Solons want Gabby Lopez to attend House hearings on ABS-CBN franchise
MANILA, Philippines — Two lawmakers want ABS-CBN chairman emeritus Eugenio “Gabby” Lopez III to face the House of Representatives’ inquiry on the network’s franchise to answer questions raised on his citizenship.
During the joint hearing of the House committee on legislative franchises and the committee on good government and public accountability on ABS-CBN’s franchise, Deputy Speaker Rodante Marcoleta made the manifestation asking if Lopez is present in the hearing.
Palawan 1st District Rep. Franz Alvarez, who chairs the legislative franchises committee, answered on the negative.
Marcoleta said Lopez should be present in the hearing especially that one of the issues raised against the network is the chairman emeritus’ citizenship.
“I ask this question because I saw the agenda and I think we will discuss the issue of citizenship. There are questions that are personal to him and I don’t think the lawyers present today will be able to answer these questions, particularly those questions that are personal to him,” Marcoleta said.
“I would not know how to deal with this if he’s not present. I’d like to believe that he should be [present], as a matter of courtesy to this House,” he added.
Marcoleta said the issue of citizenship “is not a simple matter.”
“I hope the representatives of ABS-CBN would find in their heart the importance of being able to motivate him or convince him to be present,” Marcoleta said.
Marcoleta’s manifestation was backed by Anakalusugan Rep. Mike Defensor.
“That is correct, the issue of the honorable Marcoleta is not just a simple issue of financial or violations of certain laws,” Defensor said.
“But it is the constitutional mandate that we have to fulfill as part of their franchise. I second the manifestation of the honourable Marcoleta,” the lawmaker added.
Alvarez ordered the committee secretary to extend an invitation to Lopez for the next hearings.
To recall, in the hearing conducted on May 26, Marcoleta—who represented those against the granting of franchise to ABS-CBN—claimed that Lopez was an American citizen when he took the helm in 1986.
ABS-CBN had previously explained that Lopez was born to Filipino parents, making him a Filipino citizen under the 1935 Constitution that was in effect when he was born.
“He did not need to acquire Filipino citizenship because he never lost it nor renounced it. He was born in the US and under the US Constitution, he is also a US citizen,” ABS-CBN explained.
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