Disqualification case filed against Kalinga gov bet ‘not yet decided’

>> Monday, February 15, 2016

Claver files counter-affidavit at Comelec

TABUK CITY, Kalinga – Politics in this province is heating up with a candidate for the gubernatorial post saying he is  eligible to run considering the Commission on Elections has “not yet decided” on merits of a case on allegations of his citizenship.    
Gregory Farnaw Claver was referring to the case filed by Henry Gupaal, who petitioned the Commission on Elections to disqualify the former for being a U.S. and Filipino citizen.
Gupaal is executive assistant of incumbent Kalinga Gov. Jocel Baac, who is being challenged by Claver and two others this coming May elections.
In his complaint to the Comelec, Gupaal said Claver should be disqualified because the latter’s renunciation of his American citizenship in October 2015 is invalid because he was merely sworn in by a notary public and not a public officer authorized to administer an oath.
Claver reportedly became a naturalized U.S. citizen in February 2007 after he joined the U.S. Army in September 2005.
But twice,Claver said, he has renounced his foreign citizenship under oath first in October 2012 and in October 2015.
Claver said in his counter-affidavit, with this, he reverted to his Filipino citizenship four years ago under Republic Act 9225, or the Citizenship Retention and Re-acquisition Act of 2003.
Gupaal, however, claimed that Farnaw remains a dual citizen because in American laws, his renunciation of American citizenship must have to be approved first by the U.S. State Department to be effective.
The two main issues raised by Gupaal, Claver said, were answered by the Supreme Court in two cases decided in 2012 and 2009, when the High Tribunal ruled that RA 9225 only requires compliance with two requirements for a natural born Filipino, who has re-acquired citizenship, to qualify as a candidate for public office.
The requirements are for the candidate to take an oath of allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines and to execute a personal and sworn renunciation of foreign citizenship, which Claver, said in his petition, was complied with.
He also cited the Supreme Court decision on Arnado vs. Comelec that the two requirements to qualify as a candidate for an elective position does not require anything else such as   additional affirmative action or processes imposed by the relevant foreign laws or foreign governments to render such foreign citizenship renunciation effective.
Claver added foreign laws such as American laws cannot be applied in the Philippines.
The gubernatorial bet admitted while he used his U.S.-issued passport several times in 2013 up to May 2015, he no longer used the same in any travels or any transactions after he took his second oath of renunciation of American citizenship in 2015.

“The case of Arnado versus Comelec cited by petitioner Gupaal himself strongly supports my position that I am no longer a dual citizen or a Filipino citizen with dual allegiance.” Claver said in his answer to the petition before the Comelec First Division 


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