WHAT WENT BEFORE
Executive Order No. 156, issued by then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in 2002, prohibited the importation of secondhand vehicles into the country, with a few exceptions.
The order was meant to strengthen the local automotive industry and deter smuggling but three groups of vehicle importers questioned its validity in the Olongapo Regional Trial Court (RTC), which later nullified portions of EO 156.
In 2005, Arroyo issued EO 418, which declared the legality of used vehicle importation but modified the tariff rates originally imposed on them.
The Court of Appeals upheld the decision of the RTC, but in February 2006, the Supreme Court allowed the importation of used vehicles only through the Subic Bay Special Economic Zone.
A final ruling by the Supreme Court, issued in October 2007, denied the motion of the Motor Vehicles Importers Association of the Subic Bay Freeport to sell used cars outside the free port.
It was through EO 418 that car traders, using the license of another importer, Fenix (Ceza) International, continued processing and selling vehicles.
The car traders argued that Fenix, which was engaged in used car importation at the Cagayan Special Economic Zone and Freeport, was not barred by the Supreme Court decision.
In a January 2013 decision, the Supreme Court barred Forerunner Multi-Resources Inc., a Cagayan Economic Zone Authority-licensed car importer, from bringing in more vehicles to the country.
The decision also upheld the constitutionality of EO 156 as a “valid police-power measure addressing an ‘urgent national concern.’” —Inquirer Research
Source: Inquirer Archives
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