DOJ to submit for resolution 3rd tax rap vs Mighty Corp.

MANILA-- The Department of Justice (DoJ) on Tuesday said it is set to submit for resolution the PHP1.39-billion tax evasion complaint filed by Bureau of Immigration (BIR) against cigarette firm Mighty Corporation.

The PHP1.39 billion tax evasion complaint is the third one filed before the DOJ by the BIR against the respondents namely Mighty Corporation owner Alexander Wongchuking who sits as vice president for external affairs and corporate secretary; president, retired Lt. Gen. Edilberto Adan; executive vice-president, retired judge Oscar Barrientos; and treasurer Ernesto Victa.

Assistant State Prosecutor Ma. Lourdes Uy, a member of the prosecution panel handling the cases against the company, said the case has been submitted for resolution after the respondents submitted their respective rejoinders.

The BIR filed before the DOJ three tax evasion complaints against the Mighty Corp. including the PHP9.564 billion tax evasion complaint which was filed last March 22, a PHP26.93 billion tax evasion complaint filed on May 5, and a PHP1.39 billion tax evasion complaint filed on May 26.

In total, Mighty's estimated tax liabilities have so far reached PHP37.88 billion.

The three complaints were the same respondents are accused of 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 first complaint stemmed from the discovery that the cigarette products of stored in March of Mighty Corp. warehouses at the San Simon Industrial Park, San Isidro, Pampanga carried fake internal revenue stamps.

The other two complaints are based on other fake tax stamps on cigarette products stored in warehouses in in Barangay Matimbubong, San Ildefonso, Bulacan and the Sunshine Corn Mill warehouse in General Santos City.

The DOJ has already concluded the preliminary investigations over the PHP26.93 billion and PHP9.564 billion tax evasion complaints filed against the respondents.

Because of this, Uy said the DOJ will push through with the resolution with all three tax evasion complaints filed by the BIR.

Though Mighty Corp. said it will sell its assets to a Japanese tobacco company for PHP45 billion to settle its tax liabilities, Uy said the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) has not conveyed any intention of withdrawing the tax evasion complaints it filed against the cigarette firm.

Earlier, Wongchuking's counsel Philip Sigfrid Fortun said the company welcomes the BIR complaint that will provide clear the names and will continues to cooperate to the government.

The company welcomes the filing by the BIR of the complaint as it provides us an opportunity to clear our names and show we violated no tax laws. We will continues to cooperate with government in its continuing effort at tax collection, Fortun said in statement.

It can be recalled that Mighty Corp. has accepted the offer of President Rodrigo Duterte to pay at least PHP3 billion as settlement for its tax obligations.

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said Mighty Corporation gave in to President Rodrigo Duterte's offer to pay Php3 billion to settle its excise tax liabilities.

He noted that Mighty Corporation has accepted the challenge of President Duterte to pay at least PHP3 billion as settlement for its excise tax liabilities.

Aguirre said the Office of the President has received Wongchuking's letter signifying his willingness to pay the amount which will be used for the construction of hospitals in Basilan and Jolo, Sulu as well as the improvement the Mary Johnston Hospital in Manila.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier ordered the arrest of Wongchuking for economic sabotage over his firm's alleged use of fake cigarette tax stamps.

Wongchuking presented himself last March 7 to the NBI but was not arrested.

Source: Philippine News Agency