ABOITIZ Power Corp. said on Tuesday that the court had issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) in favor of its subsidiary Luzon Hydro Corp. (LHC), stopping the municipality of Alilem in Ilocos Sur from auctioning off the unit’s real properties.

“AboitizPower was informed that the Regional Trial Court of the Province of Ilocos Sur has issued a TRO enjoining the Municipality of Alilem from selling at public auction LHC’s real properties located in Alilem, Ilocos Sur for a period of twenty (20) days. Parties were also ordered to submit their position papers with ten (10) days,” the listed energy company told the stock exchange.

The court issuance came after LHC filed a petition for prohibition and mandamus, with prayer for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction, to stop the municipality from auctioning its real properties in Alilem.

Before LHC’s filing, it received a notice of real property tax (RPT) delinquency from the Office of the Municipal Treasurer of Alilem seeking to collect a total of P446,029,609.46 in unpaid RPT and accrued penalties from 2002 to August 2019.

“This was followed by a warrant of levy, and a notice of publication and auction sale covering the real properties of LHC, consisting of industrial machineries and buildings,” AboitizPower said.

Before Alilem’s notice of RPT delinquency, LHC had a standing offer to the provincial government of Ilocos Sur that it is willing to pay RPT computed in accordance with the provisions of Executive Order (EO) No. 60, series of 2018. The offer of payment was rejected.

EO 60 allows the reduction and condonation of RPT and penalties assessed on power generation facilities of independent power producers under build-operate-transfer contracts. The reduction and condonation cover all liabilities for RPT, including any special levies accruing to the special education fund for calendar year 2017 and past years.

On Tuesday, shares in AboitizPower slipped by 1.72% to P34.20 each. — Victor V. Saulon