Republic of the Philippines

CENTRAL BOARD OF ASSESSMENT APPEALS Manila

SPS. ANDRES C. LAO AND ISMAELITA MALUTO,
Petitioners-Appellants,

CBAA CASE NO. V-12 – versus –

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

– and –

THE PROVINCIAL ASSESSOR OF LEYTE,,
Respondent-Appellee. x – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – x

RESOLUTION

PETITIONERS-APPELLANTS, through counsel, filed with this Board on

April 24, 1997 an appeal dated April 10, 1997 alleging, among others:

1. That their parcel of land (Lot 9950-P) located at Brgy. Campetic,

Palo, Leyte, which was classified as agricultural land with a total market value

of P12,900.00 and an assessed value of P5,160.00 beginning 1994 under Tax

Declaration No. 30015 00211, is now classified as commercial land with a total

market value of P1,612,770.00 and an assessed value of P806,390.00

beginning 1997 under Tax Declaration No. 30015 00456.

2. That they appealed the said assessment under Tax Declaration

No. 30015 00456 before the Local Board of the Province of Leyte on March 10,

1997;

3. That on March 17, 1997, Petitioner’s-Appellant counsel received a

letter dated March 11, 1997 from Atty. Peregrin G. Dingcong, Registrar of

Deeds and Chairman, Board of Assessment Appeals of the Province of Leyte,

stating that the appeal of Sps. Andres C. Lao and Ismaelita Maluto to the

Provincial Board of Assessment Appeals was defective;

Reference: Book IX, pp. 209-213

4. That the Armed Forces of the Philippines has laid a claim to a large

portion of the land on the ground that the said portion is part of its military

reservation, which claim should first be determined before any revision of the

assessment is made.

Petitioners-Appellants prayed of this Board to:

“a. Order the Municipal Assessor of Palo, Leyte to coordinate with the

Department of Agrarian Reform into reclassifying appellants parcel of land from

agricultural land into a commercial land as appellants do not object to the

reclassification provided the said Department of Agrarian Reform agrees to the

reclassification and deletes the same from its list of agricultural lands;

“b. Determine the claim of the Armed Forces of the Philippines that a

portion of appellant’s land is part of a military reservation;

“c. After the above are done, to determine the reasonable realty taxes to

be paid by appellants considering that the present assessment is capricious,

whimsical, unconscionable and without any basis in law or in fact.”

The letter mentioned in allegation No. 3, above, (Annex “D” of Appeal to

this Board) appears to be written under the letterhead of the Office of the

Registrar of Deeds of Leyte Province and is quoted as follows:

“March 11, 1997

“ATTY. MANUEL S. QUIMBO Formoso, Quimbo Law Office
32 J. Abad Santos cor. Ibanez Sts. Little Baguio, San Juan, Metro Manila

“Sir:

“This is to inform you that SPS. ANDRES C. LAW and ISMAELITA MALUTO’s appeal to the Provincial Board of Tax Assessment Appeals, dated March 7, 1997 and received on March 10, 1997 is defective on the following grounds:

“1. The appeal is not under oath;

“2. The appeal is not supported by copies of the previous and present tax declarations whose assessment is under appeal; and

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

“With regrets.

“Very truly yours,

Reference: Book IX, pp. 209-213

SGD: “PEREGRIN C. DINGCONG “Register of Deeds & Chairman
“Board of Tax Assessment Appeals”

The Central Board of Assessment Appeals, mandated under RA 7160, is

a collegial, appellate and quasi-judicial body which decides, on appeal before

it, decisions of the Local Boards of Assessment Appeals of the cities, and

municipalities within the Metropolitan Manila Area, and of the provinces

nationwide.

Is the afore-quoted letter of the Registrar of Deeds of Leyte a decision of

the Local Board of Assessment Appeals of Leyte? We do not believe so. In fact,

it is quite apparent that the Local Board of the Province of Leyte had not had a

chance to deliberate on the appeal before it. Otherwise, instead of a mere letter

signed by the Registrar of Deeds alone, a decision or resolution signed by the

Provincial Registrar of Deeds, as Chairman, and the Provincial Prosecutor and

the Provincial Engineer, as members, of the Local Board of Assessment

Appeals of the Province of Leyte, would have been made.

It is true that Section 226 of RA 7160 provides that any owner or person

having legal interest in the property may appeal to the Board of Assessment

Appeals of the province or cities by filing a petition “under oath in the form

prescribed for the purpose, together with copies of the tax declaration and such

affidavits or documents submitted in support thereof.” We believe, however,

that these formal requirements are only directory in character and failure on the

appellant’s part to observe these requirements is not fatal to their cause.

Proceedings in the Local Boards of Assessment Appeals, though quasi-judicial,

do not require strict observance of the Revised Rules of Court.

Petitioners-appellants’ appeal to this Board is premature. They should

have proceeded to formally rectify their petition with the Local Board after they

or their counsel received that communication from Atty. Perigrin G. Dingcong.

Reference: Book IX, pp. 209-213

WHEREFORE, let this case be, as it is hereby remanded to the Local

Board of Assessment Appeals of the Province of Leyte for further proceedings.

Petitioners-appellants should be made to comply with the substantial

requirement of Section 226, Chapter 2, Title Two, Book II of the Local

Government Code of 1991 (RA 7160) and more importantly to concretize the

basis of his/her claim of ownership to the land whose assessment is subject of

his/her claim.

SO ORDERED.

Manila, Philippines, February 9, 1998.

(Signed) MARGARITA G. MAGISTRADO
Chairman

(Signed)
ANGEL P. PALOMARES Member

(Signed) BENJAMIN M. KASALA
Member

Reference: Book IX, pp. 209-213