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Philippine court rules in favor of oil firms in pricing cartel case

The Philippine Court of Appeals ordered the Regional Trial Court to dismiss petitions to force Petron Corp., Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp. and Chevron to allow an examination of their accounts to determine whether they formed a pricing cartel. The latest order reverses the ruling on April 27, 2009, on a petition by advocacy group Social Justice System to examine the books of accounts of the three companies. The court agreed with Pilipinas Shell that the Social Justice System petition mainly accuses it of violating Article 186 of the Revised Penal Code and Section 11 of Republic Act (RA) 8479, or the Downstream Oil Industry Deregulation Act of 1998, which are both outside the jurisdiction of the trial court, in view of the report submitted by the Department of Energy-Department of Justice Joint Task Force. The task force report held that there is no evidence the oil companies were engaged in monopoly, predatory pricing and cartelization. (August 18, 2010)