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Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila FIRST DIVISION G.R. No.

L-28896 February 17, 1988 COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE, petitioner, vs. ALGUE, INC., and THE COURT OF TAX APPEALS, respondents. CRUZ, J.: Taxes are the lifeblood of the government and so should be collected without unnecessary hindrance On the other hand, such collection should be made in accordance with law as any arbitrariness will negate the very reason for government itself. It is therefore necessary to reconcile the apparently conflicting interests of the authorities and the taxpayers so that the real purpose of taxation, which is the promotion of the common good, may be achieved. The main issue in this case is whether or not the Collector of Internal Revenue correctly disallowed the P75,000.00 deduction claimed by private respondent Algue as legitimate business expenses in its income tax returns. The corollary issue is whether or not the appeal of the private respondent from the decision of the Collector of Internal Revenue was made on time and in accordance with law. We deal first with the procedural question. The record shows that on January 14, 1965, the private respondent, a domestic corporation engaged in engineering, construction and other allied activities, received a letter from the petitioner assessing it in the total 1 amount of P83,183.85 as delinquency income taxes for the years 1958 and 1959. On January 18, 1965, Algue flied a letter of protest or request for reconsideration, which letter was stamp received on the same day in the office of 2 the petitioner. On March 12, 1965, a warrant of distraint and levy was presented to the private respondent, 3 through its counsel, Atty. Alberto Guevara, Jr., who refused to receive it on the ground of the pending protest. A search of the protest in the dockets of the case proved fruitless. Atty. Guevara produced his file copy and gave a 4 photostat to BIR agent Ramon Reyes, who deferred service of the warrant. On April 7, 1965, Atty. Guevara was finally informed that the BIR was not taking any action on the protest and it was only then that he accepted the 5 warrant of distraint and levy earlier sought to be served. Sixteen days later, on April 23, 1965, Algue filed a 6 petition for review of the decision of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue with the Court of Tax Appeals. The above chronology shows that the petition was filed seasonably. According to Rep. Act No. 1125, the appeal 7 may be made within thirty days after receipt of the decision or ruling challenged. It is true that as a rule the 8 warrant of distraint and levy is "proof of the finality of the assessment" and renders hopeless a request for 9 reconsideration," being "tantamount to an outright denial thereof and makes the said request deemed 10 rejected." But there is a special circumstance in the case at bar that prevents application of this accepted doctrine. The proven fact is that four days after the private respondent received the petitioner's notice of assessment, it filed its letter of protest. This was apparently not taken into account before the warrant of distraint and levy was issued; indeed, such protest could not be located in the office of the petitioner. It was only after Atty. Guevara gave the BIR a copy of the protest that it was, if at all, considered by the tax authorities. During the intervening period, the warrant was premature and could therefore not be served.

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As the Court of Tax Appeals correctly noted," the protest filed by private respondent was not pro forma and was based on strong legal considerations. It thus had the effect of suspending on January 18, 1965, when it was filed, the reglementary period which started on the date the assessment was received, viz., January 14, 1965. The period started running again only on April 7, 1965, when the private respondent was definitely informed of the implied rejection of the said protest and the warrant was finally served on it. Hence, when the appeal was filed on April 23, 1965, only 20 days of the reglementary period had been consumed. Now for the substantive question. The petitioner contends that the claimed deduction of P75,000.00 was properly disallowed because it was not an ordinary reasonable or necessary business expense. The Court of Tax Appeals had seen it differently. Agreeing with Algue, it held that the said amount had been legitimately paid by the private respondent for actual services rendered. The payment was in the form of promotional fees. These were collected by the Payees for their work in the creation of the Vegetable Oil Investment Corporation of the Philippines and its subsequent purchase of the properties of the Philippine Sugar Estate Development Company. Parenthetically, it may be observed that the petitioner had Originally claimed these promotional fees to be 12 personal holding company income but later conformed to the decision of the respondent court rejecting this 13 assertion. In fact, as the said court found, the amount was earned through the joint efforts of the persons among whom it was distributed It has been established that the Philippine Sugar Estate Development Company had earlier appointed Algue as its agent, authorizing it to sell its land, factories and oil manufacturing process. Pursuant to such authority, Alberto Guevara, Jr., Eduardo Guevara, Isabel Guevara, Edith, O'Farell, and Pablo Sanchez, worked for the formation of the Vegetable Oil Investment Corporation, inducing other persons to invest in 14 it. Ultimately, after its incorporation largely through the promotion of the said persons, this new corporation 15 purchased the PSEDC properties. For this sale, Algue received as agent a commission of P126,000.00, and it was 16 from this commission that the P75,000.00 promotional fees were paid to the aforenamed individuals. There is no dispute that the payees duly reported their respective shares of the fees in their income tax returns 17 and paid the corresponding taxes thereon. The Court of Tax Appeals also found, after examining the evidence, 18 that no distribution of dividends was involved. The petitioner claims that these payments are fictitious because most of the payees are members of the same family in control of Algue. It is argued that no indication was made as to how such payments were made, whether by check or in cash, and there is not enough substantiation of such payments. In short, the petitioner suggests a tax dodge, an attempt to evade a legitimate assessment by involving an imaginary deduction. We find that these suspicions were adequately met by the private respondent when its President, Alberto Guevara, and the accountant, Cecilia V. de Jesus, testified that the payments were not made in one lump sum but 19 periodically and in different amounts as each payee's need arose. It should be remembered that this was a family corporation where strict business procedures were not applied and immediate issuance of receipts was not required. Even so, at the end of the year, when the books were to be closed, each payee made an accounting of all 20 of the fees received by him or her, to make up the total of P75,000.00. Admittedly, everything seemed to be informal. This arrangement was understandable, however, in view of the close relationship among the persons in the family corporation. We agree with the respondent court that the amount of the promotional fees was not excessive. The total commission paid by the Philippine Sugar Estate Development Co. to the private respondent was 21 P125,000.00. After deducting the said fees, Algue still had a balance of P50,000.00 as clear profit from the transaction. The amount of P75,000.00 was 60% of the total commission. This was a reasonable proportion, considering that it was the payees who did practically everything, from the formation of the Vegetable Oil Investment Corporation to the actual purchase by it of the Sugar Estate properties. This finding of the respondent court is in accord with the following provision of the Tax Code:


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SEC. 30. Deductions from gross income.--In computing net income there shall be allowed as deductions (a) Expenses: (1) In general.--All the ordinary and necessary expenses paid or incurred during the taxable year in carrying on any trade or business, including a reasonable allowance for salaries or other 22 compensation for personal services actually rendered; ... and Revenue Regulations No. 2, Section 70 (1), reading as follows: SEC. 70. Compensation for personal services.--Among the ordinary and necessary expenses paid or incurred in carrying on any trade or business may be included a reasonable allowance for salaries or other compensation for personal services actually rendered. The test of deductibility in the case of compensation payments is whether they are reasonable and are, in fact, payments purely for service. This test and deductibility in the case of compensation payments is whether they are reasonable and are, in fact, payments purely for service. This test and its practical application may be further stated and illustrated as follows: Any amount paid in the form of compensation, but not in fact as the purchase price of services, is not deductible. (a) An ostensible salary paid by a corporation may be a distribution of a dividend on stock. This is likely to occur in the case of a corporation having few stockholders, Practically all of whom draw salaries. If in such a case the salaries are in excess of those ordinarily paid for similar services, and the excessive payment correspond or bear a close relationship to the stockholdings of the officers of employees, it would seem likely that the salaries are not paid wholly for services rendered, but the excessive payments are a distribution of earnings upon the stock. . . . (Promulgated Feb. 11, 1931, 30 O.G. No. 18, 325.) It is worth noting at this point that most of the payees were not in the regular employ of Algue nor were they its 23 controlling stockholders. The Solicitor General is correct when he says that the burden is on the taxpayer to prove the validity of the claimed deduction. In the present case, however, we find that the onus has been discharged satisfactorily. The private respondent has proved that the payment of the fees was necessary and reasonable in the light of the efforts exerted by the payees in inducing investors and prominent businessmen to venture in an experimental enterprise and involve themselves in a new business requiring millions of pesos. This was no mean feat and should be, as it was, sufficiently recompensed. It is said that taxes are what we pay for civilization society. Without taxes, the government would be paralyzed for lack of the motive power to activate and operate it. Hence, despite the natural reluctance to surrender part of one's hard earned income to the taxing authorities, every person who is able to must contribute his share in the running of the government. The government for its part, is expected to respond in the form of tangible and intangible benefits intended to improve the lives of the people and enhance their moral and material values. This symbiotic relationship is the rationale of taxation and should dispel the erroneous notion that it is an arbitrary method of exaction by those in the seat of power. But even as we concede the inevitability and indispensability of taxation, it is a requirement in all democratic regimes that it be exercised reasonably and in accordance with the prescribed procedure. If it is not, then the taxpayer has a right to complain and the courts will then come to his succor. For all the awesome power of the tax collector, he may still be stopped in his tracks if the taxpayer can demonstrate, as it has here, that the law has not been observed.

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We hold that the appeal of the private respondent from the decision of the petitioner was filed on time with the respondent court in accordance with Rep. Act No. 1125. And we also find that the claimed deduction by the private respondent was permitted under the Internal Revenue Code and should therefore not have been disallowed by the petitioner. ACCORDINGLY, the appealed decision of the Court of Tax Appeals is AFFIRMED in toto, without costs. SO ORDERED.

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Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC

G.R. No. 99886 March 31, 1993 JOHN H. OSMEA, petitioner, vs. OSCAR ORBOS, in his capacity as Executive Secretary; JESUS ESTANISLAO, in his capacity as Secretary of Finance; WENCESLAO DELA PAZ, in his capacity as Head of the Office of Energy Affairs; REX V. TANTIONGCO, and the ENERGY REGULATORY BOARD, respondents. Nachura & Sarmiento for petitioner. The Solicitor General for public respondents.

NARVASA, C.J.: The petitioner seeks the corrective, prohibitive and coercive remedies provided by Rule 65 of the Rules of 2 3 Court, upon the following posited grounds, viz.: 1) the invalidity of the "TRUST ACCOUNT" in the books of account of the Ministry of Energy (now, the Office of Energy Affairs), created pursuant to 8, paragraph 1, of P.D. No. 1956, as amended, "said creation of a trust fund 4 being contrary to Section 29 (3), Article VI of the . . Constitution; 2) the unconstitutionality of 8, paragraph 1 (c) of P.D. No. 1956, as amended by Executive Order No. 137, for 5 "being an undue and invalid delegation of legislative power . . to the Energy Regulatory Board;" 3) the illegality of the reimbursements to oil companies, paid out of the Oil Price Stabilization Fund, because it contravenes 8, paragraph 2 (2) of P. D. 1956, as amended; and 4) the consequent nullity of the Order dated December 10, 1990 and the necessity of a rollback of the pump prices and petroleum products to the levels prevailing prior to the said Order. It will be recalled that on October 10, 1984, President Ferdinand Marcos issued P.D. 1956 creating a Special Account in the General Fund, designated as the Oil Price Stabilization Fund (OPSF). The OPSF was designed to reimburse oil companies for cost increases in crude oil and imported petroleum products resulting from exchange rate adjustments and from increases in the world market prices of crude oil. Subsequently, the OPSF was reclassified into a "trust liability account," in virtue of E.O. 1024, and ordered released from the National Treasury to the Ministry of Energy. The same Executive Order also authorized the investment of the fund in government securities, with the earnings from such placements accruing to the fund.
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President Corazon C. Aquino, amended P.D. 1956. She promulgated Executive Order No. 137 on February 27, 1987, expanding the grounds for reimbursement to oil companies for possible cost underrecovery incurred as a result of the reduction of domestic prices of petroleum products, the amount of the underrecovery being left for determination by the Ministry of Finance. Now, the petition alleges that the status of the OPSF as of March 31, 1991 showed a "Terminal Fund Balance 8 deficit" of some P12.877 billion; that to abate the worsening deficit, "the Energy Regulatory Board . . issued an Order on December 10, 1990, approving the increase in pump prices of petroleum products," and at the rate of recoupment, the OPSF deficit should have been fully covered in a span of six (6) months, but this notwithstanding, the respondents Oscar Orbos, in his capacity as Executive Secretary; Jesus Estanislao, in his capacity as Secretary of Finance; Wenceslao de la Paz, in his capacity as Head of the Office of Energy Affairs; Chairman Rex V. Tantiongco and the Energy Regulatory Board "are poised to accept, process and pay claims not authorized under P.D. 9 1956." The petition further avers that the creation of the trust fund violates 29(3), Article VI of the Constitution, reading as follows: (3) All money collected on any tax levied for a special purpose shall be treated as a special fund and paid out for such purposes only. If the purpose for which a special fund was created has been fulfilled or abandoned, the balance, if any, shall be transferred to the general funds of the Government. The petitioner argues that "the monies collected pursuant to . . P.D. 1956, as amended, must be treated as a 'SPECIAL FUND,' not as a 'trust account' or a 'trust fund,' and that "if a special tax is collected for a specific purpose, the revenue generated therefrom shall 'be treated as a special fund' to be used only for the purpose indicated, and 10 not channeled to another government objective." Petitioner further points out that since "a 'special fund' consists of monies collected through the taxing power of a State, such amounts belong to the State, although the 11 use thereof is limited to the special purpose/objective for which it was created." He also contends that the "delegation of legislative authority" to the ERB violates 28 (2). Article VI of the Constitution, viz.: (2) The Congress may, by law, authorize the President to fix, within specified limits, and subject to such limitations and restrictions as it may impose, tariff rates, import and export quotas, tonnage and wharfage dues, and other duties or imposts within the framework of the national development program of the Government; and, inasmuch as the delegation relates to the exercise of the power of taxation, " the limits, limitations and restrictions must be quantitative, that is, the law must not only specify how to tax, who (shall) be 12 taxed (and) what the tax is for, but also impose a specific limit on how much to tax ." The petitioner does not suggest that a "trust account" is illegal per se, but maintains that the monies collected, which form part of the OPSF, should be maintained in a special account of the general fund for the reason that the Constitution so provides, and because they are, supposedly, taxes levied for a special purpose. He assumes that the Fund is formed from a tax undoubtedly because a portion thereof is taken from collections of ad valorem taxes and the increases thereon. It thus appears that the challenge posed by the petitioner is premised primarily on the view that the powers granted to the ERB under P.D. 1956, as amended, partake of the nature of the taxation power of the State. The Solicitor General observes that the "argument rests on the assumption that the OPSF is a form of revenue measure

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drawing from a special tax to be expended for a special purpose." view, not quite correct.


The petitioner's perceptions are, in the Court's

To address this critical misgiving in the position of the petitioner on these issues, the Court recalls its holding 14 inValmonte v. Energy Regulatory Board, et al. The foregoing arguments suggest the presence of misconceptions about the nature and functions of the OPSF. The OPSF is a "Trust Account" which was established "for the purpose of minimizing the frequent price changes brought about by exchange rate adjustment and/or 15 changes in world market prices of crude oil and imported petroleum products." Under P.D. No. 1956, as amended by Executive Order No. 137 dated 27 February 1987, this Trust Account may be funded from any of the following sources: a) Any increase in the tax collection from ad valorem tax or customs duty imposed on petroleum products subject to tax under this Decree arising from exchange rate adjustment, as may be determined by the Minister of Finance in consultation with the Board of Energy; b) Any increase in the tax collection as a result of the lifting of tax exemptions of government corporations, as may be determined by the Minister of Finance in consultation with the Board of Energy: c) Any additional amount to be imposed on petroleum products to augment the resources of the Fund through an appropriate Order that may be issued by the Board of Energy requiring payment of persons or companies engaged in the business of importing, manufacturing and/or marketing petroleum products; d) Any resulting peso cost differentials in case the actual peso costs paid by oil companies in the importation of crude oil and petroleum products is less than the peso costs computed using the reference foreign exchange rate as fixed by the Board of Energy. xxx xxx xxx The fact that the world market prices of oil, measured by the spot market in Rotterdam, vary from day to day is of judicial notice. Freight rates for hauling crude oil and petroleum products from sources of supply to the Philippines may also vary from time to time. The exchange rate of the peso vis-a-vis the U.S. dollar and other convertible foreign currencies also changes from day to day. These fluctuations in world market prices and in tanker rates and foreign exchange rates would in a completely free market translate into corresponding adjustments in domestic prices of oil and petroleum products with sympathetic frequency. But domestic prices which vary from day to day or even only from week to week would result in a chaotic market with unpredictable effects upon the country's economy in general. The OPSF was established precisely to protect local consumers from the adverse consequences that such frequent oil price adjustments may have upon the economy. Thus, the OPSF serves as a pocket, as it were, into which a portion of the purchase price of oil and petroleum products paid by consumers as well as some tax revenues are inputted and from which amounts are drawn from time to time to reimburse oil companies, when appropriate situations arise, for increases in, as well as underrecovery of, costs of crude importation. The OPSF is thus a buffer mechanism through which the domestic consumer prices of oil and petroleum products are stabilized, instead of fluctuating every so often, and oil companies are allowed to recover those portions of their costs which they would not otherwise recover given

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the level of domestic prices existing at any given time.To the extent that some tax revenues are also put into it, the OPSF is in effect a device through which the domestic prices of petroleum products are subsidized in part. It appears to the Court that the establishment and maintenance of the OPSF is well within that pervasive and non-waivable power and responsibility of the government to secure the physical and economic survival and well-being of the community, that comprehensive sovereign authority we designate as the police power of the State. The stabilization, and subsidy of domestic prices of petroleum products and fuel oil clearly critical in importance considering, among other things, the continuing high level of dependence of the country on imported crude oil are appropriately regarded as public purposes. Also of relevance is this Court's ruling in relation to the sugar stabilization fund the nature of which is not far 16 different from the OPSF. In Gaston v. Republic Planters Bank, this Court upheld the legality of the sugar stabilization fees and explained their nature and character, viz.: The stabilization fees collected are in the nature of a tax, which is within the power of the State to impose for the promotion of the sugar industry (Lutz v. Araneta, 98 Phil. 148). . . . The tax collected is not in a pure exercise of the taxing power. It is levied with a regulatory purpose, to provide a means for the stabilization of the sugar industry. The levy is primarily in the exercise of the police power of the State (Lutz v. Araneta, supra). xxx xxx xxx The stabilization fees in question are levied by the State upon sugar millers, planters and producers for a special purpose that of "financing the growth and development of the sugar industry and all its components, stabilization of the domestic market including the foreign market." The fact that the State has taken possession of moneys pursuant to law is sufficient to constitute them state funds, even though they are held for a special purpose (Lawrence v. American Surety Co. 263 Mich. 586, 249 ALR 535, cited in 42 Am Jur Sec. 2, p. 718). Having been levied for a special purpose, the revenues collected are to be treated as a special fund, to be, in the language of the statute, "administered in trust" for the purpose intended. Once the purpose has been fulfilled or abandoned, the balance if any, is to be transferred to the general funds of the Government. That is the essence of the trust intended (SEE 1987 Constitution, Article VI, Sec. 17 29(3), lifted from the 1935 Constitution, Article VI, Sec. 23(1). The character of the Stabilization Fund as a special kind of fund is emphasized by the fact that the funds are deposited in the Philippine National Bank and not in the Philippine Treasury , moneys from which may be paid out only in pursuance of an appropriation made by law (1987) Constitution, Article VI, Sec. 29 (3), lifted from the 1935 Constitution, Article VI, Sec. 23(1). (Emphasis supplied). Hence, it seems clear that while the funds collected may be referred to as taxes, they are exacted in the exercise of the police power of the State. Moreover, that the OPSF is a special fund is plain from the special treatment given it by E.O. 137. It is segregated from the general fund; and while it is placed in what the law refers to as a "trust liability account," the fund nonetheless remains subject to the scrutiny and review of the COA. The Court is satisfied that these measures comply with the constitutional description of a "special fund." Indeed, the practice is not without precedent. With regard to the alleged undue delegation of legislative power, the Court finds that the provision conferring the authority upon the ERB to impose additional amounts on petroleum products provides a sufficient standard by which the authority must be exercised. In addition to the general policy of the law to protect the local consumer by 18 stabilizing and subsidizing domestic pump rates, 8(c) of P.D. 1956 expressly authorizes the ERB to impose additional amounts to augment the resources of the Fund.

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What petitioner would wish is the fixing of some definite, quantitative restriction, or "a specific limit on how much 19 to tax." The Court is cited to this requirement by the petitioner on the premise that what is involved here is the power of taxation; but as already discussed, this is not the case. What is here involved is not so much the power of taxation as police power. Although the provision authorizing the ERB to impose additional amounts could be construed to refer to the power of taxation, it cannot be overlooked that the overriding consideration is to enable the delegate to act with expediency in carrying out the objectives of the law which are embraced by the police power of the State. The interplay and constant fluctuation of the various factors involved in the determination of the price of oil and petroleum products, and the frequently shifting need to either augment or exhaust the Fund, do not conveniently permit the setting of fixed or rigid parameters in the law as proposed by the petitioner. To do so would render the ERB unable to respond effectively so as to mitigate or avoid the undesirable consequences of such fluidity. As such, the standard as it is expressed, suffices to guide the delegate in the exercise of the delegated power, taking account of the circumstances under which it is to be exercised. For a valid delegation of power, it is essential that the law delegating the power must be (1) complete in itself, that is it must set forth the policy to be executed by the delegate and (2) it must fix a standard limits of which 20 are sufficiently determinate or determinable to which the delegate must conform. . . . As pointed out in Edu v. Ericta: "To avoid the taint of unlawful delegation, there must be a standard, which implies at the very least that the legislature itself determines matters of principle and lays down fundamental policy. Otherwise, the charge of complete abdication may be hard to repel. A standard thus defines legislative policy, marks its limits, maps out its boundaries and specifies the public agency to apply it. It indicates the circumstances under which the legislative command is to be effected. It is the criterion by which the legislative purpose may be carried out. Thereafter, the executive or administrative office designated may in pursuance of the above guidelines promulgate supplemental rules and regulations. The standard may either be express or implied. If the former, the non-delegation objection is easily met. The standard though does not have to be spelled out specifically. It could be implied from the policy and 21 purpose of the act considered as a whole. It would seem that from the above-quoted ruling, the petition for prohibition should fail. The standard, as the Court has already stated, may even be implied. In that light, there can be no ground upon which to sustain the petition, inasmuch as the challenged law sets forth a determinable standard which guides the exercise of the power granted to the ERB. By the same token, the proper exercise of the delegated power may be tested with ease. It seems obvious that what the law intended was to permit the additional imposts for as long as there exists a need to protect the general public and the petroleum industry from the adverse consequences of pump rate fluctuations. "Where the standards set up for the guidance of an administrative officer and the action taken are in fact recorded in the orders of such officer, so that Congress, the courts and the public are assured that the orders in the judgment of such officer conform to the legislative standard, there is no failure in the 22 performance of the legislative functions." This Court thus finds no serious impediment to sustaining the validity of the legislation; the express purpose for which the imposts are permitted and the general objectives and purposes of the fund are readily discernible, and they constitute a sufficient standard upon which the delegation of power may be justified. In relation to the third question respecting the illegality of the reimbursements to oil companies, paid out of the 23 Oil Price Stabilization Fund, because allegedly in contravention of 8, paragraph 2 (2) of P.D. 1956, amended the Court finds for the petitioner.

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The petition assails the payment of certain items or accounts in favor of the petroleum companies (i.e., inventory losses, financing charges, fuel oil sales to the National Power Corporation, etc.) because not authorized by law. Petitioner contends that "these claims are not embraced in the enumeration in 8 of P.D. 1956 . . since none of 24 them was incurred 'as a result of the reduction of domestic prices of petroleum products ,'" and since these items are reimbursements for which the OPSF should not have responded, the amount of the P12.877 billion deficit 25 "should be reduced by P5,277.2 million." It is argued "that under the principle of ejusdem generis . . . the term 'other factors' (as used in 8 of P.D. 1956) . . can only include such 'other factors' which necessarily result in the 26 reduction of domestic prices of petroleum products." The Solicitor General, for his part, contends that "(t)o place said (term) within the restrictive confines of the rule ofejusdem generis would reduce (E.O. 137) to a meaningless provision." This Court, in Caltex Philippines, Inc. v. The Honorable Commissioner on Audit, et al., of ejusdem generis to paragraph 2 of 8 of P.D. 1956, viz.:

passed upon the application

The rule of ejusdem generis states that "[w]here words follow an enumeration of persons or things, by words of a particular and specific meaning, such general words are not to be construed in their widest extent, but are held to be as applying only to persons or things of the same kind or 28 class as those specifically mentioned." A reading of subparagraphs (i) and (ii) easily discloses that they do not have a common characteristic. The first relates to price reduction as directed by the Board of Energy while the second refers to reduction in internal ad valorem taxes. Therefore, subparagraph (iii) cannot be limited by the enumeration in these subparagraphs. What should be considered for purposes of determining the "other factors" in subparagraph (iii) is the first sentence of paragraph (2) of the Section which explicitly allows the cost underrecovery only if such were incurred as a result of the reduction of domestic prices of petroleum products . The Court thus holds, that the reimbursement of financing charges is not authorized by paragraph 2 of 8 of P.D. 1956, for the reason that they were not incurred as a result of the reduction of domestic prices of petroleum products. Under the same provision, however, the payment of inventory losses is upheld as valid, being clearly a result of domestic price reduction, when oil companies incur a cost underrecovery for yet unsold stocks of oil in inventory acquired at a higher price. Reimbursement for cost underrecovery from the sales of oil to the National Power Corporation is equally permissible, not as coming within the provisions of P.D. 1956, but in virtue of other laws and regulations as held 29 inCaltex and which have been pointed to by the Solicitor General. At any rate, doubts about the propriety of such reimbursements have been dispelled by the enactment of R.A. 6952, establishing the Petroleum Price Standby Fund, 2 of which specifically authorizes the reimbursement of "cost underrecovery incurred as a result of fuel oil sales to the National Power Corporation." Anent the overpayment refunds mentioned by the petitioner, no substantive discussion has been presented to show how this is prohibited by P.D. 1956. Nor has the Solicitor General taken any effort to defend the propriety of this refund. In fine, neither of the parties, beyond the mere mention of overpayment refunds, has at all bothered to discuss the arguments for or against the legality of the so-called overpayment refunds. To be sure, the absence of any argument for or against the validity of the refund cannot result in its disallowance by the Court. Unless the impropriety or illegality of the overpayment refund has been clearly and specifically shown, there can be no basis upon which to nullify the same. Finally, the Court finds no necessity to rule on the remaining issue, the same having been rendered moot and academic. As of date hereof, the pump rates of gasoline have been reduced to levels below even those prayed for in the petition.

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WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED insofar as it prays for the nullification of the reimbursement of financing charges, paid pursuant to E.O. 137, and DISMISSED in all other respects.

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Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC G.R. No. L- 41383 August 15, 1988 PHILIPPINE AIRLINES, INC., plaintiff-appellant, vs. ROMEO F. EDU in his capacity as Land Transportation Commissioner, and UBALDO CARBONELL, in his capacity as National Treasurer, defendants-appellants. Ricardo V. Puno, Jr. and Conrado A. Boro for plaintiff-appellant.

GUTIERREZ, JR., J.: What is the nature of motor vehicle registration fees? Are they taxes or regulatory fees? This question has been brought before this Court in the past. The parties are, in effect, asking for a re-examination of the latest decision on this issue. This appeal was certified to us as one involving a pure question of law by the Court of Appeals in a case where the then Court of First Instance of Rizal dismissed the portion-about complaint for refund of registration fees paid under protest. The disputed registration fees were imposed by the appellee, Commissioner Romeo F. Elevate pursuant to Section 8, Republic Act No. 4136, otherwise known as the Land Transportation and Traffic Code. The Philippine Airlines (PAL) is a corporation organized and existing under the laws of the Philippines and engaged in the air transportation business under a legislative franchise, Act No. 42739, as amended by Republic Act Nos. 25). and 269.1 Under its franchise, PAL is exempt from the payment of taxes. The pertinent provision of the franchise provides as follows: Section 13. In consideration of the franchise and rights hereby granted, the grantee shall pay to the National Government during the life of this franchise a tax of two per cent of the gross revenue or gross earning derived by the grantee from its operations under this franchise. Such tax shall be due and payable quarterly and shall be in lieu of all taxes of any kind, nature or description, levied, established or collected by any municipal, provincial or national automobiles, Provided, that if, after the audit of the accounts of the grantee by the Commissioner of Internal Revenue, a deficiency tax is shown to be due, the deficiency tax shall be payable within the ten days from the receipt of the assessment. The grantee shall pay the tax on its real property in conformity with existing law. On the strength of an opinion of the Secretary of Justice (Op. No. 307, series of 1956) PAL has, since 1956, not been paying motor vehicle registration fees. Sometime in 1971, however, appellee Commissioner Romeo F. Elevate issued a regulation requiring all tax exempt entities, among them PAL to pay motor vehicle registration fees.

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Despite PAL's protestations, the appellee refused to register the appellant's motor vehicles unless the amounts imposed under Republic Act 4136 were paid. The appellant thus paid, under protest, the amount of P19,529.75 as registration fees of its motor vehicles. After paying under protest, PAL through counsel, wrote a letter dated May 19,1971, to Commissioner Edu demanding a refund of the amounts paid, invoking the ruling in Calalang v. Lorenzo (97 Phil. 212 [1951]) where it was held that motor vehicle registration fees are in reality taxes from the payment of which PAL is exempt by virtue of its legislative franchise. Appellee Edu denied the request for refund basing his action on the decision in Republic v. Philippine Rabbit Bus Lines, Inc., (32 SCRA 211, March 30, 1970) to the effect that motor vehicle registration fees are regulatory exceptional. and not revenue measures and, therefore, do not come within the exemption granted to PAL? under its franchise. Hence, PAL filed the complaint against Land Transportation Commissioner Romeo F. Edu and National Treasurer Ubaldo Carbonell with the Court of First Instance of Rizal, Branch 18 where it was docketed as Civil Case No. Q-15862. Appellee Romeo F. Elevate in his capacity as LTC Commissioner, and LOI Carbonell in his capacity as National Treasurer, filed a motion to dismiss alleging that the complaint states no cause of action. In support of the motion to dismiss, defendants repatriation the ruling in Republic v. Philippine Rabbit Bus Lines, Inc., (supra) that registration fees of motor vehicles are not taxes, but regulatory fees imposed as an incident of the exercise of the police power of the state. They contended that while Act 4271 exempts PAL from the payment of any tax except two per cent on its gross revenue or earnings, it does not exempt the plaintiff from paying regulatory fees, such as motor vehicle registration fees. The resolution of the motion to dismiss was deferred by the Court until after trial on the merits. On April 24, 1973, the trial court rendered a decision dismissing the appellant's complaint "moved by the later ruling laid down by the Supreme Court in the case or Republic v. Philippine Rabbit Bus Lines, Inc., (supra)." From this judgment, PAL appealed to the Court of Appeals which certified the case to us. Calalang v. Lorenzo (supra) and Republic v. Philippine Rabbit Bus Lines, Inc. (supra) cited by PAL and Commissioner Romeo F. Edu respectively, discuss the main points of contention in the case at bar. Resolving the issue in the Philippine Rabbit case, this Court held: "The registration fee which defendant-appellee had to pay was imposed by Section 8 of the Revised Motor Vehicle Law (Republic Act No. 587 [1950]). Its heading speaks of "registration fees." The term is repeated four times in the body thereof. Equally so, mention is made of the "fee for registration." (Ibid., Subsection G) A subsection starts with a categorical statement "No fees shall be charged." (lbid., Subsection H) The conclusion is difficult to resist therefore that the Motor Vehicle Act requires the payment not of a tax but of a registration fee under the police power. Hence the incipient, of the section relied upon by defendant-appellee under the Back Pay Law, It is not held liable for a tax but for a registration fee. It therefore cannot make use of a backpay certificate to meet such an obligation. Any vestige of any doubt as to the correctness of the above conclusion should be dissipated by Republic Act No. 5448. ([1968]. Section 3 thereof as to the imposition of additional tax on privately-owned passenger automobiles, motorcycles and scooters was amended by Republic Act No. 5470 which is (sic) approved on May 30, 1969.) A special science fund was thereby created and its title expressly sets forth that a tax on privately-owned passenger automobiles, motorcycles and scooters was imposed. The rates thereof were provided for in its Section 3 which clearly specifies the" Philippine tax."(Cooley to be paid as distinguished from the

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registration fee under the Motor Vehicle Act. There cannot be any clearer expression therefore of the legislative will, even on the assumption that the earlier legislation could by subdivision the point be susceptible of the interpretation that a tax rather than a fee was levied. What is thus most apparent is that where the legislative body relies on its authority to tax it expressly so states, and where it is enacting a regulatory measure, it is equally exploded (at p. 22,1969 In direct refutation is the ruling in Calalang v. Lorenzo (supra), where the Court, on the other hand, held: The charges prescribed by the Revised Motor Vehicle Law for the registration of motor vehicles are in section 8 of that law called "fees". But the appellation is no impediment to their being considered taxes if taxes they really are. For not the name but the object of the charge determines whether it is a tax or a fee. Geveia speaking, taxes are for revenue, whereas fees are exceptional. for purposes of regulation and inspection and are for that reason limited in amount to what is necessary to cover the cost of the services rendered in that connection. Hence, a charge fixed by statute for the service to be person,-When by an officer, where the charge has no relation to the value of the services performed and where the amount collected eventually finds its way into the treasury of the branch of the government whose officer or officers collected the chauffeur, is not a fee but a tax."(Cooley on Taxation, Vol. 1, 4th ed., p. 110.) From the data submitted in the court below, it appears that the expenditures of the Motor Vehicle Office are but a small portionabout 5 per centumof the total collections from motor vehicle registration fees. And as proof that the money collected is not intended for the expenditures of that office, the law itself provides that all such money shall accrue to the funds for the construction and maintenance of public roads, streets and bridges. It is thus obvious that the fees are not collected for regulatory purposes, that is to say, as an incident to the enforcement of regulations governing the operation of motor vehicles on public highways, for their express object is to provide revenue with which the Government is to discharge one of its principal functionsthe construction and maintenance of public highways for everybody's use. They are veritable taxes, not merely fees. As a matter of fact, the Revised Motor Vehicle Law itself now regards those fees as taxes, for it provides that "no other taxes or fees than those prescribed in this Act shall be imposed," thus implying that the charges therein imposedthough called feesare of the category of taxes. The provision is contained in section 70, of subsection (b), of the law, as amended by section 17 of Republic Act 587, which reads: Sec. 70(b) No other taxes or fees than those prescribed in this Act shall be imposed for the registration or operation or on the ownership of any motor vehicle, or for the exercise of the profession of chauffeur, by any municipal corporation, the provisions of any city charter to the contrary notwithstanding: Provided, however, That any provincial board, city or municipal council or board, or other competent authority may exact and collect such reasonable and equitable toll fees for the use of such bridges and ferries, within their respective jurisdiction, as may be authorized and approved by the Secretary of Public Works and Communications, and also for the use of such public roads, as may be authorized by the President of the Philippines upon the recommendation of the Secretary of Public Works and Communications, but in none of these cases, shall any toll fee." be charged or collected until and unless the approved schedule of tolls shall have been posted levied, in a conspicuous place at such toll station. (at pp. 213-214)

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Motor vehicle registration fees were matters originally governed by the Revised Motor Vehicle Law (Act 3992 [19511) as amended by Commonwealth Act 123 and Republic Acts Nos. 587 and 1621. Today, the matter is governed by Rep. Act 4136 [1968]), otherwise known as the Land Transportation Code, (as amended by Rep. Acts Nos. 5715 and 64-67, P.D. Nos. 382, 843, 896, 110.) and BP Blg. 43, 74 and 398). Section 73 of Commonwealth Act 123 (which amended Sec. 73 of Act 3992 and remained unsegregated, by Rep. Act Nos. 587 and 1603) states: Section 73. Disposal of moneys collected.Twenty per centum of the money collected under the provisions of this Act shall accrue to the road and bridge funds of the different provinces and chartered cities in proportion to the centum shall during the next previous year and the remaining eighty per centum shall be deposited in the Philippine Treasury to create a special fund for the construction and maintenance of national and provincial roads and bridges. as well as the streets and bridges in the chartered cities to be alloted by the Secretary of Public Works and Communications for projects recommended by the Director of Public Works in the different provinces and chartered cities. .... Presently, Sec. 61 of the Land Transportation and Traffic Code provides: Sec. 61. Disposal of Mortgage. CollectedMonies collected under the provisions of this Act shall be deposited in a special trust account in the National Treasury to constitute the Highway Special Fund, which shall be apportioned and expended in accordance with the provisions of the" Philippine Highway Act of 1935. "Provided, however, That the amount necessary to maintain and equip the Land Transportation Commission but not to exceed twenty per cent of the total collection during one year, shall be set aside for the purpose. (As amended by RA 64-67, approved August 6, 1971). It appears clear from the above provisions that the legislative intent and purpose behind the law requiring owners of vehicles to pay for their registration is mainly to raise funds for the construction and maintenance of highways and to a much lesser degree, pay for the operating expenses of the administering agency. On the other hand, thePhilippine Rabbit case mentions a presumption arising from the use of the term "fees," which appears to have been favored by the legislature to distinguish fees from other taxes such as those mentioned in Section 13 of Rep. Act 4136 which reads: Sec. 13. Payment of taxes upon registration.No original registration of motor vehicles subject to payment of taxes, customs s duties or other charges shall be accepted unless proof of payment of the taxes due thereon has been presented to the Commission. referring to taxes other than those imposed on the registration, operation or ownership of a motor vehicle (Sec. 59, b, Rep. Act 4136, as amended). Fees may be properly regarded as taxes even though they also serve as an instrument of regulation, As stated by a former presiding judge of the Court of Tax Appeals and writer on various aspects of taxpayers It is possible for an exaction to be both tax arose. regulation. License fees are changes. looked to as a source of revenue as well as a means of regulation (Sonzinky v. U.S., 300 U.S. 506) This is true, for example, of automobile license fees. Isabela such case, the fees may properly be regarded as taxes even though they also serve as an instrument of regulation. If the purpose is primarily revenue, or if revenue is at least one of the real and substantial purposes, then the exaction is properly called a tax. (1955 CCH Fed. tax Course, Par. 3101, citing Cooley on Taxation

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(2nd Ed.) 592, 593; Calalang v. Lorenzo. 97 Phil. 213-214) Lutz v. Araneta 98 Phil. 198.) These exactions are sometimes called regulatory taxes. (See Secs. 4701, 4711, 4741, 4801, 4811, 4851, and 4881, U.S. Internal Revenue Code of 1954, which classify taxes on tobacco and alcohol as regulatory taxes.) (Umali, Reviewer in Taxation, 1980, pp. 12-13, citing Cooley on Taxation, 2nd Edition, 591-593). Indeed, taxation may be made the implement of the state's police power (Lutz v. Araneta, 98 Phil. 148). If the purpose is primarily revenue, or if revenue is, at least, one of the real and substantial purposes, then the exaction is properly called a tax (Umali, Id.) Such is the case of motor vehicle registration fees. The conclusions become inescapable in view of Section 70(b) of Rep. Act 587 quoted in the Calalang case. The same provision appears as Section 591-593). in the Land Transportation code. It is patent therefrom that the legislators had in mind a regulatory tax as the law refers to the imposition on the registration, operation or ownership of a motor vehicle as a "tax or fee." Though nowhere in Rep. Act 4136 does the law specifically state that the imposition is a tax, Section 591-593). speaks of "taxes." or fees ... for the registration or operation or on the ownership of any motor vehicle, or for the exercise of the profession of chauffeur ..." making the intent to impose a tax more apparent. Thus, even Rep. Act 5448 cited by the respondents, speak of an "additional" tax," where the law could have referred to an original tax and not one in addition to the tax already imposed on the registration, operation, or ownership of a motor vehicle under Rep. Act 41383. Simply put, if the exaction under Rep. Act 4136 were merely a regulatory fee, the imposition in Rep. Act 5448 need not be an "additional" tax. Rep. Act 4136 also speaks of other "fees," such as the special permit fees for certain types of motor vehicles (Sec. 10) and additional fees for change of registration (Sec. 11). These are not to be understood as taxes because such fees are very minimal to be revenue-raising. Thus, they are not mentioned by Sec. 591-593). of the Code as taxes like the motor vehicle registration fee and chauffers' license fee. Such fees are to go into the expenditures of the Land Transportation Commission as provided for in the last proviso of see. 61, aforequoted. It is quite apparent that vehicle registration fees were originally simple exceptional. intended only for rigidly purposes in the exercise of the State's police powers. Over the years, however, as vehicular traffic exploded in number and motor vehicles became absolute necessities without which modem life as we know it would stand still, Congress found the registration of vehicles a very convenient way of raising much needed revenues. Without changing the earlier deputy. of registration payments as "fees," their nature has become that of "taxes." In view of the foregoing, we rule that motor vehicle registration fees as at present exacted pursuant to the Land Transportation and Traffic Code are actually taxes intended for additional revenues. of government even if one fifth or less of the amount collected is set aside for the operating expenses of the agency administering the program. May the respondent administrative agency be required to refund the amounts stated in the complaint of PAL? The answer is NO. The claim for refund is made for payments given in 1971. It is not clear from the records as to what payments were made in succeeding years. We have ruled that Section 24 of Rep. Act No. 5448 dated June 27, 1968, repealed all earlier tax exemptions Of corporate taxpayers found in legislative franchises similar to that invoked by PAL in this case. In Radio Communications of the Philippines, Inc. v. Court of Tax Appeals, et al. (G.R. No. 615)." July 11, 1985), this Court ruled: Under its original franchise, Republic Act No. 21); enacted in 1957, petitioner Radio Communications of the Philippines, Inc., was subject to both the franchise tax and income tax. In

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1964, however, petitioner's franchise was amended by Republic Act No. 41-42). to the effect that its franchise tax of one and one-half percentum (1-1/2%) of all gross receipts was provided as "in lieu of any and all taxes of any kind, nature, or description levied, established, or collected by any authority whatsoever, municipal, provincial, or national from which taxes the grantee is hereby expressly exempted." The issue raised to this Court now is the validity of the respondent court's decision which ruled that the exemption under Republic Act No. 41-42). was repealed by Section 24 of Republic Act No. 5448 dated June 27, 1968 which reads: "(d) The provisions of existing special or general laws to the contrary notwithstanding, all corporate taxpayers not specifically exempt under Sections 24 (c) (1) of this Code shall pay the rates provided in this section. All corporations, agencies, or instrumentalities owned or controlled by the government, including the Government Service Insurance System and the Social Security System but excluding educational institutions, shall pay such rate of tax upon their taxable net income as are imposed by this section upon associations or corporations engaged in a similar business or industry. " An examination of Section 24 of the Tax Code as amended shows clearly that the law intended all corporate taxpayers to pay income tax as provided by the statute. There can be no doubt as to the power of Congress to repeal the earlier exemption it granted. Article XIV, Section 8 of the 1935 Constitution and Article XIV, Section 5 of the Constitution as amended in 1973 expressly provide that no franchise shall be granted to any individual, firm, or corporation except under the condition that it shall be subject to amendment, alteration, or repeal by the legislature when the public interest so requires. There is no question as to the public interest involved. The country needs increased revenues. The repealing clause is clear and unambiguous. There is a listing of entities entitled to tax exemption. The petitioner is not covered by the provision. Considering the foregoing, the Court Resolved to DENY the petition for lack of merit. The decision of the respondent court is affirmed. Any registration fees collected between June 27, 1968 and April 9, 1979, were correctly imposed because the tax exemption in the franchise of PAL was repealed during the period. However, an amended franchise was given to PAL in 1979. Section 13 of Presidential Decree No. 1590, now provides: In consideration of the franchise and rights hereby granted, the grantee shall pay to the Philippine Government during the lifetime of this franchise whichever of subsections (a) and (b) hereunder will result in a lower taxes.) (a) The basic corporate income tax based on the grantee's annual net taxable income computed in accordance with the provisions of the Internal Revenue Code; or (b) A franchise tax of two per cent (2%) of the gross revenues. derived by the grantees from all specific. without distinction as to transport or nontransport corporations; provided that with respect to international airtransport service, only the gross passengers, mail, and freight revenues. from its outgoing flights shall be subject to this law. The tax paid by the grantee under either of the above alternatives shall be in lieu of all other taxes, duties, royalties, registration, license and other fees and charges of any kind, nature or description imposed, levied, established, assessed, or collected by any municipal, city, provincial, or national authority or government, agency, now or in the future, including but not limited to the following:

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xxx xxx xxx (5) All taxes, fees and other charges on the registration, license, acquisition, and transfer of airtransport equipment, motor vehicles, and all other personal or real property of the gravitates (Pres. Decree 1590, 75 OG No. 15, 3259, April 9, 1979). PAL's current franchise is clear and specific. It has removed the ambiguity found in the earlier law. PAL is now exempt from the payment of any tax, fee, or other charge on the registration and licensing of motor vehicles. Such payments are already included in the basic tax or franchise tax provided in Subsections (a) and (b) of Section 13, P.D. 1590, and may no longer be exacted. WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby partially GRANTED. The prayed for refund of registration fees paid in 1971 is DENIED. The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) is enjoined functions-the collecting any tax, fee, or other charge on the registration and licensing of the petitioner's motor vehicles from April 9, 1979 as provided in Presidential Decree No. 1590. SO ORDERED.

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PROGRESSIVE DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, petitioner , vs. QUEZON CITY, respondent. Jalandoni, Herrera, Del Castillo & Associates for petitioner.

FELICIANO, J.: On 24 December 1969, the City Council of respondent Quezon City adopted Ordinance No. 7997, Series of 1969, otherwise known as the Market Code of Quezon City, Section 3 of which provided: Sec. 3. Supervision Fee.- Privately owned and operated public markets shall submit monthly to the Treasurer's Office, a certified list of stallholders showing the amount of stall fees or rentals paid daily by each stallholder, ... and shall pay 10% of the gross receipts from stall rentals to the City, ... , as supervision fee. Failure to submit said list and to pay the corresponding amount within the period herein prescribed shall subject the operator to the penalties provided in this Code ... including revocation of permit to operate. ... .1 The Market Code was thereafter amended by Ordinance No. 9236, Series of 1972, on 23 March 1972, which reads: SECTION 1. There is hereby imposed a five percent (5 %) tax on gross receipts on rentals or lease of space in privately-owned public markets in Quezon City. xxx xxx xxx SECTION 3. For the effective implementation of this Ordinance, owners of privately owned public markets shall submit ... a monthly certified list of stallholders of lessees of space in their markets showing ... : a. name of stallholder or lessee; b. amount of rental; c. period of lease, indicating therein whether the same is on a daily, monthly or yearly basis. xxx xxx xxx SECTION 4. ... In case of consistent failure to pay the percentage tax for the (3) consecutive months, the City shall revoke the permit of the privately-owned market to operate and/or take any other appropriate action or remedy allowed by law for the collection of the overdue percentage tax and surcharge. xxx xxx xxx 2 On 15 July 1972, petitioner Progressive Development Corporation, owner and operator of a public market known as the "Farmers Market & Shopping Center" filed a Petition for Prohibition with Preliminary Injunction against respondent before the then Court of First Instance of Rizal on the ground that the supervision fee or license tax

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imposed by the above-mentioned ordinances is in reality a tax on income which respondent may not impose, the same being expressly prohibited by Republic Act No. 2264, as amended. In its Answer, respondent, through the City Fiscal, contended that it had authority to enact the questioned ordinances, maintaining that the tax on gross receipts imposed therein is not a tax on income. The Solicitor General also filed an Answer arguing that petitioner, not having paid the ten percent (10%) supervision fee prescribed by Ordinance No. 7997, had no personality to question, and was estopped from questioning, its validity; that the tax on gross receipts was not a tax on income but one imposed for the enjoyment of the privilege to engage in a particular trade or business which was within the power of respondent to impose. In its Supplemental Petition of 23 September 1972, petitioner alleged having paid under protest the five percent (5%) tax under Ordinance No. 9236 for the months of June to September 1972. Two (2) days later, on 25 September 1972, petitioner moved for judgment on the pleadings, alleging that the material facts had been admitted by the parties. On 21 October 1972, the lower court dismissed the petition, ruling 3 that the questioned imposition is not a tax on income, but rather a privilege tax or license fee which local governments, like respondent, are empowered to impose and collect. Having failed to obtain reconsideration of said decision, petitioner came to us on the present Petition for Review. The only issue to be resolved here is whether the tax imposed by respondent on gross receipts of stall rentals is properly characterized as partaking of the nature of an income tax or, alternatively, of a license fee. We begin with the fact that Section 12, Article III of Republic Act No. 537, otherwise known as the Revised Charter of Quezon City, authorizes the City Council: xxx xxx xxx (b) To provide for the levy and collection of taxes and other city revenues and apply the same to the payment of city expenses in accordance with appropriations. (c) To tax, fix the license fee, and regulate the business of the following: ... preparation and sale of meat, poultry, fish, game, butter, cheese, lard vegetables, bread and other provisions. 4 The scope of legislative authority conferred upon the Quezon City Council in respect of businesses like that of the petitioner, is comprehensive: the grant of authority is not only" [to] regulate" and "fix the license fee," but also " to tax" 5 Moreover, Section 2 of Republic Act No. 2264, as amended, otherwise known as the Local Autonomy Act, provides that: Any provision of law to the contrary notwithstanding, all chartered cities, municipalities and municipal districtsshall have authority to impose municipal license taxes or fees upon persons engaged in any occupation or business, or exercising privileges in chartered cities, municipalities or municipal districts by requiring them to secure licenses at rates fixed by the municipal board or city council of the city, the municipal council of the municipality, or the municipal district council of the municipal district; to collect fees and charges for service rendered by the city, municipality or municipal district; to regulate and impose reasonable fees for services rendered

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in connection with any business, profession or occupation being conducted within the city, municipality or municipal district and otherwise to levy for public purposes just and uniform taxes licenses or fees: ... 6 It is now settled that Republic Act No. 2264 confers upon local governments broad taxing authority extending to almost "everything, excepting those which are mentioned therein," provided that the tax levied is "for public purposes, just and uniform," does not transgress any constitutional provision and is not repugnant to a controlling statute. 7 Both the Local Autonomy Act and the Charter of respondent clearly show that respondent is authorized to fix the license fee collectible from and regulate the business of petitioner as operator of a privately-owned public market. Petitioner, however, insist that the "supervision fee" collected from rentals, being a return from capital invested in the construction of the Farmers Market, practically operates as a tax on income, one of those expressly excepted from respondent's taxing authority, and thus beyond the latter's competence. Petitioner cites the same Section 2 of the Local Autonomy Act which goes on to state: 8 ... Provided, however, That no city, municipality or municipal district may levy or impose any of the following: xxx xxx xxx (g) Taxes on income of any kind whatsoever; The term "tax" frequently applies to all kinds of exactions of monies which become public funds. It is often loosely used to include levies for revenue as well as levies for regulatory purposes such that license fees are frequently called taxes although license fee is a legal concept distinguishable from tax: the former is imposed in the exercise of police power primarily for purposes of regulation, while the latter is imposed under the taxing power primarily for purposes of raising revenues. 9 Thus, if the generating of revenue is the primary purpose and regulation is merely incidental, the imposition is a tax; but if regulation is the primary purpose, the fact that incidentally revenue is also obtained does not make the imposition a tax. 10 To be considered a license fee, the imposition questioned must relate to an occupation or activity that so engages the public interest in health, morals, safety and development as to require regulation for the protection and promotion of such public interest; the imposition must also bear a reasonable relation to the probable expenses of regulation, taking into account not only the costs of direct regulation but also its incidental consequences as well.11 When an activity, occupation or profession is of such a character that inspection or supervision by public officials is reasonably necessary for the safeguarding and furtherance of public health, morals and safety, or the general welfare, the legislature may provide that such inspection or supervision or other form of regulation shall be carried out at the expense of the persons engaged in such occupation or performing such activity, and that no one shall engage in the occupation or carry out the activity until a fee or charge sufficient to cover the cost of the inspection or supervision has been paid. 12 Accordingly, a charge of a fixed sum which bears no relation at all to the cost of inspection and regulation may be held to be a tax rather than an exercise of the police power. 13 In the case at bar, the "Farmers Market & Shopping Center" was built by virtue of Resolution No. 7350 passed on 30 January 1967 by respondents's local legislative body authorizing petitioner to establish and operate a market with a permit to sell fresh meat, fish, poultry and other foodstuffs. 14 The same resolution imposed upon petitioner, as a condition for continuous operation, the obligation to "abide by and comply with the ordinances, rules and regulations prescribed for the establishment, operation and maintenance of markets in Quezon City." 15 The "Farmers' Market and Shopping Center" being a public market in the' sense of a market open to and inviting the patronage of the general public, even though privately owned, petitioner's operation thereof required a

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license issued by the respondent City, the issuance of which, applying the standards set forth above, was done principally in the exercise of the respondent's police power. 16 The operation of a privately owned market is, as correctly noted by the Solicitor General, equivalent to or quite the same as the operation of a government-owned market; both are established for the rendition of service to the general public, which warrants close supervision and control by the respondent City, 17 for the protection of the health of the public by insuring, e.g., the maintenance of sanitary and hygienic conditions in the market, compliance of all food stuffs sold therein with applicable food and drug and related standards, for the prevention of fraud and imposition upon the buying public, and so forth. We believe and so hold that the five percent (5%) tax imposed in Ordinance No. 9236 constitutes, not a tax on income, not a city income tax (as distinguished from the national income tax imposed by the National Internal Revenue Code) within the meaning of Section 2 (g) of the Local Autonomy Act, but rather a license tax or fee for the regulation of the business in which the petitioner is engaged. While it is true that the amount imposed by the questioned ordinances may be considered in determining whether the exaction is really one for revenue or prohibition, instead of one of regulation under the police power, 18 it nevertheless will be presumed to be reasonable. Local' governments are allowed wide discretion in determining the rates of imposable license fees even in cases of purely police power measures, in the absence of proof as to particular municipal conditions and the nature of the business being taxed as well as other detailed factors relevant to the issue of arbitrariness or unreasonableness of the questioned rates. 19 Thus: [A]n ordinance carries with it the presumption of validity. The question of reasonableness though is open to judicial inquiry. Much should be left thus to the discretion of municipal authorities. Courts will go slow in writing off an ordinance as unreasonable unless the amount is so excessive as to be prohibitory, arbitrary, unreasonable, oppressive, or confiscatory. A rule which has gained acceptance is that factors relevant to such an inquiry are the municipal conditions as a whole and the nature of the business made subject to imposition.20 Petitioner has not shown that the rate of the gross receipts tax is so unreasonably large and excessive and so grossly disproportionate to the costs of the regulatory service being performed by the respondent as to compel the Court to characterize the imposition as a revenue measure exclusively. The lower court correctly held that the gross receipts from stall rentals have been used only as a basis for computing the fees or taxes due respondent to cover the latter's administrative expenses, i.e., for regulation and supervision of the sale of foodstuffs to the public. The use of the gross amount of stall rentals as basis for determining the collectible amount of license tax, does not by itself, upon the one hand, convert or render the license tax into a prohibited city tax on income. Upon the other hand, it has not been suggested that such basis has no reasonable relationship to the probable costs of regulation and supervision of the petitioner's kind of business. For, ordinarily, the higher the amount of stall rentals, the higher the aggregate volume of foodstuffs and related items sold in petitioner's privately owned market; and the higher the volume of goods sold in such private market, the greater the extent and frequency of inspection and supervision that may be reasonably required in the interest of the buying public. Moreover, what we started with should be recalled here: the authority conferred upon the respondent's City Council is not merely "to regulate" but also embraces the power "to tax" the petitioner's business. Finally, petitioner argues that respondent is without power to impose a gross receipts tax for revenue purposes absent an express grant from the national government. As a general rule, there must be a statutory grant for a local government unit to impose lawfully a gross receipts tax, that unit not having the inherent power of taxation. 21The rule, however, finds no application in the instant case where what is involved is an exercise of, principally, the regulatory power of the respondent City and where that regulatory power is expressly accompanied by the taxing power. ACCORDINGLY, the Decision of the then Court of First Instance of Rizal, Quezon City, Branch 18, is hereby AFFIRMED and the Court Resolved to DENY the Petition for lack of merit.

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SO ORDERED. Fernan, C.J., Gutierrez, Jr., Bidin and Cortes, JJ., concur.

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G.R. No. L-16619

June 29, 1963

COMPAIA GENERAL DE TABACOS DE FILIPINAS, plaintiff-appellee, vs. CITY OF MANILA, ET AL., defendants-appellants. Ponce Enrile, Siguion Reyna, Montecillo and Belo for plaintiff-appellee. City Fiscal Hermogenes Concepcion, Jr. and Assistant City Fiscal M. T. Reyes for defendants-appellants. DIZON, J.: Appeal from the decision of the Court of First Instance of Manila ordering the City Treasurer of Manila to refund the sum of P15,280.00 to Compania General de Tabacos de Filipinas. Appellee Compania General de Tabacos de Filipinas hereinafter referred to simply as Tabacalera filed this action in the Court of First Instance of Manila to recover from appellants, City of Manila and its Treasurer, Marcelino Sarmiento also hereinafter referred to as the City the sum of P15,280.00 allegedly overpaid by it as taxes on its wholesale and retail sales of liquor for the period from the third quarter of 1954 to the second quarter of 1957, inclusive, under Ordinances Nos. 3634, 3301, and 3816. Tabacalera, as a duly licensed first class wholesale and retail liquor dealer paid the City the fixed license feesprescribed by Ordinance No. 3358 for the years 1954 to 1957, inclusive, and, as a wholesale and retail dealer of general merchandise, it also paid the sales taxes required by Ordinances Nos. 3634, 3301, and 3816.1wph1.t In its sworn statements of wholesale, retail, and grocery sales of general merchandise from the third quarter of 1954 to the second quarter of 1957, inclusive, Tabacalera included its liquor sales of the same period, and it is not denied that of the taxes it paid on all its sales of general merchandise, the sum of P15,280.00 subject to the action represents the tax corresponding to the liquor sales aforesaid. Tabacalera's action for refund is based on the theory that, in connection with its liquor sales, it should pay the license fees prescribed by Ordinance No. 3358 but not the municipal sales taxes imposed by Ordinances Nos. 3634, 3301, and 3816; and since it already paid the license fees aforesaid, the sales taxes paid by it amounting to the sum of P15,208.00 under the three ordinances mentioned heretofore is an overpayment made by mistake, and therefore refundable. The City, on the other hand, contends that, for the permit issued to it granting proper authority to "conduct or engage in the sale of alcoholic beverages, or liquors" Tabacalera is subject to pay the license fees prescribed by Ordinance No. 3358, aside from the sales taxes imposed by Ordinances Nos. 3634, 3301, and 3816; that, even assuming that Tabacalera is not subject to the payment of the sales taxes prescribed by the said three ordinances as regards its liquor sales, it is not entitled to the refund demanded for the following reasons:. (a) The said amount was paid by the plaintiff voluntarily and without protest; (b) If at all the alleged overpayment was made by mistake, such mistake was one of law and arose from the plaintiff's neglect of duty; . (c) The said amount had been added by the plaintiff to the selling price of the liquor sold by it and passed to the consumers; and

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(d) The said amount had been already expended by the defendant City for public improvements and essential services of the City government, the benefits of which are enjoyed, and being enjoyed by the plaintiff. It is admitted that as liquor dealer, Tabacalera paid annually the wholesale and retail liquor license fees under Ordinance No. 3358. In 1954, City Ordinance No. 3634, amending City Ordinance No. 3420, and City Ordinance No. 3816, amending City Ordinance No. 3301 were passed. By reason thereof, the City Treasurer issued the regulations marked Exhibit A, according to which, the term "general merchandise as used in said ordinances, includes all articles referred to in Chapter 1, Sections 123 to 148 of the National Internal Revenue Code. Of these, Sections 133-135 included liquor among the taxable articles. Pursuant to said regulations, Tabacalera included its sales of liquor in its sworn quarterly declaration submitted to the City Treasurer beginning from the third quarter of 1954 to the second quarter of 1957, with a total value of P722,501.09 and correspondingly paid a wholesaler's tax amounting to P13,688.00 and a retailer's tax amounting to P1,520.00, or a total of P15,208.00 the amount sought to be recovered. It appears that in the year 1954, the City, through its treasurer, addressed a letter to Messrs. Sycip, Gorres, Velayo and Co., an accounting firm, expressing the view that liquor dealers paying the annual wholesale and retail fixed tax under City Ordinance No. 3358 are not subject to the wholesale and retail dealers' taxes prescribed by City Ordinances Nos. 3634, 3301, and 3816. Upon learning of said opinion, appellee stopped including its sales of liquor in its quarterly sworn declarations submitted in accordance with the aforesaid City Ordinances Nos. 3634, 3301, and 3816, and on December 3, 1957, it addressed a letter to the City Treasurer demanding refund of the alleged overpayment. As the claim was disallowed, the present action was instituted. The term "tax" applies generally speaking to all kinds of exactions which become public funds. The term is often loosely used to include levies for revenue as well as levies for regulatory purposes. Thus license fees are commonly called taxes. Legally speaking, however, license fee is a legal concept quite distinct from tax; the former is imposed in the exercise of police power for purposes of regulation, while the latter is imposed under the taxing power for the purpose of raising revenues (MacQuillin, Municipal Corporations, Vol. 9, 3rd Edition, p. 26). Ordinance No. 3358 is clearly one that prescribes municipal license fees for the privilege to engage in the business of selling liquor or alcoholic beverages, having been enacted by the Municipal Board of Manila pursuant to its charter power to fix license fees on, and regulate, the sale of intoxicating liquors, whether imported or locally manufactured. (Section 18 [p], Republic Act 409, as amended). The license fees imposed by it are essentially for purposes of regulation, and are justified, considering that the sale of intoxicating liquor is, potentially at least, harmful to public health and morals, and must be subject to supervision or regulation by the state and by cities and municipalities authorized to act in the premises. (MacQuillin, supra, p. 445.) On the other hand, it is clear that Ordinances Nos. 3634, 3301, and 3816 impose taxes on the sales of general merchandise, wholesale or retail, and are revenue measures enacted by the Municipal Board of Manila by virtue of its power to tax dealers for the sale of such merchandise. (Section 10 [o], Republic Act No. 409, as amended.). Under Ordinance No. 3634 the word "merchandise" as employed therein clearly includes liquor. Aside from this, we have held in City of Manila vs. Inter-Island Gas Service, Inc., G.R. No. L-8799, August 31, 1956, that the word "merchandise" refers to all subjects of commerce and traffic; whatever is usually bought and sold in trade or market; goods or wares bought and sold for gain; commodities or goods to trade; and commercial commodities in general. That Tabacalera is being subjected to double taxation is more apparent than real. As already stated what is collected under Ordinance No. 3358 is a license fee for the privilege of engaging in the sale of liquor, a calling in which it is obvious not anyone or anybody may freely engage, considering that the sale of liquor indiscriminately may endanger public health and morals. On the other hand, what the three ordinances mentioned heretofore impose is a tax for revenue purposes based on the sales made of the same article or merchandise. It is

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already settled in this connection that both a license fee and a tax may be imposed on the same business or occupation, or for selling the same article, this not being in violation of the rule against double taxation (Bentley Gray Dry Goods Co. vs. City of Tampa, 137 Fla. 641, 188 So. 758; MacQuillin, Municipal Corporations, Vol. 9, 3rd Edition, p. 83). This is precisely the case with the ordinances involved in the case at bar. Appellee's contention that the City is repudiating its previous view expressed by its Treasurer in a letter addressed to Messrs. Sycip, Gorres, Velayo & Co. in 1954 that a liquor dealer who pays the annual license fee under Ordinance No. 3358 is exempted from the wholesalers and retailers taxes under the other three ordinances mentioned heretofore is of no consequence. The government is not bound by the errors or mistakes committed by its officers, specially on matters of law. Having arrived at the above conclusion, we deem it unnecessary to consider the other legal points raised by the City. WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is reversed, with the result that this case should be, as it is hereby dismissed, with costs.

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G.R. No. 189999

June 27, 2012

ANGELES UNIVERSITY FOUNDATION, Petitioner, vs. CITY OF ANGELES, JULIET G. QUINSAAT, in her capacity as Treasurer of Angeles City and ENGR. DONATO N. DIZON, in his capacity as Acting Angeles City Building Official, Respondents. DECISION VILLARAMA, JR., J.: Before us is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, as amended, 1 2 which seeks to reverse and set aside the Decision dated July 28, 2009 and Resolution dated October 12, 2009 of 3 the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CV No. 90591. The CA reversed the Decision dated September 21, 2007 of the Regional Trial Court of Angeles City, Branch 57 in Civil Case No. 12995 declaring petitioner exempt from the payment of building permit and other fees and ordering respondents to refund the same with interest at the legal rate. The factual antecedents: Petitioner Angeles University Foundation (AUF) is an educational institution established on May 25, 1962 and was converted into a non-stock, non-profit education foundation under the provisions of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 4 6055 on December 4, 1975. Sometime in August 2005, petitioner filed with the Office of the City Building Official an application for a building permit for the construction of an 11-storey building of the Angeles University Foundation Medical Center in its main campus located at MacArthur Highway, Angeles City, Pampanga. Said office issued a Building Permit Fee Assessment in the amount of P126,839.20. An Order of Payment was also issued by the City Planning and Development Office, Zoning Administration Unit requiring petitioner to pay the sum of P238,741.64 as Locational 5 Clearance Fee. In separate letters dated November 15, 2005 addressed to respondents City Treasurer Juliet G. Quinsaat and Acting City Building Official Donato N. Dizon, petitioner claimed that it is exempt from the payment of the building permit and locational clearance fees, citing legal opinions rendered by the Department of Justice (DOJ). Petitioner also reminded the respondents that they have previously issued building permits acknowledging such exemption from payment of building permit fees on the construction of petitioners 4 -storey AUF Information Technology 6 Center building and the AUF Professional Schools building on July 27, 2000 and March 15, 2004, respectively. Respondent City Treasurer referred the matter to the Bureau of Local Government Finance (BLGF) of the Department of Finance, which in turn endorsed the query to the DOJ. Then Justice Secretary Raul M. Gonzalez, in his letter-reply dated December 6, 2005, cited previous issuances of his office (Opinion No. 157, s. 1981 and Opinion No. 147, s. 1982) declaring petitioner to be exempt from the payment of building permit fees. Under the 1st Indorsement dated January 6, 2006, BLGF reiterated the aforesaid opinion of the DOJ stating further that "xxx the Department of Finance, thru this Bureau, has no authority to review the resolution or the decision of the 7 DOJ." Petitioner wrote the respondents reiterating its request to reverse the disputed assessments and invoking the DOJ legal opinions which have been affirmed by Secretary Gonzalez. Despite petitioners plea, however, respondents refused to issue the building permits for the construction of the AUF Medical Center in the main campus and renovation of a school building located at Marisol Village. Petitioner then appealed the matter to City Mayor 8 Carmelo F. Lazatin but no written response was received by petitioner.

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Consequently, petitioner paid under protest the following: Medical Center (new construction) Building Permit and Electrical Fee Locational Clearance Fee Fire Code Fee P 217,475.20 283,741.64 144,690.00 Total - P 645,906.84

School Building (renovation) Building Permit and Electrical Fee Locational Clearance Fee Fire Code Fee P 37,857.20 6,000.57 5,967.74 Total - P 49,825.51

Petitioner likewise paid the following sums as required by the City Assessors Office: Real Property Tax Basic Fee SEF Locational Clearance Fee P 86,531.10 43,274.54 1,125.00 10 Total P130,930.64 [GRAND TOTAL - P 826,662.99]

By reason of the above payments, petitioner was issued the corresponding Building Permit, Wiring Permit, Electrical Permit and Sanitary Building Permit. On June 9, 2006, petitioner formally requested the respondents to refund the fees it paid under protest. Under letters dated June 15, 2006 and August 7, 2006, respondent City 11 Treasurer denied the claim for refund. On August 31, 2006, petitioner filed a Complaint before the trial court seeking the refund of P826,662.99 plus interest at the rate of 12% per annum, and also praying for the award of attorneys fees in the amount of P300,000.00 and litigation expenses. In its Answer, respondents asserted that the claim of petitioner cannot be granted because its structures are not among those mentioned in Sec. 209 of the National Building Code as exempted from the building permit fee. Respondents argued that R.A. No. 6055 should be considered repealed on the basis of Sec. 2104 of the National Building Code. Since the disputed assessments are regulatory in nature, they are not taxes from which petitioner is exempt. As to the real property taxes imposed on petitioners property located in Marisol Village, respondents pointed out that said premises will be used as a school dormitory which cannot be considered as a use exclusively for educational activities. Petitioner countered that the subject building permit are being collected on the basis of Art. 244 of theImplementing Rules and Regulations of the Local Government Code, which impositions are really taxes considering that they are provided under the chapter on "Local Government Taxation" in reference to the "revenue raising power" of local government units (LGUs). Moreover, petitioner contended that, as held in 14 Philippine Airlines, Inc. v. Edu, fees may be regarded as taxes depending on the purpose of its exaction. In any case, petitioner pointed out that the Local Government Code of 1991 provides in Sec. 193 that non-stock and nonprofit educational institutions like petitioner retained the tax exemptions or incentives which have been granted to
13 12

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them. Under Sec. 8 of R.A. No. 6055 and applicable jurisprudence and DOJ rulings, petitioner is clearly exempt 15 from the payment of building permit fees. On September 21, 2007, the trial court rendered judgment in favor of the petitioner and against the respondents. 16 The dispositive portion of the trial courts decision reads: WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is rendered as follows: a. Plaintiff is exempt from the payment of building permit and other fees Ordering the Defendants to refund the total amount of Eight Hundred Twenty Six Thousand Six Hundred Sixty Two Pesos and 99/100 Centavos (P826,662.99) plus legal interest thereon at the rate of twelve percent (12%) per annum commencing on the date of extra-judicial demand or June 14, 2006, until the aforesaid amount is fully paid. b. Finding the Defendants liable for attorneys fees in the amount of Seventy Thousand Pesos (Php70,000.00), plus litigation expenses. c. Ordering the Defendants to pay the costs of the suit. SO ORDERED.

Respondents appealed to the CA which reversed the trial court, holding that while petitioner is a tax-free entity, it is not exempt from the payment of regulatory fees. The CA noted that under R.A. No. 6055, petitioner was granted exemption only from income tax derived from its educational activities and real property used exclusively for educational purposes. Regardless of the repealing clause in the National Building Code, the CA held that petitioner is still not exempt because a building permit cannot be considered as the other "charges" mentioned in Sec. 8 of R.A. No. 6055 which refers to impositions in the nature of tax, import duties, assessments and other collections for revenue purposes, following the ejusdem generisrule. The CA further stated that petitioner has not shown that the fees collected were excessive and more than the cost of surveillance, inspection and regulation. And while petitioner may be exempt from the payment of real property tax, petitioner in this case merely alleged that "the subject property is to be used actually, directly and exclusively for educational purposes," declaring merely that such premises is intended to house the sports and other facilities of the university but by reason of the occupancy of informal settlers on the area, it cannot yet utilize the same for its intended use. Thus, the CA concluded that petitioner is not entitled to the refund of building permit and related fees, as well as real property tax it paid under protest. Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration which was denied by the CA. Hence, this petition raising the following grounds: THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED REVERSIBLE ERROR AND DECIDED A QUESTION OF SUBSTANCE IN A WAY NOT IN ACCORDANCE WITH LAW AND THE APPLICABLE DECISIONS OF THE HONORABLE COURT AND HAS DEPARTED FROM THE ACCEPTED AND USUAL COURSE OF JUDICIAL PROCEEDINGS NECESSITATING THE HONORABLE COURTS EXERCISE OF ITS POWER OF SUPERVISION CONSIDERING THAT: I. IN REVERSING THE TRIAL COURTS DECISION DATED 21 SEPTEMBER 2007, THE COURT OF APPEALS EFFECTIVELY WITHDREW THE PRIVILEGE OF EXEMPTION GRANTED TO NON-STOCK, NON-PROFIT EDUCATIONAL FOUNDATIONS BY VIRTUE OF RA 6055 WHICH WITHDRAWAL IS BEYOND THE AUTHORITY OF THE COURT OF APPEALS TO DO.

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A. INDEED, RA 6055 REMAINS VALID AND IS IN FULL FORCE AND EFFECT. HENCE, THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED WHEN IT RULED IN THE QUESTIONED DECISION THAT NON-STOCK, NON-PROFIT EDUCATIONAL FOUNDATIONS ARE NOT EXEMPT. B. THE COURT OF APPEALS APPLICATION OF THE PRINCIPLE OF EJUSDEM GENERIS IN RULING IN THE QUESTIONED DECISION THAT THE TERM "OTHER CHARGES IMPOSED BY THE GOVERNMENT" UNDER SECTION 8 OF RA 6055 DOES NOT INCLUDE BUILDING PERMIT AND OTHER RELATED FEES AND/OR CHARGES IS BASED ON ITS ERRONEOUS AND UNWARRANTED ASSUMPTION THAT THE TAXES, IMPORT DUTIES AND ASSESSMENTS AS PART OF THE PRIVILEGE OF EXEMPTION GRANTED TO NON-STOCK, NON-PROFIT EDUCATIONAL FOUNDATIONS ARE LIMITED TO COLLECTIONS FOR REVENUE PURPOSES. C. EVEN ASSUMING THAT THE BUILDING PERMIT AND OTHER RELATED FEES AND/OR CHARGES ARE NOT INCLUDED IN THE TERM "OTHER CHARGES IMPOSED BY THE GOVERNMENT" UNDER SECTION 8 OF RA 6055, ITS IMPOSITION IS GENERALLY A TAX MEASURE AND THEREFORE, STILL COVERED UNDER THE PRIVILEGE OF EXEMPTION. II. THE COURT OF APPEALS DENIAL OF PETITIONER AUFS EXEMPTION FROM REAL PROPERTY TAXES CONTAINED IN ITS QUESTIONED DECISION AND QUESTIONED RESOLUTION IS CONTRARY TO APPLICABLE LAW AND 18 JURISPRUDENCE. Petitioner stresses that the tax exemption granted to educational stock corporations which have converted into non-profit foundations was broadened to include any other charges imposed by the Government as one of the incentives for such conversion. These incentives necessarily included exemption from payment of building permit and related fees as otherwise there would have been no incentives for educational foundations if the privilege were only limited to exemption from taxation, which is already provided under the Constitution. Petitioner further contends that this Court has consistently held in several cases that the primary purpose of the exaction determines its nature. Thus, a charge of a fixed sum which bears no relation to the cost of inspection and which is payable into the general revenue of the state is a tax rather than an exercise of the police power. The standard set by law in the determination of the amount that may be imposed as license fees is such that is commensurate with the cost of regulation, inspection and licensing. But in this case, the amount representing the building permit and related fees and/or charges is such an exorbitant amount as to warrant a valid imposition; such amount exceeds the probable cost of regulation. Even with the alleged criteria submitted by the respondents (e.g., character of occupancy or use of building/structure, cost of construction, floor area and height), and the construction by petitioner of an 11-storey building, the costs of inspection will not amount to P645,906.84, presumably for the salary of inspectors or employees, the expenses of transportation for inspection and the preparation and reproduction of documents. Petitioner thus concludes that the disputed fees are substantially and mainly for purposes of revenue rather than regulation, so that even these fees cannot be deemed "charges" mentioned in Sec. 8 of R.A. No. 6055, they should properly be treated as tax from which petitioner is exempt. In their Comment, respondents maintain that petitioner is not exempt from the payment of building permit and related fees since the only exemptions provided in the National Building Code are public buildings and traditional indigenous family dwellings. Inclusio unius est exclusio alterius. Because the law did not include petitioners buildings from those structures exempt from the payment of building permit fee, it is therefore subject to the regulatory fees imposed under the National Building Code. Respondents assert that the CA correctly distinguished a building permit fee from those "other charges" mentioned in Sec. 8 of R.A. No. 6055. As stated by petitioner itself, charges refer to pecuniary liability, as rents, and fees against persons or property. Respondents point out that a building permit is classified under the term "fee." A fee is generally imposed to cover the cost of regulation as activity or privilege and is essentially derived from the

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exercise of police power; on the other hand, impositions for services rendered by the local government units or for conveniences furnished, are referred to as "service charges". Respondents also disagreed with petitioners contention that the fees imposed and collected are exorbitant and exceeded the probable expenses of regulation. These fees are based on computations and assessments made by the responsible officials of the City Engineers Office in accordance with the Schedule of Fees and criteria provided in the National Building Code. The bases of assessment cited by petitioner (e.g. salary of employees, expenses of transportation and preparation and reproduction of documents) refer to charges and fees on business and occupation under Sec. 147 of the Local Government Code, which do not apply to building permit fees. The parameters set by the National Building Code can be considered as complying with the reasonable cost of regulation in the assessment and collection of building permit fees. Respondents likewise contend that the presumption of regularity in the performance of official duty applies in this case. Petitioner should have presented evidence to prove its allegations that the amounts collected are exorbitant or unreasonable. For resolution are the following issues: (1) whether petitioner is exempt from the payment of building permit and related fees imposed under the National Building Code; and (2) whether the parcel of land owned by petitioner which has been assessed for real property tax is likewise exempt. R.A. No. 6055 granted tax exemptions to educational institutions like petitioner which converted to non-stock, non-profit educational foundations. Section 8 of said law provides: SECTION 8. The Foundation shall be exempt from the payment of all taxes, import duties, assessments, and other charges imposed by the Government onall income derived from or property, real or personal, used exclusively for the educational activities of the Foundation.(Emphasis supplied.) On February 19, 1977, Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. 1096 was issued adopting the National Building Code of the Philippines. The said Code requires every person, firm or corporation, including any agency or instrumentality of the government to obtain a building permit for any construction, alteration or repair of any building or 19 structure. Building permit refers to "a document issued by the Building Official x x x to an owner/applicant to proceed with the construction, installation, addition, alteration, renovation, conversion, repair, moving, demolition or other work activity of a specific project/building/structure or portions thereof after the accompanying principal plans, specifications and other pertinent documents with the duly notarized application are found satisfactory and substantially conforming with the National Building Code of the Philippines x x x and its Implementing Rules and 20 Regulations (IRR)." Building permit fees refers to the basic permit fee and other charges imposed under theNational Building Code. Exempted from the payment of building permit fees are: (1) public buildings and (2) traditional indigenous family 21 dwellings. Not being expressly included in the enumeration of structures to which the building permit fees do not apply, petitioners claim for exemption rests solely on its interpretation of the term "other charges imposed by the National Government" in the tax exemption clause of R.A. No. 6055. A "charge" is broadly defined as the "price of, or rate for, something," while the word "fee" pertains to a "charge 22 fixed by law for services of public officers or for use of a privilege under control of government." As used in the Local Government Code of 1991 (R.A. No. 7160), charges refers to pecuniary liability, as rents or fees against persons or property, while fee means a charge fixed by law or ordinance for the regulation or inspection of a 23 business or activity. That "charges" in its ordinary meaning appears to be a general term which could cover a specific "fee" does not support petitioners position that building permit fees are among those "other charges" from which it was expressly exempted. Note that the "other charges" mentioned in Sec. 8 of R.A. No. 6055 is qualified by the words "imposed by the Government on all x x x property used exclusively for the educational activities of the

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foundation." Building permit fees are not impositions on property but on the activity subject of government regulation. While it may be argued that the fees relate to particular properties, i.e., buildings and structures, they are actually imposed on certain activities the owner may conduct either to build such structures or to repair, alter, renovate or demolish the same. This is evident from the following provisions of the National Building Code: Section 102. Declaration of Policy It is hereby declared to be the policy of the State to safeguard life, health, property, and public welfare, consistent with theprinciples of sound environmental management and control; and tothis end, make it the purpose of this Code to provide for allbuildings and structures, a framework of minimum standards and requirements to regulate and control their location, site, design quality of materials, construction, use, occupancy, and maintenance. Section 103. Scope and Application (a) The provisions of this Code shall apply to the design,location, sitting, construction, alteration, repair,conversion, use, occupancy, maintenance, moving, demolitionof, and addition to public and private buildings andstructures, except traditional indigenous family dwellingsas defined herein. xxxx Section 301. Building Permits No person, firm or corporation, including any agency orinstrumentality of the government shall erect, construct, alter, repair, move, convert or demolish any building or structure or causethe same to be done without first obtaining a building permittherefor from the Building Official assigned in the place where thesubject building is located or the building work is to be done. (Italics supplied.) That a building permit fee is a regulatory imposition is highlighted by the fact that in processing an application for a building permit, the Building Official shall see to it that the applicant satisfies and conforms with approved standard requirements on zoning and land use, lines and grades, structural design, sanitary and sewerage, environmental health, electrical and mechanical safety as well as with other rules and regulations implementing 24 the National Building Code. Thus, ancillary permits such as electrical permit, sanitary permit and zoning clearance must also be secured and the corresponding fees paid before a building permit may be issued. And as can be gleaned from the implementing rules and regulations of the National Building Code, clearances from various government authorities exercising and enforcing regulatory functions affecting buildings/structures, like local 25 government units, may be further required before a building permit may be issued. Since building permit fees are not charges on property, they are not impositions from which petitioner is exempt. As to petitioners argument that the building permit fees collected by respondents are in reality taxes because the primary purpose is to raise revenues for the local government unit, the same does not hold water. A charge of a fixed sum which bears no relation at all to the cost of inspection and regulation may be held to be a 26 tax rather than an exercise of the police power. In this case, the Secretary of Public Works and Highways who is mandated to prescribe and fix the amount of fees and other charges that the Building Official shall collect in 27 connection with the performance of regulatory functions, has promulgated and issued the Implementing Rules 28 and Regulations which provide for the bases of assessment of such fees, as follows: 1. Character of occupancy or use of building 2. Cost of construction " 10,000/sq.m (A,B,C,D,E,G,H,I), 8,000 (F), 6,000 (J)

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3. Floor area 4. Height Petitioner failed to demonstrate that the above bases of assessment were arbitrarily determined or unrelated to the activity being regulated. Neither has petitioner adduced evidence to show that the rates of building permit fees imposed and collected by the respondents were unreasonable or in excess of the cost of regulation and inspection. In Chevron Philippines, Inc. v. Bases Conversion Development Authority, this Court explained: In distinguishing tax and regulation as a form of police power, the determining factor is the purpose of the implemented measure. If the purpose is primarily to raise revenue, then it will be deemed a tax even though the measure results in some form of regulation. On the other hand, if the purpose is primarily to regulate, then it is deemed a regulation and an exercise of the police power of the state, even though incidentally, revenue is generated. Thus, in Gerochi v. Department of Energy, the Court stated: "The conservative and pivotal distinction between these two (2) powers rests in the purpose for which the charge is made. If generation of revenue is the primary purpose and regulation is merely incidental, the imposition is a tax; but if regulation is the primary purpose, the fact that revenue is incidentally raised does not make the 30 imposition a tax." (Emphasis supplied.) Concededly, in the case of building permit fees imposed by the National Government under the National Building Code, revenue is incidentally generated for the benefit of local government units. Thus: Section 208. Fees Every Building Official shall keep a permanent record and accurate account of all fees and other charges fixed and authorized by the Secretary to be collected and received under this Code. Subject to existing budgetary, accounting and auditing rules and regulations, the Building Official is hereby authorized to retain not more than twenty percent of his collection for the operating expenses of his office. The remaining eighty percent shall be deposited with the provincial, city or municipal treasurer and shall accrue to the General Fund of the province, city or municipality concerned. Petitioners reliance on Sec. 193 of the Local Government Code of 1991 is likewise misplaced. Said provision states: SECTION 193. Withdrawal of Tax Exemption Privileges. -- Unless otherwise provided in this Code, tax exemptions or incentives granted to, or presently enjoyed by all persons, whether natural or juridical, including governmentowned or controlled corporations, except local water districts, cooperatives duly registered under R.A. No. 6938, non-stock and non-profit hospitals and educational institutions, are hereby withdrawn upon the effectivity of this Code. (Emphasis supplied.) Considering that exemption from payment of regulatory fees was not among those "incentives" granted to petitioner under R.A. No. 6055, there is no such incentive that is retained under the Local Government Code of 1991. Consequently, no reversible error was committed by the CA in ruling that petitioner is liable to pay the subject building permit and related fees. Now, on petitioners claim that it is exempted from the payment of real property tax assessed against its real property presently occupied by informal settlers.

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Section 28(3), Article VI of the 1987 Constitution provides: xxxx (3) Charitable institutions, churches and parsonages or convents appurtenant thereto, mosques, non-profit cemeteries, and all lands, buildings, and improvements, actually, directly and exclusively used for religious, charitable or educational purposes shall be exempt from taxation. x x x x (Emphasis supplied.) Section 234(b) of the Local Government Code of 1991 implements the foregoing constitutional provision by declaring that -SECTION 234. Exemptions from Real Property Tax. The following are exempted from payment of the real property tax: xxxx (b) Charitable institutions, churches, parsonages or convents appurtenant thereto, mosques, non-profit or religious cemeteries and all lands, buildings, and improvements actually, directly, and exclusively used for religious, charitable or educational purposes; x x x x (Emphasis supplied.) In Lung Center of the Philippines v. Quezon City, this Court held that only portions of the hospital actually, directly and exclusively used for charitable purposes are exempt from real property taxes, while those portions leased to private entities and individuals are not exempt from such taxes. We explained the condition for the tax exemption privilege of charitable and educational institutions, as follows: Under the 1973 and 1987 Constitutions and Rep. Act No. 7160 in order to be entitled to the exemption, the petitioner is burdened to prove, by clear and unequivocal proof, that (a) it is a charitable institution; and (b) its real properties are ACTUALLY, DIRECTLY and EXCLUSIVELY used for charitable purposes. "Exclusive" is defined as possessed and enjoyed to the exclusion of others; debarred from participation or enjoyment; and "exclusively" is defined, "in a manner to exclude; as enjoying a privilege exclusively." If real property is used for one or more commercial purposes, it is not exclusively used for the exempted purposes but is subject to taxation. The words "dominant use" or "principal use" cannot be substituted for the words "used exclusively" without doing violence to the Constitutions and the law. Solely is synonymous with exclusively.1wphi1 What is meant by actual, direct and exclusive use of the property for charitable purposes is the direct and immediate and actual application of the property itself to the purposes for which the charitable institution is organized. It is not the use of the income from the real property that is determinative of whether the property is 32 used for tax-exempt purposes. (Emphasis and underscoring supplied.) Petitioner failed to discharge its burden to prove that its real property is actually, directly and exclusively used for educational purposes. While there is no allegation or proof that petitioner leases the land to its present occupants, still there is no compliance with the constitutional and statutory requirement that said real property is actually, directly and exclusively used for educational purposes. The respondents correctly assessed the land for real property taxes for the taxable period during which the land is not being devoted solely to petitioners educational activities. Accordingly, the CA did not err in ruling that petitioner is likewise not entitled to a refund of the real property tax it paid under protest.

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WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The Decision dated July 28, 2009 and Resolution dated October 12, 2009 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 90591 are AFFIRMED. No pronouncement as to costs. SO ORDERED. MARTIN S. VILLARAMA, JR. Associate Justice

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