Monday , June 18, 2018

CA resets hearing on Mighty's plea to stop Customs' raid

THE Court of Appeals (CA) has reset the hearing on cigarette firm Mighty Corporation's plea to stop the Bureau of Customs (BOC) from inspecting its warehouses.

Associate Justices Jose Reyes Jr. and Stephen Cruz of the CA's 4th Division said Thursday that they cannot proceed with hearing Mighty's case as the last member of their division, Associate Justice Nina Antonio-Valenzuela, is on leave.

Reyes, the chair of the division, sets another hearing on May 2 at 2 p.m.

Lawyer Sigfrid Fortun, who represents the 72-year-old domestic firm, was given five days to reply to the comment earlier filed by the BOC through the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) answering Mighty's complaint.

The OSG, represented by Associate Solicitor Jose Angelo David, was also given five days upon receipt of OSG's comment, within which to file a rejoinder affidavit.

Named respondents in Mighty's petition with the appellate court are Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) branch 39 Judge Noli Diaz and the BOC officials led by Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon.

Diaz's decision last March 23 denying the tobacco firm's plea for temporary restraining order (TRO) and/or preliminary injunction has prompted the owners of Mighty to elevate the case to the CA.

Diaz in his decision said the Manila RTC has no jurisdiction to decide Mighty's case as the raids being questioned happened in San Simon, Pampanga.

The TRO could have extended the 20-day halt order issued by Judge Tita Bughao Alisuag of the Manila RTC branch 1 that expired last March 23.

On March 22, the Bureau of Internal Revenue filed a P9.564 billion tax evasion complaint against Mighty Corporation before the Department of Justice for the fake tax stamps seized by the BOC in its warehouses.

Named respondents in the case are Mighty's president, retired Armed Forces deputy chief of staff Edilberto Adan; retired trial court Judge Oscar Barrientos, executive vice president; Alexander Wongchuking, assistant corporate secretary; and Ernesto Victa, treasurer. (SunStar Philippines)