Netizen makes special request to Sen. Grace Poe – asks if indeed major owner & executive of ABS CBN a US citizen as alleged by former Ambassador?

Facebook netizen MJ Quiambao Reyes wrote a short message to Senator Grace Poe in relation to the exposé of former Ambassador Bobi Tiglao at Manila Times dated February 24, 2020.

On Facebook, Reyes wrote: “Dear Sen. Grace Poe,

Care to check if indeed the major owner & executive of ABS CBN is a US citizen (just as you were)?

Please tackle this issue in your senate hearing this morning as this is a clear violation of our Constitution’s Article XVI, Section 11, if true.”

Reyes lifted a better part of Tiglao’s Manila Times column to support her argument why there is a need for the Poe to raise the issue during Monday’s senate hearing re ABS-CBN’s franchise.

According to Tiglao, Gabby Lopez travels the world using his American passport, the current one issued by the Los Angeles Passport Agency, sources with access to US and Philippine government records disclosed to him.

An adamant Tiglao insisted this constitute 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.’

Tiglao concluded that ABS-CBN has been violating the 1995 law to operate broadcast media, whose very first sentence states that the franchise is ‘subject to the provisions of the Constitution.’

According to the former Ambassador, Congress would shame itself if ABS-CBN’s franchise is renewed. “Congress would shame itself if it renews the franchise of a company that has trampled on our Constitution, its owners managing to hide Lopez’s citizenship because of its power over past administrations.”

Tiglao alleged that “Lopez acquired Philippine citizenship only in 2004, a year after the Dual Citizenship Law took effect. This law allowed natural-born Filipinos who acquired citizenship in another country to acquire Philippine citizenship after a process specified by the law.

Tiglao admitted though that the law is sketchy as to whether this applies to dual citizens. But it was clear that from 1986-2004, Lopez violated this ban on foreigners. “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 provided more details of the trajectory of Lopez career in the family-owned network. “After President Corazon Aquino restored ABS-CBN to the Lopez clan in 1986, Lopez assumed the position of finance director, then that of general manager the next year, and subsequently president and chief executive officer, chairman and finally chairman emeritus.”

Tiglao questioned the kind of Congress we have if ABS-CBN gets a new franchise if proven that the company has been violating our Constitution. “What kind of Congress will we have if it insists on giving an authority to operate to a media company that has been trampling on our Constitution and the provisions of its expiring franchise?”

Tiglao wrapped up the column with a sense of awe that ABS-CBN managed to keep their secret from the public for more than three decades. “It is astonishing that ABS-CBN got to keep Lopez’s citizenship secret for 34 years.”

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Source: Bobi Tiglao

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