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Vague city borders impede mall tax collection

Posted on July 17, 2011 09:58:17 PM [ BusinessWorld Online ]

TWO LOCAL governments have been barred from enjoying tax revenues from a mall straddling both Pasig City and the municipality of Cainta, two areas that still have an unresolved boundary dispute.
“The City of Pasig and the Municipality of Cainta are both directed to await the judgment in their boundary dispute case...pending before Branch 74 of the Regional Trial Court in Antipolo City,” a Supreme Court decision promulgated on June 15 read.

The ruling junked decisions of the Court of Appeals and the Pasig City Regional Trial Court (RTC) ordering Sta. Lucia Realty Development, Inc.

to pay the Pasig City government P273.35 million in unpaid real estate taxes and penalties as of 1996 plus a 2% monthly interest until fully paid. These were on top of another P5.63 million representing unpaid taxes and penalties to improvements on the land.

“In the meantime, Sta. Lucia Realty and Development, Inc. is directed to deposit the succeeding real property taxes due on the lots and an escrow account with the Land Bank of the Philippines,” the court decision read.

Before this decision, Sta. Lucia said that it had been paying the correct real estate taxes to the Cainta municipality. Pasig challenged this by filing a complaint for collection of real estate taxes with the Pasig RTC in 1995.

Pasig City had claimed that the transfer certificates of title of the land upon which the mall was built indicated that it is within the jurisdiction of Pasig and all taxes should be paid to it.

“In light of the foregoing, we hold that the Pasig RTC should have held in abeyance the view of the fact that the outcome of the boundary dispute case before the Antipolo RTC will undeniably affect both Pasig’s and Cainta’s rights,” the decision read.

“Evidently, had the territorial boundaries of the contending local government units herein been delineated with accuracy, then there would be no controversy at all,” it read further. -- NRM

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