Allied Banking Corporation vs Court of Appeals
494 SCRA 467 [G.R. No. 125851 July 11, 2006]
Facts: On January 6, 1981, petitioner Allied Bank, Manila (ALLIED) purchased Export Bill No. BDO-81-002 in the amount of US $20,085.00 from respondent G.G. Sportswear Mfg. Corporation (GGS). The bill, drawn under a letter of credit No. BB640549 covered Men’s Valvoline Training Suit that was in transit to West Germany (Uniger via Rotterdam) under Cont. #73/S0299. The export bill was issued by Chekiang First Bank Ltd., Hongkong. With the purchase of the bill, ALLIED credited GGS the peso equivalent of the aforementioned bill amounting to P acknowledged by the latter in its letter dated June 22, 1981. 151,474.52 and the receipt of which was On the same date, respondents Nari Gidwani and Alcron International Ltd. (Alcron) executed their respective Letters of Guaranty, holding themselves liable on the export bill if it should be dishonored or retired by the drawee for any reason. Subsequently, the spouses Leon and Leticia de Villa and Nari Gidwani also executed a Continuing Guaranty/Comprehensive Surety (surety, for brevity), guaranteeing payment of any and all such credit accommodations which ALLIED may extend to GGS. When ALLIED negotiated the export bill to Chekiang, payment was refused due to some material discrepancies in the documents submitted by GGS relative to the exportation covered by the letter of credit. Consequently, ALLIED demanded payment from all the respondents based on the Letters of Guaranty and Surety executed in favor of ALLIED. However, respondents refused to pay, prompting ALLIED to file an action for a sum of money.
Issue: Whether or not private respondents are liable for the obligation since there was no protest made after dishonor.
Held: Yes. Section 152 of the Negotiable Instruments Law pertaining to indorsers, relied on by respondents, is not pertinent to this case. There are well-defined distinctions between the contract of an indorser and that of a guarantor/surety of a commercial paper, which is what is involved in this case. The contract of indorsement is primarily that of transfer, while the contract of guaranty is that of personal security. The liability of a guarantor/surety is broader than that of an indorser. Unless the bill is promptly presented for payment at maturity and due notice of dishonor given to the indorser within a reasonable time, he will be discharged from liability thereon. On the other hand, except where required by the provisions of the contract of suretyship, a demand or notice of default is not required to fix the surety’s liability. He cannot complain that the creditor has not notified him in the absence of a special agreement to that effect in the contract of suretyship. Therefore, no protest on the export bill is necessary to charge all the respondents jointly and severally liable with G.G. Sportswear since the respondents held themselves liable upon demand in case the instrument was dishonored and on the surety, they even waived notice of dishonor as stipulated in their Letters of Guarantee.
As to respondent Alcron, it is bound by the Letter of Guaranty executed by its representative Hans-Joachim Schloer. As to the other respondents, not to be overlooked is the fact that, the “Suretyship Agreement” they executed, expressly contemplated a solidary obligation, providing as it did that “… the sureties hereby guarantee jointly and severally the punctual payment of any and all such credit accommodations, instruments, loans, … which is/are now or may hereafter become due or owing … by the borrower”. It is a cardinal rule that if the terms of a contract are clear and leave no doubt as to the intention of the contracting parties, the literal meaning of its stipulation shall control. In the present case, there can be no mistaking about respondents’ intent, as sureties, to be jointly and severally obligated with respondent G.G. Sportswear.