THE Supreme Court has junked with finality the bid of the Bureau of Customs (BoC) to collect almost P1 billion from oil giant Pilipinas Shell Corporation representing the total dutiable value of its 1996 crude oil importation, which was considered as abandoned in favor of the government by operation of law.
In its resolution, the SC denied BoC’s motion for reconsideration of its December 5, 2016 decision which held that the agency is already barred from collecting the dutiable value of the shipment amounting to P936,899,855.90 on the ground of prescription under Section 1603 of the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines.
The provision provides that: “When articles have been entered and passed free of duty or final adjustments of duties made, with subsequent delivery, such entry and passage free of duty or settlements of duties as well, after the expiration of one (1) year, from the date of the final payment of duties, in the absence of fraud or protest or compliance audit pursuant to the provisions of this Code, be final and conclusive upon all parties, unless the liquidation of the import entry was merely tentative.”
Aside from junking the BoC’s motion for reconsideration, it also denied the agency’s plea to refer the case to the Court en banc.
The SC noted that the arguments raised by respondent in its Omnibus Motion are the very same arguments raised in the petition, which have already been evaluated and considered in the assailed December 5, 2016 Decision.
“Ergo, the Court rejects these arguments on the same grounds discussed in the challenged Decision, and denies, as a matter of course, the pending motion,” the SC stressed.
The Court noted that the BoC’s motion was anchored primarily on the alleged applicability of Chevron Philippines, Inc. v. Commissioner of the Bureau of Customs (Chevron) to its case.
However, the Court said the Chevron case cannot be applied to Pilipinas Shell’s case considering that the facts and circumstances pertaining to the two cases are not the same.
In Chevron, according to the Court, the evidence on record established that the oil company committed fraud in its dealings.