JOSE REMO, JR. v. THE HON. INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT
G.R. No. L-67626, April 18, 1989
Corporation Law Case Digest by John Paul C. Ladiao (15 March 2016)
(Topic: Consideration for Stocks and Transfer)
In the latter part of December, 1977 the board of directors of Akron Customs Brokerage Corporation (hereinafter referred to as Akron), composed of petitioner Jose Remo, Jr., Ernesto Bañares, Feliciano Coprada, Jemina Coprada, and Dario Punzalan with Lucia Lacaste as Secretary, adopted a resolution authorizing the purchase of thirteen (13) trucks for use in its business to be paid out of a loan the corporation may secure from any lending institution.
Feliciano Coprada, as President and Chairman of Akron, purchased thirteen trucks from private respondent on January 25, 1978 for and in consideration of P525,000.00 as evidenced by a deed of absolute sale. 6 In a side agreement of the same date, the parties agreed on a downpayment in the amount of P50,000.00 and that the balance of P475,000.00 shall be paid within sixty (60) days from the date of the execution of the agreement. The parties also agreed that until said balance is fully paid, the down payment of P50,000.00 shall accrue as rentals of the 13 trucks; and that if Akron fails to pay the balance within the period of 60 days, then the balance shall constitute as a chattel mortgage lien covering said cargo trucks and the parties may allow an extension of 30 days and thereafter private respondent may ask for a revocation of the contract and the reconveyance of all said trucks.
The obligation is further secured by a promissory note executed by Coprada in favor of Akron. It is stated in the promissory note that the balance shall be paid from the proceeds of a loan obtained from the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) within sixty (60) days. 8 After the lapse of 90 days, private respondent tried to collect from Coprada but the latter promised to pay only upon the release of the DBP loan. Private respondent sent Coprada a letter of demand dated May 10, 1978. 9 In his reply to the said letter, Coprada reiterated that he was applying for a loan from the DBP from the proceeds of which payment of the obligation shall be made.
In due time, private respondent filed a compliant for the recovery of P525,000.00 or the return of the 13 trucks with damages against Akron and its officers and directors, Feliciano Coprada, Dario D. Punzalan, Jemina Coprada, Lucia Lacaste, Wilfredo Layug, Arcadio de la Cruz, Francisco Clave, Vicente Martinez, Pacifico Dollario and petitioner with the then Court of First Instance of Rizal. Only petitioner answered the complaint denying any participation in the transaction and alleging that Akron has a distinct corporate personality.
Whether or not the Intermediate Appellate Court (IAC) erred in disregarding the corporate fiction and in holding the petitioner personally liable for the obligation of the Corporation which decision is patently contrary to law and the applicable decision thereon?
The environmental facts of this case show that there is no cogent basis to pierce the corporate veil of Akron and hold petitioner personally liable for its obligation to private respondent. While it is true that in December, 1977 petitioner was still a member of the board of directors of Akron and that he participated in the adoption of a resolution authorizing the purchase of 13 trucks for the use in the brokerage business of Akron to be paid out of a loan to be secured from a lending institution, it does not appear that said resolution was intended to defraud anyone and more particularly private respondent. It was Coprada, President and Chairman of Akron, who negotiated with said respondent for the purchase of 13 cargo trucks on January 25, 1978. It was Coprada who signed a promissory note to guarantee the payment of the unpaid balance of the purchase price out of the proceeds of a loan he supposedly sought from the DBP. The word "WE' in the said promissory note must refer to the corporation which Coprada represented in the execution of the note and not its stockholders or directors. Petitioner did not sign the said promissory note so he cannot be personally bound thereby.
As to the amendment of the articles of incorporation of Akron thereby changing its name to Akron Transport International, Inc., petitioner alleges that the change of corporate name was in order to include trucking and container yard operations in its customs brokerage of which private respondent was duly informed in a letter. 19 Indeed, the new corporation confirmed and assumed the obligation of the old corporation. There is no indication of an attempt on the part of Akron to evade payment of its obligation to private respondent.
There is the fact that petitioner sold his shares in Akron to Coprada during the pendency of the case. Since petitioner has no personal obligation to private respondent, it is his inherent right as a stockholder to dispose of his shares of stock anytime he so desires.