Lopez family never lost ownership of ABS-CBN, says lawyer

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
maxPaginationLinks: 10

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 15) - The Lopez family never lost its hand on the ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corp., even if it was shut down during martial law, said the network’s lawyer.

Hindi po nawalay ang pag-aari ng Lopez family sa ABS-CBN, at mga broadcast facilities and equipment (The Lopez family did not lose its ownership on ABS-CBN, as well as on its broadcast facilities and equipment), even from the time that martial law was declared until today,” said lawyer Arecio Rendor during the continuation of the inquiry on the network’s franchise.

Rendor said that the title issued to the Lopezes in 1967, which the party of ABS-CBN submitted to the committees on legislative franchises and good governance, proved that the family never lost its grip on the network.

The lawyer said before the joint House panels that the television giant only lost its rights to use its broadcast equipment and facilities when then president Ferdinand Marcos ordered the shutdown.

“What was taken from ABS-CBN was the mere possession of all its real estate and broadcast equipment,” said Rendor.

He noted that ABS-CBN and RPN-9 entered into a lease agreement back in 1973 which allows the latter to use the former’s facilities.

Even after the EDSA People Power Revolution in 1986, Rendor said the network was not able to immediately use again its broadcast equipment and facilities as it allowed the administration of Corazon Aquino to use them while the country was still rebuilding that time.

Pagkatapos ng EDSA Revolution, nag-deklara po ang pamilyang Lopez na pwede muna pong gamitin ang mga facilities and broadcast equipment ng Cory government habang may crisis,” said Rendor.

[Translation: After the EDSA Revolution, the Lopez family declared that the Cory administration could use for the meantime the facilities and broadcast equipment while there is still a crisis.]

The Lopez family gradually got back its properties through an arbitration agreement with the Aquino administration and it was validated by the Supreme Court in 1989, he said. He added that ABS-CBN entered again in arbitration agreement with the administration of Fidel Ramos in 1992.

"Two administrations gave imprimatur for the return of the possession of ABS-CBN of its real estate properties and broadcast equipment,” said Rendor.

“And even the Supreme Court, one validating the agreement to arbitrate and another for the factual circumstances lend constitutionality to the return.”