ANGE Kouame and Bienve Maranon took another step closer to gaining Filipino citizenship after their naturalization bills were approved in the Senate committee level.
The Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights, chaired by Sen. Dick Gordon, cleared the passing of both naturalization bills in their committee hearing on Wednesday morning.
Senate Bill No. 2058, authored by Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) chairman Sen. Sonny Angara, seeks to grant the Ivorian Kouame naturalization status as the federation seeks to enlist him in the national team for future competitions.
The same goes for Spanish forward Maranon, whose plea hinged on Senate Bill No. 1391 penned by Sen. Miguel Zubiri.
With the committee approval, Kouame and Maranon cleared the first hurdle in the Senate after the House of Representatives unanimously approved their bills on third and final reading last Feb. 16.
The House plenary voted 210-0 in the third reading of House Bill No. 8632 for Kouame, penned by SBP vice chairman and Antipolo First District Rep. Robbie Puno.
Meanwhile, they also voted 206-0 in the final reading of House Bill No. 8631 for Maranon, led by Manila first district Rep. Manny Lopez.
The respective bills will now have to pass three readings in the Senate before it gets submitted to President Rodrigo Duterte, who can sign these naturalization bills or let these lapse into law.