3 April 2017:
Mighty Corp. will not get special treatment from the government as the head of the Duterte administration’s economic team expressed confidence that strong evidence would pin down the homegrown cigarette manufacturer.
“The rule of law must be applied equally. All kinds of crime must face swift and sure justice, and Mighty is no exception. Those fraudulent tax stamps represent billions of pesos worth of theft from the Filipino people,” Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said in a statement.
In March, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) filed a P9.56-billion tax evasion case against Mighty, which allegedly used counterfeit cigarette tax stamps.
Dominguez said that while Mighty executives “will have their constitutional opportunity to prove their innocence,” the evidence gathered by the BIR and the Bureau of Customs “seems overwhelmingly to point to their guilt.”
Also party to the tax evasion case were Mighty president Edilberto P. Adan, executive vice president Oscar P. Barrientos, vice president for external affairs and assistant corporate secretary Alexander D. Wongchuking and treasurer Ernesto A. Victa.
Besides the raid at Mighty’s warehouses in Pampanga, which was the basis of the tax evasion case, the BIR and the BOC’s other raids in Zamboanga, General Santos City, Cebu, Tacloban City and Bulacan during the past two months also yielded cigarette packs bearing fake tax stamps.
Last week, Dominguez said that “any settlement [with Mighty] is now out of the question until the courts say so.”
According to Dominguez, the Department of Finance and its two attached tax-collection agencies—the BIR and the BOC—have been “at the forefront of the government’s campaign against tax dodgers in the cigarette industry.”
As such, Mighty, which the government has vowed to hail to court for using fake cigarette tax stamps, would get no special treatment from the DOF or the BIR and the BOC, the finance chief stressed.