DOJ forms fact-finding body to probe successive oil price hikes

April 14, 2011 12:55 am 

MANILA, April 13 – The Department of Justice (DOJ) is set to create a task force that will conduct an investigation into the possible violations of law that may have been committed by domestic petroleum companies in successively raising their oil prices.

DOJ Secretary Leila De Lima on Wednesday said that the DOJ is inclined in creating a new office that would specifically look into the regularity of the 12 price hikes by the oil firms this year.

De Lima pointed out that she has already sent to President Benigno "Noynoy" S. Aquino III an urgent memorandum for the creation of the new body she would like to call "DOJ Office for Competition" that would "address cartels and restrictive agreements among oil firms."

She stressed that the body would conduct "fact-finding probes and determine whether violations of anti-trust and related laws are being committed by persons, natural and juridical."

The DOJ chief said that it (body) would then make appropriate recommendations, including filing of charges against those who would be found liable for possible manipulation and cartelization in oil prices.

"This body will faithfully carry out constitutional and existing legal provisions against combinations in restraint of trade. Proceedings will depend on the specific industry and/or nature of the case," De Lima said.

Likewise, De Lima also expressed her belief that there is a need to check on the pricing mechanisms of oil firms in the interest of the public, which has been complaining about the successive oil price hikes this year that had also resulted to increase in prices of basic goods. (PNA)

DCT/PTR/rsm

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