Antitrust agency builds capability to battle cartels
The Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) is setting up a digital forensics laboratory to develop its capacity to investigate cartels or abuses of dominance by big businesses.
The independent, quasi-judicial, antitrust body formed to implement the Philippine Competition Act (PCA or Republic Act No. 10667) said the laboratory would have specialized forensics equipment, software, as well other tools useful for their operatives.
“The development of PCC’s digital forensics capacity is a major asset for our enforcement team,” PCC officer-in-charge Johannes Bernabe said in a press statement on Wednesday.
He added that the use of digital forensics would allow their investigators to uncover trails of electronic transactions or documents that point to cartels or collusions. PCC investigators will also undergo proficiency trainings and accreditation on the use of digital forensics equipment.
The commission said further that it would deepen its partnership with the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), the investigating arm of the Department of Justice.
“With PCC’s expertise in market investigation and processing of economic data, and NBI’s extensive network and experience in on-the-ground investigations, this partnership will mutually strengthen our enforcement capacity towards our shared goal of cracking down on cartels and other violations of the PCA,” Bernabe said, adding the partnership was expected to broaden its long-time cooperation with the justice department.
A competition task force is also planned as the first step in the partnership, with subsequent joint case conferences, monitoring, specialized trainings and capacity-building activities eyed in the future.
Under the law, the PCC’s mandate is to promote and maintain market competition by regulating anticompetitive agreements, including bid rigging, abuses of dominant position and anticompetitive mergers and acquisitions.
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