Citizenship of Gabby Lopez ‘weak’ basis to deny ABS-CBN franchise — Enrile
MANILA, Philippines — The argument on citizenship of ABS-CBN chairman emeritus Gabby Lopez is a “weak ground” to not extend the franchise of the media giant, former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile said on Sunday.
“The citizenship of Gabby Lopez alone is a weak ground to deny ABS-CBN a new franchise or to extend its old franchise. I understand Gabby Lopez was born in the United States with parents who were both citizens of the Philippines,” Enrile said in a Facebook post.
This as the House of Representatives tackled the issue of Lopez’s citizenship, as the ownership and management of a media firm in the country must belong to a 100 percent Filipino.
But in all House hearings about the ABS-CBN franchise, Lopez has maintained that he is a natural-born Filipino.
Enrile said he agreed with Lopez, adding that the latter is both a citizen of the United States and Philippines.
“Under that factual situation, Gabby Lopez, at birth, acquired the status of being a natural born citizen of the United States by virtue of the principle of JUS SOLI ( law of the soil or place of birth), which is generally followed to determine the citizenship of the United States,” he said.
“Also at birth, Gabby Lopez simultaneously acquired the status of being a natural born citizen of the Philippines by virtue of the principle of JUS SANGUINIS (law of nationality or ethnicity), which is generally followed to determine Philippine citizenship,” Enrile added.
To recall, Lopez’s legal counsel Ayo Bautista said Lopez is a dual citizen since he was born a Filipino citizen by Filipino parents. Lopez was also born in the US which affirms the principle of jus soli or grant of citizenship if a person was born in US soil.
With this, Enrile said Lopez can own and manage the ABS-CBN Corporation as he is a natural born Filipino.
“And so under those circumstances, I personally believe that Gabby Lopez is qualified to own and managed a mass media broadcast business in our country, and that ABS-CBN Corporation is not disqualified because of him to engaged in mass media broadcast business under a provision of our Constitution which says – ‘The ownership and management of mass media shall be limited to citizens of the Philippines,’” Enrile said.
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