INTRA-STRATA ASSURANCE CORPORATION and PHILIPPINE HOME ASSURANCE CORPORATION, petitioners,
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES represented by the BUREAU OF CUSTOMS, respondent.
[G.R. No. 156571. July 09, 2008]
Grand textile is a local manufacturing corporation importing various articles such as dyestuffs, spare parts for warehouse machinery and filaments. Subsequent to importation, the articles were transferred to Bureau of Customs (BoC) where it required payment of tariffs and other charges. Inter-Strata and PhilHome issued warehousing bonds in favor of BoC which provided that that the goods shall be withdrawn from the bonded warehouse “on payment of the legal customs duties, internal revenue, and other charges to which they shall then be subject.” Without payment of the taxes, customs duties, and charges due and for purposes of domestic consumption, Grand Textile withdrew the imported goods from storage. The Bureau of Customs demanded payment of the amounts due from Grand Textile as importer, and from Intra-Strata and PhilHome as sureties. All three failed to pay. The government responded by filing a collection suit against the parties with the RTC of Manila. The RTC ruled in favor of the BoC which was later affirmed by the Court of Appeals.
(1) Whether or not the withdrawal of the stored goods, wares and merchandise – without notice to them as sureties – released them from any liability for the duties, taxes, and charges they committed to pay under the bonds they issued.
(1) No. The surety does not, by reason of the surety agreement, earn the right to intervene in the principal creditor-debtor relationship; its role becomes alive only upon the debtor’s default, at which time it can be directly held liable by the creditor for payment as a solidary obligor. A surety contract is made principally for the benefit of the creditor-obligee and this is ensured by the solidary nature of the sureties’ undertaking. Under these terms, the surety is not entitled as a rule to a separate notice of default,nor to the benefit of excussion, and may be sued separately or together with the principal debtor.