January 2013 Philippine Supreme Court Decisions on Commercial Law

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

Corporations; power of bank employee to bind bank. Even assuming that the bank officer or employee whom petitioner claimed he had talked to regarding the March 22, 1984 letter had acceded to his own modified terms for the repurchase, their supposed verbal exchange did not bind respondent bank in view of its corporate nature. There was no evidence that said Mr. Lazaro or Mr. Fajardo was authorized by respondent bank’s Board of Directors to accept petitioner’s counter-proposal to repurchase the foreclosed properties at the price and terms other than those communicated in the March 22, 1984 letter. As this Court ruled in AF Realty & Development, Inc. v. Dieselman Freight Services, Co.:

Section 23 of the Corporation Code expressly provides that the corporate powers of all corporations shall be exercised by the board of directors. Just as a natural person may authorize another to do certain acts in his behalf, so may the board of directors of a corporation validly delegate some of its functions to individual officers or agents appointed by it. Thus, contracts or acts of a corporation must be made either by the board of directors or by a corporate agent duly authorized by the board. Absent such valid  delegation/authorization, the rule is that the declarations of an individual director relating to the affairs of the corporation, but not in the course of, or connected with, the performance of authorized duties of such director, are held not binding on the corporation.

Thus, a corporation can only execute its powers and transact its business through its Board of Directors and through its officers and agents when authorized by a board resolution or its by-laws.

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December 2012 Philippine Supreme Court Decisions on Commercial Law

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

Corporations; liability of corporate officers. Settled is the rule that debts incurred by directors, officers, and employees acting as corporate agents are not their direct liability but of the corporation they represent, except if they contractually agree/stipulate or assume to be personally liable for the corporation’s debts, as in this case.  Ildefonso S. Crisologo vs. People of the Philippines and China Banking Corporation, G.R. No. 199481, December 3, 2012.

Rehabilitation; purpose. Rehabilitation is an attempt to conserve and administer the assets of an insolvent corporation in the hope of its eventual return from financial stress to solvency. It contemplates the continuance of corporate life and activities in an effort to restore and reinstate the corporation to its former position of successful operation and liquidity. The purpose of rehabilitation proceedings is precisely to enable the company to gain a new lease on life and thereby allow creditors to be paid their claims from its earnings.

Rehabilitation shall be undertaken when it is shown that the continued operation of the corporation is economically feasible and its creditors can recover, by way of the present value of payments projected in the plan, more, if the corporation continues as a going concern than if it is immediately liquidated. Express Investments III Private Ltd. and Export Development Canada Vs. Bayan Telecommunications, Inc., The Bank of New York (as trustee for holders of the US$200,000,000 13.5% Seniour notes of Bayan Telecommunications, Inc.) and Atty. Remigio A. Noval (as the Court-appointed Rehabilitation Receiver of Bayantel). G.R. Nos. 174457-59/G.R. Nos. 175418-20/G.R. No. 177270. December 5, 2012

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October 2012 Philippine Supreme Court Decisions on Commercial Law

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

Banks; degree of diligence required.  Public interest is intimately carved into the banking industry because the primordial concern here is the trust and confidence of the public. This fiduciary nature of every bank’s relationship with its clients/depositors impels it to exercise the highest degree of care, definitely more than that of a reasonable man or a good father of a family. It is, therefore, required to treat the accounts and deposits of these individuals with meticulous care. The rationale behind this is well expressed in Sandejas v. Ignacio,

The banking system has become an indispensable institution in the modern world and plays a vital role in the economic life of every civilized society – banks have attained a ubiquitous presence among the people, who have come to regard them with respect and even gratitude and most of all, confidence, and it is for this reason, banks should guard against injury attributable to negligence or bad faith on its part.

Considering that banks can only act through their officers and employees, the fiduciary obligation laid down for these institutions necessarily extends to their employees. Thus, banks must ensure that their employees observe the same high level of integrity and performance for it is only through this that banks may meet and comply with their own fiduciary duty. It has been repeatedly held that “a bank’s liability as an obligor is not merely vicarious, but primary” since they are expected to observe an equally high degree of diligence, not only in the selection, but also in the supervision of its employees. Thus, even if it is their employees who are negligent, the bank’s responsibility to its client remains paramount making its liability to the same to be a direct one. Westmont Bank, formerly Associates Bank now United Overseas Bank Philippines vs.. Myrna Dela Rosa-Ramos, Domingo Tan and William Co.,  G.R. No. 160260. October 24, 2012.

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August 2012 Philippine Supreme Court Decisions on Commercial Law

Here are select August 2012 ruling of the Supreme Court of the Philippines on commercial law:

Liquidation; right of secured creditor to foreclose mortgage. In the case of Consuelo Metal Corporation v. Planters Development Bank, which involved factual antecedents similar to the present case, the court has already settled the above question and upheld the right of the secured creditor to foreclose the mortgages in its favor during the liquidation of a debtor corporation. Manuel D. Yngson, Jr., (in his capacity as the Liquidator of ARCAM & Co., Inc.) vs. Philippine National Bank, G.R. No. 171132, August 15, 2012.

Liquidation; right of secured creditor to foreclose mortgage. Under Republic Act No. 10142, otherwise known as the Financial Rehabilitation and Insolvency Act (FRIA) of 2010, the right of a secured creditor to enforce his lien during liquidation proceedings is retained. Section 114 of said law thus provides:

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July 2012 Philippine Supreme Court Decisions on Civil Law

Here are select July 2012 rulings of the Supreme Court of the Philippines on civil law:

Civil Code

Contracts; reciprocal obligations. Reciprocal obligations are those which arise from the same cause, and in which each party is a debtor and a creditor of the other, such that the obligation of one is dependent upon the obligation of the other. They are to be performed simultaneously such that the performance of one is conditioned upon the simultaneous fulfillment of the other. For one party to demand the performance of the obligation of the other party, the former must also perform its own obligation. Accordingly, petitioner, not having provided the services that would require the payment of service fees as stipulated in the Lease Development Agreement, is not entitled to collect the same. Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority vs. Honorable Court of Appeals and Subic International Hotel Corporation; G.R. No. 192885, July 4, 2012.

Contracts; contract of sale vs. contract to sell. The elements of a contract of sale are, to wit: a) Consent or meeting of the minds, that is, consent to transfer ownership in exchange for the price; b) Determinate subject matter; and c) Price certain in money or its equivalent.  It is the absence of the first element which distinguishes a contract of sale from that of a contract to sell.

In a contract to sell, the prospective seller explicitly reserves the transfer of title to the prospective buyer, meaning, the prospective seller does not as yet agree or consent to transfer ownership of the property subject of the contract to sell until the happening of an event, such as, in most cases, the full payment of the purchase price. What the seller agrees or obliges himself to do is to fulfill his promise to sell the subject property when the entire amount of the purchase price is delivered to him. In other words, the full payment of the purchase price partakes of a suspensive condition, the non-fulfillment of which prevents the obligation to sell from arising and, thus, ownership is retained by the prospective seller without further remedies by the prospective buyer.

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January 2012 Philippine Supreme Court Decisions on Commercial Law

Here are selected January 2012 rulings of the Supreme Court of the Philippines on commercial law:

Contract; insurance surety.  Section 175 of the Insurance Code defines a suretyship as a contract or agreement whereby a party, called the surety, guarantees the performance by another party, called the principal or obligor, of an obligation or undertaking in favor of a third party, called the obligee. It includes official recognizances, stipulations, bonds or undertakings issued under Act 536, as amended.  Suretyship arises upon the solidary binding of a person – deemed the surety – with the principal debtor, for the purpose of fulfilling an obligation.  Such undertaking makes a surety agreement an ancillary contract as it presupposes the existence of a principal contract. Although the contract of a surety is in essence secondary only to a valid principal obligation, the surety becomes liable for the debt or duty of another although it possesses no direct or personal interest over the obligations nor does it receive any benefit therefrom.  And notwithstanding the fact that the surety contract is secondary to the principal obligation, the surety assumes liability as a regular party to the undertaking.  First Lepanto-Taisho Insurance Corporation (now known as FLT Prime Insurance Corporation) vs. Chevron Philippines, inc. (formerly known as Caltex Philippines, Inc.), G.R. No. 177839,  January 18, 2012.

Corporation; piercing the corporate veil.  A corporation is an artificial being created by operation of law. It possesses the right of succession and such powers, attributes, and properties expressly authorized by law or incident to its existence. It has a personality separate and distinct from the persons composing it, as well as from any other legal entity to which it may be related. This is basic.

Equally well-settled is the principle that the corporate mask may be removed or the corporate veil pierced when the corporation is just an alter ego of a person or of another corporation. For reasons of public policy and in the interest of justice, the corporate veil will justifiably be impaled only when it becomes a shield for fraud, illegality or inequity committed against third persons.

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August 2010 Philippine Supreme Court Decisions on Labor Law and Procedure

Here are selected August 2010 rulings of the Supreme Court of the Philippines on labor law and procedure:

Labor Law

Dismissal; abandonment. Time and again, the Supreme Court has held that abandonment is totally inconsistent with the immediate filing of a complaint for illegal dismissal, more so if the same is accompanied by a prayer for reinstatement. In the present case, however, petitioner filed his complaint more than one year after his alleged termination from employment. Moreover, petitioner did not ask for reinstatement in the complaint form, which he personally filled up and filed with the NLRC. The prayer for reinstatement is made only in the Position Paper that was later prepared by his counsel. This is an indication that petitioner never had the intention or desire to return to his job. Elpidio Calipay vs. National Labor Relations Commission, et al., G.R. No. 166411, August 3, 2010.

Dismissal; burden of proof. In termination cases, the employer has the burden of proving, by substantial evidence that the dismissal is for just cause. If the employer fails to discharge the burden of proof, the dismissal is deemed illegal. In the present case, BCPI failed to discharge its burden when it failed to present any evidence of the alleged fistfight, aside from a single statement, which was refuted by statements made by other witnesses and was found to be incredible by both the Labor Arbiter and the NLRC. Alex Gurango vs. Best Chemicals and Plastic, Inc., et al., G.R. No. 174593, August 25, 2010.

Dismissal; burden of proof. The law mandates that the burden of proving the validity of the termination of employment rests with the employer. Failure to discharge this evidentiary burden would necessarily mean that the dismissal was not justified and, therefore, illegal. Unsubstantiated suspicions, accusations, and conclusions of employers do not provide for legal justification for dismissing employees. In case of doubt, such cases should be resolved in favor of labor, pursuant to the social justice policy of labor laws and the Constitution. Century Canning Corporation, Ricardo T. Po, Jr., et al. vs. Vicente Randy R. Ramil, G.R. No. 171630, August 8, 2010.

Dismissal; due process. In termination proceedings of employees, procedural due process consists of the twin requirements of notice and hearing. The employer must furnish the employee with two written notices before the termination of employment can be effected: (1) the first apprises the employee of the particular acts or omissions for which his dismissal is sought; and (2) the second informs the employee of the employer’s decision to dismiss him. The requirement of a hearing is complied with as long as there was an opportunity to be heard, and not necessarily that an actual hearing was conducted. Pharmacia and Upjohn, Inc., et al. vs. Ricardo P. Albayda, Jr., G.R. No. 172724, August 23, 2010.

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