Mislatel insists franchise is valid in Senate third telco hearing

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 30 2019 11:19 AM | Updated as of Jan 30 2019 12:50 PM

MANILA – Mislatel, the consortium chosen by government to establish the third telco, told a Senate hearing on Wednesday that its franchise was valid unless challenged in court or revoked by Congress.

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said during the last hearing that Mislatel's franchise was deemed revoked for failure to comply with its terms.

Mislatel spokesman Adel Tamano said a "quo warranto" proceeding was needed to challenge the franchise. During the last hearing, it was revealed that a company, also called Mislatel, is the holder of the franchise that was granted in 1998.

The Mislatel consortium includes China Telecom and tycoon Dennis Uy's Udenna Corp and Chelsea Logistics.

"No quo warranto proceeding has been filed against the franchise of Mislatel and there has been no revocation by the Congress of the franchise of Mislatel," Tamano said.

"Without going to the legal matters, there has been no positive act that would revoke the existence of the franchise of Mislatel," he said.

Dirlon also earlier argued that Mislatel's failure to inform lawmakers about the change in its ownership could be grounds for the franchise revocation.

Tamano argued that there was no direct sales of shares and Mislatel CEO Nicanor Escalante acquired controlling interest via stock subscription.

Department of Information Communications and Technology officer-in-charge Eliseo Rio said there were other “consummated deals” of the same nature wherein the Congress did not intervene.

Rio cited PLDT’s acquisition of Digital Telecoms, Globe Telecom’s acquisition of Bayantel and Globe and Smart’s acquisition of other four telcos as examples.

“What we are saying is that, if we are going to do this, be strict with Mislatel, that would create a ripple in the whole telecommunication industry,” Rio said.

Infrawatch PH convenor Terry Ridon, a resource person during the hearing said he supported Drilon's position. 

Mislatel "clearly violated its franchise" said lawyer Robert Beltejar, who represented the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) during the hearing.