MANILA - ABS-CBN chairman emeritus Eugenio "Gabby" Lopez III is a Filipino citizen from birth, the Department of Justice said Wednesday.
The agency's 2001 confirmation of Lopez's Filipino citizenship was "not a grant nor conducted to perfect his citizenship," Justice Undersecretary Emmeline Aglipay-Villar said in a House joint committee hearing on ABS-CBN's franchise.
"Dahil po siya po ay mayroong magulang, both father and mother na Filipino citizen kaya po sa kaniyang pagkapanganak siya ay isang Filipino citizen," she told lawmakers.
(Because he has parents, both father and mother, who are both Filipino citizens, from his birth he's a Filipino citizen.)
"Tama rin po, dahil siya ay napanganak sa United States, siya rin po ay isang American citizen. By birth, both Filipino and American citizen."
(It's also correct that because he was born in the United States, he's also an American citizen. He is by birth, both a Filipino and an American citizen.)
Lopez's ownership of a US passport does not revoke his Filipino citizenship, Aglipay-Villar added.
"Ang kaniyang paggamit ng US passport ay hindi po dahilan para mawala po ang kaniyang Filipino citizenship. At ang hindi naman niya pagkakaroon ng Philippine passport ay hindi rin isang dahilan na hindi siya maging Pilipino," she said.
(His use of a US passport is not a reason to lose his Filipino citizenship. And not owning a Philippine passport does not mean he's not a Filipino.)
"Sa kaniya pong pagkapanganak na may Pilipinong ama at Pilipinang ina ay nagbibigay sa kaniya ng pagka-Pilipino niya o ng kaniyang Philippine citizenship."
(His birth from a Filipino father and a Filipino mother gives him his Philippine citizenship.)
Only those who submit documents that prove their Filipino citizenship are granted the recognition, Aglipay-Villar said.
"Confirmatory po ang pagbigay ng sertipikasyon ang DOJ. Hindi po ito grant of citizenship, hindi po ito dahilan para i-perfect ang citizenship. Ito lang po ay confirmatory," she said.
(The DOJ certification is confirmatory. It's not a grant of citizenship, it's not to perfect a citizenship. it's only confirmatory.)
In 2001, Lopez asked the Bureau of Immigration to recognize his Filipino citizenship, which it granted in an order dated April 25, 2001.
The DOJ affirmed the bureau's order in an endorsement dated Aug. 6, 2001 and a letter dated Nov. 12, 2001.
In the hearing, Lopez asserted his allegiance to the Philippines.
"I stand by my record over the last 35 years. I have been committed to the people of this country. It is a trust that has been passed on to me by my father and by his father before him," Lopez told lawmakers.
"It is the trust that has been given to me and in fact, I always tell our employees dito sa ABS-CBN po, it’s not just a job, it is a calling. So please if you are going to look beyond the technicality and talk about allegiance, please look at my record over the last 35 years po," he added.
Watch the livestream of the House inquiry here:
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