Sunday, November 19, 2006

My Allegiance is to God and Virtues Greater Than Nationalism

The Constitutions and Laws of both the Republic of the Philippines and the United States of America are quite clear about the matter of a person's citizenship at birth:

Any human being, born anywhere in the world, whose natural mother OR natural father is a Filipino citizen, automatically becomes a natural-born Filipino citizen. This is the principle of Jus Sanguinis ("Right of the Blood") by which all natural-born Filipinos become Filipino citizens. It is a biological birthright, a matter of the composition of your DNA--at least half of it must have come from a person who was a Filipino citizen when he and or she gave it to "you."

In contrast, any human being, born within the territory of the United States of America, regardless of the citizenship(s) of natural parents, automatically becomes a natural-born American citizen. This is the principle called
Jus Soli ("Right of the Soil"), by which most Americans become natural-born citizens--they are born in America.

Notice that both citizenships are granted automatically at birth--the human being has no choice in the matter. Whether you like it or not, you are deemed a citizen based on the circumstances of your birth, over which you hardly have any control.

Now think about what happens when Filipinos come to live and work in the United States of America and have children. Notice that both principles, jus soli and jus sanguinis apply in full to such human beings born to Filipinos within the US homeland. This creates a very large class of natural born dual citizens of the Philippines and the United States. Every child born in America whose father OR mother is a Filipino citizen at the time of his or her birth is automatically BOTH an American AND a Filipino citizen. They really have NO choice in the matter. Human beings do not choose their original citizenship. Citizenship rights and duties are shoved upon them at birth by one or more countries, depending on the biological and geographic circumstances whether they like it or not.

Natural-born Filipino citizens often become citizens of the US by a process called NATURALIZATION, which of course is a conscious and purposeful act that normally follows from moving to the US to live and work, something we've been doing for centuries, if Rodel Rodis and various Filipino-American historians are to be believed. Simple logic and arithmetic shows however, that natural born dual citizens far outnumber those who have only recently re-acquired Filipino citizenship under RA 9225, the Citizenship Retention and Reacquisition Act of 2003. Natural born citizens of both countries however, do not have to do anything to perfect their citizenships, which are rights acquired at birth. They can only lose such rights by explicitly rejecting and abjuring them.

I myself was born in Chicago, Illinois, USA when both my Filipino parents were doing Master of Laws studies at not-distant Indiana University, in Bloomington, Indiana. ("Go Hoosiers!"). But exactly half of the more than fifty winters on my head were also spent in the summer, spring and fall of both countries. I was less than a year old when I first returned to the Philippines, where I grew up and first lived until I was eighteen, when Ferdinand Marcos arrested, then exiled me as an undesirable teenager writing nasty editorials about him in a college newspaper (The La Sallian). But I was eventually released from the custody of one Lt. Gen. Fidel V. Ramos and our official gaoler, Juan Ponce Enrile, and thus departed the privileged company of such as Ninoy Aquino, Chino Roces, Pepe Diokno, Haydee Yorac, and many other of martial law's earliest foes, bunkmates at the Camp Crame Officers Gym. I moved to America on the strength of a letter from the US Embassy that I was protected by the laws and Constitution of the United States. (Or perhaps it was Marcos' realization that I was the least of his worries in that august company still within his detention.) With the help of many little brown brothers and sisters--and yellow, and black, and white, and red, all the technicolors of the rainbow called Humanity--I put myself and the Mrs. through college, working full time and studying full-time which only the young can do. In time I became a Harvard Physicist and General Electric Co. Scientist and before I knew it, Marcos was gone, and it was the Nineties. I came home in 1995 and have been here in the Archipelago since--writing, mainly. Observing, mostly. Other writers, especially.

And so, it is with the same spirit of ginger trepidation with which I approach a live crustacean, like a crab or lobster bristling with pincers and a spiny exoskeleton, that I comment upon Isagani Cruz's blast at Dual Citizens with Dual Allegiance in Saturday PDI.

First, Isagani Cruz argues with the 1987 Constitution, as follows:
"Art. IV, Sec. 5 of the Constitution provides, “Dual allegiance of citizens is inimical to the national interest and shall be dealt with by law.” In Mercado v. Manzano, 307 SCRA 630, the Supreme Court, citing the debates in the Constitutional Commission of 1986, distinguished between dual allegiance and dual citizenship and held that while the former was illegal the latter was allowed.

I beg to differ. Citizenship indispensably requires allegiance and dual citizenship allows dual allegiance, which the Constitution itself says is “inimical to the national interest.” Where the national interests of the countries of the dual citizen clash, which of his two countries should he support? The loyalty of the citizen should be absolute but it must be divided and diluted if he is a dual citizen."


(1) This is called ZERO-SUM thinking because Isagani Cruz studiously ignores the very reason why both the US and the Philippines and most other civilized countries allow dual citizenship, which is that the "national interests of the countries of the dual citizen" COINCIDE much more than they CLASH.

(2) Isagani Cruz also ignores the basic humanitarian motivation behind dual citizenship, which is that there are unavoidable biological, cultural and historical ties that bind persons to families and communities and places that have nothing to do with the legalities of Constitutions and the perorations of former Supreme Court Justices.

(3) Loyalty and allegiance are however not zero-sum quantities. For loyalty and allegiance are akin to the emotion called Love, which is not zero-sum quantity. The fact that I have two parents, a mother and a father, does not mean I can be loyal to, or love, only one of them. Though my Love and Loyalty ARE divided between them, neither my Love nor Loyalty is diluted by such a division!

(4) Both zero sum thinking and the disregard for the human conditions that accompany a world of international immigration and travel, are clear symptoms of CRUSTACEANITIS, that crab-like syndrome which further motivates Isagani Cruz to say things like this:
I.C.: "I am reminded of what Jesus said in Luke 16:9-15: “No servant can serve two masters. Either he does not like the one and is fond of the other, or he regards one highly and the other with contempt. You cannot give yourself both to God and to Money.”
Cruz is actually grousing about OFWs having their cake and eating it too, perhaps after himself imbibing too much of Conrado de Quiros' bitter bile against the emigrants.
The cloying sentimentality of sob sisters in Congress now allows undeserved privileges to former Filipinos who have abandoned this country for the greener pastures of other lands. The dual citizen is like a man who abandons the wife he loves to marry another woman he needs. As “This country of ours, for all its difficulties and limitations, is like a jealous and possessive mother,” I had written earlier. “Once it is rejected, it is not quick to welcome back with open arms its prodigal and repentant children.” The dual citizens are not even repentant children.
Oh Repent Ye Disloyal Dual Citizens You!


Marcus Aurelius said...

Zero sum game. Quite correct, for the person nationality need not be a zero sum game. Right now, relations between the US and the Philippines are mostly good and there is no reason to worry about dual citizenship. Not too long ago there was a discussion going about on NRO's the Corner about the fact non-citizens serve in our Armed Forces, a fact I knew since boarding the Nimitz for a tour in Dubai over ten years ago.

I suppose if there are tensions between the nations then the story is different, but there is no such tension right now in this case.

PDI columnists forget about a major source of income for the Philippines.

The PDI is trying to force people into a choice and they had better be dang confident that the choice most will choose will be the one favored by themselves [the PDI writers].

domingo said...

DJB, Justice Cruz insists that "Citizenship indispensably requires allegiance." But Section 1 of the 1934 Philippine Independence Act (Tydings-McDuffie law) provided that:

"All citizens of the Philippine Islands shall owe allegiance to the United States [the sovereign]"

Since Justice Cruz was obviously born before the United States withdrew its sovereignty over the territory of the Philippine Islands on 04 July 1946, he was born owing allegiance to the United States and hence (as he defines it) also a citizen of the United States at birth.

The U.S. Code (Chapter 12, Subchapter 1, Section 1101) offers a similar definition concerning "allegiance":

"(21) The term 'national' means a person owing permanent allegiance to a state."

Note that, since a person can only claim to be "born" once, the same Code provides this definition:

"(23) The term 'naturalization' means the conferring of nationality of state upon a person after birth." (underscore "after birth")

To Filipino-Americans ("naturalized") born before 04 July 1946, this question concerning their nationality or citizenship "AT BIRTH" remains unresolved to this day.

For can a Filipino born during the American territorial period (1899-1946), who is an American national "AT BIRTH," still qualify to be "naturalized" as a U.S. citizen "AFTER BIRTH"?

The Citizenship Clause of the U.S. Constitution, of course, recognizes dual citizenship and dual allegiance, since a citizen of the State of California, for instance, is also at the same time a citizen of the United States.

R. O. said...

Hahaha! Bravo! I knew you would react to this latest Isaganisms (= totally unamusing ponderings).

R. O. said...

Oops, sumobra sa s. Sssorry.

ricelander said...

With globalization, tags like Filipino or American or Ethiopian will in time go the way of Ilocano, Cebuano, Hiligaynon, etc., useful for ethnic identification but not much else. We are citizens of the world. I dream of the day when we could cross borders like we could go from province to province or city to city. No visa, no passport.

Jego said...

Are you then, Rizalist, of the opinion that a law requiring a candidate for national office to give up a non-Filipino citizenship is--I can't think of a word--stupid? I bring this up because like anna said in a comment, you were nominated by MLQ3 in his senatorial dream team.

Would a non-automatic citizenship for everybody, a la Starship Troopers where you have to earn citizenship make more sense? (The critics can go blow. I loved that movie. It's one of those movies that's so bad it's good. :-) )

Rizalist said...

No I agree you should have one citizenship if you are gonna join the government, especially at that level. Natural borns can't lose their citizenship(s) except by explicit renunciation, though. And as I said the purpose of dual citizenship is almost never political, but due to the unavoidable ties of kinship with people and places. It's a humanitarian thing.

Jego said...

So the US does not require renunciation of one's old citizenship before acquiring an American one? You didnt go thru this, Rizalist, since you were born with dual US-and-Filipino citizenship, but I've heard stories--urban legends?--of Filipinos acquiring naturalized American citizenship; how traumatic it was for them since they were being asked to renounce their Filipino citizenship explicitly. I've even heard of stories where they were asked to defile the flag. Perhaps this was at the back of Justice Cruz and De Quiros's minds? De Quiros especially, given his language.

Rizalist said...

I had lots of friends in the US who were from England, India, Canada, who became US citizens after they had gotten there. No the US does not require such a renunciation. The US, of all places, knows that everyone there ISNT from there. But even if you just got there yesterday (because you are born there), they give you the Rights of the Soil.

manuelbuencamino said...

dual citizenship and all the rights that go with it are fine except for two - the right to vote and to run for elective office and to serve in a political non career office in the buraeucracy. The reasons are obvious.

On those two matters I think the individual concerned should choose.


Dean, Jego, MB,

In the 70s a US national marrying a European national acquires the European spouse's nationality automatically by simply signing a "yes" form in the marriage license bureau without the naturalization process thereby allowing the US citizen/spouse to keep his/her US citizenship but European citizenship is no longer granted automatically to a US spouse so I don't know if the US spouse could still keep his nationality if he /she acquires European nationality thhrough naturalization.)

MB, as to a person with dual citizenship losing the right to vote, I find that rather a quaint proposition. Why should a person lose his right to vote? That's like regressing rather than progressing.

In Europe, even a non-national can vote in local elections in the nation where he/she has established residence. The right to vote should be an inalienable right paerticularly to a citizen of the country, whether he/she has dual, treble or whatever citizenship. Holding or standing for national political office is something else. (I go with Dean's reasoning on this one.)

Tom said...

And what does it matter if a Filipino-turned-US-citizen votes in a Philippine election when thousands upon thousands of pure Pinoy's votes were invalidated by a mere "Hello Garci" call? As a naturalized US citizen, I might consider reacquiring Philippine citizenship if truly my vote would count as it does here in the USA. As it is, it seems unlikely that I would in the near future.

manuelbuencamino said...

Hillblogger & Hillblogger jr.

If he does not live in the country, if he goes there only to visit, then why should he be allowed to decide who should run the place ? Let the person vote where he chooses to live. (Am referring to dual citizens and not to OFWs who don't have a choice)