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Too late to pay: NTC panel denies appeal of Chavit Singson’s Sear Telecom to join 3rd telco bidding

The panel of the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) tasked to select the third telecommunications player has denied the appeal of Sear Telecom to join the bidding due to its failure to pay the P700-million participation security before the preliminary evaluation of bidding documents.

The panel of the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) tasked to select the third telecommunications player has denied the appeal of Sear Telecom to join the bidding due to its failure to pay the P700-million participation security before the preliminary evaluation of bidding documents.

In a seven-page decision released Monday (November 12), the NTC’s New Major Player Selection Committee (NMP-SC) upheld its decision disqualifying Sear Telecom from the selection of the third telco player.

The panel said the documents submitted by the consortium owned by former Ilocos Sur governor Luis “Chavit” Singson were incomplete and non-compliant with the selection rules due to the absence of the participation security.

The decision was signed by committee chair Ella Blanca Lopez, and members Teodoro Buenavista Jr., Andres Castelar Jr., Samuel Sabile and Alvin Bernard Blanco.

The panel said Sear Telecom can appeal its decision to the NTC en banc.

Sear Telecom on November 9 asked the NMP-SC to reconsider its disqualification from the selection of the third telco player and allow it to submit a manager’s check from Banco De Oro and a standby letter of credit from Korea International Bank in compliance with the participation security requirements.

The consortium had asked outgoing Information and Communications Technology acting secretary Eliseo Rio Jr
and NTC commissionee Gamaliel Cordoba for the language, terms and conditions of the letter of credit to be submitted as participation security on November 6, a day before the NMP-SC evaluated the documents submitted by aspiring third telco players.

In its motion for reconsideration, Sear Telecom said the non-submission of the participation security “does not affect the substance and validity” of its proposal since it had submitted all the other requirements asked by NTC.

It also described the letter of credit and other forms of participation security as “supporting documents that merely bolster the commitment of a Participant” in the selection process for the third telco.

“The Letter of Credit will only matter if and when the Participant fails to fulfill its commitment to comply with the requirements for the issuance of the Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN),” it said.

The NMP-SC, however, said the rules for the third telco selection were clear that participants to the bidding should submit a participation security before the initial evaluation of documents.

“The request by the Movant to submit its Participation Security after the 07 November 2018 deadline and after the Selection Packages have been opened is tantamount to a modification of its Selection Documents,” it said.

The panel added that Sear Telecom’s request for clarification regarding the participation security was filed late since the rules stated it should be submitted by October 22.

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