G.R. No. L-2598, 29 June 1950


On May 28, 1947, the petitioners C. Arnold Hall and Bradley P. Hall, and the respondents Fred Brown, Emma Brown, Hipolita D. Chapman and Ceferino S. Abella, signed and acknowledged in Leyte, the article of incorporation of the Far Eastern Lumber and Commercial Co., Inc., organized to engage in a general lumber business to carry on as general contractors, operators and managers.

Immediately after the execution of said articles of incorporation, the corporation proceeded to do business with the adoption of by-laws and the election of its officers. On December 2, 1947, the said articles of incorporation were filed in the office of the Securities and Exchange Commissioner, for the issuance of the corresponding certificate of incorporation.

On March 22, 1948, pending action on the articles of incorporation by the aforesaid governmental office, the respondents Fred Brown, Emma Brown, Hipolita D. Chapman and Ceferino S. Abella filed before the Court of First Instance of Leyte the civil case numbered 381, entitled “Fred Brown et al. vs. Arnold C. Hall et al.” The defendants in the suit, namely, C. Arnold Hall and Bradley P. Hall, filed a motion to dismiss, contesting the court’s jurisdiction and the sufficiently of the cause of action.


Whether the Corporation is a de facto Corporation.


No. All the parties are informed that the Securities and Exchange Commission has not, so far, issued the corresponding certificate of incorporation. All of them know, or sought to know, that the personality of a corporation begins to exist only from the moment such certificate is issued — not before (sec. 11, Corporation Law). The complaining associates have not represented to the others that they were incorporated any more than the latter had made similar representations to them. And as nobody was led to believe anything to his prejudice and damage, the principle of estoppel does not apply. Obviously this is not an instance requiring the enforcement of contracts with the corporation through the rule of estoppel.

The first proposition above stated is premised on the theory that, inasmuch as the Far Eastern Lumber and Commercial Co., is a de facto corporation, section 19 of the Corporation Law applies, and therefore the court had not jurisdiction to take cognizance of said civil case number 381. Section 19 reads as follows:

. . . The due incorporation of any corporations claiming in good faith to be a corporation under this Act and its right to exercise corporate powers shall not be inquired into collaterally in any private suit to which the corporation may be a party, but such inquiry may be had at the suit of the Insular Government on information of the Attorney-General.

There are least two reasons why this section does not govern the situation. Not having obtained the certificate of incorporation, the Far Eastern Lumber and Commercial Co. — even its stockholders — may not probably claim “in good faith” to be a corporation.

*Case digest by Paul Jason G. Acasio, JD-IV, Andres Bonifacio Law School, SY 2019-2020