By Marie Tonette Marticio
PALO, Leyte – Cases were filed by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) against two Chinese nationals and their cohort for possessing fake cigarettes worth P7.4 million.
The suspects were identified as Lee Tsai Fah, 47, a resident of Brgy. Nulatula, Tacloban City, Arvin Sy, 24, a resident of Brgy. Buntay, Tanauan, Leyte, and Jorge Mantoa 24, a resident of Brgy. Utap, Tacloban.
They were charged with violations of Sec. 263 and Sec. 265 of Republic Act 8424 as amended or the “Tax Reform Act of 1997” before the Municipal Circuit Trial Court in Carigara, Leyte.
Information disclosed that the suspects were intercepted at a checkpoint at the national highway of Brgy. Libtong, San Miguel, Leyte. They were on board a 6-wheel aluminum dropside truck bound to Tacloban City containing the contrabands.
PCapt. Gary Zaldy Ligutan, San Miguel Police Chief, said the foreign nationals failed to present any proof of identification, as well as their vehicle and cargoes when they were flagged down by the police officers.
“When asked about the load of their vehicle, they also failed to answer and refused to open the said truck, which prompted the responding police officers to bring them to the police station for questioning,” he disclosed.
The BIR found out that the 369 boxes of cigarettes loaded on the truck were counterfeit. The BIR also estimated the value of the contraband at P20,000 per box, for a total of P7,380,000.
Police Brig. Gen. Ferdinand Divina, Eastern Visayas Police Director, lauded the cops for their accomplishment and expressed gratitude to the local officials and constituents of San Miguel town for their cooperation.
“I commend our Leyte cops for responding immediately to the call of duty,” the official noted.
He also vowed to continue monitoring and running after those conducting illegal activities in the region.