SC: Natural-born dual citizens may not renounce foreign citizenship
Candidates for elective office who are considered dual citizens for being born to one Filipino parent and one foreign parent are not required to renounce their foreign citizenship and take an oath of allegiance to the Philippines to be eligible to run for office.
In a full court decision, the 15-member Supreme Court ruled that Filipinos born to one Filipino parent and one foreign parent are considered dual citizens by birth and not by naturalization, regardless of subsequent acts performed to confirm the foreign citizenship.
Filipinos who fall under such dual citizenship are considered natural-born Filipinos qualified to run for public office, the court said.
The Supreme Court made the pronouncement as it upheld the petition of Mariz Lindsey Gana-Carait and overruled the September 23, 2021 decision of the Commission of Elections (Comelec) that canceled her certificate of candidacy for councilor of Biñan, Laguna, in the May 2019 elections.
Gana-Carait’s candidacy was opposed through a petition for disqualification on the ground that she failed to renounce her United States of America citizenship and another petition for cancellation of her certificate of candidacy for false representation on her eligibility to run for office because of her American citizenship.
The Comelec dismissed the petition for disqualification but granted the petition for cancellation of her certificate of candidacy, arguing that she was a “dual citizen by naturalization” since her mother secured for Gana-Carait a consular report of birth abroad of a US citizen and possession of an American passport.
The Comelec held that Gana-Carait should have complied with the Citizenship Retention and Re-acquisition Act, or Republic Act No. 9225, which requires candidates who are dual citizens by naturalization to take an oath of allegiance to the Philippines and to renounce their foreign citizenship to become eligible for elective office.
Overruling the Comelec, the Supreme Court however said Gana-Carait, who was born to a Filipino father and an American mother, is a dual citizen by birth and not by naturalization.
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