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The Philippine Citizenship [Part IV]

The Clearing Point


R. CHAM G. ZUIGA VI, Ll.B., MLGM, Ph.D.

The Philippine Citizenship

How about those children who were born in the Philippines from 11 April 1899 to 01
July 1902? How are they considered in terms of citizenship? It should be noted that
during these period no citizenship law existed in the Philippines.

The answer to these questions may be exacted from the Philippine Autonomy Act,
also known as An Act To Declare The Purpose Of The People Of The United States
As To The Future Political Status Of The People Of The Philippine Islands, And To
Provide A More Autonomous Government For Those Islands or the Jones Law which
was enacted on August 29, 1916.

Section 2 of the Philippine Autonomy Act provides that -

All inhabitants of the Philippine Islands who were Spanish subjects on the eleventh
day of April, eighteen hundred and ninety-nine, and then resided in said Islands, and
their children born subsequent thereto, shall be deemed and held to be citizens of
the Philippine Islands, except such as shall have elected to preserve their allegiance
to the Crown of Spain in accordance with the provisions of the treaty of peace
between the United States and Spain, signed at Paris December tenth, eighteen
hundred and ninety-eight, and except such others as have since become citizens of
some other country: Provided, That the Philippine Legislature, herein provided for, is
hereby authorized to provide by law for the acquisition of Philippine citizenship by
those natives of the Philippine Islands who cannot come within the foregoing
provisions, the natives of the insular possessions of the United States, and such
other persons residing in the Philippine Islands who are citizens of the United States,
or who could become citizens of the United States under the laws of the United
States if residing therein.

It was through the 1935 Philippine Constitution that Philippine citizenship was made
clear. The 1935 Constitution adopted the blood relationship or jus sanguinis as the
basis of Filipino citizenship. This is evident by the provisions in Section 1, Article III,
1935 Constitution which provides that the following are citizens of the Philippines -

(1) Those who are citizens of the Philippine Islands at the time of the adoption of
this Constitution.
(2) Those born in the Philippines Islands of foreign parents who, before the
adoption of this Constitution, had been elected to public office in the Philippine
Islands.
(3) Those whose fathers are citizens of the Philippines.
(4) Those whose mothers are citizens of the Philippines and upon reaching the age
of majority, elect Philippine citizenship.
(5) Those who are naturalized in accordance with law.

It may be noted that before the adoption of the 1973 Constitution, Filipino women
who got married with a foreign husband lost their Filipino citizenship and acquire the
citizenship of their foreign husbands. Others opined that this was discriminatory and
denial of their rights to transmitting their Filipino citizenship to their legitimate
children. Illegitimate children of Filipino mothers still have to elect Filipino
citizenship upon reaching the age of majority to acquire Filipino citizenship.

A more accepted provision on Philippine Citizenship was crafted in the 1973


Constitution. It provides that

Section 1, Article III, 1973 Constitution - The following are citizens of the
Philippines:
(1) Those who are citizens of the Philippines at the time of the adoption of this
Constitution.
(2) Those whose fathers or mothers are citizens of the Philippines.
(3) Those who elect Philippine citizenship pursuant to the provisions of the
Constitution of nineteen hundred and thirty-five.
(4) Those who are naturalized in accordance with law.

What others believed to be discriminatory and unjust a corrective measure was


made by providing Section 2 of the same article which also provided that

"A female citizen of the Philippines who marries an alien retains her Philippine
citizenship, unless by her act or omission she is deemed, under the law to have
renounced her citizenship."

So far, this writer believed that the 1987 Constitution is the best Constitution the
Philippine ever had in terms of provisions on Philippine citizenship. Men and women
were provided with equal rights on Philippine citizenship acquisition. Section 1,
Article IV of the The 1987 Constitution provides that

The following are citizens of the Philippines:


(1) Those who are citizens of the Philippines at the time of the adoption of this
Constitution.
(2) Those whose fathers or mothers are citizens of the Philippines.
(3) Those born before January 17, 1973 of Filipino mothers, who elect Philippine
citizenship upon reaching the age of majority; and
(4) Those who are naturalized in accordance with law.
The provision on natural-born citizens first appeared in the 1987 Constitution.
What does "natural-born citizens" means? This question is best answered by Section
2, Article IV, 1987 Constitution which provides that naturalborn citizens are those
who are citizens of the Philippines from birth without having to perform any act to
acquire or perfect their Philippine citizenship. It provides further that those who
elect Philippine citizenship in accordance with paragraph (3), Section 1 hereof shall
be deemed natural-born citizens.