The Philippine Stock Exchange has penalized Now Corp. of Mel Velarde after misleading the public with its claim that it was granted “fourth telecommunications player” status by the National Telecommunications Commission.
Now’s false claim was only one of three violations cited by the PSE in imposing sanctions against the Velarde company.
The PSE said Now had no “sufficient basis” when it represented itself as the country’s fourth telco player after PLDT-Smart, Globe and Dito Telecommunity.
“As the country’s fourth telco, NOW Telecom, an affiliate of publicly listed telecommunications, media, and technology firm Now Corp., is currently setting the stage for its public listing as well as its 5G or fifth generation network rollout,” the company crowed in a statement issued to multiple media outlets.
It made the spurious declaration after the NTC granted a provisional authority to its subsidiary five months ago.
Now’s claim was immediately debunked by the Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT) as baseless.
DICT Secretary Gringo Honasan told Senator Imee Marcos in a hearing: “Now Telecom is not yet the fourth telco. From where we see it, after further inquiry, it’s not yet the fourth telco.”
Now officials, however, were adamant they were the fourth telco player despite denials by public officials. Former DICT Undersecretary Eliseo Rio claimed Now’s self-serving statement was meant to boost its share prices. NOW rocketed 50 percent to P3.58 when it issued the PR on September 1.
Aside from its bogus assertions, the PSE also penalized Now for its “delayed disclosure” of the NTC order and releasing the material information to media without prior or simultaneous disclosure to the Exchange.