Enrile believes Gabby Lopez can own mass media company in PH

Image from Enrile's Facebook page
  • Enrile said Lopez can own and manage a media company in the country
  • Lopez’s citizenship is a ‘weak ground’ to deny ABS-CBN’s franchise
  • He was also never required under our Constitution to choose his citizenship

Former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile believes Gabby Lopez of ABS-CBN is qualified to own and manage a mass media broadcast company in the country amid question of the latter’s citizenship.

Enrile said, Lopez’s citizenship, “standing alone or by itself, is a weak ground to deny ABS-CBN a new franchise or to extend its old franchise”.

In a brief explainer posted on his Facebook, Enrile said that while Lopez acquired his natural born citizenship in the United States by virtue of the principle of jus soli, he simultaneously acquired the status of being a natural born citizen of the Philippines by virtue of the principle of jus sanguinis.

Image from Enrile’s Facebook page

Jus soli or ‘law of the soil or place of birth’ is generally followed to determine the US citizenship jus sanguinis or ‘law of nationality or ethnicity’ is generally followed to determine Philippine citizenship.

Lopez, according to Enrile, was never required under our Constitution to elect and choose which of his two citizenship he would retain or follow.

“Both attached to him at birth without any choice or act on his part. From the view point of US law, he is a natural born American. At the same time, from the view point of Philippine law, he is a natural born Filipino,” the former senator said.

At the Lower House hearing, Lopez continued to assert he is a natural-born Filipino and therefore qualified to own a media business in the country.

Image screencapture from Enrile’s Facebook post

Some lawmakers, however believe otherwise; saying the Constitution requires only those with 100% Filipino citizenship can own and manage a media company in the Philippines.

But Enrile said dual citizenship, as in Lopez’s case, is in fact recognized by our Congress under the Republic Act 9225 (RA 9225) or the Citizenship Retention and Re-acquisition Act of 2003 which is more popularly known as the Dual Citizenship Law.

“And so under those circumstances, I personally believe that Gabby Lopez is qualified to own and managed a mass media broadcast business in our country,” he wrote; adding that “ABS-CBN Corporation is not disqualified because of him to engage in mass media broadcast business under a provision of our Constitution which says – “The ownership and management of mass media shall be limited to citizens of the Philippines . . . .”

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