Eleven boxes of fake cigarettes sold in barangays Taboan and Ermita in Cebu City were confiscated by agents of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI-7).
Three suspects identified as Carissaa Mae Juanico, Glenn Squib and Kevin Takiao were arrested in a buy bust operation last Feb. 24.
The three were charged with violation of Republic Act 8293 or the Trademark Infringement and Unfair Competition law for selling fake Mighty cigarettes.
The case was filed before Branch 11 of the Cebu City Regional Trial court. RTC Judge Ramon Daomilaas recommended P40,000 bail for each suspect.
NBI-7 acted based on a complaint filed by Mighty Corp. manufacturer of Mighty cigarette brands.
Bulacan-based Mighty Corp. said Thursday it expects to widen its market share in the tobacco industry, as it continues to supply quality but cheaper alternatives to expensive cigarette brands.
Mighty executive vice-president Oscar Barrientos said the increase in market share was due to the shift of the local market from premium brands to cheaper alternatives.
“Mighty’s market share is rising because of our very competitive price as well as quality of our cigarettes,” Barrientos said.
“Consumers are shifting from premium to low-premium brands after the new excise tax law,” he said.
Barrientos said Mighty’s market share grew from a range of 3 to 5 percent in 2012 to a range of 10 percent to 12 percent in 2013.
“For this year, we’re targeting to expand it by two percentage points, or to 12 percent to 14 percent,” Barrientos said.
He said the size of the tobacco market was more than 100 billion sticks annually and was continuously growing despite the increase in cigarette prices.
Barrientos said the company was now selling the Mighty brand for P26 to P27 a pack, Marvel brand for P25 to P26 a pack, which were both higher by P5 from last year’s retail price.
He said the adjustment reflected the P5 increase in excise tax rate this year. He said some retailers were still selling Mighty brand at P23 per pack and Marvel brand P18.4 per pack.