Agent as party-in-interest

Every action must be prosecuted or defended in the name of the real party-in-interest -- the party who stands to be benefited or injured by the judgment in the suit.[1] In suits where an agent represents a party, the principal is the real party-in-interest; an agent cannot file a suit in his own name on behalf of the principal.

Rule 3, Section 3 of the Rules of Court provides the exception when an agent may sue or be sued without joining the principal.
Section 3. Representatives as parties. - Where the action is allowed to be prosecuted and defended by a representative or someone acting in a fiduciary capacity, the beneficiary shall be included in the title of the case and shall be deemed to be the real party-in-interest. A representative may be a trustee of an express trust, a guardian, an executor or administrator, or a party authorized by law or these Rules. An agent acting in his own name and for the benefit of an undisclosed principal may sue or be sued without joining the principal except when the contract involves things belonging to the principal. (Emphasis supplied.)
Thus an agent may sue or be sued solely in its own name and without joining the principal when the following elements concur: (1) the agent acted in his own name during the transaction; (2) the agent acted for the benefit of an undisclosed principal; and (3) the transaction did not involve the property of the principal.

When these elements are present, the agent becomes bound as if the transaction were its own. This rule is consistent with Article 1883 of the Civil Code which says:
Art. 1883. If an agent acts in his own name, the principal has no right of action against the persons with whom the agent has contracted; neither have such persons against the principal.

In such case, the agent is the one directly bound in favor of the person with whom he has contracted, as if the transaction were his own, except when the contract involves things belonging to the principal.

The provisions of this article shall be understood to be without prejudice to the actions between the principal and agent.

[1] Rule 3, §2 of the Rules of Court. 

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