Poe: NTC selection panel had lapses in examining Mislatel franchise
MANILA, Philippines — The National Telecommunication Commission (NTC) selection committee had lapses in examining the franchise of the Mindanao Islamic Telephone Company, Inc. (Mislatel), which is part of the consortium that has been chosen as the country’s third telco player, Senator Grace Poe said Thursday.
Poe, chair of the Senate committee on public services conducting a probe on the third telco, said that the NTC or the Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT) should have seen in the first place if Mislatel has a valid franchise or not.
“Sa simula pa lamang dapat ay nakita na ng NTC or DICT (Department of Information and Communication Technology) na mayroon talagang valid na franchise (‘yung Mislatel),” Poe told reporters.
It was found out during the hearing that the franchise of the Mislatel could be considered “revoked” as the company had failed to comply with some of the provisions of its franchise.
Senator Franklin Drilon said that Mislatel was not able to operate within a year from the grant of its franchise, which was in April 1998.
Drilon also pointed out the failure of the company to seek congressional approval to the transfer of its control.
“Doon sa level nila, may pagkukulang sila (NTC selection committee),” Poe said when asked if the selection committee did examine the franchise of the Mislatel.
The lapses of the selection committee could result in the delay in the approval of the Mislatel Consortium to be the third telco player in the country.
“Dahil sa pagkukulangan na yon, nakabinbin ngayon dito (sa Senate). ‘Pag hindi namin ginawa ng tama rito, pwedeng pumunta sa korte yung iba, at pagdating sa Korte, habang dini-desisyunan yan, hindi pwedeng gumalaw ito. Mas lalo tayong matatagalan,” she said.
Poe said she aims to come up with a committee report on the franchise of Mislatel consortium before Feb. 17, saying the committee needs to thoroughly discuss the issue on its franchise.
“Kailangang upuan itong mabuti ng mga miyembro ng committee on public services,” Poe said.
“Unang una, lehitimo ba ang franchise nila? Pangalawa, kung hindi lehitimo, kanselado ba ang kanilang bid? Pangatlo, kung mag-a-apply sila at ngayon pa lang ibibigay, sapat na ba ‘yun? Dahil ang ibig sabihin, noong sila ay unang nabigyan ng award nitong bid na ito, hindi pa pala sila qualified?” she added.
The senator, however, said that the Senate committee could still give the green light to Mislatel “for the interest of the public.”
“Kung ang batas ay hindi malinaw, maaaring pagbigyan pa rin natin itong application ng Mislatel or ng consortium dahil nga makakabuti ito sa bayan natin,” she said.
“For the interest of the public, baka magkaroon ng provisional permit, pero again malaking legal question talaga, magiging precedent siya,” Poe added. /je
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