Inquiry into Salim control of media urged

8

Sen. Serge Osmeña 3rd on Monday called for a congressional inquiry into reports that Indonesian magnate Anthoni Salim has gained control of media outfits and utility companies in the Philippines.

He said an investigation would determine if Philippine laws, particularly the ban
on foreign ownership of local utility firms, had been violated when Salim gained ownership of several companies.

“Certainly, the committee on constitutional amendments should carry out the investigation,” Osmeña said when asked if there is a need for Congress to look into Salim’s acquisition and control of several locally-based companies, including the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) and Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT).

The panel on constitutional amendments is headed by Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago.


On Monday, The Manila Times columnist Rigoberto Tiglao wrote that Salim used the retirement fund of PLDT to build his media empire in the Philippines.

In his column, Tiglao said Salim and his top executive, Manuel Pangilinan, were able to acquire, through MediaQuest, media outfits like TV-5, Radyo 5 and Aksyon TV. MediaQuest also has shares in BusinessWorld, Philippine Star and Philippine Daily Inquirer.

The Philippine Constitution allows a firm in the media industry only if it has 100 percent Filipino ownership.

“Salim and his boys found a loophole, though. A company’s trust fund for its employees was defined by the 1991 Foreign Investments Act as a ‘Philippine national’ if 60 percent of its benefits would go to Filipinos. PLDT’s Beneficial Trust Fund was, by that definition, a ‘Philippine national,’ which, therefore, could own media companies,” Tiglao said.

Through this scheme, Salim’s group was able to circumvent Article XVI, Section 11. of the Philippine Constitution, which states that “the ownership and management of mass media shall be limited to citizens of the Philippines, or to corporations, cooperatives or associations, wholly-owned and managed by such citizens.”

“Bobi [Tiglao] has been pretty accurate. I read the articles but whether he can have enough evidence to prove it in court is another thing,” Osmeña said.

The senator cited the Supreme Court’s decision in the PLDT case where the Court found that 64 percent was technically owned by a foreigner. The case remains pending.

Share.
loading...
Loading...

Please follow our commenting guidelines.

8 Comments

  1. Belmonte seize the moment by riding on Cha Cha, as part of evil plan to sale the Phil. star to the mogul. These is purely for self interest. No to Cha Cha if Belmonte at helm. We must start investigating how Salim acquire back door. These is alarming to control media you can become a kingmaker.

  2. yes they are the good grace of malacnag the question is how much % they are collecting to MVP?

  3. By the time the investigation of the alleged Salim’s take over of prime industries in the Philippines is over, it has already gobbled-up other prime businesses to consolidate more wealth and power with the help of course of our good scheming politicians and he can even donate for the campaign fund of his favored presidential aspirant this coming 2016 election.

  4. I BELIEVE BOBI TIGLAO THAT THE MAIN REA$ON WHY SPEAKER BELMONTE IS RUSHING CHA-CHA TO AMEND THE CONSTITUTION THAN FOI IS THAT HIS FAMILY, WHO IS MAJORITY OWNER OF PHILIPPINE STAR, WILL BE A BENEFICIARY OF THIS AMENDMENT WHEN MVP GROUP BUY TOTALLY PHILSTAR. PLEASE PROBE BOBI TIGLAO WRONG, DI BA SPEAKER BELMONTE?

  5. Mr. Salim could not have figured out by himself without the help of Filipinos, who knew the Philippine constitution to find the loopholes needed to develop its nefarious scheme to progress. Yes, I agree to probe this foreigner for possible violation of the country’s law, and punish his Filipino conspirators.

    • No politicians can ever touch MVP, the point man of Mr. Salim even if some laws are being violated. Generally all officials including Malacanyang are in the good graces of the man.