Republic of the Philippines

CENTRAL BOARD OF ASSESSMENT APPEALS Manila

MARIO B. KUIZON, ET AL, Petitioners-Appellants,

– versus –

CBAA CASE NO. V-04 BOARD OF ASSESSMENT APPEALS
OF CEBU CITY,

Appellee,

– and –

CITY ASSESSOR OF CEBU CITY, Respondent-Appellee.
x – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – x

D E C I S I O N

This is an Appeal taken by Petitioners-Appellants from an Order of the

Local Board of Assessment Appeals of Cebu City dated July 1, 1993 dismissing

its Case No. 372.

It appears from the records that Petitioners-Appellants, through Mr. Mario

B. Kuizon, filed with the Local Board on November 19, 1992 a petition for

review of Tax Declaration No. GR-05-029-00087 alleging that the increase from

P12,420.00 to P186,300.00 in the assessed value of the land described

thereunder was excessive, unjust and unfair.

On January 14, 1993, the Local Board issued an order approving

Petitioners-Appellants’ withdrawal of the latter’s appeal. However, Petitioners-

Appellants, in a letter dated and received by the Local Board on January 22,

1993 (p. 17, Records), revived Case No. 372, stating that the questioned tax

declaration was not signed by the Respondent-Appellee, City Assessor.

On April 29, 1993, Respondent-Appellee filed with the Local Board his

Answer with a motion to dismiss appeal (pp. 29-32 Records). He stated that,

based on an ocular inspection, the subject property, Lot 1 (854-A-1 & 854-A-6),

is located along Gen. Maxilom Avenue, Barangay Cogon-Ramos, Cebu City,

with an area of 207 square meters, more or less, and assessed at P1,800.00

Reference: Book VII, pp. 214-223

per square meter pursuant to the 1981-84 schedule of market values prevailing

in said area; that the predominant use of said land was commercial, hence the

assessment level of 50%.

On July 1, 1993, the Local Board issued the following Order (p. 38,

Records), viz:

“When this case was called for hearing, neither Owner-Appellant nor his Counsel appeared, Miss TRINIDAD S. MODINA, appeared for the Respondent-Appellee.

“According to Miss MODINA, the subject property known as Lot 1 (854-A-1 and 854-A-6) located along Gen. Maxilom Avenue., Barangay Cogon-Ramos, this City, with an area of 207 square meters and is assessed at P1,800.00 per square meter pursuant to the 1981-84 Schedule of Market Values prevailing in said area which is still the controlling price at present.

“IN VIEW THEREOF, case is hereby ordered dismissed.”

In their memorandum filed with this Board on September 3, 1993 (pp. 40-

43, Record) Petitioners-Appellants prayed that the subject lot be assessed at

30% less than the base unit value of P1,800.00 per square meter for being

below street level; that the assessment level should be only 30% for being

residential; and that the assessment should take effect only after the general

revision shall have been legaly completed, as in the case of Raul H. Sesbreno

vs. City Assessor of Cebu City (LBAA Case Nos. 100 and 285 to 295).

Respondent-Appellee, in his Answer filed with this Board on November 3,

1993 (pp. 55-67, Records), alleged that the Petitioners-Appellant’s Appeal has

no legal and factual basis since the lot in question is classified as commercial

per zoning ordinance of Cebu City; that, although the area where the lot is

located is of mixed use, the predominant use is commercial and, therefore, the

assessment level to be applied should be 50%; that an ocular inspection of the

property will show that it is not below street level; and that the case of Raul H.

Sesbreno vs. City Assessor of Cebu City cannot be made as basis considering

that the same is still pending on appeal.

This Board on January 3, 1994 directed the parties to submit their

respective comments on the fact that the copy on file of the questioned Tax

Reference: Book VII, pp. 214-223

Declaration does not appear to have been signed by the Respondent-Appellee

and in the absence of a written notice of assessment.

In his Comments received by this Board on July 1, 1994, Respondent-

Appellee argues that “it is the position of the herein Respondent-Appellee that

Tax Declaration No. GR-05-029-00087 should be cancelled and new tax

declaration covering the subject property with the same assessed valuation and

with the same tax effectivity retroacting from the year 1989 be issued” and that

“the principle of estoppel will come to play in this instant case with regard to the

said Tax Declaration No. GR-05-029-00087. It can be established from the

records that both parties (and more specially the owner-appellant) did not raise

the issue during the early conception of this case up to the stage of its final

resolution, for it can be recalled that this Honorable Hearing Officer himself was

the very person who discovered the same.”

Petitioners-Appellants, in their Manifestation received by this Board on

July 6, 1994, stated that they were submitting the case for Resolution by this

Board.

It is noted that Petitioners-Appellants and their counsel did not appear on

several scheduled hearings of this case before the Local Board. Ordinarily, the

Local Board would have been justified in dismissing the appeal before it for

failure on the part of the Petitioners-Appellants to prosecute or pursue the

same. This Board also noted that subject Tax Declaration No. GR-05-029-

00087 (p. 7, Record), which was issued supposedly to cancel Declaration No.

048-01018 with the tax thereunder to begin in the year 1989, appears to have

been signed by “Ma. ALMICAR C. EDERA”, Tax Mapper I, as the official

administering the supposed oath of the owner. However, the Sworn Statement

of Owner and owner’s signature are absent therefrom. The same tax

declaration does not appear to have been signed by either the Assessor or his

duly authorized assistant or deputy. Clearly, therefore, Tax Declaration No. GR-

Reference: Book VII, pp. 214-223

05-029-00087 was issued not in accordance with the law and shall be

considered not valid and enforceable.

The functions of appraisal and assessment primarily for taxation

purposes of all real properties in the local government unit concerned are to be

exercised only by the Assessor in conformity with the provisions of the

governing law on realty taxations, i.e., previously C.A. 470, otherwise known as

the Assessment Law, followed by the Real Property Tax Code, P.D. 464, as

amended, which became effective on June 1, 1974, and presently, the Local

Government Code of 1991, R.A. 7160, particularly Section 472 thereof. These

functions may, however, be assigned or delegated by the Assessor to his

Assistant or Deputy.

Were there is not a valid tax declaration and a written notice of

assessment, the prescriptive period does not run against Petitioners-

Appellants. Consequently, dismissal of the appeal by the Local Board does not

constitute a bar to filing another appeal involving the same parties, issues or

subject matters. In view thereof, this Board deems it appropriate to take

cognizance of the Appeal, instead of remanding the case back to the Local

Board.

Anent “the position of the herein Respondent-Appellee that Tax

Declaration No. GR-05-029-00087 should be cancelled and new tax declaration

covering the subject property with the same assessed valuation and with the

same tax effectivity retroacting from the year 1989 be issued” and that “the

principle of estoppel will come to play in this instant case with regard to the sais

Tax Declaration No. GR-05-029-00087”, this Board has no jurisdiction to rule on

this matter as it speaks of prospective and independent events or acts, the

occurrence of which – and any objections thereto – may never come into being.

It matters not that, except as mentioned by Petitioners-Appellants in their

letter to the Local Board dated January 22, 1993 (re absence of City Assessor’s

signature on the tax declaration), the issue of the validity or invalidity of the tax

Reference: Book VII, pp. 214-223

declaration was not formally raised by Petitioners-Appellants in any stage of the

proceedings since this Board may, on appropriate instances, exercise its broad

discretionary power to waive the lack of proper assignment of errors and

consider errors not assigned. Thus, as quoted in Raul H. Sesbreno vs. BAA

and City Assessor of Cebu City (CBAA Case No. 257, October 24, 1991,) the

Supreme Court, in pertinent decisions, held:

“While an assignment of error which is required by law or rule of court has been held essential to appellate review, and only those assigned will be considered, there are a number of cases which appear to accord to the appellate court a broad discretionary power to waive the lack of proper assignment of errors and consider errors not assigned. And an unassigned error closely related to an error properly assigned, or upon which the determination of the question raised by the error properly assigned in dependent, will be considered by the appellate court, notwithstanding the failure to assign it as error.” (Hernandez vs. Andal, No. L-273, March 29, 1947; 44 O.G. 2672; 78 Phil. 196); or “make findings of fact, in a particular case, contrary to the findings of the trial court, even if no specific error is assigned.” (Sec. 5, Rule 53, 2 Moran’s, pp. 333-336; Dilag vs. Heirs of Resurrection, et al., 43 O.G. 438, May 6, 1949; Sebial vs. Alimpolos, et al., CA-G.R. No. 7771-R, June 28, 1950); or “the appellate court motu propio takes cognizance of palpable errors committed by the trial court and proceeds to correct the same even if the correction favors the appellee,” (Sec. 5, Rule 53, Rules of Court; Royal Shirt Factory vs. Co Bon Tic; No. L-6313, May 14, 1954).

WHEREFORE, the Order of the Local Board appealed from is hereby

SET ASIDE. Subject tax declaration No. GR-05-029-00087 is hereby

DECLARED VOID AND UNENFORCEABLE.

SO ORDERED.

Manila, Philippines, March 3, 1995.

(Signed) MARGARITA G. MAGISTRADO
Chairman

(Signed)

ELEANOR A. SANTOS VACANT Member Member

Reference: Book VII, pp. 214-223