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MOBILIA PRODUCTS, INC. v.

UMEZAWA  Jan 29, 1999: RTC dismissed the cases for lack of jurisdiction
(GR 149357 & 149403; March 4, 2005) o dispute over the ownership of the properties subject of the charges is intra-corporate in
PETITIONER: Mobilia Products, Inc. [Intervenor; GR 149357], People of the Philippines [GR 149403] nature, and was within the exclusive jurisdiction of the SEC
RESPONDENT: Hajime Umezawa o Umezawa, as a member of the board and president of MPI, was also a stockholder thereof
PONENTE: Callejo, Sr., J. o Umezawa claimed to be the bona fide owner of the properties which he appropriated for
FACTS: himself, the private complainant disputes the same; hence, the conflicting claims of the
 MPI manufactures and exports furniture parties should be resolved by the SEC
 MP Jap (MPI’s mother corp) sent Umezawa to the Philippines to head MPI as Pres & Gen Manager  MPI moved to reconsider
o To qualify him, he was entrusted with one nominal share of stock o conflict was not intra-corporate and is thus within its jurisdiction
 Jan 1995: Umezawa, his wife, and his sister organized another company (Astem Phils. Corp = APC) o cited Sec 5 of PD 902-A (rules on cases within the SEC’s original and exclusive jurisdiction)
o He was still Pres, GM, & Board Director of MPI o public prosecutor did not affix his conformity to the motion, and instead opted to appear
o He did not notify the Chairman and CEO Susumo Kodaira or the other board members before the trial court during the hearing of the same
o APC was in the same line of business o During the hearing, the private prosecutor argued that the trial of the case must be done in
 Pending formal organization, the APC group wanted to accelerate its market potentials by the presence of and under the control and supervision of the public prosecutor
participating in the International Furniture Fair 1995 in Singapore  RTC denied the motion
o This required that the furniture exhibits must arrive and be received at Singapore not later o SEC has jurisdiction over intra-corporate controversies
than February 23, 1995 o motion was pro forma, since the public prosecutor had not approved the same
o Pressed for time, Umezawa and co. stole prototype furniture from MPI for it to be  OSG filed a petition for certiorari & mandamus with the CA (which allowed MPI to intervene), alleging:
presented as belonging to APC in the fair o controversy involving the criminal cases was not between Umezawa and the other
o to avoid detection, Umezawa contacted Chua (Dew Foam owner and supplier of MPI) to stockholders of MPI, but one between him as the accused and the People
load and store several prototypes into Dew Foam trucks and warehouse o Under Sec 20(b), BP 129, the RTC has exclusive jurisdiction over the cases against Umezawa
 Feb 8, 1995: First batch of furniture was stolen (sofa models worth P500K) o RTC committed grave abuse of its discretion in dismissing the cases
 Feb 18, 1995: expensive furniture stolen from MPI factory (worth P2.96M). Umezawa personally  CA initially granted the petition and nullified the RTC’s orders, but later on, upon Umezawa’s motion,
supervised the loading, the carting and spiriting away of the said furniture. reversed itself and reinstated the RTC’s decision. Hence these petitions from MPI and the People.
 Feb 19, 1995: 3 seater sofa stolen (worth P225K)
 Mar 1995: Based on orders made, Umezawa caused the manufacture of 89 pieces of furniture using ISSUES:
MPI resources (P17.1M), to the benefit of APC 1. [CRIM PRO ISSUE] WON the petition for certiorari of the People of the Philippines in the CA assailing
o But before they could be taken away from MPI, the previous theft was discovered the Jan 29, 1999 Joint Order of the trial court was time-barred
 MPI Board of Directors resolved to file a complaint against Umezawa for 2 counts of qualified theft o CA: the People filed its petition for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus assailing the
o Public prosecutor filed an information for qual. theft against Umezawa (P3.2M damages) RTC’s Jan 29, 1999 Joint Order only on Apr 26, 1999 – beyond the 60-day period.
o RTC issued a writ of preliminary attachment covering Umezawa’s properties Private prosecutor’s filing of the MR without the conformity of the Public Prosecutor did
o Umezawa filed an omnibus motion to quash the information, for the discharge of the writ not toll the period for the People to file its MR, to appeal, or to file a petition for certiorari.
of attachment, and to set the case for preliminary investigation o People: MR filed by the private prosecutor, through the public prosecutor’s presence and
 Jul 21, 1995: Meanwhile, MPI filed another criminal complaint for qualified theft against Umezawa supervision during the hearing of the said motion, was effectively adopted and conformed
and co. for the March 1995 act to by the public prosecutor
 Though the RTC dismissed the omnibus motion, it eventually ordered the reinvestigation of the case 2. [JURISDICTIONAL ISSUE] WON the RTC has jurisdiction over the crimes charged in the Informations
upon Umezawa and the Public Prosecutor’s joint motion 3. WON the Informations sufficiently charge the felonies of qualified theft and estafa
 Sept 25, 1995: Umezawa filed a petition with the SEC for the nullification of the MPI board resolution
 Jan 3, 1996: Public prosecutor found probable cause for the qualified theft and estafa against HELD: Both petitions GRANTED. CA resolution REVERSED and SET ASIDE.
Umezawa, dismissing the case against the other accused and later filed an information against him 1. [CRIM PRO ISSUE] The People’s argument is incorrect. Petition for certiorari filed by the People with
 Apr 25, 1996: Umezawa filed a motion for the suspension of the proceedings on the ground of the the CA on Apr 26, 1999 was filed beyond the 60-day period provided in Sec 4, Rule 65 of the Rules.
pendency of his petition with the SEC (denied by the RTC) NEVERTHELESS, CA erred in dismissing the petition of the People simply because the public prosecutor
erred in not himself filing an MR.
 Umezawa eventually pleaded not guilty and then later on filed another motion to quash the
information, positing that the facts alleged did not constitute qualified theft  intervention of the private offended party, through counsel, and his prosecution of the case shall
o appropriate charge should be estafa and not qualified theft be under the control and supervision of the public prosecutor until its final termination
o no allegation in the Informations as to who was the owner, so there was no offended party o public prosecutor is duty-bound to take charge thereof until its final termination
o MPI board resolution was approved by a mere minority of its members o public prosecutor assumes full responsibility for his failure or success
 Umezawa also filed a Motion to Quash the information re: the charge of estafa  prime purpose of the criminal action is to punish the offender in order to deter him and others
o Information did allege that any demand was made for him to return the goods. from committing the same or similar offense, to isolate him from society, reform and
o owner of the said articles was not specified rehabilitate him or, in general, to maintain social order
o no lawful private complainant  sole purpose of the civil action is the resolution, reparation or indemnification of the private
o MPI board resolution was not approved by the majority of the members offended party for the damage or injury he sustained by reason of the delictual or felonious act
o charge for estafa with abuse of confidence was already included in the charge for qualified of the accused
theft (alleged that he committed theft with abuse of confidence); double jeopardy

has asserted his right to intervene in the o The bare fact that the Umezawa was the president and GM of MPI when the crimes proceedings. members or associates and directors of the conform to the said motion. or the right to reconsideration or appeal on the criminal aspect of the case share in its proceeds when distributed according to law and equity. praying for the reinstatement of the cases  Sec. take over the actual conduct of the trial  The property of the corporation is not the property of the stockholders o it is necessary that the public prosecutor be present at the trial until the final or members or of its officers who are stockholders termination of the case. through counsel. 6. The public prosecutor did not approve nor detrimental to the interest of stockholders. the fraudulent acts/schemes which the SEC shall  BUT the fact that the public prosecutor did not conform to the said motion. crime or violation charged in the complaint. o If the facts recited in the complaint and the punishment provided for by law are sufficient to show that the court in which the complaint is presented has jurisdiction. that court must assume jurisdiction  based on the material allegations of the Informations in the 3 cases. or corporate dispute cognizable only by the SEC. the court a quo had exclusive jurisdiction over the crimes charged . certiorari is unavailing where the appeal period has lapsed .  when the offended party. the latter did not do so. insofar as the criminal aspect of the cases is concerned. it cannot be gainsaid that the trial  Properties registered in the name of the corporation are owned by it as an is under his supervision and control entity separate and distinct from its members  In a criminal case in which the offended party is the State. at his itself deprive the court a quo of its exclusive jurisdiction over the crimes charged. only MPI filed an MR of the RTC’s Joint Order. the filing of a petition in the SEC for the nullification of the MPI Board Resolution was NOT prosecutor erred in not himself filing an MR a bar to his prosecution for estafa and qualified theft for his alleged fraudulent and delictual acts o the State is not estopped by the mistakes of its officers and employees  relationship of the party-litigants with each other or Umezawa’s position as a corporate officer o ordinarily. at any time. Nor does it ipso facto negate the  (d) when the questioned order amounts to an oppressive exercise of jurisdiction of the RTC over the subject cases judicial authority o not every conflict between a corporation and its stockholders involves corporate matters that only the SEC can resolve 2. are sufficient to bind Umezawa to the the Information or complaint charges of qualified theft and estafa o Once jurisdiction is vested in the court. is not dependent upon the conformity of the public prosecutor any liability for violation of any provision of The Revised Penal Code o filing of the joint MR effectively suspended the running of the period for MPI  the filing of the civil/intra-corporate case before the SEC does NOT preclude the simultaneous  HOWEVER. BUT they do NOT represent complainant or the offended party is limited to the civil liability arising therefrom property of the corporation o private complainant or offended party may not undertake a motion for  only typifies an aliquot part of the corporation’s property. if hypothetically admitted.but there are in MPI during the commission of the crime is merely incidental & holds no bearing on jurisdiction exceptions: o What is essential is that the fraudulent acts are likewise of a criminal nature and  (a) when public welfare and the advancement of public policy dictates. insofar as the civil aspect of the cases is o investigative and prosecutorial powers of the SEC are further without prejudice to concerned. hence cognizable by the regular courts  (b) when the broader interest of justice so requires. The filing in the SEC for the nullification of the MPI Board Resolution was NOT a bar to the criminal his prosecution 3. CA erred in dismissing the petition of the People simply because the public  Thus. it is error to consider his appearance merely as a matter of tolerance charged were allegedly committed and was then a stockholder thereof does NOT in o public prosecutor may turn over the actual prosecution of the criminal case. but its o private complainant may file a motion for reconsideration of such dismissal or holder is NOT the owner of any part of the capital of the corporation acquittal or appeal therefrom but only insofar as the civil aspect thereof is concerned  he is NOT entitled to the possession of any definite portion of its property (no need to secure public prosecutor’s conformity)  stockholder is NOT a co-owner or tenant in common of the property  Here. it is retained up to the end of the litigation  the action is now between the People of the Philippines and herein private respondent o jurisdiction of the court is NOT determined by what may be meted out to the o legality of the constitution of the board which authorized the filing of the complaint offender after trial or even by the result of the evidence that would be presented at does not materially affect either the informations filed or the criminal proceedings the trial. but by the extent of the penalty which the law imposes for the misdemeanor. since the public prosecutor did NOT file any MR of the joint order nor conform to the and concomitant filing of a criminal action before the regular courts motion of MPI. stole and Information and not by the findings based on the evidence of the court after trial misappropriated the properties of his employer  Jurisdiction is conferred only by the Constitution or by the law in force at the time of the filing of  allegations in the informations. the Informations state all the essential elements of estafa and qualified theft  jurisdiction of the court in criminal cases is determined by the allegations of the complaint or  It was adequately alleged that Umezawa. if he is absent. the period for the State o fraudulent act may give rise to liability for violation of the SEC rules & regulations to assail the said joint order was NOT suspended o as well as criminal liability for violation of the RPC cognizable by the regular courts  NEVERTHELESS. however. the interest of the private o SHARES OF STOCK constitute personal property. [JURISDICTIONAL ISSUE] RTC has exclusive jurisdiction over the crimes charged. 5 of PD 902-A mandates that cases involving fraudulent actions and devices which are insofar as the civil aspect thereof is concerned. discretion. o dispute involving the corporation and its stockholders is not necessarily an intra-  (c) when the writs issued are null and void. he merely appeared during the hearing o Taken in conjunction with Sec. does not exclusively investigate and prosecute are those in violation of any law or rules and mean that the same is pro forma regulations administered and enforced by the Commission alone o propriety and efficacy of the motion. but he may. otherwise. being the President and GM of MPI. Although MPI provided ample space for the said conformity of the corporation are within the original and exclusive jurisdiction of the SEC public prosecutor.