Aguirre orders consolidation of 2 cases vs Mighty | Inquirer News
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Aguirre orders consolidation of 2 cases vs Mighty

By: - Reporter / @MRamosINQ
/ 05:50 AM May 11, 2017
aguirre

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II. ARNOLD ALMACEN/INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II on Wednesday ordered the consolidation of the two criminal complaints lodged by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) against top executives of homegrown cigarette manufacturer Mighty Corp.

“I’m inclined to assign the new complaint to the same panel (of prosecutors) since the two cases involve similar facts and issues. We will consolidate them,” Aguirre told reporters.

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Top officials of the Bulacan-based cigarette manufacturing firm have been accused of using spurious tax stamps on Mighty’s products to intentionally avoid payment of excise taxes amounting to almost P36.5 billion.

On Tuesday, the BIR filed a P26.93-billion tax evasion case with the Department of Justice (DOJ) against Mighty owner Alexander Wongchuking, president Edilberto Adan, vice president Oscar Barrientos and treasurer Ernesto Victa.

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The complaint, the biggest tax evasion case under the Duterte administration, was filed nearly two months after the BIR lodged a similar complaint against them in connection with Mighty’s supposed failure to pay P9.6 billion in excises taxes.

A three-member DOJ panel composed of Senior Assistant State Prosecutors Sebastian Caponong, Ma. Lourdes Uy and Mary Ann Parong has been created by Aguirre to conduct the preliminary investigation on the first complaint.

Last week, the panel officially started its investigation after top officials of Mighty filed their respective counteraffidavits.

Meanwhile, Aguirre disclosed that the possibility of an out-of-court settlement with Mighty was discussed anew during the Cabinet meeting on Monday.

During the meeting, he said Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III advised President Duterte that any settlement with the local cigarette producer should be “reasonable” considering the staggering amount of Mighty’s tax deficiencies.

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TAGS: Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II, Mighty Corp., Philippine news updates
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