A Philippine Daily Inquirer news item from Manila dated May 11, 2009 captioned “RP citizenship sought for Pacquiao coach” states that Laguna Congressman Edgar San Luis has filed House Resolution 1142 to confer honorary Philippine citizenship to American Freddie Roach, Manny Pacquiao’s longtime coach.

In his resolution, Congressman San Luis said that behind Manny Pacquiao’s legendary boxing triumphs is his 49-year-old American coach Freddie Roach, who over the years has masterfully sharpened the skills of the Filipino boxing icon to become one of the greatest fighters in the history of boxing.

San Luis continued that Roach, who has been Pacquiao’s trainer coach for years, has equally shown his deep understanding of the Filipino people that he has easily become part of the local community without as much raising any negative issue.

Legal precedents

On June 18, 1955 Republic Act No. 1386 was approved by the Congress of the Philippines otherwise known as “An Act” adopting the Honorable George A. Malcolm as son of the Philippines conferring upon him all the rights, privileges and prerogatives of Philippine citizenship.

The Whereas clause of R.A. No. 1386 states that the Honorable George A. Malcolm devoted the most fruitful years of his life to the service of the people of the Philippines as founder and dean of the College of Law of the University of the Philippines, as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines from 1917 to 1936, during which period he distinguished himself as the principal expounder of the fundamental law of the land, and as author of books on the laws and government of the Philippines.

Accordingly, the Congress of the Philippines gave him due recognition to such priceless services of Hon. George A. Malcolm by adopting him as son of the Philippines and conferring him all the rights, privileges and prerogatives of Philippine citizenship.

A recent case of an alien who was conferred Philippine citizenship was American Marcus Douthit making him eligible to play for Smart Gilas when it vies for a berth in the 2012 London Olympics.

According to outgoing Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas executive director Noli Eala, the naturalization papers of the 6’ 10” Douthit in Malacañang could lapse into law exactly a week from March 4 if President Aquino leaves it unsigned.

Douthit will just have to wait for the month-long grace period for it to lapse into law.

Antipolo City Representative Robbie Puno was the author of the bill conferring Philippine citizenship to Douthit (Philippine Star, March 4, 2011 issue).

According to Congressman San Luis, a House of Representative bill conferring Philippine citizenship to Freddie Roach is meritorious since Roach was the trainer behind Manny Pacquiao’s legendary triumphs in the boxing field that took him center stage.

Conferring Philippine citizenship to aliens under Martial Law

During Martial Law, President Ferdinand Marcos, by virtue of the powers vested in him by the Constitution of the Philippines at that time, issued Presidential Decree No. 836, dated Dec. 3, 1975, granting Philippine citizenship to deserving aliens who were earlier screened and recommended for citizenship by the Special Committee on Naturalization pursuant to Letter of Instruction No. 270.

However, the guidelines under the above Letter of Instruction required aliens to possess eight qualifications and none of the disqualifications mentioned in the Letter of Instruction.

The qualifications and disqualifications are enumerated in the Letter of Instruction.

(The author acknowledges the assistance of Atty. Edgar Ariel Recto for furnishing him R.A. No. 1386.)

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