MANILA–Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II on Wednesday said that Alex Wong Chu King, the owner of the controversial tobacco firm Mighty Corporation wants to cooperate with the government to settle the tax deficiencies of his company.
Aguirre made the comment a day after he met with Wong Chu King in a closed-door meeting at the Department of Justice (DOJ) where the latter promised to cooperate in any investigation by the authorities, noting that he was not arrested because there is no case filed against him.
“We just talked. He expressed his willingness to fully cooperate with any investigation that may involve him. Why was he not arrested? At the time of our meeting yesterday, there were no cases filed against Mr. Alex Wong Chu King yet, that is why I did not order his arrest,” he said in a statement.
“There is no reason to have Alex Wong Chu King arrested as of the moment. While the Department of Justice is at the forefront of ensuring that our laws be faithfully obeyed, there is a process that has to be observed under the law,” Aguirre further stated.
Aguirre said instead of immediately arresting Wong Chu King, representatives of Mighty Corp, the BIR and the BOC together with the DOJ “should sit down and fully determine the exact liabilities” of the tobacco firm, if any.
The DOJ secretary assured that the government is determine to collect Mighty Corp’s tax obligations once it is established.
“I believe that the proper thing to do is for the representatives of Mighty Corp., the Department of Finance (DOF), the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), the Bureau of Customs (BOC) and the DoJ to sit down and to fully determine the exact liabilities of Mighty Corp. if any and for the government to collect what is rightfully due to it,” Aguirre noted.
“If the DOF or the BIR or the BOC will determine that a criminal case should be filed against Mighty Corp., its officers or against Alex Wong Chu King with us at the DOJ, then we will faithfully discharge our duty and determine if probable cause exists,” he added.
Earlier, the BOC said it mulls the filing of a PHP1 billion tax evasion case against Mighty Corporation for alleged failure to pay the amount in excise taxes to the government.
The BOC also said it intends to suspect the company’s import accreditation due to findings that it allegedly smuggled cigarettes into the country.
The company has already denied the allegations that it used fake tax stamps on its cigarettes.