NOW Telecom loses bid vs contentious 3rd telco provisions

Ralf Rivas
The Manila Regional Trial Court says NOW Telecom may have caused its own request to become moot since it said it still wants to join the bidding for the 3rd major telecommunications player slot

SCRAPPED. The Manila Regional Trial Court denies NOW Telecom's plea for an injunction on certain provisions of the selection criteria for the country's 3rd major telecommunications player. Photo from Mel Velarde's Facebook page

MANILA, Philippines – The bidding for the 3rd major communications player slot will push through as scheduled and without changes to its rules, as a court denied the appeal of NOW Telecom questioning certain provisions of the selection criteria.

Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 42 junked NOW Telecom’s plea for an injunction on certain provisions of the bidding process. (WATCH: Rappler Talk: NOW Telecom’s bid for 3rd telco slot)

NOW Telecom claimed the terms of reference issued by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) and the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) had “money-making schemes.”

The 3rd telco aspirant complained that the P700 million participation security, P14 to P24 billion performance security, and P10 million non-refundable appeal fee were “onerous, confiscatory, and potentially extortionary.” (LIST: Potential 3rd telco bidders)

But the DICT asserted that these fees ensure the bidder has sufficient financial muscle to undertake such a capital-intensive venture.

As it so appears that Plaintiff has yet to meet, at the time of the hearing for the writ, the financial yardstick necessary for it to participate in the Selection Process as a new major player,” the decision reads.

The court also said that NOW Telecom may have caused its own request to become moot since it indicated that it wants to participate in the bidding process on Wednesday, November 7.

“[I]t cannot, in the same breath, refuse to comply with the mandates of the subject circular,” said the court.

NOW Telecom said in a Rappler Talk interview that it prefers to present its proposal to President Rodrigo Duterte himself and let him pick the next major telco player.

“The case will continue to trial where NOW intends to prosecute its rights over the subject matter. The company is confident that its entitlements are guaranteed by law and legal proceedings including those in the Supreme Court,” NOW Telecom said in a statement.

NOW Telecom added that it would exhaust all legal remedies to question the provisions.

The same court previously junked the company’s request for a temporary restraining order on the bidding process.

Despite the rulings not going its way, NOW Telecom said the “fight is not over yet.” – Rappler.com

Ralf Rivas

A sociologist by heart, a journalist by profession. Ralf is Rappler's business reporter, covering macroeconomy, government finance, companies, and agriculture.