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What a (tax) relief!

At long last, I have been “cleared” of a P3.7 million realty tax liability which I supposedly owe Makati City. I wrote about it in a previous column.

The Makati City Realty Tax division had been sending me notices (“First”, “Second”, “Third” and “Final”) for unpaid taxes, plus penalties, which date back to 1977. Each time, I responded that I no longer owned the property, having sold it in 1980.

Unknown to me at the time that I wrote my “final reply” to the Makati City Realty Tax division, the property, situated along EDSA, had been advertised for sale in a newspaper of general circulation because of my supposed tax delinquency. A concerned relative relayed the information to me when he read my article.

OMG! Ano na lang ang sasabihin sa akin ni BIR Commissioner Billy Dulay (my frat brod) at ni dating Commissioner Jojo Buñag (my former classmate)? And what about my bank colleagues? Negative information like this very quickly spreads in the banking community in view of the credit information sharing system which is in place.

Only a timely email message from Makati City Administrator Claro Certeza prevented me from storming Makati City hall in “righteous anger”.
Certeza wrote:

“We have investigated the matter and confirm that you are correct. The lot in question for which you are being assessed is not yours anymore and you should not be billed for payment of real estate taxes as you complained. The new owner will be the one who will be sent notices to settle the tax liability in question.

“Based on our investigation, this unfortunate matter came about due to a miscommunication between our Assessor’s Office, Treasurer’s Office and the Register of Deeds for Makati. Thus, you were improperly billed for the real estate tax on the matter.

“We are now instituting measures to prevent a repetition of the problem. We assure you you will not be receiving any notices for this particular land.

“We apologize sincerely for any aggravation that we have caused to you.”

Apology accepted. But what continues to puzzle me up to now is how and why a miscommunication like this (in a highly computerized LGU) could go uncorrected for 19 years.

Unique diplomacy
Going by the standard book, Philippine career diplomats feel uncomfortable with the way the President acts and speaks in the international stage. But then, this leader is not the standard president.

Yes, there are norms and there are rules of diplomacy. But who made those rules? Do the rules say that the leader of a small nation will always have to take it sitting down when publicly lectured on by the leader of a powerful nation? Do the rules say that one always has to be polite to the point of appearing and sounding subservient?

His unique diplomatic stance has definitely raised eyebrows, ruffled some feathers but at the same has elicited admiration and awe from others.

Political analysts have a really difficult time dissecting President Rody. What makes him tick and what does not? From the peanut gallery, here is my take on President Rody’s style:

Here is one president is who is a very proud Filipino, who considers the Filipino inferior to no race.

Here is one president who is ready and willing to challenge the relevance of institutions, as well as established traditions and practices.

Here is one president who will fight back, if he is threatened.

Here is one president who has balls, who says what he means and means what he says.

Here is one president who is laser-focused on his promised unrelenting war on drugs and corruption. Too bad for you if you get in the way of his accomplishing these twin tasks.

Only time will tell if this unique style will work but for everybody’s sake I hope it will.

You don’t like his style? Let me venture this guess. He does not like yours, too.

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