G.R. No. 108905, 23 October 1997
GCHS is an educational institution in Grace Village, Quezon City. GVAI is the homeowners association in Grace Village. GVAI has an existing by-laws which was already in effect since 1968. But in 1975, the BODs made a draft amending the by-laws whereby the representative of GCHS shall have a permanent seat in the 15-seat board. The draft however was never presented to the general membership for approval. But nevertheless, the representative of GCHS held a seat in the board for 15 years until in 1990 when a proposal was made to the board to reconsider the practice of allowing the GCHS representative in taking a permanent seat. Thereafter, an election was scheduled for the 15 sear in the board. GCHS opposed the election as it insists that the election should only be for 14 directors because it has a permanent seat.
Whether the representative from GCHS should be allowed to have a seat in the BODs.
No. The provisions of the former and present corporation law leave no room for doubt as to their meaning: the board of directors of corporations must be elected from among the stockholders or members. There may be corporations in which there are unelected members in the board but it is clear that in the examples cited by petitioner the unelected members sit as ex officio members, i.e., by virtue of and for as long as they hold a particular office. But in the case of petitioner, there is no reason at all for its representative to be given a seat in the board. Nor does petitioner claim a right to such seat by virtue of an office held. In fact it was not given such seat in the beginning. It was only in 1975 that a proposed amendment to the by-laws sought to give it one.
Since the provision in question is contrary to law, the fact that for fifteen years it has not been questioned or challenged but, on the contrary, appears to have been implemented by the members of the association cannot forestall a later challenge to its validity. Neither can it attain validity through acquiescence because, if it is contrary to law, it is beyond the power of the members of the association to waive its invalidity. For that matter the members of the association may have formally adopted the provision in question, but their action would be of no avail because no provision of the by-laws can be adopted if it is contrary to law.
*Case Digest by Jhazel Zhan Jebone, JD-4, Andres Bonifacio Law School, SY 2019-2020