The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has subpoenaed three officials of the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to submit their counter-affidavit on the case filed against them for alleged violation of Fair Election Act and the Omnibus Election Code.
In a subpoena, the poll body through its Law Department ordered NTC chief of adjudication division Nilo Lozada, chief of radio spectrum planning division Roberto Tolentino and head of regulation branch Imelda R. Walcien to answer the case filed against them for alleged violation of Section 100 of the Omnibus Election Code of the Philippines, as amended by Republic Act. No. 7166, in relation to Section 262 of the Omnibus Election Code.
“Under and by virtue of the authority and power vested in the Commission on Elections by Section 52 (d) of the Omnibus Election Code (OEC), you are hereby noticed that a complaint has been filed against you for alleged violation of Section 100 of the Omnibus Election Code of the Philippines, as amended by Republic Act. No. 7166, in relation to Section 262 of the Omnibus Election Code,” the subpoena said.
“Accordingly, and in compliance with Comelec Resolution No. 10673, you are hereby directed to submit the digital/scanned copy of your duly notarized Counter-Affidavit and other supporting documents or affidavits or witness/es if any in PDF on or before May 13, 2022 thru electronic email,” it added.
The poll body also warned that failure to comply with the subpoena shall be considered as waiver of your right to present your defense and the case shall be submitted for resolution.
The subpoena served was in relation to the complaint filed by Emerald Investments Inc., a shareholder of Now Telecom Company Inc. against the NTC officials for setting a hearing during the election period, which requested for the recall of all radio frequencies assigned to Now Telecom.
The questioned hearing for the NTC complaint against Now Telecom is scheduled on Monday, April 25, 2022.
Emeral said in the complaint-affidavit filed on April 19 that “any threat of suspension or cancellation of Now Telecom’s radio frequencies will not only disrupt its operations and jeopardize its business, but will also cause undue prejudice to its shareholders, including Emerald.”
Emerald holds a 12.8-percent interest in Now Telecom.
The criminal complaint alleged that the act of the NTC respondents “in giving due course and setting for hearing the complaint dated Jan. 21, 2022 filed against Now Telecom, which sought to recall all the assigned radio frequencies,” violates Section 6.4 of the Fair Elections Act, which prohibits the cancellation or suspension of legislative franchise during the election period.
The election period for the May 2022 elections commenced on Jan. 9, 2022 and will end on June 8, 2022.
The Omnibus Election Code provides a penalty of imprisonment of one to six years, without probation, for election offenses. If convicted, an accused will also suffer from accessory penalties such as disqualification to hold public office and deprivation of his/her right of suffrage.