Oct 282014

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
2009-03-05 08:46
2011-08-30 01:44
Embassy Manila


DE RUEHML #0482/01 0640846
R 050846Z MAR 09



E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: A) Mandac-Burgwinkle e-mail of March 4 Re: DFA
B) Burgwinkle-Haynes e-mail 02/18/2009 Re: Miraflor
and Abad deportation cases
C) Burgwinkle-Haynes e-mail 12/06/2008
Re: Deportations WG – Philippine Case update
D) 08 Manila 02682
E) 08 State 56512

¶1. (U) This telegram is to officially record the final
response by the Government of the Philippines to the
demarche requested in Ref E concerning the cases of
Armando Sierda Abad and David Valasote Miraflor.

¶2. (SBU) Abad and Miraflor had renounced their Philippine
citizenship in an effort to avoid deportation to the
Philippines. Philippine consular authorities in the U.S.
had been reluctant to document Abad and Miraflor against
their wishes. Philippine authorities have now determined
that it is appropriate to document the two, despite their

¶3. (SBU) Assistant Secretary Domingo Lucenario of the
Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) informed
Post February 19 that the Philippine Department of
Justice (DOJ) finds no legal bar to the issuance by the
DFA of a travel document to a person who did not apply
for it, but who is being deported to the Philippines.
On March 4 Lucenario also shared with post a copy of the
cover note “for guidance and appropriate action” dated
January 19 conveying this instruction to the Philippine
Embassy in Washington.

¶4. (SBU) The DOJ memorandum states:


Secretary Alberto Romulo
Department of Foreign Affairs

This has reference to your request for opinion as
to what constitute a valid renunciation of Philippine
citizenship, and whether a Philippine travel document
may be issued to a person who has renounced his
Philippine citizenship and/or who is not applying
for one.

Your request relates to a communication, which your
Department received from the United States Government,
seeking assistance from the Republic of the Philippines
in removing two non-U.S. citizens namely, Armando Sierda
Abad and David Valasote Miraflor, from the U.S. to the
Philippines. Messrs. Abad and Miraflor entered the U.S.
as Philippine citizens, but they have been convicted of
crimes in the U.S. in an obvious effort to avoid
deportation from the U.S.

Loss of citizenship may be either voluntary or
involuntary. Involuntary loss of citizenship may be
provided as a punishment for certain crimes, after due
conviction thereof*, while involuntary loss of
citizenship takes place by expatriation, which is the
voluntary abandonment or renunciation of one’s
nationality and allegiance.**

A Filipino may voluntarily divest himself or herself
of his or her nationality in accordance with Commonwealth
Act No. 63, as amended,*** Section 1 of said Act reads in
pertinent part as follows:

Section 1. How citizenship may lost. – A
Filipino citizen may lose his citizenship in any of
the following ways and/or events:

(1) By naturalization in a foreign country;

(2) By express renunciation of citizenship;

(3) By subscribing to an oath of allegiance to
support the constitution or laws of a
foreign country upon attaining twenty-one
years of age or more; Provided, however,
That a Filipino may not divest himself of
Philippine citizenship in any manner while
the Republic of the Philippines is at war
with any country;

(4) By rendering service to, or accepting
commission in, the armed forces of a
foreign country; Provided, That the
rendering of service to, or the acceptance

of such commission in, the armed forces of
a foreign country, and the taking of an
oath of allegiance incident thereto, with
the consent of the Republic of the
Philippines, shall not divest a Filipino of
his Philippine citizenship if either of the
following circumstances is present:

Most of the above-quoted grounds for voluntary loss
of Philippine citizenship are clear; thus they do not
require further explanation. However, with regard to the
ground of “express renunciation”, an elaboration on this
point might be helpful. In the case of Board of
Immigration Commissioners and Commissioner of Immigration
vs. Beato Go Callano, et al., G.R. o. L-24530, October
31, 1968, the ruling of the Court of Appeals, which cited
this Department’s Opinion No. 69, s. 1940, was upheld by
the Supreme Court, thus:

Section 1 of Commonwealth Act No. 63, as amended
by Republic Act No. 106, provides that a Filipino
citizen may lose his citizenship by naturalization
in a foreign country; express renunciation of
citizenship; subscribing to an oath of allegiance to
support the constitution or laws of a foreign
country; rendering service to, or accepting a
commission in, the armed forces of a foreign
country; cancellation of the certificate of
naturalization; declaration by competent authority
that he is a deserter of the Philippine armed forces
in time of war; in the case of a woman by marriage
to a foreigner if, by virtue of laws in force in her
husband’s country, she acquires his nationality x x
x About the only mode of losing Philippine
citizenship which closely bears on the petitioners
is renunciation. But even renunciation cannot be
cited in support of the conclusion tha petitioners
lost their Philippine citizenship because the law
requires an express renunciation which means a
renunciation that is made known distinctly and
explicitly and not left to inference or implication;
a renunciation manifested by direct and appropriate
language, as distinguished from that which is
inferred from conduct. (Opinion No. 69 of the
Secretary of Justice, Series of 1940)

That a renunciation under C.A. No. 63 as amended,
must be express in order for it to be considered
effective was reiterated by the Supreme Court in the
recent case of Valles vs. COMELEC, G.R. No. 137000,
August 9, 2000, wherein the Court did not consider as an
express renunciation of the Philippine citizenship the
mere fact of applying for an alien certificate of
registration and being a holder of a foreign passport.

Considering all the foregoing, it is this
Department’s opinion that, if all the other grounds under
C.A. No. 63, as amended, for voluntary loss of Philippine
citizenship are not applicable to Messrs. Sierda Abad and
Miraflor, any inference of renunciation of Philippine
citizenship from their conduct alone is not sufficient in
order to divest themselves of their citizenship, as the
law requires that said renunciation must be made known
distinctly and explicitly, by direct and appropriate
language. In this Department’s Opinion No. 008, s. 1964,
we affirm the finding of the Bureau of Immigration that
the subject therein has effectively renounced his
Philippine citizenship when he made said renunciation in
a public document. Such case may be taken as an example
of an express renunciation that is considered effective
under the law.

However, we note from the facts given that Messrs.
Sierda-Abad and Miraflor allegedly renounced their
Philippine citizenship only after they have been
convicted of crimes in the U.S. in an obvious effort to
avoid deportation from the U.S. Suffice it to say that
an act of illegality can never be construed as an act of
expatriation or renunciation. Whatever might be the mode
of expatriation or renunciation of citizenship, the cause
thereof must be lawful, otherwise the citizen acts
contrary to his duty.****

As to your query whether a Philippine travel
document may be issued to a person who was renounced his
Philippine citizenship, the definition of a travel
document and the requirements for its issuance must be
looked into. As defined by Republic Act No. 8239, a
travel document means a certification or identifying
document containing the description and other personal
circumstances of its bearer, issued for direct travel to

and from the Philippines valid for short periods or a
particular trip.***** It is issued only to persons whose
claim to Philippine nationality is doubtful or who fall
under the category enumerated in Section 13 of R.A. No.
8239,****** which reads as follows:

Sec. 13 Travel Documents. – A travel document,
in lieu of a passport, may be issued to:

(a) A Filipino citizen returning to the Philippines
who for one reason or another has lost his/her
passport or cannot be issued a regular passport;
(b) A Filipino citizen being sent back to the
(c) An alien spouse of a Filipino and their
dependents who have not yet been naturalized as
a Filipino and who are traveling to the
Philippines or is permanent resident of the
(d) Aliens permanently residing in the Philippines
who are not able to obtain foreign passports and
other travel documents;
(e) A stateless person who is likewise a permanent
resident, or a refugee granted such status or
asylum in the Philippines.

Thus, a travel document may only be issued to
Filipino citizens and to aliens and stateless
persons who qualify under the above-quoted provision
of R.A. No. 8239. Obviously, any person who has
already effectively renounced his or her Philippine
citizenship cannot be issued a travel document,
unless he or she can be considered an alien or
stateless person who is qualified to be issued a
travel document under Section 13 R.A. No. 8239.

Finally, as to whether a travel document may be
issued to a person who did not apply for it, suffice
it to say that one ground for issuance of a travel
document under Section 13 of R.A. No. 8239 is
deportation.******* The power to deport an alien is
an act of the State. It is a police power measure
against undesirable aliens whose presence in the
country is found to be injurious to the public good
and domestic tranquility of the people.******** In
line with the nature of deportation as an act of a
State and not a voluntary act of a person, this
Department finds nothing legally invalid to an
issuance by the DFA of a travel document to a person
who did not apply for it, but who is being deported
to the Philippines.

Please be guided accordingly.

Very truly yours,

Raul M. Gonzales

Footnotes: (* is being used instead of numbers)
*See Secretary of Justice Opinion No. 096, s. 1945,
Citing Com. Act No. 63, Sec. 1, par 6: Gotochaus v
Matheson, 58 Barb 152, 40 How, Pr. 97;
Constitutional Law, Malcolm and Laurel, p 390

**Roa v. Insular Collector of Customs. G.R. No.
7011, October 30, 1912.

***This Act took effect upon its approval on October
21 1936.

****Secretary of Justice Opinion No. 096, s. 1945 2
Am. Jur. 558 and Art. 4 of the Old Civil Code (now
Art. 6 of the New Civil Code, which reads: Rights
may be waived, unless the waiver is contrary to law,
public order, public policy, morals, or good customs
or prejudicial to a third person with a right
recognized by law).

*****R.A. No. 8239, Section 2.

******R.A. No. 8239, Section 2.

*******See also DFA Department Order No. 19-A-95,
Section 724, entitled Travel Document for Alien
Wives of Filipino and for Deported Filipinos, in
Passport Guidebook, by Germinia V. Aguilar-Usudan
and Edgar B. Badajos (A Project of the Inter-Agency
Againts Passport Irregularities), p. 99

********Board of Commissioners (CID), et al., vs

Jose Dela Rosa, et al., G.R. Nos. 95122-23 & 95612-
13, May 13, 1991.





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