Republic of the Philippines
CENTRAL BOARD OF ASSESSMENT APPEALS Manila
PAPER INDUSTRIES CORPORATION OF THE PHILIPPINES,
– versus – CBAA CASE NO. M-05
LOCAL BOARD OF ASSESSMENT APPEALS OF SURIGAO DEL SUR,
– and –
PROVINCIAL ASSESSOR OF SURIGAO DEL SUR,
x – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – x
D E C I S I O N
Before this Board is an Appeal of Petitioner-Appellant Paper Industries
Corporation of the Philippines (PICOP) from the decision of Appellee Local Board
of Assessment Appeals of Surigao del Sur, upholding the assessments made by
Respondent Appellee Provincial Assessor of Surigao del Sur of the timberlands
held by Petitioner-Appellant situated in the Municipalities of Lingig, Bislig,
Hinatuan, Tagbina and Barobo, all in the Province of Surigao del Sur, under Tax
Declaration Nos. 1485, 4598,1607, 1906 and 1436, with taxes effective 1992.
Records show that Respondent-Appellee based his assessments of
subject timberlands on the Certification dated February 11, 1992, issued by
Community Environment and Natural Resources Officer (CENRO) Cenon M.
Castillo, that the total volume of timber “annual actual cut” for 1991 was
613,296 cubic meters.
Not satisfied with the assessments, Petitioner-Appellant appealed to
Appellee Local Board, contending that the assessments should have been based
on 225,051.83 cubic meters, comprising the total saw and construction timber
actually cut in 1991, per a later Certification issued by the same CENRO Cenon
M. Castillo, dated March 3, 1992 shown herein below:[table “” not found /]
Under 2nd Indorsement, dated August 12, 1992, Respondent-Appellee
interposed an objection to the Appeal of Petitioner-Appellant before the Appellee
Local Board for lack of proof of payment of the realty tax under the questioned
Tax Declarations which is allegedly a “jurisdictional requirement” of Section 231
of the Local Government Code of 1991, before an assessment appeal can be
entertained by Appellee Local Board.
Appellee Local Board rendered its decision affirming the assessment of
Respondent-Appellee, dated September 18, 1992. On Motion for
Reconsideration, Appellee Board issued a Resolution sustaining its decision,
dated November 20, 1992.
On Appeal before this Board, the issues for consideration are the following:
1. Whether or not payment of real property tax as assessed is a jurisdictional requirement before an assessment appeal can be entertained by Appellee Local Board;
2. Whether or not Petitioner-Appellant was denied due process of law;
3. Whether or not Petitioner-Appellant’s appeal to this Board mailed on January 22, 1993 was filed beyond the reglementary period of thirty (30) days; and
4. Whether or not Respondent-Appellee correctly used as basis the first Certification issued by CENRO Cenon M. Castillo, dated February 11, 1992, that the total volume of actually cut timber for 1991 was 613,296 cu.m., for computation of the tax liability of Petitioner-Appellant.
Anent the first issue, this Board had ruled in the case of the Manila Electric
Company vs. The Provincial Assessor of Batangas, et al., CBAA Case No. 10, in
implementation of Section 37 of the Real Property Tax Code (PD 464) which is
quoted below viz:
“Sec. 37. Effect of Appeals on the Payment of the Real Property Tax. – Appeals on assessments of real property made under the provisions of this Code shall, in no case, suspend the collection of the corresponding realty taxes on the property involved as assessed by the provincial or city assessor, without
Reference: Book VII, pp. 280-287
prejudice to subsequent adjustment depending upon the final outcome of the appeal,”
and reiterated the same in Philippine Packing Corporation vs. City Assessor of
Cagayan, et al., CBAA Case No. 54 and cited in recent decisions of this Board,
that the realty taxes assessed by the Assessor should first be paid before this
Board may proceed with the hearing of the appeal. In CBAA Case No. 10, we
stated the following:
“Collection of the realty taxes as assessed by the provincial or city assessor shall not be suspended by an appeal filed thereunder. While P.D. No. 76 does not contain any express provision that an appeal to this Board may not be entertained unless the taxes in question are paid (as expressly provided in section 54 of Commonwealth Act No. 470), the result of the implementation of the above-quoted provision of P.D. No. 76 would substantially be the same. For under the latter, the protestant-appellant is obligated to pay the realty taxes as assessed by the provincial or city assessor notwithstanding the filing of an appeal. We believe that any other interpretation would defeat or nullify this provision – for if the appeal were entertained without requiring the protestant-appellant to pay the realty tax as assessed by the provincial or city assessor the effect would be that the appeal will have suspended the collection of the said tax, contrary to the express mandate of said provision. Any interpretation which would defeat or nullify an provision is by settled rules of construction to be abhorred and avoided.”
Section 231 of the Local Government Code of 1991 (RA 7160) has the
same pronouncement relative to payment of taxes pending appeal which
provides as follows:
“Sec. 231. Effect of Appeals on the Payment of the Real Property Tax. – Appeals on assessments of real property made under the provisions of this Code shall, in no case, suspend the collection of the corresponding realty taxes on the property involved as assessed by the provincial or city assessor, without prejudice to subsequent adjustment depending upon the final outcome of the appeal.”
From the context thereat, Petitioner-Appellant should pay the realty taxes
on the properties in question before this Board may entertain its appeal.
However, as ruled by this Board in CBAA Case No. 69, Fortune Cement
Corporation vs. BAA of Batangas, et al., in granting Fortune Cement
Corporation’s alternative prayer that it be allowed to file a surety bond in lieu of
cash which shall guarantee the real property taxes due the government, this
Board believes that the surety bond when approved can serve the same purpose
as the payment of taxes under protest if it will guarantee the payment of realty
taxes due the government.
Reference: Book VII, pp. 280-287
Relative to the 2nd issue, records disclose that Appellee Local Board did
not conduct hearing on the merits of this case. Hence, as claimed by Petitioner-
Appellant, it was not duly afforded an opportunity to formally present evidence
and argue on the merits of its Appeal. The decision of Appellee Local Board was
based on mere “administrative communications” of the parties.
The proceedings held in the Appellee Local Board suffered from lack of
due process. The decision rendered thereunder is therefore of questionable
validity (City Assessor of Laoag City vs. Apolinario, CBAA Case No. 214). In view
thereof, the third issue relative to prescription of the Appeal before this Board for
late filing for one or two days is rendered moot and academic. On the other hand,
the fourth issue which pertains to the merits of the case is determinable in proper
proceedings on the merits.
WHEREFORE, the decision of the Local Board of the Province of Surigao
del Sur is hereby SET ASIDE and this CASE is REMANDED to the said Local
Board for proper proceedings on the merits after full and up-to-date payment of
the realty taxes on subject properties as assessed by Respondent-Appellee
Provincial Assessor of Surigao del Sur, or the filing of surety bond to guarantee
the payment of taxes.
Manila, Philippines, April 10, 1995.
(Signed) MARGARITA G. MAGISTRADO
ELEANOR A. SANTOS VACANT Member Member
Reference: Book VII, pp. 280-287