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G. R. No. L-9706

[ G. R. No. L-9706, September 27, 1957 ]




This is a petition for certiorari seeking to set  aside the order entered by respondent  judge on September 15, 1955 denying petitioner's  motion for reconsideration of a previous  order  of said judge and sustaining in effect the order of   the  court  issued on February 12,   1955 holding that  the Cassava  Flour Law   (Republic Act  657) was valid and constitutional until otherwise declared by a competent   court.

Petitioner is a  corporation engaged in the  business of wheat  flour importation since 1948 and as such is  entitled to a regular allocation  from the  Central Bank of foreign exchange for the Importation of said commodity.   On December 29, 1954, petitioner filed a petition for  prohibition with preliminary Injunction in the  Court of  First Instance of Manila  (Civil Case No.   24975) against  the Price Stabilization Corporation  (PRISCO),   Central Bank of the Philippines,   the Administrator  of Economic Coordination, and the  Board of Food Inspection of  the Department  of Health,   to prohibit them from enforcing and implementing Republic Act  657,  otherwise known as   the Cassava Flour law, as implemented by Executive Order No.  15,  series of    1954 of  the President of  the Philippines, Administrative Decision No. 261 of the Board of  Food Inspection of   the Department of Health,  Administrative  Order No.   918 of the PRISCO and Memorandum to Authorized Agent  Banks No.  131 of the Central Bank of  the Philippines.    Basis of the petition is the claim that the Cassava Flour Law is oppressive),   defective and unconstitutional and its  enforcement would work grave injustice and irreparable Injury to petitioner.    The court,  then presided over by Judge Francisco E.  Jose,   gave due course to the petition,  to which respondents  filed their answer in due   time.   The application for injunction, was set for hearing and   thereafter,'the  court issued an order on February 12,  1955 denying the same and holding that  the law was valid and constitutional  until otherwise declared by a competent  court.

On June 17,  1955, Republic Act  No.  1345 was approved abolishing  the PRISCO and creating in Its  place  the National Marketing Corporation,   otherwise known as  NAMARCO.  Alleging, that under the new law   (Republic Act No.   1345),   the NAMARCO did not assume the power and duty of implementing the .   Cassava Flour Law,  fox  said power and duty which were expressly granted to  the PRISCO were excluded from the law  creating the  MAHARCO,  and therefore, it'would be an  ultra vires act for  the NAMARCO to continue discharging the duty  and function of implementing the Cassava  Flour Law,  petitioner filed on August 16,  1955 an amended petition for prohibition with preliminary injunction.    This amended petition alleges  that,  assuming the validity and constitutionality of the Cassava Flour law,  the NAMARCO is powerless to implement it  because the new law does not  create an, agency for its implementation.

In the meantime,  Judge Francisco Jose went  on leave, and Judge Gregorio  S. Narvasa who took over deferred  action on the amended petition until  the return of  Judge Jose,  but upon urgent  request  of petitioner which moved for a  reconsideration of   the  order postponing action on the amended petition, which .was  vigorously objected  to  by respondents,  Judge Narvasa set  the incident for hearing after which  he issued, an order on September 15,   1955 stating tersely: "Respondents'   opposition to petitioner's motion for reconsideration, being well-taken,   is sustained,  and t,be motion referred to denied."    This  is  the  order .now subject of  the present petition for certioiari ,

This  petition in effect raises  the issue that Republic Act No.  1345,  which abolishes  the FRISCO as an agency charged with  the power and duty to  implement  the Cassava Flour  Law and  creates  in its   place the NAMARCO,   does  not vest  in  the MMARCO the  same power and duty  of implementation with  the result, that,   as  the law now stands,   there  no government  agency charged with the power and duty of implementing the Cassava  Flour Law.

This is in has no merit.    In the first place,  the legislative intent behind Republic Act Mo.  1345  is merely to replace  the PRISC0,  a purely public service corporation, with the. MMARCO, a government subsidized public corporation, which is  exempt from the payment of taxes to better assure the promotion of greater participation of   Filipino businessmen in the marketing business of our economy,  stabilizing prices of  commodities  and assisting   Filipino producers  in the  co-auxility support program  all of which were the  same objectives  of   the defunct PRISCO  (Annex 1).     In the second  place,   Section 18,  paragraph (b), No.  1, of  said Act expressly provides that;  "Any reference to  the  PRISCO  in any  existing law,   or in any  executive order,   administrative  or proclamation, of   the resident  shall,  with  respect  to any duty or function assumed by the NAMARCO  created  in this  Act,   be deemed hereafter to have  reference to the National Marketing Corporation (NAMARCO)."    And,   in  the third  place,   this   transfer of  functions  from PRISCO  to NAMARCO   can be   clearly' implied from several provisions  of said Act which,   for ready  reference, we quote hereunder:
"SECTION 1. Declaration of Policy. - It is hereby declared to be the policy of Congress to assist Filipino retailers and businessmen by supplying them with merchantable goods at prices that will enable them to compete successfully in the open market so that they may greater participation system of our economy. In order to do this, it is  necessary that a government corporation be created for the purpose of engaging in the activities  of procurement,   buying and distributions  to Filipino  retailers and businessmen not for the purposes of making profit but to render essential public service in order to promote the social and economic welfare of the Nation.

"SEC. 5. Special Powers. - The NAMARCO is authorized and directed:
"(a)  To procure and buy  commodities  for  distribution at  reasonable prices   to Filipino retailers  and businessmen in order to promote their greater participation in the distribution system of   the  national economy;

"(b)  To stabilize  the prices  of  commodities in short supply by supplying  commodities  to   the  general public  at  fair prices through Filipino businessmen;"

"(c) x    x    x    x    x    x    x    x    x    x

"(d)  To  establish and operate distribution offices and at officers  and/or  to  enter into contract  with wholesale business throughout the Philippines for  the purchase  and distribution of such commodities   that may be deemed essential for carrying out the purposes of the corporation authorized in this Act.
" x    x    x    x    x    x    x    x    x    x

"SEC.   18.   Transitory Provisions.

(a)  The NAMARCO shall retain the existing  regional provincial sales  organization of the Price Stabilization Corporation (PRISCO): Provided,   however,  That  as  sales and distribution methods  are changed or improved  any  such oat lets  could be  eliminated:  ?Provided,   further,   That there shall be  in each provinces at least one  provincial sales  organisation or agency.
"(b) x    x    x    x    x    x    x    x    x    x

"(1) x    x    x    x    x    x    x    x    x    x
"(2)  The  personnal, records, cash, such needed equipment, rights and contracts of the PRISCO involving real  estate,   fixed assets and stock in trade are hereby transferred to, vested  in,   and assumed by  the NAMARCO and all   tho business  concerning obligations and liabilities for the PRISCO or real estate,  fixed  assets,  and stock, in the trade  shall  be liquidated,   assumed  and   continued  by the     NAMARCO. x x x' (Underlining supplied).
It appearing that   the provisions of Republic Act No.1345, otherwise known as the NAMARCO law, explicitly authorize the NAMARCO  to continue the implementation of the Cassava Flour Law ( Republic Act 657), it follows that the reference to FRISCO in Republic Act No. 657, as implemented by Executive Order No. 15, series of 1954 of the President of the Philippines, Administrative Decision No. 261 of the Board of Food Inspection of the Department of Health, Administrative Order No. 916 of the FRISCO and Memorandum to Authorized Agent banks No. 131 of the Central Bank of the Philippines which tend to implement the Cassava Flour law, shall likewise be understood as having reference to the NAMARCO as new agency charged with the power and duty of its implementation.

Having reached  the foregoing conclusion,   it  follows that  the amended petition filed by petitioner on August 16,   1955 has  no legal basis.     Consequently,   respondent judge did  not abuse  his  discretion in issuing his  order of September 15,   1955.

Petition is denied,  with costs  against  petitioner.

Paras  C.  J., Bengson, Padilla, Montemayor, Reyes,  A. , Labrador, Concepcion, Reyes,   J.B.L., Endencia,  and Felix, JJ., concur.