City Councilor confident of dismissal
By Neska Centina
After former Bacolod City Mayor Monico Puentevella revealed a request for a temporary restraining order was filed earlier this week before the Bacolod City Regional Trial Court against the recently-passed City Ordinance No. 827, which updates the market value of real properties in the city in relation to real property tax (RPT), Bacolod City Mayor Evelio Leonardia called the move a “propaganda stunt.”
The incumbent mayor called the ordinance passed under his administration “more reasonable and acceptable,” noting the RPT Code implemented during the Puentevella administration was declared “null and void” by the Department of Justice (DOJ) after the city failed to comply with prescribed procedures on the enactment of new ordinances under the Local Government Code.
As congressman, Leonardia also filed a petition to declare the Puentevella ordinance “unconstitutional.”
Bacolod City Councilor Caesar Distrito, a member of the mayor’s Grupo Progreso coalition, backed the current mayor, calling Puentevella’s move “doomed to fail.”
“It will be dismissed,” he assured.
However,, City Councilor Dindo Ramos, author of the recent ordinance, welcomed the case.
According to the former mayor, the policy is “unconstitutional,” citing Section 28 (1), Article VI of the Constitution, which states “the rule of taxation shall be uniform and equitable;” and Section 198 of RA 7160, or the Local Government Code of 1991, which states, “Real property shall be assessed on the basis of a uniform classification within each local government unit.”
Puentevella said he was urged to file the restraining order request after reportedly receiving complaints from city residents regarding RPT increases.
In response to the former mayor characterizing the recent legislation assessing communities differently, City Legal Officer Joselito Bayatan said uniformity and equitability applies to “class and situation.”
He also claimed Puentevella has not paid taxes since 1991 and said his petition was submitted after failing to pay his own property taxes./NC, WDJ