Militant lawmakers over the weekend warned telecommunications companies (telcos) that they are geared for a court battle with the latter who plan to appeal an order directing them to refund P7 billion to subscribers for the supposed overcharged 20-centavo rate per text message.
This developed after Globe Telecom and the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT)’s Smart Communications and Digital Mobile said last Friday that they would question the matter at the Court of Appeals.
“It is but right for them to return their illegal charges to subscribers including interest payments. We know that the telcos’ game plan is to bring this case to court and let it sleep there until it is forgotten, but we will not allow that,” said Rep. Neri Colmenares of Bayan Muna.
He added that they are ready to intervene even if the case reaches the Supreme Court in order to expedite the refund due consumers.
In 2011, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) ordered the Ayala-led Globe Telecom and the PLDT group to cut the rate of short message service to other networks from P1 to 80 centavos.
The NTC repeated the order in 2012 after Globe, Sun and Smart failed to comply. Last week, their motions for reconsideration were denied.
Colmenares added that the fine was a small amount to pay given that telcos earned at least P8 million per day in the past two years.
“The fine must be in an amount that would teach these telcos a lesson not to unjustly overcharge subscribers to increase their already super-profits… the P200 per day fine is a mere slap in the wrist for them,” he said.
But the amount should not go to the NTC and instead be part of the refund to subscribers, he stressed.