PCC-NBI TIE-UP. Philippine Competition Commission officer-in-charge Johannes Bernabe (left) and National Bureau of Investigation Director Medardo de Lemos (right) sign the memorandum of agreement between the two agencies at the PCC office in Quezon City Wednesday (Aug. 17, 2022). This partnership aims to strengthen PCC's enforcement capacity. (Photo courtesy of PCC)

MANILA – The Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) have forged partnership to strengthen the antitrust body’s enforcement capacity to crack down on anticompetitive activities in the market.
 
On Wednesday, PCC officer-in-charge Johannes Bernabe and NBI director Medardo de Lemos signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) that will allow the PCC to tap the country’s primary investigative body in conducting a more comprehensive probe on anticompetitive behavior, such as agreements that do not promote fair competition, abuses of dominant position, and anti-competitive mergers and acquisitions.
 
“With PCC’s expertise in market investigation and processing of economic data and NBI’s extensive network and experience in on-the-ground investigations, this partnership will mutually strengthen our enforcement capacity towards our shared goal of cracking down on cartels and other violations of the PCA (Philippine Competition Act),” Bernabe said in a statement.
 
Under the MOA, the PCC and the NBI will form a Competition Task Force that will conduct joint case conferences, monitoring, specialized training, and capacity-building activities. 
 
Meanwhile, the PCC will also strengthen its enforcement activities as it is setting up a digital forensics laboratory, which will be composed of specialized forensics equipment, software and other tools useful for operatives.
 
PCC investigators will undergo proficiency training and accreditation on the use of digital forensics equipment.
 
Through the digital forensic lab, the antitrust body aims to maximize the use of digital evidence to prosecute cartels and abuse of dominance by big firms.
 
“The development of PCC’s digital forensics capacity is a major asset for our enforcement team. The use of digital forensics allows our investigators to uncover trails of electronic transactions or documents that point to cartels or collusions,” Bernabe said. (PNA)