More Vendors of fake cigarettes nabbed as crackdown intensifies
Operatives of the Philippine National Police, in hot pursuit of untaxed and other prohibited products, have arrested two vendors of fake cigarettes in Brgy. Victoria, San Mateo, Isabela.
Analiza R. Bartolome, 38, and Dominador J. Pascua, 43, both married and residents of Angadanan, Isabela, were nabbed while in the act of selling fake Mighty and Marvels brand cigarettes.
Police authorities acted on the complaint of a Mighty employee who chanced upon the two on board a tricycle without a license plate doing rounds in Purok 3, Brgy. Victoria, while in possession of boxes of the contraband items.
The suspects were charged with violating Section 155 (trademark infringement) in relation to Section 170 of Republic Act No. 8293, otherwise known as the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines. Violators face two to five years imprisonment and a fine ranging from P50,000 to P200,000.
Industry observers attributed the proliferation of fake cigarettes to the consistently rising prices of the product after the Sin Tax Law was implemented almost three years ago.
Fake cigarette products are tempting to retailers as they provide higher margins while essentially undercutting the government in tax dues.
Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) officials had already warned retailers to only deal with official company personnel bearing legitimate identification and company-marked vehicles or face the consequence of the law.
Over the last two years, combined efforts of the BIR, PNP, Bureau of Customs and National Bureau of Investigation led to the arrest of numerous suspects, including two minors, connected to the smuggling, distribution and sale of large quantities of fake cigarette brands.
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