PBCom vs Aruego 102 SCRA 530, 31 January 1981, G.R. Nos. L-25836-37

Fact:
Plaintiff filed a case against the defendant for the unpaid bill of exchange signed by the later to pay Encal Press and Photo Engraving. The sum sought to be recovered represents the cost of the printing of “World Current Events,” a periodical published by the defendant. To facilitate the payment of the printing the defendant obtained a credit accommodation from the plaintiff. Thus, for every printing of the “World Current Events,” the printer, Encal Press and Photo Engraving, collected the cost of printing by drawing a draft against the plaintiff, said draft being sent later to the defendant for acceptance. As an added security for the payment of the amounts advanced to Encal Press and Photo-Engraving, the plaintiff bank also required defendant Aruego to execute a trust receipt in favor of said bank wherein said defendant undertook to hold in trust for plaintiff the periodicals and to sell the same with the promise to turn over to the plaintiff the proceeds of the sale of said publication to answer for the payment of all obligations arising from the draft.

Issue:
Whether the defendant only an agent when he signed the said bill of exchange and therefore not personally liable.

Held:
No, the defendant is liable when he signed the bill of exchange. Section 20 of the Negotiable Instruments Law provides that “Where the instrument contains or a person adds to his signature words indicating that he signs for or on behalf of a principal or in a representative capacity, he is not liable on the instrument if he was duly authorized; but the mere addition of words describing him as an agent or as filing a representative character, without disclosing his principal, does not exempt him from personal liability.” An inspection of the drafts accepted by the defendant shows that nowhere has he disclosed that he was signing as a representative of the Philippine Education Foundation Company.

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