Monday, May 11, 2009

Case Digest: Ormoc Sugar Company v. Treasurer of Ormoc

ORMOC SUGAR COMPANY, INC., plaintiff-appellant, vs. THE TREASURER OF ORMOC CITY, THE MUNICIPAL BOARD OF ORMOC CITY, HON. ESTEBAN C. CONEJOS as Mayor of Ormoc City and ORMOC CITY, defendants-appellees.

G.R. No. L-23794,  February 17, 1968



BENGZON, J.P., J.:
Ormoc city passed an ordinance which provides: 

"There shall be paid to the City Treasurer on any and all productions of centrifugal sugar milled at the Ormoc Sugar Company, Incorporated, in Ormoc City, a municipal tax equivalent to one per centum (1%) per export sale to the United States of America and other foreign countries."
Ormoc Sugar Company filed a complaint against the city of Ormoc, alleging that the afore-stated ordinance is unconstitutional for being violative of the equal protection clause (Sec. 1[1], Art. III, Constitution) and the rule of uniformity of taxation (Sec. 22[1]), Art. VI, Constitution)


ISSUE: W/N the ordinance violates the equal protection clause and the uniformity of taxation/


RULING: YES


The equal protection clause applies only to persons or things identically situated and does not bar a reasonable classification of the subject of legislation, and a classification is reasonable where (1) it is based on substantial distinctions which make real differences; (2) these are germane to the purpose of the law; (3) the classification applies not only to present conditions but also to future conditions which are substantially identical to those of the present; (4) the classification applies only to those who belong to the same class.


A perusal of the requisites instantly shows that the questioned ordinance does not meet them, for it taxes only centrifugal sugar produced and exported by the Ormoc Sugar Company, Inc. and none other. At the time of the taxing ordinance's enactment, Ormoc Sugar Company, Inc., it is true, was the only sugar central in the city of Ormoc. Still, the classification, to be reasonable, should be in terms applicable to future conditions as well. The taxing ordinance should not be singular and exclusive as to exclude any subsequently established sugar central, of the same class as plaintiff, for the coverage of the tax. As it is now, even if later a similar company is set up, it cannot be subject to the tax because the ordinance expressly points only to Ormoc City Sugar Company, Inc. as the entity to be levied upon

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