Mislatel franchise was not revoked, says DICT acting chief

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 26 2019 08:27 PM | Updated as of Jan 26 2019 09:40 PM

The franchise of Filipino-Chinese consortium Mislatel was not revoked, said Eliseo Rio, acting secretary of the Department of Information and Communications Technology, Saturday. File/George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA—The franchise of Filipino-Chinese consortium Mislatel was not revoked, the head of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) said Saturday.

The statement came after Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon on Thursday said Mislatel's franchise was "deemed revoked" for its failure to comply with the franchise's conditions.

In a Facebook post Saturday, DICT acting secretary Eliseo Rio said this was "far from the truth."

"First, NTC (National Telecommunications Commission), during the pre-qualification period, wrote Congress if the franchise of Mislatel is still valid, and got the answer that on record, their franchise has never been revoked," he said.

"In other words, since there is no declaration of revocation by competent authorities, NTC has no right to consider the franchise as revoked as the presumption of regularity and the validity of the franchise must be respected."

Rio said the franchise can only be revoked should the state file a quo warranto petition against Mislatel.

"To date, no quo warranto proceeding has been filed by the State against Mislatel," he said.

"The truth is that so many telcos may have in one way or another 'violated' their franchises, but without due process, none of these franchises have been actually revoked."

Drilon alleged that Mislatel violated the conditions of its franchise when it failed to operate a year after it was granted the license and when it opted not to seek lawmakers' approval when it sold majority of its shares to 3 businessmen.

Mislatel received its congressional franchise to operate in Mindanao in 1998, but the company has yet to start operations a decade since. Company president Nicanor Escalante said "peace and order" concerns scuttled plans to set up operations in Parang, Maguindanao.