Political Law

Enrique Garcia vs Executive Secretary (1992)

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G.R. No. 101273 – 211 SCRA 219 – Political Law – Constitutional Law – The Executive Department – Powers of the President – Congress Authorizing the President to Tax

In November 1990, President Corazon Aquino issued Executive Order No. 438 which imposed, in addition to any other duties, taxes and charges imposed by law on all articles imported into the Philippines, an additional duty of 5% ad valorem tax. This additional duty was imposed across the board on all imported articles, including crude oil and other oil products imported into the Philippines. In 1991, EO 443 increased the additional duty to 9%. In the same year, EO 475 was passed reinstating the previous 5% duty except that crude oil and other oil products continued to be taxed at 9%. Enrique Garcia, a representative from Bataan, avers that EO 475 and 478 are unconstitutional for they violate Section 24 of Article VI of the Constitution which provides:

All appropriation, revenue or tariff bills, bills authorizing increase of the public debt, bills of local application, and private bills shall originate exclusively in the House of Representatives, but the Senate may propose or concur with amendments.

He contends that since the Constitution vests the authority to enact revenue bills in Congress, the President may not assume such power by issuing Executive Orders Nos. 475 and 478 which are in the nature of revenue-generating measures.

ISSUE: Whether or not EO 475 and 478 are constitutional.

HELD: Under Section 24, Article VI of the Constitution, the enactment of appropriation, revenue and tariff bills, like all other bills is, of course, within the province of the Legislative rather than the Executive Department. It does not follow, however, that therefore Executive Orders Nos. 475 and 478, assuming they may be characterized as revenue measures, are prohibited to be exercised by the President, that they must be enacted instead by the Congress of the Philippines.

Section 28(2) of Article VI of the Constitution provides as follows:

(2) The Congress may, by law, authorize the President to fix within specified limits, and subject to such limitations and restrictions as it may impose, tariff rates, import and export quotas, tonnage and wharfage dues, and other duties or imposts within the framework of the national development program of the Government.

There is thus explicit constitutional permission to Congress to authorize the President “subject to such limitations and restrictions as [Congress] may impose” to fix “within specific limits” “tariff rates . . . and other duties or imposts . . . .” In this case, it is the Tariff and Customs Code which authorized the President to issue the said EOs.

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