Republic of the Philippines
G.R. No. 142840 May 7, 2001
ANTONIO BENGSON III, petitioner,
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES ELECTORAL TRIBUNAL and TEODORO C. CRUZ, respondents.
The citizenship of respondent Teodoro C. Cruz is at issue in this case, in view of the constitutional requirement that “no person shall be a Member of the House of Representative unless he is a natural-born citizen.”1
Respondent Cruz was a natural-born citizen of the Philippines. He was born in San Clemente, Tarlac, on April 27, 1960, of Filipino parents. The fundamental law then applicable was the 1935 Constitution.2
On November 5, 1985, however, respondent Cruz enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and without the consent of the Republic of the Philippines, took an oath of allegiance to the United States. As a Consequence, he lost his Filipino citizenship for under Commonwealth Act No. 63, section 1(4), a Filipino citizen may lose his citizenship by, among other, “rendering service to or accepting commission in the armed forces of a foreign country.” Said provision of law reads:
SECTION 1. How citizenship may be lost. – A Filipino citizen may lose his citizenship in any of the following ways and/or events:
x x x
(4) By rendering services to, or accepting commission in, the armed of a foreign country: Provided, That the rendering of service to, or the acceptance of such commission in, the armed forces of a foreign country, and the taking of an oath of allegiance incident thereto, with the consent of the Republic of the Philippines, shall not divest a Filipino of his Philippine citizenship if either of the following circumstances is present:
(a) The Republic of the Philippines has a defensive and/or offensive pact of alliance with said foreign country; or
(b) The said foreign country maintains armed forces on Philippine territory with the consent of the Republic of the Philippines: Provided, That the Filipino citizen concerned, at the time of rendering said service, or acceptance of said commission, and taking the oath of allegiance incident thereto, states that he does so only in connection with his service to said foreign country; And provided, finally, That any Filipino citizen who is rendering service to, or is commissioned in, the armed forces of a foreign country under any of the circumstances mentioned in paragraph (a) or (b), shall not be Republic of the Philippines during the period of his service to, or commission in, the armed forces of said country. Upon his discharge from the service of the said foreign country, he shall be automatically entitled to the full enjoyment of his civil and politically entitled to the full enjoyment of his civil political rights as a Filipino citizen x x x.