House of Representatives

House to investigate SMNI for spreading disinformation on Romualdez’s travels

Kaycee Valmonte

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House to investigate SMNI for spreading disinformation on Romualdez’s travels

HOUSE LEADER. Speaker Martin Romualdez presides a session in September 2023

House press and public affairs bureau

The Apollo Quiboloy-owned network, notorious for red-tagging government critics, recently received an award for 'ethical journalism' from the so-called 'Asia Pacific Luminare Awards'

MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives has instructed its panel on legislative franchises to “immediately” investigate the Apollo Quiboloy-owned Sonshine Media Network International (SMNI) beginning Thursday, November 30, over the disinformation the station has allegedly been spreading.

In his privilege speech on Tuesday, November 28, Quezon 2nd District Representative David Suarez noted that false reports about House Speaker Martin Romualdez’s overseas trips have been circulating.

He said that in one of SMNI’s evening programs, an unnamed “Congress source” told the hosts that Speaker Romualdez allegedly spent over P1.8-billion in his international travels with his entourage.

Ito pong pinalabas ng SMNI isa po itong ‘fake news.’ Hindi po ito totoo,” Suarez said. (What SMNI aired was ‘fake news.’ This is not true.)

In a separate statement, which was read by Suarez, House Secretary-General Reginald Velasco denied the SMNI allegation and said the report was a “blatant attempt to spread misinformation and defame the speaker’s character.”

The lower chamber is now demanding that the SMNI report be pulled out of circulation. Velasco also said they wanted to hold accountable those spreading the reports.

“This is a deliberate attack on the integrity of the House and a sad reflection to the lengths some individuals will go to undermine our democratic institutions,” he added.

SMNI is the same broadcast company which aired former president Rodrigo Duterte’s program interview where he attacked the House of Representatives and its members, including Romualdez. The network, notorious for red-tagging government critics, was awarded for “ethical journalism” from the so-called “Asia Pacific Luminare Awards” this month.

On World Press Freedom Day this year, SMNI also red-tagged journalists. (READ: Journalist Atom Araullo files P2-million damage suit vs red-taggers)

SMNI received in 2022 one of the television frequencies denied to ABS-CBN, where the media giant was airing its programs as a block-timer. – Rappler.com

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