Sunday, March 13, 2016

1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness and Grace Poe; Justice Carpio's dissent

"x x x.

A 1961 United Nations multilateral treaty, the primary aim of the Convention is the prevention of statelessness by requiring states to grant citizenship to children born in their territory, or born to their nationals abroad, who would otherwise be stateless. To prevent statelessness in such cases, states have the option to grant nationality (1) at birth by operation of law, or (2) subsequently by application. In short, a contracting state to the Convention must enact an implementing law choosing one of the two options before the Convention can be implemented in that state.

The Philippines is not a signatory to this Convention, and thus, the Philippines is a non-contracting state. The Convention does not bind the Philippines. Moreover, this Convention does not provide automatically that a foundling is a citizen at birth of the country in which the foundling is found.

x x x.

First, Article 2 applies only to a "foundling found in the territory of a Contracting State." The Philippines is not a contracting state to the Convention and thus Article 2, and the entire Convention, does not apply to the Philippines.

Second, there must be "absence of proof' that the parents of the foundling do not possess the nationality of another state. This means there must be an administrative or judicial proceeding to determine this factual issue, an act necessary to acquire the citizenship of the state where the foundling is found. This also means that the grant of citizenship under Article 2 is not automatic, as Dr. Laura van Waas explains. This factual determination prevents the foundling from acquiring natural-born citizenship at birth as understood under our Constitution, assuming Article 2 applies to the Philippines.

Third, the grant of citizenship under Article 2 is ex lege -which means by operation of law -referring to municipal statutory law. Assuming Article 2 applies to the Philippines, and it does not, this grant of citizenship refers to naturalization by operation of law, the category of citizens under paragraph (5), Section 1 of Article IV of the 1935 Constitution (now Section 1(4), Article IV of the 1987 Constitution), or "[t]hose who are naturalized in accordance with law."

In sum, there is no international treaty to which the Philippines is a contracting party, which provides expressly or impliedly that a foundling is deemed a natural-born citizen of the country in which the foundling is found.48 There is also obviously no international treaty, to which the Philippines is not a party, obligating the Philippines to confer automatically Philippine citizenship to a foundling at birth.

x x x."