Ronquillo vs CA

G.R. No. L-55138 September 28, 1984
ERNESTO V. RONQUILLO, petitioner, 
vs.
HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS AND ANTONIO P. SO, respondents.

This is a case of solidary liability. Ronquillo was one of four debtors for the sum of P117, 498.98 from Antonio So. The amount represents the checks signed by the debtors in exchange for foodstuffs delivered by So.
When they failed to pay, So filed a civil case for collection before the Court of First Instance of Rizal. Ronquillo and his co-debtors negotiated with So, who agreed to reduce the debt to P110,000, with the payment to be done in two installments of P55,000 each. The compromise agreement stated that the debtors agreed to pay “individually and jointly” before June 1980 and that in case of failure to comply with the terms of the agreement, the innocent party will be entitled to an execution of the decision based on this compromise agreement and the defaulting party agrees and hold themselves to reimburse the innocent party for attorney’s fees, execution fees and other fees related with the execution.

So filed a motion for execution when the debtors failed to pay the first tranche in December 1979, but Ronquillo said they could not find So on the December 24, the last date for payment. Ronquillo and his co-debtor, Pilar Tan, later deposited half of the P55,000 with the clerk of court because So at first wanted the full amount paid, but So later withdrew the deposited amount.

The lower court however issued a motion for execution against the two other co-debtors, for the remaining half of the initial payment. So moved for the execution of the order “against all defendants, jointly and severally.” Ronquillo opposed this, saying that the lower court’s order did not declare the defendants’ liability to be solidary.

The court however noted that only one-fourth of the debt had been paid, and ordered a writ of execution for the remaining P82,500. The sheriff issued a notice of sale for certain appliances and furnitures in Ronquillo’s residence to satisfy the debt.

Ronquillo filed an appeal with the Court of Appeals, which was then denied. The issue was elevated to the Supreme Court, which noted that Ronquillo and his co-debtors individually and jointly agreed to pay the debt.

“Clearly then, by the express term of the compromise agreement and the decision based upon it, the defendants obligated themselves to pay their obligation “individually and jointly”.
The term “individually” has the same meaning as “collectively”, “separately”, “distinctively”, respectively or “severally”. An agreement to be “individually liable” undoubtedly creates a several obligation, 14 and a “several obligation is one by which one individual binds himself to perform the whole obligation.”
“The obligation in the case at bar being described as “individually and jointly”, the same is therefore enforceable against one of the numerous obligors.”

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