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SC reminds aspiring public officials to renounce foreign citizenship


The Supreme Court building in Manila. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—The Supreme Court reminded those aspiring for public office to first renounce their dual citizenship or they will be disqualified.

“Failure to renounce foreign citizenship in accordance with the exact tenor of Section 5(2) of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 9225 [Citizenship Retention and Re-Acquisition Act of 2003] renders a dual citizen ineligible to run for and thus hold any elective public office,” the high court said in a 24-page decision dated Sept. 6, 2012 penned by Associate Justice Bienvenido Reyes.

The high court issued the reminder after it dismissed the petition filed by winning vice-mayoral candidate of Caba, La Union Teodora Sobejana-Condon who was unseated after being disqualified on the ground that her personal declaration of renunciation of her Australian citizenship was not under oath as required by RA 9225.

Under Section 5(2) the renunciation of foreign citizenship must be sworn before an officer authorized to administer oath.

“The language of the provision is plain and unambiguous. It expresses a single, definite, and sensible meaning and must thus 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.

The high court added that Condon’s act of running for public office does not suffice to serve as an effective renunciation of her Australian citizenship.

“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,” the high court said.

“[Petitioner] is yet to regain her political right to seek elective office. Unless she executes a sworn renunciation of her Australian citizenship, she is ineligible to run for and hold any elective office in the Philippines,” it added.

Petitioner Sobejano-Condon was a natural-born Filipino citizen on Aug. 8, 1944 but became a naturalized Australian citizen due to her marriage to one Kevin Thomas Condon on December 13, 1984. On Dec. 2, 2005, she filed an application to re-acquire Philippine citizenship before the Philippine Embassy in Canberra, Australia pursuant to Sec. 3 of RA 9225, which was approved and she took her oath of allegiance to the Republic on December 5, 2005.

On Sept. 18, 2006, petitioner filed an unsworn Declaration of Renunciation of Australian Citizenship before the Department of Immigration and Indigenous Affairs, Canberra, Australia, which in turn issued the order dated September 27, 2006 certifying that she has ceased to be an Australian citizen.

She ran for Mayor in her hometown of Caba, La Union in 2007 elections but lost her bid. She ran again and won in the May 2010 elections, this time for position of Vice-Mayor, and took her oath on May 13, 2010.  However, private respondents Luis M. Bautista, et al., all registered voters of Caba, La Union, filed separate petitions questioning her eligibility before the La Union Regional Trial Court on the issue of her dual citizenship.

The RTC on Oct. 22, 2010 ruled that petitioner’s failure to comply with RA 9225 made her ineligible to run and hold public office. It also nullified her proclamation as winning candidate and declared the position of Vice-Mayor in Caba, La Union vacant. Sobejana-Condon appealed to the Comelec who affirmed the lower court’s ruling.

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Tags: dual citizenship , foreign citizenship , public officials , Supreme Court

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_FPVUYCML46QCAJM5N2O4GNID24 tony

    The language of the law where government employees declare their assets and liabilities is “plain and unambiguous” (in the words of this Justice Bienvenido Reyes) too and yet most of the Supreme Court justices did nothing to help expose the truth during Corona’s impeachment trial!

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/ZYJLDPFZXW3GZVHSY5TOQZX6D4 SojuSaki

      Duh? You think those justices would allowed themselves get fried with own fats? Not in our lifetime.

    • etnarolfawa

      saan mo naman napulot ang mga sinasabi mo…..naiintindihan mo ba ang napupulot mong mga salita. kung hindi ay huwag mo nang ikopya dahil lumalabas ang katangahan mo……lahat na lang  tungkol kay corona anong klase ang laman nang ulo mo, ang topic ay ang  immigration and politics.

    • francoalminolibre

      kung totoo yan exempted ba ang congress at executive? lopsided ka ata.

  • Nic Legaspi

    Now why can’t the National Museum get the same simple paint job as the Supreme Court building? That yellow paint on the National Museum is just plain ugly!

  • francoalminolibre

    aba, bawal ang import sa election. hindi ito laro nang pba.

  • mad_as_Hamlet

    That won’t do.  I disagree.

    Such candidates should, without delay, be executed for treason, disloyalty, espionage, election sabotage, violating the ant-dummy law, impersonation, perjury, illegal netwiorking, money laundering, multiple choice, true or false, bigamy, double parking, illegal disguise, and, generally,  for trying to have the best of both wh0res.
    They should even be executed twice.  First, in the Philippines. Then in the other country they also swore allegiance too.

  • kalealaskador

    What kind of justices do we have? When Ms. Condon ran for election, she was no longer holding dual citizenship! She had denounced her Australian Citizenship and the Australian Dept of Immigration issued the order terminating her Australian citizenship as of 27 September 2006. Did she then become stateless? No. She is still a citizen of the Philippines!

    This is a serious problem with our lawyers and justices. They look for loopholes in the laws and disregard the obvious! Ano ba kayo?

    • http://twitter.com/supergoyong Super Goyong

      It’s not a loophole kalealaskador. Ms. Condon did not follow the proper renunciation procedure. The act clearly states that it must be a sworn renunciation.  Just like when acquiring a citizenship of a country, you are required to do the same thing and sign some documents. She renounced (not denounced) her  Australian citizenship just by signing a document stating such intention and action. She was supposed to formally reject her foreign citizenship through an affidavit DULY SWORN before an officer authorized to administer the oath. 

  • Sid Marcel

    Its payback time.Dapat ang gawin ng Supreme court pabayaan muna tumakbo yan mga duals. Tapos sa vesperas ng election ipagbabawal ang mga kanditado na yan.

  • MonMayuga

    New living translation of Matthew 6:24 

    “No one can serve two masters. for you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both god and money.”

    • bandit88

      how can you serve money? … unless you’re living in remote areas, you need money to survive!  BTW, are OFWs serving two masters as well? and what is allegiance nowadays when we’re all now living in a global community! — just my 2-cent.
      Also, how about checking with citizenship and immigration departments of some foreign countries if all members of the supreme court, and other goverment officials, do not have other citizenship/s and are just filipinos! the chances are you may found double standards and bunch of Hs! a filipino can maintain other citizenship/s without the philippines knowing — at least, the duals are honest to declare!

  • venfil29

    kung pumirma na ng documento sa australia at nag renounce ng kanyang pagiging australian citizen eh ano pa ang problema,hindi naman kasi talaga pwedeng 2 ang nationality pag nasa gobyerno ka kasi kung magkaroon yan ng mga anomalya at tapos tatakbo sa isang bansa kung saan siya citizen din problema talaga yan,pati yong bansang yon magkakaroon ng problema kasi obligado rin silang protektahan ang kanilang nationals.pero sana simplihan ang proceso ng pag renounce hindi yong kung kelan nanalo na saka may magrereklamo at sasabihin na hindi pwede dapat sa umpisa pa lang hindi na yan pinayagang tumakbo kung talagang kulang sa requirements.

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