Duopoly stunt miffs antitrust body


The government’s competition watchdog called out the country’s telco duopoly for finalizing a consequential multibillion deal amid pending cases in court.

The Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) warned PLDT Inc. and Globe Telecom that they were still not exempted from the competition law, a day after the industry giants made their final installment for the P70-billion telco assets of San Miguel Corp. (SMC).

“Completing the payment for the telco assets is a move that unduly preempts the forthcoming rulings of the [Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals],” PCC said in a statement.

PCC was quiet on what its next steps would be.

The telcos paid SMC about P13 billion on Tuesday, the last tranche of the deal launched over a year ago amid protests from the newly formed watchdog. Armed with implementing rules fresh off the legislative machine, the PCC sought a relief from the highest court last April after a review of the deal was blocked by the Court of Appeals.

Noting its impact on public interest, PCC insisted it had a right to review the deal “to safeguard consumer welfare over the long term.”

The telcos had argued that the deal should be “deemed approved,” citing the PCC’s own memorandum circulars supposedly already in effect by then.

(Article from business.inquirer.net)

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