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Lopez Scion Fires Back at Newspaper Columnist for “Irresponsible Journalism”

Victor Agustin earns the ire of yet another of his column subjects.
IMAGE philnews.com
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A member of the Lopez family of ABS-CBN has written an open letter refuting the allegations of a popular newspaper columnist, calling them "irresponsible" and "wrong."

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In his Money-Go-Round column in the Philippine Star published last August 4, Victor Agustin alleged that Raffy Lopez, brother of ABS-CBN chairman emeritus Eugenio 'Gabby' Lopez III, had been “getting himself regular facials in the San Francisco Bay Area” while his brother “was going through the congressional wringer over its failed franchise bid.”

Agustin said Raffy Lopez still serves as executive adviser to ABS-CBN president Carlo Katigbak. 

“Raffy has become such a regular at the Total Glow medical spa in Menlo Park after retiring as chief operating officer of ABS-CBN Global in 2018 that he is now an endorser of the clinic,” Agustin wrote.

The columnist also claimed that Lopez was “dragged” to the spa by his “trophy wife” Gaucha Lopez, that the couple “received their proverbial 15 minutes of fame” when their $500,000 (about P24.2 million)-yacht hit a seawall in Oakland, California five years ago, and that their home in “the tony Beverly Terrace neighborhood” which the Lopezes acquired in 2003 for $1.08 million is now worth $2.4 million. 

But in a rebuttal on August 19 also published by the Philippine Star, Raffy Lopez accused Agustin of targeting him even though the columnist knew “absolutely nothing” about him. 

“As a journalist, you know that your articles must be based on fact,” Lopez wrote. “Yet all the facts stated in your articles are wrong.” 

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Lopez said that Total Glow, the spa Agustin claimed he had been frequenting, had actually closed for four months starting in March because of shelter-in-place restrictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

“I have only been to Total Glow once this year, and this is no joke, I was not having regular facials while my brother was going through the wringer during the congressional hearings,” Lopez said.

Lopez likewise scored Agustin for calling his wife Gaucha a “trophy wife,” accusing him of possessing “an old-school, macho, and chauvinistic attitude that was prevalent 50 years ago.”

“You need to evolve and get out of the dark ages,” Lopez said. “This is not the world we live in today.”

Lopez also disproved most of the other points Agustin made in his column.

“My yacht is not worth $500,000. ABS-CBN International is not located in Redwood City. My home is not valued at $2.4 million. If you want to debase someone, at least make sure that whatever you come across in your internet searches are still current and accurate. 

"Creating a narrative in your mind and then selectively searching for information on the internet to support it is not responsible journalism," he added.

As a parting shot, Lopez offered a free facial for Agustin the next time the columnist is in the Bay Area.

“Someone sent me a picture of you,” Lopez said. “You definitely need a facial so I talked to the folks at Total Glow. (T)hey are willing to give you the first facial for free. The assumption is that you will need a series of treatments.” 

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This isn’t the first time Agustin, who has been writing his column for years, has earned the ire of one of his subjects. Just last June, Katrina Razon, daughter of ports king Enrique Razon, also hit back at Agustin for what she called “problematic” assertions he made against her family.

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Paul John Caña
Associate Editor, Esquire Philippines
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