Sunday, April 24, 2016

TRADER’S ROYAL BANK v. COURT OF APPEALS G.R. No. L-78412, September 26, 1989

G.R. No. L-78412, September 26, 1989
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 March 30,1982, the Philippine Blooming Mills, Inc. (PBM) and Alfredo Ching jointly submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission a petition for suspension of payments (SEC No. 2250) where Alfredo Ching was joined as co-petitioner because under the law, he was allegedly entitled, as surety, to avail of the defenses of PBM and he was expected to raise most of the stockholders' equity of Pl00 million being required under the plan for the rehabilitation of PBM. Traders Royal Bank was included among PBM's creditors named in Schedule A accompanying PBM's petition for suspension of payments.

On May 13, 1983, the petitioner bank filed Civil Case No. 1028-P in the Regional Trial Court, Branch CXIII in Pasay City, against PBM and Alfredo Ching, to collect P22,227,794.05 exclusive of interests, penalties and other bank charges representing PBM's outstanding obligation to the bank. Alfredo Ching, a stockholder of PBM, was impleaded as co-defendant for having signed as a surety for PBM's obligations to the extent of ten million pesos (Pl0,000,000) under a Deed of Suretyship dated July 21, 1977.

In its en banc decision in SEC-EB No. 018 (Chung Ka Bio, et al. vs. Hon. Antonio R. Manabat, et al.), the SEC declared that it had assumed jurisdiction over petitioner Alfredo Ching pursuant to Section 6, Rule 3 of the new Rules of Procedure of the SEC providing that "parties in interest without whom no final determination can be had of an action shall be joined either as complainant, petitioner or respondent" to prevent multiplicity of suits.

On July 9, 1982, the SEC issued an Order placing PBM's business, including its assets and liabilities, under rehabilitation receivership, and ordered that "all actions for claims listed in Schedule A of the petition pending before any court or tribunal are hereby suspended in whatever stage the same may be, until further orders from the Commission" (p. 22, Rollo). As directed by the SEC, said order was published once a week for three consecutive weeks in the Bulletin Today, Philippine Daily Express and Times Journal at the expense of PBM and Alfredo Ching.


Whether or not the court a quo could acquire jurisdiction over Ching in his personal and individual capacity as a surety of PBM in the collection suit filed by the bank, despite the fact that PBM's obligation to the bank had been placed under receivership by the SEC?



Although Ching was impleaded in SEC Case No. 2250, as a co-petitioner of PBM, the SEC could not assume jurisdiction over his person and properties. The Securities and Exchange Commission was empowered, as rehabilitation receiver, to take custody and control of the assets and properties of PBM only, for the SEC has jurisdiction over corporations only not over private individuals, except stockholders in an intra-corporate dispute (Sec. 5, P.D. 902-A and Sec. 2 of P.D. 1758). Being a nominal party in SEC Case No. 2250, Ching's properties were not included in the rehabilitation receivership that the SEC constituted to take custody of PBM's assets.

Therefore, the petitioner bank was not barred from filing a suit against Ching, as a surety for PBM. An anomalous situation would arise if individual sureties for debtor corporations may escape liability by simply co- filing with the corporation a petition for suspension of payments in the SEC whose jurisdiction is limited only to corporations and their corporate assets.

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