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4, 1990, private respondent deposited the

SECOND DIVISION said U.S. treasury check of Fernandez in


Savings Account No. 3 185-0128-82.The
U.S. Veterans Administration Office
[G.R. No. 116792. March 29, 1996] in Manila conditionally cleared the
check.4 The check was then sent to
the United States for further clearing.5
Two months after or on March 8,
BANK OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS and 1990, private respondent closed Savings
GRACE ROMERO, petitioners, Account No. 3 185-0128-82 and transferred
vs. COURT OF APPEALS and its funds amounting to P13,112.91 to
EDVIN F. REYES, respondents. Savings Account No. 3 185-0172-56, the
joint account with his wife.
DECISION
On January 16, 1991, U.S. Treasury
PUNO, J.: Warrant No. 21667302 was dishonored as it
was discovered that Fernandez died
Petitioners seek a review of the three (3) days prior to its issuance. The
Decision1 of respondent Court of Appeals in U.S. Department of Treasury requested
CA-G.R. CV No. 41543 reversing the petitioner bank for a refund.6 For the first
Decision2 of the Regional Trial Court of time petitioner bank came to know of the
Quezon City, Branch 79, and ordering death of Fernandez.
petitioners to credit private respondents
Savings On February 19, 1991, private
respondent received a PT & T urgent
Account No. 3185-0172-56 with telegram from petitioner bank requesting
P10,556.00 plus interest. him to contact Manager Grace S. Romero
or Assistant Manager Carmen
The facts reveal that
Bernardo. When he called up the bank, he
on September 25, 1985, private respondent
was informed that the treasury check was
Edvin F. Reyes opened Savings Account
the subject of a claim by Citibank NA,
No. 3 185-0172-56 at petitioner Bank of the
correspondent of petitioner bank. He
Philippine Islands (BPI) Cubao, Shopping
assured petitioners that he would drop by
Center Branch. It is a joint AND/OR
the bank to look into the matter. He
account with his wife, Sonia S. Reyes.
also verbally authorized them to debit
Private respondent also held a from his other joint account the amount
joint AND/OR Savings Account No. 3185- stated in the dishonored U.S. Treasury
0128-82 with his grandmother, Emeteria Warrant.7 On the same day, petitioner bank
M. Fernandez, opened3 on February 11, debited the amount of P10,556.00 from
1986 at the same BPI branch. He regularly private respondents Savings Account No.
deposited in this account the U.S. Treasury 3185-0172-56.
Warrants payable to the order of Emeteria
On February 21, 1991, private
M. Fernandez as her monthly pension.
respondent with his lawyer Humphrey
Emeteria M. Fernandez died Tumaneng visited the petitioner bank and
on December 28, 1989 without the the refund documents were shown to
knowledge of the U.S. Treasury them. Surprisingly, private respondent
Department. She was still sent U.S. demanded from petitioner bank restitution of
Treasury Warrant No. 21667302 the debited amount. He claimed that
dated January 1, 1990 in the amount of because of the debit, he failed to withdraw
U.S. $377.003 or P10,556.00. On January his money when he needed them. He then

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filed a suit for Damages8 against petitioners RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS
before the Regional Trial Court of Quezon GRAVELY ERRED IN NOT HOLDING
City, Branch 79. THAT PETITIONER BANK HAS LEGAL
RIGHT TO APPLY THE DEPOSIT OF
Petitioners contested the complaint and RESPONDENT REYES TO HIS
counter-claimed for moral and exemplary OUTSTANDING OBLIGATION TO
damages. By way of Special and Affirmative PETITIONER BANK BROUGHT ABOUT BY
Defense, they averred that private THE RETURN OF THE U.S. TREASURY
respondent gave them WARRANT HE EARLIER DEPOSITED
his express verbal authorization to debit
UNDER THE PRINCIPLE OF LEGAL
the questioned amount. They claimed that COMPENSATION.
private respondent later refused to execute
a written authority.9
III
In a Decision dated January 20, 1993,
the trial court dismissed the complaint of RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS
private respondent for lack of cause of GRAVELY ERRED IN NOT APPLYING
action.10 CORRECTLY THE PRINCIPLES
ENUNCIATED BY THE SUPREME COURT
Private respondent appealed to the
IN THE CASE OF GULLAS V. PNB, 62
respondent Court of Appeals. On August
PHIL. 519.
16, 1994, the Sixteenth Division of
respondent court in AC-G.R. CV No. 41543
reversed the impugned decision, viz: IV

WHEREFORE, the judgment appealed from RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS


is set aside, and another one entered GRAVELY ERRED IN NOT
ordering defendant (petitioner) to credit APPRECIATING THE FACT THAT THE
plaintiffs (private respondents) S.A. No. 3 MONEY DEBITED BY PETITIONER BANK
185-0172-56 with P10,556.00 plus interest WAS THE SAME MONEY TRANSFERRED
at the applicable rates for express teller BY RESPONDENT REYES FROM HIS
savings accounts from February 19,1991, JOINT AND/OR ACCOUNT WITH HIS
until compliance herewith. The claim and GRANDMOTHER TO HIS JOINT AND/OR
counterclaim for damages are dismissed for ACCOUNT WITH HIS WIFE.12
lack of merit.
We find merit in the petition.
SO ORDERED.11 The first issue for resolution is whether
private respondent
Petitioners now contend that verbally authorized petitioner bank to debit
respondent Court of Appeals erred: his joint account with his wife for the amount
of the returned U.S. Treasury Warrant. We
I
find that petitioners were able to prove this
verbal authority by preponderance of
RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS evidence. The testimonies of Bernardo and
GRAVELY ERRED IN NOT HOLDING Romero deserve credence. Bernardo
THAT RESPONDENT REYES GAVE testified:
EXPRESS AUTHORITY TO PETITIONER
BANK TO DEBIT HIS JOINT ACCOUNT xxx xxx xxx
WITH HIS WIFE FOR THE VALUE OF THE
Q: After that, what happened?
RETURNED U.S. TREASURY WARRANT.
A: x x x Dr. Reyes called me up
II and I informed him about the

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return of the U.S. Treasury on February 19, 1991, is that
Warrant and we are requested correct?
to reimburse for the amount.
A: I did not authorize, we merely
Q: What was his response if any? followed the instruction of
Mr. Reyes, sir.14
A: Dont you worry about it, there
is no personal problem. We are not disposed to believe private
respondents allegation that he did not give
xxx xxx xxx any verbal authorization. His testimony
Q: And so what was his response? is uncorroborated. Nor does he inspire
credence. His past and fraudulent conduct
A: He said that dont you worry is an evidence against him.15 He concealed
about it. from petitioner bank the death of Fernandez
xxx xxx xxx on December 28, 1989.16 As of that date,
he knew that Fernandez was no longer
Q: You said that you asked him the entitled to receive any
advice and he did not answer, pension. Nonetheless, he still received the
what advice are you referring U.S. Treasury Warrant of Fernandez, and
to? on January 4, 1990 deposited the same in
A: In our conversation, he Savings Account No. 3185-0128-82. To pre-
promised me that he will empt a refund, private respondent closed
give me written confirmation his joint account with Fernandez (Savings
or authorization.13 Account No. 31-85- 0128-82) on March 8,
1990 and transferred its balance to his joint
The conversation was promptly relayed account with his wife (Savings Account No.
to Romero who testified: 3 185-0172-56). Worse, private respondent
declared under the penalties of perjury in
xxx xxx xxx
the withdrawal slip17 dated March 8,
Q: x x x Was there any opportunity 1990 that his co-depositor, Fernandez, is
wherein said Mrs. Bernardo still living. By his acts, private respondent
was able to convey to you the has stripped himself of credibility.
contents of their conversation?
More importantly, the respondent court
A: This was immediately relayed to erred when it failed to rule that legal
me as manager of the Bank of compensation is
the Philippine Islands, sir. proper. Compensation shall take place
when two persons, in their own right, are
Q: What, if any was the content of creditors and debtors of each
her conversation, if you know? other.18 Article 1290 of the Civil Code
A: Mr. Reyes instructed Mrs. provides that when all the requisites
Bernardo to debit his mentioned in Article 1279 are present,
account with the bank. His compensation takes effect by operation
account was maintained of law, and extinguishes both debts to
jointly with his wife then he the concurrent amount, even though the
promised to drop by to give creditors and debtors are not aware of
us a written confirmation, the compensation. Legal compensation
sir. operates even against the will of the
interested parties and even without the
xxx xxx xxx consent of them.19 Since this
Q: You said that you authorized the compensation takes place ipso jure, its
debiting of the account effects arise on the very day on which all its

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requisites concur.20When used as a right of the petitioner bank to make the debit
defense, it retroacts to the date when its is clear and cannot be doubted. To frustrate
requisites are fulfilled.21 the application of legal compensation on the
ground that the parties are
Article 1279 states that in order that
not all mutually obligated would result in
compensation may be proper, it is unjust enrichment on the part of the private
necessary: respondent and his wife who herself out of
honesty has not objected to the debit.
(1) That each one of the obligors be bound
principally, and that he be at the same time The rule as to mutuality is strictly
a principal creditor of the other; applied at law. But not in equity, where
to allow the same would defeat a clear
(2) That both debts consist in a sum of right or permit irremediable injustice.22
money, or if the things due are consumable, IN VIEW HEREOF, the Decision
they be of the same kind, and also of the of respondent Court of Appeals in CA-G.R.
same quality if the latter has been stated; CV No. 41543 dated August 16,1994 is
ANNULLED and SET ASIDE and the
(3) That the two debts be due; Decision of the trial court in Civil Case No.
Q-91-8451 dated January 20, 1993 is
(4) That they be liquidated and demandable; REINSTATED. Costs against private
respondent.
(5) That over neither of them there be any
retention or controversy, commenced by SO ORDERED.
third persons and communicated in due
time to the debtor.

The elements of legal compensation


are all present in the case at bar. The
obligors bound principally are at the same
time creditors of each other. Petitioner bank
stands as a debtor of the private
respondent, a depositor. At the same time,
said bank is the creditor of the private
respondent with respect to the dishonored
U.S. Treasury Warrant which the latter
illegally transferred to his joint account. The
debts involved consist of a sum of
money. They are due, liquidated, and
demandable. They are not claimed by a
third person.
It is true that the joint account of private
respondent and his wife was debited in the
case at bar. We hold that the presence of
private respondents wife does not negate
the element of mutuality of parties, i.e., that
they must be creditors and debtors of each
other in their own right. The wife of private
respondent is not a party in the case at
bar. She never asserted any right to the
debited U.S. Treasury Warrant. Indeed, the