"Was Gabby Lopez already a Filipino under the Dual Citizenship Law when he was president of the network?"
There are a multitude of issues pertaining to the grant of Congress of another 25-year franchise to Lopez-owned network ABS-CBN. This is now undergoing scrutiny in the House of Representatives.
One of these issues is the dual citizenship of Eugenio Lopez III, known as Gabby Lopez. He was once president and CEO of the network; now he is chairman emeritus.
It’s a constitutional issue, actually. What are the facts? First, he was born in the United States. Under the “jus soli” rule, he is an American citizen. His parents, Eugenio Sr. and Conchita Lao, were Filipinos. When the Dual Citizenship Law was passed here, Gabby took advantage of that and had himself issued a Philippine passport as well.
In this connection, I would like to ask whether he went to the Bureau of Immigration and took an oath that he was also Filipino, with natural-born Filipino parents, to enable him to be given a passport by the Department of Foreign Affairs? Or did he go to any embassy or consulate when he was in the US so he could take an oath as a Filipino and be given a Philippine passport.
When he took over as president and CEO of ABS-CBN, did he already have his dual citizenship? If the answer is no, then that creates a problem. Does not the Constitution say that the ownership of mass media must be limited to Filipinos? Information and views can shape opinion and influence the people, Santa Banana!
Dual citizenship bans people from holding public office. Should not mass media be the same?
Thus, to my mind, Lopez, even as chairman emeritus, cannot be involved in mass media even as a dual citizen.
It is so easy for anybody can swear to the high heavens that he or she is Filipino, and live and die as a Filipino.
With the decision of Congress not to adjourn on June 5, the Bayanihan Heal As One Act can now be extended.
This law grants President Duterte emergency powers to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.
The remedy taken by Congress is timely and correct, considering that we are still seeing so many cases of COVID-19. We are very far from flattening the curve.
But the adjournment also gives Congress time to act on the franchise of ABS-CBN.
The government should provide transportation to people who are going back to work. Under the General Community Quarantine, only taxis, Grab and the MRT and LRT are allowed to travel. There are no buses and jeepneys. People who have to go to work are walking for hours.
This must be addressed soon.
President Duterte did well to defer the termination of the Visiting Forces Agreement with the United States. It is timely amid the pandemic. The deferment also means that the petition of the Senate before the Supreme Court, seeking clarification on the need for concurrence, has become moot and academic.
Terminating the VFA at this time does not make any sense. The Philippines needs all the help it can get. The VFA has done so much for us and we still need it given China’s incursion in our territory.