• Son continues father’s fight vs. giant firm

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    This son is carrying on a just fight waged by his father.

    A pool of lawyers led by Wilson Gamboa Jr., son of the late Bacolod lawmaker Wilson Gamboa Sr. earlier favored twice by the Supreme Court as petitioner, has joined the legal battle over the questionable status of Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT)’s ownership of voting of shares including alleged violation of constitutional provisions.

    Gamboa Jr. and lawyers Daniel Cartagena, John Warren Gabinete, Antonio Pesina Jr., Modesto Martin Mamon and Gerardo Erebaren, filed a motion for intervention on Tuesday before the Supreme Court supporting a petition against the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the PLDT.

    The group seeks to join the petition filed by lawyer Jose Roy 3rd former dean and president of Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila, that aims to nullify Memorandum Circular 8 (MC8) Series of 2013 of the SEC.

    Roy’s petition claims that the said memorandum circular seems to have been tailor-made to accommodate the alleged scheme of PLDT to conform with the Constitution which includes amending its Articles of Incorporation to be able to issue preferred voting shares, which are sold to a non-complying entity called BTF Holdings Inc., to skirt the cap on foreign ownership in public utilities.

    BTF Holdings Inc. was formed from the Beneficial Trust Fund or the fund allotted for the pensions of retiring PLDT employees.

    PLDT employees had earlier filed a complaint over the BTF issue because of their lack of participation in nominating trustees. They added that all the trustees are PLDT nominees.

    Gamboa Jr. substituted as petitioner after his father passed away in 2011 to continue the quest. The elder Gamboa was the petitioner in the case of Gamboa vs. Teves, in which the Supreme Court decided that PLDT breached the 40-percent foreign ownership limit for utilities on June 2011 and rejected the motion for reconsideration filed by PLDT on October 2012.

    In their motion for intervention, Gamboa’s group fully agrees with Roy that Section 2 of MC8 is not in accord with the previous ruling of the Supreme Court because it fails to differentiate the varying classes of shares and does not require the application of the foreign equity limits to each class of shares issued by a corporation.

    To continue the legacy of his father, Gamboa Jr. and his group challenged what they refer to as “SEC’s patently erroneous interpretation of the Constitution as well as the erroneous implementation of the Supreme Court decision in the Gamboa case.”

    “We cannot just stay on the sidelines doing nothing while such violations are allowed to go on,” said Gamboa Jr.

    The group joined Roy in asking the High Tribunal to declare that the PLDT Beneficial
    Trust Fund is not a Philippine entity and that more than 60 percent of its outstanding capital stock should also be declared as a foreign capital.

    The group added that SEC should also be correspondingly ordered to issue new guidelines regarding the determination of compliance with Section 11, Article XII of the Constitution in accordance with the Gamboa cases, with a warning that any deviation from the said decision will be tantamount to contempt of court.

    Jing Villamente

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