LINGAYEN, Pangasinan — The province of Pangasinan will be P178 million richer after it scored a major legal victory against Team Sual Corporation (TSC), which owns the Sual Coal-Fired Thermal Power Plant, that questioned its assessment and collection of local transfer tax.

This, after the Regional Trial Court (RTC) branch in Lingayen dismissed Civil Case No. 19095 filed by the TSC against the Province of Pangasinan for the annulment of assessment for local transfer tax and resolved further that the transfer tax be paid to the provincial government of Pangasinan.

Team Sual “seeks to annul and set aside the (Provincial) treasurer’s assessment dated November 3, 2010 which demanded payment of transfer tax on the alleged transfer to plaintiff of machineries and buildings of the Sual Power Plant in the amount of Php 178,457,040 plus interest and surcharges.”

The decision, signed on February 10, 2016 by RTC Branch 37 Acting Judge Jaime L. Dojillo, Jr., was received by the Provincial Legal Office last February 26.

During the court battle, the TSC argued that Mirant Sual and Team Sual refer to “one and the same corporation” and that the sale of Mirant (US) of its shares to Mirant Acia Pacific Limited based in Bermuda to Crimson Power, which is a joint venture of Tokyo and Marubeni, was only a sale of shares of stocks, which did not affect the corporate identity of the corporation.

However, the provincial government which was represented in court by Marilou E. Utanes (in her capacity as the provincial treasurer), argued that the present TSC is a ‘new corporation after the consortium of Tokyo Electric Company International B.V. and Marubeni Corporation completed the purchase of all the business of Mirant Corporation in the Philippines including the Sual Coal Fired Thermal Power plant based in Sual town.’

With this premise, the court decided that all properties including machineries, buildings, improvements and all collective possessions of Mirant Sual were transferred under a new set of owners, which is now the TSC.

The decision noted that, “transfer tax is due the Province under Section 135 of the Local Government Code. With all its directors completely changed without any of the original incorporators nor directors from the old Pangasinan Electric Corporation (PEC), Team Sual is no longer the same Mirant Corporation. This is bolstered by the fact that even its principal office is in Pasay City, Metro Manila and not Sual, Pangasinan.”

The Sual Coal-Fired Power Plant (SCFPP) located in Pangascasan, Sual began its operations in 1999.

According to the general information sheet filed with the SEC, Team Sual Corporation (formerly Mirant Sual Corporation) is composed of Team Energy Corporation as majority stockholder with 84,999,941 shares and eight other stockholders with 10 shares each. PNA/