Fact Checks about ABS-CBN

FALSE: Gabby Lopez sold all his shares in ABS-CBN Corporation, Lopez Holdings

FALSE: Gabby Lopez sold all his shares in ABS-CBN Corporation, Lopez Holdings
Lopez still holds shares in both companies as of June 2020

ABS-CBN chairman emeritus Eugenio “Gabby” Lopez III abandoned the media network and its employees by selling all his shares in ABS-CBN Corporation and Lopez Holdings Inc. in 2019 – way before the House panel on legislative franchises denied its application for a fresh franchise on July 10.

A blog post by website kidstva.com contained this claim. It said: “CONFIRMED! GABBY LOPEZ TUMAKAS NG PILIPINAS, BINENTA ANG LAHAT NG SHARES! INIWAN NA ANG KAPAMILYA Full (Confirmed! Gabby Lopez fled the Philippines, sold all his shares! He abandoned the Kapamilya network).”

The blog post contained a video that showed a montage of ABS-CBN and Lopez. It said that Lopez deceived the network’s artists and supporters who lobbied for the renewal of its franchise.

The video credited an “entertainment portal site” as its source of information. It said: “Ayon ng mismo sa source ay naibenta na ni Gabby Lopez ang higit sa 49% shares nito sa buong ABS-CBN Corporations (sic) na matagal na nitong pinagplanuhan bago pa man magsara ang ABS-CBN.”

(According to the source, Gabby Lopez sold over 49% of his shares in the entire ABS-CBN Corporation, which he had planned way before ABS-CBN shut down.)

Readers emailed the post to Rappler for verification. Claim Check, Facebook’s monitoring tool, also flagged the post for fact checking. It was reported to Facebook at least 18 times for containing false information. The post had 1,634 combined engagements on Facebook as of writing.

Former television newscaster and talk show host Jay Sonza posted a related claim on his Facebook account on July 14, in which he claimed that Lopez sold his shares in another company. He said, “Alam nyo ba? Si Eugenio “Gabby” Lopez III, last quarter ng 2019 at Marso 2020 pa lang naibinenta na lahat ng kanyang shares sa Lopez Holdings.”

(Did you know? Eugenio “Gabby” Lopez III sold all his shares in Lopez Holdings way back in the last quarter of 2019 and March 2020.)

As of writing, Sonza’s post had over 4,900 shares, 11,000 reactions, and 1,600 comments. It was flagged by Claim Check, Facebook’s monitoring tool. The tool showed it was reported at least 7 times for containing false information. Several readers also sent the post to Rappler for verification.

Rating: FALSE
The facts:

Lopez’s shares in ABS-CBN Corporation and Lopez Holdings Corp have not changed from 2019 until the second quarter of 2020, based on public ownership reports filed with the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE). What changed were his shares in ABS-CBN Holdings Corporation.

Screenshot from PSE Edge

ABS-CBN Corporation’s quarterly report covering April to June 2020 showed that there were 769,960 direct shares in ABS-CBN Corporation under the chairman emeritus’ name – which remained consistent all throughout 2019. The company’s public ownership reports filed with the PSE can be found here. Lopez is also the 5th biggest stockholder of ABS-CBN Corporation as of June 2020.

Lopez Holdings Corporation’s latest public ownership report filed on July 14 also showed that Lopez owns 3,807,823 direct shares. His shares in the company were the same during the first quarter of the year and the last quarter of 2019.

Screenshot from PSE Edge

Meanwhile, Lopez’s shares in ABS-CBN Holdings Corporation, another company owned by the Lopez family, turned to zero from the third quarter of 2019 to the first quarter of 2020. But ABS-CBN Holdings is a different company from ABS-CBN Corporation and Lopez Holdings Corp.

ABS-CBN Corporation is the company primarily involved in broadcasting operations and production, while ABS-CBN Holdings is a holding company that engages in all activities related to Philippine Depositary Receipts (PDR). Lopez Holdings Corp is the holding company for investments in major development sectors including cable, telecommunications, power, and banking.

Lopez’s direct shares in ABS-CBN Holdings during the first half of 2019 stood at 1,344,725 and then turned to zero for the succeeding quarters until the first quarter of 2020. ABS-CBN Holdings initially reported zero shares under Lopez’s name during the second quarter of 2020, but it filed another report to amend it on July 16, to show that he held 3,071,478 indirect shares during the period.

In an email to Rappler, ABS-CBN explained that this was because Lopez’s stockbroker lodged his PDRs with the Philippine Central Depository. The company said even though the PDRs are no longer under Lopez’s name, they still belong to Lopez because they have not been sold. This was reflected in the amended report, since indirect shares refer to stocks held by the person through additional entities.

In May, Rappler also fact checked a claim about the citizenship of Lopez. – Pauline Macaraeg/Rappler.com

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