G.R. No. 190641. November 10, 2015.
Victor Reyes (Reyes) subscribed and purchased one share in the capital stock of Valley Golf which entitled him exclusive membership to the golf club including playing rights. Reyes’ playing privileges were assigned from 1979 – 1986, wherein the assignee obligated themselves to pay the monthly membership fees for and on behalf of Reyes. However, the payment was discontinued and resulted for the delinquency of Reyes’ account. Due to delinquency in the payment of monthly membership fees, Valley Golf sold his share at a public auction.
Reyes filed an action for Reinstatement of Playing Rights and Re-issuance of New Certificate of Share of Stocks against Valley Golf before the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). He claimed that he was not notified of the delinquency of his account not the sale of his share. Valley Golf insisted that a Notice of Due Account was sent to Reyes which is evidenced by Registry Receipt No. 3384. It further alleged that prior to the scheduled sale, it also published with Philippine Daily Express as evidenced by the Publisher’s Affidavit. Valley Golf argued that Reyes has no right to claim that he was not duly notified and prayed that his complaint be dismissed for evident lack of cause of action.
The RTC decided in favor of the Valley Golf and dismissed the complaint of Reyes. However, the Court of Appeals reversed the findings of the RTC and held that the registry return receipt is not a sufficient proof that the demand letter was duly sent to the addressee, more so, when such receipt is barely readable and does not bear the name of the recipient. The Heirs of Reyes maintain that Valley Golf failed to satisfy the required proof of receipt of letters because the registry return was unauthenticated and does not bear the name of the person who received it.
Whether or not Reyes was duly notified of his arrears on membership dues as evidenced by the registry receipt despite it is unauthenticated and does not bear the name of the person who received it.
No. Valley Golf’s claims that Reyes was served a notice of delinquency failed to meet the standard set by law to prove receipt of notice. To be sure, the mere presentation of the registry return card with an unauthenticated signature, without more, does not satisfy the required proof. The law mandates that there is a need to present both the registry receipt issued by the mailing office and the affidavit of the person mailing. The unverified signature appearing on the face of the registry receipt could be that of the addressee himself or his agent or could be that of any person, and, the courts have no way to ascertain the veracity of the sender’s claim since the mail record that will supposedly serve as proof of receipt was not duly accomplished upon delivery.
Valley Golf, as the party asserting receipt of notice bears the burden of proof to prove notice. When the service of notice is an issue, the rule is that the person alleging that the notice was served must prove the fact of service.
The law mandates that there is a need to present both the registry receipt issued by the mailing office and the affidavit of the person mailing.