House resolution urges NTC to suspend SMNI franchise

House resolution urges NTC to suspend SMNI franchise

/ 04:45 AM December 12, 2023

House resolution urges NTC to suspend SMNI franchise

From the National Telecommunications Commission website

MANILA, Philippines —  The House of Representatives adopted House Resolution No. 1499 on Monday’s plenary session, several hours after the amended measure was approved by the Committee on Legislative Franchises, urging the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to promptly act on the franchise violations of Swara Sug Media Corp., which operates under the business name Sonshine Media Network International (SMNI).

The House Committee on Legislative Franchises, chaired by Parañaque City Rep. Gustavo Tambunting, stated that SMNI had committed infractions of sections 4, 10, 11, and 12 of Republic Act No. 11422, which granted in 2019 the renewal of Swara Sug’s franchise for another 25 years.


The provisions refer to the deliberate dissemination of false information or willful misrepresentation to the detriment of public interest; transfer of controlling interest without prior approval of Congress; no report to Congress within 60 days after the transfer of controlling interest and failure to comply with the 30 percent dispersal of ownership to the public.


Puwersa ng Bayaning Atleta partylist Rep. Margarita Nograles, who authored HR No. 1499, noted during Monday’s hearing that SMNI could also be liable for another violation of section 12 of its franchise by furnishing different general information sheets (GIS) about the identity of the ultimate beneficial owner of Swara Sug, to Congress and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

READ: NTC suspends SMNI operations for 30 days

READ: 1-Rider solon files bill seeking to revoke franchise of SMNI

The violation was confirmed after televangelist Apollo Quiboloy asked to be excused, through a letter, from the committee proceedings claiming that he was no longer an officer of Swara Sug when it was granted a franchise in 2019 and would not anymore have knowledge of SMNI matters.

Owned by Quiboloy

However, Marikina City Rep. Stella Quimbo pointed out that Quiboloy was declared the beneficial owner by Swara Sug until April 2021, based on the submitted documents, including the GIS, to Congress.

SEC general counsel Romuald Padilla said that in documents submitted to them, Quiboloy was a beneficial owner until 2020.

Padilla revealed they have different documents, which confirm that the House of Representatives and the agency received dissimilar sworn statements.

Deputy Majority Leader and Quezon province Rep. David Suarez questioned the veracity of the other documents submitted by SMNI to Congress. Quimbo asked the panel to invite Quiboloy to the next hearing to disclose information on SMNI he is privy to as a beneficial owner.


As this developed, SMNI host Jeffrey Celiz, who was cited in contempt for refusing to name his source of information on Speaker Martin Romualdez’s supposed travel expenses, sought furlough for the holidays.

Celiz apologized for his misbehavior and disrespect of the committee as well as his failure to observe due diligence in vetting the source of his information, vowing to do better.

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TAGS: fake news, National Telecommunications Commission, Sonshine Media Network International

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