PNB v. Ritratto Group, Inc.
G.R. No. 142616, July 31, 2001
Corporation Law Case Digest by John Paul C. Ladiao (15 March 2016)
(Topic: Right to bring action, acquire and possess property --- relate with Art. 46 of NCC)
On May 29, 1996, PNB International Finance Ltd. (PNB-IFL), a subsidiary company of PNB, organized and doing business in Hong Kong, extended a letter of credit in favor of the respondents in the amount of US$300,000.00 secured by real estate mortgages constituted over four (4) parcels of land in Makati City. This credit facility was later increased successively to US$1,140,000.00 in September 1996; to S$1,290,000.00 in November 1996; to US$1,425,000.00 in February 1997; and decreased to S$1,421,316.18 in April 1998. Respondents made repayments of the loan incurred by remitting those amounts to their loan account with PNB-IFL in Hong Kong.
However, as of April 30, 1998, their outstanding obligations stood at US$1,497,274.70. Pursuant to the terms of the real estate mortgages, PNB-IFL, through its attorney-in-fact PNB, notified the respondents of the foreclosure of all the real estate mortgages and that the properties subject thereof were to be sold at a public auction on May 27, 1999 at the Makati City Hall.
On May 25, 1999, respondents filed a complaint for injunction with prayer for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction and/or temporary restraining order before the Regional Trial Court of Makati. The Executive Judge of the Regional Trial Court of Makati issued a 72-hour temporary restraining order.
PNB-IFL is a wholly owned subsidiary of defendant Philippine National Bank, the suit against the defendant PNB is a suit against PNB-IFL.
Whether or not respondents justified the act of the court a quo in applying the doctrine of "Piercing the Veil of Corporate Identity" by stating that petitioner is merely an alter ego or a business conduit of PNB-IFL?
herein petitioner is an agent with limited authority and specific duties under a special power of attorney incorporated in the real estate mortgage. It is not privy to the loan contracts entered into by respondents and PNB-IFL.
The mere fact that a corporation owns all of the stocks of another corporation, taken alone is not sufficient to justify their being treated as one entity. If used to perform legitimate functions, a subsidiary's separate existence may be respected, and the liability of the parent corporation as well as the subsidiary will be confined to those arising in their respective business.
as a general rule the stock ownership alone by one corporation of the stock of another does not thereby render the dominant corporation liable for the torts of the subsidiary unless the separate corporate existence of the subsidiary is a mere sham, or unless the control of the subsidiary is such that it is but an instrumentality or adjunct of the dominant corporation.