First of a series
SOME 22 percent of the shares of media conglomerate ABS-CBN Corp., now worth at least P3.5 billion, are owned by foreign companies, mainly the Los Angeles-based, privately owned The Capital Group, one of the world’s largest investment management firms.
Together with several other foreign firms, including the United Kingdom’s Prudential Plc (through its Singapore firm), the United States company received P1.3 billion in income out of ABS-CBN’s profits from 2015 to last year, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) reports show.
This is a blatant violation of Section 11, Article XVI of our Constitution: “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.”
This violation of the Constitution is one of the two main grounds that Solicitor General Jose Calida invoked in a request he made to the Supreme Court the other day to revoke ABS-CBN’s franchise.
In a similar constitutional violation case that Calida brought against the online news source Rappler Inc. and Rappler Holdings, he asked the SEC to revoke the two firms’ license to operate as corporations. The SEC agreed with Calida; the two firms appealed the case to the Court of Appeals.