majority of the general membership when "only the incorporators signed the same."
Complainants also claimed, among others, that substantial amendments to the old bylaws of VTHOAI were made and submitted to HLURB without the approval of the resident-members and that the new officers were not voted thru the proper election procedure.
In their defense, the respondents claimed that they registered the new association, named Villa Teresa Homeowners Association (VTHAI), with the Securities and Exchange Commission upon learning that VTHOAI was not listed with the SEC.
In addition, the respondents averred to have been validly elected because, upon learning of VTHOAI's nonregistration with the SEC, they took steps in ensuring the legitimacy of the association with HLURB and that they "held-over" their positions in the meantime.
Respondents even challenged the complaint saying it should be dismissed due to insufficiency in form and substance as only six of the 26 complainants signed the complaints.
But the HLURB, after its investigations and arbitrations, maintained that "any defect in the signature or verification...shall not result in the dismissal of the complaint."
To resolve the case, the HLURB said registration of VTHAI should be canceled and all its articles of association and by-laws, as amended from the original VTHOAI laws, be declared null and void.
HLURB stressed that even if proof of registration was not found with the SEC, the respondents should have verified the HOA's registration with the HIGC.
It added that it is also "impossible for them not to know the existence of the old VTHOAI since some of the incorporators of the new association and the old one are the same persons.
Moreover, HLURB took judicial notice of the association dockets of VTHAI and found that respondents' new application for registration with them includes a list of persons allegedly the majority of members who agreed to the amendment of its by-laws and its subsequent adoption.
However, HLURB added, a comparison of VTHAI's registration with HIGC and its application with the regulatory board "would belie respondents' claim that the signatories are in fact a majority of the general membership.
In its original registration with HGIC, the decision read, there are roughly 141 persons who are membershomeowners of VTHOAI while in its new registration with the HLURB, only 36 signified their approval to the proposed amendments of the association's by-laws.
"Clearly, the new registration and the amendment of the by-laws of VTHAI is not in accordance with RA 9904 and its IRR and are (sic) invalid," the decision furthered.
HLURB also did not agree to the respondents' claim of "hold-over" capacities as officers of the VTHOAI because there were no factual basis of their ascension to their offices as the VTHAI had not faithfully submitted its annual financial reports and election reports since its inception in 1992.
HLURB, though, denied the complainants' prayer for the perpetual disqualification of the respondents from holding any positions in the VTHOAI as it was only their first offense and there was no clear evidence of bad faith in the respondents actions.
Aside from ordering the immediate conduct of an election to fill the positions of the HOA, the HLURB decision also ordered the respondents to pay the administrative fine of P15,000 and another P30,000 for the complainants' attorney's fees and P5,908.80 in damages.