PNB vs CA 25 SCRA 693, 29 Oct 1968, G.R. No. L-26001

Facts:
January 15, 1962, one Augusto Lim deposited in his current account with the PCIB branch at Padre Faura, Manila, GSIS Check No. 645915- B, in the sum of P57,415.00, drawn against the PNB; that, following an established banking practice in the Philippines, the check was, on the same date, forwarded, for clearing, through the Central Bank, to the PNB, which did not return said check the next day, or at any other time, but retained it and paid its amount to the PCIB, as well as debited it against the account of the GSIS in the PNB; that, subsequently, or on January 31, 1962, upon demand from the GSIS, said sum of P57,415.00 was re-credited to the latter’s account, for the reason that the signatures of its officers on the check were forged; and that, thereupon, or on February 2, 1962, the PNB demanded from the PCIB the refund of said sum, which the PCIB refused to do. Hence, the present action against the PCIB, which was dismissed by the Court of First Instance of Manila, whose decision was, in turn, affirmed by the Court of Appeals, hence this case.

Issue:
Whether the lower court erred in not finding that the PCIB had been guilty of negligence in not discovering that the check was forged.

Held:
No, Assuming that there had been such negligence on the part of the PCIB, it is undeniable, however, that the PNB has, also, been negligent, with the particularity that the PNB had been guilty of a greater degree of negligence, because it had a previous and formal notice from the GSIS that the check had been lost, with the request that payment thereof be stopped. Just as important, if not more important and decisive, is the fact that the PNB’s negligence was the main or proximate cause for the corresponding loss.

It is a well-settled maxim of law and equity that when one of two (2) innocent persons must suffer by the wrongful act of a third person, the loss must be borne by the one whose negligence was the proximate cause of the loss or who put it into the power of the third person to perpetrate the wrong.

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