Trillanes calls Dennis Uy’s 3rd telco venture ‘cronyism’

Ralf Rivas
Trillanes calls Dennis Uy’s 3rd telco venture ‘cronyism’
'As it is, it's now oozing with preferential treatment and, at worst, cronyism,' says Senator Antonio Trillanes IV

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Antonio Trillanes IV slammed Davao City-based tycoon Dennis Uy for allegedly bagging the country’s 3rd telecommunications player slot by using his close ties to President Rodrigo Duterte.

During the Senate hearing on the matter on Thursday, January 24, Trillanes questioned Uy’s qualifications to run a telco.

“As it is, it’s now oozing with preferential treatment and, at worst, cronyism,” said the senator, one of Duterte’s fiercest critics.

Uy has a diverse portfolio, with interests in oil, real estate, and hospitality. The businessman admitted that he has no experience in the telco space, but said that he can learn how to run the business.

Uy’s Udenna Corporation teamed up with China Telecommunications Corporation and won the Philippines’ 3rd telco slot. Their consortium, called Mislatel, was the lone bid qualifier.

“As a businessman, we are capable in due time to be able to learn and compete. Hindi naman ibig sabihin wala tayong experience hindi tayo puwedeng makalaban sa isang sektor (Just because I don’t have experience doesn’t mean that I cannot compete in a sector),” Uy said.

Trillanes went on to highlight that Uy donated P30 million for Duterte’s presidential campaign. Uy’s wife, Cherylyn, as well as other officials of Udenna Corporation, donated to Duterte’s campaign.

Uy confirmed he is close to Duterte as well as the President’s former aide Bong Go.

But Senator Grace Poe reminded the panel that it is not “a sin” to be friends with anyone.

Poe added, “Hindi kasalanan na mamuhunan sa isang bagay lalo na kung makakatulong ito sa taumbayan (It is not a sin to invest in something, especially if it would help the public).”

No favors

According to Uy, Mislatel went through a difficult process in getting the slot. (IN CHARTS: Udenna Corp-China Telecom’s promises)

“Mislatel went through the process of preparing for the bid for almost a year,” he said.

“Kami po ay dumaan sa butas ng karayom hangga’t mapili po kami ng National Telecommunications Commission bilang new major player sa telecom sector  (We went through the eye of a needle to be chosen by the National Telecommunications Commission as the new major player in the telecom sector).”

Uy assured the committee and the public that they did not bend the rules. He added that they will protect the interest of the country. –

Ralf Rivas

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