MANILA – Anakalusugan Party-list Rep. Mike Defensor on Thursday said the value of a Philippine Depositary Receipt (PDR) is equal to the value of one share in ABS-CBN Corporation, which violates nationality rules on ownership of mass media companies.

During the House hearing on ABS-CBN’s franchise issue, Defensor said the PDRs have been used as a circumvention of the constitutional requirement that mass media companies should be 100 percent owned and managed by Filipinos.

Defensor said the PDR represents a share in a company that gives the owner the right to all the dividends due and shares of stock acquired.

“Ang PDRs po ay pagtatago sa tunay na pagmamay-ari ng dayuhan (The PDRs are used to conceal the true ownership of foreigners),” Defensor said.

“There is an actual share in ABS-CBN Corp. They may not have their names. Wala sa pangalan nila yung ABS-CBN Corp. share, pero ang bawat PDR ay may katumbas na share sa ABS-CBN Corp. (The ABS-CBN Corp. share may not be under their names, but each PDR is equivalent to a share in ABS-CBN Corp.),” he added.

He said the ABS-CBN Corp. has multiple layers of ownership that includes the Lopez Holdings, which he noted has 9.89 percent of its shares owned by a non-Filipino PCD Nominee Corp.

He said the ABS-CBN Holdings, which owns shares of stock of ABS-CBN Corp., sold PDRs to foreign investors.

Defensor cited a quoted from a shareholder meeting of the ABS-CBN Holdings, saying that the “PDRs unlock the share value of ABS-CBN allowing foreigners to participate in a media enterprise whose ownership is constitutionally-limited to Filipinos, with foreigners allowed to buy PDRs, shares”.

He noted that the Constitution is “very clear” that there should be no foreign ownership and control of mass media companies.

“Kahit isang patak, kahit isang butil lang na pagmamay-ari hindi pupuwede. Kahit ano pong layering ng korporasyon, ‘pag may lumabas na isang banyaga at pumasok yan sa ABS-CBN Corp. hindi ho pinapayagan (Even just a drop, or a grain of [foreign] ownership is not allowed. Even underneath the layering of a corporation, if a foreigner ends up owning ABS-CBN Corp., that should not be allowed),” he added. (ia/PNA)