Sat. Jul 24th, 2021

MANILA – To test his citizenship and amid questions on his citizenship and allegiance to the Philippine flag, ABS-CBN chairman emeritus Eugenio “Gabby” Lopez III was made to recite the first line of the “Panatang Makabayan” or the country’s patriotic oath.

This happened Monday during the House committee on legislative franchises and the committee on good government and public accountability hearing where Deputy Speaker Rodante Marcoleta made a good grilling of Lopez on his dual citizenship and allegiance to both the Philippines and the United States.

And to end the standoff on the discussion on allegiance, Marcoleta then asked Lopez: “Ganito na lamang po, para matapos tayo sa issue ng allegiance, mawalang galang na po, Mr. Lopez, pwede ba naming hilingin sa inyo na i-recite ninyo ang unang linya ng Panatang Makabayan?”

While the panel was waiting for Lopez to recite “Panatang Makabayan” Marcoleta made a side comment on Congressman (Carlos) Zarate: “O, baka gusto mo’ng tulungan.”

Marcoleta ribbed Congressman Zarate to help Lopez as the progressive lawmaker is a known advocate to grant ABS-CBN a franchise.

Zarate retorted by saying he has had his turn later on to interpellate Lopez and that he “takes exception to the side comments of Congressman Marcoleta.”

And while Marcoleta and Zarate were exchanging barbs Lopez recited the first line saying: “Iniibig ko ang Pilipinas.”

Afterwhich, Zarate moved to strike Marcoleta’s statement out of the minutes of the hearing but Marcoleta protested by saying that he only asked if Zarate would like to help Lopez.

“I am not the one under interpellation, Mr. Speaker,” Zarate explained.

It was at this juncture that the hearing was suspended.

But when the hearing resumed, Marcoleta noted that Lopez’s lawyer coached the ABS-CBN top official to recite the first line of the “Panatang Makabayan.”

During the hearing, Lopez reiterated his allegiance to the Philippines and that he is both a citizen of the Philippines and the United States being a dual citizen, which, according to pundits violates the constitution on the issue of media ownership which states that an owner must be Filipino citizen and not dual citizen. (ia/

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