A probe on cigarette manufacturer Mighty Corp.’s apparent non-payment of P4.421-billion worth of excise tax on cigarettes has been proposed in the House of Representatives.
Rep. Jonathan de la Cruz of Abakada party-list, an opposition lawmaker, made the pitch under his House Resolution 663 which tasks the House Ways and Means panel to conduct an inquiry, in aid of legislation, on the alleged violations of the Sin Tax law by certain manufacturers, including non-payment of excise tax and massive underdeclaration of imported tobacco and other raw materials.
Dela Cruz cited that while Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima has already issued a memo tasking Finance Undersecretary Jeremias Paul, Commissioner Kim Henares of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and then Customs Commissioner Rufino Biazon to probe the Mighty Corp. over its apparent non-payment of P4.421-billion worth of excise taxes, the said officials are yet to come out with a report to date.
The Sin Tax measure, signed into law by President Benigno Aquino 3rd in December 2012, raises excise taxes on tobacco and liquor products on a staggered basis from 2013 to 2015. Moreover, the Sin Tax law will also increase the excise taxes by four percent every year starting 2016 for distilled sprits and 2018 for cigarettes and beer.
“No less than Secretary Purisima issued the memorandum stating preliminary list of findings on anomalies on the trading and manufacturing activities of Mighty Corp. The [seemingly]failed attainment of the objectives of the said law thus brings into question the wisdom of tinkering with it in the first place,” de la Cruz said in his resolution.
The government sees the measure reducing health problems of poor people who are into cigarettes and liquor since the Sin Tax law would make them digger deep into their pockets for these vices.
On the other hand, the government is also expecting to generate more revenues with the implementation of the Sin Tax measure since excuse taxes on tobacco and liquor products have been stuck at 1996 levels prior to the measure’s passage.