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GANAWAY VS QUILLEN

FEB 20, 1922


J. MALCOLM
Original action for habeas corpus
P asks to be released from Bilibid Prison because of imprisonment for debt in a civil case
growing out of a contract. The reason he was imprisoned (according to the Atty-General)
is because of an order from Hon. George Harvey, judge of First Instance (Manila), issued
under authority of Chapter XVII of the Code of Civil Procedures.
The civil case complaint is grounded on a contract, and in effect asks for an accounting.
The plaintiffs in that case had sued P for breach of contract.
Contract in question was about the publication of a book Forbes Memoirs
W/N the constitutional prohibition against imprisonment for debt makes an exception for
cases of fraud.
No. Debtors cannot be committed to prison for liabilities arising from actions ex
contractu.
Prohibition in Philippine Bill (1902) reproduced in Jones Law is no person shall be
imprisoned for debt.
Makes no exception in cases of fraud
Should be given the same interpretation that has been given similar provisions in
the US
Abolition of imprisonment for debt was brought about by the force of public opinion
which looked with abhorrence on statutory provision which permitted the cruel
imprisonment of debtors. The people sought to prevent the use of the power of the State
to coerce the payment of debts. The control of the creditor over the person of his debtor
was abolished by human statutory and constitutional provisions.
Alabama one of the first States to adopt the consti provision in its absolute form
Carr vs State of Alabama Court held that a statute making it a misdemeanor for a
person engaged in banking to receive a deposit of money or other thing of value knowing
himself to be in failing circumstances or insolvent and providing that upon conviction he
shall be fined not less than double the amount of such deposit (1/2 to be paid to
depositor) was VOID
imprisonment for debt envisioned by the Consti framers was likely imprisonment
upon processes issuing in civil actions whose purpose was to collect debt
Debt - has a well-defined meaning
organic provisions relieving from imprisonment for debt intended to prevent
imprisonment for liabilities arising from actions ex contractu
inhibition never meant to include damages arising in actions ex delicto because
damages recoverable from those cases dont derive from contracts entered into
between the parties but are imposed on the defendant for the wrong he has done

and are considered as punishment, nor to fines and penalties imposed by the
courts in criminal proceedings as punishments for crime
Code
1902

of Civil Procedure took effect Oct 1, 1901 prior to enactment of Philippine Bill of
Chapter 17, where the subject provision is found, is entitled Arrest of Defendant
Taken bodily from the Code of Civil Procedure of California
But, consti provision in California is different from the Philippines because in
California, they make an exception in the imprisonment from debt provision to
exclude cases of fraud

Case is similar to Tan Cong vs Stewart in that two Chinese commenced an action in CFI
Manila against another Chinaman (Tan Cong) for recover judgment for sum of P30 K. Tan
Cong was employed by the plaintiffs as their general agent and they requested him to
turn over the funds/stocks etc to the plaintiffs but he refused. CFI Manila ordered the
detention of the defendant. A habeas corpus petition was presented to the SC and in
their decision, Judge Johnson held that provisions of Sec 5 of the Philippine Bill expressly
prohibited the imprisonment of Philippine citizens in actions for the recovery of money in
a cause of action arising on a contract and ordered the release of the prisoner.
Application to Instant Case:
The action ending in CFI Manila (Casey vs Ganaway) is one predicated on an obligation
arising from a contract imprisonment of petitioner is in contravention of organic law
The holding in this case, however, doesnt make Chap XVII of the Code of Civil Procedure
invalid and should be limited to the facts of this case.
Ruling: Discharge of Ganaway