G.R. No. 96405, 26 June 1996
In February 1983, Rene Naybe took out a loan from Philippine Bank of Communications (PBC) in the amount of P50k. For that he executed a promissory note in the same amount. Naybe was able to convince Baldomero Inciong, Jr. and Gregorio Pantanosas to co-sign with him as co-makers. The promissory note went due and it was left unpaid. PBC demanded payment from the three but still no payment was made. PBC then sue the three but PBC later released Pantanosas from its obligations. Naybe left for Saudi Arabia hence can’t be issued summons and the complaint against him was subsequently dropped. Inciong was left to face the suit. He argued that that since the complaint against Naybe was dropped, and that Pantanosas was released from his obligations, he too should have been released.a
Whether or not Inciong should be held liable.
Yes. Inciong is considering himself as a guarantor in the promissory note. And he was basing his argument based on Article 2080 of the Civil Code which provides that guarantors are released from their obligations if the creditors shall release their debtors. It is to be noted however that Inciong did not sign the promissory note as a guarantor. He signed it as a solidary co-maker.
A guarantor who binds himself in solidum with the principal debtor does not become a solidary co-debtor to all intents and purposes. There is a difference between a solidary co-debtor and a fiador in solidum (surety). The latter, outside of the liability he assumes to pay the debt before the property of the principal debtor has been exhausted, retains all the other rights, actions and benefits which pertain to him by reason of the fiansa; while a solidary co-debtor has no other rights than those bestowed upon him.
Because the promissory note involved in this case expressly states that the three signatories therein are jointly and severally liable, any one, some or all of them may be proceeded against for the entire obligation. The choice is left to the solidary creditor (PBC) to determine against whom he will enforce collection. Consequently, the dismissal of the case against Pontanosas may not be deemed as having discharged Inciong from liability as well. As regards Naybe, suffice it to say that the court never acquired jurisdiction over him. Inciong, therefore, may only have recourse against his co-makers, as provided by law.
* Case digest by Aisha Mie Faith M. Fernandez, LLB-1, Andres Bonifacio Law School, SY 2017-2018