On President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s directive of having an extensive and massive police operation against counterfeit and smuggled goods in the country and on orders of the Chief of the Philippine National Police PGEN GUILLERMO LORENZO T ELEAZAR to launch intensified law enforcement operations to deter criminals from taking advantage of the surge of Covid-19, likewise, the CIDG headed by PMGEN ALBERT IGNATUIS D FERRO had launched its weeklong police operation on this directive through its regular monthly SACLEO, resulting in the arrest of eleven (11) individuals, seizure of counterfeit and smuggled cigarettes and closure of business establishment worth over 26 MILLIONS from August 23 to 27, 2021 in Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, Pangasinan, and Zambales.
For the period covered, in five (5) police operations, a total of 132 boxes, 5,499 reams, and 153 packs of counterfeit and smuggled assorted cigarettes were confiscated by the authorities in the possession and control of the following arrested persons:
- EDUARDO MANUEL JR y ABARRA, 26 years old Owner/Operator of MARUPOK STORE;
- NORAINE EDRADA y CESAR , 25 years old, Owner/Operator of MARUPOK STORE;
- ELGIE AUCINA y GACITA, 23 years old, Salesman;
- ALFRED MALIGMAT y ADRAN, 18 years old, Salesman;
- PAMELA CEZAR y ASTOR, 43 years old, Owner/Operator of WENGKI VARIETY STORE;
- MARK MILLAN y ALBIS, 28 years old, Vendor,
- EDWINA MATEO y MORES, 22 years old, Vendor;
- PACITA MANUEL y ABARRA, 58 years old, Warehouse Owner;
- BENIDICTO SERRANO y SANTOS, 44 years old, Warehouseman;
- RICHARD DIMLA y MANUEL 32 years old; and
- FLORDELIZA DEL PRADO y LLANZA, 60 years old.
MANUEL, EDRADA, AUCINA, and MALIGMAT were arrested at about 5:30 PM on August 26, 2021 (Thursday) in their store, located at SUKI MARKET, Brgy. Poblacion, Alaminos City, Pangasinan by joint elements of CIDG Pangasinan PFU, other PNP units, Philip Morris Fortune Tobacco Corporation (PMFTC), and BIR Regional Office 1.
Also, CEZAR, MILLAN, and MATEO were arrested by the same operating teams at around 5:45 PM at WENGKI VARIETY STORE, Brgy. Poblacion, Alaminos City, Pangasinan.
Meanwhile, at about 7:30 PM, same date MANUEL and SERRANO were arrested in Sitio Sang-at, Brgy. Amandiego, Alaminos City, Pangasinan by elements from CIDG SATT 1 Pangasinan PFU, other PNP units, PMFTC, BIR Regional Office 1, and Japan Tobacco Incorporated.
DIMLA and DEL PRADO were earlier reported to be arrested on August 23, 2021 (Monday) at around 4:50 PM in Don Ignacio Dimson, Dau 2nd, Lubao, Pampanga by CIDG Pampanga PFU and on August 24, 2021 (Tuesday) at about 11:45 PM in Purok Quezon, Esguerra St. Talavera, Nueva Ecija by joint elements of CIDG Nueva Ecija PFU, CIDG Aurora PFU, and RSOG PRO 3, respectively.
These police operations were based on the information received by the CIDG on the rampant selling of alleged counterfeit cigarettes in the said areas. Test-buys were made and subject items were submitted to PMFTC for examination. With the affirmation that said goods were indeed counterfeit, police operations ensued.
“As the government tries its best to make all ends meet in order to rise back from the economic setback or meltdown due to the crisis brought about by the pandemic, many saboteurs are exploiting this crisis and grabbing every opportunity they can have,” CIDG Director said.
Likewise, on August 26, 2021 at around 5:50 PM, the CIDG Olongapo CFU RFU3, in a joint police operation with BIR Strike Team and SBMA Representatives had successfully shut down and stopped the operation of Hongcim International Corporation run by its President and CEO identified as CRISANTO SABALA in Innovative Street, Subic Bay Freeport Zone, Zambales.
During the inspection made, the company has been found to be operating pending its application for permit/license to operate, while six (6) Chinese nationals identified as DAI, MINGXI; CHEN, HONGSHENG; GUO, DONGHUAI; RAO, MING; HU, YONG; and YANG, WEI who are working thereat were able to present their valid working permit /identification cards. During that time, authorities also discovered the following:
- 121,000 packs of SHUANGXI cigarettes;
- 950 packs of Bruston Red cigarettes;
- 3, 450 packs of Huanghelou cigarette;
- 51,000 packs of Furongwang cigarettes; and
- Cigarette production machines.
Accordingly, the company was given 15 days by BIR to acquire and secure necessary permits and clearances to operate legally. BIR Strike Team and CIDG will submitted their recommendations through the BIR Commissioner for the filing of appropriate charges or case against SABALA.
The collection of cigarette samples and conduct of inventory and markings of cigarettes production machines and cigarette finish products were both done by BIR.
Separate cases for violation of RA 8293 (Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines) were filed against MANUEL and 10 others, while the successfully closing of Hongcim International Corp. was due to violation of Sec 72 Tax Code of the BIR.
“Kami rin po ang nagpapasalamat sa ating mga counterpart at stakeholders sa tiwala at kompiyansang kanilang ibinigay sa ating hanay upang masugpo, maipasara at matuldukan na ang maling gawain ito ng naturang indibidual at kompanya,” said PMGEN FERRO. “We strive and relentlessly strengthens our campaigns against criminality to permanently deter and suppress anyone responsible for these illegal activities,” he added.