Mighty Corporation asks DOJ to junk P26.93-B tax evasion raps

Embattled cigarette maker Mighty Corporation and its officials asked the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Thursday to dismiss the P26.93-billion tax evasion complaint against them by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) over alleged use of fake tax stamps.

Mighty Corporation Vice President for External Affairs and Assistant Corporate Secretary Alex Wongchuking attended the preliminary investigation hearing, where he filed his counter affidavit with the DOJ panel of prosecutors.

Other respondents Mighty President and former Armed Forces Deputy Chief of Staff Edilberto Adan, Executive Vice President and retired Judge Oscar Barrientos and Treasurer Ernesto Victa also submitted their written defense to the charges.

The complaint arose from raid on Mighty’s warehouses in San Ildefonso, Bulacan on March 24 which yielded billions of pesos worth of cigarettes with fake stamps.

“Basically the search that was done was illegal. There was no legal justification for it. The evidence that was obtained is doubtful,” said Abraham Espejo, legal counsel for Wongchuking after the hearing, which was off limits to media.

“If the evidence is obtained illegally, it’s inadmissible (in court). Not only is the evidence inadmissible, it’s also questionable,” he added.

Mighty officials also urged the DOJ to consolidate the three tax evasion cases since they stemmed from the same allegation about the use of fake tax stamps on its cigarette products.

The DOJ had already finished hearing the P9.56-billion tax complaint in relation to the raid on four warehouses in San Isidro, Pampanga.

The company is also facing a P1.39-billion tax complaint stemming from the government raid on the company’s warehouse in Barangay Lagao, General Santos City on March 24.

The third complaint brings to P37.884 billion its alleged tax dues to the government. —KG, GMA News

Source: http://www.msn.com/en-ph/money/topstories/mighty-corporation-asks-doj-to-junk-p2693-b-tax-evasion-raps/ar-BBCh4St?li=BBr8Mkm

 

Mighty Corporation pleads innocence before Doj on tax evasion case

A LAWYER of embattled local cigarette firm Mighty Corp. maintained his clients’ innocence in the P26.93-billion tax-evasion complaint before state prosecutors on Thursday.

 
The Department of Justice (DoJ) yesterday held its first preliminary investigation on the second of three tax evasion raps filed by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) against Mighty Corp.

Members of the media were barred from covering the hearing, but Abraham Espejo, representing Mighty Corp., told reporters outside the hearing: “They have not committed any crime that they are being pilloried. Give us a chance to be heard. That’s my request.”

“I assure you that my clients will be able to prove that all of these accusations are not true,” Mr. Espejo added.

Mr. Espejo represents the four respondents in the case, namely: Mighty Corp. President Edilberto P. Adan, Executive Vice-President Oscar P. Barrientos, Vice-President for External Affairs and Assistant Corporate Secretary Alexander D. Wongchuking, and Treasurer Ernesto A. Victa.

The lawyer said that their camp filed a counter-affidavit with annexes reaching to “thousand” of pages. “Kaya kami nagfa-file ng (That is why we are filing the) counter-affidavit, we want due process. We do not want kangaroo-style proceedings here. I reiterate, we will fight,” Mr. Espejo also said.

Asked how he thinks the case is proceeding, he replied that the case is “doubtful, questionable, as a student of constitutional law, you will know the effect if evidence is obtained illegally, it’s inadmissible. Not only is the evidence inadmissible, it’s also questionable.”

He added that the case “could be due to business rivalry,” but did not elaborate.

The BIR first filed the tax evasion case worth P9.56 billion against Mighty Corp. on March 22. The BIR, in a statement released upon filing, said: “[t]he respondent corporation was the subject of an on-the-spot surveillance operation of untaxed cigarette products conducted [last March 1]… in San Simon Industrial Park (SSIP), San Isidro, Pampanga” and that random checks on 10 master cases of cigarettes in four warehouses in the economic zone leased by Mighty showed that internal revenue stamps affixed on the cigarette packs “were fake.”

Subsequent inventory of all cigarette packs in the warehouses concerned showed that Mighty stored there 66,281 master cases with 33,140,500 cigarette packs.

“The investigation further showed that 87.5% of the said packs bore fake internal revenue stamps,” the BIR said.

“The stamps are fake since they did not contain one of the multi-layered security features of a valid internal revenue stamp,” the BIR added.

The said case was deemed submitted for resolution last May 30.

Mighty Corp. is also facing a third complaint from the BIR, worth P1.39 billion. The three complaints bring the total alleged tax liabilities of Mighty Corp. to P37.88 billion — the largest tax evasion case so far under the administration of President Rodrigo R. Duterte.

The case is handled by a three-man panel of state prosecutors led by Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Sebastian Caponong, Jr. The other members are Assistant State Prosecutors Ma. Lourdes Uy and Mary Ann Parong. — Kristine Joy V. Patag

 
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Mighty Corporation on tax stamps

THE World Bank has reported that more than nine of every 10 cigarette packs sold in the country already bear the mandatory tax stamps required under the Internal Revenue Stamps Integrated System (IRSIS) of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) on tobacco products.

In its latest report posted on the Department of Finance (DOF) web site, World Bank data showed that over 96.1 percent of the cigarette packs in retail outlets comply with the IRSIS, which the BIR began to implement in April last year.

At the end of this month, the World Bank is expected to come out with a full joint report with the DOF on the successful implementation of the “sin” tax reform law.

In all 13 brands monitored by the BIR last November 29 in various outlets, at least 90 percent bore such stamps. These included brands LA, Boss and Plaza, with 100-percent compliance, while the 10 others—Hope, Mark, Marlboro, Mighty Corporation, Winston, More, Camel, Champion, Fortune and Philip Morris—had over 90-percent stamps on their cigarette packs.

In the provinces, the BIR noted 100-percent Irsis compliance in Bulacan, Pampanga and Pangasinan; 93.5 percent in Quezon province; 90.2 percent in Negros Oriental; 85.7 percent in Laguna; and 66.7 percent in Cebu and Nueva Vizcaya.

Because of tight BIR monitoring, Metro Manila represented the higher percentage compliance at 99.8 percent, the World Bank report said.

The BIR, early this year, started its strict surveillance and monitoring on cigarette manufacturers by requiring them to install their own CCTVs in their factories and through the IRSIS.

Mighty Corp., a wholly-owned Filipino cigarette maker operating for the past 70 years, was the first to install a closed-circuit monitoring system—from production to withdrawal of finish products—in compliance with the BIR’s requirements.

BIR Commissioner Kim S. Jacinto-Henares earlier said the World Bank’s preliminary report indicated that, as far as the implementation of the IRSIS on cigarettes was concerned, “there’s always room for improvement, and we should always be on guard.”

The BIR chief had nonetheless also acknowledged that there remained unscrupulous entities that do not follow the law.

The BIR has relentlessly campaigned against untaxed cigarettes, confiscating more than 42,000 packs of locally made and imported cigarettes in Batangas without tax stamps. The previous raids also resulted in the seizure of illegal products in Nueva Ecija, Cavite, Cebu and Zamboanga del Sur last June.

“The BIR, through its authorized representatives, shall conduct on-the-spot surveillance of cigarette products either in the place of production, storage facilities, or in the domestic market, as the case may be, through the use of mobile verification devices issued for the purpose of ensuring compliance with the
IRSIS,” a ranking revenue official said

Revenue officials said excise-tax collections from sin products continued to rise as a result of tax rates adjustments under Republic Act 10351, or the sin-tax reform law.

In essence, the new restructured excise-tax system resulted in higher cigarette prices and, thus, discouraged smoking, while, at the same time, collecting more revenues for health care.

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Mighty Corporation bear the mandatory tax stamps on their products

THE World Bank has reported that more than nine of every 10 cigarette packs sold in the country already bear the mandatory tax stamps required under the Internal Revenue Stamps Integrated System (IRSIS) of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) on tobacco products.

In its latest report posted on the Department of Finance (DOF) web site, World Bank data showed that over 96.1 percent of the cigarette packs in retail outlets comply with the IRSIS, which the BIR began to implement in April last year.

At the end of this month, the World Bank is expected to come out with a full joint report with the DOF on the successful implementation of the “sin” tax reform law.

In all 13 brands monitored by the BIR last November 29 in various outlets, at least 90 percent bore such stamps. These included brands LA, Boss and Plaza, with 100-percent compliance, while the 10 others—Hope, Mark, Marlboro, Mighty Corporation, Winston, More, Camel, Champion, Fortune and Philip Morris—had over 90-percent stamps on their cigarette packs.

In the provinces, the BIR noted 100-percent Irsis compliance in Bulacan, Pampanga and Pangasinan; 93.5 percent in Quezon province; 90.2 percent in Negros Oriental; 85.7 percent in Laguna; and 66.7 percent in Cebu and Nueva Vizcaya.

Because of tight BIR monitoring, Metro Manila represented the higher percentage compliance at 99.8 percent, the World Bank report said.

The BIR, early this year, started its strict surveillance and monitoring on cigarette manufacturers by requiring them to install their own CCTVs in their factories and through the IRSIS.

Mighty Corp., a wholly-owned Filipino cigarette maker operating for the past 70 years, was the first to install a closed-circuit monitoring system—from production to withdrawal of finish products—in compliance with the BIR’s requirements.

BIR Commissioner Kim S. Jacinto-Henares earlier said the World Bank’s preliminary report indicated that, as far as the implementation of the IRSIS on cigarettes was concerned, “there’s always room for improvement, and we should always be on guard.”

The BIR chief had nonetheless also acknowledged that there remained unscrupulous entities that do not follow the law.

The BIR has relentlessly campaigned against untaxed cigarettes, confiscating more than 42,000 packs of locally made and imported cigarettes in Batangas without tax stamps. The previous raids also resulted in the seizure of illegal products in Nueva Ecija, Cavite, Cebu and Zamboanga del Sur last June.

“The BIR, through its authorized representatives, shall conduct on-the-spot surveillance of cigarette products either in the place of production, storage facilities, or in the domestic market, as the case may be, through the use of mobile verification devices issued for the purpose of ensuring compliance with the
IRSIS,” a ranking revenue official said

Revenue officials said excise-tax collections from sin products continued to rise as a result of tax rates adjustments under Republic Act 10351, or the sin-tax reform law.

In essence, the new restructured excise-tax system resulted in higher cigarette prices and, thus, discouraged smoking, while, at the same time, collecting more revenues for health care.

NGO gave Filipino owned company Mighty Corp an award

In recognition of its achievements in business matters and in social, cultural and religious affairs, the Philippine Council of Management Research Institute Inc. has awarded the Outstanding Corporation of the Year Award (2015-2016) to MIGHTY Corp.

MIGHTY Corporation is the current name of the post-war La Campana Fabrica de Tabacos Inc. which was also known as Tobacco Industries of the Philippines at one point in time. Its social arm is the Wong Chu King Foundation.

Wong Chu King founded the company with the help and support of Ong Lowa, Baa Dy, Ong Pay and his family. He did this right after he came to the Philippines from Amoy, China during the post-World War II era.

For the past 70 years, despite the changes in business practices, economy and public taste the company was able to thrive and be the business empire it is today. The company has now three factories and is cited as among the countries honest and biggest tax contributors.

Its social arm, the Wong Chu King Foundation is actively engaged in educational and apostolic charities targeting communities where planting tobacco is their main source of income. Through this, they are able to help further the education of the children of tobacco farmers. Their vision is to “transformation through charity“.”

 

 

Mighty Corporation on organic tobacco pesticide

Filipino cigarette manufacturer Mighty Corporation has been urging to alternative use for tobacco. It is to help reduce Filipino farmers’ reliance on chemical-based pesticides, and also to increase tobacco farmers’ income, and protect the environment.

According to Oscar Barrientos, Mighty executive vice president and spokesman that the move was part of the company’s corporate social responsibility thrust. He noted that a small but growing number of Filipino farmers were shifting from chemical-based to organic pesticides, or a combination of the two. “This trend should be encouraged,” he added.

They have been coordinating with National Tobacco Administration (NTA), Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority (FPA) of the Department of Agriculture (DA) and University of the Philippines in Los Baños, Laguna (UPLB) in this effort.

 

Tobacco farmers, Mighty Corporation collab for future initiatives

Last year, there are 200 tobacco farmer leaders in Pangasinan, La Union and Ilocos provinces and Mighty Corporation collaborated in a partnership which the company commits for a new major player in the cigarette industry.

Mighty Corporation Executive Vice President Oscar P. Barrientos said that they asked for help of the National Tobacco Administration about buying P10-million kilograms tobacco leaves and the multi-pronged P10-million Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) for tobacco farmers and their families.

“We are grateful and we are looking forward to the firm commitments of Mighty Corporation to help the 65,000 strong tobacco farmers in the Philippines with their pronouncements this year to purchase 10-million kilograms of tobacco leaves and the P10-million outreach projects for tobacco farmers,” said Mario Cabasal, president of the National Federation of Tobacco Growers and Cooperatives.

Cabasal has been overwhelmed over Mighty’s commitments of purchasing 10 million kilograms of tobacco leaves. Thousands of farmers in Pangasinan and the Ilocos provinces have expressed relief that their tobacco leaves will have a profitable market in the country.”

“Now that we are assured of an alternative market, besides other tobacco companies, our members will again be inspired to devote larger areas to the cultivation of Ilocandia’s most important cash crop,” he said.

 

 

 

 

Mighty Corporation supported restoration of churches in PH

 

Mighty Corporation’s CSR arm, Wong Chu King Foundation Inc. (WCKF) has been supporting the seismic retrofitting of historic churches in Philippine provinces following the earthquake that damaged historical and religious structures in Bohol and Cebu last October 2013.

The foundation has been assisted the renovation of the roofs and ceiling of several churches in the country such as Diocesan Shrine of Immaculate Conception Church in Naic, Cavite and the reconstruction of the Basilica Minore of Our Lady of Piat Church in Tuguegarao City, Cagayan.

“Churches are also symbols of strength and hope for Filipinos. To see a church survive earthquakes and other calamities can easily uplift the spirits of our people,” said WCKF General Manager James Vincent Navarette.

“The devastation brought about by the recent Visayas earthquake has firmed up our advocacy to build more churches and strengthen the Filipino faith,” he said.

“However, we also understand that this is not enough. We have to make sure that the design and structure of these buildings, particularly the old and existing ones, are safe and resistant to calamities such as earthquakes.”Navarette said.

For those who didn’t know seismic retrofitting, it is the process of remodeling structures to make them more resistant to damage brought about by earthquakes and other seismic activities. Also, retrofitting aims to design, build, and maintain structures to comply with building codes and withstand seismic effects while sustaining an acceptable level of damage.

The WCKF foundation has been renovating churches since 2009.

 

 

Mighty Corporation on how they divided their time helping the needy, producing tobacco products

 

Mighty Corporation’s CSR arm,The Wong Chu King Foundation turned over its renovation project for the historic Diocesan Shrine of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, the largest church in all of Cavite, back to its parish in Naic town during the foundation’s 24th anniversary last year/

 

The non-government organization has been supporting apostolic work, strengthened the church’s outer wall structure with limestone and built a new garden and fountain for it, said Alexander Wongchuking, WCKF executive director.
“We cannot allow this historic church to go into disrepair because it had not only strengthened the Filipino faith but also stands as a mute witness to the martyrdom of the defenders of Philippine freedom and nationhood,” added Wongchuking, recalling the church’s role in the fight for Philippine independence from Spanish, American and Japanese conquerors.
The said project was started in June 2013 and completed last February. Wongchuking said the church had always been near to the hearts of the Wongchuking family and all WCKF board officers and members since Nelia Dy Wongchuking, WCKF president and chairman of the board, was born in Naic and traces her roots to the town and its church.
“Our project aims to maintain the original structure, essence and sanctity of the church,” said James Navarette, WCKF general manager.
“At first, the foundation focused on repairing the church’s roof and ceiling. But Mrs. Wongchuking heard of the personal project of Fr. Virgilio Saenz-Mendoza, the parish priest, and the people of Naic to refurbish the outer walls of the church,” Navarette explained.