House tackles ABS-CBN franchise amid break
MANILA, Philippines — Amid its scheduled break, the House of Representatives convened on Monday to tackle media giant ABS-CBN’s bid for a 25-year franchise.
The House committee on legislative franchises and the committee on good government and public accountability continued with its joint hearing to discuss several issues against ABS-CBN.
Before the lower chamber adjourned sine die on June 5, House Majority Leader Martin Romualdez moved to allow all standing and special committees to conduct public hearings or inquiries during its break.
The move to allow House panels to hold hearings aims to produce “noteworthy and meaningful proposed legislation” as well as “support the continued hearings of ABS-CBN’s franchise application,” Romualdez said.
The motion was adopted by the members of the House.
During the last hearing, the discussion zeroed in on questions on the citizenship of ABS-CBN chairman emeritus Eugenio “Gabby” Lopez III.
Lopez maintained that he is a natural-born Filipino citizen.
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.
This was backed by the Department of Justice (DOJ) as they touched on Lopez’ application for a recognition of his Filipino citizenship so that he could apply for a Philippine passport back in 2001.
But 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.)
ABS-CBN’s broadcast operations remain shut down following a cease and desist order issued by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) one day after the network’s franchise expired on May 4.
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