Palace: Duterte, Uy ‘closeness’ had nothing to do with third telco bid
MANILA, Philippines — The assumption that Davao businessman Dennis Uy’s relationship with President Rodrigo Duterte affected the process of the bidding for the country’s third major telco player is baseless, Malacañang said Thursday.
Mislatel Consortium, a joint venture between Uy’s Udenna Corporation and state-owned China Telecommunications Corporation, was the only firm allowed to bid for the third telco slot.
Sear Telecom and Philippine Telegraph and Telephone Corporation were disqualified for incomplete requirements but will appeal with the National Telecommunications Commission.
Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Duterte does not interfere with his departments, including committees of departments under the executive branch.
“So the President has nothing to do with any of those bidding, any of those negotiations or contracts. That’s the policy of the President and it holds until the end of his term,” Panelo told reporters Thursday.
Asked about the relationship between the president and the Davao businessman, Panelo said he is not sure whether the two are close friends or not.
During the media briefing, radio dzRH correspondent Henry Uri pointed out that Uy contributed to Duterte’s presidential campaign in 2016 but Panelo insisted that “it doesn’t make you close to the president if you support the president.”
“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,” Panelo added.
The consortium of Uy and China Telecom emerged as the lone qualified bidder among the initial 10 groups aspiring to earn the country’s third major telco spot.
“The consortium is confident that Udenna Corp.’s extensive supply chain and knowledge of local industries will complement the world-class technology and telecommunications expertise of China Telecommunications Corp., one of the world’s largest and most experienced fixed and mobile network operators. Meanwhile, Chelsea Logistics Holdings Corp.’s expertise in logistics and distribution will enable the speedy development of the network,” Mislatel consortium said in a statement.