Petron goes after dealers selling 'illegally-sourced' fuel

Posted at 01/13/14 5:31 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Petron Corp. has filed criminal charges against three former station dealers in Bulacan and Pangasinan for selling illegally-sourced fuels which were sold to consumers as Petron-branded products.

Petron filed separate complaints before the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor of Bulacan and San Carlos City, Pangasinan against terminated service station dealers Harry Lim, Zenaida Espinosa, and Orlando Umangay, along with other respondents to the case, for violating the provisions of Republic Act No. 8293 or the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines.

The respondents were alleged to have been involved in illegal dumping, which is related to oil smuggling.

In affidavits filed, the company said photos, videos, and samples taken from the respondents' stations showed that several product deliveries did not come from Petron's depots.

Umangay, who owns a service station in San Carlos City, Pangasinan, allegedly received fuels from a depot in Mangaldan, Pangasinan in November and December 2013. His purchases from Petron did not tally with his actual sales from July to October 2013.

Umangay's station was also the subject of the NBI's entrapment operation last month, which resulted in the arrest of a truck driver who was caught in the act of unloading illegal fuels.

At the same time, several “dumping” activities were also documented in November at an Espinosa’s service station in Urbiztondo, Pangasinan. It was observed that the same trucks that delivered illegal fuel to Umangay's station also made deliveries to Espinosa's station.

Another complaint by Petron said it noticed illegal deliveries to Lim’s station along Tabang Road, Bulacan from September to November 2013. Sales record from Petron showed Lim made higher sales that what was purchased from the company.

The complaint also noted that lab testing of fuel samples from the three gas stations "confirmed that petroleum products sold in the said service stations do not meet Petron’s and the Department of Energy’s product specifications and standards."

With these findings, Petron terminated the contracts of the three dealers as part of its efforts to curb the illegal practice and protect consumers/

Aside from the three dealers, there are 21 other dealers face similar charges for the same criminal violation.

If found guilty, each dealer faces imprisonment of up to five years and a fine of up to P200,000 for violating the provisions of Sections 155, 168 and 169.1 of the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines.

Illegal dumping is a direct result of oil smuggling. Last year, the oil industry urged the the government to go after oil smugglers, as the country loses at least P30 billion to P40 billion annually in foregone taxes.