Republic of the Philippines

CENTRAL BOARD OF ASSESSMENT APPEALS Manila

PROVINCIAL ASSESSOR OF LEYTE AND MUNICIPAL ASSESSOR OF ISABEL,

LEYTE,

Respondents-Appellants,

– versus –

CBAA CASE NO. V-10

Re: LBAA Case No. 002

LOCAL BOARD OF ASSESSMENT APPEALS OF THE PROVINCE OF LEYTE,
Appellee,

– and –

NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT COMPANY, Petitioner-Appellee.
x – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – x

DECISION

This is an appeal filed by Respondents-Appellants, Provincial Assessor

of Leyte and Municipal Assessor of Isabel, Leyte, from the decision rendered by

the Local Board of Assessment Appeals of Leyte on November 8, 1994 in

LBAA Case No. 002 (pp. 1-24, Records), the dispositive portion of which reads

as follows:

“IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the Provincial Board of Tax Assessment Appeals of the Province of Leyte, hereby renders decision:

“1. Ordering the Provincial Assessor of Leyte to amend/revise all the tax declaration issued to NDC as a result of the general revisions made effective for 1994 covering industrial lands and set the base unit market value thereof to P160.00 per square meter instead of P230.00 and apply the corresponding assessment level;

“2. Ordering the Municipal Assessor of Isabel, Leyte, to give a tax credit in favor of NDC for its excess payment of the real property taxes for the year 1994; and

“3. Let a copy of this decision furnish the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Leyte for its appropriate action and guidance.”

The records show that in a letter-appeal dated April 4, 1994 (pp. 25-29,

Records), Petitioner-Appellee National Development Company (NDC, for

brevity), appealed to the Local Board to review Respondents-Appellants’

Assessment Order No. 1-93 dated January 29, 1993 affecting NDC’s property

Reference: Book IX, pp. 160-192

identified as the Leyte Industrial Development Estate located in the Municipality

of Isabel, Province of Leyte, on the following grounds:

“1. The subject assessment, which unjustifiably increased the fair market value of the Leyte Industrial Estate, is unjust and excessive and, therefore, confiscatory in nature;

“2. The said assessment is not the current and fair market value of the Leyte Industrial Development Estate since the valuation of the subject propety was increased by more or less six hundred percent (600%) compared to the last assessment made for the period ending December 31, 1993. Further, even assuming that it were, it is still inequitable and, therefore, contrary to the provisions of Section 198 of the Local Government Code of 1991; and

“3. The imposition of said increase is illegal since the Sanggunian Panlunsod did not conduct genuine public hearings before enacting the same, the subject assessment was merely based on Section 219 of the Local Government Code of 1991.”

On the same day the Local Board received the appeal by NDC, or on

April 12, 1994, the Local Board wrote NDC a letter quoted as follows:

“This is to inform you that the National Development Company’s appeal to the Provincial Board of Tax Assessment Appeals, dated April 4, 1994, and received in April 12, 1994, is denied on the following grounds:

“1. The appeal did not mentioned the date the notice of assessment was received by the NDC;

“2. The appeal is not under oath and in the prescribed form;

“3. The appeal is not supported by the copies of the previous and present Tax Declarations whose assessment was under appeal; and

“4. It is not supported by any affidavits claiming that the present assessment is excessive or any other documents showing thereof.

“With regrets.”

In a motion for reconsideration subscribed and sworn to by NDC’s

counsel on May 19, 1994 and received by the LBAA on May 27, 1994 (pp. 30-

35, Records), NDC asked the LBAA to reconsider its letter-order dated April 12,

1994 on the following grounds:

“I. No notice of new assessment was ever served upon Petitioner NDC, nor is a prescribed form provided by the Leyte Provincial Assessor’s Office;

“II. A verified amended petition for review with an affidavit supporting petitioner’s claim, and copies of the previous and present tax declarations subject of the appeal, are hereto attached as annexes to this motion for reconsideration; and

“III. Petitioner has a valid and meritorious appeal.”

Reference: Book IX, pp. 160-192

In his Answer dated June 6, 1994 which was received by the Local Board

on June 14, 1994 (pp. 36-37, Records), the Municipal Assessor of Isabel

denied NDC’s allegation that “no notice of assessment was ever served upon”

NDC, saying that NDC was furnished original copies of Real Property Tax

Order of Payment (RPTOP); that NDC tendered payment for the new

assessment based on the billing of February 23, 1994 which incorporated

therein the new Revised Assessment of the General Revision of 1993; that the

basis of the billing were RPTOP Nos. 250024 and 250025, on the face of which

was written in bold letters the phrase “THIS SERVES AS A NOTICE OF

ASSESSMENT OF REAL PROPERTY PURSUANT TO SEC. 223 OF RA

7160”; but that, as usual, the Municipal Treasurer did not require NDC to sign

for the receipt of the RPTOP.

In its Position Paper dated August 23, 1994 (p. 42, Records), NDC stated

that the increase in market value of the subject property (from P35.00 per

square meter as of December 31, 1993 to P230.00 per square meter beginning

January 1, 1994) “is grossly disproportionate to other industrial estates located

elsewhere in the country, such as the First Cavite Industrial Estate (FCIE)

which, though likewise subject of an appeal before the Provincial Board of Tax

Assessment Appeals for the Province of Cavite, has been revalued only at

P160.00 per square meter.” Copies of TD 50518-I (old) and TD 5890 (new) for

that property in Cavite are found on pages 47-50 of the records. TD 50518-I

shows that that property in Cavite was valued at P30.00 per square meter

beginning 1993. NDC prayed that the current and fair market value of the

subject property be set at P105.00 per square meter.

In his Appeal dated May 30, 1995 and received by this Board on June 15,

1995, the Provincial Assessor of Leyte averred:

“1.) That in connection with the General Revision conducted by the Municipal Assessors, Province of Leyte it was in accordance with Section 219 of Local Government Code or Republic Act 7160 quote “General Revision of Assessment and Property Classification”;

Reference: Book IX, pp. 160-192

“2.) That the tax declaration revised assessment had taken effect last January 1, 1994;

“3.) That this is also in pursuance to Sangguniang Panlalawigan Resolution No. 93-609, schedule of value which has already fixed the schedule and published by posting;

“4.) That the assessment of buildings were done in accordance with law specifically Sec. 218 (assessment level RA 7160) Local Assessment Regulation 1-92 of the Department of Finance dated October 6, 1992 Sec. 38, 39 and 40;

“5.) That the assessment of machineries were done in accordance with law specifically Sec. 224 and Sec. 225 of RA 7160 Department of Finance Order No. 22-73 dated January 18, 1973 setting guidelines for the assessment of machineries; Assessment Regulation No. 1-80 dated December 9, 1981;

“6.) That the guideline issued by the Department of Finance was followed specifically;

“a. Assessment Regulation No. 7-77 of the Ministry of Finance. “b. Assessment Regulation No. 1-92
“c. Republic Act No. 7160 Sections 201 and 219.
“d. Assessment Order 21-91 January 2, 1991 hereto attached as Annex B.

“7.) That the Provincial Assessor of Leyte Mr. Salvador B. Labarda implemented the said Schedule of Values by ordering the Municipal Assessor of Isabel, Leyte, Mr. Oscar R. Delante in regard to the LDAP RPTA (Local Development Assistance Program-Real Property Tax Administration) which resulted in the said assessment based on existing laws and regulations.

“8.) That the decision was received on May 30, 1995 and that we will file our Memorandum separately.

“9.) That Docket fee of P500.00 had been paid.”

In its Answer dated July 5, 1995 and received by this Board on July 19,

1995, Petitioner-Appellee NDC alleged that the revisions conducted by

Respondents-Appellants were made in violation of Section 212 of RA 7160 for

being done without the benefit of notice and hearing; that the schedule of

values was never published in a newspaper of general circulation in Leyte nor

was it posted in the provincial capitol building therein and three (3) other

conspicuous places in the province as required by Section 212 of RA 7160; and

that the assessment of P230.00 per square meter of the Leyte Industrial

Development Estate (LIDE) is unjust and excessive, and does not represent the

true and fair market value thereof, being grossly disproportionate to other

industrial estate located elsewhere in the country.

In a manifestation and memorandum dated August 15, 1995 and

received by this Board on August 31, 1995, the Provincial Assessor stated that

Reference: Book IX, pp. 160-192

the appeal by NDC was filed out of time since NDC received the Notice of

Assessment on February 23, 1994 and NDC’s Protest, in the form of a Motion

for Reconsideration before the Local Board, was filed only on May 27, 1994,

“which is more than sixty days as required by the Rules and Procedure before

the Local Board of Assessment Appeals pursuant to Sec. 230, (sic) Chapter III,

Title 2, Book 2 of the Local Government Code of 1991 or RA 7160.” The

Provincial Assessor prayed that the decision of the Local Board dated

November 8, 1994 be reversed for lack of jurisdiction.

In a counter manifestation dated October 9, 1995 and received by this

Board on October 12, 1995, NDC maintained that it did not receive a written

notice of assessment; that it did receive by mail on March 4, 1994 – not

February 23, 1994 – a billing from the Municipal Treasurer of Isabel; that the

appeal was initiated by a letter-protest filed on April 12, 1994 – not by the

Motion for Reconsideration which was a mere offshoot of the Local Board’s

Order dated April 12, 1994 initially denying the appeal on technical grounds.

In their Memorandum and Manifestation dated November 11, 1995 and

received by this Board on November 20, 1995, Respondents-Appellants stated

that the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Leyte enacted and passed Resolution

No. 609-93 dated July 13, 1993 which was approved by the Provincial

Governor; that NDC was first notified of the new assessment on February 9,

1994 with the service of RPTOP Nos. 250024 and 250025, together with the

newly revised tax declarations; that NDC was notified for the second time of the

revised assessment on February 23, 1994 with the service of the billing which

was readily paid by NDC; that NDC’s letter-appeal filed with the Local Board on

April 12, 1994, which was dismissed by the Local Board on the same day for

not being in the prescribed form, did not stop the running of the prescriptive

period of sixty (60) days provided in Section 226 of RA 7160; that NDC’s motion

for reconsideration filed on May 27, 1994 was 104 days from and after February

9, 1994, the first time NDC was notified of the revised assessment, and 94 days

Reference: Book IX, pp. 160-192

from and after February 23, 1994, the second time NDC was notified of the

same assessment; that the LBAA erred in giving due course to the NDC’s

motion for reconsideration; and that the LBAA had no authority or jurisdiction to

amend, alter, change or modify Resolution No. 609-93 of the Sangguniang

Panlalawigan of Leyte.

In its Reply dated December 6, 1995 and received by this Board on

January 8, 1996, NDC reiterated its stand that no notice of new assessment

was ever served upon it by Respondent-Appellants; that NDC’s appeal to the

Local Board was made well within the required sixty-day period; that

Respondents-Appellants are deemed to have waived any objection on the

alleged irregularity on the filing of the appeal before the appellee LBAA; that the

appellee LBAA has the full power and authority to amend, alter and/or modify

the re-assessment made by the respondents-appellants; that the P230.00 per

square meter assessment made by the respondents-appellants is unjust and

excessive, and does not represent the true and fair market value of the LIDE

peninsula; and that the imposition of the increase in market value of LIDE is

invalid, there being no public hearing conducted, and the requirements of

publication and posting not having been compiled with.

In their Rejoinder dated December 28, 1995 and received by this Board

on January 19, 1996, Respondents-Appellants reiterated that the LBAA cannot

change the assessments in question which were based on market values

adopted and enacted into Resolution No. 609-93 by the Sangguniang

Panlalawigan of Leyte; that since, in effect, NDC is questioning the validity or

constitutionality of Resolution No. 609-93m the procedure laid down under

Section 187 of RA 7160 should have been followed and, accordingly, the

protest of NDC should have been filed with the Office of the Secretary of

Justice.

As far as this Board sees it, the issues involved in the instant appeal are

as follows:

Reference: Book IX, pp. 160-192

1. Whether or not NDC’s appeal to the board aquo was filed within the

reglementary period;

2. Whether or not Resolution No. 609-93 of the Sangguniang

Panlalawigan of Leyte is invalid for alleged lack of public hearing and

publication;

3. Whether or not the board aquo had the power and authority to make a

decision which would contravene the provisions on market values of the Local

Government Unit’s Ordinance adopting the same schedule of market values;

and

4. Whether or not the base market value of P230.00 per square meter

represents the current and fair market value of the properties in question.

The reglementary period for appeals to the local boards is provided for in

Section 226 of RA 7160, 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 of city by filing a petition under oath in form prescribed for the purpose, together with copies of the tax declaration and such other affidavits or documents submitted in support of the appeal.” (Underscoring supplied)

Obviously, we have to determine first when, if at all, a written notice of

the questioned assessment was sent to NDC as required by Section 223 of RA

7160. NDC maintains that it was never served with such written notice.

On the other hand, Respondents-Appellants maintain that NDC was

notified of the same assessments twice: First, on February 9, 1994 when the

Municipal Treasurer of Isabel furnished NDC with copies of RPTOP Nos.

250024 and 250025, on which was written in bold letters the phrase “THIS

SERVES AS A NOTICE OF ASSESSMENT OF REAL PROPERTY

PURSUANT TO SEC. 223 OF RA 7160”, and Second, on February 23, 1994

when the Municipal Treasurer of Isabel sent a billing which was allegedly paid

by NDC, Respondents-Appellants admit that NDC was not required to

Reference: Book IX, pp. 160-192

acknowledge in writing the actual receipts of said documents. NDC, however,

acknowledged that it received the billing by mail on March 4, 1994.

Section 223 of RA 7160 states that the provincial, city or municipal

assessor shall send the written notice of assessment, thus:

“SEC. 223. Notification of New or Revised Assessment. – When real property is assessed for the first time or when an existing assessment is increased or decreased, the provincial, city or municipal assessor shall within thirty (30) days give written notice of such new or revised assessment to the person in whose name the property is declared. The notice may be delivered personally or by registered mail or through the assistance of the punong barangay to the last known address of the person to be served.” (Underscoring supplied)

We have consistently held that the real property tax order of payment

(RPTOP) or the collection letter or the billing from the office of the provincial or

municipal treasurer is not the notice of assessment which is required to be sent

under Section 223 of RA 7160 (or under Section 27 of P.D. No. 464) and the

implementing regulations promulgated thereunder (Filipinas Synthetic Fiber

Corp. vs. BAA and Provincial Assessor of Batangas, CBAA Case No. 123, also

cited in Leticia B. Agawin vs. BAA and City Assessor of Manila, CBAA Case

No. 192).

In the majority of jurisdiction, statutes requiring the assessor to notify the

taxpayers has been held to be mandatory so that an assessor cannot make a

valid assessment unless he has given prior notice (Viuda y Hijos de Pedro

Roxas vs. Rafferty, 31 Phil 957).

Considering that the provincial assessor and the municipal assessor both

failed to serve the written notice of assessment required by law, the 60-day

period could not have run against petitioner-appellee. To deny the appeal of

petitioner-appellee on the ground that his right thereto had prescribed would be

tantamount to denying him due process. The rule is that statutory provisions

for notice and hearing must be regarded under the rules of construction

as mandatory; that compliance with them in all essential particulars

should be held as condition precedent to any further proceedings; and

that “it is not enough to sustain a tax under such circumstance that the officers

Reference: Book IX, pp. 160-192

have acted with just intent, or even that the assessment is relatively fair, the

conclusive answer to any suggestion of the kind. . . (being) that the party has

been denied his lawful right to meet such a claim at the proper time” (Cooley,

Taxation, Vol. 3, Fourth Ed., pp. 2264-2265; Filipinas Synthetic Fiber Corp. vs.

BAA and Provincial Assessor of Batangas, supra).

Even assuming, for a moment, that the required written notice of

assessment were served upon NDC, such notice could only be the billing which

NDC acknowledged to have received on March 4, 1994. Respondents-

Appellants could not and did not offer any proof that NDC received any written

notice earlier. The sixty-day period started only from March 4, 1994 and would

have expired on May 3, 1994. NDC’s letter-protest dated April 4, 1994 was

received by the Local Board on April 12, 1994, well within said reglementary

period. The letter of denial by the Registrar of Deeds dated April 12, 1994 was

received by NDC on May 12, 1994 and NDC’s motion for reconsideration dated

May 19, 1994 was received by the Local Board on May 27, 1994, fifteen (15)

days from the date NDC received the order of denial and well within the

prescriptive period for filing motions for reconsideration.

Respondents-Appellants argued that NDC filed its appeal, by way of the

motion for reconsideration, only on May 27, 1994 since the letter-protest dated

April 4, 1994 could not be considered as an appeal for not being sufficient in

form and substance.

We believe that the insufficiency in form and substance of NDC’s letter-

protest dated April 4, 1994 was not fatal to NDC’s case. As provided for under

Section 229(b) of RA 7160, “x x x The proceedings of the Board shall be

conducted solely for the purpose of ascertaining the facts without necessarily

adhering to technical rules applicable in judicial proceedings.”

In Jesus E. Sanchez vs. BAA and Provincial Assessor of Batangas

(CBAA Case No. 252, Dec. 3, 1990), we said:

“In CBAA Case No. 154, Atlas Consolidated Mining and Development Corporation, Petitioner-Appellant, versus the Board of Assessment Appeals

Reference: Book IX, pp. 160-192

of Masbate, et al., it was ruled that “the requirement on formalities and procedure should be liberally interpreted to give substance and meaning to the law and not to frustrate the rights of the individuals” (Asperac vs. Itchon, 16 SCRA 921 (1966); Manila Railroad vs. Attorney General, 20 Phil. 523 (1971) and “that failure to file a notice of appeal under oath is not a ground for dismissal of an appeal”, such deficiency being curative in nature. Furthermore, “absence of the oath is a formal and not a jurisdictional defect” (Valino vs. Munoz, 35 SCRA 700 (1967) and the “oath may just be ordered to be accomplished” (Oshita vs. Republic, 19 SCRA 700 (1967), cited in CBAA Case No. 154, supra).

“The requirement regarding the use of the prescribed form”, does not prelude the use of other forms so long as such other form is sufficient to inform the reviewing authority of the basis of the appeal; that it clearly and sufficiently states the date upon which the reviewing authority may base his evaluation of the appeal; and that it contains the specific grounds for the appeal, fully substantiated by the necessary documents (Supio vs. Garde, 45 SCRA 429 (1972), cited in CBAA Case No. 154, supra).

“The filing of a subsequent appeal in the prescribed form by Petitioner-Appellant on June 19, 1989, after hearing, but before final resolution has cured the deficiencies in his first Notice of Appeal because amendments relate back to the date of the original pleading sought to be amended. Since amendment presupposes the existence of something to be amended, the tolling of the period should relate back to the filing of the pleading sought to be amended (CBAA Case No. 154, supra, citing the Supreme Court’s ruling in the case of the Philippine Independent Church vs. Mates, 1 SCRA 1110 (1970)).”

Therefore, this Board believes, and so holds, that even if the written

notice of assessment required by law were served upon NDC, the latter’s

appeal was still filed within the prescriptive period provided for by law.

On the second issue, NDC argues that the revisions conducted by

Respondents-Appellants were made in violation of Section 212 of RA 7160 for

being done without the benefit of notice and hearing; that the schedule of

market values was never published in a newspaper of general circulation in

Leyte nor was it posted in the provincial capitol building therein and in three

other conspicuous places in the province as required by Section 212 of RA

7160. Said Section 212 provides as follows:

“SEC. 212. Preparation of Schedule of Fair Market Values. – Before any general revisions of property assessment is made pursuant to the provisions of this Title, there shall be prepared a Schedule of fair market values by the provincial, city and municipal assessors of the municipalities within the Metropolitan Manila Area for the different classes of real property situated in their respective local government units for enactment by ordinance of the sanggunian concerned. The schedule of fair market values shall be published in a newspaper of general circulation in the province, city or municipality concerned, or in the absence thereof, shall be posted in the provincial capitol, city or municipal hall and in two other conspicuous public places therein. (Underscoring supplied)

A certification under the letterhead of the Office of the Sangguniang

Panlalawigan of Leyte (Annex “A” to Memorandum and Manifestation for

Reference: Book IX, pp. 160-192

Respondents-Appellants) signed by the Assistant Provincial Secretary and

noted by the Provincial Secretary, both of the Province of Leyte, states thus:

“C E R T I F I C A T I O N

“THIS IS TO CERTIFY that pursuant to the provisions provided for in Republic Act 7160 and a matter of procedure, SP Resolution No. 609-93 dated July 13, 1993 has been posted in the capitol building and copies thereof were sent to the municipalities in the Province of Leyte for the same purpose.

“This certification is being issued upon the request of the interested party for whatever legal purpose it may serve.

SGD. “ARTURO E. ANDRADE “Assistant Provincial Secretary

“NOTED:

SGD. “MANUEL E. CADANO Provincial Secretary”

The law says that, in the absence of a newspaper of general circulation in

the locality, the schedule of fair market values shall be posted in the

provincial capitol, city or municipal hall and in two other conspicuous

public places therein.

With the above-quoted certification, it is presumed that SP Resolution

No. 609-93 dated July 13, 1993 of Leyte had been posted in the capitol building

and copies thereof were sent to the municipalities in the Province of Leyte for

posting in their respective municipal halls. There is that disputable presumption

that official duty has been performed (Sec. 3(m), Rule 131, Revised Rules of

Court). This Board believes, and so holds, that NDC has not successfully

overcome this presumption (See Benjamin H. Tirol v. BAA & Prov. Assessor of

Capiz, CBAA Case No. 52).

Upon the other hand, although Section 212, RA 7160, supra, requires the

publication or posting of the schedule of fair market values, it does not require

public hearing on the same. Nor does it state that consequences of failure to so

publish or post the same schedule. The inescapable conclusion, therefore, is

that failure to comply with the requirement of publication or posting of the

schedule of fair market values does not render the said schedule and the

Reference: Book IX, pp. 160-192

enabling ordinance null and void as taxpayers, who may not agree with the

assessments based thereon, are still protected by the provisions of Section 226

of RA 7160.

As to the third issue, did the local board aquo have the power and

authority to make a decision which would contravene the provisions on market

values of the local government unit’s ordinance adopting the same schedule of

market values?

Respondents-Appellants say that the LBAA of Leyte did not have such

power or authority because that would be tantamount to declaring the

ordinance as unconstitutional, and the procedure to be followed in such a case

would be that provided under Section 187, RA 7160, where the appeal should

have been to the Secretary of Justice, not the LBAA, thus:

“SEC. 187 Procedure for Approval and Effectivity of Tax Ordinances and Revenue Measures; Mandatory Public Hearings. – The procedure for approval of local tax ordinances and revenue measures shall be in accordance with the provisions of this code: Provided, That public hearings shall be conducted for the purpose prior to the enactment thereof: Provided, further, That any question on the constitutionality or legality of tax ordinances or revenue measures may be raised on appeal within thirty (30) days from the effectivity thereof to the Secretary of Justice who shall render a decision within sixty (60) days from the date of receipt of the appeal: Provided, however, That such appeal shall not have the effect of suspending the effectivity of the ordinance and the accrual and payment of the tax, fee, or charge levied therein: Provided, finally, That within thirty (30) days after receipt of the decision or the lapse of the sixty-day period without the Secretary of Justice acting upon the appeal, the aggrieved party may file appropriate proceedings with a court of competent jurisdiction. (Underscoring supplied)

Respondents-Appellants’ contention is untenable. Book II of RA 7160

deals on “Local Taxation and Fiscal Matters” and is subdivided into six (6) titles,

the first two of which are “Title One – Local Government Taxation” and “Title

Two – Real Property Taxation”. Title One (Local Government Taxation) is a

reproduction of P.D. 231, otherwise known as the Local Tax Code, which took

effect on July 1, 1973; Title Two (Real Property Taxation) is a reproduction of

P.D. 464, otherwise known as the Real Property Tax Code, which took effect on

June 1, 1974.

The first two sections of “Local Government Taxation” read as follows:

Reference: Book IX, pp. 160-192

“SEC. 128. Scope. – The provisions herein shall govern the exercise by provinces, cities, municipalities and barangays of their taxing and other revenue-raising powers.

“SEC. 129. Power to Create Source of Revenue. – Each local government unit shall exercise its power to create its own sources of revenue and to levy taxes, fees, and charges subject to the provisions herein, consistent with the basic policy of local autonomy. Such taxes, fees, and charges shall accrue exclusively to the local government units.”

On the other hand, Sections 197 and 200 of RA 7160 under “Real

Property Taxation” read as follows:

“SEC. 197. Scope. – This Title shall govern the administration, appraisal, assessment, levy and collection of real property tax.”

“SEC. 200. Administration of Real Property Tax. – The provinces, and cities including the municipalities within the Metropolitan Manila area, shall be primarily responsible for the proper, efficient and effective administration of the real property tax.”

It is clear that Section 187 of RA 7160, supra, refers to the procedure for

approval and effectivity of local tax ordinances and local revenue measures. It

does not affect the real property tax which is likewise a national tax.

In Benguet Corporation vs. Central Board of Assessment Appeals,

et al., (G.R. No. 100959, June 29, 1992), the Supreme Court ruled:

“The challenge of petitioner against the applicability of Meralco Securities Industrial Corporation v. Central Board of Assessment Appeals, et al. (199 Phil. 453; G.R. No. L-46245, May 31, 1982) is unavailing, absent any cogent reason to overturn the same. Thus –

“Meralco Securities argues that the realty tax is a local tax or levy and not a tax of general application. This argument is untenable because the realty tax has always been imposed by the lawmaking body and later by the President of the Philippines in the exercise of his law-making powers, as shown in Sections 342 et seq. of the Revised Administrative Code, Act No. 3995, Commonwealth Act No. 470 and Presidential Decree No. 464.

“The realty tax is enforced throughout the Philippines and not merely in a particular municipality or city but the proceeds of the tax accrue to the province, city, municipality and barrio where the realty taxed is situated (Sec. 86, P.D. No. 464), in contrast, a local tax is imposed by the municipal or city council by virtue of the Local Tax Code, Presidential Decree No. 231, which code took effect on July 1, 1973 (69 O.G. 6197).”

While Section 187, RA 7160, supra, provides, among others, for the

procedure for attacking the constitutionality of a local tax ordinance or

revenue measure, Section 226, RA 7160 (formerly Section 30 of P.D. 464),

supra, governs appeals from the action of the assessor in the assessment

of real property.

Reference: Book IX, pp. 160-192

Under the provisions of Section 226, supra, the Local Board is directed to

entertain and pass upon any application for review of any owner or person

having legal interest in the property who is not satisfied with the action of the

assessor in the assessment of his property. “The action” means any and all

actions by the assessor leading to the questioned assessment, including those

which give rise to questions of law, as in the present case. Thus, in Manila

Medical Services vs. BAA and City Assessor of Manila (CBAA Case No.

86), this Board ruled:

“Sec. 30 directs every local Board of Assessment Appeals to entertain and pass upon the application for review of any owner who is not satisfied with the action of the provincial or city assessor in the assessment of his property. In other words, the Local Board may review any action taken by the provincial or city assessor in the assessment under appeal. Since the law does not distinguish and use the all-embracing words “the actions”, this should be interpreted to include all the acts of the assessor leading to the questioned assessment, such as those which give rise to questions of law, as in the present case. (Underscoring supplied)

“Furthermore, it has been held that x x x where administrative boards or officers are established by law for the review and correction of assessments, the remedy thus provided is exclusive, and is the only one available in the first instance, for the purpose of granting relief falling within the powers conferred on such administrative agencies, unless an alternative procedure, judicial or otherwise, is expressly made available as a method of reviewing and correcting assessments.”

Respondents-Appellants argued that Resolution No. 609-93 of the

Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Leyte is beyond the jurisdiction and competence

of the Local Board. This Board does not agree. Title Two (Real Property

Taxation), Book II, RA 7160, as it is written now, is basically the same as P.D.

464 (Real Property Tax Code). Both laws provide that the preparation of the

schedule of market values shall be done by the assessor but, instead of the

Secretary of Finance approving the said schedule under P.D. 464, the local

sanggunian concerned now approves the same schedule under RA 7160. If,

under the provisions of P.D. 464, the local boards had jurisdiction to review all

actions by the assessor leading to the questioned assessment, including those

which give rise to questions of law, there is no reason why they (local boards)

cannot do the same under RA 7160.

Reference: Book IX, pp. 160-192

Accordingly, this Board believes, and so holds, that the LBAA of Leyte

has the power to review the schedule of base market values provided under

Resolution No. 609-93 of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Leyte, upon which

Respondents-Appellants based the questioned assessments.

On the fourth issue, NDC stated that the increase in market value of the

subject property from P35.00 per square meter (effective 1991 to 1993) to

P230.00 per square meter (beginning January, 1994) “is grossly

disproportionate to other industrial estates located elsewhere in the country,

such as the First Cavite Industrial Estate (FCIE) which, though likewise subject

of an appeal before the Provincial Board of Assessment Appeals for the

Province of Cavite, has been revalued only at P160.00 per square meter.

Copies of Tax Declaration Nos. 50518-I (old) and 5890 (new) which are found

on pages 47-50 of the records, show that NDC’s parcel of land in FCIE was

indeed valued at P30.00 per square meter effective 1993 and P160.00 per

square meter effective January 1, 1994.

Respondents-Appellants stated that the general revisions of assessment

property classification was conducted in accordance with the provisions of

Sections 219, 217 and 220 of RA 7160 and in conformity with the various

guidelines of the Department of Finance: and that the valuations were in

accordance with Resolution No. 609-93 of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of

Leyte.

The schedule of fair market values for Isabel, Leyte, which was adopted

by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Leyte under its Resolution No. 609-93,

was prepared and recommended by the Municipal Assessor of Isabel and

approved, or supposed to have been approved, by the Provincial Assessor of

Leyte. Respondents-Appellants vigorously defended the said schedule for the

simple reason that Isabel is “industrialized”. Yet, when NDC presented

evidence showing that NDC’s property situated in the First Cavite Industrial

Estate was valued at only P160.00 per square meter, vis-à-vis P230.00 per

Reference: Book IX, pp. 160-192

square meter in Isabel, Leyte, Respondents-Appellants did not dispute the

same nor offer evidence in support of their own valuation of P230.00 per square

meter.

It could not be denied that Metro Manila is the very center of commerce

in the Philippines. The FCIE is 25 kms. away from the international airport; 30

to 40 kms. from Makati; and 30 to 36 kms. from the center of Metro Manila.

Isabel is in the Visayas. There is no showing that the Leyte Industrial

Development Estate (LIDE) was far more developed than the FCIE. Surely, the

fair market value per square meter for parcels of industrial land situated in the

LIDE could not be greater than that for parcels of industrial land situated in the

FCIE. Accordingly, this Board agrees with the Local Board, and so holds, that

the fair market value for NDC’s industrial lands within the Leyte Industrial

Development Estate was P160.00 instead of P230.00 per square meter as of

January 1, 1994.

WHEREFORE, a Decision is hereby rendered MODIFYING the decision

of the Local Board of Assessment Appeals of Leyte dated November 8, 1994 in

LBAA Case No. 2 and ORDERING the Provincial Assessor of Leyte:

1. To recommend to, or make representations with, the Sangguniang

Panlalawigan of Leyte, for the amendment of Resolution No. 609-93 dated July

13, 1993, by changing the schedule of fair market values of industrial lands in

the LIDE from P230.00 to P160.00 per square meter, retroactive to January 1,

1994, in accordance with the provisions of Section 214 of RA 7160.

2. Accordingly, to revise, or cause the revision of, the assessment

covering the industrial lands of National Development Company situated in the

Leyte Industrial Development Estate (LIDE), by changing the base unit market

values of said lands from P230.00 to P160.00 per square meter, retroactive to

January 1, 1994.

SO ORDERED.

Manila, Philippines, May 29, 1998.

Reference: Book IX, pp. 160-192

(Signed) MARGARITA G. MAGISTRADO
Chairman

(Signed)
ANGEL P. PALOMARES Member

(Signed) BENJAMIN M. KASALA
Member

Reference: Book IX, pp. 160-192