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Singson group gives up appeal for 3rd telco bid, says NTC unlikely to be impartial, judicious

Sear Telecom — the consortium of TierOne Communications International and Chavit Singson-led LCS Group of Companies — on Wednesday said it will no longer appeal the decision of the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to disqualify the group from the third telco selection process.

"We're not keen on filing the appeal," LCS Group of Companies President and Chairman Luis Chavit Singson said in an interview.

His remarks came two days after the NTC denied its motion for reconsideration (MR) regarding the group's disqualification in the third telco selection.

The NTC denied MR appealed Sear's disqualification during the selection process on November 7, as the NTC said it lacked the required the P700-million "Participation Security."

Singson earlier presented a manager's check worth P700 million before the NTC during his appeal on the disqualification.

"The Consortium feels that, in any event, the NTC will not rule on the appeal in an impartial and judicious manner," Sear Telecom Legal Counsel Raoul Creencia said in a separate text message.

Asked to elaborate further on this, Creencia declined to comment.

GMA News Online reached out to NTC Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba and Deputy Commissioner Edgardo Cabarios for comment, but no response has been received as of this posting.

Aside from Sear, the NTC also disqualified the MR filed by Philippine Telegraph & Telephone Corp. (PT&T) due to its non-submission of a Certificate of Technical Capability.

With this, only Mislatel — the consortium of Dennis Uy's Udenna Corp., Chelsea Holdings Logistics Corp., Mindanao Islamic Telephone Co., and state-owned China Telecommunications Corp. — remained as the lone qualified bidder on November 7.

Mislatel was declared as the provisional third telco of the Philippines on the same day, after it committed a nationwide coverage of 84.01 percent, a minimum speed of 55 megabits per second (Mbps), and a capex/opex of P27 billion in its fifth year of operations.

According to Singson, there are no plans to team up with Mislatel which has an existing contract with DigiPhil Technology, a subsidiary of TierOne Communications.

"Not interested to team up with Mislatel. Besides, Mislatel already has a contract with us and should not have partnered with somebody else," he said.

Sear last week said it plans to sue Mislatel which still has contractual obligations with DigiPhil, making it ineligible to partner with other firms.

Creencia said the group has yet to file the charges, but it intends to do so soon.

"Not yet as of today, but the Consortium intends to pursue it... We will announce once the case/s is/are filed," he elaborated.

For its part, Mislatel on Saturday denied the claims, claiming it has no contractual obligations with Sear as the contract was terminated on October 5 this year.

This was countered by Sear, which said Mislatel has no right to unilaterally terminate the contract. — MDM, GMA News