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

18 Apr

[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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