DOJ OPINION NO. 062, s. 1997
August 4, 1997
Mr. Artemio A. Adasa, Jr.
Undersecretary for Legal Affairs
and Policy Planning
Department of Agrarian Reform
Elliptical Road, Diliman
S i r :
This has reference to your request for opinion concerning the denial by the Clerk of Court and Provincial Sheriff, Regional Trial Court (7th Jud. Region [Dumaguete City]), Negros Oriental, of the request of Atty. Jesus V. Kabristante, ARDO and Concurrent PARO II, Department of Agrarian Reform, for exemption from payment of Clerk of Court Certification — a requirement in Claim Compensation Folders' documentation.
You state that the Clerk of Court, in denying the request, cited the provision of Subsection 7(j), Section B, Chapter IX, of the Manual for Clerks of Court which authorizes the assessment and collection of P10.00 for every certification issued by him.
You also state that upon the other hand, in requesting for the exemption, Atty. Kabristante relied upon the provisions of Section 66 of R.A. No. 6657, otherwise known as the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law of 1988, which reads, to wit:
"Sec. 66. Exemptions from Taxes and Fees of Land Transfers. — Transactions under this Act involving a transfer of ownership, whether from natural or juridical persons, shall be exempted from taxes arising from capital gains. These transactions shall also be exempted from the payment of registration fees, and all other taxes and fees for the conveyance of transfer thereof : Provided, That all arrearages in real property taxes, without penalty or interest, shall be deductible from the compensation to which the owner may be entitled."
Further, you state that while it is your view that the aforecited provision of R.A. No. 66457 includes and contemplates exemptions from payment of court certification considering that such court certification as a requirement in Claim Compensation Folders' documentation is a necessary preliminary step in the transfer of lands acquired by the government for distribution to qualified beneficiaries, you nonetheless, seek our opinion on the matter since the aforesaid Clerk of Court and your DAR-PARO appears to be at variance on the issue.
We regret that we are constrained to decline from rendering an opinion on the matter as it relates to the official actuations of a Clerk of Court, a personnel of the court; hence, under the administrative supervision of the Supreme Court (Sec. 20, Chap. 4, Book II, E.O. No. 292; Sec. 6, Art. VIII, 1987 Constitution). Pursuant to established policy, this Department has consistently declined to pass upon issuances and/or official actuations of other government officials over which the Secretary of Justice exercises no supervisory jurisdiction and over whose actions he possesses no revisory authority (Sec. of Justice Op. No. 20, s. 1996; Nos. 14 and 124, s. 1990; and No. 11, s. 1987).
Moreover, the resolution of your instant request would inevitable involve an examination not only of the subject provision of the Manual for Clerks of Court — which was promulgated by the Supreme Court — but also the pertinent provisions of R.A. No. 6657. For this added reason, we cannot pass upon the issue raised (id., No. 31, s. 1997). To do so would be tantamount to exercising a function lodged in other coordinate and co-equal offices beyond the revisory authority of this Department, namely, the Supreme Court for the Manual for Clerks of Court and the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council for R.A. No. 6657 (see Sec. 47, R.A. No. 6657).
Very truly yours,
(SGD.) TEOFISTO T. GUINGONA, JR.