Constitutional Law

A. M. No. 09-6-9-SC RE: Query of Mr. Prioreschi Re Exemption from Legal and Filing Fees of the Good Shepherd Foundation, Inc.


In his letter dated May 22, 2009 addressed to the Chief Justice, Mr. Roger C. Prioreschi, administrator of the Good Shepherd Foundation, Inc., wrote that it be granted the same exemption from paying docket fees as that of poor litigants.


Should an incorporated foundation (serving indigent litigants) be exempted from paying docket fees?


NO. The Good Shepherd Foundation, Inc., being a corporation invested by the State with a juridical personality separate and distinct from that of its members, is a juridical person. Among others, it has the power to acquire and possess property of all kinds as well as incur obligations and bring civil or criminal actions, in conformity with the laws and regulations of their organization. As a juridical person, therefore, it cannot be accorded the exemption from legal and filing fees granted to indigent litigants.

There are other reasons that warrant the rejection of the request for exemption in favor of a juridical person. For one, extending the exemption to a juridical person on the ground that it works for indigent and underprivileged people may be prone to abuse (even with the imposition of rigid documentation requirements), particularly by corporations and entities bent on circumventing the rule on payment of the fees. Also, the scrutiny of compliance with the documentation requirements may prove too time-consuming and wasteful for the courts.


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