THE decision of the Department of Justice (DOJ) voiding a Bacolod City ordinance imposing a new real property tax is not yet final and executory, according to the city’s legal officer.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima has declared Ordinance 08-14-700 “null and void,” saying the city council did not follow the procedure prescribed in the Local Government Code.

But Bacolod City Legal Officer Rayfrando Diaz II said the City Treasurer’s Office and the City Assessor’s Office are still authorized to implement the new real property tax ordinance while the DOJ decision is on appeal.

Diaz said that once the period to appeal expires, he will be the first to advise Mayor Monico Puentevella and the department heads to stop enforcing the ordinance. 

The City Government has until April 9 to file an appeal before the DOJ.

In her resolution dated February 18, De Lima said she was acting on the consolidated appeal of Proxima Centauri Realty and Development Corp. and Bacolod Real Estate Development Corp. (Bredco) versus the Bacolod City Government, Puentevella, the Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP), and City Assessor Maphilindo Polvora.

Proxima and Bredco questioned the legality of the ordinance which was passed on Nov. 19, 2014 and took effect the following month.

Bacolod City  Rep. Evelio Leonardia together with lawyers Joselito Bayatan and Edward Joseph Cuansing and former councilor Elmer Sy sought a court order to stop the enforcement of the ordinance.

The Chamber of Real Estate Builders Association and Subdivision Housing Developers Association Negros Occidental Chapters filed a separate civil case before the DOJ against the City of Bacolod.