Filipino Senate President Franklin Drilon has underlined that the government’s newly-created antitrust watchdog the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) has the power to halt the joint buyout of telecoms assets belonging to San Miguel Corp (SMC) by the country’s dominant operators Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) and Globe Telecom, if it considers that the deal ‘would encourage or result in a monopoly’. Local press quote Drilon as saying that under the Philippine Competition Act, the PCC is empowered to review ‘whether a particular agreement or a particular practice would have monopolistic tendencies,’ where such a deal could ultimately prove ‘prejudicial to public interest and to the expansion of the economy and business’.
The senator points specifically to the recent PHP69.1 billion (USD1.48 billion) agreement between the parties for the sale of telecoms assets and frequencies held by SMC vehicle Vega Telecom. ‘This is now subject to the review of the Philippine Competition Commission to see whether there is a monopoly or duopoly which prevent the coming-in of other players that therefore kill competition,’ Drilon said. PLDT and Globe earlier insisted that the PCC lacks the authority to cancel their joint acquisition, which was announced last month. According to a report from The Inquirer, the two operators have informed the PCC that the notices they respectively filed underwent thorough review, did not contain any false information and were sufficient and compliant under the law.