G.R. No. 177066, 11 September 2009
Carlos L. Puno, who died on June 25, 1963, was an incorporator of respondent Puno Enterprises, Inc. On March 14, 2003, petitioner Joselito Musni Puno, claiming to be an heir of Carlos L. Puno, initiated a complaint for specific performance against respondent. Petitioner averred that he is the son of the deceased with the latter’s common-law wife, Amelia Puno. As surviving heir, he claimed entitlement to the rights and privileges of his late father as stockholder of respondent. Respondent filed a motion to dismiss on the ground that petitioner did not have the legal personality to sue because his birth certificate names him as “Joselito Musni Muno.” Apropos, there was yet a need for a judicial declaration that “Joselito Musni Puno” and “Joselito Musni Muno” were one and the same.The court ordered that the proceedings be held in abeyance, ratiocinating that petitioner’s certificate of live birth was no proof of his paternity and relation to Carlos L. Puno.
Petitioner submitted the corrected birth certificate with the name “Joselito M. Puno,” certified by the Civil Registrar of the City of Manila, and the Certificate of Finality thereof. To hasten the disposition of the case, the court conditionally admitted the corrected birth certificate as genuine and authentic and ordered respondent to file its answer within fifteen days from the order and set the case for pretrial.
The ca erred in not ruling that the joselito puno is entitled to the reliefs demanded he being the heir of the late carlos puno, one of the incorporators [of] respondent corporation.
The petition is without merit. Petitioner failed to establish the right to inspect respondent corporation’s books and receive dividends on the stocks owned by Carlos L. Puno.
Petitioner anchors his claim on his being an heir of the deceased stockholder. However, we agree with the appellate court that petitioner was not able to prove satisfactorily his filiation to the deceased stockholder; thus, the former cannot claim to be an heir of the latter.
A certificate of live birth purportedly identifying the putative father is not competent evidence of paternity when there is no showing that the putative father had a hand in the preparation of the certificate. The local civil registrar has no authority to record the paternity of an illegitimate child on the information of a third person. As for the baptismal certificate, we have already decreed that it can only serve as evidence of the administration of the sacrament on the date specified but not of the veracity of the entries with respect to the child’s paternity.
Upon the death of a shareholder, the heirs do not automatically become stockholders of the corporation and acquire the rights and privileges of the deceased as shareholder of the corporation. The stocks must be distributed first to the heirs in estate proceedings, and the transfer of the stocks must be recorded in the books of the corporation. Section 63 of the Corporation Code provides that no transfer shall be valid, except as between the parties, until the transfer is recorded in the books of the corporation. During such interim period, the heirs stand as the equitable owners of the stocks, the executor or administrator duly appointed by the court being vested with the legal title to the stock. Until a settlement and division of the estate is effected, the stocks of the decedent are held by the administrator or executor. Consequently, during such time, it is the administrator or executor who is entitled to exercise the rights of the deceased as stockholder.
Thus, even if petitioner presents sufficient evidence in this case to establish that he is the son of Carlos L. Puno, he would still not be allowed to inspect respondent’s books and be entitled to receive dividends from respondent, absent any showing in its transfer book that some of the shares owned by Carlos L. Puno were transferred to him. This would only be possible if petitioner has been recognized as an heir and has participated in the settlement of the estate of the deceased.
*Case Digest by Lowel Dave D. Manuel, JD-4, Andres Bonifacio Law School, S.Y. 2019-2020