MANILA—The Bureau of Customs (BOC) will follow the Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) issued by a local court ordering it to stop from conducting raids at the warehouses of Mighty Corporation for a period of 20 days.
“Yes, we will abide by the TRO, but we are not discounting the legal remedies available to us to counter the said TRO,” Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon said in a statement.
Judge Tita Bughao Alisuag of the Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 1, issued the TRO which prevents the bureau from conducting inspections at the warehouses cigarette maker from March 3 to 23, 2017.
At the same time, the BOC remains firm in its position to intensify operations against importers and manufacturers of smuggled and fake cigarettes.
Prior to the issuance of the TRO, the bureau and the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) conducted a series of raids which resulted in the seizure of thousands of cases of cigarettes with fake tax stamps amounting to more than a billion pesos.
He said that Customs authorities will remain on guard at the warehouses of Mighty Corp. to ensure that the seized cigarettes will not be tampered with or swapped with legitimate products.
“We are assuring the public and all legitimate manufacturers and importers of cigarettes or any other products that the BOC will run after illicit traders and smugglers,” Faeldon added.
The BOC has exclusive jurisdiction over all seizure and forfeiture cases as per Section 202 of Rep. Act No. 10863 or the “Customs Modernization and Tariff Act” (CMTA).
Section 301 of the CMTA further provides that “[a]ll goods, including means of transport, entering or leaving customs territory, regardless of whether they are liable to duties and taxes, shall be subject to customs control” to ensure compliance with the border security mandate of the BOC under relevant customs laws, rules, and procedures.