House Speaker Martin Romualdez gave a congratulatory message-slash-reminder to Barangay Ginebra resident import Justin Donta Brownlee following the granting of the latter's Filipino citizenship.
“You are now a Filipino. We hope that you will be a good citizen and an excellent example for our people, especially the youth," Romualdez said in a statement Friday, Jan. 13.
The Leyte 1st district congressman added: "Lead the Philippine Gilas team to victory in the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers."
Brownlee, 34, originally from Georgia in the United States (US), received his Philippine citizenship with the signing by President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. of Republic Act (RA) No. 11937.
Before this, the decorated Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) import was very vocal and adamant about his desire to suit up for the Gilas Pilipinas national basketball team, particularly in the FIBA World Cup.
The President signed the law less than two months after the House of Representatives approved House Bill (HB) No.6224 on third and final reading.
The measure, which became the basis for the law, was authored principally by Speaker Romualdez, Cavite 4th Rep. Elpidio "Pidi" Barzaga, Jr., sports patron and 1-Pacman Rep. Mikee Romero, and others.
The Senate supported the measure, resulting ultimately to Brownlee's naturalization.
The act requires Brownlee to “take the Oath of Allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines before an officer duly authorized to administer the same".
The oath would be registered with the Bureau of Immigration (BI). Upon registration, the bureau “shall issue a certificate of naturalization to Justin Donta Brownlee, who shall thereupon enter into the full enjoyment of Philippine citizenship".
In authoring HB No.6224, Romero said, “Throughout Mr. Brownlee’s decorated and illustrious career in the PBA, he was able to attain five PBA championships and two Best Import awards with the career averages of 28.9 points, 12 rebounds, 5.6 assists, 1.9 steals, and 1.7 blocks per game.”
Brownlee is also the first PBA import to record more than 400 three-pointers and ranks fifth in the all-time PBA imports scoring with 4,539 points as of April 2022.