OSG: Quo warranto ‘appropriate remedy’ for Mislatel franchise
MANILA, Philippines — The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) believes that a quo warranto proceeding is the “appropriate remedy” to resolve the questions raised against the franchise of Mindanao Islamic Telephone Company, Inc. (Mislatel).
Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon earlier claimed that Mislatel’s franchise was deemed revoked for violating its own provisions.
After reviewing the laws and jurisprudence, Assistant Solgen Marra Victoria Sardillo Salom confirmed that the phrase “‘ipso facto’ revoked” appears thrice in the franchise.
“However, as to the question of the effect of any possible violation of Section 15, we note that under Section 15, strictly speaking, such phrase does not appear,” Salom said during the hearing of the Senate committee on public services on Wednesday.
Section 15 of the franchise pertains to the transfer, lease and sale of a legislative franchise.
Drilon also claimed Mislatel violated its franchise when it transferred majority control to Mislatel Consortium, which the government named as the provisional third telecommunications player, without the approval of Congress.
“So as far as the Office of the Solicitor general is concerned, we abide by the doctrine under PLDT vs NTC (National Telecommunications Commission) that the proper remedy your honor would be through a quo warranto proceeding,” Salom said.
“This remedy your honor, we believe, is the appropriate remedy considering that there are actually factual issues that ought to to be threshed out…” she said.
Robert Beltejar of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) shared Drilon’s opinion on Mislatel’s franchise, particularly on the issue of “ipso facto” revocation provided for under Section 7 of the franchise.
Beltejar noted that “ipso facto” means “by the very fact.”
“Therefore, we are of the belief that such should be considered with respect to the status of the winning bidder. And we are of the belief that we should not move forward without considering the impact of such status in this particular endeavour,” he said.
When the committee chair, Senator Grace Poe, asked if the IBP believes that Mislatel has no franchise then, Beltejar said: “In legal effect, yes madam chair. We are of that opinion.”
But Mislatel Consortium spokesman Adel Tamano insisted that the company’s franchise was valid.
“With regard regard the validity of the franchise, just in terms of matter of fact, no quo warranto proceeding has been filed against the franchise of Mislatel. Matter of fact also, there has been no revocation by the Congress of the franchise of Misaltel,” Tamano said.
“Given those two undisputable facts that no quo warranto case has been file, there’s no revocation by Congress , the franchise of mislatel remains valid and subsisting, you honor,” he added. /je
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