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New COC requirement to affect local bets more, says Comelec chair.

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) expects the additional requirement in the Certificate of Candidacy (COC) for the renunciation of foreign citizenship to affect local candidates more than those running for national position.

This was disclosed by Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista who noted that problems of dual citizenships were usually among local candidates.

"We have many municipal officials who are dual citizens. When you look at our jurisprudence, that is where the problem is, not in the national," he said in a press briefing, Monday.

The poll chief also explained that the amendment in the COC forms to be used in the May 2016 polls was not because of Senator Grace Poe.

Poe is facing a petition at the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) questioning her being a dual citizen when she was still residing in America but the former said she already renounced her US citizenship when she returned to the country after her father died in 2004.

"Not at all (aimed at Poe). It's highly probable that she has that document (sworn statement) in 2010," said Bautista.

Besides, Bautista said there was nothing new with the changes except that it will now be more explicitly stated in the COC form.

"(There is) nothing new. We just want it to be clear this," Bautista said.

The poll body earlier amended the COC form, which shall now include a sworn statement that the candidate has renounced his or her foreign citizenship.

In a resolution, the Comelec said the actual COC form will bear the statement: "I executed a Sworn Renunciation of Foreign Citizenship (if applicable, attach a copy)".

According to the poll body, there was a need to amend the COC forms, citing the enactment of Republic Act No. 9225 or the Citizenship Retention and Re-acquisition Act of 2003, and the August 18, 2015 decision of the Supreme Court (SC).

"Whereas, considering the above SC decision, there is a need to amend the guidelines and include in the forms of the Certificates of Candidacy an item on the compliance by candidates, who are dual citizens, of the requirements of RA 9225, if applicable," read Comelec Resolution No. 9989.

Section 5 of RA 9225 states that those who shall retain or re-acquire Philippine citizenship under this law shall enjoy full civil and political rights with those seeking elective public office required to make a personal and sworn renunciation of foreign citizenship at the time of the filing of the COC.

In the Arnado vs Comelec case recently decided by the SC, the High Court ruled that a person with dual citizenship may now run for public office in the Philippines provided that they meet the qualifications set by the Constitution and existing laws; and make a personal and sworn renunciation of foreign citizenship at the time of the filing of the COC.


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Title Annotation:Metro
Publication:Manila Bulletin
Date:Sep 22, 2015
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