Rosario Braganza and her sons loaned from De Villa Abrille P70,000 in Japanese war notes and in consideration thereof, promised in writing to pay him P10,000 + 2% per annum in legal currency of the Philippines 2 years after the cessation of the war. Because they have not paid, Abrille sued them in March 1949.
The Manila court of first instance and CA held the family solidarily liable to pay according to the contract they signed. The family petitioned to review the decision of the CA whereby they were ordered to solidarily pay De Villa Abrille P10,000 + 2% interest, praying for consideration of the minority of the Braganza sons when they signed the contract.
They also averred that Guillermo and Rodolfo were minors when they signed the promissory note.
Court of Appeals found them liable pursuant to the following reasoning:
. . . . These two appellants did not make it appears in the promissory note that they were not yet of legal age. If they were really to their creditor, they should have appraised him on their incapacity, and if the former, in spite of the information relative to their age, parted with his money, then he should have contended with the consequence of his act. But, that was not the case. Perhaps defendants in their desire to acquire much-needed money, they readily and willingly signed the promissory note, without disclosing the legal impediment with respect to Guillermo and Rodolfo. When minor, like in the instant case, pretended to be of legal age, in fact, they were not, they will not, later on, be permitted to excuse themselves from the fulfillment of the obligation contracted by them or to have it annulled. (Mercado, et al. vs. Espiritu, 37 Phil., 215.)
Whether or not the minors are liable for the promissory note?
No, in order to hold them liable, the fraud must be actual and not constructive. It has been held that his mere silence when making a contract as to his age does not constitute a fraud which can be made the basis of an action of deceit.
The fraud of which an infant may be held liable to one who contracts with him in the belief that he is of full age must be actual, not constructive, and mere failure of the infant to disclose his age is not sufficient.
However, the boys though not bound by the provisions of the contract, are still liable to pay the actual amount they have profited from the loan. Art. 1340 states that even if the written contract is unenforceable because of their non-age, they shall make restitution to the extent that they may have profited by the money received.
* Case digest by Kristine Camille Gahuman, LLB-1, Andres Bonifacio Law School, SY 2017-2018