It was a year ago when I started this weekly column promoting  consumer advocacy . My maiden column written  on September 19,2020 was  titled  Knowing your Consumer Rights .I wrote that an informed consumer who feels aggrieved in a business transaction should  know  that there are several channels where he can find redress or air his grievance . Below are several  current consumer issues /cases.

 You can  pursue legal actions against business decisions that burden  consumers with high prices. When your  back is pushed against the wall by what you  perceived as biased government regulators, you can   seek refuge in other government agencies where consumers can have a fair chance that their grievances are acted reasonably with dispatch.

 I sued all the members of the Energy Regulatory Commission before the Anti Red Tape Authority who sat down for nine (9) months on a fifty (50 ) pages Petition against its decision that favored business by authorizing increases in power rate that resulted to prejudice  the consumers. The regulator claims that the  issues imputed grave abuse of discretion on them   that they need to thresh these issues to determine the appropriate venue and course of action. But this agency allowed the business sector favored by their  decision to collect  the power rate increases. 

 Moreover, the same agency acted on a Petition by a group of businessmen in less than a week from  filing of the petition . This petition   seeks to pass on to the consumers   taxes like real property tax, local franchise tax and business   tax as part of the price of power for the past ten (10)years . By acting on the said petition quickly simply means that the consumers are bracing for another power rate hike. Upon learning of the petition, I quickly filed an   intervention  in the case.

I have been receiving updates for the past two (2) months from a group of thirty-two (32) Security Bank depositors on a complaint involving fraudulent bank transactions on their online bank account in the total amount of Php 3.7million pesos. They are exasperated with inaction and foot-dragging   of their Bank as well as the Bangko Sentral that they had elevated their complaint to the Senate Committee on Banking, Financial Institutions and Currencies.  

Another consumer copied me of his demand for replacement of a defective unit he purchased and declined an offer to simply replace defective parts with free labor services. He knows his 3Rs, i.e., Repair, Replace or Refund are alternative mode of redress against a defective item.

On the other hand, another consumer accepted the offer of parts replacement and free labor but wanted me to call the suppliers number on his behalf which I politely declined.

I am waiting for the decision against an  Assistant  Commissioner of the Bureau of Internal Revenue from  the Anti Red Tape Authority  for possible violation of the Anti Red Tape and Ease of Doing Business Act and the Assistant Commissioner could face a six (6)months  suspension from the government service for inaction on a request for a ruling . The case  filed by Laban Konsyumer Inc. sought for a definitive ruling whether the imposition of Value Added Tax on Excise Taxes on Fuel products is allowed by the Tax 


 I shall push the matter of implementing the price freeze of basic necessities to the National Price Coordinating Council. The President issued Proclamation Number 1218 on September 10,2021 that extended the state of national calamity resulting from the pandemic to another year till September 11,2022.  It is my  position that a declaration of a state of national calamity mean an automatic price freeze of basic necessities that include rice, sugar, milk, bread, coffee, milk, canned sardines, vegetables, fish, meat products , at their prevailing prices before the declaration of the calamity. I also believe that there is a legal basis to suspend and stop the recently issued increases in the Suggested Retail Prices of Basic necessities which was issued last August 29 and is not yet effective considering that it  shall take effect fifteen (15)days after it’s publication or on September 13,2021 but the President’s declaration was on September 10, 2021.

The higher SRPs is another business decision that benefits the business sector. This allows me as a consumer advocate to find the redress and air our grievance on behalf of the consumers on why the regulator is not complying with the President instruction which is a provision of law.

Finally, the most important issue that I and Laban Konsyumer Inc. have taken on is to question the validity of the excise taxes on fuel products. The case has been pending in the Supreme Court since January 2018. We shall continue pursuing the resolution of the case.

Atty. Vic Dimagiba, AB, LLB, LLM

President, Laban Konsyumer Inc.

Email at

Source: Manila Bulletin (