House to probe 'fraudulent calls' issue: lawmaker

Jekki Pascual, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 12 2022 04:37 PM

MANILA — Lawmakers will probe the fraudulent call issue hounding the country's 3 major telecommunications players, House Committee of Ways and Means Chair Joey Salceda said on Friday.

DITO Telecommunity, Globe Telecom and Smart Communications are exchanging accusations that revolve around the International Simple Resale calls (ISR) or calls made from overseas masked as local numbers which should have been subject to fees.

Globe and Smart are asking DITO to pay fines for supposed failure to prevent fraudulent calls passing through its network. Meanwhile, DITO filed a complaint against the 2 older telco giants with the Philippine Competition Commission, citing alleged abuse of dominant position. 

On the sidelines of an event organized by Toyota, Salceda said he has formed a technical working group to look into the matter.

"You cannot hide behind domestic for something that actually is international in character. There will be tax liabilities," said the Albay second district representative. 

DITO Chief Administrative Officer Adel Tamano said the third telco welcomed the call of Salceda for an inquiry into the ISR calls. But he asserted that there was no tax evasion issue in DITO.

"On the issue of tax evasion, most respectfully, it is the position of DITO that it is not liable for that since there is no attempt to willfully evade a tax liability and no gain on the part of DITO and, more importantly, ISR is not committed by DITO but rather by criminal syndicates," Tamano said.

PLDT Chairman Manny Pangilinan said he hoped the issue could be resolved soon. Meanwhile, Globe said DITO's fine, currently at P622 million for interconnection violation, is increasing by P2.5 million per day. 

Public policy think tank Infrawatch PH urged DITO to focus on improving services instead of pursuing "baseless" accusations.

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