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ABAKADA Guro Party List vs.

Ermita

G.R. No. 168056 September 1, 2005

FACTS:
Before R.A. No. 9337 took effect, petitioners ABAKADA GURO Party List, et al.,
filed a petition for prohibition on May 27, 2005 questioning the constitutionality of
Sections 4, 5 and 6 of R.A. No. 9337, amending Sections 106, 107 and 108,
respectively, of the National Internal Revenue Code (NIRC). Section 4 imposes a
10% VAT on sale of goods and properties, Section 5 imposes a 10% VAT on
importation of goods, and Section 6 imposes a 10% VAT on sale of services and use
or lease of properties. These questioned provisions contain a uniformp ro v is o
authorizing the President, upon recommendation of the Secretary of Finance, to
raise the VAT rate to 12%, effective January 1, 2006, after specified conditions
have been satisfied. Petitioners argue that the law is unconstitutional.

ISSUES:

1. Whether or not there is a violation of Article VI, Section 24 of the Constitution.

2. Whether or not there is undue delegation of legislative power in violation of


Article VI Sec 28(2) of the Constitution.

3. Whether or not there is a violation of the due process and equal protection
under Article III Sec. 1 of the Constitution.

RULING:

1. Since there is no question that the revenue bill exclusively originated in the
House of Representatives, the Senate was acting within its constitutional power to
introduce amendments to the House bill when it included provisions in Senate Bill
No. 1950 amending corporate income taxes, percentage, and excise and franchise
taxes.

2. There is no undue delegation of legislative power but only of the discretion as to


the execution of a law. This is constitutionally permissible. Congress does not
abdicate its functions or unduly delegate power when it describes what job must
be done, who must do it, and what is the scope of his authority; in our complex
economy that is frequently the only way in which the legislative process can go
forward.

3. The power of the State to make reasonable and natural classifications for the
purposes of taxation has long been established. Whether it relates to the subject
of taxation, the kind of property, the rates to be levied, or the amounts to be
raised, the methods of assessment, valuation and collection, the State’s power is
entitled to presumption of validity. As a rule, the judiciary will not interfere with
such power absent a clear showing of unreasonableness, discrimination, or
arbitrariness.
[G.R. No. 152675. April 28, 2004]

BATANGAS POWER CORPORATION, petitioner, vs. BATANGAS CITY


and NATIONAL POWER CORPORATION, respondents.

[G.R. No. 152771. April 28, 2004]

NATIONAL POWER CORPORATION, petitioner, vs. HON. RICARDO R.


ROSARIO, in his capacity as Presiding Judge, RTC, Br. 66,
Makati City; BATANGAS CITY GOVERNMENT; ATTY. TEODULFO
DEGUITO, in his capacity as Chief Legal Officer, Batangas City;
and BENJAMIN PARGAS, in his capacity as City Treasurer,
Batangas City, respondents.

DECISION
PUNO, J.:

Before us are two (2) consolidated petitions for review under Rule 45 of
the Rules of Civil Procedure, seeking to set aside the rulings of the Regional
Trial Court of Makati in its February 27, 2002 Decision in Civil Case No. 00-
205.
The facts show that in the early 1990s, the country suffered from a
crippling power crisis. Power outages lasted 8-12 hours daily and power
generation was badly needed. Addressing the problem, the government,
through the National Power Corporation (NPC), sought to attract investors in
power plant operations by providing them with incentives, one of which was
through the NPCs assumption of payment of their taxes in the Build Operate
and Transfer (BOT) Agreement.
On June 29, 1992, Enron Power Development Corporation (Enron) and
petitioner NPC entered into a Fast Track BOT Project. Enron agreed to supply
a power station to NPC and transfer its plant to the latter after ten (10) years
of operation. Section 11.02 of the BOT Agreement provided that NPC shall be
responsible for the payment of all taxes that may be imposed on the power
station, except income taxes and permit fees. Subsequently, Enron assigned
its obligation under the BOT Agreement to petitioner Batangas Power
Corporation (BPC).
On September 13, 1992, BPC registered itself with the Board of
Investments (BOI) as a pioneer enterprise. On September 23, 1992, the BOI
issued a certificate of registration to BPC as a pioneer enterprise entitled to a
[1]

tax holiday for a period of six (6) years. The construction of the power station
in respondent Batangas City was then completed. BPC operated the station.
On October 12, 1998, Batangas City (the city, for brevity), thru its legal
officer Teodulfo A. Deguito, sent a letter to BPC demanding payment of
business taxes and penalties, commencing from the year 1994 as provided
under Ordinance XI or the 1992 Batangas City Tax Code. BPC refused to
[2]

pay, citing its tax-exempt status as a pioneer enterprise for six (6) years under
Section 133 (g) of the Local Government Code (LGC). [3]

On April 15, 1999, city treasurer Benjamin S. Pargas modified the citys tax
claim and demanded payment of business taxes from BPC only for the years
[4]

1998-1999. He acknowledged that BPC enjoyed a 6-year tax holiday as a


pioneer industry but its tax exemption period expired on September 22, 1998,
six (6) years after its registration with the BOI on September 23, 1992. The
city treasurer held that thereafter BPC became liable to pay its business
taxes.
BPC still refused to pay the tax. It insisted that its 6-year tax holiday
commenced from the date of its commercial operation on July 16, 1993, not
from the date of its BOI registration in September 1992. It furnished the city
[5]

with a BOI letter wherein BOI designated July 16, 1993 as the start of BPCs
[6]

income tax holiday as BPC was not able to immediately operate due to force
majeure. BPC claimed that the local tax holiday is concurrent with the income
tax holiday. In the alternative, BPC asserted that the city should collect the tax
from the NPC as the latter assumed responsibility for its payment under their
BOT Agreement.
The matter was not put to rest. The city legal officer insisted that BPCs
[7]

tax holiday has already expired, while the city argued that it directed its tax
claim to BPC as it is the entity doing business in the city and hence liable to
pay the taxes. The city alleged that it was not privy to NPCs assumption of
BPCs tax payment under their BOT Agreement as the only parties thereto
were NPC and BPC.
BPC adamantly refused to pay the tax claims and reiterated its
position. The city was likewise unyielding on its stand. On August 26, 1999,
[8] [9]

the NPC intervened. While admitting assumption of BPCs tax obligations


[10]

under their BOT Agreement, NPC refused to pay BPCs business tax as it
allegedly constituted an indirect tax on NPC which is a tax-exempt corporation
under its Charter. [11]

In view of the deadlock, BPC filed a petition for declaratory relief with the
[12]

Makati Regional Trial Court (RTC) against Batangas City and NPC, praying
for a ruling that it was not bound to pay the business taxes imposed on it by
the city. It alleged that under the BOT Agreement, NPC is responsible for the
payment of such taxes but as NPC is exempt from taxes, both the BPC and
NPC are not liable for its payment. NPC and Batangas City filed their
respective answers.
On February 23, 2000, while the case was still pending, the city refused to
issue a permit to BPC for the operation of its business unless it paid the
assessed business taxes amounting to close to P29M.
In view of this supervening event, BPC, whose principal office is in Makati
City, filed a supplemental petition with the Makati RTC to convert its original
[13]

petition into an action for injunction to enjoin the city from withholding the
issuance of its business permit and closing its power plant. The city opposed
on the grounds of lack of jurisdiction and lack of cause of action. The [14]

Supplemental Petition was nonetheless admitted by the Makati RTC.


On February 27, 2002, the Makati RTC dismissed the petition for
injunction. It held that: (1) BPC is liable to pay business taxes to the city;
(2) NPCs tax exemption was withdrawn with the passage of R.A. No. 7160
(The Local Government Code); and, (3) the 6-year tax holiday granted to
pioneer business enterprises starts on the date of registration with the BOI as
provided in Section 133 (g) of R.A. No. 7160, and not on the date of its actual
business operations. [15]

BPC and NPC filed with this Court a petition for review
on certiorari assailing the Makati RTC decision. The petitions were
[16]

consolidated as they impugn the same decision, involve the same parties and
raise related issues. [17]

In G.R. No. 152771, the NPC contends:


I

RESPONDENT COURT ACTED WITH GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION


AMOUNTING TO LACK OR EXCESS OF JURISDICTION WHEN IT
ARBITRARILY AND CAPRICIOUSLY RULED THAT PETITIONER NPC HAS
LOST ITS TAX EXEMPTION PRIVILEGE BECAUSE SECTION 193 OF R.A.
7160 (LOCAL GOVERNMENT CODE) HAS WITHDRAWN SUCH PRIVILEGE
DESPITE THE SETTLED JURISPRUDENCE THAT THE ENACTMENT OF A
LEGISLATION, WHICH IS A GENERAL LAW, CANNOT REPEAL A SPECIAL
LAW AND THAT SECTION 13 OF R.A. 6395 (NPC LAW) WAS NOT
SPECIFICALLY MENTIONED IN THE REPEALING CLAUSE IN SECTION 534
OF R.A. 7160, AMONG OTHERS.

II

RESPONDENT COURT ACTED WITH GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION


AMOUNTING TO LACK OR EXCESS OF JURISDICTION WHEN IT
ARBITRARILY AND CAPRICIOUSLY OMITTED THE CLEAR PROVISION OF
SECTION 133, PARAGRAPH (O) OF R.A. 7160 WHICH EXEMPTS NATIONAL
GOVERNMENT, ITS AGENCIES AND INSTRUMENTALITIES FROM THE
IMPOSITION OF TAXES, FEES OR CHARGES OF ANY KIND.

III

RESPONDENT COURT ACTED WITH GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION


AMOUNTING TO LACK OR EXCESS OF JURISDICTION WHEN IT
ERRONEOUSLY AND CAPRICIOUSLY ADMITTED BPCs SUPPLEMENTAL
PETITION FOR INJUNCTION NOTWITHSTANDING THAT IT HAD NO
JURISDICTION OVER THE PARTY (CITY GOVERNMENT OF BATANGAS)
SOUGHT TO BE ENJOINED.

In G.R. No. 152675, BPC also contends that the trial court erred: 1) in
holding it liable for payment of business taxes even if it is undisputed that
NPC has already assumed payment thereof; and, 2) in ruling that BPCs 6-
year tax holiday commenced on the date of its registration with the BOI as a
pioneer enterprise.
The issues for resolution are:
1. whether BPCs 6-year tax holiday commenced on the date of its BOI registration as a
pioneer enterprise or on the date of its actual commercial operation as certified by
the BOI;
2. whether the trial court had jurisdiction over the petition for injunction against
Batangas City; and,
3. whether NPCs tax exemption privileges under its Charter were withdrawn by Section
193 of the Local Government Code (LGC).
We find no merit in the petition.
On the first issue, petitioners BPC and NPC contend that contrary to the
impugned decision, BPCs 6-year tax holiday should commence on the date of
its actual commercial operations as certified to by the BOI, not on the date of
its BOI registration.
We disagree. Sec. 133 (g) of the LGC, which proscribes local government
units (LGUs) from levying taxes on BOI-certified pioneer enterprises for a
period of six years from the date of registration, applies specifically to
taxes imposed by the local government, like the business tax imposed
by Batangas City on BPC in the case at bar. Reliance of BPC on the
provision of Executive Order No. 226, specifically Section 1, Article 39, Title
[18]

III, is clearly misplaced as the six-year tax holiday provided therein which
commences from the date of commercial operation refers to income
taxes imposed by the national government on BOI-registered pioneer
firms. Clearly, it is the provision of the Local Government Code that should
apply to the tax claim of Batangas City against the BPC. The 6-year tax
exemption of BPC should thus commence from the date of BPCs registration
with the BOI on July 16, 1993 and end on July 15, 1999.
Anent the second issue, the records disclose that petitioner NPC did not
oppose BPCs conversion of the petition for declaratory relief to a petition for
injunction or raise the issue of the alleged lack of jurisdiction of the Makati
RTC over the petition for injunction before said court. Hence, NPC is estopped
from raising said issue before us. The fundamental rule is that a party cannot
be allowed to participate in a judicial proceeding, submit the case for decision,
accept the judgment only if it is favorable to him but attack the jurisdiction of
the court when it is adverse.[19]

Finally, on the third issue, petitioners insist that NPCs exemption from all
taxes under its Charter had not been repealed by the LGC.They argue that
NPCs Charter is a special law which cannot be impliedly repealed by a
general and later legislation like the LGC. They likewise anchor their claim of
tax-exemption on Section 133 (o) of the LGC which exempts government
instrumentalities, such as the NPC, from taxes imposed by local government
units (LGUs), citing in support thereof the case of Basco v. PAGCOR. [20]

We find no merit in these contentions. The effect of the LGC on the tax
exemption privileges of the NPC has already been extensively discussed and
settled in the recent case of National Power Corporation v. City of
Cabanatuan. In said case, this Court recognized the removal of the
[21]

blanket exclusion of government instrumentalities from local taxation as


one of the most significant provisions of the 1991 LGC. Specifically, we
stressed that Section 193 of the LGC, an express and general repeal of all
[22]
statutes granting exemptions from local taxes, withdrew the sweeping tax
privileges previously enjoyed by the NPC under its Charter. We explained
the rationale for this provision, thus:

In recent years, the increasing social challenges of the times expanded the scope of
state activity, and taxation has become a tool to realize social justice and the equitable
distribution of wealth, economic progress and the protection of local industries as well
as public welfare and similar objectives. Taxation assumes even greater significance
with the ratification of the 1987 Constitution. Thenceforth, the power to tax is no
longer vested exclusively on Congress; local legislative bodies are now given direct
authority to levy taxes, fees and other charges pursuant to Article X, section 5 of the
1987 Constitution, viz:

Section 5.- Each Local Government unit shall have the power to create its own
sources of revenue, to levy taxes, fees and charges subject to such guidelines and
limitations as the Congress may provide, consistent with the basic policy of local
autonomy. Such taxes, fees and charges shall accrue exclusively to the Local
Governments.

This paradigm shift results from the realization that genuine development can be
achieved only by strengthening local autonomy and promoting decentralization of
governance. For a long time, the countrys highly centralized government structure has
bred a culture of dependence among local government leaders upon the national
leadership. It has also dampened the spirit of initiative, innovation and imaginative
resilience in matters of local development on the part of local government
leaders. The only way to shatter this culture of dependence is to give the LGUs a
wider role in the delivery of basic services, and confer them sufficient powers to
generate their own sources for the purpose. To achieve this goal, x x x the 1987
Constitution mandates Congress to enact a local government code that will, consistent
with the basic policy of local autonomy, set the guidelines and limitations to this grant
of taxing powers x x x.

To recall, prior to the enactment of the x x x Local Government Code x x x, various


measures have been enacted to promote local autonomy. x x x Despite these
initiatives, however, the shackles of dependence on the national government
remained. Local government units were faced with the same problems that hamper
their capabilities to participate effectively in the national development efforts, among
which are: (a) inadequate tax base, (b) lack of fiscal control over external sources of
income, (c) limited authority to prioritize and approve development projects,
(d) heavy dependence on external sources of income, and (e) limited supervisory
control over personnel of national line agencies.
Considered as the most revolutionary piece of legislation on local autonomy, the LGC
effectively deals with the fiscal constraints faced by LGUs. It widens the tax base of
LGUs to include taxes which were prohibited by previous laws x x x.

Neither can the NPC successfully rely on the Basco case as this was[23]

decided prior to the effectivity of the LGC, when there was still no law
empowering local government units to tax instrumentalities of the national
government.
Consequently, when NPC assumed the tax liabilities of the BPC under
their 1992 BOT Agreement, the LGC which removed NPCs tax exemption
privileges had already been in effect for six (6) months. Thus, while BPC
remains to be the entity doing business in said city, it is the NPC that is
ultimately liable to pay said taxes under the provisions of both the 1992 BOT
Agreement and the 1991 Local Government Code.
IN VIEW WHEREOF, the petitions are DISMISSED. No costs.
SO ORDERED.
Facts: This is a Petition to enjoin and prohibit the public respondent Ruben Torres in his
capacity as Executive Secretary from allowing other private respondents to continue with
the operation of tax and duty-free shops located at the Subic Special Economic Zone (SSEZ)
and the Clark Special Economic Zone (CSEZ). The petitioner seeks to declare Republic Act
No. 7227 as unconstitutional on the ground that it allowed only tax-free (and duty-free)
importation of raw materials, capital and equipment. It reads:
The Subic Special Economic Zone shall be operated and managed as a separate customs
territory ensuring free flow or movement of goods and capital within, into and exported out
of the Subic Special Economic Zone, as well as provide incentives such as tax and duty-free
importations of raw materials, capital and equipment. However, exportation or removal of
goods from the territory of the Subic Special Economic Zone to the other parts of the
Philippine territory shall be subject to customs duties and taxes under the Customs and
Tariff Code and other relevant tax laws of thePhilippines [RA 7227, Sec 12 (b)].
Petitioners contend that the wording of Republic Act No. 7227 clearly limits the grant of tax
incentives to the importation of raw materials, capital and equipment only thereby violating
the equal protection clause of the Constitution.
He also assailed the constitutionality of Executive Order No. 97-A for being violative of their
right to equal protection. They asserted that private respondents operating inside the SSEZ
are not different from the retail establishments located outside.

Issue: Whether or not Republic Act No. 7227 is valid on the ground that it violates the
equal protection clause.
Decision: The SC ruled in the negative. The phrase ‘tax and duty-free importations of raw
materials, capital and equipment was merely cited as an example of incentives that may be
given to entities operating within the zone. Public respondent SBMA correctly argued that
the maxim expressio unius est exclusio alterius, on which petitioners impliedly rely to
support their restrictive interpretation, does not apply when words are mentioned by way of
example.
The petition with respect to declaration of unconstitutionality of Executive Order No. 97-A
cannot be, likewise, sustained. The guaranty of the equal protection of the laws is not
violated by a legislation based which was based on reasonable classification. A classification,
to be valid, must (1) rest on substantial distinction, (2) be germane to the purpose of the
law, (3) not be limited to existing conditions only, and (4) apply equally to all members of
the same class. Applying the foregoing test to the present case, this Court finds no violation
of the right to equal protection of the laws. There is a substantial distinctions lying between
the establishments inside and outside the zone. There are substantial differences in a sense
that, investors will be lured to establish and operate their industries in the so-called
‘secured area and the present business operators outside the area. There is, then, hardly
any reasonable basis to extend to them the benefits and incentives accorded in R.A. 7227.

In the present case, while Section 12 of Republic Act No. 7227 expressly
provides for the grant of incentives to the SSEZ, it fails to make any similar
grant in favor of other economic zones, including the CSEZ. Tax and duty-free
incentives being in the nature of tax exemptions, the basis thereof should be
categorically and unmistakably expressed from the language of the statute.
Consequently, in the absence of any express grant of tax and duty-free
privileges to the CSEZ in Republic Act No. 7227, there would be no legal
basis to uphold the questioned portions of two issuances: Section 5 of
Executive Order No. 80 and Section 4 of BCDA Board Resolution No. 93-05-
034, which both pertain to the CSEZ.
Petitioners also contend that the questioned issuances constitute
executive legislation for allowing the removal of consumer goods and items
from the zones without payment of corresponding duties and taxes in violation
of Republic Act No. 7227 as Section 12 thereof provides for the taxation of
goods that are exported or removed from the SSEZ to other parts of the
Philippine territory.

Petitioners contention cannot be sustained. It is an established principle of


constitutional law that the guaranty of the equal protection of the laws is not
violated by a legislation based on a reasonable classification. Classification,
[27]

to be valid, must (1) rest on substantial distinction, (2) be germane to the


purpose of the law, (3) not be limited to existing conditions only, and (4) apply
equally to all members of the same class. [28]

Applying the foregoing test to the present case, this Court finds no
violation of the right to equal protection of the laws. First, contrary to
petitioners claim, substantial distinctions lie between the establishments inside
and outside the zone, justifying the difference in their treatment. In Tiu v.
Court of Appeals, the constitutionality of Executive Order No. 97-A was
[29]

challenged for being violative of the equal protection clause. In that case,
petitioners claimed that Executive Order No. 97-A was discriminatory in
confining the application of Republic Act No. 7227 within a secured area of the
SSEZ, to the exclusion of those outside but are, nevertheless, still within the
economic zone.
Upholding the constitutionality of Executive Order No. 97-A, this Court
therein found substantial differences between the retailers inside and outside
the secured area, thereby justifying a valid and reasonable classification:

Certainly, there are substantial differences between the big investors who are being
lured to establish and operate their industries in the so-called secured area and the
present business operators outside the area. On the one hand, we are talking of billion-
peso investments and thousands of new jobs. On the other hand, definitely none of
such magnitude. In the first, the economic impact will be national; in the second, only
local. Even more important, at this time the business activities outside the secured
area are not likely to have any impact in achieving the purpose of the law, which is to
turn the former military base to productive use for the benefit of the Philippine
economy. There is, then, hardly any reasonable basis to extend to them the benefits
and incentives accorded in R.A. 7227. Additionally, as the Court of Appeals pointed
out, it will be easier to manage and monitor the activities within the secured area,
which is already fenced off, to prevent fraudulent importation of merchandise or
smuggling.

It is well-settled that the equal-protection guarantee does not require territorial


uniformity of laws. As long as there are actual and material differences between
territories, there is no violation of the constitutional clause. And of course, anyone,
including the petitioners, possessing the requisite investment capital can always avail
of the same benefits by channeling his or her resources or business operations into the
fenced-off free port zone

Prohibition against Unfair Competition


and Practices in Restraint of Trade

Petitioners next argue that the grant of special tax exemptions and
privileges gave the private respondents undue advantage over local
enterprises which do not operate inside the SSEZ, thereby creating unfair
competition in violation of the constitutional prohibition against unfair
competition and practices in restraint of trade.
The argument is without merit. Just how the assailed issuance is violative
of the prohibition against unfair competition and practices in restraint of trade
is not clearly explained in the petition. Republic Act No. 7227, and
consequently Executive Order No. 97-A, cannot be said to be distinctively
arbitrary against the welfare of businesses outside the zones. The mere fact
that incentives and privileges are granted to certain enterprises to the
exclusion of others does not render the issuance unconstitutional for
espousing unfair competition. Said constitutional prohibition cannot hinder the
Legislature from using tax incentives as a tool to pursue its policies.
Suffice it to say that Congress had justifiable reasons in granting
incentives to the private respondents, in accordance with Republic Act No.
7227s policy of developing the SSEZ into a self-sustaining entity that will
generate employment and attract foreign and local investment. If petitioners
had wanted to avoid any alleged unfavorable consequences on their profits,
they should upgrade their standards of quality so as to effectively compete in
the market. In the alternative, if petitioners really wanted the preferential
treatment accorded to the private respondents, they could have opted to
register with SSEZ in order to operate within the special economic zone.
OSMEÑA vs. ORBOS
220 SCRA 703
GR No. 99886, March 31, 1993

" To avoid the taint of unlawful delegation of the power to tax, there must be a standard which implies that the
legislature determines matter of principle and lays down fundamental policy."

FACTS: Senator John Osmeña assails the constitutionality of paragraph 1c of PD 1956, as amended by EO
137, empowering the Energy Regulatory Board (ERB) to approve the increase of fuel prices or impose
additional amounts on petroleum products which proceeds shall accrue to the Oil Price Stabilization Fund
(OPSF) established for the reimbursement to ailing oil companies in the event of sudden price increases. The
petitioner avers that the collection on oil products establishments is an undue and invalid delegation of
legislative power to tax. Further, the petitioner points out that since a 'special fund' consists of monies collected
through the taxing power of a State, such amounts belong to the State, although the use thereof is limited to the
special purpose/objective for which it was created. It thus appears that the challenge posed by the petitioner is
premised primarily on the view that the powers granted to the ERB under P.D. 1956, as amended, partake of
the nature of the taxation power of the State.

ISSUE: Is there an undue delegation of the legislative power of taxation?

HELD: None. It seems clear that while the funds collected may be referred to as taxes, they are exacted in the
exercise of the police power of the State. Moreover, that the OPSF as a special fund is plain from the special
treatment given it by E.O. 137. It is segregated from the general fund; and while it is placed in what the law
refers to as a "trust liability account," the fund nonetheless remains subject to the scrutiny and review of the
COA. The Court is satisfied that these measures comply with the constitutional description of a "special
fund." With regard to the alleged undue delegation of legislative power, the Court finds that the provision
conferring the authority upon the ERB to impose additional amounts on petroleum products provides a
sufficient standard by which the authority must be exercised. In addition to the general policy of the law to
protect the local consumer by stabilizing and subsidizing domestic pump rates, P.D. 1956 expressly authorizes
the ERB to impose additional amounts to augment the resources of the Fund.