Enrile wants Senate to investigate ‘disappearing load’

June 2, 2009 1:28 pm 

MANILA, June 2 – Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile called on Tuesday for a Senate investigation of the ‘disappearing load’ he himself experienced when some P500 of his load mysteriously disappeared in a span of three days.

”I rise this afternoon on a matter of personal privilege to bring to your attention a matter which, I believe, involves the interest of the general public and which demands action from the Senate,” Enrile said in his privilege speech entitled ‘The Case of Disappearing Load.”

The experience of Enrile came out to the media last week after he narrated in a Senate committee hearing how the P389 balance of his prepaid cellphone unit disappeared when he tried to make a call last May 26.

The next day, Enrile loaded P600 but only to find out that his load was down to only P445 without using his cellphone.

Enrile brought to the attention of National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) chairman Rowell Canovas and the next day his dwindling load suddenly rose to P534.32

As his experience hit the news, Enrile said similar complaints both from the rich and poor prepaid unit users flooded his office.

”Mr. President, it seems that my experience with my prepaid cellular telephone unit is widespread. I am not prepared as yet to pass judgment on the telecommunication companies and the NTC without the Senate hearing the side of all the parties concerned. But I am duty-bound to make them explain why this is happening and to hold them accountable to the public from whom they earn their huge profits,” Enrile said.

”I was told that the National Telecommunications Commission had investigated complaints of similar nature before, but nothing came out of that investigation. And yet, most of the alleged victims are ordinary citizens who do not have the political and economic clout to protect themselves. They need the help of this Senate.”

Enrile suggested that the Committee on Trade and Industry and the Committee on Public Services jointly conduct an immediate inquiry, in aid of legislation, into the ‘disappearing load.”

”I simply want the Senate to ferret out the truth. After all, whether rich or poor, everyone is entitled to protection from these pernicious practices, if, indeed, they are intended as a scheme to dupe the public, or from the negligence and inability of the service providers and the government’s regulatory agencies to address them,” Enrile said.

The Senate investigation may likely be held after the Congress recess in August.

Enrile encouraged all parties who have encountered similar problems with the cell phone loads to lodge their complaints in his office at the Senate building in Pasay City.

”I have set up a special desk manned by my staff to receive all reports and complaints in relation to this and to collate all these materials which I will present at the public hearing,” Enrile said.

The country’s other leading service providers are Smart Communications and Sun Cellular. (PNA)

DCT/jfm

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