Pampanga Sugar Mills v. Trinidad,
279 U.S. 211 (1929)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Pampanga Sugar Mills v. Trinidad, 279 U.S. 211 (1929)

Pampanga Sugar Mills v. Trinidad

No. 325

Argued March 1, 1929

Decided April 8, 1929

279 U.S. 211


1. Under § 138 of the Philippine Administrative Code, 1917, which makes a concurrence of five judges necessary for pronouncement of judgment by the Supreme Court in a case involving 10,000 pesos if there is no vacancy, an equal division among eight of the judges when the ninth does not sit because of disqualification, will not operate as an affirmance of the judgment below. P. 279 U. S. 214.

Page 279 U. S. 212

2. A judgment of the Supreme Court of the Philippine Islands in a case wherein the value in controversy exceeds $25,000 is reviewable by this Court by certiorari. P. 279 U. S. 215.

3. One who is engaged in the Philippine Islands in the business of milling sugar cane grown on land owned and operated by others, under contracts providing that he shall receive as compensation for the milling one-half of the resulting sugar, the other half going to the owners of the cane, and who sells his share of the sugar in the ordinary course of trade, is subject to tax on such sales as a merchant under § 1459 of the Philippine Administrative Code of 1917, which, except as specially provided, includes in the term merchant "manufacturers who sell articles of their own production." P. 279 U. S. 216.

4. Such sales are not within either of the exceptions made by § 1460 of the Code, viz., (a) "Things subject to a specific tax" -- sugar not being so subject, or (b)

"Agricultural products when sold by the producer or owner of the land where grown, or by any other person other than a merchant or commission merchant, whether in their original state or not"

-- the producer there intended being the grower, and not the manufacturer. Pp. 279 U. S. 216-217.

5. In the absence of express restriction, it may be assumed that a term (here, the term "merchant" in §§ 1459 and 1460) is used throughout a statute in the same sense in which it is first defined. P. 279 U. S. 217.

6. That a party, if held liable to a sales tax under one section of a code, may be liable in future to double taxation because of another section taxing gross receipts, is not persuasive in the construction of the first provision where the two are in independent sections, and the second was not made applicable to his business until six years after the enactment of the first, and until after his suit was begun. P. 279 U. S. 218.


Certiorari, 278 U.S. 590, to review a judgment of the Supreme Court of the Philippine Islands which affirmed a judgment against the sugar mills in its action against the Collector of Internal Revenue of the Islands, to recover money paid under protest as taxes.

Page 279 U. S. 213

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