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Cong. Rufus Rodriguez on allegations against Gabby Lopez: ‘No basis in the constitution and in law’

Rodriguez, who was a former dean of the College of Law of San Sebastian College and a former Immigration commissioner, also cited that both the Department of Justice and the Bureau of Immigration have recognized the Philippine citizenship of Lopez by paper.

Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, in his sponsorship speech on Monday, June 1, said that allegations about the foreign citizenship of ABS-CBN chairman emeritus Eugenio “Gabby” Lopez III has ‘no basis in the constitution and in law.’

This, after some lawmakers and critics of the shuttered network, raised concerns about the network’s violations and Lopez’s citizenship as the lower chamber continued hearings on the pending bills seeking a fresh 25-year broadcast franchise for the network.



He said, “Mr. Eugenio Gabby Lopez III is a Filipino citizen. He was born to Filipino parents, and under the 1935 Constitution, which was in effect when he was born, he is automatically a Filipino citizen. That is by virtue of the principle of jus sanguinis – the law of ancestry or by blood.”

Further, he added, “Since he (Lopez) was born in the United States in 1952, he was, under US law, an American citizen by virtue of his birth on American soil. He was also a Filipino since his parents were both Filipinos.

“Therefore, being a Filipino citizen, Mr. Lopez may own part of or participate in the management of the mass media company.”

Rodriguez, who was a former dean of the College of Law of San Sebastian College and a former Immigration commissioner, also cited that both the Department of Justice and the Bureau of Immigration have recognized the Philippine citizenship of Lopez by paper.

“The Department of Justice and the Bureau of Immigration have both recognized the Philippine citizenship from the birth of Mr. Lopez, as contained in Identification Certificate number 00969, dated October 1, 2002.”

Shuttered ABS-CBN has previously clarified that Lopez is a Flipino after reports stating that he is a US citizen surfaced online which became a huge dispute as foreigners are not allowed to own media companies in the country.

Even ABS-CBN president and CEO Carlo Katigbak previously claimed that the 67-year-old chairman emeritus holds a Philippine passport, confirming that he is a Philippine citizen.

“Gabby Lopez is a Filipino citizen. Tatay niya po is a Filipino at may hawak din po siyang Philippine passport.”

Moreover, Rodriguez refuted the allegations that the Lopez-led media company has committed a violation involving the issuance of Philippine Depositary Receipts or PDRs to foreign investors noting that it was approved by the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC).

“The PDRs are clearly constitutional and legal, and there is no violation at all in the issuance of ABS-CBN of the PDRs,” said the 66-year-old politician.

Meanwhile, Deputy Speaker and SAGIP Partylist Representative Rodante Marcoleta, with the approval of the chairman of the House Committee on Legislative Franchises Rep. Francis Alvarez, earlier invited Lopez to attend the next committee hearing “as a matter of courtesy.”

“There are questions that are personal to him and I don’t think the lawyers present today will be able to answer these questions, particularly those questions that are personal to him,” said Marcoleta.

“I would not know how to deal with this if he’s not present. I’d like to believe that he should be, as a matter of courtesy to this House.

“The issue of citizenship is a serious matter. I hope the representatives of ABS-CBN will find in their heart the importance of being able to motivate him, convince him to be present,” he further added.



The next deliberation on the issue is scheduled on Wednesday, June 3 at 9:30 in the morning.

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