G.R. No. 1815. August 24, 1905

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4 Phil. 705

[ G.R. No. 1815. August 24, 1905 ]




The court below found as a fact that on the 13th day of October,
1889, Manuel Sichon borrowed of the plaintiff 150 pesos, and to secure
the payment of the same, on that day he, as principal, and Bernardino
Regalado and Luisa Sichon, the appellant, wife of Bernardino as
sureties, signed a document in which they promised to pay this debt,
with interest at the rate of 27 per cent per annum. This action was
commenced by the plaintiff against the defendant in 1900, to recover
the balance due on this document, and judgment was entered in his favor
for 74 pesos, with interest at the rate of 27 per cent per annum from
the 23d of August, 1891. The defendant excepted to this judgment, and
has brought the case here by bill of exceptions.

At the trial she introduced evidence tending to show that she never
signed the document in question, and at the time of its execution was
absent in the Island of Negros. In our opinion, however, the proof
presented by the plaintiff sustained the finding of fact made by the
judge, to the effect that she did execute the document.

The appellant makes the further claim that under the provisions of
law 61 of Toro, she incurred no obligation by signing the document,
because her husband joined with her in its execution. The law above
cited is as follows:

“De aqui adelante la muger no se pueda obligar por
fiadora de su marido, aunque se diga e alege que se convertio la tal
deuda en provecho de la muger; e asi mismo mandamos, que cuando se
obligare a mancomun marido, e muger en un contrato e en diversos, que
la muger no sea obligada a cosa alguna, salvo si se provare que se
convertio la tal deuda en provecho della, ca estonces mandamos, que por
rata del dicho provecho sea obligada; pero si lo que se convertio en
provecho della fue en las cosas que el marido le era obligado a dar,
asi como en vestirla e darle de comer, e las otras cosas necesarias,
mandamos que por esto ella no sea obligada a cosa alguna, lo cual todo
que dicho es, se entienda si no fuera la dicha flanza e obligacion a
mancomun por maravedis de nuestras rentas, e pechos, 6 derechos dellas.”

There was no evidence in the case upon which a finding could be
based that the defendant received any benefit from this contract.

The contract having been entered into in October, 1889, and the
Civil Code not having gone into effect until December 8, 1889, this
contract must be governed by the laws in force prior to the
last-mentioned date. That the above-mentioned law 61 of Toro was then
in force we think is clear. This law, with other laws of Toro relating
to the rights of husband and wife with reference to each other and to
third persons, among them law 56, which authorized the husband to give
to his wife permission to make contracts, was carried forward into the Novisima Recopilacion. Laws 55, 56, 57, 58, and 59 of Toro are found in book 10, title 1, of the Novisima,
which title treats of contracts and obligations in general. Law 61,
however, is found in title 2 of said book 10, which treats of debts and

The fact that these laws all stood together in the Laws of Toro and in the Novisima shows that one did not repeal the other. The parties have argued the case upon the theory that these laws of the Novisima
relating to the general rights of husband and wife, and to the
contracts which the wife might make were in force in the Philippines at
the time the contract in question was made. In this we think they are
in error. The law of Civil Marriage of 1870, in force in the Peninsula,
regulated these rights, and by the royal decree of April 13, 1883,
articles 44 to 78 of that law were extended to the Philippines. They
were published in the Gaceta de Manila of June 22, 1883, and
are also found in Notes to the Spanish Civil Code, page 12 et seq. Of
these articles so extended, articles 56 to 66 treat of the rights and
obligations of husband and wife, and they relate to the same subject as
the provisions which are found in title 1, book 10 of the Novisima.
These articles, thus made applicable to the Philippines, do not
expressly repeal the law of Toro, and inasmuch as they treat of the
same matter as the laws of the Novisima, and as those laws did not repeal law 61, their presence in the Law of Civil Marriage could not have that effect.

It has been said by several commentators that this Law of Toro has
been repealed by the Civil Code. This opinion is based upon the fact
that while the laws of the Novisima relating to the general
rights and obligations of husband and wife are carried into the Civil
Code, and appear in book 1, law 61 is not found there nor in that title
of the Civil Code which treats of suretyship, and consequently they
consider that it has been repealed. It is not necessary, however, to
decide this question, as it must be determined by the law in force
prior to the Civil Code.

The question remains, Is the contract in this case within the terms
of that law? It is directly within the letter of the law, because the
husband and wife are bound en mancomun. to the same thing,
viz, to the payment of this debt, and it also appears that the wife got
no benefit from the contract. If the wife had signed this contract
alone, and her husband had not joined in it, but had given his consent
to his wife signing it, the contract would have been valid, and it has
been suggested that it would be contrary to common sense to hold that a
contract which the wife alone had signed and which was perfectly valid
against her, would be made invalid by the addition of her husband’s
signature, an addition which, so far from increasing her liability,
would diminish it. In answer to this view it may be said that the
evident purpose of the law was to prevent the wife from contracting
debts for the benefit of her husband. That was accomplished partly by
saying distinctly in the first part of the law that the wife should not
become surety for her husband. It was evidently considered, however,
that this would not cover a case in which the fact of suretyship would
be concealed, and the contract be made to appear as a contract equally
for the benefit of the wife as for the husband. For this purpose the
law contained a further absolute prohibition against the wife or
husband binding themselves to the performance of the same thing, and it
will be observed that this important provision was inserted in the law,
viz, that they not only could not bind themselves to the performance of
the same thing by signing together one document, but they could not
even do it by signing different documents. We think the intention of
the law was absolute to prohibit a husband and wife from binding
themselves, either in one contract or in two, to the performance of the
same thing.

In the judgment of the 1st of October, 1887, by the supreme court of
Spain, it appeared that the husband and wife signed the same contract,
and that this contract was sustained, but it also appeared that they
did not bind themselves to the same obligation by this contract, for
the husband bound himself thereby to sell certain real estate belonging
to him, and the wife bound herself to sell certain other real estate
belonging to her.

The judgment of the court below is reversed, and after the
expiration of twenty days the cause will be remanded to the Court of
First Instance, with directions to enter a judgment in favor of the
defendant, absolving her from the complaint, with the costs of first
instance. Each party will pay his own costs in this court.. So ordered.

Arellano, C. J., Torres, Mapa, Johnson, and Carson, JJ,, concur.

Date created: April 25, 2014


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