Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Bishop of Nueva Segovia vs. Provincial Board of Ilocos Norte [GR 27588, 31 December 1927]

Facts: The Roman Catholic Apostolic Church is the owner of a parcel of land in San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte. On the south side is a part of the Church yard, the convent and an adjacent lost used for a vegetable garden in which there is a stable and a well for the use of the convent. In the center is the remainder of the churchyard and the Church. On the north side is an old cemetery with its two walls still standing, and a portion where formerly stood a tower. The provincial board assessed land tax on lots comprising the north and south side, which the church paid under protest. It filed suit to recover the amount. 

Issue: Whether the lots are covered by the Church’s tax exemption. 

Held: The exemption in favor of the convent in the payment of land tax refers to the home of the priest who presides over the church and who has to take care of himself in order to discharge his duties. The exemption includes not only the land actually occupied by the Church but also the adjacent ground destined to the ordinary incidental uses of man. A vegetable garden, thus, which belongs to a convent, where its use is limited to the necessity of the priest, comes under the exemption. Further, land used as a lodging house by the people who participate in religious festivities, which constitutes an incidental use in religious functions, likewise comes within the exemption. It cannot be taxed according to its former use, i.e. a cemetery.
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