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Republic of the Philippines

SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. 160869 May 11, 2007
AASJS (ADVOCATES AND ADHERENTS OF SOCA! JUSTCE FOR SCHOO! TEACHERS AND
A!!ED "OR#ERS$ MEM%ER & HECTOR GUMANGAN CA!!UNG, Petitioner,
vs.
THE HONORA%!E SMEON DATUMANONG, '( )'* o++','a- ,a.a,'/y a* /)0 S0,10/a1y o+
J2*/',0,Respondent.
D E C I S I N
3USUM%NG, J.:
!his is an ori"inal action for prohibition under Rule #$ of the %&&' Revised Rules of Civil Procedure.
Petitioner filed the instant petition a"ainst respondent, then Secretar( of )ustice Si*eon
Datu*anon", the official tas+ed to i*ple*ent la,s "overnin" citi-enship.
%
Petitioner pra(s that a ,rit
of prohibition be issued to stop respondent fro* i*ple*entin" Republic Act No. &..$, entitled /An
Act Making the Citizenship of Philippine Citizens Who Acquire Foreign Citizenship Permanent,
Amending for the Purpose Commonwealth Act No. !, As Amended, and for "ther Purposes./
Petitioner avers that Rep. Act No. &..$ is unconstitutional as it violates Section $, Article I0 of the
%&1' Constitution that states, /Dual alle"iance of citi-ens is ini*ical to the national interest and shall
be dealt ,ith b( la,./
Rep. Act No. &..$, si"ned into la, b( President 2loria M. Arro(o on Au"ust .&, .334, reads5
SEC!IN %. Short !itle.6!his Act shall be +no,n as the /Citi-enship Retention and Reac7uisition Act
of .334./
SEC. .. Declaration of Polic(.6It is hereb( declared the polic( of the State that all Philippine citi-ens
,ho beco*e citi-ens of another countr( shall be dee*ed not to have lost their Philippine citi-enship
under the conditions of this Act.
SEC. 4. Retention of Philippine Citi-enship.6An( provision of la, to the contrar( not,ithstandin",
natural6born citi-ens of the Philippines ,ho have lost their Philippine citi-enship b( reason of their
naturali-ation as citi-ens of a forei"n countr( are hereb( dee*ed to have reac7uired Philippine
citi-enship upon ta+in" the follo,in" oath of alle"iance to the Republic5
/I 888888888888888888888888888, sole*nl( s,ear 9or affir*: that I ,ill support and defend the
Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines and obe( the la,s and le"al orders pro*ul"ated b(
the dul( constituted authorities of the Philippines; and I hereb( declare that I reco"ni-e and accept
the supre*e authorit( of the Philippines and ,ill *aintain true faith and alle"iance thereto; and that I
i*pose this obli"ation upon *(self voluntaril( ,ithout *ental reservation or purpose of evasion./
Natural6born citi-ens of the Philippines ,ho, after the effectivit( of this Act, beco*e citi-ens of a
forei"n countr( shall retain their Philippine citi-enship upon ta+in" the aforesaid oath.
SEC. <. Derivative Citi-enship. 6 !he un*arried child, ,hether le"iti*ate, ille"iti*ate or adopted,
belo, ei"hteen 9%1: (ears of a"e, of those ,ho reac7uire Philippine citi-enship upon effectivit( of
this Act shall be dee*ed citi-ens of the Philippines.
SEC. $. Civil and Political Ri"hts and =iabilities. 6 !hose ,ho retain or reac7uire Philippine
citi-enship under this Act shall en>o( full civil and political ri"hts and be sub>ect to all attendant
liabilities and responsibilities under e?istin" la,s of the Philippines and the follo,in" conditions5
9%: !hose intendin" to e?ercise their ri"ht of suffra"e *ust *eet the re7uire*ents under
Section %, Article 0 of the Constitution, Republic Act No. &%1&, other,ise +no,n as /!he
verseas Absentee 0otin" Act of .334/ and other e?istin" la,s;
9.: !hose see+in" elective public office in the Philippines shall *eet the 7ualifications for
holdin" such public office as re7uired b( the Constitution and e?istin" la,s and, at the ti*e
of the filin" of the certificate of candidac(, *a+e a personal and s,orn renunciation of an(
and all forei"n citi-enship before an( public officer authori-ed to ad*inister an oath;
94: !hose appointed to an( public office shall subscribe and s,ear to an oath of alle"iance to
the Republic of the Philippines and its dul( constituted authorities prior to their assu*ption of
office5 Provided, !hat the( renounce their oath of alle"iance to the countr( ,here the( too+
that oath;
9<: !hose intendin" to practice their profession in the Philippines shall appl( ,ith the proper
authorit( for a license or per*it to en"a"e in such practice; and
9$: !hat ri"ht to vote or be elected or appointed to an( public office in the Philippines cannot
be e?ercised b(, or e?tended to, those ,ho5
9a: are candidates for or are occup(in" an( public office in the countr( of ,hich the( are
naturali-ed citi-ens; and@or
9b: are in the active service as co**issioned or nonco**issioned officers in the ar*ed
forces of the countr( ,hich the( are naturali-ed citi-ens.
SEC. #. Separabilit( Clause. 6 If an( section or provision of this Act is held unconstitutional or invalid,
an( other section or provision not affected thereb( shall re*ain valid and effective.
SEC. '. Repealin" Clause. 6 All la,s, decrees, orders, rules and re"ulations inconsistent ,ith the
provisions of this Act are hereb( repealed or *odified accordin"l(.
SEC. 1. Effectivit( Clause. 6 !his Act shall ta+e effect after fifteen 9%$: da(s follo,in" its publication
in the fficial 2a-ette or t,o 9.: ne,spapers of "eneral circulation.
In this petition for prohibition, the follo,in" issues have been raised5 9%: Is Rep. Act No. &..$
unconstitutionalA 9.: Does this Court have >urisdiction to pass upon the issue of dual alle"ianceA
Be shall discuss these issues >ointl(.
Petitioner contends that Rep. Act No. &..$ cheapens Philippine citi-enship. Ce avers that Sections
. and 4 of Rep. Act No. &..$, to"ether, allo, dual alle"iance and not dual citi-enship. Petitioner
*aintains that Section . allo,s all Dilipinos, either natural6born or naturali-ed, ,ho beco*e forei"n
citi-ens, to retain their Philippine citi-enship ,ithout losin" their forei"n citi-enship. Section 4 per*its
dual alle"iance because said la, allo,s natural6born citi-ens of the Philippines to re"ain their
Philippine citi-enship b( si*pl( ta+in" an oath of alle"iance ,ithout forfeitin" their forei"n
alle"iance.
.
!he Constitution, ho,ever, is cate"orical that dual alle"iance is ini*ical to the national
interest.
!he ffice of the Solicitor 2eneral 9S2: clai*s that Section . *erel( declares as a state polic( that
/Philippine citi-ens ,ho beco*e citi-ens of another countr( shall be dee*ed not to have lost their
Philippine citi-enship./ !he S2 further clai*s that the oath in Section 4 does not allo, dual
alle"iance since the oath ta+en b( the for*er Dilipino citi-en is an effective renunciation and
repudiation of his forei"n citi-enship. !he fact that the applicant ta+in" the oath reco"ni-es and
accepts the supre*e authorit( of the Philippines is an un*ista+able and cate"orical affir*ation of his
undivided lo(alt( to the Republic.
4
In resolvin" the aforecited issues in this case, resort to the deliberations of Con"ress is necessar( to
deter*ine the intent of the le"islative branch in draftin" the assailed la,. Durin" the deliberations,
the issue of ,hether Rep. Act No. &..$ ,ould allo, dual alle"iance had in fact been the sub>ect of
debate. !he record of the le"islative deliberations reveals the follo,in"5
? ? ? ?
Pursuin" his point, Rep. Dilan"alen noted that under the *easure, t,o situations e?ist 6 6 the
retention of forei"n citi-enship, and the reac7uisition of Philippine citi-enship. In this case, he
observed that there are t,o citi-enships and therefore, t,o alle"iances. Ce pointed out that under
the Constitution, dual alle"iance is ini*ical to public interest. Ce thereafter as+ed ,hether ,ith the
creation of dual alle"iance b( reason of retention of forei"n citi-enship and the reac7uisition of
Philippine citi-enship, there ,ill no, be a violation of the ConstitutionE
Rep. =ocsin underscored that the *easure does not see+ to address the constitutional in>unction on
dual alle"iance as ini*ical to public interest. Ce said that the proposed la, ai*s to facilitate the
reac7uisition of Philippine citi-enship b( speed( *eans. Co,ever, he said that in one sense, it
addresses the proble* of dual citi-enship b( re7uirin" the ta+in" of an oath. Ce e?plained that the
proble* of dual citi-enship is transferred fro* the Philippines to the forei"n countr( because the
latest oath that ,ill be ta+en b( the for*er Dilipino is one of alle"iance to the Philippines and not to
the Fnited States, as the case *a( be. Ce added that this is a *atter ,hich the Philippine
"overn*ent ,ill have no concern and co*petence over.
Rep. Dilan"alen as+ed ,h( this ,ill no lon"er be the countr(Gs concern, ,hen dual alle"iance is
involved.
Rep. =ocsin clarified that this ,as precisel( his ob>ection to the ori"inal version of the bill, ,hich did
not re7uire an oath of alle"iance. Since the *easure no, re7uires this oath, the proble* of dual
alle"iance is transferred fro* the Philippines to the forei"n countr( concerned, he e?plained.
? ? ? ?
Rep. Dilan"alen as+ed ,hether in the particular case, the person did not denounce his forei"n
citi-enship and therefore still o,es alle"iance to the forei"n "overn*ent, and at the sa*e ti*e, o,es
his alle"iance to the Philippine "overn*ent, such that there is no, a case of dual citi-enship and
dual alle"iance.
Rep. =ocsin clarified that b( s,earin" to the supre*e authorit( of the Republic, the person i*plicitl(
renounces his forei"n citi-enship. Co,ever, he said that this is not a *atter that he ,ishes to
address in Con"ress because he is not a *e*ber of a forei"n parlia*ent but a Me*ber of the
Couse.
? ? ? ?
Rep. =ocsin replied that it is i*perative that those ,ho have dual alle"iance contrar( to national
interest should be dealt ,ith b( la,. Co,ever, he said that the dual alle"iance proble* is not
addressed in the bill. Ce then cited the Declaration of Polic( in the bill ,hich states that /It is hereb(
declared the polic( of the State that all citi-ens ,ho beco*e citi-ens of another countr( shall be
dee*ed not to have lost their Philippine citi-enship under the conditions of this Act./ Ce stressed
that ,hat the bill does is reco"ni-e Philippine citi-enship but sa(s nothin" about the other
citi-enship.
Rep. =ocsin further pointed out that the proble* of dual alle"iance is created ,herein a natural6born
citi-en of the Philippines ta+es an oath of alle"iance to another countr( and in that oath sa(s that he
ab>ures and absolutel( renounces all alle"iance to his countr( of ori"in and s,ears alle"iance to that
forei"n countr(. !he ori"inal Bill had left it at this sta"e, he e?plained. In the present *easure, he
clarified, a person is re7uired to ta+e an oath and the last he utters is one of alle"iance to the
countr(. Ce then said that the proble* of dual alle"iance is no lon"er the proble* of the Philippines
but of the other forei"n countr(.
<
9E*phasis supplied.:
Dro* the above e?cerpts of the le"islative record, it is clear that the intent of the le"islature in
draftin" Rep. Act No. &..$ is to do a,a( ,ith the provision in Co**on,ealth Act No. #4
$
,hich
ta+es a,a( Philippine citi-enship fro* natural6born Dilipinos ,ho beco*e naturali-ed citi-ens of
other countries. Bhat Rep. Act No. &..$ does is allo, dual citi-enship to natural6born Dilipino
citi-ens ,ho have lost Philippine citi-enship b( reason of their naturali-ation as citi-ens of a forei"n
countr(. n its face, it does not reco"ni-e dual alle"iance. B( s,earin" to the supre*e authorit( of
the Republic, the person i*plicitl( renounces his forei"n citi-enship. Plainl(, fro* Section 4, Rep.
Act No. &..$ sta(ed clear out of the proble* of dual alle"iance and shifted the burden of confrontin"
the issue of ,hether or not there is dual alle"iance to the concerned forei"n countr(. Bhat happens
to the other citi-enship ,as not *ade a concern of Rep. Act No. &..$.
Petitioner li+e,ise advances the proposition that althou"h Con"ress has not (et passed an( la, on
the *atter of dual alle"iance, such absence of a la, should not be >ustification ,h( this Court could
not rule on the issue. Ce further contends that ,hile it is true that there is no enablin" la, (et on dual
alle"iance, the Supre*e Court, throu"h Mercado v. Man-ano,
#
alread( had dra,n up the "uidelines
on ho, to distin"uish dual alle"iance fro* dual citi-enship.
'
Dor its part, the S2 counters that pursuant to Section $, Article I0 of the %&1' Constitution, dual
alle"iance shall be dealt ,ith b( la,. !hus, until a la, on dual alle"iance is enacted b( Con"ress,
the Supre*e Court is ,ithout an( >urisdiction to entertain issues re"ardin" dual alle"iance.
1
!o be"in ,ith, Section $, Article I0 of the Constitution is a declaration of a polic( and it is not a self6
e?ecutin" provision. !he le"islature still has to enact the la, on dual alle"iance. In Sections . and 4
of Rep. Act No. &..$, the fra*ers ,ere not concerned ,ith dual citi-enship per se, but ,ith the
status of naturali-ed citi-ens ,ho *aintain their alle"iance to their countries of ori"in even after their
naturali-ation.
&
Con"ress ,as "iven a *andate to draft a la, that ,ould set specific para*eters of
,hat reall( constitutes dual alle"iance.
%3
Fntil this is done, it ,ould be pre*ature for the >udicial
depart*ent, includin" this Court, to rule on issues pertainin" to dual alle"iance.
Neither can ,e subscribe to the proposition of petitioner that a la, is not needed since the case of
Mercado had alread( set the "uidelines for deter*inin" dual alle"iance. Petitioner
*isreads Mercado. !hat case did not set the para*eters of ,hat constitutes dual alle"iance but
*erel( *ade a distinction bet,een dual alle"iance and dual citi-enship.
Moreover, in #strada $. %andigan&a'an,
%%
,e said that the courts *ust assu*e that the le"islature is
ever conscious of the borders and ed"es of its plenar( po,ers, and passed la,s ,ith full +no,led"e
of the facts and for the purpose of pro*otin" ,hat is ri"ht and advancin" the ,elfare of the *a>orit(.
Cence, in deter*inin" ,hether the acts of the le"islature are in tune ,ith the funda*ental la,, ,e
*ust proceed ,ith >udicial restraint and act ,ith caution and forbearance.
%.
!he doctrine of
separation of po,ers de*ands no less. Be cannot arro"ate the dut( of settin" the para*eters of
,hat constitutes dual alle"iance ,hen the Constitution itself has clearl( dele"ated the dut( of
deter*inin" ,hat acts constitute dual alle"iance for stud( and le"islation b( Con"ress.
"HEREFORE, the petition is hereb( DSMSSED for lac+ of *erit.
S RDERED.