SC junks petition vs. 2016 QC ordinance on property valuation hike

MANILA The Supreme Court (SC) turned down a suit questioning a Quezon City ordinance passed two years ago that increased the fair market values (FMVs) of land, buildings, and other structures in the city from 100 percent to as much as 500 percent.

In a 13-page decision by Associate Justice Estela M. Perlas Bernabe, the Court unanimously ruled the Alliance of Quezon City Homeowners' Association, Inc. (AQCHAI) has no legal standing to file the petition. The SC also lifted the temporary restraining order (TRO) it issued on April 18, 2017 against the implementation of the ordinance.

The High Court explained that the Rules of Court mandate that only natural or juridical persons, or entities authorized by law may be parties in a civil action, stressing that failure to comply with the requirement renders a case dismissible on the ground of lack of legal capacity to sue.

(W)hile this case falls under the exceptions to the doctrines of exhaustion of administrative remedies and hierarchy of courts, the Court is still constrained to dismiss the petition due to Alliance's lack of legal capacity to sue, the SC said.

The resolution of the issues anent the validity and constitutionality of Quezon City Ordinance No. SP-2556, series of 2016, while indeed of great public interest and of transcendental importance, must nonetheless await the filing of the proper case by the proper party, the tribunal said, pointing out AQCHAI has no juridical personality, after its Certificate of Registration issued by the Securities and Exchange Commission was revoked and after its failure to register with the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB).

AQCHAI said the increase in the FMVs up to 500 percent of the previous values was arbitrary and has no factual basis because the 2016 ordinance contains no standard or explanation on how the Quezon City assessor arrived at the new amounts in the schedule of FMVs.

It also said there was no real consultation prior to the enactment of the 2016 ordinance as required by law, noting that only a brief one-day consultation hearing was held in November 2016 before the approval of the ordinance on Dec. 14, 2016.

The city government, however, said 29 public consultations were conducted in barangay assemblies throughout the six city districts prior to the implementation of the ordinance and underscored the last adjustment was done in 1995.

It added the resulting increase in tax due was reasonable because the increase in FMVs was tempered by the decrease in assessment levels to minimize impact on taxpayers.

The local government claimed assessment levels were reduced from 18 percent to 5 percent for residential classification, and from 45 percent to 14 percent for commercial and industrial classifications. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency

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