The Securities and Exchange Commission is the government agency, under the direct general supervision of the Office of the President, 1 with the immense task of enforcing the Revised Securities Act, and all other duties assigned to it by pertinent laws. Among its innumerable functions, and one of the most important, is the supervision of all corporations, partnerships or associations, who are grantees of primary franchise and/or a license or permit issued by the government to operate in the Philippines. 2 Just how far this regulatory authority extends, particularly, with regard to the Petitioner Philippine Stock Exchange, Inc. is the issue in the case at bar.
In this Petition for Review on Certiorari
, petitioner assails the resolution of the respondent Court of Appeals, dated June 27, 1996, which affirmed the decision of the Securities and Exchange Commission ordering the petitioner Philippine Stock Exchange, Inc. to allow the private respondent Puerto Azul Land, Inc. to be listed in its stock market, thus paving the way for the public offering of PALI’s shares.
The facts of the case are undisputed, and are hereby restated in sum.
The Puerto Azul Land, Inc. (PALI), a domestic real estate corporation, had sought to offer its shares to the public in order to raise funds allegedly to develop its properties and pay its loans with several banking institutions. In January, 1995, PALI was issued a Permit to Sell its shares to the public by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). To facilitate the trading of its shares among investors, PALI sought to course the trading of its shares through the Philippine Stock Exchange, Inc. (PSE), for which purpose it filed with the said stock exchange an application to list its shares, with supporting documents attached.
On February 8, 1996, the Listing Committee of the PSE, upon a perusal of PALI’s application, recommended to the PSE’s Board of Governors the approval of PALI’s listing application.
On February 14, 1996, before it could act upon PALI’s application, the Board of Governors of the PSE received a letter from the heirs of Ferdinand E. Marcos, claiming that the late President Marcos was the legal and beneficial owner of certain properties forming part of the Puerto Azul Beach Hotel and Resort Complex which PALI claims to be among its assets and that the Ternate Development Corporation, which is among the stockholders of PALI, likewise appears to have been held and continue to be held in trust by one Rebecco Panlilio for then President Marcos and now, effectively for his estate, and requested PALI’s application to be deferred. PALI was requested to comment upon the said letter.
PALI’s answer stated that the properties forming part of the Puerto Azul Beach Hotel and Resort Complex were not claimed by PALI as its assets. On the contrary, the resort is actually owned by Fantasia Filipina Resort, Inc. and the Puerto Azul Country Club, entities distinct from PALI. Furthermore, the Ternate Development Corporation owns only 1.20% of PALI. The Marcoses responded that their claim is not confined to the facilities forming part of the Puerto Azul Hotel and Resort Complex, thereby implying that they are also asserting legal and beneficial ownership of other properties titled under the name of PALI.chanroblesvirtual|awlibrary
On February 20, 1996, the PSE wrote Chairman Magtanggol Gunigundo of the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) requesting for comments on the letters of the PALI and the Marcoses. On March 4, 1996, the PSE was informed that the Marcoses received a Temporary Restraining Order on the same date, enjoining the Marcoses from, among others, "further impeding, obstructing, delaying or interfering in any manner by or any means with the consideration, processing and approval by the PSE of the initial public offering of PALI." The TRO was issued by Judge Martin S. Villarama, Executive Judge of the RTC of Pasig City in Civil Case No. 65561, pending in Branch 69 thereof.
In its regular meeting held on March 27, 1996, the Board of Governors of the PSE reached its decision to reject PALI’s application, citing the existence of serious claims, issues and circumstances surrounding PALI’s ownership over its assets that adversely affect the suitability of listing PALI’s shares in the stock exchange.
On April 11, 1996, PALI wrote a letter to the SEC addressed to the then Acting Chairman, Perfecto R. Yasay, Jr., bringing to the SEC’s attention the action taken by the PSE in the application of PALI for the listing of its shares with the PSE, and requesting that the SEC in the exercise of its supervisory and regulatory powers over stock exchanges under Section 6(j) of P.D. No. 902-A, review the PSE’s action on PALI’s listing application and institute such measures as are just and proper under the circumstances.
On the same date, or on April 11, 1996, the SEC wrote to the PSE, attaching thereto the letter of PALI and directing the PSE to file its comments thereto within five days from its receipt and for its authorized representative to appear for an "inquiry" on the matter. On April 22, 1996, the PSE submitted a letter to the SEC containing its comments to the April 11, 1996 letter of PALI.
On April 24, 1996, the SEC rendered its Order, reversing the PSE’s decision. The dispositive portion of the said order reads:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"WHEREFORE, premises considered, and invoking the Commissioner’s authority and jurisdiction under Section 3 of the Revised Securities Act, in conjunction with Section 3, 6(j) and 6(m) of Presidential Decree No. 902-A, the decision of the Board of Governors of the Philippine Stock Exchange denying the listing of shares of Puerto Azul Land, Inc., is hereby set aside, and the PSE is hereby ordered to immediately cause the listing of the PALI shares in the Exchange, without prejudice to its authority to require PALI to disclose such other material information it deems necessary for the protection of the investing public.
This Order shall take effect immediately.
SO ORDERED."cralaw virtua1aw library
PSE filed a motion for reconsideration of the said order on April 29, 1996, which was, however denied by the Commission in its May 9, 1996 Order which states:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Commission finds no compelling reason to reconsider its order dated April 24, 1996, and in the light of recent developments on the adverse claim against the PALI properties, PSE should require PALI to submit full disclosure of material facts and information to protect the investing public. In this regard, PALI is hereby ordered to amend its registration statements filed with the Commission to incorporate the full disclosure of these material facts and information."cralaw virtua1aw library
Dissatisfied with this ruling, the PSE filed with the Court of Appeals on May 17, 1996 a Petition for Review (with Application for Writ of Preliminary Injunction and Temporary Restraining Order), assailing the above mentioned orders of the SEC, submitting the following as errors of the SEC:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
I. SEC COMMITTED SERIOUS ERROR AND GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION IN ISSUING THE ASSAILED ORDERS WITHOUT POWER, JURISDICTION, OR AUTHORITY; SEC HAS NO POWER TO ORDER THE LISTING AND SALE OF SHARES OF PALI WHOSE ASSETS ARE SEQUESTERED AND TO REVIEW AND SUBSTITUTE DECISIONS OF PSE ON LISTING APPLICATIONS;
II. SEC COMMITTED SERIOUS ERROR AND GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION IN FINDING THAT PSE ACTED IN AN ARBITRARY AND ABUSIVE MANNER IN DISAPPROVING PALI’S LISTING APPLICATION;
III. THE ASSAILED ORDERS OF SEC ARE ILLEGAL AND VOID FOR ALLOWING FURTHER DISPOSITION OF PROPERTIES IN CUSTODIA LEGIS AND WHICH FORM PART OF NAVAL/MILITARY RESERVATION; AND
IV. THE FULL DISCLOSURE OF THE SEC WAS NOT PROPERLY PROMULGATED AND ITS IMPLEMENTATION AND APPLICATION IN THIS CASE VIOLATES THE DUE PROCESS CLAUSE OF THE CONSTITUTION.
On June 4, 1996, PALI filed its Comment to the Petition for Review and subsequently, a Comment and Motion to Dismiss. On June 10, 1996, PSE filed its Reply to Comment and Opposition to Motion to Dismiss.chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary:red
On June 27, 1996, the Court of Appeals promulgated its Resolution dismissing the PSE’s Petition for Review. Hence, this Petition by the PSE.
The appellate court had ruled that the SEC had both jurisdiction and authority to look into the decision of the petitioner PSE, pursuant to Section 3 3 of the Revised Securities Act in relation to Section 6(j) and 6(m) 4 of P.D. No. 902-A, and Section 38(b) 5 of the Revised Securities Act, and for the purpose of ensuring fair administration of the exchange. Both as a corporation and as a stock exchange, the petitioner is subject to public respondent’s jurisdiction, regulation and control. Accepting the argument that the public respondent has the authority merely to supervise or regulate, would amount to serious consequences, considering that the petitioner is a stock exchange whose business is impressed with public interest. Abuse is not remote if the public respondent is left without any system of control. If the securities act vested the public respondent with jurisdiction and control over all corporations; the power to authorize the establishment of stock exchanges; the right to supervise and regulate the same; and the power to alter and supplement rules of the exchange in the listing or delisting of securities, then the law certainly granted to the public respondent the plenary authority over the petitioner; and the power of review necessarily comes within its authority.
All in all, the court held that PALI complied with all the requirements for public listing, affirming the SEC’s ruling to the effect that:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
". . . the Philippine Stock Exchange has acted in an arbitrary and abusive manner in disapproving the application of PALI for listing of its shares in the face of the following considerations:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
1. PALI has clearly and admittedly complied with the Listing Rules and full disclosure requirements of the Exchange;
2. In applying its clear and reasonable standards on the suitability for listing of shares, PSE has failed to justify why it acted differently on the application of PALI, as compared to the IPOs of other companies similarly situated that were allowed listing in the Exchange;
3. It appears that the claims and issues on the title to PALI’s properties were even less serious than the claims against the assets of the other companies in that, the assertions of the Marcoses that they are owners of the disputed properties were not substantiated enough to overcome the strength of a title to properties issued under the Torrens System as evidence of ownership thereof;
4. No action has been filed in any court of competent jurisdiction seeking to nullify PALI’s ownership over the disputed properties, neither has the government instituted recovery proceedings against these properties. Yet the import of PSE’s decision in denying PALI’s application is that it would be PALI, not the Marcoses, that must go to court to prove the legality of its ownership on these properties before its shares can be listed."cralaw virtua1aw library
In addition, the argument that the PALI properties belong to the Military/Naval Reservation does not inspire belief. The point is, the PALI properties are now titled. A property loses its public character the moment it is covered by a title. As a matter of fact, the titles have long been settled by a final judgment; and the final decree having been registered, they can no longer be re-opened considering that the one year period has already passed. Lastly, the determination of what standard to apply in allowing PALI’s application for listing, whether the discretion method or the system of public disclosure adhered to by the SEC, should be addressed to the Securities Commission, it being the government agency that exercises both supervisory and regulatory authority over all corporations.
On August 15, 1996, the PSE, after it was granted an extension, filed the instant Petition for Review on Certiorari
, taking exception to the rulings of the SEC and the Court of Appeals. Respondent PALI filed its Comment to the petition on October 17, 1996. On the same date, the PCGG filed a Motion for Leave to file a Petition for Intervention. This was followed up by the PCGG’s Petition for Intervention on October 21, 1996. A supplemental Comment was filed by PALI on October 25, 1997. The Office of the Solicitor General, representing the SEC and the Court of Appeals, likewise filed its Comment on December 26, 1996. In answer to the PCGG’s motion for leave to file petition for intervention, PALI filed its Comment thereto on January 17, 1997, whereas the PSE filed its own Comment on January 20, 1997.
On February 25, 1996, the PSE filed its Consolidated Reply to the comments of respondent PALI (October 17, 1996) and the Solicitor General (December 26, 1996). On May 16, 1997, PALI filed its Rejoinder to the said consolidated reply of PSE.
PSE submits that the Court of Appeals erred in ruling that the SEC had authority to order the PSE to list the shares of PALI in the stock exchange. Under Presidential Decree No. 902-A, the powers of the SEC over stock exchanges are more limited as compared to its authority over ordinary corporations. In connection with this, the powers of the SEC over stock exchanges under the Revised Securities Act are specifically enumerated, and these do not include the power to reverse the decisions of the stock exchange. Authorities are in abundance even in the United States, from which the country’s security policies are patterned, to the effect of giving the Securities Commission less control over stock exchanges, which in turn are given more leeway in making the decision whether or not to allow corporations to offer their stock to the public through the stock exchange. This is in accord with the "business judgment rule" whereby the SEC and the courts are barred from intruding into business judgments of corporations, when the same are made in good faith. The said rule precludes the reversal of the decision of the PSE to deny PALI’s listing application, absent a showing of bad faith on the part of the PSE. Under the listing rules of the PSE, to which PALI had previously agreed to comply, the PSE retains the discretion to accept or reject applications for listing. Thus, even if an issuer has complied with the PSE listing rules and requirements, PSE retains the discretion to accept or reject the issuer’s listing application if the PSE determines that the listing shall not serve the interests of the investing public.
Moreover, PSE argues that the SEC has no jurisdiction over sequestered corporations, nor with corporations whose properties are under sequestration. A reading of Republic of the Philippines v. Sandiganbayan, G.R. No. 105205, 240 SCRA 376, would reveal that the properties of PALI, which were derived from the Ternate Development Corporation (TDC) and the Monte del Sol Development Corporation (MSDC), are under sequestration by the PCGG, and subject of forfeiture proceedings in the Sandiganbayan. This ruling of the Court is the "law of the case" between the Republic and TDC and MSDC. It categorically declares that the assets of these corporations were sequestered by the PCGG on March 10, 1986 and April 4, 1988.
It is, likewise, intimated that the Court of Appeals’ sanction that PALI’s ownership over its properties can no longer be questioned, since certificates of title have been issued to PALI and more than one year has since lapsed, is erroneous and ignores well settled jurisprudence on land titles. That a certificate of title issued under the Torrens System is a conclusive evidence of ownership is not an absolute rule and admits certain exceptions. It is fundamental that forest lands or military reservations are non-alienable. Thus, when a title covers a forest reserve or a government reservation, such title is void.
PSE, likewise, assails the SEC’s and the Court of Appeals’ reliance on the alleged policy of "full disclosure" to uphold the listing of PALI’s shares with the PSE, in the absence of a clear mandate for the effectivity of such policy. As it is, the case records reveal the truth that PALI did not comply with the listing rules and disclosure requirements. In fact, PALI’s documents supporting its application contained misrepresentations and misleading statements, and concealed material information. The matter of sequestration of PALI’s properties and the fact that the same form part of military/naval/forest reservations were not reflected in PALI’s application.
It is undeniable that the petitioner PSE is not an ordinary corporation, in that although it is clothed with the markings of a corporate entity, it functions as the primary channel through which the vessels of capital trade ply. The PSE’s relevance to the continued operation and filtration of the securities transactions in the country gives it a distinct color of importance such that government intervention in its affairs becomes justified, if not necessary. Indeed, as the only operational stock exchange in the country today, the PSE enjoys a monopoly of securities transactions, and as such, it yields an immense influence upon the country’s economy.
Due to this special nature of stock exchanges, the country’s lawmakers have seen it wise to give special treatment to the administration and regulation of stock exchanges. 6
These provisions, read together with the general grant of jurisdiction, and right of supervision and control over all corporations under Sec. 3 of P.D. 902-A, give the SEC the special mandate to be vigilant in the supervision of the affairs of stock exchanges so that the interests of the investing public may be fully safeguarded.
Section 3 of Presidential Decree 902-A, standing alone, is enough authority to uphold the SEC’s challenged control authority over the petitioner PSE even as it provides that "the Commission shall have absolute jurisdiction, supervision, and control over all corporations, partnerships or associations, who are the grantees of primary franchises and/or a license or permit issued by the government to operate in the Philippines . . ." The SEC’s regulatory authority over private corporations encompasses a wide margin of areas, touching nearly all of a corporation’s concerns. This authority springs from the fact that a corporation owes its existence to the concession of its corporate franchise from the state.
The SEC’s power to look into the subject ruling of the PSE, therefore, may be implied from or be considered as necessary or incidental to the carrying out of the SEC’s express power to insure fair dealing in securities traded upon a stock exchange or to ensure the fair administration of such exchange. 7 It is, likewise, observed that the principal function of the SEC is the supervision and control over corporations, partnerships and associations with the end in view that investment in these entities may be encouraged and protected, and their activities pursued for the promotion of economic development. 8
Thus, it was in the alleged exercise of this authority that the SEC reversed the decision of the PSE to deny the application for listing in the stock exchange of the private respondent PALI. The SEC’s action was affirmed by the Court of Appeals.
We affirm that the SEC is the entity with the primary say as to whether or not securities, including shares of stock of a corporation, may be traded or not in the stock exchange. This is in line with the SEC’s mission to ensure proper compliance with the laws, such as the Revised Securities Act and to regulate the sale and disposition of securities in the country. 9 As the appellate court explains:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"Paramount policy also supports the authority of the public respondent to review petitioner’s denial of the listing. Being a stock exchange, the petitioner performs a function that is vital to the national economy, as the business is affected with public interest. As a matter of fact, it has often been said that the economy moves on the basis of the rise and fall of stocks being traded. By its economic power, the petitioner certainly can dictate which and how many users are allowed to sell securities thru the facilities of a stock exchange, if allowed to interpret its own rules liberally as it may please. Petitioner can either allow or deny the entry to the market of securities. To repeat, the monopoly, unless accompanied by control, becomes subject to abuse; hence, considering public interest, then it should be subject to government regulation."cralaw virtua1aw library
The role of the SEC in our national economy cannot be minimized. The legislature, through the Revised Securities Act, Presidential Decree No. 902-A, and other pertinent laws, has entrusted to it the serious responsibility of enforcing all laws affecting corporations and other forms of associations not otherwise vested in some other government office. 10
This is not to say, however, that the PSE’s management prerogatives are under the absolute control of the SEC. The PSE is, after all, a corporation authorized by its corporate franchise to engage in its proposed and duly approved business. One of the PSE’s main concerns, as such, is still the generation of profit for its stockholders. Moreover, the PSE has all the rights pertaining to corporations, including the right to sue and be sued, to hold property in its own name, to enter (or not to enter) into contracts with third persons, and to perform all other legal acts within its allocated express or implied powers.
A corporation is but an association of individuals, allowed to transact under an assumed corporate name, and with a distinct legal personality. In organizing itself as a collective body, it waives no constitutional immunities and perquisites appropriate to such a body. 11 As to its corporate and management decisions, therefore, the state will generally not interfere with the same. Questions of policy and of management are left to the honest decision of the officers and directors of a corporation, and the courts are without authority to substitute their judgment for the judgment of the board of directors. The board is the business manager of the corporation, and so long as it acts in good faith, its orders are not reviewable by the courts. 12
Thus, notwithstanding the regulatory power of the SEC over the PSE, and the resultant authority to reverse the PSE’s decision in matters of application for listing in the market, the SEC may exercise such power only if the PSE’s judgment is attended by bad faith. In Board of Liquidators v. Kalaw, 13 it was held that bad faith does not simply connote bad judgment or negligence. It imports a dishonest purpose or some moral obliquity and conscious doing of wrong. It means a breach of a known duty through some motive or interest of ill will, partaking of the nature of fraud.chanrobles.com : virtual lawlibrary
In reaching its decision to deny the application for listing of PALI, the PSE considered important facts, which, in the general scheme, brings to serious question the qualification of PALI to sell its shares to the public through the stock exchange. During the time for receiving objections to the application, the PSE heard from the representative of the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos and his family who claim the properties of the private respondent to be part of the Marcos estate. In time, the PCGG confirmed this claim. In fact, an order of sequestration has been issued covering the properties of PALI, and suit for reconveyance to the state has been filed in the Sandiganbayan Court. How the properties were effectively transferred, despite the sequestration order, from the TDC and MSDC to Rebecco Panlilio, and to the private respondent PALI, in only a short span of time, are not yet explained to the Court, but it is clear that such circumstances give rise to serious doubt as to the integrity of PALI as a stock issuer. The petitioner was in the right when it refused application of PALI, for a contrary ruling was not to the best interest of the general public. The purpose of the Revised Securities Act, after all, is to give adequate and effective protection to the investing public against fraudulent representations, or false promises, and the imposition of worthless ventures. 14
It is to be observed that the U.S. Securities Act emphasized its avowed protection to acts detrimental to legitimate business, thus:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"The Securities Act, often referred to as the "truth in securities" Act, was designed not only to provide investors with adequate information upon which to base their decisions to buy and sell securities, but also to protect legitimate business seeking to obtain capital through honest presentation against competition from crooked promoters and to prevent fraud in the sale of securities. (Tenth Annual Report, U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission, p. 14).
As has been pointed out, the effects of such an act are chiefly (1) prevention of excesses and fraudulent transactions, merely by requirement of that their details be revealed; (2) placing the market during the early stages of the offering of a security a body of information, which operating indirectly through investment services and expert investors, will tend to produce a more accurate appraisal of a security. . . . Thus, the Commission may refuse to permit a registration statement to become effective if it appears on its face to be incomplete or inaccurate in any material respect, and empower the Commission to issue a stop order suspending the effectiveness of any registration statement which is found to include any untrue statement of a material fact or to omit to state any material fact required to be stated therein or necessary to make the statements therein not misleading. (Idem)."cralaw virtua1aw library
Also, as the primary market for securities, the PSE has established its name and goodwill, and it has the right to protect such goodwill by maintaining a reasonable standard of propriety in the entities who choose to transact through its facilities. It was reasonable for the PSE, therefore, to exercise its judgment in the manner it deems appropriate for its business identity, as long as no rights are trampled upon, and public welfare is safeguarded.
In this connection, it is proper to observe that the concept of government absolutism is a thing of the past, and should remain so.
The observation that the title of PALI over its properties is absolute and can no longer be assailed is of no moment. At this juncture, there is the claim that the properties were owned by TDC and MSDC and were transferred in violation of sequestration orders, to Rebecco Panlilio and later on to PALI, besides the claim of the Marcoses that such properties belong to the Marcos estate, and were held only in trust by Rebecco Panlilio. It is also alleged by the petitioner that these properties belong to naval and forest reserves, and therefore beyond private dominion. If any of these claims is established to be true, the certificates of title over the subject properties now held by PALI may be disregarded, as it is an established rule that a registration of a certificate of title does not confer ownership over the properties described therein to the person named as owner. The inscription in the registry, to be effective, must be made in good faith. The defense of indefeasibility of a Torrens Title does not extend to a transferee who takes the certificate of title with notice of a flaw.
In any case, for the purpose of determining whether PSE acted correctly in refusing the application of PALI, the true ownership of the properties of PALI need not be determined as an absolute fact. What is material is that the uncertainty of the properties’ ownership and alienability exists, and this puts to question the qualification of PALI’s public offering. In sum, the Court finds that the SEC had acted arbitrarily in arrogating unto itself the discretion of approving the application for listing in the PSE of the private respondent PALI, since this is a matter addressed to the sound discretion of the PSE, a corporate entity, whose business judgments are respected in the absence of bad faith.
The question as to what policy is, or should be relied upon in approving the registration and sale of securities in the SEC is not for the Court to determine, but is left to the sound discretion of the Securities and Exchange Commission. In mandating the SEC to administer the Revised Securities Act, and in performing its other functions under pertinent laws, the Revised Securities Act, under Section 3 thereof, gives the SEC the power to promulgate such rules and regulations as it may consider appropriate in the public interest for the enforcement of the said laws. The second paragraph of Section 4 of the said law, on the other hand, provides that no security, unless exempt by law, shall be issued, endorsed, sold, transferred or in any other manner conveyed to the public, unless registered in accordance with the rules and regulations that shall be promulgated in the public interest and for the protection of investors by the Commission. Presidential Decree No. 902-A, on the other hand, provides that the SEC, as regulatory agency, has supervision and control over all corporations and over the securities market as a whole, and as such, is given ample authority in determining appropriate policies. Pursuant to this regulatory authority, the SEC has manifested that it has adopted the policy of "full material disclosure" where all companies, listed or applying for listing, are required to divulge truthfully and accurately, all material information about themselves and the securities they sell, for the protection of the investing public, and under pain of administrative, criminal and civil sanctions. In connection with this, a fact is deemed material if it tends to induce or otherwise effect the sale or purchase of its securities. 15 While the employment of this policy is recognized and sanctioned by the laws, nonetheless, the Revised Securities Act sets substantial and procedural standards which a proposed issuer of securities must satisfy. 16 Pertinently, Section 9 of the Revised Securities Act sets forth the possible Grounds for the Rejection of the registration of a security:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
". . . The Commission may reject a registration statement and refuse to issue a permit to sell the securities included in such registration statement if it finds that —
(1) The registration statement is on its face incomplete or inaccurate in any material respect or includes any untrue statement of a material fact or omits to state a material fact required to be stated therein or necessary to make the statements therein not misleading; or
(2) The issuer or registrant —
(i) is not solvent or not in sound financial condition;
(ii) has violated or has not complied with the provisions of this Act, or the rules promulgated pursuant thereto, or any order of the Commission;
(iii) has failed to comply with any of the applicable requirements and conditions that the Commission may, in the public interest and for the protection of investors, impose before the security can be registered;
(iv) has been engaged or is engaged or is about to engage in fraudulent transactions;
(v) is in any way dishonest or is not of good repute; or
(vi) does not conduct its business in accordance with law or is engaged in a business that is illegal or contrary to government rules and regulations.
(3) The enterprise or the business of the issuer is not shown to be sound or to be based on sound business principles;
(4) An officer, member of the board of directors, or principal stockholder of the issuer is disqualified to be such officer, director or principal stockholder; or
(5) The issuer or registrant has not shown to the satisfaction of the Commission that the sale of its security would not work to the prejudice of the public interest or as a fraud upon the purchasers or investors." (Emphasis ours
A reading of the foregoing grounds reveals the intention of the lawmakers to make the registration and issuance of securities dependent, to a certain extent, on the merits of the securities themselves, and of the issuer, to be determined by the Securities and Exchange Commission. This measure was meant to protect the interests of the investing public against fraudulent and worthless securities, and the SEC is mandated by law to safeguard these interests, following the policies and rules therefore provided. The absolute reliance on the full disclosure method in the registration of securities is, therefore, untenable. As it is, the Court finds that the private respondent PALI, on at least two points (nos. 1 and 5) has failed to support the propriety of the issue of its shares with unfailing clarity, thereby lending support to the conclusion that the PSE acted correctly in refusing the listing of PALI in its stock exchange. This does not discount the effectivity of whatever method the SEC, in the exercise of its vested authority, chooses in setting the standard for public offerings of corporations wishing to do so. However, the SEC must recognize and implement the mandate of the law, particularly the Revised Securities Act, the provisions of which cannot be amended or supplanted by mere administrative issuance.
In resumé, the Court finds that the PSE has acted with justified circumspection, discounting, therefore, any imputation of arbitrariness and whimsical animation on its part. Its action in refusing to allow the listing of PALI in the stock exchange is justified by the law and by the circumstances attendant to this case.chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary:red
ACCORDINGLY, in view of the foregoing considerations, the Court hereby GRANTS the Petition for Review on Certiorari
. The Decisions of the Court of Appeals and the Securities and Exchange Commission dated July 27, 1996 and April 24, 1996, respectively, are hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE, and a new Judgment is hereby ENTERED, affirming the decision of the Philippine Stock Exchange to deny the application for listing of the private respondent Puerto Azul Land, Inc.
Regalado and Puno, JJ.
, concurs in the result.
1. Section 1, Presidential Decree No. 902-A.
2. Section 3, Ibid.
3. Sec. 3. Administrative Agency. — This Act shall be administered by the (Securities and Exchange) Commission which shall continue to have the organization, powers, and functions provided by Presidential Decree Numbered 902-A, 1653, 1758, and 1799 and Executive Order No. 708. The Commission shall, except as otherwise expressly provided, have the power to promulgate such rules and regulations as it may consider appropriate in the public interest for the enforcement of the provisions hereof.
4. Sec. 6. In order to effectively exercise such jurisdiction, the (Securities and Exchange) Commission shall possess the following powers:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
x x x
(j) To authorize the establishment and operation of stock exchanges, commodity exchanges and such other similar organizations and to supervise and regulate the same; including the authority to determine their number, size and location, in the light of national or regional requirements for such activities with the view to promote, conserve or rationalize investment;
x x x
(m) To exercise such other powers as may be provided by law as well as those which may be implied from, or which are necessary or incidental to the carrying out of, the express powers granted to the Commission or to achieve the objectives and purposes of this Decree.
5. Sec. 38. Powers with respect to exchanges and securities. — (a) . . .
(b) The Commission is further authorized, if after making appropriate request in writing to a securities exchange that such exchange effect on its own behalf specified changes in the rules and practices and, after appropriate notice and opportunity for hearing, it determines that such exchange has not made the changes so requested, and that such changes are necessary or appropriate for the protection of investors or to insure fair dealing in securities traded upon such exchange, by rules or regulations or by order, to alter or supplement the rules of such exchange (insofar as necessary or appropriate to effect such changes) in respect of such matters as —
(1) Safeguards in respect of the financial responsibility of members and adequate provision against the evasion of financial responsibility through the use of corporate forms or special partnerships;
(2) The limitation or prohibition of the registration or trading in any security within a specified period after the issuance or primary distribution thereof;
(3) The listing or striking from listing of any security;
(4) Hours of trading;
(5) The manner, method, and place of soliciting business;
(6) Fictitious accounts;
(7) The time and method of making settlements, payments, and deliveries, and of closing accounts;
(8) The reporting of transactions on the exchange upon tickets maintained by or with the consent of the exchange, including the method of reporting short sales, stopped sales, sales of securities of issuers in default, bankruptcy or receivership, and sales involving other special circumstances;
(9) The fixing of reasonable rates of commission, interests, listing, and other charges;
(10) Minimum units of trading;
(11) Odd-lot purchases and sales; and
(12) Minimum deposits on margin accounts.
6. See Sec. 6(j), PD 902-A; Sec. 8, Revised Securities Act.
7. Section 6(m), Presidential Decree No. 902-A.
8. Abad v. CFI of Pangasinan, Branch VIII, et. al., G.R. Nos. 58507-08, February 26, 1992, 206 SCRA 567.
9. Securities and Exchange Commission v. Court of Appeals, G.R. Nos. 106425 & 106431-32, July 21, 1995, 246 SCRA 738.
10. Pineda v. Lantin, No. L-15350, November 30, 1962, 6 SCRA 757.
11. Bache & Co. (Phil.), Inc. v. Hon. Judge Ruiz, et. al., No. L-32409, February 27, 1971, 37 SCRA 823.
12. Sales v. Securities and Exchange Commission, G.R. No. 54330, January 13, 1989, 169 SCRA 109.
13. No. L-18805, August 14, 1967, 20 SCRA 987.
14. Makati Stock Exchange, Inc. v. Securities and Exchange Commission, No. L-23004, June 30, 1965, 14 SCRA 620.
15. See SEC Rules Requiring Disclosure of Material Facts by Corporations Whose Securities are Listed in Any Stock Exchange or Registered/Licensed under the Revised Securities Act. (Approved by the SEC Chairman on February 8, 1973, and published in the Bulletin Today on February 19, 1973).
16. See Sections 4, 8, 9, 10, and 11, Revised Securities Act.