Republic of the Philippines
CENTRAL BOARD OF ASSESSMENT APPEALS
M a n i l a

BELLE BAY CITY CORPORATION,
Petitioner-Appellant,
CBAA CASE NO. L-51
-versus- (LBAA Case No. 2003-03)
City of Parañaque
LOCAL BOARD OF ASSESSMENT APPEALS FOR THE CITY OF PARAÑAQUE,
Appellee,

-and-

CITY ASSESSOR OF THE CITY OF PARAÑAQUE,
Respondent-Appellee.
X – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – /

D E C I S I O N

This is an Appeal from the Resolution rendered by the Local Board of Assessment Appeals for the City of Parañaque on 5 February 2004 in LBAA Case No. 2003-03, the dispositive portion of which resolution reads:
“Basically, this appeal is an appeal on the assessments and/or tax declarations prepared by the Assessor of Parañaque in November 1996.

“Section 226 of the R.A. 7160 provides: Local Board of Assessment Appeals. Any owner or person having legal interest in the property who is not satisfied with the action of the provincial, city or municipal assessor in the assessment of his property may, within sixty (60) days from the date of receipt of the written notice of assessment, appeal to the Board of Assessment Appeals of the province or city by filing a petition under oath in the form prescribed for the purpose, together with the (sic) copies of the tax declarations and such affidavits or documents submitted in support of the appeal.

“The appellant appears to have made no such an appeal within the sixty (60) day period as provided as shown by a certification issued by then City Treasurer Silvestre A. De Leon dated 10th April 2000 wherein it is stated that the former paid realty taxes without protest.

“Wherefore, this appeal is hereby denied.”

Alleging that it received a copy of the assailed Decision (should be “Resolution”) on 27 February 2004, Petitioner-Appellant presented the following:

“ASSIGNMENT OF ERRORS

“The Appellee erred:

“1. In not holding that the assessments under the tax declarations stated above (“Assessments”) are null and void on the ground that they violated the Department of Finance Local Assessment Regulations No. 1-92.

“2. In not holding that the Assessments are null and void on the ground that they violated the City of Parañaque Ordinance No. 96-16.

“3. In denying the appeal on the Assessments on the ground that no appeal was taken by Petitioner-Appellant to the Appellee within sixty (60) days from the receipt of the Assessments.

“ANTECEDENTS

“1. In 1996, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) approved the merger of MBLHI and MBPDI into Belle Bay City Corporation (“BBCC”). MBLHI and MBPDI are registered owners of the following parcels of land located in the reclaimed area along Roxas Boulevard, Barangay Tambo, Parañaque City (“Properties”):

Declared Owner Area (Sq.M.)
Manila Bay Land Holdings, Inc. (“MBLHI”)
TCT-95324
70,000
Manila Bay Park Developers, Inc. (“MBPDI”)
TCT-135240
13,699
TCT-136449 7,154
TCT-136452 5,621
TCT-136454 6,868
TCT-136455 5,857
TCT-135242 21,567
TCT-135243 1,250
TCT-135244 1,250
TCT-136447 6,964
TCT-136448 5,804
TCT-136450 13,472
TCT-136451 7,450
TCT-136453 12,072
TCT-136456 10,972

“2. On 23 July 1996, the Municipality (now City) of Parañaque issued Ordinance No. 96-16 entitled “An Ordinance Prescribing the Schedule of Fair Market Values for Land and Improvement for 1997 in this Municipality in accordance with the Local Government Code of 1991”, which, among others, adopted the revised schedule of fair market values for lands located in Parañaque as a result of the general revision conducted by the Parañaque Municipal Assessor (“Assessor”) on real property.

“3. Pursuant to Ordinance No. 96-16, the Assessor issued tax declarations covering the Properties which reflected a market value of P12,000 per square meter.

“4. In November 2000, the tax declarations on the Properties issued pursuant to Ordinance 96-16 were cancelled prospectively and new tax declarations were issued by the Assessor with the Assessment, whereby the Properties were assessed at P6,000 per square meter, except for Tax Declaration Nos. E-015-05803 and E-015-06704 which set the market values at P500.00 per square meter. The following are the new and current tax declarations covering the Properties with the Assessments:

Declared Owner Tax Dec. No.
Manila Bay Land Holdings, Inc. (“MBLHI”)
TCT-95324
E015-06715
Manila Bay Park Developers, Inc. (“MBPDI”)
TCT-135240
E015-05803
TCT-136449 E015-06704
TCT-136452 E015-06707
TCT-136454 E015-06709
TCT-136455 E015-06710
TCT-135242 E015-06712
TCT-135243 E015-06713
TCT-135244 E015-06714
TCT-136447 E015-06702
TCT-136448 E015-06703
TCT-136450 E015-06705
TCT-136451 E015-06706
TCT-136453 E015-06708
TCT-136456 E015-06711

“Copies of the tax declarations are attached hereto as Annexes “B”, “B-1” to “B-14” and made integral parts hereof.

“5. On 31 Match 2003, BBCC paid under protest the aggregate amount of Two Million Five Hundred Sixteen Thousand Eight Hundred Twenty Nine and 38/100 (P2,516,829.38) as instalment for the first quarter of 2003 for real property taxes on the Properties. On 16 April 2003, BBCC paid under protest the aggregate amount of Three Million Four Hundred Fourteen Thousand Nine Pesos and 94/100 (P3,414,009.94) as instalment for the second quarter of 2003. Attached herewith as Annexes “C”, “C-1” to “C-19” are copies of the Official Receipts issued by the City of Parañaque on the payments.

“6. On 30 April 2003, BBCC formally filed with the City Treasurer its protest for the above payments, a copy of which is attached as Annex “D” and made an integral part hereof.

“7. On 3 June 2003, BBCC received, through counsel, a letter from the City Treasurer dated 20 May 2003 denying the protest, a copy of which is attached as Annex “E” and made an integral part hereof.

“8. On 1 August 2003, BBCC filed with the Local Board of Assessment Appeals its Appeal on Assessment praying for the declaration of the Assessments as null and void for being violative of the provisions of the Department of Finance Local Assessment Regulations No. 1-92 and the Ordinance No. 96-16 of the City of Parañaque.

“9. On 27 February 2003, BBCC received the Resolution (Annex “A”) of the Appellee dated 5 February 2003 denying the appeal solely on the ground that “[t]he appellant appears to have made no… appeal” under Sec. 226 of the Republic Act 7160 “within the sixty (60) day period as provided” therein.

“It should be noted that a case is pending with the Regional Trial Court of Parañaque City Branch 274 wherein BBCC is questioning the legality of the Parañaque City Ordinance No. 96-16 and the tax declarations issued on the Properties. The case is docketed as Civil Case No. C.V. 03-52 (Belle Bay City Corporation vs. City Treasurer of Parañaque City.) The final resolution of the case may have an effect on this appeal.”

“ARGUMENTS

“I. The Appellee erred in not holding that the Assessments are null and void on the ground that they violated the Department of Finance Local Assessment Regulations No. 1-92.

“1. The Department o Finance Local Assessment Regulations No. 1-92 provides:

‘SECTION 26. Depth Influence and Standard Lot Depth. – It is a recognized fact that the urban lot value tapers from street frontage to the rear. The nearest portion or strip to the street has the highest value and the value of each successive parallel strip across a given lot decreases as distance to street increases. This brings about the necessity of adopting a standard depth for each residential or commercial land. Considering that individual lots used for industrial purposes are generally large in area, standards depth for industrial lands may not be considered.

‘The standard depth may be established after careful study of various depths in the locality. If, for instance the dominant or prevailing lot depth among the residential lots in the city or municipality is 20 meters, this depth maybe fixed as a standard depth for residential lands within the locality. Standard depth for commercial lands shall be established in similar manner.

‘SECTION 27. Unit Value Construction. – Lot values taken from sales transactions shall be translated into value per square meter attributed to the frontage strip within the standard depth. For a lot conforming to the established standard depth and space (rectangular), estimating value per square meter would be an easy process. This is done by merely dividing the total purchases price by its area. However, the same becomes complicated if a lot is not rectangular in shape whose depth exceeds the standard.

‘For instance, a residential lots of 20 by 75 meters or 1500 square meters in area, is sold at P100.00 per square meter or P150,000.00. Suppose further that the standard depth established for residential lands in the locality is 20 meters and the percentage values are 100% for the first strip; 80% for the second strip; 60% for the third strip; 40% for the fourth strip and 20% for the remaining strip or strips. The value per square meter of the area within each strip may be computed as follows:

STRIP WIDTH X DEPTH AREA % VALUE
EFFECTIVE AREA
1 20 X 20 400 100% 400 sq. m.
2 20 X 20 400 80% 320 sq. m.
3 20 X 20 400 60% 240 sq. m.
4 20 X 15 300 40% 120 sq. m.
——– ——–
1,500 sq. m. 1,080 sq. m.
===== =====
‘The value per square meter of the first strip is equivalent to P50,000 divided by 1,080 Sq. M. (Effective area) or P138.89. The unit value for the second, third and fourth strips are P111.11 (80% of 138.89); P83.33 (60% of 138.89); P55.66 (40% of 138.89); respectively.

‘The unit sales values which corresponds to the first strip of the lots involved in the sale analysis are the values to be entered in column 8 of DF-RPA (SMV) Form No. 1 attached herewith, marked as Annex “B”.

“2. Pursuant to the above provisions, the assessed values of parcels of land which are not located along the streets shall be reduced by percentages corresponding to their location vis-à-vis the streets. This is called the ‘stripping method’, whereby parcels located farther from the streets are valued at lesser amounts than those located nearer or along them.

“3. It is undisputed that not all of the parcels of the Properties are located along Roxas Boulevard or Central Boulevard (now the Diosdado Macapagal Highway), the main thoroughfares. Thus, the value of the lots which are not located along these roads should be lesser than the parcels of land along this street. In violation this rule, however, all of the lots are valued at similar amounts (P6,000.00), as if all lots are located along Roxas Boulevard or Central Boulevard, in complete disregard of the clear rules of assessment promulgated by the Department of Finance and the City of Parañaque.

“4. This ‘stripping method’ of valuation and assessment was even adopted by the City of Parañaque in Ordinance 96-16 which provides:

‘Section 3. Land beyond the standard depth of 25 meters for residential land, 30 meters for commercial land and 50 meters for industrial land shall be valued 80% for the second strip, 60% for the third strip and 40% of the base value for the remaining area, provided, however that in case the parcel of land abutting two streets or roads on two sides with different base value, the stripping and valuation thereof shall be based on the principal street or road with the higher base value, but in no case shall the value of the last strip be lower than the value provided for in the other street.”

“II. The Appellee erred in not holding that the Assessments are null and void on the ground that they violated the City of Parañaque Ordinance No. 96-16.

“1. Ordinance No. 96-16 of the City of Parañaque provides:

‘Section 5. For low and sunken areas of land, a reduction from the base value per square meter may be allowed due to the cost of filling and compaction to bring the same at par with the adjoining developed lots. Provided, however, that such reduction will, in no case exceed 30% of the base value thereof.’

“2. Pursuant to this provision, the assessed values of sunken lots should be reduced since the development costs are needed to make such lots at par with the adjoining developed lands.

“3. Hence, the estimated six (6) hectares of the Properties that are under deep water should be allowed reduction of up to 30% of the base values thereof. In other words, the market values of the sunken lots which are now the same as the value of the other lots should be up to 30% lesser than the other lots which are above water.

“4. In addition, Ordinance No. 96-16 allows for a reduction of market values on undeveloped lands, as follows:

‘Section 14. All undeveloped parcels of land shall have 70% of the base value of the developed or improved lots located in that area.’

“5. In clear violation of the above-quoted provisions, however, BBCC’s undeveloped and vacant lands were classified, valued and assessed at the full base values of the developed or improved lots located in the same area. Accordingly, the values assessed on the Properties are null and void for being contrary to Ordinance No. 96-16.”

“III. The Appellee erred in denying the appeal on the Assessments on the ground that no appeal was taken by Appellant to the Appellee within sixty (60) days from the receipt of the Assessments.

“1. Based on the foregoing, the Assessments on the Properties are violative of the applicable rules of assessments found in Department of Finance Regulations No. 1-92 and the City of Parañaque Ordinance No. 96-16, accordingly, the Assessments are null and void and did not have any effect at all.

“2. In this connection, the Supreme Court had ruled, in the case of Mathay, Jr. vs. Macalincag (G.R. No. 97618, G.R.No. 97760 and G.R. No. 102319) 228 SCRA 519, that where the local assessors “failed to comply with the explicit requirements” of law (in this case P.D. 921) “in relation to the corresponding [a]dministrative [r]egulations promulgated by the Department of Finance (in this case Administrative Regulations No. 7-77)”, in preparing the schedules of market values, the same are “on that account illegal and void”.

“3. In addition, this Honorable Board has previously held in Basey Wood Industries, Inc. vs. Board of Assessment Appeals of Samar and Provincial Assessor of Samar (CBAA Case no. 100) that in case the procedures in assessments were not properly observed, the prescriptive period provided in Section 30 of P.D. 464 (the real property tax code in effect at the time) which is similar to Sec. 226 of R.A. 7160, does not apply. Thus:

‘As assessment of taxes, or of property for taxes, must be made under the authority, and in accordance with the provisions of the statue (sic). (Ind.-Johuston v. State, 8 N.E. 2d 590, [1937]). Procedure by which taxes may be validly assessed is strictly statutory. (Fruehauf Trailer Co. v. City of Detroit, 38 N.W. 2d 899, [1940]) Hence, the taxpayer is entitled to insist that statutory provisions governing assessments against his property be substantially observed. (Ropublic [sic] Ins. Co. v. Highland Park Independent School Dist. Of Dallas County, 57 S.W. 2d 627 [1933]) Further, statutes prescribing methods of assessing taxable property for authorized ad valorem taxation should be faithfully followed. (City of Fort Myeres v. Heltman, 4 So. 2d 871 [1941]).

‘In the absence of a valid appraisal and assessment of subject property, there could have been no valid notice to the Petitioner-Appellant; and the prescriptive period for appeal to the Provincial Board of Assessment Appeals provided for in Section 30 of P.D. 464 is inapplicable.’

“4. The Assessments being null and void and of no effect, the appeal made by Petitioner-Appellant is not time-barred by prescription. Hence, it was error for the Appellee to deny the appeal outright based on prescription without going into the merits of the case.

“PRAYER

“WHEREFORE, premises considered, Petitioner-Appellant respectfully prays that this Honorable Board reverse the Resolution of the Local Board of Assessment Appeals of the City of Parañaque and:

“1) Declare the existing market values of the Properties null and void for being violative of the Department of Finance Local Assessment Regulations No. 1-92 and the City of Parañaque Ordinance No. 96-16;

“2) Revise and lower the market values of the Properties in accordance with the rules of assessment and valuation described above;

“3) Order the City of Parañaque to refund or credit to BBCC’s future tax liabilities the excess payments of real property taxes on the Properties.”

In her Answer or Comment/Opposition dated May 18, 2004 (received by this Board on May 19, 2004), Respondent City Assessor Soledad E. Samonte, by herself, said:
“1.1 Albeit the cause of action herein is premised on the payment “under protest” of BBCC and the denial thereof by the City Treasurer of Parañaque, the main allegations in instant Appeal indicate that the basic issue herein is the propriety or legality of the assessments made on subject properties.

‘SEC. 195. Protest on (sic) Assessment.- When the local treasurer of (sic) his duly authorized representative finds that correct taxes, fees, or charges have not been paid, he shall issue a notice of assessment stating the nature of (sic) tax, fee or charge, the amount of deficiency, the surcharges, interests and penalties. Within sixty (60) days from the receipt of the notice of assessment, the taxpayer may file a written protest with the local treasurer contesting the assessment; otherwise, the assessment shall become final and executory.

The local treasurer shall decide the protest within sixty (60) days from the time of its filing. If the local treasurer finds the protest to be wholly or partly meritorious, he shall issue a notice canceling wholly or partially the assessment. However, if the local treasurer finds the assessment (sic) wholly or partly correct, he shall deny the protest wholly or partly with notice to the taxpayer. The taxpayer shall have thirty (30) days from the receipt of the denial of the period (sic) or from the lapse of the sixty-day period prescribed herein within which to appeal with the court of competent jurisdiction otherwise the assessment becomes conclusive and unappealable.’

(underline supplied)

x x x

‘SEC. 196. Claim for Refund or (sic) Tax Credit. – No case of proceeding shall be maintained in any court for the recovery of any tax, fee or charge erroneously or illegally collected until a written claim for refund or credit has been filed with the local treasurer.

No case or proceeding shall be entertained in any court after the expiration of two (2) years from the date of (sic) payment of such tax, fee or charge, or from the date the taxpayer is entitled to a refund or credit.’

“1.3 No appeals were made by BBCC within the sixty (60) day period from the date of receipt of written notice of assessment, and Appellant’s acknowledgement to such tax declarations and assessments is evidenced by the payment of the corresponding real estate taxes in 1997 and 1998 which the tax declaration and assessments are based.”

In her Memorandum dated 28 February 2005, Respondent City Assessor, through the City Legal Officer, stated:
“It is noteworthy to stress that no appeals were made by petitioner within sixty (60) days from the date of receipt of the written notice of assessment, as provided under Section 226, R. A. 7160 (otherwise known as the Local Government Code of 1991), which provides as –

‘Sec. 226. Any owner or person having legal interest in the property who is not satisfied with the action of the provincial, city or municipal assessor in the assessment of his property may, within sixty (60) days from the date of receipt of the written notice of assessment, appeal to the Board of Assessment Appeals of the Province or City by filing a petition under oath in the form prescribed for the purpose, together with the copies of the tax declarations and such affidavits or documents submitted in support of the appeal.’

“Furthermore, petitioner’s acknowledgment of and acquiescence to such tax declarations and assessments is evident in their payment of the corresponding real estate taxes in 1997 and 1998 based on said tax declarations and assessments therein, and “without protest”, as per certification of the respondent City Treasurer.”

In its Manifestation and Motion dated 18 March 2005, Petitioner-Appellant said:
“2. However, after an evaluation and a re-examination of the facts and circumstances of the case in light of the above pronouncement of this Honorable Board, it is most respectfully submitted that the issue of prescription is not jurisdictional, hence the same need not be resolved at the first instance before the other issues are heard by the Board.

“3. This position of Petitioner-Appellant is anchored on the case of Arcaya and Ceballos v. The Honorable Judge Victorino C. Teleron (G.R. No. L-37446), wherein the Supreme Court categorically declared that the issue of prescription is not jurisdictional, citing the same Court’s pronouncement in Tamano v. Ortiz (G.R. No. 126603), viz:

‘xxx [J]urisdiction cannot be made to depend upon defenses set up in the answer, in a motion to dismiss, or in a motion for reconsideration, but only upon the allegations of the complaint. Jurisdiction over the subject matter of the case is determined from the allegations of the complaint as the latter comprises a concise statement of the ultimate facts constituting the plaintiff’s causes of action.’

“4. Following the Arcaya case, the allegations of the instant Petitioner-Appellant’s Appeal will show that this case falls under the jurisdiction of herein Board, which allegations are the sole determinants of the jurisdiction of the Board in this case. Likewise, based on Arcaya, Respondent-Appellee’s defense of prescription cannot be considered in determining whether this Board has jurisdiction over this case.

“5. Moreover, Petitioner-Appellant’s position, as clearly stated in its Appeal, that the real estate tax assessments subject of this case are null and void squarely raises the issue of the validity of the said assessments, which, once proven by Petitioner-Appellant, will render Respondent-Appellee’s defense of prescription moot and academic, since Petitioner-Appellant’s right to question invalid assessment can never prescribe, and can be made anytime, as held in the following cases:

(Petitioner-Appellant then reproduced it’s discussions contained in its Appeal on the cases of Mathay, Jr. v. Macalincag and Basey Wood Industries, Inc. v. BAA of Samar and Provincial Assessor of Samar.)

Petitioner-Appellant must have been joking when it stated that the Arcaya case cited “the same Court’s pronouncement in the case of Tamano v. Ortiz (G.R. No. 126603).” The Supreme Court’s decision in the Arcaya case could not have cited the decision in the Tamano case since the former was promulgated on May 31, 1974, while the latter was decided more than twenty-four years later or on June 29, 1998.

Anyway, in Reno Arcaya and Emmanuel Ceballos vs. The Honorable Judge Victorino C. Teleron (G.R. No. L-37446, May 31, 1974), the Supreme Court ruled:
“The issue of prescription is not a jurisdictional issue. Whether an offense has prescribed is to be decided by the court having jurisdiction over that offense.”

In criminal cases, the Court’s “jurisdiction over the matter is conferred by law. Therefore, this jurisdiction depends on the allegations made in the complaint or information and the penalties prescribed by law for the offense charged” (See U.S. v. Mallari, 24 Phil. 366; People v. Pecson, L-5221, Oct. 27, 1952). (Rules of Court Annotated by Edgardo L. Paras, First Edition, Volume Three, p. 8)

In its Appeal (Petition for Review), Petitioner-Appellant discussed about why the LBAA had jurisdiction over the appeal. However, in its Manifestation and Motion, “argued” about why this Board (CBAA) has jurisdiction over the instant Appeal.

In the case of the appeal to the LBAA, that Board did not reject the case due to lack of jurisdiction. In fact, the LBAA decided that the Appeal was filed out of time. Just like what the Supreme Court said in the Arcaya case, “Whether an offense has prescribed is to be decided by the court having jurisdiction over that offense.”

Actually, the three issues raised by Petitioner-Appellant could be summed up into one question, that is: ARE THE QUESTIONED ASSESSMENTS VALID OR NOT? The applicability or inapplicability of Section 226 of the LGC is but the resultant effect or consequence of the answer to this question.

In Ismael A. Mathay, Jr. v. Victor C. Macalincag, et al., G.R. No. 97618; Rufino S. Javier v. Victor C. Macalincag, et al., G.R. No. 97760 and Consuelo Puyat-Reyes v. The Secretary of Finance, G.R. No. 102319, the Supreme Court, on December 16, 1993, ruled:
“WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered, declaring null and void the instant Schedule of Market Values, prepared solely by the Municipal Assessor of Makati, for lands in Makati, Metro Manila, in violation of Section 9, P.D. 921 and the Compromise Agreements, entered into by and between the Petitioners and Respondents and among and between the Intervenors and Respondents, inexistent and void, and without force and effect. Respondents Municipal Assessor and Municipal Treasurer of Makati, Metro Manila, are hereby ordered to act accordingly.”

The doctrine in the abovementioned cases was reaffirmed by the Supreme Court in Alejandro B. Ty, et al. v. The Hon. Aurelio C. Trampe, et al., G.R. No. 11757, December 1, 1995, thus:
“Since it is now clear that P.D. 921 is still a good law, it is equally clear that this Court’s ruling in the Mathay/Javier/Puyat-Reyes case (supra) is still the prevailing and applicable doctrine. And, applying the said ruling in the present case, it is likewise clear that the schedule of values prepared solely by the respondent assessor is illegal and void.”

In Basey Wood Industries, Inc. vs. Board of Assessment Appeals of Samar and Provincial Assessor of Samar (CBAA Case No. 100, May 12, 1978), this Board held:
“Petitioner-Appellant pointed out the failure of the Provincial Assessor to observe the requirements in the assessment of timber and forest lands covered by two or more provinces prescribed in P.D. No. 853, Section 5(3) thereof, promulgated on December 9, 1975, and Section 4, Rule III of Finance Assessment Regulations No. 3-76 dated February 9, 1976 which, respectively, provide:

Presidential Decree No. 853:

‘Section 5(3) – In cases where timber and forest lands cover two or more provinces and/or cities, the Provincial/City Assessors concerned shall jointly appraise and assess the property in accordance with regulations to be issued by the Secretary of Finance.’

Rule III of Assessment Regulations No. 3-76 dated February 9, 1976:

‘Section 4. – Where timber and forest lands are covered by two or more provinces and/or cities, the Provincial/City Assessors shall automatically constitute a Joint Appraisal Committee to appraise and assess the property in accordance with these regulations. The Committee shall select the Chairman among themselves who, in such capacity, shall issue for and in behalf of the Joint Appraisal Committee the tax declaration and such other documents necessary in connection with the tax liabilities of the properties involved.’

That the concession of Petitioner-Appellant under TLA No. 14 covers the two provinces of Samar and Eastern Samar has not been disputed by Respondent-Appellee, Provincial Assessor of Samar. Therefore, the above-quoted provisions of the law and rule are applicable in the instant case.

An examination of the said law and rule shows that the following requirements should be observed where timber and forest lands cover two or more provinces:

(1) Constitution of a Joint Appraisal Committee to appraise and assess subject property by the Provincial Assessor concerned;
(2) Selection of the Chairman of the Committee;
(3) Issuance by the Chairman for and in behalf of the Joint Appraisal Committee the tax declaration and other necessary documents.

The records do not show that the procedure outlined above had been observed by Respondent-appellee Provincial Assessor of Samar in the appraisal and assessment of the property subject of this appeal. As a consequence, the assessment of subject property is of doubtful validity and legality.

As assessment of taxes, or of property for taxes, must be made under authority, and in accordance with the provisions of the statute. (Ind.-Johuston v. State, 8 N.E. 2d 590, [1937]). Procedure by which taxes may be validly assessed is strictly statutory. (Fruehauf Trailer Co. v. City of Detroit, 38 N.W. 2d 899,[1949]) Hence, the taxpayer is entitled to insist that statutory provisions governing assessments against his property be substantially observed. (Ropublic [sic] Ins. Co. v. Highland Park Independent School Dist. of Dallas County, 57 S.W. 2d 627 [1933]) Further, statutes prescribing methods of assessing taxable property for authorized ad valorem taxation should be faithfully followed. (City of Fort Myeres v. Heltman, 4 So. 2d 871 [1941]).

In the absence of a valid appraisal and assessment of subject property, there could have been no valid notice to the Petitioner-Appellant; and the prescriptive period for appeal to the Provincial Board of Assessment Appeals provided for in Section 30 of P.D. 464 is inapplicable.”

In the Mathay/Javier/Puyat-Reyes case (supra), the Supreme Court ruled that the Schedule of Market Values solely prepared by the respondent assessor was null and void and without force and effect for being made in violation of Section 9 of P.D. 921. This doctrine was reaffirmed by the same Court in Alejandro B. Ty, et al. v. The Hon. Aurelio C. Trampe (supra).

In Basey Wood Industries, Inc. vs. Board of Assessment Appeals of Samar and Provincial Assessor of Samar (supra), the respondent Provincial Assessor failed to observe the requirements in the assessment of timber and forest lands covered by two or more provinces prescribed in P.D. No. 853, Section 5(3) thereof, promulgated on December 9, 1975, and Section 4, Rule III of Finance Assessment Regulations No. 3-76 dated February 9, 1976.As a consequence, the assessment of subject property was declared invalid and illegal.

It is clear that, in the Mathay/Javier/Puyat-Reyes case; the Ty v. Trampe case, as well as the Basey Wood Industries, Inc. case, the assessments subject thereof were illegal and void for being made without the proper authority on the part of the assessors concerned. The assessments being null and void, there could have been no valid notices of assessment to taxpayers/petitioners. Without the valid notices of assessment, the reglementary period within which to appeal to the LBAA did not commence to run.

In the instant case, Petitioner-Appellant argues that the questioned assessment is null and void because the respondent assessor failed to observe the “striping method” in the appraisal of land and to consider the sunken and/or underdeveloped condition of certain areas of the subject properties, as mandated in the Department of Finance Local Assessment Regulations No. 1-92 and/or the City of Parañaque Ordinance No. 96-16 and that, the assessment being null and void, Section 226 of R.A. 7160 does not apply.

Even if the respondent assessor failed to observe the provisions of the Department of Finance Local Assessment Regulations No. 1-92 and/or Parañaque City Ordinance No. 96-16 in the appraisal of subject properties, such failure does not invalidate the subject assessments. At best, such failure on the part of respondent assessor may have made said assessments erroneous, but not null and void. Respondent Assessor had the necessary authority to make the questioned assessments, although, in the exercise of that authority, the respondent assessor may have committed some mistakes in the appraisal of some of the subject properties. Therefore, the questioned assessments are valid and, being so, Petitioner-Appellant’s course of action should have been a timely appeal to the LBAA under Section 226 of R.A. 7160, which provides, thus:
“SEC. 226. Local Board of Assessment Appeals. – Any owner or person having legal interest in the property who is not satisfied with the action of the provincial, city or municipal assessor in the assessment of his property may, within sixty (60) days from the date of receipt of the written notice of assessment, appeal to the Board of Assessment Appeals of the province or city by filing a petition under oath in the form prescribed for the purpose, together with copies of the tax declarations and such affidavits or documents submitted in support of the appeal.” (Emphasis supplied)

That Petitioner-Appellant received the written notice of assessment or that Petitioner-Appellant’s appeal to Appellee LBAA was not filed within sixty (60) days from the date of receipt of the written notice of assessment, as prescribed under the above-quoted Section 226 of R.A. 7160, is not disputed by Petitioner-Appellant.

As this Board said in Central Azucarera de Bais, Inc. vs. City Assessor of Bais (CBAA Case No. V-11, March 25, 1998), the right to appeal is a mere statutory privilege and may be exercised only in the manner and in accordance with the provisions of law on the matter. (City Assessor of Baguio vs. BAA of Baguio City and Benguet Consolidated, Inc., CBAA Case No. 45, October 17, 1975). The questioned assessments, erroneous they may have been, had become final and unappealable by virtue of the taxpayer’s failure to timely question on appeal the assessments before the Local Board.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant Appeal is hereby DISMISSED for lack of merit.

SO ORDERED.

Manila, Philippines, July 30, 2012.

SIGNED
OFELIA A. MARQUEZ
Chairman

Dissented SIGNED
ROBERTO D. GEOTINA CAMILO L. MONTENEGRO
Member Member