Philippine Supreme Court Jurisprudence


Philippine Supreme Court Jurisprudence > Year 1966 > January 1966 Decisions > G.R. No. L-22388 January 31, 1966 DR. IRINEO P. SIA, ET AL. v. PABLO CUNETA, ET AL.:




PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

EN BANC

[G.R. No. L-22388. January 31, 1966.]

DR. IRINEO P. SIA, ET AL., Petitioners, v. PABLO CUNETA, ET AL., Respondents.

C. J. Antiporda for the petitioners.

Mariano V. Ampil, Jr. for the respondents.


SYLLABUS


1. MUNICIPAL CORPORATIONS; DUTY TO PROVIDE NECESSARY APPROPRIATION FOR EXPENSES OF CITY. — The Municipal Board of Pasay City is in duty bound to provide for the necessary appropriation to cover the expenses of the city. The same finds justification in Section 16 (b) of Republic Act No. 183.

2. ID.; ID.; RIGHT OF BOARD OF TAX APPEALS TO DEMAND COMPLIANCE WITH DUTY. — It cannot be denied that under Section 40 of Republic Act No. 183, as amended, the Board of Tax Appeals is a department of Pasay City the appropriation of which should also be provided for by the municipal board, but before a demand for compliance with this duty may be required it is necessary that the right to such demand be clear and the claim be liquidated and certain. Here petitioners’ claim is neither liquidated nor certain, for it nowhere appears the exact emolument to which they are entitled. It is true that there is in the petition a claim for damages which allegedly represent the salaries, wages and sundry expenses which had accrued to the Board of Tax Appeals but such claim was denied by respondent officials and no evidence was submitted to substantiate it.

3. ID.; ID.; ID.; POWER OF BOARD TO EMPLOY PERSONNEL. — The Board of Tax Appeals has only the power to appoint a secretary in accordance with the Civil Service Law and Regulations and with the concurrence of a majority of its members. Hence, the appointment made by said Board of a laborer and steno-typist cannot be upheld because it is absolutely bereft of power to make their appointments.

4. MANDAMUS; EXERCISE OF DISCRETION CANNOT BE CONTROLLED BY MANDAMUS. — Where the board or officer must examine the claim before allowing it, and determine its correctness, or where the amount of the compensation to be awarded is not fixed by law, mandamus will not lie to compel the allowance or payment of the claim, (34 Am. Jur., p. 943).


D E C I S I O N


BAUTISTA ANGELO, J.:


Irineo P. Sia, Et Al., filed the present petition before this Court to require the Mayor, Vice-Mayor and Municipal Board of Pasay City to provide them with the necessary office space, supplies and materials and other equipment for their use, as well as to approve the necessary appropriation for the salaries and sundry expenses of the Board of Tax Appeals of said city, and, in the alternative, to require respondents to pay adequate damages in their favor.

Petitioners were appointed by the President of the Philippines as members of the Board of Tax Appeals of Pasay City and as such they qualified and entered into the performance of their duties. They requested respondents on several occasions to provide them with the necessary office space, supplies, equipment and money for their salaries and sundry expenses in order that the Board of Tax Appeals may properly function, but respondents denied their request, for which reason they suffered damages in the amount of P7,450.00 for the fiscal year 1962-1963 and in the amount of P15,480.00 for the fiscal year 1963-1964, aside from other damages and attorney’s fees.

Petitioners claim that they brought their case to the attention of the President of the Philippines but the latter endorsed the same to the Department of Finance, which in turn referred it to the city treasurer for action. The latter official, finding himself without power to act thereon, transmitted the matter to the municipal board, thru the mayor, for such action as it may deem proper to take in the premises. And since no favorable action has been taken by these officials notwithstanding the endorsement made by the President of the Philippines, petitioners commenced the present action.

Respondents admitted that petitioners had been appointed as members of the Board of Tax Appeals for Pasay City, but denied having knowledge that they qualified and entered into the performance of their duties as such. They also denied that they have the ministerial duty of providing petitioners with the things they are asking for because the same is a matter that involves the exercise of discretion which cannot be controlled by mandamus. By way of affirmative defense, respondents argue that under the Charter of Pasay City, the Board of Tax Appeals is only authorized to employ a secretary and not any other laborer or employee.

The claim that the Municipal Board of Pasay City is in duty bound to provide for the necessary appropriation to cover the expenses of the city is well taken, for the same finds justification in Section 16(b) of Republic Act No. 183. And it cannot be denied that under Section 40 of said Act, as amended, the Board of Tax Appeals is a department of that city the appropriation of which should also be provided for by the municipal board, but before a demand for compliance with this duty may be required it is necessary that the right to such demand be clear and the claim be liquidated and certain. Otherwise, mandamus will not lie. Thus, "Where . . . the board or officer must examine the claim before allowing it, and determine its correctness, or where the amount of the compensation to be awarded is not fixed by law, mandamus will not lie to compel the allowance or payment of the claim" (34 Am. Jur., p. 943).

Here petitioners’ claim is neither liquidated nor certain, for it nowhere appears the exact emolument to which they are entitled. It is true that there is in the petition a claim for damages in the amount of P7,450.00 for the fiscal year 1962-1963 and another in the amount of P15,480.00 for the fiscal year 1963-1964 which allegedly represent the salaries, wages and sundry expenses which had accrued to the Board of Tax Appeals during the years abovementioned, but such claim was denied by respondents and no evidence was submitted to substantiate it. There is, therefore, no clear showing that petitioners’ claim is liquidated and certain in order that a writ of mandamus may lie.

There is, on the other hand, a cloud of doubt as regards the power of the Board of Tax Appeals to employ the personnel for whom it seeks appropriation since it clearly appears in Section 40 of Republic Act No. 183, as amended by Republic Act No. 3275, that the Board of Tax Appeals has only the power to appoint a secretary in accordance with the Civil Service Law and Regulations and with the concurrence of a majority of its members. It nowhere appears that such a requirement has been followed. Hence, the appointment made by said Board of a secretary, laborer and steno-typist cannot be upheld, not only for the reason abovementioned, but because with regard to the latter two it is absolutely bereft of power to make their appointments.

Premises considered, we find no plausible reason to maintain the writ prayed for, and so we hereby deny the same, without prejudice to whatever other remedy petitioners may avail of in defense of their rights. No costs.

Concepcion, Reyes, J.B.L., Barrera, Dizon, Regala, Makalintal, Bengzon, J.P. and Zaldivar, JJ., concur.

Bengzon, C.J., took no part.




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