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COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE and THE FINANCIAL OFFICER, SUPREME COURT OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondents. The statute and the constitution FACTS: The petitioners seek to enjoin CIR from making deduction of withholding taxes from their salaries. Petitioners contend that "any tax withheld from their emoluments or compensation as judicial officers constitutes a decrease or diminution of their salaries, contrary to the provision of Section 10, Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution mandating that during their continuance in office, their salary shall not be decreased,' ISSUE: WON appointed and qualified judges (the petitioners) may be exempt from payment of income tax HELD: No. This petition of the judges is then dismissed. RATIO: To resolve the legal issue raised in this petition the court looked into the intent of the framers of the Constitution who drafted the provision in question. The primary task in constitutional construction is to ascertain and thereafter assure the realization of the purpose of the framers and of the people in the adoption of the Constitution. The intent of the 1987 Constitutional Commission was to delete the proposed express grant of exemption from payment of income tax to members of the Judiciary, so as to "give substance to equality among the three branches of Government" (in the words of Commissioner Rigos). Commissioner Joaquin Bernas also said that the salaries of members of the Judiciary would be subject to the general income tax applied to all taxpayers. This intent became unclear in the final text of the 1987 Constitution. Having seen the failure of not including a prohibition on the exemption of any public officer or employee from payment of income tax, the court has authorized the continuation of the deduction of the withholding tax from the salaries of the members of the Supreme Court, as well as from the salaries of all other members of the Judiciary. ADDITIONAL INFO (Might be asked): *In relation to the legal issue raised in this case, it was stated here that they have discarded the ruling in Perfecto vs. Meer and Endencia vs. David that declared the
salaries of members of the Judiciary exempt from payment of the income tax and considered such payment as a diminution of their salaries during their continuance in office. *Here is a comparison of the constitutional provision involved 1935 1973 1987 ". . . (The members of the "The salary of the Chief "The salary of the Chief Supreme Court and all Justice and of the Justice and of the judges of inferior courts) Associate Justices of the Associate Justices of the shall receive such Supreme Court, and of Supreme Court, and of compensation as may be judges of inferior courts judges of lower courts fixed by law, which shall shall be fixed by law, shall be fixed by law. not which shall During their continuance be diminished during their not be decreased during in office, their salary shall continuance in office . . ." their continuance in office not be decreased." . . ." "No salary or any form of emolument of any public officer or employee, including constitutional officers, shall be exempt from payment of income tax."