Petitioner FMIC granted respondent a loan of Seven Million Three Hundred Eighty Five Thousand Five Hundred Pesos (P7,385,500.00) to finance the construction of a sports complex at Montalban, Rizal. Respondent also executed, as provided for by the Loan Agreement, an Underwriting Agreement with underwriting fee, annual supervision fee and consultancy fee with Consultancy Agreement for four (4) years, coinciding with the term of the loan. The said fees were deducted from the first release of loan. Respondent failed to meet the schedule of repayment. Petitioner instituted an instant collection suit. The trial court rendered its decision in favor of petitioner. The Court of Appeals reversed the decision of the trial court in favor of herein respondents after its factual findings and conclusion.
Whether or not the Underwriting and Consultancy Agreements were mere subterfuges to camouflage the usurious interest charged by the petitioner.
YES. In the instant case, several facts and circumstances taken altogether show that the Underwriting and Consultancy Agreements were simply cloaks or devices to cover an illegal scheme employed by petitioner FMIC to conceal and collect excessively usurious interest. “Art. 1957. Contracts and stipulations, under any cloak or device whatever, intended to circumvent the laws against usury shall be void. The stipulated penalties, liquidated damages and attorney’s fees, excessive, iniquitous and unconscionable and revolting to the conscience as they hardly allow the borrower any chance of survival in case of default. Hence, the instant petition was denied and the assailed decision of the appellate court is affirmed.