Tuesday 23 October
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Oct 9, 2018 @ 15:44

NOW sues gov’t over third telco bidding rules


It’s only been a day since the National Telecommunications Commission released the bid documents for the third telco race and yet the government is already facing a legal hurdle.

Listed technology firm NOW Corp. filed Monday a civil case against the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) for last minute insertions that were not discussed in the public hearings on the selection of a new major telco. that could break the PLDT-Globe duopoly.

NOW ran to the Manila Regional Trial Court to ask for a 20-day temporary restraining order against the bidding as it questioned the P14-P24 billion performance security, P700 million participation security and the P10 million non-refundable appeal fee, which were inserted as new requirements for entities vying for the third telco slot.

These new requirements not only violate existing laws, but are onerous, confiscatory and potentially extortionary, NOW said.

“Now is suing NTC to protect the interest of its public shareholders and President Rodrigo Duterte from any suspicion that he is complicit to the money making schemes in the TOR [terms of reference] for the third telco,” said NOW president and CEO Mel Velarde.

Velarde said the company prefers President Duterte to receive all the bidding documents on Nov. 7 and decide which entity deserves to become the third telco player.

The case was filed on the same day NOW bought bid documents for the government’s third telco initiative,

“We will refer the matter to the Office of the Solicitor General,” NTC Deputy Commissioner Edgardo V. Cabarios said.

The court scheduled a hearing on Wednesday, Oct. 10.

The government wants to name the third telco by December. Will this case affect that target? Stay tuned.

Besides Now, Dennis Uy’s Udenna Corp., the joint venture of businessman Chavit Singson’s LSC Group of Companies and TierOne Communications, and Norway’s Telenor Group purchased bid documents from the NTC.

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