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Prof. Joselito Guianan Chan's The Labor Code of the Philippines, Annotated Labor Standards & Social Legislation Volume I of a 3-Volume Series 2019 Edition (3rd Revised Edition)
 

 
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UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT JURISPRUDENCE
 

 
PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT JURISPRUDENCE
 

   
November-2001 Jurisprudence                 

  • G.R. No. 137968 November 6, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ALEJANDRE DELOS SANTOS

  • G.R. Nos. 123138-39 November 8, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILS. v. HONESTO LLANDELAR

  • A.M. MTJ-01-1375 November 13, 2001 - REPORT ON THE JUDICIAL AUDIT IN THE MTCs of CALASIAO. BINMALEY

  • A.M. No. RTJ-00-1601 November 13, 2001 - ELIEZER A. SIBAYAN-JOAQUIN v. ROBERTO S. JAVELLANA

  • G.R. No. 104629 November 13, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JULIUS KINOK

  • G.R. No. 134498 November 13, 2001 - CELIA M. MERIZ v. PEOPLE OF THE PHIL

  • G.R. Nos. 135454-56 November 13, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL v. RODERICK SANTOS

  • A.M. No. CA-01-10-P November 14, 2001 - ALDA C. FLORIA v. CURIE F. SUNGA, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. P-01-1518 November 14, 2001 - ANTONIO A. ARROYO v. SANCHO L. ALCANTARA

  • G.R. No. 122736 November 14, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FROILAN PADILLA

  • G.R. No. 123819 November 14, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. STEPHEN MARK WHISENHUNT

  • G.R. No. 133877 November 14, 2001 - RIZAL COMMERCIAL BANKING CORPORATION v. ALFA RTW MANUFACTURING CORPORATION

  • G.R. No. 133910 November 14, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. JOSE VIRREY y DEHITO

  • G.R. No. 135511-13 November 14, 2001 - THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. ENTICO MARIANO y EXCONDE

  • G.R. No. 137613 November 14, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROSALITO CABOQUIN

  • G.R. No. 138914 November 14, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. EFREN MANTES, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 142870 November 14, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DINDO F. PAJOTAL, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 143513 & 143590 November 14, 2001 - POLYTECHNIC UNIVERSITY OF THE PHILIPPINES v. COURT OF APPEALS and FIRESTONE CERAMICS

  • A.M. No. RTJ-00-1599 November 15, 2001 - TRANQUILINO F. MERIS v. JUDGE FLORENTINO M. ALUMBRES

  • G.R. No. 123213 November 15, 2001 - NEPOMUCENA BRUTAS v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 126584 November 15, 2001 - VALLEY LAND RESOURCES, INC., ET AL. v. VALLEY GOLF CLUB INC.

  • G.R. No. 127897 November 15, 2001 - DELSAN TRANSPORT LINES v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 129018 November 15, 2001 - CARMELITA LEAÑO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 136017 November 15, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JERRY BANTILING

  • G.R. No. 136143 November 15, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. AGAPITO CABOTE a.k.a. "PITO"

  • G.R. No. 137255 November 15, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. NOEL MAMALAYAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 137369 November 15, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. ALIAS KOBEN VISTA

  • G.R. No. 141811 November 15, 2001 - FIRST METRO INVESTMENT CORPORATION v. ESTE DEL SOL MOUNTAIN RESERVE

  • G.R. No. 145275 November 15, 2001 - COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE v. LA CAMPANA FABRICA DE TABACOS

  • G.R. No. 148326 November 15, 2001 - PABLO C. VILLABER Petitioner v. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and REP. DOUGLAS R. CAGAS

  • A.M. No. MTJ-01-1382 November 16, 2001 - MARIO W. CHILAGAN v. EMELINA L. CATTILING

  • A.M. No. P-00-1411 November 16, 2001 - FELICIDAD JACOB v. JUDITH T. TAMBO

  • G.R. No. 120274 November 16, 2001 - SPOUSES FRANCISCO A. PADILLA and GERALDINE S. PADILLA v. COURT OF APPEALS and SPOUSES CLAUDIO AÑONUEVO and CARMELITA AÑONUEVO

  • G.R. No. 127003 November 16, 2001 - THE PEOPLE OF THE PHIL v. FAUSTINO GABON

  • G.R. Nos. 132875-76 November 16, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROMEO G. JALOSJOS

  • G.R. No. 132916 November 16, 2001 - RUFINA TANCINCO v. GSIS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 133437 November 16, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. RONALD SAMSON

  • G.R. No. 134486 November 16, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. CLEMENTE DAYNA

  • G.R. No. 135038 November 16, 2001 - ROLANDO Y. TAN v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 142654 November 16, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL v. ROLANDO MENDOZA

  • G.R. No. 143802 November 16, 2001 - REYNOLAN T. SALES v. SANDIGANBAYAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 129175 November 19, 2001 - RUBEN N. BARRAMEDA, ET AL. v. ROMEO ATIENZA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 130945 November 19, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ALBERTO CONDINO

  • G.R. No. 132724 November 19, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. RENIEL SANAHON

  • G.R. Nos. 138358-59 November 19, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. CLAUDIO B. DELA PEÑA

  • G.R. No. 138661 November 19, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JERSON E. ACOJEDO

  • G.R. No. 140920 November 19, 2001 - JUAN LORENZO B. BORDALLO, ET AL. v. THE PROFESSIONAL REGULATIONS COMMISSION AND THE BOARD OF MARINE DECK OFFICERS

  • G.R. No. 148560 November 19, 2001 - JOSEPH EJERCITO ESTRADA v. SANDIGANBAYAN (Third Division) and PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES

  • G.R. No. 91486 November 20, 2001 - ALBERTO G. PINLAC v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 122276 November 20, 2001 - RODRIGO ALMUETE ET AL., v. MARCELO ANDRES, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 126204 November 20, 2001 - NAPOCOR v. PHILIPP BROTHERS OCEANIC

  • G.R. Nos. 126538-39 November 20, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. RODELIO MARCELO

  • G.R. No. 129234 November 20, 2001 - THERMPHIL v. COURT OF APPEALS ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 140032 November 20, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. ANGEL C. BALDOZ and MARY GRACE NEBRE

  • G.R. No. 140692 November 20, 2001 - ROGELIO C. DAYAN v. BANK OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 144401 November 20, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JOEL GALISIM

  • A.M. No. MTJ-99-1207 November 21, 2001 - NBI v. FRANCISCO D. VILLANUEVA

  • A.M. No. P- 01-1520 November 21, 2001 - MARILOU A. CABANATAN v. CRISOSTOMO T. MOLINA

  • A.M. Nos. RTJ-00-1561 & RTJ-01-1659 November 21, 2001 - CARINA AGARAO v. Judge JOSE J. PARENTELA

  • G.R. No. 125356 November 21, 2001 - SUPREME TRANSLINER INC. v. HON. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 132839 November 21, 2001 - ERIC C. ONG v. HON. COURT OF APPEALS and THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES

  • G.R. No. 133879 November 21, 2001 - EQUATORIAL REALTY DEVELOPMENT v. MAYFAIR THEATER

  • G.R. No. 136748 November 21, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JUANITO ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 137457 November 21, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROSAURO SIA

  • G.R. No. 141881 November 21, 2001 - THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. VIRGILIO BERNABE y RAFOL

  • A.M. No RTJ-01-1664 November 22, 2001 - ALFREDO CAÑADA v. VICTORINO MONTECILLO

  • G.R. No. 109648 November 22, 2001 - PH CREDIT CORPORATION v. COURT OF APPEALS and CARLOS M. FARRALES

  • G.R. Nos. 111502-04 November 22, 2001 - REYNALDO H. JAYLO, ET AL. v. SANDIGANBAYAN

  • G.R. No. 113218 November 22, 2001 - ALEJANDRO TECSON v. HON. COURT OF APPEALS ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 113541 November 22, 2001 - HONGKONG AND SHANGHAI BANKING CORP. EMPLOYEES UNION v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 118462 November 22, 2001 - LEOPOLDO GARRIDO, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 123893 November 22, 2001 - LUISITO PADILLA , ET AL. v. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 129660 November 22, 2001 - BIENVENIDO P. JABAN and LYDIA B. JABAN v. HON. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 130628 November 22, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. PAULINO LEONAR

  • G.R. No. 132743 November 22, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MARCIAL CAÑARES Y ORBES

  • G.R. No. 133861 November 22, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROBERTO SO

  • G.R. Nos. 135853-54 November 22, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. OPENIANO LACISTE

  • G.R. No. 135863 November 22, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. VlRGILIO LORICA

  • G.R. Nos. 136317-18 November 22, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. EDUARDO YAOTO

  • G.R. No. 136586 November 22, 2001 - JON AND MARISSA DE YSASI v. ARTURO AND ESTELA ARCEO

  • G.R. No. 139563 November 22, 2001 - THE PEOPLE OF THE PHIL.. v. AMADOR BISMONTE y BERINGUELA

  • G.R. Nos. 139959-60 November 22, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DEOGRACIAS BURGOS

  • G.R. No. 141602 November 22, 2001 - PACSPORTS PHILS. v. NICCOLO SPORTS, INC.

  • G.R. No. 142316 November 22, 2001 - FRANCISCO A.G. DE LIANO, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 143939 November 22, 2001 - HEIRS OF ROSARIO POSADAS REALTY v. ROSENDO.BANTUG

  • G.R. No. 145475 November 22, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. EUSEBIO PUNSALAN

  • G.R. No. 145851 November 22, 2001 - ABELARDO B. LICAROS v. THE SANDIGANBAYAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 146683 November 22, 2001 - CIRILA ARCABA v. ERLINDA TABANCURA VDA. DE BATOCAEL, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. RTJ-00-1562 November 23, 2001 - CAVITE CRUSADE FOR GOOD GOVERNMENT v. JUDGE NOVATO CAJIGAL

  • G.R. No. 126334 November 23, 2001 - EMILIO EMNACE v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 128886 November 23, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JESUS JULIANDA, JR., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 142044 November 23, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. TOBECHUKWU NICHOLAS

  • G.R. No. 144309 November 23, 2001 - SOLID TRIANGLE SALES CORPORATION and ROBERT SITCHON v. THE SHERIFF OF RTC QC, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. RTJ-01-1662 November 26, 2001 - VICTOR TUZON v. LORETO CLORIBEL-PURUGGANAN

  • G.R. No. 138303 November 26, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ELROSWELL MANZANO

  • G.R. Nos. 100940-41 November 27, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. AGUSTIN LADAO y LORETO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 128285 November 27, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILS. v. ANTONIO PLANA, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 130409-10 November 27, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JOSUE B. DUMLAO

  • G.R. No. 130907 November 27, 2001 - REPUBLIC OF THE PHIL. v. HON. CESAR A MANGROBANG, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 130963 November 27, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MARIANO PASCUA

  • G.R. No. 133381 November 27, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROMULO VILLAVER, ET. AL.

  • G.R. No. 140858 November 27, 2001 - SPOUSES PAPA and LOLITA MANALILI v. SPOUSES ARSENIO and GLICERIA DE LEON

  • G.R. No. 142523 November 27, 2001 - MARIANO L. GUMABON, ET AL. v. AQUILINO T. LARIN

  • G.R. No. 144464 November 27, 2001 - GILDA G. CRUZ and ZENAIDA C. PAITIM v. THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION

  • A.M. No. 00-8-05-SC November 28, 2001 - RE: PROBLEM OF DELAYS IN CASES BEFORE THE SANDIGANBAYAN

  • G.R. No. 128516 November 28, 2001 - DULOS REALTY and DEVELOPMENT CORP. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET. AL.

  • A.M. No. P-01-1485 November 29, 2001 - OFFICE OF THE COURT ADMINISTRATOR v. MARIE YVETTE GO, ET AL

  • A.M. No. P-01-1522 November 29, 2001 - JUDGE ANTONIO J. FINEZA v. ROMEO P. ARUELO

  • A.M. No. RTJ-01-1665 November 29, 2001 - ROSAURO M. MIRANDA v. JUDGE CESAR A MANGROBANG

  • G.R. No. 119707 November 29, 2001 - VERONICA PADILLO v. COURT OF APPEALS

  • G.R. No. 121703 November 29, 2001 - NATIVIDAD T. TANGALIN v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 126524 November 29, 2001 - BPI INVESTMENT CORP. v. D.G. CARREON COMMERCIAL CORP., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 129282 November 29, 2001 - DMPI EMPLOYEES CREDIT COOPERATIVE v. ALEJANDRO M. VELEZ, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 129609 & 135537 November 29, 2001 - RODIL ENTERPRISES v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 130326 & 137868 November 29, 2001 - COMPANIA GENERAL DE TABACOS DE FILIPINAS AND MANILA TOBACCO TRADING v. THE COURT OF APPEALS

  • G.R. Nos. 132066-67 November 29, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. BALAS MEDIOS

  • G.R. No. 132133 November 29, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. WILLIAM ALPE y CUATRO

  • G.R. No. 136848 November 29, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RENATO T. RAMIREZ

  • G.R. No. 137815 November 29, 2001 - JUANITA T. SERING v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 138489 November 29, 2001 - ELEANOR DELA CRUZ, ET AL. v. COMMISSION ON AUDIT

  • G.R. No. 139470 November 29, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. SPO2 ANTONIO B. BENOZA

  • G.R. No. 140386 November 29, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. BENNY ACOSTA

  • G.R. No. 141386 November 29, 2001 - COMMISSION ON AUDIT OF THE PROVINCE OF CEBU v. PROVINCE OF CEBU

  • G.R. Nos. 141702-03 November 29, 2001 - CATHAY PACIFIC AIRWAYS v. NLRC and MARTHA Z. SINGSON

  • G.R. No. 142606 November 29, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. NESTOR MUNTA

  • G.R. No. 143127 November 29, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RAUL RUBARES Y CAROLINO

  • G.R. No. 143703 November 29, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL v. JOSE V. MUSA

  •  





     
     

    G.R. No. 141811   November 15, 2001 - FIRST METRO INVESTMENT CORPORATION v. ESTE DEL SOL MOUNTAIN RESERVE

     
    PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

    SECOND DIVISION

    [G.R. No. 141811. November 15, 2001.]

    FIRST METRO INVESTMENT CORPORATION, Petitioner, v. ESTE DEL SOL MOUNTAIN RESERVE, INC., VALENTIN S. DAEZ, JR., MANUEL Q. SALIENTES, MA. ROCIO A. DE VEGA, ALEXANDER G. ASUNCION, ALBERTO * M. LADORES, VICENTE M. DE VERA, JR., and FELIPE B. SESE, Respondents.

    D E C I S I O N


    DE LEON, JR., J.:


    Before us is a petition for review on certiorari of the Decision 1 of the Court of Appeals 2 dated November 8, 1999 in CA-G.R. CV No. 53328 reversing the Decision 3 of the Regional Trial Court of Pasig City, Branch 159 dated June 2, 1994 in Civil Case No. 39224. Essentially, the Court of Appeals found and declared that the fees provided for in the Underwriting and Consultancy Agreements executed by and between petitioner First Metro Investment Corp. (FMIC) and respondent Este del Sol Mountain Reserve, Inc. (Este del Sol) simultaneously with the Loan Agreement dated January 31, 1978 were mere subterfuges to camouflage the usurious interest charged by petitioner FMIC.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    The facts of the case are as follows:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    It appears that on January 31, 1978, petitioner FMIC granted respondent Este del Sol a loan of Seven Million Three Hundred Eighty-Five Thousand Five Hundred Pesos (P7,385,500.00) to finance the construction and development of the Este del Sol Mountain Reserve, a sports/resort complex project located at Barrio Puray, Montalban, Rizal. 4

    Under the terms of the Loan Agreement, the proceeds of the loan were to be released on staggered basis. Interest on the loan was pegged at sixteen (16%) percent per annum based on the diminishing balance. The loan was payable in thirty-six (36) equal and consecutive monthly amortizations to commence at the beginning of the thirteenth month from the date of the first release in accordance with the Schedule of Amortization. 5 In case of default, an acceleration clause was, among others, provided and the amount due was made subject to a twenty (20%) percent one-time penalty on the amount due and such amount shall bear interest at the highest rate permitted by law from the date of default until full payment thereof plus liquidated damages at the rate of two (2%) percent per month compounded quarterly on the unpaid balance and accrued interests together with all the penalties, fees, expenses or charges thereon until the unpaid balance is fully paid, plus attorney’s fees equivalent to twenty-five (25%) percent of the sum sought to be recovered, which in no case shall be less than Twenty Thousand Pesos (P20,000.00) if the services of a lawyer were hired. 6

    In accordance with the terms of the Loan Agreement, respondent Este del Sol executed several documents 7 as security for payment, among them, (a) a Real Estate Mortgage dated January 31, 1978 over two (2) parcels of land being utilized as the site of its development project with an area of approximately One Million Twenty-Eight Thousand and Twenty-Nine (1,028,029) square meters and particularly described in TCT Nos. N-24332 and N-24356 of the Register of Deeds of Rizal, inclusive of all improvements, as well as all the machineries, equipment, furnishings and furnitures existing thereon; and (b) individual Continuing Suretyship agreements by co-respondents Valentin S. Daez, Jr., Manuel Q. Salientes, Ma. Rocio A. De Vega, Alexander G. Asuncion, Alberto M. Ladores, Vicente M. De Vera, Jr. and Felipe B. Sese, all dated February 2, 1978, to guarantee the payment of all the obligations of respondent Este del Sol up to the aggregate sum of Seven Million Five Hundred Thousand Pesos (P7,500,000.00) each. 8

    Respondent Este del Sol also executed, as provided for by the Loan Agreement, an Underwriting Agreement on January 31, 1978 whereby petitioner FMIC shall underwrite on a best-efforts basis the public offering of One Hundred Twenty Thousand (120,000) common shares of respondent Este del Sol’s capital stock for a one-time underwriting fee of Two Hundred Thousand Pesos (P200,000.00). In addition to the underwriting fee, the Underwriting Agreement provided that for supervising the public offering of the shares, respondent Este del Sol shall pay petitioner FMIC an annual supervision fee of Two Hundred Thousand Pesos (P200,000.00) per annum for a period of four (4) consecutive years. The Underwriting Agreement also stipulated for the payment by respondent Este del Sol to petitioner FMIC a consultancy fee of Three Hundred Thirty-Two Thousand Five Hundred Pesos (P332,500.00) per annum for a period of four (4) consecutive years. Simultaneous with the execution of and in accordance with the terms of the Underwriting Agreement, a Consultancy Agreement was also executed on January 31, 1978 whereby respondent Este del Sol engaged the services of petitioner FMIC for a fee as consultant to render general consultancy services. 9

    In three (3) letters all dated February 22, 1978 petitioner billed respondent Este del Sol for the amounts of [a] Two Hundred Thousand Pesos (P200,000.00) as the underwriting fee of petitioner FMIC in connection with the public offering of the common shares of stock of respondent Este del Sol; [b] One Million Three Hundred Thirty Thousand Pesos (P1,330,000.00) as consultancy fee for a period of four (4) years; and [c] Two Hundred Thousand Pesos (P200,000.00) as supervision fee for the year beginning February, 1978, in accordance to the Underwriting Agreement. 10 The said amounts of fees were deemed paid by respondent Este del Sol to petitioner FMIC which deducted the same from the first release of the loan.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    Since respondent Este del Sol failed to meet the schedule of repayment in accordance with a revised Schedule of Amortization, it appeared to have incurred a total obligation of Twelve Million Six Hundred Seventy-Nine Thousand Six Hundred Thirty Pesos and Ninety-Eight Centavos (P12,679,630.98) per the petitioner’s Statement of Account dated June 23, 1980, 11 to wit:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    STATEMENT OF ACCOUNT OF

    ESTE DEL SOL MOUNTAIN RESERVE, INC.

    AS OF JUNE 23, 1980

    PARTICULARS AMOUNT

    Total amount due as of 11-22-78 per

    revised amortization schedule dated

    1-3-78 P7,999,631.42

    Interest on P7,999,631.42 @ 16% p.a. from

    11-22-78 to 2-22-79 (92 days) 327,096.04

    ——————

    Balance 8,326,727.46

    One time penalty of 20% of the entire unpaid

    obligations under Section 6.02 (ii) of

    Loan Agreement 1,665,345.49

    Past due interest under Section 6.02 (iii)

    of loan Agreement:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    @ 19% p.a. from 2-22-79 to 11-30-79

    (281 days) 1,481,879.93

    @ 21% p.a. from 11-30-79 to 6-23-80

    (206 days) 1,200,714.10

    Other charges — publication of extra judicial

    foreclosure of REM made on

    5-23-80 & 6-6-80 4,964.00

    ———————

    Total Amount Due and Collectible as of

    June 23, 1980 P12,679,630.98

    ============

    Accordingly, petitioner FMIC caused the extrajudicial foreclosure of the real estate mortgage on June 23, 1980. 12 At the public auction, petitioner FMIC was the highest bidder of the mortgaged properties for Nine Million Pesos (P9,000,000.00). The total amount of Three Million One Hundred Eighty-Eight Thousand Six Hundred Thirty Pesos and Seventy-Five Centavos (P3,188,630.75) was deducted therefrom, that is, for the publication fee for the publication of the Sheriff’s Notice of Sale, Four Thousand Nine Hundred Sixty-Four Pesos (P4,964.00); for Sheriff’s fees for conducting the foreclosure proceedings, Fifteen Thousand Pesos (P15,000.00); and for Attorney’s fees, Three Million One Hundred Sixty-Eight Thousand Six Hundred Sixty-Six Pesos and Seventy-Five Centavos (P3,168,666.75). The remaining balance of Five Million Eight Hundred Eleven Thousand Three Hundred Sixty-Nine Pesos and Twenty-Five Centavos (P5,811,369.25) was applied to interests and penalty charges and partly against the principal, due as of June 23, 1980, thereby leaving a balance of Six Million Eight Hundred Sixty-Three Thousand Two Hundred Ninety-Seven Pesos and Seventy-Three Centavos (P6,863,297.73) on the principal amount of the loan as of June 23, 1980. 13

    Failing to secure from the individual respondents, as sureties of the loan of respondent Este del Sol by virtue of their continuing surety agreements, the payment of the alleged deficiency balance, despite individual demands sent to each of them, 14 petitioner instituted on November 11, 1980 the instant collection suit 15 against the respondents to collect the alleged deficiency balance of Six Million Eight Hundred Sixty-Three Thousand Two Hundred Ninety-Seven Pesos and Seventy-Three Centavos (P6,863,297.73) plus interest thereon at twenty-one (21%) percent per annum from June 24, 1980 until fully paid, and twenty-five (25%) percent thereof as and for attorney’s fees and costs.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    In their Answer, the respondents sought the dismissal of the case and set up several special and affirmative defenses, foremost of which is that the Underwriting and Consultancy Agreements executed simultaneously with and as integral parts of the Loan Agreement and which provided for the payment of Underwriting, Consultancy and Supervision fees were in reality subterfuges resorted to by petitioner FMIC and imposed upon respondent Este del Sol to camouflage the usurious interest being charged by petitioner FMIC. 16

    The petitioner FMIC presented as its witnesses during the trial: Cesar Valenzuela, its former Senior Vice-President, Felipe Neri, its Vice-President for Marketing, and Dennis Aragon, an Account Manager of its Account Management Group, as well as documentary evidence. On the other hand, co-respondents Vicente M. De Vera, Jr. and Valentin S. Daez, Jr., and Perfecto Doroja, former Senior Manager and Assistant Vice-President of FMIC, testified for the respondents.

    After the trial, the trial court rendered its decision in favor of petitioner FMIC, the dispositive portion of which reads:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of plaintiff and against defendants, ordering defendants jointly and severally to pay to plaintiff the amount of P6,863,297.73 plus 21% interest per annum, from June 24, 1980, until the entire amount is fully paid, plus the amount equivalent to 25% of the total amount due, as attorney’s fees, plus costs of suit.

    Defendants’ counterclaims are dismissed, for lack of merit.

    Finding the decision of the trial court unacceptable, respondents interposed an appeal to the Court of Appeals. On November 8, 1999, the appellate court reversed the challenged decision of the trial court. The appellate court found and declared that the fees provided for in the Underwriting and Consultancy Agreements were mere subterfuges to camouflage the excessively usurious interest charged by the petitioner FMIC on the loan of respondent Este del Sol; and that the stipulated penalties, liquidated damages and attorney’s fees were "excessive, iniquitous, unconscionable and revolting to the conscience," and declared that in lieu thereof, the stipulated one time twenty (20%) percent penalty on the amount due and ten (10%) percent of the amount due as attorney’s fees would be reasonable and suffice to compensate petitioner FMIC for those items. Thus, the appellate court dismissed the complaint as against the individual respondents sureties and ordered petitioner FMIC to pay or reimburse respondent Este del Sol the amount of Nine Hundred Seventy-One Thousand Pesos (P971,000.00) representing the difference between what is due to the petitioner and what is due to respondent Este del Sol, based on the following computation: 17

    A: DUE TO THE [PETITIONER]

    Principal of Loan P7,382,500.00

    Add: 20% one-time

    Penalty 1,476,500.00

    Attorney’s fees 900,000.00 P9,759,000.00

    ——————

    Less: Proceeds of foreclosure

    Sale 9,000,000.00

    ——————

    Deficiency P759,000.00

    ===========

    B. DUE TO [RESPONDENT ESTE DEL SOL]

    Return of usurious interest in the form of:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    Underwriting fee P 200,000.00

    Supervision fee 200,000.00

    Consultancy fee 1,330,000.00

    ——————

    Total amount due Este P1,730,000.00

    ============

    The appellee is, therefore, obliged to return to the appellant Este del Sol the difference of P971,000.00 or (P1,730,000.00 less P759,000.00).

    Petitioner moved for reconsideration of the appellate court’s adverse decision. However, this was denied in a Resolution 18 dated February 9, 2000 of the appellate court.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    Hence, the instant petition anchored on the following assigned errors: 19

    THE APPELLATE COURT HAS DECIDED QUESTIONS OF SUBSTANCE IN A WAY NOT IN ACCORD WITH LAW AND WITH APPLICABLE DECISIONS OF THIS HONORABLE COURT WHEN IT:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    a] HELD THAT ALLEGEDLY THE UNDERWRITING AND CONSULTANCY AGREEMENTS SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED SEPARATE AND DISTINCT FROM THE LOAN AGREEMENT, AND INSTEAD, THEY SHOULD BE CONSIDERED AS A SINGLE CONTRACT.

    b] HELD THAT THE UNDERWRITING AND CONSULTANCY AGREEMENTS ARE "MERE SUBTERFUGES TO CAMOUFLAGE THE USURIOUS INTEREST CHARGED" BY THE PETITIONER.

    c] REFUSED TO CONSIDER THE TESTIMONIES OF PETITIONER’S WITNESSES ON THE SERVICES PERFORMED BY PETITIONER.

    d] REFUSED TO CONSIDER THE FACT [i] THAT RESPONDENTS HAD WAIVED THEIR RIGHT TO SEEK RECOVERY OF THE AMOUNTS THEY PAID TO PETITIONER, AND [ii] THAT RESPONDENTS HAD ADMITTED THE VALIDITY OF THE UNDERWRITING AND CONSULTANCY AGREEMENTS.

    e] MADE AN ERRONEOUS COMPUTATION ON SUPPOSEDLY "WHAT IS DUE TO EACH PARTY AFTER THE FORECLOSURE SALE", AS SHOWN IN PP. 34-35 OF THE ASSAILED DECISION, EVEN GRANTING JUST FOR THE SAKE OF ARGUMENT THAT THE APPELLATE COURT WAS CORRECT IN STIGMATIZING [i] THE PROVISIONS OF THE LOAN AGREEMENT THAT REFER TO STIPULATED PENALTIES, LIQUIDATED DAMAGES AND ATTORNEY’S FEES AS SUPPOSEDLY "EXCESSIVE, INIQUITOUS AND UNCONSCIONABLE AND REVOLTING TO THE CONSCIENCE" AND [ii] THE UNDERWRITING, SUPERVISION AND CONSULTANCY SERVICES AGREEMENT AS SUPPOSEDLY "MERE SUBTERFUGES TO CAMOUFLAGE THE USURIOUS INTEREST CHARGED" UPON THE RESPONDENT ESTE BY PETITIONER.

    f] REFUSED TO CONSIDER THE FACT THAT RESPONDENT ESTE, AND THUS THE INDIVIDUAL RESPONDENTS, ARE STILL OBLIGATED TO THE PETITIONER.

    Petitioner essentially assails the factual findings and conclusion of the appellate court that the Underwriting and Consultancy Agreements were executed to conceal a usurious loan. Inquiry upon the veracity of the appellate court’s factual findings and conclusion is not the function of this Court for the Supreme Court is not a trier of facts. Only when the factual findings of the trial court and the appellate court are opposed to each other does this Court exercise its discretion to re-examine the factual findings of both courts and weigh which, after considering the record of the case, is more in accord with law and justice.cralaw : red

    After a careful and thorough review of the record including the evidence adduced, we find no reason to depart from the findings of the appellate court.

    First, there is no merit to petitioner FMIC’s contention that Central Bank Circular No. 905 which took effect on January 1, 1983 and removed the ceiling on interest rates for secured and unsecured loans, regardless of maturity, should be applied retroactively to a contract executed on January 31, 1978, as in the case at bar, that is, while the Usury Law was in full force and effect. It is an elementary rule of contracts that the laws, in force at the time the contract was made and entered into, govern it. 20 More significantly, Central Bank Circular No. 905 did not repeal nor in any way amend the Usury Law but simply suspended the latter’s effectivity. 21 The illegality of usury is wholly the creature of legislation. A Central Bank Circular cannot repeal a law. Only a law can repeal another law. 22 Thus, retroactive application of a Central Bank Circular cannot, and should not, be presumed. 23

    Second, when a contract between two (2) parties is evidenced by a written instrument, such document is ordinarily the best evidence of the terms of the contract. Courts only need to rely on the face of written contracts to determine the intention of the parties. However, this rule is not without exception. 24 The form of the contract is not conclusive for the law will not permit a usurious loan to hide itself behind a legal form. Parol evidence is admissible to show that a written document though legal in form was in fact a device to cover usury. If from a construction of the whole transaction it becomes apparent that there exists a corrupt intention to violate the Usury Law, the courts should and will permit no scheme, however ingenious, to becloud the crime of usury.25cralaw:red

    In the instant case, several facts and circumstances taken altogether show that the Underwriting and Consultancy Agreements were simply cloaks or devices to cover an illegal scheme employed by petitioner FMIC to conceal and collect excessively usurious interest, and these are:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    a) The Underwriting and Consultancy Agreements are both dated January 31, 1978 which is the same date of the Loan Agreement. 26 Furthermore, under the Underwriting Agreement payment of the supervision and consultancy fees was set for a period of four (4) years 27 to coincide ultimately with the term of the Loan Agreement. 28 This fact means that all the said agreements which were executed simultaneously were set to mature or shall remain effective during the same period of time.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    b) The Loan Agreement dated January 31, 1978 stipulated for the execution and delivery of an underwriting agreement 29 and specifically mentioned that such underwriting agreement is a condition precedent 30 for petitioner FMIC to extend the loan to respondent Este del Sol, indicating and as admitted by petitioner FMIC’s employees, 31 that such Underwriting Agreement is "part and parcel of the Loan Agreement." 32

    c) Respondent Este del Sol was billed by petitioner on February 28, 1978 One Million Three Hundred Thirty Thousand Pesos (P1,330,000.00) 33 as consultancy fee despite the clear provision in the Consultancy Agreement that the said agreement is for Three Hundred Thirty-Two Thousand Five Hundred Pesos (P332,500.00) per annum for four (4) years and that only the first year consultancy fee shall be due upon signing of the said consultancy agreement. 34

    d) The Underwriting, Supervision and Consultancy fees in the amounts of Two Hundred Thousand Pesos (P200,000.00), and one Million Three Hundred Thirty Thousand Pesos (P1,330,000.00), respectively, were billed by petitioner to respondent Este del Sol on February 22, 1978, 35 that is, on the same occasion of the first partial release of the loan in the amount of Two Million Three Hundred Eighty-Two Thousand Five Hundred Pesos (P2,382,500.00). 36 It is from this first partial release of the loan that the said corresponding bills for Underwriting, Supervision and Constantly fees were conducted and apparently paid, thus, reverting back to petitioner FMIC the total amount of One Million Seven Hundred Thirty Thousand Pesos (P1,730,000.00) as part of the amount loaned to respondent Este del Sol. 37

    e) Petitioner FMIC was in fact unable to organize an underwriting/selling syndicate to sell any share of stock of respondent Este del Sol and much less to supervise such a syndicate, thus failing to comply with its obligation under the Underwriting Agreement. 38 Besides, there was really no need for an Underwriting Agreement since respondent Este del Sol had its own licensed marketing arm to sell its shares and all its shares have been sold through its marketing arm. 39

    f) Petitioner FMIC failed to comply with its obligation under the Consultancy Agreement, 40 aside from the fact that there was no need for a Consultancy Agreement, since respondent Este del Sol’s officers appeared to be more competent to be consultants in the development of the projected sports/resort complex. 41

    All the foregoing established facts and circumstances clearly belie the contention of petitioner FMIC that the Loan, Underwriting and Consultancy Agreements are separate and independent transactions. The Underwriting and Consultancy Agreements which were executed and delivered contemporaneously with the Loan Agreement on January 31, 1978 were exacted by petitioner FMIC as essential conditions for the grant of the loan. An apparently lawful loan is usurious when it is intended that additional compensation for the loan be disguised by an ostensibly unrelated contract providing for payment by the borrower for the lender’s services which are of little value or which are not in fact to be rendered, such as in the instant case. 42 In this connection, Article 1957 of the New Civil Code clearly provides that:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    Art. 1957. Contracts and stipulations, under any cloak or device whatever, intended to circumvent the laws against usury shall be void. The borrower may recover in accordance with the laws on usury.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    In usurious loans, the entire obligation does not become void because of an agreement for usurious interest; the unpaid principal debt still stands and remains valid but the stipulation as to the usurious interest is void, consequently, the debt is to be considered without stipulation as to the interest. 43 The reason for this rule was adequately explained in the case of Angel Jose Warehousing Co., Inc. v. Chelda Enterprises 44 where this Court held:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    In simple loan with stipulation of usurious interest, the prestation of the debtor to pay the principal debt, which is the cause of the contract (Article 1350, Civil Code), is not illegal. The illegality lies only as to the prestation to pay the stipulated interest; hence, being separable, the latter only should be deemed void, since it is the only one that is illegal.

    Thus, the nullity of the stipulation on the usurious interest does not affect the lender’s right to receive back the principal amount of the loan. With respect to the debtor, the amount paid as interest under a usurious agreement is recoverable by him, since the payment is deemed to have been made under restraint, rather than voluntarily. 45

    This Court agrees with the factual findings and conclusion of the appellate court, to wit:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    We find the stipulated penalties, liquidated damages and attorney’s fees, excessive, iniquitous and unconscionable and revolting to the conscience as they hardly allow the borrower any chance of survival in case of default. And true enough, ESTE folded up when the appellee extrajudicially foreclosed on its (ESTE’s) development project and literally closed its offices as both the appellee and ESTE were at the time holding office in the same building. Accordingly, we hold that 20% penalty on the amount due and 10% of the proceeds of the foreclosure sale as attorney’s fees would suffice to compensate the appellee, especially so because there is no clear showing that the appellee hired the services of counsel to effect the foreclosure, it engaged counsel only when it was seeking the recovery of the alleged deficiency.

    Attorney’s fees as provided in penal clauses are in the nature of liquidated damages. So long as such stipulation does not contravene any law, morals, or public order, it is binding upon the parties. Nonetheless, courts are empowered to reduce the amount of attorney’s fees if the same is "iniquitous or unconscionable." 46 Articles 1229 and 2227 of the New Civil Code provide that:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    Art. 1229. The judge shall equitably reduce the penalty when the principal obligation has been partly or irregularly complied with by the debtor. Even if there has been no performance, the penalty may also be reduced by the courts if it is iniquitous or unconscionable.

    Art. 2227. Liquidated damages, whether intended as an indemnity or a penalty, shall be equitably reduced if they are iniquitous or unconscionable.

    In the case at bar, the amount of Three Million One Hundred Eighty-Eight Thousand Six Hundred Thirty Pesos and Seventy-Five Centavos (93,188,630.75) for the stipulated attorney’s fees equivalent to twenty-five (25%) percent of the alleged amount due, as of the date of the auction sale on June 23, 1980, is manifestly exorbitant and unconscionable. Accordingly, we agree with the appellate court that a reduction of the attorney’s fees to ten (10%) percent is appropriate and reasonable under the facts and circumstances of this case.

    Lastly, there is no merit to petitioner FMIC’s contention that the appellate court erred in awarding an amount allegedly not asked nor prayed for by respondents. Whether the exact amount of the relief was not expressly prayed for is of no moment for the reason that the relief was plainly warranted by the allegations of the respondents as well as by the facts as found by the appellate court. A party is entitled to as much relief as the facts may warrant. 47

    In view of all the foregoing, the Court is convinced that the appellate court committed no reversible error in its challenged Decision.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    WHEREFORE, the instant petition is hereby DENIED, and the assailed Decision of the Court of Appeals is AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioner.

    SO ORDERED.

    Bellosillo, Mendoza, Quisumbing, and Buena, JJ., concur.

    Endnotes:



    * Also known in the Records as Albert.

    1. Penned by Associate Justice Salvador J. Valdez, Jr., and concurred in by Associate Justices Bernardo P. Abesamis and Renato C. Dacudao, Rollo, pp. 80-115.

    2. Special Seventh Division.

    3. Judge Willelmo C. Fortun, Rollo, pp. 79-114.

    4. Records, pp. 307-333.

    5. Records, pp. 320, 334-335

    6. Records. pp. 320, 327, 333

    7. Other required documents were (a) an Assignment of Receivables over all the receivables of private respondent Este del Sol from the sales of all its shares/capital stock; (b) an Assignment of Realty Rights and Interests over nine (9) parcels of land with an aggregate area of approximately 767,074 square meters and more particularly described in TCT Nos. N-1370, N-1372, N-1373, N 1374, N-1375, N-1376, N-1377 and OCT No. 5615 of the Registry of Deeds for Rizal together with the land subject of Tax Declaration No. 3956 of the Land Records of Montalban, Rizal; (c) an Assignment of Subscription Rights, together with duly-executed irrevocable Voting Trust Agreement.

    8. Records, pp. 337-343

    9. The Consultancy Agreement specifically provided that petitioner FMIC discharge essentially four (4) functions, namely, (a) render professional counseling and assistance on management issues and objectives; (b) render professional advice on planning, structuring and arranging for specific projects; (c) make recommendations to resolve unique and/or recurring problems; (d) render services on matters related to the above functions which the client may from time to time require.

    10. TSN, February 21, 1991, pp. 13-14; Records, pp. 371-373.

    11. Records, p. 368.

    12. Records, pp. 363-365.

    13. Records, pp. 369-370.

    14. TSN, September 10, 1990, pp. 9-10; Records, pp. 369, 374-387.

    15. Civil Case No. 39224 filed before then Court of First Instance of Rizal and raffled off to Branch XI thereof; Records, pp. 1-5.

    16. Records, pp. 61-69.

    17. Rollo, pp. 113-114.

    18. Rollo, p. 116.

    19. Rollo, pp. 33-36.

    20. United States v. Diaz Conde and R. de Conde, 42 Phil. 767, 769 [1922].

    21. Medel v. Court of Appeals, 299 SCRA 481, 489 [1998]; Security Bank and Trust Company v. Regional Trial Court of Makati, Branch 61, 263 SCRA 483, 488 [1996].

    22. Palanca v. Court of Appeals, 238 SCRA 593, 601 [1994]; Article 7, Civil Code of the Philippines.

    23. Article 4, Civil Code of the Philippines.

    24. Section 3, Rule 130 of the Rules of Court

    25. United States v Constantino Tan Quingco Chua, 39 Phil 552, 558 [1919].

    26. Records, pp. 307, 344, 358.

    27. Records, p. 348.

    28. Records, p. 324.

    29. Section 4.04 of Article IV "Covenants of the Borrower" of the Loan Agreement, Records, p. 321.

    30. Section 5.01 of Article V "Conditions of Lending" of the Loan Agreement, Records pp. 322-323

    31. TSNs’, September 8, 1983, pp. 4-5; November 3, 1983, pp. 8-9; March 11, 1986, pp. 4-5; April 20, 1989, pp. 6-7; July 1, 1991, pp. 13-14.

    32. TSN, April 20, 1989, pp. 6-7.

    33. Records, p. 372.

    34. Records, p. 348.

    35. Records, pp. 371-373

    36. Records, p. 334

    37. TSNs’ February 7, 1991, pp. 11-12; February 21, 1991, pp. 15-16; July 1, 1991, pp. 36-38.

    38. TSNs’ January 11, 1990, pp. 11-13, 15; August 7, 1990, pp. 15-17; September 3, 1990, p. 4; July 1, 1991, pp. 36-38.

    39. TSNs’ January 11, 1990, p. 11; August 7, 1990, pp. 13-16.

    40. TSNs’ January 11, 1990, pp. 11-13, 15; August 7, 1990, pp. 15-17; September 3, 1990, p. 4; July 1, 1991, pp. 36-38.

    41. TSN, February 7, 1991, p. 13.

    42. 81 ALR 2d 1282; Terry Trading Corporation v. Barsky, 292 P 474 [1930].

    43. Private Development Corporation of the Philippines v. Intermediate Appellate Court, 213 SCRA 282, 287 [1992]; 13 Cal Jur 3d[Rev], Part 2, Consumer and Protection Laws 411.

    44. 23 SCRA 119, 124 [1968]; cited in Briones v. Cammayo, 41 SCRA 404, 4 10 [1971].

    45. 13 Cal Jur 3d [Rev], Part 2, Consumer and Protection Laws 416, 419.

    46. Barons Marketing Corp. v. Court of Appeals, 286 SCRA 96, 108 [1998].

    47. UBS Marketing Corporation v. The Honorable Special Third Division of the Court of Appeals, et. al., G.R. No. 130328, May 31, 2000; Schenker v. Gemperle, 5 SCRA 1042, 1046 [1962]; Baguioro v. Barrios and Tupas Vda. De Atas, 77 Phil. 120, 123-124 [1946].

    G.R. No. 141811   November 15, 2001 - FIRST METRO INVESTMENT CORPORATION v. ESTE DEL SOL MOUNTAIN RESERVE


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