Monday, September 29, 2008

FAILED ATTEMPT BUT STILL NOT FRUSTRATED (Stages in the Commission of a Crime)

By Obiter07

Nope, just thinking about stealing or some other form of mayhem is not a crime. Mere thought does not amount to an offense under our Revised Penal Code which was passed way back in 1930, although crimes and criminals have been around longer than that.

As provided in Article 6, the stages of a crime or felony are as follows:

ARTICLE 6. Consummated, frustrated, and attempted felonies. — Consummated felonies as well as those which are frustrated and attempted, are punishable.

A felony is consummated when all the elements necessary for its execution and accomplishment are present; and it is frustrated when the offender performs all the acts of execution which would produce the felony as a consequence but which, nevertheless, do not produce it by reason of causes independent of the will of the perpetrator.

There is an attempt when the offender commences the commission of a felony directly by overt acts, and does not perform all the acts of execution which should produce the felony by reason of some cause or accident other than his own spontaneous desistance.

Once you go beyond mere thinking, you may begin to be liable, depending on the circumstances. For now, we’re all quite safe just thinking about strangling someone (or more) in MalacaƱang.

We need not discuss the consummated felony at length because it means the perpetrator has committed all the elements of the offense. He has killed, he has stolen or somehow fulfilled his criminal designs. It is the other stages which may need discussion.

A crime is usually made up out of elements, all of which should be present in order to constitute an offense. For example, homicide has the following elements: (1) that a person is killed, (2) that there is no justifying circumstance such as self-defense, (3) that the accuse had the intention to kill which is presumed and (4) there are no qualifying circumstances which would make it into murder or parricide or infanticide.[1] It is a bit complex, but all of the elements have to be present for there to be a crime.

Case Sample

It may be easier if we start with an example of an actual criminal case started by a song as decided by the Supreme Court which begins with the following lines:

“For what is a man, what has he got?
If not himself, then he has naught.
To say the things he truly feels;
And not the words of one who kneels.
The record shows I took the blows —
And did it my way!

The song evokes the bitterest passions. This is not the first time the song “My Way” has triggered violent behavior resulting in people coming to blows. In the case at bar, the few lines of the song depicted what came to pass when the victims and the aggressors tried to outdo each other in their rendition of the song. PALAGANAS vs. PEOPLE [G.R. No. 165483. September 12, 2006.]

According to the prosecution, 3 brothers who decided to proceed to a videoke bar “were having a good time, singing and drinking beer.” 3 other individuals arrived and they occupied separate tables. Later, one of these individuals was singing, and one “of the brothers sang along with him as he was familiar with the song [My Way].” The singer “resented this and went near the table of the xxx brothers and said in Pangasinan dialect “As if you are tough guys.” He further said “You are already insulting me in that way.” Then, he then struck one brother with the microphone. “A rumble ensued xxx.” Later, when the brothers went outside, they saw one of their protagonists about 8 meters away standing at Rizal Street. He was pointing at them and said to his companion, later identified as petitioner [Rujjeric] Palaganas, “Oraratan paltog mo lara”, meaning “They are the ones, shoot them.” Petitioner then shot them xxx One brother was hit at the left side of the abdomen, one brother was fatally hit in the head while another was hit in the right shoulder.

The petitioner was convicted of attempted homicide, frustrated homicide and homicide. The Court had occasion to discuss how the stages of a felony are committed in the afore-cited case.

“xxx the distinctions between frustrated and attempted felony are summarized as follows:

1.) In frustrated felony, the offender has performed all the acts of execution which should produce the felony as a consequence; whereas in attempted felony, the offender merely commences the commission of a felony directly by overt acts and does not perform all the acts of execution.

2.) In frustrated felony, the reason for the non-accomplishment of the crime is some cause independent of the will of the perpetrator; on the other hand, in attempted felony, the reason for the non-fulfillment of the crime is a cause or accident other than the offender’s own spontaneous desistance.

In addition to these distinctions, we have ruled in several cases that when the accused intended to kill his victim, as manifested by his use of a deadly weapon in his assault, and his victim sustained fatal or mortal wound/s but did not die because of timely medical assistance, the crime committed is frustrated murder or frustrated homicide depending on whether or not any of the qualifying circumstances under Article 249 of the Revised Penal Code are present. However, if the wound/s sustained by the victim in such a case were not fatal or mortal, then the crime committed is only attempted murder or attempted homicide. If there was no intent to kill on the part of the accused and the wound/s sustained by the victim were not fatal, the crime committed may be serious, less serious or slight physical injury. PALAGANAS vs. PEOPLE, Ibid.

The petitioner was convicted of attempted homicide with respect to one brother who was shot in the shoulder because it was not sufficient to cause his death. With respect to the brother who died, the crime was homicide. With respect to the one wounded in the abdomen who would have died if not for timely medical intervention, the crime was frustrated homicide.

Attempted Felony

With an unsuccessful criminal, there is just an attempted offense. First thing is that there must be overt acts. So no matter the intention or the planning, someone cannot be charged for an attempted offense unless he follows through with overt acts. There must be some physical activity or deed showing the intention to commit the offense. This is to be distinguished from preparatory acts. Just buying poison is not an offense. Buying then mixing it with the food intended for the victim would be.[2] Raising a bolo without striking anyone is not an overt act in relation to the crime of homicide[3] But please note that this could constitute some other offense such as grave threats.

Then despite the overt acts, there is a failure to perform all the acts of execution. In trespass to dwelling, just having opened up one board opening upon which the perpetrator was arrested has just committed attempted trespass. He was not able to make a physical entry.[4]

The failure to perform the felony must be due to some cause or accident, not the perpetrator’s spontaneous act of desistance. The law allows the individual to heed the call of conscience even at the last moment. A person who does so does not incur criminal liability. If a person aims the gun at someone, pulls the trigger and the gun jams, there can be attempted homicide.[5] If he hits someone, that’s frustrated homicide. If the victim dies that’s homicide. But even if he doesn’t aim at anyone but fires the gun and someone is hit, then that can still be frustrated homicide. If he fires without aiming at nor hitting anyone, it could be some other crime like the unlawful discharge of a firearm.

Frustrated Felony

A person may feel frustrated if his criminal plans come to naught, but the frustration referred to in the code is different. In a frustrated felony, the offender performs all the acts of execution which would produce the felony as a consequence but which, nevertheless, do not produce it by reason or causes independent of the will of the perpetrator.

In the videoke case, one brother was inflicted with what could be mortal wounds as a result of the shooting but this was averted by timely medical attention. Hence, the conviction was only for frustrated homicide.

It is important to know the stages as this can determine the penalties to be imposed which becomes heavier as one goes from an attempted, frustrated to a consummated felony. So what does this teach us? Crime does not pay. If you think of a crime, you can actually start to do it but you still have a chance to pull back. And lastly, you should know better than to sing along with someone belting out “My Way” in a videoke bar. Or better yet, learn new songs that no one else knows.

[1] Reyes, The Revised Penal Code, Book Two (1981), p. 448.

[2] Reyes, The Revised Penal Code, Book One (1981), p. 98-99.

[3] Ibid, p. 100.

[4] Ibid. p. 103 citing People vs. Lamahang.

[5] Ibid, p. 104.


Monday, September 22, 2008

Ooops … they did it again (The Government’s liability in cases of Unjust Imprisonment or Detention and when there are victims of Violent Crimes)

By Siesta-friendly

To err is human so they say. But to err twice for the same offense - what is that called? Inhuman? Sounds about right if one looks at the pertinent provisions of Republic Act No. 7309 (“An Act Creating A Board Of Claims Under The Department Of Justice For Victims Of Unjust Imprisonment Or Detention And Victims Of Violent Crimes And For Other Purposes”, March 30, 1992).

R.A. 7309 apparently seeks to redress injustices committed by government. But a 2nd injustice seems the inevitable result.

Claims For Compensation

RA 7309 starts off a little promising. Under its Section 3, the following are allowed to file claims for compensation before the Board of Claims:

a) any person who was unjustly accused, convicted and imprisoned but subsequently released following an acquittal. The use of the word ‘unjustly’ is crucial. Not every person who is acquitted can file a claim with the Board.

In Felicito Basbacio vs. Office of the Secretary, Department of Justice (G.R. No. 109445 November 7, 1994), petitioner was convicted, with his son-in-law, of frustrated murder. Petitioner had a land dispute with the victim and was at the scene of the crime when his son-in-law started shooting the victim. On this basis, the prosecution found probable guilt to charge petitioner with conspiracy to commit the murder. However, on appeal, petitioner was acquitted for failure of the prosecution to prove conspiracy. Petitioner then filed a claim before the Board of Claims.

In denying petitioner’s claim, the Supreme Court held that “sec. 3(a) does not refer solely to an unjust conviction as a result of which the accused is unjustly imprisoned, … The accused must have been “unjustly accused, in consequence of which he is unjustly convicted and then imprisoned … if the prosecution is not malicious any conviction even though based on less than the required quantum of proof in criminal cases may be erroneous but not necessarily unjust.

The reason is that under Rule 112, sec. 4 [Rules of Court], the question for the prosecutor in filing a case in court is not whether the accused is guilty beyond reasonable doubt but only whether “there is reasonable ground to believe that a crime has been committed and the accused is probably guilty thereof.” Hence, an accusation which is based on “probable guilt” is not an unjust accusation and a conviction based on such degree of proof is not necessarily an unjust judgment but only an erroneous one … ”

b) any person who was unjustly detained and released without being charged;

c) any victim of arbitrary or illegal detention by the authorities as defined in the Revised Penal Code (RPC) under a final judgment of the court; and

d) any person who is a victim of violent crimes. (Under the Act, violent crimes include rape and offenses committed with malice which resulted in death or serious physical and/or psychological injuries, permanent incapacity or disability, insanity, abortion, serious trauma, or committed with torture, cruelly or barbarity). Unfortunately, we are not aware of any case regarding this particular situation so we cannot expound on this topic.

A careful reading of the above reveals that the following equally unjust scenarios are not covered:

a) a person unjustly accused, convicted and imprisoned but released only after serving sentence;

b) a person unjustly charged but somehow released before trial;

c) a victim of arbitrary or illegal detention by the authorities as defined in the RPC. Since arbitrary detention is easily determined by just counting the number of days of detention, it shouldn’t be necessary to have a court trial to determine whether or not it was committed. An administrative investigation should be enough.


Now we go to the 2nd error we mentioned. The 1st error, of course, is the injustice committed as enumerated in the 4 instances earlier. The 2nd error, as you may have guessed, is the money to be paid as compensation for the injustice.

Under Section 4 of the Act, a maximum paltry amount of P1,000.00 for every month of imprisonment or detention (every fraction thereof being considered 1 month) shall be given to victims of unjust imprisonment or detention. That’s P1,000.00 for every month you are detained without just cause, separated from your friends, family, away from the comforts of home, in the company of real criminals, and without means of livelihood. P1,000.00 is not even close to a month’s minimum wage.

In all other cases, the maximum total amount of P10,000.00, or the amount necessary to reimburse the claimant the expenses incurred for hospitalization, medical treatment, loss of wage, loss of support or other expenses directly related to injury, shall be paid, whichever is lower.

Fortunately, the lawmakers had the good sense to include that the compensation “is without prejudice to the right of the claimant to seek other remedies under existing laws.” A civil liability suit for damages can always be filed in court against the perpetrators (pursuant to the New Civil Code). But it certainly would have been very helpful if the Board of Claims could also entertain claims for remedies like these against the government.

Filing of Claims

Section 5 of the Act provides that claims must be filed within 6 months after being released from imprisonment or detention, or from the date the victim suffered damage or injury, otherwise, the claim is deemed waived. So instead of getting re-acquainted with family and friends, getting your life back in order, maybe even getting medical attention for whatever our Philippine National Police is notorious for, you’re expected to prepare and file your claim as soon as possible lest the 6 months lapse. Very considerate.

In case of death or incapacity of any person entitled to any award, the claim may be filed by his heirs, in the following order: by his surviving spouse, children, natural parents, brother and/or sister. (Section 6)

The Board is mandated to resolve claims within 30 working days after filing of the application as well as to adopt an expeditious and inexpensive procedure for claimants. (Section 7)

Appeals are brought before the Secretary of Justice within 15 days from receipt of the resolution of the Board. (Section 8 ) Although the same provision states that the Secretary’s decision is final and executory, there is always the special civil action for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court in case the Secretary is alleged to have acted with grave abuse of discretion. (Felicito Basbacio vs. Office of the Secretary, Department of Justice, ibid.)

It could be telling on the actual benefit of this law that we only found 1 case involving it. Lawyers’ fees alone matched up against the possible compensatory award could be enough to dampen victims’ hopes of being really compensated for the injustice done to them. And so the injustice hits the victims one more time.


Saturday, September 13, 2008

Without A Trace (When the rules on Presumption of Death apply)

By Obiter07

Recent tragedies that we read about in headlines such as deaths at sea or a plane crash bring about legal consequences that those left behind have to contend with. Imagine if a loved one disappears without a trace and you cannot find him or her despite all your efforts. The uncertainty brings untold woe to the loved ones of those who are believed to have perished. Unfortunately, if the deaths cannot be established by the recovery of bodies, their families may have to wait years for final closure.

This will be a discussion of the rules on the presumption of death. It is a morbid topic but it is something that has to be contended with, if the unspeakable does happen.

Relevant Periods

It is difficult to see the reason why this length of time was the one chosen by law, but it is an absence of 7 years that will lead to a presumption of death.

“ARTICLE 390. After an absence of seven years, it being unknown whether or not the absentee still lives, he shall be presumed dead for all purposes, except for those of succession.

The absentee shall not be presumed dead for the purpose of opening his succession till after an absence of ten years. If he disappeared after the age of seventy-five years, an absence of five years shall be sufficient in order that his succession may be opened. (n)” (New Civil Code or “NCC”)

The period of waiting for the presumption to arise and succession to be opened can be shortened under the following circumstances:

“ARTICLE 391. The following shall be presumed dead for all purposes, including the division of the estate among the heirs:

(1) A person on board a vessel lost during a sea voyage, or an aeroplane which is missing, who has not been heard of for four years since the loss of the vessel or aeroplane;

(2) A person in the armed forces who has taken part in war, and has been missing for four years;

(3) A person who has been in danger of death under other circumstances and his existence has not been known for four years. (n)” (NCC)

However, for purposes of remarriage, the 7 years are cut down to 4 under Article 41 of the Family Code (“FC”). Thus, one can marry again if the spouse has been absent for 4 consecutive years and the spouse has a well-founded belief that the absent spouse was already dead.

Also, under the same provision, in case of disappearance where there is danger of death under the circumstances set forth in Article 391, an absence of 2 years is sufficient for purposes of remarriage.

But from when do you count a person to be absent? It seems hard to establish but one case says it is from the date when the last news of the absentee is received [JONES, vs. HORTIGUELA G.R. No. 43701. March 6, 1937].

Actions to be taken

For remarriage, one has to institute a summary proceeding for the declaration of death, without prejudice to the reappearance of the absent spouse (Article 41, FC). It seems that one just has to risk it, ending up with two wives or two husbands and possibly worse, two mothers-in-law, at least for one short moment in time.

In all other cases, there is actually no need for an action to establish the presumption of death.

“In In Re Szatraw, the Court declared that a judicial declaration that a person is presumptively dead, because he or she had been unheard from in seven years, being a presumption juris tantum only, subject to contrary proof, cannot reach the stage of finality or become final; and that proof of actual death of the person presumed dead being unheard from in seven years, would have to be made in another proceeding to have such particular fact finally determined. The Court ruled that if a judicial decree declaring a person presumptively dead because he or she had not been heard from in seven years cannot become final and executory even after the lapse of the reglementary period within which an appeal may be taken, for such presumption is still disputable and remains subject to contrary proof, then a petition for such a declaration is useless, unnecessary, superfluous and of no benefit to the petitioner. The Court stated that it should not waste its valuable time and be made to perform a superfluous and meaningless act.” [MANUEL vs. PEOPLE, G.R. No. 165842. November 29, 2005.]

But there may be a need to secure a declaration of absence when there are properties of the absentee that have to be administered, when the spouse is asking for a separation of property, or for administration of the marriage properties. There is no need to do so if the absentee has no properties. [Herrera, Remedial Law (1996) Vol. III-A, pp. 367-368]. The appointment of a representative for the absentee is governed by Rule 107 of the Rules of Court:

“Sec. 1. Appointment of representative. - When a person disappears from his domicile, his whereabouts being unknown, and without having left an agent to administer his property, or the power conferred upon the agent has expired, any interested party, relative or friend, may petition the Court of First Instance of the place where the absentee resided before his disappearance for the appointment of a person to represent him provisionally in all that may be necessary. xxx”

Actions to be taken upon reappearance

The Family Code does further provide that the recording of the affidavit of reappearance of the absent spouse automatically terminates the subsequent marriage. Article 42 reads:

“ARTICLE 42. The subsequent marriage referred to in the preceding Article shall be automatically terminated by the recording of the affidavit of reappearance of the absent spouse, unless there is a judgment annulling the previous marriage or declaring it void ab initio.

A sworn statement of the fact and circumstances of reappearance shall be recorded in the civil registry of the residence of the parties to the subsequent marriage at the instance of any interested person, with due notice to the spouses of the subsequent marriage and without prejudice to the fact of reappearance being judicially determined in case such fact is disputed. (n)”

If a spouse has been absent that long, one would suppose he would have no interest to record his reappearance via affidavit. However, there are consequences if he does show himself “formally” again.

“ARTICLE 43. The termination of the subsequent marriage referred to in the preceding Article shall produce the following effects:

(1) The children of the subsequent marriage conceived prior to its termination shall be considered legitimate, and their custody and support in case of dispute shall be decided by the court in a proper proceeding;

(2) The absolute community of property or the conjugal partnership, as the case may be, shall be dissolved and liquidated, but if either spouse contracted said marriage in bad faith, his or her share of the net profits of the community property or conjugal partnership property shall be forfeited in favor of the common children or, if there are none, the children of the guilty spouse by a previous marriage or in default of children, the innocent spouse;

(3) Donations by reason of marriage shall remain valid, except that if the donee contracted the marriage in bad faith, such donations made to said donee are revoked by operation of law;

(4) The innocent spouse may revoke the designation of the other spouse who acted in bad faith as beneficiary in any insurance policy, even if such designation be stipulated as irrevocable; and

(5) The spouse who contracted the subsequent marriage in bad faith shall be disqualified to inherit from the innocent spouse by testate and intestate succession. (n)”

Those who resurrect themselves after being thought dead also come into certain rights. Reappearance or proof that one is still alive entitles him to recover his property, the price of such property if it has been sold and any property acquired through his resources but he foregoes the fruits or rents thereof.

“ARTICLE 392. If the absentee appears, or without appearing his existence is proved, he shall recover his property in the condition in which it may be found, and the price of any property that may have been alienated or the property acquired therewith; but he cannot claim either fruits or rents. (194)”

And the absentee appears to have what sounds like a philosophical duty to prove his very existence so he can protect his rights.

“ARTICLE 393. Whoever claims a right pertaining to a person whose existence is not recognized must prove that he was living at the time his existence was necessary in order to acquire said right. (195)”

If he is an heir, an absentee loses his rights to the estate to his co-heirs unless he has his own successors who can step into his shoes.

“ARTICLE 394. Without prejudice to the provision of the preceding article, upon the opening of a succession to which an absentee is called, his share shall accrue to his coheirs, unless he has heirs, assigns, or a representative. They shall all, as the case may be, make an inventory of the property. (196a)”

Upon his comeback, however, the absentee can claim his inheritance rights.

“ARTICLE 395. The provisions of the preceding article are understood to be without prejudice to the action of petition for inheritance or other rights which are vested in the absentee, his representatives or successors in interest. These rights shall not be extinguished save by lapse of time fixed for prescription. In the record that is made in the Registry of the real estate which accrues to the coheirs, the circumstance of its being subject to the provisions of this article shall be stated. (197)”

Actual Cases

It in interesting to see where the presumption of death has actually been made or put in issue in local cases. This has been invoked in a case where a family was trapped in building during the Battle for Manila which was set afire by the Japanese, where the patron of a vessel on a fishing trip jumped from the sinking boat and was last seen swimming but never heard from by his family, where three bombs were thrown at a vinta and its occupants who were never seen again or where persons had been arrested, tortured and thereafter disappeared (this sounds very familiar). [Ibid, pp. 442-444]

The foregoing does cover peculiar circumstances, and it can almost be like having a wake that lasts for years and years. It is a situation we would not wish on anyone. While some may argue against the length of time that one has to wait before the presumption kicks in, the law does seek to provide legal closure when it really seems clear that someone is never coming back.


Saturday, September 6, 2008

Name that Corp (SEC Guidelines on the Use of Business Names)

By Siesta-friendly

The SEC recently released their latest Guidelines and Procedures on the Use of Corporate and Partnership Names (in particular, SEC Memorandum Circular No. 5, Series 2008, dated July 17, 2008). The provisions of said MC are discussed below.

Even if you have all the documents ready such as the Articles and By-laws, you cannot proceed without an available name. Aside from being a legal requirement, a name can be important for branding purposes, to set apart the service or activity for which your company will be known for.

Must Haves

In applying for approval of your business names, the following terms are required:

1. the corporate name must contain ” corporation”, “incorporated”, “corp.” or inc.”

2. a partnership name must contain “company” or “co.”. If a limited partnership, “Limited” or “Ltd.”. And if a professional partnership, “company”, “associates” or “partners”, or other similar descriptions (say, bros.)

The Circular doesn’t specify but the terms above are expected to be attached at the end of the entities’ names. Try not to test the SEC Legal Division with a name like “The Corporation of XYZ”, unless you have plenty of days to argue your choice and more days to wait for the decision.

And one other ‘must have’ is that 1 business must have only 1 business name.

Choosing specific terms/names

If a term (not a particular name) is used in the entity’s name, it must refer to its primary business purpose. If 2 terms are used, the 1st term shall refer to the primary purpose and the 2nd to the secondary purpose. So you shouldn’t put “trading” if you’re in the salon business and, of course, vice-versa. And if you’re a hotel with a restaurant, you could use “ABC hotel and restaurant”, not the other way around.

Here go other rules you should know. The name –

a) should not be identical, misleading, deceptive or confusingly similar to a name already registered with the SEC or with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), nor contrary to public morals, good customs or public policy.

b) if similar to one already registered, must be changed to include 1 or more words that would make it dissimilar to a name already registered. This is why it is best to submit for approval a name containing at least 3 words. A name like “ABC Manufacturing” will not be accepted because “manufacturing” is already part of hundreds of names (if not thousands). To differentiate it from other manufacturing companies a 3rd word is needed, say, “DEF”. And if ABC DEF Manufacturing, Inc, already exists then you need to add GHI, and so on if necessary.

c) if already registered but the owning entity has been dissolved or its SEC registration revoked, will be only allowed:

a) when 3 years have lapsed since the SEC approval of dissolution, or

b) when 6 years have already lapsed since the revocation; or

c) immediately upon either dissolution or revocation, once approved by stockholders / members / partners owning a majority of the outstanding capital stock or membership or partnership, respectively.

d) must not consist solely of punctuation marks or symbols. And if forming part of the applied for name, these marks and symbols shall not be deemed words for the purpose of differentiating the name from a similar one already registered.

e) may include the name of a person provided the latter is a stockholder / partner / member of the applicant and has consented thereto. To use a deceased person’s name, the latter’s estate must give consent.

In this regard, the applicant may be required to explain the reason behind its choice of a real person’s name. Also, if there are initials included, their meaning shall be indicated.

f) may not be that of a foreign corporation to which the applicant is not related and when the former has not consented. So consent is required either way.

g) if in a foreign language, shall not be allowed if it is against good morals, public order or public policy or has an offensive or indecorous meaning in the country from which it originates.

h) of a subsidiary or affiliate of a foreign entity, which is similar to that of the latter, shall include “Philippines” or “Phil”.

i) cannot solely be that of a location, so a descriptive term must be included. You cannot just call your corporation “Manila Shop, Inc.” You can use “Manila Car Shop, Inc.” or “Manila Dress Shop, Inc.”

Choosing particular business terms

Pursuant to existing laws, the following words can only be used by applicants engaged in the relevant business as follows:

a) “Finance Company”, “Financing Company”, “Finance And Leasing Company”, and “Leasing Company” by those organized as financing and investment entities;

b) “Lending Company” or “Lending Investor” by lending companies;

c) “Pawnshop” by (of course) pawnshops;

d) “Bank”, “Banking”, “Banker”, “Savings And Loan Association”, “Trust Corporation”, “Trust Company”, or words of similar meaning, by those engaged in the banking or trust business;

e) “United Nations” or “U.N.” by the United Nations or its attached agencies;

f) “Bonded” by those with licensed warehouses:

g) “SPV-AMC” by stock corporations authorized as special purpose vehicles. No, these have nothing to do with the transportation business. These entities are usually organized to acquire or invest in non-performing assets of financial institutions.

On the other hand, unless the SEC authorizes, the following terms may only be used by applicants engaged in the relevant business as follows:

a) “Investment” or “Capital” by an applicant organized as an investment house, company or holding company;

b) “Asset Management”, “Investment Management”, “Fund Management”, “Financial Management”, or “Asset Adviser”, “Investment Adviser”, “Fund Adviser”, “Financial Adviser”, or similar words, by those organized as investment company advisers or holders of investment management activities (IMA) license from the Bangko Sentral;

c) ”National”, “Bureau”, “Commission”, “State”, and other words or acronyms that have gained wide acceptance in the Philippines as associated with government, by entities that perform government functions;

d) “Association” or “Organization” or similar words related with non-profit activities, by entities engaged in non-profit activities (naturally);

e) “Stock Exchange”, “Futures Exchange”, “Derivatives Exchange”, “Stock Broker”, “Securities Broker”, “Derivatives Broker”, “Commodity Merchant”, “Financial Futures Merchant”, “Commodity Broker”, “Financial Futures Broker”, “Securities Clearing Agency”, “Stock Clearing Agency”, “Plans” or similar words by those organized as exchanges, brokers, dealers, commodity futures broker, clearing agency, or pre-need company under the Securities Regulation Code.

Remember these names may be used by any non-related businesses if the SEC authorizes their use.

Remember, you can’t assume that however unique your business name is that it will be surely approved. You need to reserve your name with the SEC just like everybody else. Barring system downtimes, the SEC does have an on-line registry and reservation system which you can use to check the availability of corporate names as well as to reserve your chosen names.

With all the rules applicable as well as the possibility of a previously registered similar name, maybe you can name that corp in 3 tries. Good luck!