Commercial Law

Pacifica Jimenez vs Jose Bucoy

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G.R. No. L-10221 – 103 Phil. 40 – Mercantile Law – Negotiable Instruments Law – Negotiable Instruments in General – Unconditional Promise To Pay

During the Japanese occupation, Pacita Young issued three promissory notes to Pacifica Jimenez. The total sum of the notes was P21k. All three promissory notes were couched in this manner:

Received from Miss Pacifica Jimenez the total amount of ___________ payable six months after the war, without interest.

When the promissory notes became due, Jimenez presented the notes for payment. Pacita and her husband died and so the notes were presented to the administrator of the estate of the spouses (Dr. Jose Bucoy). Bucoy manifested his willingness to pay but he said that since the loan was contracted during the Japanese occupation the amount should be reduced and the Ballantyne Schedule should be used, that is peso-for-yen (which would lower the amount due from P21k). Bucoy also pointed out that nowhere in the notes can be seen an express “promise” to pay because of the absence of the words “I promise to pay.”

ISSUE: Whether or not Bucoy is correct.

HELD: No. The Ballantyne Schedule may not be used here because the debt is not payable during the Japanese occupation. It is expressly stated in the notes that the amounts stated therein are payable “six months after the war”. Therefore, no reduction could be effected, and peso-for-peso payment shall be ordered in Philippine currency.

The notes also amounted in effect to a promise to pay the amounts indicated therein. An acknowledgment may become a promise by the addition of words by which a promise of payment is naturally implied, such as, “payable,” “payable on a given day,” “payable on demand,” “paid . . . when called for,” . . . To constitute a good promissory note, no precise words of contract are necessary, provided they amount, in legal effect, to a promise to pay. In other words, if over and above the mere acknowledgment of the debt there may be collected from the words used a promise to pay it, the instrument may be regarded as a promissory note.

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