ILOILO City – A total of 7,150 boxes of fake cigarettes were confiscated from a house in Barangay Tabuc Suba, La Paz district yesterday.
The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) Region 6 and Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) raided the house of Emilda Boniva at around 11 a.m. after receiving reports that fake cigarettes sold to various stores here were sourced from the house.
Boniva was renting out the house.
BIR officials scrutinized the bar codes of every seized box of cigarettes and found out that these were counterfeit.
They also discovered that the serial numbers of the boxes were similar, another indication of their being fake.
According to Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Gantang of the CIDG, BIR started investigating after learning that cheap cigarettes – sold under P50 – were proliferating in Iloilo.
Cigarette packs which sell under P50 are usually fake since the excise tax placed on cigarettes has reached P35 already, explained Gantang.
The seized 7,150 boxes of fake cigarettes were equivalent to 715 reams.
House owner Boliva said she did not know the cigarettes were fake and named a certain Chua.
“We will locate this man,” said Gantang.
As of this writing, the BIR was yet to determine the total value of the seized fake cigarettes.
The government has been losing hundreds of millions of pesos in excise tax yearly through the illicit manufacture and distribution of fake cigarettes./PN