Philippine Supreme Court Jurisprudence


Philippine Supreme Court Jurisprudence > Year 1965 > June 1965 Decisions > G.R. No. L-12351 June 29, 1965 - COMMISSIONER OF CUSTOMS v. FELIX M. ICAMEN:




PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

EN BANC

[G.R. No. L-12351. June 29, 1965.]

THE COMMISSIONER OF CUSTOMS, Petitioner, v. FELIX M. ICAMEN, Respondent.

Solicitor General for Petitioner.

Isidoro A. Vera for Respondent.


SYLLABUS


1. CUSTOMS; WHEN GOODS ABOARD NAVY VESSEL NOT DEEMED UNMANIFESTED MERCHANDISE. — When there is an adequate manifest covering goods found aboard such goods may not be confiscated by customs authorities as unmanifested merchandise under section 1363(g) of the Revised Administrative Code.

2. ID.; GOODS ABROAD NOT INVOLVING SALE OF FOREIGN EXCHANGE NOT COVERED BY CENTRAL BANK CIRCULAR NO. 45. — Goods bought abroad by an army officer while stationed abroad, with dollars received by him in the form of salary and allowances, are not" `imported goods" in the sense of goods purchased abroad and paid with money coming from the Philippines. Where such goods brought into the Philippines do not involve the sale of foreign exchange and the importation took place before the enactment of Republic Act No. 1410, they cannot be subject to forfeiture as importations in violation of Central Bank Circular No. 45.


D E C I S I O N


DIZON, J.:


Appeal taken by the Commissioner of Customs from the decision of the Court of Tax Appeals in C. T. A. Case No. 184 ordering the release of a forfeited electric range and a frigidaire to their owner, Felix M. Icamen, upon payment of the corresponding custom duties, taxes and other charges.

Prior to September 1954, while respondent Icamen, then a captain in the Armed Forces of the Philippines, was assigned to the Philippine Mission in Tokyo, Japan, he purchased one frigidaire and an electric range from the PX U. S. Exchange in said city for his personal use, and subsequently shipped them on board the Philippine Navy vessel, R.P.S. Misamis Oriental, at Yokohama, Japan, when she docked at said port on her way back to the Philippines from Korea, and consigned them to himself, c/o Mr. Florentino Villegas, 92 K-1, Kamuning, Quezon City. Upon their arrival in Manila on September 2, 1954, the goods, together with other articles on board, were seized by customs officials as unmanifested merchandise under section 1363 (g), of the Revised Administrative Code and for having been imported without the corresponding license, in violation of Circular No. 45 of the Central Bank, and were subjected to forfeiture proceedings.

After due notice and hearing, the Collector of Customs ordered the forfeiture of respondent’s frigidaire and range. On appeal, petitioner Commissioner of Customs affirmed the order of forfeiture, but on appeal to the Court of Tax Appeals the latter rendered the appealed decision.

Two main questions call for resolution in this appeal. The first is whether the goods in question are unmanifested merchandise under section 1363(g) of the Revised Administrative Code, and the second is whether or not their importation was in violation of Circular No. 45 of the Central Bank. Both, in our opinion, must be answered in the negative.

Relative to the first issue, it appears that the Court of Tax Appeals found as a fact that there was an adequate manifest covering the goods involved in this case and the others found on board the R.P.S. Misamis Oriental when she arrived at the port of Manila from Yokohama, Japan, on September 2, 1954. This finding is supported by the fact that on September 17, 1954, the then Acting Commissioner of Customs wrote to the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines requesting that two copies of the manifest which the latter had obtained from the commanding officer of the vessel be furnished the Bureau of Customs. The evidence further discloses that said letter was referred to Commodore J. Francisco of the Philippine Navy who in turn wrote to the Acting Commissioner transmitting two copies of the manifest prepared in compliance with Standing Operating Procedure No. 12, dated February 12, 1953, of the Philippine Navy.

As against this evidence supporting the finding made by the Court of Tax Appeals, We find nothing in the record sufficient to overcome it and to justify a reversal of said finding.

Coming to the claim that the goods in question are subject to forfeiture because they were imported in violation of Central Bank Circular No. 45, the Court of Tax Appeals also found as a fact that the same were purchased by respondent with dollars received by him in the form of salary and allowances in Tokyo, Japan, while he was there as an officer of the armed forces of the Philippines detailed with the Philippine Liaison Group (U.N.) attached to the Philippine Mission in Tokyo. The evidence supporting this finding has not been contradicted. The case, therefore, does not involve "imported goods" in the sense of goods purchased abroad and paid with money (in U.S. dollars or in Philippine currency) coming from the Philippines. In other words, it is clear that they are goods brought to the Philippines which did not involve the sale of foreign exchange, this importation having taken place before the enactment of Republic Act No. 1410 prohibiting the so- called no dollar importation except under certain conditions.

PREMISES CONSIDERED, the decision appealed from is affirmed with costs.

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

Barrera, J., is on leave.




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