PLDT foreign ownership questioned

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A councilor in Bacolod City and a group of lawyers are seeking the nullification of a memorandum circular issued by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in favor of the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT).

A petition signed by Councilor Wilson Gamboa Jr. of Bacolod City, son of the late Batasang Pambansa member Wilson Gamboa Sr., and several others, the High Tribunal was asked to declare the SEC as having gravely abused its discretion when it ruled that PLDT has complied with the constitutional rule on foreign ownership.

They argued that SEC Memorandum Circular 8 (MC8), which was issued on May 20, 2013, that sets out the guidelines on the “Compliance with the Filipino-Foreign Ownership Requirements Prescribed in the Constitution and/or Existing Laws by Corporations Engaged in Nationalized and Partly Nationalized Activities” is unconstitutional.

Gamboa Sr. had originally questioned the sale and majority acquisition of the stocks of PLDT by the foreign company First Pacific as represented by businessman Manny Pangilinan.

Lawyers Daniel Cartagena, John Warren Gabinete, Antonio Pesina, Modesto Martin Mamon 3rd and Gerardo Erebaren also signed the petition.

“Petitioners-in-intervention as lawyers are herein challenging the respondent SEC’s patently erroneous interpretation of the Constitution, particularly Section 11 of Rule XII thereof as well as the erroneous implementation of the decision of this Most Honorable Supreme Court in the Gamboa Case,” the petition stated.

“Given the circumstances, it would amount to impliedly supporting a violation of the Constitution and disregard of the rulings of the Honorable Supreme Court if, lawyers as they are, would just stay on the sidelines doing nothing when they are very well apprised of such violations,” it added.

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