• DOJ voids Batangas City tax ordinance

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    The Department of Justice (DOJ) has voided Ordinance 20, s. 2013 entitled “An Act Providing for a City Code on Appraisal and Assessment of Real Properties in the City of Batangas” that provides an updated schedule of the new market values of all real properties located in the city.

    In an eight-page resolution, DOJ Secretary Leila de Lima said the ordinance was found to be “legally infirm” because it violated the constitution.

    “WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the instant appeal is hereby GRANTED. Ordinance No. 20, S. 2013 is hereby declared void for being contrary to law, as it did not comply with the procedural requirements under Article 276 (b) of the Implementing Rules of the Local Government Code of 1991” the resolution read.

    The DOJ also noted a letter from Faustino Caedo, Batangas Chamber of Commerce and Industry president, and affidavits of several residents attesting that they were not notified by the city council of a public hearing in connection with the proposed measure.

    The resolution was in response to the instant appeal filed by appellant Jose Virgilio Tolentino, former vice mayor of Batangas City on January 28, 2014.

    In his appeal, Tolentino assailed the constitutionality and validity of the ordinance for violating due process and for failing to comply with the requirements of the law for its enactment particularly the conduct of public hearing, prior notice to parties concerned and requirement of publication.

    Tolentino also described the ordinance as excessive, inequitable and confiscatory as the increase in valuation ranges from 200 percent to 1,400 percent.

    Upon receipt of the decision, Tolentino thanked all those who supported his appeal.

    “Thank you for your kind words for us in the Reject RPT20 Movement. Perhaps we should also thank the DOJ whom God inspired to void the ordinance,” Tolentino said.

    Meanwhile, the city government of Batangas said they have not received a formal copy of the resolution but they are certain to file a motion for reconsideration.

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