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OWNERSHIP, PUBLIC DOMAIN

G.R. No. 155650


MIAA VS. CA
CARPIO, J.

Summarized by Mil Ramos

FACTS
1. Petitioner Manila International Airport Authority operates the NAIA; it ministers the land, improvements and
equipment within the complex (600 hectares)
2. In 1997, Office of the Government Corporate Counsel (OGCC) issued Opinion No. 061 opining that the
LGC withdrew the exemption from real estate tax granted to MIAA under Section 21 of the MIAA Charter
MIAA negotiated with respondent City of Paraaque to pay the real estate tax imposed by the City, but
also paid some of its real estate tax already due
3. In June 2001, MIAA received Final Notices of Real Estate Tax Delinquency from the City of Paraaque for
the taxable years 1992 to 2001
4. Days later, City, through its City Treasurer, issued notices of levy and warrants of levy on the Airport Lands
and Buildings; the Mayor threatened to sell at public auction the Airport Lands and Buildings should MIAA
fail to pay; MIAA asked for clarification from OGCC
OGCC issued Opinion No. 147 clarifying Opinion No. 061: Section 21 of the MIAA Charter is the proof
that MIAA is exempt from real estate tax
5. MIAA filed with the CA an original petition for prohibition and injunction to restrain the City from imposing
real estate tax on, levying against, and auctioning for public sale the Airport Lands and Buildings ->
dismissed; MR denied
6. City was about to auction the properties SC granted TRO
7. MIAA: it cannot claim ownership over these properties since the real owner of the Airport Lands and
Buildings is the Republic of the Philippines; vs.
8. City: Sec.193, LGC, withdrew the tax exemption privileges of "government-owned and-controlled
corporations" upon its effectivity

ISSUE with HOLDING


W/N Airport Lands and Buildings of MIAA are exempt from real estate tax under existing laws YES

MIAA is not a government-owned or controlled corporation but an instrumentality of the National


Government and thus exempt from local taxation.

A government-owned or controlled corporation must be "organized as a stock or non-stock corporation." MIAA


is not organized as a stock or non-stock corporation. MIAA is not a stock corporation because it has no capital
stock divided into shares. MIAA has no stockholders or voting shares.

MIAA is a government instrumentality vested with corporate powers to perform efficiently its governmental
functions. MIAA is like any other government instrumentality, the only difference is that MIAA is vested with
corporate powers. When the law vests in a government instrumentality corporate powers, the instrumentality
does not become a corporation.

The real properties of MIAA are owned by the Republic of the Philippines and thus exempt from real
estate tax.

1
The Airport Lands and Buildings of MIAA are property of public dominion and
therefore owned by the State or the Republic of the Philippines. The Civil Code provides:

ARTICLE 419. Property is either of public dominion or of private ownership.

ARTICLE 420. The following things are property of public dominion:

(1) Those intended for public use, such as roads, canals, rivers, torrents, ports and bridges constructed
by the State, banks, shores, roadsteads, and others of similar character;
(2) Those which belong to the State, without being for public use, and are intended for some public
service or for the development of the national wealth. (Emphasis supplied)

ARTICLE 421. All other property of the State, which is not of the character stated in the preceding article, is
patrimonial property.

ARTICLE 422. Property of public dominion, when no longer intended for public use or for public service, shall
form part of the patrimonial property of the State.

The term "ports" includes seaports and airports. The MIAA Airport Lands and Buildings constitute a "port"
constructed by the State. Moreover, the Airport Lands and Buildings are devoted to public use because they
are used by the public for international and domestic travel and transportation. The fact that the MIAA collects
terminal fees and other charges from the public does not remove the character of the Airport Lands and
Buildings as properties for public use.

The charging of fees to the public does not determine the character of the property whether it is of public
dominion or not. Article 420 of the Civil Code defines property of public dominion as one "intended for public
use." Even if the government collects toll fees, the road is still "intended for public use" if anyone can use the
road under the same terms and conditions as the rest of the public. The charging of fees, the limitation on the
kind of vehicles that can use the road, the speed restrictions and other conditions for the use of the road do not
affect the public character of the road.

DISPOSITIVE PORTION
WHEREFORE, we GRANT the petition. We SET ASIDE the assailed Resolutions of the Court of Appeals
We DECLARE the Airport Lands and Buildings of the Manila International Airport Authority EXEMPT from the
real estate tax imposed by the City of Paraaque. We declare VOID all the real estate tax assessments,
including the final notices of real estate tax delinquencies, issued by the City of Paraaque on the Airport
Lands and Buildings of the Manila International Airport Authority, except for the portions that the Manila
International Airport Authority has leased to private parties. We also declare VOID the assailed auction sale,
and all its effects, of the Airport Lands and Buildings of the Manila International Airport Authority.