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The respondent spouses Gueco obtained a loan from petitioner now UnionBank to purchase a car. Hence, the Spouses executed promissory notes which were payable in monthly installments and chattel mortgage over the car to serve as security for the notes.
The Spouses defaulted in payment. The Bank, therefore, filed a civil action for "Sum of Money with Prayer for a Writ of Replevin" before the MTC. The car was detained inside the Bank’s compound.
Dr. Gueco delivered a manager's check in amount of P150,000.00 but the car was not released because of his refusal to sign the Joint Motion to Dismiss for they had not yet filed their Answer. The Bank insisted that the joint motion to dismiss is standard operating procedure in their bank to effect a compromise and to preclude future filing of claims, counterclaims or suits for damages.
After several demand letters and meetings with bank representatives, the spouses initiated a civil action for damages. The RTC held that there was a meeting of the minds between the parties as to the reduction of the amount of indebtedness and the release of the car but said agreement did not include the signing of the joint motion to dismiss as a condition sine qua non for the effectivity of the compromise.
1. Whether or not there was an agreement with respect to the execution of the joint motion to dismiss as a condition for the compromise agreement
2. Whether or not the spouses are entitled for damages arising from fraud.
1. No. Being an affirmative allegation, petitioner has the burden of evidence to prove his claim that the oral compromise entered into by the parties included the stipulation that the parties would jointly file a motion to dismiss. This petitioner failed to do. Notably, even the Metropolitan Trial Court, while ruling in favor of the petitioner and thereby dismissing the complaint, did not make a factual finding that the compromise agreement included the condition of the signing of a joint motion to dismiss.
2. No. The Court failed to see how the act of the petitioner bank in requiring the respondent to sign the joint motion to dismiss could constitute as fraud.
Fraud has been defined as the deliberate intention to cause damage or prejudice. Petitioner may have been remiss in informing Dr. Gueco that the signing of a joint motion to dismiss is a standard operating procedure of petitioner bank. However, this cannot in any way have prejudiced Dr. Gueco.
The whole point of the parties entering into the compromise agreement was in order that Dr. Gueco would pay his outstanding account and in return petitioner would return the car and drop the case for money and replevin before the Metropolitan Trial Court. The joint motion to dismiss was but a natural consequence of the compromise agreement and simply stated that Dr. Gueco had fully settled his obligation, hence, the dismissal of the case.
Hence, petitioner's act of requiring Dr. Gueco to sign the joint motion to dismiss cannot be said to be a deliberate attempt on the part of petitioner to renege on the compromise agreement of the parties.