Officials of Mighty Corp. facing P9.56-billion tax evasion charges have sought the dismissal of the case filed against them by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) at the Department of Justice (DoJ).
Their plea is contained in a 106-page counter-affidavit submitted before the DoJ.
Mighty’s executive vice president, retired judge Oscar Barrientos, vice president for external affairs and assistant corporate secretary, Alexander Wongchuking, and treasurer, Ernesto Victa, said there is no probable cause for charges of tax evasion to be filed against them.
“No probable cause exists to indict us for violations of NIRC (National Internal Revenue Code). Assuming there is probable cause for our indictment (which is denied), no grounds exist or allegations made to hold us criminally liable as corporate officers under Section 253 of the NIRC for acts which are yet to be verified and confirmed after appropriate inspection has been completed,” they maintained.
The case stemmed from the alleged failure of Mighty Corp. to pay excise taxes as supposedly discovered by the BIR and Bureau of Customs (BoC) in raids conducted on Mighty’s four warehouses in Pampanga in March.
In its complaint, the BIR accused Mighty of using fake tax stamps in its cigarette packs.
The respondents also asserted that there is no basis for the allegations of the BIR that 87.5 percent of the more than 33 million cigarette packs bore fake tax stamps because only 1 percent of the total master boxes in their warehouses in San Simon, Pampanga was inspected.
“So, any extrapolation made on the character and valuation of those goods violate Supreme Court’s 2016 decision in Pacquiao vs CTA and related cases where factual allegations regarding tax assessments must be presented on existing verifiable facts, not speculation,” the Mighty officials said.
They also lamented the alleged lack or prior tax assessment for supposed tax deficiency before the charges were filed by the BIR.
The Mighty officials argued that “the stamp verification process using Mobile Verification Devices under Revenue Regulation No. (RR) 7-2014 and Revenue Memorandum Order No. (RMO) 33-2016 are either incomplete or unreliable and therefore, void for purposes of their use as evidence in any proceedings.”
They added that since the alleged smuggled or counterfeit cigarette were already seized and detained by the BOC, the body or object of the alleged crime does not exist.