Friday, February 21, 2014

Case Digest: Peña v. CA


G.R. No. 91478 February 7, 1991

Antecedents facts:

PAMPANGA BUS CO., INC. (PAMBUSCO) is the owner of the three lots in dispute. PAMBUSCO mortgaged the lots to the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP), which were later on foreclosed.

Rosita Peña was awarded the lots in a foreclosure sale for being the highest bidder. The certificate of sale was later issued to her and registered in her name.

Subsequently, the Board of Directors of PAMBUSCO, through three out of its five directors, issued a resolution to assign its right of redemption over the lots in favor of any interested party. The right of redemption was later on assigned to Marcelino Enriquez, who redeemed the property.

Enriquez then sold the lots to spouses Rising T. Yap and Catalina Lugue-Yap.

Meanwhile, a case involving the validity of the sale to the spouses Yap was pending, and despite the protestations of Peña as to validity of the PAMBUSCO's assignment of the right of redemption, the lots were somehow registered in the name of spouses Yap. Despite the registration of the lots to spouses Yap, Peña retained possession of the property.

Main Case:

Spouses Yap sought to recover the possession of the lots from Peña. The latter countered that she is now the legitimate owner of the subject lands for having purchased the same in a foreclosure proceeding instituted by the DBP against PAMBUSCO and no valid redemption having been effected within the period provided by law.

The defense was that since the deed of assignment executed by PAMBUSCO in favor of Enriquez was void ab initio for being an ultra vires act of its board of directors and for being without any valuable consideration, it could not have had any legal effect.

(It should be noted that the by-laws of PAMBUSCO provide that four out of five directors must be present in a special meeting of the board to constitute a quorum, and that the corporation has already ceased to operate.)

CFI ruled in favor of Petitioner Peña, but the same was overturned by the CA.

Issue: W/N there Peña is entitled to the lots.

Ruling: Yes.

The by-laws of a corporation are its own private laws which substantially have the same effect as the laws of the corporation. They are in effect, written, into the charter. In this sense they become part of the fundamental law of the corporation with which the corporation and its directors and officers must comply.

Apparently, only three (3) out of five (5) members of the board of directors of respondent PAMBUSCO convened by virtue of a prior notice of a special meeting. There was no quorum to validly transact business since it is required under its by-laws that at least four (4) members must be present to constitute a quorum in a special meeting of the board of directors.

Under Section 25 of the Corporation Code of the Philippines, the articles of incorporation or by-laws of the corporation may fix a greater number than the majority of the number of board members to constitute the quorum necessary for the valid transaction of business. Any number less than the number provided in the articles or by-laws therein cannot constitute a quorum and any act therein would not bind the corporation; all that the attending directors could do is to adjourn.

Moreover, the records show that respondent PAMBUSCO ceased to operate for about 25 years prior to the board meeting. Being a dormant corporation for several years, it was highly irregular, for a group of three (3) individuals representing themselves to be the directors of respondent PAMBUSCO to pass a resolution disposing of the only remaining asset of the corporation in favor of a former corporate officer.

As a matter of fact, the three (3) alleged directors who attended the special meeting on November 19, 1974 were not listed as directors of respondent PAMBUSCO in the latest general information sheet. Similarly, the latest list of stockholders of respondent PAMBUSCO on file with the SEC does not show that the said alleged directors were among the stockholders of respondent PAMBUSCO, in contravention of the rule requiring a director to own one (1) share in their to qualify as director of a corporation.

Further, under the Corporation Law, the sale or disposition of any and/or substantially all properties of the corporation requires, in addition to a proper board resolution, the affirmative votes of the stockholders holding at least two-thirds (2/3) of the voting power in the corporation in a meeting duly called for that purpose. This was not complied with in the case at bar.

At the time of the passage of the questioned resolution, respondent PAMBUSCO was insolvent and its only remaining asset was its right of redemption over the subject properties. Since the disposition of said redemption right of respondent PAMBUSCO by virtue of the questioned resolution was not approved by the required number of stockholders, the said resolution, as well as the subsequent assignment and sale, were null and void.

Lastly, for lack of consideration, the assignment should be construed as a donation. Under Article 725 of the Civil Code, in order to be valid, such a donation must be made in a public document and the acceptance must be made in the same or in a separate instrument. In the latter case, the donor shall be notified of the acceptance in an authentic form and such step must be noted in both instruments. Since assignment to Enriquez shows that there was no acceptance of the donation in the same and in a separate document, the said deed of assignment is thus void ab initio.

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