Mighty Corp denies tax evasion raps

MANILA-- Tobacco firm Mighty Corporation has denied the allegations on the second tax evasion complaint involving PHP26.93 billion in unpaid excise taxes filed by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) before the Department of Justice (DOJ).

In response to the second complaint, Abraham Espejo, legal counsel of Mighty Corporation, submitted the joint counter-affidavit to the DOJ panel chaired by Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Sebastian Caponong.

We have filed thick affidavit to show that our client has not violated any law. Evidence we submitted show that they are innocent. We are willing to face any forum as long as we are given due process, Espejo told reporters during the first preliminary investigation last Thursday.

Named respondents include Mighty Corp official Alexander Wongchuking (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 as co-respondents of Wongchuking in the second tax evasion case.

We have a strong case and I assure you that my clients will be able to prove that all of these accusations are not true. They have not committed any crime that they are being pilloried. Give us a chance to be heard, said Espejo.

The company is facing a second tax evasion complaint for its alleged failure to pay PHP26.93 billion in excise tax for unlawful possession of articles subject to excise tax without payment of the tax and for possessing false, counterfeit, restored or altered stamps which is a violation of the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997.

This is the biggest tax evasion case filed by the BIR so far in its Run After Tax Evaders program under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.

The complaint was based on the operation conducted by the BIR's revenue officers of its Large Taxpayers Regulatory Division last March 24 on the cigarettes stored in Mighty's warehouses at Barangay Matimbubong, San Ildefonso, Bulacan which resulted to the discovery of 536, 000 cigarette packs in 1,072 master cases with fake stamps.

The first tax evasion complaint involving PHP9.56 billion has been submitted for resolution.

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 lat 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.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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