Thursday, June 12, 2014

Court of Appeals rules for Globe in Isabela ‘tower fees’ case

THE COURT of Appeals (CA) has ruled in favor of Globe Telecom, Inc. after the latter contested a local ordinance enacted by Santiago City, Isabela imposing “tower fees” on its cellular sites.

The appellate court’s 11th division, in a 19-page decision promulgated on May 30, nullified Santiago City’s Ordinance No. 6THCC-53 which ordered telecommunications companies to pay an annual P200,000 in “tower fees” as part of the city’s income generating schemes.

The CA decision reversed a Santiago City regional trial court (RTC) decision declaring the ordinance as valid and ordering Globe to pay P5.92 million in tower fees for its seven cell sites in the city.

“Evidently, there is no reasonable relation between defendant-appellee’s imposition of the subject tower fees and the promotion of health, morals, good order, safety or the general welfare of the people,” Associate Justice Vicente S.E. Veloso wrote.

Santiago City’s local government, in 2008, issued the resolution as part of its mandate under the Local Government Code’s General Welfare Clause.

The Santiago City RTC, in a May 10, 2012 decision, found that the ordinance was consistent with a local government’s authority to regulate companies operating within its jurisdiction.

However, the appellate court said the ordinance failed to adequately justify its regulation and restraint of property rights, and called the fee “patently oppressive, confiscatory and prohibitive.”

Associate Justices Jane Aurora C. Lantion and Nina G. Antonio-Valenzuela concurred with the decision. -- Mikhail Franz E. Flores

source:  Businessworld

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