Dominguez defends BIR in Mighty Corp appeal

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Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez 3rd has defended the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) against the latest appeal from homegrown cigarette maker Mighty Corp. for the BIR should act more responsibly in making statements regarding its tax-evasion case.

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“Okay we heard them. I think BIR has been very responsible. Their main responsibility is to the Filipino people and I think they have acted with total responsibility,” Dominguez told reporter in an interview on Tuesday.

Over the weekend, Retired Regional Trial Court Judge Oscar Barrientos, executive vice president of the embattled firm, said the BIR should “take into consideration repercussions of the cancellation of the license to operate of the company.”

Barrientos, also the company spokesman, said hundreds of thousands of Filipinos will supposedly be affected if the government makes good on its threat to close down Mighty.

He said about 7,000 employees and 55,000 tobacco farmers and their estimated 350,000 family members and dependents rely on Mighty for their livelihood.

Dominguez said the sole duty of Mighty is to pay the right taxes.

“Really? God damn it! Really! Somebody doesn’t pay his taxes. Let’s say, I don’t pay my tax and say ‘Hey don’t put me in jail. My maid will lose her job’. Come on! Why don’t people think about those things? That is not your duty that is your obligation to pay taxes,” he said.

“Why don’t you think about those things? Who is the one putting them out of job? Their employees are at risk, of course. But who put them at risk?” he added.

Dismissing allegations about the possible repercussions of closing Mighty Corp., the Dominguez noted farmers will always sell tobacco to somebody else. “There will always be buyers, and I am sure somebody will always cover that market,” he said.

“It is your responsibility. And you have a responsibility to your stakeholders. You are a private company, you have a responsibility to your stakeholders. And one of your obligations is to make sure that your stakeholders are safe,” he said.

Last month, the BIR filed a P9.5-billion criminal complaint against the company for using bogus tax stamps. The bureau said the cigarette maker is facing a string of additional criminal complaints involving tax liabilities of over P27 billion.

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