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Urgent Motion to Request Copies of Relevant Documents and for Leave and Time to File Verified Opposition

Urgent Motion to Request Copies of Relevant Documents and for Leave and Time to File Verified Opposition

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Published by tonyocruz
TXTPower's pleading before the NTC filed May 23, 2011 regarding its opposition to the PLDT-Digitel merger
TXTPower's pleading before the NTC filed May 23, 2011 regarding its opposition to the PLDT-Digitel merger

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Published by: tonyocruz on May 23, 2011
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05/25/2012

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REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES NATIONAL TELECOMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION Quezon City

IN THE MATTER OF THE ACQUISITION BY THE PHILIPPINE LONG DISTANCE TELEPHONE COMPANY OF THE OWNERSHIP INTEREST OF JG SUMMIT HOLDINGS, INC AND THAT OF CERTAIN OTHER PARTIES IN DIGITAL TELECOMMUNICATIONS PHILIPPINES, INC. x---------------------------------------------------------x

NTC Case/Docket No. ________

URGENT MOTION TO REQUEST FOR COPIES OF RELEVANT DOCUMENTS AND FOR LEAVE AND TIME TO FILE VERIFIED OPPOSITION
Oppositor TXTPOWER.ORG INC. (hereinafter referred to as “TXTPower”), through the undersigned, respectfully states and moves:

1.

In a Notice of Hearing, the Honorable Commission has indicated

that on May 23, 2011, it will hear the request of the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (hereinafter referred to as “PLDT”) to approve its acquisition of the ownership interest of JG Summit Holdings, Inc (hereinafter referred to as the “JGS Group”) and that of certain other parties in Digital Telecommunications Philippines, Inc. (hereinafter referred to as “Digitel”). The Honorable Commission requested parties opposed to the petition to appear and file their verified opposition to the request, failing which shall be construed as a waiver of their right to be heard.

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2.

According to reports, the acquisition by PLDT of JGS Group’s

ownership interest in Digitel (hereinafter referred to as the “PLDT-Digitel Deal”) comprises the following: (i) 3,277,135,882 common shares in Digitel, representing a 51.55% equity stake; (ii) zero-coupon convertible bonds issued by Digitel and its subsidiaries to the JGS Group which are assumed to be convertible into approximately 18.6 billion shares of Digitel by 30 June 2011; and (iii) intercompany advances of P34.1 Billion made by the JGS Group and certain of such parties to Digitel and its subsidiaries.

3.

However, notwithstanding the release of the Notice of Hearing,

the Honorable Commission has not provided oppositor TXTPower and the general public with the principal documents and other records in connection with the PLDT-Digitel Deal. As much as oppositor TXTPower would like to submit its opposition to the PLDT-Digitel Deal during the hearing set by the Honorable Commission, it is unable to do.

4.

To allow it to intelligently prepare its opposition, oppositor

TXTPower respectfully moves and requests that any and all records, documents and papers in connection with the PLDT-Digitel Deal that are in the possession of the Honorable Commission be made available to the public and uploaded on the Honorable Commission's official website for viewing and downloading. Considering that the PLDT-Digitel Deal involves a commercial transaction that is imbued with public interest, the Honorable Commission owes it to all stakeholders, mobile technology consumers and the general public to disclose and make available all all records, documents and papers in connection therewith.

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5.

In any case, if only to provide the Honorable Commission with

its initial position regarding the PLDT-Digitel Deal, and without prejudice to its motion and request for leave and time to submit its verified opposition, a copy of the undersigned's blog post "PLDT-Digitel deal: What's in it for consumers?" dated March 29, 2011 is attached and made an integral part hereof as Annex “1-TXTPower”; and a copy of the speech "Citizens, netizens and consumers take on the PLDT-Digitel Deal" dated April 11, 2011 is attached and made an integral part hereof as Annex “2-TXTPower”.

6.

Further, it is important to highlight the basic and well-

established legal principle that a franchise is a mere privilege that is subject to amendment, alteration or repeal by the Congress of the Philippines when the common good so requires. [cf. Telecommunications and Broadcast Attorneys of the Philippines v. Commission on Elections, 289 SCRA 337 (1998)] Considering that the PLDT-Digitel Deal will have grave implications and ramifications on existing frequency allocations, it is imperative for all stakeholders and mobile technology consumers to be given the opportunity to raise their concerns regarding the same.

7.

As it stands, if the PLDT-Digitel Deal will be approved, PLDT

will reportedly have an estimated wireless mobile market share of 60% to 65%, thus raising serious concerns about provisions for adequate consumer services and welfare. Moreover, it has recently been reported that the JGS Group intends to sell to Japanese telecommunications giant NTT DoCoMo the 2.8% stake (out of its total 12.8% stake) it will receive from PLDT

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pursuant to the PLDT-Digitel Deal. This development highlights the need to thoroughly review said deal and its consequences.

8.

In view of the foregoing, oppositor TXTPower therefore moves

and requests that it be granted leave and time, particularly fifteen (15) days from May 23, 2011, or until June 7, 2011, within which to submit its verified opposition to the PLDT-Digitel Deal.

9.

Lastly, it has come to the knowledge of oppositor TXTPower that

certain members of the online community, such as netizens, bloggers and other commentators, intend to submit their respective letters and/or position papers regarding the PLDT-Digitel Deal. However, they view the Honorable Commission's requirement of submitting a verified pleading as an undue limitation of their fundamental right to seek redress from the Honorable Commission regarding a commercial transaction that appears to undermine consumer services and welfare. In this regard, with all due respect, it will serve the best interests of stakeholders, mobile technology consumers and the general public for the Honorable Commission to accept letters and/or position papers from all interested persons and groups whether verified or not. This is consistent with the fundamental legal principle that administrative matters should be considered and resolved without regard to technicalities of law so as to achieve substantive justice.

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PRAYER

WHEREFORE, it is respectfully prayed that:

1.

Any and all records, documents and papers in connection with

the PLDT-Digitel Deal that are in the possession of the Honorable Commission be made available to the public and uploaded on the Honorable Commission's official website for viewing and downloading; and

2.

Oppositor TXTPower be granted leave to file its verified

opposition to the PLDT-Digitel Deal and that oppositor TXTPower.org Inc. be given a period of fifteen (15) days from May 23, 2011, or until June 7, 2011, within which to submit said verified opposition.

Other reliefs just and equitable are likewise prayed for.

Quezon City, Metro Manila, May 23, 2011.

ANTHONY IAN M. CRUZ President TXTPower.org Inc.

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