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Shell threat won't hinder anti-smuggling campaign: Manila

10-21-2010 13:22 BJT

MANILA, Oct. 20 (Xinhua) -- The Philippine government said on Wednesday that the move of Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp. to file countercharges against certain Bureau of Customs officials over a 24.5 billion pesos (566 million U.S. dollars) smuggling case against the oil company will not hinder the government's drive against smuggling and tax evasion.

Responding to questions, Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigai Valte said in a news briefing that Shell's plan to file gross negligence, gross incompetence and defamation against certain Customs officials is a "basic right of Shell as a company. "

"It will not be any obstacle to our efforts to catch tax evaders or smugglers," Valte said.

Secretary Ricky Carandang of the Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office (PCDSPO) said that the assumption is that the actions of both the BOC and Shell "are... done in good faith."

"We're all going through the process in a very open and transparent manner. It's really a question of the process and the process is being followed. You file a case, they defend themselves. At this point, it appears to be an honest to goodness dispute over what rate of tax those products should be levied....So in the end, it will be settled by the courts," Carandang said.

The BOC is seeking 24.5 billion pesos in back taxes from Shell for alleged technical smuggling, but Shell has denied this, claiming that the government has been misled in filing the case.

Editor:Jin Lin |Source: Xinhua

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