US vs. Diaz-Conde (42 Phil 766)
On December 30, 1915, complainants Bartolome Oliveros and Engracia Lianco entered into a contract with the defendants concerning a debt of P300. Oliveros and co. were obligated to pay five percent interest per month within the first ten days of every month. On May 6, 1921, Vicente Diaz Conde and Apolinaria R. De Conde were charged with violating the Usury Law in the Court of First Instance of the city of Manila. They were found guilty, sentenced to pay a fine of P120 and in case of insolvency, to suffer subsidiary imprisonment in accordance with the provisions of law. They took it to SC to plead.
WoN the Usury Law has a retroactive effect in this case
WoN the law impaired the contract
Held and Ratio:
No. The Usury Law, a penal law, cannot become retroactive unless it is favorable to the person accused. (Art. 21 and 22 Penal Code)
Yes. If a contract is legal at its inception, it cannot be rendered illegal by any subsequent legislation.
Decision: Judgment reversed, defendants acquitted.