ABS-CBN’s Gabby Lopez attends House franchise hearing
MANILA, Philippines — Heeding some lawmakers’ call, ABS-CBN chairman emeritus Eugenio “Gabby” Lopez III attended Wednesday’s hearing of the House of Representatives on the network’s bid for a 25-year franchise amid questions over his citizenship.
Lopez’ attendance came after Deputy Speaker Rodante Marcoleta, who has raised several issues against the network including Lopez’s citizenship, earlier said that the ABS-CBN official should be present in the hearings.
“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,” Marcoleta said during the joint hearing of the House committee on legislative franchises and the committee on good government and public accountability on Monday.
“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,” the lawmaker added.
Marcoleta said the issue of citizenship “is not a simple matter.”
His manifestation was backed by Anakalusugan Rep. Mike Defensor who said that the issues raised by Marcoleta were “not just a simple issue of financial or violations of certain laws.”
Following the manifestations, Palawan 1st District Rep. Franz Alvarez, who chairs the legislative franchises committee, said that an invitation would be sent to Lopez.
In a 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 the network back in 1986.
ABS-CBN had explained that Lopez was born to Filipino parents, making him a Filipino citizen under the 1935 Constitution, which was in effect when he was born.
This was reiterated by ABS-CBN president and chief executive officer Carlo Katigbak during Monday’s hearing.
“Si Mr. Lopez po ay ipinanganak noong 1952 kaya sakop po siya ng 1935 Constitution. Ang tatay at nanay niya ay parehong Pilipino. Kaya from birth, automatic na siya ay isang Pilipino din,” Katigbak said.
(Mr. Lopez was born in 1952, that’s why his nationality issue is covered by the 1935 Constitution. His father and mother are both Filipinos. That is why from birth, he is automatically a Filipino.)
Katigbak said that while it is true that Lopez also has a US passport as he was born in the United States, this does not negate his Filipino citizenship.
“Ang pagiging American citizen niya, at ang paghawak niya ng US passport, ay hindi nangangahulugan na hindi rin siya isang Pilipino,” Katigbak said.
(His American citizenship and possession of a US passport do not mean that he is not a Filipino, too.)
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