June 2013 Philippine Supreme Court Decisions on Commercial Law

Here are select June 2013 rulings of the Supreme Court of the Philippines on commercial law:

Corporation; derivative suit. A derivative suit is an action brought by a stockholder on behalf  of  the  corporation  to  enforce  corporate  rights  against  the corporation’s directors, officers or other insiders. Under Sections 23 and 36 of the Corporation Code, the directors or officers, as provided under the by-laws, have the right to decide whether or not a corporation should sue. Since these directors or officers will never be willing to sue themselves, or impugn their wrongful or fraudulent decisions, stockholders are permitted by law to bring an action in the name of the corporation to hold these directors and officers accountable. In derivative suits, the real party in interest is the corporation, while the stockholder is a mere nominal party.  Juanito Ang, for and in behalf of Sunrise Marketing (Bacolod), Inc. v. Sps. Roberto and Rachel Ang, G.R. No. 201675, June 19, 2013.

Corporation; shares of stock. In a sale of shares of stock, physical delivery of a stock certificate is one of the essential requisites for the transfer of ownership of the stocks purchased.

Here, FEGDI clearly failed to deliver the stock certificates, representing the shares of stock purchased by Vertex, within  a reasonable time from the point the shares should have been delivered.  This was a substantial breach of their contract that entitles Vertex the right to rescind the sale under Article 1191 of the Civil Code.  It is not entirely  correct to say that a sale had already been consummated as Vertex already  enjoyed the rights a shareholder can exercise.  The enjoyment of these rights cannot suffice where the law, by its express terms, requires a specific form to transfer ownership.  Fil-Estate Gold and Development, Inc., et al. v. Vertex Sales and Trading, Inc., G.R. No. 202079, June 10, 2013.

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June 2012 Philippine Supreme Court Decisions on Commercial Law

Here are select June 2012 rulings of the Supreme Court of the Philippines on commercial law:

Banks; diligence required.  Republic Act No. 8971, or the General Banking Law of 2000, recognizes the vital role of banks in providing an environment conducive to the sustained development of the national economy and the fiduciary nature of banking; thus, the law requires banks to have high standards of integrity and performance. The fiduciary nature of banking requires banks to assume a degree of diligence higher than that of a good father of a family. In the case at bar, petitioner itself was negligent in the conduct of its business when it extended unsecured loans to the debtors. Worse, it was in serious breach of its duty as the trustee of the MTI. It was not able to protect the interests of the parties and was even instrumental in violating the terms of the MTI, to the detriment of the parties thereto. Thus, petitioner has only itself to blame for being left with insufficient recourse against petitioner under the assailed MTI. Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company vs. Centro Development Corp., et al., G.R. No. 180974, June 13, 2012.

Corporation; corporate approval for appointment of trustee.  Reading carefully the Secretary’s Certificate, it is clear that the main purpose of the directors’ Resolution was to appoint petitioner as the new trustee of the previously executed and amended MTI. Going through the original and the revised MTI, we find no substantial amendments to the provisions of the contract. We agree with petitioner that the act of appointing a new trustee of the MTI was a regular business transaction. The appointment necessitated only a decision of at least a majority of the directors present at the meeting in which there was a quorum, pursuant to Section 25 of the Corporation Code.  Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company vs. Centro Development Corp., et al., G.R. No. 180974, June 13, 2012.

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April 2012 Philippine Supreme Court Decisions on Commercial Law

Here are select April 2012 rulings of the Philippine Supreme Court on commercial law:

Corporation; derivative suit. In Hi-Yield Realty, Incorporated v. Court of Appeals, the Court enumerated the requisites for filing a derivative suit, as follows:

(a)  the party bringing the suit should be a shareholder as of the time of the act or transaction complained of, the number of his shares not being material;

(b)  he has tried to exhaust intra-corporate remedies, i.e., has made a demand on the board of directors for the appropriate relief but the latter has failed or refused to heed his plea; and

(c)  the cause of action actually devolves on the corporation, the wrongdoing or harm having been, or being caused to the corporation and not to the particular stockholder bringing the suit. Lisam Enterprises, Inc., represented by Lolita A. Soriano and Lolita A. Soriano vs. Banco de Oro Unibank, Inc., et al., G.R. No. 143264, April 23, 2012.

Corporation; doing business without a license.  The appointment of a distributor in the Philippines is not sufficient to constitute “doing business” unless it is under the full control of the foreign corporation.  On the other hand, if the distributor is an independent entity which buys and distributes products, other than those of the foreign corporation, for its own name and its own account, the latter cannot be considered to be doing business in the Philippines.  It should be kept in mind that the determination of whether a foreign corporation is doing business in the Philippines must be judged in light of the attendant circumstances.

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December 2009 Philippine Supreme Court Decisions on Remedial Law

Here are selected December 2009 rulings of the Supreme Court of the Philippines on remedial law:

Civil Procedure

Appeal;  certiorari. The proper remedy of a party aggrieved by a decision of the Court of Appeals is a petition for review under Rule 45, which is not similar to a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court. As provided in Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, decisions, final orders or resolutions of the Court of Appeals in any case, i.e., regardless of the nature of the action or proceedings involved, may be appealed to this Court by filing a petition for review, which would be but a continuation of the appellate process over the original case. On the other hand, a special civil action under Rule 65 is an independent action based on the specific grounds therein provided and, as a general rule, cannot be availed of as a substitute for the lost remedy of an ordinary appeal, including that under Rule 45.  Santiago Cua, Jr., et al. vs. Miguel Ocampo Tan, et al./Santiago Cua,  Sr., et al. vs. Court of Appeals, et  al.G.R. No. 181455-56/G.R. No. 182008, December 4, 2009.

Appeal; decision of RTC acting in exercise of its appellate jurisdiction. In the case at bar, it is clear that when the case was appealed to the RTC, the latter took cognizance of the case in the exercise of its appellate jurisdiction, not its original jurisdiction. Hence, any further appeal from the RTC Decision must conform to the provisions of the Rules of Court dealing with said matter. It is apparent that petitioner has availed itself of the wrong remedy. Since the RTC tried the case in the exercise of its appellate jurisdiction, petitioner should have filed a petition for review under Rule 42 of the Rules of Court, instead of an ordinary appeal under Rule 41. The law is clear in this respect. Barangay Sangalang, represented by its Chairman Dante C.  Marcellana vs. Barangay Maguihan, represented by its Chairman Arnulfo VillarezG.R. No. 159792, December 23, 2009.

Appeal;  failure to pay docket fees. The Order denying petitioner’s motion for reconsideration was silent as to the issue of the non-payment of docket fees; however, this Court deems that the RTC must have accepted the explanation given by respondent, otherwise, said court would have dismissed the appeal and reconsidered its decision. The failure to pay docket fees does not automatically result in the dismissal of an appeal, it being discretionary on the part of the appellate court to give it due course or not. This Court will then not interfere with matters addressed to the sound discretion of the RTC in the absence of proof that the exercise of such discretion was tainted with bias or prejudice, or made without due circumspection of the attendant circumstances of the case. Barangay Sangalang, represented by its Chairman Dante C.  Marcellana vs. Barangay Maguihan, represented by its Chairman Arnulfo VillarezG.R. No. 159792, December 23, 2009.

Appeal; findings of fact. As a rule, the findings of fact of the trial court when affirmed by the CA are final and conclusive on, and cannot be reviewed on appeal by, this Court as long as they are borne out by the records or are based on substantial evidence. The Court is not a trier of facts, its jurisdiction being limited to reviewing only errors of law that may have been committed by the lower courts. Republic of the Philippines vs. Ignacio Leonor and Catalino RazonG.R. No. 161424, December 23, 2009.

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December 2009 Philippine Supreme Court Decisions on Commercial Law

Here are selected December 2009 rulings of the Supreme Court of the Philippines on commercial law:

Check; indorsement by co-payee.  Section 41 of the Negotiable Instruments Law provides: “Where an instrument is payable to the order of two or more payees or indorsees who are not partners, all must indorse unless the one indorsing has authority to indorse for the others.”

Bitanga alone endorsed the crossed check, and petitioner allowed the deposit and release of the proceeds thereof, despite the absence of authority of Bitanga’s co-payee BA Finance to endorse it on its behalf.

Petitioner’s argument that since there was neither forgery, nor unauthorized indorsement because Bitanga was a co-payee in the subject check, the dictum in Associated Bank v. CA does not apply in the present case fails.

The payment of an instrument over a missing indorsement is the equivalent of payment on a forged indorsement or an unauthorized indorsement in itself in the case of joint payees.

Petitioner, through its employee, was negligent when it allowed the deposit of the crossed check, despite the lone endorsement of Bitanga, ostensibly ignoring the fact that the check did not carry the indorsement of BA Finance.  Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company, etc. vs. BA Finance Corporation and Malayan Insurance Co, Inc.,  G.R. No. 179952, December 4, 2009.

Check; liability of collecting bank. The provisions of the Negotiable Instruments Law and underlying jurisprudential teachings on the black-letter law provide definitive justification for petitioner’s full liability on the value of the check.

To be sure, a collecting bank, Asianbank in this case, where a check is deposited and which indorses the check upon presentment with the drawee bank, is an indorser. This is because in indorsing a check to the drawee bank, a collecting bank stamps the back of the check with the phrase “all prior endorsements and/or lack of endorsement guaranteed” and, for all intents and purposes, treats the check as a negotiable instrument, hence, assumes the warranty of an indorser. Without Asianbank’s warranty, the drawee bank (China Bank in this case) would not have paid the value of the subject check.

Petitioner, as the collecting bank or last indorser, generally suffers the loss because it has the duty to ascertain the genuineness of all prior indorsements considering that the act of presenting the check for payment to the drawee is an assertion that the party making the presentment has done its duty to ascertain the genuineness of prior indorsements.

Accordingly, one who credits the proceeds of a check to the account of the indorsing payee is liable in conversion to the non-indorsing payee for the entire amount of the check.

Granting petitioner’s appeal for partial liability would run counter to the existing principles on the liabilities of parties on negotiable instruments, particularly on Section 68 of the Negotiable Instruments Law which instructs that joint payees who indorse are deemed to indorse jointly and severally. When the maker dishonors the instrument, the holder thereof can turn to those secondarily liable — the indorser — for recovery. Since the law explicitly mandates a solidary liability on the part of the joint payees who indorse the instrument, the holder thereof (assuming the check was further negotiated) can turn to either Bitanga or BA Finance for full recompense. Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company, etc. vs. BA Finance Corporation and Malayan Insurance Co, Inc., G.R. No. 179952, December 4, 2009.

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June 2009 Philippine Supreme Court Decisions on Remedial Law, Legal/Judicial Ethics and Criminal Law

Here are selected June 2009 Philippine Supreme Court decisions on  remedial law, legal/judicial ethics and criminal law.

Remedial Law

Actions;  quasi in rem. The petition for cancellation of entries annotated at the back of OCT No. 40287 ought to have been directed against specific persons: namely, the heirs of Juan Soriano as appearing in Entry No. 20102 and, indubitably, against their successors-in-interest who have acquired different portions of the property over the years because it is in the nature of an action quasi in rem. Accordingly, the Salazars should have impleaded as party defendants the heirs of Juan Soriano and/or Vicenta Macaraeg as well as those claiming ownership over the property under their names because they are indispensable parties. This was not done in this case. Since no indispensable party was  ever impleaded by the Salazars in their petition for cancellation of entry filed before Branch 63 of the RTC of Tarlac, herein petitioners are not bound by the dispositions of the said court. Consequently, the judgment or order of the said court never even acquired finality. Zenaida Acosta, et al. vs. Trinidad Salazar, et al., G.R. No. 161034.  June 30, 2009

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June 2009 Philippine Supreme Court Decisions on Commercial, Tax and Labor Laws

Here are selected June 2009 decisions of the Philippine Supreme Court on commercial, tax and labor laws.

Commercial Law

Derivative suits. The general rule is that where a corporation is an injured party, its power to sue is lodged with its board of directors or trustees. Nonetheless, an individual stockholder is permitted to institute a derivative suit on behalf of the corporation wherein he holds stocks in order to protect or vindicate corporate rights, whenever the officials of the corporation refuse to sue, or are the ones to be sued, or hold the control of the corporation. In such actions, the suing stockholder is regarded as a nominal party, with the corporation as the real party in interest. A derivative action is a suit by a shareholder to enforce a corporate cause of action. The corporation is a necessary party to the suit. And the relief which is granted is a judgment against a third person in favor of the corporation. Similarly, if a corporation has a defense to an action against it and is not asserting it, a stockholder may intervene and defend on behalf of the corporation. By virtue of Republic Act No. 8799, otherwise known as the Securities Regulation Code, jurisdiction over intra-corporate disputes, including derivative suits, is now vested in the Regional Trial Courts designated by the Supreme Court pursuant to A.M. No. 00-11-03-SC promulgated on 21 November 2000.

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