Did Gabby Lopez Abandon Ship?
Rumors spread of ABS-CBN chairman emeritus Eugenio “Gabby” Lopez III has left his company hanging on air by pulling out his shares from ABS-CBN Holdings. This is related to the July 14 article written by Victor Agustin for Philippine Star, whose headline reads “ABS-CBN drama: GSIS retreated, SSS stuck as Lopez parachuted”.
The story has sapped what little morale ABS-CBN’s employees have left after the network failed to secure a fresh franchise from Congress.
Lopez’ alleged exodus from the network has brought even more uncertainty to its employees.
PEP.ph’s Cabinet Files reached out to Agustin prior to publishing an excerpt of his article. Agustin’s story reads:
Gabby Lopez as it turned out, had quietly taken out his modest nest egg in the more controversial sister company, just as the PDR/foreign ownership issue of ABS-CBN Holdings was heating up.
“Lopez, who holds both US and Filipino passports, had 1.34 million shares of ABS-CBN Holdings as of June 2018.
“By March this year, the Filipino-American had disappeared from the shareholders list, without any disclosure from ABS-CBN Holdings as to when Gabby Lopez had made the disposal.
“Based on other regulatory disclosures, the former ABS-CBN president and chief executive transferred his ABS-CBN Holdings shareholdings to an unknown party sometime in the third quarter of 2019.”
Cabinet Files then reached out to ABS-CBN Corporate Communications to get the side of the network.
According to the network, they already sent Agustin a reply. As courtesy, PEP.ph allowed Agustin to first publish his follow-up report on July 17.
ABS-CBN Holdings’ Statement
ABS-CBN Holdings’ corporate secretary Atty. Enrique Quiason has released an official statement regarding the rumors. Quiason is the one who manages the company’s Philippine depository receipts or PDRs.
According to DivinaLaw, PDRs are a kind of investment instrument that accrues interest and can be sold for profit. Anyone, regardless of citizenship, can invest in PDRs.
PDRs are issued in line with corresponding company shares. The value of a PDR is equal to the value of one share in a company. Owning a PDR does not grant you co-ownership rights to the company.
According to ABS-CBN Holdings, the report on Lopez abandoning ship amid the shutdown is not accurate because Lopez has zero PDR holdings as of September 30, 2019.
The following is Quiason’s statement on the alleged pullout of Lopez’s investments in ABS-CBN amid the network’s shutdown.
“We wish to clarify the statement you made in your column published on July 14 that by March this year, the Filipino-American had disappeared from the shareholders list, without any disclosure from ABS-CBN Holdings as to when Gabby Lopez had made the disposal.”
“First, based on the Public Ownership Report of PDRs (Philippine Depositary Receipts) filed by ABS-CBN Holdings Corporation as of September 30, 2019, the one submitted after the report dated June 30, 2019 which you referred to in your column, the PDR holdings of Mr. Eugenio Lopez III already appeared to be zero.
“Second, upon verification, the said PDRs were deposited in Mr. Lopez’s account with his stockbroker, which subsequently lodged them with the Philippine Central Depository.
“There was no disclosure as to their disposal because they have not been sold and still belong to Mr. Lopez.
“He did not sell them although they are no longer registered in his name.
“Even if the PDRs are no longer registered under his name, his ownership should still be reflected in the Public Ownership Report.”
This story originally appeared on Pep.ph. Edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.