Lawmaker wants oil companies to open their books

A MILITANT lawmaker   Thursday called on President Benigno Aquino III to compel oil companies to open their books and other documents related to their price increases in order for the government to know the conditions whether the prices are justified.

Rep. Neri Javier Colmenares said the continuing unrest in the Middle East has become the ready excuse of oil firms particularly the Big Three (Shell, Chevron and Petron) to jack up their prices, without both the consumers and the government readily knowing whether the prices are indeed unnecessarily jacked up over and above the increase in the international market.

“ The role of the Executive to open the books stem from Rule III,  Title I, Section 5 of the National Internal Revenue Code, Power of the Commissioner to Obtain Information, and to Summon, Examine, and Take Testimony of Persons. – In ascertaining the correctness of any return, or in making a return when none has been made, or in determining the liability of any person for any internal revenue tax, or in collecting any such liability, or in evaluating tax compliance, the Commissioner is authorized:

(A) To examine any book, paper, record, or other data which may be relevant or material to such inquiry.

“The crisis in the Middle East is such that it has become a cash cow for the Big Three. To date gasoline is now retailed at more than P52 a liter and diesel at more than P43 a liter in Metro Manila. This is even when they bought their oil supply 30-55 days ago. Since the beginning of the year, oil firms have raised prices of gasoline and diesel six times to a total of P4.25 per liter and P4.50 per liter respectively,” added the solon.

“These jacked up prices are on top of the fact that there have been persistent complaints that the price of fuel is excessively higher in the provinces outside Metro Manila. For example prices of oil products in Negros Occidental were higher by at least P5-P8 compared to those in Metro Manila,” said the lawmaker.

“It is also in this light that we are urging Congress to immediately adopt House Bill 2719 to make oil importation value added tax exempt to immediately offer relief to the public. We are also reiterating our call to immediately repeal the oil deregulation law,”  Colmenares said.

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