AFTER recently getting embroiled in a controversy for pushing a duopoly in the tower construction industry that was seen smack of conflict of interest, Presidential Adviser for Economic Affairs and Information Technology Communications Ramon ‘RJ’ Jacinto once again finds himself under public scrutiny.
Ed Cordevilla, a multi-awarded writer-columnist and founding leader of the Filipino League of Advocates for Good Governance (FLAGG), said Jacinto might be “forgetting that he is a public official who should be serving for the public interest – and to promote a business monopoly definitely runs contrary to such calling.”
Cordevilla filed a complaint against Jacinto (who enjoys a rank of undersecretary) before the Presidential Anti Corruption Commission (PACC), for a campaign that was aired and currently circulating over the social media.
Cordevilla cited a video jingle bearing the logo of RJ radio media that was campaigning for Smart Telecommunications. Jacinto was the founding chairman of RJ radio stations DZRJ 810 AM, RJ 100.3 FM and Rajah Broadcasting Network.
The campaign ad stated: “Switch to Smart, for a Brand New Start.”
Cordevilla said, “It should look like a regular advertising material except that the campaign material was not only promoting the said telecom company but also at the same time lambasting the other telco player.”
“It is enshrined in the Philippine Competition Act, otherwise known as Republic Act 10667, that an encumbered market competition ‘also serves the interest of consumers by ALLOWING them to exercise their right of choice over goods and services offered in the market’,” the complaint letter said.
Jacinto, Cordevilla said, should be placed under investigation and penalized, not only for conflict of interest, but “for violating the very letter, essence and spirit of the Philippine Competition Act which ensures and encumbered market competition.”
Cordevilla observed that Undersecretary Jacinto, “whose interest in the telecom industry is public knowledge (especially for his relentless campaign for a duopoly in the tower construction of an estimated additional 50,000 cell towers to serve around 113 million telco subscribers in the country), through his radio outfit, is in effect campaigning for the elimination of fair competition.”
The video, may be viewed over Youtube at the following link: https://youtu.be/UF8gOHBAnY4. It was uploaded to Youtube on December 6, 2018.
“The Undersecretary, as the founding chairman of RJ radio stations (which also enjoy both television and online presence), possesses the power to prevent the creation of such a jingle, prevent its airing and put a stop to the material’s continuous public exposure,” Cordevilla stated in his complaint.
“With Usec. Jacinto’s assertive presence in the telco industry, to presume that he has no knowledge of the presence of the said campaign video that is currently available for the consumption of the whole world, and furthermore, as it is allowed to continuously perpetuate its message – is hard to believe, especially as the video bears the logo of his own station,” the complaint further stated.10