The Commission on Elections (COMELEC) yesterday canceled the certificate of candidacy of actor Edu Manzano for allegedly failing to reacquire his Philippine citizenship.
The commission’s decision came a week before the mid-term elections, in which Manzano is running for congressman of San Juan CityMetro Manila.
According to a copy of the COMELEC’s decision obtained by ABS-CBN News, Manzano was born to Filipino parents in San Francisco, California, making him a dual citizen. Before coming to the Philippines to work as an actor, he was a member of the United States Armed Forces from 1973 to 1977.
A person by the name of Sofia Patricia Gil, who introduced herself as a registered voter of San Juan, filed a petition at the COMELEC in November 2018 urging the commission to cancel Manzano’s certificate of candidacy because he is allegedly not a Filipino citizen. Gil said that Manzano lost his Filipino citizenship when he worked for the U.S. Armed Forces.
According to the COMELEC, Manzano’s stint at the military would have caused him to lose his Filipino citizenship. The commission cited Section 1 (4) Commonwealth Act No. 63 as its basis, which states that a Filipino will lose his citizenship if he works in the military, naval, or air service of a foreign country, CNN Philippines reported.
In its ruling, the commission said that this means Manzano was no longer a Filipino citizen when he filed his certificate of candidacy for San Juan representative in October, Rappler reported.
However, Manzano can still file an appeal at the commission.
This is not the first time citizenship became an issue for the aspiring politician. A petition was filed in 1998 questioning whether he was qualified to run for vice mayor of Makati City due to his citizenship, but the Supreme Court declared that he had already repudiated his American citizenship when he filed a certificate of candidacy, GMA News reported.
Manzano won that election and served three terms as Makati’s vice mayor. After which, he ran for Makati mayor against then-incumbent Jejomar Binay Sr., who won by a landslide.
The actor was also allowed by the COMELEC to run for vice president in 2010 and senator in 2016.