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Prof. Joselito Guianan Chan's The Labor Code of the Philippines, Annotated Labor Standards & Social Legislation Volume I of a 3-Volume Series 2019 Edition (3rd Revised Edition)
 

 
Chan Robles Virtual Law Library
 
 

 
UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT JURISPRUDENCE
 

 
PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT JURISPRUDENCE
 

   
March-1997 Jurisprudence                 

  • G.R. No. 51765 March 3, 1997 - REPUBLIC PLANTERS BANK v. ENRIQUE A. AGANA, SR., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 93397 March 3, 1997 - TRADERS ROYAL BANK v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 99425 March 3, 1997 - ANTONIO RAMOS, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 100487 & 100607 March 3, 1997 - ARTURO JULIANO v. SANDIGANBAYAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 106581 March 3, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RENATO FLORES, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 110419 March 3, 1997 - UERM-MEMORIAL MEDICAL CENTER, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 114383 March 3, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JOEL COREA

  • G.R. No. 116437 March 3, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. PABLITO ANDAN

  • G.R. No. 117161 March 3, 1997 - RAMON INGLES v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 120704 March 3, 1997 - BARTOLOME C. CARALE, ET AL. v. PAMPIO A. ABARINTOS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 123321 March 3, 1997 - ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP OF MANILA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 123361 March 3, 1997 - TEOFILO CACHO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 125198 March 3, 1997 - MSCI-NACUSIP v. NWPC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 84449 March 4, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. BENEDICTO JAVIER, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 102876 March 4, 1997 - BATAAN SHIPYARD AND ENG’G CORP. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 118607 March 4, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JULITO FRANCO

  • Adm. Matter No. RTJ-96-1335 March 5, 1997 - INOCENCIO BASCO v. LEO H. RAPATALO

  • G.R. No. 126576 March 5, 1997 - RICARDO M. ANGOBUNG v. COMELEC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 83598 March 7, 1997 - LEONCIA BALOGBOG, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 94994-95 March 7, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. LILIBETH CACO

  • G.R. No. 106212 March 7, 1997 - PROGRESS HOMES, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 108395 March 7, 1997 - HEIRS OF TEODORO GUARING, JR. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 108604-10 March 7, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FEDERICO A. BURCE

  • G.R. No. 113420 March 7, 1997 - REPUBLIC OF THE PHIL. v. SANDIGANBAYAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 113905 March 7, 1997 - LEOPOLDO ALICBUSAN v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116211 March 7, 1997 - MEYNARDO POLICARPIO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116512 March 7, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. WILLIAM O. CASIDO, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. RTJ-96-1353 March 11, 1997 - DANILO B. PARADA v. LORENZO B. VENERACION

  • G.R. No. 127066 March 11, 1997 - REYNALDO O. MALONZO v. COMELEC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 117169 March 12, 1997 - PHILTREAD WORKERS UNION, ET AL. v. NIEVES R. CONFESOR, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 121917 March 12, 1997 - ROBIN CARIÑO PADILLA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 99301 & 99343 March 13, 1997 - VICTOR KIERULF, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 100333 March 13, 1997 - HILARIO MAGCALAS, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 103611 March 13, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. CESAR HERBIETO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 107131 March 13, 1997 - NFD INT’L. MANNING AGENTS, INC. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 108454 March 13, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. TEDDY QUINAO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 109779 March 13, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. NESTOR MAÑOZCA

  • G.R. No. 110067 March 13, 1997 - LINDA T. ALMENDRAS v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 111478 March 13, 1997 - GEORGE F. SALONGA, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 111567 March 13, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. TEODORICO AVILLANO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116123 March 13, 1997 - SERGIO NAGUIAT, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116228 March 13, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. EPIFANIO GAYON, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116352 March 13, 1997 - J. & D.O. AGUILAR CORP. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 116596-98 March 13, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. LORENZO TOPAGUEN

  • G.R. No. 117266 March 13, 1997 - CONTEMPT PROCEEDINGS AGAINST VENTURA O. DUCAT, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 117955-58 March 13, 1997 - HERMINIGILDO TOMARONG, ET AL. v. ANTONIO C. LUBGUBAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 119058 March 13, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ERLINDA VILLARAN

  • G.R. No. 120853 March 13, 1997 - RUDY ALMEDA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 122427 March 13, 1997 - BENJAMIN LAZA, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 123881 March 13, 1997 - VIVA PRODUCTIONS, INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 91694 March 14, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. SABAS CALVO, JR., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 97626 March 14, 1997 - PHIL. BANK OF COMMERCE, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 114387 March 14, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ALEJANDRO DEVILLERES

  • G.R. No. 120592 March 14, 1997 - TRADERS ROYAL BANK EMPLOYEES UNION v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 121765 March 14, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RANDOLF B. MONTEALTO

  • G.R. No. 122646 March 14, 1997 - ADELIA C. MENDOZA v. ANGELITO C. TEH, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 112229 March 18, 1997 - RAYMOND PE LIM v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 114924-27 March 18, 1997 - DANTE NACURAY, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 119321 March 18, 1997 - CATALINO F. BAÑEZ, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • Bar Matter No. 712 March 19, 1997 - PETITION OF AL ARGOSINO TO TAKE THE LAWYER’S OATH

  • G.R. Nos. 100382-100385 March 19, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MARIO TABACO

  • G.R. No. 111157 March 19, 1997 - ITOGON-SUYOC MINES, INC. v. OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 117029 March 19, 1997 - PELTAN DEVELOPMENT, INC., ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 121112 March 19, 1997 - FELICIDAD MIRANO, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 127325 March 19, 1997 - MIRIAM DEFENSOR SANTIAGO, ET AL. v. COMELEC, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. P-95-1159 March 20, 1997 - COURT ADMINISTRATOR v. WILLIAM C. SEVILLO

  • G.R. No. 88684 March 20, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. CESAR LACBANES

  • G.R. No. 95551 March 20, 1997 - REPUBLIC OF THE PHIL. v. CONCEPCION S. ALARCON VERGARA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 107019 March 20, 1997 - FRANKLIN M. DRILON, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116404 March 20, 1997 - FRANCISCO LUNA, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 117218 March 20, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. GERRY NALANGAN

  • G.R. No. 119599 March 20, 1997 - MALAYAN INSURANCE CORP. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 127456 March 20, 1997 - JESUS A. JARIOL, ET AL. v. COMELEC, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. MTJ-96-1091 March 21, 1997 - WILFREDO NAVARRO v. DEOGRACIAS K. DEL ROSARIO

  • G.R. No. 107699 March 21, 1997 - ALEX JACOBO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116692 March 21, 1997 - SAMAR II ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 117097 March 21, 1997 - SAMAHAN NG OPTOMETRISTS SA PILIPINAS, ET AL. v. ACEBEDO INTL. CORP., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 118436 March 21, 1997 - HEIRS OF MANUEL A. ROXAS, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 118836 March 21, 1997 - FEDERICO DORDAS, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 122728 March 21, 1997 - CASIANO A. ANGCHANGCO, JR. v. OMBUDSMAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 123037 March 21, 1997 - TEODORO Q. PEÑA v. HRET, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. P-96-1184 March 24, 1997 - NBI, ET AL. v. RODOLFO TULIAO

  • G.R. No. 106588 March 24, 1997 - RAUL H. SESBREÑO v. CENTRAL BOARD OF ASSESSMENT APPEALS, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. RTJ-89-318 March 25, 1997 - LUCIANA Vda. DE ARAGO v. PATERNO T. ALVAREZ

  • G.R. No. 96229 March 25, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. GLORIOSA S. NAVARRO

  • G.R. No. 124137 March 25, 1997 - ROY M. LOYOLA v. COMELEC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 126298 March 25, 1997 - PATRIA C. GUTIERREZ v. COMELEC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 99032 March 26, 1997 - RICARDO A. LLAMADO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 101817 March 26, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FELIPE IMMACULATA

  • G.R. No. 107801 March 26, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROSARIA V. IGNACIO

  • G.R. No. 110613 March 26, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. EDGAR VILLANUEVA

  • G.R. No. 113470 March 26, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DANILO CORBES, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 115951 March 26, 1997 - ZEBRA SECURITY AGENCY, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 117378 March 26, 1997 - GIL CAPILI, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 117408 March 26, 1997 - NATIONAL INVESTMENT AND DEV. CORP. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 117604 March 26, 1997 - CHINA BANKING CORP. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 118332 March 26, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. IRENEO PEREZ

  • G.R. No. 119528 March 26, 1997 - PAL, INC. v. CIVIL AERONAUTICS BOARD, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 121031 March 26, 1997 - ROSAURO I. TORRES v. COMELEC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 122013 March 26, 1997 - JOSE C. RAMIREZ v. COMELEC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 124333 March 26, 1997 - NATIVIDAD P. ARAGON v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 119877 March 31, 1997 - BIENVENIDO ONGKINGCO, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  •  




     
     

    G.R. No. 106588   March 24, 1997 - RAUL H. SESBREÑO v. CENTRAL BOARD OF ASSESSMENT APPEALS, ET AL.

     
    PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

    THIRD DIVISION

    [G.R. No. 106588. March 24, 1997.]

    RAUL H. SESBREÑO, Petitioner, v. CENTRAL BOARD OF ASSESSMENT APPEALS and THE CITY ASSESSOR OF CEBU CITY, Respondents.

    Raul S. Sesbreño in his own behalf .

    The Solicitor General for Respondents.


    SYLLABUS


    1. TAXATION; CENTRAL BOARD OF ASSESSMENT APPEALS; DECISIONS OR RESOLUTIONS THEREOF MAY BE RAISED IN A PETITION FOR CERTIORARI UNDER RULE 65, NOT RULE 45, OF THE RULES OF COURT. — "Appeal by certiorari" or a petition for review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court is not the correct remedy in questioning the decisions and resolutions of the Central Board of Assessment Appeals. Rather, a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court on the ground of grave abuse of discretion should be filed.

    2. REMEDIAL LAW; COURTS; PAYMENTS UNDER PROTEST OF CONTESTED ASSESSMENT; JURISDICTIONAL REQUIREMENT, The CBAA decision dated September 30, 1991 and the assailed Resolution dated July 28, 1992 show that petitioner failed to pay under protest the tax assessed against his property. This is a violation of Section 64 of Presidential Decree No. 464 which requires that, before a court may entertain any suit assailing the validity of a tax assessment, the taxpayer must first pay under protest the tax assessed against him.

    3. ID.; ACTIONS; APPEALS; APPELLATE COURT WITH INHERENT AUTHORITY TO REVIEW UNASSIGNED ERRORS. — As a rule, no issue may be raised on appeal unless it has been brought before the lower tribunal for its consideration. The Court has held in several cases, however, that an appellate court has an inherent authority to review unassigned errors (1) which are closely related to an error properly raised, or (2) upon which the determination of the error properly assigned is dependent, or (3) where the Court finds that consideration of them is necessary in arriving at a just decision of the case. Although the foregoing citations specifically referred to "appellate courts," there appears no reason why these should not apply to appellate administrative agencies, where rules of procedure are liberally construed.

    4. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; CASE AT BAR. — In the present case, we hold that Respondent CBAA did not err in considering the issue of back taxes, the same being closely related to an error properly raised. Petitioner himself assailed the subject assessment before the Respondent CBAA for being "excessive and unconscionable." In resolving this issue, Respondent CBAA was duty-bound to review the factual antecedents of the case and to apply thereon the pertinent provisions of law. In the process, Respondent CBAA applied Section 25 of PD 464 which had authorized the imposition of back taxes. In any event, consideration of the question of back taxes is essential to a just decision on the case, as will be shown below.

    5. TAXATION; REAL PROPERTY TAX CODE; "DECLARED FOR THE FIRST TIME" IN SECTION 25 THEREOF, CONSTRUED. — In Lopez v. Crow which involved the interpretation of Section 12 of Act 2238, a provision similar to Section 25 of PD 464, the Court rejected a parallel argument that the said provision "refers solely to real estate declared for the first time and does not apply to the area which, upon revision, has been shown to be in excess of that which was formerly declared." The Court held that the area in excess of that declared by the taxpayer was deemed declared for the first time upon its discovery.

    6. ID.; ID.; PROSPECTIVE APPLICATION OF ASSESSMENT UNDER SECTION 24 THEREOF DOES NOT ELIMINATE IMPOSITION OF BACKWAGES. — Section 24 merely lays down the general rule that assessments under PD 464 are to be given prospective application. It cannot be construed in such a manner as to eliminate the imposition of back taxes. If Section 24, instead of Section 25, were made to apply as suggested by petitioner, he would in effect be excused from the payment of back taxes on the undeclared excess area of his property. The Court, clearly, cannot allow a taxpayer to evade his obligation to the government by letting him pay taxes on a property based on its gross undervaluation at P60,000.00, when the same had then a current market value of P449,860.00.

    7. STATUTORY CONSTRUCTION; CONSTRUCTION WHICH WILL RESULT IN GREAT INCONVENIENCE SHOULD BE AVOIDED. — It is another well-established rule of statutory construction that where great inconvenience will result from a particular construction, or great public interests would be endangered or sacrificed, or great mischief done, such construction is to be avoided, or the court ought to presume that such construction was not intended by the makers of the law, unless required by clear and unequivocal words. (25 R. C. L., pp. 1025-1027).

    8. ID.; WHERE A LEGAL PROVISION IS SUSCEPTIBLE OF TWO INTERPRETATIONS, ONE WHICH IS IN CONSONANCE WITH THE PRESUMED INTENTION OF THE LEGISLATURE SHOULD BE ADOPTED. — If Section 24 is the only applicable provision in cases where a taxpayer has eluded the payment of the correct amount of taxes for more than nine (9) years, as in this case, Section 25 of PD 464 which requires the payment of back taxes will be rendered superfluous and nugatory. Such interpretation could not have been intended by the law. It is a familiar rule in statutory construction that" (t)he legal provision being therefore susceptible of two interpretations, we adopt the one in consonance with the presumed intention of the legislature to give its enactments the most reasonable and beneficial construction, the one that will render them operative and effective and harmonious with other provisions of law."cralaw virtua1aw library

    9. TAXATION; REAL PROPERTY TAX CODE; BASIS OF MARKET VALUE OF PROPERTY. — Acquisition cost cannot be and is not the sole basis of the current and fair market value of a property. The current value of like properties and their actual or potential uses, among others, are also considered. Petitioner also argues that "the number of stories that a building has or its floor area are irrelevant, immaterial or impertinent in the determination of market value as basis for computing the assessed value." This deserves scant consideration. It is a matter of plain common sense that a building with more floors has a higher market value than one with fewer floors, provided that both are of the same materials. Hence, the tax declaration of the building in question should have accurately reflected its actual area and number of floors, these being necessary for the accurate valuation thereof.

    10. ID.; ID.; CERTIFICATION REQUIRED IN SECTION 23 THEREOF, NOT APPLICABLE WHERE ASSESSMENT WAS NOT BASED ON GENERAL REVISION OF PROPERTY ASSESSMENTS. — Petitioner claims that Respondent City Assessor of Cebu City has not yet completed the general revision of property assessments for years 1981-1984 and has not yet submitted the certification required by Section 23 of PD 464 to the Secretary of Finance; hence, he may not yet be held liable to pay any assessment. This claim lacks merit. As found by Respondent CBAA, the questioned assessment had not been imposed pursuant to a general revision of property assessments that had not yet taken effect.

    11. ID.; ID.; SECTION 25 THEREOF NOT PENAL IN CHARACTER, HENCE MAY NOT BE CONSIDERED AN EX POST FACTO LAW. — When both Public Respondents CBAA and City Assessor imposed back taxes on petitioner’s property, they did not violate the rule that laws shall have only prospective applicability. Respondents were only applying PD 464 which had been in effect since 1974. Besides, Section 25 of PD 464 is not penal in character; hence, it may not be considered as an ex post facts law.

    12. REMEDIAL LAW; SUPREME COURT, NOT A TRIER OF FACTS— The submission of these documents before us cannot establish that his property is covered by PD No. 20. The documents were never presented as documentary exhibits before the City Assessor of Cebu City, Local Board of Assessment Appeal or CBAA. This Court, not being a trier of facts, cannot consider these alleged evidence submitted for the first time in this special civil action.


    D E C I S I O N


    PANGANIBAN, J.:


    In resolving the validity of retroactive real estate tax assessments, may the Central Board of Assessment Appeals and thereafter the Supreme Court take up and consider issues not raised before the Local Board of Assessment Appeals? For the purpose of assessing back taxes on real estate, what is the meaning of the phrase "declared for the first time?" Specifically, may such back taxes be assessed on a property — initially declared as a "residential house of strong materials" — after the City Assessor discovered years later that such property was after all a residential building consisting of four storeys with a fifth storey used as roof deck?

    These are some of the questions raised in this petition to annul and set aside the Resolution 1 dated July 28, 1992 of Respondent Central Board of Assessment Appeals 2 in CBAA Case No. 257.

    The Facts


    On April 3, 1980, petitioner purchased from Estrella Benedicto Tan two (2) parcels of land covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. T-55917 issued by the Register of Deeds of Cebu City 3 and described in the deed of sale as follows: 4

    "A parcel of land (Lot 308 of the Cadastral Survey of Cebu), with the improvements thereon, situated in the City of Cebu (formerly Municipality of Cebu), containing an area of Forty Nine (49) square meters, more or less . . .

    A parcel of land (Lot 309 of the Cadastral Survey of Cebu), with the improvements thereon, situated in the City of Cebu, containing an area of Forty Eight (48) square meters, more or less . . ."cralaw virtua1aw library

    The conveyance included "a residential house of strong materials constructed on the lots above-mentioned" 5 located in Cebu City.

    Thereafter, petitioner declared the real property constructed on the said lots for purposes of tax assessment as a residential house of strong materials with a floor area of sixty (60) square meters. Effective in the year 1980, the declared property was assessed by Respondent City Assessor of Cebu City under Tax Declaration No. 02-20454 at a market value of P60,000.00 and an assessed value of P36,900.00. 6

    During a tax-mapping operation conducted in February 1989, the field inspectors of the Cebu City Assessor discovered that the real property declared and assessed under Tax Declaration No. 02-20454 was actually a residential building consisting of four (4) storeys with a fifth storey used as a roof deck. The building had a total floor area of 500.20 square meters. The area for each floor was 100.04 square meters. The building was found to have been made of Type II-A materials. On October 17, 1990, these findings were confirmed by the Board of Commissioners in an ocular inspection conducted on the subject property.

    Based on the findings of the field inspectors, Respondent City Assessor of Cebu City issued Tax Declaration No. GR-06-045-00162 effective in the year 1989, canceling Tax Declaration No. 02-20454 and assessing the building therein at a net market value of P499,860.00 and an assessed value of P374,900.00. The 1981-1984 Schedule of Market Value was applied in the assessment. 7

    Petitioner protested the new assessment for being "excessive and unconscionable," 8 contending that it was increased by more than 1,000% as compared to its previous market value of P60,000.00 or assessed value of P36,900.00 under Tax Declaration No. 02-20454 and "that he bought the building including the lots for only P100,000.00 on April 3, 1980, which amount should be the market value of the building for purposes of determining its assessed value." 9 He questioned the new assessment before the Local Board of Assessment Appeals of Cebu City, which however dismissed petitioner’s appeal on January 11, 1990. 10 Hence, petitioner elevated his case to Respondent Central Board of Assessment Appeals.chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary

    On September 23, 1991, Respondent CBAA rendered a decision, 11 the dispositive portion of which reads as follows: 12

    "WHEREFORE, premises considered, the appealed Resolution is hereby modified, viz.:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    For the purpose of determining the back taxes due on the excess area of subject building for the years 1981 to June 30, 1987, Respondent-Appellee (Respondent City Assessor of Cebu) is hereby directed to issue a new tax declaration effective 1981 based on the following assessments:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    Type II-A Building (Residential) at

    P380.00/sq. m. (Minimum Rate)

    Undeclared Unit Value

    Excess Area Per Sq. M. Market Value

    S1 — (95-60) 35 sq. m. P380.00 P13,300.00

    S2 — 95 sq. m. 380.00 36,100.00

    S3 — 95 sq. m. 380.00 36,100.00

    S4 — 95 sq. m. 380.00 36,100.00

    S5 — Roof deck 95 sq. m. 30% of 380.00 10,830.00

    Total 415 sq. m. P132,430.00

    Assessment Level x 45%

    Assessed Value P59,593.50

    For the purpose of determining the back taxes due on the excess area of subject building for the years July 1, 1987 to 1989, Respondent-Appellee is hereby ordered to issue another tax declaration effective July 1, 1987, to supersede the tax declaration (effective 1981) to be issued above based on the following assessments:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    Type II-A Building (Residential)

    at P1.400.00/sq. m. (Minimum Rate)

    Undeclared Unit Value

    Excess Area Per Sq. M. Market Value

    S1 — (95-4) 35 sq. m. P1,400.00 P49,000.00

    S2 — 95 sq. m. 1,400.00 133,000.00

    S3 — 95 sq. m. 1,400.00 133,000.00

    S4 — 95 sq. m. 1,400.00 133,000.00

    S5 — Roof deck 95 sq. m. 30% of 1,400.00 39,900.00

    Total 415 sq. m. P487,900.00

    Less: 30 % Depreciation allowance — 146,370.00

    Net Market Value P341,530.00

    Assessment Level x 65%

    Assessed Value P221,994.50"

    Not satisfied, petitioner then filed a motion for reconsideration. During the hearing on said motion, the parties submitted a joint manifestation or compromise agreement which reads: 13

    "1. That the revised valuation of the property is P78,330.00 as ASSESSED VALUE, classifying the property as class II-B at P1,110 per sq. m., the building having been completed and occupied in 1950 or forty-two (42) years ago;

    2. That Section 23 of Presidential Decree No. 464 APPLIES to this case considering that the appellee has NOT YET SUBMITTED the required CERTIFICATION to the Secretary of Finance to the effect that the GENERAL REVISION OF PROPERTY ASSESSMENTS FOR CEBU CITY HAS BEEN FINISHED. Sec. 23 of P.D. 464 uses the CONJUNCTIVE WORD ‘AND’ between the phrases: ‘ASSESSMENTS SHALL BECOME EFFECTIVE and ‘TAXES SHALL ACCRUE AND BE PAYABLE.’"

    Thereafter, Respondent CBAA issued the assailed Resolution accepting the joint manifestation "for whatever purpose it may be worth to the case," raising "no objection to Manifestation No. 1 for being not contrary to law or public policy" but finding that "Manifestation No. 2 has no bearing on the instant case because Section 25 and not Section 23 of P.D. 464 is the law applicable . . ." 14 The dispositive portion of the now assailed Resolution reads: 15

    "WHEREFORE, our Decision on (sic) this case is hereby MODIFIED. For purposes of determining the back taxes due on the excess area of subject building from 1981 to 1989, Respondent-Appellee Assessor of Cebu City is hereby ordered to issue —

    1. Tax Declaration effective 1981 to June 30, 1987, based on the minimum rate per sq. m. for a Type II-B building, in accordance with the 1978-79 Schedule of Values;

    2. Tax Declaration to supersede Tax Declaration No. 1 to be effective from July 1, 1987 to the year 1988, based on the minimum rate per sq. m. for a Type II-B building, in accordance with the 1981-1984 Schedule of Values; and

    3. Tax Declaration to supersede Tax Declaration No. 2 to take effect in 1989, based on the revised valuation provided under No. 1 of the Joint Manifestation of the parties hereof."cralaw virtua1aw library

    The Issues


    Disagreeing with the foregoing, petitioner thus filed this "APPEAL BY CERTIORARI" assigning the following errors allegedly committed by Respondent CBAA: 16

    "1. Respondent CBAA gravely erred in resolving the matter of back taxes which was never raised in issue in the Local Board of Assessment Appeals of Cebu City or in the appeal by the petitioner before the Central Board of Assessment Appeals (CBAA).

    2. Respondent CBAA gravely erred in disregarding the jurisprudence in Reyes v. Almanzor 17 , 196 SCRA 328 (should be 322).

    3. Respondent CBAA gravely erred in mis-interpreting or mis-applying Section 25 of P.D. 464;

    4. Respondent CBAA gravely erred in disregarding or failing or refusing to apply Section 23 of P.D. 464."cralaw virtua1aw library

    In his Memorandum dated July 23, 1993, petitioner refined the issues as follows: 18

    "B-1. Whether or not Respondent Central Board of Assessment Appeals erred in resolving the issue of back taxes from 1981 to 1988 despite the fact that such issue was not raised in the appeal, under its pretext that it is applying Section 25 of Presidential Decree No. 464.

    B-2. Whether or not Respondent Central Board of Assessment Appeals erred in not strictly applying par. n, Section 3, Presidential Decree No. 464 defining ‘market value’ as basis for computing the ‘assessed value’;

    B-3. Whether or not Respondent Central Board of Assessment Appeals erred in not strictly applying or refusing to apply Section 23 of Presidential Decree No. 464.

    Corollary Issues:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    a. Whether or not respondent CBAA’s assessment is discriminatory, unjust, confiscatory and unconstitutional.

    b. Whether or not P.D. No. 20, as invoked in the doctrinal jurisprudence of Reyes v. Almanzor, 196 SCRA 328, may be applied to the case at bar in relation with par. n, Sec. 3, P.D. 464 defining ‘market value’ which was cited in the Reyes v. Almanzor case (. . .)."cralaw virtua1aw library

    The Court’s Ruling


    The petition has no merit.

    Preliminary Matters

    At the outset, it should be emphasized that "appeal by certiorari" or a petition for review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court is not the correct remedy in questioning the decisions and resolutions of the Central Board of Assessment Appeals. Rather, a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court on the ground of grave abuse of discretion should be filed. 19

    Moreover, the CBAA decision dated September 30, 1991 and the assailed Resolution dated July 28, 1992 show that petitioner failed to pay under protest the tax assessed against his property. This is a violation of Section 64 of Presidential Decree No. 464 20 which requires that, before a court may entertain any suit assailing the validity of a tax assessment, the taxpayer must first pay under protest the tax assessed against him. The said section provides:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    "SEC. 64. Restriction upon power of court to impeach tax. — No court shall entertain any suit assailing the validity of tax assessed under this Code until the taxpayer shall have paid, under protest, the tax assessed against him nor shall any court declare any tax invalid by reason of irregularities or informalities in the proceedings of the officers charged with the assessment or collection of taxes, or of failure to perform their duties within this time herein specified for their performance unless such irregularities, informalities or failure shall have impaired the substantial rights of the taxpayer; nor shall any court declare any portion of the tax assessed under the provisions of Code invalid except upon condition that the taxpayer shall pay the just amount of the tax, as determined by the court in the pending proceeding." (Emphasis supplied)

    For the foregoing lapses, if for no other, this case ought to be dismissed. However, there are other cogent reasons showing that the petition has no merit. These will be shown as we tackle the various issues raised by petitioner in his memorandum.

    Petitioner’s First Issue: Propriety of

    Raising the Issue of Back Taxes

    Petitioner argues that the issue of back taxes has never been raised before the Local Board of Assessment Appeals or the Central Board of Assessment Appeals. Hence, respondents are barred by due process and fair play from alleging them before Respondent CBAA and now before this Court.

    As a rule, no issue may be raised on appeal unless it has been brought before the lower tribunal for its consideration. 21 The Court has held in several cases, however, that an appellate court has an inherent authority to review unassigned errors (1) which are closely related to an error properly raised, or (2) upon which the determination of the error properly assigned is dependent, or (3) where the Court finds that consideration of them is necessary in arriving at a just decision of the case.

    Thus:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    ". . . In line with the modern trends of procedure, we are told that, ‘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 the error properly assigned, or upon which the determination of the question raised by the error properly assigned is dependent, will be considered by the appellate court notwithstanding the failure to assign it as error.’ (4 C.J.S., 1734; 3 C.J., 1341, footnote 77)." 22

    "At any rate, the Court is clothed with ample authority to review matters, even if they are not assigned as errors in their appeal, if it finds that their consideration is necessary in arriving at a just decision of the case . . ." 23

    Although the foregoing citations specifically referred to "appellate courts," there appears no reason why these should not apply to appellate administrative agencies, where rules of procedure are liberally construed.

    In the present case, we hold that Respondent CBAA did not err in considering the issue of back taxes, the same being closely related to an error properly raised. Petitioner himself assailed the subject assessment before the Respondent CBAA for being "excessive and unconscionable." In resolving this issue, Respondent CBAA was duty-bound to review the factual antecedents of the case and to apply thereon the pertinent provisions of law. In the process, Respondent CBAA applied Section 25 of PD 464 which had authorized the imposition of back taxes. In any event, consideration of the question of back taxes is essential to a just decision on the case, as will be shown below.

    Second Issue: Applicability

    of Section 24, PD 464

    Arguing that he should not be liable for back taxes, petitioner states that Respondent CBAA should have applied Section 24, instead of Section 25, of PD 464. These statutory provisions read:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    "Section 24. Date of effectivity of Assessment or Reassessment. — All assessments or reassessments made after the first day of January of any year shall take effect on the first day of January of the succeeding year: Provided, however, That the reassessment of real property due to its (1) partial or total destruction, or to (2) a major change in its actual use, or to any (3) great and sudden inflation or deflation of real property values, (4) or to the gross illegality of the assessment when made or to any other abnormal cause, shall be made within ninety days from the date any such cause or causes occurred, the same to take effect at the beginning of the quarter next following the reassessment.

    Section 25. Assessment of Property Subject to Back Taxes. — Real property declared for the first time shall have back taxes assessed against it for the period during which it would have been liable if assessed from the first in proper course but in no case for more than ten years prior to the year of initial assessment; Provided, however, that the back taxes shall be computed on the basis of the applicable schedule of values in force during the corresponding period.

    If said taxes are paid before the expiration of the tax collection period next ensuing, no penalty for delinquency shall be imposed, otherwise the taxes shall be subject to all the penalties to which they would have been liable had they originally become delinquent after assessment of the property in the usual course."cralaw virtua1aw library

    Opposing the application of Section 25 of PD 464, petitioner posits that Respondent CBAA "misread or misinterpreted" the same, specifically the phrases therein referring to "property declared for the first time" and "prior to the year of initial assessment." 24 Without expressly stating so, petitioner purports to argue that Section 25 is inapplicable because the property in question has been declared for assessment as early as 1980 (and even before that, by the prior owner), and not "for the first time" in 1989.

    Petitioner’s argument is not novel. In Lopez v. Crow 25 which involved the interpretation of Section 12 26 of Act 2238, a provision similar to Section 25 of PD 464, the Court rejected a parallel argument that the said provision "refers solely to real estate declared for the first time and does not apply to the area which, upon revision, has been shown to be in excess of that which was formerly declared." 27 The Court held that the area in excess of that declared by the taxpayer was deemed declared for the first time upon its discovery. It ratiocinated thus: 28

    ". . . it is neither just that another landowner should be permitted by an involuntary mistake or through other causes, not to say bad faith, to state an area far less than that actually contained in his land and pay to the State a tax far below that which he should really pay. This was one of the objects of the Legislature in ordering the revision, so that all real estate should pay the taxes that legally must accrue to the State. Wherefore, even taking the Spanish text of the phrase in (S)ection 12 of Act No. 2238 that ‘real property declared for the first time shall have taxes assessed against it, etc.,’ it should not be understood to apply only to real estate that have (sic) never been declared; as within the meaning of such phrase, the excess areas resulting from the revision must be understood as never having been declared before; because only that area must be deemed as declared which is stated in the declaration sheet, and the area over and above that cannot be considered as ever having been declared." (Emphasis supplied)

    Section 24 merely lays down the general rule that assessments under PD 464 are to be given prospective application. It cannot be construed in such a manner as to eliminate the imposition of back taxes. If Section 24, instead of Section 25, were made to apply as suggested by petitioner, he would in effect be excused from the payment of back taxes on the undeclared excess area of his property. The Court, clearly, cannot allow a taxpayer to evade his obligation to the government by letting him pay taxes on a property based on its gross undervaluation at P60,000.00, when the same had then a current market value of P449,860.00.

    Accepting the petitioner’s position will necessarily prejudice the public interest, for the government is thereby deprived of back taxes which ought to have been paid in the first place. This will certainly subvert the raison d’etre of the law which is to raise taxes, the lifeblood of the government. This cannot be allowed, for 29

    ". . . it is another well-established rule of statutory construction that where great inconvenience will result from a particular construction, or great public interests would be endangered or sacrificed, or great mischief done, such construction is to be avoided, or the court ought to presume that such construction was not intended by the makers of the law, unless required by clear and unequivocal words. (25 R. C. L., pp. 1025-1027)." chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary

    Furthermore, if Section 24 is the only applicable provision in cases where a taxpayer has eluded the payment of the correct amount of taxes for more than nine (9) years, as in this case, Section 25 of PD 464 which requires the payment of back taxes will be rendered superfluous and nugatory. Such interpretation could not have been intended by the law. It is a familiar rule in statutory construction that" (t)he legal provision being therefore susceptible of two interpretations, we adopt the one in consonance with the presumed intention of the legislature to give its enactments the most reasonable and beneficial construction, the one that will render them operative and effective and harmonious with other provisions of law." 30

    Third Issue: Applicability

    of Par. N, Section 3, PD 464

    Petitioner insists that Respondent CBAA should have computed the assessed value of the property based on its market value as defined in paragraph n, Section 3 of PD 464, to wit:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    "n) Market Value — is defined as "the highest price estimated in terms of money which the property will buy if exposed for sale in the open market allowing a reasonable time to find a purchaser who buys with knowledge of all uses to which it is adapted and for which it is capable of being used." It is also referred to as "the price at which a willing seller would sell and a willing buyer would buy, neither being under abnormal pressure."cralaw virtua1aw library

    We cannot sustain petitioner’s contention. The cited provision merely defines "market value." It does not in any way direct that the market value as defined therein should be used as basis in determining the value of a property for purposes of real property taxation. On the other hand, Section 5 of PD 464 provides unequivocally that" (a)ll real property, whether taxable or exempt, shall be appraised at the current and fair market value prevailing in the locality where the property is situated." 31

    Contrary to petitioner’s contention, acquisition cost cannot be and is not the sole basis of the current and fair market value of a property. The current value of like properties and their actual or potential uses, among others, are also considered. Thus, it has been held:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    ". . . (A)ssessors, in fixing the value of property, have to consider all the circumstances and elements of value, and must exercise a prudent discretion in reaching conclusions. Courts, therefore, will not presume to interfere with the intelligent exercise of the judgment of men specially trained in appraising property. Where, as the Supreme Court of Louisiana says, (when) the judicial mind is left in doubt, it is a sound rule to leave the assessment undisturbed. (Viuda e Hijos de Pedro P. Roxas v. Rafferty [1918], 37 Phil., 957; New Orleans Cotton Exchange v. Board of Assessors, supra.)" 32

    Other circumstances militate against the acceptance of petitioner’s argument. Unscrupulous sellers of real estate often understate the selling price in the deed of sale to minimize their tax liability. Moreover, the value of real property does not remain stagnant; it is unrealistic to expect that the current market value of a property is the same as its cost of acquisition ten years ago. In this light, a general revision of real property assessment is required by law every five (5) years 33 to ensure that real properties are assessed at their current and fair market values.

    Petitioner also argues that "the number of stories that a building has or its floor area are irrelevant, immaterial or impertinent in the determination of market value as basis for computing the assessed value."cralaw virtua1aw library

    This deserves scant consideration. It is a matter of plain common sense that a building with more floors has a higher market value than one with fewer floors, provided that both are of the same materials. Hence, the tax declaration of the building in question should have accurately reflected its actual area and number of floors, these being necessary for the accurate valuation thereof.

    Petitioner’s Fourth Issue: Application of

    Section 23 of PD 464

    Petitioner argues that the CBAA erred in refusing to apply Section 23 of PD 464 which provides:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    Section 23. Certification of Revised Values to the Secretary of Finance. — When the provincial or city assessor shall have finished a general revision of property assessments for any province, municipality or city, he shall so certify to the Secretary of Finance and the assessments shall become effective and taxes shall accrue and be payable thereunder in accordance with the provisions of this Code.

    Petitioner claims that Respondent City Assessor of Cebu City has not yet completed the general revision of property assessments for years 1981-1984 and has not yet submitted the certification required by Section 23 of PD 464 to the Secretary of Finance; hence, he may not yet be held liable to pay any assessment. 34

    This claim lacks merit. As found by Respondent CBAA, 35 the questioned assessment had not been imposed pursuant to a general revision of property assessments that had not yet taken effect. Respondent CBAA held:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    "(F)or purposes of determining the back taxes due for the years 1981 to June 30, 1987, the excess area of subject building should be assessed on the basis of the Schedule of Base Unit Construction Costs for Buildings applicable for the 1978-1979 General Revision. The tax declaration covering the said assessment became effective in 1981. To determine the back taxes due for the years July 1, 1987 to 1989, the same excess area should be assessed using the 1981-1984 Schedule of Base Unit Construction Costs of Buildings. The 1981-1984 Schedule of Values were approved by the Secretary (Minister) of Finance on May 22, 1984 (Exh. "17") and became finally effective on July 1, 1987 (See Memorandum Circular No. 77 dated March 1, 1987). The tax declaration covering the aforesaid assessment became effective on July 1, 1987." 36

    Petitioner, for his part, has failed to prove that this finding constitutes a grave abuse of discretion tantamount to lack or excess of jurisdiction.

    Sub-Issue: Is CBAA’s Assessment

    Unconstitutional?

    Equally unmeritorious is petitioner’s contention that the imposition of back taxes on his property is unconstitutional for being violative of Section 22,37 Article III of the 1987 Constitution.

    When both Public Respondents CBAA and City Assessor imposed back taxes on petitioner’s property, they did not violate the rule that laws shall have only prospective applicability. Respondents were only applying PD 464 which had been in effect since 1974. Besides, Section 25 of PD 464 is not penal in character; hence, it may not be considered as an ex post facto law. 38

    Sub Issue: Application of

    Reyes v. Almanzor

    Petitioner also claims that the assessed building is covered by PD 20; 39 thus the assessor should have used the "income approach," as enunciated in Reyes v. Almanzor, 40 in fixing the valuation of the property, instead of the "comparable sales approach." To prove that his property was covered by PD 20, petitioner submitted as annexes to his instant petition several documents consisting of official receipts of lease rentals. 41

    The submission of these documents before us cannot establish that his property is covered by PD No. 20. The documents were never presented as documentary exhibits before the City Assessor of Cebu City, Local Board of Assessment Appeal or CBAA. This Court, not being a trier of facts, cannot consider these alleged evidence submitted for the first time in this special civil action.

    WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is DISMISSED and the assailed Resolution is AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioner.

    SO ORDERED.

    Narvasa, C.J., Davide, Jr., Melo and Francisco, JJ., concur.

    Endnotes:



    1. Rollo, pp. 23-33.

    2. Composed of Margarita G. Magistrado, Chairman, and Eleanor A. Santos and Alfonso M. Medado, Members.

    3. Rollo, p. 166.

    4. Ibid., p. 65.

    5. Ibid.

    6. Ibid., p. 167.

    7. Ibid., pp. 107-108.

    8. Ibid., p. 110.

    9. Ibid.

    10. Ibid., p. 5.

    11. Ibid., pp. 107-118.

    12. Ibid., pp. 117-118.

    13. Ibid, pp. 105.

    14. Ibid., p. 26.

    15. Ibid., pp. 32-33.

    16. Ibid., pp. 7-8.

    17. Promulgated on April 26, 1991.

    18. Rollo, p. 282; original text in upper case.

    19. As a caveat, we should add that at present, under Revised Administrative Circular 1-95 which took effect on June 1, 1995, appeals from judgments or orders of the CBAA should be filed with the Court of Appeals.

    20. Otherwise known as "The Real Property Tax Code."cralaw virtua1aw library

    21. Manila Bay Club Corporation v. Court of Appeals, 249 SCRA 303, 307, October 13, 1995; Lopez Realty, Inc. v. Fontecha, 247 SCRA 183, 191, August 11, 1995 citing Anchuelo v. IAC, 147 SCRA 434, January 29, 1987.

    22. Hernandez v. Andal, 78 Phil. 196, 209-210 (1947).

    23. Vda. de Javellana v. Court of Appeals, 123 SCRA 799, 805, July 29, 1983; citing Ortigas v. Lufthansa German Airlines, 64 SCRA 610, June 20, 1975.

    24. Petitioner’s memorandum, p. 7; rollo, p. 282.

    25. 40 Phil. 997 (1919).

    26. Section 12. Real property declared for the first time shall have taxes assessed against it from and including the year in which, under the provisions of then existing law, the same would have been subject to taxation: Provided, That such taxes shall not be collected for more than the four preceding years, and such property shall be exempt from any penalty for delinquency if said taxes are paid within the tax collection period for the year next following the assessments hereunder, but if not paid within that time it shall be subject to all the penalties for delinquency to which it would have been subject. (Amended by Act No. 2653).

    27. 40 Phils. at p. 1003.

    28. Id., pp. 1003-1004.

    29. Co Kim Chan v. Valdez Tan Keh and Dizon, 75 Phil. 113, 134 (1945).

    30. Javellana v. Tayo, 6 SCRA 1042, 1050, December 29, 1962.

    31. Emphasis supplied.

    32. Army & Navy Club v. Trinidad, 44 Phil. 383, 387 (1923).

    33. Three (3) years under the new Local Government Code.

    34. Rollo, pp. 286-287

    35. Ibid, pp. 127-128.

    36. CBAA Decision, p. 9; rollo, p. 115.

    37. "No ex post facto law or bill of attainder shall be enacted."cralaw virtua1aw library

    38. In re: Kay Villegas Kami, Inc., 35 SCRA 429, October 22, 1970; Tan v. Barrios, 190 SCRA 686, October 18, 1990.

    39. This amended certain provisions of Republic Act No. 6539, entitled "An Act To Regulate Rentals For The Years Of Dwelling Units Or Of Land On Which Another’s Dwelling Is Located And Penalizing Violations Thereof, And For Other Purposes." (PD 20 is repealed by B.P. 25 which was in turn repealed by B.P. 877. The latest extension of B.P. 877 is by R.A. 7644 effective January 1, 1993.)

    40. Supra.

    41. Rollo, pp. 54-63.

    G.R. No. 106588   March 24, 1997 - RAUL H. SESBREÑO v. CENTRAL BOARD OF ASSESSMENT APPEALS, ET AL.




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