COA commends PH Competition Commission for 100 percent collection of fines

By Ben Rosario

The Commission on Audit (COA) recently commended the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) for collecting 100 percent of all the fines and penalties it imposed on business corporations found violating the fair competition law.

Instead of the usual adverse findings it announces, COA noted in its 2018 annual audit report that PCC was able to collect P31.74 million as fine on firms that violated Republic Act 10667 or the Philippine Competition Act within the reglementary period of 45 days.

“We commended the Commission for the implementation of the provisions of the PCA and enforcement of its decisions,” COA said.

The audit agency disclosed that 40 merger and acquisition (MA) transactions worth P438 billion were received by the Commission. Out of these transactions, four committed infractions and were fined.

It was also revealed that one of the transactions was deemed prohibited while one was “subjected to voluntary commitments proposed by the parties to correct potential harm to the market.”

Another transaction, that of the acquisition of Uber share riding company by its competitor, Grab, has been penalized with a P16 million fine, but parties filed a motion for reconsideration contesting the PCC resolution.

COA cited the PCC for remitting to the Bureau of Treasury the collected fines and penalties on the day the money was turned over the agency.

The PCC is tasked to look into violations of the PCA and subject the prohbited transactions to administrative penalties and fines.

Among these are the imposition of maximum fine of P1 million for the supply of incorrect or misleading information; P50,000 to P2 million for failure to comply with an order of the commission; prohibited mergers that carry graduated penalties of P100 million to PP250 million in fine and non-notification of a consummated merger or gun-jumping, among others.

Total fines and penalties for resolved cases totaled P31,744,264.98 for the year.

The audit report noted that the PCC imposed a fine of P19.6 million for violation of Compulsory Notification requirements in connection with the Udenna and KGL Invstments Cooperatives case.

Violation of compulsory notification netted the PCC P11.42 million in penalties imposed on Udenna, Chelsea Logistic Holdings Corp and Trans-Asia Shipping Lines Inc.

ON the other hand, the agency imposed P526,219.50 for violation of compulsory notification requirements on the merger of Macsteel Global SARL B.V. and MSSA Investments B.V’s.

Meanwhile, filing fees collected by PCC reached P11,880,900 in 2018.