The Mislatel consortium, which was earlier picked by the government as the third telco slot winner, maintained that it has a valid legislative franchise to operate and deliver communication services in the country.
The consortium said only a proper petition filed before the courts can cause a revocation of its franchise.
“Mislatel has a franchise which was granted by Congress. We have a certification. It is clear in the decisions of the Supreme Court that a franchise cannot just be revoked. You need to file an action for quo warranto before a franchise is revoked,” said lawyer Adel Tamano, Mislatel spokesperson, in a radio interview on Friday, Jan. 25.
Tamano made the assertion after Senator Franklin Drilon raised his concern that Mislatel has failed to comply with the conditions of its franchise as it has not operated within a year after it was granted and sold 70 percent of its shares without congressional approval, during a Senate hearing on the selection process for the third telco player last Thursday, Jan. 24.
Drilon said Mislatel was granted a legislative franchise in 1998 with a specific provision to commence operations within one year from approval.
Tamano likewise said that businessman Dennis Uy did not ask for any favor from the government to secure the third telco player slot. “Dennis Uy did not seek any favor to be awarded the third telco. It was conducted through open bidding, thus there was no rigging,” he said.
The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has awarded the third telco slot to Mislatel Consortium after it has won the bidding that was conducted last November 7.
Mislatel, a joint venture of Udenna Corp. of businessman Dennis Uy and Chinese state-owned firm China Telecom, was the remaining bidder after Sear Telecom and the Philippine Telephone and Telegraph Corp. were disqualified for failing to submit the P700-million participation security and certification of technical capability from the NTC in the operations and delivery of telco services.
Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) acting secretary Eliseo Rio Jr., meanwhile, stressed that the bidding for the third telco player was conducted in a transparent manner.
“Mislatel was the only one that was able to submit complete documents during the bidding. We just look at the document and not on personalities,” Rio said.
The DICT official said he is open to the possibility of rebidding for the third telco player if Mislatel is found without a valid franchise.
The consortium is currently undergoing a 90-day post-qualification stage that began from the awarding of the bidding wherein it has to submit documents, including congressional approval of its franchise; registration from the Securities and Exchange Commission; approval of the Philippine Competition Commission of its bidding agreement implementation; posting of the performance security bond and its rollout plan for the processing of its Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity by the NTC.
This phase is expected to end on February 17, according to the DICT.
Mislatel has committed to provide Internet speeds of 55Mbps covering 84 percent of the population with capital expenditures (capex) of about P250 billion over a five-year period. The consortium stands to lose its performance bond of P24 billion or 10 percent of its capex if it fails to make good on its commitments. — Aerol John Pateña (PNA)