Tuloy ang laban! Mel Velarde treks to SC over NTC’s P2.6 billion fees

NOW Telecom Inc., led by businessman Mel Velarde, has taken its case to the Supreme Court, urging the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to reevaluate the P2.6 billion in supervision and regulation fees (SRF) and penalties imposed on the company.

NOW Telecom has criticized the NTC’s calculation as flawed and has requested the Supreme Court to recompute the SRF.

The company argued that the NTC calculated the SRF not based on the subscribed and paid-up capital of P1.39 billion but on the total capital stock of P1.39 billion plus the additional paid-in capital of P12.17 billion.

NOW Telecom pointed out that both the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the NTC have acknowledged that any increase in paid-in capital stock resulting from debt-to-equity conversion should not be factored into the SRF calculation.

Furthermore, NOW Telecom revealed that out of the ₱12.17 billion, ₱11.51 billion was utilized to settle debts, leaving only ₱654.52 million from 2005 to 2022.

The company asserted, “Assuming, only for the sake of argument, that APIC is part of the capital stock, the purported APIC of ₱11,517,356,272 should only be considered as such in 2004 since this amount was created and used to wipe out or reduce the petitioner’s deficit in 2005.”

NOW Telecom also highlighted discrepancies in the NTC’s reference to a Commission on Audit (COA) letter, which claims over P3 billion in unresolved receivables spanning 14 years.

Velarde, NOW Group chairman, expressed confidence that the SRF issue would be ultimately resolved, emphasizing the need for a level playing field for NOW Telecom to compete effectively with China Telecom/DITO and Smart and Globe, equipped with Huawei technology.

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