NBI seizes P4.5-M worth of ‘fake cigarettes’

Published April 23, 2021, 8:59 PM

by Ahikam Pasion

DAGUPAN CITY – Joint agents from the National Bureau of Investigation Dagupan District Office (NBI-DADO), Bureau of Internal Revenue, and the Intellectual Property Office raided house and a warehouse in Sitio Pandayan, Barangay Poblacion in Alaminos city today, yielding an initial amount of around P4.5 million worth of alleged ‘fake cigarettes’.

RAIDED. Operatives from the National Bureau of Investigation, Bureau of Internal Revenue, and the Intellectual Property Office launch a search warrant implementation in Barangay Poblacion, Alaminos City, seizing 90 boxes of fake cigarettes. (Photo courtesy of Allan Sison)

Atty. Rizaldy Jaymalin, NBI-DADO chief, said the agents raided the properties of Elpidio and Gemma Mendoza, residents of said area.

“We have confiscated around 90 large boxes of these cigarettes”, said Jaymalin.

The cigarettes were allegedly manufactured in Thailand and were packed in different cigarette brands and sold here.

The operation stemmed after months of surveillance and monitoring, peaking last week, when an undercover agent bought one pack as a ‘test-buy’ specimen.

It was found out the cigarettes were being sold in Pangasinan and other provinces for cheaper price.

NBI Director Eric Distor immediately ordered the area to be raided.

The truckload of ‘fake cigarettes’ were transported to the BIR Regional Office in Calasiao, Pangasinan for further inventory and accounting.

“Nasa dalawang milyong pisong lugi kada buwan ang gobyerno dahil dito”, said Ted Paragas, BIR Calasiao Chief in a phone interview Friday afternoon.

Paragas said the internal revenue stamps embedded in cigarette packs were fake and counterfeit.

“Hindi po ito dumaan sa BIR, therefore, hindi nagbayad ng excise tax”, Paragas added.

The suspects admitted the cigarettes are being delivered to them for storage, but they did not reveal any names.

Meanwhile, investigators are still probing whether this incident is connected to previous operations in some Pangasinan towns prior.

Paragas said as far as previous operations were involved, they have been dealth with, tracked, and the factories were shut down.

“Yung iba sa mga dating natunton natin, nalaman natin na galling pa ng Tarlac at Talavera, Nueva Ecija. Naipasara na po natin”, said Paragas.