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Victorias Milling v. Philippine Ports Authority

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  Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT ManilaFIRST DIVISION G.R. No. 73705 August 27, 1987VICTORIAS MILLING CO., INC., petitioner, vs. OICE O T!E PRESI ENTIAL ASSISTANT OR LEGAL AAIRS #$% P!ILIPPINE PORTS AUT!ORIT&, respondents.   PARAS, J.: This is a petition for revie on certiorari of the !ul #$, %&'( Decision of the Office of the Presidential )ssistant For *e+al )ffairs disissin+ the appeal fro the adverse rulin+ of the Philippine Ports )uthorit on the sole +round that the sae as filed be ond the re+leentar period.On )pril #', %&'%, the Iloilo Port Mana+er of respondent Philippine Ports )uthorit -PP) for short rote petitioner Victorias Millin+ /o., re0uirin+ it to have its tu+boats and bar+es under+o harbor foralities and pa entrance1clearance fees as ell as berthin+ fees effective Ma %, %&'%. PP), li2eise, re0uirin+ petitioner to secure a perit for car+o handlin+ operations at its Da3an 4anua harf and reit %56 of its +ross incoe for said operations as the +overnent7s share.To these deands, petitioner sent to -# letters, both dated !une #, %&'%, herein it aintained that it is e8ept fro pa in+ PP) an fee or char+e because9 -% the harf and an its facilities ere built and installed in its land: -# repair and aintenance thereof ere and solel paid b it: -; even the dred+in+ and aintenance of the Mali<ao River /hannel fro =uiaras Strait up to said private harf are bein+ done b petitioner7s e0uipent and personnel: and -( at no tie has the +overnent ever spent a sin+le centavo for such activities. Petitioner further added that the harf as bein+ used ainl to handle su+ar purchased fro district planters pursuant to e8istin+ illin+ a+reeents.In repl , on Noveber ;, %&'%, PP) Iloilo sent petitioner a eorandu of PP)7s >8ecutive Officer, Ma8io Dulao, hich <ustified the PP)7s deands. Further re0uest for reconsideration as denied on !anuar %(, %&'#.On March #&, %&'#, petitioner served notice to PP) that it is appealin+ the case to the /ourt of Ta8 )ppeals: and accordin+l , on March ;%, %&'#, petitioner filed a Petition for Revie ith the said /ourt, entitled ?Victorias Millin+ /o., Inc. v. Philippine Ports )uthorit ,? and doc2eted therein as /T) /ase No. ;(@@.On !anuar %5, %&'(, the /ourt of Ta8 )ppeals disissed petitioner7s action on the +round that it has no  <urisdiction. It recoended that the appeal be addressed to the Office of the President.On !anuar #;, %&'(, petitioner filed a Petition for Revie ith this /ourt, doc2eted as =.R. No. @@;'%, but the sae as denied in a Resolution dated Februar #&, %&'(.On )pril #, %&'(, petitioner filed an appeal ith the Office of the President, but in a Decision dated !ul #$, %&'( -Record, p. ##, the sae as denied on the sole +round that it as filed be ond the re+leentar period. ) otion for Reconsideration as filed, but in an Order dated Deceber %@, %&'A, the sae as denied - ibid  ., pp. ;3#%9 Bence, the instant petition.The Second Division of this /ourt, in a Resolution dated !une #, %&'@, resolved to re0uire the respondents to coent - ibid  ., p. (A: and in copliance thereith, the Solicitor =eneral filed his /oent on !une (, %&'@ - Ibid  ., pp. A53A&.In a Resolution of !ul #, %&'@, petitioner as re0uired to file a repl - Ibid  ., p. @% but before receipt of said resolution, the latter filed a otion on !ul %, %&'@ pra in+ that it be +ranted leave to file a repl to respondents7 /oent, and an e8tension of tie up to !une ;5, %&'@ ithin hich to file the sae. - Ibid  ., p. @#.  On !ul %', %&'@, petitioner filed its repl to respondents7 /oent - Ibid  ., pp. @'3$@.The Second Division of this /ourt, in a Resolution dated )u+ust #A, %&'@, resolved to +ive due course to the petition and to re0uire the parties to file their respective siultaneous eoranda - Ibid  ., p. $'.On October ', %&'@, the Solicitor =eneral filed a Manifestation and Re<oinder, statin+, aon+ others, that respondents are adoptin+ in toto  their /oent of !une ;, %&'@ as their eorandu: ith the clarification that the assailed PP) )dinistrative Order No. %;3$$ as dul published in full in the nationide circulated nespaper, ?The Ties !ournal?, on Noveber &,%&$$ - ibid  ., pp. $&3'%.The sole le+al issue raised b the petitioner is CB>TB>R OR NOT TB> ;53D)E P>RIOD FOR )PP>)* NID>R S>/TION %;% OF PP) )DMINISTR)TIV> ORD>R NO. %;3$$ )S TO**>D 4E TB> P>ND>N/E OF TB> P>TITIONS FI*>D FIRST ITB TB> /ORT OF T)G )PP>)*S, )ND TB>N ITB TBIS BONOR)4*> TRI4N)*.The instant petition is devoid of erit.Petitioner, in holdin+ that the recourse first to the /ourt of Ta8 )ppeals and then to this /ourt tolled the period to appeal, subits that it as +uided, in +ood faith, b considerations hich lead to the assuption that procedural rules of appeal then enforced still hold true. It contends that hen Republic )ct No. %%#A -creatin+ the /ourt of Ta8 )ppeals as passed in %&AA, PP) as not et in e8istence: and under the said la, the /ourt of Ta8 )ppeals had e8clusive appellate <urisdiction over appeals fro decisions of the /oissioner of /ustos re+ardin+, aon+ others, custos duties, fees and other one char+es iposed b the 4ureau under the Tariff and /ustos /ode. On the other hand, neither in Presidential Decree No. A5A, creatin+ the PP) on !ul %%, %&$( nor in Presidential Decree No. 'A$, revisin+ its charter -said decrees, aon+ others, erel transferred to the PP) the poers of the 4ureau of /ustos to ipose and collect custos duties, fees and other one char+es concernin+ the use of ports and facilities thereat is there an provision +overnin+ appeals fro decisions of the PP) on such atters, so that it is but reasonable to see2 recourse ith the /ourt of Ta8 )ppeals. Petitioner, li2eise, contends that an anal sis of Presidential Decree No. 'A$, shos that the PP) is vested erel ith corporate poers and duties -Sec. @, hich do not and can not include the poer to le+islate on procedural atters, uch less to effectivel ta2e aa fro the /ourt of Ta8 )ppeals the latter7s appellate <urisdiction.These contentions are untenable for hile it is true that neither Presidential Decree No. A5A nor Presidential Decree No. 'A$ provides for the reed of appeal to the Office of the President, nevertheless, Presidential Decree No. 'A$ epoers the PP) to proul+ate such rules as ould aid it in accoplishin+ its purpose. Section @ of the said Decree provides CSec. @. /orporate Poers and Duties Ca. The corporate duties of the )uthorit shall be9888 888 888-III To prescribe rules and re+ulations, procedures, and +uidelines +overnin+ the establishent, construction, aintenance, and operation of all other ports, includin+ private ports in the countr .888 888 888Pursuant to the afore0uoted provision, PP) enacted )dinistrative Order No. %;3$$ precisel to +overn, aon+ others, appeals fro PP) decisions. It is no finall settled that adinistrative rules and re+ulations issued in accordance ith la, li2e PP) )dinistrative Order No. %;3$$, have the force and effect of la -Valerio vs. Secretar of )+riculture and Natural Resources, $ S/R) $%&: )nti0ue Saills, Inc. vs. Ha co, et al., %$ S/R) ;%@: and Macailin+ vs. )ndrada, ;% S/R) %#@, and are bindin+ on all persons dealin+  ith that bod .)s to petitioner7s contention that )dinistrative Order No. %;3$$, specificall its Section %;%, onl provides for appeal hen the decision is adverse to the +overnent, orth entionin+ is the observation of the Solicitor =eneral that petitioner isleads the /ourt. Said Section %;% provides CSec. %;%. Supervisor )uthorit of =eneral Mana+er and PP) 4oard. C If in an case  involvin+ assessent of port char+es, the Port Mana+er1OI/ renders a decision adverse to the +overnent, such decision shall autoaticall be elevated to, and revieed b , the =eneral Mana+er of the authorit : and if the Port Mana+er7s decision ould be affired b the =eneral Mana+er, such decision shall be sub<ect to further affiration b the PP) 4oard before it shall becoe effective: Provided, hoever, that if ithin thirt -;5 da s fro receipt of the record of the case b the =eneral Mana+er, no decision is rendered, the decision under revie shall becoe final and e8ecutor : Provided further, that any party aggrieved by the decision of the General Manager as affirmed by the PPA Board may appeal said decision to the Office of the President within thirty (! days from receipt of a copy thereof#  ->phasis supplied.Fro a cursor readin+ of the afore0uoted provision, it is evident that the above contention has no basis.)s to petitioner7s alle+ation that to its recollection there had been no prior publication of said PP) )dinistrative Order No. %;3$$, the Solicitor =eneral correctl pointed out that said )dinistrative Order  as dul published in full in the nationide nespaper, ?The Ties !ournal?, on Noveber &,%&$$.Moreover, it ust be stated that as correctl observed b the Solicitor =eneral, the facts of this case sho that petitioner7s failure to appeal to the Office of the President on tie stes entirel fro its on ne+li+ence and not fro a purported i+norance of the proper procedural steps to ta2e. Petitioner had been aare of the rules +overnin+ PP) procedures. In fact, as ebodied in the Deceber %@, %&'A Order of the Office of the President, petitioner even assailed the PP)7s rule a2in+ poers at the hearin+ before the /ourt of Ta8 )ppeals.It is a8ioatic that the ri+ht to appeal is erel a statutor privile+e and a be e8ercised onl in the anner and in accordance ith the provision of la -nited /M/ Te8tile or2ers nion vs. /lave, %;$ S/R) ;(@, citin+ the cases of 4ello vs. Fernando, ( S/R) %;': )+uila vs. Navarro, AA Phil. '&': and Santia+o vs. Valenuela, $' Phil. ;&$.Furtherore, even if petitioner7s appeal ere to be +iven due course, the result ould still be the sae as it does not present a substantiall eritorious case a+ainst the PP).Petitioner aintains and subits that there is no basis for the PP) to assess and ipose the dues and char+es it is collectin+ since the harf is private, constructed and aintained at no e8pense to the +overnent, and that it e8ists priaril so that its tu+boats and bar+es a ferr the su+arcane of its Pana planters.)s correctl stated b the Solicitor =eneral, the fees and char+es PP) collects are not for the use of the  harf that petitioner ons but for the privile+e of navi+atin+ in public aters, of enterin+ and leavin+ public harbors and berthin+ on public streas or aters. -Rollo, pp. 5A@35A$.In /opaJia =eneral de Tabacos de Filipinas vs. )ct+. /oissioner of /ustos -#; S/R) @55, this /ourt laid don the rule that berthin+ char+es a+ainst a vessel are collectible re+ardless of the fact that oorin+ or berthin+ is ade fro a private pier or harf. This is because the +overnent aintains bodies of ater in navi+able condition and it is to support its operations in this re+ard that dues and char+es are iposed for the use of piers and harves re+ardless of their onership.)s to the re0uireent to reit %56 of the handlin+ char+es, Section @43-i8 of the Presidential Decree No. 'A$ authoried the PP) ?To lev dues, rates, or char+es for the use of the preises, or2s, appliances, facilities, or for services provided b or belon+in+ to the )uthorit , or an or+aniation concerned ith port operations.? This %56 +overnent share of earnin+s of arrastre and stevedorin+ operators is in the nature of contractual copensation to hich a person desirin+ to operate arrastre service ust a+ree as a condition to the +rant of the perit to operate.PR>MIS>S /ONSID>R>D, the instant petition is hereb DISMISS>D.SO ORD>R>D. $eehan%ee, &#'#, arvasa and Gancayco, ''#, concur#&ru), '#, concur in the result#
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