SEC says dual citizens are 100% Filipinos

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 8) -- With the dual citizenship of ABS-CBN Chairman Emeritus Gabby Lopez being questioned, the Securities and Exchange Commission shared its view on Monday that dual citizens are considered 100-percent Filipinos.

“Our interpretation of R.A. 9225, a dual citizen is 100% Filipino. 'Yan po ang current interpretation namin [That is our current interpretation], so we don't look anymore at this point at the foreign citizenship of the shareholder, officer, or director,” Commissioner Ephyro Amatong said during an inquiry at the House of Representatives on the media giant’s broadcast franchise.

“Sa ngayon po, a dual citizen, so dun sa pag-analyze namin is essentially a Filipino [Right now, a dual citizen, based on our analysis is essentially a Filipino]. We don't look anymore at his foreign citizenship in respect to his eligibility to perform acts or engage in businesses which serve Filipinos,” he added.

Republic Act 9225 or the Citizenship Retention and Reacquisition Act of 2003, states that dual citizens, upon birth and/or by virtue of the measure, are both entitled to benefits accorded by law.

“It would appear that the benefits that are accorded to dual citizens by virtue of RA 9225 are likewise accorded to dual citizens by birth,” said Department of Justice Assistant Secretary Nicholas Ty.

Lopez, who both holds a Filipino and an American citizenship, has been on the hot seat regarding the issue, as some lawmakers hold the view that the 1987 Constitution guarantees mass media ownership only to Filipino citizens.

The Justice Department had already asserted in a previous hearing that Lopez is a Filipino citizen since birth because he was born to Filipino parents.

During Monday's inquiry, Ty noted that provisions under the Constitution and laws concerning ownership do not state any distinction between a Filipino citizen and a dual citizen.

“From an interpretation of provisions of Constitution and law that are relevant to the nationalization of particular activities, it appears that there is no distinction made between purely Filipino citizens and dual citizens when it comes to participation to these activities,” said Ty.

Lopez already stated last week that he neither swore allegiance to the United States nor renounced his Filipino citizenship.