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Singson group, PT&T appeal third telco bid

SEAR Telecom Group and the Philippine Telegraph and Telephone Corp. (PT &T) appealed their respective disqualifications from third telco selection process before the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) on Friday, insisting that their bids were qualified.

Led by former Ilocos Sur Governor Chavit Singson, SEAR Telecom claimed it is the best consortium to provide better telecom service because of its acquisition of a modern satellite communications, and not Mislatel Consortium—the country’s provisional third telecom player.

“Kami lang ang pwedeng magbaba ng presyo kasi kami lang ang nakakuha ng modern satellite. Apat lang iyan sa buong mundo,” Singson told reporters at the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) headquarters in Quezon City.

“This will be launched by Boeing in California by August [next year], iikot ’yun. Pagdating sa Pilipinas, it will be stationary. Nationwide [coverage] po kami agad,” he said.

“That is the only way to serve the unserved. It will be 20 times faster than our usual bandwidth. Kaya mas mabilis na Wi-Fi connection natin, makikinabang ang buong Pilipinas.”

Benjamin Henares of PT&T’s business development unit, on the other hand, argued that the grounds of their appeal are compelling enough for them to get back in the game.

Henares, however, did not disclose the specifics of their case.

PT&T was disqualified for failing to include a Certificate of Technical Capability in its bid documents.

Breach of contract

Singson also claimed that Mislatel Consortium does not deserve to be named the provisional third major telco player since a member of the consortium—Mislatel—has contractual obligations with Digiphil which is a part of SEAR Telecom Group.

Singson was referring to the joint venture agreement entered into by the Mislatel with Digiphil—subsidiary of TierOne Communications also of SEAR Telecom Group—back in May 30 this year which states that both parties will serve affordable and reliable access to broadband, value added services, internet applications and content, telecom and other ICT-related services.

The same joint venture agreement also states that Mislatel will be Digiphil’s exclusive partner in utilization of frequencies, permits, licenses or authorizations that may be approved through the application or petitions mentioned herein, except of both parties consent to utilization thereof by third parties.

“Mislatel misled the public and the NTC. Kung baga sa mag asawa [na kinasal na], nag asawa ulit [ng iba]. Nakapirma na [itong Mislatel] sa amin. Naglaro sila ng apoy, masusunog po sila diyan.  Fraud ‘yun. Ground ‘yan for disqualification,” Singson pointed out.

The Mislatel group is comprised of the Mindanao Islamic Telephone Company (Mislatel), Udenna Corp., Chelsea Logistics Corp., and China Telecom.

The executives behind the entities comprising the Mislatel group led by Davao-based businessman Dennis Uy made a P35 million contribution to the campaign kitty of President Rodrigo Duterte during the 2016 presidential election.

“Nung tinatanong na namin ang Mislatel, ‘Bakit niyo kinakausap si Dennis Uy?’ hindi na kami sinasagot. Nung naramdaman ko na may kalokohan, kumuha na rin kami ng ibang franchise. Kaya kumpleto kami ng requirements at nakasama kami sa bidding,” Singson added.

Singson also lamented that Mislatel was so ungrateful to the SEAR group in the first place because SEAR group even paid its debts to NTC to the tune of at least P162 million.

“Meron kaming kopya ng mga resibo,” Singson said.

“Alam ito ng NTC [na may joint venture sila with Digiphil] kasi sumulat kami at nareceive nila. ‘Di lang kami pinansin [ng NTC],” Singson added.

SEAR Telecom was disqualified for failing to include the P700-million participation security in its bid documents.

Singson brought a manager’s check worth P700 million on Friday, but the NTC did not accept it pending resolution of the appeal and also because it should have been submitted to the NTC’s Selection Committee.—VDS, GMA News