Press Releases

Salceda lauds BOC for seizing P3.7 bn in smuggled vapes; Brand “Flava” subject of tax panel’s investigation implicated anew

March 1st, 2024

House Ways and Means Chair Joey Sarte Salceda (Albay, 2nd district) applauded the efforts of the Bureau of Customs, led by Commissioner Bienvenido Rubio, for seizing some P3.72 billion in smuggled electronic cigarettes in separate raids in Malabon and Paranaque today.

“I congratulate Commissioner Rubio and his team for the big-time catches conducted today. Once again, the Flava brand of vapes, already the subject of the Committee’s investigation for P1.4 billion in evaded taxes, is once again involved.”

Electronic cigarettes marked “Flava” were found in at least one of three raids conducted today.

A warehouse in San Dionisio, Parañaque City was found containing about 1.5 million pieces of the Flava brand e-cigarettes in assorted flavors, estimated to be worth 1.53 billion pesos, including excise taxes.

“The Committee wants Flava Corporation shuttered. And, this probably strengthens the case against them,” Salceda said.

The House tax committee already concluded its investigation on Flava Corporation, and has submitted its draft committee report to the House leadership.

Among other things, it recommends that the business operations of Flava Corporation be ceased and that the corporation be investigated for possible money laundering and other acts of smuggling.

Online selling platforms risk smuggling charges by carrying brand under investigation

Salceda also warned online selling platforms that selling smuggled goods could also subject them to smuggling charges.

“Lazada and Shopee, and other online selling platforms, should take appropriate action now. They carry immense risks that are not worth the legal trouble if they insist on carrying potentially smuggled goods.”

“The BOC has already found that Flava Corporation does not have the capacity to manufacture vape. They have no registered imported brands with the BIR. So, one and one together makes a strong case.”

“So, fair warning to online selling platforms and distributors, as well as to logistics providers. Selling and transporting smuggled goods falls under the definition of smuggling, just as much as bringing the goods in.”

“The investigation is public knowledge. The proceedings of the Committee investigation are public knowledge. There is no longer any excuse for ignorance.”

Salceda said that the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act, or Republic Act No. 10863, punishes transport and selling of smuggled goods because it falls under the definition of smuggling under Section 102 (m) of the law.

“It is now public knowledge that this Corporation is under investigation for smuggling. Inventories bearing their brand are being caught without import documents. For your sake, if you don’t want to be embroiled in this mess, stop selling or transporting them,” Salceda added.

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