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, plaintiff-appellant,
C. CONEJOS as Mayor of Ormoc City and ORMOC CITY, defendants-appellees.
Ponce Enrile, Siguion Reyna, Montecillo & Belo and Teehankee, Carreon & Taada for plaintiff-appellant.
Ramon O. de Veyra for defendants-appellees.

On January 29, 1964, the Municipal Board of Ormoc City passed
Ordinance No. 4, Series of 1964,
imposing on any and all productions of centrifugal sugar milled at the Ormoc Sugar Company, Inc., in
Ormoc City a municipal tax equivalent to one per centum (1%) per export sale to the United States of
America and other foreign countries.

Payments for said tax were made, under protest, by Ormoc Sugar Company, Inc. on March 20, 1964 for
P7,087.50 and on April 20, 1964 for P5,000, or a total of P12,087.50.
On June 1, 1964, Ormoc Sugar Company, Inc. filed before the Court of First Instance of Leyte, with
service of a copy upon the Solicitor General, a complaint
against the City of Ormoc as well as its
Treasurer, Municipal Board and Mayor, alleging that the afore-stated ordinance is unconstitutional for
being violative of the equal protection clause (Sec. 1[1], Art. III, Constitution) and the rule of uniformity
of taxation (Sec. 22[1]), Art. VI, Constitution), aside from being an export tax forbidden under Section
2287 of the Revised Administrative Code. It further alleged that the tax is neither a production nor a
license tax which Ormoc City under Section 15-kk of its charter and under Section 2 of Republic Act 2264,
otherwise known as the Local Autonomy Act, is authorized to impose; and that the tax amounts to a
customs duty, fee or charge in violation of paragraph 1 of Section 2 of Republic Act 2264 because the tax
is on both the sale and export of sugar.
Answering, the defendants asserted that the tax ordinance was within defendant citys power to enact
under the Local Autonomy Act and that the same did not violate the afore-cited constitutional limitations.
After pre-trial and submission of the case on memoranda, the Court of First Instance, on August 6, 1964,
rendered a decision that upheld the constitutionality of the ordinance and declared the taxing power of
defendant chartered city broadened by the Local Autonomy Act to include all other forms of taxes,
licenses or fees not excluded in its charter.
Appeal therefrom was directly taken to Us by plaintiff Ormoc Sugar Company, Inc. Appellant alleges the
same statutory and constitutional violations in the aforesaid taxing ordinance mentioned earlier.
Section 1 of the ordinance states: There shall be paid to the City Treasurer on any and all productions of
centrifugal sugar milled at the Ormoc Sugar Company, Incorporated, in Ormoc City, a municipal tax
equivalent to one per centum (1%) per export sale to the United States of America and other foreign
countries. Though referred to as a tax on the export of centrifugal sugar produced at Ormoc Sugar
Company, Inc. For production of sugar alone is not taxable; the only time the tax applies is when the
sugar produced is exported.
Appellant questions the authority of the defendant Municipal Board to levy such an export tax, in view of
Section 2287 of the Revised Administrative Code which denies from municipal councils the power to
impose an export tax. Section 2287 in part states: It shall not be in the power of the municipal council to
impose a tax in any form whatever, upon goods and merchandise carried into the municipality, or out of
the same, and any attempt to impose an import or export tax upon such goods in the guise of an
unreasonable charge for wharfage use of bridges or otherwise, shall be void.
Subsequently, however, Section 2 of Republic Act 2264 effective June 19, 1959, gave chartered cities,
municipalities and municipal districts authority to levy for public purposes just and uniform taxes, licenses
or fees. Anent the inconsistency between Section 2287 of the Revised Administrative Code and Section 2
of Republic Act 2264, this Court, in Nin Bay Mining Co. v. Municipality of Roxas
held the former to have
been repealed by the latter. And expressing Our awareness of the transcendental effects that municipal
export or import taxes or licenses will have on the national economy, due to Section 2 of Republic Act
2264, We stated that there was no other alternative until Congress acts to provide remedial measures to
forestall any unfavorable results.
The point remains to be determined, however, whether constitutional limits on the power of taxation,
specifically the equal protection clause and rule of uniformity of taxation, were infringed.
The Constitution in the bill of rights provides: . . . nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of
the laws. (Sec. 1 [1], Art. III) In Felwa vs. Salas,
We ruled that the equal protection clause applies only
to persons or things identically situated and does not bar a reasonable classification of the subject of
legislation, and a classification is reasonable where (1) it is based on substantial distinctions which make
real differences; (2) these are germane to the purpose of the law; (3) the classification applies not only
to present conditions but also to future conditions which are substantially identical to those of the
present; (4) the classification applies only to those who belong to the same class.
A perusal of the requisites instantly shows that the questioned ordinance does not meet them, for it taxes
only centrifugal sugar produced and exported by the Ormoc Sugar Company, Inc. and none other. At the
time of the taxing ordinances enactment, Ormoc Sugar Company, Inc., it is true, was the only sugar
central in the city of Ormoc. Still, the classification, to be reasonable, should be in terms applicable to
future conditions as well. The taxing ordinance should not be singular and exclusive as to exclude any
subsequently established sugar central, of the same class as plaintiff, for the coverage of the tax. As it is
now, even if later a similar company is set up, it cannot be subject to the tax because the ordinance
expressly points only to Ormoc City Sugar Company, Inc. as the entity to be levied upon.
Appellant, however, is not entitled to interest; on the refund because the taxes were not arbitrarily
collected (Collector of Internal Revenue v. Binalbagan).
At the time of collection, the ordinance provided
a sufficient basis to preclude arbitrariness, the same being then presumed constitutional until declared
WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is hereby reversed, the challenged ordinance is declared
unconstitutional and the defendants-appellees are hereby ordered to refund the P12,087.50 plaintiff-
appellant paid under protest. No costs. So ordered.
Concepcion, C.J., Reyes, J.B.L., Dizon, Makalintal, Zaldivar, Sanchez, Castro, Angeles and Fernando, JJ.,

Hawaiian Philippine Co. versus Asociacion de
Hacenderos de Silay-Saravia Inc., et al
on November 15, 2010
Equal Protection Sugar Cane Industry
Hawaiian is a sugar milling company while Asociacion is a corporation organized to represent sugar cane
planters in Negros Occidental. In 1953, both had a contract which would include 12 crop (years) until the
1963-1964 crop. For the 1
6 years, the sharing would be 63% to 37%, Asociacion being the highest
getter. And from the next 5 years itd be 63.5% to 36.5% and in the 63-64 crop year itd be 64% to
36%. In 1961, Asociacion made known its intention to buy out Hawaiian which was reluctant at first but
later agreed at a selling price of $14M. The sale was never actualized and Asociacion initially sought to
restructure the contract to a 70%-30% sharing. Eventually, Asociacion severed ties with Hawaiian and
Asocicion established its own milling company, the Agricultural Industrial Development Company of Silay-
Saravia. Apparently, Asociacion is authorized by law to break existing contracts by virtue of RA 809.
Hawaiian assailed the constitutionality of the said law: Secs 1, 4 and 9 of RA 809, Secs 4 and 5 of RA
1825 and Sec 3 of RA 1072 amending Sec 9 of Act 4166, for being violative of the constitutional
guarantees against impairment of the freedom of contracts, denial of equal protection of the laws, taking
of private property for public use without due process and without just compensation and impairment of
vested rights and (2) validity of: aforesaid laws for being violative of treaty commitments previously
entered into by the Government of the Republic of the Philippines.
ISSUE: Whether or not there has been a violation of equal protection.
HELD: The SC ruled that there is no such violation. RA 809 is a social justice and police power measure
for the promotion of labor conditions in sugar plantations, hence whatever rational degree of constraint it
exerts on freedom of contract and existing contractual obligations is constitutionally permissible. RA
1825 and RA 1072 amending Act 4166 covering as they do the same subject, i.e. sugar production,
partake of the same nature as RA 809 and for the same reasons as above stated, cannot be considered
constitutionally objectionable. Sugar production is one of the great industries of our nation, sugar
occupying a leading position among its export products, that it gives employment to thousands of
laborers in field and factories, that it is a great source of the states wealth, is one of the important
sources of foreign exchange needed by our government, and is thus pivotal in the plans of a regime
committed to a policy of currency stability. Its promotion, protection and advancement therefore,
redounds greatly to the general welfare. Hence it was competent for the legislature to find that the
general welfare demanded that the sugar industry should be stabilized in turn, and in the wide field of its
police power, the lawmaking body could provide that the distribution of benefits therefrom be readjusted
among its components.

Peralta et al vs Commission on Elections et al
on November 15, 2010

Equal Protection 1978 Election Code Block Voting
Peralta was an independent candidate in the April 1978 Interim Batasang Pambansa Elections. He, along
with others, assailed the constitutionality of PD 1269 or the 1978 Election Code. Secs140 and 155, sub-
paragraphs 26 to 28, of the 1978 Election Code, grants the voter the option to vote either for individual
candidates by filling in the proper spaces in the ballot the names of candidates he desires to elect, or to
vote for all the candidates of a political party, group or aggrupation by simply writing in the space
provided for in the ballot the name of the political party, group or aggrupation (office-block ballot).
Peralta was vehement in contending that the optional block voting scheme is violative of this provision of
the Constitution: Bona fide candidates for any public office shall be free from any form of harassment
and discrimination. He sought the shelter of its protection for himself and other independent
candidates who, according to him, would be thus made to suffer if the assailed provision is not nullified.
Essentially, in terms of individual rights, he would raise a due process and equal protection question. The
main objection of Peralta against the optional straight party voting provided for in the Code is that an
independent candidate would be discriminated against because by merely writing on his ballot the name
of a political party, a voter would have voted for all the candidates of that party, an advantage which the
independent candidate does not enjoy. In effect, it is contended that the candidate who is not a party-
member is deprived of the equal protection of the laws, as provided in Sec 1 of Article IV, in relation to
Sec 9 of Article XII, of the 1973 Constitution.
ISSUE: Whether or not the 1978 Election Code is violative of equal protection.
HELD: The SC ruled that the 1978 Election Code is valid. Before a voter prepares his ballot, the voter will
be able to read all the names of the candidates. No candidate will receive more than one vote, whether
he is voted individually or as a candidate of a party group or aggrupation. The voter is free to vote for the
individual candidates or to vote by party, group or aggrupation. The choice is his. No one can compel him
to do otherwise. In the case of candidates, the decision on whether to run as an independent candidate
or to join a political party, group or aggrupation is left entirely to their discretion. Certainly, before filing
his certificate of candidacy, a candidate is aware of the advantages under the law accruing to candidates
of a political party or group. If he wishes to avail himself of such alleged advantages as an official
candidate of a party, he is free to do so by joining a political party group or aggrupation. In other words,
the choice is his. In making his decision, it must be assumed that the candidate had carefully weighed
and considered the relative advantages and disadvantages of either alternative. So long as the
application of the rule depends on his voluntary action or decision, he cannot, after exercising his
discretion, claim that he was the victim of discrimination.

ROQUE FLORES, petitioner,
Felix B. Claustro for petitioner.
Romeo B. Astudillo for private respondent.

CRUZ, J .:
Petitioner Roque Flores was proclaimed by the board of canvassers as having received the highest
number of votes forkagawad in the elections held on 28 March 1989, in Barangay Poblacion, Tayum,
Abra, and thus became punong barangayin accordance with Section 5 of Rep. Act No. 6679,
providing in part as follows
Sec. 5. There shall be a sangguniang barangay in every duly constituted barangay
which shall be the legislative body and shall be composed of seven (7) kagawads to
be elected by the registered voters of the barangay. The candidate who obtains the
highest number of votes shall be the punong barangay . . . .
However, his election was protested by Nobelito Rapisora, herein private respondent, who placed
second in the election with 463 votes, or one vote less than the petitioner. The Municipal Circuit Trial
Court of Tayum, Abra, sustained Rapisora and installed him as punong barangay in place of the
petitioner after deducting two votes as stray from the latter's total.

Flores appealed to the Regional Trial Court of Abra, which affirmed the challenged decision in toto.
Judge Francisco O. Villarta, Jr. agreed that the four votes cast for "Flores" only, without any
distinguishing first name or initial, should all have been considered invalid instead of being divided
equally between the petitioner and Anastacio Flores, another candidate forkagawad. The judge held
that the original total credited to the petitioner was correctly reduced by 2, to 462, demoting him to
second place.

The petitioner then went to the Commission on Elections, but his appeal was dismissed on the
ground that the public respondent had no power to review the decision of the regional trial court.
This ruling, embodied in its resolution dated 3 August 1989,
was presumably based on Section 9 of
Rep. Act No. 6679, which was quoted therein in full as follows:
Sec. 9. A sworn petition contesting the election of a barangay official may be filed
with the proper municipal or metropolitan trial court by any candidate who has duly
filed a certificate of candidacy and has been voted for a barangay office within ten
(10) days after the proclamation of the result of the election. The trial court shall
decide the election protest within (30) days after the filing thereof. The decision of the
municipal or metropolitan trial court may be appealed within ten (10) days from
receipt of a copy thereof by the aggrieved party to the regional trial court which shall
decide the issue within thirty (30) days from receipt of the appeal and whose decision
on questions of fact shall be final and non-appealable. For purposes of the barangay
elections, no pre-proclamation cases shall be allowed.
In this petition for certiorari, the Commission on Elections is faulted for not taking cognizance of the
petitioner's appeal and for not ruling that all the four questioned votes should have been credited to
him under the equity of the incumbent rule in Section 211(2) of the Omnibus Election Code.
The Commission on Elections was obviously of the opinion that it could not entertain the petitioner's
appeal because of the provision in Rep. Act No. 6679 that the decision of the regional trial court in a
protest appealed to it from the municipal trial court in barangay elections "on questions of fact shall
be final and non-appealable."
While supporting the dismissal of the appeal, the Solicitor General justifies this action on an entirely
different and more significant ground, to wit, Article IX-C, Section 2(2) of the Constitution, providing
that the Commission on Elections shall:
(2) Exercise exclusive original jurisdiction over all contests relating to the elections,
returns and qualifications of all elective regional, provincial, and city officials,
and appellate jurisdiction over all contests involving elective municipal officials
decided by trial courts of general jurisdiction, or involving elective barangay officials
decided by trial courts of limited jurisdiction. (Emphasis supplied.)
Decisions, final orders, or rulings of the Commission on election contests involving
elective municipal and barangay offices shall be final, executory, and not appealable.
His submission is that municipal or metropolitan courts being courts of limited jurisdiction, their
decisions in barangay election contests are subject to the exclusive appellate jurisdiction of the
Commission on Elections under the afore-quoted section. Hence, the decision rendered by the
Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Tayum, Abra, should have been appealed directly to the Commission
on Elections and not to the Regional Trial Court of Abra.
It is recalled that in the case of Luison v. Garcia,
respondent Garcia's certificate of candidacy was
declared invalid by the Commission on Elections for non-compliance with the statutory requirements.
What he did was appeal to the court of first instance, which held that the certificate was merely
defective but not altogether null and void. Garcia continued his candidacy on the strength of this
ruling and was subsequently proclaimed elected, thereafter assuming office as municipal mayor.
In sustaining the quo warranto petition filed against him by Luison, this Court declared that all the
votes cast for Garcia should have been rejected as stray because he did not have a valid certificate
of candidacy. The action of the Commission on Elections should have been appealed not to the
court of first instance but to the Supreme Court as required by the 1935 Constitution. Since this was
not done, the resolution of the Commission on Elections rejecting Garcia's certificate remained valid
on the date of the election and rendered all votes cast for him as stray.
The doctrine in that case, although laid down under the 1935 Constitution, is still controlling under
the present charter as the interpretation by this Court of Article IX-C, Section 2(2). Accordingly,
Section 9 of Rep. Act No. 6679, insofar as it provides that the decision of the municipal or
metropolitan court in a barangay election case should be appealed to the regional trial court, must
be declared unconstitutional.
We make this declaration even if the law has not been squarely and properly challenged by the
petitioner. Ordinarily, the Court requires compliance with the requisites of a judicial inquiry into a
constitutional question.
In the case at bar, however, we feel there is no point in waiting to resolve
the issue now already before us until it is raised anew, probably only in the next barangay elections.
The time to resolve it is now, before such elections. We shall therefore disregard the technical
obstacles in the case at bar so that the flaw in Rep. Act No. 6679 may be brought to the attention of
Congress and the constitutional defect in Section 9 may be corrected.
In taking this step, the Court does not disregard the fact that the petitioner was only acting in
accordance with the said law when he appealed the decision of the Municipal Circuit Trial Court of
Tayum to the Regional Trial Court of Abra. That is what the statute specifically directed in its Section
9 which, at the time the appeal was made, was considered constitutional. The petitioner had a light
to rely on its presumed validity as everyone apparently did. Even the Congress and the Executive
were satisfied that the measure was constitutional when they separately approved it after careful
study. Indeed, no challenge to its validity had been lodged or even hinted not even by the public
respondent as to suggest to the petitioner that he was following the wrong procedure. In fairness
to him therefore, we shall consider his appeal to the Commission on Elections as having been made
directly from the Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Tayum, Abra, disregarding the detour to the
Regional Trial Court.
Accordingly, we hold that the petitioner's appeal was validly made to the Commission on Elections
under its "exclusive appellate jurisdiction over all contests. . . involving elective barangay officials
decided by trial courts of limited jurisdiction." Its decision was in turn also properly elevated to us
pursuant to Article IX-A, Section 7, of the Constitution, stating that "unless otherwise provided by this
Constitution or by law, any decision, order or ruling of each Commission may be brought to the
Supreme Court on certiorari by the aggrieved party within thirty days from receipt of a copy thereof."
Obviously, the provision of Article IX-C, Section 2(2) of the Constitution that "decisions, final orders,
or rulings of the Commission on election contests involving elective municipal and barangay offices
shall be final, executory, and not appealable" applies only to questions of fact and not of law. That
provision was not intended to divest the Supreme Court of its authority to resolve questions of law as
inherent in the judicial power conferred upon it by the Constitution.
We eschew a literal reading of
that provision that would contradict such authority.
The issue the petitioner was raising was one of law, viz., whether he was entitled to the benefits of
the equity-of-the-incumbent rule, and so subject to our review. This issue was not resolved by the
public respondent because it apparently believed itself to be without appellate jurisdiction over the
decision of the Regional Trial Court of Abra. Considering that the public respondent has already
manifested its position on this issue, as will appear presently, the Court will now rule upon it directly
instead of adopting the round-about way of remanding the case to the Commission on Elections
before its decision is elevated to this Court.
Implementing Rep. Act No. 6679, the Commission on Elections promulgated Resolution No. 2022-A
providing in Section 16(3) thereof that:
Incumbent Barangay Captains, whether elected, appointed or designated shall be
deemed resigned as such upon the filing of their certificates of candidacy for the
office of "Kagawad," which is another office, for the March 28, 1989 barangay
This was the reason why the Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Tayum, Abra, held that the four
questioned votes cast for Flores could not be credited to either Roque Flores or Anastacio Flores
and should have been regarded as stray under Section 211(1)
of the Omnibus Election Code.
Rejecting the petitioner's claim, the court held that Roque Flores was not entitled to any of the four
contested votes because he was not incumbent as punong barangay (or barangay captain, as the
office was formerly called) on the date of the election.
The petitioner insists on the application to him of Section 211(2) of the Code, stating pertinently that:
2. . . . If there are two or more candidates with the same full name, first name or
surname and one of them is the incumbent, and on the ballot is written only such full
name, first name or surname, the vote shall be counted in favor of the incumbent.
because he should not have been considered resigned but continued to be entitled to the
office of punong barangayunder Section 8 of Rep. Act No. 6679, providing as follows:
Sec. 8. Incumbent elective officials running for the same office shall not be
considered resigned upon the filing of then, certificates of candidacy. They shall
continue to hold office until their successors shall have been elected and qualified.
The petitioner contends that the afore-quoted administrative regulation is inofficious because the
forfeiture prescribed is not authorized by the statute itself and beyond the intentions of the
legislature. Moreover, the enforcement of the rule would lead to discrimination against the punong
barangay and in favor of the other kagawads, who, unlike him, could remain in office while running
for re-election and, additionally, benefit from the equity-of-the-incumbent rule.
Alternatively, the petitioner argues that, assuming the regulation to be valid he was nonetheless
basically also a kagawadas he was a member of the sangguniang barangay like the other six
councilmen elected with him in 1982. In fact, Section 5 of the Rep. Act No. 6679 also speaks
of seven kagawads, the foremost of whom shall again be the punong barangay. He concludes that
he should thus be regarded as running for the same office and therefore not considered resigned
when he filed his certificate of candidacy for kagawad.
The Court does not agree.
It seems to us that the challenged resolution quite clearly expresses the mandate of the above-
quoted Section 8 that all incumbent elected officials should not be considered resigned upon the
filing of their certificates of candidacy as long as they were running for the same position. The
purpose of the resolution was merely to implement this intention, which was clearly applicable not
only to the ordinary members of the sangguniang barangay but also to the punong barangay.
As for the questioned authority, this is found in Section 52 of the Omnibus Election Code, which
empowers the public respondent to "promulgate rules and regulations implementing the provisions of
this Code or other laws which the Commission is required to enforce and administer. . . ."
The justification given by the resolution is that the position of punong barangay is different from that
of kagawad as in fact it is. There should be no question that the punong barangay is an
essentially executive officer, as the enumeration of his functions in Section 88 of the Local
Government Code will readily show, unlike the kagawad, who is vested with mainly legislative
functions (although he does assist the punong barangay in the administration of the barangay).
Under Rep. Act No. 6679, the person who wins the highest number of votes as a kagawad becomes
by operation of law the punong barangay, or the executive of the political unit. In the particular case
of the petitioner, it should be noted that he was in fact not even elected in 1982 as one of the six
councilmen but separately as the barangay captain. He was thus correctly deemed resigned upon
his filing of a certificate of candidacy for kagawad in 1989, as this was not the position he was
holding, or was incumbent in, at the time he filed such certificate.
It is worth stressing that under the original procedure followed in the 1982 barangay elections, the
petitioner was elected barangay captain directly by the voters, separately from the candidates
running for mere membership in the sangguniang barangay. The offices of the barangay captain and
councilmen were both open to the candidates, but they could run only for one or the other position
and not simultaneously for both. By contrast, the candidate under the present law may aspire
for both offices, but can run only for one, to wit, that of kagawad. While campaigning for this position,
he may hope and actually strive to win the highest number of votes as this would automatically make
him the punong barangay. In this sense, it may be said that he is a candidate for both offices. Strictly
speaking, however, the only office for which he may run and for which a certificate of candidacy
may be admitted is that of kagawad.
It follows that the petitioner cannot insist that he was running not for kagawad only but ultimately also
for punong barangayin the 28 March 1989 election. In fact, his certificate of candidacy was
for kagawad and not for punong barangay. As the basic position being disputed in the barangay
election was that of kagawad, that of punong barangay being conferred only by operation of law on
the candidate placing first, the petitioner had to forfeit his position of punong barangay, which he was
holding when he presented his candidacy for kagawad. Consequently, he cannot be credited with
the four contested votes for Flores on the erroneous ground that he was still incumbent as punong
barangay on the day of the election.
The petitioner argues that he could not have run for reelection as punong barangay because the
office was no longer subject to separate or even direct election by the voters. That may be so, but
this argument goes to the wisdom of the law, not its validity, and is better addressed to the
legislature. From the strictly legal viewpoint, the statute does not offend the equal protection clause,
as there are, to repeat, substantial distinctions between the offices of punong
barangay andkagawad. Precisely , the reason for divesting the punong barangay of his position was
to place him on the same footing as the other candidates by removing the advantages he would
enjoy if he were to continue as punong barangay while running for kagawad.
In sum, we hold that Section 9 of Rep. Act No. 6679 is constitutionally defective and must be struck
down, but the challenged resolution must be sustained as a reasonable and valid implementation of
the said statute. The petitioner was no longer the incumbent punong barangay on election day and
so was not entitled to the benefits of the equity-of-the-incumbent rule. The consequence is that the
four votes claimed by him were correctly considered stray, making the private respondent
the punong barangay of Poblacion, Tayum, Abra, for having received the highest number of votes
for kagawad.
It remains to stress that although the elections involved herein pertain to the lowest level of our
political organization, this fact has not deterred the highest tribunal from taking cognizance of this
case and discussing it at length in this opinion. This only goes to show that as long as a
constitutional issue is at stake, even the barangay and its officers, for all their humility in the political
hierarchy, deserve and will get the full attention of this Court.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED. Judgment is hereby rendered: