DOJ dismisses smuggling case vs Phoenix PetroleumBy Tetch Torres
MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Justice (DoJ) dismissed the smuggling case against a leading independent oil industry Phoenix Petroleum Philippines Inc.
In a resolution, dated Nov. 16, the DoJ said there is not enough evidence to file a case against Phoenix for violation of the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines.
On May 2011, the Bureau of Customs filed P5.990-billion smuggling case against Phoenix for non-payment of excise and value-added taxes, non-submission of import documents.
But the resolution also stated that Phoenix was able to submit documents, which proves that “there could be no unlawful importation…as borne out by the evidence on record.
“The subject shipments passed through the customs house according to the standard procedure, where the specified entry form together with other documents required by law and regulations have been filed and accepted,” the DoJ resolution stated.
Documents submitted by Phoenix include manual and computerized Import Entry and Internal Revenue Declarations (IEIRDS), bills of lading, commercial invoices, statement of settlement of duties and taxes, authority to release imported goods, load port survey reports and discharge port surveys.
“In the instant case, there isno gainsaying that Phoenix has fully paid the duties, taxes and fees on the subject importations,” the DoJ stated.
The DoJ added that complainant filed a motion to reopen preliminary investigation to submit additional documentary evidence but no documents were attached to the motion nor a specific description of the documents they intend to submit.
“The unsupported motion, which correctly denied by the Prosecutor General, only bolsters our findings that complainant has no additional documents to discredit those submitted by respondents,” the DoJ added.
“Jurisprudence abounds that he who alleges has the burden of proof. In the instant case, complainant failed to discharge that burden. Accordingly, we have to sustain the dismissal of the above entitled complaint,” the DoJ said.
In 2009, Phoenix was ranked 211th among the countries top 10,000 corporations.
Early this year, Phoenix Petroleum Philippines was recognized by the BoC as among the country’s top importers for 2011.
BoC records showed Phoenix Petroleum Philippines emerged as the Top 7 importer after paying a total of P3.69 billion in taxes to the government. The Top 3 importers were Petron, Shell, and Chevron respectively. Total Philippines was at Top 6 narrowly edging Phoenix with total tax payments of P3.96 billion.
However, in the independents category, Phoenix Petroleum was the No. 1 Importer nationwide after Seaoil and Unioil rounded up the 14th and 15th spots respectively.
In a statement, Phoenix said “we are ecstatic that the case has been dismissed knowing fully well that we have complete documents to prove our position and appreciate that the Department of Justice had given more weight to these documents.”
“We look forward to continue supporting the collection efforts of the government by paying more taxes as our business grow in the future,” lawyer Raymond Zorrilla, Phoenix’s vice president for external affairs said in a text message.
Originally posted at 06:51 pm |Tuesday, November 27, 2012