Inutil! NTC’s Cordoba piles up huge backlog in legal cases, consumer complaints; only 13% resolved in last 10 years

The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has such a gaudy record in protecting consumer interests against the predatory practice of the Smart-Globe duopoly since 2008, it’s a wonder why Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba has managed to cling on to his seat through three administrations.

But a Commission on Audit (COA) might bring in the much needed fresh change in the NTC after relesasing an audit report exposing Cordoba’s sheer incompetence in solving legal disputes and protecting consumer welfare which just might convince Malacanang that a change was long overdue.

Inutil! NTC’s Cordoba piles up huge backlog in legal cases, consumer complaints; only 13% resolved in last 10 years

The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has such a gaudy record in protecting consumer interests against the predatory practice of the Smart-Globe duopoly since 2008, it’s a wonder why Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba has managed to cling on to his seat through three administrations.

In its annual audit report, COA said that under Cordoba, NTC disposed only 312 cases out of the 2,412 cases in the last decade. The number of outstanding cases have quadrupled from 674 before his appointment by then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in 2008 to 2,412 cases in the second year of President Rodrigo Duterte. During this span, Cordoba disposed an average of 30 cases per year out of 200 cases received per year.

Cordoba is well connected being a graduate of Ateneo School of Law and Utopia fraternity.

“Resolution of cases is important to enforce collection of outstanding fees and penalties from concerned violators. If the resolution of cases is delayed or would take a long time to dispose, the collection of outstanding fines, fees and penalties will suffer,” said COA.

Aside from piling up a huge backlog of cases, COA said Cordoba was also remiss in his duty to conduct annual inspections of television and radio stations. From 2015 to 2017, Cordoba only inspected 57 percent of the 60 stations. COA said in the few stations that NTC managed to inspect, the reports were delayed by up to 250 days.

COA said the TV and radio inspections were important to monitor whether they were still operating and up to date with their annual fees.

Cordoba’s performance in 2017 is one for the books.

COA said only six percent or nine cases out of 154 complaints forwarded during the year were acted on.

NTC even had the gall to target the resolution of 1,670 to 1,800 cases every year from 2015 to 2017. True to form, NTC only managed to accomplish less than one percent of its target for each year. COA said NTC mindlessly set the targets without considering the massive backlog.

COA cited NTC lack of timetable to resolve cases (Smart and Globe are given ample time to comply to legal notices) and lack coordination with its offices on the list of respondents in each case.

COA urged the NTC to clean up its backlog; intensify its collection of fines to boost revenues; and order its lawyers to regularly send demand letters to telcos and broadcast firms.

NTC blamed its atrocious record on unresponsive respondents and preference for authorization over administrative cases.

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