ABS-CBN Corporation’s Chairman Emeritus and Director Eugenio “Gabby” Lopez III has left the network over “personal reasons,” the media giant announced today.
Lopez also tendered his resignation as director of subsidiary corporations ABS-CBN Holdings, Sky Vision, Sky Cable, family-owned investment firm First Philippine Holdings Corporation, power plant First Gen Corporation, and realty business Rockwell Land Corp. His departure from the companies is effective immediately.
In a statement, the board of directors accepted Lopez’s resignation “with regret” and thanked the 68-year-old media giant heir for his “dedication and leadership in expanding and transforming ABS-CBN beyond television through the years.”
“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,” the statement read.
“We respect his decision, offer him our full support…We shall continue the journey that he and his father began as we remain in the service of the Filipino,” it added.
Mario Luza Bautista, who was previously the firm’s general counsel, will replace Lopez as director of ABS-CBN Corporation.
Lopez’s departure from the network comes months after 70 members of the House of Representatives rejected the media giant’s bid to secure a new, 25-year broadcasting franchise, alleging that the company dodged taxes and is owned by foreigners. The lawmakers also said that Lopez, a dual citizen, is not a real Filipino, an accusation that the businessman has denied.
President Rodrigo Duterte has a long-drawn beef with ABS-CBN, which he accused of failing to air his 2016 election ads and of running stories that put his administration in a negative light. Duterte has said multiple times that he would block all efforts to have ABS-CBN’s broadcast license renewed, and pointedly threatened that he will “see to it” that the company will be “out.”
The shutdown forced the country’s largest broadcasting company to layoff thousands of its workers, who joined the ranks of millions of Filipinos who were left unemployed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
This article, See You On The Flipside: Gabby Lopez quits ABS-CBN and other family-owned firms, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company.