G.R. No. 181277, July 03, 2013 - SWEDISH MATCH PHILIPPINES, INC., Petitioner, v. THE TREASURER OF THE CITY OF MANILA, Respondent.
G.R. No. 181277, July 03, 2013
SWEDISH MATCH PHILIPPINES, INC., Petitioner, v. THE TREASURER OF THE CITY OF MANILA, Respondent.
D E C I S I O N
In this case, the plaintiff is the Swedish Match Philippines, Inc. However, as found by the RTC as well as the Court in Division, the signatory of the verification and/or certification of non-forum shopping is Ms. Beleno, the company’s Finance Manager, and that there was no board resolution or secretary's certificate showing proof of Ms. Beleno’s authority in acting in behalf of the corporation at the time the initiatory pleading was filed in the RTC. It is therefore, correct that the case be dismissed.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition for review is hereby DENIED. Accordingly, the assailed Decision and the Resolution dated August 8, 2006 and November 27, 2006, respectively, are hereby AFFIRMED in toto.
In a slew of cases, however, we have recognized the authority of some corporate officers to sign the verification and certification against forum shopping. In Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority v. CA, we recognized the authority of a general manager or acting general manager to sign the verification and certificate against forum shopping; in Pfizer v. Galan, we upheld the validity of a verification signed by an "employment specialist" who had not even presented any proof of her authority to represent the company; in Novelty Philippines, Inc., v. CA, we ruled that a personnel officer who signed the petition but did not attach the authority from the company is authorized to sign the verification and non-forum shopping certificate; and in Lepanto Consolidated Mining Company v. WMC Resources International Pty. Ltd. (Lepanto), we ruled that the Chairperson of the Board and President of the Company can sign the verification and certificate against non-forum shopping even without the submission of the board’s authorization.
In sum, we have held that the following officials or employees of the company can sign the verification and certification without need of a board resolution: (1) the Chairperson of the Board of Directors, (2) the President of a corporation, (3) the General Manager or Acting General Manager, (4) Personnel Officer, and (5) an Employment Specialist in a labor case.
While the above cases do not provide a complete listing of authorized signatories to the verification and certification required by the rules, the determination of the sufficiency of the authority was done on a case to case basis. The rationale applied in the foregoing cases is to justify the authority of corporate officers or representatives of the corporation to sign the verification or certificate against forum shopping, being “in a position to verify the truthfulness and correctness of the allegations in the petition.” (Emphases supplied)
RESOLVED, that Tiarra T. Batilaran-Beleno, Finance Director of the Corporation, be authorized, as she is hereby authorized and empowered to represent, act, negotiate, sign, conclude and deliver, for and in the name of the Corporation, any and all documents for the application, prosecution, defense, arbitration, conciliation, execution, collection, compromise or settlement of all local tax refund cases pertaining to payments made to the City of Manila pursuant to Section 21 of the Manila Revenue Code, as amended;chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
RESOLVED, FURTHER, that Tiarra T. Batilaran-Beleno be authorized to execute Verifications and/or Certifications as to Non-Forum Shopping of Complaints/Petitions that may be filed by the Corporation in the above-mentioned tax-refund cases;chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
RESOLVED, FURTHER, that the previous institution by Tiarra T. Batilaran-Beleno of tax refund cases on behalf of the Corporation, specifically Civil Cases Nos. 01-102074, 03-108163, and, 04-109044, all titled “Swedish Match Philippines, Inc. v. The Treasurer of the City of Manila” and pending in the Regional Trial Court of Manila, as well as her execution of the Verifications and/or Certifications as to Non-Forum Shopping in these tax refund cases, are hereby, approved and ratified in all respects. (Emphasis supplied)
Petitioners obstinately ignore the exempting proviso in Section 21 of Tax Ordinance No. 7794, to their own detriment. Said exempting proviso was precisely included in said section so as to avoid double taxation.
Double taxation means taxing the same property twice when it should be taxed only once; that is, “taxing the same person twice by the same jurisdiction for the same thing.” It is obnoxious when the taxpayer is taxed twice, when it should be but once. Otherwise described as “direct duplicate taxation,” the two taxes must be imposed on the same subject matter, for the same purpose, by the same taxing authority, within the same jurisdiction, during the same taxing period; and the taxes must be of the same kind or character.
Using the aforementioned test, the Court finds that there is indeed double taxation if respondent is subjected to the taxes under both Sections 14 and 21 of Tax Ordinance No. 7794, since these are being imposed: (1) on the same subject matter – the privilege of doing business in the City of Manila; (2) for the same purpose – to make persons conducting business within the City of Manila contribute to city revenues; (3) by the same taxing authority – petitioner City of Manila; (4) within the same taxing jurisdiction – within the territorial jurisdiction of the City of Manila; (5) for the same taxing periods – per calendar year; and (6) of the same kind or character – a local business tax imposed on gross sales or receipts of the business.
The distinction petitioners attempt to make between the taxes under Sections 14 and 21 of Tax Ordinance No. 7794 is specious. The Court revisits Section 143 of the LGC, the very source of the power of municipalities and cities to impose a local business tax, and to which any local business tax imposed by petitioner City of Manila must conform. It is apparent from a perusal thereof that when a municipality or city has already imposed a business tax on manufacturers, etc. of liquors, distilled spirits, wines, and any other article of commerce, pursuant to Section 143(a) of the LGC, said municipality or city may no longer subject the same manufacturers, etc. to a business tax under Section 143(h) of the same Code. Section 143(h) may be imposed only on businesses that are subject to excise tax, VAT, or percentage tax under the NIRC, and that are “not otherwise specified in preceding paragraphs.” In the same way, businesses such as respondent’s, already subject to a local business tax under Section 14 of Tax Ordinance No. 7794 [which is based on Section 143(a) of the LGC], can no longer be made liable for local business tax under Section 21 of the same Tax Ordinance [which is based on Section 143(h) of the LGC].28 (Emphases supplied)
It is undisputed from the facts of the case that Tax Ordinance No. 7988 has already been declared by the DOJ Secretary, in its Order, dated 17 August 2000, as null and void and without legal effect due to respondents’ failure to satisfy the requirement that said ordinance be published for three consecutive days as required by law. Neither is there quibbling on the fact that the said Order of the DOJ was never appealed by the City of Manila, thus, it had attained finality after the lapse of the period to appeal.
Furthermore, the RTC of Manila, Branch 21, in its Decision dated 28 November 2001, reiterated the findings of the DOJ Secretary that respondents failed to follow the procedure in the enactment of tax measures as mandated by Section 188 of the Local Government Code of 1991, in that they failed to publish Tax Ordinance No. 7988 for three consecutive days in a newspaper of local circulation. From the foregoing, it is evident that Tax Ordinance No. 7988 is null and void as said ordinance was published only for one day in the 22 May 2000 issue of the Philippine Post in contravention of the unmistakable directive of the Local Government Code of 1991.
Despite the nullity of Tax Ordinance No. 7988, the court a quo, in the assailed Order, dated 8 May 2002, went on to dismiss petitioner’s case on the force of the enactment of Tax Ordinance No. 8011, amending Tax Ordinance No. 7988. Significantly, said amending ordinance was likewise declared null and void by the DOJ Secretary in a Resolution, dated 5 July 2001, elucidating that “[I]nstead of amending Ordinance No. 7988, [herein] respondent should have enacted another tax measure which strictly complies with the requirements of law, both procedural and substantive. The passage of the assailed ordinance did not have the effect of curing the defects of Ordinance No. 7988 which, any way, does not legally exist.” Said Resolution of the DOJ Secretary had, as well, attained finality by virtue of the dismissal with finality by this Court of respondents’ Petition for Review on Certiorari in G.R. No. 157490 assailing the dismissal by the RTC of Manila, Branch 17, of its appeal due to lack of jurisdiction in its Order, dated 11 August 2003.30 (Emphasis in the original)
1Rollo, pp. 26-75.cralawlibrary
2 Id. at 76-87; penned by Associate Justice Juanito C. Castañeda Jr. and concurred in by then Presiding Justice Ernesto D. Acosta, Associate Justices Lovell R. Bautista, Erlinda P. Uy, Caesar A. Casanova and Olga Palanca-Enriquez. The CTA En Banc affirmed the Decision dated 8 August 2006 and Resolution dated 27 November 2006 rendered by the CTA Second Division in C.T.A. AC No. 6, which affirmed the dismissal of petitioner’s claim for a refund. The claim was dismissed by the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Manila, Branch 21 on the ground of lack of legal capacity to sue and failure to establish a cause of action.cralawlibrary
3 Id. at 88-90.cralawlibrary
4 Id. at 269.cralawlibrary
5 SEC. 14. Tax on Manufacturers, Assemblers and other Processors. - There is hereby imposed a graduated tax on manufacturers, assemblers, repackers, processors, brewers, distillers, rectifiers and compounders of liquors, distilled spirits, and wines on manufacturers of any articles of commerce of whatever kind or nature in accordance with the following schedule.
With gross receipts or sales for the preceding calendar year in the amount of: xxx.cralawlibrary
6 SEC. 21. Tax on Business Subject to the Excise, Value-Added or Percentage Taxes under the NIRC - On any of the following businesses and articles of commerce subject to the excise, value-added or percentage taxes under the National Internal Revenue Code, hereinafter referred to as NIRC, as amended, a tax of FIFTY PERCENT (50%) OF ONE PERCENT (1%) per annum on the gross sales or receipts of the preceding calendar year is hereby imposed:cralavvonlinelawlibrary
A) On person who sells goods and services in the course of trade or businesses; xxx
PROVIDED, that all registered businesses in the City of Manila already paying the aforementioned tax shall be exempted from payment thereof.cralawlibrary
7 Supra note 1, at 190-191.cralawlibrary
8 Id. at 263-268.cralawlibrary
9 Id. at 284-296.cralawlibrary
10 Id. at 254-257.cralawlibrary
11 Id. at 86.cralawlibrary
12 Id. at 34-35.cralawlibrary
13 515 Phil. 579, 584 (2006).cralawlibrary
14Cebu Metro Pharmacy, Inc. v. Euro-Med Laboratories, Philippines, Inc., G.R. No. 164757, 18 October 2010, 633 SCRA 320, 328.cralawlibrary
15 Id. at 329.cralawlibrary
16Shipside Incorporated v. Court of Appeals, 404 Phil. 981, 994 (2001).cralawlibrary
17 Id. at 994-995.cralawlibrary
18 Id. at 995.cralawlibrary
19 Supra note 13, at 582.cralawlibrary
20Cosco Philippines Shipping, Inc. v. Kemper Insurance Company, G.R. No. 179488, 23 April 2012.cralawlibrary
21 G.R. No. 151413, 13 February 2008, 545 SCRA 10, 18-19.cralawlibrary
22Mediserv, Inc. v. Court of Appeals (Special Former 13th Division), G.R. No. 161368, 5 April 2010, 617 SCRA 284, 296.cralawlibrary
23 Supra note 14, at 330-331.cralawlibrary
24 Supra note 22.cralawlibrary
25 Id. at 296-297.cralawlibrary
26526 Phil. 249 (2006).cralawlibrary
27 G.R. No. 181845, 4 August 2009, 595 SCRA 299.cralawlibrary
28 Id. at 320-322.cralawlibrary
29 Supra note 26.cralawlibrary
30 Id. at 260-261.cralawlibrary
31 Respondent’s Answer filed with the RTC of Manila in Civil Case No. 03108163, supra note 1, at 148.cralawlibrary
32Annex “C” of the Petition, id. at 91.