Abra Valley College vs. Aquino, 162 SCRA 106 (1988) G.R. No. L-39086 June 15, 1988

Fact: Petitioner, filed a complaint in the court a quo to annul and declare void the “Notice of Seizure’ and the “Notice of Sale” of its lot and building located at Bangued, Abra, for non-payment of real estate taxes and penalties. The “Notice of Sale” was caused to be served upon the petitioner by the respondent treasurers for the sale at public auction of said college lot and building, which sale was held on the same date. Dr. Paterno Millare, then Municipal Mayor of Bangued, Abra, offered the highest bid which was duly accepted. the respondent filed through counstel a motion to dismiss the complaint. Nonetheless, the trial court disagreed because of the use of the second floor by the Director of petitioner school for residential purposes. He thus ruled for the government and rendered the assailed decision. Hence petitioner instead availed of the instant petition for review on certiorari with prayer for preliminary injunction before the Supreme Court. Adrian Avilado Antazo

Issue: Whether the Educational Institution Properties which is not exclusively used for educational purposes is not eligible for tax exemption.

Held:   Yes, Under the 1935 Constitution, the trial court correctly arrived at the conclusion that the school building as well as the lot where it is built, should be taxed, not because the second floor of the same is being used by the Director and his family for residential purposes, but because the first floor thereof is being used for commercial purposes. However, since only a portion is used for purposes of commerce, it is only fair that half of the assessed tax be returned to the school involved. Moreover, the exemption in favor of property used exclusively for charitable or educational purposes is ‘not limited to property actually indispensable’ therefor but extends to facilities which are incidental to and reasonably necessary for the accomplishment of said purposes. But it must be stressed however, that while  the court allows a more liberal and non-restrictive interpretation of the phrase “exclusively used for educational purposes”, reasonable emphasis has always been made that exemption extends to facilities which are incidental to and reasonably necessary for the accomplishment of the main purposes. Otherwise stated, the use of the school building or lot for commercial purposes is neither contemplated by law, nor by jurisprudence, The lease of the first floor thereof to the Northern Marketing Corporation cannot by any stretch of the imagination be considered incidental to the purpose of education.

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