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ABS-CBN foreign-owned for 18 years? Tiglao claims Gabby Lopez is a US citizen

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Former Cabinet Secretary Rigoberto “Bobi” Tiglao has accused ABS-CBN chairman emeritus Eugenio “Gabby” Lopez III of being an American citizen, with his Philippine passport only acquired in 2004.

Citing “sources with access to US and Philippine government records,” Tiglao said in his February 24 column for the Manila Times that Lopez uses his American passport for foreign travel. He said Lopez only acquired Filipino citizenship in 2004, after the Dual Citizenship Law took effect.

Tiglao accused ABS-CBN of violating the Constitution since it is allegedly owned by an American citizen.

“This is a patent violation of our Constitution’s Article XVI, Section 11 (1): ‘The ownership and management of mass media shall be limited to citizens of the Philippines, or to corporations, cooperatives or associations, wholly-owned and managed by such citizens.'” the former Cabinet Secretary said.

Quoting sources inside ABS-CBN, Tiglao said Lopez was advised to acquire Philippine citizenship following the potential legal loophole in the network’s decision to hire American passport holder Maria Ressa as head of its news division.

“While it isn’t clear whether the ban on foreigners in media applies to a dual citizen, it is incontrovertible that ABS-CBN violated the Constitution for 18 years, from 1986 to 2004, when Lopez was in its top management and one of its six biggest individual stockholders yet had solely US citizenship,” Tiglao said.

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