Wednesday, February 17, 2010

February 4 SC decisions: PAL gets a tax refund for the taxes it paid on its overseas calls

More decisions to guide our legal lives coming out of the Supreme Court on February 4, 2010.

In legal ethics, the Court disbars
two lawyers for immorality.

In remedial law, the Court
skews technicality but rules that the issue of the right of possession in an ejectment case is moot and academic as the party being sued for recovery of possession has lost possession of the property. It also rules that certiorari is not the proper remedy in case a case is dismissed for failure to prosecute. The remedy is appeal.

In transportation law, the Court
rules that limitation on liability of the bill of lading does not apply if the value of the cargo shipment is communicated to the arrastre operator before the discharge of the cargoes.

In civil law, the Court
denies another petition for annulment of marriage based on the ground of psychological incapacity. The Court says,

"It was folly for the trial court to accept the findings and conclusions of Dr. Villegas with nary a link drawn between the “psychodynamics of the case” and the factors characterizing the psychological incapacity."
Really, an appeal by the Republic of the Philippines in a case granting annulment will almost always result in a reversal by the Supreme Court.

In property law, the Court distinguishes between legal possession and actual possession, and declares,

Petitioners’ argument is misplaced, considering that this is a forcible entry case. They are apparently referring to “possession” flowing from ownership of the property, as opposed to actual possession. In ejectment cases, possession means nothing more than actual physical possession, not legal possession in the sense contemplated in civil law.

Prior physical possession is the primary consideration in a forcible entry case. A party who can prove prior possession can recover such possession even against the owner himself. Whatever may be the character of his possession, if he has in his favor prior possession in time, he has the security that entitles him to remain on the property until a person with a better right lawfully ejects him. The party in peaceable quiet possession shall not be thrown out by a strong hand, violence or terror.

In taxation, the Court grants PAL a tax refund in the amount of of PHp 134,431.95 representing the 10% [Overseas Communications Tax] OCT PAL paid on its overseas telephone calls.

And in criminal law, the Court affirms the convictions of two persons accused of murder, convicts several men for the special complex crime of kidnapping and serious illegal detention with rape, and convicts a drug dealer.

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