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Republic of the Philippines HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES Twelfth Congress Third Regular Session

HOUSE RESOLUTION NO. 1449 __________________________________________________________________________________ Introduced by Reps. SATUR C. OCAMPO, JOEL G. VIRADOR and SIEGFRED D. DEDURO __________________________________________________________________________________ RESOLUTION CONDEMN I NG THE U.S. GOVERNMENT’S RECENT HARASSMENT OF THE 30 FILIP I NO TELECOM MU N I CAT IO NS EXECUTI VES ATTEND I NG AN INDUSTRY CONVENTI O N IN HONOLULU, HAWAII BOTH AS AN AFFRONT TO RP- US RELATIONS AND A BRAZEN VIOLATION OF THE FILI P I NOS’ CIVIL RIGHTS AND CALLING ON THE MACAPAGAL- ARROYO GOVERNME NT TO FILE A FORMAL DIPLO MATI C PROTEST WITH THE U.S. GOVERNMENT, CARRY OUT ALL MEASURES NECESSARY TO BRING BACK THE FILI P I NO EXECUTI VES STILL UNDER DETENT IO N, AND TO MAKE FORMAL REPRESENTAT IONS IN THE U.S. DISTRICT COURT TO PROTECT THE RIGHTS OF THE FILI P I N OS IMPLI CATED IN THE COMPLAINT OF THE U.S. TELECOM FIRMS W HEREAS on January 11, 2004, 30 Filipino telecommunications executives comprising the Philippine delegation to the Pacific Telecommunications Conference in Hawaii were suddenly held for questioning by a combined team of agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the United States’ Department of Justice, within minutes after the Filipinos’ arrival in Honolulu; W HEREAS separate court summons were subsequently issued to representatives of Globe, Digitel, Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co., Smart Communications Inc., Bayan Telecommunications Inc. and Eastern Telecommunications Phil. Inc. to compel them to appear before a grand jury investigation for possible violation of US antitrust laws; W HEREAS the probe was in response to a complaint of US telecommunications firms led by AT&T and MCI that Philippine carriers violated antitrust laws when they uniformly fixed higher termination fees on American carriers for inbound overseas calls beginning in early 2003; W HEREAS two of the officials, Globe Telecom senior vice president Gil Genio and Digitel executive Perla Ignacio, were made to appear at a preliminary hearing four days later, even as US authorities issued hold orders on at least nine other executives (who had wanted to return to the Philippines to confer with their lawyers) to ensure their appearance at the next hearings of the grand jury scheduled for Jan.21, Feb. 11 and 12; W HEREAS in the Jan. 15 hearing, Ignacio was reportedly humiliated and subjected to a fishing investigation by the US District Court to force her to reveal details of the supposed collaborative actions of the Philippine telecom firms, while the US prosecutor reportedly asked more pointed questions against Globe executive Gil Genio; W HEREAS AT&T and MCI had previously complained to the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) when Philippine firms raised their termination rates in early 2003, but the issue was supposedly settled in December, with the FCC assuring that US carriers have already agreed to make back payments which they initially refused to pay local carriers;


W HEREAS the brazen actions of the US federal agents also came as a surprise to the Filipino executives considering that PLDT and Globe had earlier closed deals with AT&T in early January, and with other US carriers like MCI and Sprint Communications Corp. in December, which raised the rate for inbound calls terminating in landlines from $0.09 to $0.12—a figure which still falls below the FCC’s benchmark of $0.19 per minute for such rates; W HEREAS the acts against the telecom executives have been viewed as a shameless display of arrogance and muscle-flexing by the Bush government to force Philippine telecom firms to give in to the lobby of the giant American carriers, so that the latter may continue making huge profits from the USPhilippines overseas call market, which is the fourth largest international route based on outgoing US calls; W HEREAS the US government’s underhanded actions, which derive from the encompassing powers given to its law enforcement agencies to issue subpoenas and “constructively detain” individuals without any formal charges under the Patriot Act and Homeland Security Act, constitute not only an affront to RP-US relations but also grave violations of the civil rights of the Filipino executives, some of whom continue to languish in Hawaii as of this writing; NOW , THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES condemn the United States government’s harassment of the 30 Filipino telecommunications executives attending an industry convention in Honolulu, Hawaii last January 11, 2004; FURTHER RESOLVED that the House calls on the Macapagal-Arroyo government to file a formal diplomatic protest with the US government, carry out all measures necessary to bring back the Filipino executives still under detention, and to make formal representations in the US District Court to protect the rights of the Filipinos implicated in the complaint of the US telecom firms; RESOLVED FINALLY that the House enact appropriate laws to protect Filipinos visiting or working in the United States in light of rising incidents of outright fascism and curtailment of civil political rights “in the name of national security” under the Bush administration. Adopted,

SATUR C. OCAMPO Bayan Muna–Party-List Bayan Muna–Party-List

JOEL G. VIRADOR

SIEGFRED D. DEDURO Bayan Muna–Party-List


HR 1449 - Telecom Execs