Ernesto Mercado vs. Eduardo Barrios Manzano and COMELEC

G.R. No. 135083, May 26, 1996.


Mercado and Manzano were candidates for vice mayor of the City of Makati. Manzano won the election but his proclamation was suspended in view of a pending petition for disqualification filed by a certain Ernesto Mamaril who alleged he was not a citizen of the Philippines but of the United States.

  • The disqualification of private respondent Manzano is being sought under §40 of the Local Government Code of 1991 which provides that “those who have dual citizenship are disqualified from running for any elective local position”. 
  • He argues that merely taking part in Philippine elections is not sufficient evidence of renunciation of U.S. citizenship

Manzano was born in San Francisco, California, U.S.A. He acquired US citizenship by operation of the United States Constitution and laws under the principle of jussoli. He was also a natural born Filipino citizen by operation of the 1935 Philippine Constitution, as his father and mother were Filipinos at the time of his birth. He is registered as an American citizen in the Bureau of Immigration and Deportation and holds an American passport which he used in his last travel to the United States on April 22, 1997.

COMELEC granted the petition of Mamaril and ordered the cancellation of the certificate of candidacy of private respondent on the ground that he is a dual citizen. In a motion for reconsideration the COMELEC enbanc reversed the ruling.

  1. Whether or not dual citizenship is a ground for disqualification.
  2. Whether or not Manzano is disqualified to run.


(1) Dual citizenship is different from dual allegiance. Dual citizenship is a result of the concurrent application of the different laws of two or more states, a person is simultaneously considered a national by the said states. Dual allegiance, on the other hand, refers to the situation in which a person simultaneously owes, by some positive act, loyalty to two or more states. While dual citizenship is involuntary, dual allegiance is the result of an individual’s volition.

Instances for the following classes of citizens of the Philippines to possess dual citizenship:

  1. Those born of Filipino fathers and/or mothers in foreign countries which follow the principle of jus soli;
  2. Those born in the Philippines of Filipino mothers and alien fathers if by the laws of their fathers’ country such children are citizens of that country;
  3. Those who marry aliens if by the laws of the latter’s country the former are considered citizens, unless by their act or omission they are deemed to have renounced Philippine citizenship.

(2) No, the phrase “dual citizenship” in R.A. No. 7160, §40(d) and in R.A. No. 7854, §20 must be understood as referring to “dual allegiance.” Consequently, persons with mere dual citizenship do not fall under this disqualification. 
The filing of such certificate of candidacy sufficed to renounce his American citizenship, effectively removing any disqualification he might have as a dual citizen.To recapitulate, by declaring in his certificate of candidacy that he is a Filipino citizen; that he is not a permanent resident or immigrant of another country; that he will defend and support the Constitution of the Philippines and bear true faith and allegiance thereto and that he does so without mental reservation, private respondent has, as far as the laws of this country are concerned, effectively repudiated his American citizenship and anything which he may have said before as a dual citizen.

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