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Case Digest on Braganza v. Villa Abrille (Minor Signing Contract)

November 11, 2010


Facts: Rosario Braganza and her sons loaned from De Villa Abrille P70,000 in Japanese war notes and in consideration thereof, promised in writing to pay him P10,00 + 2% per annum in legal currency of the Philippines 2 years after the cessation of the war.  Because they have no paid, Abrille is sued them in March 1949.  The Manila court of first instance and CA held the family solidarily liable to pay according to the contract they signed.The family petitioned to review the decision of the CA whereby they were ordered to solidarily pay De Villa Abrille P10,000 + 2% interest, praying for consideration of the minority of the Braganza sons when they signed the contract.

Issue: Whether or not the boys, who were 16 and 18 respectively, are to be bound by the contract of loan they have signed.

Held: The SC found that Rosario will still be liable to pay her share in the contract because they minority of her sons does not release her from liability.  She is ordered to pay 1/3 of P10,000 + 2% interest.

However with her sons, the SC reversed the decision of the CA which found them similarly liable due to their failure to disclose their minority.  The SC sustained previous sources in Jurisprudence – “in order to hold the infant liable, the fraud must be actual and not constructive.  It has been held that his mere silence when making a contract as to his age does not constitute a fraud which can be made the basis of an action of deceit.”

The boys, though not bound by the provisions of the contract, are still liable to pay the actual amount they have profited from the loan.  Art. 1340 states that even if the written contract is unenforceable because of their non-age, they shall make restitution to the extent that they may have profited by the money received.  In this case, 2/3 of P70,00, which is P46,666.66, which when converted to Philippine money is equivalent to P1,166.67.

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