MANILA, Philippines – Barangay Ginebra resident import Justin Brownlee will be appearing before the House of Representatives on Wednesday, November 16, as part of his naturalization bid.
The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) made the announcement during the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex on Tuesday.
The 6-foot-6 American swingman, who has donned the Ginebra jersey since 2016, will attend the Committee on Justice hearing chaired by Negros Occidental fourth district Representative Juliet Marie de Leon Ferrer.
“Justin Brownlee will attend. He will wear a newly-sewed Barong Tagalog. I don’t know how many lines of the Lupang Hinirang he can sing but I told him he should practice it,” Barrios said in Filipino.
“We hope that his [naturalization] be approved on time. If he’s available, there will be more options on who is worthy for the [FIBA World Cup Asian qualifiers] sixth window in February,” he added.
According to the longtime basketball executive, he will be accompanied by SBP legal counsel Atty. Aga Francisco and Gilas team manager Butch Antonio.
It may be recalled that 1-Pacman Representative Mikee Romero filed two separate bills during the 17th and 18 Congresses sponsoring naturalization for Brownlee.
Barrios is confident that the 34-year-old will become a full-fledged Filipino by February due to the commitment given by solons.
“As far too be said about the effort by the House and the Senate, there is nothing to be said,” explained Barrios.
“They are ready to take action as long as the documents are complete,” he continued.
Once the bill hurdles past the committee level, it will be elevated to the plenary, where congressmen will vote on the measure thrice for it be elevated to the Senate.
In the Upper Chamber, the process will be repeated, starting with the Committee on Justice and Human Rights headed by Senator Francis Tolentino, and will need to be approved thrice at the plenary level.
If there are any discrepancies, both congressmen and senators will convene for a bicameral conference committee report, and will be transmitted to President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. for signing into law.
The cager will then have to proclaim the Oath of Allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines, to be registered by the Bureau of Immigration.
Once Brownlee’s Certificate of Naturalization gets issued, he could then apply for a Philippine passport.
Due to an amendment, Ateneo center Ange Kouame immediately became a naturalized citizen in May 2021 after his bill got the signature from former President Rodrigo Duterte.
Despite not being a naturalized player yet, Brownlee has been attending the Gilas weekly practice sessions headed by coach Chot Reyes. – Rappler.com