6 July 2022
PCC welcomes Commissioner Bernabe as OIC Chairperson
The Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) welcomes Johannes Benjamin R. Bernabe as Officer-in-Charge, Office of the Chairperson to lead the antitrust authority of the country on the advent of the new administration.
Bernabe takes the reins at the PCC as former Chairperson Arsenio M. Balisacan returns to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) as Socioeconomic Planning Secretary. Bernabe is joined by Commissioners Emerson B. Aquende, Marah Victoria S. Querol, and Michael B. Peloton, who are tasked to decide en banc on the different market competition issues within PCC’s jurisdiction.
Prior to his appointment at the PCC, Bernabe worked on international trade policy reforms as Senior Fellow at the Geneva-based International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development. He was a trade negotiator for the Philippines at the World Trade Organization (WTO) from 1999 to 2005 on services trade, intellectual property, and competition law. His expertise also earned him an appointment as a panelist / adjudicator at the WTO to decide on an international trade dispute.
As an advocate of competition policy through the years, Bernabe was the lead adviser on key economic legislation at the 16th Congress, which includes the Philippine Competition Act that governs the mandate of the office he now leads.
Commissioner Bernabe graduated cum laude with a degree in Economics at the University of the Philippines, where he also subsequently finished his law degree. He was a Chevening Fellow in the University of London, at the International Development Law Institute in Sydney, Australia, and has a postgraduate Diploma in Competition Law from King’s College in London.
Bernabe’s designation comes at an opportune time as PCC pushes for inclusion of competition principles in the country’s economic recovery agenda. The PCC intends to anchor this thrust on robust enforcement and advocacy.
For 2022, the PCC aims to (i) rule on all competition cases submitted for decision, (ii) resolve six cartel or abuse of dominance cases, including concluding all investigations that have been ongoing for at least two years, (iii) initiate two motu proprio unnotified or anticompetitive merger cases, (iv) codify all PCC rules and procedures, and (v) roll out the National Competition Policy in the public sector.
Under the Philippine Competition Act, the PCC has primary and original jurisdiction over competition issues. It looks into anti-competitive agreements, abuses of dominance, and anti-competitive mergers and acquisitions.