Lagman: No doubt Gabby Lopez qualified to own, manage ABS-CBN | Inquirer News
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Lagman: No doubt Gabby Lopez qualified to own, manage ABS-CBN

/ 08:04 PM June 08, 2020

MANILA, Philippines—A legislator on Monday (June 8) said he believed ABS-CBN chair emeritus Eugenio “Gabby” Lopez III was “indubitably qualified” to be an owner of the media giant even if he was a dual citizen.

Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, at a hearing in the House on the ABS-CBN franchise, said the Constitution “does not distinguish between a Filipino of single citizenship and a Filipino of dual citizenship.”

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“It is axiomatic that if the law or the Constitution does not distinguish, no distinction is allowed,” Lagman said at the hearing of the House committee on legislative franchises and the committee on good government and public accountability.

“Consequently, a Filipino with dual citizenship like Mr. Gabby Lopez is indubitably qualified to own shares and manage a mass media corporation like ABS-CBN,” he added.

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Lagman said that a dual citizen is “100 percent Filipino.”

“No amount of apparent contrary opinion by a few Commissioners of the Constitutional Commission of 1986 notwithstanding would change this concept because the opinions of the drafters of the Constitution are not controlling,” the lawmaker added.

Possession of foreign passport

He said possessing a foreign passport and exercising voting rights abroad “are not among the grounds for losing Philippine citizenship.”

Lopez had admitted that he uses his American passport and had voted in the 2016 elections in the United States.

“If possessing and using a foreign passport does not amount to renunciation of Philippine citizenship, with more reason the application in any form for the issuance of a foreign passport is not a renunciation of Philippine citizenship,” Lagman said.

Likewise, Lagman said that Lopez’s acquisition and ownership of real estate property in the United States “is completely immaterial to the citizenship issue because acquisition and ownership of property in a foreign country or payment of taxes to a foreign government is not one of the grounds for losing Philippine citizenship.”

In all the hearings attended by Lopez, as ABS-CBN continues its bid for a 25-year franchise, he maintained that he is a natural-born Filipino citizen.

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His legal counsel, Ayo Bautista, said also 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.

READ: ‘I am a natural-born Filipino’ — Gabby Lopez

Under Article XVI, Section 11 of the 1987 Constitution, “the ownership and management of mass media shall be limited to citizens of the Philippines, or to corporations, cooperatives or associations, wholly-owned and managed by such citizens.”

This section of the law, however, does not explicitly state if dual citizens are allowed to own media entities.

Edited by TSB

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TAGS: ABS-CBN, ABS-CBN franchise, ABS-CBN shutdown, Gabby Lopez
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