Wednesday, January 14, 2004

On FPJ's citizenship once again
Today has a lead editorial and a column by Bernas on this topic. Put them together and you get this: FPJ is a natural-born Filipino.

FPJ's father seems to be a Filipino by virtue of the Philippine Bill of 1902 granting mass naturalization. He also served the Philippine army and was a decorated veteran of Bataan. The issue thus remaining is whether FPJ's being an illegitimate child makes him an American, following his mother's citizenship rather than the father's. Bernas has this to say:

I grant that there are decisions, which say that the citizenship of the child follows the citizenship of the mother. The basis for such a decision could very well be statutory. But there is nothing in our Constitutions which says that recognition of citizenship, based on that of the mother’s, has the effect of stripping the child of citizenship received from the father. I suggest that such a child would have dual citizenship. The next question, of course, would be whether one who has dual citizenship, Philippine and another, is not qualified to become president.

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