MANILA, Philippines — A measure aiming to grant Philippine citizenship to basketball player Justin Brownlee hurdled second reading in the Senate on Monday.
Brownlee currently plays as an import for Barangay Ginebra in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA). Ginebra first brought in Brownlee as its reinforcement in 2016 and the 34-year-old forward has helped the Gin Kings win five PBA titles since his arrival.
Senators deliberated on House Bill No. 6224 or An Act Granting Philippine Citizenship to Justin Donta Brownlee during the plenary session. Senators took into consideration Senate Bill Nos. 1336, 1516, and 1519 under Committee Report No. 13, which had the same goal.
Senator Francis Tolentino sponsored the measure.
“The requirements for judicial or either legislative or administrative naturalization would just have the same documentary requirements needed plus the real intent coming from the heart to be a Filipino citizen,” Tolentino said.
“I think his willingness can be shown by the fact that he really wants to stay here not just because of basketball, but he already embraced the Filipino culture, the way of life,” he went on.
Tolentino likewise recalled that Brownlee said the two-time Best Import is willing to join the country’s military reserve force and defend the country in times of disaster.
Once Brownlee’s naturalization is approved, he is expected to reinforce Gilas Pilipinas against Lebanon and Jordan in the sixth window of the Fiba World Cup Asian Qualifiers in February.
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