President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has created an independent committee to review, assess and evaluate all the important smuggling and tax evasion cases handled by the Bureau of Internal Revenue and the Bureau of Customs by virtue of Administrative Order (AO) No. 277 signed last January 29, 2010, as amended by AO 277-A last February 19, 2010.The AOs stipulated the creation of a Review Committee composed of a retired member of the judiciary, two (2) representatives each from the private sector and the media. The BIR and BOC shall provide secretariat support to the Committee.

Under the AO, the President tasked the Department of Justice, Department of Finance, BIR, BOC and all other concerned offices to assist and support the Committee in the discharge of its functions, including the submission of the required and requested documents.

Among the important functions of the committee are the following:

1. Review, evaluate and assess all important smuggling and tax evasion cases handled by the BIR and BOC which resulted in the dismissal, or to a decision, resolution or judgment which is unfavorable to the government;

2. Determine causes of the dismissal or rendition of unfavorable decision, resolution or judgment both at the administrative and judicial levels;

3. Conduct an inventory of all pending smuggling and tax evasion cases and identify priority cases for intensified prosecution or for immediate disposition/resolution;

4. Upon review and evaluation of the aforementioned cases, formulate recommendations to further improve the success rate of the BIR and BOC in the prosecution of smuggling and tax evasion cases; and

5. Discharge such other functions that are necessary to effectively and efficiently achieve its mandate.

This AO is intended “to continually undertake measures to enhance revenue collections, assess the success rate of the BIR and BOC in the prosecution of smuggling and tax evasion cases and to establish mechanisms for improvement”.