Header AD

Abs-Cbn CEO Carlo Katigbak admits Gabby Lopez holds US passport

ABS-CBN President and Chief Executive Officer Carlo Katigbak has admitted in a Congress hearing that Chairman Emeritus Eugenio Gabriel “Gabby” Lopez 3rd has a United States passport.
Katigbak defended Lopez’s citizenship during the House hearing on the ABS-CBN franchise.

The citizenship question has been the linchpin of arguments that Lopez was technically an American citizen when he took charge of the giant media entity, a violation of the constitutional tenet that Philippine media corporations must be fully Filipino-owned.

Lopez will have a chance to personally defend his Filipino citizenship at the next hearing on Wednesday.

Katigbak said that Lopez is a Filipino, having been born to Filipino parents. He said that in 2001, the Department of Justice granted Lopez’s request to be recognized as a Filipino citizen by birth despite his being born in Boston, USA.

“Totoo po na may US passport si Mr. Lopez. Ito ay dahil ipinanganak siya sa Amerika at sa batas ng Amerika, kahit hindi Amerikano ang magulang mo, kapag ipinanganak ka sa US, automatic po na may hawak ka rin na American citizenship. Pero ang pagiging American citizen niya, at ang paghawak niya ng US passport, ay hindi nangangahulugan na hindi rin siya isang Pilipino (It is true that Mr. Lopez has a US passport. This is because he was born in America and by its laws, you automatically become an American if you are born there, even if you do not have American parents),” Katigbak said.

Solicitor General Jose Calida, who had questioned Lopez’s citizenship before the Supreme Court, attended the joint hearing of the Committees on Legislative Franchises and Good Government and Public Accountability.

Calida said he was not trying to pick a fight with Congress when he advised the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to issue an order to close down ABS-CBN Corp.

He was invited to the hearing to explain why he gave such an advice to the NTC, a move that Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano had labeled as “unconstitutional meddling.”

“I would like to take this opportunity to say I am not at loggerheads with Congress. In my letter to the NTC, I only cautioned the NTC of its possible encroachment on the legislative power if it issues a provisional authority without a law authorizing such action,” Calida said.

Calida explained that the sub judice rule or the principle of non-encroachment on the exclusive domain of judicial jurisdiction prevented him from attending Congress hearings, citing pending cases before the Supreme Court involving ABS-CBN.

He defended his motion for a gag order in the quo warranto petition he filed in February.

Calida maintained that ABS-CBN violated its franchise, the Constitution, and other laws.

The network allowed another entity, ABS-CBN Convergence, “to make use and abuse” its legislative franchise, he said. The network also charged fees on shows aired under the KBO channel without getting prior approval from the NTC and continued its pay-per-view services despite a desist order.

Calida also brought up the network’s granting of Philippine Depository Receipts (PDR), which allowed foreigners to acquire shares in a media conglomerate that must be fully Filipino-owned.

Katigbak however said a PDR is not a share in the network and that PDR holders cannot vote on network matters.

He said that the sale of PDRs to the public was approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on October 4, 1999 and that other media companies such as GMA Network also issued PDRs through holding companies.

Meanwhile, the authors of the bills seeking to grant ABS-CBN a franchise for another 25 years highlighted the network’s crucial role in delivering information, entertainment, and public service to the Filipino people.

“Just for the record, ABS-CBN is already an institution when it comes to television, radio broadcasting, and other areas of communication and most especially in the field of public service. Mahabang panahon na po silang nagseserbisyo sa paghahatid ng balita, impormasyon at saya sa publiko,” Deputy Speaker and Batangas Rep. Vilma Santos-Recto, a multi-awarded actress, said.

Santos Recto also underscored ABS-CBN’s role in the economy and in providing employment to 11,000 employees.

Laguna Rep. Sol Aragones, a former ABS-CBN reporter, said that in her 13 years as an employee of the company, “I can remember so many stories, of hopes and dreams, of chances and choices, of struggles and triumphs, of love and everything, as in memories that will last me a lifetime, but there is one thing that I can never forget: ABS-CBN was not only interested in reporting the news, and a lot of them were bad news, but it went above and beyond the obligations of a broadcast network by helping those in need, no matter how few they may be, no matter how far they may be.”

Parañaque Rep. Joy Myra Tambunting said she has carried on the values she has learned from her experience as a former producer at ABS-CBN to her role as a public servant.

“My mentors in ABS-CBN taught me a lot about work, the value of work, hard work,
respect for work, accuracy at work, love and respect for co-workers and most of all, the dignity of work from God. These lessons all helped mold me into what I am today. I will never ever forget that,” Tambunting said.

Makabayan lawmakers reiterated that the ABS-CBN franchise is an issue of press freedom. Deputy Minority Leader and Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate said the network is one of the chief sources of information for the citizens to be “informed of government actions, and, government of the peoples’ needs, aspirations, and grievances,” especially amid the pandemic.

Abs-Cbn CEO Carlo Katigbak admits Gabby Lopez holds US passport Abs-Cbn CEO Carlo Katigbak admits Gabby Lopez holds US passport Reviewed by AsianPolicy.Press on 10:18:00 PM Rating: 5

Post AD