Luzon Hydro Corp., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Aboitiz Power Corp., said it obtained a 20-day temporary restraining order to stop the town of Alilem in Ilocos Sur from selling at public auction the former’s real properties.
Aboitiz Power said in a disclosure to the stock exchange a regional trial court in Ilocos Sur issued the TRO. “Parties were also ordered to submit their position papers with 10 days,” the company said.
The court issued the TRO against Alilem municipal treasurer Cristina Monderin, Ilocos Sur acting provincial treasurer Jocelyn Cuyo Foz and Ilocos Sur provincial assessor Imelda Ben.
LHC earlier received a notice of real property tax delinquency from the Office of the Municipal Treasurer of Alilem seeking to collect P446,029,609.46 in unpaid RPT and accrued penalties covering the period 2002 to August 2019.
The municipal treasurer then issued a notice of publication and auction sale covering the real properties of LHC, consisting of industrial machineries and buildings.
LHC, incorporated on Sept. 14, 1994, owns, operates and manages the 70-megawatt Bakun AC run-of-river hydropower plant. The plant was constructed and operated under the government’s build-operate-transfer scheme.
LHC filed the petition for prohibition and mandamus with prayer for a TRO and preliminary injunction to challenge the correctness of the amount assessed delinquency and prevent the auction of the assets covered by the warrants of levy.
LHC said that prior to its receipt of Alilem’s notice of RPT delinquency, it had a standing offer to the provincial government of Ilocos Sur that it was willing to pay RPT, computed in accordance with the provisions of Executive Order No. 60, series of 2018. The tender of payment was rejected.
EO 60 allows the reduction and condonation of real property taxes and penalties assessed on power generation facilities of IPPs under BOT contracts. The reduction and condonation cover all liabilities on property tax, including any special levies accruing to the special education fund for calendar year 2017 and prior years.
The Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. also issued a letter to the municipality of Alilem urging it to reconsider the auction of the levied assets, in consideration of the ownership rights and interest of the government over the levied assets.