MANILA -- The Lopez family rightfully reclaimed ABS-CBN Corp. after the restoration of democracy in 1986, its president and CEO told a House franchise hearing on Monday, as he answered questions on the constitutionality of the company's operations.
ABS-CBN President and CEO Carlo Katigbak also said "many voices" will attest to the sincerity of the broadcaster's public service efforts, taking exception at Solicitor General Jose Calida's statement earlier in the hearing that the company "deceived" the nation.
The law does not cap the life of a franchise holder at 50 years, but merely requires a renewal of 25 years from grant, Katigbak said.
ABS-CBN Chairman Emeritus Eugenio "Gabby" Lopez III is a Filipino citizen, having been born to Filipino parents, Katigbak said. Lopez III's father, Eugenio "Geny" Lopez Jr., is the founder of ABS-CBN who was imprisoned during martial law.
Holders of ABS-CBN PDRs or Philippine Depositary Receipts do not own part of the company, Katigbak said. Rival GMA Network issued its own PDRs, which did not affect its franchise renewal, he said.
The Lopez family did not sell ABS-CBN and the company was taken away from them during martial law. After the "People Power revolution" in 1986, the Presidential Commission on Good Government, the Supreme Court, and the Office of the President paved the way for the company's return to the Lopezes, he said.
"Yan po ang aming katotohanan (That is our truth)," Katigbak said in his second appearance before the hearing.
The replies to the 4 issues were also submitted to lawmakers in writing, he said.
Allegations that the Lopez family wrongfully regained ABS-CBN is the "most hurtful" of the allegations, Katigbak said.
"Hindi po binenta ng Lopez family ang ABS-CBN. Basta ginamit nalang ng iba ang mga facilities ng ABS-CBN na walang binayaran. Kaya hindi po totoo ang paratang na bigla nalang napasakamay muli sa mga Lopez ang ABS-CBN dahil sila naman ang tunay na may-ari nito," he said.
(It is not true that that the Lopez family sold ABS-CBN. Its facilities were used without permission. It's not true that ABS-CBN was suddenly returned to the Lopezes because they are the true owners of ABS-CBN.)
Gabby Lopez also holds a US citizenship because he acquired it by being born in the US, said Katigbak, his cousin.
"Ang pagiging American citizen at paghawak ng US passport ay hindi nangangahulugan na hindi siya Pilipino," he said.
(Being an American citizen and holding a US passport doesn't mean that he is not a Filipino.)
On the PDRs, Katigbak said: "Unang una po, sa simpleng lenggwahe lang, ang PDR ay hindi isang share or pag mamay-ari sa ABS-CBN. Malinaw po ito kasi ang humahawak ng PDR ay hindi nakakaboto sa kahit anumang bagay sa pamamalakad ng ABS-CBN. Paano ka magiging isang may-ari kung hindi ka pwedeng bumoto sa anumang bagay na may kinalaman sa pagpapatakbo ng kumpanya?"
(Using simple language, a PDR is not a share or stock in ABS-CBN. It's clear that PDR holders can't vote on anything that has to do with running ABS-CBN. How can you become an owner of something when you can't vote on anything that has something to do with running the company?)