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Case Digests

Civil Law - Aglibot v. Santia, G.R. No. 185945, December 5, 2012



G.R. No. 185945 : December 5, 2012
FIDELIZA J. AGLIBOT, Petitioner, v. INGERSOL L. SANTIA, Respondent.
REYES, J.:
FACTS:
Engr. Ingersol L. Santia (Santia) loaned the amount of P2,500,000.00 to
Pacific Lending & Capital Corporation (PLCC), through its Manager, petitioner
Fideliza J. Aglibot (Aglibot). The loan was evidenced by a promissory note.
Allegedly as a guaranty for the payment of the note, Aglibot issued and
delivered to Santia eleven (11) post-dated personal checks drawn from her
own account maintained at Metrobank. Upon presentment of the checks for
payment, they were dishonored by the bank for having been drawn against
insufficient funds or closed account. Santia thus demanded payment from
PLCC and Aglibot of the face value of the checks, but neither of them heeded
his demand. Consequently, eleven (11) Informations for violation of B.P. 22
were filed before the MTCC.
MTCC acquitted Aglibot. On appeal, the RTC rendered a decision absolving
Aglibot and dismissing the civil aspect of the case on the ground of failure
to fulfill a condition precedent of exhausting all means to collect from the
principal debtor.
On appeal, the Court of Appeals ruled that the RTC erred when it dismissed
the civil aspect of the case. Hence, the CA ruled that Aglibot is personally
liable for the loan.
Thus, Aglibot filed this instant petition for certiorari. She argued that she
was merely a guarantor of the obligation and therefore, entitled to the
benefit of excussion under Article of the 2058 of the Civil Code. She further
posited that she is not personally liable on the checks since she merely
contracted the loan in behalf of PLCC.
ISSUES:
I. Whether or not Aglibot is entitled to the benefit of excussion?
II. Whether or not Aglibot is personally liable on the checks?
HELD: The petition is bereft of merit.
CIVIL LAW: guaranty; benefit of excussion; Statute of Frauds;
contracts
FIRST ISSUE: Aglibot cannot invoke the benefit of excussion.
It is settled that the liability of the guarantor is only subsidiary, and all the
properties of the principal debtor, the PLCC in this case, must first be
exhausted before the guarantor may be held answerable for the debt. Thus,
the creditor may hold the guarantor liable only after judgment has been
obtained against the principal debtor and the latter is unable to pay, for
obviously the exhaustion of the principals property the benefit of which
the guarantor claims cannot even begin to take place before judgment
has been obtained. This rule is contained in Article 2062 of the Civil Code,
which provides that the action brought by the creditor must be filed against
the principal debtor alone, except in some instances mentioned in Article
2059 when the action may be brought against both the guarantor and the
principal debtor.
The Court must, however, reject Aglibots claim as a mere guarantor of the
indebtedness of PLCC to Santia for want of proof, in view of Article 1403(2)
of the Civil Code, embodying the Statute of Frauds. Under the above
provision, concerning a guaranty agreement, which is a promise to answer
for the debt or default of another, the law clearly requires that it, or some
note or memorandum thereof, be in writing. Otherwise, it would be
unenforceable unless ratified, although under Article 1358 of the Civil Code,
a contract of guaranty does not have to appear in a public
document. Contracts are generally obligatory in whatever form they may
have been entered into, provided all the essential requisites for their validity
are present, and the Statute of Frauds simply provides the method by which
the contracts enumerated in Article 1403(2) may be proved, but it does not
declare them invalid just because they are not reduced to writing. Thus, the
form required under the Statute is for convenience or evidentiary purposes
only.
On the other hand, Article 2055 of the Civil Code also provides that a
guaranty is not presumed, but must be express, and cannot extend to more
than what is stipulated therein. This is the obvious rationale why a contract
of guarantee is unenforceable unless made in writing or evidenced by some
writing.
MERCANTILE LAW: accommodation party
SECOND ISSUE: Aglibot is an accommodation party and therefore
liable to Santia.
The appellate court ruled that by issuing her own post-dated checks, Aglibot
thereby bound herself personally and solidarily to pay Santia, and dismissed
her claim that she issued her said checks in her official capacity as PLCCs
manager merely to guarantee the investment of Santia. The facts present a
clear situation where Aglibot, as the manager of PLCC, agreed to
accommodate its loan to Santia by issuing her own post-dated checks in
payment thereof. She is what the Negotiable Instruments Law calls an
accommodation party.
The relation between an accommodation party and the party accommodated
is, in effect, one of principal and surety the accommodation party being
the surety. It is a settled rule that a surety is bound equally and absolutely
with the principal and is deemed an original promisor and debtor from the
beginning. The liability is immediate and direct. It is not a valid defense that
the accommodation party did not receive any valuable consideration when
he executed the instrument; nor is it correct to say that the holder for value
is not a holder in due course merely because at the time he acquired the
instrument, he knew that the indorser was only an accommodation party.
Unlike in a contract of suretyship, the liability of the accommodation party
remains not only primary but also unconditional to a holder for value, such
that even if the accommodated party receives an extension of the period for
payment without the consent of the accommodation party, the latter is still
liable for the whole obligation and such extension does not release him
because as far as a holder for value is concerned, he is a solidary co-debtor.
Petition is DENIED. Court of Appeals is AFFIRMED.