MANILA (UPDATE) - ABS-CBN Corp. chairman emeritus Eugenio "Gabby" Lopez III is a Filipino citizen, the network reiterated Monday, amid claims his previous leadership of the company and ownership of company shares violated the terms of the network’s franchise.
Lopez was born in 1952 to Filipino parents, Eugenio Jr. and Conchita (nee La O’). Under the 1935 Philippine Constitution which was in effect at that time, he is automatically a Filipino citizen, the network pointed out.
“He did not need to acquire Filipino citizenship because he never lost it or renounced it,” the network said.
Because he was born in the United States, Lopez is also an American citizen under the pertinent US laws. In effect, he was a dual citizen long before the Philippines enacted a dual citizenship law.
In 2001, Lopez asked the Bureau Immigration to recognize his Filipino citizenship; which the bureau granted in an order dated April 25, 2001.
"Finding this instant petition for recognition as a citizen of the Philippines filed by the petitioner to be well-founded and meritorious, we hereby authorize the recognition of Eugenio Gabriel Lao Lopez III as a citizen of the Philippines pursuant to Article III, Section 1, Paragraph 2 of the 1935 Constitution," the bureau's order signed by associate commissioner Daniel Cueto read.
"In view thereof, the applicant shall be entitled to all rights and privileges appurtenant thereto."
The Department of Justice affirmed the bureau's order in an endorsement dated Aug. 6, 2001 and a letter dated Nov. 12, 2001.
"Respectfully returned to the Commissioner of Immigration, Manila, hereby affirming the Order of that Office dated April 25, 2001 granting the request for recognition as a Filipino citizen of Eugenio Gabriel Lao Lopez III (Recognition No. 00-051), it appearing from the within records and additional document submitted to this Department (affidavit of citizenship of applicant’s mother) that he was born in Boston, Massachusetts, USA in 1952, the legitimate child of Conchita Lao and Eugenio Lopez Jr, both natural-born Filipino citizens, and may, therefore, be deemed a citizen of the Philippines pursuant to Section 1(3), Article IV of the 1935 Constitution, in relation to Section 1(2), Article IV of the present Constitution."
ABS-CBN President and CEO Carlo Katigbak earlier issued the clarification during a Senate committee's investigation into the company's compliance with its franchise.
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