Law professor Antonio La Viña on Wednesday debunked allegations that ABS-CBN Chairman Emeritus Eugenio “Gabby” Lopez III broke the law by carrying an American passport when he was CEO of the country’s largest media network.

Lopez’s citizenship was among the issues raised amid questions over ABS-CBN’s franchise, whose expiry on May 4 led to the network’s shutdown on orders of the National Telecommunications Commission.

The Manila Times had reported that Lopez applied for Filipino citizenship in 2001 and mostly used American passports for travel.

“Oh. Wrong headline about Gabby Lopez,” La Viña tweeted.

“He did not apply for Filipino citizenship but recognition because he was already a Filipino citizen from birth having been born to two Filipinos in the United States,” he said.

“If he was born in the United States and of Filipino citizens, from the very beginning, Gabby Lopez was a dual citizen, Filipino and American. Of course, dual citizens are not disqualified from leading or participating in any business enterprise no matter how restricted,” he explained.

“Only government officials are required to renounce citizenship. Any of my first year constitutional law students know this.”

In a statement, ABS-CBN said Lopez was born in 1952 to Eugenio Jr. and Conchita La O, both Filipinos, and under the 1935 Philippine Constitution, he is automatically a Filipino citizen.

“He did not need to acquire Filipino citizenship because he never lost it or renounced it,” ABS-CBN said. (