THE Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday issued a temporary restraining order (TRO), enjoining the Quezon City (QC) government from selling the University of the Philippines (UP) -Ayala Land Technohub property to compensate for the P117.18-million unpaid real-estate taxes of the country’s premier university.
The SC granted the relief sought by UP through Acting Solicitor General Florin Hilbay filed last week.
It was the SC’s Second Division that issued the TRO that took effect immediately until further orders from the high tribunal.
The SC also ordered the QC government to answer the petition within non-extendible period of 10 days from receipt of notice.
The QC government, through its treasurer, earlier notified the UP administration that the property will be auctioned off to cover for unpaid real-estate taxes.
On July 22 UP received the final notice of deliquency dated July 11 from the Office of City Treasurer demanding the payment of the amount.
The Office of the Solicitor General insisted that UP is exempt from taxes based on Republic Act 9500, or the UP Charter, thus, the issuance of a TRO and/or a writ of preliminary injunction is warranted to enjoin the QC government from disposing of the property.
Hibay noted that under Section 25(a) of the law, revenues and assets of the university are exempts from “all taxes and duties.”
He said the exemption applies to UP properties whether used for educational purposes “or in support thereof.”
The UP-Ayala Land Technohub was developed as an information-technology hub and a part of the larger science and technology park located along Commonwealth Avenue.
The technohub is a Philippine Economic Zone Authority-approved Information Technology Park, with locations and amenities ideal for science and tech companies.
UP’s share in the revenues of the property, as well as the lease paid by Ayala Land, supplement the university’s budget.
The QC government insisted that the subject property became taxable when it was leased to Ayala Land, since the beneficial use of the property was granted to a taxable entity.