Saving face: Mel Velarde distances NOW from its telco unit after court debacle

Saving face: Mel Velarde distances NOW from its telco unit after court debacle

NOW Corp. of businessman Mel Velarde is distancing itself from its telco affiliate after suffering a major setback in a court case.

“NOW Corporation clarifies that it is not a party to the Court of Appeals case referred to in the news article which involves NOW Telecom Company, Inc., one of its affiliate companies. As it is not a party to said case, NOW Corporation has no knowledge of the details surrounding the alleged Court of Appeals decision,” said Now in a statement.

READ: Show me the money NOW! Mel Velarde loses CA case, must pony up at least P14B before he can get more frequencies

NOW was asked by the Philippine Stock Exchange to comment on news reports that the Court of Appeals has rejected NOW Telecom’s appeal to scrap the National Telecommunications Commission’s circular requiring aspiring new major players (NMP) in the telecom industry to put up between P14 billion and P24.7 billion in participation and performance securities.

READ: Pay your debts NOW! Mel Velarde’s self-proclaimed 4th telco owes NTC at least P2B in unpaid fees

The CA upheld the November 2018 ruling of the Manila Regional Trial court which ruled that NOW Telecom was not exempted from the NTC circular.

READ: Suspend NOW’s license if Mel Velarde doesn’t pay over P2B dues to NTC-Infrawatch

NOW Telecom filed the case in court after it withdrew from the bidding for the third telco player (which was won by Dito Telecommunity of bilyonaryo Dennis Uy) because it could not meet the NTC’s financial requirements.

Curiously, NOW’s press releases have regularly covered updates on its telecom unit, including its infamous declaration that NOW Telecom was recognized by the NTC as the “country’s fourth telco.” The NTC vehemently denied this claim as having no basis. The PSE penalized NOW for making such a bogus claim.

READ: Mel Velarde denies owing P2B in frequency dues to NTC: NOW Telecom is ‘strongly disputing’ this in SC

NOW said it has been advised that NOW Telecom has yet to receive the “alleged” Court of Appeals decision. “Thus, it is still subject to NOW Telecom’s legal remedies and therefore, not yet final. Further, the legal issues raised in the case are still covered by the sub judice rule which restricts comments and disclosures on legal issues in pending judicial proceedings,” said NOW.

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