PCC tells CA: Consolidation a 'ploy to forum shop'
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) asked the Court of Appeals (CA) to deny Globe Telecom Inc.'s plea to consolidate its petition with that of PLDT Inc., asking the court to stop the commission from reviewing the P69-billion San Miguel telco buyout deal.
Globe on July 20 filed an urgent motion for the immediate consolidation of its petition with that of PLDT on stopping PCC’s review of the buyout deal – 5 days after the CA 6th Division had already denied its petition.
"The similarity of the issues and factual antecedents presented in petitions filed separately by Globe and PLDT is immediately apparent," Globe had said in a statement.
But for PCC, the consolidation of cases is just a "ploy to forum shop." (READ: Battle lines drawn over San Miguel's telco buyout deal)
The newly-established quasi-judicial commission pointed out that Globe’s "instant motion is but a ploy resorted to by petitioner (Globe) as a result of the adverse resolution of the Honorable Court's 6th Division, and an attempt to forum shop for a more favorable ruling by the 12th Division."
In an opposition letter of the PCC filed by the Office of the Solicitor General to the CA dated Friday, July 29, the commission called Globe's act as "a mere subterfuge to cover up [its] original intention to shop a favorable forum."
To recall, the CA had denied Globe’s plea due to lack of proof to show that the PCC review will cause possible irreparable injury." The appellate court ordered PCC to comment on the merits of Globe’s petition. (READ: PLDT, Globe shares down as PCC keeps an eye on SMC telco deal)
Meanwhile, PLDT’s case before the CA 12th Division is still pending.
The CA 12th Division on July 19 issued a resolution, directing PCC to file a comment within a non-extensible 10 days from notice to say why the court should not grant PLDT’s petition. (READ: New Internet speed minimum throwback to '90s?)
'Prejudice rights of PCC'
In its opposition letter, PCC said the consolidation of Globe’s and PLDT’s cases "will prejudice the rights of [PCC] and may result into a procedural absurdity." (READ: The future of 700 MHz band remains unclear)
"This scenario cannot be countenanced," PCC said in the letter, stating that the CA 6th Division's Resolution denying Globe’s application for an injunctive writ "remains in full force and effect" until it is set aside, vacated, or modified by the same division, or until the resolution is reversed on appeal.
"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," PCC told the CA.
PLDT and Globe on July 12 filed separate petitions before the CA to stop the competition watchdog from reviewing the buyout of San Miguel’s telco assets last May 30. (READ: San Miguel's sale of telco business: Will consumers benefit?)
This was after the commission had rejected the initial transaction notification of PLDT, Globe, and San Miguel, saying it lacks information and thus is "not deemed approved."
Globe and PLDT had argued that "there is no ground for PCC to prevent the transaction from being deemed approved." – Rappler.com