G.R. No. 91889, 27 August 1993
Petitioner Manuel R. Dulay Enterprises, Inc, a domestic corporation with the following as members of its Board of Directors: Manuel R. Dulay with 19,960 shares and designated as president, treasurer and general manager, Atty. Virgilio E. Dulay with 10 shares and designated as vice-president; Linda E. Dulay with 10 shares; Celia Dulay-Mendoza with 10 shares; and Atty. Plaridel C. Jose with 10 shares and designated as secretary, owned a property covered by TCT No. 17880 and known as Dulay Apartment consisting of sixteen (16) apartment units on a six hundred eighty-nine (689) square meters lot, more or less, located at Seventh Street (now Buendia Extension) and F.B. Harrison Street, Pasay City.
Petitioner corporation through its president, Manuel Dulay, obtained various loans for the construction of its hotel project, Dulay Continental Hotel (now Frederick Hotel). It even had to borrow money from petitioner Virgilio Dulay to be able to continue the hotel project. As a result of said loan, petitioner Virgilio Dulay occupied one of the unit apartments of the subject property since property since 1973 while at the same time managing the Dulay Apartment at his shareholdings in the corporation was subsequently increased by his father.
On December 23, 1976, Manuel Dulay by virtue of Board Resolution No 186 of petitioner corporation sold the subject property to private respondents spouses Maria Theresa and Castrense Veloso in the amount of P300,000.00 as evidenced by the Deed of Absolute Sale. Thereafter, TCT No. 17880 was cancelled and TCT No. 23225 was issued to private respondent Maria Theresa Veloso. Subsequently, Manuel Dulay and private respondents spouses Veloso executed a Memorandum to the Deed of Absolute Sale of December 23, 1976 dated December 9, 1977 giving Manuel Dulay within (2) years or until December 9, 1979 to repurchase the subject property for P200,000.00 which was, however, not annotated either in TCT No. 17880 or TCT No. 23225. On December 24, 1976, private respondent Maria Veloso, without the knowledge of Manuel Dulay, mortgaged the subject property to private respondent Manuel A. Torres for a loan of P250,000.00 which was duly annotated. Upon the failure of private respondent Maria Veloso to pay private respondent Torres, the subject property was sold on April 5, 1978 to private respondent Torres as the highest bidder in an extrajudicial foreclosure sale. On July 20, 1978, private respondent Maria Veloso executed a Deed of Absolute Assignment of the Right to Redeem in favor of Manuel Dulay assigning her right to repurchase the subject property.
As neither private respondent Maria Veloso nor her assignee Manuel Dulay was able to redeem the subject property within the one year statutory period for redemption, private respondent Torres filed an Affidavit of Consolidation of Ownership with the Registry of Deeds of Pasay City. On October 1, 1979, private respondent Torres filed a petition for the issuance of a writ of possession against private respondents spouses Veloso and Manuel Dulay.
On July 21, 1980, petitioner corporation filed an action against private respondents spouses Veloso and Torres for the cancellation of the Certificate of Sheriff’s Sale and TCT No. 24799 in Civil Case No. 8278-P with the then Court of First Instance of Rizal.
Whether or not the sale of the subject property between private respondent spouses Veloso and Manuel Dulay has binding effect on petitioner corporation as Board Resolution No. 18 which authorized the sale of the subject property was resolved without the approval of all the members of the board of directors and said Board Resolution was prepared by a person not designated by the corporation to be its secretary?
In the instant case, petitioner corporation is classified as a close corporation and consequently a board resolution authorizing the sale or mortgage of the subject property is not necessary to bind the corporation for the action of its president. At any rate, corporate action taken at a board meeting without proper call or notice in a close corporation is deemed ratified by the absent director unless the latter promptly files his written objection with the secretary of the corporation after having knowledge of the meeting which, in his case, petitioner Virgilio Dulay failed to do.
It is relevant to note that although a corporation is an entity which has a personality distinct and separate from its individual stockholders or members, the veil of corporate fiction may be pierced when it is used to defeat public convenience justify wrong, protect fraud or defend crime. The privilege of being treated as an entity distinct and separate from its stockholder or members is therefore confined to its legitimate uses and is subject to certain limitations to prevent the commission of fraud or other illegal or unfair act. When the corporation is used merely as an alter ego or business conduit of a person, the law will regard the corporation as the act of that person. The Supreme Court had repeatedly disregarded the separate personality of the corporation where the corporate entity was used to annul a valid contract executed by one of its members.
Besides, the fact that petitioner Virgilio Dulay on June 24, 1975 executed an affidavit that he was a signatory witness to the execution of the post-dated Deed of Absolute Sale of the subject property in favor of private respondent Torres indicates that he was aware of the transaction executed between his father and private respondents and had, therefore, adequate knowledge about the sale of the subject property to private respondents.
Consequently, petitioner corporation is liable for the act of Manuel Dulay and the sale of the subject property to private respondents by Manuel Dulay is valid and binding. As stated by the trial court:. . . the sale between Manuel R. Dulay Enterprises, Inc. and the spouses Maria Theresa V. Veloso and Castrense C. Veloso, was a corporate act of the former and not a personal transaction of Manuel R. Dulay. This is so because Manuel R. Dulay was not only president and treasurer but also the general manager of the corporation. The corporation was a closed family corporation and the only non-relative in the board of directors was Atty. Plaridel C. Jose who appeared on paper as the secretary. There is no denying the fact, however, that Maria Socorro R. Dulay at times acted as secretary. . . ., the Court can not lose sight of the fact that the Manuel R. Dulay Enterprises, Inc. is a closed family corporation where the incorporators and directors belong to one single family. It cannot be concealed that Manuel R. Dulay as president, treasurer and general manager almost had absolute control over the business and affairs of the corporation.
Moreover, the appellate courts will not disturb the findings of the trial judge unless he has plainly overlooked certain facts of substance and value that, if considered, might affect the result of the case, which is not present in the instant case.
*Case Digest by Mary Tweetie Antonette G. Semprun, JD – IV, Andres Bonifacio College, SY 2019 – 2020