MANILA -- The Department of Justice (DOJ) will finally set into motion an office that will investigate anti-competition acts of different markets, especially the oil industry.
The guidelines, which will take effect on March 1, will allow the so-called Office for Competition (OFC) to commence an investigation or fact-finding examination, upon complaint or motu propio (on its own initiative), versus cases involving monopolization, cartels and combinations in restraint of trade.
The office, which is under the DOJ and will be headed by Assistant Justice Secretary Geronimo Sy, will also enforce competition policies and laws to protect consumers, supervise competition and implement measures to promote transparency and accountability in markets.
The rules provide that the office will release a formal “Request for Information” addressed to the respondent, who may also be required to provide additional documents. The respondent will have 10 days to comply.
The office will then either quash the charges or recommend the filing of administrative, civil or criminal cases that will then lead to a preliminary investigation by prosecutors of the DOJ.
To ensure proper enforcement of laws, the DOJ will be assisted by representatives from the Department of Trade and Industry.
The guidelines are contained in DOJ Circular No. 11, which is in response to an executive fiat issued by President Benigno Aquino III in 2001.
There is another body, the DOJ-Department of Energy task force, already created earlier to act on violations of the Oil Deregulation Law.