G.R. No. 203775, August 05, 2014
ASSOCIATION OF FLOOD VICTIMS AND JAIME AGUILAR HERNANDEZ, Petitioners, v. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, ALAY BUHAY COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT FOUNDATION, INC., AND WESLIE TING GATCHALIAN,, Respondents.
R E S O L U T I O N
CARPIO, ACTING C.J.:
1. TO GRANT the September 14, 2012 Urgent Motion for Proclamation of Alay Buhay Community Development Foundation, Inc. (Alay Buhay) Party-List;chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
2. TO DENY the September 20, 2012 Very Very Urgent Ex-Parte Motion of Coalition of Associations of Senior Citizens of the Philippines, Inc. (Senior Citizens) Party-List;chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
3. TO NOTE the September 24, 2012 Opposition to Senior Citizens Party-List’s “Very Very Urgent Ex-Parte Motion” of Alay Buhay Community Development Foundation, Inc. (Alay Buhay) Party-List;chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
4. TO CONFIRM the herein RE-COMPUTATION OF THE ALLOCATION OF SEATS of the Party-List System of Representation in the House of Representatives in the May 10, 2010 Automated National and Local Elections;chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
5. TO PROCLAIM Alay Buhay Community Development Foundation, Inc. (Alay Buhay) Party-List as a winning party-list group in the Party-List System of Representation in the House of Representatives in the May 10, 2010 Automated National and Local Elections; andChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
6. TO DECLARE the First (1st) NOMINEE of Alay Buhay Community Development Foundation, Inc. (Alay Buhay) Party-List, as the FIRST (1st) SITTING REPRESENTATIVE in the Party-List System of Representation in the House of Representatives in accordance with the Order of Nominees per the List appearing in its March 17, 2010 Certificate of Nomination.2
SECTION 1. Who may be parties; plaintiff and defendant. – Only natural or juridical persons, or entities authorized by law may be parties in a civil action. The term “plaintiff” may refer to the claiming party, the counter-claimant, the cross-claimant, or the third (fourth, etc.) -party plaintiff. The term “defendant” may refer to the original defending party, the defendant in a counterclaim, the cross-defendant, or the third (fourth, etc.) -party defendant.
SECTION 2. Parties in interest. – A real party in interest is the party who stands to be benefited or injured by the judgment in the suit, or the party entitled to the avails of the suit. Unless otherwise authorized by law or these Rules, every action must be prosecuted or defended in the name of the real party in interest.
Art. 44. The following are juridical persons:
(1) The State and its political subdivisions;
(2) Other corporations, institutions and entities for public interest or purpose, created by law; their personality begins as soon as they have been constituted according to law;
(3) Corporations, partnerships and associations for private interest or purpose to which the law grants a juridical personality, separate and distinct from that of each shareholder, partner or member. (Emphasis supplied)
There is merit in petitioner's contention. Under Section 1, Rule 3 of the Revised Rules of Court, only natural or juridical persons or entities authorized by law may be parties in a civil action. Article 44 of the Civil Code enumerates the various classes of juridical persons. Under said Article, an association is considered a juridical person if the law grants it a personality separate and distinct from that of its members. The records of the present case are bare of any showing by SSHA that it is an association duly organized under Philippine law. It was thus error for the HLURB-NCR Office to give due course to the complaint in HLURB Case No. REM-070297-9821, given SSHA's lack of capacity to sue in its own name. Nor was it proper for said agency to treat the complaint as a suit by all the parties who signed and verified the complaint. The members cannot represent their association in any suit without valid and legal authority. Neither can their signatures confer on the association any legal capacity to sue. Nor will the fact that SSHA belongs to the Federation of Valenzuela Homeowners Association, Inc., suffice to endow SSHA with the personality and capacity to sue. Mere allegations of membership in a federation are insufficient and inconsequential. The federation itself has a separate juridical personality and was not impleaded as a party in HLURB Case No. REM-070297-9821 nor in this case. Neither was it shown that the federation was authorized to represent SSHA. Facts showing the capacity of a party to sue or be sued or the authority of a party to sue or be sued in a representative capacity or the legal existence of an organized association of persons that is made a party, must be averred. Hence, for failing to show that it is a juridical entity, endowed by law with capacity to bring suits in its own name, SSHA is devoid of any legal capacity, whatsoever, to institute any action.9
x x x a personal and substantial interest in the case such that the party has sustained or will sustain a direct injury as a result of the governmental act that is being challenged. The term “interest” means a material interest, an interest in issue affected by the decree, as distinguished from mere interest in the question involved, or a mere incidental interest. The gist of the question of standing is whether a party alleges such personal stake in the outcome of the controversy as to assure that concrete adverseness which sharpens the presentation of issues upon which the court depends for illumination of difficult constitutional questions.12
** Acting Chief Justice per Special Order No. 1743 dated 4 August 2014.
1 604 Phil. 131 (2009) (Decision) and 609 Phil. 751 (2009) (Resolution).
2 Rollo, pp. 71-72.
3 Id. at 12. (Emphasis supplied).
4 In the case of Anti-Chinese League v. Felix [77 Phil. 1012 (1947)], the Court held that petitioner, which is a civic organization or association representing a group of Filipino citizens, but does not constitute a juridical person or entity, cannot be a party in the naturalization proceeding nor institute the action for mandamus since only natural or juridical persons may be parties in either civil actions or special proceedings.
5 Although an entity without juridical personality cannot sue under the name by which it is commonly known, such entity may be sued under certain circumstances. This is allowed under Section 15, Rule 3 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure which provides that:SECTION 15. Entity without juridical personality as defendant. – When two or more persons not organized as an entity with juridical personality enter into a transaction, they may be sued under the name by which they are generally or commonly known.In the answer of such defendant, the names and addresses of the persons composing said entity must be revealed.
6 1 J. FERIA & M.C. NOCHE, CIVIL PROCEDURE ANNOTATED 222 (2001).
7Rollo, p. 44.
8 G.R. No. 149417, 4 June 2001, 431 SCRA 76.
9 Id. at 86-87.
10 Francisco, Jr. v. Hon. Fernando, 537 Phil. 391 (2006).
11Land Bank of the Philippines v. Cacayuran, G.R. No. 191667, 17 April 2013, 696 SCRA 861.
12Integrated Bar of the Phils. v. Hon. Zamora, 392 Phil. 618, 632-633 (2000).