MANILA—The Department of Justice set the next preliminary investigation on the PHP9.564-billion tax evasion complaint filed by Bureau of Immigration (BIR) against controversial cigarette firm Mighty Corporation on May 30.
During the continuation of hearing on Thursday, the BIR submitted its reply to the counter-affidavits filed by all of the respondents to the DOJ panel composed of Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Sebastian Caponong Jr. who sits as its chairperson and Assistant State Prosecutors Ma. Lourdes Uy and Mary Ann Parong.
The three-member panel handles the preliminary investigation aimed at determining whether the company’s officials should be charged over the unlawful act of using fake stamps on cigarette packs and evading payment of the tobacco excise tax.
The panel set the next hearing date on May 30 for the Mighty Corp.’s rejoinder.
The respondents on the complaint were Mighty Corp. official Alexander Wongchuking, owner (assistant corporate secretary), former Armed Forces deputy chief-of-staff and retired Lt. Gen. Edilberto Adan, Might Corp.’s president; retired Judge Oscar Barrientos, company executive Vice President; and company treasurer Ernesto Victa have submitted their counter-affidavits and denied the allegations.
Under the complaint, the respondents are accused of unlawful possession of articles subject to excise tax without payment and for possessing false, counterfeit, restored or altered stamps in violation of Sections 263 and 265(c) of the National Revenue Code of 1997.
The complaint stemmed from the discovery that fake excise tax stamps where found on its cigarette products stored in four warehouses at the San Simon Industrial Park, San Isidro, Pampanga.
Last May 9, the BIR filed PHP26.93 billion tax evasion complaint against the same respondents with the same violation after more fake excise tax stamps were discovered in warehouses Barangay Matimbubong, San Ildefonso, Bulacan.
Earlier, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said that the two complaints will be consolidated and be handled by the same panel of prosecutors.