Reyes vs CA (320 SCRA 486)

Reyes vs Court of Appeals
320 SCRA 486 [GR No. 118233 December 10, 1999]

Facts: The Sangguniang Bayan of San Juan, Metro Manila implemented several tax ordinances – 87, 91, 95, 100 and 101. On May 21, 1993, petitioners filed an appeal with the Department of Justice assailing the constitutionality of these tax ordinances allegedly because they were promulgated without previous public hearings thereby constituting deprivation of property without due process of law. However the same was dismissed.

Issue: Whether or not the assailed ordinances are valid.

Held: Yes. A municipal tax ordinance empowers a local government unit to impose taxes. The power to tax is the most effective way or instrument to raise needed revenues to finance and support the myriad activities of the local government units for delivery of basic services essential to the promotion of general welfare and enhancement of peace, progress and prosperity of the people. Consequently, any delay in implementing tax measures would be to the detriment of the public. It is for this reason that protest over tax ordinance are required to be done within certain time frames. In the instant case, it is our view that the failure of petitioners to appeal to the secretary of justice within 30 days as required by section 187 of Republic Act No. 7160 is fatal to their cause.

Petitioners have not proved in the case before us that the Sangguniang Bayan of San Juan failed to conduct the required public hearings before the enactment of Ordinances 87, 95, 91, 100, and 101. Although the Sanggunian had the control of records or better means of proof regarding the facts alleged, petitioners are not relieved from the burden of proving their averments. Proof that public hearings were not held falls on the petitioner’s shoulders. For failing to discharge that burden, their petition was properly dismissed.

For the purpose of securing certainty where doubt would be intolerable, it is a general rule that the regularity of the enactment of an officially promulgated statute or ordinance may not be impeached by parol evidence or oral testimony either of individual officers and members, or of strangers who may be interested in nullifying legislative action. This rules supplements the presumption in favor of the regularity of official conduct which we have upheld repeatedly, absent a clear showing to the contrary.

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