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BIR confiscates Mighty products in Cebu

/ 12:26 AM February 16, 2017

The products of Bulacan-based Mighty Corp. yielded fake cigarette tax stamps during an inspection in a Cebu mall early this month, a report from the country’s biggest tax-collection agency alleged.

“After checking the authenticity of the affixed stamps, it was discovered that all cigarette products bearing the Mighty brand of cigarettes registered a red-colored reading, which indicated fake or counterfeit stamps used on their products,” the BIR report alleged.

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The BIR office in Cebu inspected all products on sale at Metro Mandaue mall in Mandaue City on Feb. 7-8 following allegations from Irsis Corp., a firm monitoring the supply and sale of tobacco.

The BIR personnel reviewed the stamp taxes of 33 master cases of Marlboro cigarettes, 11 master cases of Fortune and seven master cases of Hope—products of market leader PMFTC Inc.; 19 master cases of Jackpot; as well as 164 master cases of Mighty products, on top of 902 loose packs of Mighty cigarettes.

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The BIR, in the end, seized seven master cases of Mighty’s green hard menthol cigarettes, 58 master cases of the white soft menthol, and 99 master cases of the red full flavor.

The BIR also confiscated 337 loose packs of the green hard menthol variant, 362 packs of the white soft menthol, as well as 203 packs of the red full flavor of Mighty.

A master case contains 50 reams or cartons, while each ream has 10 packs.

At an excise tax of P30 per pack, foregone revenues from the confiscated products—a total of 82,902 packs—would reach P2.49 million.

“Subsequently, the above seized articles were brought to the BIR Revenue Region for storage as evidence against the violator of our tax laws,” the report read.

Industry sources said BIR officials allegedly wanted to charge the mall—and not Mighty—following the incident.

Metro Retail Stores Group president and CEO Arthur Emmanuel told BIR Commissioner Caesar Dulay on Feb. 6 that the company had already “secured and segregated the Mighty products for further inspection and appropriate action by personnel from the BIR.” He said the firm would “share copies of relevant documents that will indicate the source of these products.” The firm operates the Mandaue mall. Ben O. de Vera

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