SC orders telco firms to comment on suit

November 06, 2018

THE Supreme Court yesterday ordered the government and telecommunication giants Philippine Long Distance Company, Smart Communications, and Globe Telecommunications to comment on a petition seeking to revoke the “Co-Use agreement” between the telco companies over the controversial 700 megahertz (MHz) broadcast frequency and several sets of telecom frequencies.

In a resolution, the SC en banc also ordered the Philippine Competition Commission, Liberty Broadcasting Network Inc, now named Tori Spectrum Telecom, Bell Telecommunications Inc., a subsidiary of Vega Telecommunications to answer the petition filed by Atty. Joseph Lemuel Baligod Baquiran and Atty. Ferdinand Tecson.

In their petition, Baquiran and Tecson stressed the 700 megahertz (MHz) broadcast frequency and several sets of telecom frequencies assigned to the telecoms companies by NTC was invalid and unconstitutional.

In their 48-page petition, they also sought the issuance of temporary restraining order to enjoin and restrain the PLDT/Smart and Globe from utilizing the 700MHz broadcast frequency and the following telecom frequencies: 2540-2545 MHz, 2580-2595 MHz, 2535-2540 and 2565-2580 MHz.

The petitioners also pleaded the SC to prohibit the NTC from bidding out or awarding some frequencies ostensibly returned by the two-telecom giants “in consideration of the approval of the “Co-Use Agreement” to any entity until the SC resolves with finality the constitutional and legal issues raised by the petitioners in this case.

Likewise, Baquiran and Tecson urged the high court to render judgment declaring as invalid the “Co-Use Agreement” between PLDT/SMART and Globe since the assignment of the 700 MHz broad frequency and the pertinent sets of telecom frequencies to San Miguel Corporation’s telecommunications unit — Liberty Broadcasting Network, Inc. and now named Tori Spectrum Telecom, Inc. — and later to Bell Telecommunications Inc., a subsidiary of Vega Telecommunications, Inc., was void and illegal.