Covering DU30 with creative imagination
THE slump in Philippine shares must impel the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) to act speedily and decisively in protecting investors.
I know this is right down the alley of our business columnist Emeterio Sd. Perez, but I can’t help joining in after learning that San Miguel Corp. (SMC) had failed to disclose in a timely manner the reassignment of Liberty Telecom’s radio frequencies, valued at P70 billion, to Bell Telecom.
The SMC-controlled Liberty made the transfer in March 2015 but didn’t disclose this to the investing public until it posted its quarterly report on the PSE website on August 15. So, investors and shareholders were made to believe that Liberty still had the valuable frequencies from March 2015 to Aug. 15, 2015.
Both the PSE and the SEC require prompt submission of vital operations info and of financial conditions “to enable a reasonable investor to determine whether to buy, sell, or hold securities, or in connection with the exercise of related voting rights.” Key officials of the PSE and the SEC have confirmed that a review of the non-disclosure is now ongoing. It’s but right for them to step in and impose the necessary penalties to prevent any company from making money at the expense of the public.
In a letter to the SEC dated Sept. 8, 2016, SMC claimed that Liberty only allowed sister firms to co-use the asset approved by the telecoms regulator and that there was no actual transfer of ownership. It also claimed that the true monetary value of the frequencies was determined only after Globe and Smart bought them.
A friend told me that on Feb. 10, 2015, BellTel asked the National Telecommunications Commission to cancel the Frequency Assignment Sheets (FAS) issued to Extelcom, Hi-Frequency and Wi-Tribe, and the consequent issuance to BellTel of the new FAS.
“How can they share when the assignment was canceled in favor of BellTel?” he asked.
He also refuted the claim that no value could be assigned to the frequencies until they were used. He argued that unused frequencies could no longer be auctioned off if this were so.
He also pointed out that SMC’s 700 Megahertz frequencies were valued at P70 billion while the joint venture talks between SMC and Telstra of Australia were ongoing.
Covering Du30 with ‘creative imagination’
Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella advised reporters to use their “creative imagination” in covering President Rodrigo Duterte, instead of churning out verbatim quotes.
Malacanang has frequently accused media of quoting DU30 “out of context,” forcing the image makers to do a lot of conflicting explanations and elaborations.
I don’t know if Abella had ever been a news reporter or he was once, if he had ever written a report using his “creative imagination.” Assuming that editors would order their reporters to follow Abella’s advise, here’s how one current event would be written:
Duterte to cut PH-US ties
President Rodrigo Duterte said yesterday he would cut Philippine ties with the United States and declared a pivot toward Russia and China.
The President’s statement against the US, however, is not to be taken literally and would not constitute any policy until he has taken concrete actions.
In an expression of frustration after the US had criticized his bloody campaign against illegal drugs, the President again raged against the US.
“Instead of helping us, the first to criticize us is the State Department so you can go to hell. Mr. Obama, you can go to hell,” he said.
“Hell” is actually a non-existent place, it’s a state of mind, so the President was not really declaring any ill wish on the US President that might cause another round of apology.
He said he would rather go to Russia and China because they have shown respect for the Filipino.
This pivot is really meant to institute an independent policy and end complete reliance on the US. In pursuing this independent policy, the President said the ongoing joint war exercise with the US would be the last “because China doesn’t want it.”
However, this does not mean the President will forget the Philippines’ claim on the West Philippine Sea. He had previously declared that he would go to the Spratlys on a jet ski and plant a Philippine flag there if China refuses to accept the ruling of an arbitration body.
And, how would the President react to such a reporting? My creative imagination has him railing against reporters: “P.I., kayo na ang maging presidente!”