PMFTC dares Mighty to put up or shut up

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PHILIP Morris Fortune Tobacco Corp. on Wednesday dared Mighty Tobacco Corp. to stop skirting the issues and disprove their alleged acts of fraud that a government report recently uncovered.

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“Mighty can no longer hide from the facts which expose their questionable business practices, described by a senator as a clear act of fraud. The congressional inquiry highlighted the questionable business practices by Mighty,” PMFTC President Paul Riley said.

Mighty Corp., a local cigarette company owned by the Wongchuking family, is accused of allegedly using imported materials to make cigarettes for export but diverted them to the domestic market without paying duties and taxes.

The company likewise allegedly undervalued the cost of tobacco and filter imports to evade customs duties and import value added taxes.

“After reviewing all the government data, I concur with members of Congress that this is a clear case of fraud,” Riley said.

Instead of answering these very serious allegations, Riley said Mighty sought to discredit the report of the Senate Tax Study and Research Office (STSRO) by saying it was based on a private study conducted by the UK-based Oxford Economics.

“There is absolutely no data or reference in the STSRO report that comes from the Oxford Economics report” Riley insisted.

He noted the STSRO report is a government report and is a compilation of official data and facts collected from multiple agencies including the Bureau of Internal Revenue, National Tobacco Administration and the Department of Trade and Industry.

“Based on the STSRO report, Mighty is the one who should apologize to the Filipino people for its questionable business practices, that may have led to the loss of billions of pesos in tax revenues which could have otherwise been used to support public health programs among others” Riley said.

“We will not apologize for trying to help the government recover what are rightfully public funds. We will also not be intimidated by ridiculous statements and false comments aimed at masking the facts – this and other evidence will be pursued until something has been done about it. Enough is enough,” he added.

Riley said their company has no issues with Republic Act 10351 otherwise known as the Sin Tax Law and is not working for its amendment, a fact Mighty refused to acknowledge.

“When Republic Act 10351 was passed, we immediately and fully complied with it, and we continue to do so. Since its implementation, our position has been consistent—we support it and our only concern is its fair and effective administration,” Riley pointed out.

On the findings of the STSRO, Riley also challenged Mighty to explain its declaration of very low import prices of filter material as two US suppliers certified that they sold said filter materials at a much higher price range.

The report indicated that for filter materials, Mighty declared import prices between $0.36 and $0.40 per kilo. The US suppliers certified to the DTI that they sold filter materials from $5.35 to $6.70 per kilo.

With regard to tobacco leaf, Mighty imported Virginia tobacco from $0.68-$0.77 per kilo while the other importers declared between $4 and $6 per kilo.

Mighty reportedly imported Burley tobacco at $0.68 per kilo while the others paid $3.50 to $7 per kilo.

“In light of the findings of the STSRO, we believe that the relevant government agencies will not hesitate to enforce the full weight of the law, which includes criminal penalties, to achieve the government’s goal for everyone to pay the right taxes,” Riley said.

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6 Comments

  1. Mighty doesn’t feel the need to prove their innocence because the government has their back. Why do they have to prove against these allegations when the those in proper power refuses to even discuss the possibility that Mighty is indeed involved in illicit activity? Heck, they are even defending the corporation.

    • Blake Rodriguez on

      The officials defending Mighty Corp. are really starting to look suspicious now. There is a lot of evidence pointing to fraud, yet these officials refuse to take action. Are they in cahoots with Mighty?

  2. What does Mighty have to say for themselves now? All along they keep denying these allegations against them without even providing any concrete evidence to back their claims. Meanwhile the evidence keeps stacking up against them, and the best they could do is try to discredit reports that reveal their involvement in the illicit trade. But the Senate itself has now released their own findings showing Mighty’s illicit practices. Is Mighty again simply going to resort to trying to discredit the senate findings?

  3. Meredith Pacheco on

    Anyone notice that whenever Mighty or the people trying to defend the company are forced to respond to revelations of Mighty’s illicit actions, they are never able to fully deny it and back their statements with proof? All they do is try to discredit reports and findings on the basis of who commissioned them. Why is that the focus of their argument? Why can’t they just give concrete proof of their innocence?

  4. Instead of answering these very serious allegations, Riley said Mighty sought to discredit the report of the Senate Tax Study and Research Office (STSRO) by saying it was based on a private study conducted by the UK-based Oxford Economics. – Mighty is accusing STSRO of using the data from Oxford Economics report. Did they even try to compare what the two reports were all about?

  5. Mighty needs to finally answer these allegations against them. For the longest time they have been able to dodge the issue because BIR Commissioner Kim Henares has always spoken up for them and defended them. But now with these recent Senate findings about Mighty’s alleged tax fraud, the manufacturer should finally be forced to face these allegations.