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Perfecto v Meer 85 Phil 552

GREGORIO PERFECTO vs. BIBIANO L. MEER[G.R. No. L-2348. February 27, 1950.]
Facts: In April, 1947 the Collector of Internal Revenue required Mr. Justice Gregorio Perfecto to
pay income tax upon his salary as member of this Court during the year 1946. After paying the
amount (P802), he instituted this action in the Manila Court of First Instance contending that the
assessment was illegal, his salary not being taxable for there as on that imposition of taxes
thereon would reduce it in violation of the Constitution.
Issue: Does the imposition of an income tax upon this salary amount to a diminution thereof?
Held: Yes. As in the United States during the second period, we must hold that salaries of judges
are not included in the word "income" taxed by the Income Tax Law. Two paramount
circumstances may additionally be indicated, to wit: First, when the Income Tax Law was first
applied to the Philippines 1913, taxable "income" did not include salaries of judicial officers
when these are protected from diminution. That was the prevailing official belief in the United
States, which must be deemed to have been transplanted here; and second, when the Philippine
Constitutional Convention approved (in 1935) the prohibition against diminution of the judges'
compensation, the Federal principle was known that income tax on judicial salaries really
impairs them. This is not proclaiming a general tax immunity for men on the bench. These pay
taxes. Upon buying gasoline, or cars or other commodities, they pay the corresponding duties.
Owning real property, they pay taxes thereon. Andon incomes other than their judicial salary,
assessments are levied. It is only when the tax is charged directly on their salary and the effect of
the tax is to diminish their official stipend

that the taxation must be resisted as an infringement of the fundamental charter. Judges would
indeed be hapless guardians of the Constitution if they did not perceive and block encroachments
upon their prerogatives in whatever form. The undiminishable character of judicial salaries is not
a mere privilege of judges personal and therefore waivable but a basic limitation upon legislative
or executive action imposed in the public interest (Evans vs. Gore)
Endencia, M.P. and F. Jugo vs. D. Saturnino, as collector of Internal Revenue
G.R. No. L-6355-56
August 31, 1953
En Banc


After the ruling of Court of First Instance of Manila declaring R.A. 590 unconstitutional and
thereby ordering the respondent David Saturnino to re-fund Justices M. Endencia and F. Hugo of
the income taxes decreased from their salaries, the petitioners in joint appeal questioned the
constitutionality of Republic Act 590. The lower court, citing the case Perfecto vs. Meer,
exhaustively declared that the collection of income taxes is a violation of the Philippines
Constitution. The Solicitor General on the side of the defendant stated that the legislative body
were not in favor of the Courts decision over Perfecto vs. Meer and immediately enacted R.A.
380 thereby imposing taxes to the Judicial Officers. The Court in the case questioned the legal
basis of the Act.


Whether or not sec. 13 of R.A. 590 can justify and legalize the collection of income taxes on the
salary of Judicial officers.


The Supreme Court in its decision, citing sec. 9 Art. 8 of the Constitution, declared R.A. 590
unconstitutional. It construed that the law is clear in its provision that compensation of Judicial
officers shall not be diminished in their continuance of their office and the imposition of the
taxes on their salaries is a clear diminution of the salary. It held that when a statute transgresses
the authority vested in the legislature, it is the duty of the court to declare it unconstitutional.
It further explained that the action of the legislative body as stated by the Solicitor General is a
violation of Separation of Power among branches of the government. The enactment of the
statute because the legislative congress is not in favor of Supreme Courts decision shows that
the former also interpreted the Act. It was ruled by the court that it is only the Supreme Court
that has the power to interpret the Law and Congress shall not interfere as the latters function is
to enact the law.

Separation of Powers
Saturnino David, the then Collector of Internal Revenue, ordered the taxing of Justice Pastor
Endencias and Justice Fernando Jugos salary pursuant to Sec 13 of RA 590 which provides that
SEC. 13. No salary wherever received by any public officer of the Republic of the Philippines
shall be considered as exempt from the income tax, payment of which is hereby declared not to
be a diminution of his compensation fixed by the Constitution or by law. According to the brief
of the Solicitor General on behalf of appellant Collector of Internal Revenue, our decision in the
case of Perfecto vs. Meer, supra, was not received favorably by Congress, because immediately
after its promulgation, Congress enacted Republic Act No. 590. To bring home his point, the
Solicitor General reproduces what he considers the pertinent discussion in the Lower House of
House Bill No. 1127 which became Republic Act No. 590.
ISSUE: Whether or not Sec 13 of RA 590 is constitutional.
HELD: By legislative fiat as enunciated in section 13, Republic Act No. 590, Congress says that
taxing the salary of a judicial officer is not a decrease of compensation. This is a clear example
of interpretation or ascertainment of the meaning of the phrase which shall not be diminished
during their continuance in office, found in section 9, Article VIII of the Constitution, referring
to the salaries of judicial officers. This act of interpreting the Constitution or any part thereof by
the Legislature is an invasion of the well-defined and established province and jurisdiction of the
Judiciary. The rule is recognized elsewhere that the legislature cannot pass any declaratory act,
or act declaratory of what the law was before its passage, so as to give it any binding weight with
the courts. A legislative definition of a word as used in a statute is not conclusive of its meaning
as used elsewhere; otherwise, the legislature would be usurping a judicial function in defining a
term. ** The reason behind the exemption in the Constitution, as interpreted by the United States
Federal Supreme Court and this Court, is to preserve the independence of the Judiciary, not only
of this High Tribunal but of the other courts, whose present membership number more than 990
judicial officials. The independence of the judges is of far greater importance than any revenue
that could come from taxing their salaries.
The doctrine laid down in the case of Perfecto vs. Meer, to the effect that the collection of
income tax on the salary of a judicial officer is a diminution thereof and so violates the
Constitution. The interpretation and application of the Constitution and of statutes is within the
exclusive province and jurisdiction of the judicial department, and that in enacting a law, the
Legislature may not legally provide therein that it be interpreted in such a way that it may not
violate a Constitutional prohibition, thereby tying the hands of the courts in their task of later
interpreting said statute, especially when the interpretation sought and provided in said statute
runs counter to a previous interpretation already given in a case by the highest court of the land.


G.R. No. 78780, July 23, 1987, 152 SCRA 284

Petitioners, the duly appointed and qualified Judges presiding overBranches 52, 19 and 53,
respectively, of the Regional Trial Court, National Capital Judicial Region, all with stations in
Manila, seek to prohibit and/or perpetually enjoin respondents, the Commissioner ofInternal
Revenue and the Financial Officer of the Supreme Court, from making
any deduction of withholding taxes from their salaries.

They submit that "any tax withheld from their emoluments or compensation as judicial officers
constitutes a decrease or diminution of their salaries, contrary to the provision of Section 10,
Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution mandating that during their continuance in office, their
salary shall not be decreased," even as it is anathema to the Ideal of an independent judiciary
envisioned in and by said Constitution."

It may be pointed out that, early on, the Court had dealt with the matter administratively in
response to representations that the Court shall direct its Finance Officer to discontinue the
withholding of taxes from salaries of members of the Bench. Thus, on June 4, 1987, it was
reaffirmed by the Court en banc
Whether or not members of the Judiciary are exempt from income taxes.

No. The debates, interpellations and opinions expressed regarding the constitutional provision in
question until it was finally approved by the Commission disclosed that the true intent of the
framers of the 1987 Constitution, in adopting it, was to make the salaries of members of the
Judiciary taxable. The ascertainment of that intent is but in keeping with the fundamental
principle of constitutional construction that the intent of the framers of the organic law and of the
people adopting it should be given effect. The primary task in constitutional construction is to
ascertain and thereafter assure the realization of the purpose of the framers and of the people in
the adoption of the Constitution. It may also be safely assumed that the people in ratifying
the Constitution were guided mainly by the explanation offered by the framers.

The ruling that "the imposition of income tax upon the salary of judges is a dimunition thereof,
and so violates the Constitution", in Perfecto vs. Meer, as affirmed in Endencia vs. David must
be declared discarded. The framers of the fundamental law, as the alter ego of the people, have
expressed in clear and unmistakable terms the meaning and import of Section 10, Article VIII, of
the 1987 Constitution that they have adopted

Stated otherwise, we accord due respect to the intent of the people, through the discussions and
deliberations of their representatives, in the spirit that all citizens should bear their aliquot part of
the cost of maintaining the government and should share the burden of general income
taxation equitably. Therefore, the petition for Prohibition is hereby dismissed.
People v. Mapa
GR L-22301, 30 August 1967 (20 SCRA 1164)En Banc, Fernando (p): 9 concur
Mario M. Mapa was charged for illegal possession of firearm and ammunition in aninformation
dated 14 August 1962 in violation of Section 878 of the Revise Administrative Codein
connection with Section 2692 of the Revised Administrative Code, as amended by CA 56 andas
further amended by RA 4. Accused admits to possession of firearm on ground of being asecret
agent of Governor Feliciano Leviste of Batangas. On 27 November 1963, the lower court
rendered a decision convicting the accused of the crime and sentenced him to imprisonment
for one year and one day to two years. As the appeal involves a question of law, it was elevated
to the Supreme Court.

Whether or not a secret agent duly appointed and qualified as such of the governor isexempt
from the requirement of having a license of firearm

The law is explicit that it is unlawful for any person to possess any firearm, detached parts of
firearms or ammunition therefor, or any instrument or implement used or intended to be used in
the manufacture of firearms, parts of firearms, or ammunition except when such firearms are in
possession of such public officials and public servants for use in the performance of their official
duties; as those firearms and ammunitions which are regularly and lawfully issued to officers,
soldiers, sailors or marines, the Philippines Constabulary, guards in the employment of the
Bureau of Prisons, municipal police, provincial governors, lieutenant governors, provincial l
treasurers, municipal treasurers, municipal mayors, and guards of provincial prisoners and jails.
It is the first and fundamental duty of courts to apply the law; Construction and interpretation
come only after it has been demonstrated that application is impossible or inadequate without
them. The law cannot be any clearer, there being no provision made for a secret agent. Reliance
in the decision in People v. Macarandang is misplaced, and the case no longer speaks with
authority to the extent that the present decision conflicts with. It may be note that in People v.
Macarandang, a secret agent was acquitted on appeal on the assumption that the appointment of
the accused as a secret agent to assist in the maintenance of peace and order campaigns and
detection of crimes sufficiently put him within the category of a peace officer equivalent even
to a member of the municipal police expressly covered by section 879, Thus, in the present case,
therefore, the conviction must stand. The Supreme Court affirmed the appealed judgment.


[G.R. No. L-12088. December 23, 1959.]



Valerio V. Rovira for Appellant.

Assistant Solicitor General Guillermo E. Torres and Assistant Solicitor General Florencio
Villamor for Appellee.



Administrative Code provides, as shown at least by the subject matter thereof, that "peace
officers" are exempted from the requirements relating to the issuance of license to possess
firearms. The appointment of the accused as secret agent to assist in the maintenance of peace
and order campaigns and detection of crimes, sufficiently put him within the category of a
"peace officer" equivalent even to a member of the municipal police expressly covered by
section 879.

Moro Sumaguina Macarandang was accused and, after trial, convicted of the crime of illegal
possession of firearms in the Court of First Instance of Lanao under the following

"That on or about June 8, 1954, in the Municipality of Marantao, Province of Lanao, Republic of
the Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused,
did then and there, willfully, unlawfully and feloniously keep and have in his custody and control
one Riot Gun, Winchester, 12 GA. SN-942131 and (8) rounds of ammunitions, without first
having obtained the proper license or permit therefor from competent authority."cralavirtua1aw

In the present appeal the accused, admitting the ownership and possession of the firearm and
ammunitions in question, invokes as his legal excuse or authority therefor, the appointment
issued him by Governor Dimakuta as secret agent on October 1, 1953, which reads as

"For having shown good faith by previously surrendering to this Office a firearm, Datu
Sumaguina Macarandang of Kamalig, Marantao, Lanao, has been appointed SECRET AGENT
of this Office without compensation, to assist in the maintenance of peace and order campaigns
and detection of crimes. Accordingly, he is hereby authorized to hold and carry in his possession
one (1) Riot Winchester Shotgun, 12 GA. Serial No. 942131 with twenty (20) rounds of
ammunitions for the successful execution of his hazardous missions.

"Datu Sumaguina Macarandang shall personally report to me from time to time all activities and
whereabouts of lawless and wanted elements roaming in the Municipal District of Marantao, as
well as all matters affecting tranquility therein existing."cralaw virtua1aw library

It may be true that, as held by the trial court, the Governor has no authority to issue any firearm
license or permit; but section 879 of the Revised Administrative Code provides, as shown at least
by the subject matter thereof, that "peace officers" are exempted from the requirements relating
to the issuance of license to possess firearms. The appointment of the accused as secret agent to
assist in the maintenance of peace and order campaigns and detection of crimes, sufficiently put
him within the category of a "peace officer" equivalent even to a member of the municipal police
expressly covered by section 879.

Wherefore, the decision appealed from is reversed and the accused acquitted, with costs de
oficio. So ordered.

Bengzon, Padilla, Montemayor, Bautista Angelo, Labrador and Gutierrez David, JJ., concur.

People vs. Jabinal


Respondent appealed from the judgment of the MTC Batangas finding him guilty of the crime
of Illegal Possession of Firearm and Ammunition he contested the validity of his conviction
based on a retroactive application of the ruling in People v. Mapa.

Respondent was appointed as Secret Agent from the Provincial Governor of Batangas and an
appointment as Confidential Agent from the PC Provincial Commander, and the said
appointments expressly carried with them the authority to possess and carry the firearm in

Respondent alleged that at the time of his appointments the prevailing doctrines are
Macarandang and Lucero doctrine.

In Macarandang it was held that"peace officers" are exempted from the requirements relating
to the issuance of license to possess firearms.

While Lucero doctrine provides that the granting of the temporary use of the firearm to the
accused was a necessary means to carry out the lawful purpose of the battalion commander and
must be deemed incident to or necessarily included in the duty and power of said military
commander to effect the capture of a Huk leader.

Respondent and OSG alleged that the decision held in Mapa Case is of no applicability in this


W/N the appellant should be acquitted on the basis of Our rulings in Macarandang and
Lucero, or should his conviction stand in view of the complete reversal of the Macarandang and
Lucero doctrine in Mapa case?

The SC held that the decision in People v. Mapa reversing the Macarandang and Lucero
doctrines came only in 1967, it has no proper application in this case.

Judicial decisions applying or interpreting the laws or the Constitution shall form a part of the
legal system in the Philippines.

The doctrine laid down in Lucero and Macarandang was part of the jurisprudence, hence, of
the law, of the land, at the time appellant was found by possession of the firearm in question and
when he was arraigned by the trial court.

It is true that the doctrine was overruled in the Mapa case in 1967, but when a doctrine of this
Court is overruled and a different view is adopted, the new doctrine should be applied
prospectively, and should not apply to parties who had relied on the old doctrine and acted on the
faith thereof.

Petitioner incurred no criminal liability at the time of the commission of the crime since the
prevailing doctrine then were the doctrines of Macarandang and Lucero
ESTRADA v SANDIGANBAYANG.R. No. 148560, November 19, 2001

Facts: Petitioner Joseph Estrada prosecuted An Act Defining and Penalizing the Crime of
Plunder, wishes to impress upon the Court that the assailed law is so defectively
fashioned that it crosses that thin but distinct line which divides the valid from the
constitutionally infirm. His contentions are mainly based on the effects of the said
law that it suffers from the vice of vagueness; it dispenses with the "reasonable doubt"
standard in criminal prosecutions; and it abolishes the element of mens rea in crimes already punishable
under The Revised Penal Code saying that it violates the fundamental rights of the accused.
The focal point of the case is the alleged vagueness of the law in the
t e r m s i t u s e s . Particularly, this terms are: combination, series and unwarranted. Because of
this, the petitioner uses the facial challenge on the validity of the mentioned law.

Issue: Whether or not the petitioner possesses the locus standi to attack the validity of the law
using the facial challenge.
Ruling: On how the law uses the terms combination and series does not constitute
vagueness. Thepetitioners contention that it would not give a fair warning and sufficient
notice of what the law seeks to penalize cannot be plausibly argued. Void-for-
vagueness doctrine is manifestlymisplaced under the petitioners reliance since ordi
nary intelligence can understand whatconduct is prohibited by the statute. It can only be
invoked against that specie of legislation that is utterly vague on its face, wherein clarification by
a saving clause or construction cannot be invoked. Said doctrine may not invoked in this
case since the statute is clear and free fromambiguity. Vagueness doctrine merely requires
a reasonable degree of certainty for the statute to be upheld, not absolute precision or mathematical
exactitude. On the other hand, overbreadth doctrine decrees that governmental purpose
may not
bea c h i e v e d b y m e a n s w h i c h s w e e p u n n e c e s s a r i l y b r o a d l y a n d t h e r e b y i n v a
d e t h e a r e a o f protected freedoms. Doctrine of strict scrutiny holds that a facial challenge is
allowed to be made to vague statute and to one which is overbroad because of possible
chilling effect upon protected speech. Furthermore, in the area of criminal law, the
law cannot take chances as in the area of free speech. A facial challenge to legislative acts is the
most difficult challenge to mount successfully since the challenger must establish that no set of circumstances
exists .Doctrines mentioned are analytical tools developed for facial challenge of a
statute in freespeech cases. With respect to such statue, the established rule is that one to who application of a
statute is constitutional will not be heard to attack the statute on the ground that impliedly
itmight also be taken as applying to other persons or other situations in which its
application might be unconstitutional. On its face invalidation of statues results
in striking them down entirely on the ground that they might be applied to parties not before
the Court whose activities are constitutionally protected. It is evident that the purported
ambiguity of the Plunder Law is more imagined than real. The crime of plunder as a malum in
se is deemed to have been resolve in the Congress decision to include it among the heinous
crime punishable by reclusion perpetua to death. Supreme Court holds the plunder law constitutional and petition
is dismissed for lacking merit.
Republic of the Philippines


G.R. No. L-22291 November 15, 1976

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,

JESUS SANTAYANA Y ESCUDERO, defendant-appellant.

Ernesto C. Hidalgo and Enrique Jocson for appellant.

Solicitor General Arturo A. Alafriz, Assistant Solicitor General Pacifico P. de Castro and Trial
Attorney Josefina Domingo de Leon for appellee.


Accused, Jesus Santayana y Escudero, was found guilty of the crime of illegal possesion of
firearms and sentenced to an indeterminate penalty of from one (1) year and one (1) day to two
(2) years and to pay the costs.

The essential facts are not in dispute. On February 19, 1962, accused Jesus Santayana, was
appointed as "Special Agent" 1 by then Colonel Jose C. Maristela, Chief of the CIS. On March 9,
1962, a Memorandum Receipt 2 for equipment was issued in the name of the accused regarding
one pistol Melior SN-122137 with one (1) mag and stock. Col. Maristela likewise issued an
undated certification 3 to the effect that the accused was an accredited member of the CIS and the
pistol described in the said Memorandum Receipt was given to him by virtue of his appointment
as special agent and that he was authorized to carry and possess the same in the performance of
his official duty and for his personal protection. On October 29, 1962, the accused was found in
Plaza Miranda in possession of the above-described pistol with four rounds of ammunition, cal.
25, without a license to possess them. An investigation was conducted and thereupon, a
corresponding complaint was filed against the accused. The case underwent trial after which the
accused was convicted of the crime charged with its corresponding penalty. Hence, the case was
appealed to US and the accused assigned three errors allegedly committed by the trial court in
disposing of this case.

Of these assigned errors, the two main issued posed are whether or not the present subject matter
falls within the exclusive jurisdiction of the municipal court pursuant to Republic Act No. 2613;
and whether or not the appointment of the appellant as special agent of the CIS which apparently
authorizes him to carry and posses firearms exempts him from securing a license or permit
corresponding thereto.

Resolving the issue of jurisdiction, there is no doubt that under Section 87 of Republic Act No.
286, as amended by Republic Act No. 2613, the justice over cases of illegal possession of
firearms. But equally the Court of First Instance of Manila, which took cognizance of this case
had jurisdiction over the offense charged because under Section 44 of Republic Act No. 296,
Court of First Instance have original jurisdiction "in all criminal cases in which the penalty
provided by law is imprisonment for more than six (6) months, or a fine of more than two
hundred pesos (P200.00)"; and the offense charged in the information is punishable by
imprisonment for a period of not less than one (1) year and one (1) day nor more than five (5)
years, or both such imprisonment and a fine of not less than one thousand pesos (P1,000.00) or
more than five thousand pesos (P5,000.00).

From the foregoing, it is evident that the jurisdiction of the Municipal Courts over Criminal
Cases in which the penalty provided by law is imprisonment for not more than six (6) months or
fine of not more than two hundred (P200.00) pesos or both such imprisonment and fine is
exclusive and original to said courts. But considering that the offense of illegal possession of
firearms with which the appellant was charged is penalized by imprisonment for a period of not
less than one (1) year and one (1) day or more than five (5) years, or both such imprisonment and
a fine of not less than one thousand (P1,000.00) pesos or more than five thousand (P5,000.00)
pesos (Republic Act No. 4), the offense, therefore, does not fall within the exclusive original
jurisdiction of the Municipal Court. The Court of First Instance has concurrent jurisdiction over
the same.

As to the second issue to be resolved, there is no question that appellant was appointed as CIS
secret agent with the authority to carry and possess firearms. 4 Indeed, appellant was issued a
firearm in the performance of his official duties and for his personal protection. 5 It also appears
that appellant was informed by Col. Maristela that it was not necessary for him to apply for a
license or to register the said firearm because it was government property and therefore could not
legally be registered or licensed in appellant's name. 6 Capt. Adolfo M. Bringas from whom
appellant received the firearm also informed the latter that no permit to carry the pistol was
necessary "because you are already appointed as CIS agent."

At the time of appellant's apprehension, the doctrine then prevailing is enunciated in the case of
People vs. Macarandang 7 wherein We held that the appointment of a civilian as "secret agent to
assist in the maintenace of peace and order campaigns and detection of crimes sufficiently puts
him within the category of a 'peace officer' equivalent even to a member of the municipal police
expressly covered by Section 879." The case of People vs. Mapa 8 revoked the doctrine in the
Macarandang case only on August 30, 1967. Under the Macarandang rule therefore obtaining at
the time of appellant's appointment as secret agent, he incurred no criminal liability for
possession of the pistol in question.

Wherefore, and conformably with the recommendation of the Solicitor General, the decision
appealed from is hereby reversed and appellant Jesus Santayana y Escudero is hereby acquitted.
The bond for his provisional release is cancelled. Costs de oficio.

Barredo (Actg. Chairman), Antonio, Aquino and Martin, JJ., concur.

Fernando, J., took no part.