Disqualified bidders still have chance at 3rd telco position -- Rio

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 8) — Two telecommunications companies may still have a chance at the third major telecommunications spot after being disqualified from Tuesday's bidding, a ranking government official said.

Bidders Philippine Telegraph and Telephone Corp. (PT&T) and SEAR Telecoms-- the consortium of Luis Chavit Singson, TierOne Communications, and a few foreign companies-- were disqualified from the selection process for missing certain documentary requirements.

PT&T lacked a certificate of technical capacity, which should be provided by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), while SEAR lacked participation certificates of members of their consortium. They have until Monday to file their respective motions for reconsideration (MR) to the NTC.

In an interview with CNN Philippines On The Record, Acting Telecommunications Secretary Eliseo Rio said that these companies still have a chance to nab the provisional third major telecommunications spot from Mindanao Islamic Telephone Company (Mislatel) should they pass two steps.

"If [the NTC] grants their motion then it will now be opened and compared to the one that is now the present provisional new telco. And if they are better, they will become the new major player," Rio said, referring to one of the requirements in the selection process-- a sealed envelope that has the points computed by the NTC on the company's capabilities based on the committed output of the telco companies.

Mislatel, which entered as a consortium with Davao-based businessman Dennis Uy's Udenna Corporation and Chinese government-run company China Telecom, bagged 456.80 points. The maximum points that could be granted is 500.

The disqualified bidders, should their MRs push through, need a score higher than Mislatel's.

"If their points in that field, second folder is lower than that then they will no longer push [for the MR] because it will be useless. They will win in their motion but they will lose in the final opening," Rio said.

Rio stood by the terms of reference on how to select the third major telco player that his department, the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) had published after several consultations with stakeholders, and called it "ironclad."

PT&T had on Wednesday withdrew their case that they had filed against the NTC, which asked for an injunction of the bidding for the NTC allegedly withholding their required certificate.

Because the bidding had occurred despite the pending request for court intervention, the case has been rendered moot.

Speaking briefly to reporters after the bidding Tuesday, a lawyer from the Luis Chavit Singson group said that SEAR will deliberate on its next move.