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Olivares v.

Marquez | ema
September 22, 2004
DR. PABLO R. OLIVARES, DR. ROSARIO DE LEON OLIVARES, EDWIN D. OLIVAREZ and OLIVAREZ REALTY
CORPORATION, petitioners, vs.
MAYOR JOEY MARQUEZ, CITY TREASURER SILVESTRE A. DE LEON, ASSISTANT CITY TREASURER
LIBERATO M. CARABEO, CITY ASSESSOR SOLEDED S. MEDINA CUE and ASSISTANT CITY ASSESSOR
JOSE MARLEO P. DEL ROSARIO, respondents.
Austria-Martinez, J.:

SUMMARY: The Paraaque City Treasurer served final notices of real estate tax delinquency on Olivares et al., who
protested the assessments on 5 grounds (prescription under LGC 194, double assessment, non-existence of
properties taxed, tax exemption, and errors in assessment). The City Treasurer did not act on the protest, so Olivares
et al. filed a petition with the Paraaque RTC questioning the assessment and levy made on their properties. The City
Treasurer and other LGU officials impleaded filed MTD, claiming that the RTC had no jurisdiction; that Olivares et al.
failed to exhaust administrative remedies; and that there was no cause of action. RTC dismissed the case, hence this
petition for review filed by Olivares et.al. with the SC. HELD: Petition denied. Certiorari, prohibition, and mandamus
will not lie if administrative remedies have not been exhausted. Olivares et al. failed to justify their non-exhaustion of
administrative remedies as their complaint did not really assail the power and authority of the City Officials to assess
and collect realty tax on their properties [as they assert, citing the ruling in Ty v. Trampe]. The allegations against the
taxing authority of the officials were inserted simply to place the petition within the Ty exception. A perusal of the
petition filed shows that it was assailing the correctness of the assessments. Such a case is properly resolved
through the administrative procedure provided for under the LGC. Moreover, the grounds raised involve factual
questions which are more properly resolved by the LBAA.

DOCTRINE: The extraordinary remedies of certiorari, prohibition and mandamus may be resorted to only when there
is no other plain, available, speedy and adequate remedy in the course of law. Where administrative remedies are
available, petitions for the issuance of these peremptory writs do not lie in order to give the administrative body the
opportunity to decide the matter by itself correctly and to prevent unnecessary and premature resort to courts.
Under the doctrine of primacy of administrative remedies, an error in the assessment must be administratively
pursued to the exclusion of ordinary courts whose decisions would be void for lack of jurisdiction. But an appeal shall
not suspend the collection of the tax assessed without prejudice to a later adjustment pending the outcome of the
appeal.
In Ty v. Trampe, jurisdiction was properly vested in the trial court because the petition was questioning the very
authority and power of the assessor - acting solely and independently - to impose the assessment, and of the
treasurer to collect; and not merely of amounts of the increase in the tax.
Procedure/Remedies for assailing real property tax assessment under the LGC: Pay under protest; if protest unacted
upon within 60 days from filing or denied, appeal to LBAA; if denied, appeal to CBAA; then appeal to CA under ROC
43.

NATURE: Petition for review on certiorari under ROC 45. Originally a civil case assailing a realty tax assessment.

FACTS
Jul. 1, 1998 Pablo OLIVARES ET AL. received a final notice of real estate tax delinquency from the
Paraaque City Treasurer.
Jul. 7, 1998 Olivares et al. replied with a letter of protest, seeking reinvestigation on the following
grounds:
(1) some of the taxes being collected have already prescribed and may no longer be collected as
provided in LGC 194
(2) some properties have been doubly taxed/assessed
(3) some properties being taxed are no longer existent
(4) some properties are exempt from taxation as they are being used exclusively for educational
purposes
(5) some errors are made in the assessment and collection of taxes due on their properties.
Jul. 24, 1998 Olivares et al. wrote another letter, which was not acted upon.
Aug. 18, 1998 Olivares et.al. filed a civil case for certiorari, prohibition, and mandamus before the
Paraaque RTC questioning the assessment and levy made by the Paraaque City Treasurer on their
properties.
The City Treasurer, Mayor, Assessor and other respondent CITY OFFICIALS filed a motion to dismiss on 3
grounds: 1) the RTC has no jurisdiction over tax assessment matters; 2) Olivares et al. failed to comply with
the requirements of a tax protest; and 3) the complaint states no cause of action.
Olivares et al. opposed the MTD, claiming that the RTC has jurisdiction because the complaint assails the
authority of the City Officials to assess and collect the real estate taxes, citing Ty v. Trampe.
Jul. 24, 2002 RTC dismissed the complaint on the following grounds:
1. Questions involving tax assessment are within the jurisdiction of the BIR.
2. It is improper for the RTC to prohibit or annul a tax assessment issued by the City Assessors
Office since it is legally inherent in the functions of their office. Any complaint or protest thereto
should be coursed through the BIR.
3. It appears on record that the City Treasurers Office had already responded to Olivares et al.s
letter-protest. Hence, the prayer in the complaint asking that the City Treasurer be ordered to act on
it is now moot.
4. It is also of judicial notice that at present there is no longer any publication regarding Olivares et
al.s tax delinquency. Hence, the prayer that this kind of publication be ordered stopped is now,
likewise, moot.
With their MR having been denied, Olivares et al. filed the present petition with the SC.

ISSUES (HELD)
1) W/N the RTC has jurisdiction over cases questioning the power and authority of the city assessor to assess and
the city treasurer to collect real property tax (YES, but Olivares et al. do not question such authority in their
complaint)
2) W/N the RTC erred in not declaring the assessments as confiscatory, oppressive, illegal, unconstitutional, and
therefore void (NO, because it has no jurisdiction)

RATIO
RECOURSE NOT PROPER FOR FAILURE TO EXHAUST ADMINISTRATIVE REMEDIES; EXCEPTION TO THE
RULE DOES NOT APPLY IN THIS CASE
Extraordinary remedies of certiorari, prohibition, and mandamus may be resorted to only when there is no
plain, speedy, and adequate remedy available.
Petitions for the issuance of these peremptory writs will not lie where administrative remedies are available,
in order to give the administrative body an opportunity to correct the matter and prevent unnecessary and
premature recourse to the courts.
Administrative remedies of real property taxpayers under the LGC
252(a) requires the payment of the tax under protest. The protest in writing must be filed within 30 days
from payment to the LGU treasurer concerned, who shall decide the protest within 60 days from receipt.
If the protest is denied or unacted upon within the 60-day period provided for in (a), the taxpayers recourse
is with the Local Board of Assessment Appeals (LBAA) under LGC 226 et seq. [Chap. 3, Title 2, Book II] and
then to the Central Board of Assessment Appeals (CBAA), which exercises exclusive jurisdiction over all
appeals from the decisions, orders and resolutions of the Local Boards involving contested assessments of
real properties, claims for tax refund and/or tax credits or overpayments of taxes. An appeal may be taken to
the CBAA by filing a notice of appeal within thirty days from receipt thereof.
From the CBAA, the dispute may then be taken to the Court of Appeals by filing a verified petition for review
under ROC 43.
Recourse to the court not proper in the case at bar; Allegations in the complaint and nature of relief sought
determine nature of action
Olivares et.al.: Recourse to the trial court is proper as they are questioning the very authority of the City
Officials to assess and collect the real estate taxes due on their properties, and not merely the correctness
of said amount.
Olivares et al. were actually assailing the correctness of the assessments in their petition before the RTC.
The allegations purportedly questioning the assessors authority to assess and collect the taxes were
obviously made in order to justify the filing of the petition with the RTC. In fact, there is nothing in the said
petition that supports their claim regarding the assessors alleged lack of authority.
Olivares et.al. simply reiterated the 5 grounds they raised in their letter to the City Treasurer (see facts) and
that the City Officials committed grave abuse of discretion in making the improper, excessive and unlawful
the collection of taxes against them. These arguments essentially involve questions of fact. Hence, the
petition should have been brought, at the very first instance, to the LBAA.
Under the doctrine of primacy of administrative remedies, an error in the assessment must be
administratively pursued to the exclusion of ordinary courts whose decisions would be void for lack of
jurisdiction. But an appeal shall not suspend the collection of the tax assessed without prejudice to a later
adjustment pending the outcome of the appeal. (MERALCO v. Barlis)
Even assuming that the assessors authority is indeed an issue, it must be pointed out that in order for the
RTC to resolve the petition, the issues of the correctness of the tax assessment and collection must also
necessarily be dealt with.
Ty v. Trampe not on point
In that case, SC held that jurisdiction was properly vested in the trial court because the petition was
questioning the very authority and power of the assessor - acting solely and independently - to impose the
assessment, and of the treasurer to collect; and not merely of amounts of the increase in the tax.
Petitioners in that case were questioning the increased real estate tax rate in Pasig City effective 1994,
premised on the legal question of whether or not the LGC repealed PD 921, whose Sec. 9 required the
schedule of values of real properties in the Metro Manila area shall be prepared jointly by the city assessors
in the districts therein; while LGC 212 states that the schedule shall be prepared by the provincial, city or
municipal assessors of the municipalities within the Metropolitan Manila Area for the different classes of real
property situated in their respective local government units for enactment by ordinance of the sanggunian
concerned.
CAB: The authority of the assessor is not being questioned.
The petition filed before the Paraaque RTC primarily involves the correctness of the assessments, which
are questions of fact that are not allowed in a petition for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus. The trial
court is therefore precluded from entertaining the petition, and it appropriately dismissed the petition.

DISPOSITION: Petition denied.