The citizenship of ABS-CBN chairman emeritus Eugenio “Gabby” Lopez III is no reason to deny the franchise renewal of ABS-CBN, former senator Juan Ponce Enrile said Sunday.

In a Facebook post, Enrile said Lopez, from the view point of US law, is a natural-born American, but at the same time, from the view point of Philippine law, is a natural-born Filipino.

Lopez simultaneously acquired both US and Philippine citizenships at birth by virtue of the principles of jus soli, the law of place of birth (US law), and jus sanguinis, the law of nationality or ethnicity (Philippine law), said Enrile.

Opposition lawmakers say Lopez’s dual citizenship is a violation of the Constitution which prohibits foreign ownership of media corporations in the country.

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

Enrile explained that Lopez was never required under the Constitution to choose which of his two citizenships he would retain or follow.

“Both attached to him at birth without any choice or act on his part,” he added.

Both the Department of Justice and Securities and Exchange Commission have said Lopez and all dual citizens are 100 percent Filipinos.

“I personally believe that Lopez is qualified to own and manage a mass media broadcast business in our country, and 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,” Enrile said. John Ezekiel J. Hirro