MANILA - ABS-CBN Corp chairman emeritus Eugenio "Gabby" Lopez III is a Filipino citizen, the network's chief executive officer on Monday told a Senate panel investigating the company's franchise compliance.
ABS-CBN President and CEO Carlo Katigbak issued the clarification after Sen. Ronald Dela Rosa asked about reports claiming Lopez is a US citizen. The Philippine Constitution prohibits foreigners from owning media companies.
"Gabby Lopez is a Filipino citizen. Tatay niya po is a Filipino at may hawak din po siyang Philippine passport," Katigbak told senators.
(Gabby Lopez is a Filipino citizen. His father is a Filipino and he holds a Philippine passport.)
A Manila Times report earlier claimed that Lopez acquired Philippine citizenship only in 2004, a year after the Dual Citizenship Act took effect. This allegedly violated a constitutional provision that reserves the ownership and management of mass media to Filipinos.
The Dual Citizenship Act repeals a 1932 law that "caused the loss of Filipino citizenship when you acquire US citizenship," said its author, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon.
ABS-CBN will submit to the Senate documents on Lopez's Filipino citizenship, said its general counsel Atty. Mario Luza Bautista.
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