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Nabuking! Manila Times obtains documents that prove Gabby Lopez III is not a natural-born Filipino

The Manila Times has obtained several documents that prove bilyonaryo Eugenio “Gabby” Lopez III was a citizen of the United States when he and his family controlled ABS-CBN Corp. in 1987.
Photo credit to Manila Times
MT has cited documents from which showed that the ABS-CBN chair was not a natural-born Filipino citizen.

Manila Times published this report days ago as written by Jomar Canlas.

ABS-CBN Corp. Chairman Emeritus Eugenio Gabriel “Gabby” Lopez 3rd’s very claim that he is a natural-born Filipino citizen contradicts the Constitution.

If he were a natural-born Filipino citizen, he did not have to do an act to perfect his citizenship, a legal expert said.

Documents obtained by The Manila Times explicitly show that Lopez perfected his citizenship by applying for recognition, which is contrary to Article 4, Section 2 of the Constitution.

Section 2 defines a natural-born citizen as “a citizen of the Philippines from birth without having to perform any act to acquire or perfect their Philippine citizenship.”

Lopez, who was born in the United States, claimed he was a Filipino citizen because his parents, Eugenio Lopez Jr. and Conchita La’ O, were Filipino citizens.

Article 4 Section 1 (2) and (3) states: “The following are citizens of the Philippines: [2] Those whose fathers or mothers are citizens of the Philippines; [3] Those born before January 17, 1973, of Filipino mothers, who elect Philippine citizenship upon reaching the age of majority.”

If he were a natural-born Filipino, Lopez did not have to do “any act to acquire or perfect” his citizenship.

But after 48 years as a US citizen, Lopez did “acquire and perfect” his Filipino citizenship.

Proof that he did so was his two-page letter to the Bureau of Immigration on Oct. 3, 2000 applying for citizenship. He also filled up the Alien Identification Form.

Edmund Macaraig, the Immigration director at the time, sent Lopez a Notice of Hearing dated Oct. 16, 2000 to discuss his application.

The application was affirmed by then Justice Secretary Hernando Perez through an endorsement letter dated Aug. 6, 2001.

On Oct. 1, 2002, Immigration Commissioner Andrea Domingo issued Identification Certificate No. 0069 certifying Lopez’s citizenship.

Retired Supreme Court Justice Noel Tijam, the Judicial and Bar Council member representing the academe, said Lopez’s application for Filipino recognition appeared to have come only as an afterthought, because he still uses a US passport when he travels and applied for a Filipino passport only in 2003.

“When he applied for Philippine passport (2003), Kailan siya ipinanganak (1952)? Ang tagal na noon (He was born in 1952, that’s a long time),” Tijam told The Times.

He said these series of acts showed that Lopez embraced Philippine citizenship for convenience.

“If you interpret that strictly he will fall under a natural born [category]. When he was born in the United States, he was Filipino by birth because of his parents. But at the same time he was an American by birth. That is why he was required to perform an act to assert ‘yung citizenship n’ya. To be recognized as one. Kung nag-perform siya ng iba pang act ‘yun ang point doon. In other words, he is not similarly situated to somebody who is born in the Philippines of Filipino parents,” Tijam said.

“‘Yung sinasabi ng lawyers niya na he is a natural-born citizen because ang magulang niya ay (his parents were) Filipino. That is loosely interpreted here considering that he is also an American by birth. There was no dual citizenship law back then. So at the time of birth, legally speaking, he cannot be considered a Filipino and American at the same time,” he said.

The United States follows the principle of jus soli (by birth), which means “the right of anyone born in the territory of a state to nationality or citizenship.” The Philippines adheres to the principle of jus sanguinis (by blood), which means “citizenship is determined or acquired by the nationality of ethnicity of one of both parents.”

Tijam warned that Congress must tread carefully in discussing the renewal of the franchise of ABS-CBN because it can find itself in a legal minefield.

“Law violators and law breakers are not entitled to a franchise because a franchise is a privilege. It is not a demandable right. There is presently no dispute the Supreme Court should resolve. The ball is in the court of Congress. There is no freedom of the press or speech involved since other broadcasting media outlets with valid franchise are still operational,” he said.

In 1996, Lopez assumed the chairmanship of ABS-CBN, a media company that is supposed to be 100 percent Filipino-owned and managed.

The citizenship question was raised by Solicitor General Jose Calida when he filed a quo warranto petition against ABS-CBN.

The network shut down its television and radio operations on May 5, a day after its 25 year franchise expired, to comply with a closure order from the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC).

The hearing will be jointly conducted by the Committees on Legislative Franchises and on Good Government and Public Accountability (GGPA).

Aside from the 12 franchise renewal bills, the committees will also tackle House Resolution (HR) 853 seeking to investigate probable violations of ABS-CBN of its franchise over issues on foreign ownership and pay-per-view operations.

HR 853 was filed on May 13 by Deputy Speaker and Davao City 1st District Rep. Paolo Duterte, Accounts Committee Chairman and Cavite Eighth District Rep. Abraham Tolentino, and Appropriations Committee Chairman and ACT-CIS party-list Rep. Eric Go Yap.

Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano has said that “no more than 10 issues” related to the franchise will be tackled, including alleged violations of tax and labor laws, breaches of the terms and conditions of its previous broadcast privilege, and full Filipino ownership of mass media and foreign citizenship issues.

GGPA Committee Chairman Jose Antonio Sy-Alvarado said they have invited resource persons including the Solicitor General, who has advised the NTC to issue the closure order and has a pending quo warranto petition against the network before the Supreme Court.


Nabuking! Manila Times obtains documents that prove Gabby Lopez III is not a natural-born Filipino Nabuking! Manila Times obtains documents that prove Gabby Lopez III is not a natural-born Filipino Reviewed by AsianPolicy.Press on 5:32:00 PM Rating: 5

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