National Telecommunications Commission junks motions for reconsiderations of Sear Telecom, Philippine Telephone and Telegraph Corporation

November 14, 2018

The selection committee of the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has denied the motions for reconsideration filed by Sear Telecommunications and Philippine Telephone and Telegraph Corporation (PT&T) on the disqualifications of their bids for the new telco player slot.

The committee affirmed its decision to disqualify PT&T for failure to submit its certification of technical capability from the NTC, attesting that it has the prescribed length of experience in the delivery and operation of telecommunication services.

In its ruling dated November 12, the committee also junked the appeal of Sear Telecom questioning its disqualification.

Sear Telecom alleged that the winning bidder, Mindanao Islamic Telephone Company Inc. (Mislatel), had a joint venture with Digiphil Technologies Inc. (Digiphil) to provide broadband, Internet applications and content, telecommunications and other ICT-related services.

The company claimed that Mislatel violated the exclusivity clause of their agreement when it formed a consortium with Udenna Corporation and China Telecommunications Corporation in its bid to become the third telco player.

The committee said the agreement between Mislatel and Digiphil does not constitute fraudulent or obstructive practice that might compromise the selection process of the new major player.

“The provisions on “corrupt, fraudulent, collusive and coercive practices” do not cover the relationships between and among participants or those between and among the parties to the binding bidding agreement nor to any conflicting contractual claims arising from any of such relationship. In addition, Digiphil is not even a participant in the selection process, much less a member in the binding Bidding Agreement submitted by the movant,” stated the selection committee.

Meanwhile, Sear Telecom criticized the NTC committee's decision to junk their appeal.

“Unfortunately, the NTC-SC (selection committee), in a rushed resolution, denied our motion, washed its hands and simplistically regarded our grounds as a private dispute – one that it had no jurisdiction to resolve. This ruling unmasks the NTC-SC’s insensitivity and total lack of appreciation of the level of diligence required in meticulously choosing a new NMP. The NTC-SC failed to appreciate that, although the Agreement is only between MISLATEL and DIGIPHIL, such is relevant in determining the former’s legal capacity to enter into a consortium with Udenna, Chelsea Logistics and China Telecom,” the company said in a statement.

Sear Telecom is a consortium of Tier One Communications (Tier One) and LCS Group of Companies. Digiphil is the corporate subsidiary of Tier One.

Both Sear Telecom and PT&T filed their motions for reconsideration last Friday.

They can file their appeal at a cost of PHP 10 million to the NTC en banc within three calendar days upon receipt of the denial of the motion for reconsideration.

Their petitions must be resolved by the NTC en banc within three calendar days based on records of the Selection Committee.