MANILA – Philippine Presiden Rodrigo Duterte yesterday ordered the arrest of the owner of Mighty Corporation, a cigarette manufacturing company, for alleged tax evasion by using fake tax stamps on its products.
“Yes, I ordered his arrest. He’s the one behind it, the fake cigarette stamps,” Duterte told reporters, referring to Mighty Corporation owner Alexander Wongchuking.
Wongchunking showed up at the Natonal Bureau of Investigation and justice department “to explain his side.” Wongchuking could not be arrested and detained though, despite Duterte’s order, as there was no arrest warrant issued against the businessman.
Wongchuking was accompanied by his lawyer, Sigfrid Fortun. The details of the meeting between NBI and justice officials were not revealed.
Mighty Corp. manufactures Cortos, Regaliz Largos, American Blend 30s, American Blend 20s and American Blend Level-Up cigarettes. It has a factory in the City of Malolos in Bulacan province north of Manila.
Meanwhike, Duterte downplayed reports that Mighty Corporation attempted to bribe him with money when he was still mayor of Davao City.
He recalled that a representative of Mighty Corporation met with him in his office in Davao City Hall and handed him a “Christmas gift” that turned out to be an envelope full of cash. He rejected the gift.
When the person, who the President did not identify, went out of Duterte’s offce, the envelope was left behind. Duterte then told his special assistant, Christopher Go, to catch up with the person and turn over the envelope.
Duterte refused to say if the incident was a bribery attempt. GAC/Expat Media
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