The use of a foreign passport after taking the oath of allegiance and executing an affidavit of renunciation under Republic Act No. 9225, or the "Citizenship Retention and Re-acquisition Act of 2003," is a positive act showing the applicant's continued possession of a foreign citizenship. While it does not divest him of his reacquired Filipino citizenship, it negates his qualification to run for an elective post or be appointed to a government position. This, in a nutshell, is the ruling in the 2013 case of Maquiling vs. Comelec, et. al. (G.R. No. 195649), penned by Chief Justice Maria Lourdes P.A. Sereno.
In the Maquiling case, it has been established that private respondent Rommel Arnado is a natural born Filipino citizen. Subsequently, however, he was naturalized as a US citizen, thereby losing his Filipino citizenship. In July 2008, with the intention for repatriation, he took his oath of allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines. His application was approved. In April 2009, he again took an oath of allegiance and executed an affidavit of renunciation of his US citizenship. In November 2009, he filed his certificate of candidacy for mayor in a certain town in Mindanao.
In April 2010, another mayoralty candidate (and also private respondent), Linog Balua, sought the disqualification and/or the cancellation of Arnado’s cerficate of candidacy. Apparently, Arnado used his US passport in entering and leaving the Philippines between the period April 2009 and June 2009, July 2009 and November 2009, January 2010 and March 2010. Balua presented as evidence a computer-generated travel record and a certification from the Bureau of Immigration and Deportation (BID).
In so declaring that Arnado is disqualified from holding public office and even from being a candidate during the 2010 elections, C.J. Sereno explained:
“Between 03 April 2009, the date he renounced his foreign citizenship, and 30 November 2009, the date he filed his COC, he used his US passport four times, actions that run counter to the affidavit of renunciation he had earlier executed. By using his foreign passport, Arnado positively and voluntarily represented himself as an American, in effect declaring before immigration authorities of both countries that he is an American citizen, with all attendant rights and privileges granted by the United States of America.”
“While the act of using a foreign passport is not one of the acts enumerated in Commonwealth Act No. 63 constituting renunciation and loss of Philippine citizenship, it is nevertheless an act which repudiates the very oath of renunciation required for a former Filipino citizen who is also a citizen of another country to be qualified to run for a local elective position.
“When Arnado used his US passport on 14 April 2009, or just eleven days after he renounced his American citizenship, he recanted his Oath of Renunciation that he “absolutely and perpetually renounce(s) all allegiance and fidelity to the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” and that he “divest(s) [him]self of full employment of all civil and political rights and privileges of the United States of America.”
“We agree with the COMELEC En Banc that such act of using a foreign passport does not divest Arnado of his Filipino citizenship, which he acquired by repatriation. However, by representing himself as an American citizen, Arnado voluntarily and effectively reverted to his earlier status as a dual citizen. Such reversion was not retroactive; it took place the instant Arnado represented himself as an American citizen by using his US passport.”
With that, C.J. Sereno passionately said:
“The renunciation of foreign citizenship is not a hollow oath that can simply be professed at any time, only to be violated the next day. It requires an absolute and perpetual renunciation of the foreign citizenship and a full divestment of all civil and political rights granted by the foreign country which granted the citizenship.”
“Citizenship is not a matter of convenience. It is a badge of identity that comes with attendant civil and political rights accorded by the state to its citizens. It likewise demands the concomitant duty to maintain allegiance to one’s flag and country. While those who acquire dual citizenship by choice are afforded the right of suffrage, those who seek election or appointment to public office are required to renounce their foreign citizenship to be deserving of the public trust. Holding public office demands full and undivided allegiance to the Republic and to no other.”