Chevron denies price fixing

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CHEVRON Philippines denied reports that the company was involved in price-fixing.
In a statement issued on Monday, Chevron pointed out that all the allegations of the Petroleum Distributors and Services Corp. (PDSC) have been dismissed by the Makati City Prosecutor’s Office.

“In a Resolution dated 5 February 2013, the Makati City Prosecutor dismissed the complaint for Monopolies and Combinations in Restraint of Trade filed by Petroleum Distributors and Distribution Corp. (PDSC) against Chevron and its directors in October 2012,” the statement said.

“In that resolution, the Makati City prosecutor found no evidence to support the charges of PDSC against Chevron. The Makati City prosecutor pointed out that Chevron’s “engagement into retail trade of fuel and fuel products as well as operate (sic) its own gasoline stations, is warranted under the Retail Trade Liberalization Act of 2000” and that the “creation and operation of COCOs is an industry practice that is even recognized by the Department of Energy, thus, regular and legal,” the statement added.

Chevron said that it found the timing of the release of the articles suspect and opportunistic coming immediately after PDSC filed its appeal with the Department of Justice and upon insinuations in various headlines that the complaint was lodged by more than one disgruntled dealer.

Chevron said that it is evaluating its legal options to address the malicious imputations made against the company and its directors.

The PDSC has filed criminal charges against Chevron for allegedly conspiring with the latter’s sister company to manipulate fuel prices.

In a complaint filed before the DOJ, PDSC Vice President Robert Conrad Limcaco accused the directors and officers of Chevron of engaging in the retail business by creating and operating its own Caltex service stations called COCOs (company-owned and company-operated) in Metro Manila.

Limcaco said Chevron’s officers and directors violated Article 186 of the Revised Penal Code, which prohibits monopolies and combinations in restraint of trade.

The complaint alleged that Chevron supplied fuel products to Chevron Services, the operator of gasoline stations and also a retailer of Caltex fuel and lubricants.

The PDSC argued that the conspiracy between the two companies to combine and control the distribution and pricing of fuel products in order to compete with Caltex dealers were acts punishable under Article 186, paragraph 1 of the Revised Penal Code.

Jean Malanum

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