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Immigration bureau junks case against Nueva Ecija rep

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The Bureau of Immigration (BI) has junked a deportation complaint filed by a Cabanatuan resident against Nueva Ecija Rep. Rosanna Vergara who reacquired her Philippine citizenship 10 years ago.

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In a five-page order dated December 20, 2016, BI said Vergara’s reacquisition of Philippine citizenship in 2006 under Republic Act 9225 – or the Citizenship Retention and Re-acquisition Law of 2003 – “was duly processed and approved.” The ruling was signed by Commissioner Jaime Morente upon the recommendation of Special Prosecutor Victor Andrew Siriban and Atty. Cesar Santos, chief of BI’s Legal Division.

In the order, Morente said BI lacks jurisdiction over Vergara for being a Filipino. “It (BI) is not the forum to resolve questions pertaining to her citizenship,” he explained.

The bureau chief stressed that the complaint filed by Cabanatuan resident Philip Piccio against the solon should be properly addressed in an adversarial suit before a court of competent jurisdiction and with the active participation of the Solicitor General. “The authority to rule on whether to revoke or not Vergara’s reacquisition of Philippine citizenship under RA 9225 belongs to the Department of Justice or the regular courts,” he explained.

“In our jurisdiction, an attack on a person’s citizenship may only be done through a direct action for its nullity filed in a court of competent jurisdiction. Since a person is in danger of being stripped of his citizenship in that action, the procedure therein must be adversary, meaning, one where the trial court has conducted proceedings where all relevant facts have been fully and properly developed, where opposing counsel have been given opportunity to demolish the opposite party’s case, and where the evidence has been thoroughly weighed and considered,” the BID chief said.

Piccio filed the deportation case against Vergara in August 2016. It was immediately dismissed by BI for lack of merit but Piccio filed a supplemental petition.

 

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