In a recent signed statement posted on the Internet, FilAm millionaire Loida Nicolas-Lewis claimed that as a dual citizen, she has full rights and privileges accorded to Filipinos, much like overseas Filipino workers (OFWs). She issued the statement following an outcry regarding her alleged participation in a movement to oust Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.
Just like Nicolas-Lewis, Politikal Pinoy is a dual citizen of the U.S. and the Philippines. But unlike her, we recognize the laws and circumstances attached to our dual citizenship. So let us give Nicolas-Lewis an unsolicited civics lesson:
- When we took our oath as a United States citizen, we effectively pledged full allegiance to America and renounced all allegiance to any foreign country that we have been a citizen of.
- As far as the U.S. Government is concerned, dual citizenship is one of those “unspoken” or “tolerated” situations. While the U.S. is aware of dual citizenship laws and privileges of other countries, it has not adopted it as a formal immigration policy.
- Republic Act 9225, otherwise known as the “Citizenship and Re-Acquisition Act of 2003,” allows Filipinos who have renounced their Filipino citizenship to “reacquire” it.
- Those who reacquire Filipino citizenship under RA 9225 may enjoy full civil, economic and political rights under existing laws of the Philippines. Among these are:
* The right to travel with a Philippine passport
* The right to own real property in the Philippines
* The right to engage in business and commerce as a Filipino
* The right to practice one’s profession, provided that a license or permit to engage in such practice is obtained from the Professional Regulatory Commission (PRC), or the Supreme Court in the case of lawyers.Dual citizens may also vote overseas in Philippine national elections (for President, Vice President, Senators and sectoral representatives) in accordance with the provisions of the Overseas Absentee Voting Act of 2003.
- Along with those rights is the duty to obey the laws of the Philippines.
- Ms. Nicolas-Lewis, any act to try to destabilize the Philippine government or to “oust” a democratically-elected president is AGAINST the law.
- Anyone accused of a crime is presumed innocent until proven guilty. For now, we assume your innocence in the “Oust Duterte” movement, but if proven otherwise, you are guilty of a crime under Philippine law.
- One of the freedoms enjoyed by both U.S. and Filipino citizens is the freedom of speech. So we recognize your right to free speech in criticizing the government and country your have virtually renounced, just as we recognize our freedom to criticize your actions and statements. You and Politikal Pinoy. Dual citizens both!