Legally Yours

Government of the Philippine Islands v. Standard Oil Company of New York

Statutory Construction. Ratihabitio aequiparatur mandato.
Government of the Philippine Islands v. Standard Oil Company of New York
G.R. No. 5876 September 1, 1911

On about the 27th of July, 1901, Standard Oil Company of New York imported into the Philippine Islands 30,000 cases of refined petroleum. That same day, July 27, 1901, the defendant company presented to the Bureau of Customs of this city an affidavit setting forth that the said 30,000 cases of refined petroleum had been sold by the former to the commissary department of the United States Army in Manila. From August 7 to October 28, 1901, the defendant company removed from its warehouse the 30,000 cases there deposited but only 10,679 were actually delivered to the commissary department of the United States Army, and the remaining 19,321 cases, which contained 193,210 gallons of refined petroleum, equivalent to 608,321.685 kilograms, were, free of customs duties, sold to private parties; the Government of the Philippine Islands, as alleged by the plaintiff, being, by these deceitful and fraudulent means, defrauded of the tax or duty which the defendant company should have paid upon the said cases.

Whether or not the respondent company should pay the customs duties demanded of it

The company maintains that   it should not because the President’s order, together with the tariff of July 12, 1898, under which such duties are demanded, is null and void and of no value and effect and because the Act of Congress of June 30, 1906, did not confirm nor resuscitate that order, among others.  It is not correct to affirm that the President’s order was originally null and void. Its force and validity from November 10, 1898 to April 11, 1899 is beyond question. The intention and will of the legislator being so clear, so explicit, to approve, confirm, and ratify as by an act of his own prior to April 11, 1899, and even also to July 12, 1898 (the date of the order of the President), the acts of the latter and of the officials of the Government of these Islands, with respect to “the collection of all the said duties prior to March 8, 1902,” and also with regard to “the import and export duties levied by the authorities of the United States or of the provisional military government of the same in the Philippine Islands prior to March 8, 1902″—two subjects that are the purpose of the said Act, it being an axiom of law, that the ratification is equivalent to a mandate (ratihabitio aequiparatur mandato), the conclusion cannot be avoided that, by the legislators will, the tariff duties demandable during the period mentioned in the complaint, are so, not by a null and void order of the President, but by an Act of Congress. The obligation to pay, therefore, among other reasons, still exists.

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