November 8, 2018
Malacanang defended on Thursday the selection of a Filipino and Chinese consortium to be the provisional third telecommunications firm in the country.
In a press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo also denied that President Rodrigo Duterte's reported friendship with businessman Dennis Uy was a factor with the naming of Udenna Corp. and China Telecommunications Corp.'s as the new player. Uy controls Udenna Corp.
"There are legal requirements for the entry of a third player. In the preliminary screening of that particular corporation or the person you mentioned, Dennis Uy, has passed it. From what I gathered, the other bidders lacked certain requirements that is why that particular corporation won over them," he said.
He said for as long as the company followed the legal requirements, the assumption was that it was qualified.
Uy, a Davao-based businessman, reportedly was close to Duterte and one of his contributors in the 2016 elections.
But Panelo said, "I do not know about the 'malapit' or 'closeness,' I know both of them are from Davao, but I do not know whether they're close friends or not."
He also said it was a "baseless assumption" that because Uy reportedly contributed to Duterte's campaign kitty, his company got the provisional approval to operate the third telco.
"I think it’s a baseless assumption because given the character of this President, it’s farfetched. As we all know, relationship, alliances, friendship do not matter with this President. What matter to him is you follow the law and I’ll be with you, you don’t follow it and I’ll be against you," he said.
Some quarters, including lawmakers, have questioned the decision of the government to choose Udenna and Chinese Telecom as the new telecom player. Celerina Monte/DMS
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