POSTSCRIPT / September 20, 2015 / Sunday


Opinion Columnist

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EDSA traffic lightens: Al-Dub kept fans home

TRAFFIC on EDSA and many Metro Manila thoroughfares was light-moderate at noon yesterday.

It may have been coincidence, but most street denizens were home or at some other place glued to the TV to witness the long-awaited first meeting of Alden Richards and Yaya Dub, the accidental pair drawing hordes of viewers to the Eat Bulaga noontime “kalyeserye” on GMA-7.

As of 2:50 p.m. yesterday, the Al-Dub segment reportedly had drawn 8.5 million tweets on Twitter, and counting. (Kindly skip these notes, as you won’t understand them, if you are not among the 97 percent of noontime televiewers under the spell of the Al-Dub TV phenomenon.)

Election a choice between heaven, hell?

BUT MOST Filipinos can relate to this one: Mabuti na to have a Philippines run like heaven by a naturalized American kaysa having it run like hell by a natural-born Filipino.”

That was not uttered by a latter-day descendant of Manuel L. Quezon, the first president of the US-sponsored Philippine Commonwealth inaugurated in 1935 transitioning to the 1946 Republic.

It was what my barber commented in Tagalog the other day after somebody on TV mentioned that the patriotism of Sen. Grace Poe Llamanzares had been questioned because she once renounced (“itinakwil”) her Philippine citizenship and had herself naturalized as an American.

I kept quiet as my barber clipped away while talking about how elections have not improved living conditions. How does anyone explain to a barbershop crowd the legalities of being natural-born, naturalization, renunciation and such matters?

Interrupting his lecture, I asked nobody in particular if they would vote for Grace Poe if she promised US statehood for the Philippines. Everybody perked up. Somebody reeled out the usual line about our finally having White Christmas (dashing through the snow, reindeers and all).

But it was obvious that while they were for statehood, they knew that that was sheer fantasy since the US would not accept this former colony into the Union and add to its problems.

Text of pertinent citizenship docus

TO HELP explain the legal nuances of the petition before the Senate Electoral Tribunal questioning the natural-born citizenship of Senator Poe, we share with readers the text of more relevant documents:

• Article IV (Citizenship) of the 1987 Constitution:

Section 2. Natural-born citizens are those who are citizens of the Philippines from birth without having to perform any act to acquire or perfect their Philippine citizenship.

Section 5. Dual allegiance of citizens is inimical to the national interest and shall be dealt with by law.

• The Naturalization Oath of Allegiance to the United States of America that Mrs. Grace Poe Llamanzares took upon her naturalization as an American in 2001:

“I hereby declare, on oath, that 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 support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.”

The elements and wording of the above Naturalization Oath of Allegiance are dictated by law. Compare its language with the affidavit below signed in 2010 before a notary public by Mrs. Llamanzares as her “Renunciation of Allegiance to the United States of America and Renunciation of American Citizenship”:

“I, Mary Grace Poe-Llamanzares, Filipino, of legal age, and presently residing at (her Quezon City address was given), after having been sworn to in accordance with the law, do hereby depose and state that with this affidavit, I hereby expressly and voluntarily renounce my United States nationality/ American citizenship, together with all rights and privileges and all duties and allegiance and fidelity thereunto pertaining, I make this renunciation intentionally, voluntarily, and of my own free will, free of any duress or undue influence.”

Her affidavit was subscribed and sworn to on Oct. 20, 2010, before notary public Conrada A. Balboa of the EMSAVVIL law office of Sen. Chiz Escudero and rushed to the Bureau of Immigration the following day.

We have not ascertained if the wording of her renunciation affidavit was composed by Poe herself, or by the notary public, or if its elements and exact wording were dictated by any Philippine law or implementing rules. What are its legal effects?

SC affirms ouster of American mayor

WE CAME upon this news item yesterday about the Supreme Court affirming the disqualification of a municipal mayor in Lanao del Norte for being an American.

In a decision written by Associate Justice Mariano del Castillo, the tribunal affirmed the December 2013 ruling of the Commission on Elections disqualifying Kauswagan Mayor Rommel Arnado who ran and won in the 2013 elections.

The court noted that Arnado continued to use his American passport even after renouncing his US citizenship in 2009 to run for mayor in 2010.

“Only natural-born Filipinos who owe total and undivided allegiance to the country could run for and hold elective posts,” the SC said.

Arnado’s use of his US passport in 2009 invalidated his oath of renunciation, resulting in his disqualification in the 2010 election, according to the SC: “When Arnado used his US passport just 11 days after he renounced his US citizenship, he recanted his oath of renunciation.”

(First published in the Philippine STAR of September 20, 2015)

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