Bienvenido Maranon took another step in his bid to suit up for the Philippine Azkals after a bill seeking to make the Spanish striker a naturalized citizen was approved by the House Committee on Justice.
Committee members saw no objection in approving House Bill No. 7427 authored by Manila first district representative Manny Lopez during a virtual hearing held Wednesday morning, the first step towards the Philippines Football League star’s naturalization process.
It needs the approval of Congress on the second and third reading before the bill is transmitted to the Senate. A Senate version of the bill initiated by Senator Miguel Zubiri in early-March is still pending.
Speaking before committee members chaired by Leyte third district representative Vicente Veloso III, Maranon candidly expressed his desire to become a citizen and don the Azkals uniform in future international competitions.
“For me, I would like to become a Filipino because I love the country and I love the people,” said Maranon. “I would love to play for the Azkals, play for the national team because I would like to help them play in the World Cup, play in the Asian Cup again and win the Suzuki Cup.
“I have been staying here for the last six years and I have too much love for the Philippines and I would love to be a part of them. I would also like to grow my family here in the Philippines, build my house and to help the kids to have a better life and better future through football,” added Maranon.
The 34-year-old is coming off another impressive season on the domestic front, leading United City FC to the championship of the shortened PFL season highlighted by a Golden Boot award for scoring seven goals.
But the native of El Puerto, Spain is best remembered for his stints with Ceres-Negros where he was able to lead the Busmen to three PFL titles and numerous appearances in the AFC Cup.