United City FC's Spanish striker Bienvenido Marañon is one step away from hurdling the House of Representatives in his legal journey to becoming a full-fledged Filipino.
House Bill (HB) 8631, which will grant Marañon a Filipino citizenship, passed the 2nd reading in the lower chamber on Wednesday, February 10.
The 3rd and final reading will likely be tackled next week, and the four-time Philippines Football League (PFL) champion will need a nod from the Senate side before getting naturalized.
Manila 1st district Representative Manny Lopez authored Marañon's bill last August 19, while Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri filed Senate Bill No. 1391 with the hopes of seeing the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup record goal scorer representing the Philippine Azkals.
The 34-year-old footballer is the regional cup tournament's all-time leading goalscorer with 35 goals after he scored a brace in the defunct Ceres-Negros FC's 4-0 win over Bali United on March 11, 2020.
He surpassed Jordanian Mahmoud Shelbaieh's record of 34 goals in the AFC Cup.
Hailing from Cadiz City in Spain, Marañon helped propel Ceres, which has now rebranded to United City FC, to 4 PFL titles together with Azkals star Stephan Schrock.
With his naturalization, Filipino fans will be able to see both Schrock and Marañon form a lethal tandem on the Azkals' frontline.
More commonly known as “Bee”, Beatrice is a multimedia sports reporter for Rappler, who covers Phillippine sports governance, national teams, football and the UAAP. Stay tuned for her news and features on Philippine sports and videos like the Rappler Athlete’s Corner and Rappler Sports Timeout.