The Petroleum Distributors and Services Corporation (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 Department of Justice, 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.
Included in the charges were former directors and officers of Chevron and Chevron Services Timothy Leveille, Rebecca Alivio, Ramon Ortiz, Frumencio Deguito, Aner Anda, Randall Johnson, Steven Mulvaney, Armando Diaz, Carlito Lopez, Leo Vasco Dagamac, Glenn Lynch, Husain Shibly Latiff, Carol Bautista, and several others.
Chevron was previously limited to supplying fuel products to its local dealers. However, it organized another company in 2003—Chevron Services Philippines, Inc., to engage in retail and operate Caltex COCOs. Based on the records from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Chevron and Chevron Services are owned by the same foreign stockholders and are run by the same directors and officers.
The Caltex service stations operated by Chevron and Chevron Services are situated in the same areas where there exist Caltex stations owned and operated by Filipinos, such as PDSC.
The PDSC has been engaged in the business of retailing fuel products for almost 50 years, and was a Caltex dealer for more than two decades.