The Court of Appeals has rejected with finality the appeal of the Department of Transportation and Communications and its private partner Metro Rail Transit Corp. to take jurisdiction of its petition seeking to stop Mandaluyong City from taking over its properties due to their failure to pay real property taxes amounting to P2.4 billion covering the period of 2003 to 2005.
In a five-page resolution, the CA’s Former Sixth Division through Associate Justice Noel Tijam did not give merit to MRTC’s argument that the appellate court should have taken cognizance of its petition based on Supreme Court decisions in NPC vs. Provincial Government of Bataan and Republic vs. City of Mandaluyong.
The appellate court stressed that in the first case the issue was propriety of execution of the latter on former NPC properties that had been taken from it and transferred to other government corporations.
“There was no ruling that the Court of Appeals can take cognizance of certiorari petitions involving real property tax cases decided by the RTC,” the CA stressed.
According to the CA, the same line of reasoning applies as to the case of Republic vs. City of Mandaluyong.
“The mere mention of the pendency of the instant petition in the said case as to the propriety of the RTC’s issuance of a writ of possession in favor of the City of Mandaluyong over real properties forming part of the Edsa Metro Rail Transit III, cannot by stretch of argument, be used in order for this court to take cognizance of the instant petition,” it said.
The CA pointed out that its decision against DoTC and MRTC was reached “with judicial respect to a co-equal court” which is the Court of Tax Appeals.
In its Jan. 21, 2015 decision, the Court held that it has no jurisdiction to decide on the petition filed by DoTC and MRTC seeking to set aside the orders issued by the Regional Trial Court of Mandaluyong City on Sept. 15, 2006 and March 9, 2007.
The trial court, in the orders, junked the petition filed by DoTC seeking the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction to enjoin Mandaluyong City from auctioning the MRT III properties.
The appellate court stressed that the Supreme Court ruled in the case of City of Manila v. Grecia-Cuerdo that the CTA has jurisdiction over petitions for certiorari questioning interlocutory orders of courts or administrative agencies and cases falling within its exclusive jurisdiction.
The SC held that the CA was correct when it dismissed the petition for certiorari questioning the order of the trial court granting the private respondents’ plea for a writ of preliminary injunction in a local tax case.