Check facts, Andanar told
FORMER Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. on Monday advised his successor, Secretary Martin Andanar, to verify the facts before accusing people of wrongdoing.
The former Palace official denied allegations of “overprinting” of revenue stamps for cigarettes and liquor products to enable smugglers to sell their products.
“As communications secretary, it is his duty to verify the accuracy of reports fed to him before discussing these in public,” Coloma said in a statement.
“It is my humble opinion Secretary Andanar may have prematurely affirmed the insinuations of alleged wrongdoing even absent the presentation of clear, concrete and convincing proof in a fair and impartial fact-finding inquiry, ” Coloma said.
Andanar had told Inquirer editors and reporters last week the Duterte administration was looking into the allegation of overprinting which he said was brought to his attention by an official of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).
Andanar, a former TV newscaster, said he had ordered an audit of the National Printing Office (NPO) and Apo Productions Unit Inc. (APO).
He admitted it “would be difficult to get evidence but the BIR said it’s [true].” He added that his tipster must produce the evidence of the double printing of cigarette and liquor tax seals.
In his statement, Coloma said “stringent quality, process and security control measures have been put in place to ensure the integrity of the printing process and to render it difficult for fraud or tampering to take place.”
He said the NPO in Quezon City printed the revenue stamps for liquor products, while the APO security printing plant at the Lima Technology Park in Batangas printed the cigarette revenue stamps.
Coloma said that at least two BIR representatives supervised the entire NPO process of printing, packing, loading, delivery and acceptance of revenue stamps.
He described the APO security printing of revenue stamps for cigarettes as “more stringent,” as it implements the Internal Revenue Stamp Integrated System (IRSIS) formulated by the BIR that cover every step, from ordering, printing and releasing of the revenue stamps.
Defective stamps were immediately destroyed by pulverizing them with the BIR representatives at the APO plant witnessing the destruction, Coloma said.
BIR enters picture
Reacting to Coloma’s statement, Revenue Commissioner Caesar Dulay said: “Maybe that’s his opinion, that’s the assurance they gave him. But I heard reports saying otherwise. That’s why I want to look into it.”
The BIR on Monday ordered an investigation into the alleged proliferation of spurious tax stamps for cigarettes and liquor.
Dulay said he had directed BIR deputy commissioner for legal affairs Clint Aranas to lead the probe into the use of bogus tax seals to sell smuggled cigarettes and alcoholic products in the local market.
He said he would ask the National Bureau of Investigation to help the BIR investigate the matter as it may involve several individuals.
“It’s a serious one and we have to look deeply into it,” Dulay told the Inquirer in an interview. “I’m mandated to look into (this). This involves fraud and corruption.”
He confirmed the information of Andanar regarding the “overprinting” of revenue seals. With a report from Marlon Ramos
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