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G.R. No.

L-30181 July 12, 1929 was executed contemporaneously with the main contract; and in connection therewith
it should be noted that one of the names appearing upon said contract was that of
"Casa Viuda de Tan Toco," purporting to be signed by M. de la Rama.
AL., defendants. The dredging operation were conducted by the Bureau of Public Works in substantial
SING JUCO, SING BENGCO and PHILIPPINE NATIONAL BANK, appellants. accomplice with the terms of said agreement; and after the account with the owners
were liquidated and the amount due from them determined, demand was made upon
FACTS: them for the payment of the first installment. No such payment was made, as a
consequence, this action was instituted by the Director of Public Works on October 14,
1926, for the purpose of recovering the amount due to the Government under the
From Torrens certificate of title No. 1359 relating to land in the municipality of Iloilo, it contract from the original owners of the property from the sureties whose names were
appears that on September 28, 1920, the title of the property described therein was signed to the contract of surety ship, and to enforce the obligation as a real lien upon
owned, in undivided shares, by Mariano de la Rama, Gonzalo Mariano Tanboontien, the property.
Sing Juco and Sing Bengco. The interest vested by said certificate in Mariano de la
Rama was subsequently transferred to sale to Enrique Enchaus. It further appears
that on November 23, 1020, the owners of the property covered by the said certificate In said action the Philippine National Bank was made a party defendant, as having an
conveyed it by way of a mortgage to the Philippine National Bank for the purpose of interest under its prior mortgage upon the property, while Enrique Enchaus was made
securing a credit in current account in an amount not in excess of P170, 000, with defendant as successor in interest of M. de la Rama, and Tan Ong Sze widow of Tan
interest at a rate of 12 percent per annum. The indebtedness covered by this Toco, was also made defendant by reason of her supposed liability derived from the
mortgage has not been satisfied, and upon the date of the decision of the court below act of De la Rama in signing the firm "Casa Viuda de Tan Toco" as a surety on bond.
it amounted to the sum of P170, 000, plus interest at 12 percent per annum from It was noteworthy that in the complaint it was asked that, in the enforcement of the
November 24, 1920. government's lien, the property should be sold "subject to the first mortgage in favor of
the Philippine National Bank."
The land above referred to contains an area of nearly 16 hectares, or to be exact,
158,589.44 square meters according to the certificate. It is located on "Point Llorente" Upon hearing the cause the trial court made pronouncement, declaring: (1) Sing Juco,
near the City of Iloilo, and it is of so low a level that, prior to the improvement to which Sing Bengco, M. de la Rama and G. M. Tanboontien indebted to the Government and
reference is to be made, it was subject to frequent flooding. In 1921, the Government requiring them to pay the said sum to the plaintiff; and (2) Tan Ong Sze, Viuda de Tan
was planning extensive harbor improvements in this vicinity, requiring extensive Toco, personally liable upon the contract of suretyship, in case the four principal
dredging by the Bureau of Public Works in the mouth of said river. The conduct of obligors should not satisfy their indebtedness to the Government, or if the land should
these dredging operations made it necessary for the Director of Public Works to find a not sell enough to satisfy the same. All of the defendants, except the Philippine
place of deposit for the dirt and mud taken from the place, or places, dredged. As the National Bank, appealed from so much of the decision as held that the defendant
land already referred to was low and easily accessible to the spot where dredging was owners and signatories to the contract of surety ship has not been released by non-
to be conducted, it was obviously for the interest of the Government and the said performance of the contract on the part of the Bureau of Public Works, and from the
owners of the land that the material taken out by the dredges should be deposited on refusal of the court to give to the defendant owners damages for breach of contract on
the said property. the part of the Government.

Accordingly, after preliminary negotiations to this effect have been conducted, a ISSUE: Whether or not Tan Ong Sze, widow of Tan Toco, is bound by a contract of
contract was made between the Director of Public Works, representing the surety ship made by Mariano de la Rama under power of attorney.
Government of the Philippine Islands, and the four owners, M. de la Rama, Sing Juco,
G. M. Tanboontien, and Seng Bengco, of which, as modified by some respects by HELD: NO. It is true that the Government introduced in evidence 2 documents
subsequent agreement, the following features are noteworthy: (1) The Bureau of exhibiting powers of attorney, conferred by these documents (Exhibit K, identical with
Public Works agreed to deposit the material to be dredged by it from the Iloilo River Exhibit 5) Mariano de la Rama was given the power which reads as follows: . . . and
upon the lot of the land; and (2) With respect to the compensation it was agreed that also for me and in my name to sign, seal and execute, and as my act and deed deliver,
the amount due should be determined by the Director of Public Works, under certain any lease or any other deed for the conveying any real or personal property or the
conditions mentioned in the contract, of an amount of not less than 20 nor more than other matter or thing wherein I am or may be personally interested or concerned. And I
75 centavos per cubic meter. In connection with the making of the contract do hereby further authorize and empower my said attorney to substitute and point any
abovementioned, the, Director of Public Works required a bond to be supplied by the other attorney or attorneys under him for the purposes aforesaid, and the same again
owners in the penal amount of P150,000, approximately twice the estimated cost of and pleasure to revoke; and generally for me and in my name to do, perform, and
the filling, conditioned for the payment of the amount due from the owners. This bond
execute all and any other lawful and reasonable acts and things whatsoever as fully
and effectually as I, the said Tan Ong Sze might or could do if personally present.

In another document, (Exhibits L and M), executed in favor of the same Mariano de la
Rama by his uncle Tan Lien Co, attorney-in-fact of Tan Ong Sze, with power of
substitution, there appears the following: . . and also for her and for her name to sign,
seal and execute, and as her act and deed deliver, any lease, release, bargain, sale,
assignment, conveyance or assurance, any other deed for the conveying any real or
personal property or other matter or thing wherein she or may be personally interested
or concerned.

Neither of these powers officially confers upon Mariano de la Rama the power to
bind a principal by a contract of surety ship. The clauses noted relate more
specifically to the execution of contracts relating to property; and the more general
words at the close of the quoted clauses should be interpreted, under the general
rule ejusdem generis, as referring to the contracts of like character. Power to execute
a contract so exceptional a nature as a contract of surety ship or guaranty cannot be
inferred from the general words contained in these powers. In article 1827 of the Civil
Code it is declared that guaranty shall not be presumed; it must be expressed and
cannot be extended beyond its specified limits. By analogy a power of attorney to
execute a contract of guaranty should not be inferred from vague or general words,
especially when such words have their origin and explanation in particular powers of a
wholly different nature. It results that the trial court was in error in giving personal
judgment against Tan Ong Sze upon the bond upon which she was sued in this case.

From what it has been said it results that the appealed judgment must be affirmed,
and the same is hereby affirmed, in dismissing, in effect, the cross-complaint filed by
some of the defendants against the plaintiff, the Director of Public Works. Said
judgment, however, must be reversed and the same is being reversed in so far as it
holds that Tan Ong Sze, Viuda de Tan Toco, is liable upon the contract of suretyship,
and she is hereby absolved from the complaint. For further proceedings in conformity
with this opinion, the cause is hereby remanded to the cause of origin, without
pronouncements as to costs. So ordered.