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PNB v.

CA
G.R. 88880, April 30, 1991

FACTS:

Private respondent Ambrosio Padilla, applied for and was granted a credit line of 321.8million,
by petitioner PNB. This was for a term of 2 years at 18% interest per annum an was secured
byreal estate mortgage and 2 promissory notes executed in favor of Petitioner by Padilla. The
credit agreement and the promissory notes, in effect, provide that Padilla agrees to be bound by
increases to the interest rate stipulated, provided it is within the limits provided for by law.
Conflict in this case arose when Petitioner unilaterally increased the interest rate from 18% to:
(1) 32%[July 1984]; (2) 41% [October 1984]; and (3) 48% [November 1984], or 3 times within
the span of a single year. This was done despite the numerous letters of request made by
Padilla that the interest rate be increased only to 21% or 24%. Padilla filed a complaint against
Petitioner with the RTC. The latter dismissed the case for lack of merit. Appeal by Padilla to CA
resulted in his favor. Hence the petition for certiorari under Rule 45 of ROC filed by PNB with
SC.

ISSUE: Whether the PNB, within the term of the loan which it granted to the private respondent,
may unilaterally change or increase the interest rate stipulated therein at will and as often as it
pleased

HELD:

No. First, PNBs successive increases of the interest rate on the private respondents loan, over
the latters protest, were arbitrary as they violated an express provision of the Credit Agreement
Section 9.01 that its terms "may be amended only by an instrument in writing signed by the
party to be bound as burdened by such amendment." The increases imposed by PNB also
contravene Art. 1956 of the Civil Code which provides that "no interest shall be due unless it has
been expressly stipulated in writing."

Second, besides violating P.D. 116, the unilateral action of the PNB in increasing the interest
rate on the private respondents loan, violated the mutuality of contracts ordained in Article 1308
of the civil Code: "ART. 1308. The contract must bind both contracting parties; its validity or
compliance cannot be left to the will of one of them."

Third, Although Section 2, P.D. No. 116 of January 29, 1973, authorizes the Monetary Board to
prescribe the maximum rate or rates of interest for loans or renewal thereof and to change such
rate or rates whenever warranted by prevailing economic and social conditions, it expressly
provides that "such changes shall not be made oftener than once every twelve months. "If the
Monetary Board itself was not authorized to make such changes oftener than once a year, even
less so may a bank which is subordinate to the Board.