• Court of Appeals rejects NTC plea to lift TRO on text refund


    THE Court of Appeals (CA) has refused to rule on an appeal filed by the National Telecommunications Commission asking the tribunal to lift its order halting NTC’s directive to telecommunications firms or telcos to refund their subscribers some P7 billion for allegedly excessive short message service (SMS) charges.

    In a November 4, 2014 decision penned by Associate Justice Maria Elisa Sempio Diy and concurred in by Associate Justices Romeo Barza and Rodil Zalameda, the CA’s Special 17th Division denied “the NTC’s prayer for the lifting/ dissolution of the Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) pursuant to [its]September 3, 2014 resolution for being premature.”

    The CA earlier mandated the NTC to cease and desist from enforcing its ruling issued on November 20, 2012 and resolution dated May 7, 2012, which ruled that the telcos violated NTC Memorandum Circular 02-10-2011, which required the telcos, such as Digitel, Globe and Smart Communications Inc., to reduce their interconnection charge to P0.15 per off-net SMS from the then prevailing P0.35.

    The refund would reach P7 billion once their order was effected, the NTC said.

    Last September 3, Globe Telecom Inc. obtained a TRO with the appellate court prohibiting the NTC from imposing its order.

    Two other telcos, Smart and Digital, had each obtained the same TRO.

    The TRO aimed is to prevent any irreparable injury to Globe should its petition be granted on its merits, and to prevent the petition questioning the refund.

    The CA also required Globe to post a P500,000 bond.


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