Bureau of Customs (BOC) Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon filed on Monday, March 13, an administrative case against Presiding Judge Tita Bughao Alisuag of the Manila Regional Trial Court, Branch I, following the issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) in favor of a cigarette manufacturing company.

In a 24-page complaint, Faeldon asked the Supreme Court to declare Judge Alisuag administratively liable for gross ignorance of the law after issuing a TRO against BOC despite her lack of authority to do so, and for gross violation of the New Code of Judicial Conduct for exhibiting unquestionable bias and partiality in favor of Mighty Corporation.

It can be recalled that Judge Alisuag issued on March 6 a TRO that prevents BOC from conducting raids and inspections at the warehouses of cigarette manufacturer Mighty Corporation.

Faeldon stressed that Judge Alisuag blatantly disregarded the long-established rule that regular courts do not have jurisdiction over seizure and forfeiture proceedings.

The BOC has exclusive jurisdiction over all seizure and forfeiture cases as per Section 202 of Republic Act No. 10863 or the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA). Section 301 of the CMTA further provides that “[a]ll goods, including means of transport, entering or leaving customs territory, regardless of whether they are liable to duties and taxes, shall be subject to customs control.”

The complaint also stated that “the TRO was overbroad, practically prohibiting the BOC from exercising its mandate over Mighty Corporation.” It “effectively made Mighty Corporation untouchable and immune from any and all acts of the BOC.”

Faeldon warned that counterfeit cigarettes of Mighty Corporation not only deprive the government of billions in revenue but could also pose harm when exposed to the general public.###