Bureau of Customs vs. Sherman G.R. No.

190487 April 13, 2011 29, 2005 Carpo-Morales PETITIONER: Bureau of Customs RESPONDENT: Peter Sherman, Michael Whelan, Teodoro Lingan, Atty. Ofelia Cajigal, and the Court of Tax Appeals SUMMARY: The Bureau of Customs filed an MR against the withdrawal of information on MSPI regarding the violation of the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines for not paying import taxes but the MR was dismissed by the Court of Tax Appeals (CTA). The Bureau of Customs then filed for certiorari but the SC ruled for dismissal since (1) the State Prosecutor did not file an MR, and (2) it should be the OSG who should represent the Government of the Philippines. FACTS: Mark Sensing Philippines, Inc. (MSPI) caused the importation of 255, 870,000 pieces of finished bet slips and 205, 200 rolls of finished thermal papers from June 2005 to January 2007. MSPI facilitated the release of the shipment from the Clark Special Economic Zone (CSEZ), where it was brought, to the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) for its lotto operations in Luzon. MSPI did not pay duties or taxes, however, prompting the Bureau of Customs (petitioner) to file, under its Run After The Smugglers (RATS) Program, a criminal complaint before the Department of Justice against herein respondents MSPI Chairman Peter Sherman, Managing Director Michael Whelan, Country Manager Atty. Ofelia B. Cajigal and Finance Manager and Corporate Secretary Teodoro B. Lingan, along with Erick B. Ariarte and Ricardo J. Ebuna and Eugenio Pasco, licensed customs broker who acted as agents of MSPI, for violation of Section 3601 vis-à-vis Sections 2530 (f) and (l) 5 and 101 (f) of the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines, as amended and Republic Act No. 7916. State Prosecutor Rohaira Lao-Tamano, by Resolution of March 25, 2008, found probable cause against respondents and accordingly recommended the filing of Information against them. But during the pendency of the information filed before the Court of Tax Appeals (CTA), the respondents filed a petition for review before the Secretary of Justice, which the Secretary of Justice granted. The Secretary of Justice reversed the State Prosecutor’s Resolution and accordingly directed the withdrawal of the Information. Petitioner filed an MR but was denied by Resolution of April 29, 2009. Petitioner then filed for certiorari before the CTA. In the meantime, Prosecutor Lao-Tamano filed before the CTA a Motion to Withdraw Information with Leave of Court to which petitioner filed an Opposition. Respondents, on their part, moved for the dismissal of the Information. On September 3, 2009, the CTA granted the withdrawal of, and accordingly dismissed the Information. The petitioner filed another MR on September 22 (19 days after the dismissal), it was only “Noted Without Action” by the CTA. On October 14 the CTA issued a Resolution stating that the CTA rendered Entry of Judgment the following day after the petitioner filed MR because the State Prosecutor Rohaira Lao-Tamano of the DOJ did not file an MR for the September R resolution. Hence this petition for certiorari assailing the October 14 Resolution of the CTA.

All criminal actions commenced by complaint or information are prosecuted under the direction and control of public prosecutors . investigation. like petitioner. is limited to that of a witness. 2.ISSUE: Should this petition for certiorari prosper? HELD: NO. the present petition fails. as petitioner’s motion for reconsideration of the challenged CTA Resolution did not bear the imprimatur of the public prosecutor to which the control of the prosecution of the case belongs. Petitioner is not represented by the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) in instituting the present petition. . its agencies and instrumentalities and its officials and agents in any litigation. The State Prosecutor did not file an MR. proceeding. or matter requiring the services of lawyers. which contravenes established doctrine that “the OSG shall represent the Government of the Philippines. The participation in the case of a private complainant. both in the criminal and civil aspect of the case. This petition is dismissed for the following reasons: 1.” In fine.

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