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BPI v.

CA
326 SCRA 641, February 29, 2000

Facts:

Private respondent Benjamin Napiza deposited in his foreign current deposit with
BPI a dollar check owned by Henry Chan in which he affixed his signature at the
dorsal side thereof. For this purpose, Napiza gave Chan a signed blank withdrawal
slip. However, Gayon Jr. got hold of the withdrawal slip and used it to withdraw the
proceeds of the dollar check, even before the check was cleared and without the
presentation of the bank passbook.

Issues:
(1) Whether petitioner can hold private respondent liable for the proceeds of the
check for having affixed his signature at the dorsal side as indorser.
(2) Whether the bank was negligent as the proximate cause of the loss and should
be held liable.

Ruling:

(1) No. Ordinarily, private respondent may be held liable as an indorser of the check
or even as an accommodation party. However, to hold him liable would result in an
injustice. The interest of justice thus demands looking into the events that led to the
encashment of the check.

Under the rules appearing in the passbook that BPI issued to private respondent, to
be able to withdraw under the Philippine foreign currency deposit system, two
requisites must be presented to petitioner BPI by the person withdrawing an
amount:
1) A duly filled-up withdrawal slip; and
2) The depositors passbook.

Petitioner bank alleged that had private respondent indicated therein the person
authorized to receive the money, then Gayon could not have withdrawn any
amount. However, the withdrawal slip itself indicates a special instruction that the
amount is payable to Ramon de Guzman and/or Agnes de Guzman. Such being
the case, petitioners personnel should have been duly warned that Gayon was not
the proper payee of the proceeds of the check. Moreover, the fact that private
respondents passbook was not presented during the withdrawal is evidenced by
the entries therein showing that the last transaction that he made was when he
deposited the subject check.

(2) Yes. A bank is under obligation to treat the accounts of its depositors with
meticulous care, always having in mind the fiduciary nature of their relationship.
Petitioner failed to exercise the diligence of a good father of a family. In total
disregard of its own rules, petitioners personnel negligently handled private
respondents account to petitioners detriment.

The proximate cause of the withdrawal and eventual loss of the amount of
$2,500.00 on petitioners part was its personnels negligence in allowing such
withdrawal in disregard of its own rules and the clearing requirement in the banking
system. In so doing, petitioner assumed the risk of incurring a loss on account of a
forged or counterfeit foreign check and hence, it should suffer the resulting
damage.