PASAY CITY, Philippines – Losing bidders PT&T and Sear Telecom have brought their complaints to the Senate against the country’s winning third telco Mislatel Consortium.
Sear Telecom’s chairman and president Chavit Singson argued that Mislatel still has an existing contract with them which bars Mislatel from entering into another deal.
Sear Telecom together with PT&T wants the government to disqualify Chinese-owned Mislatel from being awarded as the country’s third telco.
“From the beginning disqualified ang Mislatel dahil may kontrata sa amin ang Mislatel,” Sison said during Tuesday’s (November 27) inquiry on the matter.
On the other hand, the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) said the process of awarding the contract to the winning bidder will continue unless the court issues its decision on the complaints of the losing bidder.
However still, the agency admitted that the legal battle will surely affect or delay the entry of the third telco.
Nevertheless, DICT Undersecretary Eliseo Rio said they will still “abide by the decision of the court.”
On issues of security, Senator Grace Poe questioned National Security Adviser Secretary Hermogenes Esperon on the possible implication to national security of the reported “hijacking” incident of China Telcom on internet traffic that affects even powerful countries.
The incident is up for investigation by the National Intelligence and Coordinating Agency (NICA).
“We have read about that report. It is subject to validation on our part. We have the 90 days period to do that. The winning provisional NMP will have to be undergo a background check by the National Intelligence and Coordinating Agency,” said Esperon.
The DICT maintained that they see no threat to national security with the entry of the Chinese telecom firm in the country.
“So the threat of Chinese product, Chinese people, really operating our telecommunication are really here,” Rio said,
For its part, Mislatel assured that the rights of the Filipino people will be protected.
“We are a Filipino company. We will not allow national interest and national security to be undermined,” assured Atty. Adel Tamano, Mislatel’s spokesperson.
But Poe insisted that a thorough scrutiny on the background of the third telco should still be conducted.
“Pero iba pa rin siyempre yung mismong korporasyon ang pagmamayari ay taga ibang bansa,” said the chairperson of the Senate Committee on Public Services, Senator Poe.
Meanwhile, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV requested the presence of Mislatel’s owner Dennis Uy in the next inquiry.
Uy was a no-show in today’s Senate inquiry. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Nel Maribojoc)