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Dual Citizenship v. Dual Allegiance


Article IV Section 5 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution provides that dual allegiance of citizens is inimical to the national interest and shall be dealt with by law.[1] Dual citizenship is not dual allegiance; as such dual allegiance and not dual citizenship shall be dealt with by the law.


Mercado v. Manzano (307 SCRA 630)

As what was stated in the case of Mercado v. Manzano, 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 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.[2] 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.[3]

In this case, Ernesto S. Mercado and Eduardo B. Manzano were candidates for vice mayor of the city of Makati in the 11 May 1998 elections. Manzano garnered majority of the votes casted, but his proclamation was suspended due to the case filed by a certain Ernesto Mamaril who alleged that Manzano was not a citizen of the Philippines but of the United States and as such disqualified to run for public office. In his answer, Manzano admitted that he is registered as a foreigner with the Bureau of Immigration under Alien Certificate of Registration number B-31632 and alleged that he is a Filipino citizen because he was born in 1955 of a Filipino father and a Filipino mother. He was born in the United States, San Francisco, California on 14 September 1955, and is considered an American citizen under US Laws. But notwithstanding his registration as an American citizen, he did not lose his Filipino citizenship.[4]

The COMELEC en banc held that Manzano acquired US citizenship by operation of the United States Constitution and laws under the principle of jus soli. He was issued an alien certificate of registration. This, however, did not result in the loss of his Philippine citizenship since he did not take an oath of allegiance to the United States. It is an undisputed fact that when Manzano attained the age of majority, he registered himself as a voter, and voted in the elections of 1992, 1995 and 1998, which effectively renounced his US citizenship under American law. As such, Eduardo B. Manzano was qualified to run for the position of vice mayor of Makati. Petitioner argued that the COMELEC en banc erred in its decision that Manzano was qualified, invoking the maxim dura lex sed lex. Petitioner, as well as the solicitor general, who sides with him in this case, contends that according to the Local Government Code, Congress has “commanded in explicit terms the ineligibility of persons possessing dual allegiance to hold local elective office.” Petitioner also contends that such is also provided by the Article on Citizenship under the Philippine Constitution.

However, the court held that in including Section 5 Article IV on citizenship, the concern of the Constitutional Commission was not on dual citizens per se but with naturalized citizens, who maintain their allegiance to their countries of origin even after their naturalization. Petitioner also argued that the en banc erred in ruling that Manzano already effectively renounced his US citizenship under the American law. The petitioner’s argument does not hold water, as the court held that by filing a certificate of candidacy when he ran for his present post, Manzano elected Philippine citizenship and in effect renounced his American citizenship. As what was stated earlier what the law prohibits is dual allegiance and not dual citizenship.


Aznar v. Commission on Elections (185 SCRA 703)

In this case, Emilio “Lito” Osmeña filed his certificate of candidacy with the COMELEC for the position of Provincial Governor of Cebu in the 18 January 1988 elections. Petitioner, Jose B. Aznar, filed with the COMELEC a petition for the disqualification of Osmeña on the ground that he is not a Filipino citizen since he is a citizen of the United States. COMELEC en banc decided to suspend the proclamation. Osmeña maintained that he is a Filipino citizen, alleging that (1) he is the legitimate child of Dr. Emilio D. Osmeña, a Filipino and son of the late President Sergio Osmeña, Sr., (2) that he is a holder of a valid and subsisting Philippine Passport, (3) that he was continuously residing in the Philippines since birth and has not gone out of the country for more than six months, and (4) that he has been a registered voter in the Philippines since 1965.

The court held that the Aznar’s contention was not meritorious. Aznar’s argument that Osmeña is not a Filipino citizen and therefore, disqualified from running for and being elected to the office of Governor of Cebu, is not supported by substantial and convincing evidence. Aznar failed to provide proof that Osmeña has lost the citizenship by any of the modes provided for under C.A. No. 63, these are: (1) by naturalization in a foreign country, (2) by express renunciation of citizenship, or (3) by subscribing to an oath of allegiance to support the Constitution or laws of a foreign country. Osmeña did not lose his Philippine citizenship in any of the modes provided. By virtue of his being a son of a Filipino father, the presumption that Osmeña is a Filipino remains. In this case, Osmeña denies having taken the oath of allegiance of the United States. He is a holder of a valid and subsisting Philippine passport and has continuously participated in the electoral process in this country since 1963. The court held that the dissent of Mr. Justice Teodoro Padilla, that because Osmeña obtained certificates of Alien Registration as an American citizen, the first in 1958 when he was 24 years old and the second in 1979, he should be regarded as having expressly renounced Philippine citizenship, does not hold water. The court in this case held that Osmeña is still a Filipino citizen. It may also be noted he was not even declared a dual citizen.


[1] Phil Const. art. IV § 5.

[2] Mercado v. Manzano, 307 SCRA 630, 640.

[3] Id at 641.

[4] Supra note 51, at 634.