National Coal Company vs Collector of Internal Revenue
46 Phil 583 [GR No. L-22619 December 2, 1924]
Facts: The plaintiff corporation was created on the 10th day of March 1917, by Act No. 2705, for the purpose of developing the coal industry in the Philippine Islands , in harmony with the general plan of the government to encourage the development of natural resources of the country, and to provide facilities therefore. By the said act, the company was granted the general powers of a corporation and such other powers as may be necessary to enable it to prosecute the business of developing coal deposits in the Philippine Islands of mining, extracting, transporting, and selling the coal contained in said deposits. By the same law, the government of the Philippine Islands is made the majority stockholder, evidently in order to ensure proper government supervision and control and thus to place the government in a position to render all possible encouragement, assistance, and help in the prosecution and furtherance of the company’s business. On May 14, 1917, two months after the passage of Act no. 2705, creating the national coal company, the Philippine legislature passed Act 2719, “to provide for the leasing and development of coal lands in the Philippine islands.” On October 18, 1917, upon petition of the national coal company, the governor-general, by proclamation no. 39, withdrew from settlement, entry, sale or other deposition, all coal-bearing public lands within the province of Zamboanga, Department of Mindanao and Sulu, and the island of Polillo, Province of Tayabas. Almost immediately after the issuance of said proclamation the national coal company took possession of the coal lands within the said reservation with an area of about 400 hectares, without any further formality, contract of lease. Of the 30,000 shares of stock issued by the company, the government of the Philippine islands is the owner of 29,809 shares, that is, of 99 1/3 per centum of the whole capital stock.
Issue: Whether or not plaintiff is a private corporation.
Held: Yes. The plaintiff is a private corporation. The mere fact that the government happens to the majority stockholder does not make it a public corporation. Act 2705, as amended by Act 2822, makes it subject to all the provisions of the corporation law, in so far as they are not inconsistent with said act. No provisions of Act 2705 are found to be inconsistent with the provisions of the corporation law. As a private corporation, it has no greater rights, powers or privileges than any other corporation which might be organized for the same purpose under the corporation law, and certainly it was not the intention of the legislature to give it a preference or right or privilege over other legitimate private corporations in the mining of coal. While it is true that said proclamation no. 39 withdrew from settlement entry, sale or other disposition of coal-bearing public lands within the province of Zamboanga, and the islands of Polillo, it made no provision for the occupation and operation by the plaintiff, to the exclusion of other persons or corporations who might under proper permission, enter upon to operate the coal mines.