LPGMA party-list Rep. Arnel Ty, 8 others face cartel raps
The Department of Justice on Friday recommended the filing of charges against LPGMA party-list Rep. Arnel Ty and eight others for allegedly forcing LPG dealers to rollback prices of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) in violation of free trade laws.
The 10-page resolution penned by prosecutor Cesar Angelo Chavez III and approved by Prosecutor-General Claro Arellano, found “probable cause” to cite the lawmaker and his associates for using “price signalling” to dictate LPG prices on their competitors, a violation of of anticartel provisions of the Downstream Oil Industry Deregulation Act.
Aside from Ty, others ordered charged were Danilo Chua, Alison Sy, Rene Rosell, Ronnie Sevillana, Mar Dave Tang, Virginia Cid, Bonifacio Eleria and Antonio del Rosario—all stockholders, directors and officers of LPG-selling or distributing firms and members of the LPG Marketers Association that Ty represents in Congress.
The complainant, Federation of Philippine Industries chair Jesus Arranza, said the LPGMA unduly forced nonmembers to roll back prices of their LPG tanks whenever Ty made an announcement through the media that there would be a rollback.
The announcement made by Ty, according to the complaint, resulted in “combination and/or concerted action” tantamount to “cartelization” as defined by Section 11 (a) of Republic Act 8479 and to “monopolies and combinations in restraint of trade” as defined by Article 186 of the Revised Penal Code.
The resolution noted that other members of the LPGMA did not object and apparently unanimously consented to the rollback declarations made by Ty. “In competition law, this is part of a strategy that includes a practice known as ‘price signalling,’” the resolution added.
The resolution said this was effectively “a restraint on trade and free competition” which the law seeks to avert.
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