Monday, June 17, 2024

SEC probing PLDT’s P48-billion ‘budget overruns’, shares selloff

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said it is closely monitoring issues that have arisen from the recent disclosures of telco giant PLDT regarding what the company described as “budget overruns” totaling P48 billion over the last four years.

PLDT chair Manny V. Pangilinan

Being the regulator of the securities market, the regulator said it is concerned about the reported “budget overruns,” as well as the selloff in PLDT shares before the publicly listed company could make the official disclosure.

The Philippine Daily Inquirer first broke the story about the alleged financial anomalies at the telecommunications firm, which has also revamped its top management team.

The SEC, for its part, said it has immediately commenced an inquiry into the matter. Among others, the agency said it has ordered PLDT to clarify its disclosures and the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE), in relation to statements attributed by the media to the company and its officers, especially with regard to the nature of the P48-billion expenditure.

The SEC has likewise directed the PSE and the Capital Markets Integrity Corporation (CMIC) to submit initial reports on their investigation into the trading activities that have resulted in the sudden and sharp decline in the share prices of PLDT before the official disclosure of the “budget overruns,” among others.

CMIC acts as the independent audit, surveillance, and compliance arm of PSE, in line with its mandate to reinforce the confidence of the investing public in capital market institutions.

As a self-regulatory organization, CMIC is tasked to enforce Republic Act No. 8799, or the Securities Regulation Code, and the pertinent rules and regulations.

Among its powers and functions is to investigate and resolve violations by trading participants of the securities law as well as trading-related irregularities and unusual trading activities involving issuers.

The SEC, through its Markets and Securities Regulation Department, said it will closely monitor the investigation and will continue to conduct a parallel, independent inquiry into the matter to safeguard the interest of the investing public.

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