• Globe granted TRO on refund of overpriced text messages

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    THE Court of Appeals (CA) has stopped the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) from ordering Globe Telecom Inc. to a refund its subscribers for overpriced text message rates.

    The reprieve came after the CA’s 16th Division in a resolution granted a petition filed by Globe by issuing a 60-day temporary restraining order (TRO) against Memorandum Circular 02-10-2011 of the NTC.

    The nine-page resolution dated September 3, 2014 was penned by Associate Justice Elisa Sempio-Diy and concurred in by Justices Ramon Bato and Rodil Zalameda.

    The CA also ordered Globe to lodge “a bond in the amount of [P500,000] to compensate for all damages, which petitioner’s affected subscribers or users of the subject telecommunications service may suffer by reason of the issuance of the injunctive relief should [it be finally decided]that petitioner-applicant is not entitled thereto.”

    The appellate court also directed to show cause with a period of 10 days from notice why the application for a writ of preliminary injunction should be granted.

    NTC was also ordered to lodge its comment, not a motion to dismiss, within 10 days.

    The CA ruling is similar to the TRO issued by the CA’s Sixth Division that mandated the NTC to cease and desist from enforcing its ruling issued on November 20, 2012 and resolution dated May 7, 2012 in connection with the case involving Digitel, which operates Sun Cellular.

    The NTC ruled that the telecommunication companies violated NTC Memorandum Circular 02-10-2011, which required 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.

    But the CA 16th Division countered that Globe “poses questions as to the validity of the NTC’s assailed issuances for the reason that they had been done without basis and without any authority on the part of the NTC to impose the penalties provided therein.”

    The NTC has said the refund would reach P7 billion once its order is effected.

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