'Timing very suspect': Edu Manzano blasts Comelec disqualification

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 08 2019 10:52 AM | Updated as of May 08 2019 11:22 AM

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Supreme Court already ruled on citizenship after 1998 polls - Manzano

MANILA - Congressional hopeful Edu Manzano on Wednesday questioned the timing of the decision by the Commission on Elections' 2nd Division to disqualify him from the elections, saying the Supreme Court had already decided on the matter of his citizenship 20 years ago. 

"I found the timing very suspect," Manzano said in an interview on ANC's Headstart.

Manzano said he was surprised why the Comelec's 2nd Division's released the decision when he should be given time to file a motion for reconsideration and elevate the matter to the high court. 

He said he faced the same complaint in 1998 when he won the race for vice-mayor of Makati. 

The Supreme Court would later rule in Manzano's favor, saying Manzano's oath of allegiance to the Philippines, "when considered with the fact that he has spent his youth and adulthood, received his education, practiced his profession as an artist, and taken part in past elections in this country, leaves no doubt of his election of Philippine citizenship."

"It's a clear message that I am here to serve the Filipino people," Manzano said.

The actor-turned-politician noted he was able to vote in the 1992, 1995 and 1998 elections and ran in the polls in 2010 and 2016.

"What happens there every time you fill up a certificate of candidacy there is a little oath that you renounce any allegiance to any other country and you affirm your allegiance to your country. By virtue of that alone you renounce any other allegiance that you have," he maintained. 

COMELEC DISQUALIFICATION

On Monday, the Comelec's 2nd Division disqualified Manzano from running for congressman of San Juan due to questions about his citizenship. 

The division noted Manzano was born to Filipino parents in San Francisco, California in September 1955, "making him both a citizen of the Philippines and of the United States of America."

It also noted that Manzano had served in the US military before returning to the Philippines in the 1990s.

The Comelec division said Manzano should have filed a copy of his oath of allegiance to the Philippines "with the local civil registry in the name of his residence or where he had last resided in the Philippines", a requirement set by Republic Act No. 2630, which allows Filipinos who have served in the US military to reacquire Philippine citizenship.

"Without direct proof of his oath of allegiance being registered in the local civil registry in the place where he resides, respondent cannot be considered to have reacquired his Philippine citizenship under our laws," the decision read.

For his part, Manzano said he was born in the United States not by choice, making his American citizenship automatic.

He also denied that he voluntary joined the US military. 

"I never voluntarily joined. I was drafted," he said. At that time, Manzano said he was just 17 years old and the Vietnam War was ongoing.

He said he had informed the US embassy in the past about his intention to give up his citizenship to run for local office but has not done the process of signing an oath of renunciation.

"If the court felt it would not be enough for me signing my certificate of candidacy then of course I would have to do it," he said.

Manzano assured voters that his name is still in the ballot and he continues to campaign.

"My name is still in the ballot. The decision of the 2nd division is not final. They still have given me the window which I've done before in 1998 to file a motion for reconsideration and even if I am voted by my constituents my vote will be counted," he said.

If he wins, Manzano said he hopes to bring in a new brand of politics in San Juan.

"I would like to be the kind of congressional representative who would like to make amends, join hands with the local government unit and work together to make a more progressive San Juan," he said.