Natural-born Filipino citizens who have lost their Philippine citizenship by reason of naturalization as citizens of a foreign country may reacquire their Philippine citizenship pursuant to Republic Act No. 9225.
Republic Act No. 9225 is also known as the “Citizenship Retention and Re-acquisition Act of 2003”.
Is Renunciation of Foreign Citizenship Required?
The law does not require renunciation of foreign citizenship. Taking an oath of allegiance suffices. This scenario gives rise to dual citizenship, that is, the individual concerned possesses 2 citizenships: Philippine citizenship and foreign citizenship.
Of course, if one wants to profess loyalty to no other country but the Philippines or for whatever reason, nothing stops that person from renouncing one’s foreign citizenship. But, that is voluntary.
Renunciation of foreign citizenship becomes material and mandatory when the individual concerned seeks an elective position in the government.
Section 5 of R.A. No. 9225 provides:
x x x x x
(2) Those seeking elective public in the Philippines shall meet the qualification for holding such public office as required by the Constitution and existing laws and, at the time of the filing of the certificate of candidacy, make a personal and sworn renunciation of any and all foreign citizenship before any public officer authorized to administer an oath;
x x x x x
By renouncing one’s foreign citizenship one ceases to be a dual citizen, he becomes a solely Filipino citizen.
Why Is Renunciation of Foreign Citizenship Required of Candidates for Elective Positions?
In the case of CASAN MACODE MAQUILING ( Petitioner) vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, ROMMEL ARNADO y CAGOCO, LINOG G. BALUA, (Respondents), G.R. No. 195649, the Supreme Court explained:
“While those who acquire dual citizenship by choice are afforded the right of suffrage, those who seek election or appointment to public office are required to renounce their foreign citizenship to be deserving of the public trust. Holding public office demands full and undivided allegiance to the Republic and to no other.”
Is It Required that Under the Laws of the Foreign Country, the Individual Concerned has Lost His Foreign Citizenship By Reason of the Renunciation?
Making reference to the pertinent deliberations of Congress, the Supreme Court expressed this view:
“By renouncing his foreign citizenship, he was deemed to be solely a Filipino citizen, regardless of the effect of such renunciation under the laws of the foreign country.”
Does Renunciation of Foreign Citizenship Have Permanent and Incontrovertible Effect?
In the same case, the Supreme answered this question in the negative.
One becomes solely a Filipino citizen upon renouncing one’s foreign citizenship regardless of how the laws of the foreign country concerned treat such renunciation. However, the Supreme said:
“ x x x x x this legal presumption does not operate permanently and is open to attack when, after renouncing the foreign citizenship, the citizen performs positive acts showing his continued possession of a foreign citizenship.”
The act of renouncing foreign citizenship is not only a serious matter but a sacred vow that must be kept inviolate. The person doing the renunciation must stand true to his oath at all times, and avoid performance of any right or availment of a privilege which rightfully belongs only to the citizens of the foreign country.
The Supreme Court pronounced:
“The renunciation of foreign citizenship is not a hollow oath that can simply be professed at any time, only to be violated the next day. It requires an absolute and perpetual renunciation of the foreign citizenship and a full divestment of all civil and political rights granted by the foreign country which granted the citizenship.”
The Supreme Court proceeded:
“Citizenship is not a matter of convenience. It is a badge of identity that comes with attendant civil and political rights accorded by the state to its citizens. It likewise demands the concomitant duty to maintain allegiance to one’s flag and country.”
Thus, when one who has renounced one’s foreign citizenship, but subsequently commits acts which signify possession of that foreign citizenship, one effectively recants such renunciation and reverts back to being a dual citizen.
What may Constitute an Act of Recantation of Renunciation?
In Maquiling case, the Supreme Court considered the use of foreign passport subsequent to renunciation as a form of recantation.
When a person uses his or her foreign passport, he or she declares that he or she is a citizen of the foreign country with all the attendant rights and privileges conferred by that country. In effect, the act of using s foreign passport repudiates the renunciation of foreign citizenship previously made.
Does the Subsequent Use of Foreign Passport Result in Loss of Reacquired Philippine Citizenship?
The person concerned becomes a dual citizen again from the time when he uses his or she uses his or her foreign passport.
However, he or she is barred from seeking any elective position.