The Chairman Emeritus of ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corporation and the acknowledged
Father of Philippine Broadcasting, Eugenio “Genny” M. Lopez, Jr. was born in Iloilo City,
Iloilo on 4 November 1928 to parents Eugenio Lopez, Sr. and Pacita Moreno-Lopez. He
took up his basic education from San Beda College and Ateneo de Manila. He earned
his Bachelor of Arts degree from Virginia Military Institute, and his MBA from Harvard
University. Then he joined the joined the family-owned ABS-CBN, greatly helping the
company to become a leading broadcasting network, and became its president until 1972.
Geny Lopez’s father, Eugenio Lopez, Sr., was the founder of ABS-CBN media empire
and several corporations. He, Geny Lopez, is also a nephew of Vice-President Fernando
Lopez who served under President Ferdinand Marcos for two successive terms: 1965-1969;
1969-1972. By the early 1970s, the relationship between Marcos and the Lopezes turned
sour as the latter became one of the voices denouncing the former’s corruption and fascist rule shifting to
authoritarianism. Malacanan had sensed that the Lopezes were really very influential and
can turn to be a great deterrent to the full implementation of Martial Law. Moreover,
the Lopezes were political allies of the Osmeñas since the time of President Sergio
Osmeña, Sr. when the latter picked Fernando Lopez, Sr. to be the mayor of Iloilo City.
The son of President Osmeña, Sergio Osmeña, Jr., rallied strongly as the main opponent
of Marcos during the presidential election in 1969, and remained one of the big critics
of the administration from the Visayas.
Immediately after the declaration of Martial Law on 21 September 1972,
Geny Lopez was among the first few big personalities arrested by the military and
detained in Fort Bonifacio, together with fellow Visayan, Sergio “Sergio” R. Osmeña III,
son of Marcos’ main presidential opponent, Sergio Osmeña, Jr. Some Marcos’ critics and
leading oppositionists at that time surmised that the detention of Geny Lopez was a
shrewd, vulgar tactic of the President to acquire the properties of the Lopezes. Series of
requests and pressures from influential families and institutions for the release of Geny
Lopez and Serge Osmeña were denied and disregarded by Malacanan.
In 1974, the two of them daringly staged a hunger strike to denounce the unjust harrassment and
detention of thousands of Filipinos. Three more years later, in 1977, Geny Lopez and his
younger cellmate, Serge Osmeña, boldly escaped from their maximum security cell by
burrowing a tunnel. A car in the night hustled them to an airport in Pangasinan from where
they flew to Hong Kong, then to the United States.
That daring escape was immortalized in the film “Eskapo” in 1995 starring Christopher de Leon as
Geny Lopez and Richard Gomez as Serge Osmeña based on Jose “Pete” Lacaba’s script and Chito Roño directing it.
Lovingly and respectfully called “Kapitan,” Eugenio “Geny” Lopez, Jr. passed away due to cancer in Quezon City on 29 June 1999. (Roger Mangahas)