RTC orders status quo on Capitol auction of power transmission properties-A A +A
Thursday, June 28, 2012
CAPITOL cannot push through with the public auction of the assets of the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) on July 2.
This, as Judge Sylva Aguirre Paderanga of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 16 ordered a status quo on the Cebu Provincial Government’s plan to auction NGCP properties to collect P196 million in real pro perty taxes.
But the status quo order, issued in open court yesterday, is only for 20 days.
Provincial Attorney Marino Martinquilla, in an interview, said Capitol will comply with the court order.
Martinquilla said Paderanga will tackle on July 11 NGCP’s appeal for issuance of a preliminary injunction and to determine the merits of the case.
Both parties were directed to file their memoranda in seven days.
The NGCP, the private operator of the country’s power transmission network, filed the civil case to seek redress against the imposition of real property tax by the Cebu Provincial Government on its assets.
Capitol was planning to auction NGCP properties that included submarine cables, transmission lines and other equipment.
NGCP warned of massive blackouts in the Visayas if the auction pushes through.
Capitol issued last May 8 a warrant of levy against NGCP for failing to pay real property taxes for facilities in Samboan and Daanbantayan towns.
The NGCP argued that its properties should be exempted from real property tax, pursuant to Section 234 of the Local Government Code.
“The tax exemption from the payment of real property tax on the properties that are used in connection with the operation of its franchise was expressly granted to NGCP,” the transmission firm’s complaint read.
Citing Section 9 of Republic Act 9511, the NGCP said it is only required to pay three percent franchise tax to the National Government.
“NGCP is exempt from payment of real property tax on properties used in connection with its franchise and all taxes, duties, fees and charges of any kind or description levied, established or collected by any local or National Government,” the complaint read.
The NGCP asked the court to declare as null and void the tax declaration 14737 and 24085.
Named respondents in the complaint were the Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia, Provincial Treasurer Roy Salubre, Provincial Assessor Anthony Sususco and the National Transmission Corp. (Transco), as the unwilling co-plaintiff.
Transco, a government-owned and controlled corporation, used to manage and operate the country’s transmission lines.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on June 28, 2012.