DOE appeals TRO on oil unbundling policy
Danessa Rivera (The Philippine Star) - August 21, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Energy (DOE) is appealing the decision of local courts to stop the implementation its oil unbundling policy, a ranking official said.

In an interview, Energy Assistant Secretary Leonido Pulido said the agency is working with the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) to implement its oil unbundling policy under DOE Circular 2019-05-0008 or the “Revised Guidelines for the Monitoring of Prices on the Sale of Petroleum Products by the Downstream Oil Industry in the Philippines.”

“(This) means that we cannot enforce our circular until after either we get relief from a court or a decision. Preliminary injunction order is essentially what we call a pending relief so it runs during the pendency of the court,” he said.

Earlier this month, the Mandaluyong Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 213 granted Petron Corp.’s application for a writ of preliminary injunction against the controversial policy.

This after the court issued a 20-day temporary restraining order (TRO) on Petron’s petition filed last June 25.

In its order, the Mandaluyong RTC said it found “clear and unmistakable right” to stop the DOE from implementing the said policy, while the court “hears the main petition for declaratory relief so as not to render the judgment ineffectual.”

Pulido said the DOE has no choice, but to follow the RTC’s order until a final decision has been made.

“Whether or not an appeal was filed, that order stands. It is a legitimate order of a regional trial court. The Department of Energy is bound to respect that.  The unbundling of circular cannot be enforced during the pendency of the case,” he said.

The fuel unbundling policy—which was originally set for implementation on June 28—was supposed to take effect on July 13 after the agency re-published the circular together with its annex.

The policy, signed in May, requires all oil companies to report their “unbundled price adjustments,” including import costs, tax burdens, biofuel costs, oil company take components, and other essential cost components that contribute to the changes in retail prices.

However, oil companies  argued that under the Downstream Oil Industry Deregulation Act of 1998, the DOE was only authorized to monitor both the international and domestic price movements of petroleum products, as well as the compliance of businesses with national standards.

DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY
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