SMNI has left KBP, lawyer says during House probe | Inquirer News

SMNI has left KBP, lawyer says during House probe

/ 10:04 PM December 05, 2023

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MANILA, Philippines — Sonshine Media Network International (SMNI) has left the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP), a lawyer representing the company confirmed to a House of Representatives panel.

At the hearing of the House Committee on Legislative Franchises, SMNI legal counsel Mark Tolentino said SMNI left KBP on Monday, Dec. 4.


“Mr. Chair, I’d like to manifest that with respect to the SMNI membership with the KBP, we already withdrew last December 4, 2023.  So the case pending with the KBP is already moot and academic,” Tolentino told Parañaque 2nd District Rep. Gus Tambunting, who chairs the committee.


Surigao del Sur 2nd District Rep. Johnny Pimentel said that SMNI left KBP because it could not observe several provisions in the charter and the items stated in the KBP Broadcast Code.

“They withdrew from the KBP. Why? Because they could not follow the Broadcast Code of the Philippines. That is precisely why they withdrew their membership — because they could not abide by the Broadcast Code. They could not do Section 3 — Fairness and Objectivity. They could not do Section 5 — Unconfirmed Reports. They could not do Article IV — Personal Attacks. And even the on-air language [they could not do],” Pimentel said, speaking partly in Filipino.

“That is why, this bolsters my accusation, my allegations, that they don’t deserve to be given a franchise, or we can withdraw the franchise. The fact that they withdrew from KBP just underscores the need for the revocation of their license,” he added.

“That’s why you withdrew, Attorney Tolentino, Mr. Chair — because you cannot follow the Code ng Broadcasters of the Philippines. Right? I would no longer ask questions about that. That’s very clear already.”

SMNI is currently in hot water after host Jeffrey Celiz relayed on national television, through the “Laban Kasama ng Bayan” episode last Nov. 27, that he got information that Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez spent P1.8 billion for travel expenses alone.

House Secretary General Reginald Velasco denied the claim. Quezon 2nd District Rep. David Suarez urged the House to let the Committee on Legislative Franchises exercise its oversight function and probe SMNI about the issue and other complaints against it.


During the hearing last Nov. 30, Velasco clarified that Romualdez and the House lawmakers, along with secretariat officials, only spent a combined P39.60 million from January 2023 to October 2023.

KBP representatives also said that SMNI did not comply with its code as it hired broadcasters it had not accredited.

The KBP general counsel, lawyer Rudolph Jularbal, also said that the normal process for verifying information given to reporters would be to counter-check with the party in question, which in this case, is the Speaker Martin Romualdez.

Also in the previous hearing, Celiz apologized to the House and to Romualdez for airing an unverified figure, adding that it was given to him by a source from the Senate.

Earlier, the House cited Celiz for contempt and ordered him detained in the House complex for 30 days because he refused to give out the name of his source.

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“Laban Kasama ng Bayan” co-host Lorraine Badoy was also cited for contempt for giving contradicting statements regarding her role in the SMNI program.

TAGS: fake news, Jeffrey Celiz, Johnny Pimentel, Martin Romualdez, Sonshine Media Network International

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