CONGRESS and other investigating bodies of the government should conduct their investigation on a wide range and refrain from singling out a company suspected of committing isolations to avoid unnecessary damage to other firms that employ Filipinos.
This was the appeal made by Rep. Rodel Batocabe of Ako-Bicol party-list in connection with the ongoing probe in the House of Representatives on “unscrupulous entities” in the cigarette industry.
Batocabe, a member of the House Committee on Ways and Means, in a statement said that investigation should focus on the entire tobacco industry and not single out one company.
The party-list lawmaker was referring to the allegations of under-declaration of products by local player Mighty Corp. (MC), to reduce its tax payments.
MC manufactures and sells cigarettes retailed at P1 per stick, which categorizes the products under the low-end tier subject to the cheapest sin tax rate.
It is the only Filipino owned integrated tobacco producer of popular, low-priced cigarette brands, such as “La Campanilla,” “Magkaibigan,” “Campana Ringing Bell,” which are “totally and truly Filipino.”
“As member of the Ways and Means committee, I believe that any investigation to be conducted should be objective and fair,” Batocabe said.
Although he considers the ongoing probe being conducted by the Committee on Ways and Means headed by Rep. Romero Federico “Miro” Quimbo of Marikina City is necessary to protect the tobacco industry and government, the probe should look at the issue on all angles so as not to prejudge and single out anybody.
Rep. Terry Ridon of Kabataan party-list, on the other hand said that local companies such as MC should be supported for providing livelihood to millions of Filipinos apart from the fact that it is paying billions in taxes to the government.
“ . . . We will always be in defense of national firms against offensives of foreign firms to force it out of business,” he added, MC’s legal counsel Miguelito Ocampo denied all allegations against the Filipino cigarette firm and maintained that the company has lower overhead and production costs because it sources its services, management, and materials locally.