Thus, for an entity to be considered as a GOCC, it must either be organized as a stock or non-stock corporation. Two requisites must concur before one may be classified as a stock corporation, namely: (1) that it has capital stock divided into shares, and (2) that it is authorized to distribute dividends and allotments of surplus and profits to its stockholders. If only one requisite is present, it cannot be properly classified as a stock corporation. As for non-stock corporations, they must have members and must not distribute any part of their income to said members.
On the basis of the parameters set in the MIAA case, the Authority should be classified as an instrumentality of the national government. As such, it is generally exempt from payment of real property tax, except those portions which have been leased to private entities.
In the MIAA case, petitioner Philippine Fisheries Development Authority was cited as among the instrumentalities of the national government. Thus –
Some of the national government instrumentalities vested by law with juridical personalities are: Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, Philippine Rice Research Institute, Laguna Lake Development Authority, Fisheries Development Authority, Bases Conversion Development Authority, Philippine Ports Authority, Cagayan de Oro Port Authority, San Fernando Port Authority, Cebu Port Authority, and Philippine National Railways.
Indeed, the Authority is not a GOCC but an instrumentality of the government. The Authority has a capital stock but it is not divided into shares of stocks. Also, it has no stockholders or voting shares. Hence, it is not a stock corporation. Neither it is a non-stock corporation because it has no members.
The Authority is actually a national government instrumentality which is defined as an agency of the national government, not integrated within the department framework, vested with special functions or jurisdiction by law, endowed with some if not all corporate powers, administering special funds, and enjoying operational autonomy, usually through a charter. When the law vests in a government instrumentality corporate powers, the instrumentality does not become a corporation. Unless the government instrumentality is organized as a stock or non-stock corporation, it remains a government instrumentality exercising not only governmental but also corporate powers.
Thus, the Authority which is tasked with the special public function to carry out the government’s policy “to promote the development of the country’s fishing industry and improve the efficiency in handling, preserving, marketing, and distribution of fish and other aquatic products,” exercises the governmental powers of eminent domain, and the power to levy fees and charges. At the same time, the Authority exercises “the general corporate powers conferred by laws upon private and government-owned or controlled corporations.”
The MIAA case held that unlike GOCCs, instrumentalities of the national government, like MIAA, are exempt from local taxes pursuant to Section 133(o) of the Local Government Code. This exemption, however, admits of an exception with respect to real property taxes. Applying Section 234(a) of the Local Government Code, the Court ruled that when an instrumentality of the national government grants to a taxable person the beneficial use of a real property owned by the Republic, said instrumentality becomes liable to pay real property tax. Thus, while MIAA was held to be an instrumentality of the national government which is generally exempt from local taxes, it was at the same time declared liable to pay real property taxes on the airport lands and buildings which it leased to private persons. It was held that the real property tax assessments and notices of delinquencies issued by the City of Pasay to MIAA are void except those pertaining to portions of the airport which are leased to private parties. Pertinent portions of the decision, reads: