries which follow the principle of jus soli.
(2) Those born in the Philippines of Filipino mothers and alien fathers if by the laws of their fathers’ country such children are citizens of that country;
(3) Those who marry aliens if by the laws of the latter’s country the former are considered citizens, unless by their act or omission they are deemed to have renounced Philippine citizenship.
There may be other situations in which a citizen of the Philippines may, without performing any act, be also a citizen of another state; but the above cases are clearly possible given the constitutional provisions on citizenship.
Dual allegiance, on the other hand, refers to the situation in which a person simultaneously owes, by some positive act, loyalty to two or more states. While dual citizenship is involuntary, dual allegiance is the result of an individual’s volition.
In including §5 in Article IV on citizenship, the concern of the Constitutional Commission was not with dual citizens per se but with naturalized citizens who maintain their allegiance to their countries of origin even after their naturalization. Hence, the phrase “dual citizenship” in R.A. No. 7160, §40(d) and in R.A. No. 7854, §20 must be understood as referring to “dual allegiance.” Consequently, persons with mere dual citizenship do not fall under this disqualification. Unlike those with dual allegiance, who must, therefore, be subject to strict process with respect to the termination of their status, for candidates with dual citizenship, it should suffice if, upon the filing of their certificates of candidacy, they elect Philippine citizenship to terminate their status as persons with dual citizenship considering that their condition is the unavoidable consequence of conflicting laws of different states.
Under RA 9225 (effective August 29, 2003), the mere filing of a certificate of candidacy is no longer deemed an express renunciation of foreign citizenship in order to run for public office. The candidate for public office with dual citizenship must (1) take an oath of allegiance and (2) execute a renunciation of foreign citizenship.