Philippine News: Ex-Supreme Court justice cautions vs. media ownership for ‘dual citizens’

MANILA – People with dual citizenship should not be allowed to control local mass media entities, a retired magistrate of the Supreme Court (SC) said Thursday.

“The Constitution does not recognize dual citizens as it proscribes dual allegiance as inimical to national interest,” said retired SC associate justice and incumbent Judicial and Bar Council member Noel Tijam said in a statement.

Retired Supreme Court associate justice Noel Tijam. (File photo)

Tijam was referring to the ongoing issue involving broadcast firm ABS-CBN Corp.’s chairman emeritus Eugenio Gabriel “Gabby” Lopez.

“In case of war between two countries a dual citizen is affiliated with, which flag shall he defend. The country of his birth or the country of his parents? Citizenship is based on allegiance, not convenience,” Tijam said.

He added that before one asserts his right to Filipino citizenship, “one must demonstrate allegiance to the country and submit proof that he performed his duties as a Filipino”.

Tijam said proof must be given that he performed his duties as a Filipino, such as participating in Philippine elections and paying taxes religiously under local laws on income derived from all sources.

Lopez recently appeared before the House of Representatives and was questioned by lawmakers on his citizenship.

Article XVI, Section 11 of the 1987 Constitution requires that ownership and management of mass media shall be limited to citizens of the Philippines, or corporations, cooperatives or associations, wholly-owned and managed by these citizens.

“Did he fulfill his duty to support and defend the Constitution by consenting to the issuance of PDR (Philippine Depositary Receipts) to foreign nationals and entities? Did he fulfill his duty to obey the laws by paying correct taxes and operating broadcast facilities strictly in compliance with his franchise?” Tijam said. (PNA)