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Republic of the Philippines

SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. L-22074

September 6, 1965

THE PHILIPPINE GUARANTY CO., INC., petitioner,


vs.
THE COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE and THE COURT OF TAX APPEALS, ET
AL., respondents.
R E S O L U T I O N*
BENGZON, J.P., J.:
The Philippine Guaranty Company, Inc. moves for the reconsideration of our decision, promulgated
on April 30, 1965, holding it liable for the payment of income tax which it should have withheld and
remitted to the Bureau of Internal Revenue in the total sum of P375,345.00.
The grounds raised in the instant motion all spring from movant's view that the Court of Tax Appeals
as well as this Court, found it "innocent of the charges of violating, willfully or negligently, subsection
(c) of Section 53 and Section 54 of the National Internal Revenue Code." Hence, it cannot
subsequently be held liable for the assessment of P375,345.00 based on said sections.
The premise of movants' reasoning cannot be accepted. The Court of Tax Appeals and this Court did
not find that it did not violate Sections 53 (c) and 54 of the Tax Code. On the contrary, movant was
found to have violated Section 53(c) by failing to file the necessary withholding tax return and to pay
tax due. Still, finding that movant's violationwas due to a reasonable cause namely, reliance on
the advice of its auditors and opinion of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue no surcharge
to the tax was imposed. Section 72 of the Tax Code provides:
SEC. 72. Surcharges for failure to render returns and for rendering false and fraudulent
returns. The Commissioner of Internal Revenue shall assess all income taxes. In case of
willful neglect to file the return or list within the time prescribed by law or in case a false or
fraudulent return or list is willfully made, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue shall add to
the tax or to the deficiency tax, in case any payment has been made on the basis of such
return before the discovery of the falsity or fraud, a surcharge of fifty per centum of the
amount of such tax or deficiency tax. In case of any failure to make and file a return or list
within the time prescribed by law or by the Commissioner or other internal-revenue officer,
not due to willful neglect, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue shall add to the tax twentyfive per centum of its amount, except that, when a return is voluntarily and without notice
from the Commissioner or other officer filed after such time, and it is shown that the failure to
file it was due to a reasonable cause, no such addition shall be made to the tax ... .
It will be noted that the first half of the above-quoted section covers failure to file a return, willingly
and/or due to negligence, in which case the surcharge is, 50%. In the second part of the law it
covers failure to make and file a return "not due to willful neglect," in which case only 25% surcharge
should be added. As a further concession to the taxpayer the above-quoted section provides that if

"it is shown that the failure to file it was due to a reasonable cause, no such addition shall be made
to the tax."
It would, therefore, be incorrect for movant to state that it was found "innocent of the charges of
violating, willfully or negligently, sub-section (c) of Section 53 and Section 54. For, precisely, the
mere fact that it was exempted from paying the penalty necessarily implies violation of Section 53(c).
Violating Section 53(c) is one thing; imposing the penalty for such violation under Section 72 ** is
another. If it is found that the failure to file is due to a reasonable cause, then exemption from
surcharge sets in but never exemption from payment of the tax due.
Since movant failed to pay the tax due, in the sum of P375,345.00, this Court ordered it to pay the
same. Simply because movant was relieved from paying the surcharge for failure to file the
necessary returns, it now wants us to absolve it from paying even the tax. This, we cannot do. The
non-imposition of the 25% surcharge does not carry with it remission of the tax.
Movant argues that it could not be expected to withhold the tax, for as early as August 18, 1953 the
Board of Tax Appeals held in the case of Franklin Baker 1 that the reinsurance premiums in question
were not subject to withholding. On top of that, movant maintains, the Commissioner of Internal
Revenue, in reply to the query of its accountants and auditors, issued on September 5, 1953 an
opinion subscribing to the ruling in the Franklin Baker case. As already explained in our decision a
mistake committed by Government agents is not binding on the Government.
Inasmuch as movant insists on this point in its motion for reconsideration, we shall further elaborate
on the same. Section 200 of the Income Tax Regulations expressly grants protection to him only if
and when he follows strictly what has been provided therein.
Section 53 (c) makes the withholding agent personally liable for the income tax withheld under
Section 54. It states:
SEC. 53(c). Return and payment. Every person required to deduct and withhold any tax
under this section shall make return thereof, in duplicate, on or before the fifteenth day of
April of each year, and, on or before the time fixed by law for the payment of the tax, shall
pay the amount withheld to the officer of the Government of the Philippines authorized to
receive it. Every such person is made personally liable for such tax, and is indemnified
against the claims and demands of any person for the amount of any payments made in
accordance with the provisions of this section.
The law sets no condition for the personal liability of the withholding agent to attach. The reason is to
compel the withholding agent to withhold the tax under all circumstances. In effect, the responsibility
for the collection of the tax as well as the payment thereof is concentrated upon the person over
whom the Government has jurisdiction. Thus, the withholding agent is constituted the agent of both
the Government and the taxpayer. With respect to the collection and/or withholding of the tax, he is
the Government's agent. In regard to the filing of the necessary income tax return and the payment
of the tax to the Government, he is the agent of the taxpayer. The withholding agent, therefore, is no
ordinary government agent especially because under Section 53 (c) he is held personally liable for
the tax he is duty bound to withhold; whereas, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue and his
deputies are not made liable by law.
Movant then further contends that as agent of the Government it was released from liability for the
tax after it was advised by the Commissioner of Internal Revenue that the reinsurance premiums
involved were not subject to withholding. It relies on the provisions of the second paragraph of
Section 200 of the Income Tax Regulations which states:

In case of doubt, a withholding agent may always protect himself by withholding the tax due,
and promptly causing a query to be addressed to the Commissioner of Internal Revenue for
the determination of whether or not the income paid to an individual is not subject to
withholding. In case the Commissioner of Internal Revenue decides that the income paid to
an individual is not subject to withholding the withholding agent may thereupon remit the
amount of tax withheld.
The section above-quoted relaxes the application of the stringent provisions of Section 53 of the Tax
Code. Accordingly, it grants exemption from tax liability, and in so doing, it lays down steps to be
taken by the withholding agent, namely: (1) that he withholds the tax due; (2) that he promptly
addresses a query to the Commissioner of Internal Revenue for determination whether or not the
income paid to an individual is subject to withholding; and (3) that the Commissioner of Internal
Revenue decides that such income is not subject to withholding. Strict observance of said steps is
required of a withholding agent before he could be released from liability. Generally, the law frowns
upon exemption from taxation, hence, an exempting provision should be construed strictis simi juris. 2
It may be illuminating to mention here, however, that the Income Tax Regulations was issued by the
Secretary of Finance upon his authority, "to promulgate all needful rules and regulations of
the effective enforcement" of the provisions of the Tax Code.3 The mission, therefore, of Section 200,
quoted above, is to implement Section 53 of the Tax Code for no other purpose than to enforce its
provisions effectively. It should also be noted, that Section 53 provided for no exemption from the
duty to withhold except in the cases of tax-free covenant bonds dividends.
1awphl.nt

The facts in this case do not support a finding that movant complied with Section 200. For, it has not
been shown that it withheld the amount of tax due before it inquired from the Bureau of Internal
Revenue as to the taxability of the reinsurance premiums involved. As a matter of fact, the Court of
Tax Appeals found that "upon advice of its accountants and auditors, ... petitioner did not collect and
remit to the Commissioner of Internal Revenue the withholding tax." This finding of fact of the lower
court, unchallenged as it is, may not be disturbed.4
The requirement in Section 200 that the withholding agent should first withhold the
tax before addressing a query to the Commissioner of Internal Revenue is not without meaning for it
is in keeping with the general operation of our tax laws: payment precedes defense. Prior to the
creation of the Court of Tax Appeals, the remedy of a taxpayer was to pay an internal revenue tax
first and file a claim for refund later.5 This remedy has not been abrogated for the law creating the
Court of Tax Appeals merely gives to the taxpayer an additional remedy. With respect to customs
duties the consignee or importer concerned is required to pay them under protest, before he is
allowed to question the legality of the imposition. 6 Likewise, validity of a realty tax cannot be assailed
until after the taxpayer has paid the tax under protest.7 The legislature, in adopting such measures in
our tax laws, only wanted to be assured that taxes are paid and collected without delay. For taxes
are the lifeblood of government. Also, such measures tend to prevent collusion between the taxpayer
and the tax collector. By questioning a tax's legality without first paying it, a taxpayer, in collusion
with Bureau of Internal Revenue officials, can unduly delay, if not totally evade, the payment of such
tax.
Of course, in this case there was absolutely no such collusion. Precisely, the Philippine Guaranty
Company, Inc. was absolved from the payment of the 25% surcharge for non-filing of income tax
returns inasmuch as the Tax Court as well as this Court believes that its omission was due to a
reasonable cause.
WHEREFORE, the motion for reconsideration is denied. So ordered.

Bengzon, C.J., Bautista Angelo, Concepcion, Reyes, J.B.L., Dizon, Regala, Makalintal and Zaldivar,
JJ., concur.

Footnotes
*

Editor's Note: See main decision in 13 SCRA 775.

**

Not Section 256 of the Tax Code as claimed by movant.

Umali, Roman M., Decisions of the Board of Tax Appeals, Vol. 2, pp. 303-307.

La Carlota Sugar Central v. Jimenez, L-12436, May 31, 1961.

Section 338, National Internal Revenue Code.

This case was appealed upon questions of law.

Section 306, National Internal Revenue Code.

Section 1370, Revised Administrative Code.

Section 54, Commonwealth Act 470.


Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC

G.R. No. L-23645

October 29, 1968

BENJAMIN P. GOMEZ, petitioner-appellee,


vs.
ENRICO PALOMAR, in his capacity as Postmaster General, HON. BRIGIDO R. VALENCIA, in
his capacity as Secretary of Public Works and Communications, and DOMINGO GOPEZ, in
his capacity as Acting Postmaster of San Fernando, Pampanga, respondent-appellants.
Lorenzo P. Navarro and Narvaro Belar S. Navarro for petitioner-appellee.
Office of the Solicitor General Arturo A. Alafriz, Assistant Solicitor General Frine C. Zaballero and
Solicitor Dominador L. Quiroz for respondents-appellants.
CASTRO, J.:
This appeal puts in issue the constitutionality of Republic Act 1635,1 as amended by Republic Act
2631,2 which provides as follows:

To help raise funds for the Philippine Tuberculosis Society, the Director of Posts shall order
for the period from August nineteen to September thirty every year the printing and issue of
semi-postal stamps of different denominations with face value showing the regular postage
charge plus the additional amount of five centavos for the said purpose, and during the said
period, no mail matter shall be accepted in the mails unless it bears such semi-postal
stamps: Provided, That no such additional charge of five centavos shall be imposed on
newspapers. The additional proceeds realized from the sale of the semi-postal stamps shall
constitute a special fund and be deposited with the National Treasury to be expended by the
Philippine Tuberculosis Society in carrying out its noble work to prevent and eradicate
tuberculosis.
The respondent Postmaster General, in implementation of the law, thereafter issued four (4)
administrative orders numbered 3 (June 20, 1958), 7 (August 9, 1958), 9 (August 28, 1958), and 10
(July 15, 1960). All these administrative orders were issued with the approval of the respondent
Secretary of Public Works and Communications.
The pertinent portions of Adm. Order 3 read as follows:
Such semi-postal stamps could not be made available during the period from August 19 to
September 30, 1957, for lack of time. However, two denominations of such stamps, one at "5
+ 5" centavos and another at "10 + 5" centavos, will soon be released for use by the public
on their mails to be posted during the same period starting with the year 1958.
xxx

xxx

xxx

During the period from August 19 to September 30 each year starting in 1958, no mail matter
of whatever class, and whether domestic or foreign, posted at any Philippine Post Office and
addressed for delivery in this country or abroad, shall be accepted for mailing unless it bears
at least one such semi-postal stamp showing the additional value of five centavos intended
for the Philippine Tuberculosis Society.
In the case of second-class mails and mails prepaid by means of mail permits or impressions
of postage meters, each piece of such mail shall bear at least one such semi-postal stamp if
posted during the period above stated starting with the year 1958, in addition to being
charged the usual postage prescribed by existing regulations. In the case of business reply
envelopes and cards mailed during said period, such stamp should be collected from the
addressees at the time of delivery. Mails entitled to franking privilege like those from the
office of the President, members of Congress, and other offices to which such privilege has
been granted, shall each also bear one such semi-postal stamp if posted during the said
period.
Mails posted during the said period starting in 1958, which are found in street or post-office
mail boxes without the required semi-postal stamp, shall be returned to the sender, if known,
with a notation calling for the affixing of such stamp. If the sender is unknown, the mail
matter shall be treated as nonmailable and forwarded to the Dead Letter Office for proper
disposition.
Adm. Order 7, amending the fifth paragraph of Adm. Order 3, reads as follows:
In the case of the following categories of mail matter and mails entitled to franking privilege
which are not exempted from the payment of the five centavos intended for the Philippine
Tuberculosis Society, such extra charge may be collected in cash, for which official receipt

(General Form No. 13, A) shall be issued, instead of affixing the semi-postal stamp in the
manner hereinafter indicated:
1. Second-class mail. Aside from the postage at the second-class rate, the extra charge of
five centavos for the Philippine Tuberculosis Society shall be collected on each separatelyaddressed piece of second-class mail matter, and the total sum thus collected shall be
entered in the same official receipt to be issued for the postage at the second-class rate. In
making such entry, the total number of pieces of second-class mail posted shall be stated,
thus: "Total charge for TB Fund on 100 pieces . .. P5.00." The extra charge shall be entered
separate from the postage in both of the official receipt and the Record of Collections.
2. First-class and third-class mail permits. Mails to be posted without postage affixed
under permits issued by this Bureau shall each be charged the usual postage, in addition to
the five-centavo extra charge intended for said society. The total extra charge thus received
shall be entered in the same official receipt to be issued for the postage collected, as in
subparagraph 1.
3. Metered mail. For each piece of mail matter impressed by postage meter under
metered mail permit issued by this Bureau, the extra charge of five centavos for said society
shall be collected in cash and an official receipt issued for the total sum thus received, in the
manner indicated in subparagraph 1.
4. Business reply cards and envelopes. Upon delivery of business reply cards and
envelopes to holders of business reply permits, the five-centavo charge intended for said
society shall be collected in cash on each reply card or envelope delivered, in addition to the
required postage which may also be paid in cash. An official receipt shall be issued for the
total postage and total extra charge received, in the manner shown in subparagraph 1.
5. Mails entitled to franking privilege. Government agencies, officials, and other persons
entitled to the franking privilege under existing laws may pay in cash such extra charge
intended for said society, instead of affixing the semi-postal stamps to their mails, provided
that such mails are presented at the post-office window, where the five-centavo extra charge
for said society shall be collected on each piece of such mail matter. In such case, an official
receipt shall be issued for the total sum thus collected, in the manner stated in subparagraph
1.
Mail under permits, metered mails and franked mails not presented at the post-office window
shall be affixed with the necessary semi-postal stamps. If found in mail boxes without such
stamps, they shall be treated in the same way as herein provided for other mails.
Adm. Order 9, amending Adm. Order 3, as amended, exempts "Government and its Agencies and
Instrumentalities Performing Governmental Functions." Adm. Order 10, amending Adm. Order 3, as
amended, exempts "copies of periodical publications received for mailing under any class of mail
matter, including newspapers and magazines admitted as second-class mail."
The FACTS. On September l5, 1963 the petitioner Benjamin P. Gomez mailed a letter at the post
office in San Fernando, Pampanga. Because this letter, addressed to a certain Agustin Aquino of
1014 Dagohoy Street, Singalong, Manila did not bear the special anti-TB stamp required by the
statute, it was returned to the petitioner.
In view of this development, the petitioner brough suit for declaratory relief in the Court of First
Instance of Pampanga, to test the constitutionality of the statute, as well as the implementing

administrative orders issued, contending that it violates the equal protection clause of the
Constitution as well as the rule of uniformity and equality of taxation. The lower court declared the
statute and the orders unconstitutional; hence this appeal by the respondent postal authorities.
For the reasons set out in this opinion, the judgment appealed from must be reversed.
I.
Before reaching the merits, we deem it necessary to dispose of the respondents' contention that
declaratory relief is unavailing because this suit was filed after the petitioner had committed a breach
of the statute. While conceding that the mailing by the petitioner of a letter without the additional antiTB stamp was a violation of Republic Act 1635, as amended, the trial court nevertheless refused to
dismiss the action on the ground that under section 6 of Rule 64 of the Rules of Court, "If before the
final termination of the case a breach or violation of ... a statute ... should take place, the action may
thereupon be converted into an ordinary action."
The prime specification of an action for declaratory relief is that it must be brought "before breach or
violation" of the statute has been committed. Rule 64, section 1 so provides. Section 6 of the same
rule, which allows the court to treat an action for declaratory relief as an ordinary action, applies only
if the breach or violation occurs after the filing of the action but before the termination thereof. 3
Hence, if, as the trial court itself admitted, there had been a breach of the statute before the firing of
this action, then indeed the remedy of declaratory relief cannot be availed of, much less can the suit
be converted into an ordinary action.
Nor is there merit in the petitioner's argument that the mailing of the letter in question did not
constitute a breach of the statute because the statute appears to be addressed only to postal
authorities. The statute, it is true, in terms provides that "no mail matter shall be accepted in the
mails unless it bears such semi-postal stamps." It does not follow, however, that only postal
authorities can be guilty of violating it by accepting mails without the payment of the anti-TB stamp. It
is obvious that they can be guilty of violating the statute only if there are people who use the mails
without paying for the additional anti-TB stamp. Just as in bribery the mere offer constitutes a breach
of the law, so in the matter of the anti-TB stamp the mere attempt to use the mails without the stamp
constitutes a violation of the statute. It is not required that the mail be accepted by postal authorities.
That requirement is relevant only for the purpose of fixing the liability of postal officials.
Nevertheless, we are of the view that the petitioner's choice of remedy is correct because this suit
was filed not only with respect to the letter which he mailed on September 15, 1963, but also with
regard to any other mail that he might send in the future. Thus, in his complaint, the petitioner prayed
that due course be given to "other mails without the semi-postal stamps which he may deliver for
mailing ... if any, during the period covered by Republic Act 1635, as amended, as well as other
mails hereafter to be sent by or to other mailers which bear the required postage, without collection
of additional charge of five centavos prescribed by the same Republic Act." As one whose mail was
returned, the petitioner is certainly interested in a ruling on the validity of the statute requiring the use
of additional stamps.
II.
We now consider the constitutional objections raised against the statute and the implementing
orders.

1. It is said that the statute is violative of the equal protection clause of the Constitution. More
specifically the claim is made that it constitutes mail users into a class for the purpose of the tax
while leaving untaxed the rest of the population and that even among postal patrons the statute
discriminatorily grants exemption to newspapers while Administrative Order 9 of the respondent
Postmaster General grants a similar exemption to offices performing governmental functions. .
The five centavo charge levied by Republic Act 1635, as amended, is in the nature of an excise tax,
laid upon the exercise of a privilege, namely, the privilege of using the mails. As such the objections
levelled against it must be viewed in the light of applicable principles of taxation.
To begin with, it is settled that the legislature has the inherent power to select the subjects of taxation
and to grant exemptions.4 This power has aptly been described as "of wide range and
flexibility."5 Indeed, it is said that in the field of taxation, more than in other areas, the legislature
possesses the greatest freedom in classification.6 The reason for this is that traditionally,
classification has been a device for fitting tax programs to local needs and usages in order to
achieve an equitable distribution of the tax burden.7
That legislative classifications must be reasonable is of course undenied. But what the petitioner
asserts is that statutory classification of mail users must bear some reasonable relationship to the
end sought to be attained, and that absent such relationship the selection of mail users is
constitutionally impermissible. This is altogether a different proposition. As explained
in Commonwealth v. Life Assurance Co.:8
While the principle that there must be a reasonable relationship between classification made
by the legislation and its purpose is undoubtedly true in some contexts, it has no application
to a measure whose sole purpose is to raise revenue ... So long as the classification
imposed is based upon some standard capable of reasonable comprehension, be that
standard based upon ability to produce revenue or some other legitimate distinction, equal
protection of the law has been afforded. See Allied Stores of Ohio, Inc. v. Bowers, supra, 358
U.S. at 527, 79 S. Ct. at 441; Brown Forman Co. v. Commonwealth of Kentucky, 2d U.S. 56,
573, 80 S. Ct. 578, 580 (1910).
We are not wont to invalidate legislation on equal protection grounds except by the clearest
demonstration that it sanctions invidious discrimination, which is all that the Constitution forbids. The
remedy for unwise legislation must be sought in the legislature. Now, the classification of mail users
is not without any reason. It is based on ability to pay, let alone the enjoyment of a privilege, and on
administrative convinience. In the allocation of the tax burden, Congress must have concluded that
the contribution to the anti-TB fund can be assured by those whose who can afford the use of the
mails.
The classification is likewise based on considerations of administrative convenience. For it is now a
settled principle of law that "consideration of practical administrative convenience and cost in the
administration of tax laws afford adequate ground for imposing a tax on a well recognized and
defined class."9 In the case of the anti-TB stamps, undoubtedly, the single most important and
influential consideration that led the legislature to select mail users as subjects of the tax is the
relative ease and convenienceof collecting the tax through the post offices. The small amount of five
centavos does not justify the great expense and inconvenience of collecting through the regular
means of collection. On the other hand, by placing the duty of collection on postal authorities the tax
was made almost self-enforcing, with as little cost and as little inconvenience as possible.
And then of course it is not accurate to say that the statute constituted mail users into a class. Mail
users were already a class by themselves even before the enactment of the statue and all that the

legislature did was merely to select their class. Legislation is essentially empiric and Republic Act
1635, as amended, no more than reflects a distinction that exists in fact. As Mr. Justice Frankfurter
said, "to recognize differences that exist in fact is living law; to disregard [them] and concentrate on
some abstract identities is lifeless logic."10
Granted the power to select the subject of taxation, the State's power to grant exemption must
likewise be conceded as a necessary corollary. Tax exemptions are too common in the law; they
have never been thought of as raising issues under the equal protection clause.
It is thus erroneous for the trial court to hold that because certain mail users are exempted from the
levy the law and administrative officials have sanctioned an invidious discrimination offensive to the
Constitution. The application of the lower courts theory would require all mail users to be taxed, a
conclusion that is hardly tenable in the light of differences in status of mail users. The Constitution
does not require this kind of equality.
As the United States Supreme Court has said, the legislature may withhold the burden of the tax in
order to foster what it conceives to be a beneficent enterprise. 11 This is the case of newspapers
which, under the amendment introduced by Republic Act 2631, are exempt from the payment of the
additional stamp.
As for the Government and its instrumentalities, their exemption rests on the State's sovereign
immunity from taxation. The State cannot be taxed without its consent and such consent, being in
derogation of its sovereignty, is to be strictly construed.12 Administrative Order 9 of the respondent
Postmaster General, which lists the various offices and instrumentalities of the Government exempt
from the payment of the anti-TB stamp, is but a restatement of this well-known principle of
constitutional law.
The trial court likewise held the law invalid on the ground that it singles out tuberculosis to the
exclusion of other diseases which, it is said, are equally a menace to public health. But it is never a
requirement of equal protection that all evils of the same genus be eradicated or none at all. 13 As this
Court has had occasion to say, "if the law presumably hits the evil where it is most felt, it is not to be
overthrown because there are other instances to which it might have been applied." 14
2. The petitioner further argues that the tax in question is invalid, first, because it is not levied for a
public purpose as no special benefits accrue to mail users as taxpayers, and second, because it
violates the rule of uniformity in taxation.
The eradication of a dreaded disease is a public purpose, but if by public purpose the petitioner
means benefit to a taxpayer as a return for what he pays, then it is sufficient answer to say that the
only benefit to which the taxpayer is constitutionally entitled is that derived from his enjoyment of the
privileges of living in an organized society, established and safeguarded by the devotion of taxes to
public purposes. Any other view would preclude the levying of taxes except as they are used to
compensate for the burden on those who pay them and would involve the abandonment of the most
fundamental principle of government that it exists primarily to provide for the common good. 15
Nor is the rule of uniformity and equality of taxation infringed by the imposition of a flat rate rather
than a graduated tax. A tax need not be measured by the weight of the mail or the extent of the
service rendered. We have said that considerations of administrative convenience and cost afford an
adequate ground for classification. The same considerations may induce the legislature to impose a
flat tax which in effect is a charge for the transaction, operating equally on all persons within the
class regardless of the amount involved.16 As Mr. Justice Holmes said in sustaining the validity of a
stamp act which imposed a flat rate of two cents on every $100 face value of stock transferred:

One of the stocks was worth $30.75 a share of the face value of $100, the other $172. The
inequality of the tax, so far as actual values are concerned, is manifest. But, here again
equality in this sense has to yield to practical considerations and usage. There must be a
fixed and indisputable mode of ascertaining a stamp tax. In another sense, moreover, there
is equality. When the taxes on two sales are equal, the same number of shares is sold in
each case; that is to say, the same privilege is used to the same extent. Valuation is not the
only thing to be considered. As was pointed out by the court of appeals, the familiar stamp
tax of 2 cents on checks, irrespective of income or earning capacity, and many others,
illustrate the necessity and practice of sometimes substituting count for weight ... 17
According to the trial court, the money raised from the sales of the anti-TB stamps is spent for the
benefit of the Philippine Tuberculosis Society, a private organization, without appropriation by law.
But as the Solicitor General points out, the Society is not really the beneficiary but only the agency
through which the State acts in carrying out what is essentially a public function. The money is
treated as a special fund and as such need not be appropriated by law.18
3. Finally, the claim is made that the statute is so broadly drawn that to execute it the respondents
had to issue administrative orders far beyond their powers. Indeed, this is one of the grounds on
which the lower court invalidated Republic Act 1631, as amended, namely, that it constitutes an
undue delegation of legislative power.
Administrative Order 3, as amended by Administrative Orders 7 and 10, provides that for certain
classes of mail matters (such as mail permits, metered mails, business reply cards, etc.), the fivecentavo charge may be paid in cash instead of the purchase of the anti-TB stamp. It further states
that mails deposited during the period August 19 to September 30 of each year in mail boxes without
the stamp should be returned to the sender, if known, otherwise they should be treated as
nonmailable.
It is true that the law does not expressly authorize the collection of five centavos except through the
sale of anti-TB stamps, but such authority may be implied in so far as it may be necessary to prevent
a failure of the undertaking. The authority given to the Postmaster General to raise funds through the
mails must be liberally construed, consistent with the principle that where the end is required the
appropriate means are given.19
The anti-TB stamp is a distinctive stamp which shows on its face not only the amount of the
additional charge but also that of the regular postage. In the case of business reply cards, for
instance, it is obvious that to require mailers to affix the anti-TB stamp on their cards would be to
make them pay much more because the cards likewise bear the amount of the regular postage.
It is likewise true that the statute does not provide for the disposition of mails which do not bear the
anti-TB stamp, but a declaration therein that "no mail matter shall be accepted in the mails unless it
bears such semi-postal stamp" is a declaration that such mail matter is nonmailable within the
meaning of section 1952 of the Administrative Code. Administrative Order 7 of the Postmaster
General is but a restatement of the law for the guidance of postal officials and employees. As for
Administrative Order 9, we have already said that in listing the offices and entities of the Government
exempt from the payment of the stamp, the respondent Postmaster General merely observed an
established principle, namely, that the Government is exempt from taxation.
ACCORDINGLY, the judgment a quo is reversed, and the complaint is dismissed, without
pronouncement as to costs.

Concepcion, C.J., Reyes, J.B.L., Dizon, Makalintal, Sanchez, Angeles and Capistrano, JJ., concur.
Zaldivar, J., is on leave.

Separate Opinions
FERNANDO, J., concurring:
I join fully the rest of my colleagues in the decision upholding Republic Act No. 1635 as amended by
Republic Act No. 2631 and the majority opinion expounded with Justice Castro's usual vigor and
lucidity subject to one qualification. With all due recognition of its inherently persuasive character, it
would seem to me that the same result could be achieved if reliance be had on police power rather
than the attribute of taxation, as the constitutional basis for the challenged legislation.
1. For me, the state in question is an exercise of the regulatory power connected with the
performance of the public service. I refer of course to the government postal function, one of
respectable and ancient lineage. The United States Constitution of 1787 vests in the federal
government acting through Congress the power to establish post offices. 1 The first act providing for
the organization of government departments in the Philippines, approved Sept. 6, 1901, provided for
the Bureau of Post Offices in the Department of Commerce and Police. 2 Its creation is thus a
manifestation of one of the many services in which the government may engage for public
convenience and public interest. Such being the case, it seems that any legislation that in effect
would require increase cost of postage is well within the discretionary authority of the government.
It may not be acting in a proprietary capacity but in fixing the fees that it collects for the use of the
mails, the broad discretion that it enjoys is undeniable. In that sense, the principle announced
in Esteban v. Cabanatuan City,3 in an opinion by our Chief Justice, while not precisely controlling
furnishes for me more than ample support for the validity of the challenged legislation. Thus: "Certain
exactions, imposable under an authority other than police power, are not subject, however, to
qualification as to the amount chargeable, unless the Constitution or the pertinent laws provide
otherwise. For instance, the rates of taxes, whether national or municipal, need not be reasonable, in
the absence of such constitutional or statutory limitation. Similarly, when a municipal corporation
fixes the fees for the use of its properties, such as public markets, it does not wield the police power,
or even the power of taxation. Neither does it assert governmental authority. It exercises merely a
proprietary function. And, like any private owner, it is in the absence of the aforementioned
limitation, which does not exist in the Charter of Cabanatuan City (Republic Act No. 526) free to
charge such sums as it may deem best, regardless of the reasonableness of the amount fixed, for
the prospective lessees are free to enter into the corresponding contract of lease, if they are
agreeable to the terms thereof or, otherwise, not enter into such contract."
2. It would appear likewise that an expression of one's personal view both as to
the attitude and awareness that must be displayed by inferior tribunals when the "delicate and
awesome" power of passing on the validity of a statute would not be inappropriate. "The Constitution
is the supreme law, and statutes are written and enforced in submission to its commands." 4 It is
likewise common place in constitutional law that a party adversely affected could, again to quote
from Cardozo, "invoke, when constitutional immunities are threatened, the judgment of the courts." 5
Since the power of judicial review flows logically from the judicial function of ascertaining the facts
and applying the law and since obviously the Constitution is the highest law before which statutes
must bend, then inferior tribunals can, in the discharge of their judicial functions, nullify legislative

acts. As a matter of fact, in clear cases, such is not only their power but their duty. In the language of
the present Chief Justice: "In fact, whenever the conflicting claims of the parties to a litigation cannot
properly be settled without inquiring into the validity of an act of Congress or of either House thereof,
the courts have, not only jurisdiction to pass upon said issue but, also, the duty to do so, which
cannot be evaded without violating the fundamental law and paving the way to its eventual
destruction."6
Nonetheless, the admonition of Cooley, specially addressed to inferior tribunals, must ever be kept in
mind. Thus: "It must be evident to any one that the power to declare a legislative enactment void is
one which the judge, conscious of the fallibility of the human judgment, will shrink from exercising in
any case where he can conscientiously and with due regard to duty and official oath decline the
responsibility."7
There must be a caveat however to the above Cooley pronouncement. Such should not be the case,
to paraphrase Freund, when the challenged legislation imperils freedom of the mind and of the
person, for given such an undesirable situation, "it is freedom that commands a momentum of
respect." Here then, fidelity to the great ideal of liberty enshrined in the Constitution may require the
judiciary to take an uncompromising and militant stand. As phrased by us in a recent decision, "if the
liberty involved were freedom of the mind or the person, the standard of its validity of governmental
acts is much more rigorous and exacting."8
So much for the appropriate judicial attitude. Now on the question of awareness of the controlling
constitutional doctrines.
There is nothing I can add to the enlightening discussion of the equal protection aspect as found in
the majority opinion. It may not be amiss to recall to mind, however, the language of Justice Laurel in
the leading case of People v. Vera,9 to the effect that the basic individual right of equal protection "is
a restraint on all the three grand departments of our government and on the subordinate
instrumentalities and subdivisions thereof, and on many constitutional powers, like the police power,
taxation and eminent domain."10 Nonetheless, no jurist was more careful in avoiding the dire
consequences to what the legislative body might have deemed necessary to promote the ends of
public welfare if the equal protection guaranty were made to constitute an insurmountable obstacle.
A similar sense of realism was invariably displayed by Justice Frankfurter, as is quite evident from
the various citations from his pen found in the majority opinion. For him, it would be a misreading of
the equal protection clause to ignore actual conditions and settled practices. Not for him the at times
academic and sterile approach to constitutional problems of this sort. Thus: "It would be a narrow
conception of jurisprudence to confine the notion of 'laws' to what is found written on the statute
books, and to disregard the gloss which life has written upon it. Settled state practice cannot
supplant constitutional guaranties, but it can establish what is state law. The Equal Protection Clause
did not write an empty formalism into the Constitution. Deeply embedded traditional ways of carrying
out state policy, such as those of which petitioner complains, are often tougher and truer law than
the dead words of the written text."11 This too, from the same distinguished jurist: "The Constitution
does not require things which are different in fact or opinion to be treated in law as though they were
the same."12
Now, as to non-delegation. It is to be admitted that the problem of non-delegation of legislative
power at times occasions difficulties. Its strict view has been announced by Justice Laurel in the
aforecited case of People v. Verain this language. Thus: "In testing whether a statute constitutes an
undue delegation of legislative power or not, it is usual to inquire whether the statute was complete
in all its terms and provisions when it left the hands of the legislature so that nothing was left to the
judgment of any other appointee or delegate of the legislature. .... In United States v. Ang Tang

Ho ..., this court adhered to the foregoing rule; it held an act of the legislature void in so far as it
undertook to authorize the Governor-General, in his discretion, to issue a proclamation fixing the
price of rice and to make the sale of it in violation of the proclamation a crime." 13
Only recently, the present Chief Justice reaffirmed the above view in Pelaez v. Auditor
General,14 specially where the delegation deals not with an administrative function but one
essentially and eminently legislative in character. What could properly be stigmatized though to
quote Justice Cardozo, is delegation of authority that is "unconfined and vagrant, one not canalized
within banks which keep it from overflowing."15
This is not the situation as it presents itself to us. What was delegated was power not legislative in
character. Justice Laurel himself, in a later case, People v. Rosenthal,16 admitted that within certain
limits, there being a need for coping with the more intricate problems of society, the principle of
"subordinate legislation" has been accepted, not only in the United States and England, but in
practically all modern governments. This view was reiterated by him in a 1940 decision, Pangasinan
Transportation Co., Inc. v. Public Service Commission.17 Thus: "Accordingly, with the growing
complexity of modern life, the multiplication of the subjects of governmental regulation, and the
increased difficulty of administering the laws, there is a constantly growing tendency toward the
delegation of greater powers by the legislature, and toward the approval of the practice by the
courts."
In the light of the above views of eminent jurists, authoritative in character, of both the equal
protection clause and the non-delegation principle, it is apparent how far the lower court departed
from the path of constitutional orthodoxy in nullifying Republic Act No. 1635 as amended.
Fortunately, the matter has been set right with the reversal of its decision, the opinion of the Court,
manifesting its fealty to constitutional law precepts, which have been reiterated time and time again
and for the soundest of reasons.

Footnotes
CASTRO, J.:
1

Approved on June 30, 1957.

Approved on June 18, 1960.

See 3 M. Moran, Comments on the Rules of Court, 138 (6th ed., 1963).

Carmichael v. Southern Coal & Coke Co., 301 U.S. 496 (1937) ; Lutz v. Araneta, 98 Phil.
148 (1955).
4

Louisville Gas & E. Co. v. Coleman, 277 U.S. 32 (1928).

Madden v. Kentucky, 309 U.S. 83 (1940); Citizens' Telephone Co. v. Fuller, 229 U.S. 322
(1913).
6

Madden v. Kentucky, supra, note 6.

419 Pa. 370, 214 A. 2d 209, 214-15 (1965), appeal dismissed, Life Assur. Co. v.
Pennsylvania, 348 U.S. (1966).
8

Fernandez v. Wiener, 327 U.S. 340, 360 (1945); accord, Carmichael v. Southern Coal &
Coke Co., supra, note 4; Weber v. City of New York, 195 N.Y.S. 2d 269 (1959).
9

10

Morey v. Doud, 354 U.S. 457, 472 (1957) (dissent).

11

Carmichael v. Southern Coal & Coke Co., supra, note 4, at 512.

12

Cf. Town of Indian Lake v. State Brd. of E. & A., 45 Misc. 2d 463, 257 N.Y.S. 2d 301 (1905).

13

Railway Express Agency v. New York, 336 U.S. 106 (1949).

Lutz v. Araneta, 98 Phil. 148, 153 (1955) ; accord, McLauhlin v. Florida, 379 U.S. 184
(1964).
14

15

Carmichael v. Southern Coal & Coke Co., supra, note 4 at 522-523.

See Weber v. City of New York, supra, note 9; North Am. Co. v. Green, 120 So. 2d 603
(1960).
16

17

New York ex rel. Hatch v. Reardon, 204 U.S. 152, 159-160 (1907).

18

Const. art. VI, sec. 23 (l).

19

See Lo Cham Ocampo, 77 Phil. 635 (1946); Rev. Adm. Code, sec. 551.

FERNANDO, J., concurring:


1

Section 8, par. 7, Article 1.

Section 2, Act No. 222.

L-13662, May 30, 1960.

Cardozo, J., Municipal Gas Co. v. Public Service Commission, 121 NE 772, 774 (1919).

Ibid, p. 774.

Taada v. Cuenco, 103 Phil. 1051, 1061-1062 (1957).

Cooley on Constitutional Limitations, Vol. 1, 8th ed., 332 (1927).

Ermita-Malate Hotel Assn. v. Mayor of Manila, L-24693, July 31, 1967.

65 Phil. 56 (1937).

10

Ibid, 125.

11

Nashville, C. & St. L. Railmay v. Browning, 84 L ed. 1254, 1258 (1940).

12

Tigner v. Texas, 84 L. ed. 1124, 1128 (1940).

13

65 Phil. 56, 115 (1937).

14

L-23825, December 24, 1965.

15

Cardozo, J., concurring, Schenchter Poultry Corp. v. U.S., 295 U.S. 495 (1935).

16

Citation omitted.

17

Citation omitted.
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC

G.R. No. 115455 October 30, 1995


ARTURO M. TOLENTINO, petitioner,
vs.
THE SECRETARY OF FINANCE and THE COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL
REVENUE, respondents.
G.R. No. 115525 October 30, 1995
JUAN T. DAVID, petitioner,
vs.
TEOFISTO T. GUINGONA, JR., as Executive Secretary; ROBERTO DE OCAMPO, as Secretary
of Finance; LIWAYWAY VINZONS-CHATO, as Commissioner of Internal Revenue; and their
AUTHORIZED AGENTS OR REPRESENTATIVES, respondents.
G.R. No. 115543 October 30, 1995
RAUL S. ROCO and the INTEGRATED BAR OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioners,
vs.
THE SECRETARY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE; THE COMMISSIONERS OF THE
BUREAU OF INTERNAL REVENUE AND BUREAU OF CUSTOMS, respondents.
G.R. No. 115544 October 30, 1995

PHILIPPINE PRESS INSTITUTE, INC.; EGP PUBLISHING CO., INC.; KAMAHALAN PUBLISHING
CORPORATION; PHILIPPINE JOURNALISTS, INC.; JOSE L. PAVIA; and OFELIA L.
DIMALANTA, petitioners,
vs.
HON. LIWAYWAY V. CHATO, in her capacity as Commissioner of Internal Revenue; HON.
TEOFISTO T. GUINGONA, JR., in his capacity as Executive Secretary; and HON. ROBERTO B.
DE OCAMPO, in his capacity as Secretary of Finance, respondents.
G.R. No. 115754 October 30, 1995
CHAMBER OF REAL ESTATE AND BUILDERS ASSOCIATIONS, INC., (CREBA), petitioner,
vs.
THE COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE, respondent.
G.R. No. 115781 October 30, 1995
KILOSBAYAN, INC., JOVITO R. SALONGA, CIRILO A. RIGOS, ERME CAMBA, EMILIO C.
CAPULONG, JR., JOSE T. APOLO, EPHRAIM TENDERO, FERNANDO SANTIAGO, JOSE
ABCEDE, CHRISTINE TAN, FELIPE L. GOZON, RAFAEL G. FERNANDO, RAOUL V.
VICTORINO, JOSE CUNANAN, QUINTIN S. DOROMAL, MOVEMENT OF ATTORNEYS FOR
BROTHERHOOD, INTEGRITY AND NATIONALISM, INC. ("MABINI"), FREEDOM FROM DEBT
COALITION, INC., and PHILIPPINE BIBLE SOCIETY, INC. and WIGBERTO TAADA,petitioners,
vs.
THE EXECUTIVE SECRETARY, THE SECRETARY OF FINANCE, THE COMMISSIONER OF
INTERNAL REVENUE and THE COMMISSIONER OF CUSTOMS, respondents.
G.R. No. 115852 October 30, 1995
PHILIPPINE AIRLINES, INC., petitioner,
vs.
THE SECRETARY OF FINANCE and COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE, respondents.
G.R. No. 115873 October 30, 1995
COOPERATIVE UNION OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner,
vs.
HON. LIWAYWAY V. CHATO, in her capacity as the Commissioner of Internal Revenue, HON.
TEOFISTO T. GUINGONA, JR., in his capacity as Executive Secretary, and HON. ROBERTO B.
DE OCAMPO, in his capacity as Secretary of Finance, respondents.
G.R. No. 115931 October 30, 1995
PHILIPPINE EDUCATIONAL PUBLISHERS ASSOCIATION, INC. and ASSOCIATION OF
PHILIPPINE BOOK SELLERS, petitioners,
vs.
HON. ROBERTO B. DE OCAMPO, as the Secretary of Finance; HON. LIWAYWAY V. CHATO, as
the Commissioner of Internal Revenue; and HON. GUILLERMO PARAYNO, JR., in his capacity
as the Commissioner of Customs, respondents.

RESOLUTION

MENDOZA, J.:
These are motions seeking reconsideration of our decision dismissing the petitions filed in these
cases for the declaration of unconstitutionality of R.A. No. 7716, otherwise known as the Expanded
Value-Added Tax Law. The motions, of which there are 10 in all, have been filed by the several
petitioners in these cases, with the exception of the Philippine Educational Publishers Association,
Inc. and the Association of Philippine Booksellers, petitioners in G.R. No. 115931.
The Solicitor General, representing the respondents, filed a consolidated comment, to which the
Philippine Airlines, Inc., petitioner in G.R. No. 115852, and the Philippine Press Institute, Inc.,
petitioner in G.R. No. 115544, and Juan T. David, petitioner in G.R. No. 115525, each filed a reply. In
turn the Solicitor General filed on June 1, 1995 a rejoinder to the PPI's reply.
On June 27, 1995 the matter was submitted for resolution.
I. Power of the Senate to propose amendments to revenue bills. Some of the petitioners (Tolentino,
Kilosbayan, Inc., Philippine Airlines (PAL), Roco, and Chamber of Real Estate and Builders
Association (CREBA)) reiterate previous claims made by them that R.A. No. 7716 did not "originate
exclusively" in the House of Representatives as required by Art. VI, 24 of the Constitution. Although
they admit that H. No. 11197 was filed in the House of Representatives where it passed three
readings and that afterward it was sent to the Senate where after first reading it was referred to the
Senate Ways and Means Committee, they complain that the Senate did not pass it on second and
third readings. Instead what the Senate did was to pass its own version (S. No. 1630) which it
approved on May 24, 1994. Petitioner Tolentino adds that what the Senate committee should have
done was to amend H. No. 11197 by striking out the text of the bill and substituting it with the text of
S. No. 1630. That way, it is said, "the bill remains a House bill and the Senate version just becomes
the text (only the text) of the House bill."
The contention has no merit.
The enactment of S. No. 1630 is not the only instance in which the Senate proposed an amendment
to a House revenue bill by enacting its own version of a revenue bill. On at least two occasions
during the Eighth Congress, the Senate passed its own version of revenue bills, which, in
consolidation with House bills earlier passed, became the enrolled bills. These were:
R.A. No. 7369 (AN ACT TO AMEND THE OMNIBUS INVESTMENTS CODE OF 1987 BY
EXTENDING FROM FIVE (5) YEARS TO TEN YEARS THE PERIOD FOR TAX AND DUTY
EXEMPTION AND TAX CREDIT ON CAPITAL EQUIPMENT) which was approved by the President
on April 10, 1992. This Act is actually a consolidation of H. No. 34254, which was approved by the
House on January 29, 1992, and S. No. 1920, which was approved by the Senate on February 3,
1992.
R.A. No. 7549 (AN ACT GRANTING TAX EXEMPTIONS TO WHOEVER SHALL GIVE REWARD TO
ANY FILIPINO ATHLETE WINNING A MEDAL IN OLYMPIC GAMES) which was approved by the
President on May 22, 1992. This Act is a consolidation of H. No. 22232, which was approved by the

House of Representatives on August 2, 1989, and S. No. 807, which was approved by the Senate on
October 21, 1991.
On the other hand, the Ninth Congress passed revenue laws which were also the result of the
consolidation of House and Senate bills. These are the following, with indications of the dates on
which the laws were approved by the President and dates the separate bills of the two chambers of
Congress were respectively passed:
1. R.A. NO. 7642
AN ACT INCREASING THE PENALTIES FOR TAX EVASION, AMENDING FOR
THIS PURPOSE THE PERTINENT SECTIONS OF THE NATIONAL INTERNAL
REVENUE CODE (December 28, 1992).
House Bill No. 2165, October 5, 1992
Senate Bill No. 32, December 7, 1992
2. R.A. NO. 7643
AN ACT TO EMPOWER THE COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE TO
REQUIRE THE PAYMENT OF THE VALUE-ADDED TAX EVERY MONTH AND TO
ALLOW LOCAL GOVERNMENT UNITS TO SHARE IN VAT REVENUE, AMENDING
FOR THIS PURPOSE CERTAIN SECTIONS OF THE NATIONAL INTERNAL
REVENUE CODE (December 28, 1992)
House Bill No. 1503, September 3, 1992
Senate Bill No. 968, December 7, 1992
3. R.A. NO. 7646
AN ACT AUTHORIZING THE COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE TO
PRESCRIBE THE PLACE FOR PAYMENT OF INTERNAL REVENUE TAXES BY
LARGE TAXPAYERS, AMENDING FOR THIS PURPOSE CERTAIN PROVISIONS
OF THE NATIONAL INTERNAL REVENUE CODE, AS AMENDED (February 24,
1993)
House Bill No. 1470, October 20, 1992
Senate Bill No. 35, November 19, 1992
4. R.A. NO. 7649
AN ACT REQUIRING THE GOVERNMENT OR ANY OF ITS POLITICAL
SUBDIVISIONS, INSTRUMENTALITIES OR AGENCIES INCLUDING
GOVERNMENT-OWNED OR CONTROLLED CORPORATIONS (GOCCS) TO
DEDUCT AND WITHHOLD THE VALUE-ADDED TAX DUE AT THE RATE OF
THREE PERCENT (3%) ON GROSS PAYMENT FOR THE PURCHASE OF GOODS

AND SIX PERCENT (6%) ON GROSS RECEIPTS FOR SERVICES RENDERED BY


CONTRACTORS (April 6, 1993)
House Bill No. 5260, January 26, 1993
Senate Bill No. 1141, March 30, 1993
5. R.A. NO. 7656
AN ACT REQUIRING GOVERNMENT-OWNED OR CONTROLLED
CORPORATIONS TO DECLARE DIVIDENDS UNDER CERTAIN CONDITIONS TO
THE NATIONAL GOVERNMENT, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES (November 9,
1993)
House Bill No. 11024, November 3, 1993
Senate Bill No. 1168, November 3, 1993
6. R.A. NO. 7660
AN ACT RATIONALIZING FURTHER THE STRUCTURE AND ADMINISTRATION
OF THE DOCUMENTARY STAMP TAX, AMENDING FOR THE PURPOSE CERTAIN
PROVISIONS OF THE NATIONAL INTERNAL REVENUE CODE, AS AMENDED,
ALLOCATING FUNDS FOR SPECIFIC PROGRAMS, AND FOR OTHER
PURPOSES (December 23, 1993)
House Bill No. 7789, May 31, 1993
Senate Bill No. 1330, November 18, 1993
7. R.A. NO. 7717
AN ACT IMPOSING A TAX ON THE SALE, BARTER OR EXCHANGE OF SHARES
OF STOCK LISTED AND TRADED THROUGH THE LOCAL STOCK EXCHANGE
OR THROUGH INITIAL PUBLIC OFFERING, AMENDING FOR THE PURPOSE
THE NATIONAL INTERNAL REVENUE CODE, AS AMENDED, BY INSERTING A
NEW SECTION AND REPEALING CERTAIN SUBSECTIONS THEREOF (May 5,
1994)
House Bill No. 9187, November 3, 1993
Senate Bill No. 1127, March 23, 1994
Thus, the enactment of S. No. 1630 is not the only instance in which the Senate, in the exercise of
its power to propose amendments to bills required to originate in the House, passed its own version
of a House revenue measure. It is noteworthy that, in the particular case of S. No. 1630, petitioners
Tolentino and Roco, as members of the Senate, voted to approve it on second and third readings.

On the other hand, amendment by substitution, in the manner urged by petitioner Tolentino,
concerns a mere matter of form. Petitioner has not shown what substantial difference it would make
if, as the Senate actually did in this case, a separate bill like S. No. 1630 is instead enacted as a
substitute measure, "taking into Consideration . . . H.B.11197."
Indeed, so far as pertinent, the Rules of the Senate only provide:
RULE XXIX
AMENDMENTS
xxx xxx xxx
68. Not more than one amendment to the original amendment shall be considered.
No amendment by substitution shall be entertained unless the text thereof is
submitted in writing.
Any of said amendments may be withdrawn before a vote is taken thereon.
69. No amendment which seeks the inclusion of a legislative provision foreign to the
subject matter of a bill (rider) shall be entertained.
xxx xxx xxx
70-A. A bill or resolution shall not be amended by substituting it with another which
covers a subject distinct from that proposed in the original bill or resolution.
(emphasis added).
Nor is there merit in petitioners' contention that, with regard to revenue bills, the Philippine Senate
possesses less power than the U.S. Senate because of textual differences between constitutional
provisions giving them the power to propose or concur with amendments.
Art. I, 7, cl. 1 of the U.S. Constitution reads:
All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the
Senate may propose or concur with amendments as on other Bills.
Art. VI, 24 of our Constitution reads:
All appropriation, revenue or tariff bills, bills authorizing increase of the public debt,
bills of local application, and private bills shall originate exclusively in the House of
Representatives, but the Senate may propose or concur with amendments.
The addition of the word "exclusively" in the Philippine Constitution and the decision to drop the
phrase "as on other Bills" in the American version, according to petitioners, shows the intention of
the framers of our Constitution to restrict the Senate's power to propose amendments to revenue
bills. Petitioner Tolentino contends that the word "exclusively" was inserted to modify "originate" and

"the words 'as in any other bills' (sic) were eliminated so as to show that these bills were not to be
like other bills but must be treated as a special kind."
The history of this provision does not support this contention. The supposed indicia of constitutional
intent are nothing but the relics of an unsuccessful attempt to limit the power of the Senate. It will be
recalled that the 1935 Constitution originally provided for a unicameral National Assembly. When it
was decided in 1939 to change to a bicameral legislature, it became necessary to provide for the
procedure for lawmaking by the Senate and the House of Representatives. The work of proposing
amendments to the Constitution was done by the National Assembly, acting as a constituent
assembly, some of whose members, jealous of preserving the Assembly's lawmaking powers,
sought to curtail the powers of the proposed Senate. Accordingly they proposed the following
provision:
All bills appropriating public funds, revenue or tariff bills, bills of local application, and
private bills shall originate exclusively in the Assembly, but the Senate may propose
or concur with amendments. In case of disapproval by the Senate of any such bills,
the Assembly may repass the same by a two-thirds vote of all its members, and
thereupon, the bill so repassed shall be deemed enacted and may be submitted to
the President for corresponding action. In the event that the Senate should fail to
finally act on any such bills, the Assembly may, after thirty days from the opening of
the next regular session of the same legislative term, reapprove the same with a vote
of two-thirds of all the members of the Assembly. And upon such reapproval, the bill
shall be deemed enacted and may be submitted to the President for corresponding
action.
The special committee on the revision of laws of the Second National Assembly vetoed the proposal.
It deleted everything after the first sentence. As rewritten, the proposal was approved by the National
Assembly and embodied in Resolution No. 38, as amended by Resolution No. 73. (J. ARUEGO,
KNOW YOUR CONSTITUTION 65-66 (1950)). The proposed amendment was submitted to the
people and ratified by them in the elections held on June 18, 1940.
This is the history of Art. VI, 18 (2) of the 1935 Constitution, from which Art. VI, 24 of the present
Constitution was derived. It explains why the word "exclusively" was added to the American text from
which the framers of the Philippine Constitution borrowed and why the phrase "as on other Bills" was
not copied. Considering the defeat of the proposal, the power of the Senate to propose amendments
must be understood to be full, plenary and complete "as on other Bills." Thus, because revenue bills
are required to originate exclusively in the House of Representatives, the Senate cannot enact
revenue measures of its own without such bills. After a revenue bill is passed and sent over to it by
the House, however, the Senate certainly can pass its own version on the same subject matter. This
follows from the coequality of the two chambers of Congress.
That this is also the understanding of book authors of the scope of the Senate's power to concur is
clear from the following commentaries:
The power of the Senate to propose or concur with amendments is apparently
without restriction. It would seem that by virtue of this power, the Senate can
practically re-write a bill required to come from the House and leave only a trace of
the original bill. For example, a general revenue bill passed by the lower house of the
United States Congress contained provisions for the imposition of an inheritance tax .

This was changed by the Senate into a corporation tax. The amending authority of
the Senate was declared by the United States Supreme Court to be sufficiently broad
to enable it to make the alteration. [Flint v. Stone Tracy Company, 220 U.S. 107, 55
L. ed. 389].
(L. TAADA AND F. CARREON, POLITICAL LAW OF THE PHILIPPINES 247
(1961))
The above-mentioned bills are supposed to be initiated by the House of
Representatives because it is more numerous in membership and therefore also
more representative of the people. Moreover, its members are presumed to be more
familiar with the needs of the country in regard to the enactment of the legislation
involved.
The Senate is, however, allowed much leeway in the exercise of its power to propose
or concur with amendments to the bills initiated by the House of Representatives.
Thus, in one case, a bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives was
changed by the Senate to make a proposed inheritance tax a corporation tax. It is
also accepted practice for the Senate to introduce what is known as an amendment
by substitution, which may entirely replace the bill initiated in the House of
Representatives.
(I. CRUZ, PHILIPPINE POLITICAL LAW 144-145 (1993)).
In sum, while Art. VI, 24 provides that all appropriation, revenue or tariff bills, bills authorizing
increase of the public debt, bills of local application, and private bills must "originate exclusively in
the House of Representatives," it also adds, "but the Senate may propose or concur with
amendments." In the exercise of this power, the Senate may propose an entirely new bill as a
substitute measure. As petitioner Tolentino states in a high school text, a committee to which a bill is
referred may do any of the following:
(1) to endorse the bill without changes; (2) to make changes in the bill omitting or
adding sections or altering its language; (3) to make and endorse an entirely new bill
as a substitute, in which case it will be known as a committee bill; or (4) to make no
report at all.
(A. TOLENTINO, THE GOVERNMENT OF THE PHILIPPINES 258 (1950))
To except from this procedure the amendment of bills which are required to originate in the House by
prescribing that the number of the House bill and its other parts up to the enacting clause must be
preserved although the text of the Senate amendment may be incorporated in place of the original
body of the bill is to insist on a mere technicality. At any rate there is no rule prescribing this form. S.
No. 1630, as a substitute measure, is therefore as much an amendment of H. No. 11197 as any
which the Senate could have made.
II. S. No. 1630 a mere amendment of H. No. 11197. Petitioners' basic error is that they assume that
S. No. 1630 is an independent and distinct bill. Hence their repeated references to its certification
that it was passed by the Senate "in substitution of S.B. No. 1129, taking into consideration P.S. Res.
No. 734 and H.B. No. 11197," implying that there is something substantially different between the

reference to S. No. 1129 and the reference to H. No. 11197. From this premise, they conclude that
R.A. No. 7716 originated both in the House and in the Senate and that it is the product of two "halfbaked bills because neither H. No. 11197 nor S. No. 1630 was passed by both houses of Congress."
In point of fact, in several instances the provisions of S. No. 1630, clearly appear to be mere
amendments of the corresponding provisions of H. No. 11197. The very tabular comparison of the
provisions of H. No. 11197 and S. No. 1630 attached as Supplement A to the basic petition of
petitioner Tolentino, while showing differences between the two bills, at the same time indicates that
the provisions of the Senate bill were precisely intended to be amendments to the House bill.
Without H. No. 11197, the Senate could not have enacted S. No. 1630. Because the Senate bill was
a mere amendment of the House bill, H. No. 11197 in its original form did not have to pass the
Senate on second and three readings. It was enough that after it was passed on first reading it was
referred to the Senate Committee on Ways and Means. Neither was it required that S. No. 1630 be
passed by the House of Representatives before the two bills could be referred to the Conference
Committee.
There is legislative precedent for what was done in the case of H. No. 11197 and S. No. 1630. When
the House bill and Senate bill, which became R.A. No. 1405 (Act prohibiting the disclosure of bank
deposits), were referred to a conference committee, the question was raised whether the two bills
could be the subject of such conference, considering that the bill from one house had not been
passed by the other and vice versa. As Congressman Duran put the question:
MR. DURAN. Therefore, I raise this question of order as to procedure: If a House bill
is passed by the House but not passed by the Senate, and a Senate bill of a similar
nature is passed in the Senate but never passed in the House, can the two bills be
the subject of a conference, and can a law be enacted from these two bills? I
understand that the Senate bill in this particular instance does not refer to
investments in government securities, whereas the bill in the House, which was
introduced by the Speaker, covers two subject matters: not only investigation of
deposits in banks but also investigation of investments in government securities.
Now, since the two bills differ in their subject matter, I believe that no law can be
enacted.
Ruling on the point of order raised, the chair (Speaker Jose B. Laurel, Jr.) said:
THE SPEAKER. The report of the conference committee is in order. It is precisely in
cases like this where a conference should be had. If the House bill had been
approved by the Senate, there would have been no need of a conference; but
precisely because the Senate passed another bill on the same subject matter, the
conference committee had to be created, and we are now considering the report of
that committee.
(2 CONG. REC. NO. 13, July 27, 1955, pp. 3841-42 (emphasis added))
III. The President's certification. The fallacy in thinking that H. No. 11197 and S. No. 1630 are distinct
and unrelated measures also accounts for the petitioners' (Kilosbayan's and PAL's) contention that
because the President separately certified to the need for the immediate enactment of these
measures, his certification was ineffectual and void. The certification had to be made of the version

of the same revenue bill which at the moment was being considered. Otherwise, to follow petitioners'
theory, it would be necessary for the President to certify as many bills as are presented in a house of
Congress even though the bills are merely versions of the bill he has already certified. It is enough
that he certifies the bill which, at the time he makes the certification, is under consideration. Since on
March 22, 1994 the Senate was considering S. No. 1630, it was that bill which had to be certified.
For that matter on June 1, 1993 the President had earlier certified H. No. 9210 for immediate
enactment because it was the one which at that time was being considered by the House. This bill
was later substituted, together with other bills, by H. No. 11197.
As to what Presidential certification can accomplish, we have already explained in the main decision
that the phrase "except when the President certifies to the necessity of its immediate enactment,
etc." in Art. VI, 26 (2) qualifies not only the requirement that "printed copies [of a bill] in its final form
[must be] distributed to the members three days before its passage" but also the requirement that
before a bill can become a law it must have passed "three readings on separate days." There is not
only textual support for such construction but historical basis as well.
Art. VI, 21 (2) of the 1935 Constitution originally provided:
(2) No bill shall be passed by either House unless it shall have been printed and
copies thereof in its final form furnished its Members at least three calendar days
prior to its passage, except when the President shall have certified to the necessity of
its immediate enactment. Upon the last reading of a bill, no amendment thereof shall
be allowed and the question upon its passage shall be taken immediately thereafter,
and the yeas and nays entered on the Journal.
When the 1973 Constitution was adopted, it was provided in Art. VIII, 19 (2):
(2) No bill shall become a law unless it has passed three readings on separate days,
and printed copies thereof in its final form have been distributed to the Members
three days before its passage, except when the Prime Minister certifies to the
necessity of its immediate enactment to meet a public calamity or emergency. Upon
the last reading of a bill, no amendment thereto shall be allowed, and the vote
thereon shall be taken immediately thereafter, and the yeas and nays entered in the
Journal.
This provision of the 1973 document, with slight modification, was adopted in Art. VI, 26 (2) of the
present Constitution, thus:
(2) No bill passed by either House shall become a law unless it has passed three
readings on separate days, and printed copies thereof in its final form have been
distributed to its Members three days before its passage, except when the President
certifies to the necessity of its immediate enactment to meet a public calamity or
emergency. Upon the last reading of a bill, no amendment thereto shall be allowed,
and the vote thereon shall be taken immediately thereafter, and
the yeas and nays entered in the Journal.
The exception is based on the prudential consideration that if in all cases three readings on separate
days are required and a bill has to be printed in final form before it can be passed, the need for a law

may be rendered academic by the occurrence of the very emergency or public calamity which it is
meant to address.
Petitioners further contend that a "growing budget deficit" is not an emergency, especially in a
country like the Philippines where budget deficit is a chronic condition. Even if this were the case, an
enormous budget deficit does not make the need for R.A. No. 7716 any less urgent or the situation
calling for its enactment any less an emergency.
Apparently, the members of the Senate (including some of the petitioners in these cases) believed
that there was an urgent need for consideration of S. No. 1630, because they responded to the call
of the President by voting on the bill on second and third readings on the same day. While the
judicial department is not bound by the Senate's acceptance of the President's certification, the
respect due coequal departments of the government in matters committed to them by the
Constitution and the absence of a clear showing of grave abuse of discretion caution a stay of the
judicial hand.
At any rate, we are satisfied that S. No. 1630 received thorough consideration in the Senate where it
was discussed for six days. Only its distribution in advance in its final printed form was actually
dispensed with by holding the voting on second and third readings on the same day (March 24,
1994). Otherwise, sufficient time between the submission of the bill on February 8, 1994 on second
reading and its approval on March 24, 1994 elapsed before it was finally voted on by the Senate on
third reading.
The purpose for which three readings on separate days is required is said to be two-fold: (1) to
inform the members of Congress of what they must vote on and (2) to give them notice that a
measure is progressing through the enacting process, thus enabling them and others interested in
the measure to prepare their positions with reference to it. (1 J. G. SUTHERLAND, STATUTES AND
STATUTORY CONSTRUCTION 10.04, p. 282 (1972)). These purposes were substantially
achieved in the case of R.A. No. 7716.
IV. Power of Conference Committee. It is contended (principally by Kilosbayan, Inc. and the
Movement of Attorneys for Brotherhood, Integrity and Nationalism, Inc. (MABINI)) that in violation of
the constitutional policy of full public disclosure and the people's right to know (Art. II, 28 and Art. III,
7) the Conference Committee met for two days in executive session with only the conferees
present.
As pointed out in our main decision, even in the United States it was customary to hold such
sessions with only the conferees and their staffs in attendance and it was only in 1975 when a new
rule was adopted requiring open sessions. Unlike its American counterpart, the Philippine Congress
has not adopted a rule prescribing open hearings for conference committees.
It is nevertheless claimed that in the United States, before the adoption of the rule in 1975, at least
staff members were present. These were staff members of the Senators and Congressmen,
however, who may be presumed to be their confidential men, not stenographers as in this case who
on the last two days of the conference were excluded. There is no showing that the conferees
themselves did not take notes of their proceedings so as to give petitioner Kilosbayan basis for
claiming that even in secret diplomatic negotiations involving state interests, conferees keep notes of
their meetings. Above all, the public's right to know was fully served because the Conference

Committee in this case submitted a report showing the changes made on the differing versions of
the House and the Senate.
Petitioners cite the rules of both houses which provide that conference committee reports must
contain "a detailed, sufficiently explicit statement of the changes in or other amendments." These
changes are shown in the bill attached to the Conference Committee Report. The members of both
houses could thus ascertain what changes had been made in the original bills without the need of a
statement detailing the changes.
The same question now presented was raised when the bill which became R.A. No. 1400 (Land
Reform Act of 1955) was reported by the Conference Committee. Congressman Bengzon raised a
point of order. He said:
MR. BENGZON. My point of order is that it is out of order to consider the report of
the conference committee regarding House Bill No. 2557 by reason of the provision
of Section 11, Article XII, of the Rules of this House which provides specifically that
the conference report must be accompanied by a detailed statement of the effects of
the amendment on the bill of the House. This conference committee report is not
accompanied by that detailed statement, Mr. Speaker. Therefore it is out of order to
consider it.
Petitioner Tolentino, then the Majority Floor Leader, answered:
MR. TOLENTINO. Mr. Speaker, I should just like to say a few words in connection
with the point of order raised by the gentleman from Pangasinan.
There is no question about the provision of the Rule cited by the gentleman from
Pangasinan, but this provision applies to those cases where only portions of the bill
have been amended. In this case before us an entire bill is presented; therefore, it
can be easily seen from the reading of the bill what the provisions are. Besides, this
procedure has been an established practice.
After some interruption, he continued:
MR. TOLENTINO. As I was saying, Mr. Speaker, we have to look into the reason for
the provisions of the Rules, and the reason for the requirement in the provision cited
by the gentleman from Pangasinan is when there are only certain words or phrases
inserted in or deleted from the provisions of the bill included in the conference report,
and we cannot understand what those words and phrases mean and their relation to
the bill. In that case, it is necessary to make a detailed statement on how those
words and phrases will affect the bill as a whole; but when the entire bill itself is
copied verbatim in the conference report, that is not necessary. So when the reason
for the Rule does not exist, the Rule does not exist.
(2 CONG. REC. NO. 2, p. 4056. (emphasis added))
Congressman Tolentino was sustained by the chair. The record shows that when the ruling was
appealed, it was upheld by viva voce and when a division of the House was called, it was sustained

by a vote of 48 to 5. (Id.,
p. 4058)
Nor is there any doubt about the power of a conference committee to insert new provisions as long
as these are germane to the subject of the conference. As this Court held in Philippine Judges
Association v. Prado, 227 SCRA 703 (1993), in an opinion written by then Justice Cruz, the
jurisdiction of the conference committee is not limited to resolving differences between the Senate
and the House. It may propose an entirely new provision. What is important is that its report is
subsequently approved by the respective houses of Congress. This Court ruled that it would not
entertain allegations that, because new provisions had been added by the conference committee,
there was thereby a violation of the constitutional injunction that "upon the last reading of a bill, no
amendment thereto shall be allowed."
Applying these principles, we shall decline to look into the petitioners' charges that
an amendment was made upon the last reading of the bill that eventually became
R.A. No. 7354 and that copies thereof in its final form were not distributed among the
members of each House. Both the enrolled bill and the legislative journals certify that
the measure was duly enacted i.e., in accordance with Article VI, Sec. 26 (2) of the
Constitution. We are bound by such official assurances from a coordinate department
of the government, to which we owe, at the very least, a becoming courtesy.
(Id. at 710. (emphasis added))
It is interesting to note the following description of conference committees in the Philippines in a
1979 study:
Conference committees may be of two types: free or instructed. These committees
may be given instructions by their parent bodies or they may be left without
instructions. Normally the conference committees are without instructions, and this is
why they are often critically referred to as "the little legislatures." Once bills have
been sent to them, the conferees have almost unlimited authority to change the
clauses of the bills and in fact sometimes introduce new measures that were not in
the original legislation. No minutes are kept, and members' activities on conference
committees are difficult to determine. One congressman known for his idealism put it
this way: "I killed a bill on export incentives for my interest group [copra] in the
conference committee but I could not have done so anywhere else." The conference
committee submits a report to both houses, and usually it is accepted. If the report is
not accepted, then the committee is discharged and new members are appointed.
(R. Jackson, Committees in the Philippine Congress, in COMMITTEES AND
LEGISLATURES: A COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS 163 (J. D. LEES AND M. SHAW,
eds.)).
In citing this study, we pass no judgment on the methods of conference committees. We cite it only
to say that conference committees here are no different from their counterparts in the United States
whose vast powers we noted in Philippine Judges Association v. Prado, supra. At all events, under
Art. VI, 16(3) each house has the power "to determine the rules of its proceedings," including those
of its committees. Any meaningful change in the method and procedures of Congress or its
committees must therefore be sought in that body itself.

V. The titles of S. No. 1630 and H. No. 11197. PAL maintains that R.A. No. 7716 violates Art. VI, 26
(1) of the Constitution which provides that "Every bill passed by Congress shall embrace only one
subject which shall be expressed in the title thereof." PAL contends that the amendment of its
franchise by the withdrawal of its exemption from the VAT is not expressed in the title of the law.
Pursuant to 13 of P.D. No. 1590, PAL pays a franchise tax of 2% on its gross revenue "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."
PAL was exempted from the payment of the VAT along with other entities by 103 of the National
Internal Revenue Code, which provides as follows:
103. Exempt transactions. The following shall be exempt from the value-added
tax:
xxx xxx xxx
(q) Transactions which are exempt under special laws or international agreements to
which the Philippines is a signatory.
R.A. No. 7716 seeks to withdraw certain exemptions, including that granted to PAL, by amending
103, as follows:
103. Exempt transactions. The following shall be exempt from the value-added
tax:
xxx xxx xxx
(q) Transactions which are exempt under special laws, except those granted under
Presidential Decree Nos. 66, 529, 972, 1491, 1590. . . .
The amendment of 103 is expressed in the title of R.A. No. 7716 which reads:
AN ACT RESTRUCTURING THE VALUE-ADDED TAX (VAT) SYSTEM, WIDENING
ITS TAX BASE AND ENHANCING ITS ADMINISTRATION, AND FOR THESE
PURPOSES AMENDING AND REPEALING THE RELEVANT PROVISIONS OF THE
NATIONAL INTERNAL REVENUE CODE, AS AMENDED, AND FOR OTHER
PURPOSES.
By stating that R.A. No. 7716 seeks to "[RESTRUCTURE] THE VALUE-ADDED TAX (VAT) SYSTEM
[BY] WIDENING ITS TAX BASE AND ENHANCING ITS ADMINISTRATION, AND FOR THESE
PURPOSES AMENDING AND REPEALING THE RELEVANT PROVISIONS OF THE NATIONAL
INTERNAL REVENUE CODE, AS AMENDED AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES," Congress thereby
clearly expresses its intention to amend any provision of the NIRC which stands in the way of
accomplishing the purpose of the law.
PAL asserts that the amendment of its franchise must be reflected in the title of the law by specific
reference to P.D. No. 1590. It is unnecessary to do this in order to comply with the constitutional

requirement, since it is already stated in the title that the law seeks to amend the pertinent provisions
of the NIRC, among which is 103(q), in order to widen the base of the VAT. Actually, it is the bill
which becomes a law that is required to express in its title the subject of legislation. The titles of H.
No. 11197 and S. No. 1630 in fact specifically referred to 103 of the NIRC as among the provisions
sought to be amended. We are satisfied that sufficient notice had been given of the pendency of
these bills in Congress before they were enacted into what is now R.A.
No. 7716.
In Philippine Judges Association v. Prado, supra, a similar argument as that now made by PAL was
rejected. R.A. No. 7354 is entitled AN ACT CREATING THE PHILIPPINE POSTAL CORPORATION,
DEFINING ITS POWERS, FUNCTIONS AND RESPONSIBILITIES, PROVIDING FOR
REGULATION OF THE INDUSTRY AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES CONNECTED THEREWITH. It
contained a provision repealing all franking privileges. It was contended that the withdrawal of
franking privileges was not expressed in the title of the law. In holding that there was sufficient
description of the subject of the law in its title, including the repeal of franking privileges, this Court
held:
To require every end and means necessary for the accomplishment of the general
objectives of the statute to be expressed in its title would not only be unreasonable
but would actually render legislation impossible. [Cooley, Constitutional Limitations,
8th Ed., p. 297] As has been correctly explained:
The details of a legislative act need not be specifically stated in its
title, but matter germane to the subject as expressed in the title, and
adopted to the accomplishment of the object in view, may properly be
included in the act. Thus, it is proper to create in the same act the
machinery by which the act is to be enforced, to prescribe the
penalties for its infraction, and to remove obstacles in the way of its
execution. If such matters are properly connected with the subject as
expressed in the title, it is unnecessary that they should also have
special mention in the title. (Southern Pac. Co. v. Bartine, 170 Fed.
725)
(227 SCRA at 707-708)
VI. Claims of press freedom and religious liberty. We have held that, as a general proposition, the
press is not exempt from the taxing power of the State and that what the constitutional guarantee of
free press prohibits are laws which single out the press or target a group belonging to the press for
special treatment or which in any way discriminate against the press on the basis of the content of
the publication, and R.A. No. 7716 is none of these.
Now it is contended by the PPI that by removing the exemption of the press from the VAT while
maintaining those granted to others, the law discriminates against the press. At any rate, it is
averred, "even nondiscriminatory taxation of constitutionally guaranteed freedom is unconstitutional."
With respect to the first contention, it would suffice to say that since the law granted the press a
privilege, the law could take back the privilege anytime without offense to the Constitution. The
reason is simple: by granting exemptions, the State does not forever waive the exercise of its
sovereign prerogative.

Indeed, in withdrawing the exemption, the law merely subjects the press to the same tax burden to
which other businesses have long ago been subject. It is thus different from the tax involved in the
cases invoked by the PPI. The license tax in Grosjean v. American Press Co., 297 U.S. 233, 80 L.
Ed. 660 (1936) was found to be discriminatory because it was laid on the gross advertising receipts
only of newspapers whose weekly circulation was over 20,000, with the result that the tax applied
only to 13 out of 124 publishers in Louisiana. These large papers were critical of Senator Huey Long
who controlled the state legislature which enacted the license tax. The censorial motivation for the
law was thus evident.
On the other hand, in Minneapolis Star & Tribune Co. v. Minnesota Comm'r of Revenue, 460 U.S.
575, 75 L. Ed. 2d 295 (1983), the tax was found to be discriminatory because although it could have
been made liable for the sales tax or, in lieu thereof, for the use tax on the privilege of using, storing
or consuming tangible goods, the press was not. Instead, the press was exempted from both taxes.
It was, however, later made to pay a special use tax on the cost of paper and ink which made these
items "the only items subject to the use tax that were component of goods to be sold at retail." The
U.S. Supreme Court held that the differential treatment of the press "suggests that the goal of
regulation is not related to suppression of expression, and such goal is presumptively
unconstitutional." It would therefore appear that even a law that favors the press is constitutionally
suspect. (See the dissent of Rehnquist, J. in that case)
Nor is it true that only two exemptions previously granted by E.O. No. 273 are withdrawn "absolutely
and unqualifiedly" by R.A. No. 7716. Other exemptions from the VAT, such as those previously
granted to PAL, petroleum concessionaires, enterprises registered with the Export Processing Zone
Authority, and many more are likewise totally withdrawn, in addition to exemptions which are partially
withdrawn, in an effort to broaden the base of the tax.
The PPI says that the discriminatory treatment of the press is highlighted by the fact that
transactions, which are profit oriented, continue to enjoy exemption under R.A. No. 7716. An
enumeration of some of these transactions will suffice to show that by and large this is not so and
that the exemptions are granted for a purpose. As the Solicitor General says, such exemptions are
granted, in some cases, to encourage agricultural production and, in other cases, for the personal
benefit of the end-user rather than for profit. The exempt transactions are:
(a) Goods for consumption or use which are in their original state (agricultural,
marine and forest products, cotton seeds in their original state, fertilizers, seeds,
seedlings, fingerlings, fish, prawn livestock and poultry feeds) and goods or services
to enhance agriculture (milling of palay, corn, sugar cane and raw sugar, livestock,
poultry feeds, fertilizer, ingredients used for the manufacture of feeds).
(b) Goods used for personal consumption or use (household and personal effects of
citizens returning to the Philippines) or for professional use, like professional
instruments and implements, by persons coming to the Philippines to settle here.
(c) Goods subject to excise tax such as petroleum products or to be used for
manufacture of petroleum products subject to excise tax and services subject to
percentage tax.
(d) Educational services, medical, dental, hospital and veterinary services, and
services rendered under employer-employee relationship.

(e) Works of art and similar creations sold by the artist himself.
(f) Transactions exempted under special laws, or international agreements.
(g) Export-sales by persons not VAT-registered.
(h) Goods or services with gross annual sale or receipt not exceeding P500,000.00.
(Respondents' Consolidated Comment on the Motions for Reconsideration, pp. 5860)
The PPI asserts that it does not really matter that the law does not discriminate against the press
because "even nondiscriminatory taxation on constitutionally guaranteed freedom is
unconstitutional." PPI cites in support of this assertion the following statement in Murdock
v. Pennsylvania, 319 U.S. 105, 87 L. Ed. 1292 (1943):
The fact that the ordinance is "nondiscriminatory" is immaterial. The protection
afforded by the First Amendment is not so restricted. A license tax certainly does not
acquire constitutional validity because it classifies the privileges protected by the
First Amendment along with the wares and merchandise of hucksters and peddlers
and treats them all alike. Such equality in treatment does not save the ordinance.
Freedom of press, freedom of speech, freedom of religion are in preferred position.
The Court was speaking in that case of a license tax, which, unlike an ordinary tax, is mainly for
regulation. Its imposition on the press is unconstitutional because it lays a prior restraint on the
exercise of its right. Hence, although its application to others, such those selling goods, is valid, its
application to the press or to religious groups, such as the Jehovah's Witnesses, in connection with
the latter's sale of religious books and pamphlets, is unconstitutional. As the U.S. Supreme Court put
it, "it is one thing to impose a tax on income or property of a preacher. It is quite another thing to
exact a tax on him for delivering a sermon."
A similar ruling was made by this Court in American Bible Society v. City of Manila, 101 Phil. 386
(1957) which invalidated a city ordinance requiring a business license fee on those engaged in the
sale of general merchandise. It was held that the tax could not be imposed on the sale of bibles by
the American Bible Society without restraining the free exercise of its right to propagate.
The VAT is, however, different. It is not a license tax. It is not a tax on the exercise of a privilege,
much less a constitutional right. It is imposed on the sale, barter, lease or exchange of goods or
properties or the sale or exchange of services and the lease of properties purely for revenue
purposes. To subject the press to its payment is not to burden the exercise of its right any more than
to make the press pay income tax or subject it to general regulation is not to violate its freedom
under the Constitution.
Additionally, the Philippine Bible Society, Inc. claims that although it sells bibles, the proceeds
derived from the sales are used to subsidize the cost of printing copies which are given free to those
who cannot afford to pay so that to tax the sales would be to increase the price, while reducing the
volume of sale. Granting that to be the case, the resulting burden on the exercise of religious
freedom is so incidental as to make it difficult to differentiate it from any other economic imposition
that might make the right to disseminate religious doctrines costly. Otherwise, to follow the

petitioner's argument, to increase the tax on the sale of vestments would be to lay an impermissible
burden on the right of the preacher to make a sermon.
On the other hand the registration fee of P1,000.00 imposed by 107 of the NIRC, as amended by
7 of R.A. No. 7716, although fixed in amount, is really just to pay for the expenses of registration
and enforcement of provisions such as those relating to accounting in 108 of the NIRC. That the
PBS distributes free bibles and therefore is not liable to pay the VAT does not excuse it from the
payment of this fee because it also sells some copies. At any rate whether the PBS is liable for the
VAT must be decided in concrete cases, in the event it is assessed this tax by the Commissioner of
Internal Revenue.
VII. Alleged violations of the due process, equal protection and contract clauses and the rule on
taxation. CREBA asserts that R.A. No. 7716 (1) impairs the obligations of contracts, (2) classifies
transactions as covered or exempt without reasonable basis and (3) violates the rule that taxes
should be uniform and equitable and that Congress shall "evolve a progressive system of taxation."
With respect to the first contention, it is claimed that the application of the tax to existing contracts of
the sale of real property by installment or on deferred payment basis would result in substantial
increases in the monthly amortizations to be paid because of the 10% VAT. The additional amount, it
is pointed out, is something that the buyer did not anticipate at the time he entered into the contract.
The short answer to this is the one given by this Court in an early case: "Authorities from numerous
sources are cited by the plaintiffs, but none of them show that a lawful tax on a new subject, or an
increased tax on an old one, interferes with a contract or impairs its obligation, within the meaning of
the Constitution. Even though such taxation may affect particular contracts, as it may increase the
debt of one person and lessen the security of another, or may impose additional burdens upon one
class and release the burdens of another, still the tax must be paid unless prohibited by the
Constitution, nor can it be said that it impairs the obligation of any existing contract in its true legal
sense." (La Insular v. Machuca Go-Tauco and Nubla Co-Siong, 39 Phil. 567, 574 (1919)). Indeed not
only existing laws but also "the reservation of the essential attributes of sovereignty, is . . . read into
contracts as a postulate of the legal order." (Philippine-American Life Ins. Co. v. Auditor General, 22
SCRA 135, 147 (1968)) Contracts must be understood as having been made in reference to the
possible exercise of the rightful authority of the government and no obligation of contract can extend
to the defeat of that authority. (Norman v. Baltimore and Ohio R.R., 79 L. Ed. 885 (1935)).
It is next pointed out that while 4 of R.A. No. 7716 exempts such transactions as the sale of
agricultural products, food items, petroleum, and medical and veterinary services, it grants no
exemption on the sale of real property which is equally essential. The sale of real property for
socialized and low-cost housing is exempted from the tax, but CREBA claims that real estate
transactions of "the less poor," i.e., the middle class, who are equally homeless, should likewise be
exempted.
The sale of food items, petroleum, medical and veterinary services, etc., which are essential goods
and services was already exempt under 103, pars. (b) (d) (1) of the NIRC before the enactment of
R.A. No. 7716. Petitioner is in error in claiming that R.A. No. 7716 granted exemption to these
transactions, while subjecting those of petitioner to the payment of the VAT. Moreover, there is a
difference between the "homeless poor" and the "homeless less poor" in the example given by
petitioner, because the second group or middle class can afford to rent houses in the meantime that
they cannot yet buy their own homes. The two social classes are thus differently situated in life. "It is

inherent in the power to tax that the State be free to select the subjects of taxation, and it has been
repeatedly held that 'inequalities which result from a singling out of one particular class for taxation,
or exemption infringe no constitutional limitation.'" (Lutz v. Araneta, 98 Phil. 148, 153 (1955). Accord,
City of Baguio v. De Leon, 134 Phil. 912 (1968); Sison, Jr. v. Ancheta, 130 SCRA 654, 663 (1984);
Kapatiran ng mga Naglilingkod sa Pamahalaan ng Pilipinas, Inc. v. Tan, 163 SCRA 371 (1988)).
Finally, it is contended, for the reasons already noted, that R.A. No. 7716 also violates Art. VI, 28(1)
which provides that "The rule of taxation shall be uniform and equitable. The Congress shall evolve a
progressive system of taxation."
Equality and uniformity of taxation means that all taxable articles or kinds of property of the same
class be taxed at the same rate. The taxing power has the authority to make reasonable and natural
classifications for purposes of taxation. To satisfy this requirement it is enough that the statute or
ordinance applies equally to all persons, forms and corporations placed in similar situation. (City of
Baguio v. De Leon, supra; Sison, Jr. v. Ancheta, supra)
Indeed, the VAT was already provided in E.O. No. 273 long before R.A. No. 7716 was enacted. R.A.
No. 7716 merely expands the base of the tax. The validity of the original VAT Law was questioned
in Kapatiran ng Naglilingkod sa Pamahalaan ng Pilipinas, Inc. v. Tan, 163 SCRA 383 (1988) on
grounds similar to those made in these cases, namely, that the law was "oppressive, discriminatory,
unjust and regressive in violation of Art. VI, 28(1) of the Constitution." (At 382) Rejecting the
challenge to the law, this Court held:
As the Court sees it, EO 273 satisfies all the requirements of a valid tax. It is uniform.
...
The sales tax adopted in EO 273 is applied similarly on all goods and services sold
to the public, which are not exempt, at the constant rate of 0% or 10%.
The disputed sales tax is also equitable. It is imposed only on sales of goods or
services by persons engaged in business with an aggregate gross annual sales
exceeding P200,000.00. Small corner sari-sari stores are consequently exempt from
its application. Likewise exempt from the tax are sales of farm and marine products,
so that the costs of basic food and other necessities, spared as they are from the
incidence of the VAT, are expected to be relatively lower and within the reach of the
general public.
(At 382-383)
The CREBA claims that the VAT is regressive. A similar claim is made by the Cooperative Union of
the Philippines, Inc. (CUP), while petitioner Juan T. David argues that the law contravenes the
mandate of Congress to provide for a progressive system of taxation because the law imposes a flat
rate of 10% and thus places the tax burden on all taxpayers without regard to their ability to pay.
The Constitution does not really prohibit the imposition of indirect taxes which, like the VAT, are
regressive. What it simply provides is that Congress shall "evolve a progressive system of taxation."
The constitutional provision has been interpreted to mean simply that "direct taxes are . . . to be
preferred [and] as much as possible, indirect taxes should be minimized." (E. FERNANDO, THE
CONSTITUTION OF THE PHILIPPINES 221 (Second ed. (1977)). Indeed, the mandate to Congress

is not to prescribe, but to evolve, a progressive tax system. Otherwise, sales taxes, which perhaps
are the oldest form of indirect taxes, would have been prohibited with the proclamation of Art. VIII,
17(1) of the 1973 Constitution from which the present Art. VI, 28(1) was taken. Sales taxes are
also regressive.
Resort to indirect taxes should be minimized but not avoided entirely because it is difficult, if not
impossible, to avoid them by imposing such taxes according to the taxpayers' ability to pay. In the
case of the VAT, the law minimizes the regressive effects of this imposition by providing for zero
rating of certain transactions (R.A. No. 7716, 3, amending 102 (b) of the NIRC), while
granting exemptions to other transactions. (R.A. No. 7716, 4, amending 103 of the NIRC).
Thus, the following transactions involving basic and essential goods and services are exempted from
the VAT:
(a) Goods for consumption or use which are in their original state (agricultural,
marine and forest products, cotton seeds in their original state, fertilizers, seeds,
seedlings, fingerlings, fish, prawn livestock and poultry feeds) and goods or services
to enhance agriculture (milling of palay, corn sugar cane and raw sugar, livestock,
poultry feeds, fertilizer, ingredients used for the manufacture of feeds).
(b) Goods used for personal consumption or use (household and personal effects of
citizens returning to the Philippines) and or professional use, like professional
instruments and implements, by persons coming to the Philippines to settle here.
(c) Goods subject to excise tax such as petroleum products or to be used for
manufacture of petroleum products subject to excise tax and services subject to
percentage tax.
(d) Educational services, medical, dental, hospital and veterinary services, and
services rendered under employer-employee relationship.
(e) Works of art and similar creations sold by the artist himself.
(f) Transactions exempted under special laws, or international agreements.
(g) Export-sales by persons not VAT-registered.
(h) Goods or services with gross annual sale or receipt not exceeding P500,000.00.
(Respondents' Consolidated Comment on the Motions for Reconsideration, pp. 5860)
On the other hand, the transactions which are subject to the VAT are those which involve goods and
services which are used or availed of mainly by higher income groups. These include real properties
held primarily for sale to customers or for lease in the ordinary course of trade or business, the right
or privilege to use patent, copyright, and other similar property or right, the right or privilege to use
industrial, commercial or scientific equipment, motion picture films, tapes and discs, radio, television,
satellite transmission and cable television time, hotels, restaurants and similar places, securities,

lending investments, taxicabs, utility cars for rent, tourist buses, and other common carriers, services
of franchise grantees of telephone and telegraph.
The problem with CREBA's petition is that it presents broad claims of constitutional violations by
tendering issues not at retail but at wholesale and in the abstract. There is no fully developed record
which can impart to adjudication the impact of actuality. There is no factual foundation to show in
the concrete the application of the law to actual contracts and exemplify its effect on property rights.
For the fact is that petitioner's members have not even been assessed the VAT. Petitioner's case is
not made concrete by a series of hypothetical questions asked which are no different from those
dealt with in advisory opinions.
The difficulty confronting petitioner is thus apparent. He alleges arbitrariness. A mere
allegation, as here, does not suffice. There must be a factual foundation of such
unconstitutional taint. Considering that petitioner here would condemn such a
provision as void on its face, he has not made out a case. This is merely to adhere to
the authoritative doctrine that where the due process and equal protection clauses
are invoked, considering that they are not fixed rules but rather broad standards,
there is a need for proof of such persuasive character as would lead to such a
conclusion. Absent such a showing, the presumption of validity must prevail.
(Sison, Jr. v. Ancheta, 130 SCRA at 661)
Adjudication of these broad claims must await the development of a concrete case. It may be that
postponement of adjudication would result in a multiplicity of suits. This need not be the case,
however. Enforcement of the law may give rise to such a case. A test case, provided it is an actual
case and not an abstract or hypothetical one, may thus be presented.
Nor is hardship to taxpayers alone an adequate justification for adjudicating abstract issues.
Otherwise, adjudication would be no different from the giving of advisory opinion that does not really
settle legal issues.
We are told that it is our duty under Art. VIII, 1, 2 to decide whenever a claim is made that "there
has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any
branch or instrumentality of the government." This duty can only arise if an actual case or
controversy is before us. Under Art . VIII, 5 our jurisdiction is defined in terms of "cases" and all that
Art. VIII, 1, 2 can plausibly mean is that in the exercise of that jurisdiction we have the judicial
power to determine questions of grave abuse of discretion by any branch or instrumentality of the
government.
Put in another way, what is granted in Art. VIII, 1, 2 is "judicial power," which is "the power of a
court to hear and decide cases pending between parties who have the right to sue and be sued in
the courts of law and equity" (Lamb v. Phipps, 22 Phil. 456, 559 (1912)), as distinguished from
legislative and executive power. This power cannot be directly appropriated until it is apportioned
among several courts either by the Constitution, as in the case of Art. VIII, 5, or by statute, as in the
case of the Judiciary Act of 1948 (R.A. No. 296) and the Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980 (B.P.
Blg. 129). The power thus apportioned constitutes the court's "jurisdiction," defined as "the power
conferred by law upon a court or judge to take cognizance of a case, to the exclusion of all others."
(United States v. Arceo, 6 Phil. 29 (1906)) Without an actual case coming within its jurisdiction, this

Court cannot inquire into any allegation of grave abuse of discretion by the other departments of the
government.
VIII. Alleged violation of policy towards cooperatives. On the other hand, the Cooperative Union of
the Philippines (CUP), after briefly surveying the course of legislation, argues that it was to adopt a
definite policy of granting tax exemption to cooperatives that the present Constitution embodies
provisions on cooperatives. To subject cooperatives to the VAT would therefore be to infringe a
constitutional policy. Petitioner claims that in 1973, P.D. No. 175 was promulgated exempting
cooperatives from the payment of income taxes and sales taxes but in 1984, because of the crisis
which menaced the national economy, this exemption was withdrawn by P.D. No. 1955; that in 1986,
P.D. No. 2008 again granted cooperatives exemption from income and sales taxes until December
31, 1991, but, in the same year, E.O. No. 93 revoked the exemption; and that finally in 1987 the
framers of the Constitution "repudiated the previous actions of the government adverse to the
interests of the cooperatives, that is, the repeated revocation of the tax exemption to
cooperatives and instead upheld the policy of strengthening the cooperatives by way of the grant of
tax exemptions," by providing the following in Art. XII:
1. The goals of the national economy are a more equitable distribution of
opportunities, income, and wealth; a sustained increase in the amount of goods and
services produced by the nation for the benefit of the people; and an expanding
productivity as the key to raising the quality of life for all, especially the
underprivileged.
The State shall promote industrialization and full employment based on sound
agricultural development and agrarian reform, through industries that make full and
efficient use of human and natural resources, and which are competitive in both
domestic and foreign markets. However, the State shall protect Filipino enterprises
against unfair foreign competition and trade practices.
In the pursuit of these goals, all sectors of the economy and all regions of the country
shall be given optimum opportunity to develop. Private enterprises, including
corporations, cooperatives, and similar collective organizations, shall be encouraged
to broaden the base of their ownership.
15. The Congress shall create an agency to promote the viability and growth of
cooperatives as instruments for social justice and economic development.
Petitioner's contention has no merit. In the first place, it is not true that P.D. No. 1955 singled out
cooperatives by withdrawing their exemption from income and sales taxes under P.D. No. 175, 5.
What P.D. No. 1955, 1 did was to withdraw the exemptions and preferential treatments theretofore
granted to private business enterprises in general, in view of the economic crisis which then beset
the nation. It is true that after P.D. No. 2008, 2 had restored the tax exemptions of cooperatives in
1986, the exemption was again repealed by E.O. No. 93, 1, but then again cooperatives were not
the only ones whose exemptions were withdrawn. The withdrawal of tax incentives applied to all,
including government and private entities. In the second place, the Constitution does not really
require that cooperatives be granted tax exemptions in order to promote their growth and viability.
Hence, there is no basis for petitioner's assertion that the government's policy toward cooperatives
had been one of vacillation, as far as the grant of tax privileges was concerned, and that it was to put
an end to this indecision that the constitutional provisions cited were adopted. Perhaps as a matter

of policy cooperatives should be granted tax exemptions, but that is left to the discretion of
Congress. If Congress does not grant exemption and there is no discrimination to cooperatives, no
violation of any constitutional policy can be charged.
Indeed, petitioner's theory amounts to saying that under the Constitution cooperatives are exempt
from taxation. Such theory is contrary to the Constitution under which only the following are exempt
from taxation: charitable institutions, churches and parsonages, by reason of Art. VI, 28 (3), and
non-stock, non-profit educational institutions by reason of Art. XIV, 4 (3).
CUP's further ground for seeking the invalidation of R.A. No. 7716 is that it denies cooperatives the
equal protection of the law because electric cooperatives are exempted from the VAT. The
classification between electric and other cooperatives (farmers cooperatives, producers
cooperatives, marketing cooperatives, etc.) apparently rests on a congressional determination that
there is greater need to provide cheaper electric power to as many people as possible, especially
those living in the rural areas, than there is to provide them with other necessities in life. We cannot
say that such classification is unreasonable.
We have carefully read the various arguments raised against the constitutional validity of R.A. No.
7716. We have in fact taken the extraordinary step of enjoining its enforcement pending resolution of
these cases. We have now come to the conclusion that the law suffers from none of the infirmities
attributed to it by petitioners and that its enactment by the other branches of the government does
not constitute a grave abuse of discretion. Any question as to its necessity, desirability or expediency
must be addressed to Congress as the body which is electorally responsible, remembering that, as
Justice Holmes has said, "legislators are the ultimate guardians of the liberties and welfare of the
people in quite as great a degree as are the courts." (Missouri, Kansas & Texas Ry. Co. v. May, 194
U.S. 267, 270, 48 L. Ed. 971, 973 (1904)). It is not right, as petitioner in G.R. No. 115543 does in
arguing that we should enforce the public accountability of legislators, that those who took part in
passing the law in question by voting for it in Congress should later thrust to the courts the burden of
reviewing measures in the flush of enactment. This Court does not sit as a third branch of the
legislature, much less exercise a veto power over legislation.
WHEREFORE, the motions for reconsideration are denied with finality and the temporary restraining
order previously issued is hereby lifted.
SO ORDERED.
Narvasa, C.J., Feliciano, Melo, Kapunan, Francisco and Hermosisima, Jr., JJ., concur.
Padilla and Vitug, JJ., maintained their separate opinion.
Regalado, Davide, Jr., Romero, Bellosillo and Puno, JJ, maintained their dissenting opinion.
Panganiban, J., took no part.
FIRST DIVISION
[G.R. No. L-7859. December 22, 1955.]
WALTER LUTZ, as Judicial Administrator of the Intestate Estate of the deceased Antonio Jayme

Ledesma, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. J. ANTONIO ARANETA, as the Collector of Internal


Revenue, Defendant-Appellee.
Ernesto J. Gonzaga for Appellant.
Solicitor General Ambrosio Padilla, First Assistant Solicitor General Guillermo E. Torres and
Solicitor Felicisimo R. Rosete for Appellee.

SYLLABUS

1. CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; TAXATION; POWER OF STATE TO LEVY TAX IN AND SUPPORT OF SUGAR
INDUSTRY. As the protection and promotion of the sugar industry is a matter of public concern the
Legislature may determine within reasonable bounds what is necessary for its protection and expedient for
its promotion. Here, the legislative must be allowed full play, subject only to the test of reasonableness; and
it is not contended that the means provided in section 6 of Commonwealth Act No. 567 bear no relation to
the objective pursued or are oppressive in character. If objective an methods are alike constitutionally valid,
no reason is seen why the state may not levy taxes to raise funds for their prosecution and attainment.
Taxation may be made the implement. Taxation may be made the implement of the states police power
(Great Atl. & Pac. Tea Co. v. Grosjean, 301 U.S. 412, 81 L. Ed. 1193; U.S. v. Butler, 297 U.S. 1, 80 L. Ed.
477; MCulloch v. Maryland, 4 Wheat, 316, 4 L. Ed. 579).
2. ID.; ID.; POWER OF STATE TO SELECT SUBJECT OF TAXATION. It is inherent in the power to tax that a
state be free to select the subjects of taxation, and it has been repeatedly held that "inequalities which
result from a singling out of one particular class for taxation or exemption infringe no constitutional
limitation (Carmicheal v. Southern Coal & Coke Co., 301 U.S. 495, 81 L. Ed. 1245, citing numerous
authorities, at 1251).

DECISION

REYES, J. B. L., J.:

This case was initiated in the Court of First Instance of Negros Occidental to test the legality of the taxes
imposed by Commonwealth Act No. 567, otherwise known as the Sugar Adjustment Act.
Promulgated in 1940, the law in question opens (section 1) with a declaration of emergency, due to the
threat to our industry by the imminent imposition of export taxes upon sugar as provided in the TydingsMcDuffie Act, and the "eventual loss of its preferential position in the United States market" ; wherefore, the
national policy was expressed "to obtain a readjustment of the benefits derived from the sugar industry by
the component elements thereof" and "to stabilize the sugar industry so as to prepare it for the eventuality
of the loss of its preferential position in the United States market and the imposition of the export taxes."
cralaw virtua1aw library

In section 2, Commonwealth Act 567 provides for an increase of the existing tax on the manufacture of
sugar, on a graduated basis, on each picul of sugar manufactures; while section 3 levies on owners or
persons in control of lands devoted to the cultivation of sugar cane and ceded to others for a consideration,
on lease or otherwise
"a tax equivalent to the difference between the money value of the rental or consideration collected and the
amount representing 12 per centum of the assessed value of such land."
cralaw virtua1aw library

According to section 6 of the law


SEC. 6. All collections made under this Act shall accrue to a special fund in the Philippine Treasury, to be
known as the Sugar Adjustment and Stabilization Fund, and shall be paid out only for any or all of the
following purposes or to attain any or all of the following objectives, as may be provided by law.
First, to place the sugar industry in a position to maintain itself despite the gradual loss of the preferential

position of the Philippine sugar in the United States market, and ultimately to insure its continued existence
notwithstanding the loss of that market and the consequent necessity of meeting competition in the free
markets of the world;
Second, to readjust the benefits derived from the sugar industry by all of the component elements thereof
the mill, the landowner, the planter of the sugar cane, and the laborers in the factory and in the field so
that all might continue profitably to engage therein;
Third, to limit the production of sugar to areas more economically suited to the production thereof; and
Fourth, to afford labor employed in the industry a living wage and to improve their living and working
conditions: Provided, That the President of the Philippines may, until the adjournment of the next regular
session of the National Assembly, make the necessary disbursements from the fund herein created (1) for
the establishment and operation of sugar experiment station or stations and the undertaking of researchers
(a)to increase the recoveries of the centrifugal sugar factories with the view of reducing manufacturing
costs, (b) to produce and propagate higher yielding varieties of sugar cane more adaptable to different
distinct conditions in the Philippines, (c) to lower the costs of raising sugar cane, (d) to improve the buying
quality of denatured alcohol from molasses for motor fuel, (e) to determine the possibility of utilizing the
other by-products of the industry, (f) to determine what crop or crops are suitable for rotation and for the
utilization of excess cane lands, and (g) on other problems the solution of which would help rehabilitated
and stabilize the industry, and (2) for the improvement of living and working conditions in sugar mills and
sugar plantations, authorizing him to organize the necessary agency or agencies to take charge of the
expenditure and allocation of said funds to carry out the purpose hereinbefore enumerated, and, likewise,
authorizing the disbursement from the fund herein created of the necessary amount of amounts needed for
salaries, wages, travelling expenses, equipment, and other sundry expenses or said agency or agencies."

cralaw virtua1aw library

Plaintiff, Walter Lutz, in his capacity as Judicial Administrator of the Intestate Estate of Antonio Jayme
Ledesma, seeks to recover from the Collector of Internal Revenue the sum of P14,666.40 paid by the estate
as taxes, under section 3 of the Act, for the crop years 1948-1949 and 1949-1950; alleging that such tax is
unconstitutional and void, being levied for the aid and support of the sugar industry exclusively, which in
plaintiffs opinion is not a public purpose for which a tax may be constitutionally levied. The action having
been dismissed by the Court of First Instance, the plaintiffs appealed the case directly to this Court
(Judiciary Act, section 17).
The basic defect in the plaintiffs position is his assumption that the tax provided for in Commonwealth Act
No. 567 is a pure exercise of the taxing power. Analysis of the Act, and particularly of section 6 (heretofore
quoted in full), will show that the tax is levied with a regulatory purpose, to provide means for the
rehabilitation and stabilization of the threatened sugar industry. In other words, the act is primarily an
exercise of the police power.
This Court can take judicial notice of the fact that sugar production in one of the great industries of our
nation, sugar occupying a leading position among its export products; that it gives employment to
thousands of laborers in fields and factories; that it is a great source of the states wealth, is one of the
important sources of foreign exchange needed by our government, and is thus pivotal in the plans of a
regime committed to a policy of currency stability. Its promotion, protection and advancement, therefore
redounds greatly to the general welfare. Hence it was competent for the legislature to find that the general
welfare demanded that the sugar industry should be stabilized in turn; and in the wide field of its police
power, the law-making body could provide that the distribution of benefits therefrom be readjusted among
its components to enable it to resist the added strain of the increase in taxes that it had to sustain (Sligh v.
Kirkwood, 237 U. S. 52, 59 L. Ed. 835; Johnson v. State ex rel. Marey, 99 Fla. 1311, 128 So 853; Maxcy Inc.
v. Mayo, 103 Fla. 552, 139 So. 121).
As stated in Johnson v. State ex rel. Marey, with reference to the citrus industry in Florida
"The protection of a large industry constituting one of the great sources of the states wealth and therefore
directly or indirectly affecting the welfare of so great a portion of the population of the State is affected to
such an extent by public interests as to be within the police power of the sovereign." (128 So. 857)
Once it is conceded, as it must, that the protection and promotion of the sugar industry is a matter of public
concern, it follows that the Legislature may determine within reasonable bounds what is necessary for its
protection and expedient for its promotion. Here, the legislative discretion must be allowed full play, subject
only to the test of reasonableness; and it is not contended that the means provided in section 6 of the law

(above quoted) bear no relation to the objective pursued or are oppressive in character. If objective and
methods are alike constitutionally valid, no reason is seen why the state may not be levy taxes to raise
funds for their prosecution and attainment. Taxation may be made the implement of the states police power
(Great Atl. & Pac. Tea Co. v. Grosjean, 301 U. S. 412, 81 L. Ed. 1193; U. S. v. Butler, 297 U. S. 1, 80 L. Ed.
477; MCulloch v. Maryland, 4 Wheat. 318, 4 L. Ed. 579).
That the tax to be levied should burden the sugar producers themselves can hardly be a ground of
complaint; indeed, it appears rational that the tax be obtained precisely from those who are to be benefited
from the expenditure of the funds derived from it. At any rate, it is inherent in the power to tax that a state
be free to select the subjects of taxation, and it has been repeatedly held that "inequalities which result from
a singling out of one particular class for taxation, or exemption infringe no constitutional limitation"
(Carmichael v. Southern Coal & Coke Co., 301 U. S. 495, 81 L. Ed. 1245, citing numerous authorities, at p.
1251).
From the point of view we have taken it appears of no moment that the funds raised under the Sugar
Stabilization Act, now in question, should be exclusively spent in aid of the sugar industry, since it is that
very enterprise that is being protected. It may be that other industries are also in need of similar protection;
but the legislature is not required by the Constitution to adhere to a policy of "all or none." As ruled in
Minnesota ex rel. Pearson v. Probate Court, 309 U. S. 270, 84 L. Ed. 744, "if the law presumably hits the evil
where it is most felt, it is not to be overthrown because there are other instances to which it might have
been applied;" and that the legislative authority, exerted within its proper field, need not embrace all the
evils within its reach" (N. L. R. B. v. Jones & Laughlin Steel Corp. 301 U. S. 1, 81 L. Ed. 893).
Even from the standpoint that the Act is a pure tax measure, it cannot be said that the devotion of tax
money to experimental stations to seek increase of efficiency in sugar production, utilization of by- products
and solution of allied problems, as well as to the improvement of living and working conditions in sugar mills
or plantations, without any part of such money being channeled directly to private persons, constitutes
expenditure of tax money for private purposes, (compare Everson v. Board of Education, 91 L. Ed. 472, 168
ALR 1392, 1400).
The decision appealed from is affirmed, with costs against appellant. So ordered.
Paras, C.J., Bengzon, Padilla, Reyes, A., Jugo, Bautista Angelo, Labrador and Concepcion, JJ., concur.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. L-4817

May 26, 1954

SILVESTER M. PUNSALAN, ET AL., plaintiffs-appellants,


vs.
THE MUNICIPAL BOARD OF THE CITY OF MANILA, ET AL., defendants-appellants.
Calanog and Alafriz for plaintiffs-appellants.
City Fiscal Eugenio Angeles and Assistant Fiscal Eulogio S. Serreno for defendants-appellants.
REYES, J.:
This suit was commenced in the Court of First Instance of Manila by two lawyers, a medical
practitioner, a public accountant, a dental surgeon and a pharmacist, purportedly "in their own behalf
and in behalf of other professionals practising in the City of Manila who may desire to join it." Object
of the suit is the annulment of Ordinance No. 3398 of the City of Manila together with the provision of

the Manila charter authorizing it and the refund of taxes collected under the ordinance but paid under
protest.
The ordinance in question, which was approved by the municipal board of the City of Manila on July
25, 1950, imposes a municipal occupation tax on persons exercising various professions in the city
and penalizes non-payment of the tax "by a fine of not more than two hundred pesos or by
imprisonment of not more than six months, or by both such fine and imprisonment in the discretion of
the court." Among the professions taxed were those to which plaintiffs belong. The ordinance was
enacted pursuant to paragraph (1) of section 18 of the Revised Charter of the City of Manila (as
amended by Republic Act No. 409), which empowers the Municipal Board of said city to impose a
municipal occupation tax, not to exceed P50 per annum, on persons engaged in the various
professions above referred to.
Having already paid their occupation tax under section 201 of the National Internal Revenue Code,
plaintiffs, upon being required to pay the additional tax prescribed in the ordinance, paid the same
under protest and then brought the present suit for the purpose already stated. The lower court
upheld the validity of the provision of law authorizing the enactment of the ordinance but declared
the ordinance itself illegal and void on the ground that the penalty there in provided for non-payment
of the tax was not legally authorized. From this decision both parties appealed to this Court, and the
only question they have presented for our determination is whether this ruling is correct or not, for
though the decision is silent on the refund of taxes paid plaintiffs make no assignment of error on
this point.
To begin with defendants' appeal, we find that the lower court was in error in saying that the
imposition of the penalty provided for in the ordinance was without the authority of law. The last
paragraph (kk) of the very section that authorizes the enactment of this tax ordinance (section 18 of
the Manila Charter) in express terms also empowers the Municipal Board "to fix penalties for the
violation of ordinances which shall not exceed to(sic) two hundred pesos fine or six months"
imprisonment, or both such fine and imprisonment, for a single offense." Hence, the pronouncement
below that the ordinance in question is illegal and void because it imposes a penalty not authorized
by law is clearly without basis.
As to plaintiffs' appeal, the contention in substance is that this ordinance and the law authorizing it
constitute class legislation, are unjust and oppressive, and authorize what amounts to double
taxation.
In raising the hue and cry of "class legislation", the burden of plaintiffs' complaint is not that the
professions to which they respectively belong have been singled out for the imposition of this
municipal occupation tax; and in any event, the Legislature may, in its discretion, select what
occupations shall be taxed, and in the exercise of that discretion it may tax all, or it may select for
taxation certain classes and leave the others untaxed. (Cooley on Taxation, Vol. 4, 4th ed., pp. 33933395.) Plaintiffs' complaint is that while the law has authorized the City of Manila to impose the said
tax, it has withheld that authority from other chartered cities, not to mention municipalities. We do not
think it is for the courts to judge what particular cities or municipalities should be empowered to
impose occupation taxes in addition to those imposed by the National Government. That matter is
peculiarly within the domain of the political departments and the courts would do well not to
encroach upon it. Moreover, as the seat of the National Government and with a population and
volume of trade many times that of any other Philippine city or municipality, Manila, no doubt, offers
a more lucrative field for the practice of the professions, so that it is but fair that the professionals in
Manila be made to pay a higher occupation tax than their brethren in the provinces.

Plaintiffs brand the ordinance unjust and oppressive because they say that it creates discrimination
within a class in that while professionals with offices in Manila have to pay the tax, outsiders who
have no offices in the city but practice their profession therein are not subject to the tax. Plaintiffs
make a distinction that is not found in the ordinance. The ordinance imposes the tax upon every
person "exercising" or "pursuing" in the City of Manila naturally any one of the occupations
named, but does not say that such person must have his office in Manila. What constitutes exercise
or pursuit of a profession in the city is a matter of judicial determination. The argument against
double taxation may not be invoked where one tax is imposed by the state and the other is imposed
by the city (1 Cooley on Taxation, 4th ed., p. 492), it being widely recognized that there is nothing
inherently obnoxious in the requirement that license fees or taxes be exacted with respect to the
same occupation, calling or activity by both the state and the political subdivisions thereof. (51 Am.
Jur., 341.)
In view of the foregoing, the judgment appealed from is reversed in so far as it declares Ordinance
No. 3398 of the City of Manila illegal and void and affirmed in so far as it holds the validity of the
provision of the Manila charter authorizing it. With costs against plaintiffs-appellants.
Pablo, Bengzon, Montemayor, Jugo, Bautista Angelo, Labrador, and Concepcion, JJ., concur.

Separate Opinions
PARAS, C.J., dissenting:
I am constrained to dissent from the decision of the majority upon the ground that the Municipal
Board of Manila cannot outlaw what Congress of the Philippines has already authorized. The
plaintiffs-appellants two lawyers, a physician, an accountant, a dentist and a pharmacist had
already paid the occupation tax under section 201 of the National Internal Revenue Code and are
thereby duly licensed to practice their respective professions throughout the Philippines; and yet
they had been required to pay another occupation tax under Ordinance No. 3398 for practising in the
City of Manila. This is a glaring example of contradiction the license granted by the National
Government is in effect withdrawn by the City in case of non-payment of the tax under the
ordinance. I fit be argued that the national occupation tax is collected to allow the professional
residing in Manila to pursue his calling in other places in the Philippines, it should then be exacted
only from professionals practising simultaneously in and outside of Manila. At any rate, we are
confronted with the following situation: Whereas the professionals elsewhere pay only one
occupation tax, in the City of Manila they have to pay two, although all are on equal footing insofar
as opportunities for earning money out of their pursuits are concerned. The statement that practice
in Manila is more lucrative than in the provinces, may be true perhaps with reference only to a
limited few, but certainly not to the general mass of practitioners in any field. Again, provincial
residents who have occasional or isolated practice in Manila may have to pay the city tax. This
obvious discrimination or lack of uniformity cannot be brushed aside or justified by any trite
pronouncement that double taxation is legitimate or that legislation may validly affect certain classes.
My position is that a professional who has paid the occupation tax under the National Internal
Revenue Code should be allowed to practice in Manila even without paying the similar tax imposed
by Ordinance No. 3398. The City cannot give what said professional already has. I would not say
that this Ordinance, enacted by the Municipal Board pursuant to paragraph 1 of section 18 of the
Revised Charter of Manila, as amended by Republic Act No. 409, empowering the Board to impose
a municipal occupation tax not to exceed P50 per annum, is invalid; but that only one tax, either

under the Internal Revenue Code or under Ordinance No. 3398, should be imposed upon a
practitioner in Manila.