Wednesday July 18, 2018

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

THE Court of Appeals (CA) terminated Tuesday the hearing on Mighty Corporation's petition questioning the legality of the raids being conducted by the Bureau of Customs (BOC) in its warehouses.

The CA 4th division composed of its chairperson Associate Justices Jose Reyes, Jr., and Associate Justices Stephen Cruz and Nina Antonio-Valenzuela ended the hearing after both parties submitted their reply and rejoinder affidavit, respectively.

During the hearing, Mighty's legal counsel Sigfrid Fortun reiterated to the CA magistrates that the BOC does not have a jurisdiction to raid the warehouses of the 72-year-old cigarette firm.

He said the raids have caused irreparable injury to the petitioners.

"It (series of raids) was done with a purpose or intention of destroying a 72-year-old cigarette manufacturing company that has been portrayed in media since March 1 as a tax evader, smuggler, perpetrator of fake stamps, etc," Fortun told the three-man tribunal.

Associate Solicitor Jose Angel David, speaking in behalf of respondents BOC during the hearing reiterated that the Manila Regional Trial Court branch 39 judge did not err in its ruling against Mighty and that the BOC has jurisdiction to conduct raids in its warehouses.

Branch 39 Judge Noli Diaz in a decision dated March 23 denied the cigarette firm's plea for temporary restraining order and/or preliminary injuction.

This had prompted the owners of Mighty to elevate the case to the CA, a move that was questioned by the Office of the Solicitor General, saying that the petitioners could have sought remedies first before the BOC or the Court of Tax Appeals before elevating the case to 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 against the BOC that expired last March 23.

The company and its corporate officers are now facing P9.564 billion worth of tax evasion charges before the Department of Justice for the fake tax stamps seized by the BOC in its warehouses. (SunStar Philippines)