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GR # 46095; November 23, 1977; J. Makasiar
SpecPro Aspect: [S6, R86] This provision does not categorically state that a creditor
must file his collection suit against the estate of a deceased debtor if the decedent died
while the suit was pending, even if there are surviving debtors in connection with the
original obligation to be settled.
FACTS: PNB (Petitioner) granted to Fabar Inc. (Respondent) different kinds of credit
accommodations and advancements (discount line, overdrafts, insurance premiums,
etc.), and it all amounted to P8.4M eventually. Said credit accommodations were secured
by Jose Ma. Barredo, Carmen Borromeo, Tomas Borromeo (Private Respondents), and
Manuel Barredo. Private respondents failed to pay their obligations to the petitioner even
after multiple demands, which led to the filing of a collection case against all Private
Respondents and Manuel Barredo.
Eventually, Manuel died and the CFI where the case was filed was duly informed of
such occurrence. Afterwards, the CFI dismissed the case and rationalized that the current
case is for a money claim which does not survive the death of said defendant. The CFI
further reasoned by using S6 R86 of the ROC: When the obligation of the decedent is
solidary with another debtor, the claim shall be filed against the decedent as if he were
the only debtor, without prejudice to the right of the estate to recover contribution from
the other debtor. MR was denied.
ISSUE: Did the CFI commit a mistake when all the cases of the petitioner were dismissed
using S6 R86 as a ground, effectively depriving the petitioner/creditor the right to file a
collection suit against the private respondents/surviving debtors herein?
HELD: YES. S6 R86 was incorrectly construed and applied by the CFI in this case.
There is nothing in S6 R86 that prohibits a creditor from proceeding against the
surviving solitary debtors. The aforementioned provision merely prepares the procedure
in enforcing collection in case a creditor chooses to pursue his claim against the estate of
the deceased solidary debtor.
Art. 1216 of the NCC is more apt to be applied in the case at bar, since the
provision empowers the creditor to proceed against anyone of the solidary debtors or
some or all of them simultaneously. There is no need to dismiss the case filed by the
creditor against the surviving debtors just to have its claim filed against the estate of the
deceased solidary debtor, as the SC said. If such were to happen, it will have the effect of
being a condition precedent for any collection against the surviving debtors to prosper,
thereby depriving the creditor of his substantive rights given by Art. 1216 of the NCC.
That sets a dangerous precedent of procedural law repealing substantive law, which
cannot be given credence since the weight of substantive law versus procedural law has
already been settled by numerous jurisprudence decided by the SC.