Palace defends franchise granted to Villar family telecom firm
Malacanang has defended the granting of a franchise to the telecommunications firm owned by the Villar family.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo, in a press briefing on Thursday, said Streamtech Systems Technologies, Inc. is a corporation.
"So we do not know whether or not this Cabinet member and the senator are included in the list of stockholders in that corporation," he said.
Streamtech is owned by the family of former Senate President Manuel and Senator Cynthia Villar. Their son, Mark Villar, is the secretary of the Department of Public Works and Highways.
Panelo said the mere fact that Congress approved the granting of the franchise, it could have considered the provision of the Constitution that prohibits government officials from having financial interest in franchises.
"I suppose, members of Congress have considered the provision of the Constitution, as well as the ownership of that particular corporation," he said.
"To my mind is more important is that we have a third company that will compete to others and that will bring some benefits to us ? those using this technology," Panelo added.
President Rodrigo Duterte recently approved the law granting a 25-year franchise to Streamtech.
Republic Act No. 11089 said Streamtech was granted franchise "to construct, install, establish, operate, and maintain for commercial purposes and in the public interest, an international gateway facility to serve and connect the Philippines to other countries and territories." Celerina Monte/DMS