Law enforcement agencies continued the crackdown on fake cigarettes as more traders of the contraband were arrested in separate operations in Quezon province and Zamboanga City.
National Bureau of Investigation agents arrested Zhiyi Yang (alias Teddy), a Chinese national, in a buy-bust operation at Ipil Public Market in Barangay Ipil, Zamboanga City.
The suspect, who was found with an expired visa, was caught selling fake Mighty and Marvels brand cigarettes.
In Quezon province, policemen from the PNP Pagbilao, Quezon station arrested three traders who were also found selling fake Mighty and Marvels cigarettes.
Arrested were Rowena Marino Navarro, 35; Rosele Marino Culla, 38; and Pedrita Digno Dalisay, 57, during a buy-bust operation at Pagbilao Public Market.
Representatives from Mighty Corp., manufacturer of Mighty and Marvels brands of cigarettes, confirmed that the suspects in Zamboanga City and Pagbilao, Quezon were selling fake products with a total of 160,000 sticks of Mighty and Marvels cigarettes.
Meanwhile, Nueva Ecija policemen arrested Marty Maliwat, 41, in another buy-bust operation of the same fake cigarette variants in Barangay Sto. Rosario, Sto. Domingo, Nueva Ecija. The suspect was immediately placed in police custody for proper disposition.
Authorities said the suspects will be charged with violating Republic Act 8293 or the Intellectual Property Code. They said the suspects were also liable for violating RA 7394 or the Consumer Protection Act.
Several persons were arrested in the past few months for selling fake Mighty and Marvels cigarettes including a certain Arnel Contado in Quezon, Isabela province, who was nabbed by barangay officials in a public market.
Policemen arrested Kevin Co Ong, a store owner in Barangay Sta. Teresita, Quezon City, for selling fake Mighty Menthol soft pack and Mighty Full Flavor King Size variants.
NBI operatives from the bureau’s Cabanatuan District Office in Nueva Ecija arrested Jeffrey de Guzman Castro, alias Puroy de Guzman, of Esguerra Village, Barangay Esguerra in Talavera, Nueva Ecija for possession of large quantities of fake Mighty Full Flavor, Mighty Menthol 100s, Marvels Filter Kings and Marvels Menthol 100s.
Law enforcement authorities have reminded traders to deal only with authorized company representatives in uniform bearing proper identification cards and company vehicles.