DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY-DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
(DOE-DOJ) TASK FORCE
RESOLUTION NO. 98-01
RULES AND REGULATIONS OF THE DOE-DOJ TASK FORCE
Pursuant to paragraph (d) of Section 14 of Republic Act No. 8479, “The Downstream Oil Industry Deregulation Act of 1998”, the Department of Energy-Department of Justice Task Force hereby adopts the following rules and regulations to govern its activities:
SECTION 1. Definition of Terms. – Unless the context otherwise provides, the following, as well as the other terms used herein, shall have the meanings attached to them by Republic Act No. 8479 and the rules and regulations issued by the Department of Energy pursuant to said Act –
(a) “Act” refers to Republic Act 8479;
(b) “DOE” refers to the Department of Energy;
(c) “DOJ” refers to the Department of Justice;
(d) “Task Force” refers to the DOE-DOJ Task Force;
(e) “Cartelization” refers to any agreement, combination or concerted action by refiners, importers and/or dealers, or their representatives, to fix prices, restrict outputs or divide markets, either by product or by areas, or allocate markets, either by product or by areas, in restraint of trade or free competition, including any contractual stipulation which prescribes pricing levels and profit margins;
(f) “Predatory Pricing” refers to selling or offering to sell any oil product at a price below the seller’s or offeror’s average cost for the purpose of destroying competition, eliminating a competitor or discouraging a potential competitor from entering the market: Provided, however, That pricing below average variable cost in order to match the lower price of the competitor and not for the purpose of destroying competition shall not be deemed predatory pricing; and
(g) “Report” refers to any written report or complaint concerning any unreasonable rise in prices of petroleum products or of a threatened, imminent or actual cartelization or predatory pricing.
SEC. 2. Report, Where Filed. – A report shall be filed with –
“The DOE-DOJ Task Force
Department of Energy
Merritt Road, Fort Bonifacio
Taguig, Metro Manila”
However, the Task Force may, motu proprio, consider/investigate any alleged incident of cartelization or predatory pricing whenever public interest will be served thereby.
SEC. 3. Form and Contents of Report. – A report shall not be entertained by the Task Force if it is not subscribed and signed by its author. It shall contain a detailed statement of the reason or reasons for alleging an unreasonable rise in the price of a petroleum product or of the elements of the cartelization or predatory pricing, and the identity of the firm or person or persons who appear to be responsible therefor.
SEC. 4. Action on Report. – The report, if found sufficient in form and content, shall be forwarded by the Task Force to the Office of the DOE Secretary within ten (10) days from receipt thereof for appropriate action. Otherwise, the report shall be dismissed by the Task Force.
SEC. 5. DOE Investigation of Report. – The Office of the DOE Secretary may investigate the report. The DOE Secretary may, after investigation, either dismiss the report if it finds no merit therein or direct the Task Force to conduct a formal investigation thereof in the manner provided hereunder.
SEC. 6. Task Force Investigation. – Upon the recommendation of the DOE Secretary to investigate a report, the Task Force shall issue a subpoena against the respondent. A copy of the investigation report of the DOE Secretary shall be attached to the subpoena. Within ten (10) days from receipt of the subpoena, the respondent may submit counter-affidavits and other supporting documents and shall be allowed to examine all the evidence considered in the findings of the Office of the DOE Secretary.
If the respondent cannot be subpoenaed or if subpoenaed, does not submit counter-affidavits within the ten (10) day period, the Task Force shall resolve the matter on the basis of the records and evidence on hand. The Task Force may, however, set a hearing where it may propound clarificatory questions to the parties or their witnesses.
SEC. 7. Resolution of Task Force. – The Task Force shall prepare a written resolution on the results of its investigation of the report within thirty (30) days after the commencement thereof. The Resolution shall state whether or not there has been an unreasonable rise in the price of petroleum product or if substantial evidence exists for the filing of a criminal complaint against the respondent for cartelization or predatory pricing. The Secretaries of DOE and DOJ, and all concerned parties, shall be furnished with copies of the Resolution. The DOE Secretary may make said Resolution public.
SEC. 8. Motion for Reconsideration. – An aggrieved party may file a motion for reconsideration within a non-extendible period of ten (10) days from the date of receipt of the Resolution, furnishing all concerned parties with copies thereof.
Only one motion for reconsideration shall be allowed.
SEC. 9. Filing of Complaint. – In cases where substantial evidence exists for the filing of a criminal complaint for cartelization or predatory pricing, the Task Force shall direct the provincial or city prosecutor having jurisdiction to file the appropriate criminal complaint with the Regional Trial Court of the place where the defendant or any of the defendants reside or has his place of business.
SEC. 10. Injunctive Action. – Pending hearing of the complaint for cartelization or predatory pricing or in case there is an unreasonable rise in the price of a petroleum product, the Task Force may request the prosecutor concerned to ask the proper court to issue a temporary restraining order or an injunction under the same conditions and principles as injunctive relief is granted under the Rules of Court.
SEC. 11. Referral to the Solicitor General or Government Corporate Counsel. – If the Task Force finds that the disclosed cartelization or predatory pricing, or the unreasonable rise in the price of a petroleum product will result in loss or damage in the business of a government agency or instrumentality, including government-owned or -controlled corporations, the Task Force shall refer the said matter to the Office of the Solicitor General or to the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel for appropriate action.
SEC. 12. Effectivity. – These Rules shall take effect fifteen (15) days after its publication in a newspaper of general circulation.
Done in the City of Manila this 8th day of April 1998.
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