The Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) has launched a preliminary investigation into the so-called cartel in the garlic industry.
“The 90-day period began actually yesterday,” PCC director Orlando P. Polinar said in a briefing in Pasig City. “Yesterday was the first day,” he said.
Under the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the Philippine Competition Act (PCA), the antitrust body has 90 days to complete a preliminary investigation into anti-competitive business practices.
After 90 days, the PCC may pursue a full blown investigation if need be.
Senator Cynthia P. Villar, chair of the Senate committee on agriculture and food, urged Department of Justice (DOJ) officials to investigate the garlic cartel.
Villar also scolded DOJ officials for failing to prosecute garlic importers involved in the cartel in 2014.
Polinar said the commission will also look into the 2014 incident, but the investigation will be treated as a separate case.
“Given the initial information we have, it will be useful for this investigation to go back to the 2014 incident, but they are not treated as related cases,” he said.
Initial information showed the current cartel seems to be the same as the cartel responsible for the spike in garlic prices in 2014, the PCC official noted. — VDS, GMA News