MANILA (Mabuhay) – The Quezon City government cannot just yet auction off the UP-Ayala Technohub property to cover the university’s P117 million in real estate tax deficiency.
The Supreme Court Second Division, through Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, issued a temporary restraining order stopping the auction “effective immediately and continuing until further notice,” according to court papers released on Thursday.
“The Office of the City Treasurer, Quezon City, your representatives, agents, or other persons acting on your behalf are hereby restrained from enforcing the Final Notice of Delinquency dated 11 July 2014 and from proceeding with the sale of the subject property at a public auction scheduled on 20 November 2014,” read the TRO.
The high tribunal also ordered the city treasurer of Quezon City to comment on UP’s petition within 10 days from notice.
Associate solicitors Emerson Bañez and Maximo Paulino Sison III were also required to submit proofs of payments of their Integrated Bar of the Philippines membership dues within five days after receiving the notice.
In a 13-page petition, the University of the Philippines, through Solicitor-General Florin Hilbay, had insisted the property should not auctioned off because the university did not owe the city government any real estate tax.
UP was notified by the local government that the 380,630-sqm property on Commonwealth Avenue would have to be sold in an auction on November 20 to pay for the P117,182,700 real estate tax UP owes the city.
But UP said that under Section 25 of Republic Act 9500, revenues and assets of the university are exempted from all taxes and duties, including UP’s properties whether used for educational purposes or in support of the school.
Lessee Ayala Land
“The Technohub is a PEZA-approved (Philippine Economic Zone Authority-approved) information technology park with locations and amenities ideal for science and tech companies,” according to the petition.
“UP’s share in the revenues of the property as well as the lease paid by Ayala Land supplement the university’s budget,” it added.
The petition also noted Ayala Land Inc., being the lessee, was the “legally accountable party” to the unpaid real estate property taxes on the government-owned UP property.
UP said its right to due process was violated when the QC government issued a notice of delinquency despite the absence of the first notice of assessment, as prescribed under Section 223 of the Local Government Code.
UP said the statement of delinquency it received was dated May 27, 2014 while the final notice of delinquency was dated July 11, 2014.
UP said the notice of assessment issued to Ayala Land could not be considered as a notice to UP because the law stated that the notice of assessment should be issued to the person in whose name the property was listed.
The petition claimed the local government committed grave abuse of discretion when it issued the statement of delinquency and the final notice of delinquency.
“The inclusion of the subject property in the list of properties scheduled to be sold at a public auction without a prior notice of assessment having been issued to UP constitutes a violation of UP’s right to due process,” the petition read. (MNS)