Fake cigarette makers to face charges
Mary Grace Padin (The Philippine Star) - April 22, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) plans to file this week criminal charges against perpetrators found manufacturing fake cigarettes in a factory in Bugallon, Pangasinan, a top official said.

In an interview with reporters, BIR revenue officer Remedios Advincula, head of the BIR’s Strike Team for illicit goods, said the agency is set to file a case before the Department of Justice on April 25, following the confiscation of P2 billion worth of cigarettes packed with unregistered tax stamps and fake brand labels in the Pangasinan facility.

“(The case will be filed) after Holy Week. That’s big. The basis of that are the fake internal revenue stamps (we confiscated),” Advincula said.

In an earlier statement, the Department of Finance (DOF) said the factory in Pangasinan was raided by a joint team from the BIR and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) last Nov. 28.  

It was found that the facility was able to secure a barangay permit to operate as a piggery. 

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez already ordered BIR officials, in cooperation with the Department of Interior and Local Government, to investigate and file charges against the local officials who issued the permit.

The government is currently intensifying its crackdown against illicit cigarette trading, including the manufacture of fake cigarettes and use of fake internal revenue stamps.

Aside from those involved in the Pangasinan facility, BIR deputy commissioner Arnel Guballa said the agency is also building up cases against individuals or companies involved in illicit cigarette trading.

“First, we confiscate all these illegal materials and illegal machines, then after that we file the corresponding criminal cases. We are building up the pieces of evidence. We cannot immediately file the criminal case,” Guballa said.

Just recently, the BIR filed a criminal case against KDT Cargo Logistics Inc. and its board of directors for unlawful pursuit of business, unlawful possession of counterfeit internal revenue stamps, and nonpayment of excise taxes amounting to P210.7 million.

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