So this is what ABS-CBN’s long road to secure a new franchise has come to.
A congressman yesterday asked the media company’s Chairman Emeritus Eugenio “Gabby” Lopez to recite the “Panatang Makabayan,” the country’s oath of allegiance, right in the middle of ABS-CBN’s franchise hearing.
Representative Rodante Marcoleta expressed skepticism that Lopez, who actually holds dual citizenship, is a real Filipino. The lawmaker told the media executive, “Let’s do it this way, to dispel any issues of allegiance, and with all due respect Mr. Lopez, may we ask that you recite the first line of the Panatang Makabayan?”
The oath, as many know, is something that’s recited only during school assemblies, and the public thought that the congressman’s idea was simply ludicrous.
A nonplussed Lopez took a few seconds to process the lawmaker’s sudden oratory demand, at which point Marcoleta quipped, “Congressman [Carlos] Zarate, maybe you want to help him.”
Lopez, the son of both Filipino citizens, couldn’t help but laugh, but just as he spoke the first line of the oath, was cut off by Marcoleta. The lawmaker then accused Lopez’s lawyer of “coaching” the media executive during the hearing.
“His lawyer whispered the words to him,” Marcoleta claimed.
Dude, he barely got four words in before you cut him off.
Critics have alleged that ABS-CBN is foreign-owned because Lopez is both a Filipino and an American, an accusation that is preventing the media company from getting a new 25-year franchise. However, Lopez said that he just happened to be born in Boston in 1952, where his father was then studying, making him automatically eligible for American citizenship.
Lopez had already said in a previous House hearing that he never renounced his Filipino citizenship nor took the US pledge of allegiance. The Department of Justice has also pronounced that that Lopez is a Filipino citizen since birth.
“I have been a Filipino all my life; I am proud to be a Filipino,” Lopez stated.
Marcoleta’s antics didn’t sit well with a number of Filipinos, scores of whom have admitted to forgetting the oath.
“My Mom can’t recall the entirety of Panatang Makabayan. Does that necessarily mean she doesn’t express allegiance to the PH?” @exolcbeexx wrote. He added, “Marcoleta’s line of questioning feeds the little, shallow brains of trolls.”
My Mom can't recall the entirety of Panatang Makabayan. Does that necessarily mean she doesn't express allegiance to the PH?
Marcoleta's line of questioning feeds the little, shallow brains of the trolls. Puro questions of value, allegations, when it should be factual. Shame.
— Eevee 🌼🌈 (@exolcbeexx) June 8, 2020
People like @gideonpena tweeted, “We should amend our Panatang Makabayan to include a pledge not to elect clowns into office.”
We should amend our Panatang Makabayan to include a pledge not to elect clowns into office.
— Gideon V. Peña (@attygideon) June 8, 2020
@Lenore5254 wrote, “Let’s ask Marcoleta if he can recite the preamble to the Constitution!
Let’s ask Marcoleta if he can recite the preamble to the Constitution!!!
— Lenore (@Lenore5254) June 8, 2020
ABS-CBN anchor Ces Drilon scolded the lawmaker by saying, “Shame on your bullying Marcoleta. Pathetic.”
Shame on your bullying Marcoleta. Pathetic.
— Ces Oreña-Drilon (@cesdrilon) June 8, 2020
The media giant was granted a temporary license to operate by the House of Representatives on May 13, which would have allowed them to resume broadcast this month if it were approved by President Rodrigo Duterte. But several days later, the House moved to drop the provisional license, saying it would instead resume the hearings to grant the embattled network a new, 25-year franchise.
The network was forced off the air by the Duterte government since May 5.