Headlines Skinning Left, pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1
Headlines ( Leaderboard Top ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1

‘Mighty Corp. may be hiding cigarettes’

MANILA, Philippines - Tobacco firm Mighty Corp. could be transferring its cigarette products to unregistered warehouses to avoid inspection by authorities, the Bureau of Customs (BOC) disclosed yesterday.

Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon said the raid on two warehouses in Bulacan on Friday led to the discovery of P3.2 billion worth of Mighty cigarettes with fake revenue stamps.

Faeldon said the warehouses in Barangay Matimbubong in San Ildefonso were not registered.

“They stored their cigarettes in these unregistered warehouses,” Faeldon said.

“But we have been closely monitoring the activities of Mighty. In fact, they tried to bring the cigarettes to the provinces so we raided those that went to Cebu and Tacloban City,” he added.

Faeldon said Mighty was aware that the bureau was closely following its activities and this prompted the Bulacan-based cigarette manufacturer to ask Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 1 Judge Tita Bughao Alisuag to issue a temporary restraining order (TRO) to stop the BOC from conducting raids on its warehouses.

Headlines ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1

“They asked for a TRO so they would have time to clean their registered warehouses,” Faeldon said.

The court issued the TRO on March 6.

However, the BOC filed an administrative complaint against Alisuag before the Supreme Court for issuing the TRO, prompting the judge to inhibit from Mighty’s case.

The case was raffled off to Manila RTC Branch 39 Judge Noli Diaz who dismissed the bid of Mighty to stop the BOC from raiding its warehouse in Pampanga.

“We resumed our operations against the illegal activities of Mighty following the court order,” Faeldon said.

The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) earlier raided Mighty’s four warehouses in San Simon Industrial Park in San Isidro, Pampanga that led to the discovery of fake tax stamps on cigarette packs.

President Duterte is still willing to accept Mighty’s offer of a P3-billion settlement for its excise tax liabilities so the funds could be used to repair run-down public hospitals.

Duterte is in favor of such a compromise deal instead of filing a P9-billion tax evasion case against the tobacco company initiated by the Department of Finance and the BIR.

The President believes that the resolution of tax cases might take 10 years or more while a settlement with Mighty would immediately provide the government additional revenue for vital public healthcare services.

The President wants to build hospitals in Basilan and Jolo as well as renovate the Mary Johnston Hospital in Manila.

Meanwhile, an officer of the BOC-Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS) said that cigarette smugglers might have been “testing the waters” when they reportedly attempted to smuggle into the country around P15 billion worth of cigarettes from Singapore.

Alvin Enciso, officer-in-charge of CIIS Cagayan de Oro port, said smugglers recently attempted to sneak in to the Mindanao Container Terminal (MCT) Septwolves and Farstar brand cigarettes.

“It was the first time that there was an attempt to import smuggled cigarettes through the MCT, which is a sub-port of the Port of Cagayan de Oro,” said Enciso.

 The BOC did not discount the possibility that the shipment originally came from China because of the Chinese markings on the cigarettes’ master cases.

Headlines ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1
  • Follow Us:
Healines Skinning Right, pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1