'Price-fixing whistleblowers may be granted immunity'

Vivienne Gulla, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 09 2018 01:22 AM

MANILA - Whistleblowers who will report price-fixing, cartels, bid rigging and other anti-competitive behavior may be granted immunity or reduced penalties under the Philippine Competition Commission’s (PCC) leniency program.

PCC Chairman Arsenio Balisacan said this seeks to encourage even individuals who are involved in anti-competitive conduct to come forward.

The PCC signed a memorandum of agreement with the Department of Justice to ensure harmony in implementing leniency.

“We have our leniency program and that is for the administrative cases. But for the criminal cases, they also have the leniency program. But we have to make sure that these two are in harmony. Consistent. This partnership is to ensure that that is the case. For ex. If we grant immunity, that is respected on the other side and vice versa,” Balisacan said.
“The PCC, under the law, is supposed to conduct preliminary inquiry. They will have first chance to determine whether some parties may be entitled to leniency. We have this agreement so we can consult on the matter of extending leniency,” Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra added.

The anti-trust body expects to release the rules for the leniency program before yearend.

“We are still finalizing it. They are in various stages of drafting sa DOJ atsaka sa side namin. We’ll be posting it on our website for people to comment on the draft before we publish and implement,” Balisacan said.

Apart from leniency, the agreement between PCC and DOJ also seeks to ensure collaboration in pursuing criminal cases against those who engage in anti-competitive practices.