The Supreme Court (SC) has designated special commercial courts as competition courts to hear, try, and decide on cases involving violations of the Philippine Competition Act (PCA) and other competition-related laws.
In a circular dated January 28, Court Administrator Jose Midas Marquez said the commercial courts also designated competition courts in the National Capital Judicial Region (NCJR) shall have jurisdiction over competition arising within their respective territorial jurisdiction, while those outside the NCJR shall have jurisdiction within their respective provinces.
The special commercial courts in Quezon City, Manila, Makati, Pasig, Cebu City, Iloilo City, Davao City, and Cagayan de Oro City are authorized to act on applications for the issuance of inspection orders, which shall be enforceable nationwide.
The PCA prohibits entering into anti-competitive agreements such as price-fixing, bid-rigging, abusing a dominant market position, and entering into anti-competitive mergers and acquisitions.
The PCA covers any person or entity engaged in trade, industry, and commerce in the Philippines. It also applies to international trade that may impact trade, industry, and commerce in the Philippines.
There is price-fixing under the said law when businesses agree to directly or indirectly fix purchase or selling price, instead of letting supply and demand determine the prices of goods and services.
Likewise prohibited are the acts related to abusing a dominant market position by ‘predatory pricing’ where a dominant firm deliberately incurs losses in the short term by selling goods or services below the cost of its production, which can eventually force its competitors out of business;’price discrimination’ where a dominant firm sets different prices or conditions for equivalent transactions; ‘exploitative behavior towards consumers, customers, or competitors,” and limiting production, markets, or technical development.
The prohibited acts are penalized with fines of up to P2 million. (PNA)