Globe expresses its deep concern over the serious adverse effects of the PLDT-Digitel deal on free competition and pro-consumerism. The deal is now pending with the National Telecommunications Commission.
It is unfortunate, however, that the internal counsel of PLDT, as quoted by media many times, claims that the opposition of Globe is motivated by its desire to get radio frequency spectrum “free of charge.” “Freebie,” PLDT cries. This response of PLDT’s counsel surprises Globe because such response is an indirect admission of a violation of law. Implied from PLDT’s response is an incriminating admission that PLDT and its group (Smart, Cure and, now, Digitel) are in the business of buying and selling radio frequencies.
Radio frequency spectrum, a scarce public resource, is owned by the State and not by telcos, and the latter have no right to sell or to buy these frequencies (See Article 1, and Section 2, Article XII, Philippine Constitution and Republic Act 7925). All telcos are never owners of radio frequencies but mere temporary assignees thereof by the State. These important radio frequencies are assigned by the State to worthy applicants free of charge, except that the assignees of these frequencies have the duty to pay the annual spectrum user’s fee for the temporary or borrowed use, not as purchase price, of these frequencies. It is not right then for PLDT to insinuate that Globe wants to get these frequencies for free because in fact they are freely assigned by the State. Conversely, by said statement, PLDT and its group (Smart, Cure and Digital) imply that they bought from somebody their present 3G frequencies. PLDT therefore should show to the public any official receipts evidencing their purchase of their present 3G frequencies. But they cannot produce these official receipts because these radio frequencies are “beyond the commerce of man” and it is illegal for anybody to buy and sell frequencies.
Also and at last, PLDT saw the light. After PLDT maintained poker-faced that the public is not privy to the document of sale, it grudgingly disclosed to the NTC the sale document evidencing the PLDT-Digitel deal, but only after Globe strenuously asked for its production in the name of public transparency, with a warning to have the PLDT-Digitel deal pending in the NTC dismissed if applicants PDLT and Digitel do not produce the written document of sale. Monopolistic arrogance has yielded to public clamor.
Third, PLDT accuses Globe of malice when the latter opposed the PLDT-Digitel deal by seeking legal reliefs from the National Telecommunications Commission. Again, this is monopolistic arrogance rearing its ugly head. The right to access and seek legal reliefs from the courts or quasi-judicial bodies is a perfect right granted by law. PLDT, thus, is out of tune when it accuses Globe of malice when Globe was simply exercising its legal right in law — to uphold free competition and pro-consumerism.
ATTY. RODOLFO A. SALALIMA
Counsel for Globe