Dominguez to Mighty Corp.: Pay up or face courts

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Finance Secretary Sonny Dominguez says they will file a case in court against local cigarette manufacturer Mighty Corporation should it fail to settle its unpaid taxes.

"If the claim is not paid right away, then we will have to file a case. But if we claim, okay you owe us whatever amount is it, let's say 10 billion pesos and he pays it, there's no more case," Dominguez said.

The finance chief says the government is open to a reasonable settlement, as they are still determining how much Alexander Wongchuking, Mighty Corporation's owner, has not remitted.

During his visit to Bansalan, Davao del Sur Thursday, President Rodrigo Duterte said he was willing to let the owners off the hook if it pays double of their initial settlement offer of P1.5 billion.

In a statement issued by Mighty Corporation's legal counsel Atty. Sigrid Fortun, the company will help in the government's tax and social upliftment activities.

"Following President Duterte's comment on ways to address the tax issues besetting the company, [Mighty Corporation] will continue to cooperate with government to bring quick closure to them," they said.

The company is under fire after its Pampanga warehouse was raided for cigarettes with alleged fake excise tax stamps.

The President plans to put the money he collects from the cigarette company  to the development of hospitals in Basilan, Sulu and Manila.

Online contraband?

Dominguez also claims online commerce giant Alibaba is also selling fake Philippine cigarette stamps.

He wrote a letter to Alibaba Executive Chairman Jack Ma to remove the fake stamps from the e-commerce website.

"If you go to, okay, you can see there an item to buy fake Philippine cigarette stamps. In fact, I just wrote a letter to Jack Ma to ask him to remove it from his website, because that's hurting the Philippine interests," Dominguez said.

99% of produced fake cigarette stamps are Mighty brand stamps, he added.