Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Dark days for business in Caloocan

Better Philippines made a great post in reaction to Cito Beltran's column on Corrupt Taxmen.

The thing is, if this happens with the BIR, businessmen face a similar (if not worse) headaches with local government taxes -- particularly, real estate taxes.

Take the case of the Ever Gotesco Grand Central Mall and its current problems with the Caloocan City Government.

For the past 23 years, Ever Gotesco has been leasing the land where its mall stands from the Caloocan City government. Then, just last year, Gotesco managed to buy the land where its mall stands. After accepting a downpayment of P30,000,000.00 and issuing monthly post dated checks for P152,000,000, Caloocan City Mayor Recom Echiverri comes back and says that Gotesco still owes the city government P722 Million in back real estate taxes for the past 23 years.

First of all, as a lawyer, Mayor Recom Echiverri should have been aware of the fact that as a lessee of the land, Gotesco did not have any obligation to pay real estate taxes for the Grand Central property. The obligation to pay real estate taxes belongs to the owner of the land, which in this case is Caloocan City.

So, if Recom were to look for someone to go after, it should be the previous administrations of the Caloocan City government. Infact, Recom Echiverri was a former City Administrator and so the question he really should answer is where did the lease paid by Every Gotesco go? And why didn't the City Government pay its own real estate taxes? Kanino napunta ang upang ibinabayad ng Gotesco para sa lupa ng Caloocan?

Second, if there were in fact real estate tax arrears, the sale of the Grand Central property to Gotesco wouldn't have been possible. First on the account that doing so is against the law and second, the assessment is so ridiculously steep that only a fool would buy the property.

Was Recom high on something when he started going after Ever? And why would he need to force Ever to pay such a large amount? Is it to cover his losses at Casino Filipino at the Heritage Hotel?

Finally, if you were a businessman interested in setting up legitimate business operations, why would you choose Caloocan City? I get depressed just going through it on my way to Malabon!

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...