Emerald Investments Inc., a shareholder of Now Telecom Inc., said Thursday said it filed a criminal complaint before the Commission on Elections against three officials of the National Telecommunications Commission for alleged violation of Fair Election Act and the Omnibus Election Code.
Named respondents in the complaint were NTC chief of adjudication division Nilo Lozada, chief of radio spectrum planning division Roberto Tolentino and head of regulation branch Imelda R. Walcien for alleged violation of the provisions of Republic Act No. 9006, or the Fair Elections Act.
Emeral said in the complaint-affidavit filed on April 19 that “any threat of suspension or cancellation of Now Telecom’s radio frequencies will not only disrupt its operations and jeopardize its business, but will also cause undue prejudice to its shareholders, including Emerald.”
Emerald holds a 12.8-percent interest in Now Telecom.
The NTC did not cannot comment on the issue, saying it had not officially received the complaint.
The criminal complaint alleged that the act of the NTC respondents “in giving due course and setting for hearing the complaint dated Jan. 21, 2022 filed against Now Telecom, which sought to recall all the assigned radio frequencies,” violates Section 6.4 of the Fair Elections Act, which prohibits the cancellation or suspension of legislative franchise during the election period.
The election period for the May 2022 elections commenced on Jan. 9, 2022 and will end on June 8, 2022.
The Omnibus Election Code provides a penalty of imprisonment of one to six years, without probation, for election offenses. If convicted, an accused will also suffer from accessory penalties such as disqualification to hold public office and deprivation of his/her right of suffrage.
NTC officials were unavailable for comments as of press time.
The Anti-Red Tape Authority in March affirmed its decision ordering the NTC to extend the permit of Now Telecom to operate mobile telephone services and mobile and fixed wireless frequencies.
ARTA, in a resolution dated March 31, denied the motion for reconsideration filed by NTC and DITO Telecommunications and reiterated its earlier resolution declaring the completeness of NowTel’s application for provisional authority to operate cellular mobile telephone service in the 220 Mhz frequency range from 1970Mhz-1980Mhz paired with 2160Mhz to 2170Mhz and 3.6Ghz to 3.8Ghz, including 5G frequencies for mobile and fixed wireless.