Published 11 January 2021, The Daily Tribune
About a year ago, the House of Representatives conducted hearings on the franchise renewal of a media company and brought to the fore the concept of ‘dual citizenship’. The Chairman of the company happens to be both an American and a Filipino citizen. He was born to Filipino parents in the United States of America. The issue became relevant because foreigners are constitutionally proscribed from owning shares of stock in a media company and statutorily prohibited from being involved in the management of such entity.
Is a person with dual citizenship a Filipino or foreigner for the purpose of applying these legal provisions ? The question is yet to be conclusively resolved.
At any rate, how does a person acquire dual citizenship or even multiple citizenships?
Dual citizenship is acquired from birth by the simultaneous application of the principle of jus soli and jus sanguine in one person.
Under jus soli, a person acquires the citizenship of the state of his birth, regardless of the citizenship of the parents. It is a citizenship based on the place or soil of one’s birth. On the other hand, in jus sanguine, a person acquires the citizenship of his or her parents, regardless of where he is born. It is citizenship based on blood relationships with one’s natural parents.
Since the 1935 Constitution, Philippines adhered to the ‘jus sanguine’ principle.
Article IV, Section 1, of the 1935 Constitution, specifies that the following are citizens of the Philippines: “xxx..(3) those whose fathers are citizens of the Philippines; and (4) those whose mothers are citizens of the Philippines and, upon reaching the age of majority, elect Philippine citizenship.
Moreover, Art. III, Section 1 of the 1973 Constitution, states that the following are citizens of the Philippines: ‘xxx” (2) those whose fathers or mothers are citizens of the Philippines.
Similarly, Article IV, Section 1 of the 1987 Constitution, provides that following are citizens of the Philippines: “xxx”; (2) those whose fathers or mothers are citizens of the Philippines;.
Clearly, since the adoption of the 1935 Constitution, any person who was born to Filipino fathers or mothers, even if they were born outside of the Philippines, are considered Philippine citizens.
Conversely, any person born to non-Filipino parents, even if they were born within the country, are not citizens of the Philippines. This is the Constitutional imprimatur of the jus sanguine principle of Filipino citizenship.
On the other hand, the United States of America adheres to both the ‘jus sanguine’ and the “jus soli” principle. Under jus soli, which is also known as the birth right citizenship, all children born in the USA, regardless of the citizenship of their parents become American citizens.
The adherence of the United States to the jus soli principle is anchored in Section 1, Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. It states that “all persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside”.
The adoption of the ‘jus soli’ principle was further settled in the landmark case of United States vs. Wong Kim Ark, 169 US 649, where the US Supreme Court ruled that “a person born in the United States who is subject to the jurisdiction thereof acquires automatic citizenship’.
Thus, for being born to Filipino parents in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, the same person is a dual citizen of both the Philippines and the United States of America.
Furthermore, if it happened that his mother was a Canadian citizen or a citizen of any country that adheres to the ‘jus sanguine’ principle, he could have been a citizen of three countries, namely: the United States of America for being born there, the Philippines following the citizenship of his father and say Canada following the citizenship of his mother.
This rare situation of dual or even multiple citizenship happens when fate conspires for the principles of jus soli and jus sanguine to descend upon one person.
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