University of San Agustin College of Law

Dual-Citizenship: The Citizenship’s Innovation of Confusion

A Term Paper Presented to

Atty. Jose Mari Benjamin Tirol

In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements For the Subject Persons and Family Relations

Submitted by: Doni June Almio

October 2012

Dual-Citizenship: The Citizenship’s Innovation of Confusion I. Citizenship in the Philippines A. Citizenship Defined Citizenship is one of the most debated topics when it comes to politics and law. There seems to be a question on what is citizenship and on who are the citizens of a certain state. In answer to this, there are a lot of definitions given by different schools of thought for citizenship. One school of thought would say that citizenship is about being a member of the state in paper only and nothing more (Zimenkova, 2008). Another school of thought would define citizenship as involving oneself with the state, knowing its culture, and its values (Osler & Starkey, 2001). However, even though there are questions on what is the definition of citizenship, in our case as Filipinos, the 1987 Constitution of the Philippines is quite clear enough in defining who the citizens of the Philippines are. The 1987 Constitution of the Philippines states that: “Section 1. 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.” Paragraph 1 would refer to those persons who were already Filipino citizens as provided for by the 1935 and 1973 Constitutions of the Philippines. As stated, there are citizens who are considered as naturalized in accordance with law which distinguishes them from those persons who are natural-born citizens. According to the Constitution, natural-born citizens of the Philippines are “those who are citizens of the Philippines from birth without having to perform any act to acquire or perfect their Philippine citizenship”1 and those who elect Filipino citizenship in accordance with paragraph 3 as stated in the article IV of the 1987 Philippine Constitution. On the other hand, paragraph 4 is governed by Commonwealth Act No. 473 as amended by Republic Act 530 or the Revised Naturalization Law. It must also to be noted that Philippines adopted the concept of jus sanguinis which means that if one or both of the parents of a person is a Filipino, then it is automatic that he or she is a Filipino citizen as stated in paragraph 2 of the provision above. More than the definition, citizenship as a concept is evolving throughout time. As it evolves, the concept of citizenship starts to have a wider scope. The evolution of the concept of citizenship to new concepts with a wider scope is also adopted in the laws promulgated in different countries. One of these new concepts is dual-citizenship which is now adopted in the laws of the Philippines. B. The Legality of Dual-Citizenship in the Philippines Dual-citizenship as a concept means that a person is a citizen of two countries by virtue of birth, by law, and through marriage. Dual-citizenship through birth may be acquired through the principles of citizenship observed by certain states. As mentioned earlier, the Philippines adheres to the rule of jus
1

Article IV, Section 2, 1987 Philippine Constitution

sanguinis or citizenship acquired to the citizenship of the parents. Except the rule of jus sanguinis, there’s another rule which is jus soli which is citizenship through place of birth. There are many states that adhere to the principle of jus soli and one of which is the U.S. which will be the subject of comparison of this paper. So, taking into picture both the principles of jus soli and jus sanguinis, the concept of dual-citizenship comes in. Say that that both or either one of the parents of Lyka is a Filipino citizen but she was born in the U.S., it would seem that both the principles apply. In this case, that Lyka is both a Filipino and American citizen, thus she is a dual-citizen. The other way to become a dual-citizen is by virtue of law through naturalization and retention of previous citizenship. Here in the Philippines, the law governing naturalization is Commonwealth Act 473 as amended by Republic Act 30. This law sets the qualifications for a person in order to be naturalized. On the other hand, the law that governs dual-citizenship and retention of Filipino citizenhip is R.A. 9225 also known as Citizenship Retention and Re-acquisition Act of 2003. This law provides that “all Philippine citizens of another country shall be deemed not to have lost their Philippine citizenship under the conditions of this act”2. Moreover, the law provides that dual-citizens who retain citizenship through this act shall enjoy full civil and political rights in the Philippines. With these civil and political rights also come responsibilities, limitations and liabilities as enumerated in Republic Act 9225. An example would be Lyka, a Filipino citizen, lived in the U.S. for more than 20 years already and was naturalized under U.S. laws and is now a American citizen. However, as stated in R.A. 9225, when Lyka became a naturalized American citizen, she did not lose her Filipino citizenship. Thus, Lyka is now a dualcitizen. Being a dual-citizen by virtue of law would also include a legislative act by statute. In this case, the congress, by law, awards Filipino citizenship to a certain person. This type of award is also available in the lawmaking body of other states where a Filipino is awarded a foreign citizenship (Paras, 2008). The reasons on why citizenships are awarded vary depending on the country that awards it. Dual-citizenship by marriage is acquired when a Filipina marries a foreigner. If the law of the foreigner states that the Filipina will become their citizen after her marriage to the foreigner, then she will have two citizenships: Her Filipino citizenship and the citizenship of her spouse. Thus, the Filipina becomes a dual-citizen. Looking at dual-citizenship, it seems that one would desire it considering that a person will have the rights and privileges of two countries. However, being a dual-citizen does not mean that there is an absolute practice of rights and privileges for a certain person. Most persons tend to forget that being a dual citizen will also give them more duties and obligations and will subject them to both the laws of the countries where they are considered as citizens. As a matter of fact, there are still situations where the law makes a dual-citizen pick between the two citizenships that he has. One of which is the renouncement of the other citizenship if a person runs for public office in the Philippines. Before R.A. 9225, it was a confusion if a dual-citizenship may run for office in the Philippines because of the fact that a dual-citizen is not “purely a Filipino”. However, it was solved by stating in R.A. 9225 that “those seeking elective public in the Philippines shall meet the qualification for holding such public office as required by the Constitution and existing laws and, at the time of the filing of the certificate of
2

Section 2, Rebulic Act No. 9225

candidacy, make a personal and sworn renunciation of any and all foreign citizenship before any public officer authorized to administer an oath” 3. Such renunciation is evident in the cases of Cordora VS. COMELEC4, De Guzman VS. COMELEC5 , and the famous case of Mercado VS. Manzano 6 where it was stated that Manzano renounced his American citizenship when he merely registered a voter in the 1992, 1995, and 1998 elections. Except for the renunciation mentioned above, dual-citizenship is also a problem for a lot of things found in the law. Dual-citizenship brings confusion to the application of some laws such as the Civil Code of the Philippines. What is meant by confusion here is that there is a question on what laws to follow. Will it be the law of the Philippines or the law of the other country? There is a lot of confusion that it brings but this paper focuses on two things: intestate succession and the property relations under Article 80, Par. 1 of the Family Code. II. Conflict of Laws on Dual-citizenship A. Intestate Succession

According to Black’s Law Dictionary, intestate succession or legal succession is that type of succession which takes place when the deceased has left no will, or when his will has been revoked or annulled as irregular. According to the Civil Code of the Philippines, there are four situations where intestate succession takes place. The Civil Code provides that: “Legal or intestate succession takes place: (1) If a person dies without a will, or with a void will, or one which has subsequently lost its validity; (2) When the will does not institute an heir to, or dispose of all the property belonging to the testator. In such case, legal succession shall take place only with respect to the property of which the testator has not disposed; (3) If the suspensive condition attached to the institution of heir does not happen or is not fulfilled, or if the heir dies before the testator, or repudiates the inheritance, there being no substitution, and no right of accretion takes place; (4) When the heir instituted is incapable of succeeding, except in cases provided in this Code.”7 The rules and procedures for intestate succession are also clearly stated in the Civil Code of the Philippines. So where does the problem for a dual-citizen come in? It is when a dual-citizen dies and leaves no will to govern the properties that he left. True enough that the Philippine Laws are clear in the procedure as to whom will be the persons who will succeed in case a Filipino dies where it pertains to
3 4

R.A. 9225, Section 5(2) G.R. No. 176947 5 G.R. No. 180048 6 G.R. No. 135083 7 Civil Code of the Philippines, Article 960

the descending direct line8, ascending direct line9, illegitimate10, surviving spouse11, and collateral relatives12 and the state13. However, in the case of dual-citizens, except for the Philippine Laws, there is still another law that governs them. There would be no problem if the Philippine laws and the foreign laws of the dead dual-citizen has the same procedure, rules, or order of persons when it comes to intestate succession, the conflict comes in if there are different orders or procedures. For instance, the laws of the different states in the U.S. compute the amount that will go to the successors in case of intestacy. Examples of which are the provisions on the amount of money that the surviving spouse will receive where it states that “if there is no surviving issue but the decedent is survived by a parent or parents, the first $100,000.00 in value, plus one-half of the balance of the intestate estate”14 where issue here would refer to children and “If there are surviving issue of the decedent all of whom are issue of the surviving spouse also, and there are no other issue of the surviving spouse who survive the decedent, the first $250,000, plus 1/2 of the balance”15. There are also other computations in the intestacy laws of other U.S. states. However, in the Philippines, there is only a provision that the surviving spouse shall inherit the whole of the estate if there are no surviving children16 or will have the equal share with that of the legitimate children of the decedent17. Except the provisions mentioned above, it is also clearly stated in Philippine laws that an illegitimate child will receive half the amount received by the legitimate child in case of intestate succession. Now, another problem for intestate succession is what if a certain state has a law that in case of intestate succession, equal shares should be given to the illegitimate and legitimate children? What law would be followed in the case of a dual-citizen? Article 16 of the Civil Code of the Philippines states that: “Real property as well as personal property is subject to the law of the country where it is stipulated. However, intestate and testamentary successions, both with respect to the order of succession and to the amount of successional rights and to the intrinsic validity of testamentary provisions, shall be regulated by the national law of the person whose succession is under consideration, whatever may be the nature of the property and regardless of the country wherein said property may be found” As evident in the second paragraph, Philippine laws consider the citizenship of the person whose properties are in question in the case of intestate and testate successions. Basically, it would come out
8 9

Civil Code of the Philippines Book 3, Chapter 3, Section 2, Subsection 1 Civil Code of the Philippines Book 3, Chapter 3, Section 2, Subsection 2 10 Civil Code of the Philippines Book 3, Chapter 3, Section 2, Subsection 3 11 Civil Code of the Philippines Book 3, Chapter 3, Section 2, Subsection 4 12 Civil Code of the Philippines Book 3, Chapter 3, Section 2, Subsection 5 13 Civil Code of the Philippines Book 3, Chapter 3, Section 2, Subsection 6 14 Code of Alabama, Section 43-8-41 15 New Hampshire Probate Code 561:1 16 Civil Code of the Philippines, Article 995 17 Civil Code of the Philippines, Article 996

that in case of succession, Philippine laws shall govern Filipinos and U.S. laws shall govern American citizens. Nonetheless, the law is silent when it comes to dual-citizens because it is under the presumption that in the point of view of the Philippines, a dual-citizen is only a Filipino and only the Philippine laws apply to him (Paras, 2008). However, the foreign citizenship of a dual-citizenship cannot be disregarded because it also gives rights to the successors of the decedent dual-citizen in case of intestate succession. Besides, as a citizen of that foreign state, the law must be applied to them. In order for this problem to be solved, there must be first a harmonization of the laws of the two countries of the decedent dual-citizen. However, in a case where it is hard or even impossible to harmonize these laws, there must be some certain considerations that must be followed. We think that in order to solve the problem on the conflict of laws, the role of the domicile must be taken into picture. The domicile of the dual-citizen must be applied in case he died without a will. This is in accordance with the maxim in the conflict of laws, lex domiclii or law of the domicile where it means that when it comes to law in question, the law of the domicile of a person must be applied. Domicile is defined in Black’s Dictionary of Law as “that place where a man has his true, fixed, and permanent home and principal establishment, and to which whenever he is absent he has the intention of returning”. Domicile can be further defined in Saludo VS. American Express International, Inc.18 as “the permanent home, the place to which, whenever absent for business or pleasure, one intends to return, and depends on the facts and circumstances, in the sense that they disclose intent.” According to the same case of Saludo, a person may only have one domicile at a time. Basically, our suggestion is that in applying the procedures or rules for intestate succession of a decedent dual-citizen, to avoid conflicts, the domicile must be applied. However, if the succession is about real properties, the application lex domiclii must be read in accordance with the law of the country where the real property is located. B. Property Relations of Married Dual-Citizens Another problem about dual-citizens is the law of the Family Code of the Philippines about property relations. It stated that : “In the absence of a contrary stipulation in a marriage settlement, the property relations of the spouses shall be governed by Philippine laws, regardless of the place of the celebration of the marriage and their residence. This rule shall not apply: (1) Where both spouses are aliens; (2) With respect to the extrinsic validity of contracts affecting property not situated in the Philippines and executed in the country where the property is located; and (3) With respect to the extrinsic validity of contracts entered into in the Philippines but affecting property situated in a foreign country whose laws require different formalities for its extrinsic validity.”19

18 19

G.R. No. 159507 Family Code of the Philippines, Article 80

The law is quite clear that Philippine laws apply to Filipino spouses if there are no opposite or contrary provisions in the marriage settlement, regardless of place of marriage and residence. This is in relation the provision of the Civil Code about laws on family rights are binding upon Filipino citizens, whether living in the Philippines or not20. However, if we refer to the exceptions of the provision above, the law seems to be silent about dual-citizens. Given a situation where the spouses are both dualcitizens, will the Philippine laws on property relations between spouses be automatically applied to them? What if like intestate succession, there are also provisions in the foreign countries of the spouses about property relations? Which would govern them? This would again revert back to the domicile of the spouses. The logic behind this is that true that those persons with two citizenships might have two laws that govern them but it is actually better if the law that governs them about family is the place where their domicile is actually located. It is actually better because it can be presumed that since a person resides in his domicile, there is actually a greater chance of knowing the laws of that country better than the other country where his domicile is not established. Thus, domicile is a crucial factor that must be established by married dual-citizens so that there will be no confusion as to their property relations. III. Conclusion

Are the solutions that we stated above be practicable? Basically, in order for this solution to be practicable, it is necessary that the lawmakers make a new law that is concerned about the details of being a dual-citizen and not merely a law about retention and elections. True enough that the Philippines now accept dual-citizens as stated in R.A. 9225 but the said law is not enough for the rights, duties, and obligations of a dual citizen. There is still a lot of confusion for the dual-citizens on what law to follow if the laws between their two countries are conflicting. Yes, we can rely on public international law but even public international law is silent as to the laws to be followed by dual-citizens. Yes, we can also rely on theories or customs but it must be noted that the Philippines is Civil Law country. Laws must be put into writing for a better and clear understanding of the people, especially the dual-citizens in this case. .

20

Civil Code of the Philippines, Article 15

Bibliography
Grammes, T. (2011). Nationalism, Patriotism, Citizenship and beyond – Editorial. Journal of Social Science Education, Volume 10, Number 1, 2-11. Hepburn, E. (2011). ‘Citizens of the region’: Party conceptions of regional citizenship. European Journal of Political Research, 504-529. Osler, A., & Starkey, H. (2001). Citizenship Education and National Identities in France and England: inclusive or exclusive? Oxford Review of Education, Vol. 27, No. 2, 287-305. Paras, E. L. (2008). Civil Code of the Philippines Annotated Volume One (Persons and Family Relations), Sixteenth Edition. Manila: Rex Publishing. Zimenkova, T. (2008). Citizenship Through Faith and Feelings: Defining Citizenship in Citizenship Education. An Exemplary Textbook Analysis. Journal of Social Science Education, Volume 9, Number 1, 81-111.

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