By Benjamin B. Pulta
02/18/2010 [ tribune.net.ph ]
The Department of Justice (DoJ) said yesterday the two parcels of government lots where the former Payanig sa Pasig carnival stood are not subject to real property tax, business tax and mayor’s permit, except those portions that have been leased to private entities.
In a three-page legal opinion, Justice Secretary Agnes Devanadera said the Payanig properties are among those exempted from paying government taxes, citing the provisions under Section 234 of Republic Act 7160 or the Local Government Code of 1991.
Section 234 (a) of RA 7160 provides that “Real property owned by the Republic of the Philippines or any of its political subdivisions except when the beneficial use thereof has been granted, for consideration or otherwise, to a taxable person,” are among the exemptions to taxation.
“At the outset, we would like to stress that Section 234 of the Local Government Code is clear… Some of the contracts of lease provide that the lessees shall be solely responsible for any permits, fees and licenses of whatever nature, which may be required by any government agency for its operation. Clearly, it is the lessees that should bear these expenses for it is their business which benefits them,” she said.
Devanadera said the lessor shall not be liable for the non-issuance of any such permits, fees and licenses except as may be provided.
The DoJ issued the opinion following the query raised by Commissioner Ricardo Abcede of the Presidential Commission on Good Government.
The estimated 18.5-hectare Payanig properties, registered in the name of Mid-Pasig Development Corp. were two of the properties surrendered to the national government by businessman Jose Yao Campos, majority owner of United Laboratories (Unilab) Philippines, and an alleged crony of former President Ferdinand Marcos.
Abcede claimed Mid-Pasig has been leasing portions of the property to various private individuals and entities for the purpose of “maintaining the assets and properties of the entities under the IRC Group of Companies, which includes Mid-Pasig, and to pay for the salary of its skeletal force and the expenses of suits in court involving said property and entities.