Police confiscate fake cigarettes in CamSur

By Cet Dematera


Some 700 reams of assorted counterfeit brands of cigarettes such as Marlboro, Fortune, Jackpot, Mighty, and Marvels estimated to cost P265,000 and cash amounting to P132,000 were confiscated by the authorities in a raid in Pili, Camarines Sur on Tuesday,Aug. 17, a police report said.


Arrested while in possession of the fake cigarettes were Erwin C. Sto. Domingo, Ian R. Rebuyas, Ernesto B. Sta. Ana, Carl Justine E. Espinas, Herbert Sta. Ana Abellano, and Shirly Sta. Ana Abellado, all residents of the farming village of New San Roque in Pili town


Police authorities also confiscated one gray-colored van with plate number VDA357, as well as cash amounting to P132,000.


The six arrested individuals with the confiscated fake cigarettes were brought to the Camarines Sur PNP headquarters for documentation and proper disposition.


Charges of violation of anti-smuggling and other relevant laws will be filed against the suspects.


The successful operation took place through an entrapment laid down by law enforcement units in Bicol that led to the arrest of the suspects who were caught in the act of selling and trading counterfeit cigarettes.


Operatives of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) in Camarines Sur, together with personnel from the Special Operations Group (SOG) CIDG-Regional Field Unit and Pili Municipal Police Station, conducted the buy-bust operation under its OPLAN MEGA SHOPPER program in Barangay New San Roque, Pili, Camarines Sur.


Last week, 24 retail outlets were raided by a joint operation team of National Bureau of Investigation and Navy Intelligence Service in a remote coastal town in Palawan for also selling illegal cigarettes allegedly coming from Malaysia.


The selling or trading of counterfeit or illicit cigarettes is in violation RA 8424 or the National Internal Revenue Code as amended, which sets the guidelines on the proper payment of duties and taxes for cigarette products, as well as RA 8293 or the Intellectual Property Code, which protects the copyrights of the products of businesses or individuals.


The government loses about P30 billion to P60 billion a year from illicit trade in cigarettes based on estimates by the House Committee on Ways and Means. Taxes collected from cigarettes are used to fund the Universal Health Care program of the government.


For this year, the government targets to collect P2.081 trillion, 16 percent of which will come from excise taxes paid for tobacco, alcohol, fuel, soda and automobiles. In 2020, the government collected P148.45 billion in excise taxes from the tobacco Industry alone.