Friday, July 1, 2011

DOJ empowered to act against competition violators

"EO 45 empower DoJ vs violators of 'competition laws'"
by Aytch S. de la Cruz
Published 16 June 2011, The Daily Tribune Online
(Original article available here).

"MalacaƱang yesterday released Executive Order (EO) 45 which empowers the Department of Justice (DoJ) to act as “Competition Authority” that would “investigate all cases involving violations of competition laws and prosecute violators to prevent, restrain and punish monopolization, cartels and combinations in restraint of trade.”

Under the latest EO, the DoJ is also mandated to “enforce competition policies and laws to protect consumers from abusive, fraudulent, or harmful corrupt business practices and monitor and implement measures to promote transparency and accountability in markets.”

The DoJ is also tasked to “supervise competition in markets by ensuring that prohibitions and requirements of competition laws are adhered to, and to this end, call on other government agencies and/or entities for submission of reports and provision for assistance.”

Moreover, the DoJ under the same order carries the responsibility to “prepare, publish and disseminate studies and reports on competition to inform and guide the industry and consumers; and promote international cooperation and strengthen Philippine trade relations with other countries, economies, and institutions in trade agreements.”

An Office for Competition under the Office of the Secretary of Justice is also created to carry out the duties and responsibilities set forth in the Section 1 of EO 45. It shall be manned by such number of staff including legal and technical experts, consultants and resource persons to effectively and efficiently pursue its mandate.
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima is therefore given the authority to designate the chief/head and members of the Office for Competition.

“To carry out the provisions of this Order, initial funds for the operations of the Office for Competition shall be taken from the available funds of the DoJ. Thereafter, such amount as may be deemed necessary for the annual operations of the Office, shall be incorporated and included in the annual budgetary appropriations of the DoJ,” EO 45 stipulated further as regards to the funding for the new office.

EO 45 was signed by President Aquino on June 9 and shall take effect immediately upon its publication in newspapers of general circulation."

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