MANILA—The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Tuesday said it is set to submit for resolution the PHP9.564-billion tax evasion complaint filed by the Bureau of Immigration (BIR) against cigarette firm Mighty Corporation.
During the continuation of the hearing on the case on Tuesday, the Mighty Corp. submitted its rejoinder 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 respondents to the complaint are Mighty Corp. officials Alexander Wongchuking, owner and 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.
The complaint accuses the firm 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.
This stemmed from the discovery of fake excise tax stamps in the packaging of the firm’s cigarettes stored in four warehouses at the San Simon Industrial Park, San Isidro, Pampanga.
The three-member panel will also handle the preliminary investigation on the second complaint filed by BIR on 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.
”So without appropriate the motion we will treat these cases as two separate cases,” Caponong told both parties during the hearing.
Caponong set the preliminary investigation on the second complaint on June 8 at 2 p.m.
The DOJ panel handled the preliminary investigation which is 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.
Last May 26, the BIR filed a third complaint against Mighty Corporation over an estimated aggregate deficiency excise tax liability in the total amount of PHP1.39 billion.
The tax bureau named the same respondents as facing raps for unlawful Possession of Articles Subject to excise Tax without Payment of the Tax, and for Possessing False, Counterfeit, Restored or Altered Stamps, in violation of Section 263 and 265 (c) of the National Revenue Code of 1997, as amended (Tax Code).
The latest complaint stemmed from the discovery of the company’s cigarette products stored in the Sunshine Corn Mill warehouse in General Santos City which bore fake internal revenue stamps.
During checks conducted in April and May using a taggant reader, the BIR said in a statement that 89.14 percent of the 67,470 packs there “bore fake internal revenue stamps.
“The stamps are fake since they did not contain one of the multi-layered security features of a valid internal revenue stamp,” BIR said.
Also, it added the warehouse in General Santos City is “not registered with the BIR s certified by the Excise Large Taxpayer Regulatory Division.”
“As a consequence o the criminal act of Mighty Corporation, together with its responsible officers, of using fake internal revenue stamps, it evaded payment of the correct excise tax and is liable to pay an estimated aggregated deficiency excise tax liability in the total amount of PHP1.39 billion, inclusive of increments,” said the BIR.