Court of Appeals wonât stop 3rd telco selection
In a resolution released this week, the Special 11th Division of the appellate court denied the petition filed by NOW Telecom of businessman Mel Velarde in November last year, which questioned the legality of the terms of reference (TOR) set by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC).
Boy Santos

Court of Appeals won’t stop 3rd telco selection

Edu Punay (The Philippine Star) - March 20, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Court of Appeals (CA) has junked the petition of a telecommunications firm to stop the government’s selection process for the third major telco player in the country.

In a resolution released this week, the Special 11th Division of the appellate court denied the petition filed by NOW Telecom of businessman Mel Velarde in November last year, which questioned the legality of the terms of reference (TOR) set by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC).

The CA rejected the plea of the petitioner for issuance of a temporary restraining order (TRO) or writ of preliminary injunction that could stop the awarding of the third telco slot to Mislatel, the consortium of Udenna Corp. of businessman Dennis Uy and China Telecom.

Earlier, Solicitor General Jose Calida asked the CA to dismiss the petition of NOW Telecom for lack of merit.

Calida argued that the CA is not allowed by law to issue an injunction order against the selection of the third major player in the telco industry.

He cited Section 3 of Republic Act 8975, which prohibits appellate and lower courts from issuing temporary restraining orders on national government programs, including infrastructure projects.

Calida pointed out that NOW Telecom is not entitled to such relief because it did not participate in the bidding process and therefore had no legal standing to file the case.

He said the firm has “waived or abandoned” its right to question the TOR when it did not submit a bid during the selection process last year.

In its petition, NOW Telecom asked the CA to reverse and set aside an earlier decision of Judge Dinnah Aguila-Topacio of the Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 42 that dismissed the company’s petition for issuance of a writ of preliminary injuction.

It questioned the provisions of the TOR, which were supposedly not taken up during public consultations.

The company specifically assailed the P700-million participation security, P14 billion to P24 billion in performance security and P10 million non-refundable appeal fee.

A similar petition was filed by disqualified bidder Philippine Telegraph & Telephone Corp. (PT&T) before the Supreme Court.

Without a TRO, the NTC proceeded with the selection process and awarded the third telco slot to Mislatel being the remaining qualified bidder.

Mislatel is in the process of securing a ratified Congress resolution on its franchise to be able to start its operations.  

COURT OF APPEALS NATIONAL TELECOMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION TELECOMMUNICATIONS
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