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RECENT DECISIONS

Civil Law -

When plaintiff's complaint is predicated on an alleged


breach of contract ojcarriaqe, moral damages cannot
be recovered

CACHERO

v. MANILA
G.R. No. L-8721,

YELLOW

TAXICAB

CO.

May 23, 1957.

It is unquestionable that loss or injury occasioned by grief, pain, suffering,


worry, or mental anguish can sometimes be as real as actual physical injury.
In recognition of this fact, the New Civil Code expressly provides for instances
when moral damages may be recovered. 1
Plaintiff, an attorney, while riding a Manila Yellow taxicab driven by
Gregorio Mira Abinion, was thrown from the cab when the taxicab bumped
a Meralco post. The cab was badly smashed and the plaintiff suffered physical
Failing to reach an amicable settlement over the
injuries, slight in nature.
damages sustained, plaintiff brought this action against the defendant company,
seeking f'72,050.20 for damages, expenses, plus attorney's fees and costs.
The
lower court rendered judgment for plaintiff, sentencing defendant to pay the
former 1"700 for medicine and doctor's fees, P3,200 for professional fees and
P2,000 for moral damages.
Both parties appealed.
As to the question of moral damages, the Supreme Court, considering the
nature of the action brought by plaintiff, held that the lower court erred in
awarding such damages.
Inasmuch as plaintiff's action was predicated on an
alleged breach of contract of carriage, i.e., the failure of the defendant to
bring him "safely and without mishaps" to his destination, and the chaffeur
of defendant's taxicab used when the injuries were sustained had not even been
made a party defendant in the case, there was no ground on which to base
an award for moral damages.
Of the cases enumerated in Article 2219 2, the Court concluded that only
the first two may have any bearing on the case. However, with regard to the
first, the defendant had not committed in connection with this case "any criminal offense resulting in physical injuries" since the one who committed the
1 .Art.. 2219 and 2220 provide the instances when moral damages may be recovered.
Under
the old Civil Code. it was held that there was no specific provision
providing for the granting
of damage.
for pain and suffering;
Marcelo v. Velasco, 11 Phil. 287 (1908); Aill'arra v.
Sandeja s, 2~ Phil. 284 (1910.
However, ever since the case of Lillius v. Manila Railroad.
59 Phil. 758 (1934), where damages of P10,OOO were awarded to plaintiff'.
wife, "a young and
beautiful society woman" for a permanent
deformity on her face and left leg, and P5.000 to
plaintiff'.
four-year-old daughter for a permanent deformity on her face and legs, our Supreme
Court has ruled that moral damages can be awarded in certain cases.
2 Art. 2219,
analogous casea:
(1)
(2)
(3)
(4)
(5)
(6)
(7)
(8)
(9)
(10)

Civil Code provides:

"Moral

damages

may be recovered

in the

followinll' and

A criminal offense resulting


in physical injuries;
QURsi-delicts causing physical injuries;
Seduction, abduction, rape. or other lascivious acts;
Adultery or concubinage;
Illegal or arbitrary
detention or arrest;
Illegal search;
Libel, slander or any otber form of defamation;
Malicious prosecution;
Acts mentioned In Article 309;
Acts and actions referred to in Articles 21, 26, 28, 29, 30, 82, S4 and 35.

x x x x."

424

PHILIPPINE

LAW JOURNAL

[VOL. 32

offense against plaintiff was the driver Mata.3


Neither could the plaintiff's
action fall under the second paragraph of Article 2219, since the complaint
is not based either on a "quasi-delict causing physical injuries", considering
the fact that the term "quasi-delict" as used in the New Civil Code refers only
to those obligations which do not grise from law, contracts, quasi-contract, or
criminal offenses. 4
The Court distinguished the cases of Castro v. Acro Taxicab Co., 5 Lilliu8
et al v. Manila Railroad 6 and others, wherein moral damages were awarded
to the plaintiff, as inapplicable to the case at bar because "said decisions were
rendered before the effectivity of the New Civil Code (August 30, 1950) and
for the further reason that the complaints filed therein were based on different
ca uses of action."
Although it would seem that the codifiers of the new Code intended to be
liberal in the recovery of moral damages, it is now clear that moral damages
may only be awarded in those cases expressly provided for.
It should be
noted that prior to the effectivity of the new Code, moral damages had been
granted in cases where the action was based not on a tort or quasi-delict, but
on a breach of a carrier's contract. 7 In one case, 8 the Court seemed to regard
the fact that the vehicle wherein the injuries were received WItS for public
use as an important factor.
In that case the Court stated:
"x x x x x Another considerat ion is the fset t:lllt the respondent is a public utility operator
whose commitment
is to serve the public carefully.
prudently
and diligently
80 that
the I,hssengers may be brought by his men with safety to their place of designation.
In assuming his public trust he vouches that he would only employ good and reliable
equipment
and competent
personnel, and in accepting passengers, he agrees that he
will bring them safely to the place of destination.
.. There i8 need of irnpoalng' a stern
and commensurate indemnity to the victim to serve as an exemplary measure and as a
warning
to all similarly
situated to put a stop to the rampant
and seemingly ever
increasing
accidents and mishaps caused by a !1agrant disTegard of traffic
laws and
regulations. "

In the instant case, the fact that the defendant company was a public
utility operator was regarded as immaterial,
Under the New Civil Code,
therefore, the general rule would seem to be that when the cause of action
is based on an alleged breach of contract of carriage, moral damages cannot
be awarded. However, two exceptions should be noted: moral damages may be
awarded in casa of fraudulent act or bad faith in a breach of contract 9 and
in case of the death of a passenger caused by the breach of contract of carriage. 10

Teodoro L. Regala
3 Although
(a) owners and managers
of an establishment
or enterprise
are responsible
for damages caused by their employees in the service of the branches
in which the latter
are employed or on occasion of their functions;
(b) employers are likewise liable for damages
caused by their employees and household helpers acting within the scope of their assigned
task (Art.
2180. R.A. 886); and (c) employers and corporations
engaged
in any kind of
industry are subsidiary civilly liable for fe lon ies committed by their employees in the discharge
of their duties (Art. 103. R.P.C.).
the Court emphasized that plaintiff
herein did not maintain
the present action under any of these provisions and against all persons who might be liable
for the damages caused. but as a result of an admitted breach of contract of carriage against
defendant employer.
Therefore. the action does not come within par, 1 of Art. 2219.
4 Report of the Code Commission, pP. 161-2.
5 46 O.G.. 5. 2023 (1948).
6 59 Phil. 768 (19341.
7 Moral damages were allowed in suits against a common carrier by an injured passenger
or bv the heirs of a deceased passenger in the following cases: Son v. Cebu Autobus, G.R. No.
L-6155, April 80, 1954: San Pedro Bus Line v. Navarro,
G.R. No. L-6291. April 29. 1954:
Alcantara
v. Surro, 49 O.G., 7, 2769 (1953); San Jose v. del Mundo. G.R. No. L-3450, April
28, 1952; Castro v. Acro Taxicab Co., supra, note 5.
8 Laysa v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. L-4487, January 29. 1952.
9 Art. 2220. Rep. Act 386.
10 Under Art. 2206. par. 3. of the Civil Code. the spouse, legitimate and illegitimate descendants and ascendants of the deceased may demand moral damages for mental anguish by reason
of the death of the deceased as a result of a crime or quasi-delict.
According to Art. 1764. Art.
2206 also applies in the case of the death of a passenger caused by the breach of contract of
carriage.

RECENT

1957]

Civil Law -

425

DECISIONS

A person deprived of possession through forcible entry


may secure a writ of preliminary mandatory injunction
to restore him in his possession.
et al v. QUE RUBIN

TORRE,

G.R. No. L-9519, April

and SATURNINA
15, 1957.

Under the law, every possessor has a right to be respected in his possession and various remedies are granted a possessor who ha-s been unlawfully
deprived thereof, the reason being that "spoliation is a positive attempt against
public order and must instantly be suppressed without regard to the title held
by the injured party, in order to avoid disturbances in the community and
prevent anyone from taking the a-dministration of justice into his own hands".1
The actions established by the law and the Rules of Court for the restitution of possession are (1) forcible entry and detainer; (2) the plenary action
to recover possession, or accion publiciana; and (3)' action to recover possession based on ownership, or the accion reinvindicatoria.
Article 5392 of the New Civil Code grants the possessor deprived of his
possession a- new remedy which he may ask from the competent court, namely,
the writ of preliminary mandatory injunction>, called for, according to the
Code Commission, "by the fact that there are at present prolonged litigations
between the owner and the usurper, and the former is frequently deprived of
his possession even when he has an immediate right thereto."4
This new remedy was availed of in the instant case. The complaina-nt,
Saturnina Uy Bien Piao, alleged that she was the owner of a parcel of land;
that she had been placed in actual and matertal possession of the land by the
sheriff after the lot had been adjudicated to her in a previous case; that the
defendants, the Torres, had forcibly entered the land and deprived her of the
possession; and that despite repeated demands ma-de by her, the defendants
refused to vacate tne property. In her complaint she asked for the issuance
of a writ of preliminary mandatory injunction to restore her in her possession
and to restrain the defendants, and she offered to file a bond. Respondent
Judge Querubin of the CFI of Capiz granted the petition. A motion for reconsideration of sa-id order having been denied, the present petition for writ of
certiorari was filed to declare such order null and void.
In denying the
effects of Art. 539.
Code had been that
where the party to
sion of the property

petition, the Supreme Court had occasion to explain the


Although the rule before the effectivity of the New Civil
it was improper to issue a preliminary writ of injunction
be enjoined had already taken complete material possesinvolveds, under the theory that the effect of the writ

1 Roxas v. Mijares, 9 Phil. 252, 258 (1907).


2 Art. 539, par. 2, Rep. Act 286 stntes: "A possessor deprived of his possession through
forcible entry may within 10 days from the filing of the complaint present a motion to secure
from the competent court, in the action for forcible entry, a writ of preliminary
mandatory
injunction to restore him in bis possession.
The Court shall decide the motion within thirty
(30) days from the filing thereof."
This also applies to appeals in ejectment cases, where the lessee's appeal is frivolous or
dilatory or the lessor's appeal is prima facie meritorious.
Art. i674, Rep. Act 386.
3 A mandatory injunction is not expressly provided for in the Rules of Court but jurisdiction to issue it has been upheld in clear cases.
Eusebio v. Aguaa, 47 Phil. 567 (1925);
Escario v. Regis. 31 Phil. 618 (1915); Manila Electric Co. v. Del Rosario, 22 Phil. 433 (1912).
4 Report of the Code Commission, p. 98.
5 In Devesa v. Arbes. 13 Phil. 273 (1909), the Supreme Court ruled that the writ
of
preliminary injunction could not be used as a substitute for an action of forcible entry and
detainer or for the recovery of possession.
However, where the owner, who is in possession,
sought protection from the wrongful acts of a mere intruder, the writ of injunction was
properly issued to protect the owner from illegal acts of repeated trespass and intrusion by a

stranger, such as when a person who has no right enters the property from time to time
to cut wood or carry

off other

products.

Rustia

v. Franco,

41 Phil.

280 (1920>.

----

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would be to deprive the actual possessor of his material and actual possession
and place the plaintiff in possession, all in violation of due process of law6,
the Court stated thas "the law has now been changed and under Art. 539 of
the New Civil Code, a writ of preliminary mandatory injunction is now available to the plaintiff during the pendency of his action to recover possession."
Inasmuch as the trial court had found that Saturnina was actually placed
in possession of the land in question by the sheriff, in execution of a final
judgment in her favor; that the petitioners were apprised of her action of
the sheriff, knew that Saturnina was placed in material possession, and yet
they apparently entered the land by force and intimidation and deprived SIrturnina of the possession given to her by the sheriff, it is clear that the case
comes within the purview of Art. 539, authorizing the issuance of a writ of
preliminary mandatory injunction, as was done by respondent Judge Querubin.

Teodoro L. Reaala.
6 The Court mentioned further reasons why the writ had not been issued previously when
the right of possession Wa3 in issue: that a writ of injunction
should not he used to take
away property from one and give it to another;
and that the writ of preliminary
injunction
operates only upon unperformed and unexecuted acts to prevent a threatened but not existent
injury. or to prevent the defendant
from committing
further
acts of dispossession against
the plaintiff.

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Criminal Procedure

Prosecution of civil actions


DYOGI v. YATCO et al.
G.R. No. L-9623, Jan.

22, 1957

After a criminal action has been commenced a civil action arising from
the same offense shall be suspended until final judgment in the criminal proceeding has been rendered.! This rule, however, has been impliedly modified
and in fact liberalized by certain provisions of the Civil Code2 to the effect
that in certain cases, a civil action for damages separate and distinct from
the criminal action may be brought by the injured party and shall proceed
independently of the criminal prosecution. The former ruling that it was not
deemed feasible to maintain an independent civil action (in all cases)3 has
been overruled. Thus, the Civil Code allows a person, upon whose limbs injuries
had been inflicted 'by the tortious conduct of another, to maintain a separate
civil action for damages.s
In the present case the court had occasion to apply the New Civil Code
provisions cited in relation to section 1 Plrr. c of Rule 107. In that case, Teresita Dyogi was run over and mortally injured by an automobile driven by one
Ligayu. An information for homicide was filed against the driver. Subsequently
the husband and children of the deceased brought a civil action for damages
against the owner of the car and the driver. Against the driver, for negligence.
Upon objection of defendants, this civil action was dismissed on the ground
that the cause of action arose out of a criminal case which was still pending
and which is not among those provided for in Art. 33 of the New Civil Code.
Hence petitioner instituted the action for mandamus.
The Supreme Court in allowing the mandamus

stated:

This rule however, (Rule 107 sec. 1 par. c) has been partially amended by Art. 33
of the New Civil Code providing that a civil action for damages brought by the injured
party in cases of defamation,
fraud and physical injuries shall proceed independently
of the criminal prosecution.
1
2
3
4

-Rules of Court, Rule 107, sec. 1 par. c


Arts. 32-33
Francisco v, Onrubia, 46 Phil. 327 (1924)
Art . 2176-2177

1957]

RECENT

427

DECISIONS

The Court cited the case of Carandang v. Valentonf> which had construed
the term "physical injuries" in Art. 33 to include bodily injuries causing death.
The Supreme Court stated

further:

Petitioners
as paintiffs
in the court below explained that their action for damages
rested on culpa aquiliana. defendant's liability being independent from the criminal offen .
of reckless negligence.
Indeed. the complaint's allegations quoted in respondent's
memorandum sufficiently
describe a demand for damages caused by defendant's
quaai-delict,
negHgen-.?, or tortious conduct.
"Joint tort-feaeors",
"negligence" were the words used.
Such being the situation,
in line with art.icle 2177. the demand must be considered
separate
and apart from the criminal
proceeding.
not subordinate
to the outcome of
the latter.
The reason is evident: whatever the result of such proceeding. it can not
affect the civil action. the course of which may not consequently be suspended.

The
are not
witness
ceedings

reason most often given for this doctrine is that the two proceedings
between the same parties. Different rules as to the competency of
and the weight of evidence necessary to the findings in the two proalways exist.s

Under the article 2177, acquittal from an accusation of criminal negligt:;nce whether on reasonable doubt 01' not, shall not be a bar to a subsequent
ci v n action, not for civil liability arising from criminal negligence, but for
damages due to a quasi-delict 01' culpa-aquiliama."

Fe M. Calanog
5 51 O.G. 2878. (1955)
6 -Worcester v. Ocampo 22 Phil. 42 (1921)
7 REPORT OF THE CODE COMMISSION.

p.

162

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Criminal Law -

Robbery in band committed in different houses of


a given locality constitutes several crimes.
PEOPLE v. ENGUERO, et aI.

G.R. Nos. L-8922, L-8923, L-8924, February

28, 1957

Where the offense! is not one of mav.L prohibita2 it must be no other than
one af mala in se3 where the criminal intents is a necessary ingredient of the
felony.
Hence, where the intention to commit a crime is only one, a unity, and
no series of acts is made for the accomplishment of different purposes, but
only one of which is consummated, there is only one crime.s Arguing a sensu
contrariQ, where the criminal intentions and the appropriations
are several,
there must be as many crimes as there are acts committed. This is the implication of the case at hand.
1 "Acts and omissions punishable by law are felonies (delitos).
"Felonies
are committed
not only by means of deceit
(dolo) but also by meana of
(culpa).
"There is deceit when the act is performed with deliberate intent; and there is fault when
the wrongful
act results from imprudence.
negligence.
lack of foresight.
or lack of skill."
Revised Penal Code. Art. 3.
2 "The law which the defendant
violated is a statutory
provision and the intent with
which he violated it is immaterial...
The rule is that in acts mala in Be there must be a
criminal intent. but in those mala prohibita it i. sufficient
if the prohibited act Was intentionally done."
People v. Bayona, 61 Phil. 181, 184185 (1935).
For earlier holdings on
this matter see also United States v. Go Chico, 14 Phil. 128 (1909); United State.
v. Siy
Cong Bieng and Co Congo 30 Phil. 577 (1915).
8 "Actus non fac::it ream nisi mens (lit rea the act itself does not make a man guilty
unless his intention were so."
United States V. Ah Chong. 15 Phil. 488. 499 (1910).
See
also People V. Beronilla, et al., G.R. No. L-4445. February 28. 1955.
4 United States V. Catotlco, 18 Phil. 504, 507 (1911).
"There can be no crime when the
criminal mind is wanting."
People v, Pacana, 47 Phil. 48, 55 (1924).
5 People v. De Leon. 49 Phil. 48. 55 (1924).
fault

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The defendant Enguero, armed with a pistol, together with threeS others
who are respectively armed with a bolo, a native knife (balisong), and a piece
of hardwood'l proceeded from a: designated meeting place to a barrio. The
foursome committed robberys with intimidation of personas in a store. They
then went to another house of about fourteen meters distance from the first
house and consummated the same offense. From this last place they proceeded
to a third house of about fifty-four meters far from the second house robbed.
The trial court convicted the accused of three crimes of robbery in band.
The Supreme Court affirmed the decision because the acts committed in the
three houses were distinct and separate from each other notwithstanding
the
fact that such acts were done within the same locality.

Samuel T. Banez
Rosario Gonzalez
6 There is a band "where more than three armed malefactors
take part in the commission
of robbery ... "
Revised Penal Code, Art. 296.
7 ...
where a robbery is committed by a band. some of whom are armed with revolvers.
some with bolos, and others with club. (garrote.),
the clubs are arm. which, in the hands of
the members of such band, may be as dangerous to the life of one who would resist tne
depredations of the band as are revolvers or bolos, and therefore, those carrying them arc
armed member-s of the band in the sense in which that term is used in the code in defiuing
a cuadrilla or armed band."
United States v. De 18 Cruz, 12 Phil. 87, 89 (1908).
8 "ART. 293. Who are guilty of robbery.
Any person who, with intent to gain, shall
take nny personal property belonging to another. by means of violence against or intimidation
of any person. or using force upon anything. shall be guilty of robbery."
Revised Penal Code.
9 Article 295 of the Revised Penal Code provides for the imposition of the maximum
period of the proper penalty where the robbery with intimidation of person is committed by,
among others. a band while the lender of the band suffers the penalty next higher in d"grec
depending on the nature and degree of the robbery as defined in Article 294 of the same
Code.
In the case under consideration,
the defendants were convicted under parngraph 5
of the last cited article where the penalty ranges from prision correccional in its maximum
period to prlsien mayor in its medium period.
Since the crimes committed were accomplished
by 8 band, the maximum penalty of prfsion mayor in its medium period should be imposed.
It must be noted that paragraph
& applies when one who with the intent
of profiting
thereby shall take pcssession of the personality of another, with violence or intimidation
or
the person, is guilty of the e rime of robbery, and if neither death, violation, nor mutilations
of the person robbed occurs. or if no more force was used than was necessary for the per...
petration of the crime, the guilty party would be guilty under paragraph
5. article 294.
See
United Slates v. Mack, 4 Phil. 185, 186 (1905); United States v. Pablo, 4 Phil. 215 (1905).

---000--

Against tohom. Criminal Actions are Brought;


Fiscal's Discretion.
PEOPLE v. BINSOL et al.

Criminal Procedure -

G.R. No. L-8346, January

22, 1957

The Rules of Court provides that in the prosecution of offenses, the complamt or information
shall be against all persons who appear responsible
therefor}
Said provision was taken from Act No. 2709, section 1 of which
provides: "Every prosecution for a crime shall be in the name of the United
Sta:tes against all persons who appear responsible therefor, except in the cases
determined in section two of this Act."
Is section 1, Rule 106 mandatory

or merely directory?

The case under review is clearly illustrative of the provision of the Rule
involved. In this case, Binsol and his companions were charged with kidnapping in the Court of First Instance of Cavite, of Dr. Severo Siasoco. At the
trial, one Isabelo Jaciel testified as witness for the prosecution. From his
testimony as considered by the trial court, Jaciel took active pa:rt in the commission of the crime. The accused were found guilty as charged and were
sentenced accordingly.
1 Rule 106, sec. 1

1957]

RECENT

429

DECISIONS

Upon appeal the defense contended that according to section 1 of Rule 106,
when an offense is committed by more than one person, all those who according to the evidence appear to be responsible therefor must be included in the
information. It is contended that the lower court erred in allowing said witness .Iaciel to testify as witness for the prosecution; for the proper procedure
would have been to include him in the information as one of the accused and
if he appears not to be guilty, he may be discharged by motion of the fiscal,
to be utilized as witness for the prosecution.2
The issue is whether it is mandatory on the part
all those who appear to be responsible therefor.

of the fiscal to include

The Supreme Court held:


It is true that our Rules of Court require that all persons who have partieipated
in
the commission of a crime should be included in the complaint or information and can
only be discharged to be used as a witness by the government when in the judgment of
the court the conditions prescribed in section 9. Rule 115 are present;3 but the fact that
a person has not been previously charged or included in the information even if he ap.
pears to have taken part in the commission of the crime does not and cannot prevent the
governmerrt prosecutor from utilizinll" him as a witness if he believes that he i8 the best
wit ness that can testify as to the commission of the crime .. There is nothing either in
the law or in the rules that would require him to first include him in the information
and then later secure his discharge before he could preoent him as a government witness ...

It must be noted, however that the lower court allowed the prosecutor to
include Jaciel as a co-accused although his testimony was allowed to stand.
From the dispositive portion of the decision, can we therefore infer that
the fiscal has the discretion to include or not all persons who appear to bQ
responsible for the commission of the crime?
A distinction must be made as to the meaning of "discretion of the fiscal".
The fiscal's exercise of discretion lies in determining whether the evidence
submitted is sufficient to justify a reasonable belief that a person has committed an offense.s The law therefore makes it mandatory for the fiscal to
file charges against those who according to the evidence are responsible for
an offense.
What the ruling in the case of People v. Binsol wants to impart to us is
that there is nothing in the law which prohibits the fiscal from taking as witness one who appears to be responsible for an offense and later prosecute him
also for such offense allowing his testimony to stand. The fiscal is not duty
bound to include first one who appears to be responsible for an offense in a
complaint or information and then secure his discharge in order to utilize him
as a witness. But the fiscal by all means has a legal duty to file charges
against whomsoever evidence may show to be responsible for an offense even
if such person was first utilized as a witness. This mandatory nature of the
law is demanded by a sound public policy which would deprive prosecuting
officers of the use of their discretion in order that they may not shield or
favor friend, proteges and favorites.s A perusal of Act 2709 discloses the legislative intent to require that all persons who appear to be responsible for
an offense should be included in the information. The use of the word "shall"
and of the phrase "except in the cases determined" shows that section 1 is
mandatory, and not directory merely.
In the case of United States v. Enriquez7 Justices

Avanceiia, Araullo

and

2 Rules of Court, sec. 9, Rule 115


3 "When two or more persons art: charged with the commission of a certain offense
the
competent court, at any time before they have entered upon their defense. may direct an'y of
them to be discharged with the latter's consent that he may be a witness for the government
when the judgment of the court: eo."
4 Guiao v. Figueroa, G.R. No. L-6481, May 17. 1954.
Guiao v. Figueroa. supra
6 See also People v. Castaneda v. Fernandez. 63 Phil. 484. (1936)
7 40 Phil. 603. (1919)

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[VOL. 32

Malcom in their dissent said that the inclusion of all accomplices known to
the fiscal at the time of the filing of the information was necessary because
a discharged witness was more free to testify than one who had not been
charged. Nevertheless, the law does not require a person to be discharged first
as an accused and then used as g witness.
As Justice Carson said: "It is very clear that the statute (referring to
the then Act 2709) does not relieve the prosecuting officer of the duty to exercise his sound discretion in determining what persons 'appear' to have been or
to be responsible for the commission of crimes in such cases, though it imposes
upon him the duty to include the names of all persons in his 'information'
who appear to have been guilty participants in the crime charged therein ... "

Fe M. Calanou
---000--

Contitutional

Law -

International

ICHONG,

Law -

Art.:
Police Piwer;
equal protection of the
laws; due process of law.

et al. v. HERNANDEZ,

et al.

G.R. No. L-7995, May 31, 1957


Ichong, et al. brought this action for declaratory relief alleging the unconstitutionality
of Republic Act No. 1180.1 Petitioner's principal grounds of
attack are that: (1) said Act denies to alien residents the equal protection of
the lawst and due process of law;3 (2) the subject of the law is not expressed
in the title thereofj+ (3) the Isw violates international and treaty obligations
of the Republic of the Philippines. The important provisions of the disputed
law are: (1) a prohibition against persons, not citizens of the Philippines, and
against associations, partnerships, or corporations the capital of which are not
wholly owned by citizens of the Philippines, from engaging directly or indirectly in the retail trade;5 (2) an exception from the above prohibition in
favor of aliens actually engaged in said business on May 15, 1954, who are
allowed to continue to engage therein, unless their licenses are forfeited in
accordance with the law, until their death or voluntary retirement in case of
natural persons, and for ten years after the approval of the Act or until the
expiration of term in ease of juridical personsjv (3) an exception therefrom
in favor of citizens and juridical entities of the United States ;? (4) a provision allowing the heirs of aliens now engaged in the retail business who die,
to continue such business for a period of six months for purposes of liquidation.a
The Supreme Court, through Mr. Justice Labrador, upheld the constitutionality of Rep. Act No. 1180, reasoning in the following language:
" ... the disputed law was enacted to remedy a real actual threat and danger to national economy posed by alien dominance and control of the retail business and free cltizens and country from such dominance and control; that the enactment clearly falls within
the scope of the police power of the State. thru which and by which it protects its own
personality and insures its security and future; that the law does not violate the equal
protection clause of the Constitution because sufficient grounds exist for the distinction
between alien and citizen in the exercise of the occupation regulated. nor the due process

An Act to Regul.u. the Retail Business. June 1~. 1954.


2 PHIL. CONRT. Art. llL Se~. 1(1).
3 Ibid.
4 PHIL. CON~T. Art VI. See 21(1) states:
"No bill which may be enacted
shall embrace more than one subject which shall be expressed in the title of the bill."
s Rep. Act No. 1180. Sec. 1 (June 19.1954).
6 Ibid.
7 Ibid.
8 Ibid.. Sec. 3.

into

law

1957]

RECENT

431

DECISIONS

of law elau se, because the law is prospective in or-eration and recognizes the privilege of
aliens already engaged in the occupation and reasonably protects their privilege; that the
wisdom and efficacy of the law to carry out its objective appear to us to be plainly evident as a matter of fact it seems not only appropriate but actually necessary and
that in any case such matter falls within the prerogative of the Legislature. with whose
power discretion the Judicial department of ~he Government may not interferer
that the
nrovlsions of the law are clearly embraced in the title. and this suffers from no duplicity
and has not misled the legistaturc or the segment of the population affected; and that
it cannot be said to be void for supposed conflict with treaty obligations because no
treaty has actually been entered into on the subject and the poltce power may not be
curtsiled or surrendered by any treaty or any other conventional agreement."

Justice Padilla, in his concurring and dissenting opinion, is of the belief


that section 1 of the Act, insofar as it compels associations and partnership!'
referred to therein to wind up their retail business within ten years from the
date of the approval of the Act even before the expiration of the term of their
existence as agreed upon by the associates and partners, and section 3 of the
Act, insofar as it compels the alien heirs of a deceased alien engaged in the
retail business in his lifetime, his executor or administrator,
to liquidate the
business, are invalid, for they violate the due process of law and the equal
protection of the laws clauses of the Constitution.
Republic Act No. 1180, in nationalizing the retail trade, is a reflection of
the nationalistic tendency clearly manifested in several constitutional provisions. Hence, in the preamble, a main aim is the conservation of the patrimony
of the nations and as a corollary thereto the provision limiting to citizens of
the Philippines the exploitatfon, development and utilization of its natural
resources.te Again, our basic law provides that "no franchise, certificate, or
any other rorm of authorization for the operation of a public utility shall be
granted except to citizens of the Philippines ... "11
The Court, speaking through Mr. Justice Labrador, pointed out that "if
political independence is a legitimate aspiration of a people, then economic independence is none the less legitimate. Freedom and liberty are not real and
positive if the people are subject to the economic control and domination of
others, especially if not of their own race or country." It must be noted also
that the framers of our Constitution advocated the nationalization of the retail
of
trade.12 Dean Sinco believes that "the government, as the instrumentality
the national will, has to step in and assume the initiative, if not the leadership, in the struggle for the economic freedom of the nation in somewhat the
same way that it did in the crusade for political freedom.n13
The case at bar, undoubtedly a precedent, frees the citizens of this country
from the tenacious clutches and pernicious dominance of aliens.

Emmanuel S. Flores
9
10
11
12
13

PHIL. CONST.. Preamhle.


PHIL. CONST.. Art. XIII. Sec. 1.
PHIL. CONST . Art. XIV. Sec. 8.
II ARUEGO. THE FRAMING OF THE PHILIPPINE
CONSTITUTION.
SINCO, PHILIPPINE
POLITICAL LAW 476 llOth d.l.

662-663 (1937).

---000---

Political Law - Membership in the Senate Electoral Tribunal;

political questions.

TANADA, et al. v. CUENCO et al.


G.R. No. L-10520, February

28, 1957

The Senate, in its session of February 2, 1956, Upon nominetion of Senator


Primicias, on behalf of the Nationalista Party. chose Senators Laurel Lopez.

and Primicias, as members of the Senate Electoral 'I'ribunat.


of petitioner

Tafiada on behalf of the Citizens Party,

Upon no~ination

said petitioner

was next

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[VOL. 32

chosen by the Senate as member of said Tribunal. Then, upon nomination of


Senator Primicias, on behalf of the Committee on Rules of the Senate, and
over the objections of 'I'afiada and Sumulong. the Senate chose Senators Cuenco
and Delgado as members of the same Tribunal. It is undeniable that the Senate
consists of 23 Senators who belong to the Nacionatista Party and one SenatorTafiada-who
belongs to the Citizens Party.
Soon thereafter,
Taiiada et al.
brouqh.t the instant case against CUl:mco et al., alleging the nullity of their
election.
The principal issue is whether the Senate--after
acknowledging that the
Citizens Party is the party having tne second largest number of votes in the
Senate, to which party the Constitution! gives the right to nominate three
Senators for the Senate Electoral Tribunal--could
validly choose therefor two
Nacionalista Senators upon nomination by the floor leader of the Nacionalista
Party. The Supreme Court through Justice Concepcion held that the Senate
has absolutely no power or color of authority to choose the two other members,
and the membership in the Senate Electoral Tribunal, under the present circumstances, must be limited to seven, instead of nine members, because the
"present composition of the Senate was not foreseen by the framers of our
Constitution." The Court believed that the most significant characteristic
of
the Electoral Tribunals is "the equal representation
of said parties therein.
and the resulting equilibrium to be maintained by the Justices of the Supreme
Court as members of said Tribunals." The limitation in the membership to
seven maintains the spirit of the Constitution because the spirit of the law
prevails over its letter.2
The objection to the jurisdiction of the Court in the case at bar hinges on
the question whether the issue is political or not. In the language of the Corpus
Juris Secundum.I political questions refer to "those questions which under the
Constitution, are to be decided by the people in their sovereign capacity, or
in rel;rard to which full discretionary authority hits been delegated to the Legislature or executive branch of the Government." The term "political question"
connotes a question of policy and is dependent upon the wisdom, not legality,
of a particular measure. The issue in the instant case is not a polittcal question because the Senate is not clothed with "full discretionary authority"
in
the choice of member of the Senate Electoral Tribunal. It must be borne in
mind chat although the Senate has the authority to choose the Senators who
shall form part of the Senate Electoral Tribunal, the Constitution has prescribed the manner in which the authority shall be exercised. Constitutional
provisions are deemed mandatory in character.s so that compliance with the
procedure regarding the selection of members in the Senate Electoral Tribunal
is likewise mandatory.
Mr. Chief Justice Paras, in his dissenting opinion in the case at bar, be
lieved that the Electoral Tribunal must be composed of nine members Bt all
times reg-ardless of whether or not two parties make up each house of Con1 PHIL. CONST., Art. VI, sec. 11 provides:
"The Senate and the House of Representatives shall each have an Electoral Tribunal which shall be the sale judge of all contests relating
to the election, returns.
and Qualifications of their respective Members.
Each Electoral Tribunl\l
shall be composed of nine Members. three of whom shall be Justices of the Supreme Court to be
designated by the Chief Justice, and the remaining
six shall be Member6 of the Senate or of the
House of Representatives.
as the case may be, who shall be chosen by each House, three upon
nomination
of the party having the largest number of votes and three of the party having the
second I~rgest number of votes therein.
The senior Justice in each Electoral Tribunal
shall be
its Chairman."
2. 82 C.J.S. 613 (1953) statese
"As a general rule of statutory
construction,
the spirit or
Intention
of a statute prevails over the tetter thereof. and whatever is within the spirit of a
statute
is within the statute although
it is not within the letter thereof, while that which i.
within the letter but not within the spirit of a statute,
is not within the statute;
but when
the law Ie free and clear from ambiguity the letter of it i. not to be disregarded on the pretext
of pursuing its spirit."
3 ]6 C.J .S. 699 (1956).
4 11 Am. Jur. 686-687 (1937).

RECENT

1957]

433

DECISIONS

gress. He noted that while the party having the second largest number of ~otes
is allowed to nominate three Members. it is not required that the nommees
should belong to the same party. Mr. Jllstice Labrador, in a separate dissenting
opinion, believed that the refusal of ~enatOl. Ta~ada to nominate two other
Senators so as to make the membership to mne, would make the supposedly
procedural provision, the process of nomination lodged in the mi.nority paz:y
in the Senate, superior to and paramount over the power of ~lectlOn, WhICh IS
l"cl2"ed ill the whole Senate itself."
The instant case which is precedent-setting
can be distinguished from the
cases of Alejandrino v. Quezon5 and Vera 'I!. Avelino8 in that the instant case,
unlike the cases just cited, is not an action against the Senate, and does not
seek to compel the latter either directly or indirectly to allow the petitioners
to perform their duties as members of said House. The instant case can also
be distinguished from the case of Mabanag v. Lopez Vito7 where it was held
that the courts could not review the finding of the Senate to the effect that
the members thereof who had been suspended by said House should not be
considered in determining whether the votes ca:st therein, in favor of a resolution proposing an amendment to the Constitution, sufficed to satisfy the requirements of the latter, such a question being a political one.

Emmanuel S. Flores
5 46 Phil.
6 77 Phil.
7 78 Phil.

88 (1924).
192 (1946).
1 (1947).

---000--

Labor Law -

When complaint for unfair labor practice may be


considered a prejudicial question in a proceeding [or
certification election.

THE STANDARD CIGARETTE WORKERS' UNION


THE COURT OF INDUSTRIAL
RELATIONS,
G.R. No. L-9908, April

(PLUM)
et al.

v.

22, 1957

Under the Industrial Peace Act (Rep. Act No. 875)1, employees may request for a certification election "for the purpose of determining the representative of the employees for the appropriate bargaining unit." The instant case
involves a petition by a la:bor union for the holding of such certification election among the employees of a particular company, but it raises a question
which in the field of Philippine labor law and relations has not yet been decided: Does a complaint for unfair labor practice suspend a proceeding for
certification election?
Petitioner Union filed a' complaint for unfair labor practice against the
Standard Cigarette Factory, charging the said company with inquiring into
and interfering with the union affiliation of its employees, and, having failed
to discourage them from continuing their membership in the petitioner union,
had discriminated against the union members and even dismissed some of them
without just cause. Pending preliminary investiga:tion of this complaint, the
petitioner union filed a petition for certification election for the determination
of the sole and exclusive bargaining representative
of the employees and laborers in the cigarette company. The company opposed this petition On the
ground that another union, a rival one, had already been designa:ted by a majority of its employees as the bargaining representative
of all the employees
in the company. But, upon motion of the company, the Court of Industrial
1 Sec. 12 (e) .

------------------------

--

- ---

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Relations suspended the hearings on the petition for certification election pending final termination of the complaint for unfair labor practice. The Supreme
Court, on certiorari, set aside this decision of the CIR:2
x x a complaint
for unfn.lr labor practice may be considered a prejudicial que.tlon In
a proceeding for certification
election when it ia charged therein that one or more labor
unions participating in t.he election are being aided, or are controlled,
by thp company or
employer. The reason i. that the cert.if'icat.ion election may lead to the selection of an
emnloyer ...dominated or company union as the employees' barK'sining representative,
and
when the court find. that said union i. employer-dominated
in the unfair
labor practice
case, the union selected would be decertified and the whole election proceeding.
would be
rendered
useless and nugator s ,"
"x

And there is no charge in the petitioner's complaint for unfair labor practice that the rival union is being assisted or is dominated by the company, nor
is it claimed that due to the company's unfair labor practices, its laborers and
employees had been intimidated or coerced into joining or discontinuing their
membership in the petitioner union. The Court, moreover, took into account the
circumstance that it was the company, rather than the petitioner union, which
asked for the suspension of the certification election proceedings when, ordinarily, the petitioner union should have been the one interested in the deferment of the certification election proceedings since the unfair prectices of the
employer could result in the substantial reduction of the union's membership
and its failure to get elected as the employees' bargaining representative. The
Court did not hesitate to voice its suspicion that the company's move was
"a maneuver to further
delay such election and thereby favor the (rival)
union".

Antonio R. Bautista
2 Citing 36 C.J.S. 177. "In determining
whether a named union has been selected by the
employees as their represerrtative,
the labor relations board i. entitled to make it. declaion in
the lIght of all the facts.
The board may determine in the proceeding.
whether a union il don:inated by the employer. or it mllY refuse to rule on a request for certification
until after a
determination
has been had as tQ whether the union iB dominated by the employer.
Likewise.
the bonrd m8)' withhold it" decialon t-ending the outcome of unfair practlc e proceeding.
which
might show that the selection by the employees may have been affected by unfair practiCes of
the enlp)oyer."

---000---

Peaceful picketing is legal even in the absence of


employer-employee relationship.
DE LEON, et a1., v. NATIONAL LABOR UNION, et a1.

Labor Law -

G.R. No. L-7586, January

30, 1957

Picketing is the marching to and fro before the premises of an establishment involved in a dispute, generally accompanied by the carrying and display
of a sign, placard or banner bearing statements in connection with the dispute.1
Controversies invariably crop up as to the legality of a picket 80 that there have
been numerous decisions ruling upon or somehow dealing with this point. Among
the questions that may be posed by such controversies is the one that is, for
the first time in this jurisdiction, definitively settled in the instant case: May
a union picket the premises of a management with which it has no employeremployee relationship ts
The facts of the case: Upon the expiration of the contract of lease of the
premises whereon is located the Dalisay Theater building, pillintiff Narcisa B.
De Leon (the lessor) became the owner of said building, as per agreement with
the Filipino Theatrical Enterprises,
Inc. (the lessee) in the lease contract.
1 1 TELLER.
LABOR DISPUTES AND COLLECTIVE
BARGAINING 320 (1940 ed.J,
2 In PAFLU v. 8&rot. G.R. No. 1-9281. Sept. 28. 1966. a tacit aslumpt!on
to the effect
was made, but t.he point wa. not squarely toucbed upon nor waa it dilClWIeO.

RECENT

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435

DECISIONS

Thereupon, De Leon demolished the building but constructed a new one on the
same site. Consequent to this turn-over of ownership of the building was the
termination
of the employment of the Dalisay Theater personnel under the
Filipino Theatrical Enterprises=-only
the services of four old employees having been retained. The dismissed employees, with the view of securing reinstatement, picketed the new Dalisay Theater management, by walking to and
fro on the sidewalk fronting the lobby of the theater and displaying the
placards which bore the slogans: "Do not patronize the Dalisay Theater,"
"Dalisay Theater is unfair to labor," "Have mercy on the picketeers" and
"Sympathize with us," and otherse. Plaintiffs, owner and operators of the theater, protested the drop in box-office receipts produced by the picketing of the
defendants, and therefore they bring this a'Ction for damages and injunctive
relief.
The Court dismissed the petition, holding (1) that the picketing was peaceful as it was not such as to have disturbed the public peace at the place, and
peacefully carried out is not illegal even in the absence of em(2)' picketing
ployer-employee relationship+ for peaceful picketing is a part of the freedom
of speech guaranteed by the Constitution.s

Antonio R. Bautista
3 To use such loose language or undefined slogans that are (part of the conventional giveand-take oC our economic and political controversies is not to falsify facts.
Cafeteria Employees
Union v. Angelos. 320 U.S. 293 (1943).
4 -Shelley v. Kramer. 334 U.S. 1 (1948); Cafeteria Employees Union v. Angelos. IlUpra:
Bakery and Pastry Drivers v. Wahl. 315 U.S. 769 (942);
Bridges v. California.
314 U.S. 252
(1941); A .
erican Federation of Labor v. Swing. 312 U.S. 321 (1941); Thornhill v. Alabama.
310 U.S. 88 (1940); Senn v. Tile Layers Protective Union. 801 U.S. 468 (1987).
5 Mortera v . Court of Industrial
Relations. 45 O.G. 4. 1714 at 1719 (1947); Thornhill v.
Alabama. aupra; American Federation of Labor v. Swing, supra; Bakery & Pastry Drivers v,
;Vohl. sup .: Cafeterta Employees Union v. Angelos. ouprs.

~Oo----

Labor Law - When intervention of "Grievance Committee" proper;


lay-off of employees justified by financial reverses of
management.
ARTE ESPA&OL IRON WORKS LABOR UNION v. PEDRET
G.R. No. L-9471, March

18, 1957

The parties to a collective bargaining agreement shall endeavor "to include


in their agreement provisions to insure mutual observance of the terms and
stipulations of the agreement and to establish machinery for the adjustment
of grievances, including any question that may arise from the application or
interpretation
of the agreement or from day-to-day relationships in the establishment."l Even prior to the effectivity of the Industrial Peace Act, certain
collective bargaining contracts did include provisions on grievance procedure.2
In the case at bar, for instance, a collective bargaining agreement containing
such a provision for grievance procedure was concluded on July 20, 1950, and
the same agreement was renewed On September 2, 1952.
This collective bargaining agreement, which was between the Arte Espafiol
Iron Works (owned by the respondent Pedret) and the petitioner Union, provided, -inter alia, that no worker or group of workers who m-e members of the
Union shall be laid off without the approval of the Grievance Committee,
composed of one representative
from the Union, one from the management,
and one from the Department of Labor who will act as chairman. Subsequently,
1 ~p.
2

Act No. 876 (The Industrial Peace Act. June 17. 1953). see. 16.

CARLOS

&

FERNANDO.

LABOR

&

TENANCY

LAW

188 (1965 mimeo.

ed.) ,

......

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[VOL. 32

the Union and the management verbally agreed, during t.he hearings on the
management's petition to layoff
several of its laborers, on the laying off of
several laborers due to financial losses suffered by the company. The Union
contends that the said agreement as to the laying off of laborers is not valid
beceuse, for one reason, said lay-off was not submitted to and approved by
the Grievance Committee in accordance with the bargaining agreement. The
Court decided against the Union and held that the intervention of the Grievance Committee under the circumstances was unnecessary because "x x x said committee acta only in ordinary cases and under normal conditions. so
as to prevent any Jay off without an} vnlid cause or when made due to the union activities of the laborers laid off.
But when the layoff
is made due to lack of material and
work and with the approval and consent of the Union itself. which represents the laborer s,
then there would be no need for the intervention
of the Grievance Committee.
After all
said Grtevance Committee is but a creature or agent of the Union and the management.
What said creature or agent can do. the creator and the principal can also do. X x x"

Further, the Court held that the management may, regardless of any Ilrrangement or agreement as to layoff
of laborers, layoff
laborers when it
"finds it unnecessary to continue employing some of its laborers because of a
business recession, lack of materials to work on due to Government controls
or due to lack of demand for its products" specially when the dismissal is only
temporary.3

Antonio R. Bautista
3 In the case of Union of Philippine
Education Employee. v. Philippine
Education
Comrany. C.R. No. 1,.7161. May 19. 1955. it was held that where there was no more work for two
of it. salesmen and one radio mechanic for the reason that the articles that they used to sell and
th~ radio which the mechanic used to sell and repair could no longer be imparted because the
company was unable to secure the necessary licenses for the importation,
then layoff
i&' justif1ed.
"x x x a strike to compel an emplover to divide all work available among all his employees. ll te J ot laying off part of them. has been held to be illegal as infringing
the employer's rir:ht to manage hi. own businesa."
31 AM. JUR. 936-537.

----000----

Labor Law - Expulsion of employee from labor union must be in


accordance with the union's constitution and by-laws.
KAPISANAN NG MGA MANGGAGAWA, et al. v. BUGAY and
THE COURT OF INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS
G.R. No. L-9327,

March 30, 1957

Not only the employer, but the labor organization or its agents too, may
ba guilty of unfair labor practices) The present case demonstrates an instance
of unfair labor practice on the part of a labor union.
Paulino Bugay, pay roll clerk of the Manila Railroad Company as well as
union auditor of the Kapisanan Ng Mga Manggagawa Sa Manila Railroad
Company, lent certain documents belonging to the Kapisanan to the board of
directors of the railroad company in connection with the investigation of an
administrative
charge against Vicente Olazo, the president of the Kapisanan.
Olazo was found guilty of dishonesty and disloyalty to the company, and was
accordingly dismissed. Thereafter,
Olazo, having learned that the documents
lent by Bugay were instrumental
in his dismissal, sought the expulsion of
Bugay from the Kapisanan. After an ex-parte inquiry by the Kapisanan investigation committee, the Kapisanan board of directors found Buggy guilty
of disloyalty to the Union and recommended his immediate expulsion.
The
Kapisanan board resolution adopting the recommendation for expulsion was
passed on June 14, 1953 and the same was transmitted three days leter to the
1 See Sec. 4(b). Ref, Act No. 875 (Th Tndustrial Peace Act).
2 "(b) It shall be unfair labor practice for a labor organization

or its agents:
X

RECENT

1957]

437

DECISIONS

various chapters of the Kapisanan for affirmation


or rejection. 'The record
bears out that although majority of the chapters voted for Bugay's expulsion,
only the votes of two chapters were validly cast bec.ause the Kapisanan'.s c?nstitution and by-laws require that before a resolution of general application
(a resolution terminating union membership is one) may be enforced, it must
receive the sanction of majority of the chapters within ten days. Also, during
the Kapisanan board meeting where the resolution for expulsion was adopted,
Bugay was absent because the board members failed to serve notice upon him.
Thus, Bugay filed charges in the Court of Industrial Relations against the
Kapisanan, its president and members of the board of directors, for unfair
labor practice within the meaning of Section 4 (b) (2)2 of Republic Act No.
875. The Court considered Bugay's complaint to be well-founded.
When a member is illegally expelled from his Union, or the processes
provided for by the constitution and by-laws of said union have not been followed in effecting the expulsion, said member may resort to the courts for
protection.P In this jurisdiction, the illegally or improperly expelled employee
should resort to the CIR because Section 17 of Republic Act No. 875 provides
that questions involving the rights and conditions of membership in g labor
orrranization, (and the expulsion of a member from such labor organization is
one of such questions) fall within the jurisdiction of the CIR. And although
the first paragraph
of said Section 174 provides that a minimum of 10% of
the members of a labor organization may report to the CIR an alleged violation of these procedures in the labor organization, yet the Court opined that"x x x said minimum of 10% refers only to violations which involve a group or a stzeable number of the members in which the latter are interested, or which necessarily affect them."

In the case at bar, the proceedings and the means adopted by the Union and
its officers in effecting the expulsion of Bugay are irregular and invalid because (1) Buggy was not notified of the hearing on the charges against him,
and (21 t.he Kapisanan Board resolution expelling him was not approved by
the different chapters of the Union within ten days as required by the Union
constitution.

Antonio R. Bautista
(2) To cause or attempt to cause an employer to discriminate
against an employee In
violation of subsection (a) (4) or to discriminate
aga.irrst, an employee. with respect to whom
mernberahij. in such organization
has been denied or terminated
on some ground other than 'the
usual terms and conditions under which membership
or continuation
of membership
is made!
avallablo to other members.'
3 Citing 31 AM. JUR. 864-866.
4 "It is hereby declared to be the public policy of the Philippines
to encourage the following internal
labor organization
procedures.
A minimum of ten percent of the members ot
a lsbor orznnieation
may report an alleged violation of these procedures in their labor organi
znt.ion to the Court.
If the Court finds. upon investigation.
Evidence to substantiate
the alleged
.iolation
and that efforts to correct the alleged violation through the procedures
provided by
the labor organization's
constitution
or by-laws have been exhausted, the Court shall dispose of
the complaint as in 'unfair labor practice' cases."
II

--000--

Labor Law -

Grant of vacation leave is prospective.

EARNSHA WS DOCKS & HONOLULU


COURT OF INDUSTRIAL
RELATIONS
UNION
G.R. No. L-8896, January

IRON WORKS v. THE


and NATIONAL LABOR
23, 1957

It appears to be a common practice among employers to grant, where the


operation of the whole business and their financial abilities so permit.t vacation leave to their employees. The purpose of vacation leave is to afford to a
1 Sunr ipe Coconut

Workers

Union

v. Sunr ipe Coconut

Products,

--------------------------------_.-

em

No.

ss-v.

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(VOL. 32

laborer a chance to get a much-needed rest to replenish his worn out energies
and acquire a new vitality to enable him to efficiently perform his duties, and
not merely to give him additional salary or bcunty.2 Obviously, therefore, employees are not entitled to vacation leave as a matter of right independent of
any grant by the employer or of any agreement to that effect. But where
such a grant or agreement is made, when does the vacation lesve take effect?
The instant case categorically answers this question. The facts are: The
National Labor Union, on behalf of more than thirty of its members employed
by the Earnshaws Docks & Honolulu Iron Works, petitioned for sick leave a'Jld
vacation leave with pay and other concessions. Upon denial of said petitions
by the Corporation, the Union on June 6, 1949, filed a petition with the Court
of Industrial Relations (CIR) for compulsory arbitrations
and decision. The
CIR rendered a ruling regarding vacation leave wherein it held that since the
Corporation agreed to grant the Union's demand for 15 days of vacation leave
to any person who completes 300 days work, said vacation leave "should be
made effective as of the date of the filing of the petition with the Court of
Industrial Relations on June 6, 1949." This last statement of the CIR became
the subject of another controversy between the Corporation and the Union inasmuch as the Union was demanding the enforcement of the grant to employees
who have completed 300 days work even before June 6, 1949. The CIR, upon
this point, therefore ruled that "employees who have completed 300 days work,
prior to and up to the filing of the petition on June 6, 1949, are entitled to
15 days vacation leave with pay as it wa:s intended." On certiorari, the Supreme
Court reversed the CIR's decision and held that the grant of the vacation leave
should not be given a retroactive effect, but that it should begin as of the date
of the filing of the petition, namely, June 6, 1949. The Court reasoned it out
thus:
"x x x As correctly claimed by petitioner, there is no law granting
vacation leave
to laborers in a private establishment.
The same i8 subject to bargaining
agreement
between employer and employees, and In a petition for vacation leave by employees, the
right may. after hearing, be granted by the Industrial
Court. x x x"

Further,

the Court explained:

"Before the grant of vacation leave in the instant case, the workers did not enjoy
the same.
Before that time, the understanding
or contract between employer and employee was that the latter would work for the former only on the basis of hi. pay agreed
When In addition to said payment, the worker
upon, whether daily, weekly, or monthly.
petitions for vacation leave, he asks for a change or modification of the contract of employment.
He asks for pay equivalent to 16 days every year, although he renders no
work or service for that period.
If the employer agrees to said petition, or even without
said agre<'ment, if the court after hearing grants the petition, it I. to be understood that
the grant becomes effective as of the date of tho decision or at the earlieat. as of the
date of the petition.
There is no reason for making It ret.roaetlve or effective before the
filin~ of the petilion for the renson that the worker was not asking for something to which
be as entitled as of right or by law, but as a concession or act of consideration to him
by hi. employer."4

The Court also took into a:ccount two other considerations, to wit, (1) that
to make the payment of vacation leave retroactive would disrupt the economy
and the finances of the Corporation which were made without any such pay2 Sunr ine COCO!lutProducts, Inc. v, The National Labor Union, G.R. No. 1.-7964. Oct. 18,
1~o5.
8 No such power of compulsory nrbitr-ation now exists by virtue of the Industr-ial Peace Act
(Rep. Act No. !S76) except a. provided in Section 10 thereof.
Said Section 10 reads:
"Sec. 10. Labor Dilpntb
In Indu.trieo
Indlspt'Rsable to the National Inten.t.-When
in the opinion of the President of the Philippines there extsts a labor dispute In an industry
lndlapensable to the national Interest and when such labor dispute is cert.ified by the President to the Court of Industrial Relations, said court may cause to be issued a restraining
order forbidding the employees to strike or the employer to lockout the employees, pending
an Ime.tlgat!on by the Court, and If no other solution to the dispute i8 found, the Court
may llaue an order fil<iq the terms and ~ndltions
of employment."
(Bold letters aupplled)
.( A provision contained in a collective bargaining
agreem"nt to the effect that the employees employed for a given period of time should be entitled to a week's vacation with pa.y
Is equivalent to a provision for additional wages,
WiIlo1\' Cafeterias. Ine. v. Siea-el, 111 F(2d)
429 (1940).

RECENT

1957]

439

DECISIONS

ment in view, and (2) that the Corporation would have to examine its old
records to determine who of its employees had rendered service for 300 days
before, and this may lead to controversies again between employer and employee.

Antonio R. Bautista

Tenancy Law -Exemption from lien and/or attachment of 25% of


tenant's share cannot be waived.
MANIEGO

v. CASTELO

G.R. No. L-9855, April

29, 1957

Twenty-five per cent (25%) of the tenant's share of the produce of the
land in share tenancy, or of the entire produce in leasehold tenancy, one work
animal and one of each kind of farm implement belonging to the tenant, provided that the value of such work animal and implements do not exceed five
hundred pesos, shall be exempt from lien and attachment.t
May such exemption be waived?
No, answers this case. Here, 145 cavans and 11 kilos of palay belonging to
Daniel Jaime was raised in his landholding as tenant of Melchor Maniego; this
palay was levied upon by Maniego pursuant to a writ of execution issued in
a civil case between Jaime and Maniego; Maniego purchased the palay at the
public auction; the sheriff, however, was willing to deliver the palay only after
deducting 25% thereof which the sheriff claimed was exempt under Rep. Act
No. 1.l~~, Sec. 19. The Court decided in favor of the exemption of the 25%,
ruling to the effect that the fact that the tenant laid claim to the exemption
after the sheriff's sale had been held did not constitute a waiver of the exemption because the same could not, under any circumstance, be waived or relinquished. The 25% exemption, according to the Court, is a reservation which
the law specifically sets aside for the exclusive benefit of the tenant upon
which he can readily depend to meet his immediate needs and those of his family. Thus, "a waiver of the exemption could amount to a waiver of the tenant's
right to live," and therefore said waiver is null and void for being against public policy2

Antonio R. Bautista
1 Rep. Act No. 1199 (Agricultural Tenancy Act of the Philippines. August 30. 1954), Sec. 19.
2 It->p. Act No. 386 (Civil Code of the Philippine!),
Sec. 6 provides:
"Rights may be
waived unleaa the waiver is contrary to law, public order, public policy, morals or good customs.
or p,..,juiticial to a third DErson with a right recognized by law."

---000-

Transportation Law.

The "Old Operator Doctrine" and its recent


modifications.
HERAS

v. TENGCO

G.R. No. 9039, January

30, 1957.

The primary purpose of public utility laws is to secure adequate, efficient


and economical service for the public. As a means to that end, public service
commissions should protect the investment and the business of established utilities which are adequately and economically serving the public. The only way

to accomplish this purpose is effective regulation of such utilities and by


denial

of applications

for certificates

of public necessity

in sections

11

already

-------------------------------

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PHILIPPINE

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[VOL. 32

JOURNAL

served.1 So long as the first licensee keeps and performs the reasonable rules
and regulations
of the Commission and meets the reasonable
demand of the
public, -it should have more or less a vested and preferential
right over a person who seeks to acquire another and later license over the same route.2 Such
is the reason for and the statement of the "old operator doctrine."
The Supreme Court found another opportunity
to apply this doctrine in
several recent cases.3 One of these is the unique case under consideration.
It
appeared that Vicente Tengco, an old operator applied for a rerouting
of his
old line, to run as follows: starfing' at the intersection
of A. Cruz and C. Jose
and passing through
C. Jose (left) Highway 54 (right)
Taft Avenue, (left)
Libertad, (left) Park Avenue, (left) Fernando
Rein, (right) Sargento
Mariano, (left) Pinagbarilan and (right) A. Cruz, to the point of origin. At about
the same time Emiliana
Estrella
had applied to the Public Service Commission to operate jitneys via C. Jose.
The Commission
granted
Tengco's application
but
use of the C. Jose Street which was part of his original
gave it to Estrella,
lit subsequent
operator.

deprived him of thp


authorized
route and

The issue before the Supreme Court on appeal is whether or not the Public
Service Commission was justified in so doing. The high court answered in the
negative and advanced the following reasons to support its decision. I<'irstly,
there was no showing that Tengco has abandoned or has shown any intention
of abandoning that part of his old route. Secondly, there was sufficient volume
of passengers
to justify not only the increase of Tengco's equipment but also
the grant to Estrella of authority
to operate five units. Hence Tengco should
retain C. Jose in his route.
It is to be remembered that the "old operator doctrine" is not an absolute
one for way above the governmental
policy of protecting
the old operators is
the paramount
consideration
of public convenience. How to promote the public
convenience is a question which is incapable of a definite answer for it largely
depends upon the facts of each particular
case. However the Supreme Court
in many cases has more or less set down the following qualifications.
to the
old operator doctrine:
The old operator losses his privilege under the doctrine if he cannot
meet the needs of the riding public.s
.
(2)
If he did not do anything
to meet such needs until after a new operator offers his services.t
(3) The doctrine does not apply to taxicab operators
which are not operating on a fixed schedule nor over a fixed route. '1
(4)
It does not apply to lines or roads not operated by established operator.1
(5) It is not applicable to grantees of temporary
cerlificEttes.l
(6) It is not applicable where an old operator simply resumes operations.w
(7) The prior operator loses preference to fill up deficiency if the application is not filed on time.ll
(1)

adequately

1 Manila Yellow Taxicab Co. v. Vesnan and Vesnan v. Manila Yel10w Taxicab
775 (l934).
2 Batangas Trans. Co. v. Orlanes. 52 Phil. 455 (!92hi
3 :Maclang v, P.S.C.. C.n. No. L-9666. February 4. 1957; Bachrach Motor Co.

Pili!.

Co., 69

Inc. v
Hipolito. G.R. No. L-92'S. Aloril 26. 1967.
4 PADILLA & CAMPOS.THE LAW ON TRANSPORTATION418430 (1966) citing a good
number of cases rf.,idfd b) the Supreme Court of the Philippines.
5 Raymundo Tr-ans, Co v. Perez. 56 Phil. 27( (1931).
6 Intornutlonal
.t'.utoluo Co.. Inc. v. Lubaton, G. R. No. L-3622. July 26. 1961.
7 Carmr-Io &< Oriol v, Monserrat. 55 Phil. 644 (1931).
8 Batallg88 Trana. Co. v. Orlanes &< Banaaz' Tra'lJl. Co.; 66 Phil. 746 (1931l.
9 Pascua &< Ed"riso Trans. Co.. Inc. v. Concepcion.G.R. No. L-4312. August 16, 1951.
10 Javellnna v. Bartla, G.R. No. L-4347. January 31, 1953; Manila Yellow Taxicab. et ai,
v. P.S.C.. G.n. No. L-2876. Nos. L-3114-3208.October 31. 1961.
11 Halili v. Floro. G.R. No. 1.-3465,October 26. 1961.

RECENT

1957]

441

DECISIONS

The application of some of the above qualifications is wen illustrated in


the case of Laguna Tayabas Bus Co. v. The Public Service Commission.12 In
this case, the old operator prayed for a writ of certiorari to annul the order
of the Public Service Commission granting a provisional permit to operate four
round trips between Sta. Maria, Laguna and Manila via Sta. Cruz. The Supreme Court in denying the petition took into consideration the following
justifying circumstances:
The "baybay" town residents are mostly farmers whose agricultural
products easily deteriorate. By granting the provisional permit the present 42minute intervals would be reduced to 30-minute intervals. The trip of old operators require transhipment of passengers which is certainly inconvenient for
farmers and merchants bringing their wares with them. And lastly, the "baybay" residents look with disfavor upon the shorter route for this route has
long stretches across lonely and deserted terrain favorable to bandit ambuscades; and the riding public should not be coerced (directly or indirectly) into
making use of lines that it regards as dangerous with or without reasons.
The Supreme Court in introducing these modifications to the "old operator
doctrine" is in most instances only taking note of the fact that the advancement of transportation
facilities and the increase in the volume of the riding
public give business to both the old and the new operator.

Agnes L. Marnon
Celia S. Lipana
12 (;.R.

No.

1.10908. January

18. 19.57.

-000---

Municipal Corporations

The City of Manila has no authority to


declare an alley as its patrimonial property, close and lease the same.

CIPRIANO E. UNSON v. RON. ARSENIO R. LACSON, et al.


G.R. No. L-7909, January

12, 1957.

Municipal corporations, being creatures of the State, have limited powers.!


In our jurisdiction where different lawss may vest powers or withold the same,
it is likely that cases may arise questioning the exercise of powers as in the
case at bar.
The petitioner brought an action in the Manila Court of First Instance to
annul a municipal ordinance and cancel a contract of lease of a portion of
"Callejon del Carmen". The contract was entered into between the City and a
certain Genato on the strength of the ordinance duly approved declaring the
callejon a patrimonial property of the City and closing the alley therein. The
petitioner, being one of the owners of an adjacent property which requires the
use of the alley, questions the a-uthority of the City of Manila to close the alley and lease the same to Genato for building construction.
The leasing of the alley and the subsequent construction of a building
thereon by Genato is considered by the petitioner as illegal. The City of Manila
maintains that such an ordinance is in conformity with the exercise of the
rights of ownership as provided in the City Charter. It also maintains that
1 SINCO. PHILIPPINE
POLITICAL LAW. 688 (10th ed. 1955).
2 ReP. Act No. 409 (new City Charter of Manila).
Sec. 18 (x);
Rev. Adm. Code. sees.
2243 and 2246.
8 Sec. 18 authorizes the Municipal Board of Manila, "subject to the provisions' of existing
Jaws. to provide for the laying out, construction and improvement ... of streets, avenues,
alleys .. _ and other public places."

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PHILIPPINE

442

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(VOL. 32

the ordinance was duly approved by the National Planning Commission. which
is duly empowered to layout,
construct, vacate, and close streets, avenues,
sidewalks, etc. By virtue of these reasons, the City concludes that the ordinance is valid and also the contract entered in pursuance thereto.
The Court, however, sustained the claim of the petitioner. The Court in
denying the claims of the respondents pointed out the absence of grant of
power to the City of Manila to close an alley. Unlike the provisions of the
Revised Administrative
Code~ granting powers to regular municipalities to
construct street and close the same, section 18(x) of Republic Act 409 which
grants power to the City of Manila to construct streets, the same does not
mention anything about any power of the City to close those streets. As the
Court aptly puts it;
"They (respondents)
failed to note that municipal corporations
in the Philippines
are mere creatures
of Congress; that,
as such, said corporations
possess, and may
exercise, only such powers as Congress may deem fit to grant thereto; that charters of
municipal corporations
should not be construed in the same manner as constitutions;
and that doubts. on the power. of such corporations must be resolved In favor of the
State, and against the grantee."

Municipal corporations cannot pass ordinances which are repugnant to


law.f Taking note of this provision of law, the Court added as a reason for
the invalidity of the ordinance its being violative of the Civil Code provislon?
prohibiting the obstruction of banks of streams and rivers, the property concerned in this case being a part of the banks of an estero.
In refuting the claims of the respondents about the validity of the ordinance it having been approved by the National Planning Commission, the
Court reasoned that the "purpose of said executive order (creating the National Planning Commission)' was not to enlarge the powers of local governments, but to qualify and limit the same ... " and that the grant of powers
to the same commission was in a case8 already decided considered as undue
delegation of powers.
Except for the reason that the ordinance is repugnant to law, the decision of the Court would hamper the work of local governments.
Though it is
properly noted that only powers granted maybe exercised by local governments, but it may as well be pointed out that the power to close an alley could
be fairly implied from the power to construct streets, alleys, etc. And powers
In order to be exercised need not necessarily be expressly granteds as expediency and logic dictate that refusal to grant such power will necessarily be
a bar to progress of local governments.

Homobono A. Adaza
4
5
6
7
S
9

Exec. Order No. 98 (March 11, 1946),


Rev. Adm. Code, sees. 2243 and 2246.
Rev. Adm. Code, sec. 2238.
Civil Code, Art. 638.
University of the East v. City of Manila,
SINCO, op. elt,

G.R. No. 1,..7481, December 23, 1954.

--aOo--

Administrative

Law - The Court of Tax Appeals has no jurisdiction


to review on appeal the decisions of the Collector of Customs.

RUFINO LOPEZ & SONS, INC. v. COURT OF TAX APPEALS


G.R. No. L-9274, February

1, 1957

Though the courts are barred from going into the sphere of judicial legisIation.t yet the courts should not be timid as to refuse to make corrections to
1 Director

of Lans

v. Abaja.

63 Phil.

559 (1935).

RECENT

1957]

443

DECISIONS

effectuate a sensible construction of a statute.2 This axiom particularly


obtains in cases involving new statutes as the one creating the Court of Tax
Appeals.3 The instant case is an example in point.
The petitioner ordered hexagonal wires from Germany. The Collector of
Customs of the Port of Manila: duly levied the customs duties on the basis of
assessment properly based on consular and supplier invoices. The duties were
paid, but upon reassessment of the dollar value of the wires based on the cost
and freight charged, an additional amount was levied for customs duties. Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration challenging the validity of the additional levy but this was denied by the Collector of Customs. Failing to secure
the motion for reconsideration, petitioner appealed to the Court of Tax Appeals. Similarly, the appeal was dismissed on motion of the Solicitor General
on the ground that under section 71 of Republic Act 1125, the Tax Court has
no jurisdiction to review the decisions of the Collector of Customs.
The petitioner maintained that under section 115 of the same law the Collector (If Customs' decisions maybe appealed to the Tax Court. The Supreme
Court, however, considered the position of the petitioner untenable. The Court
in upholding the denial of the appeal in the Tax Court reasoned on the basis
of the conflict between sections 7 and 11 of Republic Act 1125. Under section 7
which confers exclusive jurisdiction to the Court of Tax Appeals on taxes, the
decisions of the Commissioner of Customs maybe appealed to the Tax Court
but not decisions of the Collector of Customs, the latter not being mentioned
therein. Section 11, therefore, which does not confer jurisdiction but merely
enumerates those who may appeal maybe properly viewed as an implementation of section 7. The fact that the Collector of Customs' decisions are referred
to in section 11 and not that of the Commissioner of Customs points to an obvious mistake, the names of officials mentioned in section 7 being mentioned
also in section 11 with the exception of the Commissioner of Customs which
was inadvertently substituted by the Collector.
To approve that the Collectors' decisions maybe appealed to the Tax Court
would give rise to this absurdity: the inability of the same Court to review decisions of the Collector, such not being under the jurisdiction of the Tax Court
provided in section 7. Likewise, the same absurdity obtains if Collector is not
substituted by Commissioner for then the Court would have jurisdiction but
those affected by the decision cannot appeal.
Another absurd situation would be the rendering nugatory of the provisions of the Revised Administrative CodeS which give the power to the Commissioner to review the decisions of the Collectors of Customs. To allow the
appeal of the Collectors' decisions directly to the Court of Tax Appeals would
confuse the situation. For cases appealed directly to the Tax Court will not be
reviewed anymore by the Commissioner, yet cases reviewed by the Commissioner will still be reviewed by the Tax Court.
In cases of this nature, it is advisable for the courts not to hesitate to
make the corrections. The rectification of blatant clerical errors of this kind
must not be hampered by the untenable argument of judicial legislation. For
in so doing, the courts are merely trying to effectuate legislative intent and
avoid silly absurdities.

H omobono A. Adaza
2 People v. Riviera, 69 Phil. 236 (1933).
3 Rep. Act No. 1125 (June 16. 1964).
4 "Jurisdiction - The Court of Tax Appeals shall exercioe exclusive appellate jurisdiction
to review by appeal, as herein provided (1) Decisions of the Collector of Internal
Revenue ...
(2) Decisions of the Commissioner of Customs ...
(3) Decisions of provincial or city Board of
Assessment Appeals ... "
5 uWho may appeal; effed of appeal - Any person, association or corporation adversely
affected by a devision or ruling of the Collector of Internal Revenue, the Collector of Customs.

any provincial
6 Rev.

or city Board of Assessment

Adm.

Code,

sees.

1147-1419.

Appeals . ."

~~~~- ~---- -- ---------------_._-------------

PHILIPPINE

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Statutory Construction -

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JOURNAL

----

[VOL. 32

The rectification of a clearly clerical error


in the wording of a statute is not a judicial legislation.

LOPEZ & SONS, INC. v. COURT OF TAX APPEALS


G.R. No. L-9274, February

1, 1957

It is among the elementary principles with regard to the construction of


statutes that every section provision and clause of a statute shall be expounded
by a reference to every other, and, if possible, every clause and provision shall
avail, and have the effect contemplated by the Iegislature.!
In the case at bar, the Collector of Customss for the Port of Manila assessed customs duties on the importation of wire netting by the petitioner based
on the suppliers and consular invoices. Subsequently there was a reassessment
on the basis of cost and freight which resulted in the increase of customs duties. Failing to secure a reconsideration of the matter, the petitioner directly
appea-led to the Court of Tax Appeals- which dismissed the appeal on the
ground of lack of jurisdiction. Hence, an appeal was made to the Supreme
Court by said petitioner.
The decision of the case revolves around the interpretation
of the appellate jurisdiction of the Court of Tax Appeals. Section 74 of Republic Act No.
1125 provides that the Court has exclusive jurisdiction to review by appeal decisions of the Collector of Internal Revenue, of the Commissioner of Customs
and of provincial or city Boards of Assessment Appeals in the cases mentioned in said section. Section 115 of the same Act in listing and enumerating the persons and entities who may appeal mentions those affected by a
decision or ruling of the Collector of Internal Revenue, the Collector of Customs, or any provincial or city Board of Assessment Appeals and fails to mention the Commissioner of Customs. Petitioner relied on said Section 11 for its
direct appeal to the Court of Tax Appeals, while the dismissal of the case by
the latter was founded on Section 7.
The Supreme Court said that there was only an apparent conflict between
the two provisions of the same law. The words Collector of Customs should
have been Comlnissioner of Customs due to a clerical errol'. According to the

0-------

1 Chartered Bank v. Imperial and National Bank. 48 Phil. 931. 947 (1921l, citing Ruling
Case Law, Vol. 3. par. 8, p. 172.
2 Section 1162 of the Revised Administrative
Code states!
"At each principal
POrt of
entry there shall be a collector of customs who, under the supervision
and control of the
Commissioner,
shall be the official head of the customs service in his port and district and
shall there exercise the functions of a captain of the port.
"At Manila the Commissioner
of Customs and the Collector of Customs for the Port
of Manila shall respectively
discharge the duties of collector of customs and deputy collector
of customs for the said vort."
3 Rep. Act No. 1125 (June 16. 1954).
4 "Sec. 7. Jurisdiction. - The Cour-t of T."
Appeals
shall exercise exclusive
appellate
jurisdiction to review by appeal, as herein provided"( 1) Decisions of the Collector of Internal
Revenue in cases involving disputed assessments,
refunds of internal revenue taxes. fees or other charges, pnalties imposed in relation thereto.
or other matters
arising
under the National
Internal
Revenue Code or other law or part
of law administered
by the Bureau of Internal
Revenue.
"(2) Decisions of the Commissioner of Customs in cases involving liability for customa
duties, fees or other money charges: se iaut-e, detention or release of property affected; fines.
forfeitures or other penalties imposed in relation thereto; or other matters arrising under the
Customs Law or other law or part of law administered
by the Bureau of Customs; and
"(3) Decisions of provincial or city Boards of Assessment Appeals in cases involving the
assessment and taxation of real property or other matters arising under the Assessment
Law.
including rules and regulations
relative thereto.
5 "Sec. 11. Who may appeal; effect of appeal. - Any person, association or corporation
adversely affected by a decision or ruling of the Collector of Internal
Revenue, the Collector of
Customs or any provincial or city Board of Assessment Appeals may file an appeal in the
Court of 'I'ax Appeals within thirty days after the receipt of such decision or ruling.
"No appeal taken to the Court of Tax Appeals from the decision of the Collector of
Internal
Revenue or the Collector of Customs shall suspend the payment, levy, distraint,
and/or
sale of any property
of the taxpayer
for the satisfaction
of his tax liability
as provided
by existing
law ... "
It

1957]

445

RECENT DECISIONS

Customs Law' any person aggrieved by the decision of the Collector of Customs may appeal" the decision to the Commissioner of Customs. This is so because the Commissioner of Customs axereises control and supervision over Collectors of Cu.stoms.1 And when there is still a local remedy available, appeal
to a judicial or quasi-judicial body can not be availed of.' To let an appeal
from a decision of the Collector of Customs proceed directly to the Court of
Tax Appeals would deprive the power of the Commissioner of Customs over
such Collector.l0 Thus a Iiteral interpretation of the two provisions in question would not be possible in the present ease. For when the literal interpretation of a statute would lead to absurdity, resort must be had to the principle
that the spirit of a .law controls the letter.l1
The Supreme Court, in disposing of the ease, held:
"x x x that it is more reasonable and logical to hold that in &!ction 11 of the Act,
the Le.rislature _ant
and Int<>nded to lay. the Comml loner I C to , Instead of
CoDeetor 01 Caetom. In the first paragraph
and the fim part of the second paraJrraph
of aid
section.
In thus holding, the Courts are not exactly indulging
in judicial
legl~lation.
They are merely endenvoring to rectify and correct a clearly clerical error
in the wording of a atatute,
in order to give due course and carry out the evident
intention of the Legislature.
This tbe Courts should and can validly do." (12)

Samuel T. Banez
Rosario Gonzalez
6 &!etlona 11871419 inelusive, Revised Administrative
Code.
7 "The person IIfgrjeved by the decision of the collector of customs in any matter presented
upon protest or by his action in any case of seizure may, within fifteen day" after notlflca
tion In writing by the collector of his action or decision, give written notice to the collector
signifying his desire to have the matter reviewed by the CommiBsloner.
"ThereupOn, the collector of customs shall forthwith transmit
all the papers in the cause
to the Comml ioner, who shall approve. modify, or reverse the action of hi. lubordinate
and
shall take such steps and make such order or order" as may be necessary to give effect to hi.
deeislon."
.
8 See, 1152, Revised Administrativ~
Code. &!e note 2, IRIpra.
9 "An appeal may be the exclusive ~thod
for obtaining a review in cases in which it
is available: but is not exelusive where it has been made concurrent or eo-existent with some
other remedy x x x and an appeal Is. not always available in all easel and, with respect to
tho"" .here
it is not, some other procedure must be followed," . C.l.S., sec. 19, p. 87.
10 " ... One portion of a. statute should not be censtrued to annul or destroy what has
been clearly granted by another.
The most general and absolute term. of one section may
be Qualified and limited by conditions and exceptions contained in others, 80 that "II may stand
together.
There should be one harmonious
operation."
Chartered
Bank v. Imperial and
National Bank, IRIPra, NOte 1.
. 11 United States v. Go Chico, 14 Phil. 128, 139 (1909).
12 "JAlw&"must receive sensible interpretation
to promote the ends for which they are
enacted."
People v. Dlnglasan and Piring, H O.G. 2, 458, 460 (1946).