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Gov’t seeks resolution of Now Telecom’s P2.6B liability

November 11, 2021 Marlon Purification 232 views

THE government, through the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), has filed a motion with the Supreme Court reiterating its earlier request to resolve the case involving Now Telecom’s P2.6 billion unpaid obligation to the state.

The OSG is seeking to recover on behalf of the government the unpaid Supervision and Regulation Fee (SRF) and Spectrum User Fees (SUFs) plus accumulated fines and penalties that Now Telecom has failed to pay—receivables which the government could use to augment its relief funds for COVID-19 response.

In the motion for early resolution, the OSG has asked the High Tribunal to resolve the case at the earliest opportune time since “all parties have already submitted their respective memoranda and that there are no longer pending incidents that need to be addressed.”

“Considering the contingent nature of the collection of the aforementioned receivables, and in further consideration of the government’s needs for funds to defray the costs of its COVID-19 response, the prompt resolution to the present cases is most humbly requested,” the OSG stated in the motion it filed with the Supreme Court on October 25, 2021.

The P2.6-billion being recovered from Now Telecom, which accounts for 85.32 percent of the more than P3 billion in “unresolved receivables” of the government, was part of the observation report of state auditors for the period covering January 1 through December 31, 2020.

“Particularly for the present cases, the Commission on Audit took note that unresolved receivables in the total amount of Php2,615,868,531.30 is attributed to the above-captioned cases in the form of unpaid Supervision and Regulation Fees (SRF) and Spectrum User Fees (SUF), including accumulated fines and penalties, computed as of 31 December 2020,” the OSG said.

The state lawyers have filed a reiterative motion for early resolution with the High Tribunal in February 2019, which the magistrates took note of in August of the same year.

Next Mobile, Inc., the former name of Now Telecom Company, Inc., has challenged the decision and resolution of the Court of Appeals in 2009, which affirmed the letter-assessments of the telecommunications regulatory bodyseeking to collect P126 million in SRF and almost P9.7 million in SUF, as of December 2005.

Now Telecom’s unpaid obligation to the government has ballooned to P2,615,868,531.50, which included penalties and fines, as of December 2020.