FACTS: On February 10, 1940 spouses Patricio Confesor and Jovita Villafuerte obtained an agricultural loan from the Agricultural and Industrial Bank (AIB), now the Development of the Philippines (DBP), in the sum of P2,000.00, Philippine Currency, as evidenced by a promissory note of said date whereby they bound themselves jointly and severally to pay the account in ten (10) equal yearly amortizations. As the obligation remained outstanding and unpaid even after the lapse of the aforesaid ten-year period, Confesor, who was by then a member of the Congress of the Philippines, executed a second promissory note on April 11, 1961 expressly acknowledging said loan and promising to pay the same on or before June 15, 1961. The trial court ordered the spouses to pay the loan but this was reversed on appeal.
ISSUE#1: Does prescription operate to discharge a debt even if it there was acknowledgment of the debtor?
ISSUE#2: Is the conjugal partnership of Confesor and Villafuerte bound by the execution of the second promissory note?
This is not a mere case of acknowledgment of a debt that has prescribed but a new promise to pay the debt. The consideration of the new promissory note is the pre-existing obligation under the first promissory note. The statutory limitation bars the remedy but does not discharge the debt. A new express promise to pay a debt barred … will take the case from the operation of the statute of limitations as this proceeds upon the ground that as a statutory limitation merely bars the remedy and does not discharge the debt, there is something more than a mere moral obligation to support a promise, to wit a – pre-existing debt which is a sufficient consideration for the new the new promise; upon this sufficient consideration constitutes, in fact, a new cause of action.
Under Article 165 of the Civil Code, the husband is the administrator of the conjugal partnership. As such administrator, all debts and obligations contracted by the husband for the benefit of the conjugal partnership, are chargeable to the conjugal partnership. No doubt, in this case, respondent Confesor signed the second promissory note for the benefit of the conjugal partnership. Hence the conjugal partnership is liable for this obligation.