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Recto asked to support claim on oil overpricing

() - August 25, 2009 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Former National Economic and Development Authority director general Ralph Recto would have to affirm in court allegations that the Big 3 oil firms are overpricing petroleum products.

Vladimir Cabigao, counsel of the Social Justice Society, asked Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 26 to summon Recto on Sept. 18 to support their claim of overpricing against Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp., Chevron Philippines Inc. (formerly Caltex Philippines Inc.) and Petron Corp.

“As counsel for petitioners (SJS), may I request that a subpoena be issued to Mr. Ralph Recto, with address at LPL Campsite, Inosluban, Lipa City to testify in the hearing of the above-entitled case on 18 September 2009 at 8.30 a.m., and at any subsequent hearings, until he shall have finished his testimony,” read the SJD application for subpoena.

Cabigao said Recto’s testimony would support their motion to restrain further price hikes.

“Because we hope to elicit from him (Recto) his testimony that the prices of petroleum products are already overpriced by as much as P8 (per liter),” he said in a text message to The STAR.

The NEDA had insisted that gasoline and other oil products in the Philippines are overpriced by as much as P8 per liter.

In a position paper submitted to the House of Representatives last July 29, the NEDA said based on its computation, gasoline should be selling for only P32 per liter instead of P41.

“This theory has not been intelligently refuted by the oil companies and it having been made by NEDA should be considered the official government position,” Cabigao said.

However, DOE director Zenaida Monsada denied that petroleum products are selling beyond reasonable prices.

Domestic prices are lower than what they should be if based on the cost of importing oil products from Singapore, where most importers source their finished products, and that gasoline should be selling at P45 per liter and diesel at P33 per liter, she added.

NEDA recommended to Congress that the Department of Energy and Department of Justice be given more powers to check overpricing to protect the public from unfair practices.

The oil firms have refused to reveal their pricing formula.                     – Sandy Araneta

CABIGAO CALTEX PHILIPPINES INC CHEVRON PHILIPPINES INC DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY AND DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE FORMER NATIONAL ECONOMIC AND DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES LIPA CITY MANILA REGIONAL TRIAL COURT BRANCH MR. RALPH RECTO PETRON CORP
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