House to probe SMNI on claim Romualdez spent P1.8B on trips

House to probe SMNI on claim Romualdez spent P1.8B on trips in 1 year

/ 05:22 PM November 28, 2023

House to probe SMNI on claim Romualdez spent P1.8B on trips in 1 year

House Speaker Martin Romualdez (File photo from the official website of House of Representatives)

MANILA, Philippines — House committee on legislative franchises has been directed to investigate Sonshine Media Network International (SMNI).

The order comes, after SMNI’s hosts in a program supposedly aired misleading information against Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez.


In a privilege speech during Tuesday’s session, Quezon 2nd District Representative David Suarez said he was able to watch an SMNI program where hosts claimed Romualdez spent P1.8 billion in just a year for his travels.


House Secretary General Reginald Velasco previously disputed these claims.

READ: Romualdez: Resolutions calling for ICC cooperation ‘sense of the House’

READ: House SecGen: Reports of Romualdez’s P1.8 billion travel fund are false

He said the reports are categorically false and a mere ‘fake news.’

But Suarez believes the committee should use its oversight function over the matter.

“In the spirit of transparency and accountability, I humbly request this august chamber to direct the committee on legislative franchises, in the exercise of its inherent oversight function, to investigate this matter immediately and other similar measures pending with the committee, including this personal and collective privilege,” Suarez told his colleagues.

A few minutes after Suarez’ speech, lawmakers in the majority moved to direct House committee on legislative franchises to start the probe on Thursday.


Deputy Speaker Yasser Alonto Balindong approved the motion, as none of the lawmakers present objected.

“Recent reports circulating about a P1.8 billion travel fund allocated to Speaker Martin Romualdez are completely unfounded and categorically false,” Velasco said earlier in a statement.

“These allegations are a clear example of fake news, designed to mislead the public and tarnish the reputation of the Speaker and the entire House of Representatives as an institution,” he added.

“We urge the public and the media to exercise caution and verify facts before sharing such baseless claims,” he noted.

“The House of Representatives is committed to transparency and accountability, and the Office of the Secretary-General can confirm that such bloated amount for the Speaker’s travel expenses does not exist,” he said.

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Velasco did not mention which program or what media company aired the report.

But on SMNI’s ‘Laban Kasama ng Bayan’ program, host and self-proclaimed former rebel Jeffrey Celis claimed Romualdez had incurred a P1.8 billion travel expense for just one year.

TAGS: Celis, Romualdez, SMNI, Travels

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