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SEC probes PLDT budget overruns, shares selloff

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THE Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday said it  is “closely monitoring” issues that have arisen from the recent disclosures of PLDT Inc. regarding what the company described as “budget overruns” totaling P48 billion over the last four years.

“In this light, the SEC has immediately commenced an inquiry into the matter,” the agency said.

The reported “budget overruns,” as well as the selloff in PLDT shares before the publicly listed company could make the official disclosure, are areas of concern for the SEC, being the regulator of the securities market and the champion of investor protection in the country.

Among others, the SEC has ordered PLDT to clarify its disclosures to the SEC and the Philippine Stock Exchange Inc., 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 also directed PSE and Capital Markets Integrity Corp. 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 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, 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,” the agency said.

PLDT shares were the most sold shares during Monday’s trade. Its shares closed P286 or 19 percent lower to close at P1,192 apiece.

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