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G.R. No.

91649 May 14, 1991

Basco vs. PAGCOR

H.B. Basco & Associates for petitioners Valmonte Law Offices collaborating counsel for petitioners

Aguirre, Laborte and Capule for respondent PAGCOR

Facts:

• The Philippine Amusements and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) was created by virtue of P.D. 1067-
A dated January 1, 1977 and was granted a franchise under P.D. 1067-B also dated January 1, 1977
"to establish, operate and maintain gambling casinos on land or water within the territorial jurisdiction
of the Philippines."
• Petitioners filed an instant petition seeking to annul the Philippine Amusement and Gaming
Corporation (PAGCOR) Charter — PD 1869, because it is allegedly contrary to morals, public policy
and order
• Petitioners claim that P.D. 1869 constitutes a waiver of the right of the City of Manila to impose taxes
and legal fees; that the exemption clause in P.D. 1869 is in violation of the principle of local
autonomy.
o Section 13 par. (2) of P.D. 1869 exempts PAGCOR, as the franchise holder from paying any
"tax of any kind or form, income or otherwise, as well as fees, charges or levies of whatever
nature, whether National or Local."

Issue:

• Does the local Government of Manila have the power to impose taxes on PAGCOR?

Held

• No, the court rules that The City government of Manila has no power to impose taxes on PAGCOR.

Reason:

• The principle of Local autonomy does not make local governments sovereign within the state; the
principle of local autonomy within the constitution simply means decentralization. It cannot be an
“Imperium in imperio” it can only act intra sovereign, or as an arm of the National Government.
• PAGCOR has a dual role, to operate and to regulate gambling casinos. The latter role is governmental,
which places it in the category of an agency or instrumentality of the Government. Being an
instrumentality of the Government, PAGCOR should be and actually is exempt from local taxes.
• The power of local government to "impose taxes and fees" is always subject to "limitations" which
Congress may provide by law. Since PD 1869 remains an "operative" law until "amended, repealed or
revoked" (Sec. 3, Art. XVIII, 1987 Constitution), its "exemption clause" remains as an exception to
the exercise of the power of local governments to impose taxes and fees. It cannot therefore be
violative but rather is consistent with the principle of local autonomy.

Note: other issues were raised in the case, such as if whether the petitioners have standing in filing the case,
but to make the digest fit into one page I just included the issue which focused that was in accordance to the
outline. Please do read the case in its original when you have the time since there are explanations to its nature
which are not included in this digest