If he has his way, President Rodrigo Duterte does not want any legal obstacle on the selection of Mindanao Islamic Telephone Co. Inc. (Mislatel) being the third telecommunications player and the franchise should be fully operational this year.
Duterte pointed out that the courts should not issue any temporary restraining orders for the projects of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), including the third telco player as this would derail the necessary development in telecommunications that our country needs.
Meanwhile, DICT Secretary Eliseo Rio assured the President that there would be no further hindrance in the entry of Mislatel as the third telco player by mid-year despite there were some questions before the courts.
The DICT Chief said that all DICT projects are good to go, explaining there were no court injunctions (yet), but a petition questioning the selection of Mislatel is something that DICT could handle.
Marlon Anthony Tonson, who claimed to be private citizen from Cainta, Rizal filed a petition-in-intervention before the Supreme Court on Dec. 17, asking the high court to undo the selection process and re-apply fairly Memorandum Circular 09-09-18, the guidelines governing the selection of the third telco player saying it put in place “anti-competitive obstacles.”
He wanted to intervene in the petition filed by Philippine Telegraph and Telephone (PT&T) Corp. against the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), seeking to stop the selection of Mislatel as third telco player.
The petitioner stressed that the fees imposed under the memorandum circular constituted barriers to genuine competition, in violation of the constitutional policy and statutory provisions on free competition.
But the President warned that the filing of injunction against any government project has also become a source of corruption and also asked Rio to ensure there will be no corruption in the operation of the third telco player.
As of this posting, The Philippine Business and News tried to get further comment from DICT Secretary Rio on hisstand on the recent pronouncement of President Duterte that he doesn’t like TRO on the third telco as this would create an impression that the Executive Branch of the government is poaching at the domain of the Judiciary and also if he would rather let the SC decide on the petition. But since Rio is out of town now on official business trip, we will await for his reply to our questions.