Fake cigarettes seized on Chavit landPhilippine Daily Inquirer
BANTAY, Ilocos Sur—Policemen and agents of the National Bureau of Investigation on Wednesday seized fake cigarettes in a raid on a factory in a property owned by a family firm of Ilocos Sur Gov. Chavit Singson.
Armed with a search warrant, the raiding team swooped down on the factory of Metro Tobacco Corp. (MTC) in Barangay Ora West here. Officials said the factory, owned by David Sy and Johnson Sy, stands on a lot owned by the Satrap Construction Co. of the Singson family.
The team confiscated 11,128 packs of counterfeit Peter Stuyvesant cigarettes, 90,000 unpacked sticks of fake Peter Stuyvesant cigarettes, 196,820 empty packets marked with counterfeit Peter Stuyvesant brand logos, and seven rolls of fake brand stickers.
The NBI said the factory owners and their employees face charges for violating the 1997 Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines. All seized items are under government custody in Manila.
Singson on Thursday said MTC representatives had approached him about a property for their factory site. “It is natural to welcome investors in your area,” Singson said. He said he was shown documents which convinced him that the investor was a legitimate cigarette manufacturer.
He said he asked the investors to cease operations when he learned that they were manufacturing counterfeit cigarettes.
Singson also said he had informed Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima and Customs Commissioner Rufino Biazon about MTC’s activities.
He said the MTC representatives were accompanied by Tagudin Mayor Roque Verzosa Jr., a former Singson ally who is being groomed to run against the governor in the 2013 gubernatorial race.
In a telephone interview, Verzosa admitted he had been associated with the owners of MTC but he insisted he had not taken part in the allegedly counterfeit operations.
He added that his security agency, hired to guard all Satrap properties, withdrew its security detail in 2008. Leoncio Balbin Jr., Inquirer Northern Luzon