SMNI operations must be suspended, solon urges NTC | Inquirer News

SMNI operations must be suspended, solon urges NTC

/ 12:25 PM December 05, 2023

NTC urged to suspend SMNI operations


MANILA, Philippines — A resolution urging the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to suspend the operations of Sonshine Media Network International (SMNI) has been filed in the House of Representatives.

PBA Rep. Margarita Nograles on Monday filed House Resolution No. 1499, calling for the suspension of Swara Sug Media Corporation’s operation for supposedly violating the terms and conditions of its franchise under Republic Act No. 11422.


Swara Sug Media Corporation is the business name of SMNI.


According to Nograles, a lawyer by profession, Section 4 of SMNI’s legislative franchise restrains them from using its stations or facilities to propagate false information – referring to allegations from some of its program hosts that Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez’s travel expenses reached P1.8 billion.

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

“SMNI is mandated not to use its stations or facilities for the deliberate dissemination of false information or willful misrepresentation to the detriment of the public interest […] whereas, SMNI failed in its responsibility to the public by deliberately disseminating false information, thus, some Members of the House of Representatives filed House Resolutions and urged the [NTC] to look into any violation of the terms and conditions of franchise committed by SMNI,” Nograles’ resolution stresses.

“On November 29, 2023, in his privilege speech, Representative David ‘Jay-jay’ C. Suarez of the Second Legislative District of  Quezon Province noted the fake news-peddling committed by SMNI through its program ‘Laban Kasama ng Bayan’ and challenged its hosts to name the source of the false information that Honorable Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez has spent P1.8 Billion for his foreign travel expenses in a year,” it also states.

Nograles also mentioned that House Secretary General Reginald Velasco clarified at a House committee on legislative franchises hearing that Romualdez only spent P4.34 million for his foreign travels from January to October this year, while the rest of the lawmakers and House officials used P35.25 million for a combined total of P39.6 million – far from allegations of P1.8 billion.

During the same hearing, the SMNI host in question – self-proclaimed rebel surrenderer Jeffrey Celiz – apologized for claiming that Romualdez spent P1.8 billion on his travels.


READ: SMNI host apologizes for wrong claims on Speaker’s travel expenses

“With the admission that the source of information was wrong and that the information was not vetted, in addition to the various complaints filed against the SMNI for fake news peddling and red-tagging, it is clear that SMNI violated its responsibility to the public not to use its stations or facilities for the deliberate dissemination of false information or willful misrepresentation to the detriment of the public interest,” Nograles said.

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“Telecommunications, including broadcast media, are essential to the economic development, integrity and security of the country, and as such shall be developed and administered as to safeguard, enrich and strengthen the economic, cultural, social and political fabric of the Philippines,” she added.

TAGS: House of Representatives, National Telecommunications Commission, SMNI

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