27 March 2017:
A settlement between the government and Mighty Corp. is now out of the question, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said Monday, in light of the latest raid staged by authorities at the cigarette maker’s warehouse in Bulacan last week.
“The latest inspections done in Bulacan, for instance, would help the government build a strong case against Mighty. Any settlement is now out of the question until the courts say so,” he said in an emailed statement.
The latest raid staged by the Bureau of Customs (BOC) early Friday, March 24, supposedly yielded illicit cigarette stock valued at P3.2 billion.
Moving forward, the company will cooperate with the authorities, Mighty Corp. legal counsel Sigfrid Fortun said.
“We really cannot stop government from doing what it needs to do. We will cooperate, but can only wait and see what it will be doing next,” he said in a text message to GMA News Online.
“We have rights to be protected from wrong accusations and arbitrary incursions,” he added.
Early this month, Justice Secretary Vitaliano N. Aguirre II said Mighty Corp. gave in to President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s offer to pay P3 billion as settlement for excise tax liabilities.
Dominguez found the amount too small, saying the Bulacan-based company must pay 10 times over.
Mighty Corp. now faces a P9.56-billion tax evasion case before the Department of Justice (DOJ), filed by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) last week.
“The close cooperation we are now seeing between the BIR and the BOC against those who continue to undermine our reform agenda is the kind of teamwork we need in government,” Dominguez said Monday.
“Their sustained operations against illegal activities demonstrate the Duterte administration’s firm resolve to expose tax cheats and bring action against them in court,” he added.
Former BIR Commissioner Kim Jacinto-Henares earlier said the previous administration was not able to file any complaint against Mighty Corp. as the evidence presented to the government was not admissible in court. — Jon Viktor Cabuenas/VDS, GMA News