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NEWS UPDATES 25 July 2009

Philippine court orders bureaus to probe oil firms’ accounts

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A Manila court on Friday gave a 72-hour ultimatum to officials of the Bureau of Internal Revenue, the Bureau of Customs and the Commission on Audit to comply with a court order directing them to create a panel that will look into the books of accounts of the “Big 3” oil companies, a report posted in the Manila Times website said.

An order issued by Manila Regional Trial Court Judge Silvino Panfilo Jr. gave the officials three days to create the panel that will examine the books of Chevron, Pilipinas Shell and Petron—the Big 3 accused of manipulating oil prices in the local market.

Panfilo granted the manifestation submitted by lawyer Vladimir Cabigao of the Social Justice Society, which had asked the court to cite in contempt the officials who have not formed the panel of investigators.

As early as April, the same court ordered the Customs and Internal Revenue bureaus and the Audit commission to scrutinize the books of the three giant oil companies. But, according to Panfilo, the three government agencies clearly ignored that order of the court. Thus, he said, the agencies’ officials can be cited for contempt under Section 3(b) and Section 4, Rule 71 of the Revised Rules of Court.



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