SC junks 2 petitions vs. media firms accused of foreign ownership

By , on November 5, 2014


The Supreme Court of the Philippines building in Manila, Philippines. Photo by Mike Gonzalez / Wikimedia Commons.
The Supreme Court of the Philippines building in Manila, Philippines. Photo by Mike Gonzalez / Wikimedia Commons.

MANILA — The Supreme Court (SC) has dismissed two petitions assailing the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for allowing two foreign media corporations to engage in business in the Philippines despite being controlled by foreigners.

In an en banc ruling released on Wednesday, the SC denied the consolidated petitions filed by Kabataan Party-list Rep. Terry Ridon and Atty. Jonas Julius Caesar Azura.

The SC said “it would not want to pre-empt the prerogative to withdraw or uphold the state’s imprimatur on a corporate existence by giving due course to the petitions.”

The petitioners alleged that the SEC violated the constitutionally prescribed foreign ownership restrictions on nationalized industries when it effectively allowed AXN and FOX televisions to engage as mass media and advertising entities despite being 99.99 percent controlled by foreigners.

In his privilege speech delivered on Jan. 27, 2014 at the House of Representatives, Ridon accused AXN and FOX of “encroaching upon protected industries, including the mass media and advertising.”

He said based on the last documents submitted to the SEC, these corporations constitute 99.99 percent of foreign ownership.

Azura also filed a separate petition questioning the same. This prompted the SC to consolidate the two petitions.

In dismissing the petition, the SC said that in filing the petitions, Ridon and Azura made collateral attack on corporate existence of AXN and FOX in the guise of an action questioning the SEC’s issuance of its certificates of registration.

“There being an impropriety in the remedy resorted to by the petitioners and in the absence of the indispensable minimums for judicial review, the Court cannot give due course to these petitions,” the SC said.