G.R. No. L-10045 March 25, 1916
THE PHILIPPINE RAILWAY COMPANY, Plaintiff-Appellant, vs. WILLIAM T. NOLTING, Collector of Internal Revenue of the Philippine Islands, Defendant-Appellee.
Lawrence, Ross and Block for appellant.
The single question presented by the appeal in the present case is whether or not the plaintiff, the Philippine Railway Company, under the law, can be required to put an internal-revenue stamp upon each bill of lading issued by it.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
On the 2d of July, 1904, the Philippine Commission adopted Act No. 1189. That Act purported to be "An Act to provide revenue for the support of the Insular, Provincial, and municipal governments, by internal taxation." Paragraph 9 of section 116 of said law provides, among other things:
The same paragraph of the same section further provides:
On the 28th of May, 1906, the Philippine Commission granted to the plaintiff herein a charter for the construction and operation of a railway or railways in the Islands of Panay, Negros, and Cebu. That Act purported to be:
The provisions of said charter were accepted by the plaintiff herein and it immediately entered upon the construction of said railways. Said Act, upon acceptance by the plaintiff, constituted a contract. Section 13 [No. 13 of section 1] of said charter contract provided that:
The appellee attempted to show that the stamp required to be placed upon each bill of lading was not a tax against the plaintiff. The charter of the plaintiff required it to pay to the Government a certain specific sum, depending upon the period, which payment, when promptly and fully made, should be in lieu of taxes of every name and nature - municipal, provincial, or central - upon its capital stock, its franchises, its right of way, its earnings, and all of its property. The phrase "all taxes of every name and nature" is a very inclusive statement, especially when it names, in connection therewith, the only governmental entities who have a right to collect taxes. It is not only all-inclusive, but it is also as well exceedingly exclusive. It not only includes all payments which may be regarded as taxes, but it excludes everything which might, by any possibility, be denominated taxes, other than those expressly named in said Act No. 1497. Said Act No. 1189 was adopted nearly two years before Act No. 1497. Said Acts were adopted by the same legislative body. When the Legislature said in the subsequent Act that "Such annual payments. . . . shall be in lieu of all taxes, of every name and nature," it must have had in mind the provisions of Act No. 1189 above quoted. That being true, if the Legislature had intended to make the provisions of Act No. 1189, so far as they imposed an additional tax or burden upon the plaintiff, applicable to the plaintiff, it certainly would have said so, and would not have relieved the plaintiff from "all taxes, of every name and nature." chanrobles virtual law library
Statutes which are plain and specific should be given an interpretation according to their terms. There is nothing obscure or indefinite in the language used in Act No. 1497. The language is plain and unambiguous. The plaintiff had a right to believe, when it accepted said contract, that it would be relieved of all of the burdens imposed by the Government, when it promptly and fully paid the amounts imposed by said section 13 [No. 13 of section 1].chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
Upon the question presented by the appeal, the legal department of the Central Government has given two opinions, one sustaining the contention of the defendant, and the other sustaining the contention of the plaintiff. We have carefully examined the record, the facts and the arguments of the appellant, as well as of the defendant, in relation with the two opinions heretofore rendered by the legal department of the Government and have arrived at the conclusion, without prejudice to the writing of a more extensive opinion hereafter, that the additional burden of a stamp upon each bill of lading issued by the plaintiff is a tax which was not contemplated by either the Government or the plaintiff at the time the charter or contract was entered into between them.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
Therefore the judgment of the lower court sustaining the demurrer is hereby revoked, and it is hereby ordered and decreed that the record be returned to the lower court whence it came, with direction that an order be entered and decreed that the record be returned to the lower court whence it came, with direction that an order be entered overruling the demurrer and that the defendant, if he so desire, shall answer the complaint within a period of five days from notice of said order, and without any finding as to costs. So ordered.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
Arellano, C. J., Torres, Trent, and Araullo, JJ., concur.
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