Monthly Archives: June 2014

OFFICEMETRO PHILIPPINES, INC. (formerly REGUS CENTRES, INC.) v. COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE, CTA Case No. 8382, June 3, 2014

Taxation; Association/condominium dues and other fees and charges collected from members that are used solely for administrative purposes are not subject to income tax and withholding tax. The BIR in its various rulings, held that association/condominium dues, membership fees and other assessment/charges collected from the members, which are merely held in trust and which are to be used solely for administrative expenses in implementing their purpose(s), viz., to protect and safeguard the welfare of the owners, lessees and occupants; provide utilities and amenities for their members, and from which the corporation could not realize any gain or profit as a result of their receipt thereof, must not be included in said corporation’s gross income. This means that the same are not subject to income tax and to withholding tax.

Full text here.

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HISTORICAL FACTS, HISTORICAL LIES, AND HISTORICAL RIGHTS IN THE WEST PHILIPPINE SEA by Justice Antonio T. Carpio (June 6, 2014)

On June 6, 2014, Senior Associate Justice Antonio T. Carpio delivered a lecture at De La Salle University where he addressed China’s assertion to so-called “historical facts” that now appear to be driving its maritime claims in the West Philippine Sea.

China points to ancient Chinese maps as “historical facts” to claim the islands, rocks, reefs and waters within its 9-dashed line claim in the South China Sea. However, Justice Carpio stressed that under international law a map per se does not constitute a territorial title or a legal document to establish territorial rights. For maps to constitute material and relevant evidence, the contending parties must agree to such maps.

Justice Carpio explains that since the start of the Song Dynasty in 960 AD until the end of the Qing Dynasty in 1912, all official and unofficial maps of China indicate that its southernmost territory has always been Hainan Island. This position was confirmed and reiterated in the Constitutions adopted by China from 1912 to 1946 and through a Note Verbale to France. These unilateral declarations are binding on China under international law.

Justice Carpio also noted that neither the Spratlys nor Scarborough Shoal appeared in any Chinese dynasty maps. Rightly so, since the Spratlys are more than 600 nautical miles, and Scarborough Shoal is more than 500 nautical miles from Hainan Island. According to Justice Carpio, China’s present claim that Scarborough Should is the Nanhai Island where Guo Shoujing visited in 1279 and erected a celestial observatory is a double lie because China already officially declared in 1982 that Nanhai is in the Paracels. Furthermore, it was physically impossible to install an observatory on the tiny Scarborough rocks.

On the other hand, Justice Carpio states that numerous ancient maps prepared by Westerners, and later by Philippine authorities, from 1636 to 1940 consistently showed that Scarborough Shoal (a.k.a. Panacot and Bajo de Masinloc) has always been part of Philippine territory.

Justice Carpio empahsizes that under the general principles and rules of international law, a claim of “historical rights” to internal waters or territorial sea must satisfy four conditions. One, the state must formally announce to the international community such claim to internal waters or territorial sea, clearly specifying the nature and scope of such claim. Two, the state must exercise sovereignty over the waters it claims as its own internal waters or territorial sea. Three, such exercise of sovereignty must be continuous over a substantial period of time. Four, other states must recognize, tolerate or acquiesce in to the exercise of such authority.

Justice Carpio asserts that China fails to comply with any of these four conditions. China officially notified the world of its 9-dashed line claim only in 2009. Not a single country in the world recognizes, respects, tolerates or acquiesces to the 9-dashed line claim. China has never effectively enforced its 9-dashed line claim from 1947 to 1994 when the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea took effect, or even after 1994 up to the present. Even assuming for the sake of argument that China indeed has “historical rights,” Justice Carpio explains that the entry into force of UNCLOS in 1994 extinguished such rights. Under UNCLOS, a state cannot claim any “historical right” to the Exclusive Economic Zone or Extended Continental Shelf of another state.

Full text here.

 

JOINT ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER NO. 2014-01 (June 2, 2014): REVISED SCHEDULE OF FINES AND PENALTIES FOR VIOLATIONS OF LAWS, RULES AND REGULATIONS GOVERNING LAND TRANSPORTATION

The Land Transportation Office and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board issued new rules prescribing penalties for violations of licensing, motor vehicle registration/renewal/operation, dimension/specifications/weight and load limits, and franchise requirements.

All apprehensions are deemed admitted unless contested by filing a written contest within five (5) days from date of apprehension. Failure of the driver to pay the corresponding penalty within 15 days from date of apprehension shall cause the automatic suspension of his driver’s license for a period of 30 days from the date of apprehension, in addition to the prescribed fines and penalties.

Joint AO No 2014-01 Revised Schedule of Fines and Penalties