House bill filed to revoke SMNI's franchise due to alleged multiple violations
House bill filed to revoke SMNI's franchise due to alleged multiple violations
House bill filed to revoke SMNI's franchise due to alleged multiple violations
by Ellicia Del Mundo13 December 2023
Photo courtesy: SMNI logo / House of Representatives / DZRH file photo

1-Rider Party-list Rep. Rodge Gutierrez filed a House bill seeking to revoke the legislative franchise of Sonshine Media Network International (SMNI) due to alleged multiple violations.

Under House Bill No. (HBN) 9710 filed on Dec. 11, Gutierrez cited that SMNI, whose legal operating name is Swara Sug Media Corporation (SSMC), failed to seek House of Reprentatives's approval before it had implemented changes to its corporate structure.

"In 2006, it transitioned from being a non-stock, non-profit corporation to a corporation sole under Pastor Apollo Quiboloy. However, in 2023, The Executive Pastor changed hands anew, as Apollo Quiboloy was replaced by one Bro. Marlon Acobo jn the corporation sole," he said.

The SMNI, according to Gutierrez, also failed to comply with the 30 percent requirement on dispersal of ownership as stated in Section 11 of Republic Act (RA) No. 11422 or An Act Granting the Swara Sug Media Corporation of the Philippines a Franchise.


Screengrab from House of Representatives' website

Moreover, SMNI allegedly violated Section 4 of RA 11422 as it did not "deliver truthful and balanced reporting to its audience."

"SMNI has engaged in red-tagging and fake news peddling, labeling members of the House, the former Vice President of the Philippines, and private persons as members of the New People's Army," the House solon said, adding that the SMNI hosts had alleged that lower house had spent ₱1.8 billion in travel expenses in 2023.

Furthermore, Gutierrez said the broadcast media did not comply with the reportial requirement under Section 12 of RA 11422. He mentioned that legal counsel had admitted during a hearing that the notarized annual reports sent to the House Committee on Legislative Franchises and the Securities and Exchange Commission were different.


"Knowing further that misinformation and misrepresentation can have serious implications, most especially in shaping public opinion, and thus create potential social and political divide, the operation of Swara Sug or SMNI is considered a threat to national security and stability as it continues to use its platform to disseminate unverified and untruthful statements, the swift passage of this measure is earnestly sought," the House solon stressed.

On Monday, Dec. 11, the House Committee on Legislative Franchises adopted House Resolution No. 1499 which urges the National Telecommunications Commission to suspend SMNI's legislative franchise due to alleged violations in its franchise's terms and conditions.

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