NOW Telecom accuses NTC of forum shopping

Published June 15, 2022, 11:13 PM

by Emmie V. Abadilla

Now Telecom Co. Inc. (NOW Telecom) lambasted regulators for going back on their approval to automatically extend the telco’s mobile license and assignment of various frequencies.

NOW Telecom slammed the National Telecommunications Commission’s request to the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) to reverse its earlier decision.

“NTC’s belated motion is considered forum shopping,” NOW Telecom stressed in its statement on Wednesday, June 15.

“If the current OIC (officer-in-charge) of ARTA will go beyond his limited powers as OIC to boldly reverse past ARTA decisions, the OIC could be held in contempt of court at CA (Court of Appeals) and suspended at Ombudsman,” according to the statement.

The telco also argued that “ARTA lost jurisdiction to act on NTC’s motion since the issue is now with CA.”

NOW Telecom’s statement came after the NTC filed a manifestation and motion before ARTA to set aside the resolution and the declaration of completeness and order of automatic approval of the company’s mobile permit and assignment of frequencies.

NTC asked ARTA, under the current administration of OIC Deputy Director General Ernesto Perez, to refrain from further encroaching upon the NTC’s exclusive jurisdiction.

The Ombudsman earlier suspended ARTA Jeremiah Belgica along with other four officials of the agency for six months due to grave misconduct, neglect of duty and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service for approving the automatic extension of NOW Telecom’s permit and frequencies.

In a resolution dated March 31, ARTA denied the motion for reconsiderations filed by NTC and DITO Telecommunications and reiterated its earlier resolution declaring the completeness of NOW Telecom’s application for provisional authority to operate cellular mobile telephone service in the 220 Mhz frequency range from 1970Mhz-1980Mhz paired with 2160Mhz to 2170Mhz and 3.6Ghz to 3.8Ghz, including 5G frequencies for mobile and fixed wireless.

“ARTA did not rule on the rights and obligations of parties, but merely resolved the issue whether the documents submitted by (NOW Telecom) are complete which will warrant an automatic approval by operation of law,” the ARTA resolution stated.