By Jay B. Rempillo
President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo this afternoon signed into law RA 9503 which expanded the organizational structure of the Court of Tax Appeals (CTA) through the creation of a third division of three CTA Justices at the En Banc Session Hall, New Building, Supreme Court, Manila.
Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno, Senate President Manuel B. Villar, Jr., House Speaker Prospero C. Nograles, CTA Presiding Justice Ernesto D. Acosta and the CTA Associate Justices, and the legislators who authored the bill were present to witness the event.
Under RA 9503 (An Act Enlarging the Organizational Structure of the Court of Tax Appeals, Amending for the Purpose Certain Sections of the Law Creating the Court of Tax Appeals, and for Other Purposes), the CTA may now sit en banc or in three Divisions, each consisting of three Justices.
“Five Justices shall constitute a quorum for sessions en banc and two Justices for sessions of a Division: Provided, That when the required quorum cannot be constituted due to any vacancy, disqualification, inhibition, disability, or any other lawful cause, the Presiding Justice shall designate any Justice of other Divisions of the Court to sit temporarily therein,” RA 9503 provides.
Established in 1954 pursuant to RA 1125, the CTA’s membership consisted only of a Presiding Justice and two Associate Justices, each of whom were appointed by the President. RA 1125 was subsequently amended by RA 9282 under which the CTA was made to sit en banc and in two divisions of three justices each.
At present, the members of the CTA are Presiding Justice Acosta and Associate Justices Juanito C. Castañeda, Jr., Lovell R. Bautista, Erlinda P. Uy, Caesar A. Casanova, and Olga Palanca-Enriquez. Presiding Justice Acosta chairs the 1st Division with Justices Bautista and Casanova as members, while Justice Castañeda chairs the 2nd Division with Justices Uy and Palanca-Enriquez as members.
President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (center) signs into law RA 9503 at the Supreme Court Session Hall. The law enlarged the Court of Tax Appeals’ membership from six to nine Justices. The CTA may now sit en banc or in three divisions with three Justices each. Witnessing the signing are (from left)Senator Edgardo J. Angara, Executive Secretary Eduardo R. Ermita, House Speaker Prospero C. Nograles, Vice President Noli L. De Castro, Senate President Manuel B. Villar, Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno, House Representatives Edcel C. Lagman and Ma. Amelita C. Villarosa, and CTA Presiding Justice Ernesto D. Acosta. (Caption by Bryan Dennis G. Tiojanco; Photo by Francisco S. Gutierrez.)
[ source : www.supremcourt.gov.ph ]