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PCC seeks review of court ruling on SMC's telco assets.

The Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) wants the Supreme Court (SC) to review the decision of a lower court after the latter made a mistake by deeming the controversial telco deal approved, a top official said.

In a press briefing yesterday, Commissioner Johannes Benjamin R. Bernabe said that the PCC filed on December 11 an appeal under rule 45 of the rules of court. Rule 45 pertains to Appeal by Certiorari to the Supreme Court, which essentially asks the SC to review the decision of a lower court.

He said this stems from the recent decision of the 12th division of the Court of Appeals.

In an October ruling, the appeals court affirmed the P69-billion buyout made by Globe Telecom, Inc. and PLDT Inc. for the telco assets of San Miguel Corp. This barred the competition watchdog from pursuing a comprehensive review of the deal in spite of possibly anti-competitive concerns.

'Yesterday, we filed our appeal to the Supreme Court that stemmed from the decision of the Court of Appeals 12th division. Suffice to say, we filed our appeal under rule 45 of the rules of court,' Bernabe said.

'We are alleging that the Court of Appeals was in error in deciding the transaction is deemed approved,' he added.

Secondly, he said that the CA was in error 'in not affording deference' to PCC's determination that the telcos' notification is insufficient in so far as the watchdog's memorandum circulars are concerned.

The circulars were a subject of debate among the parties involved, especially after the telcos themselves considered that the deal was 'deemed approved' based on the same circulars - an allegation which PCC contested.

This comes as the government is currently preparing for the entry of a third telco player, which authorities say could be the China Telecom Corp., a state run company. Because of current rules restricting foreign ownership, the Chinese firm has to partner with a local company

While the government said that other countries are welcome to bid, China - the Philippines newfound ally - is being courted for the job. PCC officials said they are not yet made aware of any transaction for the third player. /jpv

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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:Dec 12, 2017
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