Supreme Court asks commission to examine PLDT’s foreign ownership

29 Jun 2011

According to online news portal abs-cbnNEWS.com, the Supreme Court in the Philippines has asked the country’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to launch an inquiry into whether or not Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT) has breached constitutional limits on foreign ownership in a public utility. The court’s decision follows a petition submitted by lawyer Wilson Gamboa who is seeking to reverse the sale of the government’s 46% stake in Philippine Telecommunications Investment Corp (PTIC), part owner of PLDT, to Hong Kong-based First Pacific Co Ltd in 2007. The deal, which was equivalent to a 6.4% indirect stake in PLDT, upped First Pacific’s PLDT stake to over 30%. Gambao argues that as a result of the sale, First Pacific and NTT DoCoMo of Japan ended up owning more than 50% of PLDT’s outstanding common shares – breaching the 40% limit set down by the constitution. The Supreme Court has tasked the SEC with determining whether any violation of Section 11, Article XII of the Constitution took place and if so, ‘to impose appropriate sanctions under the law’.