corporation

Mentholantum Co., Inc vs Mangaliman (G.R. No. L-47701 June 27, 1941)

Mentholantum Co., Inc vs Mangaliman
G.R. No. L-47701 June 27, 1941

Facts: On October 1, 1935, the Mentholatum Co., Inc., and the Philippine-American Drug Co., Inc. instituted an action in the Court of First Instance of Manila, civil case No. 48855, against Anacleto Mangaliman, Florencio Mangaliman and the Director of the Bureau of Commerce for infringement of trade mark and unfair competition. Plaintiffs prayed for the issuance of an order restraining Anacleto and Florencio Mangaliman from selling their product “Mentholiman,” and directing them to render an accounting of their sales and profits and to pay damages. The complaint stated, among other particulars, that the Mentholatum Co., Inc., is a Kansas corporation which manufactures Mentholatum,” a medicament and salve adapted for the treatment of colds, nasal irritations, chapped skin, insect bites, rectal irritation and other external ailments of the body; that the Philippine-American Drug co., Inc., is its exclusive distributing agent in the Philippines authorized by it to look after and protect its interests; that on June 26, 1919 and on January 21, 1921, the Mentholatum Co., Inc., registered with the Bureau of Commerce and Industry the word, “Mentholatum,” as trade mark for its products; that the Mangaliman brothers prepared a medicament and salve named “Mentholiman” which they sold to the public packed in a container of the same size, color and shape as “Mentholatum”; and that, as a consequence of these acts of the defendants, plaintiffs suffered damages from the dimunition of their sales and the loss of goodwill and reputation of their product in the market.

Issue: Whether or not the petitioner has the right to maintain the action for infringement of trademark and unfair competition.

Held: No. Section 69 of Act No. 1459 reads:

SEC. 69. No foreign corporation or corporation formed, organized, or existing under any laws other than those of the Philippine Islands shall be permitted to transact business in the Philippine Islands or maintain by itself or assignee any suit for the recovery of any debt, claim, or demand whatever, unless it shall have the license prescribed in the section immediately preceding. Any officer, or agent of the corporation or any person transacting business for any foreign corporation not having the license prescribed shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than six months nor more than two years or by a fine of not less than two hundred pesos nor more than one thousand pesos, or by both such imprisonment and fine, in the discretion of the court.

In the present case, no dispute exists as to facts: (1) that the plaintiff, the Mentholatum Co., Inc., is a foreign corporation; (2) that it is not licensed to do business in the Philippines. The controversy, in reality, hinges on the question of whether the said corporation is or is not transacting business in the Philippines.

No general rule or governing principle can be laid down as to what constitutes “doing” or “engaging in” or “transacting” business. Indeed, each case must be judged in the light of its peculiar environmental circumstances. The true test, however, seems to be whether the foreign corporation is continuing the body or substance of the business or enterprise for which it was organized or whether it has substantially retired from it and turned it over to another. (Traction Cos. v. Collectors of Int. Revenue [C. C. A. Ohio], 223 F. 984, 987.) The term implies a continuity of commercial dealings and arrangements, and contemplates, to that extent, the performance of acts or works or the exercise of some of the functions normally incident to, and in progressive prosecution of, the purpose and object of its organization. (Griffin v. Implement Dealers’ Mut. Fire Ins. Co., 241 N. W. 75, 77; Pauline Oil & Gas Co. v. Mutual Tank Line Co., 246 P. 851, 852, 118 Okl. 111; Automotive Material Co. v. American Standard Metal Products Corp., 158 N. E. 698, 703, 327 III. 367.)

MORAN, J., dissenting:

Section 69 of the Corporation Law provides that, without license no foreign corporation may maintain by itself or assignee any suit in the Philippine courts for the recovery of any debt, claim or demand whatever. But this provision, as we have held in Western Equipment & Supply Company vs. Reyes (51 Phil., 115), does not apply to suits for infringement of trade marks and unfair competition, the theory being that “the right to the use of the corporate and trade name of a foreign corporation is a property right, a right in rem, which it may assert and protect in any of the courts of the world even in countries where it does not personally transact any business,” and that “trade mark does not acknowledge any territorial boundaries but extends to every mark where the traders’ goods have become known and identified by the use of the mark.”

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Lozada vs Magtanggol (G.R. No. 196134, October 12, 2016)

Lozada vs Magtanggol
G.R. No. 196134, October 12, 2016

Facts: On October 13, 1997, the Magtanggol Mendoza was employed as a technician by VSL Service Center, a single proprietorship owned and managed by Valentin Lozada. Sometime in August 2003, the VSL Service Center was incorporated and changed its business name to LB&C Services Corporation. Subsequently, Magtanggol was asked by respondent Lozada to sign a new employment contract. The petitioner did not accede because the respondent company did not consider the number of years of service that he had rendered to VSL Service Center. From then on, the his work schedule was reduced to one to three days a week. In December 2003, He was given his regular working schedule by the company. However, on January 12, 2004, Magtanggol was advised by the respondent company’s Executive Officer, Angeline Aguilar, not to report for work and just wait for a call from the respondent company regarding his work schedule. Due to the continued failure of respondent company to give work schedule to Magtanggol, the latter filed a complaint against the respondent company on January 21, 2004 for illegal dismissal with a prayer for the payment of his 13th month pay, service incentive leave pay, holiday pay and separation pay and with a claim for moral and exemplary damages, and attorney’s fees. The case was docketed as NLRC NCR Case No. 00-01-00968-2004. On February 23, 2005, the Labor Arbiter declared the dismissal of the petitioner from employment as illegal. LB&C Services Corporation appealed, but the NLRC dismissed the appeal for non-perfection thereof due to failure to deposit the required cash or surety bond. Thus, the Labor Arbiter’s decision attained finality on August 4, 2006, and the entry of judgment was issued by the NLRC on August 16, 2006. The respondent moved for the issuance of the writ of execution, which the Labor Arbiter granted on November 21, 2006.

Issue: Whether or not the petitioner may be held liable for the monetary awards granted to the respondent despite the absence of a pronouncement of his being solidarily liable with LB&C Services Corporation.

Held: No. A corporation, as a juridical entity, may act only through its directors, officers and employees. Obligations incurred as a result of the acts of the directors and officers as the corporate agents are not their personal liability but the direct responsibility of the corporation they represent. As a general rule, corporate officers are not held solidarily liable with the corporation for separation pay because the corporation is invested by law with a personality separate and distinct from those of the persons composing it as well as from that of any other legal entity to which it may be related. Mere ownership by a single stockholder or by another corporation of all or nearly all of the capital stock of a corporation is not of itself sufficient ground for disregarding the separate corporate personality.

To hold a director or officer personally liable for corporate obligations, two requisites must concur, to wit: (1) the complaint must allege that the director or officer assented to the patently unlawful acts of the corporation, or that the director or officer was guilty of gross negligence or bad faith; and (2) there must be proof that the director or officer acted in bad faith.

Clearly, what can be inferred from the earlier cases is that the doctrine of piercing the corporate veil applies only in three (3) basic areas, namely: 1) defeat of public convenience as when the corporate fiction is used as a vehicle for the evasion of an existing obligation; 2) fraud cases or when the corporate entity is used to justify a wrong, protect fraud, or defend a crime; or 3) alter ego cases, where a corporation is merely a farce since it is a mere alter ego or business conduit of a person, or where the corporation is so organized and controlled and its affairs are so conducted as to make it merely an instrumentality, agency, conduit or adjunct of another corporation. In the absence of malice, bad faith, or a specific provision of law making a corporate officer liable, such corporate officer cannot be made personally liable for corporate liabilities.

The records of this case do not warrant the application of the exception. The rule, which requires malice or bad faith on the part of the directors or officers of the corporation, must still prevail. The petitioner might have acted in behalf of LB&C Services Corporation but the corporation’s failure to operate could not be hastily equated to bad faith on his part. Verily, the closure of a business can be caused by a host of reasons, including mismanagement, bankruptcy, lack of demand, negligence, or lack of business foresight. Unless the closure is clearly demonstrated to be deliberate, malicious and in bad faith, the general rule that a corporation has, by law, a personality separate and distinct from that of its owners should hold sway. In view of the dearth of evidence indicating that the petitioner had acted deliberately, maliciously or in bad faith in handling the affairs of LB&C Services Corporation, and such acts had eventually resulted in the closure of its business, he could not be validly held to be jointly and solidarily liable with LB&C Services Corporation.

Gamboa vs Teves (G.R. No. 176579 June 28, 2011)

Gamboa vs Teves
G.R. No. 176579 June 28, 2011

Facts: On 28 November 1928, the Philippine Legislature enacted Act No. 3436 which granted PLDT a franchise and the right to engage in telecommunications business. In 1969, General Telephone and Electronics Corporation (GTE), an American company and a major PLDT stockholder, sold 26 percent of the outstanding common shares of PLDT to PTIC. In 1977, Prime Holdings, Inc. (PHI) was incorporated by several persons, including Roland Gapud and Jose Campos, Jr. Subsequently, PHI became the owner of 111,415 shares of stock of PTIC by virtue of three Deeds of Assignment executed by PTIC stockholders Ramon Cojuangco and Luis Tirso Rivilla. In 1986, the 111,415 shares of stock of PTIC held by PHI were sequestered by the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG). The 111,415 PTIC shares, which represent about 46.125 percent of the outstanding capital stock of PTIC, were later declared by this Court to be owned by the Republic of the Philippines. Since PTIC is a stockholder of PLDT, the sale by the Philippine Government of 46.125 percent of PTIC shares is actually an indirect sale of 12 million shares or about 6.3 percent of the outstanding common shares of PLDT. With the sale, First Pacifics common shareholdings in PLDT increased from 30.7 percent to 37 percent, thereby increasing the common shareholdings of foreigners in PLDT to about 81.47 percent. This violates Section 11, Article XII of the 1987 Philippine Constitution which limits foreign ownership of the capital of a public utility to not more than 40 percent.

Issue: Whether or not the term capital in Section 11, Article XII of the Constitution refers to the common shares of PLDT, a public utility.

Held: Yes. Section 11, Article XII (National Economy and Patrimony) of the 1987 Constitution mandates the Filipinization of public utilities, to wit:

Section 11. No franchise, certificate, or any other form of authorization for the operation of a public utility shall be granted except to citizens of the Philippines or to corporations or associations organized under the laws of the Philippines, at least sixty per centum of whose capital is owned by such citizens; nor shall such franchise, certificate, or authorization be exclusive in character or for a longer period than fifty years. Neither shall any such franchise or right be granted except under the condition that it shall be subject to amendment, alteration, or repeal by the Congress when the common good so requires. The State shall encourage equity participation in public utilities by the general public. The participation of foreign investors in the governing body of any public utility enterprise shall be limited to their proportionate share in its capital, and all the executive and managing officers of such corporation or association must be citizens of the Philippines. (Emphasis supplied)

Any citizen or juridical entity desiring to operate a public utility must therefore meet the minimum nationality requirement prescribed in Section 11, Article XII of the Constitution. Hence, for a corporation to be granted authority to operate a public utility, at least 60 percent of its capital must be owned by Filipino citizens.

Thus, the 40% foreign ownership limitation should be interpreted to apply to both the beneficial ownership and the controlling interest.

Clearly, therefore, the forty percent (40%) foreign equity limitation in public utilities prescribed by the Constitution refers to ownership of shares of stock entitled to vote, i.e., common shares. Furthermore, ownership of record of shares will not suffice but it must be shown that the legal and beneficial ownership rests in the hands of Filipino citizens. Consequently, in the case of petitioner PLDT, since it is already admitted that the voting interests of foreigners which would gain entry to petitioner PLDT by the acquisition of SMART shares through the Questioned Transactions is equivalent to 82.99%, and the nominee arrangements between the foreign principals and the Filipino owners is likewise admitted, there is, therefore, a violation of Section 11, Article XII of the Constitution.

Indisputably, one of the rights of a stockholder is the right to participate in the control or management of the corporation. This is exercised through his vote in the election of directors because it is the board of directors that controls or manages the corporation. In the absence of provisions in the articles of incorporation denying voting rights to preferred shares, preferred shares have the same voting rights as common shares. However, preferred shareholders are often excluded from any control, that is, deprived of the right to vote in the election of directors and on other matters, on the theory that the preferred shareholders are merely investors in the corporation for income in the same manner as bondholders. In fact, under the Corporation Code only preferred or redeemable shares can be deprived of the right to vote. Common shares cannot be deprived of the right to vote in any corporate meeting, and any provision in the articles of incorporation restricting the right of common shareholders to vote is invalid.

Considering that common shares have voting rights which translate to control, as opposed to preferred shares which usually have no voting rights, the term capital in Section 11, Article XII of the Constitution refers only to common shares. However, if the preferred shares also have the right to vote in the election of directors, then the term capital shall include such preferred shares because the right to participate in the control or management of the corporation is exercised through the right to vote in the election of directors. In short, the term capital in Section 11, Article XII of the Constitution refers only to shares of stock that can vote in the election of directors.

This interpretation is consistent with the intent of the framers of the Constitution to place in the hands of Filipino citizens the control and management of public utilities.

As shown in PLDTs 2010 GIS, as submitted to the SEC, the par value of PLDT common shares is P5.00 per share, whereas the par value of preferred shares is P10.00 per share. In other words, preferred shares have twice the par value of common shares but cannot elect directors and have only 1/70 of the dividends of common shares. Moreover, 99.44% of the preferred shares are owned by Filipinos while foreigners own only a minuscule 0.56% of the preferred shares. Worse, preferred shares constitute 77.85% of the authorized capital stock of PLDT while common shares constitute only 22.15%.62 This undeniably shows that beneficial interest in PLDT is not with the non-voting preferred shares but with the common shares, blatantly violating the constitutional requirement of 60 percent Filipino control and Filipino beneficial ownership in a public utility.

SICI vs Cuenca (G.R. No. 173297 March 6, 2013)

Stronghold Insurance Company Inc. vs Cuenca
G.R. No. 173297 March 6, 2013

Facts: On January 19, 1998, Marañon filed a complaint in the RTC against the Cuencas for the collection of a sum of money and damages. His complaint, docketed as Civil Case No. 98-023, included an application for the issuance of a writ of preliminary attachment. On January 26, 1998, the RTC granted the application for the issuance of the writ of preliminary attachment conditioned upon the posting of a bond of P1,000,000.00 executed in favor of the Cuencas. Less than a month later, Marañon amended the complaint to implead Tayactac as a defendant. On February 11, 1998, Marañon posted SICI Bond No. 68427 JCL (4) No. 02370 in the amount of P1,000,000.00 issued by Stronghold Insurance. Two days later, the RTC issued the writ of preliminary attachment. The sheriff served the writ, the summons and a copy of the complaint on the Cuencas on the same day. The service of the writ, summons and copy of the complaint were made on Tayactac on February 16, 1998.

Issue: Whether or not the respondents have the legal standing to sue petitioner for the recovery of the attached properties and damages.

Held: No. To ensure the observance of the mandate of the Constitution, Section 2, Rule 3 of the Rules of Court requires that unless otherwise authorized by law or the Rules of Court every action must be prosecuted or defended in the name of the real party in interest. Under the same rule, a real party in interest is one who stands to be benefited or injured by the judgment in the suit, or one who is entitled to the avails of the suit. Accordingly, a person , to be a real party in interest in whose name an action must be prosecuted, should appear to be the present real owner of the right sought to be enforced, that is, his interest must be a present substantial interest, not a mere expectancy, or a future, contingent, subordinate, or consequential interest.

Where the plaintiff is not the real party in interest, the ground for the motion to dismiss is lack of cause of action. The reason for this is that the courts ought not to pass upon questions not derived from any actual controversy. Truly, a person having no material interest to protect cannot invoke the jurisdiction of the court as the plaintiff in an action. Nor does a court acquire jurisdiction over a case where the real party in interest is not present or impleaded.

The purposes of the requirement for the real party in interest prosecuting or defending an action at law are: (a) to prevent the prosecution of actions by persons without any right, title or interest in the case; (b) to require that the actual party entitled to legal relief be the one to prosecute the action; (c) to avoid a multiplicity of suits; and (d) to discourage litigation and keep it within certain bounds, pursuant to sound public policy. Indeed, considering that all civil actions must be based on a cause of action, defined as the act or omission by which a party violates the right of another, the former as the defendant must be allowed to insist upon being opposed by the real party in interest so that he is protected from further suits regarding the same claim. Under this rationale, the requirement benefits the defendant because “the defendant can insist upon a plaintiff who will afford him a setup providing good res judicata protection if the struggle is carried through on the merits to the end.”

The rule on real party in interest ensures, therefore, that the party with the legal right to sue brings the action, and this interest ends when a judgment involving the nominal plaintiff will protect the defendant from a subsequent identical action. Such a rule is intended to bring before the court the party rightfully interested in the litigation so that only real controversies will be presented and the judgment, when entered, will be binding and conclusive and the defendant will be saved from further harassment and vexation at the hands of other claimants to the same demand.

But the real party in interest need not be the person who ultimately will benefit from the successful prosecution of the action. Hence, to aid itself in the proper identification of the real party in interest, the court should first ascertain the nature of the substantive right being asserted, and then must determine whether the party asserting that right is recognized as the real party in interest under the rules of procedure. Truly, that a party stands to gain from the litigation is not necessarily controlling.

Given the separate and distinct legal personality of Arc Cuisine, Inc., the Cuenca’s and Tayactac lacked the legal personality to claim the damages sustained from the levy of the former’s properties. According to Asset Privatization Trust v. Court of Appeals,  even when the foreclosure on the assets of the corporation was wrongful and done in bad faith the stockholders had no standing to recover for themselves moral damages; otherwise, they would be appropriating and distributing part of the corporation’s assets prior to the dissolution of the corporation and the liquidation of its debts and liabilities. Moreover, in Evangelista v. Santos, the Court, resolving whether or not the minority stockholders had the right to bring an action for damages against the principal officers of the corporation for their own benefit.

Tan vs Sycip (G.R. No. 153468 August 17, 2006)

Tan vs Sycip
G.R. No. 153468 August 17, 2006

Facts: Petitioner Grace Christian High School (GCHS) is a non-stock, non-profit educational corporation with fifteen (15) regular members, who also constitute the board of trustees.During the annual members meeting held on April 6, 1998, there were only eleven (11) living member-trustees, as four (4) had already died. Out of the eleven, seven (7) attended the meeting through their respective proxies. The meeting was convened and chaired by Atty. Sabino Padilla Jr. over the objection of Atty. Antonio C. Pacis, who argued that there was no quorum. In the meeting, Petitioners Ernesto Tanchi, Edwin Ngo, Virginia Khoo, and Judith Tan were voted to replace the four deceased member-trustees. When the controversy reached the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), petitioners maintained that the deceased member-trustees should not be counted in the computation of the quorum because, upon their death, members automatically lost all their rights (including the right to vote) and interests in the corporation. SEC Hearing Officer Malthie G. Militar declared the April 6, 1998 meeting null and void for lack of quorum. She held that the basis for determining the quorum in a meeting of members should be their number as specified in the articles of incorporation, not simply the number of living members. She explained that the qualifying phrase entitled to vote in Section 24 of the Corporation Code, which provided the basis for determining a quorum for the election of directors or trustees, should be read together with Section 89. The hearing officer also opined that Article III (2) of the By-Laws of GCHS, insofar as it prescribed the mode of filling vacancies in the board of trustees, must be interpreted in conjunction with Section 29 of the Corporation Code. The SEC en banc denied the appeal of petitioners and affirmed the Decision of the hearing officer in toto. It found to be untenable their contention that the word members, as used in Section 52 of the Corporation Code, referred only to the living members of a non-stock corporation.

Issue: Whether or not the only the living members for non-stock corporations should be considered in determining the quorum.

Held: Yes. Section 52 of the corporation code provides for Quorum in Meetings, unless otherwise provided for in this Code or in the by-laws, a quorum shall consist of the stockholders representing a majority of the outstanding capital stock or a majority of the members in the case of non-stock corporations.

In stock corporations, the presence of a quorum is ascertained and counted on the basis of the outstanding capital stock, as defined by the Code.

In non-stock corporations, the voting rights attach to membership. Members vote as persons, in accordance with the law and the bylaws of the corporation. Each member shall be entitled to one vote unless so limited, broadened, or denied in the articles of incorporation or bylaws. We hold that when the principle for determining the quorum for stock corporations is applied by analogy to nonstock corporations, only those who are actual members with voting rights should be counted

Section 25 of the Code specifically provides that a majority of the directors or trustees, as fixed in the articles of incorporation, shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of corporate business (unless the articles of incorporation or the bylaws provide for a greater majority). If the intention of the lawmakers was to base the quorum in the meetings of stockholders or members on their absolute number as fixed in the articles of incorporation, it would have expressly specified so. Otherwise, the only logical conclusion is that the legislature did not have that intention.

Under the By-Laws of GCHS, membership in the corporation shall, among others, be terminated by the death of the member. Section 91 of the Corporation Code further provides that termination extinguishes all the rights of a member of the corporation, unless otherwise provided in the articles of incorporation or the bylaws.

Applying Section 91 to the present case, we hold that dead members who are dropped from the membership roster in the manner and for the cause provided for in the By-Laws of GCHS are not to be counted in determining the requisite vote in corporate matters or the requisite quorum for the annual members meeting. With 11 remaining members, the quorum in the present case should be 6. Therefore, there being a quorum, the annual members meeting, conducted with six members present, was valid.

The By-Laws of GCHS prescribed the specific mode of filling up existing vacancies in its board of directors; that is, by a majority vote of the remaining members of the board.

While a majority of the remaining corporate members were present, however, the election of the four trustees cannot be legally upheld for the obvious reason that it was held in an annual meeting of the members, not of the board of trustees. We are not unmindful of the fact that the members of GCHS themselves also constitute the trustees, but we cannot ignore the GCHS bylaw provision, which specifically prescribes that vacancies in the board must be filled up by the remaining trustees. In other words, these remaining member-trustees must sit as a board in order to validly elect the new ones.

Lanuza Jr. vs BF Corporation (G.R. No. 174938 October 1, 2014)

Lanuza Jr. vs BF Corporation
G.R. No. 174938 October 1, 2014

Facts: In 1993, BF Corporation filed a collection complaint with the Regional Trial Court against Shangri-La and the members of its board of directors: Alfredo C. Ramos, Rufo B.Colayco, Antonio O. Olbes, Gerardo Lanuza, Jr., Maximo G. Licauco III, and Benjamin C. Ramos. BF Corporation alleged in its complaint that on December 11, 1989 and May 30, 1991, it entered into agreements with Shangri-La wherein it undertook to construct for Shangri-La a mall and a multilevel parking structure along EDSA.Shangri-La had been consistent in paying BF Corporation in accordance with its progress billing statements. However, by October 1991, Shangri-La started defaulting in payment. BF Corporation alleged that Shangri-La induced BF Corporation to continue with the construction of the buildings using its own funds and credit despite Shangri-La’s default. According to BF Corporation, Shangri-La misrepresented that it had funds to pay for its obligations with BF Corporation, and the delay in payment was simply a matter of delayed processing of BF Corporation’s progress billing statements. BF Corporation eventually completed the construction of the buildings. Shangri-La allegedly took possession of the buildings while still owing BF Corporation an outstanding balance. BF Corporation alleged that despite repeated demands, Shangri-La refused to pay the balance owed to it.It also alleged that the Shangri-La’s directors were in bad faith in directing Shangri-La’s affairs. Therefore, they should be held jointly and severally liable with Shangri-La for its obligations as well as for the damages that BF Corporation incurred as a result of Shangri-La’s default. On August 3, 1993, Shangri-La, Alfredo C. Ramos, Rufo B. Colayco, Maximo G. Licauco III, and Benjamin C. Ramos filed a motion to suspend the proceedings in view of BF Corporation’s failure to submit its dispute to arbitration, in accordance with the arbitration clause provided in its contract. Petitioners filed their comment on Shangri-La’s and BF Corporation’s motions, praying that they be excluded from the arbitration proceedings for being non-parties to Shangri-La’s and BF Corporation’s agreement.

Issue: Whether or not petitioners as directors of Shangri-La is personally liable for the contractual obligations entered into by the corporation.

Held: No. Because a corporation’s existence is only by fiction of law, it can only exercise its rights and powers through its directors, officers, or agents, who are all natural persons. A corporation cannot sue or enter into contracts without them.

A consequence of a corporation’s separate personality is that consent by a corporation through its representatives is not consent of the representative, personally. Its obligations, incurred through official acts of its representatives, are its own. A stockholder, director, or representative does not become a party to a contract just because a corporation executed a contract through that stockholder, director or representative.

Hence, a corporation’s representatives are generally not bound by the terms of the contract executed by the corporation. They are not personally liable for obligations and liabilities incurred on or in behalf of the corporation.

A submission to arbitration is a contract. As such, the Agreement, containing the stipulation on arbitration, binds the parties thereto, as well as their assigns and heirs.

When there are allegations of bad faith or malice against corporate directors or representatives, it becomes the duty of courts or tribunals to determine if these persons and the corporation should be treated as one. Without a trial, courts and tribunals have no basis for determining whether the veil of corporate fiction should be pierced. Courts or tribunals do not have such prior knowledge. Thus, the courts or tribunals must first determine whether circumstances exist towarrant the courts or tribunals to disregard the distinction between the corporation and the persons representing it. The determination of these circumstances must be made by one tribunal or court in a proceeding participated in by all parties involved, including current representatives of the corporation, and those persons whose personalities are impliedly the sameas the corporation. This is because when the court or tribunal finds that circumstances exist warranting the piercing of the corporate veil, the corporate representatives are treated as the corporation itself and should be held liable for corporate acts. The corporation’s distinct personality is disregarded, and the corporation is seen as a mere aggregation of persons undertaking a business under the collective name of the corporation.

A corporation is an artificial entity created by fiction of law. This means that while it is not a person, naturally, the law gives it a distinct personality and treats it as such. A corporation, in the legal sense, is an individual with a personality that is distinct and separate from other persons including its stockholders, officers, directors, representatives, and other juridical entities. The law vests in corporations rights,powers, and attributes as if they were natural persons with physical existence and capabilities to act on their own. For instance, they have the power to sue and enter into transactions or contracts. Section 36 of the Corporation Code enumerates some of a corporation’s powers, thus:

Section 36. Corporate powers and capacity.– Every corporation incorporated under this Code has the power and capacity: 1. To sue and be sued in its corporate name; 2. Of succession by its corporate name for the period of time stated in the articles of incorporation and the certificate ofincorporation; 3. To adopt and use a corporate seal; 4. To amend its articles of incorporation in accordance with the provisions of this Code; 5. To adopt by-laws, not contrary to law, morals, or public policy, and to amend or repeal the same in accordance with this Code; 6. In case of stock corporations, to issue or sell stocks to subscribers and to sell treasury stocks in accordance with the provisions of this Code; and to admit members to the corporation if it be a non-stock corporation; 7. To purchase, receive, take or grant, hold, convey, sell, lease, pledge, mortgage and otherwise deal with such real and personal property, including securities and bonds of other corporations, as the transaction of the lawful business of the corporation may reasonably and necessarily require, subject to the limitations prescribed by law and the Constitution; 8. To enter into merger or consolidation with other corporations as provided in this Code; 9. To make reasonable donations, including those for the public welfare or for hospital, charitable, cultural, scientific, civic, or similar purposes: Provided, That no corporation, domestic or foreign, shall give donations in aid of any political party or candidate or for purposes of partisan political activity; 10. To establish pension, retirement, and other plans for the benefit of its directors, trustees, officers and employees; and 11. To exercise such other powers as may be essential or necessary to carry out its purpose or purposes as stated in its articles of incorporation.

Alhambra Cigar vs SEC (G.R. No. L-23606 July 29, 1968)

Alhambra Cigar & Cigarette Manufacturing Company Inc. vs Securities and Exchange Commission
G.R. No. L-23606 July 29, 1968

Facts: Petitioner Alhambra Cigar and Cigarette Manufacturing Company, Inc. (hereinafter referred to simply as Alhambra) was duly incorporated under Philippine laws on January 15, 1912. By its corporate articles it was to exist for fifty (50) years from incorporation. Its term of existence expired on January 15, 1962. On that date, it ceased transacting business, entered into a state of liquidation. Thereafter, a new corporation. — Alhambra Industries, Inc. — was formed to carry on the business of Alhambra. On May 1, 1962, Alhambra’s stockholders, by resolution named Angel S. Gamboa trustee to take charge of its liquidation. On June 20, 1963 — within Alhambra’s three-year statutory period for liquidation – Republic Act 3531 was enacted into law. It amended Section 18 of the Corporation Law; it empowered domestic private corporations to extend their corporate life beyond the period fixed by the articles of incorporation for a term not to exceed fifty years in any one instance. Previous to Republic Act 3531, the maximum non-extendible term of such corporations was fifty years. On July 15, 1963, at a special meeting, Alhambra’s board of directors resolved to amend paragraph “Fourth” of its articles of incorporation to extend its corporate life for an additional fifty years, or a total of 100 years from its incorporation. On August 26, 1963, Alhambra’s stockholders, representing more than two-thirds of its subscribed capital stock, voted to approve the foregoing resolution. On October 28, 1963, Alhambra’s articles of incorporation as so amended certified correct by its president and secretary and a majority of its board of directors, were filed with respondent Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). On November 18, 1963, SEC, however, returned said amended articles of incorporation to Alhambra’s counsel with the ruling that Republic Act 3531 “which took effect only on June 20, 1963, cannot be availed of by the said corporation, for the reason that its term of existence had already expired when the said law took effect in short, said law has no retroactive effect.”

Issue: Whether or not the corporate life of a corporation be extended during the period of winding up or after it’s charter has already expired.

Held: No. The common law rule, at the beginning, was rigid and inflexible in that upon its dissolution, a corporation became legally dead for all purposes. Statutory authorizations had to be provided for its continuance after dissolution “for limited and specified purposes incident to complete liquidation of its affairs”. Thus, the moment a corporation’s right to exist as an “artificial person” ceases, its corporate powers are terminated “just as the powers of a natural person to take part in mundane affairs cease to exist upon his death”. There is nothing left but to conduct, as it were, the settlement of the estate of a deceased juridical person.

From July 15 to October 28, 1963, when Alhambra made its attempt to extend its corporate existence, its original term of fifty years had already expired (January 15, 1962); it was in the midst of the three-year grace period statutorily fixed in Section 77 of the Corporation Law, thus: .

SEC. 77. Every corporation whose charter expires by its own limitation or is annulled by forfeiture or otherwise, or whose corporate existence for other purposes is terminated in any other manner, shall nevertheless be continued as a body corporate for three years after the time when it would have been so dissolved, for the purpose of prosecuting and defending suits by or against it and of enabling it gradually to settle and close its affairs, to dispose of and convey its property and to divide its capital stock, but not for the purpose of continuing the business for which it was established.

Plain from the language of the provision is its meaning: continuance of a “dissolved” corporation as a body corporate for three years has for its purpose the final closure of its affairs, and no other; the corporation is specifically enjoined from “continuing the business for which it was established”. The liquidation of the corporation’s affairs set forth in Section 77 became necessary precisely because its life had ended. For this reason alone, the corporate existence and juridical personality of that corporation to do business may no longer be extended.

Silence of the law on the matter is not hard to understand. Specificity is not really necessary. The authority to prolong corporate life was inserted by Republic Act 3531 into a section of the law that deals with the power of a corporation to amend its articles of incorporation. (For, the manner of prolongation is through an amendment of the articles.) And it should be clearly evident that under Section 77 no corporation in a state of liquidation can act in any way, much less amend its articles, “for the purpose of continuing the business for which it was established”.

All these dilute Alhambra’s position that it could revivify its corporate life simply because when it attempted to do so, Alhambra was still in the process of liquidation. It is surely impermissible for us to stretch the law — that merely empowers a corporation to act in liquidation — to inject therein the power to extend its corporate existence.

The pari materia rule of statutory construction, in fact, commands that statutes must be harmonized with each other. So harmonizing, the conclusion is clear that Section 18 of the Corporation Law, as amended by Republic Act 3531 in reference to extensions of corporate existence, is to be read in the same light as Republic Act 1932. Which means that domestic corporations in general, as with domestic insurance companies, can extend corporate existence only on or before the expiration of the term fixed in their charters.