Court asked to probe PLDT ownership cap


PAMANTASAN ng Lungsod ng Maynila (PLM) Dean Jose Roy 3rd on Monday lamented Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co.’s (PLDT) alleged unceasing violation of the Philippine Constitution mainly the provision putting a cap on foreign ownership of public utility.

Because of this, Roy filed a 26-page petition for certiorari asking the High Court to order the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to conduct a re-investigation on the PLDT, the leading telecommunications provider in the Philippines.

Roy argued that the agency committed a grave abuse of discretion when it came out a ruling in favor of PLDT, which held that the giant telecom is compliant with the rule on foreign ownership cap.

“The [high court]clearly states that the 60-40 ownership requirement must apply separately to each class of shares,” the petition stated.

“The language of Memorandum Circular No. 8, however, fails to make a distinction between different classes of shares and instead offers only a general distinction between voting and all other shares.”

“The standing interpretation of the SEC found in MC8 practically en­courages circumvention of the 60-40 ownership rule by impliedly allowing the creation of several classes of voting shares with different degrees of beneficial ownership over the same, but at the same time, not imposing a 40 percent limit on foreign ownership of the higher yielding stocks,” the lawyer pointed out.

The telecom had released a 150-million preferred shares with voting rights to correct the defect reducing foreigners hold of the voting common stock from 58.4 percent to 34.5 percent following the 2012 decision issued by the High Court.

Jomar Canlas


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