On 27 December 2018, the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) issued the Rules of the Leniency Programme. The guidelines completely implement the PCC’s leniency programme as provided underneath the Philippine Competition Act.
The guidelines offer humans and entities which are former or contemporary participants in cartels immunity from suit, or reduction of administrative fines, in alternate for voluntary disclosure of statistics concerning the cartels. The PCC hopes the regulations will inspire and assist inside the investigation and prosecution of cartels.
The regulations took the impact on 18 January 2019. Businesses are provided with an possibility to avoid or reduce legal responsibility from previous or modern cartel participation by way of complying with the conditions for leniency. The regulations provide a significant disincentive for cartel participation, as corporations have to be wary that different participants can be thinking about availing themselves of leniency. Similarly, agencies thinking about availing themselves of leniency must expedite their packages because the guidelines implement a “first to document” programme, which might also allow most effective one beneficiary of immunity from suit and one beneficiary of discount of fines for each mentioned violation.
Who can follow?
An entity that may be a former or modern-day participant in a cartel (i.E., horizontal preparations concerning charge-fixing, bid-rigging, output limit, and marketplace sharing) may additionally apply for leniency in change for voluntary disclosure of information regarding the cartel. If the entity is granted leniency, its officers, administrators, trustees, partners, employees, and sellers who came forward and co-operated with the PCC can also be granted leniency. Entities might not mutually observe for leniency.
Current or former directors, officials, trustees, partners, personnel or retailers of the participant entity (Related Individual) may additionally apply for leniency independently in their employer.
Immunity from fit
Immunity from healthy covers immunity from criminal and administrative liability below the Philippine Competition Act, in addition to from civil movements initiated by using the PCC and 0.33 events.
An entity that reports a cartel to the PCC previous to a fact-finding or preliminary inquiry by means of the PCC may be eligible for immunity if it is shown that:
The PCC has no longer acquired records approximately the cartel from any other source (e.G., the ones granted immunity);
Upon discovery of the illegal activity, the entity directly and efficaciously terminated its participation;
Its file is honest and complete;
It completely and completely co-operates with the PCC’s research; and
It did not coerce any other to take part within the cartel and in reality, did now not lead or provoke it.
If the record is made after a truth-finding or initial inquiry, the PCC might also nevertheless grant immunity to the reporting entity if it complies with those situations and shows that: (1) the PCC has no evidence with a purpose to possibly convict the entity, and (2) granting immunity could not be unfair to others.
For each reported violation, the PCC will furnish immunity from suit to only one entity and its related those who come ahead and co-operate with the PCC.
Reduction of administrative fines
If the reporting entity does no longer qualify for immunity, it can qualify for a discount of administrative fines if:
It is the first to come ahead and qualify;
Upon discovery, it right away and effectively terminated its participation;
Its document is truthful and whole;
It completely and absolutely co-operates with the PCC’s investigation;
It has no proof so as to in all likelihood convict the entity; and
Granting leniency would not be unfair to others.
For every said violation, the PCC will grant reduction of fines to best one entity and its related those who come ahead and co-operate with the PCC.
The making use of entity might also request for a “marker” from the PCC to protect the entity’s vicinity within the applicant queue. Once the marker is granted, the entity must publish information and proof approximately the anti-competitive agreement within the required length, otherwise, the following entity inside the marker queue that submits the required information and evidence will be considered for leniency.
Conditional leniency could be granted if the information or evidence lets in the PCC to carry out centered research or adjudication of the cartel, or adds significant price to the investigation. The conditional leniency can be revoked if the entity does now not absolutely and certainly co-perform with the PCC till all the applicable cases are sooner or later resolved.
When an entity obtains a marker, an associated character who comes forward and co-operates with the PCC could be taken into consideration to have an equal marker. The related man or woman may then be granted conditional leniency together with the entity.
When the entity’s leniency application is deserted, withdrawn or denied, a related character who previously got here ahead and co-operated with the PCC will take the place of the entity inside the queue and may be taken into consideration to have independently carried out for leniency.
A related person may also follow for leniency independently of his or her organization, although the latter does now not observe for leniency. The revocation of the leniency in favor of an organization will no longer always bring about the revocation of leniency in favor of an associated person.
The identity of the entities making use of for, and that has been granted, leniency may be stored personal except the PCC determines that the entity’s testimony or assertion is essential for any case filed through the PCC when it comes to the cartel.