As a longtime student of both the legislative process and Andray Blatche, this week’s news about Andray Blatche’s pending Philippine citizenship had me rushing to the House Bills and Resolutions Download Center at the Web site for the Republic of the Philippines’ 16th Congress.
A lot of world history needed to happen to produce this paragraph:
Section 1. Andray Blatche is hereby granted Philippine citizenship with all the rights, privileges and prerogatives, as well as the duties and obligations appurtenant thereto and with the same effects and subject to the same conditions as provided under the Constitution.
Unbeknownst to me, at least one official — Sen. Jinggoy Estrada — had previously registered a pretty strong dissent to this operation, during the Senate’s debate over the House’s bill.
Let me put on record that I am not blocking the measure granting Filipino citizenship to Mr. Andray Blatche. That is not my purpose when I stood in this august hall. When I posed certain questions regarding the bill granting Mr. Blatche Filipino citizenship, it was not for the purpose of preventing him to eventually play for the Philippine Team in the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup.
As a basketball aficionado myself, I want to see our national team succeed and become world champions.
I rise because I am vehemently against the apparently arbitrary and seemingly two-pence procedure of conferring citizenship through legislation. I strongly believe that someone has to put a stop to this practice. As the good sponsor of this measure, Senator Sonny Angara, has said, “citizenship is not an ordinary privilege bestowed to any individual.” To be a Filipino citizen comes with a great responsibility. Thus, Congress must be very judicious in the exercise of its power in granting Filipino citizenship through legislation.