G.R. No. 125221, 19 June 1997
On December 19, 1995, petitioner Reynaldo M. Lozano filed Civil Case No. 1214 for damages against respondent Antonio Anda before the Municipal Circuit Trial Court (MCTC), Mabalacat and Magalang, Pampanga. Petitioner alleged that he was the president of the Kapatirang Mabalacat-Angeles Jeepney Drivers’ Association, Inc. (KAMAJDA) while respondent Anda was the president of the Samahang Angeles-Mabalacat Jeepney Operators’ and Drivers’ Association, Inc. (SAMAJODA); in August 1995, upon the request of the Sangguniang Bayan of Mabalacat, Pampanga, petitioner and private respondent agreed to consolidate their respective associations and form the Unified Mabalacat-Angeles Jeepney Operators’ and Drivers Association, Inc. (UMAJODA); petitioner and private respondent also agreed to elect one set of officers who shall be given the sole authority to collect the daily dues from the members of the consolidated association; elections were held on October 29, 1995 and both petitioner and private respondent ran for president; petitioner won; private respondent protested and, alleging fraud, refused to recognize the results of the election; private respondent also refused to abide by their agreement and continued collecting the dues from the members of his association despite several demands to desist.
Private respondent moved to dismiss the complaint for lack of jurisdiction, claiming that jurisdiction was lodged with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). MCTC denied the motion and a petition for certiorari was filed before the RTC, The Regional trial court found the dispute to be intracorporate, hence, subject to the jurisdiction of the SEC, and ordered the MCTC to dismiss Civil Case No. 1214 accordingly.
Whether there exist a corporation by estoppel.
No. these associations are two separate entities. The dispute between petitioner and private respondent is not within the KAMAJDA nor the SAMAJODA. It is between members of separate and distinct associations. Petitioner and private respondent have no intracorporate relation much less do they have an intracorporate dispute. The SEC therefore has no jurisdiction over the complaint.
The doctrine of corporation by estoppel advanced by private respondent cannot override jurisdictional requirements. Jurisdiction is fixed by law and is not subject to the agreement of the parties. It cannot be acquired through or waived, enlarged or diminished by, any act or omission of the parties, neither can it be conferred by the acquiescence of the court.
Corporation by estoppel is founded on principles of equity and is designed to prevent injustice and unfairness. It applies when persons assume to form a corporation and exercise corporate functions and enter into business relations with third person. Where there is no third person involved and the conflict arises only among those assuming the form of a corporation, who therefore know that it has not been registered, there is no corporation by estoppel.
*Case digest by Paul Jason G. Acasio, JD-IV, Andres Bonifacio Law School, SY 2019-2020