DOJ says ABS-CBN’s Gabby Lopez is a Filipino citizen
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Wednesday attested that ABS-CBN chairman emeritus Eugenio “Gabby” Lopez III is a Filipino citizen since he is born of Filipino parents.
The citizenship of Lopez is being tackled in a House joint panel hearing on the ABS-CBN franchise because the country’s laws require that ownership and management of mass media firms should belong to a 100% Filipino.
During the hearing, it was learned that in 2001, Lopez sought before the DOJ a recognition of his Filipino citizenship so that he could apply for a Philippine passport.
He did not have a Filipino birth certificate, which is required to apply for a Philippine passport, since he was born in the United States.
Justice Undersecretary Emmeline Aglipay-Villar said during the hearing that the granting of confirmation of citizenship does not mean it “grants or perfects” citizenship.
‘“Sa pagbigay ng kumpirmasyon ng DOJ sa citizenship ni Mr. Gabby Lopez, hindi po ito pamamaraan ng pag-grant or pag-perfect ng citizenship, dahil po siya ay mayroong magulang na both father and mother na Filipino citizen kaya sa kanyang pagkapanganak siya ay isang Filipino citizen,” she said.
(The DOJ giving confirmation to the citizenship of Mr. Gabby Lopez is not a way of granting or perfecting his citizenship. Since both his father and mother are Filipino citizens, he was born a Filipino citizen.)
Lopez, however, is also an American citizen since he was born in the US.
“Tama rin na dahil siya ay napanganak sa US, siya ay isang American citizen. By birth both Filipino and American citizen,” Aglipay-Villar said.
(It is also true that because Lopez is born in the US, he is an American citizen. By birth, he is both Filipino and American citizen.)
Using a US passport, meanwhile, does not mean that Lopez’s Filipino citizenship is lost or renounced, while not having a Philippine passport does not mean a person is not a Filipino, the DOJ official further said.
Lopez, earlier in the hearing, said he is a natural-born Filipino citizen. His legal counsel, Ayo Bautista, said his dual citizenship is an “automatic legal consequence” of his being born a Filipino in the US.
Bautista further said that while the country’s laws require that ownership of media entities should be a Filipino, it does not say that owners must be a Filipino only.
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