Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Ruben Reyna, vs. Commission on Audit (COA) [GR No. 167219, February 8, 2011]

The Court rules that writing-off a loan does not equate to a condonation or release of a debt by the creditor. As an accounting strategy, the use of write-off is a task that can help a company maintain a more accurate inventory of the worth of its current assets. In general banking practice, the write-off method is used when an account is determined to be uncollectible and an uncollectible expense is recorded in the books of account. If in the future, the debt appears to be collectible, as when the debtor becomes solvent, then the books will be adjusted to reflect the amout to be collected as an asset. In turn, the income will be credited by the same amount of increase in the accounts receivable.

Write-off is not one of the legal grounds for extinguishing an obligation under the Civil Code. It is not a compromise liability. Neither is it a condonation, since in condonation gratuity on the part of the obligee and acceptance by the obligor are required. In making the write-off, only the creditor takes action by removing the uncollectible account from its books even without the approval or participation of the debtor.

Furthermore, write-off cannot be likened to a novation, since the obligation of both parties have not been modified. When a write-off occurs, the actual worth of the asset is reflected in the books of accounts of the creditor, but the legal relationship between the creditor and the debtor still remains the same – the debtor continues to be liable to the creditor for the full extent of the unpaid debt.

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