Philippine Supreme Court Jurisprudence


Philippine Supreme Court Jurisprudence > Year 1965 > June 1965 Decisions > G.R. No. L-20489 June 22, 1965 - BOMBAY DEPT. STORE v. COMMISSIONER OF CUSTOMS:




PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

EN BANC

[G.R. No. L-20489. June 22, 1965.]

BOMBAY DEPARTMENT STORE, Petitioner, v. THE COMMISSIONER OF CUSTOMS, Respondent.

Clemente M. Soriano for Petitioner.

Solicitor General for Respondent.


SYLLABUS


1. CUSTOMS; FORFEITURE FOR MISDECLARATION OF IMPORTED MERCHANDISE; BASIS IS COMPARISON OF GOODS RECEIVED WITH PAPERS. — Since a seizure and forfeiture proceedings for misdeclaration is directed against the merchandise imported, the basis in determining misdeclaration should be the goods actually received as compared with their accompanying papers, such as the invoices, bill of lading and import entry and internal revenue declaration.

2. ID.; ID.; DECLARING COMPLETE BICYCLES IN KNOCKED-DOWN CONDITION AS "PARTS" IS MISDECLARATION. — Inasmuch as complete bicycles, even in knocked-down condition, are dutiable as an entirety and the rates of duty on parts of cycles and on complete cycles are different, it is held that declaring said items in the required release certificates of the Central Bank as "parts of cycles" ‘ is a misdeclaration of said goods rendering them subject to seizure and forfeiture by the Bureau of Customs pursuant to Section 1363(f) of the Revised Administrative Code in relation to Central Bank Circular Nos. 44 and 45.

3. ID.; RELEASE CERTIFICATE; CENTRAL BANK CIRCULARS NOS. 44 AND 45 REQUIRING THEM NOT REPEALED BY CENTRAL BANK CIRCULAR No. 133. — Central Bank Circular No. 133, effective January 21, 1962, far from impliedly repealing the requirement of release certificate in Central Bank Circulars Nos. 44 and 45, reiterates the same.


D E C I S I O N


BENGZON, J.P., J.:


On December 12, 1954 five cases of goods shipped by Milshire International Corporation, 110 W. 40th St., New York, N. Y., U. S. A., consigned to Bombay Department Store, Manila, arrived in the Port of Manila on board S.S. "Pioneer Wave."cralaw virtua1aw library

Said goods were declared in the commercial invoice as:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

"68 cartons Parts of Cycle

"12 cartons Parts of Cycle

"Packed in five wooden cases iron strapped."cralaw virtua1aw library

Similarly, the consular invoice described them as:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

"68 cartons Parts of Cycle

"12 cartons Parts of Cycle"

The bill of lading stated:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

"4 cases Parts of Cycles"

"1 case Parts of Cycles General Mdse."cralaw virtua1aw library

So, also, the import entry and internal revenue declaration set forth:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

"4 Cases. Parts of Cycles

"1 Case Parts of Cycles" (Gen. Merchandise)."cralaw virtua1aw library

Finally, the Central Bank release certificate, classifying the goods under 730302 EP, described them as:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

"(4 cases) Parts of Cycles"

"(1 case)

When opened for inventory and examination, however, the five cases were found to contain the following:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

Case No. 1 — 4 pcs. — Bicycle, complete, Murray brand, Men’s;

Case No. 2 — 4 pcs. — Bicycle, complete, Murray brand, Men’s and 1 pc. Tricycle, boy’s;

Case No. 3 — 6 pcs. — Motor bike, complete, Case No. 4-6 pcs.-Motor bike, complete,

Case No. 5 — 151 pcs. — Cases for Sheaffer’s pen, carton.

1 pc. — Children’s sweater of estron acetate and cotton materials,

1 pr. Children’s (Baby) shoes of estron acetate and cotton materials,

40 cs. — Sportswear, rayon men’s

42 pcs. — Handbags, tin frame and plastic or velvet siding

36 pcs. Jackets, leather men’s

20 boxes cufflinks and buttons

2 1/2 boxes cufflinks and buttons

6 boxes cufflinks 6 boxes buttons

3 small boxes buttons

20 boxes Handkerchiefs

For alleged violation of Sections 1363(f), 1363(i), 1363(m)3 and 4, Revised Administrative Code, and of Central Bank Circulars Nos. 44 and 45, the aforesaid goods were seized. After seizure proceedings the Collector of Customs, on July 11, 1955, declared the goods forfeited.

Subsequently, on August 8, 1955, the Collector of Customs authorized the release of the goods under a bond in the amount of P5,779.81.

Bombay Department Store appealed from the Collector of Customs’ decision to the Commissioner of Customs but the latter, on March 29, 1960, affirmed said decision, confiscating the bond and ordering the principal and the surety, jointly and severally, to pay the amount thereof to the Bureau of Customs.

Appeal was further taken by Bombay Department Store to the Court of Tax Appeals which in turn, on August 1, 1962, affirmed the decision of the Commissioner of Customs, resulting in this petition for review of the decision of the Tax Court.

Appellant maintains, first, that there is no misdeclaration of the goods to warrant their forfeiture under Section 1363 (m) 3 and 4 of the Revised Administrative Code; and, secondly, that said goods are not subject to forfeiture under Central Bank Circular Nos. 44 and 45 which require a release certificate for the same.

Section 1363 (m) 3 and 4 of the Revised Administrative Code provides:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

"SEC. 1363. Property subject to forfeiture under customs laws. — Vessels, cargo, merchandise, and other objects and things shall, under the conditions hereinbelow specified, be subject to forfeiture:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

x       x       x


"(m) Any merchandise the importation or exportation of which is effected or attempted in any of the ways or under any of the conditions hereinbelow described —

x       x       x


"3. Upon the wrongful making by the owner, importer, exporter, or consignee of any merchandise, or by the agent of either, of any false declaration or affidavit, touching such merchandise and in connection with the importation or exportation of the same.

"4. Upon the wrongful making or delivery by the same person or persons, of any false invoice, letter or paper touching such merchandise and in connection with the importation or exportation of the same."cralaw virtua1aw library

It is true that the commercial and consular invoices tally with the import entry and internal revenue declaration, but it is likewise true that, as stated, said invoices, the bill of lading as well as the import entry and internal revenue declaration do not tally with the contents of the boxes shipped. For while said papers stated the contents to be "parts of cycles" the boxes in fact contained complete cycles. Since a seizure and forfeiture proceedings for misdeclaration is directed against the merchandise imported, the basis in determining misdeclaration should be the goods actually received as compared with their accompanying papers, such as the invoices, bill of lading and import entry and internal revenue declaration. The goods received in this case being different from those described in said papers, it follows that there was misdeclaration of the same, rendering them subject to forfeiture under Section 1363 (m)3 and 4 of the Revised Administrative Code.

Central Bank Circulars Nos. 44 and 45 require the presentation of a release certificate issued by the Central Bank before an importation is released to the claimant or consignee.

It is appellant’s contention that the goods in question are covered by the release certificate presented. An examination of said release certificate, however, shows that it covers only "parts of cycles" classified as 730302 EP. The shipment consisted not of cycle "parts" but of "complete" bicycles which do not fall under 730302 EP (Essential Producer) but under 730302 NEC (Non-Essential Consumer).

The record shows that the testimony referred to by appellant in support of its contention that at least the children’s cycles were only "parts" states precisely the opposite:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

"Q. . . . Did you find the shipment?

"A. I found out that instead of parts of cycles, the shipment consist [sic] of complete children’s bicycles.

"Q. Already assembled?

"A. No. in parts." (C.T.A. Record, p. 36.)

We need hardly point out that complete bicycles, even in knocked-down condition, are dutiable as an entirety 1 and that the rates of duty on parts of cycles and on complete cycles are different. 2 Such being the case the goods in question—complete bicycles and general’ merchandise-do not fall under the release certificate presented. Accordingly, their importation ran counter to the aforesaid Central Bank Circulars Nos. 44 and 45, for lack of release certificate. Forfeiture of said goods by the Bureau of Customs is therefore in order, pursuant to Section 1363(f) of the Revised Administrative Code, 3 since violation of Circulars Nos. 44 and 45 made them fall thereunder as "merchandise of prohibited importation" or merchandise "the importation of which is effected . . . contrary to law." 4

Appellant’s final argument is that Central Bank Circular No. 133, effective January 21, 1962, impliedly repealed Circulars Nos. 44 and 45, thereby rendering the present seizure and forfeiture proceedings without legal basis. Suffice it to state on this point, that, far from being impliedly repealed, the requirement of a release certificate is reiterated in Circular No. 133:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

"6. Imports shall be released from the port of entry only upon presentation of a release certificate issued by the Central Bank based on the letters of credit opened."cralaw virtua1aw library

WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is hereby affirmed, with costs against appellant. It is so ordered.

Bengzon, C.J., Bautista Angelo, Concepcion, Reyes, J.B.L., Paredes, Dizon, Regala, Makalintal and Zaldivar, JJ., concur.

Barrera, J., is on leave.

Endnotes:



1. Close & Stewart v. U. S., 2 CCA 318, CD 151.

2. See Headings 87.10 and 87.12, Tariff and Customs Code of 1957.

3. "Sec. 1363. Property subject to forfeiture under customs laws. — Vessels, cargo, merchandise, and other objects and things shall, under the conditions hereinbelow specified, be subject to forfeiture:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

x       x       x


"(f) Any merchandise of prohibited importation or exportation, the importation or exportation of which is effected or attempted contrary to law, and all other merchandise which, in the opinion of the collector, have been used, are or were intended to be used as instrument in the importation or exportation of the former."cralaw virtua1aw library

4. Pascual v. Commissioner of Customs. L-10797, June 30, 1959; Commissioner of Customs v. Serree Investment Co. 108 Phil., 1: Commissioner v. Eastern Sea Trading, L-14279. Oct. 31, 1961; Commissioner v. Santos, L-11911. March 30, 1962; Commissioner v. Nepomuceno, L-11126, March 31, 1362; Pascual v. Collector of Customs. L-12219, April 25. 1962; Serree Investment Co. v. Commissioner of Customs, L-19564. Nov. 28, 1964.




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