Bonifacio Communications Corp. v. National Telecommunications Commission


Bonifacio Communications Corp. v. National Telecommunications Commission

G.R. No. 201944

April 19, 2023


                BCDA, FBDA and SCI, incorporated petitioner BCC. A Memorandum of Agreement was entered into by FBDC and BCC reiterating the aforestated provision. PLDT already owns the shares of SCI and FBDC, equivalent to 75% of the total shares. BGC was declared therein as one of the free zones where any duly enfranchised public telecommunications entity shall be allowed to provide high speed networks and connectivity. Innove’s services were sought to provide landline and data services and internet connectivity to the Net 1, 2, and 3 Buildings within BGC. Globe sough clarification from NTC on their legal capacities to install and operate telecommunications infrastructure and provide telecommunication services with BGC. The requested NTC’s opinion on the legality and propriety of BCC’s and PLDT’s claimed exclusivities within the said area.


                Whether or not the NTC has jurisdiction over petitioner BCC.


                Yes. The NTC has jurisdiction over BCC insofar as the acts of BCC falling under the scope of functions of the NTC, such as enforcement and administration of authorizations granted to PTEs, promulgation of rules and regulations encouraging effective use of communications and maintaining effective competition among private entities in the telecommunications industry, among others. To determine whether the NTC can indeed exercise jurisdiction over BCC, We look for guidance in Executive Order No. (EO) 546 which abolished the Telecommunications Control Bureau and the Board of Communications and integrated the same into the NTC under the then Ministry of Transportation and Communications. Sec. 15 of EO 546 enumerates the following functions of the NTC:

a. Issue Certificate of Public Convenience for the operation of communications utilities and services, radio communications systems, wire or wireless telephone or telegraph systems, radio and television broadcasting system and other similar public utilities;

b. Establish, prescribe and regulate areas of operation of particular operators of public service communications;and determine and prescribe charges or rates pertinent to the operation of such public utility facilities and services except in cases where charges or rates are established by international bodies or associations of which the Philippines is a participating member or by bodies recognized by the Philippine Government as the proper arbiter of such charges or rates;

c. Grant permits for the use of radio frequencies for wireless telephone and telegraph systems and radio communication systems including amateur radio stations and radio and television broadcasting systems;

d. Sub-allocate series of frequencies of bands allocated by the International Telecommunications Union to the specific services;

e. Establish and prescribe rules, regulations, standards, specifications in all cases related to the issued Certificate of Public Convenience and administer and enforce the same;

f. Coordinate and cooperate with government agencies and other entities concerned with any aspect involving communications with a view to continuously improve the communications service in the country;

g. Promulgate such rules and regulations, as public safety and interest may require, to encourage a larger and more effective use of communications, radio and television broadcasting facilities, and to maintain effective competition among private entities in these activities whenever the Commission finds it reasonably feasible;

h. Supervise and inspect the operation of radio stations and telecommunications facilities;

i. Undertake the examination and licensing of radio operators;


j. Undertake, whenever necessary, the registration of radio transmitters and transceivers; and

k. Perform such other functions as may be prescribed by law.

RA 7925 or the "Public Telecommunications Policy Act of the Philippines" provides, under Sec. 5, the responsibilities of the NTC as principal administrator of RA 7925. In addition to its existing functions, the NTC shall be responsible for the following:

(a) Adopt an administrative process which would facilitate the entry of qualified service providers and adopt a pricing policy which would generate sufficient returns to encourage them to provide basic telecommunications services in unserved and underserved areas;

(b) Ensure quality, safety, reliability, security, compatibility and inter-operability of telecommunications facilities and services in conformity with standards and specifications set by international radio and telecommunications organizations to which the Philippines is a signatory;

(c) Mandate a fair and reasonable interconnection of facilities of authorized public network operators and other providers of telecommunications services through appropriate modalities of interconnection and at a reasonable and fair level of charges, which make provision for the cross subsidy to unprofitable local exchange service areas so as to promote telephone density and provide the most extensive access to basic telecommunications services available at affordable rates to the public;

(d) Foster fair and efficient market conduct through, but not limited to, the protection of telecommunications entities from unfair trade practices of other carriers;

(e) Promote consumers welfare by facilitating access to telecommunications services whose infrastructure and network must be geared towards the needs of individual and business users;

(f) Protect consumers against misuse of a telecommunications entity's monopoly or quasi-monopolistic powers by, but not limited to, the investigation of complaints and exacting compliance with service standards from such entity; and

(g) In the exercise of its regulatory powers, continue to impose such fees and charges as may be necessary to cover reasonable costs and expenses for the regulation and supervision of the operations of telecommunications entities.

It is clear from the foregoing that NTC is empowered to not only issue Certificates of Public Convenience (CPCN) n and other related authorizations but also "establish and prescribe rules, regulations, standards, specifications in all cases related to the issued Certificate of Public Convenience and administer and enforce the same." Thus, the NTC may employ the appropriate remedies to ensure that there is no obstruction in the enforcement of CPCNs, permits, and licenses in favor of duly enfranchised PTEs. In the present case, pursuant to its mandate, the NTC issued a cease and desist order directing petitioners to refrain from performing any act that would prevent Innove from implementing and providing telecommunications services pursuant to the authorizations granted by the NTC.      

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