City of Lapu-Lapu v.

PEZA
Facts:
These are consolidated petitions for review on certiorari the City of Lapu-Lapu and the Province of
Bataan separately filed against the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA).
In G.R. No. 184203, the City of Lapu-Lapu (the City) assails the Court of Appeals’ decision 2 dated
January 11, 2008 and resolution3 dated August 6, 2008, dismissing the City’s appeal for being the wrong
mode of appeal. The City appealed the Regional Trial Court, Branch 111, Pasay City’s decision finding
the PEZA exempt from payment of real property taxes.
In G.R. No. 187583, the Province of Bataan (the Province) assails the Court of Appeals’ decision 4dated
August 27, 2008 and resolution5 dated April 16, 2009, granting the PEZA’s petition for certiorari. The
Court of Appeals ruled that the Regional Trial Court, Branch 115, Pasay City gravely abused its discretion
in finding the PEZA liable for real property taxes to the Province of Bataan.
Facts common to both cases:
President Ferdinand E. Marcos issued Presidential Decree No. 66 in 1972, declaring as government policy
the establishment of export processing zones in strategic locations in the Philippines. To carry such
policy, the Export Processing Zone Authority was created. The said decree declared that EPZA will be a
non-profit entity, and was also declared to be exempt from taxes.
Facts of G.R. No. 184203
On March 25, 1998, the City of Lapu-Lapu, through the Office of the Treasurer, demanded from the
PEZA PHP 32,912,350.08 in real property taxes for the period from 1992 to 1998 on the PEZA’s
properties located in the Mactan Economic Zone. The City pointed out that no provision in the Special
Economic Zone Act of 1995 specifically exempted the PEZA from payment of real property taxes, unlike
Section 21 of Presidential Decree No. 66 that explicitly provided for EPZA’s exemption. Since no legal
provision explicitly exempted the PEZA from payment of real property taxes, the City argued that it can
tax the PEZA.
On September 11, 2002, the PEZA filed a petition for declaratory relief 25 with the Regional Trial Court of
Pasay City, praying that the trial court declare it exempt from payment of real property taxes. Pursuant to
Rule 63, Section 3 of Rules of Court, the Office of the Solicitor General filed a comment 31 on the PEZA’s
petition for declaratory relief. It agreed that the PEZA is exempt from payment of real property taxes,
citing Sections 24 and 51 of the Special Economic Zone Act of 1995. Characterizing the PEZA as an
agency of the National Government, the trial court ruled that the City had no authority to tax the PEZA
under Sections 133(o) and 234(a) of the Local Government Code of 1991. In the resolution 32 dated June
14, 2006, the trial court granted the PEZA’s petition for declaratory relief and declared it exempt from
payment of real property taxes.
Issue: WON the RTC had jurisdiction to hear and decide on the petition of declaratory relief by PEZA
against the city of Lapu-Lapu
Ruling:
The Regional Trial Court of Pasay had no jurisdiction to hear, try, and decide
the PEZA’s petition for declaratory relief against the City of Lapu-Lapu

. in violation of the PEZA’s alleged tax-exempt status under its charter. the issue must be ripe for judicial determination. the Regional Trial Court had no jurisdiction over the subject matter of the action. The trial court. the subject matter of the controversy must be a deed. In sum. a declaratory judgment may issue only if there has been “no breach of the documents in question. The City had already issued demand letters and real property tax assessment against the PEZA. statute. had already been breached. However. In the present case. fifth. will. the Regional Trial Court had no jurisdiction over the subject matter of the action. therefore. the subject matter of PEZA’s petition for declaratory relief.” If the contract or statute subject matter of the action has already been breached. adequate relief is not available through other means or other forms of action or proceeding. or ordinance. the appropriate ordinary civil action must be filed. there must have been no breach of the documents in question. third. We rule that the PEZA erred in availing itself of a petition for declaratory relief against the City. therefore. or any other governmental regulation. fourth. there must be an actual justiciable controversy or the "ripening seeds" of one between persons whose interests are adverse. specifically. the subject matter of PEZA’s petition for declaratory relief. executive order or regulation. specially. A special civil action for declaratory relief is filed for a judicial determination of any question of construction or validity arising from. a petition for declaratory relief must satisfy six requisites:c[F]irst. The trial court. will. The City had already issued demand letters and real property tax assessment against the PEZA. and for a declaration of rights and duties. The Special Economic Zone Act of 1995. had already been breached. in violation of the PEZA’s alleged tax-exempt status under its charter. the other action must be preferred over an action for declaratory relief. second.We rule that the PEZA erred in availing itself of a petition for declaratory relief against the City. under any of the following subject matters: a deed. executive order or regulation. The Special Economic Zone Act of 1995. ordinance. contract or other written instrument. had no jurisdiction over the petition for declaratory relief. had no jurisdiction over the petition for declaratory relief. The trial court should have dismissed the PEZA’s petition for declaratory relief for lack of jurisdiction. If adequate relief is available through another form of action or proceeding. statute. over the remedy. In the present case. and sixth. contract or other written instrument. the terms of said documents and the validity thereof are doubtful and require judicial construction. over the remedy sought.