MIGHTY Corp. on Thursday took to task Philip Morris Fortune Tobacco Corp., Inc. (PMFTC) president Paul Riley for making “unfounded and malicious statements” over its alleged fraudulent activities.
Mighty executive vice president Oscar P. Barrientos was reacting to Riley’s claim that Mighty undervalued its imports based on its own funded and self-serving report and the incomplete study done by the Senate Tax Study and Research Office (STSRO).
“What PMFTC and Riley conveniently kept from the public is that the STSRO study used data culled from a report on alleged illicit tobacco trade conducted by the International Tax and Investment Center and Oxford Economics. This report was commissioned and funded by Philip Morris International which makes it self-serving,” Barrientos said.
“This illicit tobacco trade report has since been debunked and discredited by tobacco control organizations and health groups as inaccurate and biased. Philip Morris exerted efforts to influence government against adopting policies that affect its business,” he added.
The Senate’s transcript of the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee hearing on Oct. 22, 2014 showed that lawmakers and Cabinet officials debated on the validity of the STSRO study.
Internal Revenue Commissioner Kim Henares said the study is based on the global research that was done by Nielsen group that was paid for by Philip Morris.
She said the STSRO study is questionable because the Department of Trade and Industry provided incomplete data since it did not mention that Philip Morris has a Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) facility for warehousing and transhipment.
“They never asked us [BIR] for any data,” she said.
Barrientos said Philip Morris has no authority “to speak in behalf of our local authorities because he simply wants to pressure the government to amend the RA 10351 in their favor.”