The Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) has filed a petition for review on certiorari with the Supreme Court in relation to the release of an elderly naturalized Filipino, whom PAO claims is actually a Filipino born in the Philippines.
PAO chief Persida Acosta lamented over the injustice for the arrest of the respondent – Walter Manuel Prescott – who is still languishing in detention under the custody of PAO for seven years without committing any criminal offense.
“WHEREFORE, premises considered, it is respectfully prayed of this Honorable Court that the Decision of the Court of Appeals promulgated on 25 June 2021 and Resolution promulgated on 15 August 2022 be REVERSED and SET ASIDE; that a DECISION be issued REVERSING the DECISION dated 24 May 2019 and the RESOLUTION dated 5 July 2019 of the Regional Trial Court of the City of Manila, Branch 10, and DIRECTING the Bureau of Immigration to permanently RELEASE petitioner Walter Manuel F. Prescott from the detention and for him to be DECLARED as a Filipino citizen,” the 35-page petition read.
Acosta said Prescott, 73, was born to parents Maria Lourdes Dingcong, a Filipina, and Walter Dewey Prescott, an American, on April 10, 1950 in Manila as shown in his live birth certificate.
“Petitioner is not an overstaying and undocumented alien. He did not misrepresent factual information to acquire Philippine citizenship,” she stressed.
Sometime in February 2014, Prescott went to the Department of Foreign Affairs to renew his Philippine passport, but was denied.
Then justice secretary Leila de Lima canceled Prescott’s passport and ordered his arrest.
Prescott became a naturalized American citizen in 2006 for working as permanent employee at the World Bank since 1999, but regained his Filipino citizenship on Nov. 26, 2008 and took his allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines at the Philippine Embassy.
In 2010, Prescott retired from the World Bank and returned to the Philippines with his wife Maria Lourdes, who went back to the United States in 2011.
On June 6, 2012, Maria filed a complaint with the Bureau of Immigration about Prescott’s supposed illegal acquisition of his Filipino citizenship.
The High Court’s Second Division through clerk of court Teresita Tuazon has summoned Acosta to present Prescott in person on March 13 at 2 p.m.
The PAO chief said she will abide by whatever the decision of the Supreme Court would be.