Senators grill third telco player’s execs

November 27, 2018

THE Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) has agreed to revoke the contract granted Mislatel Corporation as the third telco player if the courts will order it.

DICT Acting Secretary Eliseo Rio said they are ready to implement any order the court will release on Mislatel’s legality after Tier One-LCS Group of Companies President/Chairman Luis “Chavit” Singson vowed to bring the issue to court.

During the second explanatory hearing of the Senate Committee on Public Services on the third telco, Singson insisted that Mislatel is disqualified from the start claiming that it has an existing contract with his company.

He also alleged that Mislatel has a debt with the National Telecommunications Commision (NTC) that was only paid by Digitel company to enable Mislatel to qualify for the bidding.

In the Senate hearing, questions were also raised on the documents submitted by the Mislatel consortium which is composed of Udenna Corporation, China Telecom, Chelsea Logistics Holding Corp., and Mindanao Islamic Telephone Holdings.

Committee chair Sen. Grace Poe asked whether Filipinos can trust Mislatel considering that China Telecom is a government corporation of China, one of the claimants of the contested parts of the South China Sea.

“In the past and these words had been reported, the company has been proven to have hijacked internet traffic,” she said in her opening statement.

Poe cited as example reports that China Telecom “deliberately rerouted traffic directed to South America, Milan and Japan through different servers.”

While claiming that she is not making accusations, the senator also wanted to know if there are people who backed government’s choice of Mislatel.

But Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) Secretary Eliseo Rio, Jr. already denied claims that the consortium of Uy and China Telecom was given a favor by the government.

Rio asserted that Mislatel consortium won because it was the only party that met the strict bidding requirements.

Earlier, Rio also tried to allay the security fears raised by lawmakers by saying that the country’s two main telecommunications firms — Smart and Globe — already used software and hardware from Chinese firms Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. and ZTE Corp.

Senator Sonny Trillanes IV insisted that Udenna Corp’s president Dennis Uy must attend the next hearing in order to define and defend the qualifications of the consortium instead of his representatives.

Uy, in his letter read by his representative Atty. Adel Tamano, cited prior engagements in skipping the hearing but promised to “fully cooperate” with the inquiry.

The validity of Mislatel’s franchise was also scrutinized in the hearing after officials from PT&T said that Mislatel’s corporate secretary Howard Evangelista admitted that they have not been operating since 1997.