MANILA - ABS-CBN chairman emeritus Eugenio "Gabby" Lopez III is a Filipino citizen based on corporate information submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission, the regulator said Wednesday.
Companies are required to submit information about its officials and directors to the Securities and Exchange Commission, which include their names, addresses, nationalities and tax identification numbers, Commissioner Ephyro Luis Amatong said.
"In the records with the SEC, we only have records submitted by ABS-CBN and other corporations with Mr. Lopez, identifying him to be a Filipino citizen," Amatong said.
"From the records that were forwarded to me, ang representation po sa amin ay Filipino po ang nakalagay in the case of Mr. Lopez when he was an officer of ABS-CBN," he added.
(From the records that were forwarded to me, the representation to us is that in the case of Mr. Lopez, he is a Filipino when he was officer of ABS-CBN.)
Asked by Agusan Del Norte 1st District Rep. Lawrence Fortun if further inquiry was made, Amatong said the SEC merely relied on certified information submitted.
ABS-CBN earlier said that Lopez was born in 1952 to Filipino parents Eugenio "Geny" Lopez Jr. and Conchita La O’-Lopez. Under the 1935 Philippine Constitution which was in effect at that time, he is automatically a Filipino citizen.
Solicitor General Jose Calida had challenged ABS-CBN's franchise before the Supreme Court, citing Lopez's citizenship. Philippine law prohibits foreigners from owning media companies.
The family’s ownership of ABS-CBN is through Lopez Holdings and Lopez Inc that holds 56 percent, Lopez told the hearing.
In his personal capacity, Lopez holds "not a significant number" of ABS-CBN shares through an employee stock ownership plan.
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