‘Look at my record of 35 years,’ says Lopez on questions about his allegiance to PH
MANILA, Philippines — ABS-CBN chairman emeritus Eugenio “Gabby” Lopez on Wednesday addressed issues on his allegiance to the country before House solons, saying they only had to “look at (his) record for the past 35 years.”
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, Lopez’s lawyer Ayo Bautista explained that Lopez is both an American and Filipino citizen, or what is commonly called as a “dual citizen.”
Afterwards, Anakalusugan Rep. Mike Defensor cited Section 5 of the 1987 Constitution which states that “dual allegiance of citizens is inimical to the national interest and shall be dealt with by law.”
“Noong 1991, gumawa ng batas ang Kongreso na ang barangay captain, barangay kagawad, kahit ikaw ay pinanganak sa Amerika, bumalik ka dito, magulang mo ay Pilipino, you have to forego of your Filipino citizenship. Kailangan mo tanggalin ang iyong pag-ka Amerikano, pagka-Tsino, kung ikaw man ay Australiano, kailangan isa lang,” Defensor said.
“Kung kami po nire-require, barangay captain, kagawad, isa lang, Pilipino ka lang, what more for a mass media company na ang pag-iisip ng bawat Pilipino ang pwede mong kontrolin?” the lawmaker added.
But Lopez maintained his commitment to the “people of this country.”
“Congressman Defensor’s words are very well taken. I stand by my record over the last 35 years. I have been committed to the people of this country. It is a trust that has been passed on to me by my father and my father before him,” said Lopez.
Lopez then said that if the lawmakers will go beyond the technicality of his citizenship and talk about his allegiance, his record in the service of the Filipino spanning more than three decades will speak for him.
“If you are going to look beyond the technicality and talk about my allegiance, please look at my record for the past 35 years,” he said.
Defensor responded that he was not imputing any question of Lopez’ allegiance.
“It was just a response to Atty. Bautista who was giving an explanation of the Constitution. That’s why I also mentioned Section 5 of the Constitution on allegiance, not pertaining to you personally,” said Defensor.
Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez earlier argued that Lopez is a dual citizen of the Philippines and the United States.
Rodriguez explained that since Lopez was born in the US in 1952, he is an American citizen by virtue of jus soli citizenship —or by virtue of birth on the soil— which is used there.
Further, Rodriguez said that Lopez was born by Filipino parents which makes him a Filipino under the jus sanguinis principle — or by virtue of blood — under the 1935 Constitution, which was in effect at the time of Lopez’ birth.
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