Republic of the Philippines
Department of Finance
CENTRAL BOARD OF ASSESSMENT APPEALS
7th Floor, EDPC Bldg., BSP Complex
Roxas Boulevard, Manila
METROPOLITAN WATERWORKS AND SEWERAGE SYSTEM,
CBAA CASE NO. L-106
-versus- (LBAA Case No. 001)
THE LOCAL BOARD OF ASSESSMENT APPEALS OF THE PROVINCE OF RIZAL,
THE PROVINCIAL ASSESSOR AND TREASURER OF THE PROVINCE OF RIZAL and THE MUNICIPALITY OF TAYTAY, RIZAL AND THE MUNICPAL ASSESSOR AND TREASURER OF TAYTAY, RIZAL,
R E S O L U T I O N
Before us is a Motion for Reconsideration filed by Petitioner-Appellant seeking a reconsideration of this Board’s Decision rendered on March 20, 2013 in the above-entitled case. Copies of this said Motion were sent via registered mail on May 14, 2013 and reached this Board on May 21, 2013.
Alleging that it received a copy of the assailed Decision on April 29, 2013, Petitioner-Appellant states that this Board “failed to appreciate material facts which if only duly considered, will definitely lead the Honorable Board to a different conclusion. Also, the Honorable Board misapplied law and jurisprudence which must be reconsidered and corrected.”
Petitioner-Appellant presents its “ARGUMENTS TO SUPPORT RECONSIDERATION” as follows:
“A. THE HONORABLE BOARD ERRED IN RULING THAT THE MWSS APPEAL BEFORE THE LBAA WAS: (A) ERRONEOUSLY DIRECTED AGAINST THE TREASURER, AND (B) AS AGAINST THE ASSESSOR, FILED OUT OF TIME FOR FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 226 OF THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT CODE (LGC), REPUBLIC ACT (RA) 7160, AS AMENDED.
“B. THE HONORABLE BOARD ERRED IN RULING THAT THE MWSS’ TAX EXEMPTION UNDER ITS CHARTER HAS BEEN WITHDRAWN UPON THE EFFECTIVITY OF REPUBLIC ACT (RA) 7160, AS AMENDED, OR THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT CODE (LGC).
“C. THE HONORABLE BOARD ERRED IN RULING THAT SECTION 133(O) IS INAPPLICABLE TO REAL PROPERTY TAXATION.
“D. THE HONORABLE BOARD ERRED IN RULING THAT MWSS IS LIABLE FOR THE PAYMENT OF REAL PROPERTY TAX (RPT) BY VIRTUE OF THE WITHDRAWAL OF TAX EXEMPTIONS UNDER SEC. 234 OF THE LGC.
“E. THE HONORABLE BOARD ERRED IN RULING THAT THE PROPERTIES SUBJECT OF THE CONTESTED ASSESSMENT ARE NOT PROPERTIES OF PUBLIC DOMINION.”
“F. THE HONORABLE BOARD ERRED WHEN IT FAILED TO APPRECIATE THAT THE ASSESSMENT WILL CAUSE UNDUE DAMAGE TO THE PUBLIC.”
Under the “DISCUSSION” of the first “ARGUMENT”, Petitioner-Appellant MWSS states:
“4. MWSS admits that it did not file an appeal within 60 days from the notice of assessment. This is because MWSS honestly believed that with the LGC’s effectivity, its exemption from RPT had been withdrawn. As a result, it religiously paid its taxes until the Supreme Court decided in MIAA vs. Pasay City exempting government instrumentalities from RPT. This MIAA decision is a supervening event that justifies the late filing of appeal from the assessments. And because of the lapse of the period to appeal, MWSS deemed it proper to avail of the only remedy available – payment under protest under Section 252 of the LGC.
“x x x
“5. It is worthy to note that the issue on appeal before this Honorable Board is the LBAA’s 27 January 2010 upholding the Municipality of Angono’s assessment against MWSS in connection with the waterworks properties and facilities and (sic) MWSS administers for and on behalf of the Republic of the Philippines.
“6. Nowhere in the appealed LBAA decision would show that the appeal MWSS filed was filed out of time. Further, it was never an issue before the LBAA that the MWSS appeal was filed out of time. Thus, it is correct to assume that LBAA acted with liberality when it decided the case based on the merits.”
It is quite clear from the above that MWSS:
(1) admits that it never filed an appeal on the subject real property assessments against the assessor concerned because it believed that its RPT exemption under its Charter had been withdrawn by the LGC;
(2) believes that it is exempt from RPT, not under the provisions of its Charter, but under the provisions of Sec. 133 of the LGC, pursuant to the Supreme Court’s decision in the MIAA vs. Pasay case; and
(3) admits that, “because of the lapse of the period to appeal, MWSS deemed it proper to avail of the only remedy available – payment under protest under Section 252 of the LGC.”
By availing “of the only remedy available – payment under protest under Section 252 of the LGC,” MWSS probably hoped that it could go around the provisions of Section 226 of the LGC. In the assailed Decision , we stated:
“Besides, Section 226 of the LGC (which prescribes, among others, the prescriptive period for appeals to the LBAA) is not merely a procedural rule. It is the law which determines the jurisdiction of the LBAA. Settled is the principle that the requirement regarding the perfection of appeals within the reglementary period is not only mandatory but also jurisdictional. The collection of taxes should not be left to uncertainty for an indefinite period of time. As the Honorable Supreme Court said in Jose B.L. Reyes, et al. v. Pedro Almanzor, et al., “Verily, taxes are the lifeblood of the government and so should be collected without unnecessary hindrance.’”
Petitioner-Appellant’s “discussions” on the other “grounds” are a rehash of the allegations/discussions contained in its Appeal dated 11 May 2010. In fact, we are almost certain that the contents of the said Appeal were merely reproduced in the Motion for Reconsideration. The reason: While under the “DISCUSSIONS” for “GROUND A” MWSS admitted that it believed that its RPT exemption under its Charter had been withdrawn by the LGC, under “GROUND B”, MWSS continued to assert that its RPT exemption under its Charter had not been withdrawn by the LGC.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant Motion for Reconsideration is hereby DENIED.
Manila, Philippines, July 11, 2013.
OFELIA A. MARQUEZ
ROBERTO D. GEOTINA CAMILO L. MONTENEGRO