Senate of the Philippines

Zubiri urges House to continue SMNI probe

Bonz Magsambol

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Zubiri urges House to continue SMNI probe

File photo of Senate President Migz Zubiri

Angie de Silva/Rappler

'I would suggest that the House continue their investigation until they get to the bottom of this accusation,' says Senate President Migz Zubiri on the claim of an SMNI host that a Senate employee leaked information about Speaker Romualdez's alleged exorbitant travel expenses

MANILA, Philippines – Senate President Migz Zubiri has urged the House of Representatives to continue its probe into the Sonshine Media Network International (SMNI), particularly the claim of one of its hosts that House Speaker Martin Romualdez had spent P1.8 billion in travel expenses, attributing the information to a Senate employee.

Zubiri urges House to continue SMNI probe

“I have no knowledge whatsoever of anyone from the Senate leaking information to any reporter on any House matter,” Zubiri said on Sunday, December 3.

“I would suggest that the House continue their investigation until they get to the bottom of this accusation, and press for the concerned person to reveal the name of their alleged source from the Senate. Otherwise, the House can cite them in contempt,” he added.

The Senate President was referring to the claim of SMNI host Jeffrey Celiz that Romualdez spent P1.8 billion on travel expenses.

“Until the concerned resource speaker names a Senate employee, there is no reason to believe that these allegations are anything more than intrigues being sown to create controversy and fake news,” Zubiri said.

On November 28, the lower chamber instructed its panel on legislative franchises to “immediately” investigate the Apollo Quiboloy-owned SMNI beginning November 30, over disinformation that the station had been allegedly spreading.

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SMNI is the same broadcast company which aired former president Rodrigo Duterte’s program, where he attacked the House of Representatives and its members, including Romualdez, after the House scrapped his daughter’s confidential funds request for 2024. The network is notorious for red-tagging Duterte government critics.

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

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

2 comments

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  1. ET

    Watch our Senator Migz Zubiri, because of this statement – you might be the next target of SMNI’s disinformation campaign.

  2. ET

    Most likely, that staff is an employee of a Senator who is close to former President Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte or close to VP Sara Duterte. Can you guess?

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Bonz Magsambol

Bonz Magsambol covers the Philippine Senate for Rappler.