Latest Stories

Marinduque gov’s daughter disqualified from House race on citizenship issue


MANILA, Philippines—The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has cancelled the certificate of candidacy (COC) of a congressional candidate in Marinduque for making false claims about her citizenship and residency.

In a 12-page resolution dated March 27, the Comelec First Division, led by Presiding Commissioner Lucenito Tagle, cancelled the COC of Regina Ongsiako Reyes, daughter of Marinduque Governor Carmencita Reyes.

The poll body’s decision was in response to the petition filed by Joseph Socorro Tan, a registered voter of Torrijos, Marinduque, who asked the Comelec to deny due course or cancel the COC filed by Reyes, saying Reyes’ candidacy for Marinduque’s lone seat in the House of Representatives was a violation of the Constitution and the Omnibus Election Code.

Tan alleged that Reyes gave false information in her COC, particularly her age, civil status, residence and citizenship.

But in ruling the petition, the Comelec focused on the issues hounding Reyes’ citizenship and residency.

In her answer to the Comelec, Reyes defended herself from Tan’s allegation that she could not have been a resident of Lupac, Boac, Marinduque, but was actually a resident of Barangay (village) Maligaya, Quezon City or Bauan, Batangas, based on her marriage to Representative Herminaldo Mandanas.

She said that even if she has been publicly known to be the wife of Mandanas, she has not had a valid and binding marriage with him.

Reyes insisted on her residency in Boac, her domicile of origin, which she said she has never abandoned.

She added that Tan did not present evidence to boost his claim that she has obtained permanent residency status in the US and that she acquired US citizenship sometime in 2005 and was issued a US passport.

But Tan presented newly discovered evidence and amended list of exhibits, consisting of among others, a copy of an article published on the Internet on January 8 entitled “Seeking and finding the truth about Regina Reyes,” with an affidavit and identification and authenticity of document executed by the author, Eliseo Obligacion.

Pertinently, the article provided a database record of the Bureau of Immigration listing the respondent as an American citizen and holder of a US passport, which she has been using since 2005.

Tan also presented a certification of Reyes’ travel records issued by Simeon Sanchez, acting chief of the BI’s verification and certification unit.

The Comelec resolution stated that for Reyes to reacquire her Filipino citizenship and become eligible for public office, she must take the oath of allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines before the Consul General of the Philippine Consulate in the US as required by law. She also had to make a personal and sworn renunciation of her American citizenship before a public officer authorized to administer an oath.

“In the case at bar, there is no showing that the respondent (Reyes) complied with the aforesaid requirements,” the resolution said, adding that the petitioner, with the submission of newly established evidence, was able to substantiate his allegation.

“The burden now shifts to the respondent to present substantial evidence to prove otherwise…This the respondent utterly failed to do so, leading to the conclusion inevitable that respondent falsely misrepresented in her COC that she is a natural-born Filipino citizen,” the resolution said.

“Unless and until she can establish that she had availed of the privileges of Republic Act 9225 (Citizenship Retention and Re-acquisition Act of 2003) by becoming a dual Filipino-American citizen, and thereafter, made a valid sworn renunciation of her American citizenship, she remains to be an American citizen and is therefore ineligible to run for and hold any public office in the Philippines,” it added.

Since Reyes did not prove that she had renounced her American citizenship, her domicile in the US stood, said the Comelec.

Reyes had claimed being a resident of Boac for 36 years and two months before the May elections.

“Accordingly, the more appropriate issue is whether the respondent had regained her domicile of origin in the municipality of Boac after she lost the same when she became a naturalized American citizen,” the Comelec said. “A Filipino citizen who becomes naturalized elsewhere effectively abandons his domicile of origin.”

The only proof presented by Reyes for her compliance with the one-year residency requirement was her claim that she served as provincial administrator of the province from January 18, 2011 to July 13, 2011.

“But such fact alone is not sufficient to prove her one-year residency. For respondent has never regained her domicile in Marinduque as she remains to be an American citizen. No amount of her stay in the said locality can substitute the fact that she has not abandoned her domicile of choice in the USA,” the Comelec resolution read.

Comelec considers Philippine citizenship as an “indispensable” requirement on people for seeiking an elective office.

“It is a requisite which should be dealt with more scrutiny, if only to ensure that no person owing allegiance to other nation is actually permitted to govern our people,” it explained.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Carmencita Reyes , citizenship , Comelec , Congress , Elections 2013 , Global Nation , Marinduque , Philippines , Regina Ongsiako Reyes , US

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  2. Chinese lawyers say they were tortured by police
  3. Hair salon’s Kim Jong Un poster riles embassy
  4. Siquijor ‘healer’: For every cure, there’s a plant
  5. State seeks guilty verdict for Abalos
  6. Why college grads end up in the PNP
  7. Estrada: I will pray for my detractors
  8. Miraculous image makes Gapan City top site for pilgrimage in Central Luzon
  9. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  10. Five men from Cavite found dead in jeep in Batangas
  1. Suspect in Vhong Navarro mauling tries to leave PH
  2. MH370 co-pilot made mid-flight phone call – report
  3. Netizens cry: 6/55 Lotto was rigged
  4. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  5. ‘Wife of Jesus’ theory papyrus not fake – Harvard study
  6. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  7. Gay college instructor arrested for oral sex with student
  8. ‘King’ Yabut and I: Driver bares Makati dad ‘abuses’
  9. It was difficult having Japanese blood
  10. Palace: We can’t blame increase in population on Vitangcol
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Pork payoffs to newscasters Erwin Tulfo, Del Prado, others bared
  4. UP back on top as ‘average’ student aces bar
  5. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  6. Model Helena Belmonte wished ‘to slash her wrist and hope to die’
  7. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  8. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  9. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  10. Police rule out foul play in Helena Belmonte’s death as boyfriend is ‘traumatized’


  • Drug firm Novartis to help Leyte firefighter
  • Fears grow for hundreds missing in South Korea ferry capsize
  • Robot sub makes first complete search for plane
  • uFly fires flight simulator who appeared on CNN
  • DPWH allots P1.2 trillion for PH roads
  • Sports

  • Federer would skip tennis to be with wife, newborn
  • Manny Pacquiao in PBA? If so, he’ll wear No. 17
  • PSC sets Blu Girls US training
  • Power Pinoys settle for 7th place
  • Successful coaches to get raise
  • Lifestyle

  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • This is not just a farm
  • Clams and garlic, softshell crab risotto–not your usual seafood fare for Holy Week
  • Moist, extra-tender blueberry muffins
  • Entertainment

  • Jay Z to bring Made in America music fest to LA
  • Why Lucky has not bought an engagement ring for Angel
  • Derek more private with new girlfriend
  • ‘Community’ star happy with return of show’s creator
  • Jealousy is kid stuff
  • Business

  • PH presses bid to keep rice import controls
  • PSEi continues to gain
  • Number of retrenched workers rose by 42% in ’13
  • PH seen to sustain rise in FDIs
  • Gov’t subsidies to state firms fell in first 2 months
  • Technology

  • DOF: Tagaytay, QC best at handling funds
  • Smart phone apps and sites perfect for the Holy Week
  • Tech company: Change passwords or suffer ‘Heartbleed’
  • Filling the digital talent gap
  • SSS to shut down website for Holy Week
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • Japan says visa-free entry still a plan
  • First Fil-Am elected to Sierra Madre, Calif. city council
  • UC Irvine cultural night to dramatize clash of values in immigrant family
  • Filipino sweets and info served at UC Berkeley Spring Fest
  • Milpitas, California kids wrap up a successful run of ‘The Wiz’
  • Marketplace