MANILA – Any legal case mounted against Mislatel will be considered “baseless” after Congress affirmed the validity of its franchise, its spokesperson said Friday.
The Senate on Wednesday approved the change in ownership in Mislatel, paving the way for the consortium to rollout telco services to challenge PLDT Inc and Globe Telecom.
“We believe that with the approval of Congress, the franchise can withstand any scrutiny. Congress has said that the franchise was valid so you do not have a legal basis to file your case,” Mislatel spokesperson Adel Tamano told radio DZMM.
In opposing the measure amending Mislatel's franchise, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon had argued that Mislatel’s franchise was “ipso facto revoked” for failure to operate on its first year after it secured its license in the 1990s.
But Tamano said the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) had accepted “force majeure” or the peace and order situation in Mindanao as a valid reason for Mislatel’s failure to operate.
Only an "act of the state" can challenge Mislatel’s franchise, he said. Still, even the Solicitor General “has no basis” to file a case given the Congressional nod on Mislatel's franchise, Tamano added.
“All those technical requirements that may not have been complied with, tapos na po iyon (that's over), because Congress, in its wisdom, said 'we approve the change in controlling interest,'” Tamano said.
Despite the hurdles, the consortium remains on track to rollout its 5-year commitment, Tamano said.
In fact, Mislatel on Friday signed an agreement with the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) for its dark fiber or transmission lines provisioned for use of telecommunication providers, he said.
Mislatel will have to work on either the renewal or extension of its franchise which expires in 2022, one year after mounting its commercial operations, Tamano said.
The third telco consortium is composed of Dennis Uy's Udenna Corp and Chelsea Logistics, with state-owned China Telecom.
President Rodrigo Duterte had sought the entry of a third telco player citing poor connectivity under current providers.
Upon its selection, Mislatel pledged to provide 27 mbps on its first year and 55 mbps on its second year, bringing internet speed close to that in Singapore.