Mighty Corp. asks DOJ to dismiss tax evasion raps, says raids were illegal


MANILA – Embattled local cigarette manufacturer Mighty Corporation asked the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Thursday to dismiss the P26.93 billion tax evasion case filed by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) in connection with raids on the company’s warehouses in San Ildefonso, Bulacan.

“The search that was done was illegal; there was no legal justification for it. The evidence that was obtained is doubtful. Not only is the evidence inadmissible, it’s also questionable,” said Abraham Espejo, legal counsel for Alexander Wongchuking, Mighty Corporation vice-president for external affairs and assistant corporate secretary.

Wongchuking attended the preliminary investigation hearing and submitted his counter-affidavit, along with co-respondents Edilberto Adan, former Armed Forces Deputy Chief of Staff and Mighty Corporation president; executive vice-president and retired Judge Oscar Barrientos; and treasurer Ernesto Victa. 

The complaint alleged that inventory and validation of the seized products led to the discovery of fake internal revenue stamps; fake since these “did not contain one of the multi-layered security features of a valid internal revenue stamp.”

“The result of the inventory-taking… disclosed a total of 81,591,500 packs contained in 163,183 master cases. Thereafter, in the presence of BOC personnel and representatives of Mighty Corporation and Barangay Matimbubong, internal revenue stamps affixed on the cigarette packs were tested using the Taggant reader, a BIR registered equipment used to test the authenticity of stamps affixed on cigarette packs.

“Based on the twenty-four-day validation acvitivity conducted from March 27, 2017 to May 5, 2017, one hundred percent of the total stamps tested on 536,000 cigarette packs in the two warehouses are fake,” the BIR said.

The complaint further stated that the tax stamps were not affixed at Mighty Corporation’s production plant in Barangay Tikay, Malolos, Bulacan, as required by law, as evidenced by the absence of official delivery receipts for the subject San Ildefonso warehouses.

“The warehouses in Barangay Matimbubong, San Ildefonso, Bulacan are not registered with the BIR as certified by the Excise Large Taxpayer Regulatory Division. Thus, Mighty Corporation cannot legally remove the said packs of cigarettes from their only plant in Tikay, Bulacan for delivery to the said unregistered warehouses,” the BIR said.

Respondents also moved for the consolidation of the complaint with two other tax evasion cases filed against them by the BIR, bringing to P37.88-billion Mighty Corporation’s alleged tax liability.

Respondents asked the DOJ to consolidate the complaint with two other tax evasion complaints filed against them, bringing to P37.88 billion its alleged tax liability.

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