G.R. No. L-23563, 8 May 1969
Sotto filed a Motion for Deposit in the Court of First Instance of Negros Occidental dated March 20, 1963, in its Civil Case No. 6796 which requires them to deposit with the Clerk of Court the amount of P5,106.00 within ten (10) days from receipt of said order.
“Defendants, in their “Opposition” dated November 23, 1962, signified their willingness to deposit the requested amount provided that the complaint is dismissed and that they be absolved of all other liabilities, expenses, and costs.
CFI issued the following order “hereby ordered to deposit said amount to the Clerk of Court pending the final termination of this case. Plaintiff — this time represented by new counsel — filed a motion for partial judgment on the pleadings with respect to the amount of P5,106.00, modifying their previous request for the judicial deposit, which had already been granted.
Defendants moved to reconsider the order of November 26, explaining that through oversight they failed to allege in their “Opposition” that the sum of P5,106.00 was actually secured by a real estate mortgage. They would thus premise their willingness to deposit said amount upon the condition “… that the plaintiff will cancel the mortgage above mentioned and that the plaintiff be ordered to return to the defendants Transfer Certificate of Title No. 29326 covering Lot No. 327 of Pontevedra and Transfer Certificate of Title No. 29327 covering Lot No. 882 of Hinigaran Cadastre, Negros Occidental.”
The CFI denied both motions. Thus this appeal.
Did the court act with authority and in the judicious exercise of its discretion in ordering the defendants to make the deposit but without the condition they had stated?
Whether or not to deposit at all the amount of an admitted indebtedness, or to do so under certain conditions, is a right which belongs to the debtor exclusively. If he refuses he may not be compelled to do so, and the creditor must fall back on the proper coercive processes provided by law to secure or satisfy his credit, as by attachment, judgment, and execution. From the viewpoint of the debtor, a deposit such as the one involved here is in the nature of consignation, and consignation is a facultative remedy which he may or may not avail himself of. If made by the debtor, the creditor merely accepts it, if he wishes; or the court declares that it has been properly made, in either of which events the obligation is ordered canceled. Indeed, the law says that “before the creditor has accepted the consignation or before a judicial declaration that the consignation has been properly made, the debtor may withdraw the thing or the sum deposited, allowing the obligation to remain in force.” 2 If the debtor has such right of withdrawal, he surely has the right to refuse to make the deposit in the first place. For the court to compel him to do so was a grave abuse of discretion amounting to excess of jurisdiction.
* Case digest by Leizel O. Lagare, LLB-1, Andres Bonifacio Law School, SY 2017-2018