Ponce de Leon v. Syjuco

G.R. No. L-3316, 31 October 1951

FACTS:

Plaintiff obtained from defendant Syjuco two loans in 1944. One is for P200,000 obtained on May 5, 1944, and another for P16,000 obtained on July 31, 1944. These two loans appear in two promissory notes signed by the plaintiff which were couched in practically the same terms and conditions and were secured by two deeds of mortgage covering the same parcels of land. In said promissory notes it was expressly agreed upon that plaintiff shall pay the loans “within one year from May 5, 1948, . . . peso for peso in the coin or currency of the Government of the Philippines that, at the time of payment above fixed it is the legal tender for public and private debts, with interests at the rate of 6% per annum, payable in advance for the first year, and semi-annually in advance during the succeeding years”, and that, the period above set forth having been established for the mutual benefit of the debtor and creditor, the former binds himself to pay, and the latter not to demand the payment of, the loans except within the period above mentioned. And as corollary to having the above stipulations, it was likewise agreed upon in the two deeds of mortgage that “if either party should attempt to annul or alter any of the stipulations of this deed or of the note which it secures, or do anything which has for its purpose or effect an alteration or annulment of any of said stipulations, he binds himself to indemnify the other for the losses and damages, which the parties hereby liquidate and fix the amount of P200,000”.

The facts show that, on November 15, 1944, or thereabouts, contrary to the stipulation above mentioned, plaintiff offered to pay to the defendant not only the principal sum due on the two promissory notes but also all the interests which said principal sum may earn up to the dates of maturity of the two notes, and as the defendant refused to accept the payment so tendered, plaintiff deposited the money with the clerk of court and brought this action to compel the defendant to accept it to relieve himself of further liability.

ISSUE:

Is the consignation made by the plaintiff valid in the light of the law and the stipulations agreed upon in the two promissory notes signed by the plaintiff?

RULING:

Negative. In order that consignation may be effective, the debtor must first comply with certain requirements prescribed by law. The debtor must show (1) that there was a debt due; (2) that the consignation of the obligation had been made bacause the creditor to whom tender of payment was made refused to accept it, or because he was absent for incapacitated, or because several persons claimed to be entitled to receive the amount due (Art. 1176, Civil Code); (3) that previous notice of the consignation has been given to the person interested in the performance of the obligation (Art. 1177, Civil Code); (4) that the amount due was placed at the disposal of the court (Art 1178, Civil Code); and (5) that after the consignation had been made the person interested was notified thereof (Art. 1178, Civil Code). In the instant case, while it is admitted a debt existed, that the consignation was made because of the refusal of the creditor to accept it, and the filing of the complaint to compel its acceptance on the part of the creditor can be considered sufficient notice of the consignation to the creditor, nevertheless, it appears that at least two of the above requirements have not been complied with. Thus, it appears that plaintiff, before making the consignation with the clerk of the court, failed to give previous notice thereof to the person interested in the performance of the obligation. It also appears that the obligation was not yet due and demandable when the money was consigned, because, as already stated, by the very express provisions of the document evidencing the same, the obligation was to be paid within one year after May 5, 1948, and the consignation was made before this period matured. The failure of these two requirements is enough ground to render the consignation ineffective. And it cannot be contended that plaintiff is justified in accelerating the payment of the obligation because he was willing to pay the interests due up to the date of its maturity, because, under the law, in a monetary obligation contracted with a period, the presumption is that the same is deemed constituted in favor of both the creditor and the debtor unless from its tenor or from other circumstances it appears that the period has been established for the benefit of either one of them (Art. 1127, Civil Code). Here no such exception or circumstance exists.

* Case digest by  Cherry Mae Aguilla-Granada, LLB-1, Andres Bonifacio Law School, SY 2017-2018

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