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Bacolod City, Philippines Thursday, January 25, 2018
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Monico seeking
TRO on property tax

Former Bacolod mayor Monico Puentevella filed a civil case before the Regional Trial Court Tuesday seeking a temporary restraining order and/or writ of preliminary injunction to prevent the implementation of City Ordinance No. 827, or the new real property tax (RPT) ordinance.

The case was filed by Puentevella against Mayor Evelio Leonardia, the Sangguniang Panlungsod represented by its presiding officer, Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran, City Assessor Maphilindo Polvora, and City Treasurer Giovanni Balalilhi, asking the court to set aside C.O. 827 and to declare it unconstitutional for being violative of the equal protection clause and R.A. 7160 or the Local Government Code.

Puentevella said he is not against taxation but C.O. 827 is unconstitutional, exorbitant and unfair, and that he is asking for its review.

The timing is out of bounds in the light of the looming effects of the TRAIN law on the economic state of the people, he said.

Asked for his comment, Leonardia said he has not read the case but they will check on it.

But one thing's for sure, this RPT law (C.O. 827) is much lower, more reasonable and more acceptable to the people, while his (Puentevella's) version had been declared null and void by competent authorities, he said.

“I understand he and his company were invited to the public hearing and since the RPT revision started, we were fully conscious of all the procedures and requirements to make this legal, reasonable, responsive and as acceptable as possible,” Leonardia said.

Puentevella said his RPT law was declared null by the Department of Justice and void due to technicalities like the date of publication, and not based on the merit.

Proxima Centauri Realty and the Bacolod Real Estate Development Corp., had filed a petition before the DOJ questioning the validity and legality of C.O. 08-14-700, or an “Ordinance updating the schedule of market value of real properties in the City of Bacolod

The Chamber of Real Estate Builder's Association, and Subdivision Housing Developers Association-Negros Occidental chaptershad also filed a civil case against the City of Bacolod for the declaration of nullity of C.O. No. 08-14-700, seeking the issuance of a TRO.

Puentevella claimed that during his term, the RPT law was done based on what the law says with uniformity and equality.

He said he met several people complaining against the high increase in the rates of the new RPT ordinance (C.O. 827). Among those who have filed a complaint with the city are Vallacar Transit Inc. and SM City – Manila.

In his complaint, Puentevella said C.O. 827 dated Oct. 26, 2017 has violated Sec. 1, Art lll and Sec. 28 (1), Art VI of the Constitution which provides that the rule of taxation should be uniform and equitable. It also violated.

He said it also violated Section 198 of R.A. 7160 or the Local Government Code; it is invalid as it adopts a method of assessment and appraisal of real property contrary to the IIR of R.A. 7160; and is null and void because it did not adhere to the provisions of the Philippine Valuation Standards.

On the other hand, Puentevella's son, Councilor Claudio Puentevella said he voted against C.O. 827 along with three other councilors, namely Councilors Wilson Gamboa Jr., Sonya Verdeflor and Ana Marie Palermo, while Councilor Ricardo Tan abstained.

He said those who did not support the approval of the ordinance will not be included in the case.

Claudio Puentevalla, on the other hand, said this year's annual budget is P2.25 billion or about P250 million increase compared to the budget last year. A big chunk of the budget is expected to come from the real property tax adjustment.

He saidthe city will have a big problem in case the complaint filed by his father will prosper because it will not be able to reach the P250 million increase.

He claimed that almost P70 million of the budget will be allocated for general services and solidwaste management. These projects will not be implemented in case the RPT adjustment will not push through.

Claudio Puentevellasaid the city is expecting about P400 million increase from the new RPT law*CGS



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