Priest To U.S. Court: “Declare Filipinos ‘U.S. Citizens’ “

by Joseph G. Lariosa

CHICAGO (JGL) – For nth time, a U.S. District Court has been asked to declare that Filipinos born from 1899 up to 1946 when the Philippines was a territory of the United States as U.S. Citizens.

One of the basis of the U.S. Supreme Court decision used by Filipino American priest Prisco E. Entines in chipping away at a series of Insular Cases that rejected other Filipinos’ U.S. Citizenship claims was the Afroyim V. Rusk, 387 U.S. 253 (1967) that upheld the Fourteenth Amendment’s Citizenship Clause that guaranteed a citizen to keep his or her citizenship without his assent.

Father Entines is asking the U.S. District of Columbia (Washington D.C.) to declare the non-application of Section One of the Philippine Government Act of 1902 and the Philippine Independence Act of 1934 passed by the U.S. Congress as “unconstitutional.” The Act of 1902 provided for temporary civil government in the Philippines while the Philippine Independence Act (Tydings-McDuffie) of 1934 divested Filipinos of their status as “U.S. citizen nationals” when the Philippines declared its Independence from the U.S. on July 4, 1946.

The section in Act 1902 excludes the Filipinos from exercising section 1891 of the Revised Statutes of 1878, which gives “force and effect to the Constitution and laws of the U.S., not locally inapplicable, within all the organized Territories, and every Territory thereafter organized, as elsewhere within the U.S.”

Section 4 of the Act of 1902 declares “all inhabitants of the Philippine Islands continuing to reside therein who were Spanish subjects on April 11, 1899, and then resided in the Philippine Islands, and their children born subsequent thereto, shall be deemed and held to be citizens of the Philippine Islands and as such entitled to the protection of the United States, except such as shall have elected to preserve their allegiance to the Crown of Spain in accordance with the provisions of the treaty of peace between the United States and Spain signed at Paris December 10, 1898.”


U.S. immigration authorities have since labeled Filipinos born during the American Occupation from the late 1899 up to Jan. 13, 1941 as “Non-U.S. Citizen Nationals,” which the 71-year-old veteran veterans advocate says, is a “legal fiction” that could not even be found in the U.S. Constitution.

Entines’s case got a boost last year when D.C.’s U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon dismissed the U.S. citizenship class suit by American Samoans [Tuaua, et. al, v. U.S., et al.), saying, “[W]hile Congress cannot take away the citizenship of individuals covered by the Citizenship Clause, it can bestow citizenship upon those not within the Constitution’s breadth. Congress shall have power to dispose of and make all needful rules and regulations respecting the Territory belonging to the U.S. Congress may establish a uniform Rule of Naturalization. To date, Congress has not seen fit to bestow birthright citizenship upon American Samoa, and in accordance with the law, this court must and will respect that choice.”

When the U.S. Congress passed the Philippine Independence Act, Father Entines argued, it divested en masse the Filipinos of their “U.S. nationals” status without their consent, which contradicted the holding of the U.S. Supreme Court in Afroyim V. Rusk that prohibited the U.S. Government from depriving the U.S. citizenship involuntarily.

The U.S. government had attempted to revoke the citizenship of Beys Afroyim, a Polish-born man, because he had cast a vote in an Israeli election after becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen. The Supreme Court decided that Afroyim’s right to retain his citizenship was guaranteed by the Citizenship Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution. In so doing, the Court overruled one of its own precedents, Perez v. Brownell (1958), in which it had upheld loss of citizenship under similar circumstances less than a decade earlier.

Entines, a native of Balete, Aroroy, Masbate in the Philippines, and a U.S. Citizen, filed a complaint for declaratory relief last April 3, 2013 against U.S. Department of State John Kerry, Consuelo Pachon, State Department Citizenship Appeal Legal Adviser; and Secretary Janet Napolitano of the Department of Homeland Security for not bestowing U.S. Citizenship to “native inhabitants of the Philippines, especially to those who were WW2 conscripted and swore allegiance to the U.S. Constitution and the U.S. Flag under the doctrine of territorial incorporation from 11 April 1899 per 31 Statute, 1881, Treaty Series 344 and legally strengthened by the passage of 1902 Philippine Bill or Organic Act, which established the terms of the U.S. civil government’s sovereign rule over the Philippines until its July 4, 1946 Independence, which was officially declared by no less than U.S. President Truman.”


Filing pro se (his own lawyer), Entines, who is on leave from his priestly ministry to advocate for the Filipino veterans’ causes, is also seeking judicial declaration that the English Common Law of “birth within the allegiance and dominion of the King” doctrine upon which the statutory interpretation and construction of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. should be based.

“The Amendment automatically conferred native-born U.S. citizenships on Filipino native inhabitants of the U.S. colonized Philippines, not or never, a U.S. National-non-citizenship, which has ambiguous meaning, thus, rendering it patently unconstitutional.”

His claim is based on his father, PFC. Enrique Hapa Entines, who had ‘triple right’ toward instant, native-born U.S. citizenship, namely, 1) by reason of his birth on July 17, 1905 in the Philippines as a U.S. colony “in the allegiance and dominion of the King” by the universally accepted principle of “jus soli”; 2) by derivative right or blood relationship with legally presumed “collectively”-naturalized U.S. citizen-parents (by virtue of 31 Statute, 1881, Treaty Series 344 of 11 April 1899, supra; and 3) by his mandatory or compulsory military service even just as a U.S. National since July 14, 1927 with the Philippine Constabulary after 18 years of service, ended with his March 25, 1945 as death-in-line of duty (DILOD).” Entines is also seeking financial and legal assistance, including amicus curiae (friend-of-court), to prosecute his class suit.

Because Tuaua appealed the District Court’s decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, raising a related issue to Entines’ case, Judge Robert L. Wilkins stayed his order regarding the motion to dismiss filed by the defendants “pending final decision of the Tuaua case before the Circuit court” and “parties shall meet and confer no later than ten days after the issuance of a final non-appealable decision in Tuaua or in the event the appeal is withdrawn, no later than ten days after withdrawal of the appeal, and shall file a Joint Status Report.”


Philippines Ceded to the U.S. (The Salt Lake Herald, Aug. 1898)

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