“What makes the situation of Mr. Kouame different, if granted, is it’s an act of Congress,” said UAAP Executive Director Rene “Rebo” Saguisag on comparing Blue Eagle’s Angelo Kouame’s naturalization to past cases.

/ 24 November 2020

The Ivorian baller’s naturalization is going through congress with Antipolo City 1st District representative Robbie Puno filing House Bill No. 5951 while Senator Sonny Angara has also filed Senate Bill 1892.

“It’s opposed to the other types of re-acquisition of citizenship or naturalization na judicial or administrative, na medyo mas stringent ang requirements,” continued Saguisag about Kouame’s case, as he is being naturalized for Gilas Pilipinas.

“At the very least, alam natin na may konting distinction ito sa ibang precedents before.”

Saguisag uttered that the UAAP Board of Managing Directors (BMD) has yet to discuss the matter.

But once they do, the amiable executive, who is also a councilor in Makati, says that the BMD will decide with all fairness and national interest in mind.

On the other hand, though the UAAP only classifies its student-athletes as either Filipino citizens or foreigners, Kouame’s process of becoming a Filipino is different compared to past circumstances and his case will be different once he becomes naturalized.

Before, there were also cases wherein a student-athlete was able to obtain Filipino citizenship and thus be classified as a local by the UAAP.

In 2004, Cassie Tioseco, whose parents are Filipino, was an FSA since she only had a Canadian passport with her. A year later, the 5-foot-11 forward who ended up winning two UAAP MVP trophies became Filipino.

Moreover, Tyler Tio was born to Canadian citizens in Manila. The 5-foot-11 guard was naturalized in May of 2017.