This case involves two petitions for review on certiorari involving the decisions declaring valid the auction sales of two real properties by the Quezon City Local Gov’t for failure to pay real property taxes.
The first case deals with a lot formerly owned by petitioners Aquino. Petitioners withheld payment of the real property taxes as a form of protest for the gov’t of then President Marcos. As a result of the nonpayment, the property was sold by the Quezon City local government, through the Treasurer’s Office, at public auction to private respondent Aida Linao, the highest bidder. Petitioners claimed that they learned of the sale about 2 years later. They fixed as action for annulment of title, reconveyance, and damages against the respondents.
The seconds case deals with a property located In Cubao, Quezon City in the name of Solomon Torrado. According to petitioner heirs, Torrado paid taxes on the improvements on Lot 8 but not on the lot itself because the Treasurer’s Office could not locate the index card for that property. For failure to pay real property taxes from 1976 to 1982, the City Treasurer sent a Notice of Intent to Sell to Torrado to his address indicated in the tax register, which simply states as ‘ButuanCity. The notice was returned by reason of ‘Insufficient Address. Next sent was a Notice of Sale of Delinquent Property. This was sent to the same address and similarly returned unclaimed. Thereafter, a public auction was held and the lot was sold to Veronica Baluyot, who mortgaged the property to Spouses Uy who then sold it to DNX Corp for failure to pay the mortgaged debt. Also, a Notice of Sold Property was subsequently sent to Torrado which was returned unclaimed.
Was there a failure on the part of the Quezon City Local Gov’t to satisfy the notice requirements before selling the property for tax delinquency?
Definitely, there is no more logical way to construe the whole chapter on ‘Collection of Real Property Tax (Sections 56 to 85) than to stress that while three methods are provided to enforce collection on real property taxes, a notice of delinquency is a requirement regardless of the method or methods chosen.
It is incorrect for the respondents to claim that notice of delinquency has limited application only to distraint of personal property. They mistakenly lumped Section 65 exclusively with Sections 68 to 72 and, in so doing, restricted its application from the other tax remedies. Section 65 is to be construed together with Sections 66 and 78 and all three operate in reference to tax methods in general.
Petitioners are correct in insisting that two notices must be sent to the taxpayer concerned. Nevertheless, respondents still prevail because the Court is satisfied that the two-notice requirement has been complied with by the Treasurer’s Office.