CLO denies request for house demolition
Mary Ruth R. Malinao (The Freeman) - January 5, 2020 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines —  The Cebu City Legal Office has denied the request of a Confederation of Ricode Community Assn., Inc. (CRCAI) board member for the exemption of demolition permit fees, realty tax, and other Office of the Building Official (OBO) requirements.

CRCAI Board Member Fernando Samontañez Jr., through his legal counsel Socrates Nodado, has appealed to Mayor Edgardo Labella and OBO Head Florante Catalan grant a demolition permit, including tax clearance for year 2016 on a two-storey residential building he owns since 1974 located in Barangay Kamputhaw, Gorordo Avenue, Cebu City.

The CLO, in a letter to Nodado, stated that Samontañez did not heed OBO’s directive and instead opted to directly ask Labella for the issuance of the demolition permit without further compliance to OBO requirements that include the payment of the requisite fees, submission of pertinent documents, and payment of realty tax due.

Last October 31, 2019, the OBO returned the demolition permit application and provided Samontañez the list of deficiencies he needs to comply with.

The list showed that the petitioner needs to indicate “2-Storey Residential” on the application form as per inspection; submit Certification of No Title from the Registry of Deeds; submit certified true copy and photocopy of Tax Declaration of Lot; photocopy of Tax Declaration of Building; and submit Tax Clearance for Lot and Building.

Samontañez applied for a demolition permit with OBO dated October 15, 2019, and submitted some documentary requirements.

“PD 1096 otherwise known as ‘The Building Code of the Philippines’ mandates the submission of these requirements, including the payment of fees and charges to obtain permits from OBO.  The Mayor cannot grant him exemption from payment, as its collection is pursuant to law,” said City Attorney Rey Gealon.

In the petition dated November 25, 2019, Nodado said the two-storey residential building collapsed, that is why it is “badly needed to be demolished in order to safeguard the surrounding premises” to ensure safety to the people passing in the vicinity.  The petition added that if an accident occurs, Samontañez may be held liable.

It was also stated that the petitioner claimed for a realty tax exemption due to alleged lack of capacity to pay.

The CLO said they find the reason unacceptable as there is no legal basis for it.

“What is more, under the ‘lifeblood doctrine’- taxes are considered the lifeblood of government and they must be collected, together with those mandated fees and charges, without unnecessary hindrance or delay,” said Gealon. GAN (FREEMAN)

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