In the landmark case of STRADEC vs. SIDC, et. al. (GR No. 187872), the Supreme Court has modified and modernized the test in determining intra-corporate disputes by applying both the relationship test and the nature of the controversy test.
The ruling states that, “an intra-corporate dispute is understood as a suit arising from intra-corporate relations or between or among stockholders or between any or all of them and the corporation. Applying what has come to be known as the relationship test, it has been held that the types of actions embraced by the foregoing definition include the following suits: (a) between the corporation, partnership or association and the public; (b) between the corporation, partnership or association and its stockholders, partners, members, or officers; (c) between the corporation, partnership or association and the State insofar as its franchise, permit or license to operate is concerned; and, (d) among the stockholders, partners or associates themselves.”
On the other hand, it declares that, “Under the nature of the controversy test, the dispute must not only be rooted in the existence of an intra-corporate relationship, but must also refer to the enforcement of the parties' correlative rights and obligations under the Corporation Code as well as the internal and intra-corporate regulatory rules of the corporation.”
According to the Supreme Court, the combined application of the relationship test and the nature of the controversy test has, consequently, become the norm in determining whether a case is an intra-corporate controversy or is purely civil in character.
By applying the relationship test, the Supreme Court finds in STRADEC case “that the first and second causes of action qualify as intra-corporate disputes since STRADEC and respondent Wong are incorporators and/or stockholders of SIDC.” And “considering that they fundamentally relate to STRADEC’s status as a stockholder and the alleged fraudulent divestment of its stockholding in SIDC, the same causes of action also qualify as intra-corporate disputes under the nature of the controversy test.”
Hence, combining both tests then, the Supreme Court declares that “STRADEC’s causes of action for the nullification of the loan and pledge over its SIDC shareholdings contracted by respondents Yujuico and Sumbilla as well as the avoidance of the notarial sale conducted by respondent Raymond M. Caraos both qualify as intra-corporate disputes.”