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(case no.

504)

BERDIN v. MASCARIAS
GR Number 135928
June 7, 1971
Art. III
FACTS:
On December 1988, the Sangguniang Bayan of Tubigon, Bohol enacted Tax Ordinance
No. 88-11-36 increasing the tax rates and fees of the municipality to take effect on January 1,
1989. Petitioner wrote to the municipal treasurer to request a copy of the ordinance. It was
followed by the filing of a protest before the municipal mayor and municipal treasurer.
Petitioners requested the suspension of the implementation of the ordinance pending the final
determination of its legality. Petitioners elevated the request to the provincial treasurer of Bohol.
Provincial treasurer referred the letter to the Tubigon Municipal Treasurer and requested
them to forward a copy of the Ordinance to the DOF for review. Respondent mayor submitted a
corrected copy of the ordinance to the DOF regional office in Cebu.
Final demand letters were sent to petitioners for payment of outstanding rental fees and
municipal business taxes due under the new tax ordinance, with a warning that their stores and
establishments will be closed and padlocked. Petitioner wrote to say that they are awaiting the
resolution of the protest before taking action on the final demand letters.
Petitioners filed a complaint with the RTC to declare the ordinance null and void. RTC
rendered a decision declaring that the Ordinances are valid and enforceable. Petitioners appealed
with the CA but it affirmed the RTC decision in toto.
ISSUE:
Whether the publication of the ordinances was necessary.
HELD:
Yes. The right of the people to information on matters of public concern is recognized
under Section 7 of Article 3 and is subject to limitations as may be provided by law. While
access to official records may not be prohibited, it may be regulated. Regulation may come either
from statutory law and from the inherent power of an officer to control his office and the records
under his custody. The Municipal Treasurer in the case at bar exercised discretion by
requiring petitioners to pay for the cost of the reproduction of the Ordinance. And the Court
held that such requirement is reasonable under the circumstances considering that the ordinance
is quite voluminous and consist of more than a hundred pages.

Prepared by: Cecille Diane DJ. Mangaser