SC asked to revoke franchises of Fox, AXN

By Edu Punay, The Philippine Star

Posted at Feb 13 2014 02:33 AM | Updated as of Feb 13 2014 10:33 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Two petitions filed in the Supreme Court (SC) are seeking an order to ban two foreign television cable networks from broadcasting in the country.

In separate petitions, Kabataan Rep. Terry Ridon and lawyer Jonas Julius Caesar Azura have asked the SC to order the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to cancel or revoke the franchises of Fox International Channel Philippines Corporation and AXN Networks Philippines Inc.

Petitioners said the franchises of Fox Philippines and AXN Philippines are in violation of a constitutional provision requiring 100 percent Filipino ownership of mass media and 70 percent of advertising companies.

Fox Philippines and AXN Philippines are 99.99 percent foreign-owned, they added.

Petitioners said Fox Philippines is a wholly-owned subsidiary of STAR Television Advertising Ltd., a foreign corporation incorporated in the British Virgin Islands, while AXN Philippines is a wholly-owned subsidiary of South Asian Regional Investments, Inc., a foreign corporation with incorporated the US.

The five Filipino shareholders listed in the said Articles of Incorporation of STAR Television Advertising Ltd. possess, between them, five shares of stock, constituting 0.00009526 percent of the total subscribed capital, the petition said.

The same situation holds true for South Asian Regional Investments, Inc.

Petitioners said the equity of the Filipino shareholders in Fox Philippines and AXN Philippines is so laughably insignificant.

“It highlights rather than mitigates the gross unconstitutionality of the issuance by the SEC of the franchises or certificates of registration despite the clear failure of the latter to comply with the pertinent requirements of the Constitution and the laws of this country,” the petitioners said.

Petitioners said the SEC could not have issued franchises or certificates of registration to Fox Philippines and AXN Philippines without violating the restrictions on foreign ownership in the Constitution and relevant laws.