Republic of the Philippines

CENTRAL BOARD OF ASSESSMENT APPEALS Manila

PROVINCIAL ASSESSOR OF CAMIGUIN, Respondent-Appellant,

– versus –

LOCAL BOARD OF ASSESSMENT APPEALS

CBAA CASE NO. M-08

Re: APPEAL FOR REVISION

OF CAMIGUIN,

Appellee,

– and –

PAUL C. DAGONDON,

EXCESSIVE ASSESS-MENT OF REAL PRO-PERTIES,
LBAA CASE NO. 3

PROVINCE OF CAMIGUIN

Petitioner–Appellee.

x – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – x

D E C I S I O N

The records show that the Petitioner-Appellee filed with the Appellee Local

Board on March 2, 1994 a petition for review of the 1994 assessments of certain

real properties situated in the barangays of Baylao, Kuguita, Tagdo, Yumbing,

Bug-ong and Poblacion, all of the municipality of Mambajao, province of

Camiguin. He claims that he is either the owner or the administrator of said

properties; that he received the notices of assessment and corresponding tax

declarations sometime in January, 1994; that the base market values of said

properties for 1994 are higher than those for the same properties in 1991 by as

much as 128%, at the minimum, and 669%, at the maximum; that the lanzones

trees are excessively assessed considering that they are just accessories to coco

lands and bear fruits only once every two years instead of every year; that the

ancestral house (TD #9327) on Lot No. 2180, which was occupied in 1913, is

excessively assessed considering its age of 81 years and the floor area of said

house is overstated, etc.

The Local Board of Assessment Appeals of Camiguin promulgated its

resolution on March 22, 1994, the dispositive portion of which follows:

“In view of the foregoing premises, the board is in the opinion and so hold that the increase on the real properties of the petitioner, his parents, brothers and sisters in which he is the administrator on

Reference: Book X, pp. 87-109

their realties is not in consonance with the express provisions of RA 7160, hence the same is reversed.”

In his “Notice of Appea”, filed with this Board on May 22, 1995,

Respondent-Appellant states:

1. That the Local Board failed to identify the real properties or the tax

declarations involved in the appeal before said Local Board and that there was

no competent evidence to prove that the questioned assessments were “not

within the scope of law particularly the provisions of R.A. 7160”;

2. That the “Local Board failed to produce/require a documentary

evidence to the Petitioner-Appellant that he has paid the current taxes on the

subject property which is the primary requisite of the appeal, otherwise, the Local

Board of Assessment Appeals cannot acquire jurisdiction over the parties”;

3. That the “Local Board failed to decide the appeal within the

reglementary period. Section 229 of RA 7160 provides that the Local Board of

Assessment Appeals shall decide the appeal within One Hundred Twenty (120)

days from the date of receipt of such appeal”; and

4. That “the resolution of the Local Board of Assessment Appeals, this

province, is not jurisdictional and the time prescribed by law has been already

lapsed, therefore has no effect.”

The resolution of the Local Board seems to imply that there was some kind

of a “compromise” between the Petitioner-Appellee and the Respondent-

Appellant, which “compromise” was “approved” by the Local Board. This turned

out, however, to be not entirely correct.

As shown by the transcript of stenographic notes of the hearing of this

case before this Board in Cagayan de Oro City on August 27, 1995, what actually

happened was that the Respondent-Appellant revised certain tax declarations of

1994 to take effect in 1995. Petitioner-Appellee was amenable to some aspects

of those revisions, but not on the market values and the effectivity. He

Reference: Book X, pp. 87-109

(Petitioner-Appellee) wanted the market values in 1991 to be maintained and the

other “corrections” to be retroactive to January, 1994. Thus:

“Chairman:

“So, with regards to the area, to the classification, to the rate of depreciation, you have already agreed among yourselves?

“Atty. Vivares:

“That has already been settled.

“Chairman:

“Is it true?

“Mr. Dagondon:

“May I have the floor, Madam? Actually, when the Local Board of Assessment Appeals, together with the Provincial Assessor, came to the house I acceded to their request of the conduct of an ocular inspection. Probably, that was preparatory to an amicable settlement or some sort of agreeing on the other aspects of my protest. So, I just went with them, but, it does not necessarily follow that all the things that they have agreed is acceptable to me. In fact, there is an item I wanted to communicate with him, but since an appeal is existing, so I just hold it in abeyance. But, as far as on the other aspect with it, although it was not substantially, I agree with it, although it was not put into writing regarding this particular thing which on my ownself I can say about it. It’s on the aspect of the valuation of the different real properties. Like, for example, the classification of the coconuts, 1, 2 and 3; and the classification of the agricultural land, class 1, 2 and 3 again; and the residential area per sq. m. These are the things which are actually is the main objective of my protest and which I included the other properties that belong to my late parents as well as that of my brothers and sisters which I found out to be very exorbitant following the provisions of the Local Government Code, which the LBAA agreed favorably in my favor. That’s why there is now an existing appeal.

“Chairman:

“So, in other words, you agreed substantially with the classification, depreciation, the area, but not with the valuation. So what is in issue here now is more on the valuation rather than the other aspects of your appeal.

“Mr. Dagondon:

“Yes, the other one as what I have said earlier, they were substantially complied with but in fact I still would like to, at this point in time, to make this statement that since the tax declaration that they revised will start to operate in 1995. I am not agreeable to that because the series of the tax declaration that they issued should start in 1994 and that is the year that I’m trying to contest. Because I am now trying to compare the valuation of 1991 series of TD’s compared to the 1994 series. Now, when they revised the tax declaration, they made it appear that it would be effective for the current year 1995 which I don’t agree, because I am contesting actually the year starting 1994. In fact, in the resolution passed by the Local Board of Assessment Appeals, in the last part there, they said that, I thing they made mention there that it’s not acceptable, the valuation, so I wrote a letter to the assessor that in that case what will be followed as the valuation will be the 1991. I will be paying my taxes based on the strength of that resolution of the Local Board of Assessment Appeals, I will be paying my real estate taxes based on the 1991 series of TD’s, because the TD’s that they issued, which is in compliance with what we have verbally and substantially agreed will start for the year 1995, which I do not agree – it should start in the year 1994 after, of course, incorporating the main topic of my protest which is the valuation of the different kinds of properties, it should start in 1994.” (T.S.N., Aug. 27, 1995, pp. 5-7)

Reference: Book X, pp. 87-109

Respondent-Appellant states that the board below did not acquire

jurisdiction over the parties for the reason that there is no documentary evidence

to show that Petitioner-Appellee paid the current realty taxes on the real

properties subject of the appeal.

The records show, however, that there was a substantial compliance by

Petitioner-Appellee of the requirement of payment of realty taxes. The transcript

of stenographic notes, pages 8 to 11, of the hearing of this case on August 27,

1995 show the following questions and answers, thus:

“Mr. Tia:

“If we follow the law, Madam Chairman, before the Board acquire jurisdiction everything should be paid for, that is what the law says.

“Chairman:

“Until now the taxes have not been paid on these properties under appeal?

“Mr. Dagondon:

“Well, I have paid some of the properties, it’s here on record but I did not bring the official receipts but the documents have been submitted to Mr. Tia, in fact this was received by him. After the resolution was passed by the Local Board of Assessment Appeals, I immediately wanted that implemented. So, I wrote a letter to the Provincial Assessor, copy furnished the Municipal Assessor, to apply the excess payments that I made on some real properties which I have already paid, because they were paid on protest. It is on record that on the official receipts that I paid on the 1994 real estate taxes, I have jotted down “paid under protest.” So, I wrote a letter citing in detail what are the properties wherein the real property taxes have been paid and then applying the excess payments to the 1994 and partly 1995 payables that is due to me as administrator . . .

“Chairman:

“So, when did you make the payment?

x x x

“Mr. Dagondon:

“I’ll just check, Ma’am, because the O.R.’s was dated November 21, 1994, the resolution was dated March 21, 1994, so they were paid prior to the promulgation of the resolution. I have the payment in November, 1994.

x x x

“Atty. Vivares:

“May I say something, Madam? I wish to place it on record that during our hearing in the Local Board of Assessment Appeals, this particular issue was not raised. So we did not have the chance to act on that.

“Chairman:

“Probably, there is already substantial compliance on the payments.”

Reference: Book X, pp. 87-109

Respondent-Appellant states that the “Local Board failed to decide the

appeal within the reglementary period. Section 229 of RA 7160 provides that the

Local Board of Assessment Appeals shall decide the appeal within One Hundred

Twenty (120) days from the date of receipt of such appeal”; and that “the

resolution of the Local Board of Assessment Appeals, this province, is not

jurisdictional and the time prescribed by law has been already lapsed, therefore

has no effect.”

There are may and different circumstances which may surround a

particular case or affects its progress. If Section 229 of R.A. 7160 were to be

given a strict interpretation, the rights of an appellant may be adversely affected

by circumstances beyond his control and without his fault. “The 120-day limit

within which the local board is required to render its decision is addressed to the

local board and if there was any non-compliance thereof, the same was not

attributable to the petitioner-appellee.” (Philippine Packing Corporation vs. BAA &

City Assessor of Cagayan de Oro City, CBAA Case No. 54, April 19, 1976) We

believe, and so hold, that Section 229 is merely directory, not mandatory.

Respondent-Appellant states that the Local Board failed to identify the real

properties or the tax declarations involved in the appeal before said Local Board

and that there was no competent evidence to prove that the questioned

assessments were “not within the scope of law particularly the provision of R.A.

7160.”

It is true that the resolution of the board below does not particularly

describe the real properties subject of the appeal or mention the particular tax

declarations being questioned. However, the resolution unmistakably refers to

the Petitioner-Appellee’s “petition” which, in turn, sufficiently describes the

subject properties and mentions their corresponding tax declarations.

The Local Board said that “under RA 7160, Article 289, it expressly

provided, ‘thus: Each LGU shall evolve a progressive system of taxation.’ An

Reference: Book X, pp. 87-109

increase of 128% as minimum and 669% as maximum is clearly and evidently

not progressive running counter to RA 7160, Article 289.”

The Local Board must have bee confused. Section 289 of R.A. 7160 refers

to the local government unit’s share in the proceeds from the development and

utilization of the national wealth. The board below must have in mind Section

130(e) of R.A. 7150 which states that “Each local government unit shall, as far as

practicable, evolve a progressive system of taxation.” At any rate, in Reyes, et al.

v. Almanzor, et al. (G.R. Nos. L-49839-46), the Supreme Court observed that

“taxation is said to be equitable when its burden falls on those better able to pay.

Taxation is progressive when its rate goes up depending on the resources of the

person affected.”

Market value is defined as the highest price estimated in terms of money

which the property will bring if exposed in the open market allowing it reasonable

time to find a purchaser who buys with knowledge of all the uses in which it is

adapted and for which it is capable of being used. It is also referred to as the

price at which a willing seller would sell and a willing buyer would buy, neither

being under abnormal pressure (Sec. 3, PD 464). It is also defined as the most

probable price in terms of money which property should bring in competitive and

open market under all conditions requisite to a fair sale, the buyer and seller

each acting prudently, knowledgeably and assuming the price is not affected by

undue stimulus (Real Property Terminology, pp. 100-101).

Sec. 199(1), RA 7160, defines “Fair Market Value” as “the price at which a

property may be sold by a seller who is not compelled to sell and bought by a

buyer who is not compelled to buy.” Just because the market values in 1991 of

the subject properties were increased in 1994 by 128%, at the minimum, and

669%, at the maximum, it does not necessarily follow that the 1994 market

values are not the true and fair market values.

The Appellee Local Board held that the increases in market values of the

real properties concerned were “not in consonance with the express provision of

Reference: Book X, pp. 87-109

RA 7160, hence the same is reversed.” This sweeping statement is tantamount

to declaring the ordinance adopting the schedule of market values, upon which

the increases were based, as void, an act which is beyond the power of the Local

Board.

During the hearing of this case on August 27, 1995 (T.S.N., pp. 16-18), it

was hinted that the Provincial Board of Camiguin did not conduct a public hearing

on the proposed schedule of market values and that the ordinance which

enacted the same schedule into law was not published. We have consistently

held that there is a legal presumption that official duty has been regularly

performed [Rule 131, Sec. 5(m), Revised Rules of Court]. The presumption

ceases to exist only at the moment competent and substantial evidence is

presented to rebut the prima facie case of accuracy (City Assessor of Pasay City

vs. BAA of Pasay City & Camama, CBAA Case No. 37, Jan. 21, 1975; City

Assessor of Cagayan de Oro City vs.BAA of Cagayan de Oro City & Macaranas,

CBAA Case No. 41, April 19, 1976; Tirol vs. BAA & Provincial Assessor of Capiz,

CBAA Case No. 52, April 19, 1976; Duly vs. BAA & City Assessor of Naga City,

CBAA Case No. 234, Sept. 5, 1988).

Pursuant to an order of the Local Board, an ocular inspection was on

February 28, 1995 conducted by Respondent-Appellant on Lot Nos. 1908

(Carmelo Otasan), 7824 (Arcenia Dagondon), 2179 (Genceano Dagondon), 2183

(Daylinda Dagondon), 2177 (Paul C. Dagondon), 2182-Part (Mario Dagondon,

2106 (Leonor Dagondon), 4797 (Veronica Dagondon), 7286 (Paulino Dagondon),

2174 (Paul C. Dagondon), 2176 (Leonor Dagondon), and building on Lot No.

2180 (Heirs of Jose Dagondon). The results of such inspection were embodied

on new tax declarations made effective April 1, 1995, except those for Lot Nos.

1908 (TD 16552), 4797 (TD 16551) and 7286 (TD 16364), which were effective

January 1, 1995.

The assessments of the subject properties from 1991 to 1995 follow:

A. LAND AND IMPROVEMENTS

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M-08Decision_JPEG2

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The tax declarations issued for the abovementioned properties

immediately prior to those effective in 1994 were those effective in 1991. A close

scrutiny of the tax declarations reveal that, except for the base unit market

values, the areas or quantities and classifications of the parcels of land and the

plants thereon are exactly the same in 1994 as in 1991, which fact leads us to

conclude that no actual inspection of the subject properties were made between

1991 and 1994.

The areas or quantities and classifications of the above-mentioned

properties in 1995 are either equal to or lower than those for the same properties

in 1994. This fact somewhat confirms our observation of the absence of an

ocular inspection immediately prior to 1994. It is but proper, fair and just that the

Respondent-Appellant’s findings per ocular inspection conducted on February

28, 1995 be made retroactive to January 1, 1994, thus:

A. LAND AND IMPROVEMENTS:

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Lot No. 2180-Part, declared in the name of Julius Dagondon, is covered by

Tax Declaration No. 9236 effective January 1, 1994. A portion of it, 0.6493

hectare, is classified as “Cocal”, Class 1 with a base market value of P14,000.00

per hectare. This lot is bounded on the N. by National Road, on the S. by Lot

2197 (Genciano Dagondon), on the E. by Lot 2180-Part (Paul C. Dagondon), and

on the W. by Lot 2183 (Daylinda Dagondon). Lot No. 2179 is classified as Cocal

Class 3 (P8,000.00/ha.) in both 1994 (TD 9240) and 1995 (TD 16555). Lot 2180-

Part (TD 94-9306) is residential land, while Lot 2183, which is also along the

National Road, is classified as Cocal Class 3 in 1995 (TD 16553). In would,

therefore, be fair and equitable if the Cocal portion of Lot 2180-Part (Julius

Dagondon) were classified as Class 3, with a base market value of P8,000.00

per hectare, starting January 1, 1994, thus:

M-08Decision_JPEG7

WHEREFORE, the resolution of the Local Board of Assessment Appeals

of Camiguin dated March 22, 1995 is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The

assessments of Lot Nos. 1908, 7824, 2179, 2183, 2177, 2182-Part, 2106, 4797,

7286, 2174, 2176, 2180-Part and the residential building on Lot No. 2180,

effective January 1, 1994, should be as above-stated.

We find no valid or cogent reason to disturb the 1994 assessments on Lot

Nos. 2105 (Leonor C. Dagondon), 2180-Part (Paul, Leonor, Veronica, Genciano,

Julius and Daylinda Dagondon) 7010 (Veronica Dagondon) and 7013 (Veronica

Dagondon) for the classifications in said assessments are substantially and

respectively the same as those in 1991.

SO ORDERED.

Manila, Philippines, August 01, 1996.

(Signed) MARGARITA G. MAGISTRADO
Chairman

(Signed) ELEANOR A. SANTOS
Member

_________________ Vacant

Reference: Book X, pp. 87-109