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Monthly Archives: April 2016

B. Van Zuiden Bros. Ltd. v. GTVL Manufacturing, G.R. No. 147905, 28 May 2007

[CARPIO, J.]

 

FACTS

B. Van Zuiden Bros. Ltd. (Zuiden) is a corporation incorporated under the laws of Hong Kong, suing in Philippine court for collection of sum of money. In its complaint, petitioner alleged that it is engaged in the importation and exportation of several products, including lace products. Petitioner asserted that on several occasions, respondent purchased lace products from it. Petitioner also claimed that respondent instructed it to deliver the purchased goods to Kenzar, which is a Hong Kong company based in Hong Kong. Upon Kenzars receipt of the goods, the products were considered sold. Kenzar, in turn, had the obligation to deliver the lace products to the Philippines. In other words, the sale of lace products was consummated in Hong Kong.Instead of filing an Answer, GTVL Manufacturing (GVTL) filed a Motion to Dismiss

 

ISSUES

(1) Whether the petitioner, an unlicensed foreign corporation, has legal capacity to sue before Philippine courts.

(2) What constitutes doing business in the Philippines?

 

 RULINGS

(1) YES, if the foreign corporation is not doing business in the Philippines. NO, if the foreign corporation is doing business in the Philippines.

Section 133 of the Corporation Code provides:

Doing business without license. No foreign corporation transacting business in the Philippines without a license, or its successors or assigns, shall be permitted to maintain or intervene in any action, suit or proceeding in any court or administrative agency of the Philippines; but such corporation may be sued or proceeded against before Philippine courts or administrative tribunals on any valid cause of action recognized under Philippine laws.

The law is clear. An unlicensed foreign corporation doing business in the Philippines cannot sue before Philippine courts. On the other hand, an unlicensed foreign corporation not doing business in the Philippines can sue before Philippine courts.

The series of transactions between petitioner and respondent cannot be classified as doing business in the Philippines under Section 3(d) of RA 7042. An essential condition to be considered as doing business in the Philippines is the actual performance of specific commercial acts within the territory of the Philippines for the plain reason that the Philippines has no jurisdiction over commercial acts performed in foreign territories. Here, there is no showing that petitioner performed within the Philippine territory the specific acts of doing business mentioned in Section 3(d) of RA 7042. Petitioner did not also open an office here in the Philippines, appoint a representative or distributor, or manage, supervise or control a local business. While petitioner and respondent entered into a series of transactions implying a continuity of commercial dealings, the perfection and consummation of these transactions were done outside the Philippines.

(2) To be doing or transacting business in the Philippines for purposes of Section 133 of the Corporation Code, the foreign corporation mustactually transact business in the Philippines, that is, perform specific business transactions within the Philippine territory on a continuing basis in its own name and for its own account. Actual transaction of business within the Philippine territory is an essential requisite for the Philippines to acquire jurisdiction over a foreign corporation and thus require the foreign corporation to secure a Philippine business license. If a foreign corporation does not transact such kind of business in the Philippines, even if it exports its products to the Philippines, the Philippines has no jurisdiction to require such foreign corporation to secure a Philippine business license.

 

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Steelcase, Inc. v. Design International Selections, Inc. (DISI), G.R. No. 171995, 18 April 2012

[MENDOZA, J.]

 

FACTS

Steelcase, Inc. (Steelcase) granted Design International Selections, Inc. (DISI) the right to market, sell, distribute, install, and service its products to end-user customers within the Philippines.Steelcase argues that Section 3(d) of R.A. No. 7042 or the Foreign Investments Act of 1991 (FIA) expressly states that the phrase doing business excludes the appointment by a foreign corporation of a local distributor domiciled in the Philippines which transacts business in its own name and for its own account. On the other hand, DISI argues that it was appointed by Steelcase as the latter’s exclusive distributor of Steelcase products.  The dealership agreement between Steelcase and DISI had been described by the owner himself as basically a buy and sell arrangement.

 

ISSUE

Whether Steelcase had been doing business in the Philippines.

RULING

NO.

[T]he appointment of a distributor in the Philippines is not sufficient to constitute doing business unless it is under the full control of the foreign corporation. On the other hand, if the distributor is an independent entity which buys and distributes products, other than those of the foreign corporation, for its own name and its own account, the latter cannot be considered to be doing business in the Philippines. Here, DISI was an independent contractor which sold Steelcase products in its own name and for its own account. As a result, Steelcase cannot be considered to be doing business in the Philippines by its act of appointing a distributor as it falls under one of the exceptions under R.A. No. 7042.

 

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Heirs of Gamboa v. Teves, et al., G.R. No. 176579, 09 October 2012

[CARPIO, J.]

FACTS

Movants Philippine Stock Exchange’s (PSE) President, Manuel V. Pangilinan, Napoleon L. Nazareno, and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) contend that the term “capital” in Section 11, Article XII of the Constitution has long been settled and defined to refer to the total outstanding shares of stock, whether voting or non-voting. In fact, movants claim that the SEC, which is the administrative agency tasked to enforce the 60-40 ownership requirement in favor of Filipino citizens in the Constitution and various statutes, has consistently adopted this particular definition in its numerous opinions. Movants point out that with the 28 June 2011 Decision, the Court in effect introduced a “new” definition or “midstream redefinition” of the term “capital” in Section 11, Article XII of the Constitution.

ISSUE

Whether the term “capital” includes both voting and non-voting shares.

RULING

NO.

The Constitution expressly declares as State policy the development of an economy “effectively controlled” by Filipinos. Consistent with such State policy, the Constitution explicitly reserves the ownership and operation of public utilities to Philippine nationals, who are defined in the Foreign Investments Act of 1991 as Filipino citizens, or corporations or associations at least 60 percent of whose capital with voting rights belongs to Filipinos. The FIA’s implementing rules explain that “[f]or stocks to be deemed owned and held by Philippine citizens or Philippine nationals, mere legal title is not enough to meet the required Filipino equity. Full beneficial ownership of the stocks, coupled with appropriate voting rights is essential.” In effect, the FIA clarifies, reiterates and confirms the interpretation that the term “capital” in Section 11, Article XII of the 1987 Constitution refers to shares with voting rights, as well as with full beneficial ownership. This is precisely because the right to vote in the election of directors, coupled with full beneficial ownership of stocks, translates to effective control of a corporation.

 

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Narra Nickel Mining and Dev’t Corp., et al. v. Redmont Consolidated Mines Corp., G.R. No. 195580, 21 April 2014

[VELASCO, JR., J.]

FACTS

Redmont Consolidated Mines, Inc. (Redmont) filed before the Panel of Arbitrators (POA) of the DENR separate petitions for denial of McArthur Mining, Inc. (McArthur), Tesoro and Mining and Development, Inc. (Tesoro), and Narra Nickel Mining and Development Corporation (Narra) applications Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA) on the ground that they are not “qualified persons” and thus disqualified from engaging in mining activities through MPSAs reserved only for Filipino citizens.

McArthur Mining, Inc., is composed, among others, by Madridejos Mining Corporation (Filipino) owning 5,997 out of 10,000 shares, and MBMI Resources, Inc. (Canadian) owning 3,998 out of 10,000 shares; MBMI also owns 3,331 out of 10,000 shares of Madridejos Mining Corporation;

Tesoro and Mining and Development, Inc., is composed, among others, by Sara Marie Mining, Inc. (Filipino) owning 5,997 out of 10,000 shares, and MBMI Resources, Inc. (Canadian) owning 3,998 out of 10,000 shares; MBMI also owns 3,331 out of 10,000 shares of Sara Marie Mining, Inc.;

Narra Nickel Mining and Development Corporation, is composed, among others, by Patricia Louise Mining & Development Corporation (Filipino) owning 5,997 out of 10,000 shares, and MBMI Resources, Inc. (Canadian) owning 3,998 out of 10,000 shares; MBMI also owns 3,396 out of 10,000 shares of Patricia Louise Mining & Development Corporation;

ISSUES

(1) Is the Grandfather Rule applicable?

(2) Whether McArthur, Tesoro and Narra are Filipino nationals.

RULINGS

(1) YES.

The instant case presents a situation which exhibits a scheme employed by stockholders to circumvent the law, creating a cloud of doubt in the Court’s mind. To determine, therefore, the actual participation, direct or indirect, of MBMI, the grandfather rule must be used.

The Strict Rule or the Grandfather Rule pertains to the portion in Paragraph 7 of the 1967 SEC Rules which states, “but if the percentage of Filipino ownership in the corporation or partnership is less than 60%, only the number of shares corresponding to such percentage shall be counted as of Philippine nationality.” Under the Strict Rule or Grandfather Rule Proper, the combined totals in the Investing Corporation and the Investee Corporation must be traced (i.e., “grandfathered”) to determine the total percentage of Filipino ownership.

(2) NO.

[P]etitioners McArthur, Tesoro and Narra are not Filipino since MBMI, a 100% Canadian corporation, owns 60% or more of their equity interests. Such conclusion is derived from grandfathering petitioners’ corporate owners. xxx Noticeably, the ownership of the “layered” corporations boils down to xxx group wherein MBMI has joint venture agreements with, practically exercising majority control over the corporations mentioned. In effect, whether looking at the capital structure or the underlying relationships between and among the corporations, petitioners are NOT Filipino nationals and must be considered foreign since 60% or more of their capital stocks or equity interests are owned by MBMI.

 

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