WITH DUE RESPECT: JPE’s novel bid for bail
By: Artemio V. Panganiban
November 16th, 2014
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Novel and unusual is the petition for certiorari filed by detained Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile (JPE) in the Supreme Court to obtain his freedom from detention while awaiting his trial in connection with the charge of plunder and graft filed against him by the Office of the Ombudsman (OOO) for his alleged complicity in the pork barrel scam.
Long-standing procedure. After conducting a preliminary investigation (PI), the OOO filed last June 5 an information (or charge sheet) indicting JPE (and several others) with plunder and graft. Having “independently” determined the existence of “probable cause” from the information and its attached evidence, the Sandiganbayan (SBN) ordered JPE’s arrest and detention without bail.
Unquestionably, the SBN followed the long-standing and accepted procedure observed by all Philippine courts of ordering the arrest and detention without bail of those charged with capital offenses (like plunder, rape, murder and syndicated estafa).
Pursuant to this procedure, “bail hearings” are then immediately conducted, in which the prosecution is required to present evidence showing that the evidence of guilt is “strong.” If the prosecution’s evidence is judged to be “strong,” then the accused shall remain in detention without bail for the remainder of the trial (and during the appeal, in case of a “guilty” verdict).
On the other hand, if the court finds the evidence to be “not strong,” then the accused is released on bail while trial “on the merits” continues to determine guilt (or innocence), and the appropriate penalty, if the accused is eventually found guilty.
This procedure is used in the prosecution of all capital offenses, like those of former presidents Joseph Estrada and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Senators Jinggoy Estrada and Bong Revilla, as well as the Ampatuan family members (in the Maguindanao massacre), who were all similarly detained without bail after their arrest (or surrender).
(Parenthetically, when the crime is not capital in nature, the accused is ordered arrested but released upon posting of bail in the amount stated in the arrest order.)
General rule. Through his counsels Estelito P. Mendoza and Eleazar B. Reyes, JPE however claims that this long-standing and long-revered procedure is unconstitutional and wrong.
JPE reasons that under the Constitution, “[i]n all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall be presumed innocent until the contrary is proved,” or until found guilty beyond reasonable doubt. Also, the Charter guarantees that “[a]ll persons, except those charged with [capital] offenses punishable by reclusion perpetua when the evidence of guilt is strong, shall, before conviction, be bailable…”
Citing jurisprudence, he adds that bail is denied in capital offenses because an accused who faces a probable life sentence “has a particularly strong temptation to flee.”
Analyzing these constitutional provisions and the jurisprudential reason for the denial for bail in capital offenses, JPE explains that every person accused of any crime is constitutionally entitled to bail as a general rule.
Exception to rule. As an exception, however, bail is denied when two conditions are present: (1) the evidence of guilt is strong, and (2) the penalty prescribed for the offense is punishable by reclusion perpetua (or life imprisonment).
The first condition, he avers, can be determined only after the prosecution has finished presenting its evidence during the bail hearings and after the court has adjudged such evidence to be “strong.” Unconstitutional, illogical and wrong, therefore, he argues, is the present procedure of detaining the accused without bail prior to the court’s ruling that the evidence is indeed “strong.”
This long-standing practice, he adds, puts “the cart before the horse” and violates the constitutional presumption of innocence.
If the Supreme Court agrees with and frees him on bail, then for the same reason, all those currently accused of capital offenses, like former president Arroyo and the Ampatuan family as well as Senators Revilla and Estrada, should also be freed and granted bail while awaiting the ruling of the trial courts on whether the evidence of guilt in their respective cases is “strong.”
On the second condition, JPE asserts that in his particular case, the penalty to be imposed would not be reclusion perpetua even if he is found guilty, because he should be credited with the mitigating circumstances of (1) old age for being over 70 years (in fact, he is over 90) and (2) voluntary surrender. These two circumstances are uncontested. (Without waiting to be actually arrested, JPE surrendered to the authorities.)
Finally, JPE avers that the jurisprudential reason for detaining the accused in capital offenses is the probability of flight. In his case, flight is most improbable because of (1) his very old age and frail health, (2) his track record (in previous cases filed against him, he did not flee), and (3) his “official and social standing” (as a senator, Cabinet member and other high government positions he held from 1966 up to the present), which allegedly “shows his high respect for the law.”
Since JPE’s petition and those of Senators Estrada and Revilla are pending in the Supreme Court and therefore sub judice, I will refrain from making an extended legal opinion. However, as a concerned citizen, I will continue to monitor and report on high-profile cases especially as they relate to President Aquino’s daang matuwid program.
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Enrile: What does ‘culpa’ mean?
By Michael Lim Ubac
Philippine Daily Inquirer
12:48 am | Tuesday, May 29th, 2012
His questions seem to augur ill for Chief Justice Renato Corona when the Senate impeachment court hands down its verdict Tuesday.
Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile had the last word in the closing arguments Monday, but he left the question hanging on whether Chief Justice Renato Corona willfully and intentionally fudged his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN) and should be convicted.
Before adjourning Monday, Enrile bombarded the defense lawyers with a series of questions over their contention the alleged nondeclaration and misdeclaration of certain assets and bank deposits in the Chief Justice’s SALNs did not amount to an impeachable offense.
“What injury or prejudice may arise if a depositor, who is a public officer or employee, of a foreign currency deposit would include that deposit or the amount represented by that deposit in his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth?” Enrile asked.
The lead defense counsel, Serafin Cuevas, replied that he was “not very sure … insofar as damage is concerned.”
Upon a clarification by Enrile, Cuevas said: “The probability of kidnapping, extortion and so on may come into the picture because, especially with the present trend of criminality in the country today, there is no assurance that one is immune from any of these offenses. That may be one.”
Enrile then asked whether this scenario had been contemplated by the framers of Republic Act No. 6426 (Foreign Currency Deposit Act of the Philippines), as well as the presidential decrees preceding it.
“The declaration of policy is entirely different from the disastrous consequences or unwarranted circumstances that may occur thereafter,” Cuevas insisted.
Enrile then asked, “Will a public officer or a public employee who maintains a foreign currency deposit incur the punitive penalty of RA 6426 if he would reflect that deposit in his SALN?”
Cuevas said, “I don’t see that probability, but it could amount to a (forced) consent, as distinguished from a voluntary provision on the part of the depositor.”
No Secrecy Law
Enrile explained: “We are forgetting that the law allows the exposure of a foreign currency deposit by expressed provision of RA 6426 if the depositor himself would give (the consent). There’s no monetary secrecy law in this country that prohibits or inhibits or proscribes the depositor from revealing his own deposits. What is prohibited is for a third party to reveal it, and that’s why they are penalized, but the depositor is not.”
Enrile also pointed Cuevas to Section 17, Article 11 of the Constitution, which says: “A public officer or employee shall upon assumption of office, and as often thereafter as may be provided by law, submit a declaration under oath of his assets, liabilities and net worth.”
“Do you consider that sentence as mandatory that requires to be obeyed by a public officer or public employee?” asked Enrile. “Do you consider that a command of the people, or is it something that can be disregarded?”
Cuevas said the Constitution could not be disregarded by public officials.
But, he added: “When there are gripes that arise from a different law, I don’t see any reason as to why it cannot be availed of, in this particular instant, the depositor. Why the law has granted that is beyond my comprehension. It’s a legislative function … I’m not privileged neither can define or fathom the reason behind it.”
Cuevas, a former Supreme Court associate justice, was citing the confidentiality invoked by the Chief Justice in refusing to declare in his SALNs the $2.4 million in dollar deposits.
Enrile then asked if disobedience of “a sovereign command” in the Constitution would constitute a culpable violation of the Constitution, which is an impeachable offense.
“I would not be in a position to make a statement to that unless the actual facts surrounding the circumstances are known to me,” said Cuevas, who said that this “would be a matter of conjecture or surmise on my part.”
Enrile then asked Cuevas about the difference in the Roman Law doctrine of “culpa” and “dolos” from where the constitutional intent of “culpable” was derived.
According to Cuevas, “dolos is intentional,” while “culpa is negligence.” Enrile disagreed, saying that “culpa is deserving of blame.”
When Cuevas claimed that “intention” was needed to ascertain whether disobedience to the provision of Section 17 of the Constitution deserved blame, Enrile pointed out that the provision did not call for any intent.
“Where in that provision will you find intent?” Enrile asked.
Representative Rodolfo Fariñas, speaking for the prosecution, said that according to the records of the 1987 Constitutional Commission, “culpable violation of Constitution is understood to mean willful and intentional violation of the Constitution and not violation committed unintentionally, or involuntarily, or in good faith, or through an honest mistake of judgment.”
“And it implies deliberate intent, perhaps even a degree of perversity for it is not easy to imagine that individuals in the category of these officials would go so far as to defy knowingly what the Constitution commands.”
Defense lawyer Eduardo de los Angeles earlier insisted that Corona’s failure to disclose his $2.4 million in bank accounts did not amount to an “impeachable breach of trust.”
He said that at best, this omission would only amount to “a fine not exceeding P5,000, or imprisonment not exceeding five years, or both.”
CATHOLIC VICAR APOSTOLIC v. CA
G.R. No. L-80294-95 September 21, 1988
The bailees’ failure to return the subject matter of commodatum to the bailor does not mean adverse possession on the part of the borrower. The bailee held in trust the property subject matter of commodatum.
Catholic Vicar Apostolic of the Mountain Province (VICAR for brevity) filed an application for registration of title over Lots 1, 2, 3, and 4, said Lots being the sites of the Catholic Church building, convents, high school building, school gymnasium, school dormitories, social hall, stonewalls, etc. The Heirs of Juan Valdez and the Heirs of Egmidio Octaviano filed their Answer/Opposition on Lots Nos. 2 and 3, respectively, asserting ownership and title thereto since their predecessors’ house was borrowed by petitioner Vicar after the church and the convent were destroyed.. After trial on the merits, the land registration court promulgated its Decision confirming the registrable title of VICAR to Lots 1, 2, 3, and 4.
The Heirs of Juan Valdez appealed the decision of the land registration court to the then Court of Appeals, The Court of Appeals reversed the decision. Thereupon, the VICAR filed with the Supreme Court a petition for review on certiorari of the decision of the Court of Appeals dismissing his application for registration of Lots 2 and 3.
Whether or not the failure to return the subject matter of commodatum constitutes an adverse possession on the part of the owner
No. The bailees’ failure to return the subject matter of commodatum to the bailor did not mean adverse possession on the part of the borrower. The bailee held in trust the property subject matter of commodatum.
Petitioner repudiated the trust by declaring the properties in its name for taxation purposes.
CIR v. MC.GEORGE FOOD INDUSTRIES, INC.
G.R. No. 174157 October 20, 2010
Pursuant to the general rule on the prospective application of laws, the 1997 NIRC operates to govern the conduct of corporate taxpayers the moment it took effect on 1 January 1998.
On 15 April 1998, respondent filed with the BIR its final adjustment income tax return for the calendar year ending 31 December 1997. The return indicated a net overpayment of P4,736,188. Exercising its option to either seek a refund of this amount or carry it over to the succeeding year as tax credit, respondent chose the latter, indicating in its 1997 final return that it wished the amount “to be applied as credit to next year.”
On 15 April 1999, respondent filed its final adjustment return for the calendar year ending 31 December 1998, indicating a tax liability of P5,799,056. Instead of applying to this amount its unused tax credit carried over from 1997 (P4,736,188), respondent merely deducted from its tax liability the taxes withheld at source for 1998 and paid the balance of P5,581,877.
On 14 April 2000, respondent simultaneously filed with the BIR and the Court of Tax Appeals (CTA) a claim for refund of its overpayment in 1997 of P4,736,188. The CTA held that refund was proper because respondent complied with the requirements of timely filing of the claim and its substantiation.
Petitioner sought reconsideration, contending that respondent is precluded from seeking a refund for its overpayment in 1997 after respondent opted to carry-over and apply it to its future tax liability, following Section 76 of the 1997 NIRC. Petitioner claimed that Section 76 applies to respondent because by the time respondent filed its final adjustment return for 1997 on 15 April 1998, the 1997 NIRC was already in force, having taken effect on 1 January 1998.
The CTA denied reconsideration, holding that the 1997 NIRC only covers transactions done after 1 January 1998.
The Court of Appeals affirmed the CTA, ruling that the right to claim for refund or tax credit must be governed by the law in effect at the time the excess credits were earned. Thus, the pertinent law applicable to the case at bar is Section 69 of the old Tax Code.
Whether or not the 1997 NIRC is the governing law
Yes. Section 76 of the 1997 NIRC controls.
Section 76 should be applied following the general rule on the prospective application of laws such that they operate to govern the conduct of corporate taxpayers the moment the 1997 NIRC took effect on 1 January 1998.
The lower courts grounded their contrary conclusion on the fact that respondent’s overpayment in 1997 was based on transactions occurring before 1 January 1998. This analysis suffers from the twin defects of missing the gist of the present controversy and misconceiving the nature and purpose of Section 76. None of respondent’s corporate transactions in 1997 is disputed here. Nor can it be argued that Section 76 determines the taxability of corporate transactions. To sustain the rulings below is to subscribe to the untenable proposition that, had Congress in the 1997 NIRC moved the deadline for the filing of final adjustment returns from 15 April to 15 March of each year, taxpayers filing returns after 15 March 1998 can excuse their tardiness by invoking the 1977 NIRC because the transactions subject of the returns took place before 1 January 1998. A keener appreciation of the nature and purpose of the varied provisions of the 1997 NIRC cautions against sanctioning this reasoning.
MY FOUR CENTAVOS By Dean Andy Bautista
The Philippine Star January 22, 2011
Given the continuing interest on the General Garcia plunder case, it may be worthwhile to discuss the concept of a plea bargain. This is essentially an agreement in a criminal case where the prosecution and the defense agree that the accused will plead guilty to a lesser charge than what is contained in the information. The equivalent of a plea bargain in a civil case is a compromise settlement.
Parties enter into a plea bargain for several reasons. Aside from escaping the rigors of a full blown trial, the accused may wish to avoid the risk of conviction to the original, more serious charge. As far as the prosecution is concerned, a plea bargain should mean reduced costs and the ability to focus more on other cases.
In the United States, a plea bargain can be one of several types. Charge bargaining occurs when an accused pleads guilty to a less serious crime (as in the Garcia case). In count bargaining, the accused pleads guilty to a subset of multiple original charges. In sentence bargaining, an accused knows in advance what sentence will be given. In fact bargaining, the prosecution and defense agree to a certain stipulation of facts which will affect what the penalty will be in accordance with the sentencing guidelines. Interestingly, in the US, plea bargaining has become the rule rather than the exception in criminal cases.
In the Philippines, the pertinent rule on plea bargaining is found in Rule 116, Section 2 of the Rules of Court which provides:
“Plea of guilty to a lesser offense — At arraignment, the accused, with the consent of the offended party and prosecutor, may be allowed by the trial court to plead guilty to a lesser offense which is necessarily included in the offense charged. After arraignment but before trial, the accused may still be allowed to plead guilty to said lesser offense after withdrawing his plea of not guilty. No amendment of the complaint or information is necessary.”
In the Garcia case, the original charge was that of plunder which is a capital crime punished under Republic Act 7080. The lesser offense that he subsequently pleaded guilty to was direct bribery which is punished under Article 210 of the Revised Penal Code and facilitating money laundering covered under Republic Act 9160. Query as to whether the crime of direct bribery and money laundering are “necessarily included” in the offense of plunder? Note that both crimes are punished by different laws.
Note as well the requirement of obtaining the consent of the offended party before the trial court will allow the downgrading of the original offense charged. In this instance, who is the offended party? Is it the Armed Forces of the Philippines since the money seems to have been taken from its coffers or the Republic since public money is involved. In any event, if we follow the news reports, it would seem that neither of their consents was secured.
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CIR v. AICHI FORGING COMPANY OF ASIA, INC.
G.R. No. 184823 October 6, 2010
Del Castillo, J.
– The CIR has 120 days, from the date of the submission of the complete documents within which to grant or deny the claim for refund/credit of input vat. In case of full or partial denial by the CIR, the taxpayer’s recourse is to file an appeal before the CTA within 30 days from receipt of the decision of the CIR. However, if after the 120-day period the CIR fails to act on the application for tax refund/credit, the remedy of the taxpayer is to appeal the inaction of the CIR to CTA within 30 days.
– A taxpayer is entitled to a refund either by authority of a statute expressly granting such right, privilege, or incentive in his favor, or under the principle of solutio indebiti requiring the return of taxes erroneously or illegally collected. In both cases, a taxpayer must prove not only his entitlement to a refund but also his compliance with the procedural due process.
– As between the Civil Code and the Administrative Code of 1987, it is the latter that must prevail being the more recent law, following the legal maxim, Lex posteriori derogat priori.
– The phrase “within two (2) years x x x apply for the issuance of a tax credit certificate or refund” under Subsection (A) of Section 112 of the NIRC refers to applications for refund/credit filed with the CIR and not to appeals made to the CTA.
Petitioner filed a claim of refund/credit of input vat in relation to its zero-rated sales from July 1, 2002 to September 30, 2002. The CTA 2nd Division partially granted respondent’s claim for refund/credit.
Petitioner filed a Motion for Partial Reconsideration, insisting that the administrative and the judicial claims were filed beyond the two-year period to claim a tax refund/credit provided for under Sections 112(A) and 229 of the NIRC. He reasoned that since the year 2004 was a leap year, the filing of the claim for tax refund/credit on September 30, 2004 was beyond the two-year period, which expired on September 29, 2004. He cited as basis Article 13 of the Civil Code, which provides that when the law speaks of a year, it is equivalent to 365 days. In addition, petitioner argued that the simultaneous filing of the administrative and the judicial claims contravenes Sections 112 and 229 of the NIRC. According to the petitioner, a prior filing of an administrative claim is a “condition precedent” before a judicial claim can be filed.
The CTA denied the MPR thus the case was elevated to the CTA En Banc for review. The decision was affirmed. Thus the case was elevated to the Supreme Court.
Respondent contends that the non-observance of the 120-day period given to the CIR to act on the claim for tax refund/credit in Section 112(D) is not fatal because what is important is that both claims are filed within the two-year prescriptive period. In support thereof, respondent cited Commissioner of Internal Revenue v. Victorias Milling Co., Inc. [130 Phil 12 (1968)] where it was ruled that “if the CIR takes time in deciding the claim, and the period of two years is about to end, the suit or proceeding must be started in the CTA before the end of the two-year period without awaiting the decision of the CIR.”
1. Whether or not the claim for refund was filed within the prescribed period
2. Whether or not the simultaneous filing of the administrative and the judicial claims contravenes Section 229 of the NIRC, which requires the prior filing of an administrative claim, and violates the doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies
1. Yes. As ruled in the case of Commissioner of Internal Revenue v. Mirant Pagbilao Corporation (G.R. No. 172129, September 12, 2008), the two-year period should be reckoned from the close of the taxable quarter when the sales were made.
In Commissioner of Internal Revenue v. Primetown Property Group, Inc (G.R. No. 162155, August 28, 2007, 531 SCRA 436), we said that as between the Civil Code, which provides that a year is equivalent to 365 days, and the Administrative Code of 1987, which states that a year is composed of 12 calendar months, it is the latter that must prevail being the more recent law, following the legal maxim, Lex posteriori derogat priori.
Thus, applying this to the present case, the two-year period to file a claim for tax refund/credit for the period July 1, 2002 to September 30, 2002 expired on September 30, 2004. Hence, respondent’s administrative claim was timely filed.
2. Yes. We find the filing of the judicial claim with the CTA premature.
Section 112(D) of the NIRC clearly provides that the CIR has “120 days, from the date of the submission of the complete documents in support of the application [for tax refund/credit],” within which to grant or deny the claim. In case of full or partial denial by the CIR, the taxpayer’s recourse is to file an appeal before the CTA within 30 days from receipt of the decision of the CIR. However, if after the 120-day period the CIR fails to act on the application for tax refund/credit, the remedy of the taxpayer is to appeal the inaction of the CIR to CTA within 30 days.
Subsection (A) of Section 112 of the NIRC states that “any VAT-registered person, whose sales are zero-rated or effectively zero-rated may, within two years after the close of the taxable quarter when the sales were made, apply for the issuance of a tax credit certificate or refund of creditable input tax due or paid attributable to such sales.” The phrase “within two (2) years x x x apply for the issuance of a tax credit certificate or refund” refers to applications for refund/credit filed with the CIR and not to appeals made to the CTA.
The case of Commissioner of Internal Revenue v. Victorias Milling, Co., Inc. is inapplicable as the tax provision involved in that case is Section 306, now Section 229 of the NIRC. Section 229 does not apply to refunds/credits of input VAT.
The premature filing of respondent’s claim for refund/credit of input VAT before the CTA warrants a dismissal inasmuch as no jurisdiction was acquired by the CTA.
“I am looking for more difficult cases. What will you do with your life if you don’t handle these types of cases? You become a notary public.”
– Atty. Philip Sigrid Fortun
DURAN v. INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT
G.R. No. L-64159 September 10, 1985
– The fraudulent and forged document of sale may become the root of a valid title if the certificate has already been transferred from the name of the true owner to the name indicated by the forger.
– The mortgagee has the right to rely on what appears in the certificate of title and, in the absence of anything to excite suspicion, he is under no obligation to look beyond the certificate and investigate the title of the mortgagor appearing on the face of the said certificate.
– Good faith, while it is always to be presumed in the absence of proof to the contrary, requires a well-founded belief that the person from whom title was received was himself the owner of the land, with the right to convey it.
Petitioner Duran owned 2 parcels of land. She left the Philippines in June 1954 and returned in May 1966. On 1963, a Deed of Sale was made in favor of the petitioner’s mother. On December 1965, Duran’s mother mortgaged the same property to private respondent Erlinda Marcelo-Tiangco. When Duran came to know about the mortgage made by her mother, she wrote the Register of Deeds informing the latter that she had not given her mother any authority to sell or mortgage any of her properties in the Philippines. Meanwhile, foreclosure proceedings were initiated by Tiangco upon the failure of Duran’s mother to redeem the mortgaged properties.
Duran claims that the Deed of Sale is a forgery, saying that at the time of its execution in 1963 she was in the United States. Respondent Court ruled that there is a presumption of regularity in the case of a public document.
Whether private respondent was a buyer in good faith and for value
Yes. Good faith consists in the possessor’s belief that the person from who he received the thing was the owner of the same and could convey his title (Arriola v. Gomez Dela Serna, 14 Phil. 627). Good faith, while it is always to be presumed in the absence of proof to the contrary, requires a well-founded belief that the person from whom title was received was himself the owner of the land, with the right to convey it (Santiago v. Cruz, 19 Phil. 148).
The mortgagee has the right to rely on what appears in the certificate of title and, in the absence of anything to excite suspicion, he is under no obligation to look beyond the certificate and investigate the title of the mortgagor appearing on the face of the said certificate. Every person dealing with registered land may safely rely on the correctness of the certificate of title issued therefore and the law will in no way oblige him to go behind the certificate to determine the condition of the property. If the rule were otherwise, the efficacy and conclusiveness of the Torrens Certificate of Titles would be futile and nugatory. Thus the rule is simple: the fraudulent and forged document of sale may become the root of a valid title if the certificate has already been transferred from the name of the true owner to the name indicated by the forger.
While it is true that under Article 2085 of the Civil Code, it is essential that the mortgagor be the absolute owner of the property mortgaged, and while as between the daughter and her mother, it was the daughter who still owns the lots, STILL insofar as innocent third persons are concerned the owner was already the mother inasmuch as she had already become the registered owner.
J.R.A. PHILIPPINES, INC. v. COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE
G.R. No. 177127 October 11, 2010
Del Castillo, J.
– The absence of the word “zero rated” on the invoices/receipts is fatal to a claim for credit/refund of input VAT.
– Stare decisis et non quieta movere. Courts are bound by prior decisions. Thus, once a case has been decided one way, courts have no choice but to resolve subsequent cases involving the same issue in the same manner.
Petitioner, a PEZA Corporation, filed applications for tax credit/refund of unutilized input VAT on its zero-rated sales for the taxable quarters of 2000. The claim for credit/refund, however, remained unacted by the respondent. Hence, petitioner was constrained to file a petition before the CTA.
The CTA eventually denied the petition for lack of the word “zero-rated” on the invoices/receipts.
Whether or not the failure to print the word “zero-rated” on the invoices/receipts is fatal to a claim for credit/ refund of input VAT on zero-rated sales
Yes. The absence of the word “zero rated” on the invoices/receipts is fatal to a claim for credit/refund of input VAT. This has been squarely resolved in Panasonic Communications Imaging Corporation of the Philippines (formerly Matsushita Business Machine Corporation of the Philippines) v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue (G.R. No. 178090, 612 SCRA 28, February 8, 2010). In that case, the claim for tax credit/refund was denied for non-compliance with Section 4.108-1 of Revenue Regulations No. 7-95, which requires the word “zero rated” to be printed on the invoices/receipts covering zero-rated sales.
From the abovementioned decision, the Court ruled that the appearance of the word “zero-rated” on the face of invoices covering zero-rated sales prevents buyers from falsely claiming input VAT from their purchases when no VAT was actually paid. If, absent such word, a successful claim for input VAT is made, the government would be refunding money it did not collect.
Stare decisis et non quieta movere. Courts are bound by prior decisions. Thus, once a case has been decided one way, courts have no choice but to resolve subsequent cases involving the same issue in the same manner [Agencia Exquisite of Bohol, Incorporated v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, G.R. Nos. 150141, 157359 and 158644, February 12, 2009, 578 SCRA 539, 550].
SPOUSES BELTRAN v. NIEVES
G.R. No. 175561 October 20, 2010
– A certificate of title is conclusive evidence of ownership. Registered owners are entitled to the possession of the property covered by the title from the time such title was issued in their favor. No entitlement to possess the property is granted on the basis of an unregistered deed of sale.
– The tax declarations presented are not conclusive evidences of ownership, but are good indicators of possession in the concept of an owner.
– The only issue in an ejectment case is the physical possession of real property: possession de facto and not possession de jure. Prior physical possession is material only in forcible entry cases. In an ejectment suit, the question of ownership may be provisionally ruled upon only for the sole purpose of determining who is entitled to possession de facto.
– A person who occupies the land of another at the latter’s tolerance or permission, without any contract between them, is necessarily bound by an implied promise that he will vacate upon demand. In case of failure, a summary action for ejectment is the proper remedy against them.
– Any question regarding the validity of a title can only be assailed in an action expressly instituted for that purpose. A certificate of title shall not be subject to collateral attack.
Respondent Nieves is the registered owner of the subject parcel of land as well as the house thereon. Milagros Beltran is Nieves’ niece, being the daughter of Gaston, Nieves’ brother. In asserting their ownership and rightful occupation against Nieves, petitioners spouses Beltran claim that Nieves sold the land and house to Gaston. The deed of sale, which Nieves disclaims having signed, remains unregistered.
The MTC and, subsequently, the RTC respected the right of possession of the spouses Beltran. The CA reversed the decision.
1. Whether or not an unregistered deed of sale is sufficient to grant ownership over the property
2. Whether or not title is material in ejectment suits
1. No. No entitlement to possess the property is granted on the basis of an unregistered deed of sale. A certificate of title is conclusive evidence of ownership. Registered owners are entitled to the possession of the property covered by the title from the time such title was issued in their favor [Spouses Apostol v. Court of Appeals, 476 Phil. 403 (2004)].
The tax declarations presented by the spouses Beltran are not conclusive evidences of ownership, but are good indicators of possession in the concept of an owner.
Whatever right of possession that the spouses Beltran may have over the subject property cannot prevail over that of Nieves for the simple reason that Nieves is the registered owner of the subject property and the alleged deed of sale remains unregistered.
2. No. The only issue in an ejectment case is the physical possession of real property: possession de facto and not possession de jure. In an ejectment suit, the question of ownership may be provisionally ruled upon only for the sole purpose of determining who is entitled to possession de facto [Umpoc v. Mercado, 490 Phil. 120,136 (2005)].
A person who occupies the land of another at the latter’s tolerance or permission, without any contract between them, is necessarily bound by an implied promise that he will vacate upon demand, failing which a summary action for ejectment is the proper remedy against them [Calubayan, et al. v. Pascual, 128 Phil. 160, 163 (1967)].
Although it is true that the spouses Beltran, and not Nieves, were in prior physical possession of the subject property, this argument cannot hold water as prior physical possession is material only in forcible entry cases (Spouses Apostol v. Court of Appeals, supra).
Any question regarding the validity of Nieves’ title can only be assailed in an action expressly instituted for that purpose. A certificate of title shall not be subject to collateral attack (Section 48, P.D. No. 1529).