Law expert explains citizenship and allegiance

Read more: Ranhilio Callangan Aquino. June 4, 2020. CITIZENSHIP AND ALLEGIANCE.

1. "Dual citizenship" is a phenomenon that many times arises without a person wanting it to be so, or at least not willing it to be so.

Filipino and Filipina are married. Both are students at Georgetown, when Filipina gives birth to Filipinito.

By virtue of our Constitution, Filipinito is a Filipino because of his parentage. In fact, it would have been enough for one of them to be Filipino for him to be a Filipino.

By virtue of the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution, Filipinito would also be American because American citizenship is granted to all persons "born or naturalized in the United States".

Without willing it, Filipinito is a citizen of both countries -- by sheer operation of the laws of the Philippines and of the United States.

It cannot be prohibited, unless one amends the law. Not that Filipinito's American citizenship would matter in the Philippines, because for all purposes relevant to Philippine law, he is a Filipino, entitled to all the rights and subject to all the liabilities (and debts!) of being a Filipino.

2. This is the reason that Section 4, Article IV of the Constitution provides that it is "dual allegiance" that is inimical to the national interest and should be dealt with by law, not dual citizenship -- about which a person can most of the time do nothing.

3. The "dual" citizens with a more problematic status are the natural-born Filipinos who subsequently become naturalized Americans, and then avail themselves of the provisions R.A. 9225 that grants them the right to "re-acquire" Filipino citizenship.

Their re-acquisition of Filipino citizenship makes them "natural-born Filipinos" -- this oddity being the result of Supreme Court reasoning that they are merely returning to the status they originally enjoyed. (Why should they?)

What its effect is on their American citizenship is not our concern, but that of American law -- which, so far as I am aware -- requires for the acquisition and retention of American citizenship that allegiance to another sovereignty is foresworn. The oath of allegiance of a naturalized American reads in part: "I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen...that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same."

The oath required by R.A. 9225 reads in part: "I hereby declare that I recognize and accept the supreme authority of the Philippines and will maintain true faith and allegiance thereto".

If, as part of the US naturalization process, a Filipino renounces allegiance to the Philippines, and pledges allegiance to the US, and then availing of the beneficial provisions of R.A. 9225 also pledges allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines, that would not only be dual citizenship, but dual allegiance -- that the Constitution characterizes as "inimical to national interests".

That is the way my logic goes, as well as my reading of the law. I stand corrected if I am in error. Read more: Ranhilio Callangan Aquino. June 4, 2020. CITIZENSHIP AND ALLEGIANCE.

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