Act No. 2362
AMENDING CERTAIN SECTIONS OF ACT NUMBERED TWENTY-THREE HUNDRED AND SEVEN: “AN ACT CREATING A BOARD OF PUBLIC UTILITY COMMISSIONERS AND PRESCRIBING ITS DUTIES AND POWERS, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES,” AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES
By authority of the United States, be it enacted by the Philippine Legislature, that:
SECTION 1. Section one of Act Numbered Twenty-three hundred and seven is hereby amended to read as follows:
“SECTION 1. There is hereby created a Board which shall be designated and known as the Board of Public Utility Commissioners, and which shall be vested with the powers and duties hereinafter specified. Said Board shall consist of three persons, citizens of the United States or of the Philippine Islands, residents of the Philippine Islands, each of whom shall be at least thirty years of age and who shall be appointed by the Governor-General by and with the advice and consent of the Philippine Commission.”
SEC. 2. Section two of Act Numbered Twenty-three hundred and seven, as amended by Act Numbered Twenty-three hundred and thirteen, is hereby amended to read as follows:
“SEC. 2. The members of the Board of Public Utility Commissioners first appointed shall hold office as follows: One for six years, one for four years, and one for two years, said periods to be computed from the date on which a member of said Board shall first qualify, and at the expiration of their respective terms a successor shall be appointed for the term of six years from the date of such expiration. All vacancies, except through expiration of term, shall be filled for the unexpired term only. The Governor-General may remove a member for neglect of duty or misconduct in office, giving him a copy of the charges against him and an opportunity of being publicly heard in person or by counsel in his defense upon not less than ten days’ notice.”
SEC. 3. Section four of Act Numbered Twenty-three hundred and seven is hereby amended to read as follows:
“SEC. 4. The members, secretary, and other employees of said Board shall be granted privileges similar to those granted by the revised Civil Service Act to officers and employees of the classified civil service of the Philippine Government. They shall also be entitled to receive from the Government of the Philippine Islands their necessary traveling expenses while traveling on the business of said Board, which shall be paid on proper voucher therefor, approved by the President of said Board, out of funds appropriated for the contingent expenses thereof.”
SEC. 4. Section five of Act Numbered Twenty-three hundred and seven is hereby amended to read as follows:
“SEC. 5. The president shall be designated by the Governor-General. The Board is hereby authorized to appoint secretary, counsel, and such other employees as it may deem necessary and fix their duties, compensation, and terms of service.”
SEC. 5. Section eight of Act Numbered Twenty-three hundred and seven is hereby amended to read as follows:
“SEC. 8. The Board is hereby authorized to purchase such furniture, stationery, maps, supplies, office appliances, materials, equipment, apparatus, and standard measuring instruments, as it may deem necessary.”
SEC. 6. Section ten of Act Numbered Twenty-three hundred and seven is hereby amended to read as follows:
“SEC. 10. The Board shall have its office in the City of Manila at such place as may be designated by the Governor-General and shall meet at such times and places, within the Philippine Islands, as it may provide by rules or otherwise.”
SEC. 7. Section eleven of Act Numbered Twenty-three hundred and seven is hereby amended to read as follows:
“SEC. 11. The Board shall have the power to make needful rules for its government and other proceedings not inconsistent with this Act and shall adopt a common seal; and judicial notice shall be taken of such seal.”
SEC. 8. Section twelve of Act Numbered Twenty-three hundred and seven is hereby amended to read as follows:
“SEC. 12. The members of the Board are hereby empowered to sit singly for the purpose of taking testimony in any proceeding. Any two of the members of said Board shall form a quorum and may transact any of the business of the Board; and in the absence of a quorum the member present may adjourn the Board from time to time with the same effect as if all were present; the concurrence of at least two of the members of the Board shall be necessary to the making of any order.”
SEC. 9. Section thirteen of Act Numbered Twenty-three hundred and seven is hereby amended to read as follows:
“SEC. 13. The Board shall report annually, as soon as practicable after the first of January of each year, to the Governor-General, making such recommendations as it may deem proper, which report shall be laid before the Legislature.”
SEC. 10. Section fourteen of Act Numbered Twenty-three hundred and seven is hereby amended to read as follows:
“SEC. 14. The Board shall have general supervision and regulation of, jurisdiction and control over, all public utilities, and also over their property, property rights, equipment, facilities and franchises so far as may be necessary for the purpose of carrying out the provisions of this Act. The term ‘public utility’ is hereby defined to include every individual, copartnership, association, corporation or joint stock company, whether domestic or foreign, their lessees, trustees or receivers appointed by any court whatsoever, that now or hereafter may own, operate, manage or control within the Philippine Islands any common carrier, railroad, street railway, traction railway, steamboat or steamship line, shipyard, marine railway, marine repair shop, ferry, freight or any other car service, public warehouse, ice, refrigeration, cold storage, canal, express, subway, pipe line, gas, electric light, heat, power, water, oil, sewer, telephone, wire or wireless telegraph system, plant or equipment, for public use: Provided, That ice plants, cold storage plants, shipyards, marine railways, and marine repair shops shall be exempt from the operation of this Act so long as the Insular or Federal Governments shall have any interest or participation in establishments of a like character or nature: And provided further, That in case the Insular or Federal Governments alienate the ice plants, cold storage plants, shipyards, marine railways, and marine repair shops which they possess at present, these shall come under the operation of this Act and therefore under the control of the Board of Public Utility Commissioners.”
SEC. 11. Subsection (a) of section sixteen of Act Numbered Twenty-three hundred and seven is hereby amended to read as follows:
“(a) To comply with the laws of the Philippine Islands and with any provincial resolution or municipal ordinance relating thereto and to conform to the duties imposed upon it thereby or by the provisions of its own charter, whether obtained under any general or special law of the Philippine Islands.”
SEC. 12. Subsection (f) and subsection (g) of section seventeen of Act Numbered Twenty-three hundred and seven are hereby amended to read as follows:
“(f) Capitalize any franchise to be a corporation; capitalize any franchise in excess of the amount, ‘exclusive of any tax or annual charge, actually paid to the Government of the Philippine Islands or any political subdivision thereof as the consideration of such franchise; capitalize any contract for consolidation, merger, or lease; issue any bonds or other evidence of indebtedness against or as a lien upon any contract for consolidation, merger, or lease, unless permitted so to do by the Board in writing: Provided, however, That the provisions of this section shall not prevent the issuance of stock, bonds, or other evidence of indebtedness subject to the approval of the Board by any lawfully merged or consolidated public utilities not in contravention of the provisions of this section.
“(g) Hereafter, directly or indirectly, without previous authority of the Board of Public Utility Commissioners, issue, give or tender any free ticket, free pass or free or reduced rate transportation for passengers, except to its officers, agents, employees, attorneys, physicians and surgeons, and members of their families; inmates of hospitals or charity institutions, and persons exclusively engaged in charitable work; to indigent, destitute and homeless persons and to such persons when transported by charitable societies or hospitals, and the necessary agents employed in such transportation; to the necessary caretakers, going and returning, of live-stock, poultry, fruit, and other freight under uniform and nondiscriminatory regulation; to employees of sleeping car corporation, express corporation, and telegraph and telephone corporation; railway and marine mail service employees, when traveling in the course of their official duty, post-office inspectors, customs officers and inspectors, and immigration inspectors when engaged in inspection; to witnesses attending any legal investigation in which the carrier is interested, persons injured in accidents or wrecks, and physicians and nurses attending such persons; to peace officers, to officers and men of regularly constituted municipal fire departments, and to the members of the Board of Public Utility Commissioners, their officers and employees, when in the performance of their official duties; but nothing herein contained shall prevent the entry into any public conveyance or in or upon the property of any such public utility as herein defined of any officer or employee of the Government of the Philippine Islands, or any political subdivision thereof, in the pursuit of his public duties. Nothing in this Act shall be construed to prevent the interchange between said public utilities and common carriers of passes or franks for their employees, officers, agents, surgeons, physicians, attorneys-at-law and their families.”
SEC. 13. Section twenty-six of Act Numbered Twenty-three hundred and seven is hereby amended to read as follows:
“SEC. 26. (a) The said Board, or any member thereof, may issue subpoenas and subpoenas duces tecum, for witnesses in any matter or inquiry pending before the Board or any member thereof; and require the production of all books, papers, tariffs, contracts, agreements, and all other documents, which the Board or any member thereof may deem necessary in any proceeding. Such process shall be issued under the seal of the Board, signed by one of the members thereof and by the secretary, and may be served by any person of full age. In case of disobedience to such subpoena, the Board may invoke the aid of the Supreme Court, or of any Court of First Instance of the Philippine Islands in requiring the attendance and testimony of witnesses and the production of books, papers and documents under the provisions of this chapter; and the Supreme Court or any Court of First Instance of the Philippine Islands within the jurisdiction of which such inquiry is carried on, shall, in case of contumacy or refusal to obey a subpoena, issue to any public utility subject to the provisions of this Act, or to any other person, an order requiring such public utility or other person to appear before the Board (and produce books and papers if so ordered) and give evidence touching the matter in question; and any failure to obey such order of the court may be punished by such court as a contempt thereof.
“(b) Upon the application of any member of said Board to any Court of First Instance, or to the Supreme Court, a subpoena may be issued directing any person in the Philippine Islands to appear as a witness before said Board and to produce for the inspection of the Board, or any member thereof, any books, papers, documents, letters or other records or things in his possession. Any witness failing to obey such subpoena shall be liable to punishment by the Supreme Court or Courts of First Instance as the case may be, in the same manner and to the same extent as if he had disobeyed a subpoena issued out of the Supreme Court or Court of First Instance in a matter pending before either of said courts.
“(c) Any member of the Board shall have the power to administer oaths to all witnesses who may be called before the Board or any member thereof.
“(d) Any person who shall testify falsely or make any false affidavit or oath before the Board or before any of its members shall be guilty of perjury, and upon conviction thereof in a court of competent jurisdiction, shall be punished as provided by law.
“(e) Witnesses appearing before said Board in obedience to subpoena or subpoena duces tecum, shall be entitled to receive the same fees and mileage allowance as witnesses attending Courts of First Instance in civil cases.
“(f) Any person who shall neglect or refuse to attend or testify or answer any lawful enquiry or produce before the Board, or any member thereof, books, papers, tariffs, contracts, agreements and documents or other thing called for by said Board, or any member thereof, if in his power to do so, in obedience to the subpoena or lawful enquiry of the Board, upon conviction thereof by a court of competent jurisdiction, shall be punished by a fine of not more than ten thousand pesos or by imprisonment for not more than one year, or by both such fine and imprisonment, in the discretion of the court.
(g) Any Person who shall obstruct the Board, or any one or more of its members, in its discharge of official duties, or who shall conduct himself in a rude, disrespectful, or disorderly manner before the Board, or any member thereof, while engaged in the discharge of official duty, shall, for each offense upon conviction thereof in a court of competent jurisdiction, be punished by a fine not exceeding one thousand pesos or by imprisonment not exceeding one year, or both such fine and imprisonment in the discretion of the court.
“If upon investigation it shall be found that any rate, toll, charge, schedule or joint rate or rates is unjust, unreasonable, insufficient or unjustly discriminatory or preferential, or otherwise in violation of any of the provisions of this Act, or that any regulation, practice, act, or service complained of is unjust, unreasonable, insufficient, preferential or otherwise in violation of any of the provisions of this Act, or if it be found that any service is inadequate or that any reasonable service can not be obtained, the public utility found to be at fault may at the discretion of the Board of Public Utility Commissioners be charged with the expenses incurred by the Board upon such investigation, to be recovered by an ordinary action in the courts, brought by the Board of Public Utility Commissioners against such public utility.
“(i) Any Person who shall destroy, injure or interfere with any apparatus or appliance owned or operated by or in charge of the Board or its agent shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction shall be punished by a fine not exceeding one thousand pesos or imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months or both in the discretion of the court.
“Any public utility permitting the destruction, injury to or interference with, any such apparatus or appliance, shall forfeit a sum not exceeding four thousand pesos for each offense.
“(i) A substantial compliance with the requirements of this Act shall be sufficient to give effect to all the rules, orders, acts and regulations of the Board and they shall not be declared inoperative, illegal or void for any omission of a technical nature in respect thereto.”
SEC. 14. Section thirty-one of Act Numbered Twenty-three hundred and seven is hereby amended to read as follows:
“SEC. 31. Every order made by the Board shall be served service of orders, upon the person or public utility, as herein defined, affected thereby, within ten days from the time said order is filed, by personal delivery or by mailing a certified copy thereof to any one of the principal officers or agents of the public utility at his usual place of business, and, in case such certified copy is sent by registered mail, the registry mail receipt shall be prima facie evidence of the receipt of such order by the public utility in due course of mail. All orders of the Board to continue service or rates in effect at the time said order is made shall be immediately operative; all other orders shall become effective upon the date specified therein.”
SEC. 15. Section thirty-two of Act Numbered Twenty-three hundred and seven is hereby amended to read as follows:
“SEC. 32. In default of compliance with any order of the Board when the same shall become effective the person or public utility affected thereby shall be subject to a penalty of two hundred pesos per day for every day during which such default continues, to be recovered in an action in the name of the Board of Public Utility Commissioners and observance of the orders of the Board may be enforced by mandamus or injunction in appropriate cases, or by action to compel the specific performance of the order or orders so made, or of the duties imposed by law upon such public utility.”
SEC. 16. Section thirty-three of Act Numbered Twenty-three hundred and seven is hereby amended to read as follows:
“SEC. 33. Any person who shall knowingly and willfully perform, commit, or do, or participate in performing, committing, or doing, or who shall knowingly and willfully cause, participate, or join with others in causing any public utility corporation or company to do, perform, or commit, or who shall advise, solicit, persuade, or knowingly and willfully instruct, direct, or order any officer, agent, or employee of any public utility corporation or company to perform, commit, or do any act or thing forbidden or prohibited by this Act, shall be punished by a fine not exceeding two thousand pesos, or imprisonment not exceeding five years, or both, in the discretion of the court.”
SEC. 17. Section thirty-four of Act Numbered Twenty-three hundred and seven is hereby amended to read as follows:
“SEC. 34. Any person who shall knowingly and willfully neglect, fail, or omit to do or perform, or who shall knowingly and willfully cause or join or participate with others in causing any public utility corporation or company to neglect, fail, or omit to do or perform, or who shall advise, solicit, or persuade, or knowingly and willfully instruct, direct, or order any officer, agent, or employee of any public utility corporation or company to neglect, fail, or omit to do any act or thing required to be done by this Act, shall be punished by a fine not exceeding two thousand pesos, or by imprisonment not exceeding five years, or both, in the discretion of the court.”
SEC. 18. Section thirty-five of Act Numbered Twenty-three hundred and seven is hereby amended to read as follows:
“SEC. 35. Any public utility corporation which shall perform, commit, or do any act or thing hereby prohibited or forbidden, or which shall neglect, fail, or omit to do or perform any act or thing hereby required to be done or performed by it, shall be punished by a fine not exceeding twenty-five thousand pesos.”
SEC. 19. Section thirty-six of Act Numbered Twenty-three hundred and seven is hereby amended to read as follows:
“SEC. 36. This Act shall not have the effect to release or waive any right of action by the Board or by any person for any right, penalty, or forfeiture which may have arisen or which may arise, under any of the laws of the Philippine Islands, and any penalty or forfeiture enforceable under this Act shall not be a bar to or affect a recovery for a right, or affect or bar any criminal proceeding against any public utility as herein denned, or person or persons operating such public utility, its officers, directors, agents, or employees.”
SEC. 20. Section thirty-eight of Act Numbered Twenty-three hundred and seven is hereby amended to read as follows:
“SEC. 38. The
allowance of a writ of certiorari or the institution of any proceeding to review
any order of the Board by the
Supreme Court as aforesaid, shall in no case
supersede or stay the order of the Board, unless the
Supreme Court, or a justice
thereof, shall so direct, and the appellant may be required by the
or a justice thereof, to give bond in such form and of such amount as the
Supreme Court, or the justice thereof allowing the stay, shall require.
“It shall be the duty of the Attorney-General in the absence of special counsel for the Board to represent the Board in all judicial proceedings and to render such opinions as the Board may request.”
SEC. 21. Section forty of Act Numbered Twenty-three hundred and seven is hereby repealed and the following new section forty inserted in lieu thereof:
“SEC. 40. The Governor-General is hereby authorized and empowered to transfer to the Board of Public Utility Commissioners such divisions, parts, or personnel of Bureaus or Offices of the Insular Government as may at present be engaged in the inspection and supervision of marine hulls, all boilers, public warehouses, privately owned automobile lines, and irrigation systems, as he may deem necessary to carry out the provisions of this Act. In such case, the Insular Auditor is hereby authorized and directed to present or hereafter owning and operating plants and apparatus for the examination, test, or measurement of the product or service furnished or rendered by any public utility as herein defined, shall continue so to do under the control and supervision of said Board, and in proper case, after hearing, upon notice, said Board is hereby authorized and empowered to order the discontinuance of such work on the part of such province or municipality, and to take over such plant or apparatus upon paying a reasonable price therefor.”
SEC. 22. Section forty-two of Act Numbered Twenty-three hundred and seven is hereby amended to read as follows:
“SEC. 42. Section fifty-three and section ninety-nine of Act Numbered Fourteen hundred and fifty-nine, entitled ‘An Act providing for the formation and organization of corporations, defining their powers, fixing the duties of directors and other officers thereof, declaring the rights and liabilities of shareholders and members, prescribing the conditions under which such corporations may transact business, and repealing certain articles of the Code of Commerce and all laws or parts of laws in conflict or inconsistent with this Act’; Act Numbered Seventeen hundred and seventy-nine, entitled ‘An Act to create a Board for the regulation of rates chargeable by public-service corporations in the Philippine Islands, and for other purposes’; sections twenty-seven, twenty-eight, twenty-nine, thirty, thirty-one and thirty-two of Act Numbered Five hundred and twenty, relating to a coastwise rate commission, and any Act or part of Act inconsistent with the provisions of this Act are hereby repealed.”
SEC. 23. This Act shall take effect and be in force from and after its passage.
Enacted, February 28, 1914
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