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Caltex Vs. Palomar (Case Digest) G.R. No.

L-19650

Facts:
In 1960, the petitioner, Caltex (Philippines) Inc., launched a promotional scheme called "Caltex
Hooded Pump Contest" which calls for participants to estimate the actual number of liters a hooded
gas pump of each Caltex Station will dispense within a specific period. Such contest is open to all
motor vehicle owners and/or licensed drivers. There is no required fee or consideration, and there
is no need for the contestants to purchase the products of Caltex. The forms are available upon
request at each Caltex Station and there is a sealed can where accomplished entry stubs may be
deposited.
Then, seeing the extensive use of mails for publicizing and transmission of communication
purposes, Caltex sent representatives to the postal authorities for advance clearing for the use of
mails for the contest. But then, the Postmaster General, Enrico Palomar, denied the request of
Caltex in view of Sections 1954 (a), 1982 and 1983 of the Revised Administrative Code. The
aforesaid sections prohibits the use of mail conveying any information concerning non-mailable
schemes, such as lottery, gift enterprise, or similar scheme. Consequently, Caltex invoked a
judicial intervention by filing a petition of declaratory relief against the Postmaster General, ordering
the Postmaster General to allow the petitioner to use the mails to bring the contest to the attention
of the public and that the aforesaid contest is not violative of the Postal Law.

Issue:
Whether or not the scheme proposed by Caltex is within the coverage of the prohibitive provisions
of the Postal Law inescapably requires an inquiry into the intended meaning of the words used
therein.

Held:
No. Caltex may be granted declaratory relief, even if Enrico Palomar simply applied the clear
provisions of the law to a given set of facts as embodied in the rules of the contest. For,
construction is the art or process of discovering and expounding the meaning and intention of the
authors of the law with respect to its application to a given case is not explicitly provided for in the
law.

In this case, the prohibitive provisions of the Postal Law inescapably required an inquiry into the
intended meaning of the words used therein. Also, the Court is tasked to look beyond the fair
exterior, to the substance, in order to unmask the real element that the law is seeking to prevent or
prohibit.

Source: http://www.shvoong.com/law-and-politics/law/2108497-caltex-vs-palomar-case-
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