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The Pitfalls of a Hybrid Institutional Model for Competition Enforcement: Lessons from the Philippines

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This paper reflects on the challenges of implementing a hybrid institutional model of competition enforcement in the Philippines. In 2015, the Philippine Competition Act (PCA) was passed after pending in Congress for almost 30 years. Its primary objective is to protect consumer welfare by ensuring the effective and efficient enforcement of competition law. To deliver on this promise, Congress opted for an integrated model, which places in one agency, the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC), the power to investigate, prosecute, and decide cases involving violations of the PCA. This model has the advantage of ensuring PCC’s independence, growing its expertise, and promoting efficiency in decision-making, consistent with Congress’ goals. However, this institutional design also highlighted due process concerns brought by the consolidation of prosecutorial and adjudicatory functions in one agency. This led PCC to erect an internal firewall between its investigation and prosecution arm and the adjudicatory body, effectively creating a bifurcated agency model. This paper assesses the success of this blended institutional design, and argues that building on the strengths of the integrated model, instead of aiming for a ‘perfect’ hybrid model, will allow PCC to learn from its experiences more quickly and better develop as an agency.