Actor Edu Manzano insisted yesterday that he is still a candidate for congressman in San Juan City despite the Commission on Elections’ (COMELEC) decision to disqualify him from the race.
A netizen posted this question on Manzano’s Instagram account yesterday: “Oh no, why were you disqualified?”
To which Manzano responded: “Not disqualified, bro. Filing our MR (motion for reconsideration).”
Another netizen asked Manzano: “Hi sir, I heard the COMELEC canceled your candidacy. Is it true?”
Manzano responded: “Not true.”
In an interview with news program 24 Oras, Manzano made the same assertion that he is still a candidate for congressman despite the COMELEC’s decision.
“According to my legal counsel, former COMELEC chairman Sixto Brillantes, ‘Edu, there’s nothing they can do. People can still vote for you,'” he said.
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 joined the U.S. Armed Forces.
Manzano alleged that Gil is the campaign manager of his opponent in San Juan, incumbent Congressman Ronaldo Zamora.
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.
But Manzano said in his Instagram account that the Supreme Court allowed him to run for public office in 1998, and referred to the case Mercado vs. Manzano.
In 1998, Manzano ran for Makati vice mayor and won, but his proclamation was postponed because one of his opponents alleged that the actor was not a Filipino but an American citizen. But the Supreme Court decided that by filing his certificate of candidacy for Makati vice mayor and by declaring his intention to uphold the constitution of the country, Manzano has renounced his American citizenship, and is therefore allowed to run for public office.
Commissioner Luie Tito Guia, in his dissenting opinion, also cited the Supreme Court’s decision as proof that Manzano can run for San Juan congressman, Rappler reported.
The actor said in an interview on the talk show Headstart today that he hasn’t formally renounced his American citizenship, although he has told the American embassy in Manila of his intention to renounce it.
The COMELEC allowed the actor to run for Makati mayor in 2001, for vice president in 2010, and senator in 2016.
Meanwhile, in a statement sent to The Philippine Daily Inquirer, the PMP alleged that the petition against Manzano is the Zamora camp’s way of “thwart[ing] the will” of the people of San Juan.