Lopez: ‘I would renounce my US citizenship in a minute if needed’
MANILA, Philippines — ABS-CBN chairman emeritus Eugenio “Gabby” Lopez III on Wednesday said that he would consider renouncing his American citizenship to avoid conflict, following questions on alleged constitutional violations in the franchise of his company
“If it came down to conflict of interest, I would give up my United States (US) citizenship in a minute.”
At the continuation of the online hearings at the House of Representatives, Lopez admitted that he had not considered being a dual citizen an issue in terms of his actions as an official of ABS-CBN.
“The way I see it, I am first and foremost a Filipino, I will live and I will die in the Philippines. Frankly, the issue of a dual citizen is not even something that I think about,” he said during a House joint panel hearing tackling the media network’s franchise.
“I know in my heart that I am a Filipino and my actions in the last 35 years I’ve been associated with the ABS, has been in the service of the Filipino in my mind,” Lopez added.
The citizenship of Lopez is being tackled because of the requirement under the 1987 Constitution pertaining to the ownership of corporations requiring legislative franchises, such as mass media firms, to be wholly owned by Filipinos.
Under Section 11, Article XII of the Constitution, “No franchise, certificate, or any other form of authorization for the operation of a public utility shall be granted except to citizens of the Philippines or to corporations or associations organized under the laws of the Philippines, at least sixty per centum of whose capital is owned by such citizens…”
Lopez has admitted to also being an American citizen as he was born in the US.
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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