MANILA – House Speaker Sonny Belmonte confirmed on Tuesday that he is studying the possible impact of a reported purchase by TV5 Chairman Manny Pangilinan of GMA Network Inc.
Based on his initial research, Belmonte said no law prohibits the merger of a businessman owning two networks. However, the franchise requires them to submit to Congress for approval the change in ownership.
The following constitutional provisions may also be considered: Art. 12 Section 19: The state shall regulate or prohibit monopolies when the public interest so requires. No combinations in restraint of trade or unfair competition shall be allowed;
Art. 16 Section 11: The ownership and management of mass media shall be limited to citizens of the Philippines or to corporations, cooperatives or associations, wholly owned and managed by such citizens. The Congress shall regulate or prohibit monopolies in commercial mass media when the public interest so requires. No combinations in restraint of trade or unfair competition there in shall be allowed.
There is, however, no anti-trust law in the Philippines.
Belmonte authored House Bill 1333, which imposes fines and jail time for anti-competitive business practices.
Previously, Pangilinan also bought Sun Cellular from the Gokongwei group, keeping it as a distinct telco from Smart Communications under the Philippine Long Distance Telephone (PLDT) group.
Pangilinan said on Monday his group is aiming for a minority stake in GMA Network Inc.