Ang vs Associated Bank, etal (532 SCRA 244)

Ang vs Associated Bank, etal
532 SCRA 244 [G.R. No. 146511 September 5, 2007]

Facts: On August 28, 1990, respondent Associated Bank (formerly Associated Banking Corporation and now known as United Overseas Bank Philippines) filed a collection suit against Antonio Ang Eng Liong and petitioner Tomas Ang for the two (2) promissory notes that they executed as principal debtor and co-maker, respectively. In the Complaint, respondent Bank alleged that on October 3 and 9, 1978, the defendants obtained a loan of P evidenced by a promissory note bearing PN-No. DVO-78-382, and P 50,000, 30,000, evidenced by a promissory note bearing PNNo. DVO-78-390. As agreed, the loan would be payable, jointly and severally, on January 31, 1979 and December 8, 1978, respectively. In addition, subsequent amendments to the promissory notes as well as the disclosure statements6 stipulated that the loan would earn 14% interest rate per annum, 2% service charge per annum, 1% penalty charge per month from due date until fully paid, and attorney’s fees equivalent to 20% of the outstanding obligation. Despite repeated demands for payment, the latest of which were on September 13, 1988 and September 9, 1986, on Antonio Ang Eng Liong and Tomas Ang, respectively, respondent Bank claimed that the defendants failed and refused to settle their obligation, resulting in a total indebtedness of P 539,638.96 as of July 31, 1990. In his Answer, Antonio Ang Eng Liong only admitted to have secured a loan amounting to P 80,000. He pleaded though that the bank “be ordered to submit a more reasonable computation” considering that there had been “no correct and reasonable statement of account” sent to him by the bank, which was allegedly collecting excessive interest, penalty charges, and attorney’s fees despite knowledge that his business was destroyed by fire, hence, he had no source of income for several years. For his part, petitioner Tomas Ang filed an Answer with Counterclaim and Cross-claim. He interposed the affirmative defenses that: the bank is not the real party in interest as it is not the holder of the promissory notes, much less a holder for value or a holder in due course; the bank knew that he did not receive any valuable consideration for affixing his signatures on the notes but merely lent his name as an accommodation party; he accepted the promissory notes in blank, with only the printed provisions and the signature of Antonio Ang Eng Liong appearing therein.

Issue: Whether or not Petitioner is liable to the obligation despite being a mere co-maker and accommodation party.

Held: Yes. Notably, Section 29 of the NIL defines an accommodation party as a person “who has signed the instrument as maker, drawer, acceptor, or indorser, without receiving value therefor, and for the purpose of lending his name to some other person.” As gleaned from the text, an accommodation party is one who meets all the three requisites, viz: (1) he must be a party to the instrument, signing as maker, drawer, acceptor, or indorser; (2) he must not receive value therefor; and (3) he must sign for the purpose of lending his name or credit to some other person. An accommodation party lends his name to enable the accommodated party to obtain credit or to raise money; he receives no part of the consideration for the instrument but assumes liability to the other party/ies thereto. The accommodation party is liable on the instrument to a holder for value even though the holder, at the time of taking the instrument, knew him or her to be merely an accommodation party, as if the contract was not for accommodation.

As petitioner acknowledged it to be, the relation between an accommodation party and the accommodated party is one of principal and surety – the accommodation party being the surety. from the beginning; As such, he is deemed an original promisor and debtor he is considered in law as the same party as the debtor in relation to whatever is adjudged touching the obligation of the latter since their liabilities are interwoven as to be inseparable. Although a contract of suretyship is in essence accessory or collateral to a valid principal obligation, the surety’s liability to the creditor is immediate, primary and absolute; he is directly and equally bound with the principal. As an equivalent of a regular party to the undertaking, a surety becomes liable to the debt and duty of the principal obligor even without possessing a direct or personal interest in the obligations nor does he receive any benefit therefrom.

In the instant case, petitioner agreed to be “jointly and severally” liable under the two promissory notes that he co-signed with Antonio Ang Eng Liong as the principal debtor. This being so, it is completely immaterial if the bank would opt to proceed only against petitioner or Antonio Ang Eng Liong or both of them since the law confers upon the creditor the prerogative to choose whether to enforce the entire obligation against any one, some or all of the debtors. Nonetheless, petitioner, as an accommodation party, may seek reimbursement from Antonio Ang Eng Liong, being the party accommodated.

Consequently, in issuing the two promissory notes, petitioner as accommodating party warranted to the holder in due course that he would pay the same according to its tenor. value therefore It is no defense to state on his part that he did not receive any because the phrase “without receiving value therefor” used in Sec. 29 of the NIL means “without receiving value by virtue of the instrument” and not as it is apparently supposed to mean, “without receiving payment for lending his name.” Stated differently, when a third person advances the face value of the note to the accommodated party at the time of its creation, the consideration for the note as regards its maker is the money advanced to the accommodated party. It is enough that value was given for the note at the time of its creation. As in the instant case, a sum of money was received by virtue of the notes, hence, it is immaterial so far as the bank is concerned whether one of the signers, particularly petitioner, has or has not received anything in payment of the use of his name.

Furthermore, since the liability of an accommodation party remains not only primary but also unconditional to a holder for value, even if the accommodated party receives an extension of the period for payment without the consent of the accommodation party, the latter is still liable for the whole obligation and such extension does not release him because as far as a holder for value is concerned, he is a solidary co-debtor.

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