Philippine citizenship is not easy to acquire. It is easy to understand why. An alien does not have a natural, inherent or vested right to be admitted to citizenship in a state. Citizenship is a matter of grace, which a sovereign government may confer on or withhold. (see De Leon, 1 Philippine Constitutional Law, p. 1012 ).
Some aliens, however, are luckier than others. They do not have to undergo the difficult process of judicial naturalization (i.e., the process of acquiring Philippine citizenship). Instead, they are granted Philippine citizenship by direct act of Congress (or during the time of President Marcos, by presidential decree).
After the General Appropriations Act of 2011 (which is the first law passed by the current (15th) Congress, the next law passed by Congress is Republic Act No. 10148, which granted Philippine citizenship to Marcus Eugene Douthit. Who is he and why is he worthy of such special honor from the State? Senate Bill No. 2259 says:
Marcus Eugene Douthit was born on April 15, 1980 in Syracuse, New York. Having played collegiately for the Providence College, Marcus Douthit was later on selected by the Los Angeles Lakers in the second round, 56th overall, of the 2004 NBA Draft. Although Douthit never played for the National Basketball Association, he played an impressive stint for the Albuquerque Thunderbirds in the NBA Development League during the season 2005-2006. He also played for competitive leagues in Turkey, Belgium, and Russia.
During the recent 2010 Smart Philippine Invitational Cup, Mr. Douthit proved to be a valuable member of the Smart Gilas Pilipinas team after averaging 18 points and 10 rebounds that led to the Victory over World Championship-bound and Asia’s third strongest team, the Jordan National Team. A player who stands 6’11 and plays the center position, Marcus Douthit no doubt can hold his own against other behemoths in Asia, including those from Iran and China, the top two teams in Asia. Furthermore, his experience and work ethic will contribute immensely to the training and development of Filipino basketball players.
Hopefully, Mr. Douthit will always be worthy of the privileges of Philippine citizenship.