Imee files claim to GMA-7 shares

- Zinnia B. Dela Peña -

Former congresswoman Imee Marcos yesterday lodged a complaint before the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) claiming ownership over the shares held by the Duavit family in GMA network Inc.

GMA has viewed this move as purely a harassment case since the broadcasting firm is scheduled to make its debut at the Philippine stock exchange on Monday, July 30.

In a letter-complaint, Marcos, through lawyer Jay Alberto Flaminiano, asked the SEC to reject GMA’s registration statement covering the network’s initial public offering for false or misleading representation of material facts.

“Our client is only concerned with the shares of Gualberto Duavit, his family and/or Group Management Development Inc. of which the Duavit family are principal shareholders,” Flaminiano said.

“Since GMA disclosed in its final prospectus that the Duavits were one of the three majority stockholders who would receive 28.35 percent of the enlarged share capital without disclosing further the shares held in the name of Duavits were merely held in trust for our client and her family, the same would constitute false misrepresentation,” Flaminiano pointed out.

Under the Securities Regulation Code, companies offering their shares to the public must disclose all material information before the SEC and the exchange before it approves a company’s listing. SEC commissioner Juanito Cueto said GMA’s listing may push through on Monday.

“As we speak, I have not heard of any injunction order on the listing of GMA shares, so it’s likely going to push through,” Cueto said.

Cueto also added that Marcos should substantiate her charges.

She said Imee’s case has been forwarded to the Corporation Finance Department to verify the claims to determine whether there was a violation of the securities law.

Flaminiano said, “while registration does not guarantee the accuracy of the facts represented in the registration statement and prospectus, the Code prohibits false and misleading statements under the penalty of fine, imprisonment or both.”

The Marcos group is also citing the Puerto Azul case as the basis for their move.

In 1996, Puerto Azul obtained a registration to sell its shares from SEC. It complied with all requirements and so the SEC approved its IPO plan.

Puerto Azul also filed an application with the PSE. But the exchange denied the application for listing, because of claims against Puerto Azul by the Marcoses.

Perfecto Yasay, who was then SEC chairman, objected to the action of PSE. Yasay said that while the PSE can approve/disapprove a listing, it must not be discriminatory. Previously, the PSE allowed Piltel to list despite ownership claims by the Marcos family.

Yasay said he brought the case to the Supreme Court but lost.

Puerto Azul voluntarily stopped its IPO plan.

Yasay said the GMA-7 issue is different because both the SEC and PSE approved the IPO. He said Imee Marcos cannot use Puerto Azul as basis.

Sources said there was a precedent case wherein Puerto Azul’s initial public offering was halted in 1996.

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