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GR No. 205061, Jun 08, 2016 Held: No.

EMERTIA G. MALIXI v. MEXICALI PHILIPPINES Rationale: We rule otherwise. The Labor Arbiter's finding that the two corporations are one
Corporate Juridical Personality and the same with interlocking board of directors has no factual basis. It is basic that "a
corporation is an artificial being invested with a personality separate and distinct from
Principle: A corporation is an artificial being invested with a personality separate those of the stockholders and from other corporations to which it may be connected or
and distinct from those of the stockholders and from other corporations to which it may be related." Clear and convincing evidence is needed to warrant the application of the doctrine
connected or related. of piercing the veil of corporate fiction, In our view, the Labor Arbiter failed to provide a
clear justification for the application of the doctrine. The Articles of Incorporation and By-
Facts: Petitioner alleged that she was hired by respondents as a team leader assigned at Laws of both corporations show that they have distinct business locations and distinct
the delivery service, receiving a daily wage of Three Hundred Eighty Two Pesos (P382.00) business purposes. It can also be gleaned therein that they have a different set of
sans employment contract and identification card (ID). Mexicali's training officer, Jay Teves incorporators or directors since only two out of the five directors of Mexicali are also
(Teves), informed her of the management's intention to transfer and appoint her as store directors of Calexico. At any rate, the Court has ruled that the existence of interlocking
manager at a newly opened branch in Alabang Town Center, which is a joint venture directors, corporate officers and shareholders is not enough justification to disregard the
between Mexicali and Calexico Food Corporation (Calexico), due to her satisfactory separate corporate personalities. To pierce the veil of corporate fiction, there should be
performance. She was apprised that her monthly salary as the new store manager would be clear and convincing proof that fraud, illegality or inequity has been committed against
Fifteen Thousand Pesos (P15,000,00) with service charge, free meal and side tip. She then third persons. For while respondents' act of not issuing employment contract and ID may be
subsequently submitted a resignation letter. She started working as the store manager of an indication of the proof required, however, this, by itself, is not sufficient evidence to
Mexicali in Alabang Town Center although, again, no employment contract and ID were pierce the corporate veil between Mexicali and Calexico.
issued to her. However, she was compelled by Teves to sign an end-of-contract letter by
reason of a criminal complaint for sexual harassment she filed against Mexicali's operations Good to know:
manager, John Pontero (Pontero), for the sexual advances made against her during
Pontero's visits at Alabang branch. She refused to sign the said contract and upon her There was no existing employer-employee relationship between petitioner and Mexicali. To
vehement refusal to sign, she was informed by Luna that it was her last day of work. prove petitioner's claim of an employer-employee relationship, the following should be
established by competent evidence: "(1) the selection and engagement of the employee;
Respondents, however, denied responsibility over petitioner's alleged dismissal. (2) the payment of wages; (3) the power of dismissal; and (4) the power of control over the
They averred that petitioner has resigned from Mexicali and hence, was no longer employee's conduct." "Although no particular form of evidence is required to prove the
Mexicali's employee at the time of her dismissal but rather an employee of Calexico, a existence of the relationship, and any competent and relevant evidence to prove the
franchisee of Mexicali located in Alabang Town Center which is a separate and distinct relationship may be admitted, a finding mat the relationship exists must nonetheless rest
corporation. on substantial evidence, which is that amount of relevant evidence that a reasonable mind
might accept as adequate to justify a conclusion."
LA – Petitioner was illegally dismissed. By piercing the veil of corporate fiction, the Labor G.R. No. 182770, September 17, 2014
Arbiter ruled that Mexicali and Calexico are one and the same with interlocking board of WPM Int’l Trading Inc. & Warlito Manlapaz vs. Fe Corazon Labayen
directors. Corporate Juridical Personality
NLRC - Sustained respondents' contention that Mexicali and Calexico are separate and
distinct entities, Calexico being the true employer of petitioner at the time of her dismissal. Facts: The respondent, Fe Corazon Labayen, is the owner of H.B.O. Systems Consultants,
Petitioner voluntarily resigned from Mexicali to transfer to Calexico in consideration of a a management and consultant firm. The petitioner, WPM International Trading, Inc. (WPM),
higher pay and upon doing so severed her employment ties with Mexicali. is a domestic corporation engaged in the restaurant business, while Warlito P. Manlapaz
CA – affirmed the NLRC Decision. (Manlapaz) is its president.

Issue: Whether or not piercing of the viel of corporate fiction was properly applied upon the WPM entered into a management agreement with the respondent, by virtue of
alleged one and the same corporations, Mexicali and Calexico. which the respondent was authorized to operate, manage and rehabilitate Quickbite, a
restaurant owned and operated by WPM. As part of her tasks, the respondent looked for a
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contractor who would renovate the two existing Quickbite outlets in Divisoria, Manila and its behalf and, in general, from the people comprising it. Following this principle, the
Lepanto St., University Belt, Manila. Pursuant to the agreement, the respondent engaged obligations incurred by the corporate officers, or other persons acting as corporate agents,
the services of CLN Engineering Services (CLN) to renovate Quickbite-Divisoria at the cost of are the direct accountabilities of the corporation they represent, and not theirs. Thus, a
P432,876.02. director, officer or employee of a corporation is generally not held personally liable for
obligations incurred by the corporation; it is only in exceptional circumstances that solidary
Quickbite-Divisoria's renovation was finally completed, and its possession was liability will attach to them.
delivered to the respondent. However, out of the P432,876.02 renovation cost, only the
amount of P320,000.00 was paid to CLN, leaving a balance of P112,876.02. The doctrine of piercing the corporate veil applies only in three (3) basic
A complaint for collection of sum of money and for damages were filed against instances, namely: a) when the separate and distinct corporate personality defeats public
WPM and Manlapaz. convenience, as when the corporate fiction is used as a vehicle for the evasion of an
existing obligation; b) in fraud cases, or when the corporate entity is used to justify a wrong,
In his defense, Manlapaz claims that it was his fellow incorporator/director Edgar protect a fraud, or defend a crime; or c) is used in alter ego cases, i.e., where a corporation
Alcansaje who was in-charge with the daily operations of the Quickbite outlets; that when is essentially a farce, since it is a mere alter ego or business conduit of a person, or where
Alcansaje left WPM, the remaining directors were compelled to hire the respondent as the corporation is so organized and controlled and its affairs so conducted as to make it
manager; that the respondent had entered into the renovation agreement with CLN in her merely an instrumentality, agency, conduit or adjunct of another corporation.
own personal capacity; that when he found the amount quoted by CLN too high, he
instructed the respondent to either renegotiate for a lower price or to look for another In the present case, the attendant circumstances do not establish that WPM is a
contractor; that since the respondent had exceeded her authority as agent of WPM, the mere alter ego of Manlapaz. Aside from the fact that Manlapaz was the principal
renovation agreement should only bind her; and that since WPM has a separate and stockholder of WPM, records do not show that WPM was organized and controlled, and its
distinct personality, Manlapaz cannot be made liable for the respondent's claim. affairs conducted in a manner that made it merely an instrumentality, agency, conduit or
adjunct of Manlapaz. That Manlapaz concurrently held the positions of president, chairman
RTC – Respondent is entitled to indemnity from Manlapaz. and treasurer, or that the Manlapaz's residence is the registered principal office of WPM,
CA - WPM and Manlapaz are one and the same being that: (1) Manlapaz is the principal are insufficient considerations to prove that he had exercised absolute control over WPM.
stockholder of WPM; (2) Manlapaz had complete control over WPM because he
concurrently held the positions of president, chairman of the board and treasurer, in The control necessary to invoke the instrumentality or alter ego rule is not majority
violation of the Corporation Code; (3) two of the four other stockholders of WPM are or even complete stock control but such domination of finances, policies and practices that
employed by Manlapaz either directly or indirectly; (4) Manlapaz's residence is the the controlled corporation has, so to speak, no separate mind, will or existence of its own,
registered principal office of WPM; and (5) the acronym "WPM" was derived from and is but a conduit for its principal.
Manlapaz's initials. The CA applied the principle of piercing the veil of corporate fiction and
agreed with the RTC that Manlapaz cannot evade his liability by simply invoking WPM's The respondent failed to prove that Manlapaz, acting as president, had absolute
separate and distinct personality. control over WPM. Even in view of his position as president, chairman and treasurer of the
corporation, such control does not necessarily warrant piercing the veil of corporate fiction
Issue: 1) Whether WPM is a mere instrumentality, alter-ego, and business conduit of since there was not a single proof that WPM was formed to defraud CLN or the respondent,
Manlapaz; (2) Whether Manlapaz is jointly and severally liable with WPM to the respondent or that Manlapaz was guilty of bad faith or fraud.
for reimbursement, damages and interest.
2) No. Only WPM is liable.
Held: 1) No. Rationale: This Court also observed that the CA failed to demonstrate how the separate and
Rationale: The application of the principle of piercing the veil of corporate fiction is distinct personality of WPM was used by Manlapaz to defeat the respondent's right for
unwarranted in the present case. reimbursement. Neither was there any showing that WPM attempted to avoid liability or
had no property against which to proceed.
Application of the Principle of Piercing the Veil of Corporate Fiction: The rule is settled Since no harm could be said to have been proximately caused by Manlapaz for
that a corporation has a personality separate and distinct from the persons acting for and in which the latter could be held solidarily liable with WPM, and considering that there was no
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proof that WPM had insufficient funds, there was no sufficient justification for the RTC and
the CA to have ruled that Manlapaz should be held jointly and severally liable to the
respondent for the amount she paid to CLN. Hence, only WPM is liable to indemnify the
respondent.

Good to know: As held in Martinez v. Court of Appeals, the mere ownership by a single
stockholder of even all or nearly all of the capital stocks of a corporation is not by itself a
sufficient ground to disregard the separate corporate personality. To disregard the separate
juridical personality of a corporation, the wrongdoing must be clearly and convincingly
established.

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