NTC gets 60-day TRO vs enforcing text refund
MANILA, Philippines – The Court of Appeals has issued a 60-day temporary restraining order stopping the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) from enforcing a refund to its subscribers for overpriced text messaging rates.
In a five-page resolution dated Oct. 17, the appeals court 6th Division through Associate Justice Priscilla J. Baltazar-Padilla said there is no means to determine the number of subscribers and number of actual users of Mobile Identification Numbers.
The appeals court added that there is also no clear mechanism on how to enforce the refund for postpaid and prepaid subscribers.
“The amounts to be disbursed by Smart in favor of its subscribers might be impossible in the event that the questioned NTC decision and resolution are set aside,” the appeals court said.
“To our minds, justice would be better served if the implementation of the NTC decision is restrained at this stage of the proceeding,” the appeals court said.
The restraining order shall take effect upon the payment of P500,000 cash bond or approval of a surety bond application by Smart.
NTC earlier said that the cellular mobile telephone service (CMTS) providers running liability to the subscribing public is over P7 billion. Thus, it issued separate orders to mobile networks to immediately refund and cut messaging charges P1 to P0.80.
The NTC also ordered the three telecom companies to refund or reimburse their subscribers these excess charge of P0.20 per off-net SMS from the effectivity of the memorandum circular until fully settled, by crediting the load of prepaid subscribers or effecting the refund through the respective bills for postpaid subscribers.
Digitel, which operates Sun Cellular, has already received a TRO from the Court of Appeals.
Globe also received a restraining order from the appeals court.
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