Poe bill seeks to allow dual citizen appointees in UP, SUCs

MANILA, Philippines – A Senate bill seeks to allow dual citizen appointees in the University of the Philippines and other state universities and colleges (SUCs).

Senator Grace Poe filed Senate Bill 1511 on Tuesday, July 25, which seeks to amend Section 5 of Republic Act 9225 or the Citizenship Retention and Re-acquisition Act of 2003.

RA 9225 requires Filipinos with foreign citizenship to renounce their oath of allegiance to the other country prior to appointment. The law also requires the same for Filipinos elected into office.

This was the same law that applied to the citizenship cases hurled against the former presidential bet during the 2016 elections.

Poe, a foundling, became a naturalized US citizen in 2001. She held both US and Filipino citizenships from 2006 to 2010, when she renounced the former prior to her appointment to the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board. The Supreme Court eventually ruled she is a natural-born Filipino, eventually clearing her presidential bid.

PH universities to benefit

In filing the bill, Poe said Section 5 of the law is “problematic” for those working in the UP system and other SUCs.

“Some professors of UP and other SUCs have studied and even taught in other countries. In some cases, these professors may have had to take up dual citizenship to do so. However, when they return to the Philippines, they are required to renounce their oath of allegiance to the other country as a condition for reappointment,” Poe said in her explanatory note.

If amended, Poe said the law would enable Filipino professors and experts of foreign citizenship to return home “and impart their hard-earned wisdom.”

On July 3, two counterpart measures were filed in the House of Representatives and are pending at the justice committee level.

“Conversely, the state universities are disadvantaged against neighboring Higher Educational Institutions found in the ASEAN region on their internationalization program and international rankings with their inability to obtain the services of experts and doctorate degree holders, including dual citizens with such expertise and qualifications,” House Bill 5919 said. – Rappler.com

Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is Rappler's lead reporter for media, disinformation, and democracy. She won an ILO award in 2017. She received the prestigious Fulbright-Hubert Humphrey fellowship in 2019, allowing her to further study media and politics in the US. Email camille.elemia@rappler.com