Lopez steps down from ABS-CBN, other firms

ABS-CBN Corp. announced Thursday the resignation of its chairman emeritus and director, Eugenio Gabriel “Gabby” L. Lopez III, more than three months after a House panel denied the television network’s application for a broadcast franchise.

Mr. Lopez also stepped down as director of ABS-CBN Holdings Corp., Sky Vision Corp., Sky Cable Corp., First Philippine Holdings Corp., First Gen Corp., and Rockwell Land Corp.

Mr. Lopez cited “personal reasons” for his resignation, which is effective immediately, ABS-CBN said in an e-mailed statement.

The company said Mario Luza Bautista has been elected to take over Mr. Lopez’s position on the board.

Mr. Bautista, who is also a board adviser of the First Philippine Holdings, has “served as the general counsel of the company and a member of the Board of Advisors of the company since 2011,” ABS-CBN said.

“He is a founding partner of the Poblador Bautista and Reyes Law Office and has been its managing partner since 1999,” it added.

ABS-CBN President and Chief Executive Officer Carlo L. Katigbak said at the company’s annual stockholders’ meeting held on the same day that the denial of the broadcaster’s franchise bid had resulted in the retrenchment of nealy 5,000 employees.

Mr. Katigbak added the company continues to face difficult times, but he is confident it will be able to survive the challenges.

“Our history has shown that ABS-CBN’s burning passion for the service of the Filipino cannot be extinguished,” he noted.

ABS-CBN recently reported an attributable net loss of P3.16 billion for the second quarter, swinging from a profit of P695.80 million in the same period last year.

The company said its advertising revenues suffered a sharp decline during the period  following the issuance on May 5 by the National Telecommunications Commission of a cease-and-desist order against its broadcast operations.

ABS-CBN’s total revenues for the second quarter dropped 55.17% to P4.68 billion from P10.44 posted in the same period last year.

The company has said it would continue to operate in other businesses that do not require a broadcast franchise, namely: international licensing and distribution, digital and cable businesses, and syndication of content through streaming services.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte had openly criticized the media company for allegedly refusing to run his political ads during the 2016 presidential campaign. He had threatened to block the renewal of the broadcaster’s legislative franchise. — Arjay L. Balinbin

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