US citizenship mars candidate's bid in Marinduque

Posted at 04/03/13 6:04 PM

MANILA - The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has ordered the disqualification of Regina Ongsiako Reyes as candidate for Marinduque district for failing to prove she has rescinded her American citizenship.

The decision was rendered by the first division, but once it becomes final, Reyes’ votes will be considered stray.

“Unless and until she can establish [she became a] dual Filipino-American citizen, and thereafter, made a valid sworn renunciation of her American citizenship, she remains to be an American citizen and is, therefore, ineligible to run for and hold any elective public office in the Philippines,” the Comelec ruling read.

The poll body is referring to the Citizenship Retention and Re-Acquisition Law.

It said Reyes, who holds United States passport No. 306278853, should “take the oath of allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines before the consul-general of the Philippine Consulate in the US and make a personal and sworn renunciation of her American citizenship before any public officer authorized to administer an oath.”

Reyes, nonetheless, failed to do so, it said. “This the respondent utterly failed to do, leading to the conclusion inevitable that respondent falsely misrepresented in her certificate of candidacy (COC) that she is a natural born Filipino citizens,” it said.

The only proof she presented of her supposed one-year of residency in Boac is her being a provincial administrator from January 18, 2011 to July 13, 2011 (per court records).

The poll body said that evidence is not enough. “For, respondent has never regained her domicile in Marinduque as she remains to be an American citizen. No amount of her stay in the said locality can substitute the fact that she has not abandoned her domicile of choice in the USA.”