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PHILIPPINE LAWYER'S

ASSOCIATION vs. CELEDONIO AGRAVA


G.R. No. L-12426. February 16, 1959.

FACTS:
On may 27, 1957, respondent Director issued a circular announcing that he had scheduled an
examination for the purpose of determining who are qualified to practice as patent attorneys before
the Philippines Patent Office. According to the circular, members of the Philippine Bar, engineers
and other persons with sufficient scientific and technical training are qualified to take the said
examination. The petitioner contends that one who has passed the bar examination sand is licensed
by the Supreme Court to practice law in the Philippines and who is in good standing is duly qualified
to practice before the Philippines Patent Office and that the respondent Director’s holding an
examination for the purpose is in excess of his jurisdiction and is in violation of the law.The
respondent, in reply, maintains the prosecution of patent cases “ does not involve entirely or purely
the practice of law but includes the application of scientific and technical knowledge and training as a
matter of actual practice so as to include engineers and other individuals who passed the
examination can practice before the Patent office. Furthermore, he stressed that for the long time he
is holding tests, this is the first time that his right has been questioned formally.

ISSUE:
Whether or not the appearance before the patent Office and the preparation and the prosecution of
patent application, etc., constitutes or is included in the practice of law.

HELD:
The Supreme Court held that the practice of law includes such appearance before the Patent Office,
the representation of applicants, oppositors, and other persons, and the prosecution of their
applications for patent, their opposition thereto, or the enforcement of their rights in patent cases.
Moreover, the practice before the patent Office involves the interpretation and application of other
laws and legal principles, as well as the existence of facts to be established in accordance with the
law of evidence and procedure. The practice of law is not limited to the conduct of cases or litigation
in court but also embraces all other matters connected with the law and any work involving the
determination by the legal mind of the legal effects of facts and conditions. Furthermore, the law
provides that any party may appeal to the Supreme Court from any final order or decision of the
director. Thus, if the transactions of business in the Patent Office involved exclusively or mostly
technical and scientific knowledge and training, then logically, the appeal should be taken not to a
court or judicial body, but rather to a board of scientists, engineers or technical men, which is not the
case.
Lupangco vs. CA (G.R. No. 77372)

Facts:

On or about October 6, 1986, herein respondent Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) issued
Resolution No. 105 as parts of its "Additional Instructions to Examinees," to all those applying for
admission to take the licensure examinations in accountancy:

No examinee shall attend any review class, briefing, conference or the like conducted by, or shall receive
any hand-out, review material, or any tip from any school, college or university, or any review center or
the like or any reviewer, lecturer, instructor official or employee of any of the aforementioned or similar
institutions during the three days immediately proceeding every examination day including examination
day.

Any examinee violating this instruction shall be subject to the sanctions prescribed by Sec. 8, Art. III of
the Rules and Regulations of the Commission.

On October 16, 1986, herein petitioners, all reviewees preparing to take the licensure examinations in
accountancy schedule on October 25 and November 2 of the same year, filed on their own behalf of all
others similarly situated like them, with the Regional Trial Court of Manila a complaint for injunction
with a prayer with the issuance of a writ of a preliminary injunction against respondent PRC to restrain
the latter from enforcing the above-mentioned resolution and to declare the same unconstitutional.
Respondent PRC filed a motion to dismiss on October 21, 1987 on the ground that the lower court had
no jurisdiction to review and to enjoin the enforcement of its resolution. In an Order of October 21,
1987, the lower court declared that it had jurisdiction to try the case and enjoined the respondent
commission from enforcing and giving effect to Resolution No. 105 which it found to be
unconstitutional. Not satisfied therewith, respondent PRC, on November 10, 1986, an appeal with the
Court of Appeals. The petition was granted.

Issue:

Whether or not Resolution No. 105 is constitutional.

Held:

CA stated as basis its conclusion that PCS and RTC are co-equal branches. They relied heavily on the case
of National Electrification Administration vs. Mendoza where the Court held that a Court of First
Instance cannot interfere with the orders of SEC, the two being a co-equal branch.

SC said the cases cited by CA are not in point. It is glaringly apparent that the reason why the Court ruled
that the Court of First Instance could not interfere with the orders of SEC was that this was provided for
by the law. Nowhere in the said cases was it held that a Court of First Instance has no jurisdiction over
all other government agencies. On the contrary, the ruling was specifically limited to the SEC. The
respondent court erred when it place he SEC and PRC in the same category. There is no law providing for
the next course of action for a party who wants to question a ruling or order of the PRC. What is clear
from PD No. 223 is that PRC is attached to the Office of the President for general direction and
coordination. Well settled in our jurisprudence the view that even acts of the Office of the President
may be reviewed by the RTC. In view of the foregoing, SC rules that RTC has jurisdiction to entertain the
case and enjoin PRC from enforcing its resolution.

As to the validity of Resolution No. 105, although the resolution has a commendable purpose which is to
preserve the integrity and purity of the licensure examinations, the resolution is unreasonable in that an
examinee cannot even attend and review class, briefing, conference or the like or receive hand-out,
review material, or any tip from any school, college or university, or any review center. The
unreasonableness is more obvious in that one who is caught committing the prohibited acts even
without ill motives will be barred from taking future examinations.

Resolution No. 105 is not only unreasonable and arbitrary, it also infringes on the examinees’ right to
liberty guaranteed by the Constitution. PRC has no authority to dictate on the reviewees as to how they
should prepare themselves for the licensure examinations specially if the steps they take are lawful.

Another evident objection to Resolution No. 105 is that it violates the academic freedom of the schools
concerned. PRC cannot interfere with the conduct of review that review schools and centers believe
would best enable their enrollees to pass the examination. Unless the means and methods of instruction
are clearly found to be inefficient, impractical, or riddled with corruption, review schools and centers
may not be stopped from helping out their students.

The enforcement of Resolution No. 105 is not a guarantee that the alleged leakages in the licensure
examinations will be eradicated or at least minimized. What is needed to be done by the respondent is
to find out the source of such leakages and stop it right there.

The decision of the CA was REVERSE and SET ASIDE.


CIR vs. Fortune Tobacco

September 28, 2011 G.R. No. 180006

Facts: Prior to January 1, 1997, the excises taxes on cigarettes were in the form of ad valorem taxes,
pursuant to Section 142 of the 1977 National Internal Revenue Code (1977 Tax Code). Beginning
January 1, 1997, RA 8240 took effect and a shift from ad valorem to specific taxes was made. A
portion of Section 142(c) of the 1977 Tax Code, as amended by RA 8240, reads in part:

“The specific tax from any brand of cigarettes within the next three (3) years of effectivity of this
Act shall not be lower than the tax [which] is due from each brand on October 1, 1996.

xxx

The rates of specific tax on cigars and cigarettes under paragraphs (1), (2), (3) and (4) hereof, shall
be increased by twelve percent (12%) on January 1, 2000.”

To implement the 12% increase in specific taxes mandated under Section 145 of the 1997 Tax Code
and again pursuant to its rule-making powers, the CIR issued RR 17-99, which reads partly:

“Provided, however, that the new specific tax rate for any existing brand of cigars [and] cigarettes
packed by machine, distilled spirits, wines and fermented liquors shall not be lower than the excise
tax that is actually being paid prior to January 1, 2000.”

Pursuant to these laws, respondent Fortune Tobacco Corporation paid in advance excise taxes and
filed an administrative claim for tax refund with the CIR for erroneously and/or illegally collected
taxes in the amount of P491 million.

In its decision, the CTA First Division ruled in favor of Fortune Tobacco and granted its claim for
refund. The CTA First Divisions ruling was upheld on appeal by the CTA en banc. The CIR’s motion
for reconsideration of the CTA en banc’s decision was denied in a resolution.

Issue: Whether or not Section 1 of RR 17-99 is an unauthorized administrative legislation on the


part of the CIR.

Ruling: Yes. The proviso in Section 1 of RR 17-99 clearly went beyond the terms of the law it was
supposed to implement, and therefore entitles Fortune Tobacco to claim a refund of the overpaid
excise taxes collected pursuant to this provision.

The rule on uniformity of taxation is violated by the proviso in Section 1, RR 17-99. Uniformity in
taxation requires that all subjects or objects of taxation, similarly situated, are to be treated alike
both in privileges and liabilities. Although the brands all belong to the same category, the proviso in
Section 1, RR 17-99 authorized the imposition of different (and grossly disproportionate) tax rates.
It effectively extended the qualification stated in the third paragraph of Section 145(c) of the 1997
Tax Code that was supposed to apply only during the transition period. In the process, the CIR also
perpetuated the unequal tax treatment of similar goods that was supposed to be cured by the shift
from ad valorem to specific taxes.

The Court further said that the omission in the law in fact reveals the legislative intent not to adopt
the higher tax rule. It appears that despite its awareness of the need to protect the increase of
excise taxes to increase government revenue, Congress ultimately decided against adopting the
higher tax rule.