Lopez steps down as chairman emeritus of Philippines’ media giant

ABS-CBN building. Photo by Flickr

Eugenio “Gabby” Lopez III has stepped down from his position as chairman emeritus of embattled Philippine media giant ABS-CBN Corp., months after the latter was ordered shut down by the government.

Citing personal reasons, Lopez also tendered his resignation as director of ABS-CBN Holdings Corporation–the largest media company in the Philippines–and other Lopez-led companies such as Sky Vision Corporation, Sky Cable Corporation, as well as publicly-listed firms First Philippine Holdings Corporation, First Gen Corporation, and Rockwell Land Corporation. The resignation was effective immediately.

It can be learned that ABS-CBN failed to renew its 25-year franchise due to issues on his citizenship. The shutdown resulted in 11,000 laid-off employees.

Under Article XVI, Section 11 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution, the ownership and management of mass media shall be limited to only Filipino citizens or corporations and associations wholly-owned and managed by such citizens.

In a statement on Thursday, ABS-CBN said Lopez’s resignation was accepted with regret.

“We thank him for his dedication and leadership in expanding and transforming ABS-CBN beyond television through the years,” the media giant said.

“Just like his father, Eugenio ‘Kapitan Geny’ Lopez Jr., Gabby is a visionary and a compassionate leader driven by his love for the Philippines and the Filipino people. He would always tell the men and women of ABS-CBN that being a part of the network is not a job, but a calling,” it added.

“We shall continue the journey that he and his father began as we remain in the service of the Filipino.”

Lopez was replaced by Mario Luza Bautista as director of ABS-CBN.

Bautista, 66, served as the General Counsel of the company and a member of the Board of Advisors since 2011. He is also a Board Advisor of First Philippine Holdings and a founding partner of the Poblador Bautista and Reyes Law Office and has been its Managing Partner since 1999.

Bautista graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communication Arts from the Ateneo de Manila University in 1975. He obtained his Bachelor of Laws Degree from the University of the Philippines in 1979 and ranked sixth in the Bar Examinations of that year.

President Rodrigo Duterte has lashed out on ABS-CBN since 2017, accusing the broadcasting network of unfair reporting and for its failure to run his advertisements during his presidential bid.