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BPI/Ana Gonzales vs.

Spouses Fernando Quiaoit


G.R. No. 199562, January 16, 2019
Carpio, J.

FACTS:
Fernando Quiaoit has a peso and dollar account in BPI Greenhills. Through
Merlyn Lambayong, he encashed a BPI check worth $20,000. But Lambayong did
not count the dollars and BPI did not inform the same that the dollars had the mark
of its “chapa” and did not issue a receipt containing the serial numbers of the dollar
bills. The Quiaoit spouses used some of the dollars to buy ticket to travel abroad.
When they were abroad they were embarrassed because stores and business
establishments didn’t accept their dollar because those were allegedly counterfeit.
Upon returning home, they went to BPI and reported the unfortunate event.
BPI staff told them that there would be investigation with a promise that the spouse
would be reimbursed the amount of $4,000. But the reimbursement did not occur.
Fernando then filed a complaint alleging that the bank failed to ensure that
its foreign currencies were all authentic. BPI contended that they did their job and
their investigation showed that those dollar bills surrendered by the couple were
not the same bills issued through Lambayong. TC decided in favor of the spouses,
which was affirmed by the Court of Appeals. BPI had beennegligent in not listing
down the serial numbers of the dollar bills. MR denied. Hence, this petition.
BPI insists that there is no law requiring it to list down the serial numbers of
the dollar bills.

ISSUE:
Whether or not BPI exercised due diligence in handling the withdrawal of the
US dollar bills; hence, not liable for damages?

RULING:
No, BPI failed to exercise due diligence in handling the withdrawal of the US
dollar bills; hence, is liable for damages.
The Court held that the General Banking Act of 2000 demands of banks the
highest standards of integrity and performance. Banks are under obligation to treat
the accounts of their depositors with meticulous care. The bank's compliance with
this degree of diligence has to be determined in accordance with the particular
circumstances of each case.
In this case, in releasing the dollar bills without listing down their serial
numbers, BPI failed to exercise the highest degree of care and diligence required
of it. BPI exposed not only its client but also itself to the situation that led to this
case. Had BPI listed down the serial numbers, BPI's presentation of a copy of such
listed serial numbers would establish whether the returned dollar bills came from
BPI or not. BPI therefore is liable to all the damages suffered by the spouses.
Petition is denied.