Ambushed prosecutor Josephine Caranzo appointed as Mindoro judge

QC treasurer sentenced to 10 years max, ordered to pay P1.8M to Manila Seedling Bank

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The Sandiganbayan has sentenced Quezon City Treasurer Edgar Villanueva to 6 to 10 years in prison and ordered him to pay Manila Seedling Bank Foundation, Inc. (MSBFI) P1.8 million in lost income and sales resulting from the illegal collection of real property taxes (RPT) that led to its eviction.

In a recent 40-page decision, the court’s 7th Division found Villanueva guilty of one count of violation of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and perpetually disqualified him from holding public office.

Ombudsman prosecutors accused Villanueva of issuing a notice of delinquency in May 2011 for P42.8 million in back taxes, without the requirement of issuing a prior notice of assessment.

The prosecution said that when MSBFI failed to pay the RPT, Villanueva levied the property in July 2012, allowing the city government to seize the lot and auction it off later.

This was deemed irregular because MSBFI possessed the lot as a usufructuary (a holder of the right to temporary use) under Presidential Proclamation Number 1670, series of 1977.

The court agreed that the levy of the 7-hectare lot bounded by Epifanio de los Santos Avenue, Quezon Avenue and Agham Road was “improper” because of the lack of the prior notice of assessment—a mandatory requirement under Section 1(D), Chapter V of the Manual on Real Property Appraisal and Assessment Operations.

It noted that Villanueva showed “evident bad faith,” as he failed to prove that MSBFI was notified about the assessment, violating the foundation’s right to due process. Although he had access to MSBFI’s tax records, he failed to take note of the absence of the date of actual service of the notice.

The court rejected Villanueva’s invocation of the presumption of regularity, because the foundation lost the property to compensate for the unpaid taxes.

It also cited Villanueva’s admission that he was aware of a 2009 decision by the Quezon City Regional Trial Court (RTC) which nullified an earlier attempt to auction off the lot similarly because of the lack of a prior notice of assessment.

The court said he should have known about the notice requirement since he worked for the Office of the Treasurer since 1986 and held a law degree and a master’s degree in businThe Sandiganbayan has sentenced Quezon City Treasurer Edgar Villanueva to 6 to 10 years in prison and ordered him to pay Manila Seedling Bank Foundation, Inc. (MSBFI) P1.8 million in lost income and sales resulting from the illegal collection of real property taxes (RPT) that led to its eviction.

In a recent 40-page decision, the court’s 7th Division found Villanueva guilty of one count of violation of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and perpetually disqualified him from holding public office.

Ombudsman prosecutors accused Villanueva of issuing a notice of delinquency in May 2011 for P42.8 million in back taxes, without the requirement of issuing a prior notice of assessment.

The prosecution said that when MSBFI failed to pay the RPT, Villanueva levied the property in July 2012, allowing the city government to seize the lot and auction it off later.

This was deemed irregular because MSBFI possessed the lot as a usufructuary (a holder of the right to temporary use) under Presidential Proclamation Number 1670, series of 1977.

The court agreed that the levy of the 7-hectare lot bounded by Epifanio de los Santos Avenue, Quezon Avenue and Agham Road was “improper” because of the lack of the prior notice of assessment—a mandatory requirement under Section 1(D), Chapter V of the Manual on Real Property Appraisal and Assessment Operations.

It noted that Villanueva showed “evident bad faith,” as he failed to prove that MSBFI was notified about the assessment, violating the foundation’s right to due process. Although he had access to MSBFI’s tax records, he failed to take note of the absence of the date of actual service of the notice.

The court rejected Villanueva’s invocation of the presumption of regularity, because the foundation lost the property to compensate for the unpaid taxes.

It also cited Villanueva’s admission that he was aware of a 2009 decision by the Quezon City Regional Trial Court (RTC) which nullified an earlier attempt to auction off the lot similarly because of the lack of a prior notice of assessment.

The court said he should have known about the notice requirement since he worked for the Office of the Treasurer since 1986 and held a law degree and a master’s degree in business laws.

“It is palpable that the actions of the accused inflicted substantial damage to MSBFI in the form of lost business income,” read the decision penned by Associate Justice Ma. Theresa Dolores Gomez-Estoesta.

“Why he would duplicate the same act, albeit declared erroneous, by his predecessor is one to ruminate. Even if it were accused’s tangible objective to collect taxes to sustain the LGU’s lifeblood, his tax collection efforts should not be drawn from high-handed methods that overlook procedural due process as a right and remedy,” it added.ess laws.

“It is palpable that the actions of the accused inflicted substantial damage to MSBFI in the form of lost business income,” read the decision penned by Associate Justice Ma. Theresa Dolores Gomez-Estoesta.

“Why he would duplicate the same act, albeit declared erroneous, by his predecessor is one to ruminate. Even if it were accused’s tangible objective to collect taxes to sustain the LGU’s lifeblood, his tax collection efforts should not be drawn from high-handed methods that overlook procedural due process as a right and remedy,” it added.

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