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CA voids Payanig property auction

The Court of Appeals (CA) has declared as void the public auction of the18-hectare “Payanig sa Pasig” property now held by the Presidential Commission on Good Government.

In upholding the decision of the Pasig Regional Trial Court, the CA reversed its March 31, 2008 decision declaring as legal the Pasig City government’s warrant of levy after the previous property owner had failed to pay more than P389 million in taxes for the past 18 years.

The Pasig city government auctioned off the property on Dec. 2, 2005.

“Since a second review is the essence of a motion for reconsideration, a court should be given ample leeway to correct its findings or decisions via a motion for reconsideration,” read the CA decision. “Here, after a second hard scrutiny of the records of the case, we find ample grounds to grant the motion for reconsideration of the Republic.”

The CA said since the property was not sequestered but a surrendered asset, there was no need for judicial declaration that it was ill-gotten.

Its previous owner, Mid-Pasig Land Development Corp. is no longer the taxable entity but the state, the PCGG added.

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The CA said the property’s surrender to the state by Marcos associate Jose Campos, who controlled property’s owner, Mid-Pasig and Independent Realty Corp., makes a judicial declaration that it was ill-gotten wealth unnecessary.

“By virtue of said relinquishment, the state correctly exercised dominion over the subject properties. Indubitably, the subject properties, being ill-gotten wealth, belong to the state,” read the CA decision.

The Pasig city government cannot exercise its taxing power over the property since it belongs to the state, the CA said. — Mike Frialde

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