Dual citizens, hindi dapat humawak ng media company sa Pilipinas

Dual citizens, hindi dapat humawak ng media company sa Pilipinas

Naniniwala ang ilang mambabatas na hindi karapat-dapat na mag may-ari ng media company si ABS-CBN chairman emeritus Eugenio “Gabby” Lopez III dahil sa pagkakaroon niya ng dual citizenship.

Humarap sa isang zoom meeting ng Kamara si Lopez sa pagpapatuloy ng pagtalakay nito sa ABS-CBN franchise renewal, sa nasabing pagdinig ay kinupirma ng kampo ni Lopez ang pagkakaraoon nito ng dual citizenship dahil ipinanganak siya sa Estados Unidos kaya isa siyang American citizen at isa din itong Filipino citizen dahil ang kanyang mga magulang ay Filipino.

Umikot naman ang tanong ng mga mambabatas sa kung tama ba na magmay-ari ng mass media company si Lopez gayong ang nakasaad sa Article XVI, Section 11 ng 1987 Constitution ay “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.”

Para kay Anakalusugan Partylist Rep. Mike Defensor, diskuwalipikado si Lopez na magmay ari ng mass media company.

“Lopez’s dual citizenship casts doubt on his true faith and allegiance to the Philippines. Those who handle and acquire mass media in the Philippines must be required to have “full Filipino citizenship,” the same way concerned barangay officials are required under the Local Government Code to renounce their foreign citizenship before assuming public office” pahayag ni Defensor.

Bagama’t sang-ayon si Defensor sa constitutional provision ukol at 100 percent Filipino ownership sa media ay hindi spesipikong ipinagbabawalsa dual citizens para pagmamay-ari o mangangasiwa ng media entity ngunit malinaw na ipinahiwatig umano sa naturang probisyon ang pagbabawal ng ‘dual allegiance’ na nagsasabi na ang isang Filipino na isa ring citizen ng ibang bansa ay hindi dapat payagang na pangasiwaan ang isang media company.

“Imagine a Filipino who is also a Chinese citizen and who owns or runs a television station or a newspaper at this time when the Philippines and China are engaged in a tug-of-war over the West Philippine Sea. Which side he would take? Which country’s interest would he protect? That is the situation the requirement on 100-percent Filipino ownership of media and the prohibition on dual allegiance seek to prevent,” giit ni Defensor.

Maging sa mga kooperatiba at korporasyon ay inoobliga ang ‘ownership provision’ na dapat ito’y pagmamay-ari at pangangasiwaan ng isang tinatawag na ‘wholly Filipino’.

“For me, wholly-owned means completely, entirely owned by Filipinos. This means that dual citizens cannot be media owners. In fact, if you stretch the interpretation of that provision, the ban would apply to owning even a single share in a media company,” dagdag pa ng kongresista.

Giit ni Defensor, masasabing mas pinili na ni Lopez ang pagiging American citizen nito nang kumuha ito ng american passport noong 1996.

Giit naman ni Ako-Bicol Rep. Alfredo Garbin na sa ilalim umano ng principle of jus soli ang citizenship ng isang tao ay nakadetermina kung saan siya ipinanganak.

“Undeniably, Gabby Lopez is a natural-born [Filipino] citizen, but he is also an American citizen by virtue of ju soli applied in the American law. Ang tanong po is whether a dual citizen can own a mass media company,” pahayag ni Garbin.

Sinabi naman ni Senior Deputy Majority Leader Jesus Crispin Remulla na maituturung na “half-Filipino at half-American” si Lopez.

Kaya para kay House Deputy Speaker Rodante Marcoleta sa ganitong sitwasyon ay malinaw na hindi dapat magmay-ari ng media company si Lopez dahil hindi ito maituturing na buong buo na isang Pinoy.