The Department of Justice is supposed to issue an order on the complaint filed by the Metro Bacolod Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Bacolod Filipino Chamber of Commerce and Industry within 60 days from the filing of the complaint, Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia yesterday said, in reaction to the order of the DOJ giving them 10 days to file an answer.
The MBCCI and BFCCI had filed an appeal before the DOJ in January 2012 questioning the constitutionality or legality of the Bacolod City Ordinance 565, or the Revised Revenue Code of Bacolod City.
The appeal was filed by Frank Carbon and Ben Ortega, representing the MBCCI and BFCCCI, respectively, against Leonardia, Vice Mayor Jude Thaddeus Sayson, Sangguniang Panlungsod members and City Treasurer Annabelle Badajos.
The Revenue Code was passed into law by the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Bacolod on June 1, 2011.
Leonardia said City Legal Officer Joselito Bayatan has pointed out the rule that within 60 days from filing of the complaint, an order has to be issued by the DOJ.
With the order of DOJ giving the city 10 days to answer the complaint, the CLO still intends to file an answer, he said, but this might become moot and academic.
Bayatan said they have not yet received an official copy of the order but were able to get an advance copy from the MBCCI.
Leonardia said that whatever happens to the cases filed before the DOJ and the Regional Trial Court, the city will continue the dialog with the business leaders in the city to pursue a common ground on the matter.
“We will explore what possible common ground we can reach on the matter that we all believe is fair for everybody’s concern,” Leonardia said.
He pointed out that the city’s Code had not been changed for 19 years and that these already mean a big savings on the part of the businessmen.
They have to consider that Bacolod has changed a lot and so have the demands and needs of its people, he said.
Leonardia said that, under the old revenue Code, the city’s rates are even lower than those of thirdclass municipalities, like Candoni..
“I am sure that the new rates are not higher than those of other areas in the country,” he said.
Vice Mayor Jude Thaddeus Sayson said he will meet again with the business leaders soon to present a proposal that will provide a win-win solution for both parties
He will also meet with members of the Sangguniang Panlungsod to discuss the proposal, he said.
Sayson said no more revisions will be made in the Revised Revenue Code, but there are areas that can be explored where they hope a solution will be found that will be fair to all parties.*CGS