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G.R. No.

L-11307 October 5, 1918 In his appeal to this court, Jaucian did not assign as error the failure of the lower Section 746 et seq. of the Code of Civil Procedure provides for the not presented to the commissioners on claims during the period of six months
court to give him judgment on his cross-demand, and therefore the decision presentation of contingent claims, against the estate. This claim is a from which they were appointed in this estate, said commissioner having given
upon the appeal was limited to the issues concerning the validity of the contingent claim, because, according to the decision of the Supreme due and lawful notice of their sessions and more than one year having expired
ROMAN JAUCIAN, plaintiff-appellant, vs. FRANCISCO QUEROL, document. Court, Hermenegilda Rogero was a surety of Lino Dayandante. The object since the report of the said commissioners; and this credit is outlawed or
administrator of the intestate estate of the deceased Hermenegildo of presenting the claim to the commissioners is simply to allow them to prescribed, and that this court has no jurisdiction to consider this claim."
Rogero,defendant-appellee. pass on the claim and to give the administrator an opportunity to defend
the estate against the claim. This having been given by the administrator
defending the suit in the Supreme Court, the court considers this a
substantial compliance with the law, and the said defense having been
While the case was pending in the Supreme Court, Hermenegilda Rogero died
made by the administrator, he cannot now come into court and hide
and the administrator of her estate was substituted as the party plaintiff and On November 24, 1914, the Honorable J. C. Jenkins, then sitting in the Court of
STREET, J.: behind a technicality and say that the claim had not been presented to the
appellee. On November 25, 1913, the Supreme Court rendered in its decision First Instance of Albay, after hearing argument, entered an order refusing to
commissioners and that, the commissioners having long since made
reversing the judgment of the trial court and holding that the disputed claim was grant Jaucian's petition. To this ruling the appellant excepted and moved for a
report, the claim cannot be referred to the commissioners and therefore
valid. 1 rehearing. On December 11, 1914, the judge a quo entered an order denying
the claim of Roman Jaucian is barred. The court considers that paragraph
the rehearing and setting forth at length, the reasons upon which he based his
(e) of the opposition is well-taken and that there must be legal action
denial of the petition. These grounds were briefly, that as the claim had never
taken against Lino Dayandante to determine whether or not he is
This appeal by bill of exceptions was brought to reverse a judgment of the Court been presented to the committee on claims, it was barred; that the court had no
insolvent, and that declaration under oath to the effect that he has no
of First Instance of the Province of Albay whereby said court has refused to jurisdiction to entertain it; that the decision of the Supreme Court in the action
property except P100 worth of property, which he has ceded to Roman
allow a claim in favor of the plaintiff, Roman Jaucian, against the state of brought by the deceased against Jaucian did not decide anything except that
During the pendency of the appeal, proceedings were had in the Court of First Jaucian, is not sufficient.
Hermenegilda Rogero upon the facts hereinbelow stated. the document therein disputed was a valid instrument.
Instance of Albay for the administration of the estate of Hermenegilda Rogero;
Francisco Querol was named administrator; and a committee was appointed to
pass upon claims against the estate. This committee made its report on
September 3, 1912. On March 24, 1914, or about a year and half after the filing
of the report of the committee on claims against the Rogero estate, Jaucian
Hermenegilda Rogero having been simply surety for Lino Dayandante, the
In October, 1908, Lino Dayandante and Hermenegilda Rogero executed a entered an appearance in the estate proceedings, and filed with the court a In this court the appellant contends that the trial judge erred ( a) in refusing to
administrator has a right to require that Roman Jaucian produce a
private writing in which they acknowledged themselves to be indebted to Roman petition in which he averred the execution of the document of October, 1908, by give effect to the order made by the Honorable P.M. Moir, dated April 13, 1914;
judgment for his claim against Lino Dayandante, in order that the said
Jaucian in the sum of P13,332.33. The terms of this obligation are fully set out the deceased, the failure of her co-obligor Dayandante, to pay any part of the and (b) in refusing to order the administrator of the estate of Hermenegilda
administrator may be subrogated to the rights of Jaucian against
at page 38 of the bill of exceptions. Its first clause is in the following words: debt, except P100 received from him in March, 1914, and the complete Rogero to pay the appellant the amount demanded by him. The contention with
Dayandante. The simple affidavit of the principal debtor that he had no
insolvency of Dayandante. Upon these facts Jaucian prayed the court for an regard to the order of April 13, 1914, is that no appeal from it having been taken,
property except P100 worth of property which he has ceded to the creditor
order directing the administrator of the Rogero estate to pay him the principal it became final.
is not sufficient for the court to order the surety to pay the debt of the
sum of P13,332.33, plus P7,221.66, as interest thereon from October 24, 1908,
principal. When this action shall have been taken against Lino
to March 24, 1914, with interest on the principal sum of P13,332.33, plus
Dayandante and an execution returned "no effects," then the claim of
P7,221.66, as interest thereon from October 24, 1908, to March 24, 1914, with
We jointly and severally acknowledge our indebtedness in the sum of Jaucian against the estate will be ordered paid or any balance that may
interest on the principal sum from March 24, 1914, at 10 per cent per annum,
P13,332.23 Philippine currency (a balance made October 23, 1908) be due to him.
until paid.
bearing interest at the rate of 10 per cent per annum to Roman Jaucian, An examination of the order in question, however, leads us to conclude that it
of age, a resident of the municipality of Ligao, Province of Albay, was not a final order, and therefore it was not appealable. In effect, it held that
Philippine Islands and married to Pilar Tell. whatever rights Jaucian might have against the estate of Rogero were subject
to the performance of a condition precedent, namely, that he should first
exhaust this remedy against Dayandante. The court regarded Dayandante. The
Acting upon the suggestions contained in this order Jaucian brought an action
A copy of this petition was served upon the administrator of the estate, who, on court regarded Dayandante as the principal debtor, and the deceased as a
against Dayandante and recovered a judgment against him for the full amount
March 30, 1914, appeared by his attorney and opposed the granting of the surety only liable for such deficiency as might result after the exhaustion of the
of the obligation evidenced by the document of October 24, 1908. Execution
petition upon the grounds that the claim had never been presented to the assets of the principal co-obligor. The pivotal fact upon which the order was
Hermenegilda Rogero signed this document in the capacity of surety for Lino was issued upon this judgment, but was returned by the sheriff wholly
committee on claims for allowance; that more than eighteen months had passed based was the failure of appellant to show that he had exhausted his remedy
Dayandante; but as clearly appears from the instrument itself both debtors unsatisfied, no property of the judgment debtor having been found.
since the filing of the report of the committee, and that the court was therefore against Dayandante, and this failure the court regarded as a complete bar to the
bound themselves jointly and severally to the creditor, and there is nothing in without jurisdiction to entertain the demand of the claimant. A hearing was had granting of the petition at that time. The court made no order requiring the
the terms of the obligation itself to show that the relation between the two upon the petition before the Honorable P.M. Moir, then sitting in the Court of appellee to make any payment whatever, and that part of the opinion, upon
debtors was that of principal and surety. First Instance of Albay. On April 13, 1914, he rendered his decision, in which, which the order was based, which contained statements of what the court
after reciting the facts substantially as above set forth, he said: intended to do when the petition should be renewed, was not binding upon him
On October 28, 1914, counsel for Jaucian filed another petition in the or any other judge by whom he might be succeeded. Regardless of what may
proceedings upon the estate of Hermenegilda Rogero, in which they averred, be our views with respect to the jurisdiction of the court to have granted the
upon the grounds last stated, that Dayandante was insolvent, and renewed the relief demanded by appellant in any event, it is quite clear from what we have
In November, 1909, Hermenegilda Rogero brought an action in the Court of prayer of the original petition. It was contended that the court, by its order of stated that the order of April 13, 1914, required no action by the administrator at
First Instance of Albay against Jaucian, asking that the document in question be April 13, 1914, had "admitted the claim." that time, was not final, and therefore was not appealable. We therefore
During the pendency of that action (the cancellation suit) in the Supreme
canceled as to her upon the ground that her signature was obtained by means conclude that no rights were conferred by the said order of April 13, 1914, and
Court Hermenegilda Rogero died, and Francisco Querol was named
of fraud. In his answer to the complaint, Jaucian, by was of cross-complaint, that it did not preclude the administrator from making opposition to the petition
administrator of the estate, and he was made a party defendant to the
asked for judgment against the plaintiff for the amount due upon the obligation, of the appellant when it was renewed.
action then pending in the Supreme Court. As such he had full knowledge
which appears to have matured at that time. Judgment was rendered in the of the claim presented and was given an opportunity to make his defense.
Court of First Instance in favor of the plaintiff, from which judgment the It is presumed that defense was made in the Supreme Court. The petition was again opposed by the administrator of the estate upon the
defendant appealed to the Supreme Court. grounds (a) that the claim was not admitted by the order of April 13, 1914, and
that "the statement of the court with regard to the admissibility of the claim was
mere dictum," and (b) "that the said claim during the life and after the death of Appellant contends that his claim against the deceased was contingent. His
Hermenegilda Rogero, which occurred on August 2, 1911, was a mere theory is that the deceased was merely a surety of Dayandante. His argument is
contingent claim against the property of the said Hermenegilda Rogero, was not that as section 746 of the Code of Civil Procedure provides that contingent
No contingent claim was filed before the commissioners by Roman
reduced to judgment during the lifetime of said Hermenegilda Rogero, and was claims "may be presented with the proof to the committee," it follows that such
Jaucian, who seems to have rested content with the action pending.
presentation is optional. Appellant, furthermore, contends that if a creditor obligation is apportionable among the debtors; and in case of the simple joint This exceptional feature of the simple joint obligation in Spanish law dates from
holding a contingent claim does not see fit to avail himself of the privilege thus contract neither debtor can be required to satisfy more than his aliquot part. an early period; and the rule in question is expressed with simplicity and
provided, there is nothing in the law which says that his claim is barred or precision in a passage transcribed into the Novisima Recopilacion as follows:
prescribed, and that such creditor, under section 748 of the Code of Civil Article 1831 provides:
Procedure, at any time within two years from the time allowed other creditors to
present their claims, may, if his claim becomes absolute within that period
present it to the court for allowance. On the other hand counsel for appellee
In the common law system every debtor in a joint obligation is liable in
contends (1) that contingent claims like absolute claims are barred for non-
solidum for the whole; and the only legal peculiarity worthy of remark If two persons bind themselves by contract, simply and not otherwise, to
presentation to the committee but (2) that the claim in question was in reality an This application can not take place concerning the "joint" contract at common law is that the creditor is required to do or accomplish something, it is thereby to be understood that each is
absolute claim and therefore indisputably barred.
sue all the debtors at once. To avoid the inconvenience of this procedural bound for one-half, unless it is specified in the contract that each is
requirement and to permit the creditor in a joint contract to do what the creditor bound in solidum, or it is agreed among themselves that they shall be
(1) . . . (2) If he has jointly bound himself with the debtor . . . .
in a solidary obligation can do under article 1144 of the Civil Code, it is not bound in some other manner, and this notwithstanding any customary law
unusual for the parties to a common law contract to stipulate that the debtors to the contrary; . . . (Law X, tit. I, book X, Novisima Recopilacion, copied
shall be "jointly and severally" liable. The force of this expression is to enable from law promulgated at Madrid in 1488 by Henry IV.)
The second contention takes logical precedence over the first and our view of the creditor to sue any one of the debtors or all together at pleasure.
its conclusiveness renders any consideration of the first point entirely
unnecessary to a determination of the case. Bearing in mind that the deceased The foregoing articles of the Civil Code make it clear that Hermenegilda Rogero
Hermenegilda Rogero, though surety for Lino Dayandante, was nevertheless was liable absolutely and unconditionally for the full amount of the obligation
bound jointly and severally with him in the obligation, the following provisions of without any right to demand the exhaustion of the property of the principal
The foregoing exposition of the conflict between the juridical conceptions of
law are here pertinent. debtor previous to its payment. Her position so far as the creditor was
It will thus be seen that the purpose of section 698 of the Code of Civil liability incident to the multiple obligation, as embodied respectively in the
concerned was exactly the same as if she had been the principal debtor.
Procedure, considered as a product of common law ideas, is not to convert an common law system and the Spanish Civil Code, prepares us for a few words of
apportionable joint obligation into a solidary joint obligation for the idea of the comment upon the problem of translating the terms which we have been
The absolute character of the claim and the duty of the committee to have benefit of division is totally foreign to the common law system but to permit considering from English into Spanish or from Spanish into English.
allowed it is full as such against the estate of Hermenegilda Rogero had it been the creditor to proceed at once separately against the estate of the deceased
Article 1822 of the Civil Code provides: opportunely presented and found to be a valid claim is further established by debtor, without attempting to draw the other debtors into intestate or
section 698 of the Code of Civil Procedure, which provides: testamentary proceedings. The joint contract of the common law is and always
has been a solidary obligation so far as the extent of the debtor's liability is
concerned.
The Spanish expression to be chosen as the equivalent of the English word
"joint" must, of course, depend upon the idea to be conveyed; and it must be
By security a person binds himself to pay or perform for a third person in remembered that the matter to be translated may be an enunciation either of a
case the latter should fail to do so. When two or more persons are indebted on a joint contract, or upon a common law conception or of a civil law idea. In Sharruf vs. Tayabas Land Co.
judgment founded on a joint contract, and either of them dies, his estate and Ginainati (37 Phil. Rep., 655), a judge of one of the Courts of First Instance
shall be liable therefor, and it shall be allowed by the committee as if the In Spanish law the comprehensive and generic term by which to indicate in these Islands rendered judgment in English declaring the defendants to be
contract had been with him alone or the judgment against him alone. But multiplicity of obligation, arising from plurality of debtors or creditors, "jointly" liable. It was held that he meant "jointly" in the sense of
the estate shall have the right to recover contribution from the other joint is mancomunidad, which term includes (1) mancomunidad simple, "mancomunadamente," because the obligation upon which the judgment was
debtor. or mancomunidad properly such, and (2) mancomunidad solidaria. In other based was apportionable under article 1138 of the Civil Code. This mode of
"If the surety binds himself jointly with the principal debtor, the provisions
words the Spanish system recognizes two species of multiple obligation, translation does not, however, hold good where the word to be translated has
of section fourth, chapter third, title first, of this book shall be observed.
namely, the apportionable joint obligation and the solidary joint obligation. The reference to a multiple common law obligation, as in article 698 of the Code of
solidary obligation is, therefore, merely a form of joint obligation. Civil Procedure. Here it is necessary to render the word "joint" by the Spanish
word "solidaria."

In the official Spanish translation of the Code of Civil Procedure, the sense of
Article 1144 of the same code provides: the English word "joint," as used in two places in the section above quoted, is
rendered by the Spanish word "mancomunadamente." This is incorrect. The
sense of the word "joint," as here used, would be more properly translated in The idea of the benefit of division as a feature of the simple joint obligation
Spanish by the word "solidaria," though even this word does not express the appears to be a peculiar creation of Spanish jurisprudence. No such idea In translating the Spanish word "mancomunada" into English a similar difficulty
meaning of the English with entire fidelity. prevailed in the Roman law, and it is not recognized either in the French or in is presented. In the Philippine Islands at least we must probably continue to
the Italian system. tolerate the use of the English word "joint" as an approximate English
A creditor may sue any of the joint and several (solidarios) debtors or all of equivalent, ambiguous as it may be to a reader indoctrinated with the ideas of
them simultaneously. The claims instituted against one shall not be an the common law. The Latin phrase pro rata is a make shift, the use of which is
obstacle for those that may be later presented against the others, as long not to be commended. The Spanish word "solidary," though it is not inaccurate
as it does not appear that the debt has been collected in full. here to use the compound expression "joint obligation," as conveying the full
The section quoted, it should be explained, was originally taken by the author, juridical sense of "obligacion mancomunada" and "obligacion solidaria,"
or compiler, of our Code of Civil Procedure from the statutes of the State of This conception is a badge of honor to Spanish legislation, honorably
respectively.
Vermont; and the word "joint" is, therefore, here used in the sense which shared with the Spanish American, since French and Italian codes do
attaches to it in the common law. Now, in the common law system there is no not recognize the distinction of difference, just expounded, between the
conception of obligation corresponding to the divisible joint obligation two sorts of multiple obligation. . . . (Giorgi, Theory of Obligations, Span.
Article 1830 of the same code provides: contemplated in article 1138 of the Civil Code. This article declares in effect that, ed., vol. I, p. 77, note.)
if not otherwise expressly determined, every obligation in which there is no
conception of obligation corresponding to the divisible joint obligation From what has been said it is clear that Hermenegilda Rogero, and her estate
contemplated in article 1138 of the Civil Code. This article declares in effect that, after her death, was liable absolutely for the whole obligation, under section 698
if not otherwise expressly determined, every obligation in which there are of the Code of Civil Procedure; and if the claim had been duly presented to the
numerous debtors we here ignore plurality of creditors shall be considered committee for allowance it should have been allowed, just as if the contact had
The surety can not be compelled to pay a creditor until application has Considered with reference to comparative jurisprudence, liability in solidum
divided into as many parts as there are debtors, and each part shall be deemed been with her alone.
been previously made of all the property of the debtor. appears to be the normal characteristic of the multiple obligation, while the
to be the distinct obligation of one of the respective debtors. In other words, the benefit of division in the Spanish system is an illustration of the abnormal,
evidently resulting from the operation of a positive rule created by the lawgiver.
It is thus apparent that by the express and incontrovertible provisions both of the negotiable instrument, who is not liable until his liability is fixed by dishonor and of Malolos, Bulacan. They alleged, inter alia, that the interest rate imposed on
Civil Code and the Code of Civil Procedure, this claim was an absolute claim. notice, or protest an notice, in conformity with the requirements of law. Until this the principal amount of P30,000.00 is unconscionable.7
Applying section 695 of the Code of Civil Procedure, this court has frequently event happens there is a mere possibility of a liability is fixed by dishonor and
decided that such claims are barred if not presented to the committee in time (In notice, or protest and notice, in conformity with the requirements of law. Until In this Petition for Review on Certiorari, 2 petitioners assail the October 29, 2004
re estate of Garcia Pascual, 11 Phil. Rep., 34; Ortiga Bros. & Co. vs. Enage and this event happens there is a mere possibility of a liability, which is fact may Decision3 and July 18, 2005 Resolution 4 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA- On June 11, 2002, the trial court rendered judgment in favor of respondents, viz:
Yap Tico, 18 Phil. Rep., 345, 351; Santos vs.Manarang, 27 Phil. Rep., 209, never become fixed at all. The claims of all persons who assume the G.R. CV No. 76842, affirming the June 11, 2002 Decision 5 of the Regional Trial
213); and we are of the opinion that, for this reason, the claim was properly responsibility of a liability, which in fact may never become fixed at all. The Court of Bulacan, Branch 79, which equitably reduced the stipulated interest
rejected by Judge Jenkins. claims of all persons who assume the responsibility of mere guarantors in as rate in an agreement entered into by the parties from 60% per annum (or 5%
against their principles of the same contingent character. per month) to 12% per annum, with the modification that herein respondents
may redeem the mortgaged property notwithstanding the lapse of redemption
PREMISES CONSIDERED, this Court cannot declare the mortgage and
period on grounds of equity and substantial justice.
foreclosure null and void but the x x x Kasulatan ng Sanglaan ng Lupa x x x
herebelow quoted:
There is no force, in our judgment, in the contention that the pendency of the
suit instituted by the deceased for the cancellation of the document in which the It is possible that "contingency," in the cases contemplated in section 746, may
obligation in question was recorded was a bar to the presentation of the claim depend upon other facts than those which relate to the creation or inception of
against the estate. The fact that the lower court had declared the document void liability. It may be, for instance, that the circumstance that a liability is subsidiary, Factual antecedents
was not conclusive, as its judgment was not final, and even assuming that if the and the execution has to be postponed after judgment is obtained until the 2. Na ang nasabing pagkakautang ay aming babayaran sa loob ng anim (6) na
claim had been presented to the committee for allowance, it would have been exhaustion of the assets of the person or entity primarily liable, makes a claim buwan simula sa petsa ng kasulatang ito o dili kaya ay sa bago dumating ang
rejected and that the decision of the committee would have been sustained by contingent within the meaning of said section; but upon this point it is Agosto 17, 1994 na may pakinabang na 5% bawat buwan. Na ang tubo ay aani
the Court of First Instance, the rights of the creditor could have been protected unnecessary to express an opinion. It is enough to say that where, as in the pa rin ng tubong 5% bawat buwan.
by an appeal from that decision. case now before us, liability extends unconditionally to the entire amount stated Respondent Angelina de Leon Tan, and her husband Ruben Tan were the
in the obligation, or, in other words, where the debtor is liable in solidum and former registered owners of a 240-square meter residential lot, situated
without postponement of execution, the liability is not contingent but absolute. at Barrio Canalate, Malolos, Bulacan and covered by Transfer Certificate of Title
No. T-8540. On February 17, 1994, they entered into an agreement with
petitioners spouses Isagani and Diosdada Castro denominated as Kasulatan ng
Is partially rescinded to only 12% interest per annum and additional one percent
Appellant apparently takes the position that had his claim been filed during the Sanglaan ng Lupa at Bahay (Kasulatan) to secure a loan of P30,000.00 they
a month penalty charges as liquidated damages beginning February 17, 1994
pendency of the cancellation suit, it would have been met with the plea of obtained from the latter. Under the Kasulatan, the spouses Tan undertook to pay
up to June 21, 2000 per Delivery of Possession x x x and/or for the defendants
another suit pending and that this plea would have been successful. This view For the reasons stated, the decision of the trial court denying appellant's petition the mortgage debt within six months or until August 17, 1994, with an interest
to accept the offer of P200,000.00 by the plaintiffs to redeem or reacquire the
of the law is contrary to the doctrine of the decision in the case of Hongkong & and his motion for a new trial was correct and must be affirmed. No costs will be rate of 5% per month, compounded monthly.
property in litis.
Shanghai Banking Corporation vs. Aldecoa & Co. ([1915], 30 Phil. Rep., 255.) allowed on this appeal. So ordered.

When her husband died on September 2, 1994, respondent Tan was left with
The Court is not inclined to award moral damages since plaintiffs failed to
Furthermore, even had Jaucian, in his appeal from the decision in the the responsibility of paying the loan. However, she failed to pay the same upon
buttress her claim of moral damages and/or proof of moral damages. x x x
cancellation suit, endeavored to obtain judgment on his cross-complaint, the maturity. Thereafter, she offered to pay petitioners the principal amount
death of the debtor would probably have required the discontinuance of the of P30,000.00 plus a portion of the interest but petitioners refused and instead
action presented by the cross-complaint or counterclaim, under section 703. G.R. No. 168940 November 24, 2009 demanded payment of the total accumulated sum of P359,000.00.

SPS. ISAGANI CASTRO and DIOSDADA CASTRO vs. ANGELINA DE LEON No award of attorneys fees because the general rule is that no [premium]
TAN, SPS. CONCEPCION T. CLEMENTE and ALEXANDER C. CLEMENTE, should be placed on the right to litigate. x x x
SPS. ELIZABETH T. CARPIO and ALVIN CARPIO, SPS. MARIE ROSE T.
As already observed the case is such as not to require the court to apply On February 5, 1999, petitioners caused the extrajudicial foreclosure of the real
SOLIMAN and ARVIN SOLIMAN and JULIUS AMIEL TAN, Respondents.
sections 746-749, inclusive, of the Code of Civil Procedure, nor to determine the estate mortgage and emerged as the only bidder in the auction sale that
conditions under which contingent claims are barred. But a few words of ensued. The period of redemption expired without respondent Tan having
comment may be added to show further that the solidary obligation upon which redeemed the property; thus title over the same was consolidated in favor of
this proceeding is based is not a contingent claim, such as is contemplated in petitioners. After a writ of possession was issued, the Sheriff ejected The counterclaim of the defendants is hereby DISMISSED for lack of merit.
those sections. The only concrete illustration of a contingent claim given is respondents from the property and delivered the possession thereof to
section 746 is the case where a person is liable as surety for the deceased, that DECISION petitioners.
is, where the principal debtor is dead. This is a very different situation from that
presented in the concrete case now before us, where the surety is the person
DEL CASTILLO, J.:
who is dead. In the illustration put in section 746 where the principal debtor is Costs against the defendants.
dead and the surety is the party preferring the claim against the estate of the
deceased it is obvious that the surety has no claim against the estate of the Proceedings before the Regional Trial Court
principal debtor, unless he himself satisfies the obligation in whole or in part SO ORDERED."8
upon which both are bound. It is at this moment, and not before, that the
obligation of the principal to indemnify the surety arises (art. 1838, Civil Code); The imposition of an unconscionable rate of interest on a money debt, even if
and by virtue of such payment the surety is subrogated in all the rights which knowingly and voluntarily assumed, is immoral and unjust. It is tantamount to a
the creditor had against the debtor (art. 1839, same code). repugnant spoliation and an iniquitous deprivation of property, repulsive to the
common sense of man. It has no support in law, in principles of justice, or in the On September 26, 2000, respondent Tan, joined by respondents Sps.
Concepcion T. Clemente and Alexander C. Clemente, Sps. Elizabeth T. Carpio Proceedings before the Court of Appeals
human conscience nor is there any reason whatsoever which may justify such
imposition as righteous and as one that may be sustained within the sphere of and Alvin Carpio, Sps. Marie Rose T. Soliman and Arvin Soliman and Julius
public or private morals.1 Amiel Tan filed a Complaint for Nullification of Mortgage and Foreclosure and/or
Partial Rescission of Documents and Damages 6 before the Regional Trial Court
Another simple illustration of a contingent liability is found in the case of the
indorser of a contingent liability is found in the case of the indorser of a
Petitioners appealed to the Court of Appeals which affirmed the trial courts the Kasulatan as null as if there was no express stipulation on the compounded The Court of Appeals did not unilaterally change the terms and conditions of the substantially greater than those upheld by this Court in the two (2) aforecited
finding that the interest rate stipulated in the Kasulatan is iniquitous or interest.14 Contract of Mortgage entered into between the petitioners and the respondents. cases. (Emphasis supplied, citations omitted)
unconscionable and, thus, its equitable reduction to the legal rate of 12% per
annum is warranted.9 At the same time, the appellate court declared that
respondents may redeem the mortgaged property notwithstanding the
expiration of the period of redemption, in the interest of substantial justice and
equity.10 The dispositive portion of said Decision reads:
Respondents Arguments Petitioners allege that the Kasulatan was entered into by the parties freely and From the foregoing, it is clear that there is no unilateral alteration of the terms
voluntarily.21 They maintain that there was already a meeting of the minds and conditions of the Kasulatan entered into by the parties. Surely, it is more
WHEREFORE, the appealed judgment is hereby AFFIRMED with the between the parties as regards the principal amount of the loan, the interest consonant with justice that the subject interest rate be equitably reduced and
On the other hand, respondents assert that the appellate court correctly struck thereon and the property given as security for the payment of the loan, which the legal interest of 12% per annum is deemed fair and reasonable. 27
MODIFICATION that plaintiffs-appellees may redeem the mortgaged property
down the said stipulated interest for being excessive and contrary to morals, if must be complied with in good faith.22 Hence, they assert that the Court of
by paying the defendants-appellants spouses Isagani and Diosdada Castro the
not against the law.15 They also point out that a contract has the force of law Appeals should have given due respect to the provisions of
amount of P30,000.00, with interest thereon at 12% per annum from February
between the parties, but only when the terms, clauses and conditions thereof the Kasulatan.23 They also stress that it is a settled principle that the law will not
17, 1994 until fully paid plus penalty charges at the same rate from February 17,
are not contrary to law, morals, public order or public policy. 16 relieve a party from the effects of an unwise, foolish or disastrous contract,
1994 to June 21, 2000.
entered into with all the required formalities and with full awareness of what he
The additional 1% per month penalty awarded as liquidated damages does not
was doing.24
have any legal basis.
SO ORDERED.11

Our Ruling

Petitioners contentions deserve scant consideration. In Abe v. Foster Wheeler


The petition lacks merit. In its June 11, 2002 Decision,28 the trial court granted an additional 1% per
Petitioners Motion for Reconsideration was denied by the Court of Appeals in a Corporation,25 we held that the freedom of contract is not absolute. The same is
month penalty as liquidated damages 29 beginning February 17, 1994 up to June
Resolution dated July 18, 2005. understood to be subject to reasonable legislative regulation aimed at the
21, 2000.30 Since respondents did not file their appellees brief despite notice,
promotion of public health, morals, safety and welfare. One such legislative
the appellate court declared this to be not in issue. 31
regulation is found in Article 1306 of the Civil Code which allows the contracting
parties to "establish such stipulations, clauses, terms and conditions as they
The Court of Appeals correctly found that the 5% monthly interest, compounded may deem convenient, provided they are not contrary to law, morals, good
monthly, is unconscionable and should be equitably reduced to the legal rate of customs, public order or public policy."
Issues
12% per annum.
Although the issue of the liquidated damages was not presented squarely in
Hence, the present Petition for Review on Certiorari raising the following issues: either Memorandum of the parties, this does not prevent us from ruling on the
matter. In the exercise of our appellate jurisdiction, we are clothed with ample
authority to review findings and rulings of lower courts even if they are not
To reiterate, we fully agree with the Court of Appeals in holding that the
1. THE COURT OF APPEALS GROSSLY ERRED IN NULLIFYING THE assigned as errors. This is especially so if we find that their consideration is
While we agree with petitioners that parties to a loan agreement have wide compounded interest rate of 5% per month, is iniquitous and unconscionable.
INTEREST RATE VOLUNTARILY AGREED UPON BY THE PETITIONERS necessary in arriving at a just decision of the case. We have consistently held
latitude to stipulate on any interest rate in view of the Central Bank Circular No. Being a void stipulation, it is deemed inexistent from the beginning. The debt is
AND RESPONDENTS AND EXPRESSLY STIPULATED IN THE CONTRACT that an unassigned error closely related to an error properly assigned, or upon
905 s. 1982 which suspended the Usury Law ceiling on interest effective to be considered without the stipulation of the iniquitous and unconscionable
OF MORTGAGE ENTERED INTO BETWEEN THEM. which a determination of the question raised by the error properly assigned is
January 1, 1983, it is also worth stressing that interest rates whenever interest rate. Accordingly, the legal interest of 12% per annum must be imposed
dependent, will be considered notwithstanding the failure to assign it as an
unconscionable may still be declared illegal. There is certainly nothing in said in lieu of the excessive interest stipulated in the agreement, in line with our
error.32 On this premise, we deem it proper to pass upon the matter of liquidated
circular which grants lenders carte blanche authority to raise interest rates to ruling in Ruiz v. Court of Appeals,26 thus:
damages.
levels which will either enslave their borrowers or lead to a hemorrhaging of
their assets.17
2. THE COURT OF APPEALS GROSSLY ERRED IN MAKING A CONTRACT
BETWEEN THE PETITIONERS AND RESPONDENTS BY UNILATERALLY
CHANGING THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF THE CONTRACT OF
The foregoing rates of interests and surcharges are in accord with Medel vs.
MORTGAGE ENTERED INTO BETWEEN THEM. Article 2226 of the Civil Code provides that "[L]iquidated damages are those
Court of Appeals, Garcia vs. Court of Appeals, Bautista vs. Pilar Development
agreed upon by the parties to a contract, to be paid in case of breach thereof."
In several cases, we have ruled that stipulations authorizing iniquitous or Corporation, and the recent case of Spouses Solangon vs. Salazar. This Court
unconscionable interests are contrary to morals, if not against the law. In Medel invalidated a stipulated 5.5% per month or 66% per annum interest on
v. Court of Appeals,18 we annulled a stipulated 5.5% per month or 66% per a P500,000.00 loan in Medel and a 6% per month or 72% per annum interest on
annum interest on a P500,000.00 loan and a 6% per month or 72% per annum a P60,000.00 loan in Solangon for being excessive, iniquitous, unconscionable
3. THE COURT OF APPEALS GROSSLY ERRED IN EXTENDING THE interest on a P60,000.00 loan, respectively, for being excessive, iniquitous, and exorbitant. In both cases, we reduced the interest rate to 12% per annum.
PERIOD OF REDEMPTION IN FAVOR OF THE RESPONDENTS IN unconscionable and exorbitant. In Ruiz v. Court of Appeals, 19 we declared a 3% We held that while the Usury Law has been suspended by Central Bank Circular In the instant case, a cursory reading of the Kasulatan would show that it is
VIOLATION OF THE CLEAR AND UNEQUIVOCAL PROVISIONS OF ACT NO. monthly interest imposed on four separate loans to be excessive. In both cases, No. 905, s. 1982, effective on January 1, 1983, and parties to a loan agreement devoid of any stipulation with respect to liquidated damages. Neither did any of
3135 PROVIDING A PERIOD OF ONLY ONE YEAR FOR THE REDEMPTION the interest rates were reduced to 12% per annum. have been given wide latitude to agree on any interest rate, still stipulated the parties allege or prove the existence of any agreement on liquidated
OF A FORECLOSED REAL PROPERTY.12 interest rates are illegal if they are unconscionable. Nothing in the said circular damages. Hence, for want of any stipulation on liquidated damages in the
grants lenders carte blanche authority to raise interest rates to levels which will Kasulatan entered into by the parties, we hold that the liquidated damages
In this case, the 5% monthly interest rate, or 60% per annum, compounded either enslave their borrowers or lead to a hemorrhaging of their assets. On the awarded by the trial court and affirmed by the Court of Appeals to be without
monthly, stipulated in the Kasulatan is even higher than the 3% monthly interest other hand, in Bautista vs. Pilar Development Corp., this Court upheld the legal basis and must be deleted.
rate imposed in the Ruiz case. Thus, we similarly hold the 5% monthly interest validity of a 21% per annum interest on a P142,326.43 loan, and in Garcia vs.
to be excessive, iniquitous, unconscionable and exorbitant, contrary to morals, Court of Appeals, sustained the agreement of the parties to a 24% per annum
Petitioners Arguments and the law. It is therefore void ab initio for being violative of Article 1306 20 of the interest on an P8,649,250.00 loan. It is on the basis of these cases that we
Civil Code. With this, and in accord with the Medel and Ruiz cases, we hold that reduce the 36% per annum interest to 12%. An interest of 12% per annum is
the Court of Appeals correctly imposed the legal interest of 12% per annum in deemed fair and reasonable. While it is true that this Court invalidated a much
Petitioners contend that with the removal by the Bangko Sentral of the ceiling on The foreclosure proceedings held on March 3, 1999 cannot be given effect.
place of the excessive interest stipulated in the Kasulatan. higher interest rate of 66% per annum in Medel and 72% in Solangon it has
the rate of interest that may be stipulated in a contract of loan, 13 the lender and
the borrower could validly agree on any interest rate on loans. Thus, the Court sustained the validity of a much lower interest rate of 21% in Bautista and 24%
of Appeals gravely erred when it declared the stipulated interest in in Garcia. We still find the 36% per annum interest rate in the case at bar to be
The Court of Appeals modified the judgment of the trial court by holding that cannot be conducted in order to answer for the unpaid debt. The foreclosure
respondents, in the interest of substantial justice and equity, may redeem the sale conducted upon their failure to pay P874,125.00 in 1990 should be nullified
mortgaged property notwithstanding the lapse of the period of redemption. since the amount demanded as the outstanding loan was overstated;
From these, it is evident that despite considerable effort on her part, respondent consequently it has not been shown that the mortgagors the Spouses Anent the allegation of petitioners that the Court of Appeals erred in extending
Tan failed to redeem the mortgaged property because she was unable to raise Landrito, have failed to pay their outstanding obligation. x x x the period of redemption, same has been rendered moot in view of the
Petitioners argue that this cannot be done because the right of redemption had the total amount of P359,000.00, an amount grossly inflated by the excessive nullification of the foreclosure proceedings.
long expired and same is no longer possible beyond the one-year period interest imposed. Thus, it is only proper that respondents be given the
provided under Act No. 3135.33 opportunity to repay the real amount of their indebtedness.

As a result, the subsequent registration of the foreclosure sale cannot transfer


any rights over the mortgaged property to the Spouses Espiritu. The registration WHEREFORE, the instant petition is DENIED. The assailed Decision of the
of the foreclosure sale, herein declared invalid, cannot vest title over the Court of Appeals dated October 29, 2004 as well as the Resolution dated July
36
On the other hand, respondents insist that to disallow them to redeem the In the case of Heirs of Zoilo Espiritu v. Landrito, which is on all fours with the mortgaged property. x x x (Emphasis supplied) 18, 2005 are AFFIRMED with the MODIFICATION that the award of 1%
property would render meaningless the declaration that the stipulated interest is instant case, we held that: liquidated damages per month be DELETED and that petitioners
null and void. are ORDERED to reconvey the subject property to respondents conditioned
upon the payment of the loan together with the rate of interest fixed herein.

On this basis, we nullify the foreclosure proceedings held on March 3, 1999


Since the Spouses Landrito, the debtors in this case, were not given an since the amount demanded as the outstanding loan was overstated.
It is undisputed that sometime after the maturity of the loan, respondent Tan opportunity to settle their debt, at the correct amount and without the iniquitous Consequently, it has not been shown that the respondents have failed to pay the
attempted to pay the mortgage debt of P30,000.00 as principal and some interest imposed, no foreclosure proceedings may be instituted. A judgment correct amount of their outstanding obligation. Accordingly, we declare the SO ORDERED.
interest. Said offer was refused by petitioners because they demanded payment ordering a foreclosure sale is conditioned upon a finding on the correct amount registration of the foreclosure sale invalid and cannot vest title over the
of the total accumulated amount of P359,000.00.34 Moreover, the trial court also of the unpaid obligation and the failure of the debtor to pay the said amount. In mortgaged property.
mentioned an offer by respondent Tan of the amount of P200,000.00 to this case, it has not yet been shown that the Spouses Landrito had already
petitioners in order for her to redeem or re-acquire the property in litis. 35 failed to pay the correct amount of the debt and, therefore, a foreclosure sale