Court approves consolidation of PLDT, Globe petitions vs PCC

Chrisee Dela Paz
Court approves consolidation of PLDT, Globe petitions vs PCC
The Court of Appeals approves Globe Telecom's urgent motion to consolidate its petition with that of PLDT – days after it junked the telco's appeal to stop gov't review of the buyout deal

MANILA, Philippines – Globe Telecom Incorporated and PLDT Incorporated are now jointly seeking a court order against the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) to preserve the P69.1-billion buyout deal of the telecommunication assets of San Miguel Corporation (SMC).

This is after the Court of Appeals (CA) approved Globe’s urgent motion to consolidate its petition with that of PLDT, said Globe general counsel Froilan Castelo in a media briefing in Taguig City on Thursday, August 4.

Globe’s urgent motion for consolidation came a few days after the CA 6th Division junked the telco’s request to stop PCC from reviewing the deal. 

The CA 6th Division had denied Globe’s plea, saying the telco failed to show proof that the PCC review would cause “irreparable injury.”

PCC: Ploy to forum shop

Meanwhile, PLDT’s case before the CA 12th Division is still pending.

On July 28, the CA 6th Division had approved the consolidation of the Globe and PLDT cases, saying the request is “consistent with Section 1, Rule 31 of the Rules of Court.”

The PCC, in its opposition letter on July 29, said the consolidation is “a ploy to forum shop,” pointing out that Globe’s timing is off.

“Try hard as they might, the petitioners (Globe and PLDT) in the cases sought to be consolidated cannot deny that they have been closely coordinating their actions ever since, as evidenced by the simultaneous filing of the separate petitions on the same date, July 12, 2016,” the PCC told the CA.

But Castelo pointed out that the consolidation of cases is recognized by law.

“It’s disappointing that they said that because the consolidation is recognized by the rules of court. PLDT and Globe have the same issues but we have different arguments,” he said on the sidelines of the briefing.

The situation stems from PLDT and Globe’s buyout of SMC’s telco arm Vega Telecom, a deal which would give them access to its prized 700 MHz band.

The PCC decided to review the deal to see if it were in consumer interest. It then rejected both PLDT and Globe’s initial transaction reports, which the two firms have since resubmitted.

All 3 players met on July 8, for a dialogue. Following the meeting, the PCC maintained its position that the acquisition “is not deemed approved.” (READ: PCC, telcos meet to discuss San Miguel telco buyout)

But the telcos stood their ground, saying the deal is already “deemed approved” and “may no longer be challenged” by the PCC.

Meanwhile, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has approved the frequency co-use arrangement between Smart, Globe, PLDT, and SMC’s Bell Telecommunications Incorporated. – Rappler.com

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