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G.R. NO. 173918 April 8, 2008
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, Petitioner V.
PILIPINAS SHELL PETROLEUM CORPORATION, Respondent
On Dec 4, 1991, the Office of the Energy Affairs, now the DOE, informed the respondent that its contributions to the OPSF for foreign exchange risk charge for the period Dec 1989 to March 1991 were insufficient. OEA Audit Task Force noted a total underpayment of P14,414,860.75 by respondent to the OPSF. As a consequence of the underpayment, a surcharge of P11,654,782.31 was imposed upon respondent. The said surcharge was imposed pursuant to MOF Circular No. 1-85, as amended by Department of Finance Circular No. 2-94. Another underpayment in the amount of P10,139,526.56 for the period Apr 1991 to Oct 1991 was noted with additional surcharges for P2,806,656.65. The respondent paid the OEA in full the principal amount of its underpayment, totaling P24,554,387.31, but not the surcharges. The DOE notified the respondent that the latter is required to pay the surcharges on the late payment. Respondent then filed a Notice of Appeal before the OP which affirmed the conclusion of the DOE. The CA on appeal reversed the Decision of the CA. Hence, this petition.
Whether or not the Ministry of Finance (MOF) Circular 1-85 is effective though it was not released to any publication or newspaper of general circulation nor filed with the Office of the National Administration Register (ONAR).
No, Ministry of Finance (MOF) Circular 1-85 is not effective because it was not released to any publication or newspaper of general circulation as what E.O. 200 requires before a law becomes effective, and it failed to comply to Section 3 of Chapter 2, Book VII of the Administrative Code of 1987. These requirements of publication and filing were put in place as safeguards against abuses on the part of lawmakers and as guarantees to the constitutional right to due process and to information on matters of public concern and, therefore, require strict compliance.