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CASE DIGEST (G.R. No.

L-5921)
Supreme Court, EN BANC
July 25, 1911
STANDARD OIL COMPANY OF NEW YORK, plaintiff-appellee
vs.
JUAN CODINA ARENAS AND OTHERS, defendants;
VICENTE SIXTO VILLANUEVA, appellant.
*Chicote and Miranda for appellant.
W.A. Kincaid and Thos L. Haritgan for appellee.
FACTS

Dec. 15, 1908: Juan Codina Arenas and Francisco Lara del Pino (as principals) w/
Alipio Locso, Vicente Sixto Villanueva and (the Chinaman) Siy Ho (as sureties)
assumed obligation to pay jointly and severally to the plaintiff-appellee the sum of
Php 3,305.76, three months from this date, with an interest at Php 1 per month.
April 5, 1909: Standard Oil sued the five debtors for payment of sum, together w/ the
interest thereon at rate of 1 per cent per month from date of assumed obligation
(12/15/08) and the costs; Defendants were summoned, w/ record that showed
summons was served on Vicente Sixto Villanueva on April 17.
May 12: Villanueva and Ho were declared to be in default, notified (14 th for latter and
15th for former).
Aug. 28: Court of 1st Instance (of the city of Manila) sentenced all defendants to pay
(jointly and severally) to plaintiff company the aforementioned sum, w/ interested
thereon at 1 per cent a month from Dec. 15, 1908 until complete payment of principal
+ costs.
While judgment was in course of execution, Elisa Torres de Villanueva (Vicentes
wife), appeared and alleged the ff:
a. July 24, 1909: latter was declared to be insane by Court of 1 st Instance
(Manila);
b. She was appointed his guardian by same court;
c. Oct. 11: she was authorized by the court as his guardian to institute the proper
legal proceedings in the present cause (issued in behalf of the plaintiffappellee co.);
d. She as guardian was not aware of the proceedings had against Vicente and was
only by chance informed of it, and;
e. When Vicente gave the bond, he was already permanently insane and was in
such state when summoned and still continued to do so.
In conclusion, she petitioned court to relieve her husband from compliance, and to
reopen the trial for the introduction of evidence on his behalf, with respect to his
capacity at the time of the bonds execution.
Court granted the petition, thus trial was reopened for introduction of evidence (after
due consideration); court decided that when Vicente Villanueva, on 12/15/1908,
executed bond in question, he understood perfectly the nature and consequences of
the act performed by him. As a result of such findings, court ruled that the petition for

an indefinite stay of execution of the judgment rendered in the case be denied, and
that said execution be carried out. After filing of an exception to the ruling, a new
hearing was requested w/reference to the defendant Vicente S. Villanueva and upon
its denial, a bill of exceptions was presented in support of said appeal, submitted to
SC and based on a single assignment of error:
Because the lower court found that the monomania of great wealth, suffered by
the defendantdoes not imply incapacity to execute a bond
ISSUE
Does the claim of defendants wife, w/respect to the defendant himself, on being
exempted from courts orders of paying jointly and severally (with other defendants) the sum
and additional costs, under the basis that he is mentally insane and therefore without capacity
to enter such contracts, stand as valid?
RULE
All alienists and those writers who have treated of this branch of medical science
distinguish numerous degrees of insanity and imbecilityhence the confusion and the doubt
in the minds of the majority of authors of treatises on the subject in determining the limits of
sane judgment and the point of beginning of this incapacity, there being some who consider
as a sufficient cause for such incapacity, not only insanity and imbecility, but even those other
somnambulism, epilepsy, drunkenness, suggestion, anger, and the divers passional(?) states
which more or less violently deprive the human will of necessary liberty. (Manresa,
Commentaries on the Civil Code, Vol. V, p.342.)
*In the SCs knowledge (at the time) of the state of mental alienation such certainty has not
yet been reached as to warrant the conclusion in a judicial decision that he who suffers the
monomania of wealthis really insane. In absence of a juridical declaration, that he acts
under the influence of a perturbed mind, or that his mind is deranged when he executes an
onerous contract. The bond executed by Villanueva on 12/15/1908, and his incapacity, for the
purpose of providing a guardian for him, was not declared until 07/24/09.*
Civil Code, Art. 1277: In the contract of bond the consideration, general, is no other, as in all
contract of pure beneficence, than the liberality of the benefactor.
ANALYSIS

SC has not found the proof of the error, it would have been necessary to show that
such monomania was habitual and constituted a veritable mental perturbation in the
patient; that there was not, nor could there have been any other cause for the contract
than an ostentation of wealth and this purely an effect of monomania of wealth, and
that the monomania existed on the date when the bond in question was executed.
Witness testimonies from defendants physicians, Don Rudesino Cuervo and Don
Gervasio de Ocampo, the first of whom had visited him some 8 times from 19021093, and the latter only once in 1908; with regards to the defendants alleged
monomania Dr. Cuervo believes that if defendant were to be presented a document

not concerning his houses, he would be able to understand and comprehend the
contents, while on the topic of sane intelligence, Dr. Ocampo stated that he is of
ordinary intelligence, with knowledge on how to read and write.
Meanwhile, Mr. F.B. Ingersoll (witness for plaintiff) testified that as a notary he had
prepared the bond and received the signers statements and that he had explained to
defendant its contents and upon observation found the defendant to be normal and
regular with nothing that would indicate the contrary, with the defendant being
quiet and composed and spoke in an ordinary way. In addition, Hon. Judge
Araullo testified as a witness for the plaintiff as well and testified the same as many,
in that he did not notice any particular disorder or perturbation of his mental faculties.
Capacity to act must be supposed to attach to a person who has not previously been
declared incapable, and such capacity is presumed to continue so long as the contrary
be not proved. Court sides with opinion that it has not.
Unclear why Villanueva gave the bond in favor of the two members of Areneas & Co.
in Francisco Lara and Juan Arenas. In addition, appellant presented a note by the latter
addressed to his friend, Mr. Villanueva, on 05/13/09, which was two days before he
was declared to be in default, inviting him to a conference for the purpose of treating
of a matter of great importance of much interest to Villanueva It cannot be
affirmed with certainty that defendant engaged in the business of giving bonds nor
can it be sustained that there was no other cause for the giving of bond in question
than the mental disorder that dominated defendants intellect. There is no proof that
the said bond was merely the product of an insensate ostentation of wealth nor that he
was influenced only by the monomania of boasting wealth. Here defendants wife
stresses that she had no clue that her husband engaged in the selling of bonds, and that
with reference to the one concerned, she had only learned of it by finding to note
wherein he was invited to engage in such by Arenas.
There is also no proof granting that he was a monomaniac, and that he was dominated
by that malady upon the bonds execution. It is a rule of constant application that it is
not enough that there be more or less probability that a person was in a state of
dementia at a given time.

CONCLUSION
It is very evident that it cannot be concluded that on the date that defendant engaged
in the business of bonds (12/15/1908) that he did not possess the necessary capacity to give
efficient consent. He had freely and knowingly executed the bond in question. Therefore, the
judgment appealed from is affirmed (with costs).