Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Case Digest: G.R. No. L-6355-56. August 31, 1953. 93 Phil 696

Pastor M. Endencia and Fernando Jugo, plaintiffs-appellees, vs. Saturnino David, as Collector of Internal Revenue, defendant-appellant.

Facts: This is a joint appeal from the decision of the Court of First Instance of Manila declaring section 13 of Republic Act No. 590 unconstitutional, and ordering the appellant Saturnino David as Collector of Internal Revenue to re-fund to Justice Pastor M. Endencia the sum of P1,744.45, representing the income tax collected on his salary as Associate Justice of the Court of Appeals in 1951, and to Justice Fernando Jugo the amount of P2,345.46, representing the income tax collected on his salary from January 1,1950 to October 19, 1950, as Presiding Justice of the Court of Appeals, and from October 20, 1950 to December 31,1950, as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, without special pronouncement as to costs.

Issue: Whether or not Republic Act No. 590, particularly section 13, can justify and legalize the collection of income tax on the salary of judicial officers. 

Ruling: No. The Supreme Court reiterated the doctrine laid down in the case of Perfecto vs. Meer, to the effect that the collection of income tax on the salary of a judicial officer is a diminution thereof and so violates the Constitution. It is further held that the interpretation and application of the Constitution and of statutes is within the exclusive province and jurisdiction of the Judicial department, and that in enacting a law, the Legislature may not legally provide therein that it be interpreted in such a way that it may not violate a Constitutional prohibition, thereby tying the hands of the courts in their task of later interpreting said statute, especially when the interpretation sought and provided in said statute runs counter to a previous interpretation already given in a case by the highest court of the land.

Case Digest: G.R. No. L-2348. February 27, 1950. 85 Phil 522

Gregorio Perfecto, plaintiff-appellee, vs. Bibiano Meer, Collector of Internal Revenue, defendant-appellant.

Facts: In April, 1947 the Collector of Internal Revenue required plaintiff-appellee to pay income tax upon his salary as member of this Court during the year 1946. After paying the amount, he instituted this action in the Manila Court of First Instance contending that the assessment was illegal, his salary not being taxable for the reason that imposition of taxes thereon would reduce it in violation of the Constitution.

Issue: Whether or not the imposition of an income tax upon this salary in 1946 amount to a diminution thereof.

Ruling: The Supreme Court held that unless and until the Legislature approves an amendment to the Income Tax Law expressly taxing "that salaries of judges thereafter appointed", salaries of judges are not included in the word "income" taxed by the Income Tax Law. Two paramount circumstances may additionally be indicated, to wit: First, when the Income Tax Law was first applied to the Philippines 1913, taxable "income" did not include salaries of judicial officers when these are protected from diminution. That was the prevailing official belief in the United States, which must be deemed to have been transplanted here; and second, when the Philippine Constitutional Convention approved (in 1935) the prohibition against diminution off the judges’ compensation, the Federal principle was known that income tax on judicial salaries really impairs them.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Case Digest: G.R. No. L-16217. October 9, 1920. 41 Phil 94

The United States, plaintiff-appellee, vs. M. J. Limsiongco, Vicente Yap, Yap Bun, Tan Fong, Sing Joy, Chino Saya (alias) Isaias Javier, Lim Liongco, Sing Yang, Lorenzo Pavia And Mariano Tan-Congco, defendants-appellants.

Facts: The second division of the Supreme Court rendered a decision in a case on gambling.  Within the time allowed by the Rules of the Court, counsel for appellants have raised a question unconnected with the merits of the particular case, but assailing the very structure of the court itself. Appellant's motion is based on the ground that the instant decision was rendered by a division of the court and not by the body constituted by law for the purpose, and hence the decisions as rendered, was rendered by a body outside the law and having no power, authority or jurisdiction to render a final decision in the controversy.

Issue: Whether or not section 138 of the Administrative Code which authorizes divisions in the Supreme Court had diminished the authority of the Supreme Court to hear and determine causes.

Ruling: No. The Supreme Court remains a unit notwithstanding it works in divisions. Although it may have two divisions, it is but a single court. Actions considered in any one of these divisions and decisions rendered therein are, in effect, by the same Tribunal. The two divisions of this court are not to be considered as two separate and distinct courts but as divisions of one and the same court. In the exact words of the law which is questioned, the Supreme Court shall, as a body, sit in banc, but it may sit in divisions. In addition, the Supreme Court held that the Philippine Legislature had power to enact law authorizing the Supreme Court to sit either in banc or in divisions to transact business.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Case Digest: G.R. No. 131136. February 28, 2001

Conrado L. De Rama, petitioner, vs. The Court Of Appeals (Ninth Division, The Civil Service Commission), Eladio Martinez, Divino De Jesus, Morell Ayala, Aristeo Catalla, Daisy Porta, Flordeliza Oriasel, Graciela Glory, Felecidad Orinday, Ma. Petra Muffet Luce, Elsa Marino, Bernardita Mendoza, Jane Macatangay, Adelfo Glodoviza and Florino Ramos, respondents.

Facts: Upon his assumption to the position of Mayor of Pagbilao, Quezon, petitioner Conrado L. de Rama wrote a letter dated July 13, 1995 to the Civil Service Commission (or CSC), seeking the recall of the appointments of fourteen (14) municipal employees. Justifying his recall request on the allegation that the appointments of the said employees were “midnight” appointments of the former mayor, Ma. Evelyn S. Abeja, done in violation of Article VII, Section 15 of the 1987 Constitution. The CSC denied petitioner’s request for the recall of the appointments of the fourteen employees, for lack of merit. The CSC upheld the validity of the appointments on the ground that they had already been approved by the Head of the CSC Field Office in Lucena City, and for petitioner’s failure to present evidence that would warrant the revocation or recall of the said appointments.

Issue:  whether or not the recall made by petitioner is valid.

Ruling: No. It is the CSC that is authorized to recall an appointment initially approved, but only when such appointment and approval are proven to be in disregard of applicable provisions of the civil service law and regulations. Rule V, Section 9 of the Omnibus Implementing Regulations of the Revised Administrative Code specifically provides that “an appointment accepted by the appointee cannot be withdrawn or revoked by the appointing authority and shall remain in force and in effect until disapproved by the Commission.

Accordingly, the appointments of the private respondents may only be recalled on the following grounds: (a) Non-compliance with the procedures/criteria provided in the agency’s Merit Promotion Plan; (b) Failure to pass through the agency’s Selection/Promotion Board; (c) Violation of the existing collective agreement between management and employees relative to promotion; or (d) Violation of other existing civil service law, rules and regulations.