September 2012 Philippine Supreme Court Decisions on Commercial Law

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

Corporate officers; liability for employee’s money claim.  In the absence of bad faith, a corporate officer cannot be held liable for the money claims of an employee. Bad faith must be establiscged clearly and convincingly as the same is never presumed. Misamis Oriental II Electric Service Cooperative (MORESCO II) vs. Virgilio M. Cagalawan. G.R. No. 175170. September 5, 2012.

Intra-corporate controversy; fraud.  It is essential for the complaint to show on its face what are claimed to be the fraudulent corporate acts if the complainant wishes to invoke the court’s special commercial jurisdiction. This is because fraud in intra-corporate controversies must be based on “devises and schemes employed by, or any act of, the board of directors, business associates, officers or partners, amounting to fraud or misrepresentation which may be detrimental to the interest of the public and/or of the stockholders, partners, or members of any corporation, partnership, or association,” as stated under Rule 1, Section 1 (a)(1) of the Interim Rules. The act of fraud or misrepresentation complained of becomes a criterion in determining whether the complaint on its face has merits, or within the jurisdiction of special commercial court, or merely a nuisance suit. Simny G. Guy, Geraldine G. Guy, Gladys G. Yao and the Heirs of the late Grace G. Cheu vs. Gilbert Guy/Simny G. Guy, Geraldine G. Guy, Gladys G. Yao and the heirs of the late Grace G. Cheu vs. The Hon. Ofelia C. Calo, in her capacity as Presiding Judge of the RTC-Mandaluyong City-Branch 211 and Gilbert Guy G.R. No. 189486/G.R. No. 189699. September 5, 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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January 2011 Philippine Supreme Court Decisions on Commercial Law

Here are selected January 2011 rulings of the Supreme Court of the Philippines on commercial law:

Corporate officers; definition.  “‘Corporate officers’ in the context of Presidential Decree No. 902-A are those officers of the corporation who are given that character by the Corporation Code or by the corporation’s by-laws.  There are three specific officers whom a corporation must have under Section 25 of the Corporation Code.  These are the president, secretary and the treasurer.  The number of officers is not limited to these three.  A corporation may have such other officers as may be provided for by its by-laws like, but not limited to, the vice-president, cashier, auditor or general manager.  The number of corporate officers is thus limited by law and by the corporation’s by-laws.

It has been consistently held that “[a]n ‘office’ is created by the charter of the corporation and the officer is elected (or appointed) by the directors or stockholders.”  Clearly here, respondents failed to prove that petitioner was appointed by the board of directors.  Thus, we cannot subscribe to their claim that petitioner is a corporate officer.  Having said this, we find that there is no intra-corporate relationship between the parties insofar as petitioner’s complaint for illegal dismissal is concerned and that same does not satisfy the relationship test.   Renato Real vs. Sangu Philippines, Inc. et al., G.R. No. 168757, January 19, 2011.

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November 2010 Philippine Supreme Court Decisions on Remedial Law

Here are selected November 2010 rulings of the Supreme Court of the Philippines on remedial law:

Civil Procedure

Appeal; argument raised for first time on appeal. As a last ditch effort, petitioner asserts that the property is a road right of way; thus, it cannot be subject of a writ of execution.  The argument must be rejected because it was raised for the first time in this petition.  In the trial court and the CA, petitioner’s arguments zeroed in on the alleged conjugal nature of the property.  It is well settled that issues raised for the first time on appeal and not raised in the proceedings in the lower court are barred by estoppel. Points of law, theories, issues, and arguments not brought to the attention of the trial court ought not to be considered by a reviewing court, as these cannot be raised for the first time on appeal.  To consider the alleged facts and arguments raised belatedly would amount to trampling on the basic principles of fair play, justice, and due process.  Evangeline D. Imani vs. Metroplitan Bank and Trust Company, G.R. No. 187023, November 17, 2010.

Appeal; argument raised for first time on appeal. The petitioners now claim that the Motion for Reconsideration, filed by the respondent on May 18, 1993 from the September 18, 1992 Order of the RTC, was filed out of time.  The petitioners make this claim to justify their contention that the subsequent rulings of the RTC, including the June 2, 1993 and October 1, 1993 Orders, are barred by res judicata.

We reject this belated claim as the petitioners raised this only for the first time on appeal, particularly, in their Memorandum.  In fact, the petitioners never raised this issue in the proceedings before the court a quo or in the present petition for review.

As a rule, a party who deliberately adopts a certain theory upon which the case is tried and decided by the lower court will not be permitted to change the theory on appeal.  Points of law, theories, issues and arguments not brought to the attention of the lower court need not be, and ordinarily will not be, considered by a reviewing court, as these cannot be raised for the first time at such late stage. It would be unfair to the adverse party who would have no opportunity to present further evidence material to the new theory, which it could have done had it been aware of it at the time of the hearing before the trial court.  Thus, to permit the petitioners in this case to change their theory on appeal would thus be unfair to the respondent and offend the basic rules of fair play, justice and due process.  Spouses Ernesto and Vicenta Topacio vs. Banco Filipino Savings and Mortgage Bank, G.R. No. 157644, November 17, 2010.

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November 2010 Philippine Supreme Court Decisions on Commercial Law

Here are selected November 2010 rulings of the Supreme Court of the Philippines on commercial law:

Intellectual property; right of patentees. It is clear from Section 37 of Republic Act No. 165 that the exclusive right of a patentee to make, use and sell a patented product, article or process exists only during the term of the patent. In the instant case, Philippine Letters Patent No. 21116, which was the basis of respondents in filing their complaint with the BLA-IPO, was issued on July 16, 1987. This fact was admitted by respondents themselves in their complaint. They also admitted that the validity of the said patent is until July 16, 2004, which is in conformity with Section 21 of RA 165, providing that the term of a patent shall be seventeen (17) years from the date of issuance thereof. Section 4, Rule 129 of the Rules of Court provides that an admission, verbal or written, made by a party in the course of the proceedings in the same case, does not require proof and that the admission may be contradicted only by showing that it was made through palpable mistake or that no such admission was made. In the present case, there is no dispute as to respondents’ admission that the term of their patent expired on July 16, 2004. Neither is there evidence to show that their admission was made through palpable mistake. Hence, contrary to the pronouncement of the CA, there is no longer any need to present evidence on the issue of expiration of respondents’ patent.  Phil Pharmawealth, Inc. vs. Pfizer, Inc and Pfizer (Phil.) Inc., G.R. No. 167715, November 17, 2010.

Intra-corporate dispute; definition.  An intra-corporate dispute is understood as a suit arising from intra-corporate relations or between or among stockholders or between any or all of them and the corporation.  Applying what has come to be known as the relationship test, it has been held that the types of actions embraced by the foregoing definition include the following suits: (a) between the corporation, partnership or association and the public; (b) between the corporation, partnership or association and its stockholders, partners, members, or officers; (c) between the corporation, partnership or association and the State insofar as its franchise, permit or license to operate is concerned; and, (d) among the stockholders, partners or associates themselves.  As the definition is broad enough to cover all kinds of controversies between stockholders and corporations, the traditional interpretation was to the effect that the relationship test brooked no distinction, qualification or any exemption whatsoever.

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May 2009 Philippine Supreme Court Decisions on Remedial Law

Here are selected May 2009 decisions of the Philippine Supreme Court on remedial law.

Certiorari; judicial discretion. A wide breadth of discretion is granted a court of justice in certiorari proceedings. The Supreme Court has not too infrequently given due course to a petition for certiorari, even when the proper remedy would have been an appeal, where valid and compelling considerations would warrant such a recourse. Moreover, the Supreme Court allowed a Rule 65 petition, despite the availability of plain, speedy or adequate remedy, in view of the importance of the issues raised therein. The rules were also relaxed by the Supreme Court after considering the public interest involved in the case; when public welfare and the advancement of public policy dictates; when the broader interest of justice so requires; when the writs issued are null and void; or when the questioned order amounts to an oppressive exercise of judicial authority.  People’s Broadcasting vs. The Secretary of the Department of Labor and Employment, et al., G.R. No. 179652, May 8, 2009.
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May 2009 Decisions on Commercial, Tax and Labor Laws

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

Commercial Law

Collecting bank; liability. A collecting bank where a check is deposited, and which endorses the check upon presentment with the drawee bank, is an endorser. Under Section 66 of the Negotiable Instruments Law, an endorser warrants “that the instrument is genuine and in all respects what it purports to be; that he has good title to it; that all prior parties had capacity to contract; and that the instrument is at the time of his endorsement valid and subsisting.” The Supreme Court has repeatedly held that in check transactions, the collecting bank or last endorser generally suffers the loss because it has the duty to ascertain the genuineness of all prior endorsements 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 the endorsements.

When Associated Bank stamped the back of the four checks with the phrase “all prior endorsements and/or lack of endorsement guaranteed,” that bank had for all intents and purposes treated the checks as negotiable instruments and, accordingly, assumed the warranty of an endorser. Being so, Associated Bank cannot deny liability on the checks.  Bank of America, NT and SA Vs. Associated Citizens Bank, et al./Associated Citizens Bank vs. BA Finance Corporation, et al., G.R. Nos. 141001/141018,  May 21, 2009.
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