‘I am a natural-born Filipino’ — Gabby Lopez
MANILA, Philippines — ABS-CBN chairman emeritus Eugenio “Gabby” Lopez III on Wednesday insisted that he is a natural-born Filipino since his parents are Filipino citizens.
During the House joint panel hearing on the franchise renewal of the media network ABS-CBN, Lopez said he applied for recognition for Filipino citizenship in 2001 since he was not born in the Philippines.
“My understanding from my lawyer was that I am a natural-born Filipino citizen because both my parents are Filipino citizens,” he said.
“But because I was not born in the Philippines, I did not have a Filipino birth certificate. So it behooves me to have a recognition by the Department of Justice and the Bureau of Immigration for whatever legal purposes I may use of that recognition,” Lopez added.
The ABS-CBN owner also pointed out that he grew up and studied in the Philippines for his basic education. He only obtained his undergraduate and masters degree in the United States but he did not give his oath of allegiance to that foreign country.
His legal counsel, Ayo Bautista, said that Lopez is a dual citizen since he is born a Filipino citizen by Filipino parents, but was born in the US, which recognizes the legal principle of jus soli, or grant of citizenship if one was born in US soil.
“‘Yung dual citizenship po ni Mr. Gabby Lopez ay automatic legal consequence dahil pinanganak siya mula sa mga Pilipino. Ipinanganak din siya na sa America, na alam natin na kapag ikaw ay pinanganak sa teritoryo ng America, ikaw ay American citizen,” he said during the hearing.
He added that without any overt act or choice in renouncing both citizenship, Bautista said Lopez is “automatically a Filipino citizen and American citizen.”
The House is tackling the issue of citizenship of Lopez since the ownership and management of a media network should belong to a 100% Filipino.
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