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  Today is Thursday, March 02, 2017 Custom SearchRepublic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT ManilaSECOND DIVISION G.R. No. L-41337 June 30, 1988TAN BOON BEE & CO., INC., petitioner, vs. THE HONORABLE HILARION U. JARENCIO, PRESIDING JUDGE OF BRANCH XVIII of the Court of FirstInstance of Manila, GRAPHIC PUBLISHING, INC., and PHILIPPINE AMERICAN CAN DRUG COMPANY, respondents. De Santos, Balgos & Perez Law Office for petitioner. Araneta Mendoza & Papa Law Office for respondent Phil. American Drug Company.  PARAS, J.: This is a petition for certiorari, with prayer for preliminary injunction, to annul and set aside the March 26, 1975Order of the then Court of First Instance of Manila, Branch XXIII, setting aside the sale of Heidelberg cylinder press executed by the sheriff in favor of the herein petitioner, as well as the levy on the said property, andordering the sheriff to return the said machinery to its owner, herein private respondent Philippine American DrugCompany.Petitioner herein, doing business under the name and style of Anchor Supply Co., sold on credit to herein privaterespondent Graphic Publishing, Inc. (GRAPHIC for short) paper products amounting to P55,214.73. OnDecember 20, 1972, GRAPHIC made partial payment by check to petitioner in the total amount of P24,848.74;and on December 21, 1972, a promissory note was executed to cover the balance of P30,365.99. In the saidpromissory note, it was stipulated that the amount will be paid on monthly installments and that failure to pay anyinstallment would make the amount immediately demandable with an interest of 12% per annum. On September 6, 1973, for failure of GRAPHIC to pay any installment, petitioner filed with the then Court of First Instance of Manila, Branch XXIII, presided over by herein respondent judge, Civil Case No. 91857 for a Sum of Money (Rollo,pp. 36-38). Respondent judge declared GRAPHIC in default for failure to file its answer within the reglementaryperiod and plaintiff (petitioner herein) was allowed to present its evidence ex parte. In a Decision dated January18, 1974 ( Ibid.,  pp. 39-40), the trial court ordered GRAPHIC to pay the petitioner the sum of P30,365.99 with 12%interest from March 30, 1973 until fully paid, plus the costs of suit. On motion of petitioner, a writ of execution wasissued by respondent judge; but the aforestated writ having expired without the sheriff finding any property of GRAPHIC, an alias writ of execution was issued on July 2, 1974.Pursuant to the said issued alias writ of execution, the executing sheriff levied upon one (1) unit printing machineIdentified as Original Heidelberg Cylinder Press Type H 222, NR 78048, found in the premises of GRAPHIC. In aNotice of Sale of Execution of Personal Property dated July 29, 1974, said printing machine was scheduled for auction sale on July 26, 1974 at 10:00 o'clock at 14th St., Cor. Atlanta St., Port Area, Manila ( lbid.,  p. 45); but in aletter dated July 19, 1974, herein private respondent, Philippine American Drug Company (PADCO for short) hadinformed the sheriff that the printing machine is its property and not that of GRAPHIC, and accordingly, advisedthe sheriff to cease and desist from carrying out the scheduled auction sale on July 26, 1974. Notwithstanding thesaid letter, the sheriff proceeded with the scheduled auction sale, sold the property to the petitioner, it being thehighest bidder, and issued a Certificate of Sale in favor of petitioner (Rollo, p. 48). More than five (5) hours after the auction sale and the issuance of the certificate of sale, PADCO filed an Affidavit of Third Party Claim with theOffice of the City Sheriff ( Ibid  ., p. 47). Thereafter, on July 30,1974, PADCO filed with the Court of First Instance of Manila, Branch XXIII, a Motion to Nullify Sale on Execution (With Injunction) ( Ibid. , pp, 49-55), which was opposedby the petitioner (Ibid., pp. 5668). Respondent judge, in an Order dated March 26, 1975 (Ibid. , pp. 64-69), ruled infavor of PADCO. The decretal portion of the said order, reads:  WHEREFORE, the sale of the 'Heidelberg cylinder press executed by the Sheriff in favor of theplaintiff as well as the levy on the said property is hereby set aside and declared to be without anyforce and effect. The Sheriff is ordered to return the said machinery to its owner, the Philippine American Drug Co.Petitioner filed a Motion For Reconsideration ( Ibid  ., pp. 7093) and an Addendum to Motion for Reconsideration( Ibid  ., pp. 94-08), but in an Order dated August 13, 1975, the same was denied for lack of merit ( Ibid.,  p. 109).Hence, the instant petition.In a Resolution dated September 12, 1975, the Second Division of this Court resolved to require the respondentsto comment, and to issue a temporary restraining order (Rollo, p. 111 ). After submission of the parties'Memoranda, the case was submitted for decision in the Resolution of November 28, 1975 ( Ibid. , p. 275).Petitioner, to support its stand, raised two (2) issues, to wit:ITHE RESPONDENT JUDGE GRAVELY EXCEEDED, IF NOT ACTED WITHOUT JURISDICTION WHEN HE ACTED UPON THE MOTION OF PADCO, NOT ONLY BECAUSE SECTION 17, RULE 39 OF THE RULES OFCOURT WAS NOT COMPLIED WITH, BUT ALSO BECAUSE THE CLAIMS OF PADCO WHICH WAS NOT APARTY TO THE CASE COULD NOT BE VENTILATED IN THE CASE BEFORE HIM BUT IN INDEPENDENTPROCEEDING.IITHE RESPONDENT JUDGE GRAVELY ABUSED HIS DISCRETION WHEN HE REFUSED TO PIERCE THEPADCO'S (IDENTITY) AND DESPITE THE ABUNDANCE OF EVIDENCE CLEARLY SHOWING THAT PADCO WASCONVENIENTLY SHIELDING UNDER THE THEORY OF CORPORATE PETITION.Petitioner contends that respondent judge gravely exceeded, if not, acted without jurisdiction, in nullifying thesheriffs sale not only because Section 17, Rule 39 of the Rules of Court was not complied with, but moreimportantly because PADCO could not have litigated its claim in the same case, but in an independent civilproceeding.This contention is well-taken.In the case of Bayer Philippines, Inc. vs. Agana  (63 SCRA 355, 366-367 [1975]), this Court categorically ruled asfollows:In other words, constitution, Section 17 of Rule 39 of the Revised Rules of Court, the rights of third-party claimants over certain properties levied upon by the sheriff to satisfy the judgment should notbe decided inthe action where the third-party claims have been presented, but in the separate actioninstituted by the claimants.... Otherwise stated, the court issuing a writ of execution is supposed to enforce the authority onlyover properties of the judgment debtor, and should a third party appeal- to claim the property leviedupon by the sheriff, the procedure laid down by the Rules is that such claim should be the subject of a separate and independent action.xxx xxx xxx... This rule is dictated by reasons of convenience, as intervention is more likely to inject confusioninto the issues between the parties in the case . . . with which the third-party claimant has nothing todo and thereby retard instead of facilitate the prompt dispatch of the controversy which is theunderlying objective of the rules of pleading and practice. Besides, intervention may not bepermitted after trial has been concluded and a final judgment rendered in the case.However, the fact that petitioner questioned the jurisdiction of the court during the initial hearing of the case butnevertheless actively participated in the trial, bars it from questioning now the court's jurisdiction. A party whovoluntarily participated in the trial, like the herein petitioner, cannot later on raise the issue of the court's lack of  jurisdiction (Philippine National Bank vs. Intermediate Appellate Court, 143 SCRA [1986]). As to the second issue (the non-piercing of PADCO's corporate Identity) the decision of respondent judge is asfollows:The plaintiff, however, contends that the controlling stockholders of the Philippine American Drug Co.are also the same controlling stockholders of the Graphic Publishing, Inc. and, therefore, the levyupon the said machinery which was found in the premises occupied by the Graphic Publishing, Inc.  should be upheld. This contention cannot be sustained because the two corporations were dulyincorporated under the Corporation Law and each of them has a juridical personality distinct andseparate from the other and the properties of one cannot be levied upon to satisfy the obligation of the other. This legal preposition is elementary and fundamental.It is true that a corporation, upon coming into being, is invested by law with a personality separate and distinctfrom that of the persons composing it as well as from any other legal entity to which it may be related (Yutivo &Sons Hardware Company vs. Court of Tax Appeals, 1 SCRA 160 [1961]; and Emilio Cano Enterprises, Inc. vs.CIR, 13 SCRA 290 [1965]). As a matter of fact, the doctrine that a corporation is a legal entity distinct andseparate from the members and stockholders who compose it is recognized and respected in all cases which arewithin reason and the law (Villa Rey Transit, Inc. vs. Ferrer, 25 SCRA 845 [1968]). However, this separate anddistinct personality is merely a fiction created by law for convenience and to promote justice (LagunaTransportation Company vs. SSS, 107 Phil. 833 [1960]). Accordingly, this separate personality of the corporationmay be disregarded, or the veil of corporate fiction pierced, in cases where it is used as a cloak or cover for fraudor illegality, or to work an injustice, or where necessary to achieve equity or when necessary for the protection of creditors (Sulo ng Bayan, Inc. vs. Araneta, Inc., 72 SCRA 347 [1976]). Corporations are composed of naturalpersons and the legal fiction of a separate corporate personality is not a shield for the commission of injustice andinequity (Chenplex Philippines, Inc., et al. vs. Hon. Pamatian et al., 57 SCRA 408 (19741). Likewise, this is truewhen the corporation is merely an adjunct, business conduit or alter ego of another corporation. In such case, thefiction of separate and distinct corporation entities should be disregarded (Commissioner of Internal Revenue vs.Norton & Harrison, 11 SCRA 714 [1964]).In the instant case, petitioner's evidence established that PADCO was never engaged in the printing business;that the board of directors and the officers of GRAPHIC and PADCO were the same; and that PADCO holds 50%share of stock of GRAPHIC. Petitioner likewise stressed that PADCO's own evidence shows that the printingmachine in question had been in the premises of GRAPHIC since May, 1965, long before PADCO even acquiredits alleged title on July 11, 1966 from Capitol Publishing. That the said machine was allegedly leased by PADCO toGRAPHIC on January 24, 1966, even before PADCO purchased it from Capital Publishing on July 11, 1966, onlyserves to show that PADCO's claim of ownership over the printing machine is not only farce and sham but alsounbelievable.Considering the aforestated principles and the circumstances established in this case, respondent judge shouldhave pierced PADCO's veil of corporate Identity.Respondent PADCO argues that if respondent judge erred in not piercing the veil of its corporate fiction, the error is merely an error of judgment and not an error of jurisdiction correctable by appeal and not by certiorari.To this argument of respondent, suffice it to say that the same is a mere technicality. In the case of Rubio vs.Mariano (52 SCRA 338, 343 [1973]), this Court ruled:While We recognize the fact that these movants — the MBTC, the Phillips spouses, the Phillipscorporation and the Hacienda Benito, Inc.— did raise in their respective answers the issue as to thepropriety of the instant petition for certiorari on the ground that the remedy should have been appealwithin the reglementary period, We considered such issue as a mere technicality which would haveaccomplished nothing substantial except to deny to the petitioner the right to litigate the matters heraised ...Litigations should, as much as possible, be decided on their merits and not on technicality (De las Alas vs. Courtof Appeals, 83 SCRA 200, 216 [1978]). Every party-litigant must be afforded the amplest opportunity for theproper and just determination of his cause, free from the unacceptable plea of technicalities (Heirs of CeferinoMorales vs. Court of Appeals, 67 SCRA 304, 310 [1975]).PREMISES CONSIDERED, the March 26,1975 Order of the then Court of First Instance of Manila, is ANNULLEDand SET ASIDE, and the Temporary Restraining Order issued is hereby made permanent.SO ORDERED. Yap, C. J., Melencio-Herrera, Padilla and Sarmiento, JJ., concur. The Lawphil Project - Arellano Law Foundation
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