Former President and now Senior House Deputy Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has filed a bill that seeks to allow Filipinos holding dual citizenship to hold public office.
Currently pending before the House Justice Committee is Arroyo’s House Bill No. 486 which would amend section 5 of Republic Act No. 9225 otherwise known as the “Citizenship Retention and Re Acquisition Act of 2003.”
“While dual citizens are given the right to vote in the Philippine elections under the existing laws, those seeking public office or appointment to public office are given a disincentive under RA 9225 by "requiring them to make a personal and sworn renunciation of any and all foreign citizenship before any public officer authorized to administer an oath," Arroyo said in her explanatory note.
“To them, it is irrelevant and out of context since it clearly discriminates against Filipinos living abroad. It also belittles their strategic role in sustaining the national economy through their hard-earned money in the form of remittances,” Arroyo explained.
“It also cuts off long time proven linkages with several Filipino organization abroad who bring home exemplary knowledge, special skills and huge donations and different kinds of assistance especially medical missions which serve a great number of indigent Filipino communities back home," Arroyo added.
“As catalysts of development in the Philippines, it would be a disservice to our kababayans abroad if they are not accorded the same rights as those staying in the country. While present laws allow them to exercise their right to vote and make their voice heard in Philippine elections, it is only fair if they are given the chance to participate in local elections and be appointed to public office without jeopardizing the citizenship they have acquired from their host country,” Arroyo also said.
The amendment proposes to delete the requirement for a dual citizen to renounce foreign citizenship at the time of the filing of their certificate of candidacy. It would also delete the requirement for a dual citizen to renounce the oath of allegiance they took to the country where they took their oath before assuming public office.