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Mendoza v CA

GR No. 116216, 20 June 1997


Panganiban, J.
Petition for review on certiorari
FACTS:
Natalia Mendoza and her husband borrowed US$ 35,000 from spouses
Thomas and Nena Asuncion and in a promissory note promised to pay the
Asuncions the amount of $465 each month starting April 1978 and 120
consecutive months thereafter. On April 1988, the entire balance of principal
and accrued interest then remaining unpaid shall be due and payable.
Should the default be made in the payment of the interest and principal when
due, the entire balance of the principal and interest then remaining unpaid
shall become immediately due at the option of the holder of this note. X x x x

From April 1978 to December 1981, Natalia made monthly payments totalling
$22.5k in addition payments were also made to private respondents
daughter and to Regina Pangan and/or Teresita Angeles amounting to
$5,180.17. Further payments of appellees amounting to $8,500. From
October 1982, petitioner stopped payments and was sued by the Asuncions.
After due trial, the RTC dismissed the case for lack of cause of action saying
that the entire balance of the principal and accrued interest remaining unpaid
shall become due and payable in April 1988. The CA reversed the decision of
the RTC, hence this petition.
ISSUE: whether or not the acceleration clause in the promissory note be used
HELD: No, petition dismissed.
RATIO: Petitioner contends that upon default of the payment, she can invoke the
second statement and therefore justify the settlement of the unpaid principal and
interest upon maturity date in April 1988. Article 1374 provides that stipulations of
a contract shall be interpreted together, attributing to the doubtful ones that sense
which may result from all of them taken jointly.
The first sentence of the promissory note provides the regular payment of the
principal and accrued interest, the second and third statements provides for the
discretionary exercise of leniency by the creditors, herein respondents. The second
and third statements provides an option in case of default and for the creditor to
invoke the acceleration clause and collect the entire balance without waiting for
April 1988, and cannot be construed as conferring on the debtor the right to default
on the monthly payments. These options are granted to the creditor and not the
debtor.
Furthermore, the Civil Code provides that subsequent or contemporaneous acts of
the contracting parties shall be considered in judging their intention. Petitioner
faithfully paid her dues every month from April 1978 to October 1982 which shows
her concurrence with her obligations as stipulated in the first statement, she cannot
be permitted to renege on such obligations and to elect a new term of payment

since a party cannot be allowed to go back to his/her own acts and representations
to the prejudice of the other party who, in good faith, relied upon them.