Possibility to grant Mislatel franchise eyed

MANILASenator Grace Poe on Wednesday raised the possibility that the Senate can cure the defects and the questions surrounding the validity of the franchise of the Mindanao Islamic Telephone Company, Inc. (Mislatel), a part of the consortium that bagged the third telco slot.

In an ambush interview after the Senate public services committee hearing on the country's third telco, Poe said some legal luminaries suggested that the Senate can cure the infirmity in the Mislatel franchise by granting it.

Some legal minds are saying the Senate can actually cure it by granting the franchise or accepting the franchise. So, I have to consult the members (of the committee) and let them weigh in, she said.

I strongly believe that the Congress really has the authority to either revoke or grant the franchise, so if we go by that, then certainly we can probably, we would be able to grant them authority, she added.

It was revealed in the previous hearing that Mislatel's franchise is deemed revoked after the firm failed to comply with the conditions of the franchise.

The firm failed to operate within one year after the acquisition of the franchise and failed to seek congressional approval when it sold majority of its shares in 2015.

Mislatel, however, argued that only a quo warranto petition can cause a revocation of its franchise.

Poe said while the country needs fast and reliable internet and telecommunications, the new major player might encounter legal entanglements later on, especially with the legality of its franchise.

Bagamat pwede namin ibigay sa kanila, pwede itong makwestyon sa korte. Iniisip ko rin na gusto ng ating mga kababayan na magkaroon ng mas mabilis na internet at mas mura papayagan natin yan (Although we could grant them the franchise, this could be questioned in court. I'm also taking into account that our countrymen would want to have faster and cheaper internet, that's why we would allow it [Mislatel's franchise]), she said.

Poe's panel is expected to release its committee report next week. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency

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