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Manila International Airport Authority vs CA GR No.

155650, July 20, 2006, 495 SCRA 591 Facts: Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) is the operator of the Ninoy International Airport located at Paranaque City. The Officers of Paranaque City sent notices to MIAA due to real estate tax delinquency. MIAA then settled some of the amount. When MIAA failed to settle the entire amount, the officers of Paranaque city threatened to levy and subject to auction the land and buildings of MIAA, which they did. MIAA sought for a Temporary Restraining Order from the CA but failed to do so within the 60 days reglementary period, so the petition was dismissed. MIAA then sought for the TRO with the Supreme Court a day before the public auction, MIAA was granted with the TRO but unfortunately the TRO was received by the Paranaque City officers 3 hours after the public auction. MIAA claims that although the charter provides that the title of the land and building are with MIAA still the ownership is with the Republic of the Philippines. MIAA also contends that it is an instrumentality of the government and as such exempted from real estate tax. That the land and buildings of MIAA are of public dominion therefore cannot be subjected to levy and auction sale. On the other hand, the officers of Paranaque City claim that MIAA is a government owned and controlled corporation therefore not exempted to real estate tax. Issues: Whether or not MIAA is an instrumentality of the government and not a government owned and controlled corporation and as such exempted from tax. Whether or not the land and buildings of MIAA are part of the public dominion and thus cannot be the subject of levy and auction sale. Ruling: Under the Local government code, government owned and controlled corporations are not exempted from real estate tax. MIAA is not a government owned and controlled corporation, for to become one MIAA should either be a stock or non stock corporation. MIAA is not a stock corporation for its capital is not divided into shares. It is not a non stock corporation since it has no members. MIAA is an instrumentality of the government vested with corporate powers and government functions. Under the civil code, property may either be under public dominion or private ownership. Those under public dominion are owned by the State and are utilized for public use, public service and for the development of national wealth. The ports included in the public dominion pertain either to seaports or airports. When properties under public dominion cease to be for public use and service, they form part of the patrimonial property of the State. The court held that the land and buildings of MIAA are part of the public dominion. Since the airport is devoted for public use, for the domestic and international travel and transportation. Even if MIAA charge fees, this is for support of its operation and for regulation and does not change the character of the land and buildings of MIAA as part of the public dominion. As part of the public dominion the land and buildings of MIAA are outside the commerce of man. To subject them to levy and public auction is contrary to public policy. Unless the President issues a proclamation withdrawing the airport land and buildings from public use, these properties remain to be of public dominion and are inalienable. As long as the land and buildings are for public use the ownership is with the Republic of the Philippines.