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Bacolod City, Philippines Saturday, April 21, 2012
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City gov't seeks time to
answer tax charges

The Bacolod City government is seeking a two-week extension from the Bacolod Regional Trial Court Branch 49 to answer the suit filed by a funeral firm against the new city Revenue Code or the City Ordinance 565 , City Legal Officer Joselito Bayatan said yesterday.

RHMPI, through a stockholder, former Bacolod Rep. Monico Puentevella, filed the petition against the City government and his political rival, Evelio Leonardia, in his capacity as city mayor, seeking the declaration of the new tax code as illegal and of no force and effect, and for it to permanently prohibit the respondents from enforcing it.

A pretrial on the case was held yesterday and Judge Manuel Cardinal examined the documents submitted by RHMPI but since the city government had not replied to the complaint, the judge gave them until May 3 to do so.

Puentevella said Cardinal scheduled the hearing on the case on May 18 and that, hopefully, the court can issue its resolution soon.

RHMPI had filed an appeal against the City of Bacolod and Leonardia before the Department of Justice on January 26 questioning the legality of the Bacolod Revenue Code, but on February 13 a letter dated January 27 from the DOJ Secretary informing them that their appeal had been dismissed.

Puentevella, however, claimed the dismissal was due to a technicality because his payment for the filing fee was short by P25.

In their p etition, the firm claimed that the unjustified and excessive increase in tax rates under the Bacolod Revenue Code will have a negative and adverse impact on commerce and industry in Bacolod City and inflict an unnecessary burden on taxpayers and consumers alike, adversely affect the business climate of Bacolod City and discourage the entry of new investors.

The City government, through Bayatan, had also sought a 15-day extension from the Department of Justice to answer the suit filed by the Metro Bacolod Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Bacolod Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry against the tax code.

The businessmen asked the Justice Secretary to declare C.O. 565 as unconstitutional and/or illegal, claiming that it was passed without complying with the requirements of the Local Government Code and its Implementing Rules and Regulations.

Bayatan said the deadline given them by the DOJ to submit their reply is supposed to be April 27 but he could not prepare all the necessary documents by that time, hence the request for an extension.*APN




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