Lobregat to Agan on La Vista brouhaha: ‘Fishing expedition’ Print
Friday, 01 March 2013 11:27

Mayor Celso Lobregat has accused Councilor Rommel Agan as “apparently embarking on a ‘fishing expedition’”  when the latter requested from the City Assessor’s Office for certified true copies of the tax declarations of the improvements found within the La Vista Del Mar Beach Resort as well as proof of payment of the same for the last five years.

In a letter to Vice Mayor Cesar Iturralde dated February 22, Mayor Lobregat informed the vice mayor of a letter he received from City  Assessor Erwin Bernardo stating that there are 61 structures found at the La Vista del Mar and that the real property taxes on these real properties were found to have been paid — the last payment was made on February 3, 2012.

“As such, there are no arrears on these properties since it is the standard policy of the City Government that no collection can be made at present without first satisfying prior years’ real property tax due,” Lobregat said.

Bernardo wrote the letter to the mayor after receiving a letter from  Councilor Agan which requested for the tax declarations of the improvements  within La Vista Resort.

In his letter to the City Assessor, Agan informed him of a letter dated January 8, 2013 from Atty. Abelardo A. Climaco, Jr. which was sent to the Sangguniang Panlunggsod and taken up during its regular city council session last January 16, 2013,  stating that the fenced property of La Vista Del Mar Beach Resort contains properties belonging to or still registered under the name of the City of Zamboanga consisting of — 1. The old national highway; 2. A parcel of land referred to as Lot 1552-A; and 3. A parcel of land referred to as Lot 1521-A.

“While I had preferred to have a dialogue scheduled to thresh out the issues relative to the above matter with your good self as one of our resource persons,  I was prevailed upon by the majority members to first require the Lobregat companies (MCLL Properties, Inc. and Zamboanga Peninsula Resort Development Corporation; to reply to the allegations contained in Atty. Climaco’s letter,” Agan told Bernardo.

Agan said  he noticed that the attachments to Atfcy. Climaco’s letter were only the tax declarations for the parcels of land only and “I have received information from well placed sources in city hall that most of the improvements in the beach resort were not declared for tax declaration purposes.”

“It would be die height of injustice should your office be compelled to collect from our ordinary folks and constituents and expect them to religiously pay their real property tax obligations only to find out that were remiss in enforcing the same without fear or favor to a juridical entity partly owned by the highest official of our city,” the opposition councilor said.

Lobregat, on the other hand, said in his letter to Iturralde, said that on the issue of taxing La Vista del Mar for real property tax on the use of the road lots on the basis of the  “beneficial use theory” as raised by Councilor Agan, “the City Assessor comments that based on Section 234 (a) of the  Local Government Code, the City Assessor’s Office did not assess the same against the La Vista de Mar considering that  said government road lots were not leased or given in concession to the corporation. Thus, the beneficial use theory cannot be applied to  assess real property tax on the said road lots”

Lobregat said that Agan’s statement about injustice is an insinuation that he as mayor of Zamboanga is misusing his position “to gain leverage for himself and his family.”

“Councilor Agan is apparently trying to malign the reputation, integrity and honor of the undersigned. This is highly unfair and unjust. This only goes to show how he is apparently using this political season to try to trample not only the integrity and honor of the undersigned but that even of the former Congresswoman and City Mayor Maria Clara L. Lobregat who established the corporation.