by Roselle R. Aquino
Camp BGen Vicente P Lim, Calamba City – Operatives from the Regional Special Operations Unit 4A (RSOU) in Batangas and Laguna, in collaboration with the Balayan Municipal Police Station, Batangas Provincial Intelligence Unit, and Bureau of Internal Revenue successfully apprehended five suspects and seized ₱10,500,000 worth of illicit cigarettes in an operation against cigarette smuggling in Balayan, Batangas, on August 30, 2023.
Arrested individuals were identified as Benigno Dalanon Alvarez, Modesto Guevarra Eronico, Efren Guevarra Eronico, Mark Joseph Guevarra Cardinal, and Kevin Renz Benedict Eronico De Villa. They were found in possession of 701 boxes of New Orleans and H&P cigarettes, categorized as illicit whites by the Bureau of Internal Revenue. The seized contraband is valued at ₱10.5M with a market price of ₱15,000 per box.
Additionally, buy-bust money was also recovered.
This operation was initiated in response to the directive of Brig Gen Carlito Gaces, the Regional Director of the Police Regional Office CALABARZON emphasizing the need to combat various forms of criminality in the CALABARZON area.
The arrested individuals have been informed of their arrest and constitutional rights. They are currently detained at the Balayan Municipal Police Station Detention facility, awaiting charges related to violations of Sec 144, Sec 262, and 263 of the National Internal Revenue Code (NIRC) concerning cigarette smuggling at the Batangas Provincial Prosecutor’s Office in Batangas City.
Gaces affirmed that the PRO CALABARZON is resolute in its commitment to protect the interests of business investors and the Philippine economy by eradicating illegal activities such as cigarette smuggling. He stated, “Our mission is clear, we serve as guardians of the law, dedicated to upholding the integrity of trade, preventing financial losses, and paving the path for a safer, more prosperous future for our region and the nation. Rest assured, we will spare no effort to ensure that CALABARZON embodies order, progress, and prosperity,” he added.