THE Department of Justice said it completed the drafting of implementing rules for the criminal provisions of the anti-competition law.

DoJ spokesperson Undersecretary Markk L. Perete said the department’s Office for Competition (OFC) completed the draft implementing the criminal provisions of Republic Act No. 10667 or the Philippine Competition Act and other related laws.

Mr. Perete said the rules clarify the elements of the crime committed in entering anti-competitive agreements, and include special rules on the filing of information and venue for cases falling under the law.

“The rules likewise enumerate and guide prosecutors on the application of special rules in the prosecution of these cases, such as the plea of nolo contendere (no contest), and the inadmissibility of certain pieces of evidence arising from a party’s prior resort to administrative reliefs before the Philippine Competition Commission,” he told reporters in a mobile-phone message.

The undersecretary also said that the draft outlines the procedure for applications of immunity of cartel members that provide information, testimony, and assistance for the “successful prosecution” of competition cases. It also included the obligations of those who will be granted immunity.

“Example, three companies entered into an agreement to peg the price of a product or its substitutes which agreement defeats competition. One of them may be granted immunity from prosecution in exchange for evidence regarding the offense. Which one to choose and how to grant it is specified in the rules,” he said.

The draft was published by the office online to solicit comments from the public before its finalization.

RA No. 10667 which created the PCC was signed on July 21, 2015.

The Supreme Court last year approved the rules upholding the authority of commercial courts to issue inspection orders of companies that are suspected of violating the law.

Under the rules, the PCC must apply for an inspection order before commercial courts, with a ruling deadline of 24 hours.

Special commercial courts in Quezon City, Manila, Makati City, Pasig City, Cebu City, Iloilo City, Davao City and Cagayan De Oro City have been authorized to issue inspection orders. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas