House Bill No. 78 can give way to China Telecom to become the third major telco in the guise of DITO Telecommunity.
Approved by the House of Representatives on March 10, the bill amends the Public Service Act to exclude telcos as public utilities.
Under the Constitution, public utilities must at least be 60% Filipino-owned.
The bill implies that China Telecom can completely own the third telco DITO Telecommunity, as pointed out by Former Supreme Court Justice Antonio Carpio, which he classified as unconstitutional.
“A telco must be 60% Filipino-owned for two separate and distinct constitutional requirements: first, a telco utilizes a natural resource owned by the State; and second, a telco is a public utility,” shared Carpio in his published column.
He explained that the framers of the Constitution (Section 11, Article XI) intended public utilities to cover telco companies.
Public utilities are essential services to the public for a fee, which qualifies a telco even as a corporation.
Under Sec. 2, Article VII, telcos, composed of using radio frequencies, are partly created with natural resources, and therefore must be owned by the State.
“This is a clear acknowledgment that radio frequencies are natural resources owned by the State, and can be utilized only by a corporation that is 60% Filipino-owned,” Carpio stressed.