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Mislatel fails to submit annual franchise report, says House panel

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By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN

The Dennis Uy-China Telecom consortium has reportedly failed to submit its reportorial prerequisite required under the conditions of its existing congressional franchise.

In a letter of submitted by House committee on legislative franchises chair Franz “Chicoy” Alvarez to National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) chief Gamaliel Cordoba, the Mindanao Islamic Telephone Company, Inc. (MISLATEL) which is part of Uy’s Mislatel Consortium, “has failed to diligently submit the annual report to Congress.”

One provision of MISLATEL’s franchise under Section 19 of Republic Act 8627 requires the company to submit an annual report to Congress.

“The grantee shall submit an annual to the Congress of the Philippines on its compliance with the terms and conditions of its franchise an on its operations within 60 days from the end of every year,” the provision read.

However, Alvarez stressed that the consequence of the company’s non-compliance “and does not appear to be a revocation of MISLATEL’s franchise.”

But Deputy Minority Leader Alfredo Garbin countered Alvarez’s pronouncement, saying the company must submit an annual report “to see whether there is this transfer of shares, especially controlling shares.”

Garbin stressed that under the 1987 Constitution, any transfer of controlling shares from any company which was granted legislative franchise should need congressional concurrence.

“Kapag may transfer ng controlling shares, it need the concurrence of Congress. Yun ang titingnan ng committee on franchise,” said Garbin.

Garbin warned that if there was a transfer of controlling shares of MISLATEL to different entities or corporation without a congressional approval, this could result to the revocation of its franchise.

MISLATEL has been accused of violating the rules of the selection committee when it partnered with the Uy-led triumvirate of Udenna Corporation/Chelsea Logistics/China Telecom to form the Mislatel Consortium and participated in the bidding, without disclosing the subsistence of a valid contract and legally binding undertakings that prevents it from doing so.

Sear Telecoms, the company of former Ilocos Sur Gov. Luis “Chavit” Singson stressed that the Dennis Uy-China Telecom joint venture violated the rules when it partnered with the MISLATEL.

Garbin stressed that MISLATEL has a commitment to submit an annual report after it was granted legislative franchise by Congress in October 1997.

“That is their commitment when franchise was issued on them, na taon-taon magsa-submit ka ng report including of the document on the general information sheet sa Securities and Exchange Commission. Tinitingnan ‘yan palagi ng committee on franchise,” said Garbin.