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People v. Franklin, ASIAN SURETY & INSURANCE COMPANY, INC., bondsman-appellant.

G.R. No. L-21507 | June 7, 1971| En Banc | J. Dizon | Petition for certiorari
Loss of the thing due or Impossibility of Performance

DOCTRINE: It is clear, therefore, that in the eyes of the law a surety [upon a bail bond] becomes the legal custodian and jailer of the
accused, thereby assuming the obligation to keep the latter at all times under his surveillance, and to produce and surrender him to
the court upon the latter's demand.

Natividad Franklin, Asian Surety People
 Natividad Franklin was charged w/ estafa; was released from custody upon bail bond of P2k posted by Asian Surety & Ins. Co.
 After preliminary investigation, an Information was filed.
 CFI set her arraignment, but she failed to appear. Arraignment was again postponed but she also failed to appear in this.
 Court ordered her arrest + required Asian Surety to show cause why bail bond should not be forfeited. (ELAM: principle in bail – accused
must appear when ordered by Court)
o Court granted Asian Surety a period of 30 d w/in wc to produce Franklin.
 Asian Surety filed for another extension of 30 days but still failed to produce the accused.
 CFI: had no other alternative but to forfeit the bail bond.

 Subsequently, Asian Surety filed motion to reduce bail amount alleging that reason for its inability to produce Franklin was that
Philippine Gov’t allowed her to leave the country for the US .
 CFI: denied the motion, and MR was also denied, stating that it would consider reducing bail upon production of the accused, but the
company never complied with the obligation.

 Asian Surety elevated case with SC; now contends that CFI should have released it from liability under the bail bond because its failure to
produce and surrender the accused was due to negligence of Phil Gov’t in issuing a passport to Franklin enabling her to leave the
country (citing Art. 1266 CC).

ISSUE: WON the gov’t’s issuance of passport to accused allowing her to leave country constitutes impossibility of performance w/o
the fault of obligor contemplated under Art. 1226, which thereby releases surety company from liability under the bail bond? – NO.

Court ruled (with People):
 Art. 1266 CC. The debtor in obligations to do shall also be released when the prestation becomes legally or physically impossible without the
fault of the obligor.
 Art. 1266 does not apply in this case, because Art 1266 speaks of the relation between a debtor and a creditor, which does not exist
between a surety of a bail bond and the State.
o In US v. Bonoan, Court held that: The rights and liabilities of sureties on a bail bond are, in many respects, different from those of sureties
on ordinary bonds or commercial contracts. The former can discharge themselves from liability by surrendering their principal; the latter,
as a general rule, can only be released by payment of debt or performance of act stipulated.
 It is clear under the law, a surety becomes the legal custodian and jailer of the accused, thereby assuming the obligation to keep
the latter at all times under his surveillance, and to produce him to the court upon the latter's demand.
o Uy Tuising "By the mere fact that a person binds himself as surety for accused, he takes charge of, and absolutely becomes responsible for
the latter's custody, and it is incumbent upon him, or it is his obligation, not merely a right, to keep accused at all times under his
surveillance. In allowing the accused Tuising to leave the country, the appellee necessarily ran the risk of violating and in fact it clearly
violated the terms of its bail-bonds because it failed to produce the said accused when on January 15, 1932, it was required to do so.
Undoubtedly, the result of the obligation assumed by the appellee to hold the accused amenable at all times to the orders and processes
of the lower court, was to prohibit accused from leaving the jurisdiction of the Philippines because, otherwise, said orders and processes
would be nugatory."

o That the accused in this case was able to secure a Philippine passport, which enabled her to go to US, was, in fact, due to Asian Surety’s
fault because it was its duty to ensure to prevent that departure.
o This could have been accomplished by seasonably informing the DFA and other agencies of the government of the fact that the
accused for whose provisional liberty it had posted a bail bond was facing a criminal charge in a particular court of the country. Had
the surety company done this, the Philippine passport should not have been issued to Franklin.

(ELAM: IOW – The issuance of passport allowing accused to leave country does not constitute impossibility of perf without fault of
obligor/Asian Surety, for the very reason that latter as bondman has responsibility to present accused to court, and having failed to do so
in this case was actually Asian Surety’s fault.)

The decision appealed from is affirmed in all its parts, with costs.